Holy and Unholy Numbers
by: Sam Stevens
Many of our great religions hold that numbers contain hidden meanings that in turn hold the mysteries of the universe and God within them. Ancient Hebrew mystics referred to this as Gematria. Numbers are also given corresponding associations to various deities, colours, plants, gemstones, and superstitions. Here are a brief list of associated correspondences and lore for the numbers 1 through 13.
The Number 1
In the faiths of Islamic, Jewish and Christian cultures the number 1 is associated with the unity of God. For medieval alchemists and metaphysicians the number was associated with the Philosopher’s Stone, the unknown catalyst that was thought to transform base metals magically into gold.
The number 1 is also associated with Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love; Apollo, the Greek God of Beauty and Truth; Diana, the Roman Goddess of the Hunt; Vesta, the Roman Hearth Goddess; Freya, the Norse Goddess of Fertility, and the Chinese God Pangu.
The number 1 is associated with the colors red, crimson, scarlet and cherry. Gemstones associated with the number 1 are ruby and garnet. Flowers associated with the number are red roses and red carnations.
Common superstitions about the number one are:
- Break one egg and you will break a leg
- It is unlucky to walk around the house in one slipper
- Only keep money in one pocket or you will lose it.
- People with one hand are psychic.
- A one-eyed person is a witch.
- Seeing one magpie bodes a death in your future.
- Seeing one white horse brings bad luck.
- If you wash your hair on the first day of the month you will have a short life.
- It is unlucky to get married August 1st or January 1st.
- If you dream about the number 1 you have received a direct message from God.
The Number 2
In the Tarot deck, the number two represents duality, choices, decisions and partnerships. The Chinese believe that it represents the polar forces of Yin (the receptive, constrictive female energy) and Yang (the creative expansive male energy.)
Early Christians believed that the number represented the Devil or the division between soul and God. Similarly, the Zoroastrians believe the number represents the forces of good and evil locked in an eternal, yet equal, struggle.
The number 2 is also associated with the Ceres, the Greek Goddess of the Grain from whose name we have the word Cereal; Frigga the Norse Goddess of Hospitality and Wife of Odin; Freya, the Norse Goddess of Fertility and Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love.
2 is associated with the colors orange, gold, tangerine and peach. Flowers associated with 2 are freesias, orange roses and orange lilies. Gemstones associated with the number 2 are gold and coral.
Superstitions about the number two are:
- If two crows fly over the house there will be a wedding in the family.
- If two people sneeze at the same time both will have good luck.
- If two shoots grow from the root of a single cabbage, you will have good luck.
- Two people should never pour tea from the same pot.
- It is lucky to have two holes in the same sock.
- Breaking two eggs accidentally is a sign that you will find your soul mate.
- Finding an egg with two yolks means there will be a death in the family.
- If you wash your hair on the second day of the month you will have good fortune.
- It is unlucky to get married January 2nd and September 2nd.
- If you dream about the number 2 somebody is jealous of you.
The Number 3
Christians interpret the number 3 as representing the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The great psychologist Carl Jung interpreted as meaning the merging of the will with the heart and the soul. The ancient Babylonians and Celts interpreted this number to represent creation being born out of the union of 2 and thereby being a 3rd and distinct thing.
The number 3 is associated with Cronos, the Greek Titan who fathered the Olympians; Hecate, the Queen of the Witches and Goddess of the Crossroads; Pluto, the Roman God of Death; Saturn the Roman equivalent of Cronos and Tyr, the Norse God of Battle and Strength.
3 is associated with the colors yellow, lemon, beige and cream. Flowers associated with the number are yellow roses and orchids. The gemstone associated with 3 is topaz.
Some superstitions about the number three include:
- A series of unlucky events always happen in threes.
- It is bad luck to see three butterflies sitting on a leaf.
- Spitting three times shoos away the devil.
- It is unlucky to light three cigarettes from the same match.
- If an owl hoots three times, there will be misfortune.
- If a cat washes his ears three times you can expect a visitor.
- A three-legged dog brings luck.
- Try anything a third time and it will succeed.
- If you wash your hair on the third day of the month you will have great wealth.
- It is unlucky to get married May 3rd.
- If you dream about the number 3, you will lose your lover.
The Number 4
For the ancient Hebrews, the number 4 was considered to be especially significant. This connects to a mystical understanding of YHVH, the four-letter name of God, which was traditionally never written down. The number 4 and its equivalent geometrical shape, the square, were considered to be sacred by ancient cultures that believed the world was flat.
Many modern Pagan religions find within the number 4 a representation of the four directions (north, south, east and west) as well as the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water.
