The concept of closing cycles is important across different spiritual belief systems worldwide. Completion, acceptance, and renewal are a part of the natural process, the process that happens in our lives, as well as what is found across cultural, religious, spiritual, and scientific beliefs.
The closing of cycles is as an important part of our lives and has been for as long as life has existed on this planet. From ancient wisdom to indigenous beliefs, religious dogma, to the different sciences, the journey towards closure goes beyond borders. Although, there are differences in the practices, reasons, and names for closing cycles the spiritual process is interconnected to all of us. Showing the universal human quest for growth, healing, and inner peace.
Here are some beliefs about closing cycles.
Cycles (Ages of Man): Greek mythology features the concept of the Ages of Man (Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages) representing different phases in human history.
Closure (Elysium): For the Greeks, achieving a state of Elysium in the afterlife signified a form of closure, as it was a paradise reserved for the virtuous and heroic.
Cycles (Ma'at and Isfet): Ancient Egyptians believed in the constant struggle between Ma'at (order and balance) and Isfet (chaos). Achieving harmony with Ma'at was a lifelong pursuit.
Closure (Osiris and the Afterlife): The Osirian afterlife was a goal for many ancient Egyptians. It represented a state of peace, prosperity, and reunification with loved ones.
Cycles (Ragnarök): Norse mythology prophesied Ragnarök, the end of the world followed by a rebirth of the earth and humanity.
Closure (Valhalla): Achieving entrance into Valhalla was the ultimate goal for fallen warriors, representing an afterlife of honor and glory.
Yin and Yang (Taoism):
Cycles (Yin and Yang): Taoism emphasizes the interplay of Yin (passive, receptive) and Yang (active, assertive) energies in the universe, which are in constant flux.
Closure (Harmony and Balance): Finding harmony and balance between Yin and Yang is a central tenet of Taoism, representing closure in the sense of achieving equilibrium.
Law of Karma (Hinduism, Buddhism):
Cycles (Karma): Both Hinduism and Buddhism incorporate the Law of Karma, which dictates that actions have consequences and influence future experiences.
Closure (Liberation): Attaining Moksha or Nirvana represents a state of ultimate closure, where the cycle of karma is transcended.
Cycles (Law of Correspondence): Hermeticism emphasizes the principle of correspondence, which asserts that patterns and cycles in the material world mirror those in the spiritual realm.
Closure (Alchemy and Transformation): Alchemical processes symbolize the transformation of the individual, leading to spiritual enlightenment and closure of the cycle of ignorance.
Cycles (Planetary Movements): Astrology views planetary movements and transits as cyclical influences that shape human experiences.
Closure (Transcendence): Some astrologers believe that understanding and aligning with planetary cycles can lead to personal growth and spiritual transcendence.
Religious and Spiritual
Cycles (Samsara): The cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. It represents the soul's journey through various lives until it achieves Moksha, liberation or freedom from the cycle.
Closure (Moksha): Moksha is the ultimate goal in Hinduism. It signifies the release from Samsara and the attainment of spiritual enlightenment and unity with the divine.
Cycles (Samsara): The goal in Buddhism is to attain Nirvana, which is a state of liberation from suffering and the cycle of rebirth.
Closure (Nirvana): Achieving Nirvana means reaching a state of ultimate enlightenment and freedom from the cycle of birth and death.
Cycles (Festivals): Judaism has a rich calendar of festivals, each with its own spiritual importance. For example, Passover commemorates the Exodus from Egypt, while Yom Kippur is a day of atonement.
Closure (Atonement): Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is an event where Jews seek forgiveness and closure for their sins, symbolizing a fresh start.
Cycles (Liturgical Calendar): Christianity follows a liturgical calendar with seasons like Advent, Lent, Easter, etc., each with its own themes and significance.
Closure (Salvation): Through faith in Jesus Christ, individuals gain salvation and eternal life, which is seen as closure to the cycle of sin and separation from God.
Cycles (Ramadan): Islam follows a lunar calendar, and Ramadan is an important month of fasting, prayer, and reflection.
Closure (Repentance and Forgiveness): The Hajj pilgrimage and Ramadan serve as opportunities for Muslims to seek forgiveness and spiritual renewal, symbolizing a fresh start.
Cycles (Reincarnation): Sikhs believe in the cycle of reincarnation, where the soul continues to be reborn until it merges with the divine.
Closure (Union with God): The ultimate goal in Sikhism is to achieve spiritual union with God (Waheguru) and break free from the cycle of birth and death.
Native American Spirituality:
Cycles (Seasonal Rituals): Many indigenous belief systems are deeply connected to the natural world and follow seasonal rituals, which often mark agricultural cycles or celestial events.
