Numbers, Their Occult Power and Mystic Virtues, by W. Wynn Westcott, , at sacred-texts.com
The first edition of this little book has been long out of print, and for several years I have been asked to enlarge it, but until the present time sufficient leisure has not been found to collect the additional matter which seemed desirable.
This essay on Numbers now appears as Volume IX. of my Series entitled "Collectanea Hermetica," of which it seems to form a suitable part, and I am hopeful that it may be as well received by students of mystic philosophy as the previous volumes which treated of Alchemy, in the Hermetic Arcanum, Hermetic Art, Euphrates and Aesch Metzareph; the Dream of Scipio and the Golden verses of the Pythagoreans, the Pymander of Hermes and Egyptian Magic.
I have added in this edition many notes on the notions of the Rabbis of Israel, both from those who contributed to the Mishnah and Gemara of the Talmuds of Jerusalem and of Babylon, and from the Rabbis who made special study of the Kabalah. Only a few Talmudic treatises have as yet appeared in the English language, and hardly any Kabalistic tracts, except three from the Zohar or Book of Splendour, viz., the Siphra Dtzenioutha, the Idra Rabba and the Idra Suta. A few others are to be read in German and French translations. Many Talmudic and Kabalistic quotations may, however, be found in J. P. Stehelin's Rabbinical Literature of 1748; in John Allen's "Modern
[paragraph continues] Judaism," 1816, and in works on the Kabalah by Adolph Franck and Christian Ginsburg, while Hershon has published Hebraic lore in his "Talmudic Miscellany," and "Genesis according to the Talmud."
The "Midrash ha Zohar" of D. H. Joel, Leipzig, 1849, narrates the relation between the Kabalah and Platonism, Neo-Platonism, Greek philosophy and the Zoroastrian doctrines of the Parsees.
Perhaps the oldest extant Kabalistic Book is the "Sepher Yetzirah," or "Book of Formation," an English translation of which has appeared in three editions from the Author's own pen. The fundamentals of the numerical Kabalistic ideas on creation are laid down in that treatise; it has also been printed both in French and German, and there is an American edition.
Upon the mathematical aspect of Numbers, readers may consult for further detail the works of Gauss, "Disquisitiones Arithmeticæ," 1801; Legendre, "Théorie des Nombres," 1830; W. G. O. Smith, "Reports on the Theory of Numbers," in the "Transactions of the British Association," 1859; James Ozanam, "Mathematical Recreations," 1710, translated by Hutton in 1814; Snart, "The Power of Numbers"; and Barlow's "Investigations of the Theory of Numbers."
For further information on Hindoo philosophy, see "The Theosophical Glossary" of H. P. Blavatsky, the works of Tukaram Tatya, and modern translations of the Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads, also Rama Prasad's "Nature's Finer Forces."
"Lamaism in Tibet," 1895, by Dr Laurence Austine Waddell, is a very learned work; it contains a vast store of information on the numerical occult lore of the Lamas and Buddhists.
Upon Egyptian Numbers consult the works of E. A. Wallis Budge; Flinders Petrie; Sir John Gardner Wilkinson; "Life in Ancient Egypt," by Adolf Erman; and "Egyptian Belief," by James Bonwick. Mystics will find much food for thought in the Yi-King, a very curious product of ancient Chinese lore. The Gnostic philosophy
has a deep numerical basis, and the works of C. W. King and G. R. S. Mead may be suitably studied.
Many volumes of "Bijou Notes and Queries" have been published by S. C. Gould of Manchester, U.S.A., and these are full of numerical ideas.
I am prepared to find that critics will declare this volume to be an undigested collection of heterogeneous information, still I prefer to leave the data in their present form; for there is a scheme of instruction running through it, which will be recognised by students of certain schools, and others will be able to find a basis for a general knowledge of numbers viewed from the standpoint of occult science.
W. W. W.
A few corrections have been made, and interesting notes have been added; many of these have been supplied by my pupils and fellow-students of the Rosicrucian Society.
W. W. W.