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The Triple Spiral - a PaGaian Heritage for Our Times

A PaGaian Breath Meditation

Going within for the moment and becoming aware of your breath,
feeling this cycle within.

With your imagination, remember all the breathing happening right now on the planet — feel/sense it with each breath.
The entire planet is breathing.

Remember the constant dawning and setting of the Sun — happening right now,
as Earth turns … the constant dawn and dusk.

Remember the constant facing into the light of the Sun — our Star,
and the constant facing into the dark of the Cosmos,
happening right now,
as She turns …
the constant moving fullness of light and dark on opposite sides of the planet.

Remember the constant coming into being and passing away happening right now,
as She turns.
The entire Wheel as we celebrate it is happening right now —
all at once.

We are at the Center of the Wheel.
She waxes into fullness, and wanes into darkness — She grows into form, and dissolves back into that great Plenum from which all emerges.
There is in every moment:
constant novelty — infinite particularity — Virgin,
constant communion — infinite relationship — Mother,
constant dissolution — transformation … making way for the new — Crone.

Feel this breath, your breath. We participate
in Her constant Creativity,
from this Center.

Reflective Seasonal Rhythms of Gaia's Hemispheres
In the Southern Hemisphere, those who follow Earth-based religious traditions have passed Samhain and Winter Solstice, and are celebrating Imbolc. The Poetry[1] of these three seasons may be expressed as syntropy, the waxing toward manifest form. In the fullness of darkness the new is born: the Dark Womb ripens to birth, and origins are celebrated. Imbolc carries this through with its themes of dedication to being, nourishing and attending of the young. This creatively connected flow may be identified poetically with the three aspects of Goddess — Crone, Mother and Virgin, respectively.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the concurrent Seasonal Moment[2] is Lammas. The Poetry of the seasons as they flow from Beltane to Summer Solstice to Lammas may be expressed as entropy, the waxing towards dissolution of form. In the peaking of light, being is poured forth, consumed/consummated. The fullness of radiant form ripens to harvest, and fulfillment of purpose is celebrated: all is given over. Lammas carries this through with its themes of "making sacred", transformation and opening to Larger Self — to the dark sentience within. This creatively connected flow may be identified poetically with Virgin, Mother and Crone, respectively.

I understand the Poetry of both Solstices as celebrations of the Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess, for both are Gateways, Entrances, Places of Interchange between manifest and manifesting, places of Communion. One is birth to small, particular self, which eventuates in the power of being; the other is birth to larger undifferentiated self, immersion in cosmic sentience, which eventuates in the power of loss. One is the "Om", the Alpha; the other is the Omega. The new being emerges within the Winter, pours forth fulfilled within the Summer. At Winter Solstice the lighting of candles may represent the new being, the return of the light and graciousness for Sun's regenerative powers. At Summer Solstice, the rose, a full flower or ripe food may represent the fulfilled being, the return of the dark and graciousness for consummation.

Our Ecological Moment
Summer Solstice may be understood as a closing as much as it is an opening. Our Ecological Moment is a kind of Summer: We are peaking in the use of much of Earth's resources built up over millennia. Most of us who read this are reaping the harvest of Earth's ancient minerals and oil. From this moment of flowering and withering, the Earth may return to the very conditions that created the resources.

Or are we facing a kind of Winter — a full Darkness? There may be a sense of confusion, as we begin to sense a whole planet and witness a scale of planetary changes unprecedented in human memory. And it all seems to be happening so quickly: There is a kind of chaos as we leave the known tracks.

We as Earth have found ways to plumb our depths, and until now our desire and curiosity have not met sufficient resistance to slow us down, to make us pause. It's as if we are globally at Beltane. In a froth of passion and desire, the humans will go for it until it "ends," until we are returned to a space for transformation.

Is it already a Samhain Moment? Gaia-Earth is in meltdown, She is a global chrysalis perhaps — will the butterfly emerge? We are the transformations of the ages, and we receive the transformations of the ages. We are both the end and the beginning: Old One ever-transfomed, Virgin ever-new. We may feel it in our times: we witness the Planet being consumed, we are consuming the Planet.

After the consuming there is the "wake," Lammas. How do we come to terms with a global Lammas Moment? How do we manage immersion into Larger Self — letting go of the Beauty of so much form? Can we bear witness to the Not-Yet, the New Young One of the Imbolc Moment, which is as seamlessly connected to Lammas as the foetus is to the womb, the necessary Darkness?

Gaia's timeframe is different from ours.

