Numbers, Their Occult Power and Mystic Virtues, by W. Wynn Westcott, , at sacred-texts.com
The Heptad, say the followers of "Pythagoras," was so called from the Greek verb "sebo," to venerate (and from the Hebrew ShBO, seven, or satisfied, abundance), being Septos, "Holy," "divine," and "motherless," and a "Virgin."
From Nicomachus we learn that it was called "Minerva," being unmarried and virginal, begotten neither by a mother, i.e., even number, nor from a father, i.e., odd number: but proceeding from the summit of the Father of all things, the Monad; even as Minerva sprang all armed from the Forehead of Jove or Zeus.
Hence also Obrimopatrë, or daughter of a mighty father, and Glaucopis, shining-eyed, and αμητωρ and αγελεια, Ametor and Ageleia, she that carries off the spoil.
And "Fortune," for it decides mortal affairs.
And "Voice," for there are seven tones in every voice, human and instrumental: because they are emitted by the seven planets, and form the Music of the Spheres.
Also Tritogenia, because there are 3 parts of the Soul, the Intellectual, Irascible and Epithymetic (desiring), and 4 most perfect virtues are produced. Just as of the three intervals, length, breadth, and depth, there are four boundaries in corporeal existence—point, line, superficies and solid.
It is called "Agelia," from Agelai, herds, as groups of stars were called by the Babylonian sages, over which herds ruled 7 angels.
Also Phylakikos, φυλακικος = preserving, "guardian," because the Seven Planets direct and guide our universe.
Also Ægis, from Pallas Athene, or Minerva, the bearer of the breast-plate or ægis, also Telesphoros, leading to the end, because the 7th month is prolific; and Judgment, because their Physicians looked for a crisis on the 7th day in many diseases.
Among other curious problems and speculations, the Pythagorean philosophers attempted to prove that offspring born at the full term, 9 months, or at 7 months, were viable, i.e., might be reared, but not those born at 8 months, because 8 consists of two odd numbers (male only) 5 and 3; but in 9 and 7, male and female numbers are united, as 5 + 4 = 9 and 4 + 3 = 7, whilst eight can only be divided into two odd or two evens, i.e., similar sexed numbers.
In respect to life and its divisions, they remarked the ages are measured by the number 7.
In the first 7 years the teeth are erupted.
third 7 years, the growth of the beard as manhood.
fourth 7 years, strength reaches its maximum.
fifth 7 years is the season for marriage.
sixth 7 years, the height of intelligence arrives.
seventh 7 years, the maturity of reason.
eighth 7 years, perfection of both.
ninth 7 years, equity and mildness, passions become gentle.
tenth 7 years, the end of desirable life.
Solon the Athenian Lawgiver, and Hippocrates the physician, also used this 7-year division of life.
The Pleiades, a group of seven stars in the constellation Taurus, was thought of mighty power over earthly destiny; there were seven also of the Hyades, daughters of Atlas; and the seven stars which guided the sailors. Ursa Major, in which the Hindoos locate the Sapta Rishi, seven sages of primitive wisdom, are a group of the first importance and are easily recognised.
Duncan, in his "Astro-Theology," gives 7 stages of life with
associated planets; thus, Infancy, Moon, Luna; Childhood, Mercury, Knowledge; Youth, Venus, Love; Manhood, Sol; Full Strength, Mars; Maturity of Judgment, Jupiter; and Old Age, Saturn.
Some philosophers have said that our souls have 7 foci in the material body, viz., the five senses, the voice, and the generative power.
The body has seven obvious parts, the head, chest, abdomen, two legs and two arms.
There are seven internal organs, stomach, liver, heart, lungs, spleen and two kidneys.
The ruling part, the head, has seven parts for external use, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and a mouth.
There are seven things seen, body, interval, magnitude, colour, motion and permanency.
There are seven inflections of the voice, the acute, grave, circumflex, rough, smooth, the long and the short sounds.
The hand makes seven motions; up and down, to the right and left, before and behind, and circular.
There are seven evacuations;—tears from the eyes, mucus of the nostrils, the saliva, the semen, two excretions and the perspiration.
Modern medical knowledge corroborates the ancient dictum that in the seventh month the human offspring becomes viable.
Menstruation tends to occur in series of four times seven days, and is certainly related to Luna in an occult manner.
The lyre has 7 strings, corresponding to the planets.
There are 7 vowels in English and some other tongues.
Theon of Smyrna also notices that an average length of an adult's intestine is 28 feet, four times seven, and 28 also is a perfect number.
