Nature's Divine Proportion
and the Canon of the Human Body
with Scott A. Olsen, Ph.D. and C. Lance Harding, Ph.D.
May 13, Friday evening event. 7.30-9.30.
May 14-15. Weekend workshop
May 16-17. Advanced two days workshop
These workshops and lectures are available as online streaming viewing
as well. See below for details
Friday evening 7.30-9.30. A special social event in Manhattan
with Scott A. Olsen, Ph.D. and C. Lance Harding, Ph.D.
The Elegant Principles of Design
To those who know how to approach her, Nature will lift her veil revealing a stunning
system of elegant aesthetic delights. The Golden Section appearing at the center
of it all, may well be the foundation of the most beautiful ratio in Nature, and
the very bond that holds everything together through ratio, resonance and self-similar
harmony at all levels.
In this intensive program, students will be introduced to how
the Golden Section, the Divine Proportion, is the root source of Nature’s
Eurhythmic Principles of Design. Scott and Lance will demonstrate the
beauty, wisdom and pervasiveness of this golden mean in everything
from DNA, plants, animals, humans and the solar system, to music, quarks,
pyramids and hurricanes. Known to Plato and the initiates of classical
Greece, the Golden Section’s ubiquitous presence in all things
provides the means for our progressive unfoldment into higher states
of consciousness, in what the ancients referred to as initiation into
- Students can select either the 4 day workshop or just the weekend.
- There is an optional Friday evening event, see program below
- Discounts available for early booking and completing the whole
4 day workshop
- Workshops are also available as online viewing/desktop streaming
- Payment is either cash, check, credit card or paypal
- Certificate issued to the students who complete the 4 day event “Natures
Divine Proportion and the Canon of the Human Body”
|4 day in house or online $720
|2 day in house or online
|Friday Evening online $20
ONLINE viewing options.
Available to purchase in May only.
2 months available to complete viewing
Link is emailed to you 1 week after the event, giving us time to optimise
for your desktop
In order to make this life-changing experience
available to students worldwide, we will be filming all of the lectures and workshops in
high-quality digital video in New York. The recordings are uploaded
to our website page approximately 4-5 days after the event. Students
enrolled in the online program will receive a secure coded link with
password access, allowing you to watch the classes at your own pace,
via streaming video onto your desktop via your computer browser.
NOTE: online purchase is only available in the month of MAY. After
which it is no longer available to purchase. Once purchased, you have
until the end of July to view all material on your desktop computer.
4 day event $720
2 day option $420
Friday evening: lecture $20
May 13, Friday Evening
Special evening with Scott and Lance, featuring a visual presentation
Venue: Midtown Manhattan
Fee: $30 cash payable on the evening, includes wine and cheese
Lecture Topic: Divine Proportion & the New Renaissance
PROFOUND NEW INSIGHTS into the dominating role of the DIVINE PROPORTION
is taking the world of both science and aesthetics by storm. For example,
on January 7, 2010 teams of physicists collaborating in England and
Germany reported their empirical observation of the Golden Section
as the principle of symmetry at the heart of Quantum Mechanics. In
this visual presentation and discussion we will examine both the ANCIENT
TRADITIONS and some of the recent STUNNING DISCOVERIES into the underlying
role of a GOLDEN SECTION centered SYSTEM OF DYNAMIC SYMMETRY.
appears to be central to PHYSICS (winding number, fine structure constant,
quark masses), the PERIODIC TABLE OF ELEMENTS, BIOLOGY (including PLANT
PHYLLOTAXIS, GENETICS and DNA structure), HEART physiology, COMPUTER
technology, ENCRYPTION, ASTRONOMY, MUSIC, WEATHER TURBULENCE, BEAUTY
and the unfolding of CONSCIOUSNESS itself. A deep recognition is arising
amongst many scholars, scientists, aestheticians and leading thinkers
that the underlying MATHEMATICS OF HARMONY permeates all aspects of
life. We are literally on the threshold of a NEW RENAISSANCE in consciousness
studies, the sciences, and arts. Perhaps the most striking feature
for many is that the SAME GOLDEN PRINCIPLE lies at the HEART of both
BEAUTY and OPTIMAL FUNCTION in all fields.
