Our logo was chosen because the spiral represents balance and harmony in nature, which we consider an ideal worth striving for, and because it graphically maps the spiritual journey. The experience of taking the inner path to the center and back is the focus of our teaching and ‘retreat’ work here. That it seems to be a key to so many other manifestations of physics/nature/existence in our universe is not a coincidence.
The spiritual spiral inward (towards God/unity) is seen as reversing at the center (the still point) so that it brings us back out into an increasingly broad world-dominated existence where we can apply what we have learned at the center to our relationships, our work and the world at large. This going in and coming back out rhythm is a metaphor for the spiritual path. It happens in both one large sweeping arc of existence and in countless smaller ways daily, weekly etc. Just as you are drawn in, you realize you can’t stay in the secure and compact little center forever. So the ‘shape’ of the process leads you right back out into your life as naturally as it lured you in there. The road back is very much a part of the journey in. They are one and the same movement in the trajectory of enlightenment.
The particular spiral we chose for our logo is a Fibonacci Spiral, named for Italian Leonardo Bigollo (but known as Fibonacci) who was the most celebrated mathematician of the Middle Ages. Aside from insisting that Europe use Arabic numerals instead of Roman ones, he developed a particular sequence of numbers called the Fibonacci Sequence. But before we get into that, let’s go back to the image of the spiral.
The spiral is an archetypal image from the oldest times of recorded history.
Ancient beliefs and iconographies have used different forms of spirals to represent male and female and lunar and solar energies. Because a spiral can be drawn infinitely, it has become a symbol of growth and expansion, of evolution, of cosmic energy and of the journey of life. There are, basically, two different types of spirals. There are Archimedean spirals that unfold with a line that circles itself again and again at the same (equal) distance, like the illustration above carved into a rock. Its shape remains the same while its size increases. Here’s an example of an Archimedean spiral:
And there are Logarithmic spirals, which unfold with a line that curves continually outward by virtue of one of many unique mathematical sequences that determine the progression of its expansion. It’s size and shape both change as it grows. Here’s an example of a Logarythmic spiral:
Two types of Logarithmic spirals are: the Golden Spiral (based on a series of identically proportioned rectangles, each having a ratio of 1.618 of the length of the long side to that of the short side of the rectangle – proportions known as the Golden Mean) and the Fibonacci spiral, the one used in our logo. They are quite similar in form and progression but aren’t identical. The Fibonacci spiral is based on a particular sequence of numbers (the Fibonacci Sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc.) The sequence progresses by adding the first two numbers together to create the third, then taking the second and third numbers and adding them to create the fourth and so on. If you make squares that are the width of each of these sequential numbers, stack the squares together and describe an arc from one corner of each square to its opposite (using one of the in between corners as the center of the partial circle) the resulting connected arcs make a Fibonacci spiral. It’s easier to get this relationship by looking at an illustration of the sequence:
Both Fibonacci spirals and Golden spirals are favorite building blocks of, or design elements in nature. Apparently energy forms matter in very similar patterns in very varied settings. But not every spiral in nature is related to Fibonacci numbers or Phi (the Golden Spiral). The Fibonacci spiral is found in the growth patterns of pine cones, pineapples, sunflower seeds and fiddlehead ferns.
The Golden spiral is found in the pattern of hurricanes, water draining out of a sink and the growth pattern of nautilus shells. Creative people have long used both of these logarithmic spiral patterns to produce harmonious and attractive visual and spatial results. The Fibonacci Sequence is particularly interesting because the wavelengths of each color of the rainbow correspond to this logarithmic sequence. Music also uses the Fibonacci Sequence to form harmonic ratios. (This is a superficial skip over a lot of engaging material so google it and have a good read. I haven’t done the complexity or elegance of the Fibonacci spiral justice here.)
What this means to me, as an ex graphic designer and current Episcopal priest, is that the Fibonacci spiral embodies all of the attributes of (and therefore serves as an accurate visual representation of) one’s spiritual path. Because it is a symbol that reads as ‘going’ both inward and outward simultaneously, it touches on the critical stages of entry into the journey and reentry into life that we put particular emphasis on in our teaching. We placed the name and address of the Tigg’s Pond Retreat Center at this strategic entrance/exit to and from the image of the journey because we see our work as informing and supporting both these initial and subsequent key stages’ in spiritual development. Heading into and out of important parts of one’s spiritual journey are times and situations that benefit by some time spent here in reflection and integration and learning. That’s not to say that the center point or any time and place along the way isn’t a useful time to be here as well, it’s just that one has powerful inner guidance at these points in one’s spiritual journey and there is less need for the support of a community or the perspective of a Spiritual director. However, there is always a profound need for a place of safety and quiet, like Tigg’s Pond, in which to contemplate or meditate. If all of this interests you, either as cosmology or an invitation to begin, intensify, restart or otherwise support your spiritual life, I believe you would benefit by coming here.(see Why go on a retreat for more information on the purpose of a visit).