Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Creation And The Fall Of Manifestation


The avoidance of suffering, however and wherever it may manifest itself, always indicates that he who practices it is fundamentally of the un-initiated.

  • Herbert Fritsche

This you must ken!
From one make ten,
And two let be
Make even three,
Then rich you'll be.
Skip o'er the four!
From five and six,
The Witch's tricks,
Make seven and eight,
'Tis finished straight;
And nine is one,
And ten is none,
That is the witch's one-times-one!

Goethe: Faust, Part I, Scene 6,

translated by George Madison Priest.

GOETHE'S WITCH'S multiplication table is hardly comprehensible any longer to the person of today. It is widely supposed that this is a mere word-play with not much sense behind it – a supposition which surely cannot be taken seriously with a man like Goethe.
We have already spoken of the polarity of time, of its quantitative and qualitative aspects. Just as today we tend to consider only the former aspect of time, so we regard numbers only in terms of quantitative measurement. The number 3 is for us always linked with the conception of quantity – 3 apples, 3 litres, 3 degrees and so on. But numbers too possess the polar aspect of quality.
If one learns to understand the quality of numbers, they reveal themselves as the archetypes and primal symbols of creation. Pythagoras, an initiate of the ancient Egyptian esoteric disciplines, taught that number is the ultimate foundation stone, the root of this world. If he gave to mathematics theorems that are still valid today, he also considered all numbers and mathematical connections in a primarily qualitative way as metaphor for higher reality.
This is exactly the criterion that distinguishes a genius from his followers. When Isaac Newton had discovered the law of gravity he took to translating the Bible and also wrote, among other things, books about the prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John. He used the law of gravity merely as an example and thereby followed the vertical way of thinking. His followers and successors used the law of gravity to satisfy their curiosity and, in doing so, proved their lack of understanding.
Numbers, like language, are not something which humans have invented or created but something that they have discovered. Numbers are primal qualities, belonging to a reality of a higher order. When properly interpreted, numbers reveal the laws and secrets of creation – they illustrate the process of creation.
Let us, therefore, insofar as it is helpful and necessary for our further reflections, consider some of the qualitative characteristics of numbers, without claiming to exhaust the vast territory of number mythology.
When dealing with numbers esotericism uses primarily two methods of calculation: theosophical reduction and theosophical addition. Theosophical reduction consists in taking a number of two or more digits and reducing it by adding the digits of the number and of any resulting number until a single digit is reached. Here are some examples:


From this operation it follows that all numbers without exception are but different representations of the first 9 figures. There are only 9 figures. When we have exhausted these we write that the first cycle (0) is complete: 10. Then the sequence from 1-9 begins again, but on another plane. Thus the numbers 1-9 form the basic pattern of every process of development and creation.
Theosophical addition consists in counting up to the number in question, adding up the digits as you go. Again, some examples:

The theosophical value of the number 3 is 1+2+3=6
The theosophical value of the number 4 is 1+2+3+4=10
The theosophical value of the number 7 is 1+2+3+4+5+6+7=28
28 reduced to 2+8=10=1+0=1
Therefore: 4=10=1

If we apply these two operations systematically we find that an inner structure reveals itself in the building up of numbers. We see that the numbers, 1, 4, 7, 10 are all equal to 1, for these numbers are built up as follows.


Thus it can be seen that the building up of numbers can be reduced to steps of three, for the number 4 represents 1 on a higher plane. We therefore arrive at the following table:

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
10 11 12
13 14 15 and so on.

We see that all numbers in the first vertical row (1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19 etc.) are only extensions of the number 1. To recapitulate:

10=1+9=10=1 and so on.

Every process of creation and development consists of three steps with the fourth step leading to a repetition of the previous three on a new level. In esoteric circles this knowledge is very ancient and has been handed down in various formulations: for example in the doctrine of the four elements, in the Pythagorean Tetractys, in the Qabalistic Tetragrammaton “Jod He Vau He,” and so on. These first 4 numbers are allocated to the following primal ideas:
Number 1 represents the original, impulse-giving unity. It is therefore the active, creative, masculine principle.
Number 2 is the feminine, receptive, passive principle, which is able to absorb the creative impulse of 1. With 2 comes opposition and antagonism.
Number 3 is the result of the relationship between 1 and 2 and is neutral.
Number 4 in itself is nothing new. It is bi-polar since, on the one hand, it is the passive sum of the first 3 numbers (4 is even and therefore feminine and negative) while, on the other hand, it is the active beginning of a new level (4, by theosophical addition, equals 1, which is masculine and positive).
In our own times we find this primal law in the dialectic: thesis – antithesis – synthesis. But the classical theory of the elements expresses the same law. Fire is the active, creative principle. It is followed, as its opposite pole, by the passive, receptive, adaptive water. The air element is a neutral mediator which creates equilibrium between the first two elements. Fire, water and air are the three primal principles, which are followed by the fourth element, earth. Earth, however, is not a pure principle but a mixture of the first three, which is both the sum of all other principles and a new beginning on another level. Thus the classical elements are primal principles which should not be confused with their concrete forms as fire, water, air and earth, although these forms are also representatives of the respective elements.
In order to help us recognize this fourfold primal principle in the manifold systems and symbols that exist the following matrix shows the various symbolic analogies of the four primal principles, set out vertically.
This table (page *) will serve to show how, in the last analysis, all systems, cultures and religions represent the same universal correspondences and are differentiated only in their choice of language and symbol.

Number 1 2 3 4
principles active passive balance result
poles + - + -
elements fire water air earth
Indian terms tejas apas vaju prithivi
elemental beings salamanders undines sylphs gnomes
magical principles to will to dare to know to keep silent
signs of the zodiac Leo Scorpion Aquarius Taurus
animals of the
Apocalypse lion eagle angel bull
evangelists Mark John Matthew Luke
forms of sphinx cat-pawed eagle-winged human-headed bull-bodied
letters of the
Hebrew name
of God Yod He Vau He
Qabalistic worlds Aziluth Briah Yetzirah Assiah
Tarot suits wands cups swords pentacles (coins)
card suits clubs hearts spades diamonds
compass points east west south north

By analyzing how numbers are structured, I have tried to show that creation is always accomplished in three steps; beyond these three steps nothing fundamentally new emerges – there is merely a repetition of the initial triad. The same process, however, can be shown geometrically. The geometric equivalent of the number three is the triangle. All further geometric shapes corresponding to the numbers beyond 3 are built up exclusively from triangles, demonstrating again that the triad is the basic ingredient of creation and that from the number 4 onwards everything is repetition.

3=triangle *
4=square * made up of 2 triangles
5=pentagram * made up of 3 triangles
6=hexagram * made up of 2 triangles
7=heptagram * made up of 4 triangles
8=octogram * made up of 4 triangles
9=enneagram * made up of 5 triangles
10=decagram * made up of 6 triangles

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