The spiral is a key symbol in ancient art and myth and can be found as a central metaphor in many contemporary worlds religions. The founders of these religions are the descendants of those early humans who etched petroglyphs in rocks.
Myths are passed down across generations, and over time, meanings and symbolism change. New Gods are born out of the ashes of the old.
The spiral is one symbol, and concept, that has been passed down through myth, and although its meanings has changed and evolved as well, it continues to be a central organizing force in global culture.
Pattern and Mortality
Everything is either on its way to becoming a pattern or in the process of decomposing from pattern into chaos. The former is the equivalent of birth—the assembly of disparate parts into complex patterns and order. The latter is death—the breakdown, disintegration, and dissolution of pattern into randomness and disorder.
The Conch Shell
William Golding's Lord of the Flies makes frequent reference to the conch. In the book, the conch is used to summon the group and is held at meetings by whomever is speaking, thus serving as a symbol for democracy and order. When Roger, Jack's lieutenant, smashes the conch, it is a sign that civilized order has collapsed and Jack's domination has begun.
The conch as a symbol of order and of the word of a ruler or god has antecedents in both Buddhism and Hinduism.
Spiral tiger guarding Mt. Kurama Temple, Japan
The triple spiral,
or triskele, is a Celtic and pre-Celtic symbol found on a number of Irish Megalithic and Neolithic sites.
Follow the Yellow Brick Road!
Dorothy starts her journey to the Emerald City at the spiral origin of the Yellow Brick Road.