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                  The Spiral, Life-Energy, and Matriarchy   Modern Physics and Archaeology in Search of a Connection 

 

                                                         By Dr Hanspeter Seiler

 

I translated this article about ten years ago from the text contained in Nach Reich, (eds DeMeo and Senf), published by Zweitausendeins, Frankfurt, 1997. It was first published in the Berlin journal, emotion. I had been hoping to include it in the orgonomic journal that I was planning to publish under C O R E's name. At the time I couldn't publish the journal, as I needed help from a skilled graphic artist to manage the illustrations in the journal. Ten years later I still need the assistance of a graphic artist for various C O R E projects! (Welcome to orgonomy in the UK!) I think this article is very important and makes connections between orgonomy several other fields of research. The text may well need revising here and there. I translated it so long ago that I cannot remember to what stage I had got it before I stopped work on it. Apologies for any minor inaccuracies or linguistic untidiness. Unfortunately the illustrations included by Dr Seiler in the original text and which I had managed to copy in to my English version have not survived the Word copying process. They do appear in the on-line German version of this paper. I think it is better to have the article without illustrations than not to have it at all. There is a link to the German version on the News Page. I have tried to post it here, but the software won't allow it. PJ.

 

                                                                           By Dr Hanspeter Seiler

 

               Translated by Peter Jones, Centre for Orgonomic Research and Education, Preston, Lancs, UK

 

Summary

 

       According to Wilhelm Reich the spiral is one of the most important forms of motion in the life-energy. The spiral is also of great importance in many pre-historic and so-called primitive cultures. Is there a connection here? A look at a wide range of archaeological and ethnographical materials shows that the spiral was always seen by early cultures as having a connection with sexuality, life-force, fertility, and creative organisation and that it is very frequently found in matrifocal societies without any leaning towards aggression. There is a strong probability that these cultures were aware of a cosmic life-energy.

 

1.Introduction

 

We know that Wilhelm Reich did not just apply his concept of the orgone to living organisms, but tried to prove the existence of a life-energy in the physical sphere and so to advance to a universally valid bio-energetic formula of the cosmos. This led him to the following, initially tentative postulates:

 

Space is not empty but is filled with a constantly moving medium, which he describes as the ‘orgone energy ocean.’ This life energy which pervades all space like a delicate fluid is closely related to the ether of pre-relativity physics A significant difference is, however, the ‘biological’ aspects of the orgone. Its smallest units, which move in spirals or wave patterns, strive for union, which Reich in a deliberate reference to the sexual function of more highly organised organisms calls ‘cosmic superimposition.’. In this process two orgone-quanta on parallel paths are mutually attracted in an ever increasing curve and form a vortex structure, which Reich showed schematically in the same sketch. This, the simplest local path of motion of the orgone energy on the smallest of the microcosmos, according to him, corresponds to the smallest material particle that is capable of existence. In other words according to present-day understanding, an electron or a positron. We must imagine the origin of other, more complex elementary particles therefore as occurring in a similar way.

In the final analysis all matter in the universe consists of orgone energy which is bound in stationary vortex forms. In Reich’s later work the orgonomic function of superimposition that leads to these vortex forms becomes a basic function of all creation. (Reich 1973).

In an earlier article (Seiler 1986) I tried to make these outline concepts of Reich real with the help of the related bio-energetic model of the ether of Anton Mesmer, the founder of modern magnetic healing and to adapt them to modern knowledge (the cosmon theory). Thus Reich’s orgone theory was physically interpreted as a weightless time and space continuum with the qualities of relativity whose life functions are expressed in continuous inner streamings. It can be shown that in such a medium vortices can remain in motion for enormously long time and, and so a bio-energetic model of matter in the sense of Reich’s outline above becomes thoroughly feasible. One may also conclude that the smallest vortex of elementary particles must take the form of a circular vortex or a vortex-ring, as we shall call it.

If we get a vortex-ring to rotate about its horizontal axis as well as about its central axis, two polar vortices arise. (Fig 21;2),which corresponds exactly to the well-known experimental fact that we do not encounter the smallest stationary particle capable of existing as a neutral unity, but as a polar pair, namely an electron and a positron. Other physical properties of these two charge-carrying particles can be derived at least quantitively from the vortex-ring model.

As figure 21;2 shows, the spiral element shows more clearly in the cosmon model than in Reich’s outline the flowing form which is characteristic of all vortex structures occurring in nature. Similarly Reich in his pioneering work Cosmic Superimposition (1973) is already referring to macrocosmic spiral phenomena and the orgonotic functions of superimposition which he considered underlie them.

