THE DECAD. 10.
The Decad, number Ten, or Panteleia, which meant “All complete” or fully accomplished,” is the grand summit of numbers, which once reached cannot be passed; to increase the sum we must retrograde to the Monad.
The Pythagoreans were entranced with its virtues and called it Deity, Heaven, Eternity and the Sun.
Ten being the recipient or receptacle of all numbers was called Decad, from dechomai = to receive, and hence Heaven, which was ordained to receive all men.
Like the Deity it is a Circle, with visible centre, but its circumference too vast for sight.
It is the sum of the units of the number four as previously mentioned, a holy and Deistic number, thus 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 are 10, and thus ten gains splendour from its parentage.
Also spoken of as “Eternity,” which is infinite life, because it contains every number in itself, and number is infinite.
It is also called Kosmos, that is the “Universe.” Proclus says: The decad is mundane also, it is the world which receives the images of all the divine numbers, which are supernaturally imparted to it.
It is called “the fountain of eternal nature,” because if we take the half, five as the middle number, and add together the next above and the next below, viz., 6 and 4, we make to, and the next two in a similar manner 7 and 3 are 10; and so on 8 and 2 and 9 and 1 give the same result.
All nations reckon by the Decimal scale of notation, to which they were no doubt led from the convenience of counting the ten digits of the hands.
It is also spoken of as Kleidoukos, that is, “having custody of others,” the magazine of the other numbers, because other numbers are branches from it: also called Fate, which comprises all sorts of events: Age, Power; Atlas, because it supports the to spheres of Heaven; Phanes; Memory; Urania; and “The first Square, because it consists of the first four numbers.”
Two old conceits were that the Tenth wave of the sea is always larger than others; and that birds laid the 10th egg of a larger size than the others.
The word Ten was used by the Hebrews, instead of “a large number,” so that care must be exercised in translating this; thus Nehemiah interprets “ten generations” of Deuteronomy xxiii. v. 3 to mean “for ever.” Nehemiah xiii. 1.
The Kabalists called 5, 6 and 10 circular numbers, because when squared, the result shows the same number in the unit figure, thus:
5 times 5 are 25 and 5 times 25 are 125
6 times 6 are 36 6 times 36 are 216
10 times 10 are 100 10 times 100 are 1000
An old periphrasis mentioned by Shakespeare is, “I’d set my ten commandments in your face,” meaning the finger nails for scratching. See 2 Henry VI. i. 3.
The Mahometans say that ten animals were admitted to Paradise.
3. Ant of Solomon.
4. Whale of Jonah.
5. The Calf (not Ram) offered to Jehovah by Abraham instead of Isaac, his son.
6. The Ox of Moses.
7. The Camel of the prophet Salech.
10. Al Borek, the Animal which conveyed Mahomet to heaven.
“We find to generations from Adam to Noah, 10 from Shem to Abraham. The 10 spiritual graces of Christianity are Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, prudence, meekness, and temperance,” says Dr. G. Oliver; although where he gets 10 generations from Adam to Noah, I know not.
Under to also falls the mention of the Pythagorean Triangle, Tetractys, consisting of an equilateral triangle enclosing ten YODS: thus the upper is the Monad, the second line the Dyad, the third the Triad, and the fourth the Quaternary or Tetrad: representing the four forms of point, line, superficies and solid. A similar form is given by Hebrew Kabalists to form 72, the deity number, by placing in a triangle four Yods, three Hehs, two Vaus and one Heh final, being the letters IHVH of the Tetragrammaton; or they may be put conversely.
Note that ten is used as a sign of fellowship, love, peace, and Union, in the Masonic third token, the union of two five points of Fellowship.
In the Bible we notice to Commandments, to instruments to which Jewish Psalms were sung, to strings in the Psaltery, and that the Holy Ghost descended ten days after the Ascension.
Tucer, Rabanus and Raymond Lully associate the numbers 8 to Air, 5 to Fire, 6 to Earth and 12 to Water.
Apuleius states that among the Egyptians it was customary to fast to days before sacrificing, and Budge says that they used a to-day week.
The Ten Sephiroth form the essence of the Hebrew dogmatic Kabalah, a subject which is too vast and complex to be entered upon in this volume on numerals. A mere glance at the Sephirotic emanations of the Absolute Deity from the mathematical point of view is all that can be attempted; my “Introduction to the Kabalah” may be referred to.
From the Absolute Passive Negativity AIN, proceeds AIN SUPH the Limitless, and then AIN SUPH AUR Boundless Light, which concentrates in the first manifestation of the Sephiroth, which is the Crown, KTR, Kether: from Kether proceeds ChKMH, Chochmah, Wisdom, an active masculine potency, and BINH, Binah, Understanding, a passive feminine power.
These three form the Supernal Triad. The fourth and fifth are ChSD, Chesed, Mercy, active and male, and GBVRH, Geburah, Strength, passive and female.
The sixth Sephira is the notable TPART, Tiphereth, Beauty, the central sun, the Logos, the Manifested Son: this completes a second triangle, the reflection of the former.
Number seven is NTZCh, Netzach, Victory, active, and the eighth is HVD, Hod, Splendour, passive; the ninth is YSVD, Yesod, the Foundation, completing the third trinity, or triangle.
MLKT, Malkuth, the Tenth Sephira, completes the emanations. She is the Bride of Microprosopus the Son, the Sun, Logos; she is the Inferior Mother, Queen, and the Manifested Universe.
