Adjective: winding around a center or pole and gradually receding from or approaching it
Noun: a three-dimensional curve (such as a helix) with one or more turns about an axis
Spiral (adj.): 1550s, from Middle French spiral, from Medieval Latin spirals “winding around a fixed center, coiling” (mid-13thcentury), from Latin spira “a coil, fold, twist, spiral,” from Greek speira “a winding, a coil, twist, wreath, anything wound or coiled,” from Proto-Indo-English sper-ya-, from base sper- “to turn, twist.”
Spiral (n.): 1650s, from spiral (adj.). U.S. football sense is from 1896. Figurative sense of “progressive movement in one direction” is by 1897. Of books, spiral-bound (adj.) is from 1937.
“Growth is a spiral process, doubling back on itself, reassessing and regrouping.”
Julia Margaret Cameron (b. Julia Margaret Pattle in 1815 and died in 1879, British photographer who is considered one of greatest portrait photographers of the 19th century)
“In a spiral galaxy, the ratio of dark-to-light matter is about a factor of ten. That’s probably a good number for the ratio of our ignorance to knowledge. We’re out of kindergarten, but only in about third grade.”
Vera Rubin (1928-2016, American astronomer who pioneered work on galaxy rotation rates, and uncovered the discrepancy between the predicted angular motion of galaxies and the observed motion, by studying galactic rotation curves. This phenomenon became known as the galaxy rotation problem, and was evidence of the existence of dark matter.)
“A circle is the reflection of eternity. It has no beginning and it has no end – and if you put several circles over each other, then you get a spiral.”
Maynard James Keenan (b. James Herbert Keenan in 1964, American singer songwriter and the vocalist for the rock bands Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Pucifer)
“What is more of a symbol of eternal growth and change than the Goddess? The eternal spiral of creation. Coiled like a serpent, our Shakti energy sits, waiting to be awakened within all of us.”
Emma Mildon (girl-next-door millennial mystic leader, philanthropist, columnist, and author of “The Soul Searcher’s Handbook” and “Evolution of Goddess”)
“Modern man must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it. It is obviously impossible to get around it, jump over it, or simply avoid it.”
Vaclev Havel (1936-2011, president of Czechoslovakia (1989-92), playwright, poet, and political dissident)
“Stress overload makes us stupid. Solid research proves it. When we get overstressed, it creates a nasty chemical soup in our brains that makes it hard to pull out of the anxious depressive spiral.”
Gail Sheehy (b. 1937, American journalist, lecturer, and author of 17 books; best known for her revolutionary book, “Passages,” which was named by the Library of Congress as one of the ten most influential books of our times)
“There are many, many communities, many ethnic minorities, many civilizations that have been brutalized by others and you have to move on. You cannot perpetually stay in that place of blame, otherwise it’s just a downward spiral.”
David Oyelowo (b. 1976 in Oxford, England, UK, classically trained stage actor who is also a film actor, director, writer and producer)
“Growth is a spiral process, doubling back on itself, reassessing and regrouping.” — Julia Margaret Cameron
While living in New York City, I loved going to the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History with my daughter when she was young. We would often go, because Maya also loved dinosaurs. After a while, it was necessary to invest in a family membership, hoping everything would be included. But, when it came to visiting the special exhibits like the planetarium or the butterfly exhibit, we had to pay for those tickets, which were not always inexpensive.
However, once we paid for the tickets, entered the planetarium, picked a seat in the circular theater, and stared in awe as the high-tech camera system spiraled up and rose from the floor, we only felt excited to have equal access to something bigger than ourselves. The money was no longer an issue, neither were our rank, class, or race. Everyone had unobstructed front-row seats to an enchanted universe, filled with stunning colors, planet formations, and star systems. The journey was not only about bearing witness to wondrous universe, but it was also about spiraling open those windows and doors to our cosmic imaginations.
What always brought tears to my eyes were the pictures of nebulas giving birth to stars. To me, those images were sacred, revealing creation so vast and large that my mind could barely grasp a fraction of its meaning.
In reality, every system of our universe is made up of spirals, worlds within worlds. In mathematics, this theory is called the Fibonacci sequence, where the sum of the number is the two numbers precede it: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 24 and so on. This leads to formations in spirals and similar circles, often called, “the golden ratio.”
There’s so much in our world. But, it’s not only about beauty. Sometimes, there’s great spirals of evolution that come from illness, loss, or grief; much of which provide the space and time to repel us back to our past and/or propel us forward to our truths.
Sojourners, what spirals you to joy, growth and creativity?