Note: You must pre-book for this intimate evening
event 2 weeks in advance as space is limited, and in the past all
of our evening wine and lecture events have been booked out. First
in, first served. Simply email in subject line “booking for May
Your return email will confirm booking and give you venue details.
Pay cash for this event.
May 14 & 15, Saturday & Sunday 9.30-5pm
Principles of Sacred Geometry: Theory & Practice
Scott A. Olsen, Ph.D. and C. Lance Harding, Ph.D.
BOTH 2-DAY WORKSHOPS WILL BE TEAM TAUGHT BY OLSEN & HARDING
Olsen and Harding, long-time students of Keith Critchlow and John
Michell, will teach you foundational drawings and geometrical constructions
in both plane and solid geometry. Woven around an ancient Egyptian,
Pythagorean - Platonic philosophical background and honoring Nature's
fractal principles of design, we will examine the seven transformational
(infinite and irrational) numbers of sacred geometry. The fundamentals
and application of the Vesica Pisces, Rectangle of Genesis and the
Golden Mandala will be explored. We will delve into the significance
and application of the three Greek mean proportions. And finally participants
will develop a deep understanding of the role of the Golden Section
and Fibonacci and Lucas numbers in Nature and principles of design.
We intend to cover the foundational principles of Sacred Geometry
in this 2-Day Workshop. It will be a grand introduction for anyone
with some experience or even those new to the field. And it will serve
as a thorough refresher and extension of important new insights for
anyone already familiar with geometric drawings and constructions.
We will be integrating into the workshop the basic Pythagorean/ Platonic
insights of the most profound Ancient Wisdom taught anywhere on the
planet. And we will introduce the use of the Golden Chalice Design
Template. Participants will become thoroughly grounded in both geometric
drawings and 3-dimensional model constructions. This 1st Workshop will
provide all the necessary background and prerequisites to get the most
out of the 2nd Advanced Workshop.
Saturday, May 14:
- VISUAL BACKGROUND: PYTHAGOREAN & PLATONIC TRADITION; DIVIDED
LINE; PLATO'S GREAT MYSTERY IN THE TIMAEUS
- FOUNDATIONAL DRAWINGS: BASIC POLYGONS - TRIANGLE, SQUARE, HEXAGON,
PENTAGON, VESICA PISCIS, OCTAGON, DECAGON, & DODECAGON
- ROOT & GOLDEN RECTANGLES
- THE SEVEN TRANSFORMATIONAL NUMBERS (INFINITE & IRRATIONAL)
- FIBONACCI AND LUCAS NUMBERS: NATURE'S METHOD OF DIVINE PROPORTION
- MEASUREMENTS OF PARTICIPANTS (VOLUNTARY)
- PRIMER ON RATIO, PROPORTION & APPLICATION OF THE THREE GREEK
MEANS: ARTITHMETIC, HARMONIC & GEOMETRIC
Sunday, May 15:
- VISUAL INTRODUCTION: THE NEW GOLDEN PARADIGM: HOW IT MANIFESTS
THROUGHOUT NATURE & THE COSMOS
- APPLICATIONS OF THE GOLDEN MANDALA, RECTANGLE OF GENESIS & VESICA
- THE GOLDEN CHALICE OF ORION: WORKING WITH THE DESIGN TEMPLATE
AS A TOOL THAT INTEGRATES and
- RESULTS OF MEASUREMENTS
- VISUAL INTERLUDE: MATHEMATICS OF HARMONY & THE
GOAL OF EUCLID'S ELEMENTS
- CONSTRUCTING GEOMETRIC SOLIDS: 5 PLATONIC (REGULAR) & 13
ARCHIMEDEAN (SEMI-REGULAR) SOLIDS
- OVERVIEW & SUMMATION OF THE PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF HARMONY
May 16 & 17, Monday & Tuesday, 9.30-5pm
Advanced Principles of Sacred Geometry & THE CANONS OF HUMAN
PROPORTION: THEORY & PRACTICE with Scott A. Olsen, Ph.D. and C.
