Since ancient times, various cultures across the globe have closely observed the ways in which nature uses number and proportion in the material forms which She creates. What those cultures have discovered is that nature uses a certain and exact set of numbers and proportions over and over. To ancient people it was clear that this set of numbers and proportions must have significance – possess a divine importance – and indeed who can deny that it seems to be a little bit more than just a coincidence that Mother Nature creates seemingly endless forms, all of which are based on a few fairly simple number relations?
The modern intellectual would undoubtedly have no problem explaining away this “coincidence” with cold logic or scientific reasoning, but the ancient cultures that initially discovered nature’s use of numbers had no need to explain things away. In fact, they left their minds open to the sheer mysteriousness of nature’s love of geometry, and found that they could come to understand a little bit of how and why nature would use such specific numbers. Their understanding, of course, was not complete, just as ours is not today, but they did discover that nature’s system of geometry does not only help one to understand how material form takes shape, but can also lead one to understand the mysterious forces which act to shape our human experience itself. They found that nature’s geometric system reflects greater truths of the philosophical nature of all life, and not simply the material form that life chooses to grow in. And, indeed, we too, as modern individuals, can observe and appreciate the beauty of nature’s numbers, and find a direct link between their relation to one another, and our relationship with the world around us.
The architecture of sacred buildings may have been the first human application of reflecting sacred geometry in its own creations. Perhaps the most familiar of these sacred buildings are the Egyptian pyramids at Giza. But by no means are these the only buildings whose proportions are based in sacred geometry. Temples across the globe have been constructed to conform with the laws of proportion which Mother Nature herself has laid down, including the Mayan temples and pyramids of Central America, the Buddhist temples of Cambodia, the Greek and Roman temples of the Mediterranean, and especially so the Gothic cathedrals of Roman Catholicism. All of these cultures, and others not mentioned, believed that if a building was to take on a sacred significance, it must fall in line with the natural proportions of sacred geometry. By doing so, it was felt that the buildings would become, in effect, an extension of the earth itself, and at the same time become representative of the entire cosmos.
In the same way, these cultures believed that any form which humankind created could take on a sacred significance if the laws of sacred geometry were followed in that creation’s construction. Because of this, almost every form of art has been wrapped around the metaphoric language which sacred geometry represents. This divine system has become the basis for everything from paintings to sculptures to ritual dance, and that is to name but a few.
One particular art form which found a firm basis in sacred geometry is traditional Irish knot work, which was sometimes painted and sometimes carved in wood, stone, or bone. In actuality, the artistic form of portraying interwoven knot work designs is found at the roots of many cultures, all over the world – much as sacred geometry itself. However, the Irish developed this particular art form into a complexity and beauty which is only rivaled by Islamic knot work patterns.
Although many believe it to be true, it cannot be said that one particular line motif has a specific meaning in Irish artwork. However, because Irish knot work is by its very nature based on geometry, by observing the geometric patterns which lay behind the knot work itself, we can ascertain the general archetypal meaning which the entire pattern portrays. Many believe that even those who know little or nothing about sacred geometry are effected in a subconscious way by these patterns, as it is believed that sacred geometry is so firmly ingrained within our consciousness (consciousness being a product of nature) that we cannot help but to be attracted to a true mirror of nature such as the artwork represents.
I cannot say whether or not Celtic knot work has a subconscious power of suggestion, but it is clear from my past experience that the artwork as a whole has a very compelling effect on some people’s conscious minds. With the creation of this website, my intention is to explore five basic numbers which form the core of the sacred geometric system, and turn those numbers into matrixes from which I will construct Celtic knot work.
Those five numbers are the square root of two, the square root of three, the square root of five, phi, and the five “Platonic” Solids, which for the purposes of this study I will treat as one subject. Hopefully the combination of both visual and cognitive stimuli will inspire a sort of general feeling, or mood, which will make the observer feel that they have gained a sense of the meaning attributed to each of the five numbers.
I do not intend to make this study a mirror of the mathematical texts that I will have read in my own quest for greater understanding. If the observer wishes to gain more than the slightest inkling of the knowledge which sacred geometry represents, they will have to sit down themselves and spend hours experimenting with pencil, straightedge, and compass. It is most definitely true that it is only by this means that one will come to truly grasp the ins and outs of this complex yet beautiful system.
It is not my intention to teach the observer sacred geometry as a new body of knowledge, but perhaps instead to remind them of something which is already deeply ingrained within them. To effect this “reminder” I will use a common format throughout the book.
First, I will give an introduction to the number and it’s symbolism in sacred geometry, including information on how nature and past cultures have used the number in their creation of form. Then a piece of visual art will be presented which has been created in accord with the number being dealt with. Finally, to help the observer understand how the artwork relates directly to the number, I will also present a short essay describing the symbolism within the visual artwork and how that symbolism relates to the idea inherent in the number in question.
It is hoped that this systematic approach will reach the would be learner on several levels. The description and history of the number are meant to stimulate the logical, intellectual, conscious part of the brain, while the visual artworks and creative writing pieces are presented to stimulate the subconscious emotional aspect of the observer.
I pray that this work be found useful, and that it be used only for the purpose for which it has been created – to open the eyes of those who sleep to a body of knowledge that is a central aspect of both the inner and outer worlds.
all materials copyright 2010, Aidrian O'Connor