The Approximation of π on Earth

π is a transcendental ratio existing between a diameter/ radius and circumference of a circle. A circle is an expression of eternity in that the circumference, if travelled upon, repeats eternally. The earths shape would be circular if the planet did not spin. Only the equator is now circular and enlarged, whilst the north and south poles have a shrunken radius and, in pre-history, the shape of the earth’s Meridian between the poles was quantified using approximations of π as was seen in the post before last. In some respects, the Earth is a designed type of planet which has to have a large moon, 3/11 of the earth’s size and a Meridian of such a size that the diverse biosphere can be created within the goldilocks region of the Sun’s radiance.

It would be impossible to quantify the earth as a physical object without the use of approximations to π, a technique seen as emerging in Crucuno between its dolmen and famous {3 4 5} Rectangle where the 32 lunar months in 945 days was used, through manipulation of proximate numbers to rationalize the lunar month to 27 feet (10 Drusian steps) within which days could be counted using one Iberian foot (of 32/35 feet) as described here and in my Sacred Geometry book.

John Michell (1983) saw that different types of foot had longer and shorter versions, different by one 175th part and corresponding to the north-south width of two parallels of latitude: 51-52 degrees, which is the mean earth degree, and 10-11 degrees. The ratio 176/175 is interesting as for its primes.

  1. The harmonic primes {2 3 5} are 16/25 times 11/7.
  2. The 11/7 is half of the pi of 22/7 and the harmonic ratio is the inverse of 25/8.

From this it is clear that these two latitudes are related by the approximation to 1 of a π (22/7) and a reciprocal 1/π (8/25).

But John Neal (2000) saw that some feet also expressed 441/440 which is the ratio between the mean radius of the earth and its polar radius, visually clear in the Great Pyramid. This ratio is also the cancellation of two different πs, namely 63/20 and 7/22 since 7 x 63 = 441 and 20 x 22 = 440. From this emerged an ancient model of the earth that was embodied within the ancient metrology itself. I call this the metrological model rather than the (earlier) geometrical model based upon equal perimeters and the singular π of 22/7.

The metrological model gave a set of regular reference latitudes that accurately defined the geoid of the planet’s meridian by 2,500 BC. One can ask how those developing the model came across the idea of using proximate ratios of π like 176/175 and 441/440, since the system works so well that one may say that the meridian appears to have been designed that way.

The geometric model already defined the mean radius as 3960 miles and so that gives a mean earth meridian of 22 x twelve to the power six. One 180th of this gives a degree length of 364953.6 feet and this is only found at the parallel 51-52 degrees. It is this that defines the megalithic in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, an obvious candidate for the metrological survey whose complementary latitude was probably 175/176 of this (362880 feet) in Ethiopia, south of the Great Pyramid. The parallel of the Great Pyramid is 441/440 longer (362704.72) than that of Ethiopia while Athens and Delphi are 440/441 of the mean earth and Stonehenge parallel, that is 364126 feet.

This system was first set by Neal in All Done With Mirrors 2000 as I was writing my first book Matrix of Creation. Are we to think Neal made it up or are we dealing with an exact science that had developed through the megalithic enterprise. And if the Egyptians had an exact science of the earth’s geiod, what are we to make of the fact that the earth appears to follow such a numerically inspired pattern of relationships still true today, in the age of global positioning satellites.

One clue lies in the mind, and how ancient number sciences focus holistically upon the balancing mean. A mean earth that did not spin never existed, since it was only the collision with another planet which created the Moon 3/11 smaller than the Earth. The mean earth radius is these days established as the cube root of the equatorial radius squared times the polar radius. This is less, by 3024/3025, than the geometric model’s mean earth radius of 3960 miles, again maintaining rationality.

It would appear that, in entering the physical and spatial, any planetary design might have been based upon precise rational approximations, about the mean size, of π. To this mystery must be added the musical harmony of the outer planets to the Moon, the Fibonacci harmony of Venus to the Earth itself and the extraordinary numerical relationships of planetary time created by the Sun, Moon and Earth documented by my heavily-diagrammed books and website. From this, more and more can be understood about our prehistory and about its monuments.