Lance Harding, Ph.D.
Our focus will be the ideal Canon of the Human Body using sacred geometry.
Participants will become familiar with canons from ancient Egypt
(including the Old Kingdom, Amarna, and New Kingdom), Greek and Roman
canons, Byzantine Christian, Medieval and Modern canons. Specifically
we will examine and employ individual canon studies from Vitruvius
(and his 10 measurements of the man in the square and circle), Leonardo
da Vinci (geometry of his man in the square and circle), Cesariano
(two drawings of man in the square and man in the circle), Desiderius
Lenz (his canon of male and female geometry compared with Vitruvius),
and Corbusier (golden proportion modular). Finally we will study
both Harding’s application of the Golden Mandala to various
historical works of art and design, and Olsen’s construction
of the Golden Chalice of Orion (fusing together,, , , , and 1/) in
one very practical design template.
Note: Workshop participants should bring a sketchpad,
straight-edge, good pair of compasses (in American lingo simply called
a compass), and pencils (regular & colored),
and/ or pens, sharpener & eraser, transparency paper, masking tape and scissors.
We will have some extra compasses, straight-edges and pencils available.
In this Advanced Workshop we will penetrate into
the very sacred mysteries of the Canons of Human Proportion. These secrets were revealed during
the initiatory experiences in the halls and temples of the ancient
mystery traditions. But it was absolutely forbidden (on penalty of
death) to reveal these tremendous revelations to the un-initiate. Having
trained with the best sacred geometers in the world, studied the ancient
traditions, and undergone our own inner revelations, we shall weave
together what we know of these ancient mystery schools, and the deep
insights and epiphanies engendered into the SECRET MYSTERIES OF NUMBER.
And because "the whole Universe is enfolded into each part," as
David Bohm used to say, it follows that understanding the human canon
allows one to know the Universal Canon. This is one Workshop you will
not want to miss!
Monday, May 16:
- ESOTERICA 1. SACRED GEOMETRY & INITIATION INTO THE EGYPTIAN & ELEUSINIAN
- TWO CANONS OF EGYPTIAN PROPORTION
- POLYCLITUS & THE GREEK CANON OF PROPORTION
- VITRUVIUS THE INITIATE:
10 MEASUREMENTS OF MAN IN THE SQUARE AND CIRCLE
- THE RENAISSANCE: THE CENTRAL ROLE OF LUCA PACIOLI'S DIVINA PROPORTIONE
- CESARIANO, DURER & LEONARDO DAVINCI'S VITRUVIAN MAN
- ESOTERICA 2. THE SECRETS OF SYMMETRY & ASYMMETRY: DEEP INSIGHTS
FROM SCHWALLER DE LUBICZ'S THE TEMPLE OF MAN, AND THE MAHATMA LETTERS
IN THE BRITISH LIBRARY
Tuesday, May 17:
- ESOTERICA 3. HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE, FRACTALIZATION & THE
- THE CANON OF PROPORTION OF FATHER DESIDERIUS LENZ
- THE PHI CANON OF ADOLF ZEISING
- LE CORBUSIER AND THE PHI MODULAR
- MODERN CANONS OF KEITH CRITCHLOW & PAUL RICHER
- ESOTERICA 4. THE ESOTERIC TETRAKTYS, AND GEORGE HENRY FELT & THE
ROOTS OF THEOSOPHY
- ESOTERICA 5. DIVINE PROPORTION: RESONANCE, MICROTUBULES AND
THE GREAT MYSTERY OF CONSCIOUSNESS & ITS TRANSFORMATION
* Workshop participants should bring a sketchpad, straight-edge, good
pair of compasses (in American lingo simply called a compass), and
pencils (regular & colored), and/ or pens, sharpener & eraser,
transparency paper, masking tape and scissors. [We will have some extra
compasses, straight-edges and pencils available].
