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ARCHIVE for Thursday 17th January 2002 - Numbers and meaning

Last week we explored the natural symbolism of numbers 1, 2 and 3. Today we look closely at the remaining ‘base’ numbers.

Four is the first square number (2 x 2) and it is also 2 + 2. It completes the figure called the Tetractys, which stands for the basic Decad (the numbers 1 - 10) because I + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10.

Four is a sensible, practical number. Four-square means solid and well-based. We divide the year into four seasons and the compass into four points. There are four directions, left, right, back and front.

Five is a symbol of life and growth. There are five petals on the rose, five fingers to the hand, five extremities of the body and five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch). Relating to Five is the proportion known as the golden section (1: 1.618). This appears in many of nature’s life-forms. Six relates to the material creation - to rocks and crystals. Snowflakes are typically six-sided. Natural structures, like the cells of honeycomb, are built up of hexagons.

Seven is called Mystery and the Virgin. The ‘virgin’ name arose because the number is not the product of any two numbers in the Decad, it can’t be pinned down, can’t be laid! It is the number of the world-soul that existed before the physical creation. It stands for hidden wisdom and the seven stages of initiation into the secret knowledge of the ancients. In astrological charts the seven wandering planets are held within the 12-part framework of the zodiac.

The powers represented by the numbers 1 to 7 comprise the ‘sublunary world’ - the sphere of earth under the influence of the moon. These numbers, multiplied together, make 5040. With this nwnber the study of ancient science begins.

John Michell

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Unexplained Phenomena, A Rough Guide Special
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