Return to Free Library

Return to Number Menu

Previous Article                                                                         Next Article

 

In this article we will delve deeper into the symbolism of number, specifically focusing on the cosmic archetypes represented by the numbers 1-10, referred to as the Decad.

“Since all other numbers proceed from the first ten, the decad contains the story of creation and how it developed.”1

decad lowres

 

 

As Michael Schneider teaches in his essential book A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe: The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art and Science, A Voyage from 1 to 10, mathematics can take us beyond our ordinary limits to the cosmic depths.

space lowres

 

As we have seen in the previous article on the Sacred Number Canon, numbers are not mere quantities – they are symbols of basic facts of existence. By understanding the principles represented by a certain number, we begin to understand more about the universe, and therefore more about our own selves and our place in the universe. We can begin to see that life is not random and chaotic, that certain principles underlie every aspect of our reality, and that we have more in common with nature, the cosmos, and each other than we could have previously imagined.

 

Schneider writes, “Numbers, shapes and their patterns symbolize omnipresent principles, including wholeness, polarity, structure, balance, cycles, rhythm, and harmony. These patterns remain symbolic of our own sacred inner realm, symbolic of the subtle structure of awareness whose source is the same as archetypal number.”

He then adds, “The structure and patterns of arithmetic and geometry reenact the creating processes found all through nature. Numbers and their associated shapes represent stages in the process of becoming. These number principles do not only unfold sequentially but interpenetrate the universe simultaneously in a cosmic symphony.”

 

cosmicsymphony lowres

 

Here we must recall that the entire study of Sacred Geometry is a study of the way the energy of consciousness moves – the way universal principles create lines of action through which Consciousness (Spirit) is concretized into energy and matter. It maps out the vibrational patterns, geometry, mathematical ratios, harmonics and proportions of Consciousness (spiritual energy) and hence, light and sound. These patterns are the background and framework upon which all physical reality is created. Geometry is the blueprint of creation, an interface between the seen and unseen, the manifest and unmanifest, the finite and infinite, the physical and the metaphysical.

 

Physicist Conrad Ranzan reminds us, “Centuries ago Galileo wrote in The Assayer that this grand book of the universe which stands continually open to our gaze is written in the language of geometric figures; without an understanding of the language of shapes, the universe will not be understood; the universe will remain a dark labyrinth.”

 

“We grope in a world we consider dangerous, accidental, and chaotic but one that is actually harmonious and awaiting our cooperation”2 – once we begin to understand the deeper language of the universe.

chaotic lowres

 

 

Typal – Ectypal – Archetypal Principles

There are three levels to number and geometry.

These levels represent the different aspects of number, just as the different levels of our mind – the ego, conscious mind, subconscious, collective unconscious – represent different layers or aspects of our consciousness.

typal ectypal archetypal

 

Whenever we are dealing with symbolism, it can be interpreted on many different levels depending upon the perspective it is viewed from.

This goes back to Article 2 and the four ways of knowing: the material level, the social or psychological level, the cultural or mythological level and the inspiration level.

The first layer, or most superficial layer, is the typal. The typal represents the existing form as it is. The perception of the form can be diverse and variable depending on who is perceiving it. It will be experienced in as many different ways as there are uses for it, and as there are consciousnesses perceiving or manifesting it.

sea sand dollar 1

 

The next layer is the ectypal. The ectypal represents the unmanifest, pure, formal idea. For instance, there is a formal, unmanifest idea of a pentagon. Regardless of how each person perceives that pentagon; regardless of its size, shape, color; regardless of what that pentagon makes people feel or think; and regardless of what it is being used for, the ectypal idea of the pentagon remains the same. A pentagon will always be a pentagon, whether we think about it in our minds or see it manifest in physical reality. It will always have five equal sides. It will always have 108° angles between those sides. This is the pure, formal idea of the pentagon and it exists in our minds.

So you see, the typal is how that pentagon is manifest in physical reality – perhaps it is used in art, or design, or maybe it is the framework that a starfish grows upon…any number of infinite manifestations of the ectypal idea of that ‘perfect’ pentagon – that is the typal.

pentagram pentagon lr

 

The third and deepest layer is the archetypal. The archetypal principle is a process which the ectypal and typal layers only represent. The archetypal is concerned with universal processes or dynamic patterns which can be considered independently of any structure or material form. These archetypes were symbolized by the Ancients as “pure, eternal processes” which they represented as various gods. Archetypal number deals with the qualities of number, rather than the quantities – that is instead of 1, 2, 3, we are talking about oneness, twoness, threeness…etc.

pentadarchetypal

 

The brilliant researcher R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz explains the difference between the enumerative aspect of number and the archetypal aspect. The enumerative aspect is that aspect regarding quantity and effect. The archetypal is that regarding quality and cause.

