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How the World Is Made

The Story of Creation according to Sacred Geometry

Published by Inner Traditions
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

Understanding the role of sacred geometry in cosmology and human affairs

• Explains how ancient societies that grasped the timeless principles of sacred geometry were able to create flourishing societies

• Illustrates the social and spiritual values in the natural progression of number

• Contains more than 300 full-color drawings showing the interplay of number and sacred geometry

Galileo described the universe as a large book written in the language of mathematics, which can only be read by those with knowledge of its characters--triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures. The laws of geometry are not human inventions. They are found ready-made in nature and hold a truth that is the same in all times and all places and is older than the world itself.

In How the World Is Made John Michell explains how ancient societies that grasped the timeless principles of sacred geometry were able to create flourishing societies. His more than 300 full-color illustrations reveal the secret code within these geometrical figures and how they express the spiritual meanings in the key numbers of 1 through 12. For example, the number 8 and its octagon are symbols of peace and stability, the holy 7 and its seven-sided figure are connected to the world-soul. He identifies the various regular shapes and shows their constructions; their natural symbolism; their meetings, matings, and ways of breeding; and their functions within the universal order. Some are musical and structural, others relate to life and humanity. In the process of making these discoveries, Michell helps us see the world in a new light. Disparate shapes and their corresponding numbers are woven together, resolving themselves into an all-inclusive world image--that “pattern in the heavens,” as Socrates called it, “which anyone can find and establish within themselves.”


Chapter 1 How the World Began
And Why and Why Worry?

Genesis and the Great Geometer

Developing naturally along with the first stages in geometry is a cosmogony or story of how the world was made. It starts with a creator, the Great Geometer, whose benevolence caused him to undertake the work. He was equipped with a ruler and compass by which can be constructed the primary figures of plane geometry, those that correspond to the first twelve numbers (with the exceptions of the mysterious Seven and Nine and the unsubstantial Eleven). The universe was formed in the most perfect of all shapes, the sphere, represented in two dimensions by the circle. The story is that the Creator, from his position at the center, revolved the shaft of his compass, corresponding to the world pole, and swung a circle that includes everything.

A simple version of the geometer’s creation myth is in Genesis, chapter 1, where the Creator’s work is described in six stages--or seven including his Sabbath day of rest. A parallel account is given in Plato’s Timaeus, written in the fourth century BC, which has been called a commentary on Genesis with added geometrical details. There are, however, doubts about the prior antiquity of Genesis, and it may be that the Timaeus was the original version and the biblical account followed. In any case, both were derived from the same source, from the scientifically grounded, numerically structured description of the universe that was adopted by successive religions and cultures throughout the ancient world. The story that goes with it is a geometric allegory. It was never meant to be taken too literally; but since we evidently need a creation myth, it might as well be the best one. That was Plato’s reasoning in Timaeus where he accepted the traditional account as “the most likely story.”

The Number of the Universe

The universe was made spherical because that is the most perfect shape, and it was also given the perfect number. As the only created entity that is totally self-sufficient, it is the natural symbol of One. But it also has another number, that of the sacred power or principle to which it is dedicated. The practice in religious architecture was to express the dedication of a temple through the area of its ground plan. The universe was dedicated to the traditional Twelve Gods of the cosmos, each represented by one of the first twelve numbers.

The most interesting part of the universal diagram--and the main subject of this book--is its central part, the circle of radius 5040. The number 5040 stands above all others as the characteristic symbol of the traditional canon of number and proportion. This numerical code was the source and basic standard of all the arts, sciences, and institutions of ancient civilizations that were founded upon cosmological principles to reflect the order of the heavens.

About The Author

John Michell (1933-2009), educated at Eton and Cambridge, was the pioneer researcher and specialist in the field of ancient, traditional science. Author of more than twenty-five books, his work has profoundly influenced modern thinking, including The Sacred Center, The Dimensions of Paradise, The New View Over Atlantis, Secrets of the Stones, and The Temple of Jerusalem: A Revelation.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Inner Traditions (March 2, 2012)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781594774775

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Raves and Reviews

"Readers interested in sacred geometry or in Michell's eclectic body of writings will likely be attracted to this book. . . . may also want to recommend it to those studying numerology."

– Janine DePaulo, New Age Retailer, Holiday 2009

"Those willing to follow along on this enchanted path will find themselves filled with wonder, and a new way of seeing the world."

– Robert Simmons, The Metaphysical Buyers Guide, Holiday 2009

"This is a delightful book: clear, witty, beautiful, and illuminating. It is well worth buying for yourself--and for your friends."

– Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist and author of A New Science of Life, The Spectator, Jan 2010

"His [John Michell] approach serves both as a reconnection with the sacred and as a corrective to the present state of alienation throughout the world."

– Richard D. Wright, New Age Retailer, October 2010

". . . a beautifully illustrated geometry primer with philosophical commentary. . . . Michell's finest prose--cool, succinct, and rational . . . a time-capsule of ancient wisdom that will eventually find it's way to those ready to receive it. . . . attractive and accessible . . . eventually some future Pythagoras will pick it up and gasp in wonder . . ."

– Steve Marshall, Fortean Times, Dec 2009

" . . . a ravishing book. . . . John [Michell] was the most contented man I ever knew, and a wise philosopher to boot . . ."

– Candida Lycett Green, Country Life, Nov 2009

". . . looks at how these patterns underlie our whole world since ancient times. . . . a fascinating book."

– Prediction Magazine online, Dec 2009

“. . . a brilliant way to introduce the mathematically inclined youth to Sacred Geometry.”

–, May 2011

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