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Sacred geometry


Sacred geometry

Sacred geometry is used as a religious, philosophical, and spiritual term to explain the fundamental laws of the universe covering pythagorean geometry and the perceived relationships between geometrical laws and quantum mechanical laws of the universe that create the geometrical patterns in nature. Many Gothic cathedrals were built using proportions derived from the geometry inherent in the cube and double-cube; this tradition continues in modern Christian churches to the present time.[1] 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 and others:[1]


  • As worldview and cosmology 1
  • Natural forms 2
  • Art and architecture 3
    • In Hinduism 3.1
  • Unanchored geometry 4
  • Music 5
  • Notes 6
  • See also 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9

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 that "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 (1571–1630), 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 sometimes interpreted in terms of sacred geometry and considered to be further proof of the natural 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.

In Hinduism

The Agamas are a collection of Sanskrit,[4] Tamil and Grantha[5] scriptures chiefly constituting the methods of temple construction and creation of idols, worship means of deities, philosophical doctrines, meditative practices, attainment of sixfold desires and four kinds of yoga.[4]

Elaborate rules are laid out in the Agamas for Silpa (the art of sculpture) describing the quality requirements of the places where temples are to be built, the kind of images to be installed, the materials from which they are to be made, their dimensions, proportions, air circulation, lighting in the temple complex etc. The Manasara and Silpasara are some of the works dealing with these rules. The rituals followed in worship services each day at the temple also follow rules laid out in the Agamas.

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." [6]


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-of-balance body.


  1. ^ Polygons, Tilings, & Sacred Paul Calter,
  2. ^ Cathérine Goldstein, Norbert Schappacher, Joachim Schwermer, The shaping of arithmetic, p235. [2]
  3. ^ Skinner, Stephen (2009). Sacred Geometry: Deciphering the Code. Sterling.  
  4. ^ a b Grimes, John A. (1996). A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit Terms Defined in English. State University of New York Press. ISBN 9780791430682. LCCN 96012383. [3]
  5. ^ Nagalingam, Pathmarajah (2009). The Religion of the Agamas. Siddhanta Publications. [4]
  6. ^ , p91Sacred geometry: deciphering the codeStephen Skinner,

See also

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 0-486-22923-8.
  • 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
  • Critchlow, Keith (1976). Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach. Schocken Books.  
  • The Golden Mean, Parabola magazine, v.16, n.4 (1991)
  • West, John Anthony, Inaugural Lines: Scared 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 DMOZ
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