Book of Ten Pages

From Anthroposophy

In the Lemurian and Atlantean epochs, speech and language did not exist as today. In ancient occult schools teaching was done using allegorical signs, symbols, alphabet .. that were regular formulas one has to learn and understand.

The Book of Ten Pages is such a symbol, referenced by Louis Claude Marquis de Saint-Martin and Rudolf Steiner as "one of the gifts humanity had received as part of existence" and it is said that "although this book had only ten pages, it held all insights and all knowledge of what has been, what is and what will be" .. and that in ancient times "The great teachers of humanity would read that book"

All that is described in spiritual science can be linked by reduction to the numbers 0 to 10, which we find everywhere in nature as symbols with the highest multiplicity as characteristics of the Cosmic fractal.


  • numbers can be considered as
    • mathematical .. abstract and for mental manipulation and calculus by the human mind, and describing the physical world as language of science
    • archetypal .. qualitative keys, from incomplete to complete at nine and returning to unity with ten (as in: philosophy)
    • the 'numbered' .. the embodiment of a number in its various forms, occurences, phenomena (as in: spiritual science)
  • Pythagorean study of numbers:
    • "the great Pythagoras told his pupils that knowledge concerning the nature of numbers would lead to the essence of things" and "the esoteric Pythagorean School stressed the necessity of immersing oneself in the nature of numbers in order to gain an insight into the world" (1907-09-15-GA101)
  • A contemporary study of the numbers in creation is John G. Bennett (1897-1974) who studied with Gurdjieff and Ouspensky and later visited Eastern countries meeting with advanced sufis and hindu sages, and developed a system called 'systematics' (unity in diversity). See more in Discussion Note [3] below.
  • The twelve systems are not scientific models but insights into degrees of organisation. In his first major essay in this field, The Dramatic Universe (Vol. I) J.G.Bennett deals with the universe as a totality of twelve levels of existence, each more ‘potent’ than the level that precedes it.
  • Carl Jung studied the archetypal nature of numbers, see some quotes source A and source B and source C
  • see also
    • Mystical Lamb as a symbol with the relations between 1:3:7:12
    • Book of Dzyan, also an ancient book of spiritual science of the earlier epochs
    • the second of seven mysteries of life Schema FMC00.507 on Seven secrets

Inspirational quotes


God is in all thing as unity is in all number


Schema FMC00.532 is a draft pencil scribble or sketch transferred to a digital format for readability, but it should be read as a thought sketch and not as something exact. The Schema expresses how things, patterns of order, structures we find in the physical world 'below' are the result of the higher worlds of consciousness and the Golden Chain.

On the left, the different worlds are shown so as to illustrate our physical world is encapsulated, embedded, as the emanation of the spiritual influences of those higher worlds. The central axis symbolizes this path of the 'golden chain'.

Above, the higher spirit world with spiritual seeds (from the monad, 'atma') is an environment beyond time and space, before form. This is where Man's higher triad and spiritual core has to be positioned. From there on downwards, the Golden Chain pushes down the breath of creation into a sequential realm of time and form in space. It is in the lower spirit world one finds the archetypes with form, that will then be clothed with astral and physical matter. Descending down the astral and etheric the 'illusion' of time gets generated in the physical world, as everything gets clothed in the world of mineral 'substance' through the so-called tetrapolar magnet of the four elements.

It is due to this descent that in the physical world one finds symbols, the multiplicity in nature of number (re Book of Ten Pages), and recurrent rhythms (see Cosmic breathing). On the left of the Schema are shown the formative forces of the Elementary Kingdoms that, combined with the Group souls, generate the four kingdoms of nature. This is what gives rise to forms, symmetry, platonic solids, spirals .. and special patterns and ratio's such as Pi, the golden ratio, fibonacci series, etc.

Now it is because of all this also that certain texts can be read and contemplated in a multidimensional way, they are of a nature that could be called fractal or holographic, as they are like symbolic entry gates to 'folded' higher realities. Rudolf Steiner explains this for the Book of Revelation and the Lord's Prayer, but the same is valid for many ancient spiritual texts (eg Sepher Yetzirah, Vedas). Such texts are basically constructed from pointers connected to ideas in the spirit world and astral world, the sequence of words are just labels or sigils that connect to this higher spiritual reality which is not just sequential or uni-dimensional (and human intellectual rational thought). Hence these texts and words gain higher value with higher stages of clairvoyance such as imagination.

Finally on the right are shown the three dimensions of evolution that 'above' relate to qualities of the three Logoi or Trinity, and find their equivalences - in the manvantara outgoing cosmic breath in the solar system - in Conditions of Consciousness, Life and Form. Mapping form to the lower spirit world, and life to the higher spirit world, then consciousness takes a step change with every planetary stage of evolution at the levels above the higher spirit world (for details, see pralaya, the right of Schema FMC00.389, and coverage of the 1904-11-GA089 lectures on Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension). Contemplate the schemas on three dimensions of evolution with this Schema below, to imagine how this lies at the basis of structural threefoldedness in the physical world.

The schema also explains why the Book of Ten Pages, symbols, etc .. and the study of these 'pointers below' have been an essential part of ancient Mysteries through the millenia, even across various stages of human consciousness in its evolution.


Schema FMC00.537 shows the seven pointed star or septagram, a famous symbolic representation of a worldview and cosmogony in the esoteric language used in hermetics and alchemy. With cosmogony is referred to the coming-into-existence of all kingdoms of nature, see also Golden Chain and Cosmic fractal. The illustration appears from around 1600 onwards and was reproduced in different versions by various authors.

The seven pointed star is also referred to by the acrostic or word composition in the ring: VITRIOL for 'Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem' which, translated freely, means 'visit the interior of the Earth and by rectifying you will find the hidden stone'. See also Schema FMC00.075 on References to the concept of the Golden Chain.

The illustration contains the four elements, the seven planetary influences modulating what is called on this site the two etheric streams sun and moon (see also Emerald tablet), condensing (see triangle, re Alchemy) to mineral earth below, all from the single energy in the middle. The drawing thus illustrates in synthetic form the relation between one, two, three, four, seven.


Schema FMC00.538 is an example of a synthetic table that illustrates the tradition, throughout the history of spiritual science, of using graphical and tabular presentations to condense higher wisdom into pictures that did not contain the whole story, but point to relationships and dependencies, thereby providing food for contemplation and study.

Irrespective of the detailed contents, it illustrates the author's intention to show the sevenfoldness in creation and across the kingdoms of nature. On the left the seven archangels, in the middle the seven planetary influences, on the right the mineral (with correspondence to the seven metals and chrystals), animal and plant kingdoms. Furthermore it shows the seven names of god in hebrew (left), the archangel sigils or seals, and the planetary magical squares (middle).


Lecture coverage and references

Overview coverage

NB105 in GA089: seven trees (p 259)

Reference extracts

1Rudolf Steiner's source for this clearly was the 18th century French philosopher Louis Claude Marquis de Saint-Martin (1743 — 1803). He publishes his first work Des erreurs et de la vdrite ou les hommes rappelds au principle universel de la science, par un ph... inc... [philosophe inconnu] in 1775, fictitious place of publication Tdimbourg' (really Lyon). This earned him the epithet 'Saint Martin, the unknown philosopher'. Rudolf Steiner would often refer to Saint-Martin as representative of a spirituality that had been lost and needed to be regained through the modern science of the spirit. He suggested that the Der Kommende Tag publishing house brought a new edition of the German translation by Matthias Claudius in 1925. The preface he had intended to write was not written because of his death. In the chapter on errors and truth, it says that in his original state, before the Fall, the human being had to fight all the time to overcome disorder and restore unity of all. This was potentially dangerous and so he was clothed in impenetrable armour and armed with a lance which would always strike in two places at once. The country where this human being was to fight his fight 'was covered with a wood of seven trees, each of which had sixteen roots and 490 branches.'

