Compass Drawn Demon Traps

Compass drawn protective designs, made up of concentric or single circles, are essentially endless lines as all circles are, and act as demon traps, to ward off, confuse or entrap any evil forces. Circles were often thought to confuse demonic entities because they had no corners to hide in, and they would also follow the endless line over and over again eternally.

Often concentric or single circles have been drawn with the use of a compass, because in their centre there is often a circular depression where one point of the compass has rested, as the other point has rotated to incise the circle upon the timber or stone surface.

They are sometimes known as bull’s eyes and as such guard against the jealous and evil wishing eye. As other religious apotropaic devices, they ensure that they cleanse and cast out any malevolent forces the visitor / worshipper may have brought with them, keeping the religious building holy, and devoid of malevolence.

In Ethiopia, Vincent came across the following Compass Drawn Demon Trap at Mikael Imba rock-hewn church.

The Compass Drawn Demon Trap upon a Door to Mikael Imba Rock-Hewn Church, 8th Century AD, Tigray

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