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Origin of Sacred Geometry: From the Greeks to the Universe

From the simplest atoms to the largest galaxies, geometry determines the structure and function of the universe. This was known to many ancient civilizations, although it is perhaps most evident in the philosophy of the Greeks. To these ancient philosophers, the study of geometry was the study of the fundamental principles that governed the creation of the universe. 

Plato and the Origin of Sacred Geometry

Over the entrance to Plato’s Academy, the following phrase was posted: “Let no one unversed in geometry enter here.” The study of mathematics and geometry were seen as foundational practices, through which a student could train their mind to the point that they could grasp the highest principles of metaphysics.

The human mind was seen as capable of penetrating into the mysteries of universe. In studying geometry, the student was not learning something new, but rather penetrating into his or her own intuitive understanding of the order of the universe. The structures of geometry follow from basic axioms. Likewise, all of metaphysics follows from fundamental principles of existence. Thus, the origin of sacred geometry is intertwined with the origin of both philosophy and religion.

Sacred Geometry & Early Roots of Mysticism

Early in the first millennium, there was an explosion of interest in metaphysics. Christian, Gnostic, Islamic and pagan theologians all worked to uncover the order of the universe. While different philosophers disagreed on many details, the model of the universe that was presented by Plato was viewed as a mutual starting point. Learn more about Neo-Platonism online.

Theologians of various faiths set forth their own metaphysical systems, attempting to reconcile their own faiths with mystical philosophy. For all of these thinkers, the material world was seen as the result of the unfolding of the Divine Intellect. On the most fundamental level, the universe emanates from the One, which is itself beyond all concepts of being and non-being. It is complete, perfect, and eternal. From this one is born the concepts of duality and balance.

Origin of Sacred Geometry and World Religions

Basic Patterns of Sacred Geometry

From the One source described in nearly all metaphysical systems, the dyad or balance of two equal and opposite forces emerges. There is an inseparable unity of these active and passive forces. The One is divided into subject and object. The root of the universe is formed. This balance is depicted in the well-known yin yang symbol.

Based on this duality, the universe in its infinite forms takes shape. This occurs according to geometric principles of symmetry and harmony. This can be seen clearly in the natural world. Various sequences of numbers and ratios, such as the Golden Ratio or the Fibonacci sequence, can be seen all over the natural world.

These patterns are evident in the way in which shells spiral to the growth patterns of trees. As we learn more and more about the structure of the universe, we continue to find additional examples of harmony and symmetry.

Yin Yang and the Origin of Sacred Geometry
Yin Yang Symbol

In fact, when modern physicists try to decide among competing theories, the one that is most harmonious and symmetrical is chosen. This is because over time it has been proven again and again that our universe is a masterpiece of geometric symmetry and order. From the most fundamental particles to the largest super-clusters of galaxies, the place of geometry and symmetry as essential to the creative principle of the universe. Sacred geometry appears to be an organizing principle in both the physical and spiritual realms.

Author Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.

Kathleen Karlsen Sacred Mantras & Symbolic Art

Kathleen’s Books

Vocal Medicine reveals Kathleen Karlsen’s personal journey and years of research into mantras, chanting and kirtan. Learn more about using mantras and singing to invigorate your life! Explore the chakras and the impact of sound in every area of your life. 

Flower Symbols by Kathleen Karlsen features fascinating information about the folklore of the world’s most beloved flowers. Flowers accompany us in nearly every major event in life. This book is a perfect gift for every flower lover in your life! 

Other Resources On This Site

Other resources on the web: Vibrational Frequencies of Life.


This article covers the origin of sacred geometry beginning in the days of Plato and early mysticism. Sacred geometry forms the basic patterns in nature and plays a strong role in the esthetics of art and design. Learn more about this mathematical basis to life.

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