Blavatsky on numbers and numerology

Theosophy and the numbers one through seven as symbols

1 - ONE - holism

The one circle is divine Unity, from which all proceeds, whither all returns.  Its circumference—a forcibly limited symbol, in view of the limitation of the human mind—indicates the abstract, ever incognisable PRESENCE, and its plane, the Universal Soul, although the two are one. (Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol 1, p. 1)

It is the ONE LIFE, eternal, invisible, yet Omnipresent, without beginning or end, yet periodical in its regular manifestations, between which periods reigns the dark mystery of non-Being; unconscious, yet absolute Consciousness; unrealisable, yet the one self-existing reality; truly, “a chaos to the sense, a Kosmos to the reason.  “Its one absolute attribute, which is ITSELF, eternal, ceaseless Motion, is called in esoteric parlance the “Great Breath,”* which is the perpetual motion of the universe, in the sense of limitless, ever-present SPACE.  That which is motionless cannot be Divine.  But then there is nothing in fact and reality absolutely motionless within the universal soul.   (Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol 1, p. 2)

More on holism in theosophy

2 - two - duality

Parabrahm (the One Reality, the Absolute) is the field of Absolute Consciousness, i.e., that Essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence, and of which conscious existence is a conditioned symbol. But once that we pass in thought from this (to us) Absolute Negation, duality supervenes in the contrast of Spirit (or consciousness) and Matter, Subject and Object.
Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are, however, to be regarded, not as independent realities, but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Parabrahm), which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective. (Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol 1, p. 15)

3 - three - triad

Everywhere antiquity slows an unbounded reverence for the Triad and Triangle--the first geometrical figure. The old Babylonians had their three stages of initiation into the priesthood (which was then esoteric knowledge); the Jews, the Kabbalists and mystics borrowed them from the Chaldees, and the Christian Church from the Jews. “There are Two”, says Rabbi Simon ben Jochai,” in conjunction with One; hence they are Three, and if they are Three, then they are One.” (Theosophical Glossary, p. 333)

4 - four - quaternary 

Esoteric philosophy explains that four is the symbol of the Universe in its potential state, or chaotic matter, and that it requires Spirit to permeate it actively  (Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2, p. 600)

5 - five

The five-pointed star or pentagon representing the five limbs of man. (note: What is the meaning and the reason of this figure?  Because, Manas is the fifth principle, and because the pentagon is the symbol of Man—not only of the five-limbed, but rather of the thinking, conscious MAN.)  (Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2, p. 576)

6 (six) and 7 (seven - the septenary)

The six-pointed Star refers to the six Forces or Powers of Nature, the six planes, principles, etc., etc., all synthesized by the seventh, or the central point in the Star.  All these, the upper and lower hierarchies included, emanate from the “Heavenly or Celestial Virgin,”‡ the great mother in all religions, the Androgyne, the Sephira-Adam-Kadmon. In its Unity, primordial light is the seventh, or highest, principle, Daivi-prakriti, the light of the unmanifested Logos. But in its differentiation it becomes Fohat, or the “Seven Sons.” The former is symbolised by the Central point in the double-Triangle; the latter by the hexagon itself, or the “six limbs” of the Microprosopus the Seventh being Malkuth, the “Bride” of the Christian Kabalists, or our Earth.

‡ Sephira is the Crown, KETHER, in the abstract principle only, as a mathematical x (the unknown quantity).  On the plane of differentiated nature she is the female counterpart of Adam Kadmon—the first Androgyne.  The Kabala teaches that the word “Fiat Lux” (Genesis ch. i.) referred to the formation and evolution of the Sephiroth, and not to light as opposed to darkness.  Rabbi Simeon says:  “Oh companions, companions, man as an emanation was both man and woman, Adam Kadmon verily, and this is the sense of the words ‘Let there be Light, and it was Light.’ And this is the two-fold man,” (Auszüge aus dem Zohar, pp. 13-15.) (Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol 1, p. 215, 216)

7 - seven principles in humanity 


VII. . . . . ATMA.

VI. . . . . BUDDHI. 

V.. . . . MANAS.       

IV. Kama-rupa, the principle of animal desire, which burns fiercely during life in matter, resulting in satiety; it is inseparable from animal existence.      

III. Linga-Sarira; the inert vehicle or form on which the body is moulded; the vehicle of Life. It is dissipated very shortly after the disintegration of the body.    

II. Prana, LIFE, the active power producing all vital phenomena.    

I. The gross matter of the body, the substance formed and moulded over the Linga-sarira (Chhaya) by the action of Prana.   

(Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2, p. 593)

More on the seven principles in theosophy