Unlucky for some…

Unlucky for some…

The beautiful Manton Drove formation as it was intended.

The circle at Manton Drove in Wiltshire, is the first major formation of the 2015 season. A lovely thirteen-point star, orbited by four asymmetrical small satellite circles. The formation was set in a field of young barley and measured approximately 90-100ft in diameter. The first major formation of the season is almost always universally greeted with joy and excitement. Joy that the circles have returned and excitement as they often set the tone for the up coming season.

The formation was reported on the 24th of May late in the evening on the internet and the farmer was alerted to its presence earlier that day. Unfortunately, the circle was an unwelcome visitor and the farmer said he would disfigure the circle (in a vain effort to dissuade any more circles on his land). By the time we got in the air – very early the next morning, sadly the damage was done. The farmer didn’t mow out the complete formation, but he did drive his tractor through its most elaborate parts. The saddest part of this situation is that the farmer was probably completely unaware of just how much many people want to cooperate positively with him and his fellow farmers in a peaceful and mutually beneficial way and that the vast majority of the crop circle community have great positive regard for the farming world.

However, it would be wrong to make the cutting of this circle the entire story of this formation, it is in fact only a lesser part of the story. As always, what is paramount is what was in the field. From pictures by other photographers it was possible to see the circle in its entirety and most importantly to reconstruct it on the drawing board. While a ground level examination of the circle its self was out of the question, we can still look at its construction and geometry.

Thirteen: the bringer of transformation!

For some years now the crop circles seems to have been displaying to us the geometry of spirit and transformation. The number thirteen has been pivotal to this. It’s still a relatively rare number to see in the crop circles, but the number of circles incorporating it has increased in the last few years. As anyone who has read my work before will know, it is my belief that the circles are simultaneously both catalyst (one of many) and response to a change in human consciousness. In other words the crop circles both inspire and are a symptom of some change underway in our thinking and awareness. One only has to look at those drawn to this subject to see this at work. This phenomenon has the ability to radically change the lives of those with an open heart and mind, and in most cases it is for the better. One of my favourite salutations in the crop circle world is “See you around the campus” and all that it implies. The crop circles are a living school or university where a great study, and participation in, of all manner of subjects are explored often in an experiential way – where mystery is our greatest teacher.

Pencil outline of the basic geometry

Pencil outline of the geometry of the circle

The principal geometry of this formation is the thirteen-pointed star central in its design. It’s not possible to divide the 360° of a circle into thirteen whole-number sections. The division leaves us with an irrational number (a number who’s decimal places go on theoretically forever – 27.69230769…). This makes drawing a thirteen pointed star accurately by hand (mechanically) problematical and a degree of careful and skilful adjustment is needed to make sure all the lines meet at the apex of each point. The larger your drawing the larger the margin there is for error. However, in this crop circle (measuring approximately 100ft in diameter) the thirteen points are achieved beautifully and accurately.

Thirteen is traditionally known as the number of transformation as it is the first number to transcend twelve. In the classical world, the numbers one to twelve were known as the ‘duodecad’. Twelve was the base number in many imperial measure and weight systems. It was also the base of the UK monetary system before decimalisation was introduced and we moved to base ten for ease.

This use of the number twelve was considered, symbolic and inclusive as it connected measure, movement and time together. In the classical world, the measure of the Earth, the movement of the Earth around the sun and the movement of the Earth in the wider heavens (12 signs of the Zodiac) were all connected by one number system – the duodecad. Thereby, making 12 the number of completion and thirteen the number of transformation.


We see echoes of this kind of thinking in many guises. For instance the Death card of the Tarot is numbered thirteen – after all what is death if not the greatest transformation of them all? This and other associations (e.g. Friday the thirteenth) have given rise to thirteen being seen as an unlucky number, but that would be deceptive, it is the transformational association which is paramount.

Here we can get a little deep, as these associations tell us something about the nature of transformation itself as symbolised by 13. The change is an utterly paradigm changing transformation (we leave the symmetry and harmony of the duodecad behind), and it requires the ‘death’ of the old before something new can be birthed. Thirteen is an odd number and as such destabilises (unbalances) the symmetry and harmony of the duodecad – inevitably leading to transformation.

In the film The Matrix Reloaded, the Oracle tells Neo that the purpose of the Architect is to contanstly balance the variables inherent in the equation/system – The Matrix. When he asks her what her purpose is, she says “to unbalance it”. In this sense the Architect might be seen as the duodecad (12), and the Oracle as the number thirteen – the ‘unbalancer’, the bringer of transformation.

Thirteen has often been coupled with seven in crop circle geometry, giving rise to yet more information about the nature of the transformation implied – but that is a story for another time!

"Let Nature by your guide" The alchemist follows in the footsteps of nature in pursuit of the hidden truths of the world.

“Let Nature by your guide” The alchemist follows in the footsteps of nature in pursuit of the hidden truths beyond the world.

The qualities of numbers are just as important as the quantities numbers represent, it is a language in its own right. The meaning of numbers is not simply arbitrary or a matter of tradition or even superstition, it is based on the observation of those numbers at work in the natural world. This is an important distinction, that tells us that this isn’t simply part of some ‘magical thinking’ system. It is exactly this kind of observational work that inspired the alchemical adage “Let Nature be you guide”. But in our increasingly fragmented, disconnected and abstract world this kind of joined-up thinking has been forgotten (or perhaps more sadly discarded).

To me, the crop circles re-establish this kind of participation in the natural world and the patterns and numbers that underpin it – and also reengage us in the mystery of the nature and origins of those patterns and numbers and the inherent meaning in life.

Asymmetrical Satellites

The thirteen-pointed star in the Manton Drove formation has a small flattened circle at its centre and is then encompassed by a very thin ring touching the points of the star. A further (and slightly wider) perimeter ring is then placed around the entire design. Finally, on this perimeter ring are four small ‘satellite’ circles, and rather than being placed symmetrically at 90°s to one other, they are placed asymmetrically (unequally) around the 360° of the formation. At this point some have cried foul, and denounced the circle for its shoddy geometry, but I think this would be a mistake. If thirteen truly does imply transformation via an unbalancing, then this asymmetry would be in keeping with that interpretation. Traditionally, four represents the material world, mother substance, 3D reality – the cube is the first 3D shape – so this might imply the unbalancing of the world to effect change. Who could argue that there is something inherently unbalanced with the world right now? But if that unbalanced-ness was part of the process of transformation then it may help us make sense of it. The skilfulness with which the thirteen-pointed star was achieved speaks against the asymmetry of the satellites being simply a mistake. We have to look with better eyes.

Watercolours applied. Notice Phi proportion when callipers are placed on horizontal diameter

Notice the Phi proportion when callipers are placed on horizontal diameter.

You will see in the picture (left) above that I also found a rather nice phi proportion in the design. Once again, this could throw us in to another lengthy discourse. But for now I’ve said enough. If seasons past are anything to go by we will almost certainly have the opportunity to talk about it again!

This circle may have been unlucky for us as we missed getting an complete image before its defacement. But this powerful formation should not be remembered for that fact alone.

Until next time…

Karen Alexander


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