Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gematria

Returning to Qabalah...

Gematria works by the transliteration of letters and words into numbers. Each letter of the Hebrew, and by extension the English, alphabets has a number assigned to it. A chart of these numerical assignments is opposite page 1 in the Sepher Sephiroth section of 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley.

Following that chart we find a list of numbers from 1 to 1000 and a few over 1000. Beside them it lists various words, phrases, Bible verses, Latin phrases, Tarot cards, references, etc. that correspond to the various numbers. It is said that every word or phrase adding up to the same number is cognate with each other. While true to some extent, it will be observed in practice that some words of the same value seem to hold quite contradictory meanings.

Sepher Sephiroth functions as an open-ended dictionary of Gematria. Open-ended because practitioners will find their own meanings to add to it. It was started by Macgregor Mathers, one of the founders of the Golden Dawn, carried on and extended upon by one of Crowley's teachers, Alan Bennett, and finished by Crowley into the form appearing in 777.

Anyone working with Qabalah will ultimately form their own correspondences and thus their own Tree of Life. Every Tree is different yet has a common basis just as every life situation is unique yet may share a common language.

For example, readers of Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger Volume I might start noticing the number 23 popping up frequently after reading Wilson describe the 23 Conspiracy, something he picked up from William Burroughs. Several ways suggest an approach to interpretation. You can look up 23 in Sepher Sephiroth- it lists 4 meanings which may or may not be connected.

23 has a special significance because it's a prime below 100. A chart of the meanings of primes below 100 is on p xxv of 777 giving another interpretation for 23.

And/or you could look up associations with the key number 23 in 777's Tables of Correspondences. There we see it connected with the element Water and with the Hanged Man tarot trump. These last two correspondences are why I connect 23 with floating in a floatation tank.

Another excellent source for elaborating Gematria values is The Book of Lies by Crowley. It contains 93 chapters each one qabalistically related to its chapter number. So one could look at chapter 23 there and gain either further insight or confusion into the number 23.

Actually some of the chapters from the Book of Lies give a clearer meaning for a number than in the Sepher Sephiroth dictionary. In chapter 48 it has:

Early to bed and early to rise
Makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise:
But late to watch and early to pray
Brings him across The Abyss, they say.
Neglect not the dawn-meditation!


Which clearly suggests a particular intensity and consistency of effort only vaguely referred to, if at all, under 48 in Sepher Sephiroth.

By coincidence, or maybe not p.48 of an early publication by E. J. Gold, Secret Talks on Voluntary Evolution relates the same notion in a different form:

Voluntary evolution is specialized; it has no place in the ordinary course of biological organic life, and so requires the development of many qualities possible for man but which, because they are not necessary for organic life, remain unknown and undeveloped in the majority of human beings. They require serious determined efforts over a long period of time.

The skills and strengths necessary for voluntary evolution are the result of intentional labors and repetitive special activities, not just occasionally or sporadically performed, but continuously and aggressively undertaken on a daily basis,...

Factoring

Mathematically factoring a number derives another method of numerical interpretation.

For instance, 279 = 93 x 3. So 279 could mean whatever 93 suggests modified by 3 - whatever the number 3 means to you. A Table of Factors appears in the first few pages of Sepher Sephiroth to aid this kind of analysis.

Theosophical addition is a fairly common method of deriving a basic number by reducing a complex number. I rarely use it. It’s where you take a large number and add each digit together. So 1091 would be 1+0+9+1=11=1+1=2. 1091 reduces to 2.

I'm more likely to look at it as 10,91 - the #10 combined with the #91.
You can divide numbers up however you like that makes the most sense or gives the most useful data. Another common example given in Robert Anton Wilson's The Earth Will Shake is for the #210 or 2,1,0 defined as dual opposite polarities (2) becoming unified (1) then canceling out (0).

Notariqon

Notariqon is a Qabalah of forming new words by taking the first letter of each word in a phrase or sentence. For example, the notariqon of the preceding sentence reads as:

Niaqofnwbttfloewiapos. Of course, this looks like nonsense in English but we can find some value if we transliterate the letters into numbers and add them like this:

(N=50)+( i=10)+(q=100)+(o=70)+(f=6)+(n=50)+(w=6)+(b=2)+(t=9)+(t=9)+(f=6)+(l=30)+(o=70)+(e=5)+(w=6)+(i=10)+(a=1)+(p=80)+(o=70)+(s=60) = 750

750 has no obvious significance in this context apart from demonstrating the process.

We could take a simpler approach and only use capital letters for the notariqon of the first sentence of this section. This would be : QN which adds to 150.

The Sepher Sephiroth has "Thine eye" as one listing for 150

Looking at 600 - the sum of the small letters by process of elimination - we see a Latin phrase:
Mirabilia, vel occulta sapientae

Mirabilia = wonderful, marvellous, extraordinary, unusual
vel occulta sapientae = or secretly wisely

So maybe these two numbers and their meanings combined, 600 + 150 has something to do with the first sentence here.

Again, I just made up this example to show the process and am not claiming that any profound truth lies therein.

I'm also not covering every aspect of Qabalah, Gematria, or Notarqon that exists but only what I've found practically useful. For an exhaustively detailed, if somewhat archaic description of Qabalah, I suggest MacGregor Mathers Introduction to The Kabbalah Unveiled.

Perhaps we'll discover more relevance in our discussion if we examine a profound truth via Qabalah?

The number 68 seems to have an important role in this lexicon. We can verify this by observing the emphasis Robert Anton Wilson seemed to place on that number.

His quantum physics flavored trilogy Schrodinger's Cat, which he suggests use as a shamanistic manual, adds to 68 by the notarqon of the title, SC

A central character in Wilson's Historical Illuminatus trilogy goes by Sigismundo Celine, also adding to 68 via notarqon

The first character on the first page of Illuminatus! finds himself:

... at the moment very conscious of a squirrel - in Central Park, just off of Sixty-eight Street, in New York City - that is leaping from one tree to another.

The most simple interpretation:

68 = 6 and 8

6 = Tiphareth, 8 = Hod, the Sephiroth which relates to communication or transmission. Therefore 68 could mean the communication/transmission of Tiphareth.

I've already shown that Wilson book-ended Illuminatus! with references to Tiphareth.

We can attempt to verify this further through chapter 68 of The Book of Lies titled Manna. In the commentary Crowley writes:

Manna was a heavenly cake which, in the legend, fed the Children of Israel, in the Wilderness.

The author laments the failure of his mission to mankind, ...

Further on in the commentary he writes: My mission will succeed soon enough.

Earlier in this series I described how Crowley felt it his mission to bring what he called the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel (HGA) to humanity. The HGA has been described as the epitome or ultimate expression of one's True Will ie the fulfillment of one's purpose in life. The attainment of the HGA corresponds with Tiphareth.

So in chapter 68 Crowley refers to his mission to mankind, the communication of the HGA, an expression of Tiphareth.

Next we'll look at a few more methods of Qabalah before we get into the Qabalah of the Bardo.




















3 comments:

  1. Did you know that Qabalah in Hebrew Gematria is also "She" and "Chakra" - which i guess means a lot for this matter: http://www.gematrix.org/?word=Qabalah

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  2. Interesting post on Gemetria! I have never looked into Notariqon-- calculating the value of acronyms seems like a logical progression from working on the values of letters.

    As for 23, I remember Both --"23" and "Skidoo" are American words meaning "Get out"'-- from the 'Book of Lies' and the 23rd Hexagram of the I Ching, 'Bo', 'splitting apart'-- both of which suggest the association with disaster RAW suggested....

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  3. Thanks for the info and link, Aviv.

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