The word spiral derives from the Latin spira (wounded body). A spiral or helical line is a curve which emanates from a point, moving farther away as it revolves around the point. The spiral shape often occurs in nature, such as shells, unfolding ferns, snail shell, water swirls, spiral galaxies, DNS spiral, and more.
Spiral motives and ornaments appeared already in prehistoric and early historic time on stone and ceramic. The spiral is an ancient, holy symbol in almost any culture and symbolizes the creation, dynamic development and the cosmic energy. Hildegard of Bingen wrote: “Angels fly in spirals, only the devil flies straight”. One can see the spiral motion in many folk and ritual dances. In addition, the spiral can be interpreted as a sign of the Sun. Its symbolism is closely related to that of the circle and the laybyrinth. The concentric rotation can be understood as a symbol for meditation.
Sometimes the symbolic interpretation of the spiral changes by its rotation direction: the clockwise spiral is regarded as a sign of becoming (creation), developing from the central point to the outside. The left hand spiral stands for the passing away (the return to unity), returning from the outside to the middle. There is also a “doubled” version of the spiral (Fermat’s spiral), representing both movements at the same time. In this sense, the spiral can also stand for the inner conversion of people, for spiritual transformation and renewal.
> Usage of the symbol
The spiral is an all-encompassing and versatile symbol, comparable to the circle and the wheel. But never underestimate its effect! Often, archaic symbols are the most powerful, as they are anchored very deep in the collective consciousness.
For more information about symbols based on circles please refer to the following article:
Have also a look at these related symbols:
> Right-turning Conch Shell