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Sacred Geometry: How to Draw a Flower of Life with Only a Compass

Updated on May 03, 2014
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TR Smith is a teacher and creator who uses mathematics in her line of work every day.


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The Flower of Life is a figure in sacred geometry that consists of 19 interlocking circles. Sacred geometry is a branch of some religious, New Age, or occult belief systems that ascribes special properties to certain 2-D and 3-D geometric shapes and mathematical constants such as the golden mean, square root of 2, and pi. The Flower of Life motif is an ancient geometric pattern that can be seen in Assyrian and Egyptian art and architecture c. 600 BC.

You don't need a ruler or protractor to draw a perfectly symmetric flower of life; all you need is a simple compass. The six-fold symmetry of the design works itself out due to the fact that all the circles have the same radius.


Step 1

Draw a circle with some radius in the middle of your page. Choose a small enough radius so that your Flower of Life does run off the page. A radius that is at most 1/6 of the shortest dimension of your canvas will ensure the whole design fits. See image at right.

Step 2

Keeping your compass locked in the same radius, pick a point on the circuference of the circle you just drew and draw a second circle. This second circle will pass through the center of the first circle you drew. See image below.

Step 3

Place the point of your compass on one of the two intersection points and draw a third circle of the same radius as the first and second. Again, this circle will pass through the center of the first. See drawing below.

Step 4

Repeat the process above until you have six circles surrounding the first one you drew. This smaller intermediate figure consisting of seven circles is called the Seed of Life. See figure below.

Step 5

The Seed of Life figure above has six intersection points on the outermost boundary arcs. Place the point of your compas on these points and draw six more circles centered at these points, again keeping the same radius as before. See image below.

Step 6

After completing Step 5 your figure will have six new intersection points on the boundary. Place the point of your compass on these intersection points and draw six more circles. The boundary of the Flower of Life is now set, but there are still more arcs to draw inside the border. See figure below.

Step 7

The figure above has 12 intersections along the boundary. Using a different color but the same radius, draw 12 more circles centered at these intersection points. Some parts of these circles will eventually be erased. See image below where the 12 new circles are drawn in red.

Step 8

The previous step created 12 new intersection points along the boundary. Using a third color, draw 12 more circles of the same radius centered at these intersection points. See image below where the new ring of circles in drawn in blue.

Step 9

The ring of blue circles drawn in the previous step creates 12 new intersection points along the boundary. Using a fourth color, draw 12 more circles centered at these points. You can breate a sigh of relief, since this is the last set of circles you have to draw. See image below where the new circles are drawn in yellow.

Step 10

Erase all the arcs that are outside of the boundary of the figure you completed in Step 6. See image below.

Step 11

For the finishing touch, set the radius of your compass to three times the current radius. For instance, if you were using a radius of 2 cm, set the compass to 6 cm. Set the point in the middle of the diagram and draw one last large circle around the entire figure. Your Flower of Life is now complete!

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    • donkarp 2 years ago

      "Sacred geometry is a branch of some religious, New Age, or occult belief systems..."

      I think you are doing an injustice to this topic by relating the definition to the New Age and occultism. You can do better!

    • calculus-geometry profile image
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      TR Smith 2 years ago from Germany

      All kinds of belief systems use geometric symbols for ritualistic purposes, not just traditional religions. I have always been interested in how people incorporate mathematical concepts into their spiritual beliefs. I don't know much about Wicca, but I know they have a lot of sacred geometric symbols. No need to exclude the occult.

    • krystal 2 years ago

      Thanks for these easy instructions on how to do it without a ruler. If you do use a ruler, you can just take a big circle and divide the diameter into 6 and then use the tick marks as the centers of the smaller circles. There are a lot of interesting symbols and designs you can make with compass only.

    • Thom 2 years ago

      This is much easier than I thought, though time-consuming. I didn't think this was possible without a ruler, but now that I see how the circles all go through the centers of the others, you will generate the pattern automatically to get the Flower of Life design.

    • shaurya 6 months ago

      very good ideas

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