He tells us to imagine a revolving sphere. The sphere has an imaginary axis. The axis does not objectively exist yet we believe in its reality – “to determine anything about the sphere, such as its inclination or its speed of rotation we must refer to this imaginary axis.”

sphere axis lr

 

The enumerative aspect of number then refers to the measures and movements of the outer surface of the sphere.

The archetypal aspect refers to the immobile, unmanifest, functional principle of its axis.

Keith Critchlow writes, “We use the word imaginal for the realm of archetypal images. This is a level of reality accessible intelligibly but not sensibly: in other words, interior ‘visions’ or the emergence of an archetype into the individual consciousness indicates that this imaginal realm is a psychological reality and is in no way dependent on the physical realm.”

imaginal lowres

 

 

Symbolism and Archetypes

Manly P Hall writes, “Symbolism is the language of the Mysteries; in fact it is the language not only of mysticism and philosophy but of all Nature, for every law and power active in universal procedure is manifested to the limited sense perceptions of man through the medium of symbol. Every form existing in the diversified sphere of being is symbolic of the divine activity by which it is produced.”

“By a true symbol,” Keith Critchlow adds, “we mean a truth that permeates the spiritual, intellectual, emotive and perceptive responses, both indicating and being part of the instrument that carries it…Humankind’s concern and need for symbols is an essential part of humanity. This realm has been called the ‘sphere of human depth psychology’. Symbols have also been described as archetypal patterns emerging in both instinctive and inspirational lives of people, due to their common genetic ancestry.”

Mircea Eliade adds, “Symbols have several simultaneous meanings and therefore through paradox the symbol has the capability of expressing patterns of ultimate reality that can be expressed no other way. The person who understands or is the proper recipient of a symbol is thereby ‘opened’ to a comprehension of the universal.”

 

“The symbol, then, whether a temple, a ritual, [a number], or a natural event, is capable of revealing a perspective of integration in which apparently diverse realities can be fitted together.”3

peaceonearth lowres

 

In The Hidden Geometry of Flowers, Keith Critchlow writes, “Symbols imply correspondences and it is these that ultimately cohere the universe. It is the profound nature of relationships which cohere our universe. Coherence is relationship.”

Now recall Bucky Fuller’s quote from Article 2: “Geometry is the science of systems – which are themselves defined by relationships. (Geometry is therefore the study of relationships; this makes it sound relevant to quite a lot!)”

 

 

Archetypal Principles as Dharma (Sacred Principles)

“Studying, contemplating, and living in agreement with universal principles is a social responsibility and can be a spiritual path.”4

The archetypal principles of reality that we are discussing reflect the idea of Dharma in many spiritual traditions.

 

They reflect the idea of dharma in the Hindu religion – that is behaviors that are considered to be in accord with the order that makes life and the universe possible.

hindu lowres

 

They also reflect the idea of dharma in the Buddhist religion – meaning “cosmic law and order”.

buddhism lowres

 

In Jainism dharma refers to the body of doctrines pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings.

jainism lowres

 

And in ancient Greek philosophy these archetypal principles represent a transformational journey of the Soul – a returning and reuniting with Unity.

greek lowres

“The special regard paid to mathematical studies in the ancient world arose from the understanding that number is the mean term in the progression from divine reason to its imperfect reflection in humanity.”5

 

 

Overview of the Cosmic Archetypes 1-10

We will now take a brief overview of the symbolism behind the numbers 1-10. In later articles each number will be dealt with individually where we will discuss the arithmetic, geometric, and symbolic properties, as well as how the archetypal principles of these specific numbers manifest in reality through nature, science and art.

“Each number represents a universal law and possesses its own individuality, its own character and thereby its own meaning to the human consciousness on several symbolic levels…The correct understanding of numbers links to both micro-cosmos and macro-cosmos.”6

In discussing the cosmic archetypes, we are describing the cosmic creating process of the universe through geometry.

As mentioned in Article 4, it all begins with a point. The point expands equally in all directions to a sphere, represented by a circle. The circle is Infinite. This is the Monad.

