Sunday, February 18, 2018
The Ancient Magickal Properties of Numbers
Greetings My Witchy Reader,
Many people have heard of numerology, and the use of numbers and their association with one's name and birth date to find their power number (s) and using their numbers magickally. Yet many people do not know that numbers have been used magickally for thousands of years and are one of, if not the oldest, sophisticated magickal system known to humankind.
Whereas an entire book or more could be written on this subject, there is literally, as I just mentioned, thousands of years and hundreds of cultures and religious traditions and magickal, superstitious and folk magick beliefs regarding numbers, some very complex like magic squares that even our founding fathers, like Benjamin Franklin took pleasure in creating.
For our discussion here, I will stick with the simple basic numbers 1-10 and a few additional, special ones. I will in addition to discussing the ancient magickal/religious/spiritual/superstitious beliefs in the powers of numbers, also mention ways you can use "numbers" in magickal spell casting, ritual ways to affect your life today.
Archaeologists have found bones dating as old as 30,000 years or older with hash marks, which are believed to mark the cycles of the moon, thus keeping a type of calendar, and these marks being groups becoming a numerical grouping allowing humans to count the cycles, we know ancient humans have been counting since they noticed their very own fingers and toes.
We do know the very first "organized" numerical system was devised by the ancient Babylonians, ahhh, the Babylonians one of my favorite ancient cultures, often over looked yet still, so many of their inventions or innovations remain with us to this day!! For this discussion we will stick to their contribution of giving the world a comprehensive numerical system that they developed from their regions ancestors the Sumerians, who first came up with a counting system based on 60. The Babylonians are the inventors of the abacus which is still available to this day, but used more as a curiosity than an actual manual calculator.
Since the beginning of time, many practical things have been mixed and mingled with the magickal. from foods, for the ancients saw things that you ingested that would keep you alive as magickal and in some ways it is! To drinks, especially those with fermented qualities, it can be magickal if you don't over do! Herbs, well . . . giggle, now, now, of course I mean, herbs that could make one feel better and get over an illness, to giving one a ritual spiritual experience during an ancient ceremony maybe while even wearing animal hides and masks all to create a magickal effect. Candles and fire light that could stave off the darkness could be considered magickal as it kept away the evil that may be hidden in the dark.
But numbers? Something as simple as the gathering of a number of the same objects? How could that be considered magickal, or even special? Well, it comes down to how you "see" things, how you perceive. It is no coincidence that numbers have been considered special and mystical in just about every culture and religious belief tradition on earth for thousands of years, since the very first, our friends the Babylonians. So let us discuss and see a few examples for our most common and easily understood numbers:
For many cultures, especially monotheistic, those ruled by a one God religious structure, it typically stands for unity, the oneness with God and mankind. In Judaism the practice of gematria is actually the spiritual interpretation of numbers, and is one technique for interpreting sacred texts.
The was an ancient cult in Greece called the Pythagoreans who had a great magickal belief in numbers and attributed the number one as a non number, believing it to be singular, and that the word number means plural. But aside from that they felt that odd numbers were male in nature and even numbers were female and that by adding one number it changes.
One, magickally can in many ways be the most poswerful number to use, when many feel three is the most magickal or other numbers like nine (which is 3X3) I have found one to have the most intensity when used with focus. For a spell for yourself and a spell you want to have manifest, strongly, with purpose, place on your altar, along with your other spell items and candles a large white pillar candle. One which is much large, taller, wider and over powers the rest. This is designed to help you focus and connect your magickal goal as an unbroken conduit with the Divine.
To control and direct the energy of "the one" take a wand and touch your forehead and visual the end result of your desires, your spells outcome and then draw an imaginary line from your forehead to the candle and touch the edge of the candle. It is not necessary to touch the flame of the candle. If you have a full altar set up, then add a step, by taking your wand, touch it to the altar pentacle, then to your forehead, then to the candle edge.
