I am NOT much of a math geek, unfortunately. Unfortunately, because I not only know from personal experience that there is no knowledge that is not power, but because I have seen the deep and abiding love and wonder that those who are fluent in the language of mathematics carry with them in the world because of their fluency.

I caught a glimpse of this wonder, once, thanks to a combination of an excellent Professor and my first immersion in Witchcraft in my early to mid 20’s. The Professor was discussing some of the basic formulas and came to the area of a circle…

“The area of a circle is expressed as πr^{2}…“

Suddenly, as he was speaking it ocurred to me that…

“Well, since Π (pi) is an infinite number, a Circle literally contains the infinite…”

Now, for the non-Pagan fluent in the audience, a Circle is one of the more widely popular ways of setting up worship/sacred space in the Witchcraft and Neo-Pagan segments of the Pagan community. A Circle is drawn, usually in the air or on the ground, around the worship space and various spirits are called or ideas invoked to orient the Circle in relation to the individuals or groups cosmology.

Needless to say then, the idea above rocked my young Witchy world…. sadly, not quite enough to dive into the rich and wonderful world of mathematics, but it was definitely a signpost on my own journey.

So I am going to wish you all a Happy (belated) Pi Day, and before I leave you today with a few videos to whet your intellectual appetites…

First, we have the (sadly un-embeddable on this blog ) video that inspired my musings on Pi and mathematics recently…

Wherein, a fabulously tallented young man briefly explains how numbers match up to Music and then performs a piece that attempts to musically express Pi to 32 decimals… describing it it sounds weird, watching it is sublime.

I conclude this with something that I feel should be a part of every Pagans curriculum…

4 thoughts on “Mathematics and signposts….and a happy belated Pi day!”

Geeky pedantry here. Pi is an irrational number. That means it’s non-terminating, non-repeating value that goes on infinitely. But calling it an infinite number is not technically accurate.

Jarred,
Remember, I am not entirely math literate…. I understand the English words you have used above, but the way they were joined together… not so much…. I am going to get some sleep and then commit a little Google-mancy on the matter.

It’ll help if I talk about rational numbers first…

A rational number is any number that can be expressed as a ratio of two integers, like 1/2, -346/8971, and 79/78.

Rational numbers fall into two categories. Some rational numbers are terminating when written as a decimal value. For example, 1/2 can be written as 0.5. It terminates after the five.

Other rational numbers can’t be expressed perfectly in decimal format, but instead end up repeating a particular pattern indefinitely. A simple example of that is 1/3, which can be written as 0.3333… A rational number with a more complex repeating pattern is 1/7, which can be written as 0.142857142857142857…The “142857” repeats forever.

(As an aside, note that the repeating portion does not have to start immediately after the decimal point. For example, 1/12 can be written as 0.0833333333333…….)

An irrational number is any number that can’t be expressed as a ratio of two integers . When written as decimal values, they don’t terminate, but they never establish a repeating pattern, either. So they’re called non-terminating, non-repeating numbers.

Geeky pedantry here. Pi is an irrational number. That means it’s non-terminating, non-repeating value that goes on infinitely. But calling it an infinite number is not technically accurate.

Jarred,

Remember, I am not entirely math literate…. I understand the English words you have used above, but the way they were joined together… not so much…. I am going to get some sleep and then commit a little Google-mancy on the matter.

Peace, and humor,

Pax

Ok, so after sleep and Googlemancy I am still confused! O,o

Hehehe…Sorry about that.

It’ll help if I talk about rational numbers first…

A

rational numberis any number that can be expressed as a ratio of two integers, like 1/2, -346/8971, and 79/78.Rational numbers fall into two categories. Some rational numbers are

terminatingwhen written as a decimal value. For example, 1/2 can be written as 0.5. It terminates after the five.Other rational numbers can’t be expressed perfectly in decimal format, but instead end up

repeatinga particular pattern indefinitely. A simple example of that is 1/3, which can be written as 0.3333… A rational number with a more complex repeating pattern is 1/7, which can be written as 0.142857142857142857…The “142857” repeats forever.(As an aside, note that the repeating portion does not have to start immediately after the decimal point. For example, 1/12 can be written as 0.0833333333333…….)

An

irrational numberis any number thatcan’tbe expressed as a ratio of two integers . When written as decimal values, they don’t terminate, but they never establish a repeating pattern, either. So they’re called non-terminating, non-repeating numbers.