 

 

The Monad – 1 – The Circle – 360°

The Monad is all about ‘Oneness’.

“Plato quite specifically introduced ‘Oneness’ to emphasize the quality of Unity above and beyond the number 1 alone.”7

Its shape is a circle, sphere, or an invisible central point. It represents Absolute Unity; Infinity; Timelessness; Equal Expansion in all directions (Equality) and the Cyclic nature of reality.

It also expresses Infinite Potential, or the Infinite Potential of Cosmic Consciousness at rest, waiting, silent and still.

It is often used as a symbolic representation of God, the All-Including One, or as Plato put it, the “Whole of Wholes.”

monadeye lowres

 

This concept of the Monad as the Source has been called by many names and shows up in every single spiritual tradition throughout time:

Unity, The One, The First, The Seed, The Essence, The Builder, The Foundation, The Space-Producer, The Silent Force, Mirror of Wonders, Chi, Brahman, Dharmakaya, Tao, Quantum Physical Vacuum, the Void, The Still Eternity, The Immutable Truth and Destiny, Infinite Potential, Prana, Akasha, Purusha, Dzogchen, Infinity, Divinity, Spiritual Reality, Infinite Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness, God, Allah, Spirit, Great Spirit, Kosmos, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, Loving Energy, Spiritual Energy, Logos, The Universe, Cosmic Mind, Source Field, Source Realm, Zero-point energy, the Metaphysical Realm…and on and on…

This is an inexpressible concept therefore you can call it whatever feels right to you. Or don’t name it at all.

 

The numbers are to the Monad as the branches of the tree are to the seed of the tree.

The Monad is called Mind because the mind is stable and has preeminence. The Monad represents Infinite Cosmic Consciousness. This consciousness is the Source of all.

monadlight lowres

 

It also represents hermaphrodism because it is both odd and even, male and female. It contains all possibilities and it is above any one gender, religion or human concept.

The Monad represents Infinity and Eternity, because it is the beginning and end of all, but itself, like the circle, has neither beginning nor end. Its true state is timelessness.

 

timelessness lowres

 

The Pythagoreans referred to the Monad as God. Also: Good – because the nature of God is Goodness; the Present moment – because eternity knows neither past nor future; Form – because it circumscribes, comprehends and terminates all in One; and Love, Concord and Piety – because it is indivisible.

This Infinite Potential desired to know itself – to understand itself – to see what it was made of and what it was capable of. Therefore it focused it consciousness outwards and cast a reflection of itself and created Two. This is the Dyad.

 

However, this twoness is still only One, just as you and the reflection of yourself in the mirror are only one person.

Reflection lowres

 

 

The Dyad – 2 – The Vesica Piscis and Line

As the Monad is the father, so the Dyad is the mother. All subsequent numbers are considered children, or offspring, of the parents, the Monad and Dyad.

The dyad represents how the One becomes the Many. The Dyad is about Separation. It is represented by the Vesica Piscis – the eye shaped space between two equally sized, intersecting circles, seen below. The center of the second circle lies on the circumferene of the first.

vesica piscis grey lr

These two circles represent the two realms of reality: the metaphysical and physical; the unseen and seen; the spiritual and material; the ‘heavenly’ and the ‘earthly’, the Wave Nature and Particle Nature.

 

Modern science has found that everything oscillates at the subatomic and atomic level. These subatomic and atomic particles have a wave nature and a particle nature. This is called wave-particle duality. What this means is that everything making up physical reality, including our bodies and minds, oscillate back and forth from the unseen realm to the seen realm. We move so quickly we cannot perceive it and our minds are tuned into the physical, particle aspect of reality. It happens so fast we are actually in both realms at the same time. We are particles and we are waves.

This is why Nikola Tesla said reality is akin to a film strip – still images blink on an off so quickly it gives the illusion of continuous movement.

 

In the physical realm we seem to be contained in one place, separate from all else, in our little brain bubble. This is our particle nature. This is what is called “the illusion of separation”.

brain lr

 

 

In the metaphysical realm our consciousness is spread out and we are connected to everything in the universe. Yet we still have individuality. We are still our own Self. This is our wave nature.

wavenature lr

 

This oscillating structure allows for a consciousness feedback loop. We when oscillate into the unseen we inform it with our thoughts, emotions, beliefs and expectations. We also draw up data and experience that others have deposited. So we are constantly giving and taking with all other consciousnesses in the universe. We just don’t realize it.

M 1 torus

Many spiritual traditions offer teachings and techniques on how to tap into that wave nature reality and experience the reality of Unity, the reality of our ‘true natures’. Examples are meditation, breathing techniques, fasting, lucid dreaming and psychedelic journeying.

flammarion lowres

 

The Vesica Piscis created by the two intersecting circles represents the eye (the 3rd eye), the womb of creation and the form maker. All subsequent geometric shapes, and hence all material forms come through this symbolic ‘birth portal’.

Before we had only circles. This reflection or duality allows us to have lines. The Line is birthed from the womb of the Vesica. The line forms between the two centers of the circles, called the line of centers. Two points define a line.

vesica line of centers lr

 

The line represents action and movement and is symbolic of the act of the Will – that is, focused will power that creates the action/movement.

will lr

 

Not only are all geometric polygons and polyhedra birthed from the Vesica, but the square roots of 2, 3 and 5 also spring forth from the Vesica and its two intersecting circles.

vesica hexagon

Vesica Hexagon Pentagon

vesica and root relationships

 

Because the dyad has been divided, it is two rather than one. When there are two, each is opposed to the other. Therefore, the idea of polar tension and opposing forces (yin/yang) are intrinsically present in the dyad.

The Dyad is about “Twoness”. Its principles include Polarity, Duality, Action, the Power of multiplicity, and Love/Gravity because love and gravity are the same force – the force of action that draws the separated inwards to re-unite.

 

As Bucky Fuller put it, “Love is metaphysical gravity.”

 

The Dyad was also “called ‘Audacity’ from its being the earliest number to separate itself from the Divine One.” W. Wynn Westcott

While the Monad is the symbol of wisdom, the dyad is the symbol of ignorance, for in it exists the sense of separateness – which is the root of ignorance. The dyad, however, is also the mother of wisdom, because ignorance – out of the nature of itself – invariably gives birth to wisdom. This means ignorance leads to wisdom as it begins to strive for completeness after its time wallowing in misery or unhappiness. This creates an action that yearns towards freedom. Freedom is living in complete Unity yet still being an individual. The end of all ignorance is wisdom.

 

Manley P Hall writes, “The Pythagoreans revered the Monad but despised the Dyad, because it was the symbol of polarity. By the power of the dyad the deep was created in contradistinction to the heavens. The deep mirrored the heavens and became the symbol of illusion, for the below was merely a reflection of the above. The below was called maya, the illusion, the sea, the Great Void.”

This is the “Illusion of Separation” created when we are only aware of our Particle Nature and we forget our Wave Nature that connects us to all in the Cosmos.

 

The word illusion does not mean the physical is not real, it just refers to the fact that perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye.

dyad 3rd eye lr

 

Other terms applied to the dyad: genius, evil, darkness, inequality, instability, movability, boldness, fortitude, contention, matter, dissimilarity, partition between multitude and monad, defect, shapelessness, indefiniteness, indeterminateness, opinion, fallacy, alterity (otherness), diffidence (modesty or shyness resulting from a lack of self-confidence), impulse, death, motion, generation, mutation, division, misfortune, imposition, marriage, soul, and science.

 

John Michell remarks, “The dyad was the symbol of the first active stage in creation, its equivocal nature arises from the conflicting desires of its two parts to react against each other and to seek reunion.”

 

This is a key point: the dyad is the force that separates and the tie that binds. Polar forces are not actually opposites, but merging tendencies, yearning to be reunited and balanced in unity.

Think again about this reuniting action as the action of Love. Surely in our human experience Love is the force that separates and the tie that binds. As we learn to express higher and higher qualities of love we reach closer and closer to true Unity.

dyad opposites love lr

 

Keith Critchlow says, “Thus twoness can be a profound study as well as a fundamental experience. Our heart beat is twofold: systole and diastole. There is virtually a polarity in all our bodily functions, from blinking to swallowing and to breathing. However, it must also be recognized that twoness is both divisive and the seat of all conflicts and oppositions unless seen as a complementarity.”

 

 

The Triad – 3 – The Triangle – 180º

The Triad is about “Threeness”. It is represented by an equilateral triangle. Its principles include: harmony; balance; stability and the divine trinity.

 

This divine trinity can be expressed in some of the following ways:

divine trinity lr

Above all, the Triad represents Harmony.