The most fascinating example of this msust surely be the largest structures in the universe, the galaxies. For the most part these show, like our own Milky Way, a spiral form with several arms, which, again corresponds to a vortex. (Fig 21.3)

In the atmosphere of our planet high and low pressure areas as well as natural cyclones have in principle the same structure.

Reich cites mussel and snail shells as well as coiled up snakes as characteristic examples amongst the innumerable spiral forms occurring above all in biology in the world directly accessible to our sense of sight, Reich (1973).

The results of new research , probably not then available to Reich, also show us on a microscopic level, yet again, especially in the biological sphere, a quite astonishingly wide distribution of the spiral form. It is not just the very many protein structures (enzymes) mediating life-processes such as breathing and movement that point to the helical point, which is so clearly connected to the spiral. The helical spiral occurs in all the nucleic acids that are responsible for the biological aspects of reproduction.

 

In the inorganic sphere of microphysics, however, apart from the typical spiral path of charged elementary particles in the bubble chamber of the particle physicist, no particles with a spiral structure have been found that might confirm either Reich’s theories or the cosmon model. This should not surprise us, as in this field basic structural research has been completely abandoned for almost a century and almost purely abstract particle models are now postulated which in their concrete form are no longer conceivable. (Compare wave-particle dualism.)

A very interesting exception to this is the twister model (fig 21:4) of Barry Penrose, the British professor of physics, even though it is designed only as a geometrical abstraction , in which a rotating spiral gain results from a 3-dimensional transformation of a 4-dimensioanl space-time continuum of relativity theory. This represented in the following drawing of as a three-layered vortex-ring.

To sum up we can confirm that the spiral – from a purely phenomenological point of view – certainly represents a universal basic form in nature. The cause of this phenomenon can be explained very well at least in general terms by Reich’s theory of a life energy active throughout the universe, which as a fluid medium prefers this typical flowing movement.

 

2.  The Spiral in the Stone-Age Matrilocal Cultures of Eurasia

 

The above suggests the assumption that the spiral form so common in certain prehistoric cultures is not just of purely aesthetic significance, but is already the expression of a widespread knowledge of a cosmic life energy which goes back far into pre-history.

Generally speaking the official historians of culture actually agree that the spiral in pre-history had an important, possibly even cultic significance as a symbol of life and fertility, though they are of course still far from a concrete understanding of this symbol as formed from bio-energy in flux.

However, in the following brief survey we wish to investigate the very first investigations of spirals from that and, additionally, to attempt to confirm the archaeological evidence thus gained, including as far as possible, historical tradition and comparative ethnographic data point of view.

Long before mankind could express itself through its own works the spiral forms occurring in nature were obviously very important.. Right from the beginning of the last ice-age spiral shells are apparent not just as waste from food but are also worn on the body and used as burial treasure. Whether this was a question of ‘pure decoration’ or whether the still Neanderthal-like early humans were able to conceive a connection with the cosmic life energy is an open question, as we know hardly anything at all about the socio-cultural conditions of these earliest nomadic ice-age hunting groups. Within the framework of a grave-cult, however, which expresses a belief in an afterlife or life after death, the use of spiral shells as the directly material representation of the cosmic creative force from which all life stems would have been reasonable. On death the life energy would remain indestructibly preserved and just changes the form in which it appears.

In the second half of the last ice-age after a longer epoch of the still mainly figurative representations by the human hand between about 20,000 and 15000 BC there emerge in southern France caves the first spiral images anywhere in the world. One sees immediately that this cannot any longer just be a question of figurative representations stemming from material perceptions of for example of plant tendrils or similar things since, for example, the already very artistically crafted opposed spirals (in figs 21:5/2 and 21:5/8) are nowhere visible on our daily experience. This flowing shape takes a material form as at best an indirectly visible polar vortex in air and water. It is quite possible that in this early stone-age portrayal of the double spiral the normally no longer visible spiral form that occurs at the beginning of the process of creation in the ocean of cosmic life energy is meant. On the basis of the above, the increasingly whirlpool-like structure in the shape of a rotating spiral, as shown in figs 21:2 and 21:4 shows, if observed from the centrifugal and centripetal poles, two spiral poles rotating in opposite directions. This now quite complex three-dimensional structure can most easily be represented in the simplified two-dimensional form of two opposing spirals. The fact that some of the engravings in fig 21:5 can be interpreted as a fluid medium in motion also fits the interpretation of the earliest spiral portrayals which in this case would correspond to the unorganised but continuously moving state of the cosmic life energy ocean. The extreme of this state is shown in fig 21:5/10. where orderly vortices are no longer present and where everything dissolves into a completely free, disordered flow. From here on we find via the function of superimposition every possible transitional state (fig 21:5/9) from wave motion to the vortex currents of a stationary formation.

