After reading about the Flower of Life for several months from a wide range of authors from the ancient Greeks to the modern new age, I felt ready to draw my own Flower of Life symbol. I wanted to try and put myself in touch with Jung’s collective unconscious through the practice of scared geometry, using it as a metaphor for universal order, where in his book Sacred Geometry Lawlor advises us that “it is the approach to the starting point of the geometric activity which radically separates what we may call the sacred from the mundane or secular geometries” (Lawlor, 1987, p16). In his dialogue ‘The Republic’ Plato said that “God is always doing geometry”, and it is said that above the door to the Academy in Athens which he founded, and which was the first institution of higher education in the Western world, the words were inscribed “let no one ignorant of geometry enter” (plato-dialogues.org). It was with some trepidation, and a feeling of pressure to do justice to my attempt, that I sat and started my first Flower of Life symbol.
Flower of life in the church of the Preveli monastery, Crete
Middle Eastern silver goblet, 600-500 BCE
Ephesus, Turkey, 1st century BCE
This symbol is currently known as The Flower of Life, the present name is commonly attributed to the new age author Drumvalo Malchizedek from his book The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, Volume 1, 1990, but has spanned multiple ages of humanity. I suggest this symbol is part of a pool of shared unconscious wisdom, as it can be used to show what we have come to know as the Platonic solids coming to public consciousness in various periods in history from as far back as 3200 BCE in the Orkney Islands, through Old Egypt, Plato, the Renaissance (Leonardo da Vinci, Johannes Kepler), and presently Malchizedek. A symbol created through the practice of sacred geometry allows “a link [to be] forged between the most concrete (form and measure) and the most abstract realms of thought” (Lawlor, 1987, p14), and this symbol in particular as well as showing us the Platonic solids, also shows a link between these solids, and via their inherent spheres, teach the orbits of the easily visible planets of our solar system. This would be a powerful teaching tool, as one only needs a compass to replicate it.
My Creative Process
I started to draw overlapping circles on, and with, several different mediums, but while Burnyeat tells us of “the extended paradise of Geometry” (2000, p76), this feeling of paradise, extended or not, only came when everything came together with a completed Flower of Life symbol, because a small deviation in the first round of six circles compounds to quite a problem when you get to the third round of circles. I felt guilty of the messes I created when it went wrong, also remembering that Lawlor suggests “the primary geometric forms are considered to be the creative thoughts of God” (Lawlor, 1987, p17), but realised that when I mentally found a contemplative space and enjoyed the process of geometry, instead of concentrating on a neat outcome, the neat and magical outcome would come of its own accord. Lawlor says that when a geometer is equipped with a compass “a link is forged between the most concrete (form and measure) and the most abstract realms of thought” and that by seeking out that relationship “we bring ourselves into resonance with universal order” (Lawlor, 1987, p14).
Sam’s workshop: creating a paper flower
Listen to Sam’s presentation here