At the end of the book the `book of man' is described, saying that although it only had ten pages it nevertheless contained 'all insights and knowledge of what has been, of what is and of what will be.'

112 Verse I, in H. P. Blavatsky' s The Secret Doctrine.

113 See G. R. S. Mead, note 81.

115 See the lecture given in Berlin on 26 April 1906 [in German] in GA 54.

116 See also the lectures given in Berlin on 9, 16 and 23 December 1904, in The Temple Legend (note 22).

Louis Claude Marquis de Saint-Martin (1743-1803)

These unutterable benefits were connected with the possession and understanding of a most precious book, one of the gifts humanity had received as part of existence. Although this book had only ten pages, it held all insights and all knowledge of what has been, what is and what will be, and human beings were able at that time to read in all ten pages of the book at once, taking it all in with just one look.

In his case, the book was still there for him, but he had lost the ability to read it easily, and could no longer get to know all its pages at once, but only one after the other. Yet he will never be wholly restored to his rights until he has studied them all; for although each of these ten pages contains specific knowledge belonging to that page only, they are nevertheless interrelated in such a way that it is impossible to have one of them perfectly in mind unless one has learned to know them all; and although I said that human beings could no longer read them except one after the other, each of their steps would lack certainty unless they had gone through them all in one, above all the fourth, which is the point of unification for them all.

This is a truth to which people have paid little heed, and yet it would be infinitely necessary for them to take them to heart and understand them; for they are all born with the book in their hand; and since the study and understanding of this book is the mission they must fulfil, we can judge how important it is for them not to take a wrong step with this.

However, they have been utterly remiss in this point; you find hardly any who may have noticed the essential connection between the ten pages of the book, so that they are inseparable in all ways. Some have stopped half-way, others on the third page, others on the first; hence atheists, materialists and deists have come forth; some had an inkling of the connection, but they did not understand the important distinction which had to be made between each of these pages, taking them to be all the same and of one kind, being pages of the one book.

What has been the consequence of this? It is this. Those who limited themselves to the one part of the book beyond which they did not have the courage to go, nevertheless maintained that they spoke according to the book, thinking to themselves that they understood it; and led astray by this, they considered themselves infallible in their doctrine, doing everything possible to make the world believe this. But these isolated truths, cut off from all nourishment, soon wilted in the hands of those who had thus isolated them, and nothing remained for these ignorant people but a vain spectre of knowledge, something they could not pretend was something solid or the truth unless they resorted to deceit.

This is indeed the source of all the errors we will have to examine in this treatise, and all the errors we have already touched on concerning the two opposite principles, the natural world, the laws of bodily entities, the different abilities of human beings, and the principles and origin of their religion and worship.

It will also be apparent to which part of the book the errors mainly relate; however, before we come to this, let us first consider the idea we must have to this incomparable book in its fullness, and to this end refer fully to the different kinds of knowledge and the different qualities of which each of its pages holds the knowledge.


The first had to do with the general principle, or the centre, from which all central points flow without cease.


The second with the occasional cause of the universe; of the dual bodily law on which it is based; with the law which is understood in two ways and functions in time; with the dual nature of the human being; and altogether with everything made up and evolved from two actions.


The third with the foundation of the Body; with all the results and productions of all kinds; and here we have the number of the immaterial spirits that do not think.


The fourth with everything which is active; with the principle of all languages, both in time and outside time; with religion and worship; and here we have the number of the immaterial spirits that do think.


The fifth with idolatry and decay.


The sixth with the laws of generation and development in the temporal world, and with the natural division of the circle by the radius.


The seventh with the cause of the winds and with ebb and flood; with the geographical measure of man; with his true insight, and with the source spring of his intelligent or sensual productions.


The eighth with the temporal number of the element which is the only support, the only strength and the only hope of man, that is with the real, physical entity that has two names and four numbers, in so far as it is both active and intelligent, and extends its action over the four worlds. It was also concerned with justice, and the whole of legislative power; which encompasses the rights of princes and the authority of generals and judges.


The ninth with the evolution of the physical human being in the woman's womb, and with the resolution of the general and specific triangle.


The tenth finally was the way and the complement of the nine that went before. It was without doubt the most essential and really the page without which none of those that went before would be known; for if you arrange all ten in circumference, in their numerical order, you find the most relationship between it and the first, from which all flows; and if you want to judge its importance, you must know that the originator of things is invincible exactly because of this page, for it is a barricade of wagons around him which no entity can cross.

Since this work therefore contains all knowledge which the human being may seek and the laws set for him, it is evident that he will never be able to gain any insight, nor ever fulfil his true mission unless he draws on this source; we also know now the hand which must guide him there, and that, if he is not able to walks the steps to this fruitful source by himself, he may nevertheless be certain to get there if he forgets his will and lets the will of the active and intelligent cause take effect, the cause which alone must act for him.'


Title: Symbols reflecting original wisdom

... 'Occult teaching', as it is called, has always put what it had to say in specific images and symbols, for some truths are difficult to put into words in our ordinary language. It is wrong to think that it has always been possible to express truths clearly, for the truth is much older than our language. Speech only evolved in the main age preceding our time, in Atlantis. The Atlanteans lived on a continent which no longer exists and under completely different circumstances than those we know today. Climatic conditions, air and water were very different then. The first beginnings of speech may be found in the period which preceded the Atlantean age, which was the Lemurian age. It was not speech then, but just a way of letting individual sounds emerge.

Truth, wisdom, existed before there was human speech. Being young, human speech cannot put the original and eternal truths, which created the world and are still doing creative work on the world, in words. The teaching of that wisdom was always secret. It was only told to pupils when they had learned the language of symbolic signs in which those secrets were presented.'°5 It is difficult to translate these signs into our language. For some things we still have to use symbolic signs and images, for they are better expressed in images than in words.

It is very difficult to understand the transition from a human form which did not yet have two genders to the human form of today. The human body has changed a great deal in the long process of evolution. In Lemurian times the body was a kind of fiery mist, like a fiery cloud. Nor was there any solid earth then. The human body did have the same kind of matter as it has today, but it was still gaseous. It went quickly through a number of metamorphoses. His will determined the expression of his form. When he wanted something, he could not reach for it with his hand, since he did not have one; he shaped a hand for himself that would allow him to reach. This sounds unbelievable today.

[parenthesis on akashic records]

What is our present history? We know only a few millennia on Earth. Nothing has been recorded in writing of the earliest times in Earth evolution because nothing had hardened to stone as yet, and so no impressions could be made in stone. The material which now makes up the things in the outside world and our own human body has changed utterly from those most ancient times. We cannot investigate those conditions physically. Only occult investigation makes it possible to learn something about them, and for this we have the akashic record. This contains everything which happens in the world of the spirit, and since the physical is an outflowing of the spiritual, it contains everything which ever happened and is happening.

