This is a photograph I took of what may possibly be 12th century Anasazi or Hopi rock art. It was found on a canyon wall in Escalante, Utah, and may, from what I’ve been able to determine, be a one-of-a-kind design. Spiral petroglyphs are fairly common among many indigenous cultures. Even though no one really knows what was in the mind of the person or persons that placed this design on the cliff, there are some who say the spiral usually represents the circle of life, a spiritual journey, an initiation rite, or transformation and rebirth. It may even be the path leading from outer consciousness (of the external world) to a consciousness of the inner world, or the soul. Other terms associated with the spiral are balance, progress, interconnectedness, centering, expanding, and development. Most commonly, the spiral is thought to represent some aspect or form of the journey of life. This one, however, may be unique because of the horizontal line coming into its center from one direction and going out of it in the other direction.
Focusing on this horizontal line raises the intriguing question of whether this design in its entirety could represent the multi-faith concept of life as an eternal journey. Could this represent an indigenous link to, or visual image of, the journey of the soul coming from and returning to its Creator, with its transformations on Earth in between preparing it for its return?
Here are two quotes that may shed some light on this intriguing image. Chief Leon Shenandoah of the Iroquois Confederacy said, “Everything is laid out for you. Your path is straight ahead of you. Sometimes it’s invisible but it’s there. You may not know where it is going, but you have to follow that path. It’s the path to the Creator. It’s the only path there is.” And, in a similar vein, Abdu’l-Baha, a champion of justice and an advocate of the oneness of humanity, said, “Man must walk in many paths and be subjected to various processes in his evolution upward… The journey of the soul is necessary. The pathway of life is the road which leads to divine knowledge and attainment. Without training and guidance the soul could never progress beyond the conditions of its lower nature…”
That’s why this particular image fits for the cover of Mystic Journey: Getting to the Heart of Your Soul’s Story, because it seems to take a detailed look at the journey of the soul, which is necessary for all of us to reach our intended destiny. It may also connect to sacred stories, such as the Jewish legend of “The Angel and the Unborn Soul,” which raise the equally intriguing question of whether we forget what we knew as an unborn soul and spend the rest of our lives trying to remember this. The many transformations that we experience throughout our lives may even carry the dual function of helping us remember what we may have forgotten and preparing us for our return journey to our Creator. This entire process of time meeting the timeless, or the soul interacting with the physical realm here, is what is described in the book as soul-making.