Books on Ancient Metrology

  1. Berriman, A. E. Historical Metrology. London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1953.
  2. Heath, Robin, and John Michell. Lost Science of Measuring the Earth: Discovering the Sacred Geometry of the Ancients. Kempton, Ill.: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2006. Reprint edition of The Measure of Albion.
  3. Michell, John. Ancient Metrology. Bristol, England: Pentacle Press, 1981.
  4. Neal, John. All Done with Mirrors. London: Secret Academy, 2000.
  5. —-. Ancient Metrology. Vol. 1, A Numerical Code—Metrological Continuity in Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron Age Europe. Glastonbury, England: Squeeze, 2016 – read 1.6 Pi and the World.
  6. —-. Ancient Metrology. Vol. 2, The Geographic Correlation—Arabian, Egyptian, and Chinese Metrology. Glastonbury, England: Squeeze, 2017.
  7. Petri, W. M. Flinders. Inductive Metrology. 1877. Reprint, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

π and the Megalithic Yard

The surveyor of megalithic monuments in Britain, Alexander Thom (1894 – 1985), thought the builders had a single measure called the Megalithic Yard which he found in the geometry of the monuments when these were based upon whole number geometries such as Pythagorean triangles. His first estimate was around 2.72 feet and his second and final was around 2.722 feet. I have found the two megalithic yards were sometimes 2.72 feet because the formula for 272/100 = 2.72 involved the prime number 17 as 8 x 17/ 100, and this enabled the lunar nodal period of 6800 days to be modelled and and the 33 year “solar hero” periods to be modelled, since these periods both involve the prime number 17 as a factor. In contrast, Thom’s final megalithic yard almost certainly conformed to ancient metrology within the Drusian module in which 2.7 feet times 126/125 equals 2.7216 feet, this within Thom’s error bars for his 2.722 feet as larger than 2.72 feet.

This suggests Thom was sampling more than one megalithic yard in different regions or employed for different uses. Neal [2000] found for Tom’s statistical data set having peaks corresponding to the steps of different modules and variations in ancient metrology, such as the Iberian with root 32/35 feet and the Sumerian with root 12/11 feet. It is only when you countenance the presence of prime numbers within metrological units that one breaks free of the inevitably weak state of proof as to what ancient units of measure actually were and, more importantly, why they were the exact values they were and further, how they came to be varied within their modules. However, the megalithic yard of 2.72 appears to outside the system in embodying the prime number 17 for the specific purpose of counting longer term periods which themselves embody that prime number.

The discipline of using only the first five primes {2 3 5 7 11} must have been accompanied by the perception that only if primes were dealt with could certain ends be served. This is crystal clear when we come to musical ratios in which the harmonic primes alone are used of {2 3 5} with an occasional “passenger” of the prime {7} as in 5040 which is 7 x 720, the harmonic constant.

Using 2.72 feet to count the Nodal Period

The first remarkable characteristic of 2.72 feet is that 8 x 17 in the numerator means that the approximation to π of 25/8 = 3.125 can, in (conceptually) multiplying a diameter, provide an image of 25 units on the circumference of a stone circle. For example a diameter of 2 MY would suggest 17 MY on the circumference, which is quite remarkable. Further to this, we know that the 6800 days of nodal cycle is factored as 17 x 400 and that the MY was shown (acceptably) to have been made up of 40 digits (in conformance to the general tradition within metrology that there are 16 digits per foot and 40 for a step of 2.5 feet, which a MY traditionally is). The circumference of 17 MY is then 17 x 40 digits which means that a diameter of 20 MY would give a circumference of 17 x 400 digits equalling 6800 digits as a countable circumference in digits per day.

This highlights how prime number factors played a role, in the absence of arithmetical methods, in solving the astronomical problems faced by the late stone age when counting time periods in days.

Seven, Eleven and Equal Perimeters

above: image of applications involving sacred geometry based upon pi as 22/7 and a circle of equal perimeter to a square, from a previous post.

The geometrical and other relationships between different numbers are easily found to be useful through simple experiments. The earliest approximations to pi (22/7) was key in the megalithic and later ancient cultures, for making circles of a known diameter and circumference, the foremost using the numbers 7 and 11 doubled twice. A staked rope of length seven will create a circumference of 44, to a high degree of accuracy.

But what is pi? it actually connects two different worlds, of extensive linear measure and of intensive rotational measure. As the radius rope is made larger the circle expands from its center but it remains a whole circle, except that its circumference is made up of more “units” all according to the ratio pi = 22/7, in a good approximation.

But measuring a circumference is fiddly, it is circular! In contrast, it is very much easier to work with squares since their perimeter is four times their side length. And in many cases, one does not really need to measure the perimeter. Because of this, the megalithic looked for and discovered an easier procedure in which one could know the circumference of a circle if one could generate the square that has the same circumference now called the equal perimeter model. This was surprisingly simple to grasp and implement.

First of all, one can lay out a linear length, that divides by 4, lets say 28 which is 4 x 7. The length is made up of four lengths, each of 7 units and, a square of side length 7 will have a perimeter of 28, same as the linear length. The square is really just a rolled-up set of 4 lengths at right angles!