Human beings gather impressions throughout the day and digest them inwardly. The astral body contains all the echoes from the day, everything one has inwardly felt, willed and thought. This astral body lives in the astral space, and anything which happens in it is impressed in the astral world as a reflection, like waves, and stays alive. In this state, which is freed from the physical life of the day, the human being inscribes in the higher worlds what he has gone through, and this remains. In his sleep, the human being is thus working for eternity. When he is sleeping, his soul and spiritual bodies are outside the physical and ether bodies, but he is not aware of this. Only a clairvoyant can see how what has been inscribed in the akashic record has gone through a human soul.

The further we go back into the past, the more do we have to depend on the akashic record, and the further we go back, the purer does the record get. It is easiest to read it in Earth states that lie far, far back, before the Earth became physical. It is much harder to read it in the Atlantean age, and hardest of all in post-Atlantean times. For the reader must carefully erase anything he knows of those times from his soul, so that it will not adulterate the record. It is therefore easier to investigate something that goes very far back, when no sense-perceptible images existed as yet.

Great confusion will also arise if someone is not quite sure how to read those signs. If, for instance, someone has lived in Roman times—let us assume Virgi1.1°6 When we perceive Virgil in the akashic record, he is like a living image, like real life; it is like a recapitulation of life itself. You can see Virgil's life take its course again; it is a true reproduction of what happened at the time. If you put a question to this image, it will answer the way Virgil might possibly have been able to answer. Swedenborg'°7 talked with this akasha image of Virgi1.1°8 The Virgil individual himself has gone through a different further development of his own. Someone who is not able to make clear distinctions may confuse these things.

[end parenthesis]

I would now like to speak of the allegories 1°9 which have always been used in occultism to refer to the period of transition from a two-gender to a one-gender human being, to the separation of the sexes in Lemurian times.

Three symbols were used.11°

  • The first symbol: man was given his original armour and a two-edged sword.
  • The second symbol are the seven trees.
  • The third symbol is the book of ten pages.

[Man with his original armour and a two-edged sword]

The armour referred to the original relationship between the solid parts of the Earth and the solid parts of our physical body. This body, which is connected with the solid part of the Earth is the first state or condition of human nature. It has not always been like this. The Earth was very different in earlier times.

Today' s solid part was in a different state then, mingled with something of very different substance nature which has since been separated off. It would be referred to more or less like this: Ph + S = Physical body + Spirit. With this formula, people learned to look at the way in which the spirit has built up the body. We may indeed marvel to see the wonderful way in which the struts are positioned in the thigh bone. The wisest architect could not have found a better solution to the problem [of managing] with the smallest amount of matter [to have the whole body supported]. Or if we consider the anatomy of the heart, which functions for a whole life in such a wonderful way in spite of all the damage people cause from lack of sense, consuming poisons such as alcohol, coffee, and so on.

If we think of this spirit as an effective, active power mixed into matter, we have the two states in which the body is able to exist. In the original vestment the spirit was still active by penetrating and configuring it directly and all the way. It then separated from this.

The second principle is something human beings have in common with plants—growth, reproductive powers, that is, vital energy. Ve + w = vital energy + water. As the physical principle is bound up with the spirit, so is vital energy bound up with water. The occultist sees water as life. All that lives is swelling and unthinkable without water.

The third principle to arise in the human being was the ability to wish. Originally this was linked with fire as a spiritual power. Passion, kama, arose in human beings from that ability to wish. In kama, the human being was united with fire. Pw + f = power to wish + fire.

At an even earlier time, the human I was not yet bound to a single entity. It was a centre in the billowing sea of these elements which surrounded the human being. You can see a degenerated echo of the spirit creating form in the midst of materiality in the development of crystals. The physical body was crystalline and radiant at that time. It absorbed vital energy and left the water behind. After that, the human being absorbed the fire and became warm-blooded.

He was then given the two-edged sword, which was the I. It could act from the outside to the inside and from the inside to the outside. It had power over the elements of earth, water and fire which were subservient to it. When kama was bound up with fire, water with vital energy, matter with spirit, the human being developed his armour, he received his two-edged sword.

[Seven trees]

The seven trees are seven ways in which the human being can be himself. Here we have Man' s past, present and future. First there is the physical vestment (sthula sarira), then the ether body (prana), with powers of reproduction, nutrition and growth active in it, thirdly the part of essential human nature in which drives and passions are active, the astral body. Only then comes the most central principle, the fourth, human self awareness. The human being received his fourfold nature unconsciously, without contributing to this himself. As soon as he had gained self awareness he began to work an himself and organize his astral body. He is now gradually shining through his astral body from the inside. This work will come to its conclusion at the end of our post-Atlantean period, when the astral body will be steeped in manas.

There are seven stages:

  • 1 The tree of physical existence—the human being develops his physical body
  • 2 The tree of growth
  • 3 The tree of relationship—the human being develops sympathy for and antipathy to his surroundings
  • 4 The tree of knowing good and evil—the human being closes himself off from the outside world
  • 5 The tree of life—the human being begins to bring life into his astral body; transition from kama body to manas
  • 6 The tree of the word—the human being is able to hear the 'inner word', gaining mystic insight
  • 7 The tree of being in harmony with God—the human being rests in harmony with God in the universe.

[editor: see Man's bodily principles and Man's higher triad]


The next time I will say something about the book of ten pages. The great teachers of humanity would read that book the way people spell words today.


The last time we met I told you that we need to use allegory if we are to put things clearly in occultism. The world we have around us has only been like this for a relatively short period of time. Our forebears lived under utterly different conditions in Atlantean and Lemurian times. Today people cannot have any idea of this. However, if we want to understand today's world rightly, we must rise to the concepts and ideas ... [gap in notes].

Speech and language is not very old; it only developed in Atlantean times. Our Lemurian forebears did not have speech, they had a kind of singing, producing sounds with great magical powers. They might perhaps sound unarticulated to people today, but went beyond anything we can find in the highest animals today as far as beauty and melodiousness were concerned. These sounds could make flowers grow faster, for instance, or set dead objects in motion. We cannot compare them with our ordinary speech today. We are therefore unable to speak in our language of something which is among the most sublime things.

In the occult schools people therefore always used an allegorical language and alphabet. Those allegorical signs are regular formulas which one must first learn to understand. One formula, for example, is the book of ten pages.

What is this book of ten pages?

The book of ten pages is something very real. Its content is great, and the formulas only appear to be simple. It is something very real for the occult student, but it is read in a different way from other books, where the human being, with his ordinary understanding, must create a word from letters and a sentence from words. The occult investigator thinks differently. His thinking grasps wholes, getting a complete overview of major complexes; it is empirical living experience, a vision of higher realities. People develop a common idea on the basis of individual details. The occult investigator gains an intuitive idea all at once from inner experience and does not have to depend on learning many individual details. It is just the way someone being able to have the 'lion idea' once they have seen a lion, for instance.

The occult investigator thus also gains the concept of astral and mental spirits in one go, for he sees these things together. There are archetypes for all things of the spirit. Just as a painter may have a particular intuitive image in his head and is able to paint a hundred pictures based on it, so there are archetypal images for all things on the higher planes, and clairvoyants see them. Reading the archetypes of things, in the spiritual ground and origin, is in occult terms called `reading in the book of ten pages'. People were able to read in this book of ten pages in every occult school; everyone was able to read in it even at the time when humanity did not yet have the vestment of a physical body.

