The use of ciphers and subtle allusions in mysticism, philosophy, literature and religion, though generally ignored or unknown in modernity (by and large), are indeed well-established practices (such as the three literary practices in Qabalah, all of which involve some form of cryptography: transpositioning; substitution; skip-codes; re-arrangements of text into columns, as with the 72 Names of God; interpretation as number; etc).
“Ciphers are hidden in the most subtle manner: they may be concealed in the watermark of the paper upon which a book is printed…bound into the covers of ancient books…hidden under imperfect pagination; they may be extracted from the first letters of words or the first words of sentences; they may be artfully concealed in mathematical equations or in apparently unintelligible characters…they may be word ciphers, letter ciphers…they may be discovered in the elaborately illuminated initial letters of early books or they may be revealed by a process of counting words or letters.” – Manly Palmer Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, p. 491.
Some of the more observant readers may have noticed in various books, films, TV shows and the like, a profound repetition of three distinct numbers: 37, 73 and 137. I offer the following examples:
Literature and Poetry: 1308-1870
- Dante Alighieri’s Inferno (c. 1308-1321 AD): The 7th realm contains 3 spheres (this could be an allusion to the harmonic ratio 7:3)
- Jules Verne’s Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (1870): 37 and 73 are referenced no less than 7 times throughout (as is the Golden Section, no less than four times). For example:
- “Now, had it not been for the exceptional strength of the Moravian’s hull, she would have been shattered by the shock of collision and have gone down with all hands, plus the two hundred and thirty-seven passengers she was bringing home to Canada.” p. 16(It may be worth noting that the name Moravian could be read as the French “Mort a vient,” a grammatically flawed phrase yielding roughly “Death has come.” Jules Verne was French.)
- “In a smooth sea, with a favorable breeze, on the 13th of April, 1867, the Scotia, of the Cunard Company‘s line, was in 15º 12’ longitude and 45º 37′ latitude.” pp. 16-17
- “It came, therefore, to $337,500…” p. 83
- “About eleven o’clock in the morning the Tropic of Capricorn was crossed on the 37th meridian, and we sighted Cape Frio standing out to sea.”These are only in one book! Surely these numbers could not have been chosen at random, Jules Verne was a very intelligent, meticulous author that dedicated great effort to his work. Verne was almost undoubtedly initiated – as revealed by his novels, the two most obvious being The Green Ray and Robur the Conqueror (R.C., Rosae-Crucis). The company he kept also establish this connection quite conclusively (refer for example to Hetzel). Aside from these, examine his tombstone closely and you will see a definitively occult sculpture, showing him emerging from the grave with arm extended (not unlike Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam) shrugging off the veil of the material in aspiration. All quotes here given were taken from the Readers Digest edition (in English).
Film and Media: 1984-2012
- Eddie Murphy’s Beverly Hills Cop III (1994): In the beginning it reads “Tuesday, 1:37 AM.”
- The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon asks, “What is the best number? -By the way, there’s only one correct answer…The best number is 73…it is the 21st prime number. It’s mirror 37 is the 12th…” Significantly, this appears in episode 73: The Alien Parasite Hypothesis (S.4 e.10).
- Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing: Tim’s boss says: “…on page 37 of Tzun Tzu’s The Art of War…”
- 21 Jump Street (2012): The police officer mistakenly says near the beginning: “37 Jump Street.
- 22 Jump Street (2014):During the football game a player on the sidelines is wearing jersey #37 (approx. 1hr in, center-background).There are countless other examples, but these few should serve to illustrate the on-going obsession. Though some of these are more subtle than others, all are intentional. What makes these numbers so special? What are all of these directors, producers, actors, writers and poets -spanning over 600 years- pointing to?
Gematria: Wisdom in Number
Gematria is a Qabalistic practice that involves assigning particular numerical values to certain letters. It is one of the three literary Qabalistic practices, the other two being Notarikon and Temurah. It is most commonly seen in Hebrew or Greek, though there is substantial evidence both Arabic and Sanskrit have been similarly employed. In fact, the Vedic Katapayadi System proves without doubt that our current chronology for the discovery of pi is wrong (more later). Many attempt to apply similar cryptographic techniques – i.e. Qabalistic permutations – to languages of the Latin alphabet such as English, albeit with little success. There are two systems most commonly employed: The Ordinal, which is simply the placement value of each letter (1-22); and The Standard, in which the 11th letter becomes 20 and the 21st becomes 300 (1-400). Typically, in Hebrew, Greek and Arabic gematria the latter system is used, while in Mayalana and Sanskrit katapayadi the former is most commonly seen.
