The Sacred Spiral Symbol in Jewelry

When I first started making wire jewelry, one of the first shapes I learned to make was a simple spiral.  You can do so much with it--dangle beads or gems off the bottom for earrings or pendants, use them as links, as part of a clasp, and the list goes on.  It's such a basic part of wire jewelry design that it didn't really occur to me that it could hold a deeper significance for some. But a friend, visiting me and looking through my cache of necklaces and bracelets and earrings, commented on all the spirals I was using.  "That's my symbol!" she said.

Theodora Spiral Earrings

Almost of all of my jewelry at that point incorporated spirals in some way or another.  I started looking at my jewelry with new eyes. I've always loved studying and reading about symbols, but the meaning of that handy little jewelry element I'd been using had escaped me.

The spiral is one of the oldest symbols known to humankind.  It's been carved into stones, painted on cave walls, and, yes, incorporated into jewelry for longer than nearly any other image.  The original meanings are lost in the mists of time, but some scholars believe that it was first a solar symbol that represented the movement of the sun.  Others believe that it was meant to represent the movement of the stars and the heavens in general.  Our planet is situated, after all, on the arm of a spiral galaxy.  It's unlikely our early ancestors knew that, but who knows?  

Like most symbols that stick around for a while, the simple spiral began to accumulate other meanings as it was passed on.  It became associated with mother goddesses, the moon, and womanhood, and it became used in more complicated shapes, like the triskele.  

Today, the spiral has kept some of those ancient meanings. Because it's so very old, it's often associated with primal forces and with nature (the spiral is found naturally in shells, spiderwebs and other places).  It's still associated with the movement of the heavens, but also with the movement of the spirit.  It signifies the evolution of the soul, and the cycles of time and the universe.  As my friend who so loved my spiral shapes said, "It's about leaving, and it's about the return home."

When you wear or make a spiral, take a moment and think about the ancient weight, the universal significance of that simple little sign. That's what symbols do--they connect you with the rich history of all the people who've used them before, and with all the possible futures of the people who will use them again.


Related: Triskele Pendant Tutorial
  The Triple Spiral Symbol



Spirals are also my symbol.

Spirals are also my symbol. I'd been using them for years before I ever heard of the Fibonacci spiral. It's everywhere in nature. There's a lovely YouTube video that's easy to find by Googling 'Fibonacci Spiral'.

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