The spiral beyond our DNA

It’s curious the way man uses symbols. As you’ve seen through this blog, they’re practically endless. I’m made to wonder who started it all. What was the impetus, the spark that inspired someone to say this means that? Some of the oldest symbols found are universal, that is, found on all inhabited continents. Again, when you have a symbol that spans the globe, it tells you just how ancient it is.

waterAs I write this post, a handful of ancient symbols float through my mind’s eye. Take water for instance. Who decided a few wavy lines stacked on top of each other would represent water? Did the first person to peck that into stone explain to everyone else that from that day forward those lines would represent water? Or did people make the connection at a glance? Then I’m left to wonder the reason. Was it a marker stating water could be found there? A warning perhaps? A map? A symbolic nod to the birth process? A clan totem? I’m an author, I could go on. πŸ˜‰

Those wavy lines are pretty obvious if you think about it. But what about those ancient symbols completely in abstract? When did the Ξ” become a representation of male if depicted right side up, and female upside down?Β  In more modern reference, to alchemists and those following Eastern or Kabbalistic spiritual paths, the triangles together form a 6-pointed star. Composed of two triangles pointing in opposite directions, this hexagram relates to duality — the union of opposites (back to the male and female symbols). It references the union of the spiritual and the physical — spiritual reality reaching downward and physical reality stretching upward. In Hermetics this is the “As above, so below” line of thought. The upward pointing triangle signifying matter rising into spirit. The downward triangle representing the spirit descending into manifestation.

This last sentence is lifted from my magnum opus. Scroll to previous posts to learn about my long-running project.Β  πŸ˜€

Spirals are a favorite of mine. They’re all over the place from the whorl in a baby’s hair to the galaxies we see in the night sky. Even our DNA has a spiral stretched out along the strand. It’s so intrinsic and mathematically pure, I can’t help but see spirals as divine code.

The interesting thing about man made spirals is they basically spring up out of nowhere thousands of years ago. The spiral is found throughout remains of the ancient world, and spiral petroglyphs were carved (or painted) in abundance during the Neolithic period. You can see the abstract similarities between those wavy lines and water. You can see the phallic and vulvic suggestion in the triangles. But what is a spiral?

I have a theory that peeks into anthropology and ethnography. Could spirals be phosphenes? Phosphenes in this case are shapes seen in the mind.

There are tremendous variations in traditional spiritual beliefs around the world, and many holy people (or shaman) walking spiritual paths particular to their cultures and spiritual beliefs. Indigenous cultures, many just a hop skip and jump out of the stone age,Β  offer keys to understanding the ancient beliefs because traditions often pass from one initiate to another through time. In essence, aspects of traditional shamanism could be as ancient as the neolithic spirals.

From the records of ethnographers, traditional shaman used trance experiences to take them to other planes of consciousness. Would it be then if peoples so recently out of the stone age were doing it,was it likely the shaman of old did the same? They got to their altered state of consciousness through various ways: Ordeals of pain or other stressors on the body such as fasting or going without sleep. Prolonged chanting or prayer. Drumming or ecstatic dance.Β  These are just several I can think of right now. I’m sure there are more. Ingesting toxins or alkaloids for example. And this is where the phosphenes might enter the picture.

From the ayahuasca drinkers of Peru to the Amanita muscaria mushroom eaters of Siberia, and everything else used similarly around the world, potent concoctions brought the shaman’s mind closer to the divine. People entering these drug-induced trances often see geometric shapes, and science says these shapes are formed entirely within the eye itself with no outside stimulus –in the mind’s eye. Scientists call these shapes phosphenes. You can drum up some (mechanical) phosphenes yourself by rubbing your eyes as if you have a case of eye strain. You’ll generally *see* images behind your closed eyelids. Try it. I see lines of light, dots, and triangles. Some people see diamond shapes, circles, spirals etc.

Once indigenous peoples led science to a possible path of understanding, all sorts of trance-induced symbols revealed themselves on rock surfaces and decorations on pottery and more. From African symbols cut approximately 70,000 years ago, to the “modern” spirals of Ireland’s neolithic treasure, New Grange, the shapes of ancient trances were everywhere.Β  Below find two images. The first are the spirals of New Grange.


This second image is a test. Stare at it for a moment. What do you feel? I feel a pull between my eyes.

spiral3Did spirals offer a way to retrace those steps to altered consciousness? That’s my theory.
But then, I write romance.

I have work to do so that’s enough to think on for now.Β  Tomorrow ~ more!

Oh, just a bit more. The Witchy Wolf and the
Wendigo story (books 1&2) concerns an ancient Native American shaman. Like most of the true details in the books I write, readers will find the rituals depicted in the saga steeped in fact. I’m nothing if not a detail person. As anyone stopping by my blog can attest!

Scroll down to see how you can read the first and second chapters for free.


Another 100 Things Blogging Challenge! For 100 days, I’ll post something from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 56 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Brochity (noun common 1623-1678)

projecting or crooked quality of teeth


91cb7-bee1Oh writer’s block, thou art a wretched thing. Where is spring when you need it? In an attempt to keep writing beyond the blogging, I’ve been dabbling in flash fiction with word limits. It doesn’t come easy to the Wordie I am, but it’s very good practice for my future plan of writing a book of short stories.

A week or so ago, I stumbled across a great group of writers on Facebook and they have weekly memes to write for. Today is Thursday Taster.

4 Us iconToday is Author Cindy Spencer Pape’s blog day.

The February contest is on Romance Books ‘4’ Us and it’s all about Cupid. Find the little cherub hidden all across the site to win. This month’s contest will have 2 winners who’ll each receive a $50 gift card for Amazon/B&N, then split the remaining prizes (randomly chosen by RB4U). Be sure to check all our pages for news about authors and their books, publishers and their books, and industry representatives.


Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blogs. Meet the founding authors and our guests.

Exquisite Quills Yahoo Group

Free to join in each week
Wash Line Monday ~ share your descriptions of clothing in your novel.
Tickle Us Tuesday ~ Share fun and funny snippets from your novel.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.

Set the Scene in Six~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.

Book a spot
The Genesis of a Book ~ share the spark that ignited your novel.
Author Interviews ~
We’re booking late spring now.


all7books-smallLove Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

Sample my love stories for free!


Coming soon~



About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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6 Responses to The spiral beyond our DNA

  1. Ray G says:

    I see spokes spinning from the center of the spiral. The color varies depending on what I looked at prior to the stare at the spiral. I have seen spirals used as symbols for hypnotism in the visual media. Perhaps shamen hypnotized themselves with natural spirals and decided to draw them t get the same effect. A narrow vertical striped shirt has a strong effect on my eyes. I can’t look at it without feeling cross eyed.

    This beginning of the blog with the waves, etc. made me think of international traffic symbols without text. Most are obvious, but some take thought.

    • I believe that’s exactly what the shaman were doing with spirals. My husband took hypnosis training to help me with pain relief for my arthritis. Spirals can produce trances quickly. It’s all about focus.
      The modern symbols do take a little extra effort to understand sometimes. Some international symbols are completely perplexing to me. I’ll save those for another post in the symbol series.

  2. melissakeir says:

    It would be interesting to find out that shaman’s saw these images in their minds. I hadn’t really thought about the things I see behind my eyes. I know that if I close my eyes sometimes very tight, I can see swirls and such. Very interesting post as always!

  3. Spirals are my favorite personal symbol and I enjoy doodling them.This is another awesome article, Rose. I’m amazed at how much you get done in a day.

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