Let us go back to Lemurian times when the human being vested himself in physical matter. He then lived in ideas that were all images. He did not see these outside but inside himself; he would feel a degree of warmth, or bright colour images arising in his soul as he approached another human being, for instance. It was like a lively dream, in images, but not conscious. Only the teachers and Leaders of humanity had a real overview of the things which others only felt surging up and down in a twilit soul. Their vision was not limited, everything lay spread out before them as in a tableau; they only had to turn their attention to it. This is the idea of that all-encompassing oneness which presented itself to the initiate and the occult student. Today we cannot see everything at once because we use our senses as instruments of perception. People would have seen no difference between New York and Berlin at that time, for instance. Anyone who sees things outside his physical body, finds that spatial differences present themselves only through the senses. The whole of modern science consists of individual details which are put together. Anything that happens in the world of the spirit is not discovered bit by bit. Once a particular level of higher insight has been gained, it all lies open before one.

There are ten levels, and they are the ten pages of the book. Let me give you an idea of them.


What does it say on the first page?

There is a lot there, but it has to be gained through living experience. Think of a flower. If we planted it this year, we'll see that it has produced a root, and that stern, branches, leaves and flowers develop and finally the seed which we put in the soil again. We don't see anything of the plant in the seed, but it is there inside it, contracted into a point. Look at a tulip, how it is contracted to a point and then spreads out again. We see essential tulip nature alternate between tremendous expansion and contraction into point-nature, as if squeezed together to make a nothing. This is something we can see everywhere in the world, in nature and in the human being. A whole solar system will also unfold, go through a sleep state, and then wake up again. In theosophy, we call the two states manvantara = expansion, and pralaya = shrink down to a point. There is no difference for external perception between seed of solar system and of flower; they do not exist in that case. Our present cosmic system will also contract to such a point one day; but the whole of life will be condensed in this, and it will well forth again from it. If we enter in our minds into this manifold life of the cosmos condensed to a point, we have an idea of the divine creative power which creates out of nothing. Anyone wishing to penetrate the secrets of the universe must learn to concentrate his thoughts in a point, not a dead but a living point which is nothing and everything at the same time. It is not easy to enter into this general dormant state of nature which is zero life and at the same time also all life; one must have felt, thought and willed it. One must have thought this through before one is able to read the remaining pages.

Reading the first page is to grasp this oneness of time, space and energy and immerse oneself in it. A truly wonderful description is given in a verse in the Dzyan book.I12

[editor: see Book of Dzyan]


The second page shows us the duality everywhere in the world. You find this wherever you go in the natural world - light and shade, positive and negative, male and female, left and right, straight and not straight, good and evil. Duality is deeply rooted in the nature of all evolution, and anyone who wishes to understand nature must be very clear in his mind about this duality. We only come to understand the world when we see the duality in our own lives. The occult student must make it an obligation for himself to learn to think in such dualities. He should never think of only the one, but always the two together. If he thinks of his relationship to the divine principle, for instance: 'a divine I lives in me', this is only one thing, and a second thing belongs to it: 'and I live in the divine L' Both are true. The occult student must say to himself: `The human being is a sensual nature but he will be a spiritual entity; I was a spiritual entity once and had to become a sensual one.'

We can only perceive all truth if we make it an inner obligation never to think of just one but always of two. People who learn to think in such dualities are thinking in the right, objective way.

This is reading the second page in the book of ten pages. You will find this duality presented many times in the mythology of ancient Germanic gods and also in Gnostic works.113 Some crude ideas have ... [gap in notes], seeing above all the duality between the male and female principle and ascribing everything to it. In reality, however, the male and female principle is just a special case of a much higher duality. To make this special case the explanation for everything is to blindfold yourself, to shut out the spiritual reality and ding to the lowest aspect.


The third page presents the triad. Threefold ideas may be found anywhere. The human being is threefold, consisting of body, soul and spirit. Gnostics speak of Father, Word and Spirit. In Egyptian culture we have the three deities Osiris, Isis and Horus. The triad holds an important secret. Anyone who gets in the habit of translating duality into the triad gains something that leads to understanding the whole world. To think the world through in its threefold nature is to penetrate it with wisdom.


Fourth page. Pythagorean square. I perceive the human being as fourfold, consisting of body, soul and spirit, with the fourth principle, seif awareness, dwelling within them.

Pythagoras therefore said ... [gap in notes]. Human nature which is at a lower level develops higher nature out of itself. This is the secret of the four evolving from the three. We find this fourfold nature in all entities. To the all-encompassing eye of the great initiate who surveys all periods of time, all entities are alike. The human being is a fourfold entity living on the physical plane. The lion does not live on the physical plane with its fourfold nature; here it has only its threefold nature—physical body, ether body and astral body; its I, as fourth principle, lives in the world of the spirit.

Higher nature only appears as sensual nature on a lower level. When human beings will be able to govern their physical bodies in every fibre, they will be atman; when they govern the ether body they will be budhi; when they govern the astral body, manas. That is fourfold nature: the three principles of lower nature which will one day be transformed into higher nature. Fourfoldness is to be found in all entities existing in this world. To the eye of the great initiate who surveys all periods of time, all entities are alike, only different to [gap in notes].

How does a lion differ from a human being? To the human eye, a lion is lower than a human being, and this is because human beings have limited vision. They live on the physical plane today, whereas the lion has left its spirit in the mental and its soul in the astral sphere.

Human being Lion

4    mental    4 I (comes from world of spirit)

3    astral    3 astral

2    etheric    2 etheric

1    physical    1 physical

Plants and minerals also have fourfold nature. The plant has only its physical body and ether body on the physical plane.

Plants and minerals have the other parts of their fourfold nature in the world of the spirit. But human beings, animals, plant and minerals all have fourfold nature. The student of occultism must always live this inwardly if he wants to read the fourth page.


Fifth page. On reading the fifth page, everything becomes manifest which the human being projects into the world like a shadow image. This is more than just fourfoldness. He begins to venerate. It is called `idolatry'. The human being is able to think and form ideas. When he begins to reflect on things, he ascribes divine causes to them. Myths arise in which the human being relates the supersensible to the sensible. The world of myth and legend presents ancient cultures in many different ways. The whole process lies open before the initiate, and the moment comes when he begins to perceive the thread which runs through all myths.

The horse, for instance. What is its meaning? It is an entity which has remained behind on a particular level, whilst the physical human being has gone beyond this in his evolution. There was, however, a moment in Hyperborean times when the human being had first of all to develop the potential for intelligence. Potentials evolve a long time in advance. I have told you that all higher development has a price, and this is that something else remains behind. If one wants to rise, another has to go down. At that time, when the human being developed the potential for intelligence, this was only possible because human nature eliminated something which later developed the horse nature. The horse evolved in Atlantean times, and human beings instinctively knew that their evolution was connected with the horse. Later this instinct became a myth. The Atlanteans had instinctive awareness of their intelligence being related to the horse, and the horse was therefore venerated as a symbol of intelligence during the first post-Atlantean period. Intelligence had to evolve in the early post-Atlantean periods. In Revelation, horses appear therefore when the seven seals have been removed. Ulysses invented a wooden horse.

Three things are needed if we want to understand myths. Firstly the myth must be taken literally, secondly it must be taken in an allegorical sense—which happens in religions—and thirdly we have to take them literally again in a higher sense. When this marvellous connection presents itself to the intuitive eye it is called 'reading the fifth page'.


