The Joy of Snails

A couple of people have asked me recently – why a snail logo?

First the spiral shell … 

Earth Spirals is so named because spirals are an ancient symbol of spiritual development, oneness with the universe/nature and the Goddess, found in art, philosophy, esoteric and spiritual paths in many different traditions. 

Spirals can be seen in art from as far back as Neolithic times, as for example on the entrance stone at Newgrange.   They have deep associations with the moon, natural cycles, and the Goddess, and with the spiral nature of our galaxy itself.  They are used to represent the never ending cycles of growth in many different cultures the world over.  And I love that, the fact that it’s not the symbol of one culture or one school of spirituality, but many.  And in a similar fashion Earth Spirals aims to be inclusive of all that love the earth and feel a draw towards connection, regardless of their particular path.

Ancient Spirals at Newgrange

In many Indigenous American cultures and also in Buddhism the spiral represents life’s journey, in Tantra it is a symbol of the kundalini or serpent power, to the Celts it symbolised life-death-rebirth and the unity of mental, physical and spiritual self, to name just a few associations.

As the spiral turns, it represents flow, change, movement, and so it is a symbol of both the cycles of the natural world, the cycles within our own bodies and the connection between the two.  The path of personal development and coming back into our bodies and our innate wildness is a spiral path, lessons returning with a deeper message as we move forwards.  And the coaching, mentoring, rituals and writing I share is all intended to help hold a space for people as they walk their own version of their spiral path of growth and change.

Spiral path in the Goddess Temple, Rome

The snail takes this ancient spiritual symbol and symbolically marries it to modern science as the spirals of their shells famously follow the Fibonacci Sequence – and similarly the work I do in coaching is based not only on spirituality, but also on modern science and neurobiology.  My first degree and first postgraduate degree were both in scientific/medical disciplines, and I don’t believe there is an incompatibility between science and spirituality. 

Most snails are also hermaphrodite creatures, they have both male and female parts.  This I love on many levels – firstly they can often fertilise themselves, a gorgeous analogy for finding all that we need within ourselves. 

For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without

Doreen Valiente ‘The Charge of the Goddess’

And secondly they will often mate in both male and female roles, sometimes with the same snail partner.  You’ve got to respect that outpouring of vital, erotic energy! And also, I’ve never been a fan of the often used idea of some traits being ‘masculine’ and some ‘feminine’, I really dislike the narrative that action, being driven, doing things in the world etc is ‘masculine’ and being nurturing, emotional and soft is ‘feminine’.  Nonsense.  Men can be nurturing and emotional, there is arguably nothing passive and soft about giving birth… I think this division of traits is arbitrary and regressive and people can have a variety of traits totally independent of their body parts, finding wholeness within themselves… As do snails.  

Lastly I love the symbolism of the snail carrying her home on her back – I coach women to come home to themselves, to find their own centre, and to trust their innate bodily wisdom again in a society that often does not support that.   What better symbol of this than to have our home always with us, to be able to hold ourselves in that safety whenever we need, for we have found radical self-love and acceptance?

So basically, why a snail?  For its ancient spiritual spiral inspiration of coming home to ourselves, breaking out of prescribed roles, connecting to nature’s cycles, and knowing that we have all we need to express ourselves in the world, already inside ourselves.  Wow.

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