The Golden Section, Natures greatest Secret By Scott Olsen
Scott A. Olsen, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy & Comparative Religion at the College of Central College,
Scott first received international acclaim by successfully decoding the geometric
mysteries of Plato. His recent book, The Golden Section: Nature’s Greatest
Secret has received rave reviews, and in 2007 was awarded a 1st place for design
by the Bookbinders’ Guild of New York. A life-long student of the Ancient Wisdom,
he has studied under physicist David Bohm, world religion expert Huston Smith, sacred
geometers Keith Critchlow & John Michell, and esotericist Douglas
Baker. Today as a member of the Theosophical Society of America, Scott
lectures widely on the Perennial Philosophy (in both its ancient and
modern forms) with special emphasis on the Divine Proportion and transformative
states of consciousness.
C. Lance Harding, Ph.D.
Native of Utah, studied art at Brigham Young University; graduated
from The Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts Department, now called
The Prince’s School of
Traditional Art, in London; a student of Professor Keith Critchlow and also studied
with John Michell. Dr. Harding is an expert in Sacred Geometry and
ancient Canonical Proportions of the Human Body, and has studied extensively the “Man
in the Square and Circle” as described by Roman architect Vitruvius
and illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci.
Study References with Scott
Participants in our workshops would do well to listen to these interview
ahead of time.
Scott is writing his new book: "Divine
Proportion: The Mathematical Perfection of the Universe."
At a recent talk and sacred geometry workshop at the Theosophical Society
in America, headquarters in Wheaton, Illinois you can listen to the
of the lecture: The Golden Section and
the Roots of Theosophy (March 10, 2011), online.
Radio interview with Scott Olsen with Gnostic Media
(March 19, 2011), which has been highly praised for its content. It
can be accessed
Scott Olsen decoded Plato And finally, anyone wanting
to know how Scott Olsen decoded Plato, solved his Divided Line problem,
and figured out the nature of the Indefinite Dyad, as well as, created
a template that derives the square root of 2 and the square root of
3 from the Golden Section and its Reciprocal and Square Root [that
we will draw in our 2nd Workshop], can go to the following site to
the 2002 paper in Nexus Network Journal of Architecture and Mathematics. The
title is, The Indefinite Dyad and the Golden Section:
Uncovering Plato's Second Principle.
Scott’s and Lance’s workshop will draw
from the following 4 areas of expertise:
I. SACRED GEOMETRY – we will do geometric drawings & 3D
constructions from which one can derive an exhilarating alignment and
attunement with the aesthetic principles of the Cosmos itself. We
will examine in particular the ratios and proportions developed through
the golden mean, root 2, root 3, root 5, and the Fibonacci and Lucas
II. ANCIENT WISDOM (PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY) – this knowledge was
contained in the teachings of the ancient mystery schools and adapted
into the Pythagorean/ Platonic traditions (e.g. as the Principles of
the One & the Indefinite Dyad, the Tetraktys, and the Music of
the Spheres). We will examine how these traditions understood
the mystery of the sacred numbers which were secretly revealed in carefully
designed initiatory, transformative experiences.
III. TRANSFORMATIVE STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS – we will examine
how we are in fact hardwired via the divine numbers to experience transformations
of consciousness. Understanding the holographic presence of the
entire Cosmos potentially within each of us, students will see how
resonance, attunement and entrainment using the numbers can lead to
peak experiences, and more complete stages of self-identity, fulfillment & inner
contentment with life.
IV. PRACTICAL ANALYSIS OF NATURE – Nature’s elegant numbers
pervade the entire Cosmos, from top to bottom, from Galactic considerations,
down through the Solar System, morphology of humans, animals, insects,
plants, minerals, down into the DNA, microtubules, clathrins, subatomic
particles and even the quarks themselves. We will see how the
Cosmos fractalizes from the above down to the below, demonstrating
a Hermetic self-similarity at all levels, in a grand harmonic scheme.