Sixth page. This contains the secrets of what human beings perceive to be the supersensible and which they seek. The ideals human beings create out of their own nature appear on this sixth page, for instance the great ideals of freedom, equality and brotherhood. On this sixth page, human nature comes together with something which does not yet exist, something human beings must struggle to gain—going beyond themselves in their activity and active will. 'I love someone who asks the impossible.' One learns to look to future states of humanity, to see the seeds of the future in the present. An initiate can read the sixth page the way John described the future states of humanity in Revelation.


Seventh page. The student comes to understand the secret and significance of the figure seven. Things evolve in seven stages because the three, on which the seven is based, is repeated, and they themselves are the seventh. The human being must learn to say to himself: 'I am threefold, from this three a higher three must arise; that is the six.' Starting from the three, he returns to a higher three, which is the six. He himself is the seventh. To understand this process is to read the seventh page.

We will speak of the eighth, ninth and tenth pages the next time. [note: Rudolf Steiner never spoke of the 8th, 9th and 10th pages as he then went on a lecture tour and had to give a public lecture in Hamburg the following Monday].

The book of ten pages is an allegory, summing up in a few words what would otherwise need many words to describe. The principle of comprehensive life in abbreviation.

Paracelsus said that a physician must read the whole of nature, he must pass nature's examination, finding the word from the individual letters and not gain his wisdom only from books.115

In our time, the spiritual principle had to move into the background; this had to be so that the great conquests of the physical plane would be possible, and perfection could be achieved in controlling the world perceived through the senses. Now the time approaches when humanity needs to go more deeply into the spiritual again. At present human beings are rushing towards a stage on the physical plane that could not be borne if spiritual life did not develop again. An image of how necessary it is for humanity to deepen their spirituality: You know the tremendous advances made for example in the theory of electricity. A tremendous power lives in these energies, and this means there is a possibility that humanity will abuse them. Humanity will master terrible powers which will be put into effect on the physical plane, and this in the not too far distant future.116 They will be able, for instance, to cause detonations, explosions by remote control, with no one able to determine the originator. Humanity will have power. Woe, however, if they have not reached a high moral level and use those terrible powers for other than only good purposes! The masters who guide humanity foresaw that this time would come. It is the mission of theosophical teaching to prepare hearts and minds for what is coming, to warn them, and to show them the way and the goal.


The Symbolism of Numbers

Today we shall first occupy ourselves with a consideration of what is called the symbolism of numbers. When speaking of occult signs and symbols, it is necessary to mention the symbols that are expressed in numbers, even if only briefly. You may recall my elucidations of the day before yesterday in which I spoke of the numerical proportions in the universe, of the speed with which the single planets move and of the harmony of the spheres that comes about through these different speeds. Even from this you can see that numbers and numerical proportions have a certain meaning for the cosmos and the world. It is in numbers, we might say, that the harmony that wells through space is expressed. Now we shall turn our attention to a more intimate numerical symbolism, the meaning of which we can only touch upon, however. Were we really to immerse ourselves in it, many other things would have to be considered. Anyway, you will receive at least an idea of what is meant when it is said of the old occult Pythagorean School that it stressed the necessity of immersing oneself in the nature of numbers in order to gain an insight into the world.

To think about numbers may appear dry and dreary to many. To those who are affected by the materialistic culture of our times it will appear as mere playfulness if it is believed that, through a consideration of numbers, it is possible to gain knowledge of the nature of things. There was, however, a deep reason for the great Pythagoras to tell his pupils that knowledge concerning the nature of numbers would lead to the essence of things. But do not think it sufficient to reflect on the numbers 1, 3, or 7. Real occult teaching knows nothing of witchcraft and magic, nor of a superstitious meaning of some number. Its knowledge rests on deeper things, and from the short sketch I will give you, you will see that numbers can give you a clue to what is called meditation if you have the key to plunge deeply enough.


The number one must be our starting point. Later, in considering the other numbers, it will become clearer how far the number one symbolizes what I shall say.

In all occultism the One has always designated the indivisible unity of God in the universe. God is indicated by the number one.

We should not believe, however, that anything is to be gained by becoming engrossed in nothing but this number. You will see later how this absorption should rightfully come about, and it will be far more fruitful if we first consider the other numbers.


Two is called the number of revelation in occultism. This means that whatever appears to us in the world, whatever reveals itself, whatever is not in any way concealed, stands as a duality. Thereby we acquire ground under our feet, whereas with the number one we are groping in the unfathomable. Everywhere in nature you find that nothing reveals itself without being related to the number two.

  • Light alone cannot reveal itself. There must also be shadow or darkness — that is, a duality. There could never be a world filled with manifest light were there not corresponding shadow. Thus it is with all things.
  • It would never be possible for good to manifest if it did not have evil as shadow-picture. The duality of good and evil is a necessity in the manifest world. There are infinitely many dualities. They fit all life, but we must look for them at the right spots.
  • There is one important duality in life about which men might well reflect. Yesterday, we considered various conditions that a man experienced before he became an inhabitant of our present earth. We saw that on Saturn and on Sun he had a certain immortality in that he directed his body from outside, that he broke off pieces of this body and added new ones, so that he perceived nothing of fading and dying. Human consciousness at that time was not as it is today, but was dull. Men have wrestled through to a consciousness for the first time on our earth. It is here that a man first becomes a being who knew something of himself and could distinguish himself from objects. For this to occur, it was necessary not only that he direct his body from the outside, that he broke off pieces of this body and added new ones, so that he perceived nothing of fading and dying. Human consciousness at that time was not as it is today, but was dull. Men have wrestled through to a consciousness that is bound up with self-consciousness for the first time on our earth. It is here that a man first became a being who knew something of himself and could distinguish himself from objects. For this to occur, it was necessary not only that he direct himself from outside, but he also had to slip into this body, perceive himself therein, and say “I” to it. Only because a man finds himself completely in his body has he been able to achieve his full consciousness. Now, however, he also shares the destiny of his body. Earlier, when he still hovered over it, this was not the case. It was only when a man had achieved this degree of consciousness that he came into relation with death. At the moment when his body falls apart, he feels the suspension of his I because he identifies himself with his body. Only gradually, through spiritual development, will he again achieve the old immortality. The body is here as the school through which to wrestle through to immortality with self-consciousness. Through death a man acquires immortality on a higher level. As long as he had not experienced death, so long was the world unrevealed to him because duality belongs to the revealed world — death and life.

Thus, we could point out dualities at every step in life.

  • In physics you find positive and negative electricity, in magnetism, forces of attraction and repulsion.

Everything appears in duality. Two, duality, is the number of appearance, of manifestation.


There is, however, no revelation save that the Divine holds sway behind the scenes. In this way, behind every duality a unity is hidden. Therefore, three is nothing but two and one, that is, the revelation and the existent divinity backing it.

Three is the number of the Divinity revealing itself. There is a statement in occultism that says that two can never be the number for the Divinity. One is a number for God, and also the three. The one who sees the world as a duality, sees it only in its revelation. Whoever claims that this duality is all is always in the wrong. Let us make this clear to ourselves with an example. Even in places where spiritual science is discussed, sinning often occurs against the statement of true occultism that two is the number of revelation but not the number of fullness or completeness. You will often hear it said in popular occultism by people who do not really know, that all development runs its course through involution and evolution, but we shall see the direction this really takes. First, however let's examine a plant, a fully developed plant with roots, leaves, stems, blossoms, fruit, etc. This is an evolution. But now observe the small seed from which the plant has arisen or can arise. In this tiny seed the entire plant is, in a sense, already contained. It is hidden within it, ensheathed, because the seed is taken from the whole plant, which has laid all its forces into the seed. Here we may therefore make a distinction between two processes — the one in which the seed's forces have unfurled themselves and unfolded into the plant, evolution, and the other in which the plant has folded itself up and, as it were, crept into the seed, involution.

