axis mundi

The other day, I read a submission that included the phrase "Axis Mundi." There were a lot of other unfamiliar phrases in the story, so I figured it was just something the author had made up.

Tonight, I encountered the phrase again, in a different story by a different author.

I Googled it, and found the relevant Wikipedia entry, so now I know what it refers to. (Though that entry appears to contain a great deal of original research and a certain amount of wacky speculation and overinterpretation. Skyscrapers are designed to evoke the axis mundi? Really?)

But I'm nonetheless a little surprised, and intrigued.

Because the term didn't appear at all in any submission we received until early 2005, after four and a half years of submissions. It popped up again in late 2005, then in mid-2006, then in late 2007. Four instances in three years. Didn't appear at all in any submissions in 2008.

But so far in 2009, we've received five stories that use the phrase, by four different authors.

In other words: in the past nine months, this phrase has turned up in more stories than in the entire previous eight and a half years—the lifetime of the magazine.

So now I'm wondering about the term. Has it recently entered the mass public consciousness, perhaps via the design firm or the band that use the name? Or is this just a coincidence?