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Sacred Number

10 Phive life itself The quality of five is magical. Children instinctively draw fivefold stars, and we all sense its phizzy, energetic quality. Five marries male and femaleas two and three in some cultures, or three and two in othersand so is the universal number of reproduction and biological life. It is also the number of water, every molecule of which is a corner of a pentagon. Water itself is an amazing liquid crystal lattice of flexing icosahedra, these being one of the five Platonic solids below, second from right, five triangles meeting at each point. As such, water shows its quality as being that of flow, dynamism, and life. Dry things are either dead or they are awaiting water. Fives are found in apples, flowers, hands, and feet. Our nearest planet, Venus, goddess of love and beauty, draws a lovely fivefold pattern about Earth as she whirls around the sun opposite, top left. Our most universal scale, the pentatonic, is made of five tones the black keys on a piano, grouped into two and three. The Renaissance demand for intervals involving the number five, like the major third, which uses the ratio five to four, produced the modern scale. Five is the diagonal of a threebyfour rectangle. Unlike threes and fours, fives disdain the plane, waiting for the 11
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