The figurative representations that come from the same archaeological layer as those from the Isturiz Grotto (fig 21:6) point to a socio-cultural background which would fit very well that of a community that affirms the sexual life=process. The woman portrayed in the upper right picture may be pregnant. A probably male figure below her raises his arms towards her, imploring or worshipping. Above left, a man with erect member is portrayed.

The other figures show hunting prey, which was the important nutritive basis of this people and which probably – as is clear from other evidence – enjoyed cult status. In this community sexuality and fertility seem to have had a very high status. The position of woman seems to have been correspondingly important which the following discoveries will confirm for us even more clearly.

The single find of a spiral from a stone-age camp on lake Baikal, admittedly much less clearly datable, probably comes from a similar or possibly somewhat later time than the spiral finds from the Pyrenean caves. The grave of a child about 4 years old was found wearing a bone tablet engraved with spirals on its solar plexus (fig 21:7/15). On the front we find portrayed a large spiral surrounding the central perforation that is made of small drillings and surrounded by smaller spiral structures. Amongst these at least one of the typical double spirals can be made out. On the back are several more lines, some of them parallel to each other. Yet again, this find, in accordance with the bio-energetic ether theory could very well be interpreted as the two basic forms on each side of the bone amulet, of organised life energy (directed wave motion and stationary vortex flow).

The meaning of the stippling used here, also common elsewhere in the stone-age, is not clear. It has been supposed that this is the depiction of blood or, more generally, of ‘life-forms,’ which fits our interpretation well. We shall shortly turn to the stippled picture in our discussion of the spiral culture of Malta in the Mediterrananean, which perhaps not coincidentally carries the same name. The position of the amulet over the child’s solar plexus could have a deeper significance as this is one of man’s most important bio-energetic centres. The ancient Indians called these centres chakras and often portrayed them as spirals. The Taoists, too, were of the opinion that chi, the life energy that flows through human beings like a fine ether current in channels (meridians) in the most important centres, where it concentrates, shows a spiral pattern (fig 21:8).

The north-Asian stone-age people of Malta also seem to have known the primary biological role of lif energy. Thus, for example, the fish in fig 21:7/14 also has in the centre of its body a stippled structure of a spiral character. In addition, the figure, right below, easily recognisable as a woman because of the clearly patterned genital triangle, is covered in straight lines, which partly, at least, appear to have the shape of a spiral vortex. Here this could be a representation of the outer layer of the delicate orgone or aura which, according to Reich and many other bio-energetic observers, surrounds every organism.

It is indisputable, however, that of the human figures found the overwhelming majority are female, which points to a great importance of women in this culture. Representations of women are quite commonly distributed in the early stone-age throughout Eurasia; quite typical is representation of a female form with generous female shapes (figs 21:7/8 or, for example, the well known ‘Venus of Willendorf’) which   in the general opinion of cultural historians is very probably an earth-mother deity. From this it can be assumed that the social structure of these earliest culture-making communities shows strong matrifocal elements.

After the spiral arose in isolation in the early stone-age, in the later stone-age it reached a peak never to be regained, becoming the symbol of whole cultures. This development is certainly connected with the deep transformation often called the neolithic revolution, which affected mankind’s economic basis in this period when the climate was becoming warm again. The foundation of this development is new knowledge in the field of the sexual processes, especially the biology of reproduction. It was discovered that one could not only kill animals but also breed them by domesticating breeding animals of both sexes. Just as important is the realisation that plants do not just grow forth out of the all-creating mother-earth but that they develop in the soil from seeds, which can be put to use in planned cultivation.

It is therefore no surprise that at this time of early cultivation and animal breeding the creative power of nature was closer to the centre of social attention than previously, the coming of actual spiral cultures thus becoming quite understandable on the basis of the connection between spirals and life energy discussed above.

By far the earliest and also the most widespread representations of these cultures are the so-called bandkeramik peoples, who, as the first fully Neolithic farmers of Europe from the end of the fifth millenium BC were for at least a thousand years culturally the leading power of our continent. Several thousand sites of theirs are known from Belgium to Eastern Europe. Their pottery shows predominantly spirals in bands and applied motifs, from which this culture takes its name.

The settlements of the bandkeramik peoples, which already consisted of larger wooden houses, remain unfortified up to the end of this culture, which points to a population that lived peacefully without any significant hostile threat from outside.

