**The Meaning of Sacred Geometry**

by Randall Carlson

Most of us tend to think of geometry as a relatively dry, if not altogether boring, subject remembered from our Middle school years, consisting of endless axioms, definitions, postulates and proofs, hearkening back, in fact, to the methodology of Euclids Elements, in form and structure a masterly exposition of logical thinking and mental training but not the most thrilling read one might undertake in their leisure time. While the modern, academic approach to the study of geometry sees it as the very embodiment of rationalism and left brain, intellectual processes, which indeed it is, it has neglected the right brain, intuitive, artistic dimension of the subject. Sacred geometry seeks to unite and synthesize these two dynamic and complementary aspects of geometry into an integrated whole. Robert Lawlor addresses this fundamentally dualistic nature of geometry in his essential work: *Sacred Geometry – Philosophy and Practice* (1982), in reference to a medieval representation of geometry as a woman seated at a table, with compasses in hand, surrounded by the implements of the art:

*“Geometry as a contemplative practice is personified by an elegant and refined woman, for geometry functions as an intuitive, synthesizing, creative yet exact activity of mind associated with the feminine principle. But when these geometric laws come to be applied in the technology of daily life they are represented by the rational, masculine principle: contemplative geometry is transformed into practical geometry.”*

Lawlor here expresses a crucial idea in the definition of Sacred Geometry—it has both a contemplative side and a practical side, and an intuitive and intellectual side, it is an activity both right brained and left brained.

Further differentiating Sacred Geometry from the ordinary geometry of our school days is its’ relation to number and symbol. This difference, I think, is succinctly expressed by Miranda Lundy in her superb little book entitled simply *Sacred Geometry* (2001)

*“Sacred Geometry charts the unfolding of number in space. It differs from mundane geometry purely in the sense that the moves and concepts involved are regarded as having symbolic value, and thus, like good music, facilitate the evolution of the soul.”*

Sacred Geometry, then, charts the unfolding of number in space and has symbolic value and thereby has conferred upon it a qualitative status absent from common geometry. And here I must add that magnifying the inherent power of Sacred Geometry is the fact that it also charts the unfolding of number in time. This is an idea of such compelling ramifications that I must return to it in detail in another article.

At the very earliest appearance of human civilization we observe the presence and importance of geometry. It is clearly evident that geometry was comprehended and utilized by the ancient Master Builders, who, laboring at the dawn of civilization some four and one half millennia ago, bestowed upon the world such masterworks as the megalithic structures of ancient Europe, the Pyramids and temples of Pharaonic Egypt and the stepped Ziggurats of Sumeria. That geometry continued to be employed throughout the centuries from those earliest times until times historically recent is also clearly evident. That it was made use of by cultures far-flung about the globe is evident as well, finding expression in China, Central and South America, in pre-Columbian North America amongst Native Americans, in Africa, SE Asia and Indonesia, Rome and of course in classical Greece and in Europe, from the Megalithic era some 4000 years ago, as stated, and again some 3000 years later, magnificently expressed during the Gothic era of cathedral building.

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