Sacred geometry is essentially the study of the spiritual meaning of various shapes. It can be applied to the forms, numbers, and patterns seen throughout the natural world.
The spiral of a snail's shell, the captivating pattern of a single snowflake, and the branches of a tree can all be examples of sacred geometry. Sacred geometry is also thought to exist beyond the naked eye, both on a cellular level and in the stars and orbiting planets.
The idea that the universe follows an intricate equation dates as far back as ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures. It received more attention centuries later in ancient Greece, popularized by philosophers like Pythagoras and Plato.
"Rooted in its nature is the understanding that nothing is in isolation; everything is connected," explains Jemma Foster, author of Sacred Geometry: How To Use Cosmic Patterns To Power Up Your Life.
Sacred geometry espouses the idea that everything is connected. And simply watching those patterns play out in our lives can be very comforting. As author of The Soul Searcher's Handbook Emma Mildon explains to mbg, "sacred geometry is all about this sense of natural alignment."
To more actively introduce this principle into your life, you can also work with sacred geometry talismans and symbols.
"Different patterns formed from sacred geometry offer focal points for meditative states, such as mandalas and Sri Yantras," Mildon adds. To activate these states, you can wear sacred geometric symbols as jewelry or arrange your crystals in geometric patterns on a crystal grid (here's a video to walk you through that process).
To help give you a better understanding of what different shapes mean in sacred geometry, here's a quick primer on a few common ones:
Triangles in sacred geometry are thought to symbolize balance and harmony. The three-sided shape can also be related to the body, mind, and spirit, and with an upward-facing point, it indicates raising consciousness.
When pointing downward, it has also been associated with feminine energy and reproduction, as it resembles the womb space.
Circles have seemingly no beginning or end, so they represent a never-ending loop. As such, circles in sacred geometry can be thought of as a symbol of oneness.
The idea of this "never-ending" shape is demonstrable and observable in pi, or the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi is an irrational number that goes on forever, never repeating.
Squares in sacred geometry represent a very practical and solid energy. Think about the base of a pyramid—it's a square. So this shape can be thought of as foundational and dependable. It's very stable, grounding, and safe.
From a snail's shell to the Earth spiraling around the sun as we travel through space, the spiral, also referred to as the Fibonnaci sequence or the Golden Ratio, can be thought of as a physical manifestation of the expression "as above, so below."
It describes a sequence that starts with two 1's, and every number afterward is the sum of the two previous numbers (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and so on). These spirals relate to everything from the shape of our very DNA to how energy flows through the chakras.
The flower of life is a group of seven overlapping circles that unify in the form of a flower. Arguably one of the most well-known examples of sacred geometry, you may have seen a flower of life in nature, in spiritual art, or on a tattoo on someone in your local yoga studio.
As Mildon tells mbg, it's considered to be a sign of protection, and it represents "creation, and how everything is interconnected in some shape or form."
It is also thought to harness creative energy as well as fertility and blessings. Sometimes it's called the "seed of life," from which every other shape is created.
If you're curious to see sacred geometry play out before your eyes, simply take a walk in nature. "Natural patterns are all around us," Mildon says. "Look into the center of a sunflower. A snowflake. You are observing, feeling, or responding to repeating vibrations and patterns of energy."
As Foster adds, the living spiral of a nautilus shell or the horn of a sheep, the interlocking hexagons of a beehive, the underground formation of crystals, the spin of a spider's web, and the formations of migrating birds—these are all designs and patterns that are so much more than an aesthetic.
"Their beauty is functional," she notes. "Their structure creates the specific dynamic, strength, and balance required to support the role of the individual and collective."
Not only can sacred geometry be seen in nature, but it can be heard, too. There's a reason the blending of certain notes in music sounds harmonious, while the wrong note can quickly turn a chord into a cacophony. What we hear are really vibrations, and those vibrations can indeed be measured mathematically.
The fascinating research on sound healing and sound baths demonstrates how musical vibration can affect our physiology. We all experience this on some level when we listen to fast tempos and get revved up or feel immediately calmer while listening to slow, hypnotic tones.
So many spiritual practices can be amplified by sacred geometry. Even certain yoga poses themselves allow us to get our bodies into geometrical forms that allow for energy flow.
For a simple practice to get you started, try any of the following ideas from Mildon and Foster:
Sacred geometry can be seen on a macro and micro level, from our cells to the stars, in everything from nature to music. And when we understand how it works, we can use it to our benefit. As Foster says, "When we exist in accordance with these sacred principles, we are in a state of abundance and receptivity—we become energetic architects and empowered co-creators of our reality."
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.