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Crop Circle at Bracciano, Bertinoro. (FC). Reported 20th May 2012

Step by Step!

Crop formation at Bracciano, Bertinoro, May 20th

The spiral crop formation at Bracciano, Bertinoro, reported May 20th caught my attention because of the series of ‘steps’ embedded in the spiral course. From a very cursory look over past formations, this is a rare appearance. Maybe it could be a source of new information for us.

“An extremely ancient, complex, and ubiquitous symbol representing the creative power of the universe emanating from the navel, centre, or omphalos, [the spiral] shares in the symbolism of the labyrinth.” (Stevens 252). This spiral seems quite unremarkable, but the inner ‘steps’, giving a ladder effect, add to the general meaning of the symbolism in this case.

Spirals appear as symbols in art and on architecture since Neolithic and Paleolithic times. They exist in the natural world as whorls in flowing water and flames, as well as in the growth of plants and animals in the form of the Fibonacci spiral. Spirals also describe the movement of galaxies and the activity of the sun’s flares, etc.

As a symbol, the spiral has both an inner moving direction and an outer moving direction. Because of these two characteristics, the spiral carries the symbolism for: Yin and Yang, death and rebirth, involution and evolution, contraction and expansion.

The labyrinth deals with “initiation, death, and rebirth and the rites of passage from the profane to the sacred; the mysteries of life and death; the journey of life through difficulties and illusions of the world to the center as enlightenment of heaven” (Cooper). One message from the spiral crop formation at Bracciano depends on seeing it as a labyrinthine spiral that also has ‘steps’ or stages.

These steps give the spiral another association: that of the game, Hopscotch or ‘Tempel-‘ or ‘Himmelhüpfen’ (temple or heaven hopping). This children’s game recalls a labyrinth ritual done by the children of ancient Tuscany or Rome. Still other recollections this game brings forth are: Dante’s Mountain of Purgatory and the ancient Babylonian ziggurat. The stages and ordeals suffered in the labyrinth or the steps in the spiral mountain are occasions for purification or release of old ways in order to be prepared for the new rebirth.


The hopscotch and the ziggurat diagrams represent the different stages on the mystic path to higher consciousness.

Similar buildings and images appear throughout the world and in history depicting the purification and heightening of consciousness.


Dante’s Mountain of Purgatory and “The spiral ascent of [the] holy mountain [are] symbolic of the expansion and evolution of consciousness and the accompanying flame of wisdom.” (Purce 49).

The ladder aspect of this formation is reminiscent of Jacob’s ladder by which the heavenly hosts could descend to Earth and the earthly beings could ascend to heaven. With this formation we are confronted with the challenge of uniting the Earthly to the Heavenly, the challenge of realizing the sacred marriage of Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter!


The mystic poet and painter, Blake, saw Jacob’s ladder as a spiral staircase.

So, we have a spiral/labyrinth with steps/stages imposed on the crop on the ground. Is this formation a hint for us that the time has come to consider that spiritual development in daily life is a real necessity? Are we being given a sort of psychic map by which to continue our evolution and the development of our consciousness? What are the consequences if we do not? And is this process one which transforms us into ethereal beings or is it a transformation that includes the physical phenomena of matter on Earth, our bodies, the environment? A hint to answering the last question is: All the crop circles are made IN CROPS, ON THE EARTH, ON THE GROUND. The messages have been coming in plant MATTER, that is mostly used as FOOD for animals and humans on EARTH. Is there a better illustration of ‘The Medium is the Message”? Living matter and life-giving matter is the medium and the message. We cannot afford to deny the fact.

Whether these symbols and signals are being made by ET’s, the Universe, the Earth, or even people at times, their persistence, beauty, sophistication and relevance to what is going on around the world are important communications for all of Earth’s inhabitants and the lives they live here.

In ‘The Mystic Spiral’, the author uses an interesting illustration to make the connection to the spiral and awakening on our part.


“The jewel in this contemporary American postcard is shown with the same purging or clarifying power as the spirals or the path up Mount Purgatory. Only the message is more direct.” (Purce 115)

Michelle Jennings


Cooper, J.C. An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols. Thames & Hudson. London. 1978.

De Vries, Ad. Dictionary of Symbols and Imagery. North-Holland Publishing Co. Amsterdam. 1974.

Julien, Nadia. The Mammoth Dictionary of Symbols. Robinson Publishing. London. 1996.

Purce, Jill. The Mystic Spiral: Journey of the Soul. Thames & Hudson. London. 1974.

Stevens, Anthony. Ariadne’s Clue: a Guide to the Symbols of Mankind. Princeton University Press. Princeton. 1998.

Walker, Barbara. The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols & Sacred Objects. Castle Books. Edison, NJ. 1988.