The whole Ten are viewed as reigning over Four Worlds or Planes of Existence; these are the Worlds of Aziluth, Briah, Yetzirah and Assiah. Malkuth on the plane of Assiah alone is the visible tangible universe.
These Ten Sephiroth are the prototypes of everything spiritual, and also of every part of creation: they are traced in the angelic host and in our universe: three superior, and seven succedent exist in all things; the lower seven are obvious to the uninitiated, but in these manifestations the supernal triad is veiled to the profane.
Some occultists phrase it thus—three are subjective and incomprehensible to man; seven are objective and comprehensible; thus Seven archangels are commonly named, and we have known only of Seven great planets of our system.
But in some cases even the whole of seven are unknown; we acknowledge but five senses in man, but there are two more awaiting perception by process of evolution.
These Ten Sephiroth are not only viewed as triads from above below, but are also imaged in three columns entitled the Pillars of Severity and Mercy, with the median of Benignity or Mildness. But this scheme is not for this treatise, nor can the Sephirotic alliance with the Planetary symbols, the angelic host, the divine names, and the Book of Thoth, or Tarot be here described; these subjects present a mine of wisdom concealed in the rituals of the Kabalistic “Chabrath zereh aur bokher,” from whose parent stem the Rosicrucian Fraternities also may have arisen. These Rituals contain a more complete scheme of the mediæval occult symbolism than exists in any other form known to me, and I believe that it would not be possible for anyone to reconstitute so complete a system out of all extant literature.
There are 10 Grades in the Rosicrucian Society; they are Zelator, Theoricus, Practicus, Philosophus; Minor, Major and Exempt Adept; Master, Magus and King: some Magi are known, but only Magi know of a Rex.
Rosicrucian private rituals give the correct names and Kabalistic spelling of the Ten heavens of the World of Assiah, which is the material universe.
H. P. Blavatsky declared that a scheme of the Zodiac of 10 Signs preceded that of 12 Signs, but I have been unable to verify the statement, by any ancient work.
Hebrew and Talmudic references are as follows:—10 men were necessary to form a legally-convened meeting at the Synagogue: in London as much as £1000 a year has been spent in providing spare men for this duty. Ten curses were pronounced against Eve; see Talmud, Eiruvin, 100. 2.
Ten things were created during the twilight of the first Sabbath eve. Consult Pesachim, 54. 1.
Ten facts proved the presence of a Supernatural Power in the Temple. Yoma, 21. 1.
The Rabbis taught that a man should divorce his wife, if for 10 years she had no offspring.
At funerals, condolences were recited by to men, and at weddings by ten men including the bridegroom. Ten cups were drunk at a funeral party—three before supper, three at supper, and four after the meal at the recitation of the four blessings.
Abraham was tested to times; to Miracles were performed in Egypt to help the Children of Israel, and to at the Red Sea. Ten plagues were made to afflict the Egyptians. Ten times the Jews offended God in the Wilderness.
Ten times did the Shekinah come down into the world; at the Garden of Eden; at the Tower of Babel; at Sodom; in Egypt, see Exodus iii. 8; at the Red Sea, Psalm cviii. 9; on Mount Sinai; at the Temple; in the Pillar of Cloud; on the Mount of Olives, see Zechariah xiv. 4; the 10th is omitted in the original reference, Avoth d’ Rabbi Nathan, chap. 34.
There are to Hebrew words to designate Idols, and to for Joy. Sodom was to be spared for to righteous men; Gideon took to servants to destroy the Altar of Baal; Boaz chose to witnesses for his marriage with Ruth; Joab’s armour was borne by to young men. Jesus speaks of 10 talents, 10 cities, 10 pieces of silver, and gave a parable of to Virgins. The Tabernacle has many to dimensions. There are to Bible names of God, to Canticles, and to necessaries for man’s life. Ecclus. 39. 26.
There were to Pythagorean Virtues of Initiation, and the Buddhists teach to Paramitas of Perfection.
In the Alchymico-Kabalistic tract called “Aesch Metzareph” referred to by Eliphaz Levi, and collected from the Zohar of Knorr von Rosenroth and translated into English, and forming Volume IV. of my “Collectanea Hermetica,” will be found 10 names for Gold all extracted from the Old Testament; they are there related to the Sephira Geburah.
The Hindoo Puranas tell us of the 10 Avatars of the God Vishnu, the Preserver of the Brahmanic Religion; they are periodical incarnations of the God. First as the Fish, Matsya; 2. Kurma, the Tortoise; 3. Varaha, the Boar; 4. Narasingha, the Man-Lion; 5. Vamana, the Dwarf; 6. Parasu-Rama; 7. Rama Chandra; 8. Krishna; 9. Buddha; and the 10th, Kalki, the Horse, is yet to come. These Avatars are susceptible of a mystical explanation on the plane of cosmogony; it has been given in the Garuda ‘Temple of the “Oriental Order of Light” by Frater T. H. Pattinson of Bradford, a very notable mystic and occult student.
In the Yoga Vasishtha Maha Ramayana of Valmiki, edited by Vihari Lala Mitra, will be found an essay on Om-Tat-Sat, on-id-est, and this contains some very curious information on the to numerals as related to the mystical syllable Om or Aum.
“Aum mani padmé hum” means literally, “Oh, the jewel in the lotus,” and is taken mystically to mean “the spark of the Divine within me,” as was fully explained by Blavatsky to her Esoteric section of Theosophists.