Wednesday, August 6, 2008


"When we adore," says the pagan Roman historian Pliny, "we bring our right hand to our mouth and kiss it; then we describe a circle with our body, we turn ourselves around."

By carrying the hand to the mouth, man pays homage of his person to the Divinity; by turning around, he imitates the motion of the planets, and offers the Divinity the homage of the whole world, of which the celestial bodies are the most noble portion. This manner of adoring was a part of Sabianism, or the worship of the stars, which dates back to the farthest antiquity. According to the Pythagoreans, this form had come from Numa, who prescribed the turning around; Circumage te cum deos adoras (turn yourself when you adore the gods).

"It is said," adds Plutarch, "that it is a representation of the revolution which the heavens make in their motion" (Vie de Numa, ch. xxii). This profoundly mysterious practice was widespread in the Americas; it was the practice among the whirling dervishes of the East.

Excerpted from The Sign of the Cross, p. 60, Monsignoi Jean-Joseph Gaume

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