Closure (Harmony and Balance): There is an emphasis on the importance of living in harmony with nature and seeking spiritual balance, which can be seen as a form of closure with the cycles of the natural world.
African Religions (Ifa and others):
Cycles: There is an emphasis on the cyclical nature of life, death, and rebirth. Ancestral veneration is a central aspect, recognizing the ongoing presence and influence of ancestors in the lives of the living.
Closure: Ancestral ceremonies and rituals are important for closing cycles in African traditional religions. For instance, rites of passage ceremonies like initiations mark significant life transitions, providing a sense of closure and a new beginning.
Cycles: Vodou is a syncretic religion that incorporates elements of African, Catholic, and indigenous Caribbean beliefs. This belief system sees a cyclical nature of life, death, and rebirth, and places a strong emphasis on ancestor veneration and spirit communication.
Closure: In Vodou, ceremonies and rituals play a significant role in closing cycles. For example, a "ritual bath" (bain) or "cleansing" (boule zen) may be performed to purify and bring closure to a specific phase or experience.
Cycles: Santería is a syncretic religion that combines elements of Yoruba spirituality with Catholicism. It recognizes the cyclical nature of life and the importance of maintaining balance and harmony with the natural and spiritual worlds.
Closure: Santería ceremonies, such as initiations (receiving one's Guardian Orisha) or spiritual cleansings, are designed to bring closure to negative influences or experiences. These rituals serve to protect and empower individuals on their spiritual journey.
Aboriginal Dreamtime (Australia):
Cycles: The Dreamtime is a complex concept that encompasses the past, present, and future. It represents the time of creation and the eternal cycle of existence, where ancestral spirits shaped the world.
Closure: The Dreamtime stories provide a sense of origin and belonging for Aboriginal communities. These stories are passed down through generations and are central to understanding one's place in the world. They provide a sense of closure by connecting individuals to their ancestral heritage.
Maori Spirituality (New Zealand):
Cycles: Maori spirituality is closely tied to the concept of Whakapapa, which traces genealogy and connections to the natural world. It acknowledges the cyclical nature of life, death, and rebirth, emphasizing the interrelationship of all living things.
Closure: Rituals and ceremonies are essential in Maori spirituality. Tangihanga, for instance, is a mourning ceremony that provides a structured process for grieving and saying goodbye to a loved one, facilitating closure and healing for the community.
Theme: Existentialism explores the individual's struggle with meaning and purpose in life. Closing a cycle in this context might involve finding or creating meaning in experiences, even in the face of existential challenges.
Idea: The existentialist notion of "authenticity" emphasizes being true to oneself and taking responsibility for one's choices, which can be an integral part of closing a cycle.
Theme: Stoicism emphasizes acceptance of the natural order and developing inner resilience in the face of life's challenges. Closing a cycle may involve accepting the impermanence of situations and focusing on what is within one's control.
Idea: The Stoic concept of "virtue" and living in accordance with reason can guide individuals in finding closure by aligning their actions with their values.
Buddhism (Philosophical Aspects):
Theme: Buddhist philosophy addresses suffering and the impermanence of all things. Closing a cycle in this context may involve coming to terms with the transient nature of experiences.
Idea: The Buddhist concept of impermanence (Anicca) highlights the importance of letting go and not clinging to attachments, which is fundamental in the process of closure.
Theme: Gestalt psychology emphasizes holistic perception and the importance of closure in organizing perceptions into meaningful experiences. This can be applied to personal growth and transformation.
Idea: Closing a cycle in Gestalt terms might involve integrating fragmented aspects of oneself or experiences into a more complete and cohesive whole.
Theme: Positive psychology focuses on strengths, virtues, and optimal functioning. Closing a cycle here may involve reflecting on one's personal growth and strengths gained from experiences.
Idea: The concept of "post-traumatic growth" suggests that individuals can experience positive psychological changes following adversity, which can be seen as a form of closure.
Attachment Theory (Psychodynamic):
Theme: Attachment theory explores the bonds formed between individuals and how they influence emotional and psychological development. Closing a cycle might involve resolving or finding closure in past attachment experiences.
Idea: Secure attachment styles can provide a foundation for healthy closure, as individuals feel confident in exploring and reflecting on their experiences.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
Theme: CBT focuses on changing maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors. Closing a cycle in CBT terms might involve reframing and integrating past experiences in a more adaptive way.
Idea: Cognitive restructuring techniques in CBT can help individuals make sense of past experiences and find closure by changing unhelpful thought patterns.