The process that occurs when a being that has many organs so forms itself that nothing of these organs remains visible, so that they contract to a tiny part, is called an involution. The process of expansion and unfolding is an evolution. Everywhere in life this duality alternates but always only within the manifest. You can follow this up not only in the plant but also in higher realms of life. Let us trace in thought, for example, the development of European spiritual life from Augustine to Calvin, that is, roughly through the Middle Ages. You will find in Augustine a kind of mystical inwardness. No one can read the Confessions or his other writings without experiencing the deep inwardness of this man's feeling life. When we advance further, we come across wonderful characters such as Scotus Erigena, a monk from Scotland called the Scottish St. John, who later lived at the court of Charles the Bald. He did not get on well with the Church, and it is told that the brothers of his order tortured him to death with pins. Of course, this is not to be taken literally, but it is true that he was tortured to death. A splendid book was written by him, On the Divisions in Nature which reveals a great profundity of thought even though it is found wanting in many ways from the anthroposophical point of view.

Proceeding further, we find the German mystics in the region of the Rhine, through whom an inner warmth poured itself out over great numbers of people. Not only did the highest of the clergy experience it, but also those who worked on the land and in the smithies. They were all picked up by this current of the time. Further along the way we find Nicolaus Cusanus (1400–64), and so we can follow along in time until the end of the Middle Ages. Always we find that depth of feeling, that inwardness, that spreads itself over all strata of the population.

If we now compare this time with that following it, with the period that began in the sixteenth century and extends into our own, we notice a tremendous difference. At the outset, we find Copernicus who, through a comprehensive idea, effected a renewal of spiritual life, whose thought has become so incorporated into human thinking that whoever believes something else today is counted a fool. We see Galileo, who discovered the law of gravity by observing the swinging of a church lamp in Pisa. Step by step we follow the passage of time up to the present, and everywhere we find the opposite, the strict opposite, of the Middle Ages. Feeling steadily declines and inwardness disappears. The intellect comes steadily to the fore and men become more clever.

Spiritual science explains the difference between these two epochs and shows us that this change had to be. There is an occult statement that says that the period from Augustine to Calvin was one of mystical involution. What does this mean? From the time of Augustine to the sixteenth century there was an outward unfolding of mystical life; it was outside. But something else was also there — intellectual life hidden in germinal form. It was, as it were, like a sun buried in the spiritual earth that unfolded later after the sixteenth century. The intellect was involuted as the plant is in its seed. Nothing can come forth in the world that was not previously in such an involution. Since the sixteenth century, the intellect has been evolving, the mystical life withdrawing. Now the time has come when this mystical life must again appear, when through the Anthroposophical Movement it will be brought to unfolding, to evolution. In this way involution and evolution disclose themselves alternately everywhere in life.

Whoever stops here, however, is taking only the outer aspect into account. To reckon with the whole we must include a third aspect that stands behind these two. What is this third aspect? Imagine yourself facing a phenomenon in the outer world. You reflect over it. You are here, the outer world is there, and from within your thoughts arise. These thoughts were not there previously. When, for example, you form a thought about a rose, this thought first arises in the moment you make a connection with the rose. You were here, the rose there, and now the thought arises in you. When the image of the rose arises, something quite new has come about. This is also the case in other spheres of life. Imagine the artist, Michelangelo, arranging a group of models. Actually, he did this in the rarest of cases. Michelangelo is here, what he renders is there. Something new — the image — arises in his soul. This is a creation that has nothing to do with involution and evolution. It is something entirely new that arises from the intercourse between a being that can receive and a being that can give. Such new creations are always generated through intercourse of being with being, and such new creations are a beginning.

Recall what we considered yesterday, how thoughts are creative, how they can ennoble the soul, indeed, even work later on forming the body. Whatever a being once thinks, the thought creation, the concept creation, works and actively carries on further. It is a new creation, works and actively carries on further. It is a new creation and at the same time a beginning because it gives rise to consequences. If you have good thoughts today, they are fruitful into the remote future because your soul goes its own way in the spiritual world. Your body returns to the elements and decays. Even if everything through which the thought arose disintegrates, the effects of the thought remain.

Let us return to the example of Michelangelo. His glorious paintings have affected millions of people. These paintings, however, will one day fall into dust and there will be future generations who will never see his creations. But what lived in Michelangelo's soul before his paintings took outer form, what at first existed as new creations in his soul, lives on, remains, and will appear in future stages of development and be given form. Do you know why clouds and stars appear to us today? Because there were beings in preceding eras who had thoughts of clouds and stars. Everything arises out of thought creations.

There you have the number three! In revelation things alternate between involution and evolution. Behind this is a deeply hidden creation, a new creation born out of thought. Everything has arisen out of thought, and the greatest things in the world have gone forth from the thoughts of the Godhead. From what, then, do things arise since ideas are new creations? They arise out of nothing! Three different things are here connected: Creation out of nothingness, which always occurs when you have an idea; the manifestation of this creation; the course of its development in time through the two forms, involution and evolution. This is what is meant when certain religious systems speak of the world created out of nothingness. If today people deride this, it is only because they do not understand what is to be found in these documents.

In the world of manifestation, to sum it up once more, everything alternates between involution and evolution. At the root of this is a hidden creation out of nothingness that unites itself with the two (involution and evolution) to form a triad. This is a union of the Divine with the revealed.

So you can see how we can reflect on the number three. We should not take off and spin pedantic thoughts about it, but we must look for the duality and triad that is to be met at every turn. Then we consider the numerical symbols in the right way, in the Pythagorean sense, and can draw conclusions leading from one to the other. We could also say that light and shadow appear in the manifest world, and behind these lies a third, hidden element.


We come now to the number four. Four is the sign of the cosmos or of creation.

  • As far as we can determine with our present organs, the present planetary condition of the earth is its fourth embodiment. Everything that is manifest to us on an earth such as ours presupposes that this creation is the fourth stage. This is but a special case for all creations that appear thus. They all stand under the sign of the four.
  • The occultist says that men today stand in the mineral kingdom. What does this mean? Because a man understands only the mineral kingdom, he can only control this kingdom. Using minerals, he can build a house, a clock, and other things because they are subject to mineral laws. For various other activities he does not have this capacity. He cannot, for example, form a plant from out of his own thinking. To be able to do this he would himself have to exist in the plant kingdom. Some time in the future this will be the case. Today men are creators in the mineral realm. Three other kingdoms, the elementary kingdoms, have preceded this; the mineral kingdom is the fourth. All told there are seven.

Men stand in the fourth kingdom. Only here do they reach their actual consciousness oriented to the outer world. On Old Moon they were still operating in the third elementary kingdom, on Old Sun in the second, and on Old Saturn in the first. In the future on Future Jupiter, they will be able to create plants as today they are able to construct a clock.

Everything visible in creation stands in the sign of the four. There are many planets that are not to be seen with physical eyes, such as those in the first, second, and third elementary kingdoms. Only when such a planet within creation enters the mineral kingdom can it be seen. Four is, therefore, the number of the cosmos or of creation. With the entrance into the fourth condition a being becomes fully visible to eyes that can see external things.