A favourite jewellery item of not merely decorative significance are mussel shells, which almost completely oust the animal canine teeth which are still often worn by hunting tribes in addition to the spiral shells as a sign of success in the hunt. As the mussel amulets were sometimes imported from distant places, they must have certainly been of great value for the bandkeramik peoples. In this culture they were mainly worn by the women, which yet again points to the special position of the female sex, which is typical of spiral cultures.

The connection between female sexual and life energy and the mussel is preserved in later patriarchal cultures. For example, in ancient Greece the mussel is still always dedicated to the goddess of love, Aphrodite, who as one of the successors of the Neolithic woman-mother-earth goddess is now however completely subordinate to the father-god Zeus.

The female figures shown in figure 21:10 date from a somewhat later culture, still closely related to the band-pottery from the Ukraine and these clearly show the special connection between the spiral and the female body. The lines scratched on the body certainly have nothing to do with the physical anatomy of the body or garments. If we are not simply to ignore them as purely cosmetic body decoration, their interpretation as currents of life energy as in Taoist tradition is the only explanation for these body-related spiral structures. This can be confirmed functionally by later historical developments. It is obvious that the energy centres in the buttocks were of great significance for this culture.

The attitude of the male to the spiral at this time, obviously dedicated to the female creative principle, is impressively shown in figure 21:11, which is almost proof of a cultic meaning for the creative spiral of life. However, the picture clearly shows that in the ‘cult’ sexual and religious ecstasy were not yet experienced as a contrast, but as a unity (not to be understood according to present-day religious concepts, but rather as representing a particular state of consciousness).

It can be presumed that the position of the male rose to some extent during the Neolithic revolution, since – as mentioned above – the practice of animal husbandry showed that the female organism cannot become fertile without sexual contact with a male organism. This direct connection of sexuality and fertility was in the stone-age very probably by no means common knowledge taken for granted, as we see, for example, with the Trobrianders, a similarly matrifocal culture, of whom we shall shortly speak. For these peoples sexuality was a phenomenon so belonging to the life process in general that its special relationship with fertility was not particularly obvious.

The rise in status of the masculine creative principle did not however by any means automatically lead to a polarised equal value of woman and man, but, especially in the area of the now gradually developing earliest so-called high cultures in Egypt and Mesopotamia, to an overvaluing of the almighty male principle, as for example portrayed in the cult of the ox, which dominates the subordinate female nature. Obviously this was soon transformed into a thorough perversion of male sexuality into a striving for power that expressed itself in patriarchy, the authoritarian Führer-principle and the aggressive politics of domination.

In parallel to this on a cosmological and ‘Weltanschauung’ level the sky above the earth was becoming more and more important. The sun-god, dedicated to the male principle as the highest representative of the heavenly powers, triumphed as the radiant conqueror of the earth-goddess with her demonic serpentine powers loaded with anxiety, who was more and more displaced. For example, the core of the ancient Egyptian Weltanschauung represents this position. It later developed into the so-called high religions dominated by the more or less blatantly anthropomorphic masculine gods of domination (Zeus, Jehova, Allah, etc).

This development points to the interesting temporal and geographical parallels with the formation of the Afro-Asian desert belt more and more in the power of the sun-principle in the increasingly hotter and drier post-ice-age era. It must be assumed that in these areas nutritional conditions were getting worse and worse – in spite of the improved agricultural methods of the Neolithic era – and ld to competition amongst the tribes which had already become quite numerous. Thus aggressively inclined peoples with patriarchal ruling structures gradually gained the upper hand and then soon began to undertake campaigns of conquest against moister and more temperate zones, then still matrifocal.

The increasing fortifications in the settlement area of the bandkeramik peoples towards the end of the fourth millenium BC point to the threat to the spiral cultures of Europe, who, according to leading historians, had come from the central Asian area. But in spite of these defensive measures the matrifocal spiral people were increasingly driven out of central Europe towards its fringes where island areas above all offered at least temporary protection against the invading conquerors.

It is therefore no surprise to find a fully developed spiral culture of the late stone-age on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean, where, apparently, a good twelve peaceful centuries allowed an isolated neolithic spiral people to flourish to a remarkable degree. (Trump, 1972).

Even before the great pyramids were built in Egypt there had already arisen in Malta great temples built of sandstone blocks (figure 21:12), which are now considered to be to be the earliest megalithic structures anywhere. Above all they are striking in their groundplan with their strong emphasis on round female forms. In their interiors they are numerous representations of the woman-earth-goddess, including the larger than life statue in the main temple, Hal Tarxien.

The presence of the female goddess of life and love on Malta, which continues relatively late into the patriarchal epoch, still shows in the ancient Greek Homeric epics that date from the seventh century BC, In these the isle of Gozo , which belongs to Malta, probably corresponds to the beautiful demi-Goddess Calypso, who holds the hero Odysseus back for several years, it is said, with her dangerous womanly arts of seduction on her till then paradisically beautiful and fertile island.