Deities associated with the number four are the fatherly Gods such as the Roman God Jupiter, the Norse God Odin and the Greek God Zeus.
Number 4 is associated with the colors green and emerald. The gemstones symbolized by 4 are jade and emerald. Plants associated with four are ivy, bamboo and baby’s breath.
Some superstitions about the number 4 include:
- A four-leaf clover brings luck.
- If four cookies fuse together in the oven while you are baking there will be a wedding.
- Four ravens clustered together on a tree branch means there will be a wedding.
- Finding four colors in one pansy petal bodes health, wealth, happiness and prosperity.
- A house with the number 4 in the address is very inauspicious.
- Keeping the four aces of an ordinary playing deck on your person is thought to bring power (spades), wealth (diamonds), love (hearts) and popularity (clubs).
- Finding four colors in one pansy petal bodes health, wealth, happiness and prosperity.
- If you hold the four of clubs while playing a card game, you will always lose.
- If you wash your hair on the 4th day of the month you will go gray early.
- It is unlucky to get married June 4th or October 4th.
- If you dream about the number 4, you will soon be handed a lucky opportunity.
The Number 5
Pythagoras believed that 5 represented man in perfect balance with the universe and containing the sum of the male and female elements. At times this was taken to symbolize marriage. For the Sikhs, the number symbolizes the five sacred objects that are worn by all males.
The Chinese believe the number represents the 5 elements that are used in the divination oracle The I Ching as well as on the Pa’ Kua that is a device used for determining Feng Shui: earth, air, water, fire and metal.
In Wiccan circles, five can be found in the star shaped pentagram that symbolizes the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water surmounted or united by spirit.
Deities associated with the number 5 include Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine and Ecstatic Revelation; Ishtar, the Babylonian Goddess of Love, Sex and War; Mars the Roman God of War and Thor the Norse God of Thunder.
The colors sky blue and turquoise symbolize the number 5. The gemstones associated with 5 are turquoise and aquamarine. The flower associated with 5 is the anemone.
Some common superstitions about the number five are:
- A five-leafed clover is even luckier than a four leafed one.
- Wearing a five-pointed star turns away evil.
- If five cookies fuse together while cooking a funeral will take place.
- If you twist the stem of an apple and it breaks on the fifth twist you will be married within the year.
- In the hoodoo tradition, a talisman featuring a hand displaying all five fingers is known as the Lucky Hand and is used to ward off misfortune as well as for luck in gambling.
- If you wax your hair on the fifth day of the month you will go bald.
- It is unlucky to get married on November 5th.
- If you dream about the number five you will soon be famous.
The Number 6
For Christians, Jews and Moslems, the number 6 represents the day that man was created. Mathematicians revere the number 6 because it is the first perfect number.
Deities associated with the number 6 include Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom; Bacchus, the Roman God of Wine and Hermes, the Greek God of Communication.
The number 6 is symbolized the colors deep blue, navy and royal blue. Gemstones associated with 6 are sapphire and lapis lazuli. Flowers that symbolize the number are thistles and bluebells.
Some common superstitions about the number six are:
- It is unlucky to purposely turn the number six upside down in jest as it means your projects will not be completed.
- If you find a rose with six petals it means you will be lucky in love.
- If you find a pansy petal with six colors in it, it means you will receive an unexpected visitor.
- A talisman with the number 6 worn on it means you will be protected against hurricanes and tornados.
- It is unlucky to get married October 6th or November 6th.
- If you dream about the number 6 you will soon have sex.
The Number 7
The number 7 is equally sacred amongst Islamic, Christian and Jewish religions. According to Jewish and Christian mythologies it took six days to create the world with the seventh day being the holiest day – a day of rest. The Bible, Zohar and other religious texts also recommend that fields were to be left fallow every seventh year as means of allowing the earth to regenerate itself. Some Christians believe the number 7 represents the seven levels of hell.
It is Hebrew tradition to mourn, or sit Shivah, for a period of 7 days.
Deities associated with the number 7 include Frigga; Minerva, the Roman Goddess of Intelligence and Wisdom and Mithras the Sun God in Zoroastrian lore.
The number 7 is associated with the colors violet, purple and plum. 7′s gemstone is amethyst.
Flowers associated with 7 are irises and deep purple roses.
Some common superstitions about the number 7 are:
- If your date of birth can be reduced to a single number that can be divided by seven then you will have a particularly lucky life.
- Shattering a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck.
- If you sing before 7 am then you will cry before 11 am.
- Wrapping her husband’s belt 7 times around a tree causes a woman to become fertile.
- The seventh child of a seventh child is said to have psychic powers.
- If you wash your hair on the 7th day of the month you will have trouble with the law.
- It is unlucky to get married April 7th or December 7th.
