What's in a number? As children we all have favorite numbers, just as we have favorite colors. When I was a child, my favorite number was seven. I couldn't tell you why I liked the seven, but it almost seemed as if the number had a personality that was greater than the mere fact that it was one more than six. In other words, to children it seems as if numbers are alive and are much more than a function of logic.
The ancients understood the living qualities of numbers, which they attributed to the divine. After all, if numbers hide a personality, then that aspect must be hard-wired into the divine plan as an occult function of mathematics and physics. This divine aspect of numbers was considered to be so important by our ancient ancestors that they taught Sacred Number Theory alongside arithmetic, algebra, geometry and the other math sciences.
Sacred Number Theory predates modern numerology, but is the backbone to the numerologists practice. Although we can trace the idea back to the early Hebrew Kabbalists, many believe the practice to be even older. When Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician, wrote about the personalties of numbers, he claimed to have received the information from the Egyptians.
Although it would easily be possible to spend a lifetime studying numbers, the basics are fairly simple to learn:
1. The number One represents unity; there is one thing and that is all. The number One is unique in that it does not automatically postulate all of the numbers that follow. Since the One represents undivided unity, not separated into parts, it does not necessarily follow that there will be a two, three, four, etc. One can be all there is.
Geometrically speaking, one is a point, or zero dimensions. This is a key to understanding the numbering scheme to the Major Arcana in the Tarot, where the first card, The Fool, is given the numerical attribute of Zero and the second card, The Magus, is given the number One.
Planetary aspect: None. Color: White (all inclusive).
2. The number Two represents duality at its most basic. A division has taken place and what was once one has been split into Two. Because of this, the number Two does automatically postulate the existence of all the numbers that follow. If the unity of one can be rendered into Two parts, then it can also be turned into three, four, five, etc.
Generally speaking, Two is a co-operative and harmonic number. The number Two always strives to find a balance. The student of numbers should be cautioned, however, to understand that striving for balance is very different from striving for equality; the center of gravity is very rarely at the mid-point. In geometry, Two is a line, Two points connected to create one dimension, or length without width.
Although many numerologists consider Two to be a feminine number, it is actually the primal masculine number. The number is warm and expanding.
Planetary aspect: The Zodiac. Color: Gray.
3.The Three represent relationship. In fact, the number can be seen as an attempt to correct the duality of the two by creating a new unity through the concept of relationship. There is me, the writer, and you, the reader. Then there is the relationship we develop, a third thing called “us.” The number also represents the beginnings of plane geometry. From Three points we can derive the triangle, or length and width without depth.
This is the most primal feminine number and is cool and constricting.
Planetary Aspect: Saturn. Color: Black.
4. According to the ancient mystics who developed the mystical map known as the hullabaloo, to reach the Four from the three requires a trip across “the abyss.” For our purposes here, this can be seen as the gap between purely mental abstractions into the world of manifestation. From this point forward, the numbers will become increasingly complex, and somewhat more difficult to understand.
The Four represents manifestation, a fact that can be most easily illustrated by looking at the geometry of the number. From Four points we can derive the tetrahedron, or three sided pyramid, which means we now have length, width and depth. In other words, something has actually been created that is more than an abstraction.
Planetary Aspect: Jupiter. Color: Blue
5. According to Sacred Number Theory, no number except one stands entirely alone. Each number, and its aspects, is created by necessity out of the number that proceeds it. This is clearly seen with the number Five, which represents power – the power that automatically grows out of manifestation.
With the number four we saw the manifestation of three dimensional reality. With the number Five, we move beyond the world of geometry to add the next dimension, which is motion or time. Therefore, the number Five, manifestation in motion, is considered to be the building block of the universe. On the human level, the number is associated with the male.
Planetary Aspect: Mars. Color: Red.
6. The number Six represents beauty and harmony – or consciousness in its higher aspects. According to the ancients, Six is the perfect number, as it is the product of the primal masculine and feminine energies (2 X 3 = 6). The perfect nature of the six is born-out by the myths associated with this number. We associate the stories of Christ, the Buddha and the Egyptian Horus with this number.
Planetary Aspect: The Sun. Color: Yellow.
7. The number Seven represents experience or feeling. Again, this is a natural progression from the numbers four (manifestation), five (motion), and six (consciousness) that proceeds it, as experience becomes the natural consequence of consciousness as it moves through time and/or space. The experience of the Seven is purely experiential. This is experience as it happens, before any logical processing takes place. Therefore, this number is almost wholly emotional, although it does connote right brain activity.
On the human level, the number is seen as a counterpart to the number five and is associated with the female.
Planetary Aspect: Venus. Color: Emerald Green.
8. After we have an experience, we must process that experience to figure out what it meant, how it happened, etc. This is the function of the eight (four pair of opposing opposites), which is associated with logic and other left brain activity. Generally speaking, eight works best when it's “thinking-on-its-feet” almost immediately after the seven experience.
Planetary Aspect: Mercury. Color: Orange.
9. The ancients associated the number Nine with the goddess or female aspects of divinity. In modern times, we've come to associate this number with the unconscious. In our life experience, the Nine is like a regulator, helping us to process any discrepancies between the seven and eight. Sometimes the nine will pull us toward the seven, where experience becomes the guiding force. At other times, it will pull us toward the “figuring-it-out” process of the eight. Because of this, the nine can be seen as the interface between the inner and outer self.
Planetary Aspect: The Moon. Color: Violet.