With this article we will start a three-part series on our final numerical archetype – the Decad – or 10.
The Decad – 10 – New Beginnings
The Decad is associated with “world” and “heaven”.
It symbolizes a journey into limitlessness.
It represents a synergy, a whole greater than the sum of its parts, an all-inclusive perfection.
It also represents a returning and reuniting with Unity.
It symbolizes fulfillment and new beginnings and represents the power to generate numbers beyond itself, toward the infinite.
There are 10 fingers on 2 hands from which our counting system originates.
DNA has 10 steps for each turn of its double helix. This appears in cross section as a tenfold rosette.
We all know what a “Perfect 10” means and 10 x 10 = 100 which is associated with the “Perfect score”.
There are 10 years in a decade.
10 decades = century
10 centuries = millennium
Atomic Number 10 = Neon
Neon is a light, very inert gas. It is rare on Earth, but is the fifth most abundant element in the universe. It has the smallest liquid range of any element (2.6 C).
Atomic Number 100 = Fermium
Fermium is a synthetic, highly radioactive metal and has only been produced in miniscule amounts.
Atomic Number 110 = Darmstadtium
Darmstadium is also a synthetic radioactive metal and has only been produced in tiny amounts.
Arithmetic Properties of the Decad
10 = 1 + 0 = 1: Back to Unity
Multiplying any number by 10 is like multiplying it by 1; it does not change its nature, only expands its power:
2 x 10 = 20
3 x 10 = 30
4 x 10 = 40…
10 symbolizes “the higher unity wherein the One is unfolded”.
Divisors: 1, 2, 5, 10
10 is the 4th triangular number.
It is the 3rd tetrahedral number.
Ten is the sum of the first three prime numbers (2 + 3 + 5).
Ten is the sum of the first four numbers (1 + 2 + 3 + 4).
Ten is the sum of the square of the two first odd numbers (12 + 32).
Ten is the sum of the first four factorials (0! + 1! + 2! + 3!).
Ten equally sized spheres arranged in a circle will exactly fit three additional spheres inside it – provided they are the same size.
Powers of Ten
102 = 100
103 = 1000
104 = 10000
105 = 100000
The following interesting decad number sequences are taken from the work of Scott Onstott.
987654321/123456789 = 8 (99.999999%)
1.234567899.87654321 = 8 (99.9%)
π2 = 9.87654321 (99.9%)
11.1111111 = 1.23456789 + 9.87654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321
111112 = 123454321
1111112 = 12345654321
11111112 = 1234567654321…etc.
Theology of Arithmetic – Iamblichus
As we have been doing, we will now take a look at the meaning of the Decad as prepared by Neo-Platonist philosopher, biographer of Pythagoras, Greek mystic and mathematician Iamblichus (245-325 AD).
A natural equilibration and commensurability and wholeness exists above all in the decad.
The decad encompasses seminally within itself all things, both solid and plane, even and odd and even-odd, perfect in all manners of perfection, prime and incomposite, and equality and inequality, the ten relations, and diagonal numbers, spherical numbers and circular numbers.
In itself, it has no special or natural variation, apart from the fact that it runs and circles back to itself.
From heaven to Earth are found to have been organized by the decad.
It is called ‘universe’ because all things are arranged by it both in general and in particular and because it is the most perfect boundary of number.
It is called ‘receptacle’ just as heaven is the receptacle of all things.
It is called ‘all’ because there is no natural number greater than it, but if one thinks about it, number recurs and circles back in a sense, to the decad.
The reduction and returning of all numbers to it is manifold.
It is called ‘Fate’ because there is no attribute, either among numbers or among things which have been formed by numbers, which is not sown in the decad and the numbers within it.
It is called ‘eternity’ because eternity, which encompasses all things, is said, since it is complete and everlasting, to bring everything to fulfillment, like the decad.
It is called ‘power’ because of the things of the universe are strengthened by it and ten appears to control the other numbers and all principles as a defense and enclosure and receptacle.
It is also called ‘custodian’ because it is a compound of the numbers up to and including the tetrad.
It is called ‘trust’ because thanks to the decad and its parts that we have secure trust in things being precisely comprehensible.
It is called ‘Necessity’ since it circumscribes everything and by mingling things one with another and again separating them, it imbues things with change and continuity.
The spheres of the universe are ten and fall under the decad.
It is called ‘Atlas’ because the decad holds together the principles of the spheres, as if it were a diameter of all of them, which both turns them around and limits them, so that they can be best maintained.
The decad is the most natural and fulfilling of things.
Ten is a perfect number, and it is both correct and in accordance with Nature, that all men, without making any special effort, arrive at this number in all sorts of ways when we count.
It is a perfect number since it contains an equal amount of odd and even numbers.
It also contains an equal amount of prime and incomposite numbers and secondary and composite numbers. Ten does have an equal amount, and no number less that then has this property.
It contains an equal amount of multiples and submultiples.
All the ratios are contained by 10.
The primary elements in plane and solid figures are these: point, line, triangle, pyramid. They contain number ten and are limited by it.
The decad is potentially generated by even and odd: for 10 is five times two. It is the perimeter and limit of all number; for they run their course by wheeling and turning around it as if it were a turning-point in a race.
Ten is also the limit of the infinitude of numbers.
It is called ‘power’ and ‘all-fullfilled’ because it limits all number by encompassing within itself the whole nature of even and odd, moving and unmoving, good and bad.
It arises out of the tetraktys of the first numbers (1, 2, 3, 4) combined.
The Decad in Religion, Myth, & Folklore
“The appearance of ten often represents the completion of a journey and a return to the origin after a purifying ninefold experience.”1
There is the:
- Babylonian spring festivals lasted 10 days.
- Demeter finds Persepone on the 10th
The Return of Perspehone by Frederic Leighton, 1891
- City of Troy fell in the 10th
- Odysseus wandered 9 years and returned home on the 10
Odysseus and the Sirens, Ulixes mosaic at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, Tunisia, 2nd century AD
- Odin gained wisdom for mankind on the 10th day of clinging to the cosmic tree.
- In Hinduism Lord Vishnu appeared on the earth in 10 incarnations.
- Dante’s tour of 9 rings of hell and 9 spheres of paradise culminated with an ascent to the 10th realm of transcendent spiritual beauty.
The Bible is packed with 10-fold symbolism:
- 10th generation after Adam was Noah
- 10 generations later came Abraham; at age 100 he accepted God’s covenant, gave birth to Isaac and began the Jewish religion.
- Ten Commandments
- Egypt was assailed by 10 plagues before the Exodus.
- David sang the praises of god with a 10-stringed lyre.
Ten Christian Spiritual Graces:
Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, prudence, meekness, temperance
Ten Sephirot in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life (See Article 6)
Ten Sufi Veils (obstacles to seeing the world’s and our own divinity)
Desire, separation, hypocrisy, narcissism, illusions, avarice, greed, irresponsibility, laziness, negligence
Pythagorean 10 pairs of fundamental cosmic tensions that pull tight the weave of the universe:
Ten Buddhist Levels
Joyous, stainless, light maker, radiant, resilient, turning toward, far-going, unshakeable, good mind, cloud of dharma
Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts – The 10 Qualities characteristic of all Created Forms
Activity, passivity, power, quality, quantity, relation, time, substance, positions, peace
- Schneider, Michael, A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, Harper Perennial, 1994