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A SHORT TALK ON GEMATRIA, Prepared for the Memphis Thelemic Study Group

A SHORT TALK ON GEMATRIA, Prepared for the Memphis Thelemic Study Group
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  Jan. 30, 2017  A SHORT TALK ON GEMATRIA, Prepared for the Memphis Thelemic Study Group P.D. Newman The Kabbalistic method is generally divided into three different studies: temurah , notariqon , and gematria . Today I've been asked to deliver a short talk on the subject of gematria. Rather than discuss gematrias which are familiar to most students of Crowley, e.g. 93, 418, etc., in this talk I'll focus instead on two lesser-known examples: 358 and 463. The technique of gematria arose on account of the fact that the Hebrews did not  possess a numerical system. Because of this, they decided to borrow from the Greek system of isopsephia and attributed to the letters of the aleph-beth  certain numerical correlations. Therefore, every letter of every word in the Hebrew language is possessed of a numerical value. If the sum total of a given word matches that of another, those two words are then seen to be of the same 'current;' to share a sometimes hidden, underlying essence. One of the finest examples of this relationship can be seen in the number 358. Three hundred fifty-eight is the gematria of both  MShICh , the Hebrew word for 'messiah,' and  NChSh , 'Nachash,' the name of the Edenic serpent in the first chapters of Genesis. For many Christians the notion that the serpent of Eden was somehow of the same essence as the Messiah is met with complete repugnance. The identification of Jesus Christ as a type of this cunning beast is perhaps the ultimate form of blasphemy. However, certain of the Gnostic sects favored a very similar interpretation of Genesis. Consider, for example, the fact that  Elohim , translated as 'God' in the KJV, is the name attributed to the being or beings who created man on the sixth day. Although, later in chapter two we learn that YHVH  , translated as 'Lord God,' created man of the dust of the ground. How can this dual creation be rectified? For certain of the dualistic Gnostic sects, this discrepancy was viewed as evidence for two different deities, one good, the other bad. The first, Elohim, is seen as the true God who created the spirit of man from his own substance. The second, YHVH, on the other hand, is perceived as a 'Blind Idiot God,' Yldabaoth , an Archon. It was this second lesser deity who trapped man's spirit in the dust of the ground, i.e. matter, and tricked man into believing that YHVH was the highest God. Therefore, Nachash, the serpent, is seen as an emissary of Elohim, prefiguring Jesus' own redemption of mankind, sent to awaken man to knowledge, Gnosis. Furthermore, the figure of Jesus is no stranger to serpent symbolism. Vide, for example,  Matthew 10:16  , " ye therefore wise as serpents," and  John 3:14 , " Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." This latter verse also brings us to our  next example of gematria: 463. Four hundred sixty-three is the gematria of  MTH HShQD , the Hebrew phrase for 'a rod of almond.' This is in reference to  Numbers 17:8 which discusses Aaron's rod, the same of which was seen blossoming in the tabernacle by Moses, Aaron's  brother. Remarkably, 463 too is the sum total of the paths along the middle pillar on the Kabbalah tree of life: tau (400) + samekh (60) + gimel (3), suggesting a correlation between the pillar of mildness and this priestly staff. Moreover, 463 is also the gematria of the word sushumna when the same has been transliterated into Hebrew letters ( SVShVMNA ). Sushumna is of course the path along the spine which kundalini is said by the yogis to travel when the same has uncoiled and ascended through the various chakras . The implication is that Aaron's priestly rod which bloomed, the middle pillar, and the path along which kundalini ascends in yoga are somehow essentially the same. I will leave it up to the ingenuity of each member of the group to work out what exactly it is that this implies. Perhaps you will find a correlation in the fact that Moses was possessed of a rod which, after  becoming a coiled serpent, was raised back up into the form of a staff. Perhaps it is atop this kundalini-like staff which blooms the sahasrara chakra, the 1001  petaled lotus, not unlike Aaron's blossoming almond rod. Gematria can be a fascinating and educational discipline. It can also be time consuming and a subject of obsession. But, with patience and persistent practice, the numerical correlations of both the letters and words will eventually become second nature. For further reading I naturally direct you to Crowley’s Gematria  and Sepher Sephiroth .

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