How to graphically make the “Seed of Life” pattern using a compass

graphically divide a line by the Golden Ratio using a straightedge and compass

Constructing The “Seed of Life” pattern- a classic geometric construction

With only a compass, one may contstruct this primal form. Starting with a circle, center the next one on the edge and then use each new intersection as the next center.

Background info about the Seed of Life pattern

(An excerpt from page 15 of Sacred Geometry Design Sourcebook.)

Built well over three thousand years ago, the temple of the Osirion at Abydos, Egypt contains huge monolithic rectangular columns unlike those found anywhere else in Egypt; the columns are arranged within a rectangular plan which is derived from a mirrored pentagon/double circumscribed circle pattern. Indelibly etched, high on one of these monolithic columns are patterns that have come to be known as the Seed of Life and Flower of Life patterns. These patterns contain a vast system of information about life itself, including templates for the five Platonic Solids, which in turn, contain the Pi, square root of 2, square root of 3 and Phi proportions and much more.

Did you draw the Seed of Life pattern with your compass in school but not know it had a name? This pattern is probably the most intuitive thing to make with a compass, and, as the simplest things often are, it is probably one of the most profound geometries.

To construct the Seed of Life pattern:

1) Fix your compass to the size desired for the center circle and make a circle.

Seed of Life-1
2) Move the pivot point of the compass to the edge of the center circle and make another circle. (This creates the familiar “eye” archetype of the vesica piscis shape which sybolizes communion, relationship and much more.)

Seed of Life-1

3) Move the pivot point of the compass to the edge of the center circle where the first two circles intersect and make the next circle.

Seed of Life-1

4) Move the pivot point of the compass to the edge of the center circle where the center and third circles intersect and make the next circle.

Seed of Life-1

5) Move the pivot point of the compass to the edge of the center circle where the center and fourth circles intersect and make the next circle.

Seed of Life-1

6) Move the pivot point of the compass to the edge of the center circle where the center and fifth circles intersect and make the next circle.

Seed of Life-1

7) Move the pivot point of the compass to the edge of the center circle where the center and sixth circles intersect and make the next circle.

Seed of Life-1

That does it! You’ve just constructed the classic “Seed of Life” pattern, following the ancient tradition of geometers going back into antiquity.

Here’s the math involved (for those interested):
The vesica piscis shape is made with each new added circle; the square root of 3 (approx. 1.732) is the proportion of this shape which is also the ratio of the diagonal of a cube to one of its edges.

You can also find this classic construction on page 85 (Genesis of the Seed of Life) of Sacred Geometry Design Sourcebook.