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The meaning behind “The Flower of Life”

In challenging times, as we deal with epidemics and war, it can be helpful to elevate your mind, and sometimes you can turn to ancient wisdom to help with that. The sacred geometry embedded in the symbol known as “the Flower of Life” has been acknowledged for centuries. From Egypt to Plato and Leonardo da Vinci, “the Flower” has been regarded as having mystical properties that can change your soul.

The Flower of Life is one of the most ancient of symbols and has held profound meaning for many people and cultures throughout history. It can be found in the temples, art and manuscripts of cultures from all over the world. “The Flower of Life” is its modern name, but what we are talking about is a geometrical figure composed of multiple evenly-spaced, overlapping circles that are arranged so that they form a flower-like pattern with the centre of each circle on the circumference of six surrounding circles of the same diameter. Whatever you call it, the Flower of Life is one of the prime examples of what is known as sacred geometry.

Sacred geometry

Sacred geometry is based on pattern recognition. It observes the fundamental relationship of space, time and shape or form. According to this way of thinking, the basic patterns of existence are perceived as sacred, and by contemplating and communing with them you are contemplating the great mystery, the patterning and interrelationships of the “Great Design”. By studying the nature of these cosmic and timeless patterns, forms and relationships it is believed that you can gain insight into the true nature of things — the laws of the universe.

The term sacred geometry is also used for geometry which is employed in the design of sacred architecture and sacred art. The underlying belief is that geometry and mathematical ratios, harmonics and proportionality also shape music, light and life itself. Sacred geometry is the foundation of the design, architecture, fabrication and construction of sacred structures such as temples, mosques, megaliths, monuments, churches and altars. The sacred principles underlying deliberate sacred architecture also shape naturally sacred places like sacred groves, village greens and holy wells, as well as the creation of religious art, iconography and divine proportionality. Sacred geometry, art and architecture need not be manifest as monolithic and enduring either, but may be temporary and yielding, such as non-permanent sand-painting and medicine wheels.

In essence, sacred geometry attributes a religious or cultural value to many of the fundamental forms of space and time. According to this belief system, the basic patterns of existence are perceived as sacred because in contemplating them one is contemplating the origin of all things. By discovering the nature of these forms and their relationship to each other you can gain insight into the scientific, philosophical, psychological, aesthetic and mystical laws of the universe.

The Flower of Life is considered to be a symbol of sacred geometry and is said to contain ancient, religious value depicting the fundamental forms of space and time. It is regarded as a visual expression of the connections life weaves through all humanity, believed to contain a type of Akashic Record of the basic information of all living things. The Akashic Records (Akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning sky, space or ether) are said to be a collection of mystical knowledge that is stored in the ether.

Within the Flower

The Flower of Life itself is actually a compilation of other, smaller sacred shapes. Each of these shapes has their own history and meaning.

The Vesica Piscis
The Vesica Piscis is formed from two intersecting circles of the same diameter, where the centre of each circle is on the circumference of the opposite circle. Its design is one of the simplest forms of sacred geometry. It has been depicted around the world at sacred sites, most notably at the Chalice Well at Glastonbury, England. One of the earliest known occurrences of the Vesica Piscis, and perhaps the first, was among the Pythagoreans, who considered it a holy figure.

According to some beliefs, the Vesica Piscis represents the second stage in the creation of the Seed of Life (see below), in that it was constructed by the Creator (or God) through the creation of a second Spherical Octahedron joined with the first. It is said that the Creator’s consciousness began inside the first sphere and journeyed outside the surface of that sphere to create the second.

The Vesica Piscis has been called a symbol of the fusion of opposites and a passageway through the world’s apparent polarities. It has also been noted as the geometry for the human eye and is thought to be the basis for the Ichthys fish, which is a Christian symbol representing Jesus Christ.

The Tripod of Life
The “Tripod of Life” (also known as the “Borromean Rings”) is formed from a third circle being added to the Vesica Piscis, where the third circle’s centre point is placed at the intersection of the first two circles’ circumferences. To some, it represents the mind, body and spirit. In Christianity, the Tripod of Life symbolises the Father, Son and Holy Spirit of the Holy Trinity.

The Seed of Life
The “Seed of Life” symbol is composed of seven circles taken from the design of the Flower of Life. The shape of the Seed of Life is said to be the shape of a multicellular embryo in its first hours of creation, and it acts as a basic component of the Flower of Life’s design.

According to some religious beliefs, the Seed of Life is a symbol depicting the seven days of creation in which God created life. The first day is believed to be the creation of the Vesica Piscis, then the creation of the Tripod of Life on the second day, followed by one sphere added for each subsequent day until all seven spheres construct the Seed of Life on the sixth day of creation. The seventh day is the day of rest, known as the “Sabbath”.

