Can we imagine a world without flowers? Flowers are beautiful, offering us delight in their colour, fragrance and form, as well as their medicinal benefits. Flowers also speak to us in the language of the plant form itself, as cultural symbols in different societies, and at the highest levels of inspiration. In this beautiful and original book, renowned thinker and geometrist Keith Critchlow has chosen to focus on an aspect of flowers that has received perhaps the least attention. This is the flower as teacher of symmetry and geometry (the 'eternal verities', as Plato called them). In this sense, he says, flowers can be treated as sources of remembering -- a way of recalling our own wholeness, as well as awakening our inner power of recognition and consciousness. What is evident in the geometry of the face of a flower can remind us of the geometry that underlies all existence. Working from his own flower photographs and with every geometric pattern hand-drawn, the author reviews the role of flowers within the perspective of our relationship with the natural world. His illuminating study is an attempt to re-engage the human spirit in its intimate relation with all nature.
Professor Keith Critchlow is a well-known lecturer and author. He is a founder member of RILKO (Research Into Lost Knowledge Organisation), a founder member and Director of Studies of Kairos and a founder member and President of the Temenos Academy. He is Professor Emeritus and founder of the Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts Programme at the Royal College of Art, now the Prince's School of Traditional Arts. His many previous books include Order in Space, Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach, Markings: Aerial Views of Sacred Landscapes, Soul as Sphere and Androgyne, and Time Stands Still: New Light on Megalithic Science (Floris Books, 2007).
'I've been looking at plants all my life and it's one of my great pleasures, Keith Critchlow's book adds new dimensions to this enjoyment and shows how number and geometry are made manifest in the forms that we see in every garden, in wild flowers and in the cut flowers that decorate our rooms ... The plentiful illustrations help make this a book of inspiration and insight.' -- Dr Rupert Sheldrake 'This is less a book for what we call "reading" than a book to be lived with as a delightful and instructive companion for a long time. It is a fascinating book, full of things useful and pleasing to know. And I admire the honest circularity of its plot that begins in mystery, passes through much knowledge, and returns again (in fact again and again) to mystery.' -- Wendell Berry 'I have been waiting thirty-five years for this book.' -- Julian Barnard, author of Bach Flower Remedies: Form and Function 'Like many people, I've been eagerly awaiting the publication of this book, and I have to say that it has been a real delight finally to read its inspirational thoughts and also to contemplate the large number of beautiful images and geometrical diagrams that is contains ... The Hidden Geometry of Flowers is a wonderful gift to the growing number of people who, dissatisfied with the impoverished and disenchanted worldview of materialistic science, are seeking to relate to the spiritual in nature once again. It is also a major contribution to the holistic science of the plant world, complementing studies by Goethean and anthroposophically inspired researchers into the formative forces at work in the plant kingdom ... Anyone who gives proper attention to [this book] will feel that they are indeed brought closer to the mysterious form-creating life-processes that emanate from the world of spirit, and for this reason it is an enormously valuable contribution to all who are endeavouring to work towards a more holistic and spiritual awareness of the plant world.' -- Jeremy Naydler, New View 'Keith Critchlow has created a masterpiece, which speaks not only through his inspired and informative text, but also through 560 color [sic] illustrations combining his superb flower photography with hand-drawn geometric patterns. The result is a celebration of the geometric lawfulness of flower forms that embody universal spiritual archetypes ... The Hidden Geometry of Flowers is absolutely a must-read book for anyone who wants to be inspired by and appreciate the cosmic forces and archetypes that bestow the qualities we so cherish in each flower, and in their extraordinary healing qualities as flower essences.' -- Warren Kenton, Flower Essence Society 'This book is a definitive work on the geometry of the relationship between Nature and the Cosmos. Its text and extraordinary set of photographs and diagrams indicate that there is a Divine Plan that governs the physical dimension as well as the hidden universes beyond. Professor Critchlow's masterpiece is the product of a lifelong labour of love and observation, illustrated with many of his personal drawings ... As well as being informative and eye-opening, reading this book is refreshing, like a visit to paradise. --- Z'ev ben Simn Halevi, Caduceus 'In the quest to reconnect with the natural world, we need go no further than appreciating flowers for the beauty and hidden geometry that they encompass. In his elegantly presented large-format book, Prod. Keith Critchlow includes over 500 breathtaking colour photographs, illustrations and hand drawings to go with his engaging text ... Beauty is the language of flowers, and Critchlow helps entice us into their unfolding, spiralling domains to discover a higher realm of contemplation. Beauty really is truth, as this magnificent work shows.' -- Nexus 'This remarkable and beautiful book is the culmination of years of research into the nature and geometry of flowers, drawing on the author's extensive understanding of Platonic philosophy as a means of expressing and understanding the Good, the Beautiful and the True ... Reading the book is a form of living education which means that you will never respond to (I did not say look at) flowers in quite the same way again. This is highlighted by the Prince of Wales in his foreword, when he talks about the perception of beauty as a resonance with the patterns which we ourselves are made of. The result is a feeling of harmony, the subject of the Prince's own book.' -- David Lorimer, Network Review, Winter 2011 'Critchlow takes four different perspectives to explore how flowers connect us to deeper truths: material, social, cultural and inspirational. His thesis is illustrated with striking photos of plants, together with drawings, diagrams and quotes from Eastern and Western writers, classical philosophers and religious teachers ... This book reads like the unfurling of a lifetime's observation, and afterwards you look at the whole world differently, not just the garden.' -- Garden Design Journal 'I eagerly awaited the publication of this book, and I have to say that it was a real delight finally to read its inspirational thoughts and also to contemplate the large number of beautiful images and geometrical diagrams it contains ... [The book's] analyses open one's eyes to the extraordinary ability of flowers to harness and express geometrical forms and proportions. They open one's eyes, that is to say, to an underlying order and harmony that are intrinsic to the natural world ... through contemplating the geometircal analyses in this book, the reader is directed in wonderment towards this vast domain of ordered and ordering forms ... The Hidden Geometry of Flowers is a wonderful gift to the gorwing number of people who, dissatisfied with the impoverished and disenchanted world-view of materialistic science, are seeking to relate to the spiritual in nature once again. It is also a major contribution to the holisitic science of the plant world ... [it] is an enormously valuable contribution to all who are endeavouring to work towards a more holistic and spiritual awareness of the plant world.' -- Temenos Academy Review 'In his summary he contends that "flowers have been so instrumental forming human ideas of paradise." His notions are supported by a broad range of illustrations that celebrate the great beauty of flowers in a variety of forms.' -- Chicago Botanic Garden website 'At over 400 pages, this is a long work, but it is full of superb illustrations, providing instant appeal... it is also a book of substance as far as the writing is concerned... I consider this to be a book which will "grow" on the reader -- to extend the flower analogy -- and it is full of memorable quotes, which the mathematically challenged reader (like me), or the newcomer to the perennial philosophy, can hold on to while waiting for full understanding to emerge. -- Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America
Living Rhythms, Form and Number
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560 colour illustrations
HIDDEN GEOMETRY OF FLOWERS