(An easy way to remember the Standard Gematria values is to simply add the two numbers and put a zero on the end. For instance, Mem is the 13th Hebrew letter and it has a standard value of 40 [1+3=4, add a zero=40]. If it is 10s, add one zero; if it is 20s, add two [Tau=22, 2+2=4, add 2 zeros=400]. For
those who may have difficulty, this ‘rule’ works invariably for Hebrew.)
Before we continue, I feel that a comprehensive chart of the Hebrew alephbeit will help (we will only be focusing on Hebrew for now). The esoteric meaning is bracketed, while the literal is written plainly:
(Ordinal) (Standard) PALEO-HEBREW CELESTIAL YETZIRATIC
ENGLISH HEBREW VALUE SYMBOL CORRELATE DIVISIONS
A 1. Aleph = 1 = א = An Ox 1. Air 1 (Mother) (Father)
B / V 2. Beit = 2 = ב = House 2. Mercury 1 (Double)
G 3. Gimel = 3 = ג = Camel 3. Luna 2 (Double)
D 4. Dalet = 4 = ד = Door 4. Venus 3 (Double)
H 5. Hé = 5 = ה = Window 5. Aries 1 (Simple)
V 6. Vau = 6 = ו = Nail 6. Taurus 2 (Simple)
Z 7. Zain = 7 = ז = Weapon 7. Gemini 3 (Simple)
Kh / Ch 8. Cheit = 8 = ח = Fence 8. Cancer 4 (Simple)
T 9. Teit = 9 = ט = Serpent 9. Leo 5 (Simple)
I 10. Yod = 10 = י = Hand 10. Virgo 6 (Simple)
K 11. Kaph = 20 = כ = Palm 11. Jupiter 4 (Double)
L 12. Lamed = 30 = ל = Ox-Goad 12. Libra 7 (Simple)
M 13. Mem = 40 = מ = Water 13. Water 2 (Mother)
N 14. Nun = 50 = נ = Fish 14. Scorpio 8 (Simple)
S 15. Samekh = 60 = ס = Support 15. Sagittarius 9 (Simple)
O 16. Ayin = 70 = ע = Eye 16. Capricorn 10 (Simple)
P / F 17. Pé (fé) = 80 = פ = Mouth 17. Mars 5 (Double)
Tz 18. Tzaddi = 90 = צ = Fish-hook 18. Aquarius 11 (Simple)
Q 19. Qoph = 100 = ק = Back Head 19. Pisces 12 (Simple)
R 20. Resh = 200 = ר = Head 20. Sol 6 (Double)
Sh 21. Shin = 300 = ש = Tooth 21. Fire 3 (Mother)
T 22. Tau = 400 = ת = Cross 22. Saturn; 7 (Double)
(Synthesis) Earth Element
*Note: The English letters are meant to convey the pronunciation. The seemingly random arrangement of attributions (i.e. Simple, Double, Mother) is only apparent: when sorted according to the Sepher Yetzirah, or Book of Formation, the Elements emerge in the Three Mothers; the Planets in the Seven Doubles; and the Zodiac in the Twelve Simple or perhaps inappropriately named ‘Elemental’ letters. This arrangement was allegedly designed with the intent of mirroring the occurrence of God in Genesis: “God Made” 3 times, “God Saw” 7 times, and “God -” 12 times; “God said” 10 times, reflected in the 10 Sephiroth or Emanations of the Tree of Life.
(See: Adele Nozedar’s The Illustrated Signs and Symbols Sourcebook, Frater Achad’s Q.B.L., and the Sepher Yetzirah for sources of these symbolic attributions.)
The word Chokmah, meaning Wisdom, has two values – one according to each of the systems mentioned above. It has an ordinal value of 37(ח כ מ ה = Cheit8 + Kaph11 + Mem13 +Hé5 = 37) and a standard value of 73 (8+20+40+5=73). The latter is “the best number” according to Chuck Lorre, while the former is a religious and literary favourite.
