Meaning of Numbers
I was recently asked if I believe there is meaning in numbers. Interesting question for a writer I thought, however my answer once simply, yes. There was no further discussion on the question by the inquisitive young lady so I left it on the table for the rest of the panel and moved on to other topics of discussion. After the panel, the young woman approached me and informed me that I must be the first born child in my family. Curious to how she came to this conclusion I had to ask why she thought this. She explained that I was extremely charismatic and powerful. I appreciated her comment, further explaining that I was the first born in the family making me a number one and I was intrigued by her perception.
This past weekend after enduring many facebook acquaintances 40 days of Lent posts, I thought there must be something to the number 40 as well. I spent part of the day yesterday and today researching/ refreshing my knowledge of numbers and there meaning in our world. It has been a refreshing break and a much appreciated journey this young woman sent me on. The following is a brief summary about numbers that have formulated over centuries, nations and religions.
One- meaning the beginning and therefore associated with creativity, power, initiative and unity. One is a primary number from which all other numbers arise. People with the ruling number one usually independent, and single minded but when working or in relationships with other Ones’ the two become one. The longest word in the English language containing only one vowel is ‘Strength’
Two– represents duality in all forms- duplication, reflection, antagonism, receptivity. It is day/ night, male/female,life/death, good/evil. Taoism is represnted by two forces the female Yin and the male Yang. Do to it’s nature, duality is not resolved. the number two represents creativity and fulfillment. In some Christian cultures two is considered unlucky because, in the bible the second day is the only day that the saying “and God saw it was good is left out and two is the number of Eve. Also the shortest verse int eh bible is only two words “Jesus wept.”
Three– This number is associated with growth, expansion, ambition and development. Mother and father create child, through their unity two begets three. The Holy Spirit- Father ,Son and holy Ghost, three fold of nature we all share-body, mind and spirit. Three is the number of time. It is the first number that creates a geometric form (Triangle). Three represents beginning, middle and end of life or living. Vikings believed that the locking of three triangles together called a Valknut and placing it on their dead would summon Odin to protect them on their journey through the after world. The goddess is represented by the triple moon, as maiden, mother and crone.
Four– Is symbolized by the cube or square, representing order, logic, classification and measurement. Four is also the number associated with hard work and practicality. In Kabbalists explain that four is the number of memory. There are four cardinal points- North-South-East-West, four seasons, four phases of the moon, four winds and four elements ( earth-air-fire-water). In India there are four Castes (Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shdras).
Five– Over the years five has been associated with change and uncertainty, probably because it has may forces operating at once with no union. The five pointed star is representative of the human body with the head, arms and legs.When the five pointed star points up it is positive and when turned upside down it is negative.
Six– This was the favored number of most through out time. It represents balance, harmony, symmetry, equilibrium, beauty, loyalty and love. It has been associated with motherhood and marriage through many beliefs. In Jewish traditions the Seal of Solomon is the six pointed star, consisting of two intersecting triangles, one triangle represents spirit and the other material form and earth, the ideal of heaven and earth.
Seven– Perfection is the best way to explain the number seven. It also represents security, completeness, safety, victory and rest. There are seven notes on the musical scale, seven colors in the rainbow and traditional astrology had seven planets. Seven circles in the ‘seed of life’. Seven is also the mystical number of wisdom. Libra is the seventh astrological sign representing balance. Opposite sides of the dice always equal seven, and superstition always brings seven years bad luck. There are also seven deadly sins.
Eight– Is associated with justice, health, balance progress and independent thought. In China the number 8 is the luckiest of numbers. There are eight Sabbats on the Wicca wheel. Strength of Character is also represented by the number Eight. There are eight planets in the solar system and it takes eight minutes for light to reach earth.
Nine– Represents the culmination of all the numbers which preceded it, ten which follows nine consists of 1+0, in numerological equals one. Nine represents completion, attainment, and fulfillment. Nine is the number of the creator (Brahma) in Hinduism. Nine is also a number of magic because all digits of numerology are 1-9. There are 9 fruits of the spirit that Paul wrote in his letters to the Galatians- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Ten– Represents the end of the cycle and returns to the beginning (1+0=1). It is the number that represents perfection through completion. The tetraktys which is a perfect triangle and is used in bowling and billiards is made up of 1+2+3+4=10.
Eleven– Is the number that represents the Spiritual Messenger. It is a master number which consists of double digits numbers from the same root number. It is considered the number of internal conflict and rebellion, representing unbalance and disorder. Th first world war ended at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day in the eleventh month. In the tarot the eleven card is Strength and Justice, justice symbolizing balance between spiritual and material world.
Twelve– Is considered the unit of cosmic order, it is the number of space and time. There are twelve months in a year and a twelve year cycle in the Asia Zodiac. The European Union flag has twelve stars representing the result of 4X3, 4 elements- 4 corners of the earth- 4 cardinal points multiplied by three the sacred number of God= 12 a number of perfection.
Thirteen– Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of thirteen. It is said you should never seat thirteen at a dining table, this maybe because of Judas Iscariot betraying Jesus. The tarot 13th card symbolizes death and transformation. The thirteenth amendment forbids slavery in the USA. The one dollar bill has 13 bars on the shield, 13 leaves on the olive branch, 13 fruits, 13 arrows, 13 stars, 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 letters in E PLURIBUS UNUM (out of many, one”) 13 leters in ANNUIT COEPTIS (God has favored our undertaking)
Forty– The number forty in most cases means more than usual. It is used over 98 times in the bible to represent a lot of suffering, a long time or an abundance of something. Islam talks of forty virgins and 40 day fast that Buddha and Jesus made to the desert before facing evil. Japanese call the 40th birthday ‘shoro’ beginning of old age Americans call it over the hill.
I admit there is more to the symbolism in numbers and how they relate and create pleasure and pain in our lives whether we are conscious of them or not. I plan on being more aware of their influences on my life in the coming years.