III. The Kabalah On Numbers


Many nations of antiquity made use of the letters of their alphabets as substitutes for any independent signs to typify numerical conceptions. It is with the Hebrew letters as numerals that we are chiefly concerned, and to a smaller extent with the Greek. Ancient records show that the Greeks used their numbers almost exclusively for everyday purposes; while the Jewish Rabbis added to their practical value special peculiar purposes, and looked to them to furnish deeper views of nature, existence and doctrine. No doubt can exist that the ancient Egyptians were fully aware of the wondrous mysteries which numbers are able to disclose, so, considering that Greece, and neither Judea nor Babylon, succeeded to the empires of ancient Egypt, it is a curious fact how little knowledge of the dogmas of the Hierophants of Sais, Memphis and Thebes Greek literature has transmitted to us.

The Jewish Rabbis discovered so much of interest and importance behind the merely superficial value of numbers, and of words as their representatives, that they gradually developed a complete science of numerical conceptions apart from mathematics; this took the name of Kabalah or Qabalah, Cabbala, or even Cabala, words variously misspelt from Qblh—the Received doctrine, from the root Qbl, meaning to Receive.

The Greeks as aforesaid did not develop nor use their letters as numbers for mental conceptions, yet in the Middle Ages we often find Greek letters used to transliterate Hebrew similars, and so there was formed a bastard Greek Kabalah on the Hebrew type.

It must be constantly borne in mind that all Hebrew words or numbers are read from right to left, or the reverse of English words; but in their English transliteration they are here in English order.

The corresponding numerals, Greek and Hebrew letters, are here given with their English names, and the English synonymous letters are also added.

A B G D H U or V Z
Aleph Beth Gimel Daleth Heh Vau Zain
‏ע‎ ‏ב‎ ‏ג‎ ‏ד‎ ‏ה‎ ‏ו‎ ‏ז‎
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Alpha Beta Gamma Delta Epsilon Episemon Zeta
α β γ δ ε ς ζ
Ch Th Y or I or J K L M N
Heth Teth Yod Kaph Lamed Mem Nun
‏ח‎ ‏ט‎ ‏י‎ ‏כ‎ ‏ל‎ ‏מ‎ ‏נ‎
8 9 10 20 30 40 50
Eta Theta Iota Kappa Lambda Mu Nu
ε θ ι κ λ μ ν
S O P Tz Q R
Samekh Ayin Peh Tzaddi Qoph Resh
‏ס‎ ‏ע‎ ‏פ‎ ‏צ‎ ‏ק‎ ‏ר‎
60 70 80 90 100 200
Xi Omicron Pi Koppa Rho Sigma
ξ ο π ϙ σ or σ
Sh T K M N
Shin Tau Final Kaph Final Mem Final Nun
‏ש‎ ‏ת‎ ‏ך‎ ‏ם‎ ‏ן‎
300 400 500 600 700
Tau Upsilon Phi Chi Psi
τ υ φ χ ψ
P Tz
Final Peh Final Tzaddi Dotted Aleph
800 900 1000
Omega Sanpi Alpha dashed
ω Ϡ

Note that there were no proper Greek Letters for 6, 90, and 900, so they used special symbols—episemon (vau, or bau, digamma) for 6; koppa for 90; and sanpi for 900—ς ϙ Ϡ).

At some periods the five finals were not used for the hundreds, but instead Tau was written for 400 and other hundreds added; thus 500 was TQ. Another point of importance is that the Jews never write JH Jah for 15, because it is a Deity title, they use instead 9, 6 thus TV, teth vau. The Kabalists used JH only when they desired to call attention to the Holy Name in the number.

In certain Kabalistic numerical computations many Rabbis deemed it permissible to add an Aleph, one, and this they called the Colel.

In some cases we find the Greeks to have used their letters in direct order for purposes of numeration, as may be seen in some copies of very old poems (the 24 books of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, for example), in which the stanzas bear the letters consecutively, in a similar manner to the Hebrew letters heading the portions of the 119th Psalm in our Bibles.

The word Kabalah includes the Hebrew Doctrines of Cosmogony and Theology as well as the Science of Numbers. The former is specified as the Dogmatic Kabalah, the latter as the Literal Kabalah.

By means of associating the ancient doctrines of Numbers with the letters of the alphabet, the Planets, Stars, Zodiacal signs and other astronomical terms, a form of divination became practised, by which the professors attempted to foretell the future, life and death, good and evil Fortune, detection of theft, etc., an ample explanation of which may be studied by the curious in the “Holy Guide” of John Heydon.