But the figurative representations of the woman-goddess are by no means the main elements in the temple’s decoration. On the high altars on the interior walls there are in fact no images of gods but artistically beautifully worked reliefs of spirals in the most varied forms. Yet again, we find all stages from the strictly ordered structures – figure 21:13 actually shows the combination of four spirals superimposing in their circular movement seen from the side, which corresponds to a yet higher structural order – to series of spirals changing freer flowing forms and finally to also purely wave-like flowing lines. The whole freehand stipple pattern covering complete temple walls can only be explained as the above mentioned cultural-historical attribution of stippling as life-lines. In keeping with this interpretation of the stippling as basic elements of lifelines we have in figures 21:7 and 21:9 spiral or wave-like medium still in its basic state of completely unordered motion. This interpretation of the stipple pattern on the Maltese blocks as a representation of the cosmic life energy ocean in its chaotic primeval state corresponds exactly to the model construed by Anton Mesmer of the base-state of his lie-ether. For him the ether is a sort of physical fluid made up of unimaginably small spherical entities with no weight, which in the cosmon model are thus named ‘cosmons’ (figure 21:14). Their basic state is that of unorganised movement corresponding to the primordial life-impulse. The stipplings on the Maltese megaliths, which on further examination really do seem to be full of a lively inner dynamic, might thus correspond to the cosmons as basic elements or quanta of the ether.

We have already come across the stippled spiral which corresponds to a manifestation of the creation of matter via the formation of vortices emerging from the cosmic life-energy ocean amongst the bandkeramik peoples (figure 21:9 and we find them in almost identical form in Maltese pottery.

As is to be expected we find no fortifications on Neolithic Malta. In about 2,500 BC, however, the spiral culture of the small island nation, apparently at its zenith, disappears quite suddenly; the reason for this is not clear. However in the main temple there are signs of a severe fire so that an attack by maritime patriarchal conquerors similar to the fate of other Neolithic spiral cultures is to be presumed.

On the much larger island of Crete, lying to the east of Malta we find a somewhat more recent but still strongly matrifocal culture, the early Minoan culture, in the earliest preserved archaeological layers dating from about 2,800BC. The well-known Minoan palaces show no defensive installations and in their painting and sculpture the spiral element occupies a central position. Women, too, obviously played a correspondingly important part, very often being portrayed with mussels and snakes, attributes typical of  cult of love and fertility. Probably these women were also priestesses of the cave-cult of the stone-age woman-mother-goddess which was so important on Crete.

Nevertheless on Crete an increasingly patriarchal influence soon appears (at first certainly from Egypt and then more and more from the Greek mainland), dominated by warlike tribes, apparent for example, in the cult of the bull and in a gradual but by no means complete disappearance of female predominance and spiral elements in late Minoan culture.

At the latest in about 1,000BC Crete then acquires a spartan constitution. This process, which on Crete was not realised as a single conquest, but as a gradual transformation to patriarchy, (which integrated matrifocal elements in a subordinate opposition wherever possible), is also reflected in ancient Greek early religious history. Zeus, the father-god, is said to have grown up in one of the mountain caves of Crete that were ruled by the Cretan priestesses. Hesiod’s early part of the Greek gods’ history, which dates from about the eighth century BC, but which certainly goes back to much earlier sources (Hesiod,, ca 800BC), must be recounted here in its context for the early patriarchal world.

 

In the beginning was chaos. From it grew the earth-mother Gaia, the night, and Eros, ‘the most beautiful amongst the immortal gods.’ Night gave birth to day and Gaia, quite explicitly without the co-operation of a male partner(!) - the sky, Uranus, and the sea. Then the god of the sky embraced his earth-mother sexually and many god-children were born. Uranus, however, hated his children and would not allow them into the bright kingdom of the sky, but thrust them back to earth. Gaia, hard-pressed and hemmed in, sought revenge and formed an alliance with her son, Chronos, the god of time. He castrated his father with a sickle when he, as was his wont, stretched himself out over Gaia, demanding her favours and tried to pull her to him.

He then becomes the ruler himself and forces his sister Rhea to become his wife. His parents, however, prophesy that one day he will be at the mercy of his own son. In order to avoid this fate, almost pathognomic for patriarchy, he eats all his children immediately at birth. In her unbearable grief at the fate of her children, Rhea asks her parents to help her when she is pregnant again. Her mother, Gaia, hides her newborn grandson, Zeus, in a holy mountain cave on Crete and in his place gives Chronos a stone wrapped in blankets to eat. In this cave Zeus becomes big and strong. Thus he is in the end able to overcome his father and he liberates his brothers and sisters who have been swallowed, only then himself to become the despotic patriarchal god and dominator.

