The meaning of every Arcanum is given by the body, the geometrical structure of the symbol, and from the soul, that is the Number. Therefore, for the researcher who wants to interpret the Symbols it is fundamental to understand the origin of Numbers. For this reason we present the introductory comment to the “Sacredness of Numbers” according to Virio.|
Sacredness of Numbers
«God geometrizes the universe» - Plato
We know that all the divine creative activity proceeds in accordance with Numbers; that creation itself is a complex context of harmonies ruled by Numbers or by relations which can be brought back to numbers; that the main historical events, those which have a decisive task during human life, are a series of rhythms which are definable and expressible through harmonies of numbers.
Sounds too can be brought back to numbers. Not only sounds «that can be set to music» , but also «articulated» sounds. That is letters and words made by numerical rhythms, which are the creative fundament of one's own language according to the Hebrew culture.
Therefore the name of every person or object can be converted into a number which will reveal its strength, nature, character and destiny.
The common man upsets himself and Nature; he blindly violates the laws and the harmony of creation because he doesn't have any contact left with the divine Wisdom. He acts in a way that doesn't correspond with either divine or natural rhythms. The names he chooses for himself and for things around him don't correspond anymore to numerical values, whose laws he misleads and subvert.
But given that Numbers express different values, relations, rhythms and tensions they can't be understood in the same way. Therefore, according to the different occasions and to what one wishes to know better, it is necessary to maintain their particular study, which can be numerical, geometrical, cabalistic or biblical, but not in the common sense of religious beliefs.
«All things, truly, appear in form of numbers».
Iconography before the middle Ages was liable to rules of holy maths, in which the order, the symmetry and the number had an extraordinary importance.
It was the tradition of the initiatory Wisdom, expression of inner values that followed deep spiritual processes. Therefore every form was considered the covering of a thought which works inside the matter and gives it an appropriate form and it can't be separated by the Idea that creates it and animates it.
The thought originates from an Idea and Ideas express Numbers. The Number is essentially continuous. The Number is infinite!
The infinity towards which man is intent, projects its clearer image in the infinite series of numbers. Western numerology had in Dante its poet. In fact, Dante was an unparallelable Master of the mystic of Numbers.
Numbers are «divine reality». Pythagoras saw the Number as a divine creation: a transcendent vision of the ideal Numbers. It was the “pythagoric revelation” to announce a Universe ruled by Numbers.
«Everything is Number» «Numbers are the essence of things».
Every space is number and Points are essential components of Space.
Nevertheless Indian numerology marked deep wakes in the metaphysical speculations of ancient Greeks.
«Mathematical truth exists outside us».
«Numerical truths subsist independently from senses».
«The Number exists so that the soul can ascend from transitory to perennial and participate the eternity». «The Number must be contemplated until its deepest nature can be understood, with the only help of the mind».
Still today, if we are not closed in the sterile field of material reason, the metaphysical value of numbers and their transcendent meaning can be understood.
Mathematical sciences try and empty numerical concepts from any memory of reality, turning them into abstract creatures, deprived from any concrete objectivity.
Numbers themselves are abstract expressions but their concrete value, their metaphysical nature is in their true and deep, transcendent and immanent reality; that spiritual reality that is the only true existence.
The ancient wisdom considered Numbers under three points of view: practical, scientific and mystical. Computable Numbers, scientific Numbers, divine Numbers of universal Ideas.
The pure Number, or divine number, was the archetype, the ideal model from which the scientific number comes from.
Divine Numbers are the Archetypes of everything. They are prototypes of every manifestation in God's mind. They are the Ideas of the archetypical sphere which, through Numbers, create the geometry of forms, ruling the order in the Cosmos, its rhythm and its balance.
Numbers, thanks to their properties, virtues and relations, reflect in the natural world the Order of the Divine World. Everything, both in the archetypical sphere and in the natural one, is set following an order which progresses by Numbers, because Order is Number, metaphysical Harmony and harmonic correspondence.
Initiates have the task to find again the harmony of this Order, if they want to understand the creative divine Wisdom and become masters, creators and builders themselves.
It is necessary to understand and to respect the Numeric Order, because according to this Order God created the Cosmos, arranged the stars and conceived the human body.
The symbolical use of numbers is found in any people, time and social condition. The symbolic comparison given by the number is a reality of metaphysical order, a transcendental truth and a spiritual process.
«Symbols are pure condensers and accumulators of spiritual forces»; Virio writes in «Arcane Wisdom». Symbols are not simply indicators of forces, but they are forces magically enclosed in condensers.
The Words of Power are sonorous structures of spiritual energy. They are rhythmical contraction of a key formula. This key is harmony of rhythms ruled by numerical orders. It can also be the harmony of only one number whose occult force is sometimes hidden in the form of a symbol.