Students will examine humanity’s awakening recognition and employment
of these numbers in stone circles, tombs, temples, pyramids, sculpture,
paintings, and music. And we will consider canons of human proportion
as we undergo in-class measurements to observe how each one of us both
synchronously and uniquely express the sacred ratios and proportions
in our bodies. And finally we shall consider templates and each
make a golden calipers so that we can take our wisdom with us for practical
application in the future.
Canons of proportion
object of a canon of human (or animal) proportions is to establish
an ideal of a beautiful body whether in nature or in artistic reproduction.
The aesthetic assumption implicit in the use of such canons in classical
Antiquity, diametrically opposed to the aesthetic outlook of the
20th/21st centuries, is that by exactly reproducing the proportions
of a beautiful living body and transferring them to stone or bronze
(with some compensation in certain cases for distortions of optical
perspective) the artist will produce a beautiful work of art. This
assumption is present even in Isaiah (44: 13): 'The carpenter stretcheth
out his rule; he marketh it [the image] out with a line; he fitteth
it with planes and he marketh it out with the compass, and marketh
it after the figure of a man according to the beauty of a man.'
Vitruvian Man: Leonardo da Vinci
Vitruvian Man is a famous drawing with accompanying notes by Leonardo
da Vinci made around the year 1490 in one his journals. It
depicts a naked male figure in two superimposed positions with his
arms apart and simultaneously circumscribed in a circle and square. The drawing
and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions.
The drawing is in pen, ink, and watercolor over metalpoint and measures
34.3 x 24.5 cm. It is currently part of the collection of the Gallerie
dell'Accademia in Venice.
According to Leonardo's notes in the accomanying text, it was made
as a study of the proportions of the (male) human body as described
in a treatise by the Ancient Roman architect Vitruvius, who wrote that
in the human body:
- a palm is the width of four fingers
- a foot is the width of four palms
- a cubit is the width of six palms
- a man's height is four cubits (and thus 24 palms)
- a pace is four cubits
- the length of man's outspread arms are equal to his height
- the distance from the hairline to the bottom of the chin is one-tenth
of a man's height
- the distance from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin
is one-eighth of a man's height
- the distance from the hairline to the top of the breast is one-seventh
of a man's height
- the distance from the top of the head to the nipples is one-fourth
of a man's height
- the maximum width of the shoulders is one-fourth of a man's height
- the distance from the elbow to the tip of the hand is one-fifth
of a man's height
- the distance from the elow to the armpit is one-eight of a man's
- the length of the hand is one-tenth of a man's height
- the distance from the bottom of the chin to the nose is one-third
of the length of the face
- the distance from the hairline to the eyebrows is one-third of the
length of the face
- the length of the ear is one-third of the length of the face
The rediscovery of the mathematical proportions
of the human body in the 15th century by Da Vinci and others is considered one of the
great achievements leading to the Italian Renaissance.
The drawing itself is often used as an implied symbol of the essential
symmetry of the human body, and by extension, to the universe as a
whole, whether by mathematical order or intelligent design, or both.
It may be noticed by examining the drawing that the combination of
arm and leg positions actually creates four different poses. The pose
with the arms straight out and the feet together is seen to be circumscribed
in the superimposed square. On the other hand, the "spread-eagle" pose
is seen to be circumscribed in the superimposed circle. This illustrates
the principle that in the shift between the two poses, the apparent
center of the figure seems to move, but in reality, the navel of the
figure, which is the true center of gravity, remains motionless
The Vitruvian Man
Vitruvius, the architect, says in his work on architecture that the
measurements of the human body are as follows that is that 4 fingers
made 1 palm, and 4 palms make 1 foot, 6 palms make 1 cubit; 4 cubits
make a man's height. And 4 cubits make one pace and 24 palms make
a man. The length of a man's outspread arms is equal to his height.
From the roots of his hair to the bottom of his chin is the tenth
of a man's height; from the bottom of the chin to the top of the
head is one eighth of his height; from the top of the breast to the
roots of the hair will be the seventh part of the whole man. From
the nipples to the top of the head will be the fourth part of man.