According to some beliefs, the first step in building the Seed of Life was the creation of the octahedron by a divine Creator (or “God”). The next step was for the Creator to spin the shape on its axes, thus forming a sphere. The Creator’s consciousness is said to exist within the sphere, and the only thing that physically exists is the membrane of the sphere itself.

The Fruit of Life

The “Fruit of Life” symbol is composed of 13 circles taken from the Flower of Life. The Fruit of Life is said to be the blueprint of the universe, containing the basis for the design of every atom, molecular structure, life form and everything in existence. It also contains the geometric basis for Metatron’s Cube which yields the Platonic solids. This might sound a little complex, but it will only take a moment to fill in the gaps.

The Fruit of Life has 13 circles. If each circle’s centre is connected to each other centre with a single line, then a total of 78 lines are created, forming a type of cube — Metatron’s Cube. Within this cube, many other shapes can be found, including two-dimensional versions of the five Platonic solids: the star tetrahedron, the hexahedron (cube), the octahedron, the dodecahedron and the icosahedron. The Platonic solids are five structures that are important because they are the building blocks of organic life. These five structures are found in minerals, animated and organic life forms, sound, music, language, and so the list goes on. Geometrically a Platonic solid is a convex, regular polyhedron. If this doesn’t mean much to you, the name of each figure is derived from the number of its faces: respectively four, six, eight, 12 and 20. Plato believed that they formed the basis of the elements that made up the universe: fire, earth, water, air and ether.

You can see that the Flower of Life is a complex piece of symbolism containing many other symbolic elements that are fundamental to the driving and shaping forces of the universe. These diverse elements and the Flower itself have been identified and embraced by human beings for millennia.

“The Flower” in history

The Temple of Osiris at Abydos, Egypt, contains the oldest known examples of the Flower of Life. They are at most 3000 years old. Beliefs that they may date back over 6000 years and possibly to as long ago as 10,500 BCE are not sustainable. The most recent research shows that these symbols can be dated to no earlier than 535 BCE and most probably date to between the second and fourth century CE. The Flower of Life pattern was placed upon the granite siding of this temple. It appears that it has not been carved into the granite and instead may have been burned into the granite or somehow drawn on it with incredible precision.

Christianity also has many symbolic connections to the Flower of Life. Most notably, the Seed of Life and components within the Seed of Life have strong religious meaning to Christians. These components include the Spherical Octahedron, Vesica Piscis and the Tripod of Life.

The Kabbalah, which has historically been studied by the mystics of Judaism, holds some symbolic connections to the Flower of Life. The symbol of the Tree of Life, which is derived from the Flower of Life, is studied as part of Kabbalistic teaching. Additionally, the symbol of Metatron’s Cub
is found in early Kabbalistic writings.

Throughout history numerous profound and spiritually oriented organisations have studied the Flower of Life and its geometrical derivatives. As mentioned previously one of the earliest known occurrences of the Vesica Piscis, and perhaps the first, was among the Pythagoreans who considered it a holy symbol. The Flower of Life has purportedly been the subject of study by groups such as the Freemasons and the Illuminati. Groups such as these believe the Flower of Life to be the oldest recorded language, holding clues to the workings of the universe.

The great seeker Leonardo da Vinci studied the Flower of Life’s form and its mathematical properties. He drew the Flower of Life itself, as well as components therein, such as the Seed of Life. Da Vinci also drew geometric figures representing shapes such as the Platonic solids, and has also used the golden ration in his artwork; all of which may be derived from the Flower of Life design.

Modern thinkers and seekers have also turned to the Flower of Life for inspiration and focus. In New Age thought, the Flower of Life has been believed to provide access to deep spiritual meaning and forms of enlightenment to those who have studied it as sacred geometry.

You and the Flower

The timelessness of the Flower of Life and its apparent mathematical profundity have made it the subject of extreme belief. Based on the elements that it contains there are those who believe that the symbol can be used as a metaphor to illustrate the connectedness of all life and spirit. It is said that studying this symbol with respect and open-mindedness, the Flower of Life can serve you as a mirror in which you can view your limitless potentials. It is said that looking into the centre of the Flower of Life symbol encourages you to unify your mind, heart and spirit. For many this powerful pattern is a reminder of the universal connectedness we share. Now more than ever, to remind yourself of that connection is important and healing. The proof is in the pudding, and you can find the proof simply by looking into the Flower and discovering what this ancient piece of wisdom holds for you

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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