Thursday, June 21, 2012

7: Our Ending

Seven-pointed star from Wall Drawing #808, by Sol LeWitt

Let's continue with our number series based on The Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe by Michael Schneider. 

I think I may end this little series here . . . Seven is often a symbol of completion, so it's been said, so at least this is a good place to end. I've found that as time goes on, I'm less sure about what can be truly said about a particular number as a symbol, and I'd rather not go on half-heartedly about things I don't believe in. Nevertheless, there are fascinating connections that we "moderns" miss between pattern, science, and religion, and I hope the series has provoked some interest in seeing those connections. Maybe the healing, geometric designs of Emma Kunz tap into those connections, but I don't really know what to say about this sort of thing right now. Maybe I'll have a dream someday that will help me understand.

Thank you for taking a somewhat random journey through numbers 1 through 7 with me. 


Just for fun: here's a lengthy post on how to draw a heptagon, in case you have a compass, a straightedge, and some extra time on your hands.

Drawing a seven-pointed star using a compass and straightedge is a great exercise in understanding the number seven: unlike other polygons, the heptagon is created outside of the vesca piscis—in this sense, it is "unborn." To create it, you have to draw two circles whose circumferences share each others' centers. Then draw a square in the upper portion of the visca piscis, using the two circles' radius as its bottom edge. Next, draw a circle whose diameter is equal to the square's sides. Find the first side of the heptagon by connecting the two points of the circle's circumference that intersect the tops of the two larger circles.

As Schneider notes, the heptagon is the only shape that originates outside of the vesca piscis: it emerges from the "crown" of the original circles, just as Athena emerged from Zeus's forehead.

Once you have the first side of heptagon, you walk the compass around the circle's perimeter, but this measurement is only an approximation. You'll have the walk the compass in the opposite direction and split the difference between the two points.  

From the heptagon, you'll get two stars (one connects every third point and one connects every other point), and when these stars are combined inside the heptagon, you'll get the "web of Athena."

You can also go here to watch a video for another way of drawing a heptagon and its stars.

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