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How the World is Made

(well, A4 paper at any rate)

I’ve just finished reading one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding in my hands  – John Michell’s final work (with Allan Brown), How the World is Made – The Story of Creation According to Sacred Geometry. Everything about it screams quality; the proportions, the paper, the typeface, the layout, the content, and of course the 300+ beautiful watercolours of John’s sacred geometry illustrations, brought to rich, vibrant life on the page. To open the book is to step into a world of wonder and enlightenment, where every turn of the page reveals another gem to treasure or another profound Truth to enrich the soul. It reminds me somewhat of a cherished children’s story book with pictures – though the content is anything but childish. It’s a book you should definitely buy in hardback as you’re going to want to keep this one on the bookshelf and take it out frequently just to look at or to show it to friends, rather like a favourite ornament or piece of jewellery that you want to show off. It’s a wonderful legacy for John to have left us.

It will help if you have some familiarity with the fundamentals of sacred geometry, or have read some of John’s previous works on the subject as the book almost skims over the basic tenets and ratios, so impatient is it to get into the meaty areas like squaring the circle and the dimensions of the Heavenly City. It feels like the opening chapters were the last to be written and could have done with just a little more explanation to prevent them alienating newcomers to the subject. That may be the case – as John was still working on this book when he passed, perhaps those chapters had yet to receive a final draft revision.  But don’t be put off – very soon you are literally drawn in to the magical world of sacred geometry as the vision unfolds.

Or perhaps Part 1 is deliberately dense to scare off the unworthy, because in Part 2, where the creation story develops through the numbers one to twelve, you do feel like an initiate in Plato’s academy as John takes us through topics like the construction of Atlantis, showing through geometry how their devotion to all things metric led to inherent flaws in the structure of their society and its ultimate collapse. This was actually an exercise that Plato set for his students, and it is so fiendishly hard to expand the required pentagonal and decagonal geometry by hand that John asked his co-writer Allan Brown to complete the exercise using computers; so although John wrote about this topic before in The Dimensions of Paradise, this is the first time that the full exposition has been seen in print.

Ever the traditionalist, John was always against the metric system, not least because the French geometers got it wrong when they came up with the metre – which is too short to be the perfect subdivision of the Earth’s meridian that it is supposed to be (unlike the ancient and traditional measures like the foot). The only ‘proper’ and stable societies have been based around the number 12, as John previously explored in a previous book Twelve Tribe Nations and the Science of Enchanting the Landscape. This is the number at the heart of the New Jerusalem diagram as pictured by John that adorns the cover of the book and is fully explained within.

We are also initiated into the numerical and geometric allegories behind some Bible stories, including the parable of the loaves and fishes and St. John’s Revelations, wherein the true Number of the Beast is revealed. Suddenly many previously obscure Biblical passages make perfect sense for the first time, and you feel that you almost have a glimpse of the fourth and highest stage of classical self-development, that of nous or divine understanding (the first three stages being ignorance, opinion, and knowledge).

Although this is a scholarly tome, John’s love of the subject, his talent as an illustrator, and his sense of humour make it a pleasure to read and a very enjoyable learning experience. On discussing the merits of A4 paper, we learn that it is a rectangle in the proportion of 1:√2, whose unique property is such that when divided in half, each half retains this proportion – hence the whole series of A paper sizes. In rational numbers, the proportion is 99 x 70, and A4 is 297 x 210mm or 3 times 99 x 70. As the book says, “these dimensions, about 11.7 x 8.3 inches, are too big for this book, as well as objectionably metric, but the root-2 proportion is attractive, so we have chosen the simple 9.9 x 7 inches.”

And very attractive it is too. Even if you don’t understand all of the sacred geometry, buy it anyway, because the inner child in you will be enthralled by the wonderful illustrations for years to come, and just maybe the rational adult in you will begin to  comprehend the universal Truths that make this world – for those with ‘nous‘ to see – the real Heavenly City that is all around us.


Grahame Gardner is a professional dowser and geomancer specialising in house-healing work involving geopathic and technopathic stress, and the creation of sacred spaces. He is a Registered Tutor with the British Society of Dowsers, is listed on their Professional Register, and served as President of the Society from 2008-2014. He is also a founder member of The Geomancy Group. This article is from his personal blog Western Geomancy.

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