Wednesday, February 28, 2018
The Ancient and Magickal Properties of Numbers Part III
Good Evening My Witchy Readers,
We have discussed the ancient history of numbers and the magickal, spiritual and ritual uses of numbers as they have been used throughout history and as used in various cultures especially from Biblical times. I could have easily written a book on this topic as there is so much I left out and so much I have come across as I have continued my research and things that have popped into my mind days after I finished an article!!
I am sure many of you, my readers, have thought of your own personal, or family, cultural, or even folk magick use of numbers that I have not included. Just the other day as I was driving to work I needed to yield for a funeral procession as it drove down the street past my store and it occurred to me that it is has been traditional in many Christian beliefs to hold the wake, funeral and burial of a deceased loved one by the 3rd day after death, until just recently in this part of the country, where I am located in southern New England. Again with the number 3. Why that may be, I am not sure, as I do know that during Victorian times, during the late 1800's deceased loved ones would be laid out in the family home for up to a week before burial and heads of state and dignitaries are often laid out for public viewing for days. The third day from death to burial could reference that Jesus was supposedly resurrected and ascended on the 3rd day after he was entombed, and that may be something done by Roman Catholics, so in a heavily populated Catholic region it can easily become tradition for everyone if they do not have their own cultural requirements.
Tonight I continue the discussion and go to the next common simple numbers that we use every day that have ancient magickal and spiritual historical usage and now we look at the number:
In just about all cultures and religions the number eight is a positive and fortunate number. By numerologists the number eight is a very positive, lucky number, that the square of any odd number, minus one is always a multiple of eight. (9-1=8, 17-1=8x2, 25-1=8x3) simply because it can be proved mathematically, and this is perfection to a numerologist.
In cultural mythology and belief, in ancient Babylon there were seven spheres plus an eight sphere where the gods lived thus making the eight sphere paradise, and this concept of paradise is similarly reflected in the Muslim belief that there are seven hells but eight paradises indicative of God's benevolence.
Buddhists also feel eight is a lucky number as the lotus, a significant symbol of luck in India and a favorite symbol for Buddhists has 8 petals. The Chinese uses a divination system utilizing 64 yarrow stems 8x8.
In Biblical belief eight is a number of completion found in ancient Hebrew text and we see this demonstrated in the TeNaKh in the story of the Temple being completed in eight days. Also the Tabernacle was dedicated in an eight day ceremony. Jewish holy days such as Hanukkah and Passover are eight day holidays and baby boys are circumcised on the eighth day.
If you celebrate and recognize holidays for eight days or conduct specialized ceremonies on the eighth day you already bring in the energy of the number of eight. Wiccans and Pagans celebrate our Wheel of the Year which has eight Sabbats around the year, four Minor Sabbats which are the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes and the Winter and Summer Solstices and then four Major Sabbats which are six weeks between each Minor Sabbat on the first of that month, and this is an agricultural calendar which is attributed to the ancient Celtic nomadic tribes which were governed by the Druids. The year, divided into eight equal portions was one of the most significant aspects of their life, as following this calendar, allowed them to survive and to proliferate their race across the earth.
Modern witches also work with the four compass points and in addition to earth, air, fire ,water, we have four witches tools, wand, blade, cup and pentacle and the eight make up the base of all a witch really needs to do her work.
As a witch and pagan one is never required to wear any specific symbol, as we choose what fits us personally, so some choose to wear a pentacle, the five pointed star, some choose a seven pointed faerie star, some like the eight pointed star for the Sabbats and compass points. It is really up to the person to wear what represents what is significant to them.
It is my personal view point, that I see the number eight clearly represented during our rituals, with the four watchtower candles at each compass point around the room, with the representatives of earth, air, fire and water on the altar itself. Then we have the witches tools on the altar, the basic pieces, the blade, the pentacle and the cup/or bowl holding the blessed water, and the wand.
Simply placing a piece of jewelry or something special to you on top of a star shaped object, be it an altar pentacle, a pendant, even an altar tile or patent will charge, or what we call energize, bless and consecrate the piece you have placed on top. Leave it for a few moments, perhaps 10 minutes or so, then take off of altar and wear or use as you wish. No words need to be said.
In ancient Greece the three world concept soon become evolved to 3x3=9 so 9 became and today by those who follow magickal paths consider 9 to be a most magickal and lucky number, having a triple triplicity and therefore three times three is the best of the best of luck and good fortune and magickal power imbued into anything it is incanted into.
But the number nine is not considered auspicious in all cultures or religions, as in Christianity as some, back in the 16th century have pointed to the 9th Psalm in the bible as pertaining to the coming of the Anti Christ, by their interpretation at that time, and therefore attributed negative connotations to symbols with 9's associated with them.