Threes and Sevens Everywhere According to the gospel accounts, Jesus Christ performed exactly 37 miracles in his lifetime. The average pregnancy lasts between 37 and 42 weeks (42 being “The answer to life, the universe, and everything in it” to Hitchiker’s fans), and 37º Celsius is the normal human body temperature. The name Elohim (Heb. Lord, Ruler, God, Power[s]) appears for the 37th time in Genesis 3:3:
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
To re-appropriate Revelation 13:18, “Here is wisdom.” How elegant that the verse containing the 37th occurrence of Elohim should be one with that which forbids man from eating the Fruit of Death! – This is indeed wise advice, as will be seen in a much later part (Part V).
Mathematically, 3 and 7 are the only two dimensions in which binary problems (i.e. defining vector products) may be solved. This in itself makes them incredibly useful numbers. 37 is the 12th prime number, while 73 is the 21st; 37 is the 3rd star number, while 73 is the 4th.
For those unaware, numbers are inherently capable of representing geometric forms: for example, 3, composed of 3 individual units [called counters] creates a triangle. 3 is technically the second [1+2=3], while 6 is the third [1+2+3=6] and 10 is the fourth [1+2+3+4=10]. The latter forms the Pythagorean Tetractys. There are squares, cubes, stars, indeed all manner of shapes, typically referred to as figurate numbers.)
If we add the star placement values of 37 and 73 (3+4=7), as well as their two prime-number placement values (12+21=33), we obtain the Days of Creation and the traditional lifespan of it’s Redeemer (many Christian traditions claim that this was the age of Christ at death, though Luke 3:23 states that he was “about 30”).
7 and 33
The Days of Creation and the age of Christ -derived from Chokmah- offer much wisdom. For one, 33-7=26, the gematria of Yahweh ( י ה ו ה = Yod10 + Hé5 + Vau6 + Hé5 = 26). Our modern week is exactly 7 days, and it takes exactly 33 years for the sun to rise a second time in the same spot over the Earth (this is the lifecycle of the Solar Man, partial key to 33 and its relevance to the so-called World Mystery – as Manly Hall puts it). There were 7 Classical Planets. The visible-light spectrum consists of precisely 7 colours (of which 3 are primary), the modern musical scale consists of 7 notes (do re mi fa so la ti; the second ‘do’ is the first octave [from Lat. Octavus, eighth], or double the first note), while there are 7 modes used in Western music (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian. Interestingly, in Carnatic or South Indian Classical Music, there are 72!). The frequency of 1:1, aka Unison or the C-note = 33 on a Harmonograph, and perhaps most importantly: the human head has 7 orifices and the human spinal cord has 33 discs (24 upper, 5 to the sacrum and 4 to the coccyx). These latter two are reflected in the Macrocosm of the ancients, the 7 Planets and the 33-Year Solar Journey. This surely would have been seen as profoundly significant. Shockingly, the ratio of Moon:Earth = 3:11. The median of these two numbers is 7, and their multiplied sum is 33 (it is quite likely that the ancients were aware of this ratio, as will be demonstrated in a much later segment).
There are 7 Chakras (from Sanskrit, meaning “wheel”), now believed to be the 7 major endocrine glands (there are also the parathyroid, hypothalamus and gastrointestinal tract -yielding a true total of 10-11, that are not considered part of the “major” endocrine glands). Surely a great many Vedic and Tantric sages would scoff at the notion that the whirling vortices of latent energy are material in nature; in many cases the body is used as an analogy to something non-material, as a Sacred Map of the ethereal realm. In any case their knowledge of human anatomy is certainly rather impressive.
(The Egyptians were similarly well-educated, performing incredibly daunting surgeries with tools still in use today. Herodotus and many other Greek historians have claimed that their knowledge was derived from that of Egypt, and there has been much speculation that the knowledge of Pythagoras was in fact Indian in origin. Take for example this quote from a 1775 letter written by Voltaire: “I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganga – Astronomy, Astrology, Spiritualism, etc.. It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganga to learn Geometry.” The former half of this statement is at least partially verified by Hadith Al-Halila – also referred to as the Islamic Tradition of the Myrobalan Fruit, or more recently, The Confutation of Atheism. In this text a Muslim preacher discourses with an Indian atheist physician, who describes that his people discovered and continue to practice Astrology – a science that is apparently unknown to the Imam. It is also known that Pythagoras had gone to Alexandria, but it is worth pointing out that the so-called ‘Pythagorean Theorem’ is seen in Baudhayana’s Shulba Sutra, a Vedic mathematical text that predates him by some two centuries.)
