The Spiral Symbol

Our lives are great processes that move in circles. We grow, develop and change in spirals. From the micro to the macro, life happens in cycles. From the ebb and flow of the tides, to the wax and wane of the moon. From the inhale and exhale of breath, to the ever-turning wheel of the seasons. From the very structure of our DNA, to the rhythmic movement of the planets around the sun. From the configuration of a single atom, to the great cascading sweep of the Milky Way radiating through space. These varied forms and phenomena reflect the essential spiral character of life.

As a symbol, the spiral has appeared in countless cultures throughout the ages to represent the great mysteries of life, growth, change, death and transformation. In folktale, story, mythology, philosophy and art, the spiral has for millennia emerged to symbolize the psychological and spiritual journey toward unification and wholeness. The spiral form acts as such a potent symbol precisely because of its ubiquitous presence in nature’s expressions and movements. The spiral reveals to us in its very form and structure the interwoven nature of the whole round of existence. As such, the spiral form offers us a map for our psychological growth and evolution as humans.

Inherent to the spiral is the dance of movement, stillness, integration and evolution. As we grow and evolve, we will meander and double-back, we will find ourselves in darkness or unknown territory, we may even at times feel completely lost. We will retrace our steps, uncovering treasures that we did not recognize the first time around. We will gather up the essential pieces of ourselves we had at one time disowned or buried away for safe-keeping. We will shed and discard whatever we collected along the way that weighs us down, holds us back, constricts our heart. We will pause to rest. We will slowly emerge into new vistas of awareness after a steady climb. Or, with a jolt, we will quantum leap into landscapes that seemed unfathomable only a moment before. And then we will continue, traversing through new spheres and phases of the unknown, all the while growing, purifying, burning away, re-forming, integrating and emerging. This is spiral-motion.