 

This use by patriarchy of the female power of life, love, and knowledge cultivated in the matrifocal epoch, as mentioned above, is also apparent in the fact that the spiral and woman deities by no means completely disappear, especially not from the early patriarchal cultures. They are to be found frequently for example in the European bronze-age as well as in the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, and finally even in Roman culture, always, however, only in a subordinate and no longer central position.

 

3.  Surviving Spiral Cultures in the South-West Pacific

 

The extension of patriarchal rule to the islands of thefringeregions meant the end for the matrifocal cultures of Europe, since the only still possible escape areas in N. Africa had already been occupied by warring tribes, as archaeological finds show. How did the situation look in the east where we have already come across a matrifocal spiral culture of the early stone-age far into north-east Asia on lake Baikal? As expected on the eastern edge of the central Asian desert area we find similar developments to those on the western margins, which however took place more gradually and less completely.

Between about 4000 and 3000BC there is on the Chinese mainland the similarly Neolithic Yang-Shao culture (figure 21:15), completely spirally orientated, which, like the Bandkeramik, covered a very large settlement area which has already produced more than a thousand sites. Unfortunately, apart from spiral pottery, few finds are known that allow further conclusions about social-cultural conditions of the Yang-Shao culture. However, on the basis of similarities, we may with some certainty assume that this too is an example of a matrifocal farming culture.

It is certain that this spiral culture, too, was supplanted by the development of patriarchal empires on the Chinese mainland. The above-mentioned fact is however, more true of developing patriarchy in the far East than of the west, that numerous elements of the old spiral culture, at least initially, were integrated into the new hegemony. Thus the spiral plays a relatively important part in Chinese culture right up to the more recent past, as does the Taoist concept of a cosmic life force flowing through the body as a delicate medium which remains relatively common right into the historic times, for example, in acupuncture. It is also noteworthy that according to Taoist teaching as male (Yang) and female (Yin) principle as polar life-forces equal in value determine the whole, in other words, physical nature, too. The well-known Yin-Yang symbol can also be understood as a representation of the rotating ring-vortex with its two poles, one flowing in, the other flowing out, (Seiler, 1986; Purce, 1988)

As far as the chances of escape were concerned, the situation for the spiral cultures in the east looked better than it did in Europe. There were the Bering straits across which several waves of emigration in early stone-age times had poured out over the huge, still uninhabited American continent and which had already brought some of their knowledge of the life force from their Eurasian home with them. Though there is no evidence as far as I know of any purely spiral culture on the whole of the American continent. Alongside the mainly patriarchal tribes and empires there remain, sometimes up to the recent past, some smaller mixed cultures with a matrifocal stamp and a more frequent use of the spiral. This may be connected with the fact that the relatively cut off American continent shows relatively few isolated socio-cultural niches which might have allowed a longer continuation of a non-patriarchal minority culture.

In this respect the situation was considerably better in South East Asia, where the island bridge stretching from the mainland towards Australia and New Zealand with its countless islands and islets offered an ideal area for retreat. It is thus no surprise that the matrifocal culture of the Trobrianders made classic by the writings of Malinowski from the twenties of this century inhabit an island in this area the size of Malta. Malinowski (1979) had ascertained that the Trobrianders, as a still fairly strongly matrifocal community with a positive attitude towards sexuality, formed a generally very happy and peaceful community where there were few neuroses and psychoses. Thus, for example, there is no word in their language for ‘rape’, because this event just does not occur. For Reich, too, the Trobrianders were an important proof for the sociological correctness of his theory of the neuroses (Reich, 1969).

Because both Malinowski and Reich were more interested in the sociology than the figurative art of the Trobrianders the investigation of their cultural environment was very important as a test of the connection postulated above between the significance of the spiral in a culture and their knowledge of a cosmic life and love force. The results of this research, that the Trobrianders do actually use the spiral to an enormous extent in their pictorial representations of canoes, houses, dancing shields, and in their body paintings, that they can be considered a genuine spiral culture, is therefore one of the most important confirmations of this thesis.

The most beautiful spiral figures of the Trobrianders are to be found on their sea-going canoes which are used in Kula trade,  the peaceful exchange of wares with their neighbouring islands, more ritualistic than commercial in tone. The canoe-builders, who decorate their boats according to the old tradition with painted carvings enjoy great prestige. As a brief look into the strongly meditative-magical spiritual background of a partly preserved spiral culture, the formula may be given here which the master canoe-builder recites at the ritual initiation of his apprentice. In this a hole is dug in the earth until water emerges from it. The master speaks, bending over the water with his pupil.