The number 7 is also associated with Voice and Sound, with Clio the Muse; with Osiris the Egyptian deity; with Nemesis, Fate,—Adrastia, not to be escaped from; and with Mars.
As to the sacredness of the number 7, note among the Hebrews, oaths were confirmed by seven witnesses; or by
seven victims offered in sacrifice; as see the covenant between Abraham and Abimelech with seven lambs, Genesis, chap. xxi. vv. 28, 21–28; the Hebrew word seven, also Sh B O H, is derived from, or is a similar to Sh B O, to swear.
Clean beasts were admitted into the ark by sevens, whilst the unclean only in pairs.
The Goths had 7 Deities from whom come our names of week days; Sun, Moon, Tuisco, Wotan, Thor, Friga, Seatur, corresponding, of course, to the planets.
Apollo, the Sun God, had a Greek title Ebdomaios, sevenfold.
The Persian Mithras, a Sun God, had the number 7 sacred to him.
Note the Mysterious Kadosh Ladder of 7 steps ascent and 7 steps descent, the one side Oheb Eloah, Love of God; the other Oheb Kerobo, love of the neighbour.
Plato, in his "Timæus," teaches that from the number seven was generated the Soul of the World, Anima Mundana (Adam Kadmon).
The seven wise men of Greece were:
Chilo „ "Consider the end," B.C. 590.
Cleobūlos „ "Avoid Extremes," B.C. 580.
Periander „ "Nothing is impossible to perseverance," B.C. 600.
Pittâcus „ "Know thy opportunity," B.C. 569.
Solon „ "Know thyself," B.C. 600.
Thāles „ "Suretyship is ruin," B.C. 550.
The Seven Wonders of the World are thus enumerated:
2. The hanging Gardens of Babylon, for Semiramis.
3. Tomb of Mausōlus, King of Caria, at Halicarnassus, built by Artemisia, his Queen.
4. Temple of Diana at Ephesus, 552 B.C. Ctesiphon was the chief architect.
5. Colossus of Rhodes, an image of the sun god, Apollo, of brass, 290 B.C.
7. Pharos of Egypt, built by Ptolemy Philadelphus, of white marble, 283 B.C.; or the Palace of Cyrus which is sometimes substituted.
Sanskrit lore has very frequent reference to this number: note:—
Sapta Rishi, seven sages; Sapta Kula, 7 castes; Sapta Loka, seven worlds; Sapta Para, 7 cities; Sapta Dwipa, seven holy islands; Sapta Arania, 7 deserts; Sapta Parna, 7 human principles; Sapta Samudra, seven holy seas; Sapta Vruksha, 7 holy trees.
The Assyrian Tablets also teem with groups of sevens—7 gods of sky; 7 gods of earth; 7 gods of fiery spheres: seven gods maleficent; seven phantoms; spirits of' seven heavens; spirits of seven earths.
The Chaldean notion seems to have been that 7 was a holy number which became nefast under certain conditions. The opposite sides of a die added together are always seven in total numeration, the 4 opposite 3, 6 opposite 1, and so on.
It used to be asserted, says John Heydon, that every seventh Male born without any female coming between, can cure the King's Evil, by Word, or Touch.
St. James iii. 17 gives the 7 characters of wisdom.
After Birth the 7th hour decides whether the child will live, in 7 days the cord falls off, in twice 7 days the eyes follow a light, thrice 7 days turns the head, 7 months gets teeth, twice 7 months sits firmly, thrice 7 months begins to talk, after 4 times 7 months walks strongly.
After 7 years, teeth of second set appear.
After 14 years is the arrival of generative power. After 2i the hair of Manhood is completed.
After 28 we cease to grow, at 35 is greatest strength, at 49 is the greatest discretion, and 70 is the natural end of Life.
The Moon passes through stages of 7 days in increase, full, decrease, and renewal.
Naaman was ordered by Elisha (an Adept) to take seven dips in Jordan, to cleanse himself from Leprosy.
The Golden Candlestick of Seven Branches was a notable emblematic ornament of the Tabernacle of Moses, Exodus xxv. 31.
Note the seven years for Repentance; 7 churches of Asia (or Assiah), 7 Angels with Trumpets, 7 candlesticks of the Holy Places, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 kings, 7 thousands slain, 7 vials of wrath to be poured out, pace the Apocalypse. 7 members make a Freemasons' lodge perfect, although 5 may hold one.
Francis Barrett, in his "Magus," catalogues 7 Birds, Fishes, Animals, metals, stones, and members of the body.
It has been said there are seven apertures of the skull to correspond with the planets.
There are Seven Degrees in the Oriental Order of Sikha and the Sat Bhai (7 Brothers); but I have doubts of the Brahmanic authenticity of the present Order of the name, which was introduced by J. H. Lawrence Archer.
