I’m sure you’ve observed how sometimes in life one seems to be revisiting an event or experience that’s happened in much the same way at other times. It quite often occurs regarding relationships. For example – perhaps a new partner shows similar traits to a previous one, even though you thought that initially, they were completely different from the last lover. But it’s more frequently felt in terms of happenings and circumstances which make you feel you’ve gone full circle, gone nowhere and arrived back at Square One.
When you notice you’re in this kind of place, there’s a sense of going round and round along the same old path. But in actual fact, we’re not following the same trajectory. We’re actually in a spiral. Where we find ourselves now isn’t EXACTLY the same place where we were before, but it’s very like it. We haven’t gone full circle and come back to where we began; we’ve simply made a journey and ended up in a place which has echoes of previous experiences.
Spirals are learning curves. They’re the loops and layers of our experience which show us the patterns in our lives. And understanding these repetitions can help us to grow.
The spiral is an ancient symbol of spiritual development which can be found in cultures all around the globe. The symbol describes a path that can be climbed in stages to reach God, the Divine, the One. It can be found in primitive rock carvings, Arabic architecture, Japanese rock gardens, the great Nazca earthworks, Aboriginal paintings, African art and Hindu spiritual texts, to name but a few. In Celtic art, we find the Triple Spiral again and again – signifying the belief that all life moves in an eternal cycle which regenerates at each juncture.
These beliefs possibly first originated through an observation of Nature in which the spiral can be seen in countless different ways. For example, there’s the spiral form of the beautiful nautilus shell. It’s also found in the shape of ammonites. It’s seen in the swirls of hurricanes and tornadoes, the growing tips of ferns, and also in whirlpools of water. The list goes on.
We can find this pattern in the human body too where the fibres in the ventricles of the heart run in spiral lines; we also see it in the labyrinth of the inner ear. There are spirals in the tips of our fingers where the skin forms intricate whorls which are our fingerprints. The shape of the pineal gland (known as the third eye) is shaped like a pea-sized pine cone and is spiralic in form. This tiny gland is perceived as being our inner portal to higher consciousness and an instrument to transcend dimensions and travel to other realms. And of course, the spiral is found in the double helix structure of the DNA molecule.
The great Babylonian Tower of Babel was known as the Temple of the Foundation of Heaven and Earth, and had a spiral path encircling it which ascended through seven tiers. In Tantric Yoga, the Kundalini (the primal energy located at the base of the spine) is believed to rise through the body via the seven energy centres or Chakras [the word Kundalini means spiral in Sanskrit]. In the spiral dance of the Sufis (known as “Turning”), the dancer spins with the right hand raised to receive the Divine Emanation and the left hand lowered to return his gift to the earth. .
Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist and therapist viewed the spiral as an archetypal symbol representing cosmic force. It is associated with the cycles of time and the cycles of the seasons. All of creation is the inter-weaving of the cycles of birth/death; summer/winter; day/night; in-breath/out-breath etc. The spiral is connected with ideas of creation, aspiration and re-birth. It is also the symbol of eternity since the spiral motion may go on forever.
There are spiral energy fields all around us and within us constantly radiating out and drawing back in, simultaneously, infinitely and eternally.
The spiral shows the link between the microcosm and macrocosm, science and spirituality. It is the sign of the eternal, creative organising principle at work in the universe.
The spiral is the journey of life. We never come back to the same point as we travel through time, but it sometimes appears as though we do.
Next time you find yourself apparently repeating history, maybe pause a while and think about it in a wider context. This isn’t failure. It’s an opportunity to grow and evolve.