Q&A Sunday: Symbology of the Six Pointed Star

I came across your site and it is beautiful. Really like the idea of incorporating feng shui and zen in your living space. I was searching the mandala site and saw the Ketu yantra, which got my attention. I noticed the center looks like a Jewish star. I wonder if that's your intention that it is actually a Jewish star - which I absolutely find appealing, as my husband is Jewish and I am Chinese. 

Emily B., Encino, CA

Hi Emily,

Thanks for your email, and I’m so glad you like the website and the Ketu yantra. A lot of people are drawn to this one. It’s very healing. It’s actually related to my Vedic destiny number, so it’s one of my mandalas that’s very personal to me.

Many of the yantras (like Ketu) have the six pointed star in the center, which is the same symbol as the Jewish Star of David. In Vedic symbology, this symbol is the combination two equilateral triangles. One is triangle is upward pointing (male, yang, fire), the other downward pointing (female, yin, water), and the overlap of the two create balance of these opposite energies, like the yin and yang symbol

I hope you find the use of these shapes as interesting as I do! Since I love sacred geometry and symbols, I really loved responding to this question. On a final note, my yantra teacher Mavis Gewant, describes geometric symbols in an interview I did with her

A yantra is a geometric pattern of energy specific to deities and planets. It has been said that they are the physical form of a deity, where mantra is the sound form. Yantras give a structure or pattern to energy. They are composed of geometric forms like squares and circles. Since all cultures have these kinds of shapes, they resonate in our DNA when we see them. Yantras are archetypal and universal.
— Mavis Gewant

PS: I am Korean (also Asian), and my husband is also Jewish! 

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

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How to Harness the Wisdom of the Planets with Vedic Art

Most of you know that I have been studying Vedic yantra and mandala painting since 2008 and I just got back from a retreat at ananda ashram with my teachers, Mavis Gewant and Pieter Weltevrede. You can see some of my newest work here.

Over the years I’ve painted dozens of planet yantras, but it’s only this year that I started incorporating the wisdom of the planets in my everyday life. Did you know that each day of the week is named after one of the planets?

The names for each day of the week have slightly different meaning, depending on the culture, but the names we use in America are derived from the Roman culture. In selecting names for the days of the week, or the time it takes for the moon to move between phases, the Romans chose the names of our sun, moon and, at the time, the five known planets (Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn). As a note, these planets were already named after Roman deities (in Latin, of course), so not only are the days of the week named after planets, they're name after Roman deities as well!

Sunday SUN radiant and bright orange

Monday MOON light feminine blue

Tuesday MARS fiery red

Wednesday MERCURY emerald green

Thursday JUPITER expansive yellow

Friday VENUS soft whites & pastels

Saturday SATURN introspective dark blue & black

I started wearing a piece of clothing or jewelry for each planet on their day of the week. For instance, today is Wednesday, so I often wear this green jade mala that I made with Satya Scainetti.  

This is from the vedic tradition, but I also connect the colors and planets with feng shui principles. For example Mars and red can relate to the Fame and Recognition area of the feng shui bagua map. I find that it helps me to understand the feng shui colors on a deeper level to connect the planet and god/goddess associations.

Wearing the color of the day can help you invoke the power of that planet to give you a little more support on that particular day. Or if you want more of a particular energy, you can wear that color. For instance you can wear orange for more radiance. It’s interesting to see how people will start to respond to this. For instance, my ascendent is the sun, and when I wear orange on Sunday, I just get so much attention!

Try it out yourself and see what happens!

by Anjie Cho

Sacred Geometry, Art and Space with Karl Lorenzen

Craquele by  Karl Lorenzen

Craquele by Karl Lorenzen

Earlier this year I took some Sacred Geometry classes with John Lloyd and Karl Lorenzen. I find great joy in drawing and learning about the meanings of geometric shapes. Sacred Geometry is found everywhere, in art, nature, human bodies, our architecture and the universe as a whole. This geometry harmonizes us with the universe! 

Karl was kind enough to take some time out for an interview to share his art and knowledge for the Holistic Spaces Blog.

AC: What is Sacred Geometry?