The greatest width of the shoulders contains in itself the fourth
part of man. From the elbow to the tip of the hand will be the fifth
part of a man; and from the elbow to the angle of the armpit will
be the eighth part of man. The whole hand will be the tenth part
of the man. The distance from the bottom of the chin to the nose
and from the roots of the hair to the eyebrows is, in each case the
same, and like the ear, a third of the face.
-Text from: The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Vol. 1 (of a 2 vol.
set in paperback) pp. 182-3, Dover, ISBN 0-486-22572-0
Leonardo's vitruvian man
"We know very little about Leonardo's apprenticeship in Verroccio's
workshop, but the short account provided by Vasari confirms that it
included architectural and technological design, according to a concept
that was being revived on the model of Vitruvius, as reproposed by
Alberti" (Pedretti 14). Having had access to Alberti's and Vitruvius'
treatises, it is no surprise that Leonardo produced his own version
of the Vitruvian man in his notebooks.
This rendering of the Vitruvian Man, completed in 1490, is fundamentally
different than others in two ways: The circle and square image overlaid
on top of each other to form one image. A key adjustment was made that
others had not done and thus were forced to make disproportionate appendages:
"Leonardo's famous drawings of the Vitruvian
proportions of a man's body first standing inscribed in a square and then with feet
and arms outspread inscribed in a circle provides an excellent early
example of the way in which his studies of proportion fuse artistic
and scientific objectives. It is Leonardo, not Vitruvius, who points
out that 'If you open the legs so as to reduce the stature by one-fourteenth
and open and raise your arms so that your middle fingers touch the
line through the top of the head, know that the centre of the extremities
of the outspread limbs will be the umbilicus, and the space between
the legs will make and equilateral triangle' (Accademia, Venice). Here
he provides one of his simplest illustrations of a shifting 'centre
of magnitude' without a corresponding change of 'centre of normal gravity'.
This remains passing through the central line from the pit of the throat
through the umbilicus and pubis between the legs. Leonardo repeatedly
distinguishes these two different 'centres' of a body, i.e., the centers
of 'magnitude' and 'gravity (Keele 252)."
When associated with ideas of beauty 'proportion'
usually refers to a harmonic relationship among the parts and between any part and the
whole of an object, such as a building or a body. It has often been
linked with the notion of cosmic harmony. Thus when Leonardo wrote
(Trattato 32) that the beauty of a beautiful face consists in 'the
divine proportionality in the composition of its members', he was thinking
in terms of a universal harmony of which proportion in particular things
is an intellectually apprehensible reflection. This sort of view was
general, though not unopposed or alone in the field, until it gave
way to a more subjective conception in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Thus Plotinus, for example, said that: 'Practically everybody asserts
that visible beauty is produced by symmetry of the parts towards each
other and towards the whole' (Enneads, 1. 6). He himself, however,
refutes this view on the ground that if beauty consists in the proportion
of the parts, the simple parts of a beautiful object cannot themselves
be beautiful; and this he is not prepared to accept. Furthermore he
argues that the idea of proportion cannot be extended to moral and
intellectual beauty. Thomas Aquinas ( c. 1225 - 74 ) names 'due proportion
or harmony' as one of the three ingredients necessary to beauty (Summa
theologiae). And the cosmic or theological extension given to the mathematical
idea of proportion is evident in the following scholastic definition
of the Trinity as 'Three Persons co-ordinate in a marvellous harmony,
the Son being the image of the Father and the Holy Ghost the link between
them' (Ulrich Engelbert, De pulchro). Alberti , who believed that beauty
depended on a rational order, nevertheless admitted that 'there are
some whoŠsay that men are guided by a variety of opinions in
the judgement of beautyŠand that the forms of structures must
vary according to every man's particular taste'. Dürer , who worked
out more systems of proportion than any other great artist, tells how
in his youth he heard of a canon of ideal human proportion from Jacopo
de'Barbari and from this and Vitruvius (1st century bc ) set himself
to work out the ideal canon.
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