From the relative length of their courses the ancients constructed a Planetary Ladder, with Vowel Symbols, thus:
These symbols were used in mystical knowledge, As an Inscription at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi shows, where E I meant the Sun and its nearest Planet, i.e., Sun and Mercury; and Mercury was often represented as a Dog, following a Sun Man.
The Oracle of Claros (Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1. 18) said that ΙΑΩ (the Gnostic Deity) was the Sun and the first and last of the planetary set, hence the 7 Concentric spheres.
Duncan assigns these Minerals and Animals to the 7 Heavenly Bodies known to the ancient world.
Mercury, Serpent, Quicksilver
Venus, Dove, Copper
Sun, Lion, Gold
Mars, Wolf, Iron
Jupiter, Eagle, Pewter
Saturn, Ass, Lead
Note also the number of 7 pipes in the Musical instrument at the mouth of the old deity Pan, the Great Whole, a Sun God (not the later Rural Pan).
An ancient symbol of the universe was a Ship with seven pilots, in the centre of the ship, a Lion; possibly from an idea that the Sun first rose in Leo.
Note Aries supplanted Taurus, as the constellation in which the sun rises at the Vernal equinox; Taurus was the sign at the early fabulous periods of the earth—it was displaced about 300 B.C. The sign becomes changed every 2150 years by the precession of the equinoxes: Pisces has now followed Aries; but the Sun is still said to enter the sign Aries at the Vernal Equinox about March 21st. Its actual position in March 1900 was near omega Pisces.
T. Subba Row describes the Seven Primary Forces of Nature as six powers resumed in a seventh. These are called Sakti (Mahamaya) and are related to Kanya, i.e., Virgo, as the 6th Zodiacal Sign; they are Parasakti, force of light and heat; Inanasakti, intellect; Itchasakti, cause of voluntary movements; Kriyasakti, energy of will; Kundalini sakti, the life force shown in attraction and repulsion, positive and negative; Mantrika sakti, the power of sounds, vibration, music, words and speech; these are summarized in Daivi prakriti = the Light of the Logos.
Our physical senses known as 5, are an incomplete set, there are indeed 7 forms or modes of perception, as appears in the highest developments of the "Chabrat zereh aur bokher," and as described in the oldest Sanskrit occult science of the Upanishads:—smell, taste, sight, touch, hearing—and 6th, Mental perception, with 7th, spiritual understanding: the two latter were not dwarfed and materialized into noticeable organs in this fifth Race of beings, to which Man now belongs. For a fuller explanation see the "Secret Doctrine" of H. P. Blavatsky. The Archaic scheme recognized Seven States of Matter;—homogeneous, aeriform, nebulous or curdlike, atomic, germinal fiery elemental, fourfold vapoury, and lastly that which is cold and dependent on a vivifying Sun for light and heat.
Our Earth, symbolised by Malkuth of the Kabalah, is the seventh of a series, and is on the Fourth plane; it is
generated by Jesod, the foundation the Sixth World, and after complete purification will in the 7th Race of the 7th Cycle become re-united to the Spiritual Logos and in the end to the Absolute. Our earth has been already thrice changed, and each cycle sees seven kings (as of Edom). There were Seven Kings of Edom, Genesis, xxxvi. v. 31; the Kabalists consider these as types of primordial worlds which failed to survive their creation. Seven is the key to the Mosaic creation, as to the symbols of every religion. There are Seven Planes of being, the upper three are subjective and unknowable to mankind, the lower four are objective and may be contemplated by man as metaphysical abstractions: so there are the seven Principles in Man, and the upper triad are parted from the lower group of four at dissolution.
The Seven Principles constituting man are variously named by the Esoteric Buddhism, by the Vedantic scheme, and by other philosophies, but they correspond in idea; first from above come Atma, a ray from the Absolute; Buddhi, spiritual soul; and Manas, human soul; these are the superior triad, which separates at human death from the lower tetrad of principles. The lower four are Kama rupa, the passions; Linga Sarira, tile astral body; Prana, life essence; and Sthula Sarira, the lower body; see the dogmas of Esoteric Buddhism.
The Kabalah divides these into four planes of the Soul, which are further separated by adepts; these are Chiah, Neshamah, Ruach and Nephesh, which correspond to the symbolical worlds of Atziluth, Briah, Yetzirah and Assiah.
There is an occult reference in the Seven stars in the head of Taurus called the Pleiades, six present and one hidden—said to be daughters of Atlas, who, pursued by Orion, were changed by Zeus in mercy into pigeons (peleia). The missing one is Merope, who married the mortal Sisyphus, and hides herself for shame.