 

 

Thanks to the work of an Italian worker who has carried out research into Melanesian iconography we are thoroughly well informed as to the meaning of the spiral representations of the Trobriander canoe-builders in spite of the rapid decline of the canoe-building tradition in recent decades.

The uppermost row of birds on the canoe stern which one behind the other represent the ‘wave-like’ rising and falling (Susavila,’ see figures 21:16 and 21:17). The picture also means ‘speed’ and ‘the still unordered state of matter.’ In this way Susavila might represent a still barely structured state of creation as a symbol on the first line on the canoe stern which is considered to be a manifesto of cosmogeny, in which cosmic life energy still exists only in the form wave-like of orgone radiation without vortices which would correspond to a stable creation in time and space.

The row of spiral vortices below this, ‘Gigivani,’ (figures 21.16 and 21.18), is associated with the concept of ‘larva curling up,’ a state of development and incompleteness,’ and ‘matter as it develops.’ One could interpret this picture as a transitional form of the life energy from wave motion to the formation of vortices.

As a transitional form Gigivani leads to ‘Doka,’ the ‘prefect form.’ In figure 21:16 this symbol is represented as two asymmetrical double spirals immediately next to the central pair of figures on each side, into which the Gigivani line flows. In figure 21:19 the two Doka double spirals, in mirror images of each other, are shown rather more clearly in painted form. They stand for ‘end of the transformation of matter,’ ‘creation,’ and ‘perfection,’ but also expressly ‘spiritual power of creation,’ and ‘imagination.’ As the final stage of development which leads from the invisible world of energy to concrete visible nature, this form, according to the Trobrianders, is reflected in visible nature, to be precise, as two nautilus mussels which are mirror images of each other. The mussel, correspondingly has a very great significance for the Trobrianders in a similar way to that of other primitive spiral cultures. Thus, for example, it plays a central part in a healing and blessing ritual, which is pronounced over the whole village. (Malinowski, 1981.)

    

The meaning of the Dokla spiral for the Trobrianders corresponds well to the interpretation discussed in the earlier section of prehistoric double spirals as the simplest, spacially potentially stable structuring of the life energy in the form of the rotating ring vortex, (figure 21:2). The two Doka double spirals, in mirror images of each other include a pair of figures (see figure 21:16, above centre), which the modern canoe-builders can only reproduce in a very stylised way. The sign is associated with the concept of ‘tenderness,’ ‘sexual act,’ possibly even birth. A look at a historical canoe originating in the same area from the last century (figure 21:20) shows these connections much more clearly and at the same time makes it blindingly clear how much of the love-culture of the Trobrianders, which like Reich’s orgone-theory, embraces the world as a whole, has lost of its original openness and naturalness.

The close connection between sexuality and spirals which is clearly portrayed (at lest in the historical tradition) can on the basis of the above interpretations of the spiral forms only be understood to mean that for the Trobrianders the creative principle portrayed in the spiral forms has a very close functional link with the sexual love-force. In particular the inclusion of both the love couples as foundation stones of all material creation can only mean that by the sexually united couple is meant not just man and woman but also heaven and earth and, quite generally, the female and male creative principle which must exist in the constant creative interchange of love between each other, if the world is to be preserved in a harmonious equilibrium.

The other spiral forms painted on the panels correspond to higher stages of existence, for example, the polar arrangement of six spirals on a central axis below the pair of figures (figure 21:16 which is supposed to connect with the concepts of fern and breast-bone. This at first glance organically suggestive more complex spiral form could thus well mean the further progress of the evolution of the life-energy from the formation of matter to the development of more highly organised life-forms.

The two large spirals to the side of them are therefore more difficult to interpret as forms of a more complex stage of development. The spiral structure on the right is associated with the concepts of ‘beauty,’ ‘open oyster shells,’ as well as ‘opening and closing’ and the one on the left with ‘magic birds’ and ‘voice;’ (cf the cty of the magic bird as the voice of the creative force in the canoe-builder’s ritual cited on page       ) Similarly, the bio-energetic meaning of these more complex spiral structures is still unclear.

If we turn from the Trobriand islands to the above-mentioned island bridge further to the south-east, eventually we reach at its extreme end New Zealand, where we find the last significant spiral culture in the world in the form of the well-known Maori culture. There are in fact no further escape routes at all further to the south west. In the south lies the uninhabitable arctic and far to the east, at the time of the early Maoris the patriarchal Indian cultures were beginning to develop. Thus New Zealand is by far the last halt on the long retreat of the spiral cultures, who we have followed here over many millenia from a Europe situated on the other side of the globe, via Asia.

