Kiva Geometry


Walking among the ruins or gazing at photographs of the pueblos in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, you will notice the interplay of squares and circles. Squares, rectangles, and asymmetric quadrilaterals play themselves out in the rooms and room blocks. Circles are reserved for kivas, both great and clan kivas. It is a striking, obvious and repetitive opposition practiced throughout the Anasazi Southwest from about 600 -1300 AD.

What was the nature of this represented opposition? Was it even regarded as an opposition by the Anasazi? Could it represent a sequence like circle is first, square is second, or vice-versa? If opposition was the meaning, did squares and circles represent secular and sacred, respectively? Earth and Spirit? Were these held in a gnostic kind of opposition whereby the two were regarded as irresolvable as oil and water? Or was it an opposition that could be, indeed, needed to be resolved — hence more of a Taoist (i.e. yin-yang) approach to existence?

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