By the Numbers

Numerology is a time-honored art with roots in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Arabia. In folkloric writings, the most common numbers that appear are three, four, seven, and thirteen. Many cultures considered three and seven to be particularly fortunate numbers. Three corresponds to the tripart nature of divinity, the three phases of human life, and the three dimensions that constitute physical form. Seven relates to the days of the week, the colors in the visible spectrum, the notes on a musical scale, and the body's chakras.

Thirteen is often considered an unlucky number, an idea that stems from the switch to a solar calendar from a lunar one (there are thirteen lunar months in a year). As patriarchal societies replaced matriarchal ones, the number thirteen became vilified. For witches, however, the thirteenth full moon in a year is viewed as a time for miraculous workings.

Early physicians from the time of the Greco-Roman empire into the Middle Ages took numbers into account when timing the course of treatments. To determine whether patients might live or die, healers checked their progress on the fourth, seventh, and ninth days. Arabs applied a different approach, combining the numerical values of the healer's name with that of the messenger sent for assistance. If the sum of the two names was an odd number, the healer would go to the patient because the chances of recovery were strong.

Numerology's Roots

Modern witches look to the Greek mathematician and philosopher, Pythagoras, for insights into numerology. Pythagoras believed in the mystical nature of numbers. He taught that self-divisible numbers and those only divisible by one are the most powerful for magickal purposes. Additionally, each number possesses its own vibration, and each holds clues to the mysteries of the universe.

Pythagoras also devised a system of numerology specifically for telling the future. A prevalent myth credits this divinatory system with Cagliostro's success at predicting Louis XIV's death.

Numbers Within Letters

As mentioned in Chapter 12, the study of number and letter correspondences, known as germatria, is based in esoteric Judaism and the Kabbalah. This practice, which Pythagoras is credited with originating, attaches a number equivalent to each letter in a word; each letter has both a numerical and spiritual value.

To kabbalistic witches and magicians, this system, when properly utilized, provides a key to understanding the universe. Many old texts, when the number-letter correlations are analyzed, reveal occult truths that aren't apparent unless you're familiar with this secret code.

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