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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morag Perrott, 20 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: How the World is Made: The Story of Creation According to Sacred Geometry (Hardcover)
This is a beautiful book. It is the final published work of an author whose research in the field of ancient science, and the metaphysical and spiritual nature of the universe has had a profound influence on modern thinking. In it he explores the language of mathematics through the numbers 1 to 12 (the significance of the duodecimal system is explained along with other systems), illustrating the geometrical figures and patterns they generate with his own delightful watercolours. It is a book that can be enjoyed on many levels from quite simply visually inspiring to extremely mentally challenging. Whatever, the underlying order in the universe shines through. I bought a copy for my elderly father, himself a mathematician and designer of note, who was showing signs of mental deterioration and had become too confused to read, write or converse coherently. He was fascinated by the illustrations, poring over them daily. One day he picked up a pen and drew some wobbly geometrical shapes. A few days later he put on his reading glasses and started reading the text. Just a few weeks on, he can read, write and converse quite normally. I'm sure this book acted as a catalyst.
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Oct 2010 07:44:19 BDT
What a lovely story - and knowing the late, great John Michell, I am sure it did indeed act as a catalyst!

Posted on 14 Oct 2010 07:46:09 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 14 Oct 2010 07:46:26 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2010 16:57:35 GMT
Pontorma says:
Just reiterating what Guy says, really. Wonderfully moving story, and so heartwarming that John Michell can still work such magic.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2010 18:56:30 GMT
Indeed - in the nature of things that magic will inevitably continue to work because it is based on timeless Truth and Wisdom. It is well worth getting hold of the last October issue of Fortean Times (FT267) for the Forum report of the John Michell Day held at the Temenos Academy last May ('The uses of re-enchantment'). This can also be found online at:

The last paragraph says it all! (The deletion above was just because I repeated myself, by the way)

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2010 10:25:59 GMT
Pontorma says:
I'm sitting here nodding in agreement with you! I subscribe to FT so read the article, and their obituary. I wish I'd met the man, but am profoundly glad to have his works.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2010 18:40:07 GMT
I agree, in fact one of my biggest regrets ever is not having met Mr. Michell, and what is so poignant about this is that I did have some occasional correspondence with him and have kept the beautifully handwritten letters (he was an expert calligrapher along with all the rest of it, as I am sure you know).

I once wrote a letter to him apropos of nothing recounting a Fairy sighting my wife and I experienced in Kent, for no other reason than that I thought it would interest him, and in one of those wonderful synchronicities that Mr. Michell so treasured and that were, of course, central to his conception of things, he wrote back to explain that he had received my letter in the very course of revising the Chapter on Fairies that he was preparing for the second edition of 'The Rough Guide to Unexplained phenomena'.

This minor anecdote is subsequently (and to my unbounded delight) incorporated at the beginning of Chapter Five ('The Fairy Folk') and the adjective `Michellian' could be coined to describe just such pleasing felicities that challenge the `Rationalist' worldview that seeks to disenchant.

All the best,


In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 19:07:20 GMT
Pontorma says:
Thank you so much for recounting your experience! How you must treasure those letters. There seems to be an official John Michell website under construction, and perhaps there will be a page there for people to contribute their stories about him.
'Michellian' is good. My brother and I refer to 'noincidences' as a riposte to the view that synchronicities don't really exist.
Now, back to reading the book!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 19:36:12 GMT
'Noincidences' is a marvellous word and neatly sidesteps that general misuse and misunderstanding of the word coincidence, as in 'it's only coincidence' - ONLY?

Re: the proposed website - goodness, it really is looking as if Mr. Michell is maybe now starting to receive the level of appreciation he should have got all along - that is the way of Prophets (in the timeless, non Nostradamian sense) I suppose.

Anyway, sorry to go on, I will sign off now, and enjoy your reading - it looks at the moment as if I will have a Christmassy piece printed in the next FT 'Forum', a first for me, so hopefully you will be reading that soon too!