Gaia's timeframe is different from ours. It may well be beyond our imagination, well into the future — a long haul, but the Not-Yet will surely come into being, as surely as the chlorophyll molecule was co-created by Earth and Sun, as Earth reached for nourishment; as surely as the ear was co-created by subject and sound, as the subject reached for an unknown signal; as surely as the prokaryotes became eukaryotes in Earth's earlier times.[3]

We live in a Cosmos that has ever changed — nothing stays the same. We humans as a species are part of that change, both as agent and recipient, creator and created.

Perhaps what we are witnessing is the whole "Wheel of the Year" happening at once. It is a Mabon too; more than ever, it seems, we live in times of deep grief for all that is being lost, and yet we might hold hope for the re-emergence, an Eostar. Many people do feel that we are witnessing the re-emergence of much lost wisdom.

The "Wheel" may be understood as a Cosmic one — the Pagan becomes Gaian, or perhaps Gaian has returned to Herself as Cosmic. We Gaian inhabitants have our indigenous sense of Place/Land extended to a sense of Earth-Gaia as a whole, seamlessly connected to Herself as Universe-Gaia: a unity of Being.

As we witness the reciprocal Seasonal Moments at once on the planet, held within each other, even blurring, into a fuzziness of perception, we may pull to Center perhaps. The Seasonal Moments may truly be thresholds to the Center, which is omnipresent Creativity. What may essentially be celebrated in the seasonal moments of transition are the Cosmic processes of Creativity — Cosmogenesis, the unfolding Cosmos, present in Earth-Gaia, and within each being, in every moment. It is an eternal process in which we participate. She has a track record of some 13.7 billion years as far as we can tell, but in any case it is an eternity for the purposes of our consciousness.

I have come to identify this Cosmogenesis — the "Creative Unfolding of the Cosmos"[4] as represented by the Triple Spiral of Bru na Boinne (Newgrange, as it is commonly known). With the insights of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas into the repetition of the threes in early human art[5], the work of Martin Brennan who spent long periods of time on site at Newgrange[6], and the work of cultural historian Thomas Berry who also identifies "three basic tendencies of the universe at all levels of reality"[7], integrated with organic research and ritual practice, I have come to understand the Triple Spiral as a multivalent representation of the Creative Dynamic unfolding the Cosmos. This motif may represent Earth, Moon and Sun in their creative dance; it may represent three aspects of Goddess as She was known in that local place; it may be originally lunar; it may represent the waxing, peaking, and waning of all being; and many other layers of poetic expressions relating to "becoming."

The Triple Spiral holds the dualities in creative balance: the light and the dark, joy and sorrow, birth and death, manifest and manifesting. All are expressed in the reciprocal seasons, the polar opposites that are always One — a Wholeness, a Gestalt — just as the Moon holds all three phases in constant flux on her One surface, where “dark and light interact in the one sphere”.[8] Each Seasonal threshold contains its mirror image. One cannot be without Other at the very same time. And every breath repeats this triplicity — this pattern of Cosmic Creativity.

We are integral with our Place — "PaGaian" is how I describe it, and our Place is as much within our own skins as anywhere.

We are integral with our Place — "PaGaian" is how I describe it, and our Place is as much within our own skins as anywhere. Women particularly have learned this over the last decades as we have consciously found the cosmic dynamics alive within ourselves. Each being is a Creative Place of Cosmological Unfolding, a sacred Center. She is threefold, and may be celebrated in Earth's holy annual pilgrimage around Sun.


  1. I capitalize this term, as I use it in the sense of a language - a Gaian or Cosmic language - much as one would capitalize "English" or "French". "English" or "French" are not generally thought of consciously as "sacred" media, although the terms are frequently treated as such. "Poetry" is definitely being used to refer to a sacred medium. For more discussion of my choice to capitalize certain terms, see PaGaian Cosmology, iUniverse 2005, p.xii (Preface) which is freely available at
  2. I capitalize this term as it is my name for "Sabbat" - a holy day.
  3. See Elisabet Sahtouris, EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution, Lincoln NE: iUniverse 2000, for the full story on prokaryotes, eukaryotes, and their place in the history of earth life from the perspective of geobiology.
  4. This term is capitalized because I mean it as a name for the Sacred.
  5. See Marija Gimbutas, The Language of the Goddess, NY: HarperCollins, 1991.p.89-97.
  6. See Martin Brennan, The Stones of Time:Calendars, Sundials, and Stone Chambers of Ancient Ireland. Rochester Vermont: Inner Traditions International, 1994.
  7. See Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts, SF: Sierra Club Books, 2006, p. 145. Also Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story, NY: HarperCollins, 1992, p. 71-79.
  8. Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology, NY: Arkana Books 1991, p.27.

Graphics Credits

  • Newgrange triple spiral, courtesy of the author
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