With this system is associated the practice of pure Astrology, the divination of Fate by means of the Heavenly bodies, especially the formation of the so-called Horoscopes—schemes of the arrangement of the Planets at the moment of Birth, from which all the important phases of the life can be inferred—by some few persons. The Kabalah became a means of handing down from one generation to another hidden truths, religious notions, secrets of nature, ideas of Cosmogony, and facts of history, in a form which was unintelligible to the uninitiated; and the revealing of the secrets, and the methods of interpretation were veiled in mystery, and only to be approached through Religion.

The more practical part of the system was involved in the three processes of:—

Gematria, Notaricon, and Temura.

Gematria, a method depending on the fact that each Hebrew letter had a numerical value. When the sum of the numbers of the letters composing a word was the same as the sum of the letters of another word, however different, they perceived an analogy between them, and considered them to have a necessary connection. Thus certain numbers got to be well known as meaning certain things; and not words only, but sentences were treated in this manner; thus, as an example referring to Genesis xviii. v. 2, we find the words, “and lo, three men,” Vehennah, shalisha, Vhnh Shlshh; this set down in numbers becomes 6, 5, 50, 5, 300, 30, 300, 5, which amount to 701: now the words, “these are Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael,” “Alu Mikhael Gabriel ve Raphael,” ALU MIKAL GBRIAL V RPAL converted are, 1, 30, 6, 40, 10, 20, 1, 30, 3, 2, 200, 10, 1, 30, 6, 200, 80, 1, 30, also amounting to 701, and the Rabbis argued that these two sets of three beings were identical. Some Christian Kabalists point out that in Genesis xlix. v. 10 we find “Yebah Shiloh,” YBA SHILH, “Shiloh shall come,” which amount to 358; and that the word “Messiah,” MShVCh is 40, 300, to, 8, or 358; but so is also Nachash, the Serpent of Moses, NChSh, 50, 8, 300; and I must remark that the claim to translate ShILh, or, as some ancient Hebrew MSS. write it, ShLh, by “Shiloh,” in the sense of Jesus Christ, is far-fetched. The word is simply “rest,” or “peace,” in its simplest meaning, but also is the Scorpio of the Chaldean zodiac (related to Nachash, serpent); and “Judah,” of whom Jacob is talking in the prophecy, is the sign of the zodiac; Leo for “Judah is a lion’s whelp” (the Chaldean zodiac has a lion couchant), “he crouches as a lion.” In this sense, then, “the sceptre shall not depart from Judah,” i.e., power shall not leave Leo, until Shelah, Shiloh or Scorpio shall come up or rise. Astronomy teaches that as Leo passes away from the meridian, Scorpio rises. The title “Comforter,” “Menachem,” MNChM, 40, 50, 8, 40, amounting to 138, and the title “The Branch,” applied to the Messiah in Zechariah iii. v. 8, namely, TzMCh, 90, 40, 8, also 138, are of the same number. Metatron, the great angel MThRThN, and ShADDAI ShDI, translated “Almighty,” are both 314. The letter Shin, Sh, = 300, is used as a glyph of “the spirit of the living gods,” Ruach Elohim RUCh ALhIM, which transmutes into 200, 6, 8, 1, 30, 5, 10, 40, or 300.

The Kabalists sometimes considered the units to refer to Divine Beings, the tens to celestial bodies, hundreds to things of earth, and thousands to future events.

Notaricon, a word derived from the Latin notarius, a shorthand writer, means the construction of a word from the initial or final letters of the several words of a sentence; or vice versa the construction of a sentence of which each word in order begins with the several letters composing a given word: processes of contraction and expansion, therefore.

Refer to Deuteronomy xxx. V. 12, and find that Moses asks, “Who shall go up for us to heaven?” the initials of the words of the sentence, MY YOLh LNU HShMYMH, read “My yeolah lenu hashemimha,” form the word MYLH or “Mylah,” which means “Circumcision,” and the final letters form the word Jehovah, YHUH or IHVH, suggesting that Jehovah pointed out the way, by circumcision, to heaven. Again the first six letters of the book of Genesis, BRAShIT, Berasit, translated “In the beginning,” but more properly “In wisdom,” are the initials of the words BRAShIT RAH ALHIM ShYQBLU IShRAL TURH, read “Berasit rauah Elohim shyequebelu Israel torah,” which mean “In the beginning, God saw that Israel would accept the Law.”

