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One of the most interesting and useful patterns in Nature is commonly referred to as “Six-Around-One.” It is known throughout the world and often referred to by other names, such as “Closest Packing of Circles,” “Hexagonal Packaging,” and “Tessellating Hexagons.” The pattern is very common, and once you see and understand its origin, you will begin to notice and appreciate the beauty underlying the geometry.

The arrangement of the 7 equal circles clearly shows the relationships which occur in a Six-Around-One pattern. It is one of the most efficient and stable systems employed by nature in two-dimensions as well as three-dimensions in an omni-directional universe.

The ancient Greek mathematicians and philosophers were well aware of this pattern and the principles it displayed. They observed it in nature and taught it in their schools. One of their methods for demonstrating this pattern was to have the students manipulate round pebbles or glass beads in a bowl of sand. Another way to experience it is with 7 coins of equal size, or by drawing it with a compass.

You might remember the geometry of the circle from previous exercises and creating 6 equal arcs using the radius to cut the circumference. This is a good beginning for any Six-Around-One drawing. 

The drawing on the right is a variation of the Closest Packing pattern. In this case each circle overlaps adjacent circles with circumferences touching center points. This particular geometry will open a window into your imagination which is beautiful to experience. Try it.

The Academy hopes that you are enjoying these exercises, and we gently remind you to remember the patterns, to see them displayed in the world around you and use them to help provide order in your life. We enjoy receiving your responses to these lessons and encourage you to keep in contact with us