A member here asked about numbers and numerology so I thought I would write a post about my interpretation of numbers.
When I sat down to write this, I realised that some of the concepts of the numbers were not going to make sense without an understanding of the some of the basic underlying/surrounding concepts.
So the following is based on my knowledge of Kabbalah and the Kabbalist Tree of Life. I say based on that Knowledge as I use the Tree to track energy, and the following is my interpretation of an outline of the sefiroth based on my experience: it is based on pretty standard Kabbalist Knowledge, but as with any system of knowledge there are many interpretations. I make no representations about it in terms of definitive statements: it is simply how I have experienced the workings of the Tree in an outline form.
The Tree is a system of Knowledge and also a pictorial representation of ten sephiroth (nodes) which terms ultimately means “numbers” (with an implication that all of the Creation is based on or can be tracked back to numerical allegory) where each sefirot (singular) represent an attribute of Creator. There are various concepts encapsulated within each node, and I have stayed mainly with the principal energies as I perceive them.
What the Tree attempts to do is to create a story of Creation that illustrates how energy is brought down from the most important general principals in the highest realms to the tiniest detail in the lowest realms. It does this by a series of links: what is called the “Chaining Down of the Worlds”, whereby one Tree is linked to the next by various means. Most simply it is linked via the first and tenth sephiroth: the tenth of one Tree being the first of another, lower, Tree. But the Chaining Down is also accomplished by the inter-inclusion of the sefiroth within each other and by a further means of jumping that I will speak of in a moment. The inter-inclusions get very, very complicated, but it is this aspect that allows the most intricate, differentiated of details to be brought forth and explained. What I have tried to do here is explain the story in the form of one Tree in the tenth to first Chaining series in relatively simply terms: so naturally, some of the byways of the story have not been included, nor any explanation of the inter-inclusions, though multiple numbers usually refers to inter-inclusions and I am happy to discuss interclusions in a seperate posts in this thread.
I mention that there can be jumps for good reason though: because we come face to face with it at Seven. The jumps occur usually within a particular sefirot: so the energy of two in the second world of Creation might jump to the energy of two in the third world of Formation and then to the fourth world of Asiyah (the four worlds will be explained in a moment). All this is of course only in our perception: from Creator’s perception there is only one world: hence why there is only one Tree of ten numbers: Creator’s direct route so to speak!
It is we who experience the four worlds. The average person knows only the fourth world. Someone starting walking a spiritual path might experience aspects (usually the lower-emotional realms) of the third world. A more season walker might reach higher into the third realm. Elder Shaman, Yogis and the like are believed to reach into the emotional (Earth realms) of the second world and occasionally the intellectual realms of the second world. This is because the worlds are like overlays: the Russian Doll concept. From our lowly perception as humans, no-one can reach into the first world.
We can move through the worlds because seven is the number of the Messiah or Christ Consciousness: It is the number of
So under normal circumstances how is one Tree chained down into you may ask? Well, in Kabbalah there are four worlds:
Atzilut – Emanation
Briah – Creation
Yetzirah = Formation
Asiyah – Action
Atzilut is a world beyond any world we might imagine and one that even the most experienced spiritual gurus cannot comprehend from our lowly position of human perception and would be akin to a world of zero as noted below: but it leans slightly towards one in that all is Created in Creator’s Mind’s Eye in this world as it is in the Point of one.
Briah is the world of Creation as it is Created in the point as noted below: Creator has extended outside itself so has Created “something”: but this “something” is still essentially “nothing” as we would perceive Creation. This is very much an intellectual World: a World of thought: the triad of the first three sepiroth on the Tree: Numbers one to three.
Yetzirah is the World of the emotional attributes that will form the physical Creation and along with Asiyah is known as the Days of the Week. It is the numbers four to nine and represents the six days of Creation when Creator formed the Creation.
Asiyah is the world of Action. It is the number ten on the Tree or the tenth Sephiroth. Action occurs when the energy of Creator’s Desire has moved through the attributes of sephiroth/numbers one to nine. This is a physical Creation. This is the day Creator rested and Man, made in the image of Creator (see below), takes forth the torch of Creation.
Each world contains the ten sefiroth: so even though different worlds have a focus of particular sefiroth/ number groups or triads (known as statures or realms) the energy passes through each in the same manner of progression. In theory, in its most simplistic form, for a thought to come from Creator to the Creation it passes through 40 sefiroth.
