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Sacred geometry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sacred geometry is the geometry used in the planning and construction of religious structures such as churches, temples, mosques, religious monuments, altars, tabernacles; as well as for sacred spaces such as temenoi, sacred groves, village greens and holy wells, and the creation of religious art. In sacred geometry, symbolic and sacred meanings are ascribed to certain geometric shapes and certain geometric proportions. According to Paul Calter:[1] In the ancient world certain numbers had symbolic meaning, aside from their ordinary use for counting or calculating; plane figures, the polygons, triangles, squares, hexagons, and so forth, were related to the numbers (three and the triangle, for example), were thought of in a similar way, and in fact, carried even more emotional value than the numbers themselves, because they were visual.


1 As worldview and cosmology 2 Natural forms 3 Art and architecture 4 Unanchored geometry 5 Music 6 Notes 7 See also 8 Further reading 9 External links

As worldview and cosmology

The belief that God created the universe according to a geometric plan has ancient origins. Plutarch attributed the belief to Plato, writing "Plato said God geometrizes continually" (Convivialium disputationum, liber 8,2). In modern times the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss adapted this quote, saying "God arithmetizes." [2] At least as late as Johannes Kepler (15711630), a belief in the geometric underpinnings of the cosmos persisted among scientists.

Closeup of inner section of the Kepler's Platonic solid model of planetary spacing in the Solar system from Mysterium Cosmographicum (1596) which ultimately proved to be inaccurate.

Natural forms
According to Stephen Skinner, the study of sacred geometry has its roots in the study of nature, and the mathematical principles at work therein.[3] Many forms observed in nature can be related to geometry, for example, the chambered nautilus grows at a constant rate and so its shell forms a logarithmic spiral to accommodate that growth without changing shape. Also, honeybees construct hexagonal cells to hold their honey. These and other correspondences are seen by believers in sacred geometry to be further proof of the cosmic significance of geometric forms.

Art and architecture

Geometric ratios, and geometric figures were often employed in the design of Egyptian, ancient Indian, Greek and Roman architecture. Medieval European cathedrals also incorporated symbolic geometry. Indian and Himalayan spiritual communities often constructed temples and fortifications on design plans of mandala and yantra. Many of the sacred geometry principles of the human body and of ancient architecture have been compiled into the Vitruvian Man drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, itself based on the much older writings of the roman architect Vitruvius.

Unanchored geometry
Stephen Skinner discusses the tendency of some writers to place a geometric diagram over virtually any image of a natural object or human created structure, find some lines intersecting the image and declare it based on sacred geometry. If the geometric diagram does not intersect major physical points in the image, the result is what Skinner calls "unanchored geometry." [4]

Pythagoras is often credited for discovering that an oscillating string stopped halfway along its length produces an octave relative to the string's fundamental, while a ratio of 2:3 produces a perfect fifth and 3:4 produces a perfect fourth. However the Chinese culture already featured the same mathematical positions on the Guqin and the tone holes in flutes, so Pythagoras was not the first. Pythagoreans believed that these harmonic ratios gave music powers of healing which could "harmonize" an out-ofbalance body[citation needed].

1. Jump up ^ Paul Calter, Polygons, Tilings, & Sacred Geometry 2. Jump up ^ Cathrine Goldstein, Norbert Schappacher, Joachim Schwermer, The shaping of arithmetic, p235. [1] 3. Jump up ^ Skinner, Stephen (2009). Sacred Geometry: Deciphering the Code. Sterling. ISBN 978-1-4027-6582-7. 4. Jump up ^ Stephen Skinner, Sacred geometry: deciphering the code, p91

See also

Flower of Life Harmony of the spheres Shield of the Trinity Lu Ban and Feng shui Mathematics and art

Further reading

Lesser, George (1957-64). Gothic cathedrals and sacred geometry. London: A. Tiranti. Beginnings: Geomancy, Builders' Rites and Electional Astrology in the European Tradition by Nigel Pennick Sacred Geometry: Symbolism and Purpose in Religious Structures by Nigel Pennick The Ancient Science of Geomancy: Living in Harmony with the Earth by Nigel Pennick The Sacred Art of Geometry: Temples of the Phoenix by Nigel Pennick The Oracle of Geomancy by Nigel Pennick The Ancient Science of Geomancy: Man in Harmony with the Earth by Nigel Pennick George Bain. Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction. Dover, 1973. ISBN 0486-22923-8. Bromwell, Henry P. H. (2010). Townley, Kevin, ed. Restorations of Masonic Geometry and Symbolry: Being a Dissertation on the Lost Knowledges of the Lodge. Lovers of the Craft. ISBN 0-9713441-5-9. Retrieved Jan. 7, 2012. Robert Lawlor. Sacred Geometry: Philosophy and practice (Art and Imagination). Thames & Hudson, 1989 (1st edition 1979, 1980, or 1982). ISBN 0-500-81030-3. John Michell. City of Revelation. Abacus, 1972. ISBN 0-349-12320-9. Michael S. Schneider. A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science. Harper Paperbacks, 1995. ISBN 0-06-092671-6 Lucy R Lippard: Overlay: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory. Pantheon Books New York 1983 ISBN 0-394-51812-8 Johnson, Anthony: Solving Stonehenge, the New Key to an Ancient Enigma. Thames & Hudson 2008 ISBN 978-0-500-05155-9 Steiner, Rudolf; Catherine Creeger (2001). The Fourth Dimension : Sacred Geometry, Alchemy, and Mathematics. Anthroposophic Press. ISBN 0-88010472-4. Critchlow, Keith (1970). Order In Space: A Design Source Book. New York: Viking. Iamblichus; Robin Waterfield, Keith Critchlow, Translated by Robin Waterfield (1988). The Theology of Arithmetic: On the Mystical, Mathematical and Cosmological Symbolism of the First Ten Numbers. Phanes Press. ISBN 0933999-72-0. Critchlow, Keith (1976). Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach. Schocken Books. ISBN 0-8052-3627-9. The Golden Mean, Parabola magazine, v.16, n.4 (1991) West, John Anthony, Inaugural Lines: Sacred geometry at St. John the Divine, Parabola magazine, v.8, n.1, Spring 1983 Bamford, Christopher, Homage to Pythagoras: Rediscovering Sacred Science, Lindisfarne Press, 1994, ISBN 0-940262-63-0 A. T. Mann, Sacred Architecture, Element Books, 1993, ISBN 1-84333-355-4.

External links

Sacred geometry at the Open Directory Project

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