“Harmony itself is the finest relationship that can be nourished between two entities. It both honors their differences yet binds them into one.” – Keith Critchlow

 

The equilateral triangle represents the principle of creation – forming the passage between the transcendent and the manifest realms, the unseen metaphysical reality and the seen physical reality.

Three is the first number that is truly odd. It is the first equilibrium of unities. It is the balancing force between the opposing forces of the dyad.

The triad is called wisdom because humanity organizes the present, foresees the future, and benefits by the past, hence, due to this ‘triple-seeing’ the triad is the cause of wisdom and understanding.

It is also the number of knowledge, as it is represented by the triangle, and the triangle (and tetrahedron), are the foundation of music, geometry, astronomy and the science of the celestials and terrestrials.

 

The sacredness of the Triad and its symbol, the triangle, is derived from the fact that it is made up of the monad and dyad, and represents the linking force between the metaphysical realm (the heavens) and the physical realm (Earth). That linking force is human consciousness.

 

linking human consciousness

 

The Tetrad – 4 – Square – 360º

The Tetrad is about “Fourness”.

Four is esteemed as the primogenial number, the root of all things and the fountain of Nature. It represents physical matter, materialization, the ‘first born thing’ in the world of Nature and the Four Elements of fire, air, water and earth. It is the product of the procreative process (2 x 2 = 4).

 

4 elements lr

 

The Tetrad is represented by the square, but also by volume itself – four dimensions being necessary for a volume.

volume lowres

 

Therefore, all volumes, especially the Platonic solids fall under the principles of the Tetrad. These are the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, icosahedron and the dodecahedron.

Four is the first square number. It “reconciles the two forms of mathematical growth, being both 2 + 2 and 2 x 2, and it represents the human instinct for symmetry.” John Michell

 

square lr

 

In a sacred discourse ascribed to Pythagoras, he said, “God is called the Number of Numbers. This is because the decad, or 10, is composed of 1, 2, 3, and 4. [1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10]. The number 4 is symbolic of God because it is symbolic of the first four numbers. Moreover, the tetrad is the center of the week, being halfway between 1 and 7. The tetrad is also the first geometric solid.”

The tetrad connects all beings, elements, numbers and seasons; nor can anything be named which does not depend upon the tetractys. It is the Cause and Maker of all things; the intelligible God, Author of celestial and sensible good.

Other terms applied to the Tetrad: impetuosity, strength, virility, two-mothered, and the key keeper of Nature because the universal constitution cannot be without it.

 

 

The Pentad – 5 – the Pentagon – 540º

The Pentad is about “Fiveness” or “Phi-ness”. It is intrinsically linked to the golden ratio (phi), the Fibonacci sequence and the property of fractal self-similarity. The phi ratio is embedded in the pentagon, the shape of the Pentad. Its principles include: life, regeneration, health and humanity.

pentagons and phi

 

Five is the union of an odd and even number (2 + 3) and is sometimes referred to as ‘marriage’; also: reconciliation, alternation, immortality, cordiality, providence and sound.

 

The Pentad symbolizes the fifth element Aether because it is free from the disturbances of the four lower elements. The dodecahedron, the 3D representation of the pentad, is also the element of Aether – the fifth element of Consciousness or Spirit.

Dodecahedron rotating

The tetrad (the four elements) plus the Monad equals the Pentad. The Pythagoreans taught that the elements of earth, fire, air, and water were permeated by a substance called Aether – the basis of vitality and life. Therefore, they chose the five-pointed star, or pentagram, as the symbol of vitality, health and interpenetration.

The pentad is also symbolic of nature, for when multiplied by itself it returns to itself, just as grains of wheat, starting in the form of a seed, pass through nature’s process and reproduce the seed of the wheat as the ultimate form of their own growth.

Only the numbers 5 and 6 retain their original number when multiplied: (5 x 5 = 25; 6 x 6 = 36). The pentad is also called equilibrium because it divides the perfect number 10 into two equal parts.

Manly P Hall writes, “It was customary for the philosophers to conceal the element of earth under the symbol of a dragon, and many of the heroes of antiquity were told to go forth and slay the dragon. Hence, they drove their sword (the monad) into the body of the dragon (the tetrad). This resulted in the formation of the pentad, a symbol of the victory of the spiritual nature over the material nature.”

dragon lr

 

 

The Hexad – 6 – The Hexagon – 720º

The Hexad is about “Sixness”. It is represented by the hexagon. The principles of the hexad are efficient structure, function and order. “The numbers 6 and 12 frame the proportions of the heavenly bodies, divide up the circle, and measure the periods of solar time.”8

hex

The Hexad is the source of the form or the body in which the Tetrad (the Four Elements) join with the Pentad (Life) to create all the various forms of matter and life.

The hexad tessellates, that is it can be laid out and the hexagons will fit perfectly together with no spaces. The only other regular polygons that tessellate are the square and triangle.

 

hexagon tesselate lr

 

Also, six circles fit exactly around 1 central circle, provided they are all the same size. This six-around-1 pattern is called the seed of life.

seed of life lr

 

The seed of life transforms into the flower of life, then the fruit of life. From the fruit of life comes all the Platonic solids.

Flower of life metatrons1

 

These properties, as well as how base-6 organizes time, are all qualities of its efficient structure/function/order.

clocks lr

 

The hexad represents the creation of the world according to both the prophets and the ancient Mysteries because of the six-around-1 property, or 6 days of creation around 1 day of rest.

It was called the ‘perfection of parts’ by the Pythagoreans because the radius of a circle marked 6 times around the circle perfectly marks out the hexagon. It was also called the ‘form of forms’ for the same reason; the ‘articulation of the universe’ and the ‘maker of the soul’.

plot formula.mpl

 

“Among the Greeks, harmony and the soul were considered to be similar in nature, because all souls are harmonic. It is also the symbol of marriage, because it is formed by the union of two triangles, one masculine, the other feminine.”9

Hexagram 1000

 

The hexad was also referred to as time – for it is the measure of duration; panacea – because health is equilibrium and the hexad is a balance number; the world – because the world, like the hexad, is often seen to consist of contraries by harmony; omnisufficient – because its parts are sufficient for totality (3 + 2 + 1 = 6); and unwearied – because it contains the elements of immortality.

 

 

The Heptad – 7 – The Heptagon – 900º

The Heptad is about “Sevenness”. It is represented by the heptagon. The heptad is a symbol of eternal rather than created things and entails a seven-step process of transformation that brings us back to the One.

heptagon lr

 

The heptad was called ‘worthy of veneration’. It was held to be the number of religion, because man is controlled by seven celestial spirits [chakras] to whom it is proper for him to make offerings [psychological, emotional and spiritual balancing of the consciousness].

Among many ancient nations the heptad is a sacred number. “The 3 (spirit, mind and soul) descend into the 4 (the world/4 elements), the sum being the 7, or the mystic nature of man, consisting of a threefold spiritual body and a fourfold material form.”10

 

Manly P Hall adds, “[This seven-fold nature] is symbolized by the cube, which has six surfaces and a mysterious seventh point within. The six surfaces are the directions: north, east, south, west, up and down; or front, back, right, left, above, below; or again, earth, air, fire, water, spirit and matter. In the midst of these stands the One, which is the upright figure of man, from whose center in the cube radiate six pyramids. From this comes the great occult axiom, ‘The center is the father of directions, the dimensions and distances.”

The heptad is also the ‘number of law’ because it is the number of the makers of Cosmic Law, the Seven Spirits before the Throne – that is, the seven chakras before the ‘throne’ of the eighth chakra;

or the seven ‘heavens’ or quantum densities before the ‘throne’ of reunification with Cosmic Consciousness;

7chakra lr

 

 

or conversely, the 7-step process of musical notes of the diatonic scale before the ‘throne’ of the eighth note, the return of the octave;

seven note scale lr

 

 

or the 7-step process of color in the electromagnetic spectrum before the ‘throne’ of the unified white light.

EM spectrum lr

 

 

Other words associated with the heptad are: fortune, occasion, custody, government, judgment, dreams, voices, sounds, and that which leads all things to their end.

 

 

The Octad – 8 – The Octagon – 1080º

The Octad is about “Eightness” or “The Octave”. It is represented by the octagon. The principles of the octad are tied up within the idea of the octave – that is periodic renewal, self-renewal, limitless growth, and ‘same but different’ or ‘equal but different’.

octagon lr

This all refers to the principle of the octave – that is, the eighth step is the same as the first step, but at a higher level. The perfect example of this is seen in music. There are seven notes in the diatonic scale (the white keys of the piano). The eighth note is the same as the first note, but at a higher octave – a higher level. Implied in this principle is the presence of limitless growth of spiraling octaves – octaves within octaves within octaves…to infinity.

