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Huck  Huck is offline
Join Date: 02 Jul 2003
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,682
number game

hi, rlg

you asked for comments.


When the SY was written, the Tarot and its many different versions with different number systems didn't exist.

What really existed, was the number row 0-1-2-3-4-5-6 etc.

The binary system 2^6 caused the interest to say something about "32 ways, with which God created the world". This binary system caused the basic partition 22 (letters) + 10 (numbers) = 32 and further the subpartitions 1+3+6 = 10 (Sephiroth) and 3+7+12 = 22 (letters), whereby the "7" must have been considered as a "6+1".

[If there's somebody, who doesn't believe this ... ]

When this alphabet was invented with its letters, the creator naturally was free to choose the number of letters. He likely took the 22, as he knew and loved the binary system 2^6 already. The binary system was of interest already in old times, as it was used for weighing systems (Egyptian Hequat), for ancestor research and organization, as memory system and other simple math as for instance the Chinese divination. Also good to organize polytheistic god systems. So the binary was practical and "holy", and it was good, when it was used to organize an alphabet, as then the alphabet would become "holy", too. And well, it was good, when the population had something "holy", which the others not had, then they felt satisfied and lucky, and didn't think about a revolution.
There is a lot of evidence, that the trick with "holy alphabet" worked rather well.

Let's assume, that the letters already existed and that they had necessarily a row, which was likely of some importance to teach the letters. By this each letter got a position between 1 and 22, alef was the first, beth the second etc.

But the creator had the idea to correlate his alphabet also inside his preferred binary system. So he thought about a way to do so, and naturally this should have been done in a nice compelling way.
But likely there were different suggestions ... we know that of the Tarot card sequence, there are also many variations.
Similar we have in the SY traditions different suggestions.

Luckily we're mostly only interested in the way, that was used by Levi and Golden Dawn, though both with a different consideration.

But the most easy way would have been to correlate it in the way of ...

1+3+6+12 =
1 greatest planet (1 or 0) + 3 mothers (2-4) + 6 other planets (5-10) + 12 simple letters (11-22).

Likely they used it for some time. But another school had another idea, and we got that, what Levi and Golden Dawn used. So let's think, how they did it:

1 (aleph) + 13 (mem) + 21 (shin) = 35 .... doesn't look good

0 (aleph) + 12 (mem) + 20 (shin) = 32 ... looks good

The Sepher Yetzirah is about the "32 ways of wisdom", not about the 35 "whatever it is".

So, if they thought with some logic, they realized, that they had to do with the rows 0-21 and 1-10, which together made 286.

1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10 = 55
1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15+16+17+18+19+20 +21 = 231

55+231 = 286

... but 32 are already gone "by definition", cause these are 3 mothers

286 - 32 = 254


Now make a big cut and say "254, divided by 2" and they you get two halfs "127 + 127".

Alright, you have one big group of "55", which you must give it to somewhere, and as both groups have 127, it's irrevelant, which group you take. In each case you get ...

127 - 55 = 72

The "72" is for the planets, and you can arrange them as you want from the numbers ...

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11- (12 is missing) -13-14-15-16-17-18-19- (20 is missing) -21

... in any case you will have the result, that the rest of the numbers (simple letters) will make a humble "127".
Naturally the system creators would prefer to give the nice numbers to the planets. So they took 1-2-3 from the begin and 19 and 21 from the end (20 they couldn't take, as this was already taken for shin).

1+2+3 + 19+21 = 46 .... so they had a rest of 26, which they gave to 10 and 16.

1+2+3+ 10 + 16 +19+21 = 72

And naturally the simple letters and the zodiac ...

4+5+6+7+8+9+.. +11 ..+13+14+15 .. +17+18 = 127

So, this wasn't really difficult to construct.
The question is only, which number should be given to which planet. Actually one should think, that they loved to give the numbers in a senseful manner.

1+2+3 for the "inner planets" or the lowest in the Chaldean row.
10 for Jupiter, cause 1+2+3+4=10 makes the Tetraktys.
19 for the sun, cause of the Meton cycle.
21 for Saturn, cause it was the most distant planet and holy as the sabbat.
Stays the 16 for Mars. Perhaps they already knew chess, the fighting game.

So the Golden Dawn was not bad with its arrangement. But there should have been one error. It looks, as if 1=bet was related to Moon and 2=gimel to Mercury. But that's rather complicated.


As I already said, Tarot cards didn't exist in the early time. Also there are doubts about the existence of the life-tree with channels.

So, somehow both objects can't really serve to understand the author of SY.

So I personally leave them out.

We get some additional numbers for the planets, which appear not only in the letters, but also in the Sephiroth

Jupiter has a 4 (Chesed) + 10 (letter) = 14
Mars has a 5 (Geburah) + 16 (letter) = 21
Sun has a 6 (Tiphereth) + 19 (letter) = 25

14+21+25 = 60

Moon has a 9 (Yesod) + 1 (my suggestion) or 2 (Golden Dawn) = 10 or 11
Mercury has a 8 (Hod) + 2 (my suggestion) or 1 (Golden Dawn) = 10 or 9
Venus has a 7 (Nezach) + 3 = 10

10+10+10 = 30 or 11+9+10 = 30


30 (inner planets) is the half of 60 (outer planets), so the numbers look as if arranged with some consideration by the system-maker.
10-10-10 for Moon-Mercury-Venus looks somehow more elegant than 11-9-10.

Saturn isn't really designed to belong to a specific number. If we set up to belong to Binah, he gets 21+3=24, if we add 21+(1+2+3), we get a 27, which in the Hebrew number system is a rather specific value. From the knowledge about the binary system it seems logical to take the dominant value of Saturn for all 3 top Sephiroth.

60 + 30 + 27 = 117

And there's Malkuth, not given to a planet: value 10

60 + 30 + 27 + 10 = 127 (again)


This is from a 1988 book, "I-Ging = Tarot". Then it was believed, that there were a reasonable context between I-Ching and Tarot, later this was changed to a reasonable context between I-Ching and Sepher Yetzirah.

"T" stood then for Zodiac sign with letter, M stood for mother letter and the planet sign stand for double letters with planet relation. 21 stands for Saturn. The position of Mercury and Moon in the Golden Dawn order is exchanged.

The row is observed as a cycle. It's much better, when Moon (first) mirrors Sun (last). The mothers Aleph and Shin embed 21=Saturn and are opposed by Mem. Moon-Jupiter-Sun are symmetrical, not symmetrical positioned are naturally the 3 mother letters, cause of the intention "0+12+20 = 32".
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