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  • Resilient Practice

How to Walk a Spiral

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

“The human mind makes progress. But it is a progress in spirals”

Madame de Stael

Spiral – winding in a continuous and gradually widening (or tightening) curve, either round a central point on a flat plane or about an axis so as to form a cone – Oxford Dictionary

Throughout life, most of us expect or are expected to make progress of one sort or another. This may include education, finance, material gain, raising a family or spiritual evolution. But do you ever feel that, despite your best efforts, and although you thought you were making progress, you come up against the same old issues time and time again?

When we view the course of our human existence as linear, from the start of our journey to our ultimate destination, these stumbling blocks can feel like failure. If, however, we imagine our earthly life as a Spiral, we can see that we may come up against an old, familiar issue each time on a whole new turn – with a whole cycle’s additional learning and a fresh, new and evolving perspective. When we view the repeating patterns in this way, we feel less frustration and more motivation to evolve!

The spiral has a vital place in most aspects of human existence.

In nature, spirals exist as an ingenious way to grow and develop whilst remaining rooted and anchored to stability. They are also used for balance and propagation. We see them in so much of the natural world; the swirl of our galaxy, climbing vines, snail shells, the tails of monkeys and chameleons, the arrangement of leaves on a stem and seeds within a flower. Spirals even exist in the blueprint of our very existence, our DNA.

In the world of human constructs, too, the Spiral is utilised. There are many examples of it in architecture, jewellery, art and literature. This is probably because of its aesthetic appeal and spiritual significance (although the spiral staircase is a great space saver!)

As Terrence McKenna points out, “nature is the great visible engine of creativity, against which all other creative efforts are measured.”

The spiritual significance if the Spiral may have inspired its use in design, decoration, and ceremony in various cultures. When used for meditation, the Spiral helps us to consciously accept change and forward movement.

In modern Paganism a Spiral is walked on the eve of Samhain (Pagan New Year) to help followers to consciously discern what they will be taking with them into the year ahead and what they will be leaving behind.

Spiral artwork has often been found on ancient stones at burial sites, suggesting that it may be a symbol of rebirth or moving from the earthly life to what follows. Many sources suggest that it represents the life force and the womb.

When we view our progress in this life as a Spiral we are able to move forward in a grounded and measured way, consciously returning to our life lessons, each time with a new layer of understanding and wisdom.

‘How to Rise – A Complete Resilience Manual’ from Sheldon Press takes you on a journey of self-discovery sharing over 60 tools and techniques, including meditations with purpose, visualisation exercises and practical tools to help improve your mental wellbeing and reduce anxiety. 'How to Rise' helps you to take control of your life.

The fabulous stone sculpture in the picture was created by artist James Brunt

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