Spirals: Engaging the heart of Nature through the Ecoarts

The spiral reveals the inner life of nature

Spirals are a primal pattern in the universe, in nature, and in our lives. They are the basic architecture of nature and the universe as well as the oldest art form of our prehistory. Found in spiral galaxies, earth spirals of clouds and hurricanes, to the Fibonacci spirals in plants and throughout nature. The human psyche also has this same spirality of growth and unfolding: our unique pattern of coming full circle but always at a new level of psycho-spiritual unfolding.

A symphony of life

The spiral archetype was a potent metaphoric guide throughout the 4 weekends of Sky Mountain’s Expressive Arts & Ecoarts Program 2018/19. Before the workshop series began, the staff set up the rebar armature for the spiral in preparation for our 4-month journey together. Making a large spiral turned out to be quite challenging - it behaved like a wild animal wanting to go its own way. We found out that spirals have a mind of their own and are not to be controlled. So we took it to Tim, our neighbor to weld the unruly rebar soundly. And then sandwiched the rebar spiral between two spiral art canvas and sewed the edges together—a long labor of love.

In our final weekend, we explored the life force compacted into the spiral as well as its rich metaphoric potency. We focused on Spirals within the aliveness of nature, in the universe, and in our lives. Our explorations in the woods and creek in the morning revealed many ways that the spiral is embedded in nature: in the spirals of the tree bark, the eddies in the stream, the formation of plants and flowers, the clouds above our heads, and our own life cycles. The world is alive with this universal pattern of growth and becoming. Our bones, blood, and hair patterns all abound with spirality. As such, they give homage to our shared kinship with all life forms and processes.

Embodying the Spiral

After lunch, we carried our spiral down to the woods and laid it in Council Circle and shared found poetry, excerpts from our journals, images and wonderings from our time in the woods, noticing the rich potency of creative flows arising from our morning wanderings. We touched into the ways the spiral energies give birth to almost everything… and through embodied movement we explored the ways our bodies played with spirality through movement and sound.

Painting the Spiral

Sticks, fingers and leaves became our natural paint brushes. Water colors, leaves, and earth our medium for “painting.”

As we finished the spiral, we became aware of the literal symphony of life that we were creating — replete with meaning, full of earth’s powers, color, patterns, life force, and diversity. We had touched into the creative force within nature that affords the whole array of earth processes as well as plant and animal diversity to flourish: a diversity abundantly and freely given: a source of enrichment and well being for our personal and collective lives.