but works an effect

For in accord with the Eastern conception, the mandala symbol is not only a means of expression, but works an effect. it reacts upon its maker. Very ancient magical effects lie hidden in this symbol for it derives originally from the “enclosing circle,” the “charmed circle,” the magic of which has been preserved in countless folk customs. The image has the obvious purpose of drawing a sulcus primigenius, a magical furrow around the center, the templum, or temenos (sacred precinct), of the innermost personality, in order to prevent “flowing out,” or to guard by apotropaeic means against deflections through external influencs. The magical practices are nothing but the projections of psychic events, which are here applied in reverse to the psyche, like a kind of spell on one’s own personality. That is to say, by means of these concrete performances, the attention, or better said, the interest, is brought back to an inner sacred domain, which is the source and goal of the soul. This inner domain contains the unity of life and consciousness, which, though once possessed, has been lost, and must now be found again.

Jung, C. G. Psyche & Symbol. Ed, Violet S. de Laszlo. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1958. 321-2

a spiritualized circle

The spiral is a spiritualized circle. In the spiral form, the circle, uncoiled, unwound, has ceased to be vicious; it has been set free. I thought this up when I was a schoolboy, and I also discovered that Hegel’s triadic series (so popular in old Russia) expressed merely the essential spirality of all things in relation to time. Twirl follows twirl, and every synthesis is the thesis of the next series. If we consider the simplest spiral, three series may be distinguished in it, corresponding to those of the triad: We can call “thetic” the small curve or arc that initiates the convolution centrally; “antithetic” the larger arc that faces the first in the process of continuing it; and “synthetic” the still ampler arc that continues the second while following the first along the outer side. And so on.

Nabokov, Vladimir, Speak Memory, 275.