Tuesday, December 16, 2014

All Things Seven

Cardinal: SEVEN
Greek: Zeta
Hindu-Arabic: 7
Ordinate: Seventh
Roman: VII
Pythagorean number: the heptad
1+6, 2+5; 3+4

The Roman word for seven was septem, or septimus from which we get septuplets, septuagenarian, and September. The Greeks had hepta for heptagon and heptad.

September, before July and August were added to the calendar, was the seventh month, now it is the ninth and July (after Julius Caesar) is the seventh month. Saturday is the seventh day if your weekly calendar starts with Sunday, but if it starts with Monday, Saturday is the sixth day. Either way, we have seven days to the week.

Nitrogen N, which is necessary for all life on Earth, is seventh on the periodic table, which long after the number was considered holy, makes it even more so. Seven is a prime number and the only number of the nine basic digits that cannot divide 360° evenly. We have seven continents: Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, North America, South America, and Antarctica.

There are seven colors in Newton's spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

The Seven seas in the ancient world were the Adriatic Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Irish Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea. In the modern world, they are the North Pacific Ocean, the South Pacific Ocean, the North Atlantic Ocean, the South Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Antarctic Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean 

Our faces have seven features, and the musical scale has seven notes. The seven wonders of the ancient world were the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The Seven Wonders of Medieval world were Stonehenge, the Coliseum, the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, the Great Wall of China, the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, the Hagia Sophia, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The ancients knew of seven planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Sun and the Moon.

In cards, we have seven-card stud, the seven spot, and opposite sides of a die always add up to seven. There is a seven ball pool game

In the Judeo-Christian religion, seven is recognized as a very powerful spiritual number. Besides the seven days of creations, Christ made seven last statements from the cross. The Seventh Commandment says Thou shalt not commit adultery. There are seven days of Passover. The Virgin Mary has seven Sorrows and Seven Joys including the Annunciation, the Visitation, the nativity of Jesus, the Epiphany, the Finding Jesus in the Temple, the Resurrection, and the Assumption. The Lord's Prayer has seven petitions. In Revelations, there are seven churches which are in Asia, seven spirits of God; the seven spirits of God sent forth into the world, seven golden candlesticks, seven stars in his right hand, seven seals, seven thunders, seven trumpets, seven angels. We also have the Seven Deadly Sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride. The Heptateuch includes the first seven books of Judeo-Christian scriptures. The Jewish Minora holds seven candles. Seven generations exist between David & the coming of Christ. 

Judaism had Seven Archangels including Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel (or Anael), Raguel, Remiel, and Saraqael. (Or perhaps Chamuel, Jophiel, and Zadkiel or perhaps Simiel, Oriphiel, and Zacharie, or perhaps Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel, depending on your source). Pope Saint Gregory I lists the angels Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel (or Anael), Simiel, Oriphiel, and Raguel. When the angels are tied to days of week we have Michael (Sunday), Gabriel (Monday), Raphael (Tuesday), Uriel (Wednesday), Sealtiel (Thursday), Jhudiel (Friday)and Barachiel (Saturday).

Jewish mysticism divides heaven into seven levels, from lowest to highest. The first heaven is Shamayim, governed by Archangel Gabriel, which is the closest of heavenly realms to the Earth and the abode of Adam and Eve. The second heaven is Raquia, controlled by Zachariel and Raphael together. Raquia is the realm where the fallen angels are imprisoned and the planets fastened. Anahel rules Shehaqim, the third heaven, which is the home of the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life; it is where manna, the holy food of angels, is produced. Machonon is fourth heaven and the Archangel Michael rules there. It contains the heavenly Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Altar. Fifth heaven is Machon, under the administration of Samael, who is either an evil angel or the dark servant of God. Sixth heaven is Zebul, which Zachiel administers. Seventh heaven is Araboth, led by Cassiel. Araboth is the holiest heaven and houses the Throne of Glory attended by the Seven Archangels. Araboth is the realm where God dwells and the home of the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Hayyoth. Beneath his throne is the abode of all unborn human souls.