The diameter of a circle with 28 units on its circumference must be larger than its incircle of diameter 7 and, if pi is 22/7 then, the diameter will be exactly 14/11 of the side length. Notice that 14/11 is cancelling the seven and eleven in pi as 22/7.

The equal perimeter rope will be staked in the very center of the square. The side of 7 is then 7 x 14/11 or 98/11 units and this, times 22/7 equals 28 – the perimeter of both the circle, and square side-length 7 units. There is no need to calculate this if one draws a triangle ratio {11 14} from the center of the square. This triangle’s slope angle automatically “calculates” or reproportions the cardinal length (whatever this is) into a suitable rope (or radiant) length.

One often does not need to form the circle to know what its perimeter would be through measurement. Once one knows that every square has a twin circle of the same perimeter, this changes thinking. This is particularly significant when forming a circular model of the sun’s path in the year. If the “saturnian” year 364 days was used, it unusually divides by 28 days, and 13, and 7 days; the seven-day week. The square would have a side length of 13 weeks (91 days) and the radius rope would need to be (13 x 7) x 7/11 which, times 44/7 reconstitutes the circumference of 364 days.

My book Sacred Geometry: Language of the Angels has much to say on equal perimeter modelling, which is found throughout the ancient building traditions that followed on from the megalithic period, using the older techniques of metrological geometry alongside the development of arithmetic methods. Click on the Bookshop logo or Google, and find out more.

How Geometries transformed Time Counts into Circles

Above: example of the geometry that can generate one or more circles,
equal to a linear time count, in the counting units explained below.

It is clear, one so-called “sacred” geometry was in fact a completely pragmatic method in which the fourfold nature of astronomical day and month counts allowed the circularization of counts, once made, and also the transmission of radius ropes able to make metrological metrological circles in other places, without repeating the counting process. This “Equal Perimeter” geometry (see also this tag list) could be applied to any linear time count, through dividing it by pi = 22/7, using the geometry itself. This would lead to a square and a circle, each having a perimeter equal to the linear day count, in whatever units.

And in two previous posts (this one and that one) it was known that orbital cycles tend towards fourfold-ness. We now know this is because orbits are dynamic systems where potential and kinetic energy are cycled by deform the orbit from circular into an ellipse. Once an orbit is elliptical, the distance from the gravitational centre will express potential energy and the orbital speed of say, the Moon, will express the kinetic energy but the total amount of each energy combined will remain constant, unless disturbed from outside.

In the megalithic, the primary example of a fourfold geometry governs the duration of the lunar year and solar year, as found at Le Manio Quadrilateral survey (2010) and predicted (1998) by Robin Heath in his Lunation Triangle with base equal to 12 lunar months and the third side one quarter of that. Three divides into 12 to give 4 equal unit-squares and the triangle can then be seen as doubled within a four-square rectangle, as two contraflow triangles where the hypotenuse now a diagonal of the rectangle.

Continue reading “How Geometries transformed Time Counts into Circles”

The Stonehenge Trilithons (Part 2): Day-Inch Counting

In the previous article, it was shown that the form of the trilithons, of five taller double sarsens approximating to a five-pointed star, matches the astronomical phenomena of the successive morning and evening stars, as Venus approaches Earth from the east and then recedes to the west as the morning pass. On approach, the planet rises in the evening sky and then dives into the evening sun and if one traces this motion it have the appearance of a horn. Venus shoots past the sun and reappears in the morning sky as the sun rises, creating another traced horn shape, symmetrical to the evening.

Figure 1

In support of the form of the trilithons resembling five successive double horns of Venus over 8 years, the width of the inner faces can also be interpreted as to their length being one megalithic rod, that is 2.5 megalithic yards. The distance between each pillar is ¼ of a megalithic rod so that, each inner face is divided by 4 of these units which units are 5/8ths of a megalithic yard, the ratio of the practical year of 365 days relative to the Venus synod of 584 days (365 / 584 = 5/8), the common factor between the two periods being 73 days.

The combined inner width of each pair of supports would therefore symbolize 8 x 73 days, or 584 days. Five of these pairs would then be 5 x 584 days, which equals 2920 days, this time period also being 8 x 365 days or eight practical years.

The inner surfaces lie on an ellipse which can be framed by a 5 by 8 rectangle whose sides are exactly the diameters required to form a day-counting circle for 365 day-inches (116.136 inches) and 584 day-inches (185.818 inches). The 365 day-inch circle (shown red and dashed in figure 4) has its centre in the center of the ellipse and so would have touched the two trilithons at A and B, at a tangent to their faces.