So, in very simplistic terms, the tenth sephirot of Atzilut chains down to the first sephirot of Briyah etc etc. For the purposes of looking at the numbers themselves and their meanings, that is a very simplified, and hopefully, easily understood concept that is enough for our purposes: if you were to get deeper into the study of Kabbalah, you would find that often the jumps between worlds as the jump I spoke of at seven is how things actually happen: but that is beyond our discussion here, so the statement regards the ten to one chaining between each of the four worlds in turn will suffice for our purposes with the exception of the dicsusion re seven.
The Tree is heavily related to Sacred Geometry. As such, for the first four numbers I have used the first four shapes of Sacred Geometry to explain the numbers as I think they aid understanding upto four: I’m not sure they do after that, so I have ceased making reference to the shapes after that: the first four shapes are the Point, the Line, the Triangle and the Square.
So looking at the numbers themselves: I have split them into three sections: Nothingness (0), Heaven (1-3 ) and Earth (4-10). Earth is further subdivided as noted in that section
(Zero does not appear on the Tree in the most common forms of Kabbalah, though it is implied in some lesser used Trees, where the first sephirot is missed out and the Tree starts at my number two as number one. The inference being in those systems is that the first sefirot (Creator’s Desire and Will) being so entirely beyond our comtemplation, is known of only as a seminal concept, but not referred to as we cannot even contemplate Creator’s Desire/Will directly, let alone use it as a tool.) In most systems however, that Desire/Will is used as the first sefirot, as I have here, as it serves as a reminder that all Creation comes from Creator’s Will informed by the Desire for Creation. Despite using the more common system where the Desire/Will is marked, I have added zero here as an addition to give a sense of how Creator remains unchanged beyond the Tree, despite also Being within the Creation in the Tree.)
Zero is nothingness: the state of Creator before the story of Creation started. This is not something we can even imagine let alone begin to comprehend, because imagining implies somethingness and Zero is nothingness – the absence of somthingness.
It is the nothing of nothingness or the no-thing of nothingness
One is the Desire or Will for the Creation. It is the “point” of all Creation, but there is not yet any time or space in Creation for Creation to move into, as a point is infinitely small, though it is the first extension of Creator’s Desire outside itself, zero/nothingness, to form Creation. The point is infinitely small, but holds all the attributes that will form the Creation/Earth. At zero there is no talk of Unity as there is literally nothing but at One there is “something” (even though Creator has not changed) therein at One there is a Unity where the potential for Creation exists fully formed just as it did at Zero. Therefore, even though one is “something” it still has aspects of nothingness.
One is the something of nothingness.
From our perspective one represents the intellect we cannot even begin to comprehend: akin to our unconscious thoughts, we might say it is our spirit guiding us. It is the Universe at play, bringing forward the things we need or desire. How they come forward depends on our previous actions, our actions in the now and how we react to circumstances that come forward. We also need to remember that sometimes it may no always be about us: that there might be a Higher Purpose serving the whole of Mankind that has brought forward a particular set of circumstances. One reminds us of this aspect too.
Time only comes forward when Creator’s Desire extends itself beyond the original point to create another point which creates a line: ie the instant Creator extends beyond the first point, time is created. Whilst even at One, Creator is “something” Creation itself is still only a potential. At Two that potential becomes the Inspiration that will inform the Creation.
Two is called the nothingness of something
From our perspective two represents the thoughts and concepts of our intellect that we can comprehend (ie we know are there) but cannot yet understand, akin to our subconscious thoughts. This intellect is like a word we cannot remember. In frustration we might say the word is “on the tip of our tongue” when we cannot think of a particular word but we know the word exists and what it means. Two intellect has a similar feeling, but the main difference with two intellect is that we don’t know what it means: we know “something” is there, we can feel that a completely new thought or concept is there, but we cannot yet understand what. In a more physical sense we might be aware that something is about to happen, but not what.
As the extension from one to two is an extension from the nothingness to somethingness, its destination, two, is considered an active number: it reaches out from nothingness to find something: but it needs a vessel to become to end the striving and become something: it cannot be something on its own so it strives outside itself to find that somethingness and is therefore considered a masculine principal. It is from that striving that something is born, but the striving alone cannot bring forth life – just as man alone cannot bring forth human life: a vessel for that striving is needed, just as man needs a woman to bring forth new life.
From our perspective in a more physical sense we might be aware that something is about to happen, but not what. Of itself two has no feeling: it is beyond the realm of emotions, but it can be a frustrating number as often our conscious mind needs to know. It is called Wisdom and our search for it can indeed be frustrating until we understand that Wisdom is always there and comes to us when we relax, recognise it when it comes and allow it in. It is the originator of all our original thoughts that we generally call inspiritation.