- If you dream about the number 7, you will soon meet a soul mate.
The Number 8
The ancient Greeks associated the number 8 with unhappiness and imperfection. The psychologist Carl Jung equated the number with the secret and dark movements of the subconscious that constantly folds into itself like a snake eating its tail.
According to the principles of Chinese Feng Shui the number 8 represents abundance and prosperity. It is considered lucky to have a house number that contains an 8.
Gods and goddesses associated with the number 8 include: Mercury, the Roman Messenger God; Gaia, the Greek Earth Mother; and Hera, the Greek Queen of Heaven.
The number 8 is represented by the colors pink and rose. 8′s gemstones are rose quartz and pearl.
Flowers associated with the number are pink roses and pink carnations.
Some common superstitions about the number 8 are:
- If you fall ill eight days after a new moon, you will die by the full moon.
- If you give 8 pennies away you will receive 108 times that amount.
- Repeating your own name 8 times while staring into your own eyes in a mirror is thought to bring prosperity.
- It is unlucky to give a person a bouquet with 8 flowers.
- A house with the address 88 will bring you double happiness.
- If you wash your hair on the 8th day of the month you will live to a ripe old age.
- It is unlucky to get married February 8th and June 8th.
- If you dream about the number 8, you will soon lose a great deal of money.
The Number 9
In occult circles, 9 is considered to be the number of completion and is closely connected with the Dead, especially one’s personal ancestors, and with the forces of the cemetery and the Underworld. The nine is also associated with Hecate, the Queen of the Witches.
In Chinese mythology, the number composes the lo-shi, a magic square that comprises the first nine single digits on the number line.
Gods and goddesses associated with the number nine include: Juno, the Roman Queen of Heaven; Luna, the Roman Goddess of the Moon and Odin, the All-Father & Ruler in Norse mythology.
The number 9 is symbolized by the colors white and pearl. 9 is associated with the silver, platinum, diamond and pearl. Flowers associated with the number are white carnations, white roses and lily of the valley
Common superstitions about the number 9 include:
- You will be blessed if you find nine peas in a pod.
- Tying nine knots in a strand of your lover’s hair will convince him to come to you.
- Tying nine knots around a photograph of an enemy will cause them to give up the battle against you.
- An address with the number nine in it brings you a long life.
- If a young man wants to marry he should count 99 stars in the sky for 9 days. On the tenth day he will meet his soul mate.
- Misfortune befalls the person who finds the Nine of Diamonds card on the street.
- The moon that falls nine days after the New Moon in May is considered to be an unlucky day.
- If you wash your hair on the ninth day of the month your marriage will be happy.
- It is unlucky to get married December 9th.
- If you dream about the number nine, your home will soon be blessed with a child.
The Number 10
For Christians, the number 10 symbolizes the Ten Commandments that were delivered through Moses from God at Mt. Sinai.
Deities traditionally associated with the number 10 include the Greek Gods Atlas, who bore the weight of the world on his shoulders and Uranus who was responsible for imagination and technology.
A common superstitious is that if you wash your hair on the 10th day of the month, you will receive a promotion at work. Another is that if you dream about the number 10 your mate is unfaithful.
The Number 11
The number 11 and in particular the number 11:11 (as seen on a clock) is considered, by many light workers and channellers to be a portal to other astral dimensions. The number 11 is also considered to be a ‘master number” in schools of numerology.
Deities associated with the number 11 are the Sea Kings such as the Roman God Neptune and the Greek God Poseidon.
A common Chinese superstition is that washing your hair on the 11th day of the month will improve your eyesight.
The Number 12
The number 12 is associated with the Twelve Apostles, the number of people on a jury as well as The Twelve Days of Christmas.
The number 12 is also identified with the Roman Two-faced God Janus.
A common superstition is that washing your hair on the 12th day of the month will bring you misfortune. Another is that if you dream of the number 12, a solution will soon be found to a nagging problem.
The Number 13
Usually considered an unlucky number, this double-digit represents Judas, who was the guest at the Last Supper who betrayed Jesus. As a result it is also thought to be unlucky to have a dinner party with 13 guests.
Many hotels are missing a thirteenth floor or have omitted the number from their room doors.
Gods associated with the number 13 are Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld and Pluto, the Roman God of Underworld.
The color associated with the number 13 is black.
Some common superstitions about the number 13 are:
- It is unlucky to have an address with the number 13.
- It is also unlucky to have 13 numbers in your name.
- Friday the 13th of any month is said to be an unlucky day.
- The moon that falls thirteen days after the New Moon in August is considered to be an unlucky day.
- Washing your hair on the 13th of the month ensures that you will give birth to a son.