Figure 2 The Venus count of 584 day-inches (shown blue and dashed) was concentric to both the bluestone and sarsen circles, sitting inside of the bluestone circle.

The high degree of correlation between,

  1. the five-fold form of the Venus synod and the five couplets of trilithons,
  2. the summed inner widths of the trilithons as being 5 x 8 = 40 units of 73 days = 2920 days.
  3. the out-rectangle of the inner ellipse being 8 by 5 and
  4. the rectangle’s sides being the diameters of two circles of 584 inches and 365 inches, suitable for day-inch counting,

……. points to the 5-fold horseshoe of trilithons as a “temple” to the unique astronomical behavior of Venus in its synodic relationship to the solar year of 365 whole days.

No other compelling explanation exists, though many interpretions have been proposed such as

The Stonehenge trilithons as synods of Venus

Figure 1 The five Trilithons of Stonehenge 3, highlighted in yellow within the Sarsen ring to express the five evening and morning star couplets which occur in eight practical years of 365 days. Plan from Megalithic Remains in Britain and Brittany, Oxford U.P. Central portion is fig.3, upside down to match the horseshoe of trilithons..

Inside the Sarsen ring of Stonehenge, there once stood a group of five trilithons, each made up of two uprights and a lintel stone, repeating the unique style of building found in the Sarsen ring. However the Trilithons were higher than the sarsens, punctuating an elliptical cup shape towards the midsummer sunrise, the axis of Stonehenge and its solstice-marking “heel” stone.

The Horns of Venus

The symbolism therefore involved (a) the Sun, (b) the number five of the trilithons while (c) expressed something involving close pairs. The dominant astronomical significance of the number 5 comes through the brightest planetary phenomenon of all, in which the planet Venus approaches the Earth, as Venus approaches from the east, preceding the Sun in the evening sky. It is often therefore called the Evening Star. Venus then shoots past the sun and reappears in the morning sky, again growing in brightness as the Morning Star.

Figure 2 The Horns of Venus when the evening and morning “stars” are visualised over an extended present moment of the Venus synodic period of 1.6 (⅝) practical years of 365 days. Fig. 2.2 of my Matrix of Creation, Inner Traditions, 2004 . (Drawn by Robin Heath.)

The original astronomers of the megalithic only saw the planetary system from the Earth and not (conceptually) from the Sun, as we do today. That is, they were naturally geocentric whilst the present worldview is heliocentric.

The astronomers could study cosmic time periods without arithmetic, through counting days, using a constant unit length to mark each single day adding up to a fixed length of days. Through such counting they would see 365 whole days between the solstices and (more reliably) between the equinoxes (when the Sun moves most rapidly on the horizon). It was also quite obvious that the horns of Venus were bracketing the Sun, just as the elliptical cup of the trilithons they erected at Stonehenge bracketed the solstitial sun, a sun which travels every day from east to west.

Five-ness in the Zodiac

If the earth was their viewpoint then the Zodiac of the sun’s path over the year could, like the Sarsen Circle, be seen as a circle of 365 days, and when the time between evening or morning stars was counted, the result was 584 days between the horn-like and brilliant manifestations of Venus. 584 days is 219 days more than 365 days. The sun has therefore moved 3/5th of a year forward and hence it became noticeable, as stated above, that 1/5th of the practical year is 73 days, the practical year 5 units of 73 days long whilst the Venus synod is 8 units of 73 days long. The Venus synod therefore has exactly 1.6 (8/5) practical years between its phenomena.

Figure 3 The Horns of evening (E) and morning (M) stars shown upon the circle of the Zodiac, each successive pair 3/5ths advanced within the solar year. [from Joachim Schultz, Movement and Rhythms of the Stars, Floris, 1986, fig 88]

The form of Venus upon the Zodiac therefore describes a 5-fold pentacle star. This would later make the number 5 and all of its properties, sacred by association to the planet Venus who became the leading goddess of the Ancient Near East. The Golden Proportion or Mean (1.618034…), often seen in Classical and Neoclassical architecture, has the number 5 as its root. Also, many living bodies share forms derived from the number 5, or of the Fibonacci approximations to the Golden Mean.

The Fibonacci series (of 1, 1, 2, 3 ,5 ,8 ,13 ,21, …) has successive numbers that sum to give the next number, and each new ratio, between successive numbers in the series, yields an ever-better approximation to the Golden Mean: (2, 1.5, 1.6, 1.6, 1.617, …).

Continue reading “The Stonehenge trilithons as synods of Venus”