A line does not contain anything, so whilst time can be measured along a line, as time elapses the moment we start to draw a line till when we finish, nothing else can be measured but the length of the line – and if there is nothing to compare the line to, then only the time taken to draw the line can be measured: so the second point of extension creates time. If Creator extends again from either of the points at the end of a line in a different direction (given that if the extension was in a similar direction it would sill be part of the original line) a two-dimensional space begins to be created: the eye naturally fills in the third side of a triangle if three points are created: so at this point space is created as a triangle effectively encloses space. The triangle creates the space into which the Creation can form: it is therefore the first vessel of Creation.
Three is the somethingness of something
From our perspective three represents the intellect we can comprehend that has now come to Understanding: we can now fully comprehend that original thought that our spirit brought forth at one and that our subconscious intellect knew was there at two. Three is the vessel through which Inspiration comes into conscious knowing. However, there is a problem with three: as soon as we become aware of a concept, we compare that concept with others: so there is an element of Judgement to three.
As three is the vessel of Understanding for the Inspiration of Two, it is considered a feminine principal: the first feminine principal.
As a side issue: Three is the Shekinah, the first feminine principal. Three is Eve, the first woman. Three, has elements of Judgement. Put all that together and eventually you get the concept of original sin being instigated by and promulgated through Eve. It’s a miscomprehension of the true meaning of Genesis in my opinion, but a natural progression from those with a desire to eliminate the Shekinah!
From here we leave the realms of the Godhead/Heaven/Intellect and enter the Realms of Man/Earth/Emotions and Action or, collectively, the Days of Week. The numbers four to nine are considered attributes of the Emotions and ten the attribute of Action. Hence in Genesis, the Seventh Day is considered a day of Creator’s rest as all the attributes of Intellect and Emotions have been created and are vested in Nine ready to be brought into the World at ten: but ten is one of the next World. Eventually,we take over Creator’s work at ten (10) as zero is nothingness leaving only one – so our own unconscious intellect takes on the mantle in the fourth World of Asiyah. Our own one made in the image (containing the potential) of Creator’s one as passed down at nine from the third world of Yetzirah.
Earth consists of three sub-headings
The Heartfelt Emotions – numbers 4-6
The Lower Emotions – numbers 7-9
Action – number 10
Four is the Earth: it is the first tangible shape - a square or cube - that is fixed in time and space. It it is not yet a wholesome Earth but merely the Inspiration for such a wholesome physical Earth. It is said to be fixed because, having four points, it inclines towards a square (if you ask most people to draw a four sided figure, they would most naturally draw a square) the vertices are fixed so it cannot rotate like the previous shape, a triangle, can: ie if you move any of the points of a square it is no longer a square, whereas if you move any of the three points of a triangle, it is still a triangle: similarly with the two points of a line or one point of a dot.
Four is the first number after, and that is separate from, the Divine Triad of Heaven or the triad of Intellect. So in this respect it is called the number of Earth: in the days when Kabbalist learning was founded, people still believed that Earth was the centre of the Universe (and so Creation itself) and that all other celestial objects moved around the Earth: they were also not aware that the earth was a globe: so the square represented Earth.
Four is called Kindness and it is a masculine principal of the realm of thought clothed in emotions on the right hand column of the Kabbalist tree beneath the Inspirtaion of two.
So with four, a path is more fixed than with a one, two or three: yet four is directly below, receives influence from and is the mirror of (made in the image of), two on the Kabbalist Tree: and two is pure Inspiration in the heavenly triad. So Kindness refers to God’s/Creator’s Desire for us to receive Inspiration. Another name for Inspiration is Wisdom – so Creator’s desire for us to receive is Wisdom is called Kindness.
Five again is Earth: Earth a stage beyond that of four but still not an enlivened Earth. Five is the vessel that harnesses the Inspiration to Kindness of four. It stands below the number three on the active/masculine right hand column of the Kabbalist Tree and receives and contains the energies of the number four just as three is a vessel for two. The purpose of vessels is to contain and the purpose of containment is to allow Creator’s Infinite Light to be brought forth in a manner that will not overawe. Five therefore recognises Creator’s Strength which is five’s name and speaks of Intent not yet ready to be realised. However, from our limited perception it appears that the containment is a withholding: a judgement or punishment so five is also called Severity. The notion of untamed Strength leading to Severity should be understandable and five give clues as to why the Infinite Light must be contained: even if we might experience five energies as difficulties or as painful experiences.