The Number brings to the relation between terms, between proportion, progression and harmony. Proportion brings to the “rhythm”, that is the periodicity occurring in time and space, building up chains of harmonies and proportions between lengths, surfaces and volumes, up to reach, in this way, the Harmony of creation.
The rhythms of natural energies are the expressions of the spiritual forces which reflect in themselves rhythms of superior orders.
«Rhythm is the perception of periodicity».
As far as time is concerned rhythms are expressed through successions whilst in space they are revealed through the superimposition of several elements.
«Numbers can be perceived in the Rhythms».
In Arithmosophy, numbers make sense when they express the rhythm of spiritual forces, therefore becoming arcana of superior worlds.
«Numbers express relations of different rhythms».
The study of the rhythms assigns sacred features to some numbers rather than others.
The numerical harmony is a complex of rhythms and tunes which are ruled by the same generative principle, even if they are different. Each series of tunes is, or reflects, the process of an arcane spiritual process.
Albert Jounet defines Arcana: «the value of those relations which are reflected from the spiritual world on the natural one»; he adds that: «the character of the number is a high extraction. Therefore the number itself doesn't designate any element of the Great Arcanum, but it's the degree of a correspondence that will designate their value».
As far as the Kabalah is concerned, usually three methods are used to penetrate the «Sod» (mystery) of the sacred Letters and Numbers.
• Gematria, based on the numerical value of the Letters.
• Notarikon, based on the initial, middle and final Letters of the revealed words.
• The Temurah, based on the principle of the transposition of Letters and their combination.
For instance, through Notarikon, the word Pardes, which means “Heaven of the divine Knowledge”, contains four keys for its interpretation.
P – Peshat which means – method –
R – Remes which means - hidden meaning –
D – Derash which means – Doctrine, Truth –
S – Sod which means – Mystery –
«The divine Number is a Model which has character of permanence»; «Unity and the even number exist eternally».
The Number is the essence of things. Each number has its own special expression or physiognomy. And the infinite series of numbers is divided into even and odd numbers.
Even and odd , which are the principles of numbers, correspond to the finite and infinite and they are the principles of everything. The even number, for its symmetry, gives a sense of rest. The odd number, which tends to reach this symmetry, can give a sense of dynamism.
Symmetry can be reached also by the odd number, if its disposition is made in the right proportion. A number with many figures is symmetrical when the same figures read back to front give the same number.
The prime Numbers are so called because they can only be divided by one or themselves, but they have unitary characteristic.
Number two is considered a prime number: it can only be divided by one or itself, that is two. But, since it is an even number, the unity corresponds to its half.
In the numeric symbolism the procession of numbers, which is expression of a creative spiritual process, has a special importance. The relation between some numbers demonstrates how some numbers are made by others.
These are the figurative Numbers.
The pyramidal Numbers are always obtained in association with the value of the «relations» between numbers and numbers: metaphysical relations. Where a close correspondence between number and number exists, the metaphysical relation exists, too.
The perfect Numbers are those whose World is complete. It is a Number which has closed the itinerary of its process, whose perfect rhythm, after having expressed its formation and life, becomes a seal which closes and stops.
The Numbers in relation with the great Arcana or Archetypes are Perfect, the creative Process – 1 – 3 – 7 – 10.
Numbers are considered for their quality value relating to the Reality to which they are referred, with special ability of understanding and deepness of conscience of numerical intuitions or intellectual principles.
We then find the operations or theosophical reductions , which are useful to understand the spiritual value of a number, its affinity and rhythm. According to the Kabalah every Letter has a numerical value which represents a sound expressing a rhythmical movement of the vibration.
500 Kaf final
600 Mem final
700 Nun final
800 Pe final
900 Tzade final
Every number is an emanation of the preceding number and they all come from the One.
The symbolic sense of the number is in relation to its process.
The creative process goes from the essence to the existence, from spirit to matter.
The redemptive process goes from the existence to the return to Unity.
In the creative process every increase of a number marks a step towards the fall into materiality. Whilst in the redemptive process the size of the number shows the degrees conquered in the ascent towards Unity.
The world of manifestation (physical world) is based on two polarities, that is a contrast of forces. Where these forces meet a synthesis occurs. Synthesis as unity, but it is duality which rules every existence. The manifestation itself involves dualism. It involves separation from the primitive unity.
Love is the force of duality. It is the divine force which tends to join the opposite poles and return to Unity. Duality regards any aspect of manifestation, even if all that is manifested is radiated by only one central point which is its principle.
We have then a monism in the essentiality of the Principle, but there will be dualism on all levels of existence.
Athos A. Altomonte