When I was seven years old, I read in some obscure book that I found in the library about a site on Earth called The Navel of the World. It was an island named Te Pitoote Hanua (more recently, called Rapa Nui), and it had large carved heads placed all over the island called the moais. Hot Dang! My right brain was on fire! I wanted to go visit. I placed it into my short bucket list of things I would do before I die.
In due time, and as I got much older (around twelve years of age), I found out more about Te Pitoote Hanua, which by then, I had been informed, was actually named Easter Island by a white dude who discovered it on Easter Sunday. Of course, Easter was the more important name than the one that the natives had been calling it for ages, being that Easter was a very important Christian holiday to introduce to the cannibalistic savages who’d lived there for centuries. As far as names go, it was easier to remember and easier to say (if you spoke English, that is), and after awhile, it stuck. Who cares what the natives called it. Well, since I was only twelve, my bucket list remained just that, an unfulfilled bucket list. I had to wait until I got old enough to board a plane on my own before exciting things could happen.
That exciting thing happened at the age of twenty-two. As I was surfing the internet, looking at pictures of Te Pitoote Hanua, I started seeing all sorts of other places crop up every time I typed in
the words ‘Navel of the World’. As it turns out, there are many, many, many (did I say many, many?) Navels of the World. In fact, the name ‘Navel’ originated in antiquity, meaning it wasn’t coined after some travelers came around and found them to be of interest. Most of the times, the words for ‘Navel of the World’ were coined in the native tongue of the indigenous population.
My question then was, how did all these places know they were ‘Navels’, even before the Earth had been widely traveled? What was it about those special places that would make them be regarded as ‘Navels’—as opposed to a thumb, or a tongue, or heaven forbid, a penis?
In my quest for understanding, I have isolated a few of the most intriguing Navels of the world. Since so many ‘Navels’ turned up during my search, I fear that I will never be able to visit them all, so my bucket list has been changed. I will no longer try to visit any of them in person. Rather, I will attempt to learn about them as much as I can, and continue my quest on the real reason behind their common ancient
To fulfill my bucket list of things I wanted to do before I die, the first thing I needed to do was to find out how to plot the location of each of these ‘Navels’. Now, the ancients don’t do things in any old random fashion. They are astronomers and scientists, not Tao Babes. In order for me to understand how they think, I had to temporarily suppress my pink-loving, perfume-scented mind so that I could grasp the cold hard facts, measurable by nano-weight, instead of the Tao Babe’s usual eye-ball/yard-stick method. I had to figure out the math to get to the geometry.
Stay with me here. It’s not that hard. Heck, if I can get it, even a twelve-year-old can get it. Here’s how it works. Lao Tzu said, The Great Square Has No Corners. And of course, he was right!
Navels of the World
In alphabetical order, here are some of the Navels of the World: