Excerpt from the book,
C. C. Zain
The Spiritual Meaning of Masonic Degrees, Rituals and Symbols
Origin of Arabic Numerals

The Arabic numerals which we commonly employ bear a rough correspondence to cell division after the union of sperm and germ. If this resemblance is more than accidental, it may be questioned how those who originated them, without the aid of a microscope, could know about cell division. The same query arises in reference to their knowledge of the attributes of the planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, in the absence of telescopes. They had ESP (Extra-Sensory Perception) well enough developed accurately to describe the influence of these planets, as we now find through research. This being the case, there is no inconsistency involved in believing they might have known, through ESP, of cell division and many other things.

The fertilized cell is itself unity. But a cell possesses polarity, possesses a positive and a negative portion, this constitutes a duality; even as a duality results from the first cell division.

Now in all things possessing life there is a trinity; substance, energy, intelligence. The cell itself may well be represented by a circle; for the circle is the most perfect form, containing within its circumference the greatest possible area within a boundary of a given length. The trinity may be expressed diagrammatically by a triangle inscribed within the half circle representing the dominant polarity. Thus if the sperm is represented, instead of the fertilized cell, the triangle will be found in the positive, or light half; while if the germ is represented, the triangle will be found in the shaded, or negative, half. Reproduction is thus seen to be the union of a positive trinity, the sperm, with a negative trinity, the germ. Where the two trines have their point of contact gives the 7th factor, 7 being perfection of form. But at this point of contact a new trinity, the offspring, is developed, which may be expressed diagrammatically as three trines, or the number 9, the highest digit, the perfect number. The new trinity of substance, energy, and intelligence may then separate itself from its parents to commence an independent cycle or existence. This cycle, or orbit, is expressed by a cypher, which enclosing the whole group as a unity, adds the thought of a new era to the whole unity, giving the number 10.

I shall not go further into these symbolic diagrams, nor shall I try to trace in detail, for they have been greatly conventionalized, the axial divisions and other processes of cell development that may have suggested to the unconscious minds of the Arabian Sages the numerals we now use. Instead I shall now consider the functions of the numbers themselves:


The number One expresses the absolute, and suggests infinite possibilities. It is that from which all proceed, which contains all, and to which all finally return. It is evidently a synthesis; for nothing can be imagined not composed of parts. It represents the universal principle, the creative intelligence of Deity, that force which is the motive power of the universe and in man becomes intellect and will. In science it is the law of conservation of energy. In the macrocosm it indicates unlimited potentiality, in man it indicates relative potentiality.


The number Two expresses polarity. It suggests night and day, inhalation and exhalation, heat and cold. The most evident of all things is duality, even truth being dual, esoteric and exoteric, the real and the appearance. Two represents the universal law of sex; attraction and repulsion, love and hate, centripetal force and centrifugal force. In science it is the law that every action is accompanied by an equal and opposite reaction. In the macrocosm it is the positive and the negative; and in man it is represented by reason and intuition, and by his differentiation into the polar opposites, man and woman.


The number Three expresses the union of polar opposites. It is the reaction between forces generating vibration and change. It represents the universal agent, action, or word, and is typical of fecundity. It is the union of forces that is the basis of all life and motion. There is no such thing as freedom from change; for all existence is in motion. In science three represents the laws of dynamics, those that pertain to the generation and control of energy. In the macrocosm it is action, and in humanity it is generation.


The number Four expresses the result of action, the fruit of two interacting forces. It thus represents the practical, the concrete, that which has form and substance; hence is typical of the universal truth of reality. In science it represents the laws of statics, those that pertain to bodies at rest or in equilibrium. In the macrocosm it is the result of action; and in man it is the offspring of experience.


The number Five unites the first four digits, or principles, into a harmonious unity, and thus explains the apparent contradictions in nature. The One Principle, One Law, One Agent, and One Truth do not contradict each other, but imply each other's existence. These four factors are pictured in the sky by the four animals that symbolize the four quadrants of the zodiac. All were synthesized as a fifth in the ancient four fold sphinx; which explains all nature to converge in man. Man has passed through the four elemental realms of life, has triumphed over all sub-mundane degrees of existence, and by virtue of his spiritual supremacy gained their allegiance as obedient servitors. Man, symbolized by five, maintains his health when his magnetic forces are radiated equally by each of the five main points of projection: the hands, feet, and head. In man, and as composed of one and four, it represents the realization that is the outcome of intelligently directed willpower. In the macrocosm, and as composed of two and three, it signifies polarity in action.


The number Six signifies two actions: two times three. But as such it does not represent forces in equilibrium, but forces in a state of vacillation, in a state of action and reaction. It is thus typical of virtue that may be misapplied. As such it signifies weakness and indecision, hesitancy and timidity. As composed of two and four it signifies the realization of polarity. As composed of one and five it represents man dominated by the will of another. In the macrocosm six is force uncontrolled, and in man it is temptation.


The number Seven as composed of three and four expresses action and realization, and is thus the number of completion of form. Things on the physical plane which have perfection of form are constituted of three active elements and four passive, or formative elements. Seven as composed of two and five signifies man having within his power the law of polarity. As composed of one and six, it signifies indecision overcome, and hitherto uncontrolled forces dominated by intelligent will. As composed of twice three plus one it denotes body, soul, and spirit, united to body, soul, and spirit, guided by intelligence and controlled by will. In the macrocosm it indicates the seven principles of nature, and in man those whom, "God hath joined together," as well as the dominion of intelligence over action, hence victory over temptation.


The number Eight as composed of two fours expresses two opposite realizations, hence equilibrium, crystallization, stagnation, and possibly death. It is thus the antithesis of progress. It is ultra-conservatism. As composed of three and five it represents man succumbing to action. As composed of two and six it signifies temptation polarized. As consisting of seven and one it denotes the victory over intelligence and will. In the macrocosm eight is the number of inertia, in man it is the number of justice, and also the number of dissolution.


The number Nine is the Deific number. It is the highest digit, and has many unusual properties. Thus it may be multiplied by any number and the digits repeatedly added together will give 9 as their sum. All numbers above 9, in their last analysis, consist of a root number to which multiples of nine have been added, this root number being always the sum of the digits repeatedly added together. Because of its extraordinary properties, nine was held sacred by the ancients, and is the key by

which all their cryptic cycles may be unlocked. As composed of five and four it signifies man realizing all that earth can teach. As consisting of three and six it indicates temptation overcome by action. As composed of two and seven it indicates intuition and reason added to perfectly united body, soul, and spirit with body, soul, and spirit. As being one and eight it signifies that inertia has been overcome by intelligently directed will. In the macrocosm it signifies, by being three times three, action on all three planes, and in man it becomes the number of wisdom.


The number Ten expresses the same as number one, except that a cypher, symbolizing a complete cycle, has been added. It therefore shows that one round of experience has been completed, and that another cycle of experience is being commenced. Vibrations on the inner plane repeat their chief characteristics in decaves, instead of in octaves. One shows infinite possibilities only, nine shows that all the possibilities of one plane have been experienced, and ten indicates the transition to a new plane where other possibilities await. Ten, then, in the macrocosm indicates the commencement of a new cycle, and in man, as composed of two fives, it indicates man and woman together, humanity at large.

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