The famous Rabbinic name of power, “AGLA,” is formed of the initials of the sentence, “Tu potens in sæculum Domine,” ATH GBUR LOULM ADNI, Ateh gibur loulam Adonai. The word “Amen” is from AMN, the initials of “Adonai melekh namen,” ADNI MLK NAMN, meaning “The Lord and Faithful King.”

Temura means Permutation; sometimes the letters of a word are transposed according to certain rules, and with certain limitations; at others each letter of a word is replaced by another according to a definite scheme, forming a new word, of which permutation there are many recognised forms. For example, the alphabet of 22 letters is halved and the two sets placed one over the other in reverse order, thus:—

A B G D H V Z Ch Th Y K
T Sh R Q Tz P O S N M L

then A is changed to T, and V to P, and so on; so Babel = BBL becomes Sheshak, i.e., ShShx used by Jeremiah xxv. v. 26. This form is called Atbash or AT-BSh; it will be seen that there must be 21 other possible forms, and these were named in order, thus, Albat, Agdat, etc.; the complete set was called “the combinations of Tziruph.” Other Permutations were named Rational, Right, Averse and Irregular; these are produced by forming a square and subdividing it by 21 lines in each direction into 484 smaller squares, and then writing in each square a letter in order successively from right to left, or from above down, or the reverse. The most popular mode of permutation has however been the form called “Kabalah of the Nine Chambers,” produced by the intersection of two horizontal and two vertical lines, forming nine spaces, a central square, and 4 three-sided figures, and 4 two-sided figures, to each of which are allotted certain letters; there are several modes even of this arrangement, and there is a mystical mode of allotting the Sephiroth to this figure, but this is a Rosicrucian secret.

This method is used in a superficial manner in Mark Master Masonry.

A further development of the Numerical Kabalah consists of arithmetical processes of Extension and Contraction; thus Tetragrammaton is considered as Y 10, H 5, V 6, H 5, or 26, but also may be spelled in full YVD 20, HA 6, VV 12, HA 6, or 44.

Again, the Kabalists extended a number by series. Zain Z or 7 becomes 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and 7, or 28. After another manner they contracted, as 28 was equal to 2 and 8, or ro. Again, Tetragrammaton 26 became 2 and 6, or 8, so every number was reducible to a primary numeral. In this manner, within certain restrictive laws, every word had analogies with certain others; thus AB father 1 and 2 are 3, IHV Jehu 10 and 5 and 6 are 21, 2 and 1 are 3. AL ShDI, Al Shaddai, God Almighty, 1, 30, 300, 4, 10, or 345, becomes 12, and then 2 and 1 are 3; HVA or HOA 5, 6, 1, are 12, and then 3; and GDVLH Gedulah 3, 4, 6, 30, 5 are 48, and are 12 and 3.

Another method of substitution leading to results of an opposite character is the substitution in any word of similar letters of another group, hard for soft, or sibilant for dental; thus in TM = perfect, exchange Th for T, and obtain ThM, meaning defiled: ShAN, secure, tranquil, becomes SAN, battle; ShKL, wisdom, becomes SKL, foolish. In the word Shaddai, Sher, Almighty, with soft sibilant and soft dental is Shiddah, a wife; if we replace with a hard dental, a partial change of meaning is effected, ShThH, Sittah, an adulterous wife; both letters hardened completely change the sense, STh, Seth, a fallen man, a backslider; SThN, Satan, adversary.

I cannot, without Hebrew letters, explain well the change of sound in the Shin SH, from SH to S, but it is marked by a dot over the right or left tooth of the three teeth of the letter.

A deep mystery is concealed in the Genetic account of the conversion of the names of Abram, ABRM, into Abraham, ABRHM, and that of his wife Sarai, ShRI, into Sarah, SHRH, see Genesis xvii. v. 5–15, on the occasion of the conception of Isaac, YTZChQ or YShChQ, from the root ShChQ or TzChQ, “laugh,” when Sarah was 90 and Abraham 100 years old. This was on the occasion of the covenant made by Jehovah with Abram, and the institution of circumcision of males in token thereof. Now here we have the addition of an H or 5, the essentially Female Letter, to the name of Abraham, and a conversion of a Yod into He, Y into H, in the case of Sarah; and then their sterility is destroyed.

Some learned men consider Abraham to be a conversion of Brahma, the Hindoo Deity. The name splits up curiously. AB is father, BR is son, AM is like OM or AUM, a deific name of Power; RM meant “he is lifted up.” Blavatsky remarks that Abraham and Saturn were identical in Astro-symbology; the Father of the Pharisees was Jehovah, and they were of the seed of Abraham.

The number of ABRM is 1, 2, 200, 40 or 243, the number of the man figure, Seir Anpin, representing Microprosopus.

