Christine Strelan - Between the Covers

Crop Circles

Steve and Karen Alexander

Arcturus 2006

Crop circles have become a gift for irreverent cynics, often lumped in with other classic Trappings of Tripperhood, like crystals, runes and weekend workshops run by people called Oracle and Quintessence. This scepticism is probably inspired by theories concerning the circles creators. Any suggestion of alien entities has most rationalists hooting with disdainful laughter. All the conjecture about the circles origins tends to distract from the phenomenon itself. The one thing no one can dispute is their existence. Like me, Steve and Karen Alexander dont know whos doing it and they dont really care. What interests them are the circles themselves, their beauty and possible significance.

The Alexanders book examines the circles designs in terms of maths and geometry. Numbers have been highly symbolic throughout human culture, and the circles often seem to be elaborate meditations on certain shapes and numerals. Others resemble microscopic organisms, DNA strands or star charts. All of them are technically perfect and many, like the galaxy depicted on the cover, are just stunning.

It doesnt matter whether these masterpieces are made by extraterrestrials, earth spirits or humans; we should just be glad that someone is making the effort. If they are indeed the work of mortal hoaxers, then they are extremely clever and enlightened people. Think of the marks humans usually leave on nature: four-letter words, obscene drawings, or the sheer ego of a name carved on a tree. Its hard to believe people are creating these extraordinary images and never taking any credit. They must be incorruptible, as well as humble, for we have yet to see a corporate logo appear in a wheat field.

The Alexanders book contains pictures of a huge variety of crop circles, from simple mandala shapes to a snowflake and a Mandelbrot set. Their commentary is level-headed and intelligent, making this volume safe from cynics derision. Crop circles make visible the very designs of matter and life. The spaces they create are an invitation to come and take part in an exploration of these universal structures, to recognise the connection of all things in the patterned fabric of creation.

Books reviewed are available at the Book Warehouse in Keen Street, Lismore, and at Lismore Shopping Square.

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