From our perception five is a number that feels like a judgement: the intellectual notion of Judgement first spoken of at three reflected from above but now felt in an emotional form at five. In reality what we may feel as Judgement is something more akin to Intent that cannot yet be realised. Five marks the half-way point between one and ten, so the energy of one, now understood, cannot yet be realised in the World, so the notion of withholding feels like a judgement. Five speaks of looking beyond obvious explanations for what feels like difficulty for less obvious and more profound explanations: even when events in our lives are not just perceived as difficult, but we actually experience real difficulty as, ultimately, Creator’s Desire for the Creation is based on Kindness and every energy that flows through Craeation comes from that Loving Kindness.
Six lies on the central column of the Kabbalist Tree. The central column balances the energies of the left and right columns. Six is called Beauty or Mercy. Creator seeks to bring Balance between Kindness and Severity, such that at six, the Severity is tempered by the Kindness or Kindness is tempered by Severity. Rather in the way the Chinese yin-yang (Taijitu) glyph contains a small dot of both yin and yang within the other, so six speaks of Kindness and Severity being contained within Mercy.
From our perception, Mercy brings a close to either the Kindness of four or the Severity of five as both are joined in balance in Six. It speaks of how the Kindness of four may be used to bring a Severe lesson just as easily as it can to bring an ulimate Kindness, or how the Severity of five may be used to bring ultimate Kindness just as easily as it can to bring Severity itself. In either case, Mercy has been brought forth as a result as a reflection of the Beauty of One above it on the central column. We might see Mercy as a resting point from the effects of the energies that immediately preceeded it: a chance to look deeper into the energies and consider our actions and reactions that brought those energies forth and whether we might wish to reconsider the apprpriateness of those actions and reactions in bringing forth what we wish to bring forth: or whether we might wish to go back and do things differently.
There is a change in emphisis at seven. Whilst four, five and six are of the Earth, they are reflections (in the form of a downwards pointing triangle) of the energies of one two and three (which form an upward pointing triangle) in Heaven. In this respect four five and six are made in the image of Creator (an image in a mirror is always reversed). And despite being of the Emotional Realm, contain a heavy inlfuence of the Godhead.
(But the term Made in the Image of Creator also refers to the fact that a constriction must occur to allow the Infinite to come into the Point (of one) and that only an image of Creator, not the Infiniate itself, is brought into that Point. From Creator’s perception nothing has changed: Creator is still Infinite after the constriction: it is only our perception of Creator that is changed. The meanings of man being Created in the Image of Creator displays how there may be multiple meanings for any concept in Kabbalah: how we are to inturpret any particular portend, attribute or action will always be guided by other details.)
So, from one to six, everything is still of Creator’s Will and Desire, despite the fact four, five and six are of the Earth as the latter are reflections of Creator’s Will and Desire.
At Seven all that changes. From Seven onwards we are speaking of how Man brings forward the Creation. Seven is the number of the Messiah: Man embued and aware of all the attributes of the numbers one to three as reflected to him at four, five and six that are then paseed to seven. It may, at first sight, appear strange that Creator would allow Man to bring forward the Creation: particularly as, according to science, Man has only been on this Earth but a short time.
What we must undertand is that the term Man does not simply refer to physical man, but to a concept that refers to what we might call an “agent” in the “Chaining-Down of the Worlds” wherein different statures (groups of attitubutes/sefirot/numbers) are contained one within the other (rather like a Russian Doll) such that the attributes can be brought from a higher level to a lower level of conciousness: from the more ethereal to the more dense. Essentially Man therefore refers to an intermediary stage of consciousness between Creator and the actual Creation. To explain how that works is way byond our discussion, but you might say that Man refers to a concept such as the Universal Soul, which contains the Galaxy Soul, the Planetary Soul, the Animal Soul and the Human Soul and our own soul: with each subdivision given a different human name: the highest level being Adam.
Having said that, as I’ve already stated, there is often more than one explanation of terminology, partly because Kabbalah is looking at things both from our perception of Creator’s Will and Desire for the Creation coming down the Tree and from the perspective of the Creation looking up the Tree. At a more persoanl level, Man does refer to you and I because we become the agents of Creator’s Will and Desire in the physical. Partly this is because Kabbalah teaches that the Creation is constantly being destroyed and recreated in every moment: rather like the way we perceive each frame in a movie, which is really a still, as a continuum, so we perceive Creation as a continuum. In such a situation, our actions really do bring forward the Creation as we perceive it.