Note that the Kundalini Serpent resting in 3&1/2 coils in Muladhara (base), when awakened, traverses the 7 chakras along the 3 nadis: to the right, ida; the left, pingala; in the center lies Sushumna – Path of the Serpent of Awakening. Following a materialist line of thought, both ida and pingala may correspond to the spinal nerves that appear on each side (this would make Sushumna – the Serpent’s Path – the 33-disc spine in between). Here we see a Serpent traveling 33 discs along 3 nadis through 7 chakras.
In verse 2 of the Vedic Asya Vamasya (Riddle of the Sacrifice, Rig Veda 1.164), we read:
“Seven yoke the one-wheeled chariot drawn by one horse with seven names. All these creatures rest on the ageless and unstoppable wheel with three naves.”
The sum of all numbers in this verse equal 19, the number upon which both the Egyptian and the Mayan peoples based their mathematics (both used grids of 18:19; 18+19=37).
Given the omnipresence of 37 in so many religions (Jewish, Christian, Vedic), it should come as no surprise that, in the Buddhist Sambara-Mandala, we see exactly 37 goddesses – each being a personification of a particular characteristic or accessory to Enlightenment.
Illustration above: The 7 Major Endocrine Glands: 1 Pineal 2 Pituitary 3 Thyroid 4 Thymus 5 Adrenal 6 Pancreas 7 Ovary 8 Testis (from Wikipedia)
Illustration of chakras: The 7 Main Chakras (from top down):
1 Crown: Violet, Sahasrara; Pineal;
2 Third-Eye/Brow: Indigo, Anja; Pituitary;
3 Throat: Blue, Visuddha; Thyroid;
4 Heart: Green, Anahata; Thymus;
5 Solar-Plexus: Yellow, Manipura; Adrenal;
6 Spleen: Orange, Svadisthana; Pancreas;
7 Root/Base: Red [often with yellow root-square], Muladhara; Ovaries or Testes.
*Note: The Chakras are typically numbered in ascending rather than descending order, to mirror the process of spiritual awakening and concentration of energy in the Crown, but I have reversed it to make the anatomical correlates more clear. From these diagrams we see that the Muladhara chakra, home of the latent serpent, could be seen as one with the reproductive organs. This is somewhat synonymous with Judaeo-Christian Tradition, in which it is generally maintained that lust – inspired by the serpent – was the cause of the Fall of Man. It is perfectly logical that the Crown should correspond to the pineal gland as it is the source of DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) in the human body, which is known to induce remarkable, “hallucinogenic” experiences (for a wonderfully thorough, open-minded, scientific exploration of the pineal gland and its relation to mystical experiences, read Rick Strassman’s DMT: The Spirit Molecule).
There are 33 degrees in Scottish Rite Freemasonry, the 33rd allegedly being Honorary (such enigmatic figures as Albert Pike and Manly Palmer Hall are known to have reached this degree). The Qabalistic Tree of Life has ten Sephiroth and 22 paths – each of the latter being represented by a Hebrew letter. These total to the “32 Paths of Wisdom.” Daath, Knowledge in the sense of Spiritual Understanding (not intellect), occupies the heart of the Tree of Life. It is neither a Sephirah nor a Path, however this is where Hidden Teachings are received and understood. Therefore this ‘sphere’ is a sort-of Ghost-Sephirah: It is not a Sephirah per se, as it does not emanate or cause emanation, though it still occupies a crucial part of the Tree: The Hidden 33rd point at the heart of the entire structure. Water also freezes at 32° Fahrenheit, melting at 33.
The Qabalistic Tree of Life is often divided in one of two ways. The first divides it into two sections: The Supernal Triad, consisting of 3 Sephiroth (Kether – The Crown, Chokmah – Wisdom, Binah – Understanding); and the First Order, consisting of the other 7. Together The Supernal Triad and The First Order create the entire Tree, called The Second Order. The other division is a Triad of Trinities with Malkuth (Kingdom, the 10th Sephira) as a pendant to the third. In this case the “Humandala” does emanate downward, but for an interesting theory suggesting a serpentine process of ascension please refer to Frater Achad’s Q.B.L.