The number two represents balance, and the duality found in nature and in human nature. We see this in the Hermetic Principle of Polarity, male/female, sun/moon, night/day, God/Goddess, good/evil, God/Satan, invoke/banish. I could write volumes on the number two and the concept of duality, as the world is made up of the principle of polarity. But whereas some see balance, and the calm, tranquility and zen-like quality that they feel is achieved with gaining balance and steady emotions, some in the past as now who see the number two as the challenges of the temptation between two strong pulling forces, perhaps the eternal struggle between good and bad within each of us.
You can harness the energy of the two by placing two candles on your altar, they can be God/Goddess candles, a Black candle for the Goddess, black as She is of the night and the moon and a white candle for the God as He is of the day and of the sun. Now, it is important that any candles on the altar are lit and burned. That is crucial. Then your normal spell candles and any other candles, are also lit and burning. You may light the candles, the black and the white candles, about a foot apart if you have the space and then move them closer every 5-10 minutes. When they are touching, allow them to burn down. During this time, you can take a few moments, as many as you desire and press your hands together as if in prayer, and open them but keep them attached as if hinged. Palms facing the flames on the altar and direct your energy towards them. See the end result you desire.
Hold them out to the candles flames and imagine the energy of the two, increasing and getting stronger and flowing into you doubling your strength, your energy, your power and your spells final result.
So many people, even those who have never considered themselves magickal or even taken the magickal seriously have at the very least heard of the phenomenon of the power of three!! Come on! It gets kind of ridiculous if you think about it. From bad things that come in threes, to deaths that come in threes, to sneezes coming in threes, to things grouped in threes such as 'body, mind & spirit', 'life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness', The Three witches in Macbeth, breakfast,lunch & dinner!! Think about it, who decided three times a day was the right number of times to eat? Well you get my point, threes are found in every area of life and have been for ever.
The Ancient Druids had a great influence with their perception of the three world concept. For centuries civilized societies such as the Greeks believed in the three world concept, Heaven, The Physical world and The Underworld. It has had a mystical power for so many people ever since. Historically three colored cats were protective pets to have in the house.
In the Jewish tradition three signifies stability and completeness, as demonstrated by the three Pilgrimage festivals, Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot, and the three Patriarchs.
In witchcraft we will use the three finger point to represent the witch, and the symbol of the witch when in the magick circle doing various things. It looks like this:
Many people today use the three dimensional pyramid shape on their altar to bring in empowered energies. Pyramid shaped boxes can be used to place small items within to charge them and empower them by placing them inside for a short period of time. Solid stone and crystal pyramid shapes can be placed on the altar to bring additional energy and empowerment to the altar and the work being done there. And this shape also brings the stability that is known to be found int he number of four.
Using three candles, which is my traditional practice and has been for over 30 years, of using a candle for each the maiden (a white), the mother (a red), and the crone (a black) on the altar representing the triple Goddess by which the three represent the Goddess as a whole entity. Another way of focusing the energy when doing a candle spell, make a triangle with your forefingers and thumbs and gaze at the candle flame through the window and allow your vision to blur and visualize the end result.
The number four has long represented firm foundation, think of a table, bed or a chair. Four legs or corner stones securely settled on the ground. Also like the pyramid we discussed earlier, whereas a pyramid has three edges when looked at, it has four sides and a base with four edges so it has a combination of three and four and many choose one or the other and the shape works very well for millions of people.
We have so many associations with the number four in nature from the four phases of the moon: full, waning, new, waxing, to the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall, to the four stages of life for human kind: infant, youth, adult, elderly and in medieval times physicians felt the human body had the four "humors" with which they used to diagnose and treat people with illnesses, and they practiced an outdated practice of "bleeding" a patient to keep their humors in balance!!
The Passover Seder honors the significance of the number four with it's four questions, the four cups of wine, the four Matriarchs, and the four cardinal directions. Four also has importance in the Jewish esoteric interpretations, e.g. the four Rabbis who entered the Orchard (Paradise), and four angels who surround the throne of glory just to name a couple.
