The Female and Male are primal forces of nature, seen in cosmic arrangements and geometrical relationships.
Fuxi and Nuwa
In Chinese mythology, Fuxi (Male on right) and Nuwa (Female on left), like our Adam and Eve, represent conspirators (spiraled together): the universal Father and Mother, respectively, who together enmind and embody the Totality of All-That-Is.
Dyaus Pitr/Fuxi and Prithvi Matr/Nuwa personify the causal Subjects whose transactions link the dual realms of Heaven (metaphysical) and Earth (physical).
Inextricably entwined among the starry cosmos, Fuxi and Nuwa observe each other, while holding tools of measurement, as seen in the sacred art above. Fuxi holds a right-angle tool with which He can make straight or angular Masculine shapes. Nuwa holds a compass with which She can make round Feminine shapes.
Straight lines are associated with Masculinity. The Washington Monument (below left), a phallic symbol, stands in honor of our first president, George Washington, who is known as the “Father of our Country”. The well-endowed ancient fertility goddess, Venus de Willendorf (below right), confirms that round and curvy are Feminine attributes.
The lingam and yoni, Hindu symbols of Masculine and Feminine properties, are joined in the sculpture below. Scattered upon the sculpture are flower petals offered in a holy ceremony to the sacred union of Universal Mother and Father.
Compare the image above with that of a quasar below:
Quasars (short for quasi-stellar object) are the brilliant cores of galaxies where infalling material fuels a super-massive black hole. The black hole is so engorged that some of the energy escapes as powerful blasts of radiation from the surrounding disk of accreting material. This light can appear as a jet-like feature.
Female and Male in Sacred Architecture
In 1511, at twenty-seven years of age, Raphael painted the School of Athens for Pope Julius. It depicts many of the philosophers of the day. The rounded arches symbolized the heavens above, and the squares on the floor represented the four corners of earth.
In the center of the painting (see enlargement to the right), Plato points toward the heavenly domain above, while Aristotle points toward the earthly domain below. Plato believed that perfect forms (metaphysical) were never encountered by the senses (physical). Aristotle believed that form/pattern and substance/matter are not in reality separable; for instance, one cannot separate the the table (form/pattern) from the wood (substance/matter) of which it is made.
Below are a few other examples of combining the round/curved/feminine with the angular/straight/masculine in religious and civic architecture.
Assuming ancient understandings of the size of earth, the moon and the value of pi…
…we produce in an image (below-left) two circles proportional to the earth and the moon.
In the image (below-right) a third circle is added. The radius of the large red circle is equivalent to the radius of the earth and the radius of the moon combined.
Prehistoric knowledge of primal forces, cosmic arrangements, and geometrical relationships has long been memorialized (mostly covertly) in architecture and sculptures, music and the musical instruments themselves, metaphors and parables, fables and fairy tales, poems and songs, weavings and paintings, clothing and adornments, vessels and utensils.
Priceless wisdom was creatively preserved and passed along, right under the noses of the uninitiated, the sadistic inquisitors, and the professional expurgators whose job it was to rewrite history, as our modern day PhotoShop artists retouch portraits and corporate media spin the news.
Fantastic insights were hidden in plain sight; the common dinner plate is a fine example. When a square is inscribed within a circle, and another circle is then inscribed within that square, the area within the white inner disc is precisely equivalent to the area of the gray rim thus constructed. The round (feminine) lines of the circles and the straight (masculine) lines of the square may be alternated in this fashion, ad infinitum.
The alternation of round and straight lines above reflect how cyclical times occur within, and also transcend, linear times. For instance, days and years cycle within the linear span of a human lifetime, which exists within a precessional cycle.
Here is yet another example of round-feminine and straight-masculine in common use, though not often recognized as such. The iconographical Feminine and Masculine shapes even lurk at the core of our number system.
Zero symbolizes the shape of a bowl, vessel, or the womb. Zero represents that which cannot yet be counted: the source/potentiality.
From the Tao te Ching:
The valley spirit never dies; it is the woman, primal mother. Her gateway is the root of heaven [metaphysical] and earth [physical].
Paraphrased, the Feminine‘s gateway (zero) is at the root of (situated between) negative numbers (uncountable, metaphysical) and positive numbers (countable, physical).
Inventor, designer, poet, futurist Buckminster Fuller says it this way:
The vector equilibrium is the zero starting point for happenings and non-happenings; it is the empty theater and empty circus and empty Universe ready to accommodate any act and any audience.
The number One is a vertical straight line, employed to count anything that can be counted. The Masculine ‘unit’ is arguably a phallic symbol.
Binary Numbers in Computing
A BIT is a Binary Information uniT, which has one of two values: either a 0 or a 1. 0 can mean ‘no’ or ‘off’, whereas 1 can mean ‘yes’, or ‘on’; in this way information is measured in ‘bits’. So far, all common-use computers employ this binary structure to perform algorithms. In the not too distant future, however, we should have computers that use QU-bits, or QUantum bits, for their calculations. Quoted from MIT Technology Review:
Qubits use their fragile physics to do the same thing that transistors use electricity to do on a conventional chip: represent binary bits of information, either 0 or 1. But qubits can also attain a state, called a superposition, that is effectively both 0 and 1 at the same time. Qubits in a superposition can become linked by a phenomenon known as entanglement, which means an action performed on one has instant effects on the other. Those effects allow a single operation in a quantum computer to do the work of many, many more operations in a conventional computer. In some cases, a quantum computer’s advantage over a conventional one should grow exponentially with the amount of data to be worked on.
Mother Space and Father Time
A circle can represent space, as a boundary defines inside and outside spaces.
A line can represent an interval of time, limited at the ends by what was before and what persists afterwards.
