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The ancient symbology of the Spiral

The spiral is a decorative and frequent symbology with ancient origins. Probably it was used in its origins by Celts as a symbol of the expanding universe and life dinamicity. 



A spiral in San Gimignano (Si)


Like other symbols spread in the Middle Age, overtime it has assumed a Christian connotation. In fact, it was frequently used as a decorative and rich architectural frieze in many Gothic cathedrals. For instance, we can observe the famous Triskelion, that is depicted as a triple spiral inserted inside a circle, exhibiting a rotational symmetry. 

In this religious and mystical context the symbol has assumed a different meanings. It represents the relationship between God and man. In this sense, the spiral has two different directions. 

If the path is proceeding from the internal to the external side, it symbolizes man who opens up to the world and welcomes God. In other words, he wins the selfishness and get converted, obtaining a higher knowledge grade. 

The spiral can be read also in the opposite direction: from the external towards the internal side. In this sense, it indicates the figure of the man who withdraws into himself rebelling against God.

Samuele Corrente Naso

(Translation by Daniela Campus)


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