In the 100 years between 1170 and 1270 fully 80 Gothic Cathedrals and 500 churches of "near cathedral size" were built in France alone. As Painton Cowen says in his book Rose Windows - "It was an activity that is estimated to have taken up at least one-third of what would now be called the Gross Domestic Product." And the crown of these buildings was their Rose Windows "suspended between floor and vault as if between heaven and earth." Caught like Dream Catchers between the High and the Low, the Sacred and the Profane, between Spirit and Matter - weaving in colored glass and leading the symbolism of deep beliefs in the language of typological iconography - the juxtaposition of images from several different sources.
Like at the Monastery of St. Maria de Alcobaça in Portugal 80 ks or so above Lisboa. Pooler and I were spending a month between Santiago de Compostela in Spain and Lisboa a few hundred kilometers below. Pooler Jones had to check on some "property" being held for him by the Ordem Christo in Tomar. The monastery at Alcobaça was another "vow" church - a group of which studded the Euroscape like begrudging afterthoughts of the Christian conquest of Pagan Europe. The first king of Portugal - Alphonso Henriques - needed to wrest the city of Santarém from the heathen Moors who were everywhere still occupying the Iberian Peninsula. So in 1147 he undertook a sacred vow that if St. Michael and Santiago Matamoros himself would lead him to victory then he would build a sister monastery to the one at Clairval in France and dedicate it to the inspiration for the crusades Bernard of Clairvaux. Cistercians followed - as Cistercians always do - to clear and drain the lands & cleanse them of their Pagan roots. When Pooler talks about the Cistercians - or St. Bernard - he wanders back and forth between a genuine admiration & a visceral disgust. The Rose "Wheel" above is at the base of the tomb of Dom Pedro, the tragic son of Alfonso IV.
To the left above is the facade of the Catedral at Cuenca in Spain. It sports a 12 petaled Rose, small but with delicate columns in the Tracery. On the right is a ten petaled Rose on a small Templar church in San Gimignano in Italy. The Italian Rose is more an Oculi than a fully expressed Rose but it's very well set and gives the illusion of something opening, radiating, swelling from within. Behind all of this lurks the ubiquitous Mandala - you can feel Jung resonating in his urn. Both Jung & Eliade described the figure of the Mandala as a "Microcosmic symbol of the universe and of the collective consciousness." Jung felt deeply that the circular form, wherever apprehended, tended to turn the mind back to Self and to Self's "intercourse" between the inner body and the outer body of the world. So the Mandala was a statement of Harmony & Cotermination, a design calculated to pulse between the Microcosm and the Macrocosm. In Sanskrit "manda" has the sense of "essence" while the suffix "la" indicates a "container." So a Mandala is the Repository of Essence. It is a binder which holds the self to the universe.
"Most mandalas have an intuitive, irrational character and, through their symbolical content, exert a retroactive influence on the unconscious. They therefore possess a 'magical' significance, like icons, whose possible efficacy was never consciously felt"

C. G. Jung - "Concerning Mandala Symbolism"

That's a 14 Petaled Rose above from the Basilica dei San Francesco in Assisi, Italy. The Tracery is near exquisite. From the stone filigree at the near-cardinals peer faces looking back at the viewer - emblems of self-awareness and consciousness. At the peak the Paschal Lamb of Christ takes the Pole Star position. To the right is the 16 Petaled Rose of the Duomo at Pisa in Italy also. Here the Paschal Jesus is dead Center of the circle - both Pole and Center are fixed spots - Punto Fijo - unmoving refuges in the chaos of the turning wheel.

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