celtic single spiral symbol

Single Spiral Symbol – History And Meaning

The Celtic people were big on symbolism, and this was not only in the physical but in the spiritual realms as well. The symbols left behind by their civilization still exist today, popular even. They thrive in a lot of forms including jewelry, body art, and architectural decorations among others.

The single spiral is just one of the many spiral symbols used by the Celts and in other cultures as well. It is also among the most common Celtic symbols

Like the other spiral symbols, the single spiral would seem like a simple one. What these spirals represent, however, are just the opposite. 

Single Spiral Symbol – History And Meaning

If you want to learn more about the Single Spiral symbol, read on to find out the meaning, history, and significance of this Celtic symbol.

Single Spiral History

celtic single spiral symbol

The spiral as an intuitive symbol of our identity and spiritual development is as old as time. It has existed across cultures, reflecting in ritual art and dance, cults, magic and witchcraft, geomancy, dragon lore, mysticism, and shamanism.

The spiral symbol came from the idea of a “stairway” to heaven. This concept was crucial to both magic and the Kabbalah, in the form of mazes that have existed in antiquity. These “pathways” in maze-form were believed to have existed at the British Godshill (on the Isle of Wight) and Glastonbury Tor (in Somerset).

The one found at the latter is estimated to have been there for around 5,000 years. Crusaders entered through the side of the hill, going first in a clockwise and then in a counter-clockwise direction, reaching up the sacred apex in about 7 full circuits. The 4,500-year-old Silbury Hill in Wiltshire is likewise composed of 7 terraces. 

The sacred apex of the original Tower of Babel, dubbed as the Etemenanki or the “Temple of the Foundation of Heaven and Earth,” was reached also by an upward seven-tier spiral path. 

This septenary spiral was interpreted as the “center of the world” symbol in the mythical Tibetan kingdom of Shambhala. It was used as a reminder of Shambhala’s once-dominant position as a seat of knowledge and wisdom.

These places represent the “sacred and spiral mountain”—the symbolic World Mountain. It’s the omphalos (Greek, literally meaning “navel”/“boss”); above and below, where the sky entrance and the underworld meet.

The 3 planes of spiritual evolution in Druidic philosophy is also thought to indicate a spiral sequence. The great cauldron or creative void, called the plane of Annwn, brings forth the human world of Abred which then opens onto Gwynvyd, or the plane of the fully-developed spirit. Matter is created on Annwn, taking a physical form on the Abred, and finally attaining perfection on the Gwynvyd.

The first plane in Celtic myth is thought to have contributed to the Holy Grail symbol. Christians cultivated this legend but it may have Druidic roots. It also said to have links to the Greek cornucopia, which is spiral in shape.

The Corbenic or Corbin, the Grail castle in the Arthurian legend, could as well be the palace of Caer Sidi, which is a legendary otherworld citadel mentioned in the Book of Taliesin. It is described as a ‘spiral castle’ on the plane of Annwn. It was the temple of the Earth Mother Ceridwen, the goddess of nature. The sixth-century Welsh bard Taliesin himself is sometimes depicted as being born from a spiral form. 

The Welsh goddess of reincarnation, karma, and time—Arianrhod—was said to reside in a fortress at the center of a spiral path.

The single spiral symbol is found in art, philosophy and religion, and in divination, magic, and the occult. It has existed in ancient art from all over the world, from Stone-Age Europe and the Near East to pre-dynastic Egypt, in Peru and China, as well as the Maori and Polynesian societies in the Pacific. 

The spiral’s heaviest appearance, however, is in Celtic symbology. Spiral symbols are seen decorating scores of Celtic artifacts. 

The Single Spiral Symbol

celtic single spiral symbol
Spiral Icon by Typicons

It is believed that the ancient Irish people used the single spiral to symbolize the sun, with a clockwise spiral denoting the shrinking winter sun.

In the occult system and esoterica, the single spiral is representative of the way to the higher level of consciousness. It represents the pattern of growth and the utilizer of nature’s life-inducing, life-protecting, and life-supporting energy. 

The single spiral symbolizes the consciousness of nature starting from the center and expanding outwardly—the way of all things, according to mystics. It represents life, creation, birth and rebirth, evolution, awareness, and growth or development. 

The single spiral stands for the radiance of cosmic energy. It also symbolizes knowledge and perseverance, truly a perfect symbol for people who want to move forward.

There are tons of examples of the spiral form in nature. The shell of the marine mollusk nautilus is deemed as one of the most beautiful spiral manifestations.

Single Spiral Symbol Meaning

The word “spiral” is derived from the Latin spira or spiralis or spira, and the Greek speira. They are translated as spire or coil, or pyramidal or conical structure. “Spiral” also came the Latin spirare, meaning “to breathe.”

The Sanskrit word for the spiral is “kundalini,” which is suggestive of “serpent power.” In Tantric yoga, Kundalini rises through the body by chakras or the 7 energy centers. It is frequently depicted as a coiled serpent.

A fascinating symbol, the single spiral is very common and occurs in nature and our day to day life. They are seen in the snail shells and plant vines, in whirlpools, and in the movement of stars. So it’s no wonder the single spiral is believed to be the first-ever Celtic symbol, one of the oldest patterns created by man.

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