This article accompanies the fable
The circle was the most prominent of course. The Ptolemaic system had concentric circles radiating out from Earth into the Heavens. It seemed like a good idea at the time and it found architectural expression in the dome. It was into this context that the Greek and Latin crosses were introduced, isolating the Cross from the ancient pagan notion of the Sun Cross (or Solar Cross or Sun Wheel) and creating instead the architectural concept of the basilica:
Most western architecture today is relentlessly secular: rectangles and boxes, numerically 1, 2 and 4. That's not so true of Muslim countries, where architectural circles, pointed arches and minarets are still a form of religious expression, relying on the triangle, numerically 3, as we do for the Trinity, the Blade and Chalice... Male and Female, Fire and Water...
Alternative configurations of 5 and 6 have continued to flourish of course, relying on the triangle: the Pentagram and Pentacle, the Hexagram and the Star of David/Seal of Solomon...
For vertical metaphors: here
For snake metaphors: here
For the Buddhist mandala: here