The Moon Around the Earth; The Earth Around the Sun. The Heavens Teach us.
“There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the self…” Jung MDR 196
Christianity. In the Catholic Church, a priest sometimes circumambulates an altar while incensing it with a thurible. At some Catholic shrines, it is a tradition to circumambulate around the cult object of the place, usually relics of a saint or an image of Jesus or the Virgin Mary. Often this is performed three times, as a reference to the Trinity.
In Romania, there is an Easter custom to circumambulate the church three times by singing priests leading the people, just before finishing Easter Mass. It symbolizes the funerary procession of the burial of Jesus Christ.
In the Coptic tradition, during the liturgy, the priest circumambulates anti-clockwise while an acolyte (altar boy) holds a cross high on the opposite side of the altar. During Lent, services are celebrated by the priest, along with altar servers, circumambulating around the interior of the church visiting each of the 14 Stations of the Cross. On Palm Sunday in the churches, members of the congregation, oftentimes children, are given palms that they carry as they walk in a procession around the inside of the church.
Islam. Tawaf is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage. During the Hajj and Umrah, Muslims circumambulate the Kaaba seven times, in a counter-clockwise direction. The circling demonstrates the unity of the believers.
Sufi Dervishes step forward, arms crossed. Raising their arms, holding their right palm upward toward heaven and their left palm downward toward earth, they whirling in a counterclockwise direction
Judaism circumambulate in a counter-clockwise direction in the Hakafot ritual during the Festival of Sukkot, culminating in seven Hakafot on Hoshanah Rabbah, and during Simchat Torah, circumambulating the Torah Scrolls. Traditionally, Jewish brides circumambulate their grooms during the wedding ceremony.
Hinduism. Devotional practice is performed by circumambulating clockwise direction in temples or around deity images. The temple structure itself symbolically reflects the transition from daily life to spiritual perfection, as a journey through stages. Worshippers start at the doorway and move clockwise toward the inner sanctum where the deity is enshrined. Walking around the shrine is a common form of Hindu prayer.
Zen Buddhism. Jundō can mean any ritual circuit or circumambulation. Each morning, the dōshi visits four different altars on their way to the zendō, to make bows and offerings of incense. After offering incense and bowing at the altar, the dōshi walks clockwise around the zendō behind the meditators. As the dōshi passes, each resident raises their hands in gasshō. This joins the dōshi and sitters in mutual acknowledgement.
Sikhism. In Lavan Pheras, during wedding ceremonies, the four rounds of pheras symbolize a sacrosanct bond by clockwisecircumambulation of a purifying object, in this case, the holy book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Bahá’í. Bahá’ís perform circumambulation of both the Shrines of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh during their pilgrimage to Haifa and Bahjí, in Israel. While circumambulating, observance of these Manifestations of God is done in complete silence and also performed on holy days such as the birth and martyrdom of the Báb.
Freemasonry. Candidates for the three principle degrees of Freemasonry circumambulate the altar in the lodge room. It is done in a clockwise fashion. The number of times which candidates ambulate around the altar depends on which degree is being presented.