Published in Sibyl Magazine, January 2018
The linear path says that we are born, go to school, go to work, marry, and have children, always moving forward, succeeding in all our endeavors. If something happens that impedes this forward progress, such as job loss, divorce or chronic illness, we believe that we must have done something wrong, or are a victim of circumstance.
The spiral path acknowledges that life moves forward, but also includes challenges. These challenges do not mean we have failed in any way. Rather, by recognizing and learning from our difficulties, we are able to learn, grow and make meaning of every experience in our lives.
The spiral path unites the straight line of the archetypal masculine path and the circular nature of the archetypal feminine path. When we are consciously on the spiral path, we may meet challenges that we thought we had already dealt with. However, when we take a closer look, we see that we are meeting these challenges in a new way.
One example of this occurs when we have had therapy for some type of childhood trauma. We go to therapy, examine our family of origin patterns and come to understand the way these experiences affected our outlook on life. We make some behavioral changes, and feel like we have dealt with our childhood trauma.
A few years later, we decide to join a women’s circle. We are excited to be in community with a new group of conscious women. But when we arrive, the facilitator starts to talk about the way our childhood wounding affects our ability to claim our power in the world. Those on the linear path may say, “Hey, I’ve already done my family of origin work. This is a waste of time.” Those on the spiral path, however, respond differently. They say “Hey, here’s another opportunity to mine the gold from my childhood experiences and shed another layer of my past conditioning in order to be even more free.”
Just like the trees lose their leaves each fall, the cycles of life continue. But the tree is not the same each year. Throughout the years it grows taller, maybe loses a limb in a storm or even splits due to a lightening strike. Even so, when autumn comes and its leaves begin to drop, it does not panic, thinking life is over. It knows this is a natural part of its life cycle, leading to new birth in the spring. Like the tree, when we are on the spiral path we can experience the death of the old with the understanding that from death comes new life.