Friday, January 15, 2010
Sophia’s Devices VI: Sacred Geometry – CREDO XCVI
Heaven’s way is round, earth’s way is square.
– Lu Wu-pei (Chinese poet)
As the ancient Greeks proclaimed, “God geometrizes.” By that they meant that nature unfolds according to discernable patterns of consistent nature, true now even in the subatomic world. In addition, a symbolic value is implied. Unfortunately, I am unable to do justice to this, being limited to my computer, but I have written a book on the topic called The Web in the Sea: Jung, Sophia, and the Geometry of the Soul. It is a sequel to The Dove in the Stone: On Finding the Sacred in the Commonplace, so you know it is more conversations with Walter on Iona, but with illustrations of circles and squares, et al.
However, I can give you an idea: Draw a circle and look at it. Can you see the whole circle? If you think you can, think again. What is the formula for a circle? It is π r squared and pi never ever comes out. So a circle is a mystery and stands for Spirit Unmanifest, which, no doubt, is the reason that Jung called the psyche a mandala and Joachim of Floris wrote, God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere! This even hints at the suggestion that our solar system may be a hologram, hinting that everything is contained in everything! Phew!
Emerson wrote a whole essay on “Circles,” pointing out that every circle can be encircled by another, and we have the saying: “He drew a circle and shut me out; I drew another and brought him in.”
In the history of mathematics, the introduction of zero was a huge step!
The three-dimensional of a circle is a sphere, and the dodecahedron fits into it with 12 sections! This hints at the nature of the Sun and the 12 Signs of the Zodiac. However, since this is symbolically static and radiant, the Moon adds its orbiting of our Earth, making 13! And this past December (2009), we saw that “blue moon” with two full moons in one month. Incidentally, the number 13 gave rise to all kinds of negative feminine projections in the superstitious Middle Ages, which surprisingly continue to this day. Friday (Freya’s or Venus’s day) the 13th was the double feminine whammy!! And even today, some hotels just don’t have a 13th floor!
So the circle is an abstract concept. The visible constellations are actually an ellipse, as is the twisted form of the lemniscate or symbol for eternity. However, many things in nature are circular: the eye is circular and raindrops form circles, and the scorned dandelion’s pouf is a miraculous life-giving wonder! A streetlight shining through falling snow is a sermon in silence.
It takes a compass to draw a circle. One point is stationary at the center, the other sweeps the circle. The visual result yields the glyphs of the Sun and the metal gold, and sheds light on Jung’s symbol for the mandala of the psyche, the point being the wick of the individual Self, which holds the same flame of the Spirit in every individual.
Perhaps you are familiar with William Blake’s powerful work depicting God holding that compass.
The square is symbolic of the manifest world. Why? Because it can be measured. The carpenter’s square and the compass are the symbols of the esoteric Ancient Order of Masons indicating that they knew of the symbolic import of these two factors for centuries.
The three-dimensional forms of the circle and the square are the sphere and the cube.
The Golden Rectangle employs both a compass and a ruler. There is no way I can convey the miraculous results of this figure! The Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens is built in every detail according to its formula! It engenders not only the four proportions hidden in a pentagram, but also the spiral that one finds in a nebula, the water swirling in your toilet bowl, or the cowlick on a newborn’s head! The unfurling of a rose, the setting of seeds in a sunflower, and on and on. These geometric insights were familiar to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Sumerians but were lost during the destruction of European civilization by the barbarian Goths, resulting in the Dark Ages, but were kept alive by the Islamic world and restored to Europe when the Moors invaded Spain around A.D. 711, which led directly over the following centuries to the Renaissance and, among many others, to a mathematician called Fibonacci. He discovered the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, in which each subsequent number is the sum of the two before, starting with 0 and 1: 0, 1, 1 (0+1), 2 (1+1), 3 (1+2), 5 (2+3), 8 (3+5), 13 (5+8)….. The ratio of each successive pair of numbers in the series soon converges on the Golden Number (phi), 1.618, the ratio expressed in the Golden Rectangle.
Here is my tribute to Fibonacci:
Fibonacci at my kitchen door
Fronds of one stock furl
of each other's surging
the straightest lines in nature
their modesty in touching curl
of heads bowed
in proportion's acknowledgement
I am undone, dear Fibonacci,
by this green and silent sermon
of humble harmony's
an old testament of ordered law —
a new testament of beauteous portent
a family of fern.
Posted by IonaDove