Read Pistorius, “Ars Cabalistica,” for the effect of adding H 5 to men’s names, see page 969; also Inman, “Ancient Faiths,” article Abraham; “Secret Doctrine,” i. 578, ii. 77; also C. W. King, “The Gnostics.”

The name Sarah also has a curious set of similars in Hebrew—SRH, princess; SAR, flesh; SOR, gate; SChR, black; SUR, hairy seir; SRT, incision; SR and SRR, navel; and note the Sacti of Brahma is Sara-swati, watery; Sara refers to Sri, Lakhsmi, Aphrodite, and all are related to Water and Luna, Vach, Sophia of the Gnostics, and the ideal Holy Ghost, all feminine.

The 243 of Abram becomes 248 by adding H, and Sarai 510 becomes 505 by taking 5 off, putting H for Y, and the total of the two names is unaltered, being 753; 248 is the number of the members of Microprosopus and of RChM, rechem or Mercy.

Before leaving this subject, a reference must be made to the Magic Squares, of the Planets, etc.; to each planet belongs a special unit, and secondarily other numbers.

Thus the Square of Saturn has three compartments each way, and in each subdivision is a unit, 1 to 9, so arranged that the columns add up to 15 every way, the total being 45. The Square of Jupiter has a side of four divisions, total 16; each line adds up to 34, and the total is 136.

The Square of Mars is given here as an example, each side 5, total squares 25, each side counting 65, and total 325.


























Similarly the four several numbers of Sol are 6, 36, 111, 666. Of Venus, 7, 49, 175, 1225. Of Mercury, 8, 64, 260, 2080.

Of Luna, 9, 81, 369, 3321. Each number then becomes a name. Take the case of Mercury; 64 is alike DIN and DNI, Din and Doni; 260 is Tiriel, TIRIAL; and 2080 is Taphthartharath, TPTRTRT.

Rawlinson, in his volumes on the Ancient Monarchies, states that the Chaldeans associated mystic numbers with their Deities; thus to Anu, Pluto, 60; Bel, Jupiter, 50; Hoa, Neptune, 40; Sin, the Moon, 30; Shamash, the Sun, 20; Nergal (Mars), 12; and Beltis or Mylitta, 15; and Nin is Saturn, 10.

It will be noticed that the great number of Sol is 666, called Sorath, SURT, the number of the Beast, about which so much folly has been written. One famous square of five times five divisions, amounting in most directions to 666, is formed of the mystic words sator, arepo, tenet, opera, rotas. Of these the first, third, and last number 666, but opera and its reverse number only 356. The number 608 is notable, being in Coptic, PhRE, the sun 500, 100, 8; and in Greek we find VHS, 400, 8, 200, which becomes IHS in Latin, for the Greek Upsilon changes to Y and I in Latin, and so we obtain the anagram of “Iesus hominum Salvator.”

Kircher points out a Greek example of magic squares; the names Jesus and Mary, and Iesous Maria have a curious relation. Iesous is 10, 8, 200, 70, 400, 200 = 888. Now take Maria, 40, 1, 100, 10, 1 = 152. Set 152 in a Magic Square of Three, i.e., nine compartments, thus, 1—5—2, 5—2—1, 2—1—5, then the totals are all 888. The letters of Iesous also make a magic square of 36 divisions, adding every way to 888. Consult the “Arithmologia” of Kircher.

Remember “illius meminit Sybilla de nomina ejus vaticinando,” “onoma Sou monades, dekades, ekaton tades okto,” or “nomen tuum 8 unitates, 8denarii, 8 centenarii.”—See St. Augustine, De Civitate Dei.

Note the mystic word Abraxas is 1, 2, 100, 1, 60, 1, 200 = 365 in Greek letters.

As a curiosity, note that the Roman X for 10 is two V’s, which are each 5; C, or, squarely drawn, , for 100 consists of two L’s which are each 50. Priscian says I for 1 was taken from i in the middle of the Greek mia, female of eis, 1, and V for 5 because it was the fifth vowel. To remember Hebrew numerals note A, I, Q = 1, 10, 100; and in Greek A, I, R, A= 1, 10, 100, 1,000.

According to “The Canon,” of 1897, an anonymous work, a Vesica piscis (the figure formed by the intersection of two equal circles) whose dimensions are 26 and 15, is a symbol of the hidden rule or canon by which Natural laws were represented to Initiates in the secret wisdom of the Ancient Mysteries. The Greek gods Zeus, Jupiter and Apollo, the Sun god, have the same numerical relation.