In Buddhism, we have seven chakras including the Muladhara (Mu-la-dha-ra) lower body, the Swadhisthana (Sva-dhis.t.ha-na) reproductive parts, the Manipura (Man.ipu-ra ) navel, the Anahata (Ana-hata) heart, the Vishuddha (Vis'uddha) throat, the Ajna (A-jña-) eyebrow or forehead, and the Sahasrara (Sahasra-ra) top of head. Again in Buddhism, a pure flowering plant has seven petals (lotus), thus Buddha is often portrayed sitting in a lotus blossom.

Zoroastrianism has seven Amschastrongds or personifications of righteousness.

The Egyptians had seven spirits.

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Seven is an important number in the Bible:

In Genesis, a sacred day is created. (Genesis 2:2) By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. Genesis 2:1 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Seven is also the number of retribution as shown in Genesis 4:14: But the LORD said to him, "Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over." Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. Genesis 7:3 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made."

Seven also shows up frequently as a length of time, seven days, seven months, seven years, multiples of seven, for waiting, for feasts, or as a specific date, the seventh day, seventh month, and seventh year. They frequent the Bible as in Genesis 8:11: He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him. 2 Chronicles 35:17 The Israelites who were present celebrated the Passover at that time and observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Esther 1:5 When these days were over, the king gave a banquet, lasting seven days, in the enclosed garden of the king's palace, for all the people from the least to the greatest, who were in the citadel of Susa. Job 2:13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

Pharaoh's Dream: Genesis 41:18 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."
"I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "In my dream, I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows came up–scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up. In my dreams I also saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted–withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me." Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.

Seven is a common number in offerings and sacrifice: Numbers 29:36: Present an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, a burnt offering of one bull, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect. Job 42:8: So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has."

Seven is a number of cleansing: Numbers 31:19: All of you who have killed anyone or touched anyone who was killed, must stay outside the camp seven days. On the third and seventh days, you must purify yourselves and your captives. On the seventh day, wash your clothes and you will be clean. Then you may come into the camp." Deuteronomy 15:1: At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 15:9: Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: "The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near," so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.

In the siege of Jericho, seven is important. Joshua 6:13: The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets went forward, marching before the ark of the LORD and blowing the trumpets. The armed men went ahead of them, and the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets kept sounding. On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the people, "Shout! For the LORD has given you the city!

Seven figures in Samson and Delilah, too. Judges 16:18: When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, "Come back once more; he has told me everything." So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. (19) Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.

Seven mentioned frequently as a number of sons or daughters. (examples: 1 Chronicles 3:24 The sons of Elioenai: Hodaviah, Eliashib, Pelaiah, Akkub, Johanan, Delaiah, and Anani-seven in all. 5:13 Their relatives, by families, were: Michael, Meshullam, Sheba, Jorai, Jacan, Zia and Eber-seven in all. Job 1:2 He had seven sons and three daughters) Also in Matthew 22:25: Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother…The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh…Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?"

Seven shows up as a prophecy. (example: Zechariah 4:2 He asked me, "What do you see?" I answered, "I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights.

Jesus feeds the multitude with seven: Matthew 15:34 "How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked. "Seven," they replied, "and a few small fish."…Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people…They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were leftover.

Seven is the number of morality: Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Luke 17:4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."

Seven in Revelations
  • Revelation 1:4 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
  • Revelation 4:5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.
  • Revelation 5:1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.
  • Revelation 5:6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
  • Revelation 8:2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
  • Revelation 10:3 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down."
  • Revelation 11:13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
  • Revelation 12:3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.
  • Revelation 13:2 And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
  • Revelation 15:6 Out of the temple came the seven angels with the seven plagues. They were dressed in clean, shining linen and wore golden sashes around their chests. 15:7 Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever.
  • Revelation 17:9 "This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.17:10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while.17:11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.
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Seven shows up a lot in literary, folklore, art, and music. In Greek mythology, there were the seven daughters, the Pleiades, of Atlas and Pleione, who was the daughter of Ceanus. Their names were Electra, Maia, Taygete, Alcyone, Celaeno, Sterope, and Merope. According to some versions of the myth, they committed suicide from grief at the fate of their father, Atlas, or at the death of their sisters, the Hyades. Other versions made them the attendants of Artemis, goddess of wildlife and of hunting, who were pursued by the giant hunter Orion, but were rescued by the gods and changed into doves. After their death, or metamorphosis, they transformed into stars, but Orion still pursues them across the sky.

