A basic element in Western
ideography, the clockwise spiral (starting from the middle) is
strongly associated with water, power, independent movement, and migrations of
sign's association with water may rather focus recurring rainy
seasons, than water in general.
Well in accordance with the law of the polarity of meanings of elementary graphs also often seems to denote the sun. But maybe not the ordinary sun, but the eclipsed sun.
See the entry below.
As stated in the entry of the basic graphic elements the dot and the spiral were used by man already 24,000 years ago. But thereafter the first instances of are found carved in rock faces not more than about 5,000 years ago. In the Appendices there is a section about this apparent gap in human ideography.
Be that as it may, one finds on discos from Crete from around 2000 B.C., and in the variation as an old symbol for potential power in Tibet. It also appears among rock carvings in Utah.
Compare with in Group 16.
The ideogram is primarily a sign illustrating movement.
Today it appears as a laundry sign for spin drying.
As isolated ideograms on rock carvings most probably means the sun, but it might also have been used for recurring migrations or tribal wanderings. In Viking age rock engraving and paintings found in Sweden it is often used to mean potential movement or independent movement (against the sun, waves, and wind when necessary) and eventual return. It appeared as a form for the sternposts of the Vikings' ships.
In ancient Greece a similar structure, , was used to represent the zodiacal sign Leo. This zodiac sign is strongly associated with potential power, strength etc.
See in Group 50.
This ideogram is also related to in Group 15.
On nautical charts it sometimes stands for whirlpool or eddy. The similar has been used for over 4,000 years, and in many different cultures, as decoration on the clothes of kings, high priests, and gods represented as statues.
Both and have been used by alchemists for horse dung.
In modern times these signs together with fylfots, crossbones, exclamation marks and other symbols of wrath and curses, are used with the meaning human excrement or defecations in comic strips to symbolize fits of rage, swearing and curses.