Nine has a number of other associations with it throughout other cultures and some are even legal, such as in Wales, such as during times in ancient Wales if a dog that had bitten someone was nine steps away from it's owners home it could be legally killed! In ancient German law, land ownership would terminate after nine generations had tilled the land.
The number nine has even entered into our common vernacular to mean either positive or negative feelings such as being on "cloud nine", "going the whole nine yards" meaning risking it all! , a "nine days wonder!" , "nine times out of ten", "nine points of law", or a "Cat o' nine tails" oooh would not want to be on the wrong end of that one!! but the point being nine seems to be the extreme of good or maybe the highest one can achieve, as ten often seems unattainable.
I like to use nine by laying out a simple crystal grid using nine quartz crystals for clarity, cleansing and protection and enhancing my energy. :
I mentioned earlier that ten was considered a number of perfection, because a healthy baby born with all ten fingers and toes was considered to be perfect and healthy at first flush at birth. I found it interesting that many sources that listed historical and magickal beliefs in numbers, found the occurrences in the powers of ten so common that many did not bother to even list them! But for your reading enjoyment and so you do not have to wrack your brain I did more research, and have come up with some of the following here.
Of course the Bible, which is the oldest as well as the greatest resource of historical, spiritual and magickal use of numbers that we have in written history that has survived since antiquity has many instances of the number ten. We have the ten commandments that Moses brought down from the Mountain and the Buddhists also have ten commandments.
Whereas with the Egyptians seven was the number of perfection and completeness, the number ten is so for many other cultures, where even in America we use the base 10 counting system in many areas, such as counting currency.
Ten is considered all inclusive, representing law, order and dominion. The Tetractys is considered a sacred Greek figure which consists of ten dots, which are all inclusive of time and space, and it looks like this:
It's significance is 1= a point, 2= length, 3 = a plane or surface (triangle), 4=solidity or space. Do not simply dismiss this symbol as a geometric shape, as to the Pythagoreans, remember we discussed that cult of ancient Greeks who used numbers in spiritual and mystical ways this shape and the ten dots were perfection and as special to them as a crucifix, Star of David or Pentacle is to anyone today.
This poem was found written by the ancient Pythagoreans to the tetractys itself:
"Bless us divine number, thou who generated Gods and men! O holy, holy Tetractys, thou that which containest the root and source of the eternally flowing creation! For the divine number begins with the profound, pure unity until it comes to the holy four, then it begets the mother of all, the all-comprising, all-bounding, first-born, never swerving, never tiring holy ten, key holder of all."
Truly in all of my research this is the first time I have come across a prayer created for and to a number, aside for metaphoric references to the one, or the all. There are some who feel that 10 broken down 1 + 0 = 1 is simply another version of the one.
The Chinese felt that ten symbolized by the cross formed centrally by the character Chi, was a symbol of perfection. Other Asian cultures feel the Yin Yang also showed this same perfection, being in perfect balance.
The Romans also saw their symbol for ten the X as a symbol of perfection and completion. One of the more interesting concepts of the number ten I came across which was not attributed to any one culture, but it is intriguing nonetheless, and feels like it comes from the minds of mathematicians, is that ten is the number of the cosmos. The paradigm of creation, since the decad contains all numbers, therefore all things and possibilities . . . "it is the radix or turning point of all counting."
How interesting and thought provoking. Well, from a Witches point of view, we see in the number 10, both the male in the strong phallic number 1 and the female in the feminine 0 and therefore the number can represent the God/dess to us and can be a number of Divinity, should we choose to use it in such a way.
How would you do so? In this case, sympathetic magick is called for. So a small wand, (the 1) placed in a small cauldron or chalice (the 0 ) during a ritual especially if you wish to bring about manifestation, this can "create" or give birth to something new! A new project, the new start of a hobby or career, a new relationship or job. Take your small cauldron or chalice, write your "new" item you wish to bring into your life on it, place paper on table and fold towards you, and turn, and fold towards you again and keep turning, and folding towards you until small enough to place in bottom of cauldron/chalice. Then tap ten times with wand and then place wand in cauldron and allow tip to rest on paper and leave on altar for as long as needed for manifestation to start happening.
I will finish up this interesting and curious discussion with my next article which will touch on some different numbers we may or may not bring into our lives on a regular basis or those we might stay away from entirely!!
I hope you have been enjoying this magickal and ancient system of learning how numbers have influenced cultures and religions for thousands of years!
Live, Laugh and Always Love, Ms. Faith
© 2010-2018 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited.
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at Wednesday, February 28, 2018