We see the four come into great significance in the Pagan belief system and in modern day Wicca with the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, we have four witches tools, wand, blade, cup and pentacle. The witches pyramid which is a name only for a philosophical concept those of us who have studied more old school have practiced: To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent has been a rule for many years for the witch for protection, anonymity and safety.
I have only heard of the number four having a reputation for bad luck for the Chinese, simply because in one of the Chinese dialects, the word for four sounds very similar to the word for death, so they try never to say the word. But other than that the number four is considered a good luck, positive number in every other culture on the earth and can be used in many ways.
The pyramid will also work here, an altar placed on 4 small legs or elevated feet in each corner. It does not have to be very high even a few millimeters up from the table top will also help lift the energy/ the vibrational level of the spell you are casting. This type of spell is wonderful to cast to perform a new house, new home, new relationship, new job blessing after you have already settled into that new position, to give stability and security.
Place a stone, it need not be big or heavy, in each corner of the elevated altar. A quartz crystal is typical, but a stone of the earth like Tigers Eye for a new home, or a stone of the hearth like a Carnelian for a new home, a stone of wealth, like Malachite for a new job and a stone of love like Rhodochrosite or Rose Quartz for love.
After you have burned the candles, you can take the stones and place them in corners of your home or in your room, on your desk at work, where ever you can see them and touch them daily to feel their security and strength. Even having a small bowl with four pretty stones or crystals set near by, is strong and will help make you feel stronger and more self assured.
For the number five I will end this article, and continue with more numbers with my next article. There is so much that can be talked about this tends to be one of my longest discussions, and I am only just touching on a tiny bit of each number, but remember number magick and belief in the power of numbers goes back well over 5,000 years ago. Well five is also a number of strength, even more secure than four. Think of a tent. Not only do you have the four corner poles but the center post, which even boy scouts know provides one of the strongest designs to keep the elements at bay when out in harsh conditions.
We also see five as highly protective since the earliest of ancient times. There are five books of Moses for the ancient Hebrews, and the Psalms are divided into five sections, and the Hamsa, a talismanic hand of protection is divided into five fingers.
One of the more famous/infamous symbolic uses of the number five is the pentagram/pentacle. Firstly to help define clearly, a pentagram is a geometric shape also called a 5 pointed star and it looks like this:
A pentacle, is also a five pointed star with a circle around it. The apex, or top point for both are always pointed up, for Wiccans, witches and magickal people who truly know what they are doing and are working positive magick and not simply playing child's games. Yes. for some of you out there, I did say that. Frankly if you want to corrupt a symbol, why don't you go out an get one of your own and leave the positive, beautiful symbols of others alone, but that's another discussion!
Anyways!! Back to stirring my cauldron!! Okay The pentagram/pentacle is used for protection and the lower four points reference the physical world, earth, air, fire and water and all things physical. The top point, the apex, references the spiritual. We use it as protection and to keep on mind we keep the spiritual above the physical at all times. Ah well, . . . like all well meaning people, we try.
Now the number five was of great significance to the ancient Greek Pythagoreans we spoke of earlier, as the number two stood for the female and the number three was male so it was a great number for marriage and romantic union.
Even the Meso American culture the Mayas believed the number five to be very special and magickal. They saw the human body, had five fingers and toes on a hand or foot, the body has five limbs, two arms, two legs and a head, and following the ancient belief that hearkens back to the number two belief that every person has both good and bad inside, that there is both good and evil, the Maya felt that their was inside each person both five virtues and five vices.
To use the number five we, witches use a pentacle as a central altar piece always, when we set up an altar and whether we are casting a spell or simple lighting candles, we always have that pentacle. For me it is the one of two ways I use the aspect of the five in ritual. But you can have it in any manner you wish.
Another way I use it is in the traditional Goddess pose during ritual. In the sketch below it is depicted in the center drawing.
I hope as you read this it causes you to think about the numbers and how they manifest in your life!
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 Sunday, February 18, 2018