New Zealand, as islands situated quite far to the cool south, is not settled until later, somewhat later, for example, than the Polynesian Islands. The first settlers do not appear until about 1,000AD, amongst them a certainly highly developed but probably still dislocated spiral people.

         

          Unfortunately, there remained only a few centuries left of further peaceful development to the first settlers, because as early as the 14th century fortifications appear in the archaeological remains. It is not clear whether this war-like development is the result of an unavoidable over-population or of patriarchal tribes. One thing is certain, though – that the originally peaceful and very probably similarly very strongly matrifocal culture of the Maoris, like the Minoan culture on Crete, underwent a gradual transformation, in which military power came strongly to the fore.

We are fortunately well informed as to the meaning of the spiral for the Maoris through the relatively early sources from the beginning of the last century (Simmons, 1986). An invisible ‘other reality’ called ‘Te Kore,’ from which the material world arises is fundamental for the Maoris. The Te Kore state with its creative life-potential is represented by spirals and a female creative being that functions without a male partner (figure 21:21). According to the bio-energetic theory of the ether this state would represent an already relatively well organised state of the cosmic life-energy. The smallest simple elementary particles (electrons, positrons, quarks and others) corresponding to simple spiral vortices have developed (Seiler, 1986), which however, still move through the ether in free form. The formation of atoms constructed of more complex vortex structures as basic elements of the visible world is about to spring into existence.

The following anecdote, reported by a Maori staying in England in the last century, illustrates the primary significance of the other reality for the Maoris and also the close connection of the spiral with the human body: the Maori Tupai Kupa once had his portrait painted by a well-known painter. Although the painting was a success, Tupai Kupa was not at all satisfied with it. ‘That’s not me’ he  cried and immediately with his own hand painted his ‘real’ portrait, which is reproduced in figure 21:22.

The spiral tattoos of the Maoris are also famous; (their deeper significance is surely to be found in the life-energy potential of the spiral).

A functional symbol of the Te-Kora spiral is the coiled serpent with its tail in its mouth This symbol is very easily understood according to the bio-energetic theory of the ether. The snake is throughout the world the symbol of sexual life-energy and is closely connected with the mother-earth deity. Like the life-energy it moves in waves. This continuing motion can become a locally static dynamic when the snake rolls up into a spiral. By taking its tail in its mouth the snake in addition demonstrates the absolute closure of the energy circulation in this state, when the beginning and end flow into each other and there is no more death. It is this long-lasting stable structuring of the life-energy that makes creation at all possible.

A snake rolled up in more than one turn can only get its tail into its mouth if it follows its spiral around itself and back to the beginning again. Spacially this is only possible in the form of a rotating ring vortex, which according to cosmon theory also forms the basic element of the elementary particles (Figures 21:2 and 21:4).

According to the Maoris heaven ad earth are created from the Te-Kore state as the creative polar principles, male and female, corresponding to the parent-deities. Initially both occur in happy sexual union, as we find them portrayed on the Trobriand canoes.

The continuation of the Maori creation myth whose parallels with Hesiod’s history of the deities is obvious, reflects typically the Weltanschauung of a society in transition, gradually developing towards patriarchy: from the union of heaven and earth many infant deities were born for whom the limited space between the sexually united parents became too small. The god of war, so far obedient to the child-deity, suggests they eventually separate the parents. The father is raised to the heavens and his nakedness is covered with the stars, thus bringing about the separation of earth of earth and sky or man and woman in this culture. The child-gods, however, are not made happy by this and they quarrel and their quarrel is passed on to humans.

 

Hesiod (1978); Theogeny.

 

Malinowski B (1979); The Sexual Life of Savages.

 

Malinowski B (1981); Coral Gardens and Their Magic.

 

Purce J (1988); The Spiral – Symbol of the Journey of the Soul.

 

Reich W (1983); The Function of the Orgasm, Souvenir Press, London.

 

Reich w (1973); Ether, God and Devil/Cosmic Superimposition, (single volume), Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York.

 

Scoditti G M G (1985); Kitawa, Iconografica Semantica in una Società Melanesiana, Franco Angeli Libri, Milan.

 

Seiler H (1986); Der Kosmonenraum, Essays on a unified view of time, space, and matter based on a developed and codified formulation of the physics of Anton Mesmer, Verlag für Ganzheitsmedizin, Essen.

 

Simmons D R (1986); Iconography of New Zealand Maori Religion, E J Brill, Leiden.

 

                                                   First posted August5th, last revised, March 26th, 2015.