ancient stories. tribal symbols. oneness words. separated by oceans and eras express the same thing: life as a journey towards greater and greater integration of different parts into a cohesive whole.
the ancients expressed this ONE thought in multiple ways – in the physical combination of male and female to create new life, spiritual, psychological and communal unity, conflict resolution, guidance, direction and peace within oneself and across the greater community of humanity.
native american medicine wheel
The medicine wheel is a symbol found widely across many Native American and Canadian people. Symbolising life itself as a circle, the four spokes are a metaphor for “directions” or experiences on the path of life and loosely refer to death, peace or happiness, triumph and trouble or disappointment.
The medicine wheel is a symbol for the wheel of life which is forever evolving and bringing new lessons and truths to the walking of the path. This “Earthwalk” is based on the understanding that everyone must stand on every spoke, on the great wheel of life many times; every direction to be honored. this was because until one had walked in others’ moccasins, or stood on their “spokes of the wheel”, it was impossible to truly know what was in their hearts.
The medicine wheel symbolises all lessons on the path of life as equal, as well as all talents and abilities. This is believed to be the journey to greater moments of harmony. The circle is never ending, life without end.
a HOPI origin story
the spiral is perhaps the richest and most intriguing form found on the planet. though shaped as a circle its strange continuous arm represents life as an unfolding and expansion. Used extensively by many tribes and cultures throughout history, the spiral can be found in the art, craftsmanship, architecture and philosophy of the most disparate groups and civilisations. Even more fascinating is nature’s reliance on this form in shells, pine cones, flowers and even galaxy formations and the strong mathematical relationships it represents.
For many tribes in one way or another, the spiral represents a doorway that weaves the ethereal and material dimensions of life together in a constantly changing dance towards greater and greater unity with the whole.
Indigenous oneness (Mirratja clan, northern Australia)
Miliwanga Wurrben is a traditional Rembarrnga women from the Mirratja clan group, originally from the Central Arnhem region. Miliwanga lives in Wugularr, her skin group is Galijan of the Duwa moity.
assyrian tree of life
The tree of life is found in many spiritual and mythological traditions around the world. The tree is thought to symbolise the process of life as we develop roots, strengthen our trunk and branch out to a wider vision of life as we grow. With its branches reaching into the sky and its roots deep in the earth, the tree symbolises life moving towards unity as its branches expand and grow. The tree represents life as evolution, movement and growth toward a greater unification of difference and through an integration of “above and below” – the spiritual, intuitive or divine elements with the physical, material, earthly ones. Again, it is both a feminine symbol, bearing sustenance and a masculine, visibly phallic symbol representing therefore both the spiritual and physical aspects of integration and conflict resolution as a means to reaching higher planes of connection to life.
The wheel of life depicted in Buddhist and Hindu philosophy symbolises life as a constantly turning circle. Its opposite arms are reminders of the many conflicts and differences experienced in life and the objective – to overcome these amidst the ever turning wheel. In these ancient teachings there is only one place where the constant up and down of these positive and negative influences can be overcome or transmuted and that is in the centre of the wheel where despite the many forces that may be effecting the ends of the wheel, the centre remains a place of strength, peace and calm. The wheel suggests that unhappiness is rooted in the extremes of lifes internal and external conflicts and suggests movement towards a more unified understanding as the path to a happier and more fulfilling life.
By me is this entire universe pervaded.
All things are in Me, and I in them.
Know that as the mighty wind blowing everywhere rests in the sky,
all created beings rest in Me.
I am the Father, the Mother, the Supporter
and the Grandsire of the universe.
(Bhagavad Gita, 9:4, 6, 17)
A fundamental Hindu principle is one of Unity of all created things. Behind diversity, there is unity. Behind individual souls, there is the Self, one with the Divine. Not only human life but all created life including animal life is a unity. We spring from one source. Differences and divisions are unreal. The belief that we originate from one common source has ethical implications: it leads to a kinder and a gentler world. Hinduism’s reach is not limited to humanity; its compassion reaches out to all, human and animal. It teaches compassion for all beings, on all planes.
Evolution is not the evolution of matter but of consciousness. Consciousness is the life force, the energy, the motion that creates everything in the universe, from the microcosm (the smallest) to the macrocosm (the largest). There is consciousness in matter, for example in the movement of electrons and protons within the atomic structure. The vegetable kingdom of trees and plants exhibits a certain degree of consciousness.
Consciousness evolves into life in the animal. The mental plane in man is the highest expression of consciousness presently.
Dr. Madan Lal Goel (Emeritus Profesor of Political Science, University of Western Florida)