Further into this study, Space and Time become relevant contexts in Quadernity. For now, we will think of them in context of our human perspectives.
New insights arise as we alter our perspectives as observers in Space-Time, across distances greater or lesser, or through moments expanded or contracted.
In the image to the left below, we see Earth from the vantage point of an airplane. The Earth’s surface appears flat and divided into rectangles. Remembering Fuxi with His right-angle ruler, straight-edge impressions are of a Masculine perspective.
Contrast it with the iconic photo to the right, from the space race. Since the 1960s, we lucky humans have been more viscerally aware that Earth’s small sphere rotates in a vast space.
Nuwa‘s compass reminds us that spheres are Feminine and circles symbolize space. From this perspective, though, we loose sight of the necessary patchwork of farm fields for growing food.
The snapshot to the left below shows the heavens in an instant. Distant celestial objects appear as fixed lights, and a more proximal meteorite streaks through the sky in a straight line. Our ordinary experience of lying under the night sky, feeling as if we are on a motionless Earth, belies the fact that our planet rotates on its axis roughly a thousand miles per hour, not to mention it hurtles through the solar system faster than a speeding bullet. See Earth’s speed.
The time-lapse photo on the right gives us an experience of an expanded moment and disabuses us of the notion that our home in the galaxy is fixed in place.
A minute is a measure; a moment is the specious present.
To see that Earth is not flat, but spherical, requires us to add more Space, which is Feminine. Realizing that Earth spins on an axis within the Heavens, requires us to add more Time, which is Masculine.
Space, Time and Speed
Change: Too Slow, Too Fast, Too Little, Too Big
To be perceptible within human limits, things must change at a detectable speed. Constancy, or changes that are too slow, dissolve beneath the threshold of our attention.
When we walk into a friend’s home, we recognize its unique combination of odors. After a minute or so the smell is no longer sensed; as an environmental constant, our unconcerned instincts no longer alert our active mind.
The same goes for droning background sounds, ambient temperature, steady lighting, etc. Things that change too slowly used to be described as moving at a glacial pace. No longer!
Things may change too fast to impress upon our awareness. For instance, the speed at which movie film advances through the projector surpasses the speed at which we are able to notice the gaps between sequential still shots. Our minds process the screen images as if they are moving seamlessly.
Things that happen too quickly to be perceived may still act as triggers to our instinctual and impulsive mechanisms, which activate on our behalf at lightning-fast speeds.
Frequencies of light that are too fast or too slow cannot be seen, though they have profound physical effects.
Subliminal messages, whether relayed by light or sound, are purposely designed to influence our behavior beneath the threshold of our active awareness.
If things are too small, like germs, we cannot see them, yet they can have a devastating effect on our lives. If things are too large, like the historical contexts in which empires rise and fall, we fail to notice them at our peril. You know what they say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” The famous quote was once famously misquoted:
Spin and Span of Space-Time
If the symbol for space is a circle, and the symbol for time is a straight line, what shape would possess BOTH the spin of roundness and the span of straightness? Fuxi and Nuwa, in this lovely sculpture, may be offering us a clue.
Speed, movement, or change within space-time, is symbolized by the spiraling entwinement of Fuxi and Nuwa. The spiral contains circular movement with a linear advance.
Paraphrasing Newton’s 3rd Law of motion:
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
We typically think of these opposite actions to be in opposition directionally, or linearly. However, the roundness of spin and the straightness of span are opposites, as well, and these motions have gender relationships.
Everything is in constant movement. All movements are combinations of spin and span in varying degrees. As the Mother and Father are united, everything in the universe both spins and spans.
From electrons to planets to galaxies, this is so. Below, is an image of planets spiraling around the sun as the entire solar system spins and spans through the Milky Way.
Spiral of Life
Tantra is a body of eastern principles, one of which proclaims that the universe we experience is a manifestation of divine Feminine energy, or prana. Through practice, we are told, humans can intentionally channel this subtle energy through nadis, or pathways in the body, in order to raise consciousness (increase the frequencies of our emanations) for the benefits of enhanced creativity and spiritual liberation.
The three main nadis are called Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. Ida is associated with the Feminine and Pingala is associated with the Masculine. Sushumna is the central channel, through which Kundalini moves from the base of the spine, where it lies dormantly coiled, upward until it opens the Third Eye and Crown Chakra.
In the imagery below, depicting the nadis, do you recognize the same dynamic that is represented by Fuxi and Nuwa?
Do you recognize the caduceus symbol in the center above, which is used by the medical community still today?
The spiral design of DNA molecules, whose double-helical form was not elucidated until the 1950s by Watson and Crick, was intuited in ancient times as an archetypal symbol of life, generated by the original dynamic duo.
The double helical backbones of DNA run in opposite directions. Between these sugar phosphate molecules, there are connections made of pairs of nucleic acids: guanine (G), adenine (A), thymine (T), or cytosine (C). The A’s and T’s connect, as do the G’s and C’s.
The structure of DNA was deduced by James Watson and Francis Crick after Watson was shown a photograph by Maurice Wilkins, who had obtained the photo from brilliant British researcher Rosalind Franklin. It was Ms. Franklin who after 100 hours of x-ray exposure produced the diffraction image below, now known as Photo 51. Without Franklin’s efforts and her photo of the DNA crystal Watson, Crick and Wilkins would not have achieved the status of Nobel Prize winners in 1962.
Whatever we call the spiraling couple — Fuxi and Nuwa, Adam and Eve, yang and yin — the mythologies all refer to the same thing: the Male–Female dynamic is irreducible, and it exists at the origin of all existence.
Quadernity opens insight through alternating perspectives between Female and Male, Subject and Object, physical and metaphysical.