Title: “The Sacred Spiral Mindful Drawing Exercise” by Rosa Phoenix

Exercise purpose:

This intuitive drawing and writing exercise uses the ancient symbol of the spiral to mindfully bring embodied awareness to the concept of expansion and contraction, reaching outside oneself and going within oneself, to achieve centering and balance. This exercise will give you a greater sense of strength, focus and purpose.

Exercise description:
This exercise requires a crayon and paper (or the drawing or painting medium of your choice). You also need a pen and paper to write with. You do not need to have any drawing ability to do this exercise. You should be in a quiet environment without distractions. Allow 15-20 minutes to complete the exercise. (Tip: If you are doing the exercise for yourself, you may wish to audio record the instructions that follow, and then play back the recording.)

The first part of the exercise is a visualization meditation. Here is the meditation:

Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take a few calm cleansing breaths.

Find your body’s center, wherever that may be for you, and breathe into it with loving energy. 

Feel your body expand and contract with each inhale and exhale as you breathe into your center.

Imagine a root spiraling down from your center, all the way to the very center of the Earth. This root makes a strong connection to the source of all life.

Breathe in, up through your root, the life force energy of the Earth, its cleansing, renewing, creative energy, into your center.

With each breath out, let go of what you don’t need.

Take a couple more breaths here, into your center, feeling life force energy radiating out to all parts of your body and beyond.

When you feel “filled up,” open your eyes and bring your awareness back to your environment.

Next, it’s time to do the drawing exercise. Follow the wisdom of Nature, using the sacred spiral, a form that is found throughout all of Nature, all throughout the Universe, from our DNA to our galaxy.

With the crayon, put a dot in the center of the paper, a dot to represent your center.

Now slowly, mindfully, draw a spiral from this center dot outward. Whichever direction, it doesn’t matter.

Breathing. Growing. Expanding. Opening. Go out to the edge of your paper.

Next, take your pen and the other piece of paper and write, briefly completing the following prompts:

I am growing towards …

I am reaching for …

I am expanding to …

I am opening up to …

Now go back to the spiral you drew and this time, use the crayon to trace it from the outside going in toward the center.

Then write again, using the following prompts: 

I am inviting in …

I am bringing close to me …

When I go within I find …

When I center myself I feel …

How the exercise can be used in session or given as homework:

This exercise can be used in a workshop or class, in a one-on-one or group creativity coaching session, or at home. 

I have used the sacred spiral exercise in creative manifestation workshops with small groups. The exercise is the first activity of the workshop, and it helps the participants to release the mundane concerns of their daily lives and prepare them for the deep inner exploration of the workshop. The drawing aspect brings them into a creative and sensory state so they become focused on the present moment. The writing aspect helps them to access their inner wisdom that resides within their center, and gain clarity on their true desires and intentions.

The wonderful thing about the sacred spiral exercise is that the spiral drawing makes a perfect centering meditation tool that can be used after you have completed the exercise itself. 

To use the spiral drawing as a meditation tool, simply trace the spiral with a finger going in the direction that you want to go (inward or outward), and while you are doing so, meditate on your intention for reaching out or going within. 

For homework, try establishing a regular meditation practice using the sacred spiral meditation tool. Use this meditation tool regularly over time to strengthen your sense of centeredness and focus.

How a creative might adapt it for home use: 

Experiment with media

Artists may create variations on this exercise using a variety of media. For example, it would be wonderful to create a version in clay or plaster that could be used like a finger labyrinth. 

Use your imagination and create something personal that expresses your vision.

Expansion meditation 

Say you want to grow or stretch yourself in some way. Maybe you want to make new connections, launch an initiative or go in a different direction with your art, or reach out beyond your comfort zone. Begin by getting centered. Find your body’s center, and breathe into it. Place your finger on the spiral’s center and slowly trace the spiral outward as you imagine pulling energy up from the Earth’s center into your own center, and filling you up and expanding with strength from within and reaching out beyond your skin.

Centering Meditation

Say you’ve been feeling scattered or distracted by the myriad demands of everyday life. It’s time to focus and do your work. Position your finger on the outside end of the spiral, and slowly and mindfully trace the spiral inward, toward the center. As you do this, bring your attention and awareness deep into your body, focusing on your center and breathing into it.

Results with clients:

I have used the sacred spiral exercise with clients as a tool for them to gain clarity on their true desires and intentions for what they wish to create in their lives. 

One client, a collage artist, said that it reminded her of walking a labyrinth. 

Another client, a screenwriter and novelist, told me that it brought her to divine connection. She also enjoyed the kinesthetic, sensory aspect, and sense of childlike play that drawing with crayons evoked. For this client, the sacred spiral has become an important part of her regular prayer and meditation practice. 

For both clients, the sacred spiral exercise connected them with their spiritual essence and allowed them to access their inner guidance.

I regularly use the sacred spiral as a meditation tool, by tracing my finger over the spiral I created.

Over time I have discovered some insights. I realized that before I discovered this tool, I often reached outside of myself to escape or avoid the feelings or thoughts within. And also, that often when I went within, I was actually hiding from the outside world. 

Since I began using the sacred spiral exercise, I have found strength within my center. Now when I seek to go within or reach out, it is not to escape or hide; rather, my actions are based on conscious motivations that I have identified in the writing part of the exercise. I am operating with intention, from a place of purposeful strength and confidence.


Rosa Phoenix is a visual artist, art teacher and creativity coach, guiding people on a transformative journey to discover their own creative potential, and the healing powers of the creative process. Her approach is intuitive and mindfulness-based, frequently blending visual art activities with other art forms like writing and music, and body-centered practices like yoga, breath work and gentle movement. She offers classes, workshops, retreat facilitation and one on one coaching.  She is based in Portland, Oregon. To learn more, please visit www.rosaphoenix.com.

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