Seven was the number of the Rabbis who left the "Greater Holy Assembly"; ten had formed it, three had
passed away from the "Sod," Svd, mystery. See "The Greater" and "Lesser Holy Assembly," or the Ha Idra Rabba Quadisha and Ha Idra Suta Quadisha.
Athanasius Kircher the Jesuit states that the ancient Egyptians associated numbers to the planets as follows:—
3, 9, 15, 45
4, 16, 34, 136
5, 25, 65, 325
6, 36, 111, 666
7, 49, 145, 1225
8, 64, 260, 2080
9, 81, 369, 3521
In this matter see also Francis Barrett, "The Magus."
The later Coptic names of the 7 Gods and planets and Genii of the World of the Ancient Egyptians are: Saturn, Rephan, God of time; Jupiter, Picheus, God of life; Mars, Moloch, God of destruction; Sol, Phre or Pire, meaning Holy Lord; Venus, Suroth, lady of love; Mercury, Hermes, Hermanubis, God of speech; and Luna, Piooh, lady of the waters.
In China 7 is the number of Death, and their days of mourning are 7 times 7: the Seven Star Plank is the name of the bottom plank of a coffin in which they bore 7 holes.
The Hindoos speak of 7 Tatwas, the abstract principles of existence, metaphysical and physical, the subtle elements and the corresponding human senses, of which only five are yet developed. So there are five exoteric, Akasa, Vayu, Tejas, Apas and Prithwi; the first two esoteric yet unknown are Ani and Anupadaka. The first name means One, Unity, the Atom, and is a name of Brahma; the latter means parentless, self-existent. The first five are referred to primeval Aether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth: and to Hearing, Touch, Sight, Taste and Smell; note Air is not Hearing. See Rama Prasad on "The Tatwas."
The Sanscrit names of the Seven Planets used in Hindoo Astrology are Surya for the Sun, Chandra for Moon, Kuja for Mars, Budhan for Mercury, Guru for Jupiter, Sukra for Venus, and Shani for Saturn: then there are
[paragraph continues] Rahu, the upper Lunar Node, and Ketu for the lower. Jupiter is also named Brihaspati.
The word Septemtriones refers to the north, and is so called from its reference to the 7 stars of Ursa Major, also called the Plough, and seen in the Zodiac of Denderah as the Thigh.
The Talmudic Berachoth, 14. 1, says he who passes 7 nights without dreaming deserves to be called wicked.
The Kabalists describe Seven classes of Angels: Ishim, Arelim, Chashmalim, Melakim, Auphanim, Seraphim and Kerubim.
The Judaic Hell was given seven names by the Kabalists; Sheol, Abaddon, Tihahion, Bar Shacheth, Tzelmuth, Shaari Muth, and Gehinnom.
Seven things were formed before the world; Law, Repentance, Paradise, Gehenna (that is Gai hinnom), the Throne of Glory, and the Messiah. The Targum Yerushalmi says these were formed 2000 years before the World's creation. Talmud, Pesachim, 54. 1.
Seven things were hidden from man; the day of death, the time of the resurrection, the final judgment, the opinion of his fellow-man, the time of the Jewish restoration, and the Fall of Persia (whatever that may mean). Pesachim, 54. 2.
The Talmud in "Chagijah" names 7 Heavens, and Occultists recognize 7 Planetary Heavens; Raquie, Zebul, Makum, Maon, Sagun, Ghereboth, and Shamaim.
In Micah, chapter v. verse 5, we read that 7 shepherds shall waste Assyria; the Talmud says they were Adam, Jacob and Methuselah, Abraham, Jacob and Moses, and David. Succah. 52. 2
Of Prophetesses there were 7;—Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah and Esther.
In the Talmud, Kethuboth, 17. 1, it is said that it is permissible to the Jew to look into his wife's face for 7 days after marriage; after this it is presumably wrong, in their opinion.
On the 7th day of the month Adar, Moses died and the rain of manna ceased, says the Talmud, but this appears to
be contradicted in Joshua v. verses 10–12. He was born on the same day of the same month.
The Bava Kama says that after 7 years a male hyæna becomes a bat, in another 7 years a Vampire, after another a Thorn, and after another is turned into a demon. If a man fails to pray devoutly for 7 years, his spine after death becomes a serpent.
Besides those who prophesied for Israel, there were 7 other prophets, Beor, Balaam, Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zohar, and Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite.
The Bava Bathra says that 7 men form an unbroken series to this day. Adam was seen by Methuselah, then Shem, Jacob, Amram, Ahijah the Shilonite, and Elijah, who saw him, and Elijah is still alive until to-day.
