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Circumambulation


Circumambulation is the movement around a holy object, or of a holy object. The completion of a circle of protection, or of community, creates an integrity that is otherwise difficult to obtain in this world. The application of this in religions is diverse: examples include the Hajj (the Muslim circumambulation of the Ka'ba); the Prayer Wheel in Tibet; the stupa and Bo tree in Buddhism; the respect shown to the Adi Granth on entering a gurdwara; Lavan; the Hindu "following the sun" around the sacred fire and, in the temple (and, in pradaksina, to go around any sacred object, person, or place, including the whole of India; the seven circuits (hakkafot) around a cemetery before a burial by Sephardi and Hasidic Jews. In Witchcraft the magic circle would be a circumambulation. A.G.H.



Source:

Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 224