“We do NOT know the past in chronological sequence. It may be convenient to lay it out anesthetized on the table with dates pasted on here and there, but what we know we know by ripples and spirals eddying out from us and from our own time.” ~ Ezra Pound
A few spiral meaning keywords to start our spin around spiral symbolism will include attributes such as: Balance, Progress, Direction, Initiation, Centering, Expanding, Awareness, Connection, Journeying, Development.
Perhaps it’s most prolific appearance is in Celtic symbology where we see the spirals decorating a myriad of their ancient artifacts. In Celtic art and symbolism, we can intuit a few meanings from the forcefully present spiral:
Evolution and holistic growth
Letting go, surrender, release
Awareness of the one within the context of the whole
Connectivity and union with deific and cosmic energies
Revolutions of time, stars, planets and the way of natural progress
I particularly like this last “connectivity to the Divine” observation. Indeed, I think ancient Celtic artists used the spiral symbol as a mind-altering creative process in which the act of creating a spiral in their work released their minds into a creative splendor. Perhaps that’s why we see them dominate the Celtic world; out of a strong desire to step outside the physical and enter a gossamer domain where dreams and intuition take hold of awareness.
Try it for yourself! Paint your own spirals. Draw spirals. Make spiral symbol mosaics. Use any media that appeals to you to create spirals, and as you do, imagine the controls of your mind loosening with each outward wave created as you move out in a spiral motion of your creation.
This exercise is similar to coloring mandalas. The idea is to get lost in the grandeur of creating. The mandala or spiral symbol is a partner in creation and can launch our dreaming mind into profound realms of awareness.
You can get your whole body into the spiraling creative process. Walk a spiralling labyrinth as a conscious ritual for growth, just like some of our Native American forebears did (and still do). Dance in spinning spirals, just like the Whirling Dervishes do (whose dance is symbolic of the cosmic dance of the universe). Find ways to express the spiral meaning with your whole being, the results should prove profound.
Speaking of the dance of the universe, in astrology, the spiral meaning sparkles with an understanding of a universe in constant motion. And, as science can attest, our universe spirals out infinitely, thus reinforcing the concept of our endless skies.
In terms of spirituality, the spiral symbol can represent the path leading from outer consciousness (materialism, external awareness, ego, outward perception) to the inner soul (enlightenment, unseen essence, nirvana, cosmic awareness). Movements between the inner (intuitive, intangible) world and the outer (matter, manifested) world are mapped by the spiraling of archetypal rings; marking the evolution of humankind on both an individual and collective scale.
Moreover, in terms of rebirth or growth, the spiral symbol can represent the consciousness of nature beginning from the core or center and thus expanding outwardly. This is the way of all things, as recognized by most mystics.
Gaining more expansive awareness of the spiral meaning, we can contemplate its appearance in the natural world. Consider:
Curled up Snake
Twisting tree trunks
Whirlpools in Waters
Animal Horns (like Rams horns)
Take a few moments to contemplate these spiraling aspects of nature and their implications on your own perspective. Better yet, look out to the Mother (Nature) and find your own special spirals nestled in the folds of her gown. I’m willing to bet your own awareness will expand with each new discovery.
AFRICAN SPIRAL ARCHITECTURE
“The human mind always makes progress, but it is a progress in spirals.” ~ Madame de Stael