Even 7 years of pestilence will not cause a man to die before his allotted time. This dictum of the treatise Sanhedrin is a statement of predestination.
A Ram has but one voice while alive, but after death his body makes 7 sounds; his horns make two trumpets, his thigh bones two pipes, his skin will cover a drum, the large intestines are formed into strings for the lyre, and the small intestines will make the small strings for the harp.
In the Sabbat, 152. 2, of the Talmud it is said that the Soul of a man watches over his corpse for 7 days. Compare this with the Theosophic teaching that the Linga Sarira broods over the body for a week after death.
Rabbi Nathan says that 7 good qualities avail at the Judgment; wisdom, righteousness, good opinions, mercy, truth, grace, and peace. Seven epithets are applied to the Earth in the Hebrew tongue; Aretz, Adamah, Arequa, Gia, Tziah, Yabeshah, Cheled or Thebel. The mystical River Sambatyon flowed all the week, but was still on the 7th day, says Rashi. Hershon, Talmudic Miscellany, 154.
The 7 Catholic Deadly Sins are Pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth.
The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah xi. v. 2, are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge,
[paragraph continues] Piety and Fear of the Lord; these are seven of the Kabalistic Sephiroth.
Seven is the token of Union between God, who is Triune, and Man, who is Quaternary. W. F. Shaw.
The Holy Ghost is said to impart a 7-fold gift; 7 Lamps burn before the Throne of God.
The Council of Arles declared that 1 Bishops ought to take part in the Ordination of a Bishop.
There was a 7 years’ probation for admission to the Celtic Order of the Culdees. There are 7 Vestments of the Christian priesthood, and Bishops should wear 7 others, Sandals, Dalmatic, Rational, Mitre, Gloves, Ring and Staff.
The 7 Champions of Christendom were St. George for England, St. Denis of France, St. James of Spain, St. Andrew of Scotland, St. David of Wales, St. Patrick of Ireland, and St. Antonio of Italy.
The 7 Sleepers of Ephesus, according to the monkish legend, were Christians who hid in a cave under the persecutions of Decius in the Third Century; they fell into a trance and slept 200 years. They awaked in A.D. 447 and going to the Emperor Theodosius II., they convinced him of the truth of the Life beyond the grave: this done, they returned to the cave to sleep until the Last Judgment.
The 7 Dolours of the Virgin Mary is the name of a Roman Catholic Fast Day held on the Friday before Palm Sunday.
The 7 Wise Masters were officers of King Kurush who tell stories to save the life of the King's son: they exist in Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, Persian, and in English are called The Book of Sindibad, edited by Clouston.
The Coptic Gnostics represented the Jehovah of the Hebrews by a curious arrangement of the 7 vowels, without a consonant; thus Iehooua (the H is the Greek eta, long e; and the first O is the Greek long O, omega).
In the Zoroastrian theology we read of the highest beings the 7 Amshaspands; Ormuzd, source of life; Bahman, the king of this world; Ardibehest, fire producer; Shahrivar, the former of metals; Spandarmat, queen of the earth (the Gnostic Sophia); Khordad, the ruler of times and seasons;
and Amerdad, ruling over the vegetable world. Below there are the 27 Izeds, ruled over by Mithras; in opposition to these were powers of darkness, the 7 arch devs, and the 27 devs, or devils as we call them.
The historic city of Rome, pagan before it was Christian, was built upon Seven Hills; the Palatine, Cœlian, Aventine, Viminal, Quirinal, Esquiline, and the Capitol. In Latin times it was called Urbs Septicollis. Some old authors speak of "Valentia" as a secret name for Rome.
The "Bijou Notes and Queries," vol. xiv., p. 235, says that the 7 days of the week have all been used as sacred days; Sunday by Christians; Monday by the Greeks; Tuesday by the Persians; Wednesday by the Assyrians; Thursday by the Egyptians; Friday by the Turks; and Saturday by the Jews.
The number 7 was curiously related to H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society. "Lucifer" was first published in 1887, and 1887 is the sum of 17 hundreds, 17 tens, and 17 units; H. P. B. lived at 17 Lansdowne Road, and 17 Avenue Road; "Lucifer" was published at 7 Duke Street; 7 volumes were completed at her death; Colonel Olcott first met her at 7 Beckman Street, and later at 71 Broadway, New York. Anna Kingsford was elected president first of the London T. S. Lodge on 7th January 1883; "Isis Unveiled" was published in 1877, and the Third volume of the "Secret Doctrine" was published in 1897, after her death.