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 12:25:33 GMT
Pontorma says:
Please don't apologise: I've been thoroughly enjoying this unexpected correspondence. I'm looking forward hugely to reading your FT piece too - well done!

And maybe there is some cosmic timing going on around the belated appreciation of John Michell. We certainly need his wisdom now, quite urgently.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 10:03:21 GMT
In response, and far from keeping to my desire to be brief, I feel the need just at this juncture to express myself at positively Jamesian length (am currently reading his 'Ghost Stories' - brevity is NOT the `mot juste' here) such is the skein of Michellian synchronicity that seems to be enveloping even this little thread.

In my brief afternoon coffee break yesterday, after eliminating the usual emails, I read the two I wanted to keep for the purpose, your last kind reply as above, and then straight after that the Oldie Newsletter, because I always like to read the Richard Ingrams column.

Well, `imagine my surprise', as they say, when I read the following from Mr. Ingrams, headed:

`Charles's new guru is as eccentric as the last one'

It continues:

`I was intrigued to find no mention of the late Sir Laurens van der Post in Prince Charles's new book Harmony, subtitled "A New Way of Looking at Our World". Intrigued, because it was Sir Laurens who more than anyone else was responsible for turning the young Prince Charles's thoughts to semi-mystical Jungian musings of this kind. Charles admired him so much that he even made him godfather to Prince William. Since then, however, Sir Laurens has been exposed as a bit of an old fraud which may explain why his name doesn't feature in the Harmony index.
But if one guru has been airbrushed out, another has taken his place, according to one of the book's reviewers, Rowan Moore. He is Professor Keith Critchlow, a believer in what is called "sacred geometry", something that according to the Prince the ancients knew all about but which we in our latter-day ignorance have since lost touch with.
It was Critchlow who once informed Mr Moore that Muslim scholars in medieval Spain knew all the secrets of the atomic bomb but wisely kept quiet about it.
Some senior Anglicans are known to be concerned at the thought of Prince Charles becoming head of the Church of England, as is likely to happen sooner or later. But in the present confusion over women bishops, gay bishops and flying bishops, it would seem only appropriate that a believer in the wonders of sacred geometry should take overall charge.'

Others may not see much in this, but reading this straight after the latest part of our little correspondence, I find the synchronistic overlaps rather dazzling. Earlier in this thread, of course, I typed in:


The last paragraph says it all!'

That last paragraph actually states:

`Grevel Lindop, at the start of the day, had referred to Michell's "huge but little noticed" contribution to knowledge, while Prof. Critchlow remarked that it would be another 100 years before it began to be appreciated.'

Earlier on, the article informs us:

`The first speaker was Keith Critchlow. Appropriately for the man whom Michell called "our Pythagoras... our master geometer" (and to whom he dedicated his last work How the World is Made: The Story of Creation According to Sacred Geometry), Prof. Critchlow chose to focus on the geometrical and numerological principles underpinning much of his friend's work.'

As if I were a dissident living in a Soviet, I read Mr. Ingram's piece and interpret it for myself. Far from the effect he is obviously striving for (`what is the most damning thing I can find that Prof. Critchlow has written and then I can use it to double damn Prince Charles' [in fact I maintain in the face of it all that ALL unharmful speculation, including the atomic one, is valid, and so should the hypocritical ex-Editor of Private Eye']) it further reinforces my conviction that Prince Charles would make a uniquely enlightened Monarch (his middle name is not Arthur for nothing) and it also recalls to mind the Fortean Times anecdote of HRH's visit to Glastonbury with John Michell.

I am actually rather shocked by Mr Ingram's jaw-dropping two facedness (after so long presiding over the `Orthodox Voice') in knowingly damning the primary bulwark of Mr. Michell's lifework (Sacred Geometry) merely, it seems, for the cheap journalistic aim of sniping at a particularly enlightened Royal.

All the best

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