The triad of Seven, eight and nine therefore speaks not of intrinsic attributes, but of the means to the end required to bring forward Divine Will and Desire. Creator is not in this World so must use Man (in both senses of the term) as an agent. Man has been furnushed with the reflection of that Will and Desire at four, five and six, so is equiped to bring forward the Creation from seven.
The seven eight and nine triad on the Tree speaks of our endurance, patience and fotitude to bring the Creation forward.
Seven speaks of the ability to lead others and attract them to our cause. It speaks of bringing forward the Creation through right action which pleases Creator. It sits on the right hand column of the Tree below Kindness and it’s name is Majesty as we accept Creator as our ruler and follow Creator’s Law and Will.
From our perspective seven is the notion of following Creator’s laws that eventually brings about situations in our life that we find pleasant. We will find helpful associates as the Universe is working for us and we receive influence directly from Creator’s Mercy and Kindness. The Jesus stories are stories of seven energy.
Eight sits on the left hand column of the Tree and speaks of the ability take the leadership influence and become the foot-soldier who brings forward the plans that come from seven. Like all the attributes on the left column of the Tree, eight is the vessel of seven: the means by which the attributes of seven are brought forward. Eight is the follower rather than the leader.
From our perspective eight brings forward the notion of choosing to follow our own will or that of others that may be in opposition to Creator’s Will, whether by ignorant error or deliberately. We have received the influence of seven and have the influence of Severity at five directly above on the Tree and Mercy at six on the central column of the Tree and we must choose how to bring forward the Creation.
Like all the attributes on the left hand column of the Tree, once an influence has been received from the right-hand column, that influence is constricted on the left hand column, otherwise we would be overwhelmed: the closer the energy of one gets to nine, the more constricted it is. Therefore, as the energy cascades down the Tree from one, its influence (ie the influence of Creator’s Will and Desire) feels to us like it is being lessened at each constriction. As five felt like a withholding of that influence, eight feels like a complete withdrawal of Creator’s inlfuence in our lives. We feel we must make up our own minds as to how Creator would wish us to act or we try and justify other options. Im reality the opposite is the case and relatively speaking, Creator’s influence is growing stronger the closer it approaches completion at nine. At eight therefore our actions are being closely controled by Creator and we have very little control ove how the energy is brought forward, so eight’s name is Splendour: reflecting Creator’s Might in being able to control the final outcome so close to completion.
Eight can be a turbulent number as we may feel that Creator has forsaken us and cease action or we may seek to controvert Creator’s Will as we do not feel the influence heavily in our lives. We may feel we know Creators Will and use that to justify actions that we know actually go against Creator’s Will. For these reasons and others, we will butt-up aganst that Will as it directs the action and we may experience this as difficulty.
Alternatively, if we have followed the energies from One or have learnt through experience of eight, we will walk with sincerity in bringing forward Creator’s Will knowing the Creator walks with us and is directing us even though we may not feel that presence directly.
Nine is a number of completion: it is the Foundation of the New Jerusalem,
Nine is the combined masculine and feminine principals of the realm of Action. It is on the central column of the Kabbalist Tree that represents the balanced forces through which Creator’s Desire and Will informs the Creation that eminates from nine to be fully formed in the new phae at ten/one.
It is called Foundation because it is from nine that Action actually takes place: when nothing becomes something in actuality at ten, Nine is the foundation from which energy moves from one realm to another.
From our perspective in a nine year everything that has gone before is brought together and reviewed ready to be passed forward to the next phase of our life or a lesson or project. It is called “Foundation” in Kabbalah as what is learnt in the previous eight years is brought to Wisdom in a nine year and is used in the next phase starting at 10/1. All the lessons of the previous 1-8 years may come forward in a nine year to be reviewed to ensure we have understood the Wisdoms before we start the next set of lessons, though as this is only a review year we should, having been through the lessons before, pass the tests that come forward without the dramas they may have previously brought forth the first time around.
There are ten nodes on the Tree, and the tenth node is called Kingdom. Creator’s Will and Desire has brought forward the Creation and Creator now rules over that Creation: all that was imagined in Creator’s mind’s eye, born of that original Desire is now out there in the World.
But in reality, ten is intrinsically linked to one: they are opposites in that they are at opposite ends of the tree, but a central tenet of Kabbalah is that the end is always linked to the beginning, and ten is simply one in a different world.
I am happy to answer any questions as I realise that it is not the easiest of systems to try and explain/understand in one post! I will also write a little about the inter-inclusions in a seperate post.