Illustration Left: An attempted restoration of the True Qabalistic Tree of Life. In descending order: Kether = Crown; Hokmah = Wisdom; Binah = Understanding; Hesed = Mercy; Gevurah = Severity / Strength; Tifereth = Beauty; Netsah = Victory; Hod = Splendour; Yesod = Foundation; Malkuth = Kingdom. Obtained via Google.
Given that there are 32 Paths in Qabalah and 32 aspirant degrees in Freemasonry, again we should not be surprised to see that the Tantric text Vajrapanjara also alludes to this number in a similar way: “So he would accomplish with the means the thirty-two characteristics of the Teacher, along with the eighty minor marks of the Lord…” – Vajrapanjara 1:4 It is likely that all of these systems are founded upon the human body and solar cycles. According to modern M-Theory (derivative of String Theory) there are 11 dimensions; long before this theory existed, a Christian “Sleeping Prophet” named Edgar Cayce claimed that there were 11 and 22 dimensions (i.e. 33). Cayce is a very intriguing figure worthy of dedicated study.
Phi, 7:33 and The Sabbath Many readers are likely familiar with this. The Fibonacci sequence, a numerical progression that best approximates Phi / the Golden Section, reveals this same 7:33 relationship: the first 7 Fibonacci numbers yield a sum of 33 (1+1+2+3+5+8+13=33).
(Those already thoroughly familiar with Phi are free to skip this paragraph: The Golden Section is one of the most beautiful, unifying numbers of all Creation. With a value of 1.618, its inverse and square are, gracefully, 0.618 and 2.618. This pattern guides the growth of near-all Self-Organizing Systems: The formation of galaxies; ratios found in the solar system; tornadoes; hurricanes; vortices; ocean waves; the growth of all plants; the chameleon-tail; the human body; the double-helical genome; the seashell; and literature, architecture and art possibly spanning millennia. The Fibonacci series is obtained by starting with 1, adding 1, then adding the previous number to the sum: 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, etc. This Sacred Spiral appears to express itself in two fundamentally opposite ways: The Centripetal, or Contracting spiral [revealed in the crash of the waves, caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun]; the Centrifugal, or Expanding spiral [revealed in the unfurling of plants, caused by the force of Levity. As of right now, the latter is scientifically ignored or unrecognized]. These archetypal concepts will be greatly expanded upon in Part IV.)
Through the sum of the two prime placements (33) underlying Chokhmah we find 137, the 33rd prime, which is also the standard value of Qabalah (ק ב ל ה = Qoph100 + Beit2 + Lamed30 + Hé5 = 137). The Chlorophyll molecule, responsible for converting light to energy – giving life to all plants, consists of precisely 137 atoms (C55H72MgN4O5). The value of α-inverse – also known as the inverse Fine-Structure Constant or simply Alpha, discovered/introduced by Sommerfeld in 1916, approximates 1/137. The role and significance of Alpha will be explored in much greater detail in Part II.
As further evidence of the numerical connections between 7 and 33:
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” – Genesis 2:2
Given that Genesis 1 contains 31 verses, we may easily notice that this is verse 33 of Genesis as a whole. The verse detailing the Sabbath Day is that which corresponds to the age of Christ, the Messiah – bringer of perpetual Sabbath according to Judaism. How fitting. Considering the 33-year Solar Trek and the 7 Classical Planets (including the Sun), we may assume that this is the completion of one Solar Cycle, or one incarnation. Another emphatic proof of this relation is the fact that the word “God” in this verse is the Hebrew Elohim (86), and this is the 33rd occurrence thus far in the Creation Account. This relationship will also be further explored in Part II. While Scottish Rite Freemasonry consists of 33 degrees, the first 3 are purely initiatory; when one is ‘accepted’ one is already technically a 3rd degree Master Mason, with 30 degrees of ascension remaining:
And know ye that the vine of the wise is drawn forth in three, but the wine thereof is not perfected, until at length thirty be accomplished.” – Hermes Trismegistus, Aureus, Sect. I