Believers in sacred geometry ascribe power and significance to a multitude of naturally occurring shapes. They see them as evidence of organization — likely by a higher power. And within this small group of believers, there is a smaller group obsessed with hexagons.
Hexagons are 2D geometric polygons, 6-sided shapes with 6 interior angles. They are known for being in honeycombs and pencils. But is there more to them than just that?
For anyone who found geometry class less than spiritually enlightening, this is all a bit much. But the underlying belief is not as absurd as it may sound. Hexagons are startlingly omnipresent in nature and their properties are somewhat awe-inspiring. Still, we can explain much of the hexagon’s natural recurrence without resorting to religion.
Let’s see some places where hexagons pop up:
There’s a whole family of crystals that are hexagonal. Snowflakes too are hexagonal. Both become macroscopic hexagons because their microscopic, molecular structures dictate that they become hexagons. Who knew snow basically has hexagons at its core?
What about hexagons in outer space? On Saturn’s north pole, there’s an enduring cloud formation and – you guessed it – it’s hexagonal! Each of the hexagon’s six sides is bigger than the Earth’s own diameter. Scientists have put forth a handful of hypotheses about its cause — for instance, if you spin a bucket of water fast enough, the whirlpool turns into a hexagon — but Saturn’s cloud still remains largely a mystery.
Back on earth though, the most obvious natural hexagon is the honeycomb, the geometrically perfect home for bees and their honey. Bees worldwide are extraordinarily adept at constructing uniform hexagons. But beyond that, they themselves are encoded with the shape: the hexagon is written into their eyes, and their hives are wondrous hexagonal constructions. Hexagons appear in honeycombs because they’re the most efficient way to fill a space with the least amount of material – literally, mathematicians came to the same conclusion. But bees figured it out long ago all on their own, and it’s a good thing that they did, because beeswax is hard for them to produce and is really precious.
Efficiency is paramount! Bzz Bzz 🐝
So hexagons are all over the place in nature, from the biggest planets all the way down to microscopic compounds. We have pretty reasonable scientific explanations for all such hexagonal appearances. But whether you find your gods in heavens, in science, or in hexagons themselves, you can still be wowed by their efficient recurrence.