 

octave lr

Manly P Hall writes, “The ogdoad [octad] was a mysterious number associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece and the Cabiri. It was called the little holy number. It derived its form partly from the twisted snakes on the Caduceus of Hermes and partly from the serpentine motion of the celestial bodies; possibly also from the moon’s nodes.”

Other words associated with the octad are: love, counsel, prudence, law and convenience.

 

 

The Ennead – 9 – The Nonagon – 1260º

The Ennead is about “Nineness”. It is represented by the nonagon. Nine terminates the series of single digit integers, which begins again with ten. Because of this, the principles of the ennead include completion, highest attainment and the horizon.

nonagon lr

 

The Ennead was called ocean and horizon, because to the ancients these were boundless, as was the ennead, because there is nothing beyond it but the infinite 10.

horizon lr

 

However, the ennead was also associated with failure and shortcoming, because it fell short of the perfect number 10 by 1. It is a boundary and a limitation because it gathered all numbers within itself. It was also called the ‘number of man’ because of the nine months of embryonic life before birth.

 

 

The Decad – 10 – The Decagon – 1440º

The Decad is about “Tenness”. It is represented by the decagon and symbolizes a journey into limitlessness. The Decad is ‘Beyond Number’ as it is beyond the nine single-digit integers. Yet it is also the ‘greatest of numbers’, not only because it is the tetractys (the 10 dots) but because it comprehends all arithmetic and harmonic proportions.

decagon lr

 

Pythagoras said that 10 is the nature of number, because all nations reckon to it and when they arrive at it they return to the Monad. Hence, ten is a lower form of the Monad, representing the created or physical universe – the manifest creation from the unmanifest Infinite Source of the Monad.

tetrakyts lr

 

Manly P Hall writes of the decad, “The decad was called both heaven and the world, because the former includes the latter. Being a perfect number, the decad was applied by the Pythagoreans to those things relating to age, power, faith, necessity, and the power of memory. It was also called unwearied, because, like God, it was tireless.”

cateyenebula lr

 

 

Conclusion

In this article we have touched the surface of the archetypal symbolism inherent in the numbers 1-10. We have seen how the circle symbolizes the source realm of the metaphysical reality of Cosmic Consciousness (the heavens); the triangle symbolizes humankind as the harmonizing human consciousness between the Monad and the Dyad (Unity and Separation); and the square symbolizes the stability of earth or physical experience and the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire.

We have seen how the pentad symbolizes life and is tied into the Golden Ratio. We have also seen how the hexad is related to structure/function/order in reality, and how base-6 is used to measure time (process) and space (form).

We have also touched the surface of the symbolism of the higher numbers in the decad – the heptad, octad and ennead, and seen how these numbers relate to transformation, and a continual spiraling of existence upwards and onwards to higher and higher heights.

 

decad lr

 

And we have returned to the decad and seen how it holds all the other numbers within itself, and how this symbolizes reality around us and how our reality holds all these creative principles within itself at all times.

 

To end, it is important to remember how these sacred archetypal principles that describe cosmic processes are always interconnected and interwoven, interpenetrating the universe and all that’s in it in a simultaneous, infinite, multidimensional fractal holographic pattern. They don’t just happen in a linear progression, but all at once, in all directions, outwards and inwards, in all dimensions, simultaneously through time and space.

 

Returning once more to Michael Schneider, “Studying, contemplating, and living in agreement with universal principles is a social responsibility and can be a spiritual path.”

spiritualpath lr

 

 

  1. Michell, John, The Dimensions of Paradise, Inner Traditions, 2nd edition, 2008
  2. Schneider, Michael, A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, Harper Perennial, 1994
  3. Critchlow, Keith, Time Stands Still, St. Martin’s Press, 1982
  4. Schneider, Michael, A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, Harper Perennial, 1994
  5. Critchlow, Keith, The Hidden Geometry of Flowers: Living Rhythms, Form and Number, Floris Books, 2011
  6. Michell, John, The Dimensions of Paradise, Inner Traditions, 2nd edition, 2008
  7. Critchlow, Keith, The Hidden Geometry of Flowers: Living Rhythms, Form and Number, Floris Books, 2011
  8. Michell, John, The Dimensions of Paradise, Inner Traditions, 2nd edition, 2008
  9. Hall, Manly P, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Philosophical Research Society, 2003
  10. ibid.

Return to Free Library

Return to Number Menu

Previous Article                                                                         Next Article