KL: Sacred Geometry, the confluence of art, science, and spirituality, constitutes a common ground between many of the world’s cultures and traditions. Its language of number and symbol (circle, triangle, and square) can be used to express profound ideas about the nature of existence.

How did you get interested in Sacred Geometry?

In 2000 my friend John Lloyd, a painter who lives in Brooklyn, introduced me to the subject. For five years I would visit him regularly to draw with the compass, borrow books on the symbolic aspect of life, and wander through Prospect Park, seeing the numerical blueprint of nature. John has studied with leading Geometers such as Keith Critchlow, Michael Schneider, John Michell, Robert Lawlor, and Scott Olsen

Today, John and I teach at holistic learning centers such as The New York Open Center and the Omega Institute.

How do you include Sacred Geometry in your work and art?

As a visual artist, I look for the beauty that is already there and respond with symbolic images (see images Exoskeleton and Craquelle, above). Like an architect’s blueprint, the bow compass, straight edge, and graphite pencil form the matrix on which my paintings are realized. The images are then painted in watercolor, primarily using a wet-on-wet technique. 

Inspired by the Chicago sculptor Bradford Hansen-Smith, I fold paper plates into polyhedra and space-filling patterns, see Tetra image below. Folding an actual circle (rather than manipulating a drawing of a circle) and working on the floor makes sense to my human nature. 

I bring the products of my symbolic and creative journey to the classroom when I teach: they are also featured in my upcoming book, The Art of Sacred Geometry Workbook .

Tetra by  Karl Lorenzen

Tetra by Karl Lorenzen

Are there shapes that we can find in our environment that can create more harmony?

All cultures recognize the sacred circle, which has no sides, only circumference. Like divine love, it extends equally in all directions: reflect on this when you turn a doorknob, or sit in a circle with others.

The upward pointed equilateral triangle represents doing, while the downward pointed equilateral triangle represents being. 

Their union as a six -pointed star (or six petaled flower) is a Tantric symbol of balance. 

The square is nourishment ( three square meals), and shelter (a 90 degree angle resting on the floor provides stability).

A child drawing a house imagines a square with a triangle resting on top, beneath a circle: intuitively, they are harmonizing Earth, Heaven, and awakened human intention.

How do shapes affect our environment from your perspective?

The shape of the arch I walk under shapes me. The circular Roman arch curves up and returns to the Earth: good for entering a kitchen, or an administrative building. The almond-shaped arch of Gothic cathedrals resembles a birth portal: appropriate for the sense of renewal that sacred space provides. The Ogee arch, tapered like a flower petal, seems right for meditators and yogis, who imagine themselves perched on a Lotus. 

I would like the opportunity to gaze through windows shaped like flowers, fruit, and vegetables. 

Exoskeleton by  Karl Lorenzen

Exoskeleton by Karl Lorenzen

Are there applications in our environment for these shapes?

Most housing developments take a bite out of nature, and construct with parts: then they fall apart. Volatile climate change calls for lightweight temporary dwellings, like tipis, made from local materials that can be gently collapsed back into nature. In a spherical dwelling (igloos or yurts), tension is distributed evenly along the surface: unlike the pyramid, where everything below is crushed by the weight of gravity. Hexagons (think of honeycombs) pack space more efficiently than cubes, yet cities continue to proliferate along the square grid. 

I like neighborhood houses tilted at angles that allow everyone equal access to air and light. Curvaceous glass and chrome buildings that play with reflection. Cathedral ceilings with soaring vesicas. Walking paths that twist and turn. More labyrinths in municipal parks, and spiraling staircases in public buildings, please! The city can be a human laboratory for joy.

How can readers begin to see Sacred Geometry in their everyday life/environment?

Sacred Geometry can be understood as patterns of beauty, order, and harmony that exist ready-made in nature. Once you recognize and align with these patterns, you will see new things, and familiar things in a new way.

by Anjie Cho

Born and raised in New Jersey, and currently living in New York, KARL LORENZEN began his studies and career in commercial art as a graphic artist and designer for the apparel and print industries. He later studied and taught the arts of Sacred Geometry (a hybrid of art, the sciences, and spirituality) and gives workshops and exhibits at national and international conferences, symposiums, galleries, museums, holistic learning and cultural centers.