Five is the number of evil. This will become clear to us if we again consider human beings. In their development men have become fourfold beings and thereby beings of the created world. Here on earth, however, the fifth member of their being, the spirit self, will be added. Were they to remain fourfold beings, they would be constantly directed by the gods — toward the good, of course — but they would never develop their independence. They have become free through the gift of their germinal fifth member, but it is also from this that they have received the ability to do evil. No being can do evil who has not arrived at “fivefoldness.” Wherever we meet with evil, such that it can actually adversely affect our own being, there a fivefoldness is at play. This is the case everywhere, including the outside world, but people are unaware of it, and our present materialistic world view has no conception of the fact that the world can be considered in this way. Actually, there is justification for speaking of evil only where fivefoldness appears. When, one day, medicine will make use of this, it will be able to influence beneficially the course of illness. Part of the treatment would be to study the illness in its development on the first and fifth days after its onset, on the separate days at the fifth hour past midnight, and again during the fifth week. Thus it is always the number five that determines when the physician can best intervene. Before that there is not much else he can do than to let nature take its course, but then he can intervene, helping or harming, because what can justifiably be called good or evil then flows into the world of reality. It is possible in many areas to show that the number five has meaning for outer events.

A man's life consists of periods of seven years — from birth until the change of teeth; puberty; seven or eight years later; toward thirty, followed by the seven year periods throughout the rest of his life. When, one day, he will take these periods into account and consider what had best come toward or stand aloof from him, he will come to know much about preparing a good old age for himself. He can thus bring about good or evil for the remainder of his life. In the early periods of life a great deal can be done by observing certain laws of education. Then, however, there comes an important turning point. This also may become a regression if he is turned loose in life with complete confidence too early. The accepted principle of today that sends young people out into life early is harmful; the fifth period should be passed before this happens. Such ancient occult principles are of great importance. This is why, in the past, at the direction of those who knew something of these things, the years of the apprentice and journeyman had to be completed before one could be called a master.


Seven is the number of perfection. Observation of man himself will make this clear. Today he is under the influence of the number five insofar as he can be good or evil. As a creature of the universe he lives in the number four. When he will have developed all that he holds at present as germ within him, he will become a seven-membered being, perfect in its kind. The number seven rules in the world of colour, in the rainbow; in the world of tone it is found in the scale. Everywhere, in all realms of life, the number seven can be observed as a kind of number of perfection. There is no superstition or magic in this.


Now let us look back again to the number one. Because we have considered other numbers, what is now to be said about one will appear in the right light. The essence of the number one is its indivisibility. Of course, it can be subdivided, for example, 1/3, 2/3, etc. but this can only be accomplished in thinking. In the world, especially in the spiritual world, when you take the two-thirds away, the one-third still remains a part of it. In the same sense it can be said that when some part of God is separated from Him and becomes manifest, the remainder exists as something that still belongs to it. In the Pythagorean sense we can say, “Divide the unity, but never otherwise than to have in your underlying thoughts the remainder connected with what has been separated.”

Take a thin golden plate of glass and look through it. The world will appear yellow because that is the colour that will be reflected. But in white light other colours are also contained. What happens to them? They are absorbed by the object. Hence, a red object appears red because it reflects the red rays and absorbs the rest. It is not possible to separate red from white light without leaving the other colours behind. With this we touch the edge of a world secret. You look at things in a certain way. You see, for instance, a red cloth spread out on the table and visualize at the same time that green is hidden in it. In this way you have accomplished what in the Pythagorean sense is called “The division of the One so that the rest is preserved.” If you carry this out meditatively, if you again and again unite separated parts into a unity, you have brought about a meaningful development through which you can attain spiritual heights.

Mathematicians have an expression for this that holds good in all occult schools:

1 = ( 2 + x ) - ( 1 + x )

This is an occult formula that expresses how Oneness can be divided and the parts so arranged that the One results. It indicates that, as occultists, we should not think of Oneness simply as One, but as parts that we add together again.

So, in this lecture we have examined what is called number symbolism and learned that when we meditate on the world from the standpoint of numbers, we can penetrate deep world secrets.

To complete these remarks let it be said once more that

  • in the fifth week, on the fifth day, or in the fifth hour we can find important things that can be missed or made good.
  • In the seventh week, on the seventh day, or in the seventh hour (or in a definite relationship, say, 3 1/2 because seven is also in this number), something can happen through the thing itself. On the seventh day of an illness, for instance, a fever will take on a definite character; this might also occur on the fourteenth day. These things are always based on number relationships that point to the structure of the world.

Those who steep themselves in the right way in what, in the Pythagorean sense, we may call the 'study of numbers', will learn to understand life and the world in this number symbolism. Of this the lecture today was meant to give you roughly sketched thoughts.


(not on rsarchive)

.. the esotericist needs the secret of number to find his way in the chaos of the spiritual world


Secret Rhythm of Number

The secret of Number expresses itself in the fact that certain phenomena follow each other in such a way that the 7th in a series of events reveals itself as a kind of conclusion, whereas the 8th may be designated as the beginning of quite another series of events. One finds this fact reflected in the physical world, in the relation of the octave to the key-note. For those who endeavour to penetrate in occult spheres, this principle becomes the basis of a very comprehensive view of the cosmos. Not only are tones, sounds, arranged according to the Law of Number, but also events in the course of time; events in the spiritual world are also so arranged that one finds in them a relationship, just as one finds in the Rhythm of Sound.

see also Schema FMC00.071 on Twelve guiding spirits#Illustrations with a similar explanation beyond twelve


Note [1] - One to Ten

Below is a temporary work area (under development) where the links will be added - this will probably be split up to another page as the 'Book of Ten Pages - FMC version'.


  • macrocosmos and creation
  • Man as microcosmos
    • the number 1 for the true spiritual Human 'I'
  • symbols
    • the point .. and it's relation to the circle - see also the first secret, see Schema FMC00.506
  • various
    • Rabindranath Tagore: "The centre is still and silent in the heart of an eternal dance of circles"



  • macrocosmos and creation
  • Man as microcosmos
  • symbols
    • the triangle
    • triquetra (three overlapping vesicae piscis lens shapes), or its equivalent with three triangles in ancient norse/german: the valknut
    • triskelion or triskeles or triskele, also called celtic spiral, is a triple spiral showing rotational symmetry emanating from a common center. The name comes from the Greek 'tri' and 'skelos' which means 'three legs'. Famous illustrations oa in Newgrange (Ireland) but also eg Wadi Djerat (Tassili Plateau, Algeria).
    • Christian trinity: Scutum Fidei (Shield of the Trinity)
    • in mathematics: Borromean rings
  • in ancient mythology
    • ancient norse and german mythology
      • three gods Odin, Vili and Ve (and also triple horn of Odin)
      • Yggrasil, the Norse tree of life, has three roots
      • Loki's offspring in Ragnarok: Fenrir, Hel, Jormungadr
      • three Norns: Urd, verdandi, Skuld related to karma (or destiny, fate)
    • roman gods, eg the Capitoline Triad consisting of Jupiter, Juno, Minerva
  • three dimensions of physical space (and linear independant dimensions in Euclidean geometry and mathematics)
  • various
    • three days the candidate initiate was lying in a nearly death state in the Old Mysteries, Three days descent into Hades
    • three years of Christ on Earth
    • trichotomies or threefold divisions in philosophy (Aquinas, Kant, Hegel, Popper ..)
      • triad in Plato's Timaeus: sameness (one), difference (two), both embraced by their interrelationship or wholeness (three)
      • Hegel's dialectic goes from 2 to 3 (thesis+antithesis=synthesis)
    • magical squares (there are seven), square of three (Saturn), six (Sun), nine (Moon)

