b'The Yin Yang Spiral One of the most widely known metaphysical symbols, theseThe Spiral We Live In interlocking light and dark forms come from the Taoist[Tom] The house is a spiral sculpture that we live ina tradition rather than the world of geometry. The blackbeautiful and inspiring, practical and whimsical container represents the yin energyfemale, receptive, soft, shad- for our lives. Every detail of the design was informed by the ows. The white represents the yang energymale, active,organic unity inherent in the spiral pattern. Throughout hard, light. Each area contains a dot of the opposite color,our days, the spirals rhythmic expansion and contraction enabling the yin-yang symbol to convey that all perceivedreflects those energies in our own lives. We move between opposites are complementary manifestations of the samethe periphery and the center in the process through which principle, each containing the seed of the other in a singleconsciousness unfolds. energy spiraling between two poles. We etched a variationWhile we were writing this book, I came upon this ofthe yin-yang symbol into the keystone of the arches of thediagram (below) demonstrating the golden relationships Spiral House (one shown at right). Alan Watts has said thatin the star pentagon. Created by the architectural designer if you understand yin and yang, you understand everything. and sacred geometry expert Keith Critchlow, the drawing astonished us with how accurately it describes the floor plan The Geometry All spirals carry the rich metaphysical connotations thatof our house and the way we laid it out using a polar radius of Spirals we have been exploring in these pages. But in terms of pureWhen the proportions of a logarithmic spiral are related by phi, wefrom the center. Although our curve is slightly different, and geometry, there are different types of spirals, and some ofhave a golden spiral (below). This brings us back to the series ofclosed at both its widest and narrowest points, the similari-squares within a progression of golden rectangles that we looked at these differences informed the functional success of ourearlier in this chapter; the curve connecting opposite corners of theties are remarkable: fifty-two wall segments, diminishing in 124Sacred Geometry 1 125spiral floor plan as a place to live. adjacent squares grows by a factor of phi and creates a golden spiral.width as the spiral turns around its center two and a quarter The Golden Spiral has been called the mathematical expression of the life breath of the universe. times. I hadnt realized how the pentagram a shape so Archimedean spirals (left) have evenly spaced coils. They grow sacred that the Pythagoreans used it as their secret sealis at a fixed rate: the distance between curves remains the same whileembedded in our house plan. This is one of many examples the curve itself gets broader. A useful, man-made invention, you findArchimedean spirals in the evenly spaced grooves of early gramo- of how the house continues to reveal mystical connections phone records, and the end views of a roll of paper towels. that we didnt know were there.In logarithmic spirals (below left), the distance between windings increases proportionally while the shape of the curve remains the1.618031.618same. These are the growth curves found in nature, the logarithm being a simple pattern for growth over time. For example, the pat- The natural form that comes closest to a mathematically perfect tern might grow one unit, curve one unit, grow two units, curve onegolden spiral is the chambered nautilus, whose spiral curve guided unit, grow three units, curve one unit; the size grows progressivelyus as we shaped the floor plan of the house. The nautilus spiral larger while the arc turns at a constant rate. If you were to enlargeis illustrated by the red line in the diagram below. You can see that a section of an inner curve, you could fit it precisely over a sectionthe nautilus curve is not identical to a golden spiral (indicated by the on the next winding, and the next, and the next. This quality, calleddotted green line); but the inner spaces created by the nautilus curve self-similarity, gives seashells, plants, and animal horns a constantwere more functionally proportional for living areas. As we move center of gravity even as the size of the organism grows.around the house, and from one floor to another, we experience and E D C B A In a logarithmic spiral, the ratio of the distance between consecutiveembody the relationship between different turns of the spiral.turns is equal (AB/BC = BC/CD = CD/DE); and all the angles formed where the spiral meets a straight line drawn through the center are equal (