Symbolism is no mere idle fancy or corrupt degeneration: it is inherent in the very texture of human life.

- Alfred North Whitehead

There isn't any symbolism...What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.

- Ernest Hemingway
A quick glance at The Temple of Earth logo will tell you that there’s something religious about it. That’s because it’s made up of the world’s most most famous religious and philosophical systems. Yet, at the center, the preeminent symbol sits: a spiral, the symbol of evolution, science, mind and poetics.

Egypt (Pyramid)

Buddhism (The Wheel)

Taoism (The T’ai Chi, or Yin Yang Diagram)

Zoroastrianism (Faravahar)

Hermetic Greek (Caduceus)

Greek Phi (The Golden Mean)

Judaism (Star of David), Hinduism (Shatkona)

Christianity (Cross)

Islam (Crescent Moon)

Science (Spiral)

In placing most of the world’s most revered cultural symbols together, the image that emerges is one of an unfolding rose or lotus flower. With this symbol that we honor the unfolding knowledge of the human race, culminating in the most robust of all systems so far: the modernism of science and poetics. The rose has been a famous Christian symbol in the west as the lotus has been in the east, in both cases symbolizing the grand unfolding of human wisdom.

Some might object that religious symbols have no place in a religion that aims to be “religion-free,” but it must be understood that we are not “anti-religion” in the sense that we deny its historical value. Religion was the science of its day, despite its being built on unproven assumptions. Bold Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Eastern scholars were encouraged by their religions to seek out answers, though there were limits to the things they were allowed to question. Great insights and inventions blossomed from their efforts and ultimately led to the flowering tip of science. The concept of God and metaphysics freed man from his narrow and superstitious pagan stasis just as science freed man from his broader but still limiting religious prisons. And the spiral continues to spin: Already emerging sciences are contradicting earlier ones. Thus the rose never stops growing, unfolding like a fractal and lifting us closer and closer to an ultimate truth that might never be fully known.

And yet if, as some say, “The journey is the destination” the impossibility of complete knowledge should be a comforting thought. One thing that traditional religions have forgotten to address about the afterlife, heaven, paradise, nirvana, Elysium fields, etc. is this: What does humanity have to look forward to afterwards? That is the most depressing state of affairs imaginable.

And so we tend the rose and it continues to grow; within us, without us.

c 1998-2005 Temple of Earth