Cyles in Nature as basis for religious believes and rituals

Cyles in Nature as basis for religious believes and rituals

The cyclic nature of seasons cause a cycle in the temperate climate zone of Northern Europe. The vegetation undergoes a life cycle: after winter time the spring brings new life, vegetation flourishes and climaxes in summer and then starting to decline again in autumn and rests in winter, to then start over in spring. This cycle continues again and again and defines our concept of a year. The renewed energy of the vegetation cycle brings crops and fruits for the farming communities. If the cycle would not renew the vegetation then the basic food supply would be absent and hence the base for living. The importance of this renewal process is recognized until today in harvest festivals in rural areas.

As depicted in figure below, the cycle of life has two phases: birth-Growth and decay-death. In the modern Western culture, which is pre-occupied by Christian religious believes, the decay-death phase has a negative connotation, guided by end times believes.

Cycle of life (Adapted after Mahlstedt2004).

In [1] the author argues that through the eyes of more primitive(?) people and their belief systems both phases are equally important and regarded not as negative as in our recent Western societies: The decay and death is not a contradiction of life; within the life-cycle it has actually generative creative power. Therefore decay-death is an enabler and bearer of highest creative potential.

Examples of Cyclic Symbols and Artefacts


[1] I. Mahlstedt, Die religiöse Welt der jungsteinzeit, Theiss, 2004.
author = {Ina Mahlstedt},
isbn = {978-3806218398},
owner = {ograu},
publisher = {Theiss},
timestamp = {2012.01.14},
title = {Die religiöse {W}elt der Jungsteinzeit},
year = {2004}