Ancients had the Seven Gates of Thebes, or Seven Against Thebes, a classical myth of Adrastus, Amphiaraus, Capaneus, Hippomedon, Parthenopaeus, Polynices, and Tydeus. Aurelius Clemens Prudentius lists the seven virtues in a poem circa 410 CE as chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, humility. Probably while these stories and poems were told, or as an alternative entertainment, a seven-string lyre was played. Everyone knows the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Remember The House of Seven Gables? How about the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers?

Seven in maxims et al:
  • The seventh son of the seventh son has occult power
  • Seven principles of man: Atman or divine essence, Buddhi or compassionate spiritual nature, Manas or the mind principle, Kama or the desire principle, Prana or vitality, Linga-sarira or the astral double and Sthula-sarira or the physical body
  • The seven gifts of understanding include wisdom, council, power, fortitude, knowledge, righteousness, and fear of God.
  • The seven ancient metals are Gold, Copper, Silver, Lead, Tin, Iron, smelted, and Mercury
  • The Seven Hills of Rome
Foretelling Aspects of Seven:

In Prophesy, seven keeps its sacred and spiritual aspects. Numerology assigns the letters g, p, and y to seven. In Astrology, the House of Libra is the seventh house as guided by the planet Neptune. Neptune is associated with psychic activity, prediction, dreams, fantasies, illusion, extreme sensitivity, drugged states, alcoholism, refinement, and the immaterial world. It is also the number of law, since seven governs the rhythms of life.

As shown in Biblical references, seven is the number of religion because it is the number of the Seven Spirits before the Throne and the makers of Cosmic Law. It shows how man is controlled by seven celestial spirits to whom he should make offerings, and because on the seventh day God rested, therefore all things rest under the influence of the number seven because they need time to reflect and contemplate. All these references make seven a Holy number.

In antiquity, they believed seven planets had an influence upon events on earth and were linked to the seven days of the week. Seven represents the triumph of spirit, or the union of three, the triangle representing the mind and spirit, over four as shown in the square, or body, or earth. It is a number of perfection, overcoming the ritualistic religion of six; the Great Bear, pointing to the one fixed star, is a celestial manifestation of the fundamental truth of the number seven.

Seven is the magic number, which rules occult mysteries, magical ceremonies, and clairvoyance. It is a scared and mystic number in almost all societies including Hindu, Arab, Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, and Chinese. Seven stands for the mysterious 'God force' in Nature. It is an indivisible number and therefore compared to God.

Because all the previous numbers can be combined to make seven, seven produces the basic numbers that all material calculations are built upon, and man depends upon, and through which thought is expressed. It represents the last step before completion and is closely associated with man's life length of three score years and ten. The eighth step completes the cycle with death and the unknown. Seven is the number of life because ancients believed human babies born prematurely during the seventh month usually survived. Seven’s keywords are fortune, custody, control, occasion, government, judgment, dreams, voices, and sounds. Seven is associated with the Egyptian god Osiris, whose body was kept for seven days before burial reflecting his seven days in the womb of the sky goddess Nut.

In Tarot divination, the Chariot is the seventh card. This card foretells victory, triumph, success, and control over the forces of nature; thus it shows overcoming ill health as well as money difficulties or enemies of any sort, including one's own animal passions. It is a card for showing who can achieve greatness but telling the holder they must remain disciplined to do so. Upside down, the card means the victor has lost his self-control or used unethical means to achieve his desires, victory slipping through his hands, perhaps ill health, restlessness and discontent, villainy or decadence.

Seven’s negative connotations are the opposites of its positives, and include a lack of faith, being unworldly, or incomplete, or thoughtless.

Seven also has many symbols including the seven-pointed star, the seven-branched tree of life, the seven-branched candelabrum, the Chakras, the Ziggurat to Heaven with seven steps, and the triangle resting atop the square.

Common usage includes being at sixes and sevens, inflicted with the seven-year itch, and enjoying the seventh-inning stretch.

Whew! And there you have it, all things seven. For more on seven check Wikipedia.
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Sources used for information:
The Discoverers by Daniel J. Boorstin
A Complete Guide to the Tarot by Eden Gray
The Numerology Workbook by Julia Line
The Dartmouth Number Symbolism in the Middle Ages site offers much info on numbers in Christianity.

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