Film of John Michell at Lundy Island

This is a film by me of John Michell before his death. It was made on Lundy Island at which time he was working on some of his last published ideas about the British Isles from the perspective of sacred geometry and metrology, both fields in which John made outstanding contributions including The View Over Atlantis, Dimensions of Paradise and Ancient Metrology. It is published here to enable those who did not to experience the unique presence of John Michell, itself conducive to understanding his work.

originally published Monday, 28 May 2012 at 10:58
It was read 478 times

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Gavrinis 1: Its dimensions and geometrical framework

This article first appeared in my Matrix of Creation website in 2012 which was attacked, though an image had been made. Some of this material appeared in my Lords of Time book.

Gavrinis and Tables des Marchands are very similar monuments, both in the orientation of their passageways and their identical latitudeGavrinis is about 3900 metres east of Tables des Marchands but, unlike the latter, has a Breton name based upon the root GVR (gower). Both passageways directly express the difference between the winter solstice sunrise and the lunar maximum moonrise to the South, by designing the passages to allow these luminaries to enter at the exact day of the winter solstice or the most southerly moonrise over many lunar orbits, during the moon’s maximum standstill. Thus both the monuments allow the maximum moon along their passageway whilst the winter solstice sunrise can only glance into their end chambers.

From Howard Crowhurst’s work on multiple squares, we know that this difference in angle is that between a 3-4-5 triangle and the diagonal of a square which is achieved directly by the diagonal of a seven square rectangle.

Figure 1 The essence of difference between the winter solstice sunrise (as diagonal of 4 by 3 rectangle) and southerly maximum moonrise (as diagonal of a single square), on the horizon, is captured in the diagonal of a seven squares rectangle.
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82: A Natural Accurate Pi related to Megalithic Yard

Author at Le Manio Quadrilateral (c. 4000 BC) in 2010. To left, the end of the southern-kerb’s day-inch count, which created the first megalithic yard of 261/8 (32.625) day-inches.

In my academia.edu paper on lunar simulators, based upon the surviving part of a circular structure at Le Manio (Carnac, Brittany), a very simple but poor approximation to PI could be assumed, of 82/26 (3.154) since there seem to have been 82 stones in the circle and the diameter was 26 of the inter-stone distance of 17 inches. The number 82 is significant to simulation of the moon’s orbit since that orbit is very nearly 27 and one third days long (actually 27.32166 days). In three orbits therefore, there are almost exactly 82 days and in day-inch counting that is 82 day-inches. Also of interest is the fact that in three orbits, the exact figure would be 81.965 day-inches which approaches the megalithic rod of 2.5 MY as 6.8 feet.

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Form implied by the Kaaba’s Walls

The Kaaba appears to express a geometrical progression of adjacent odd numbers starting with one and three. This differs from the super-particular ratios found within the right triangles of astronomical time periods formed by the Megalithic, in which the ratio pairs separated by only one rather than by two, between only odd numbers. However, the multiple-square rectangles used by the megalithic to approximation celestial ratios, made use of the three-square rectangle. In one of the smallest of these rectangles, it simultaneously approximates two pairs of ratios: The eclipse year (346.62 days) to the solar year (365.2422 days) and the solar year to the thirteen lunar month year (384 days).

Figure 1 The three-square approximations in a triple series of astronomical periods. Note that the diagonals relative to the base are the result of having three squares in a rectangle then one high and three along – and two different. Two such rectangles geometrically sum (their angles) to give that of the (First Pythagorean) 3-4-5 triangle, 36.8 degrees.
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The Golden Mean compared to PI

In reviewing some ancient notes of mine, I came across an interesting comparison between the Golden Mean (Phi) and PI. They are more interesting in reverse:

A phi square (area: 2.618, side: 1.618) has grown in area relative to a unit square by the amount (area: 0.618) plus the rectangle (area:1 ). This reveals the role of phi’s reciprocal square (area: 0.384) in being the reciprocal of the reciprocal so that in product they return the unity (area: 1).

On the right, the phi squared square showing how the reciprocal of phi and its square uniquely sum to unity (area: 1), a property that is scale invariant between structures who share the same units and grow according to the Golden Mean.
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Astronomical Time within Clava Cairns

In North East Scotland, near Inverness, lies Balnuaran of Clava, a group of three cairns with a unique and distinctive style, called Clava cairns; of which evidence of 80 examples have been found in that region. They are round, having an inner and outer kerb of upright stones between which are an infill of stones. They may or may not have a passageway from the outer to the inner kerb, into the round chamber within. At Balnuaran, two have passages on a shared alignment to the midwinter solstice. In contrast, the central ring cairn has no passage and it is staggered west of that shared axis.

This off-axis ring cairn could have been located to be illuminated by the midsummer sunrise from the NE Cairn, complementing the midwinter sunset to the south of the two passageways of the other cairns. Yet the primary and obvious focus for the Balnuaran complex is the midwinter sunset down the aligned passages. In fact, the ring cairn is more credibly aligned to the lunar minimum standstill of the moon to the south – an alignment which dominates the complex since, in that direction the horizon is nearly flat whilst the topography of the site otherwise suffers from raised horizons.

