At the heart of symbolism

Double spiral and yin-yang symbol


Serpent surrounding the egg

One single force and two streams

Regarded as holding the seed from which manifestation of all things will spring, the World Egg is a general self-explanatory symbol. The image that Earth hatched from an egg is common to many traditions: Egyptian, Phoenician, Celtic, Greek, Tibetan, Hindu, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, Siberian etc. Nevertheless, the way the manifestation is occurring takes different appearances. Particularly, in the Egyptian and Celtic traditions, a serpent surrounding the egg provides a representation of the streams circulating between both Egg's poles, in one direction and the other.

Double spiral and polarity

The double spiral symbolizes the polarity and balance of the two reverse streams of a unique cosmic force:

  • A way out from the Egg Centre or Principle into the manifested world, which corresponds to a metaphysical point of view. Associated to the terrestrial or yin influence, it means basically the death of the Spirit and the birth of the body.
  • A way back from the manifested world into the Egg Centre or Principle associated with a cosmological point of view. Subject to the celestial or yang influence, it expresses the death of the body in a symbolic sense and the re-birth of the Spirit through initiation, which gives access to the supra-sensitive world.

The double spiral can hardly be better represented than the outline limiting black and white parts of the yin-yang symbol, expressing the alternating rhythm of yin and yang. It is nothing but the two streams of the unique cosmic force taking various forms in different traditions:

  • According to the separation of both cosmic force streams or not, we get the image of two opposite heads of a unique serpent (amphisbaena) or the reverse wrapping of two serpents round the Caduceus.
  • A similar symbol is expressed in Hindu tradition by the double helix of the Brahman's staff or the “destructive” and “regenerative” power of the vajra.
  • The same is true regarding the double operation of “coagulation” and “dissolvation” of the Hermetic tradition or the alternate rhythm of “condensation” and “dissipation” of Taoism.
  • The double “key power” to “bind” and “unbind” of Janus, the Roman god of initiation, or the related Christian tradition symbol have the same meaning.

Life and death

A long list of equivalent symbols could be provided as they can be found in any tradition or culture. They would all reflect the same meaning in different ways. Finally, they all bear a common purport, the power of controlling south and north, east and west, light and darkness, life and death. At all levels of existence, death and life co-exist. If death points to what must vanish in the inevitable evolution of the terrestrial or manifested world, it also ushers to what is immutable in the non-manifested or celestial world. Death shows an apparent ambivalence as the harbinger of revelation. All rites of initiation include a death-phase preceding a new life. The death of a cycle is the prior condition for the birth of a new one. Living this tension between countervailing aspects of a unique cosmic force is the only way to die in our current state and to be re-born in a superior state.

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