Pythagorean Numbers


The 6th century B.C.E. philosopher Pythagoras taught that each number had it’s own peculiar character, virtue and properties:

1 One is the number of essence. It is the symbol of identity, of equality, of existence, of conservation and of general harmony. Having no parts, a single unit, announces order, peace and tranquillity, which are founded on unity of sentiments; consequently, one is a good principle.

2 The number two, the origin of contrasts, is the symbol of diversity, or inequality, of division and of separation. Two is accordingly an evil principle, a number of bad augury, characterizing disorder, confusion, and change.

3 Three is the first of unequals; it is the number containing the most sublime mysteries, for everything is composed of three substances. It represents divinity, the soul of the world, the spirit of man. It is meditation, atonement, completeness — beginning, middle, end.

4 Four, the first mathematical power, is also one of the chief elements. It represents the generating virtue, whence come all combinations; it is the most perfect of numbers; it is the root of all things. Pythagoreans swear by the quaternary number, which gives the human soul it’s eternal nature.

5 The number five has a peculiar force in sacred expiations; it is every thing; it stops the power of poisons, and is re-doubted by evil spirits.

6 Six is a fortunate number, the number of luck and chance. It derives its merit from the first sculptors having divided the face into six portions. According to the Chaldeans, the reason is, because the world was created in six days.

7 Seven is a number very powerful for good or evil. It is the number of the entire cosmos. It belongs especially to sacred things.

8 The number eight is the first cube, that is to say, squared in all senses, as a die, proceeding from it’s base two, and even number; so is man four-square, or perfect.

9 The cube of three being nine, nine is regarded as the extent to which numbers could go, all others being embraced and revolving within it. Ten but recommences a fresh series capable of infinite expansion. Nine should be regarded as sacred.

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