Cairns at Balnuaran of Clava. plan by A. Thom and pictures by Ian B. Wright
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Use of foot ratios in Megalithic Astronomy

The ratios of ancient metrology emerged from the Megalithic innovations of count&compare: counting time as length and comparing lengths as the longest sides of right triangles. To compare two lengths in this way, one can take a longer rope length and lay it out (say East-West), starting at the beginning of the shorter rope length, using a stake in the ground to fix those ends together.

The longer rope end is then moved to form an angle to the shorter, on the ground, whilst keeping the longer rope straight. The Right triangle will be formed when the longer rope’s end points exactly to the North of the shorter rope end. But to do that one needs to be able to form a right angle at the shorter rope’s end. The classic proposal (from Robin Heath) is to form the simplest Pythagorean triangle with sides {3 4 5} at the rope’s end. One tool for this could then have been the romantic knotted belt of a Druid, whose 13 equally spaced knots could define 12 equal intervals. Holding the 5th knot, 8th knot and the starting and ending knots together automatically generates that triangle sides{3 4 5}.

Forming a square with the AMY is helped by the diagonals being rational at 140/99 of the AMY.
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A Lecture introducing Sacred Number and the Lords of Time

… given as the John Michell Memorial Lecture for
at Megalithomania 2015 in Glastonbury

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Thornborough Henge as Moon’s Maximum Standstill

The three henges appear to align to the three notable manifestations to the north west of the northerly moon setting at maximum standstill. The distance between northern and southern henge entrances could count 3400 days, each 5/8th of a foot (7.5 inches), enabling a “there and back again” counting of the 6800 days (18.618 solar years/ 19.618 eclipse years) between lunar maximum standstills.

Figure 1 The three henges are of similar size and design, a design most clear in what remains of the central henge.
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Number Symbolism at Table des Marchands

Table des Marchands, a dolmen at Lochmariaquer, can explain how the Megalithic came to factorise 945 days as 32 lunar months by looking at the properties of the numbers three, four and five. At that latitude, the solstice angle of the sun on the horizon shone along the 5-side of a 3-4-5 triangle to east and west, seen clearly at the Crucuno Rectangle "Lunar Counting from Crucuno Dolmen to its Rectangle".

Before numbers were individually notated (as with our 3, 4 and 5 rather than |||, |||| and |||||) and given positional notation (like our decimal seen in 945 and 27), numbers were lengths or marks and, when marks are compared to accurately measured lengths measured out in inches, feet, yards, etc. then each vertical mark would naturally have represented a single unit of length. This has not been appreciated as having been behind marks like the cuneiform for ONE; that it probably meant “one unit of length”.

Figure 1 The end and cap stone inside the dolmen Table des Marchands in which the elementary numbers in columns and rows perhaps inspired its attribution to the accounts of merchants
Locmariaquer (Morbihan, Bretagne, France) : la Table des Marchand, interieur.
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Earth and Moon within Westminster’s Coronation Pavement

Our modern globes are based upon political boundaries and geographical topography yet they have geometrical predecessors, which described the world as an image, diagram or schemata. The original idea for the form of the world was summarised within a simple two dimensional geometry, like an eastern mandala or yantra.

Such a diagram was built into the Cosmati pavement at Westminster Abbey, built by Henry III and dedicated to the Saxon King and Saint Edward the Confessor. This exotic pavement became the focus for the Coronations of subsequent English then British monarchs.

Figure 1 Photo of the Cosmati Pavement at Westminster Abbey
[Copyright: Dean and Chapter of Westminster]
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Musical Tones of the Outer Planets

My crucial entré to planetary harmony came when I noticed musical ratios in the synodic time periods of Jupiter and Saturn relative to the lunar year. This approach differs from the norms for “harmonies of the spheres” (a.k.a. Musica Universalis) which are geometrical and spatial, rather than temporally harmonic.

The planetary harmony I found within synodic periods became the subject of my new book The Harmonic Origins of the World (pub. 2018). These synodic ratios have been parts of my work from c. 2000, then expressed as “matrix diagrams” (Matrix of Creation, figure 2 below). In my new book, I show how ancient tuning theory seems to have presented the same information, in a different type of matrix (see figure 4).

Below I connect the outer planets using two additional (and useful) kinds of diagram, the right-angled triangle (figure 1) and the Pentad (figure 5), the latter developed in the 20th century within a discipline called Systematics. 

Figure 1 The harmonic ratios between the nearest two outer planets and the lunar year. The four square rectangle with side length of four, when equal to the lunar year gives, geometrically, the solar year as its diagonal length. The outer planetary synods are longer than the solar year as the planets have moved ahead of their last opposition to the sun. Such oppositions are marked by an outer planet appearing to travel in a loop, amongst the stars
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Eleven Questions on Sacred Numbers

In 2011, Sacred Number and the Origins of the Universe was nicely re-published in Portuguese by Publisher Pensamento in Brazil. Their press agent contacted my publisher for an email interview from a journalist who posed eleven questions about sacred number.


1) Is the universe a mathematical equation? 

If the universe is a creation then it needs to have organizing principles governing its structure. I believe that this structure is governed by what we call sacred numbers. Numbers relative to each other form proportions that in sound are perceived as musical intervals. The universe is more like a set of musical possibilities, making it more dramatic and open-ended than an equation.

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