In my last blog post, I quoted an AA sister who provided two interpretations of our AA symbol, the triangle encompassed by a circle.
In one meaning, the triangle’s three sides are Service, Unity, and Recovery, bounded by the circle of AA Fellowship in the good meaning. In the other, the three sides of the triangle are Perfection, Dependence, and Expectation, bounded by the circle of me.
In AA, we transform the triangle of Perfection, Dependence, and Expectation bounded by the circle of me into Service, Unity, and Recovery, bounded by the circle of AA Fellowship. We transform newcomers’ symbols from self-absorbed living to the good of a spiritual life of service.
This transformation is magical and AA’s, carrying the message, are magicians.
If an alcoholic works the 12 Steps, magic happens: Their desire to drink is lifted, their character defects are removed, and they are saved from a seemingly hopeless condition of mind and body.
Is it a mere coincidence that our AA symbol, the triangle and circle, is so close in design to an ancient symbol for magic and magicians, a symbol that offers protection from spirits, and calls deep mysteries forth?
Googling the idea of a circle and a triangle returns AA materials and also articles on magic and mysticism. The symbol design of a circle and triangle, albeit more elaborate than our AA symbol, has been around for a long time and, interestingly, associated with magic and mysticism.
Historically and amongst modern Wiccan traditions, triangles within circles are called Thaumaturgic Triangles. Thaumaturgic triangles are symbols which represent magical powers and the control of magical powers. Thaumaturgic triangles also ward off evil spirits. In this lexicon, magicians are thaumaturges and mysticism is thaumaturgical. When we consider the magic of AA, it is easy to call 12 Stepping AA’s thaumaturges and our Program thaumaturgical.
Wow! What a coincidence. Our AA symbol is an ancient symbol for archetypes of magic and protection from evil and a modern symbol for the magic of the Program and the care and protection of a Higher Power.
Or was this a Jungian harmonization of the AA unconscious with the universal unconscious?
Either way, this is interesting to those of us of a particular bent; or as my sponsor says, “to those of us who are bent.” I am not sure, but I think he might be referring to moi.