by V Garth Norman (The legacy of V. Garth Norman lives on)

Since the spiral never truly concludes but rather continues to grow indefinitely, it can symbolize infinity or eternity. At the ancient Izapa, Mexico Temple Center there is a carved Stela 5 “Tree of Life” monument (Fig. 1). On this monument the “blue” that surrounds the outer portions of this stela symbolizes the cycle of life:

1. Rain water comes to the earth (on the right side of Stela 5) from the heavens—just as a human’s spirit comes to the earth from the upper heavens.

2. Water lives in rivers, lakes, oceans (at the bottom of Stela 5)—just as human beings live on the earth.

3. Water evaporates back into heavens via the evaporation glyphs (up the left side below yellow on Stela 5)—just as the spirit of a human who dies returns to heaven.

4. The blue Spiral upper left (in circle under 2 fish on Stela 5) symbolizes the FAMILY: ONE ETERNAL ROUND.

“Izapa Stela 5 is the most detailed & important Tree of Life rendering in the world.” Dr. Mary Ellen Miller-Yale.

SPIRAL=”FAMILIES: One Eternal Round’+ ANCESTRALFAMILY TREE 12 Roots-Ancestors 8 Branches-Posterity (ca. 400-350 BC)

Fig. 1 - Izapa, Mexico Stela 5 (V. Garth Norman)

This is profoundly at the highest of the left “evaporation” symbols representing a human spirit’s return to heaven after death to be reunited with previously spiritually reborn family members who continue creating in the spirit world. Thus spirals symbolize the cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. While a drawn or carved spiral looks like it has a beginning and an end, it really doesn’t — the tiny curl at the center and the end of the line could continue indefinitely.

In some ancient cultures, spirals were used to decorate tombs (Fig. 2). While nobody can be sure of the exact reason, it’s theorized that these tombs were viewed as a kind of womb in the Earth. In this case, the spiral symbols would represent the fertility of the Mother Goddess and her ability to power the cycle of rebirth (Fig. 1—left=red Mother Goddess).

The Maya people of Mesoamerica used a spiral as part of their symbol for the Supreme Being, Hunab Ku (Fig. 3). The spiral at the center is said to represent the movement of the energy of life. Spirals are common elements in European architecture that was heavily influenced by Christianity (Fig. 4). There, they symbolize the ascent into the heavens. Picture a spiral staircase extending from the ground, up to the realm of God and the angels. Human lives are said to follow paths similar to spirals. As such, the Spiral of Life is a representation of human existence as a process of growth, progress, and transformation.

Fig. 2 - Spirals decorate an ancient tomb-Israel.
Fig. 3- Spiral symbol =Maya Supreme Being, Hunab Ku. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunab_Ku
Fig. 4- Triskèle Saint-Marcellin (in Isère / France) https://journeysoflife.com/spiral-spiritual-meaning/
Fig. 5--Spiral petroglyphs from around the world. https://www.tainoage.com/spirals.html#google_vignette