I’ve been fascinated with the archetypal patterns behind stories for a long time, but it was only after I delved deeper into the mysticism of Numerology and Sacred Geometry that I began to notice some fascinating correlations between those mystical teachings and the classical tools of story telling.
This brought about the idea of a visionary approach to story structure based on these sacred teachings. I’ve been doing elaborate research since; however, its essence could be summed up in the mystery of the Golden Mean.
Mystery of the Golden Mean
The Golden Mean, also known as the Golden Ratio, has been well known to the ancient cultures in Egypt and Greece due to its frequent appearance in nature and its wide use in art, philosophy and science. The principle was later encapsulated in the famous 15th century text The Divine Proportion written by Luka Pacioli and illustrated by Leonardo Da Vinci.
The Golden Mean embodies the process of division and expansion of oneness or the initial center. The best way to introduce this enigma would be by sharing Plato’s legendary riddle. The Greek philosopher once asked his students to divide a line segment into two unequal parts and ponder about its meaning.
Had he asked them to divide the line into two identical parts, the ratios would be the same and would hold no possibility of further separation. By dividing the line into unequal parts where the larger one encompasses the two smaller ones, they found a basis for further division. This made them realize that if a ratio of two quantities is the same as the ratio of their sum, the quantities can further repeat into infinity.
The Golden Mean can be found in the essence and growth patterns of minerals, plants, trees, animal and human bodies and solar systems. It’s also a key element to aesthetic qualities and therefore has been widely used in fine arts, music and architecture.
The Golden Mean in Story
The question remains, how does the Golden Ratio relate to the creation of stories?
The Golden Mean forms asymmetry, difference and therefore a tension that proceeds in further expansion and growth. Without this tension it wouldn’t unfold, just like a story would not develop without a crisis that needs to be resolved.
The main essence of story, the center represented by the central character would have no reason to grow had he not been a subject to some inner conflict. And if the central character solved the conflict instantly, there would be no need for him to set off on a journey. That’s why he is confronted with antagonistic forces and tense situations to eventually learn that these are the keys to the conflict’s solution. The more he struggles the further the story develops and divides into more subplots, characters and themes. And while all these elements are important on a whole, the central character strives to return back to the center.
This forms the basic trinity of the story structure. The protagonist struggles against the antagonist to reach a solution during the beginning, middle and end.
These three basic elements are divided by the Golden Mean not just philosophically but in the actual story design itself. The beginning and the end parts are commonly shorter than the middle part, which is more complex, yet prevails the essence of the story. This system can be also found in dramatic screenplay structures where the first and third acts are shorter than the action packed middle.
Contradictory to this would be the middle of the second act, the midpoint during which the protagonist goes through some important inner realization or rebirth. However, the midpoint refers back to the ubiquitous core and source present before, during and after the story, the center.
There are many correlations between Numerology, Sacred Geometry and the key principles of storytelling. The Golden Mean is really just a base to a very precise and fascinating design that unveils how stories, just like any form of life and art, derive and repeat the same primordial pattern of creation.
I believe that most authors use this pattern without necessarily being aware of it and this is perhaps the most fascinating thing about the subject. This visionary approach to writing is not a discovery of something new but rather a memory of an already inherent principle.
Iva Kenaz was born in Prague, the Czech Republic. Writing has been her greatest passion since childhood and her novels are significantly influenced by esotericism and spirituality. She studied Screenwriting at the Film Academy in Prague and Creative Writing at London South Bank University. She published two novels, The Witch Within and My Melancholic Diary, and is currently working on her third novel as well a non-fiction book, Alchemy of Storytelling.
For more information please visit her website: www.ivakenaz.com