Of three and four


  • macrocosmos and creation
    • four is the current number of creation, as Earth is the fourth planetary stage of evolution, and we are currently in the fourth mineral Condition of Life, and the fourth physical Condition of Form .. so all creations stand under the sign of four
    • Earth is the fourth planetary stage of evolution - see Overview of solar system evolution, and we are currently in the fourth mineral CoL and fourth physical CoF - see Schema FMC00.057D
    • Four elements
      • .. and the 'tetrapolar magnet' (re Bardon, the combination of the four elements)
      • and four properties of divinity, see Schema FMC00.410 on Trinity
    • Four kingdoms of nature
  • Man as microcosmos
  • kingdoms of nature
    • animal kingdom
      • many chordates have four feet, legs, or leglike appendages (tetrapods) - quadruped animals with four legs (found among both vertebrates and invertebrates)
      • many mammals (carnivora, ungulata) use four fingers for movement
      • all insects with wings expect flies and some others, all have four wings
      • the mammalian heart has four chambers
    • mineral kingdom
    • Four seasons in the cycle of the year
  • symbols
    • the square or rectangle (note: a cube has six sides)
    • tetrahedron (re form of the Earth, chrystal forms)
    • tetractys or tetraktys (Pythagoras) - see also Ten


  • macrocosmos and creation
    • the five elements: fire, air, water, earth and akasha
    • corresponding five Dhyani Buddhas - see Schema FMC00.526A on Three Classes of Buddhas
  • Man as microcosmos
    • the pentagram as a symbol for Man (re the five human bodies and currents in the etheric body)
    • five human senses
    • see also the five wounds of Christ-Jesus, and Stigmata
  • kingdoms of nature
    • animal kingdom
      • most mammals, reptiles, amhibians have five fingers or toes on each extremity
  • symbols
    • a dodecahedron (platonic solid) has twelve pentagonal sides, three meeting eachother at each vertex



  • macrocosmos and creation
    • seven 'rays' or entities in each spiritual hierarchies, eg
    • seven time periods:
      • 7 cultural ages, 7 epochs, 7 conditions of life, 7 conditions of form, 7 stages of planetary evolution (see Three dimensions of evolution)
      • seven days of the week
    • seven esoteric planets
  • kingdoms of nature
  • Man as microcosmos
  • symbols:
    • seven branched menorah candle-holder, an ancient symbol in Judaism
    • the heptagram, see Mystical Lamb and Schema FMC00.068C and variants: made up of intersecting pentagram and hexagram, so from five to six via seven
    • hebdomad combining two heptagons, showing sevenfold transform from the days of creation sequence (seven days of the week) to the old Ptolemaic ordering of the planets. Note a third heptagon (selecting every third step around) gives the ordering of the metals by atomic weight. See Kollerstrom in 'Secrets of seven metals' p. 22-24)
  • various
    • seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer
    • seven hermetic principles
    • seven secrets
    • seven miracles of Christ
    • seven liberal arts (Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric and Arithmetic, Astronomy, Music, Geometry), or also as three and four: the trivium consists of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, while the quadrivium consists of arithmetic or number, geometry, astronomy or cosmology, music
    • see also for Septenary Principle:
      • .. in Christianity there are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, seven deadly sins, the seven sacraments, the duty to forgive seventy times seven that Jesus indicted to Peter, among others. The Book of Revelation also has many septenaries.
      • In Hinduism there are seven sages (Saptarishi), seven shaktis, seven chakras, seven lokas and talas, and many more.
      • Other septenates in the Western antiquity are the seven classical planets, seven seas, seven sages of Greece, seven Kings and Emperors of Rome, seven hills of Istanbul and of Rome Seven Liberal Arts, Seven Wonders of the ancient world.
      • In theosophical [and anthroposophical] teachings number seven is also prominent: seven eternities, seven rays, seven primordial beings, seven hierarchies of being, seven planes, seven principles, etc



  • three times three
  • macrocosmos and creation
    • nine spiritual hierarchies in three triads, see Schema FMC00.273 on Overview of the spiritual hierarchies
    • nine inner layers of the Earth, see Schema FMC00.004 and variants on Earth's inner layers
    • nine worlds in Dante's Divina Commedia (seven planetary spheres, zodiac and chrystal heaven) plus a tenth beyond called the Empyreum or fire heaven
    • group of nine deities in Egyptian mythology called The Ennead worshipped at Heliopolis
    • nine inspiring muses in ancient Greek culture, the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts and source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, lyric songs, and myths.
    • in Norse mythology, the universe consists of nine worlds all connected to the world tree Yggdrasil
  • Man as microcosmos
  • various
    • George Gurdjieff's Enneagram and Nine Points: Gurdjieff is said to have received this secret wisdom from sufi master Shaykh Abdullah, also known as Abdullah ad-Daghistani (1891-1973)
    • nine beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount


  • macrocosmos and creation
    • ten steps of successive 'densification or coagulation' in Homer's Golden Chain, see Schema FMC00.002
    • ten sephiroth in the Tree of Life
    • ten worlds in Dante's Divina Commedia, see also Nine
  • Man as a microcosmos
  • symbols
    • the tetractys or tetraktys (see Four) has 4+3+2+1=10 points and shows three rows of five, three and one interconnecting triangles
  • various
    • the Ten commandments
    • ten categories of Aristotle
    • from Aleph (1) to Yod (10), from the energy issued from the absolute in unity, to the energy issued in duality



  • the circle of twelve
    • the twelve bodhisattvas of the White Lodge, the twelve Apostles, the twelve knights of King Arthur (see Arthur stream)
    • circle of twelve with thirteenth in the middle originates in Trotten mysteries; ancient initiation practices: a circle of twelve helpers to support the candidate for initiation with the I-forces gathered in the seasons, the twelve helpers consisted of three for the forces of each season.
    • other
      • in the Old Testament of the Bible, also twelve minor prophets are regarded besides what are called the four major prophets
  • various
    • the twelve alchemical stages or processes (calcination, dissolution, separation, conjunction, putrefaction, coagulation, cibation, sublimation, fermentation, exaltation, multiplication, projection) .. these are sometimes linked to the the twelve signs of the zodiac. See Alchemy

Note [2] - (draft WIP)

Disclaimer: the below was written as a train of thoughts, un-edited, from scratch, as a basis for further structuring and development into a text

The Book of Ten Pages is a wonderful way to explore spiritual science, or the spiritual worldview and body of knowledge, because it enters from a higher meta-level of ten numbers which are pointers to and properties or attributes of very many things in the cosmos, in creation, in the various kingdoms of nature.

In our current culture, it is typical to a) study by zooming in and segmenting, in going into detail, to specialize, and b) to use the faculty of rational intellectual thought as a tool doing so. Keywords are: to study, to analyze. There are obvious strength with this approach, but also dangers, eg that one looses sight of the whole by studying the piecesn and/or gets carried away by the thought forms and thereby loose touch with reality.

See oa the Goethean science approach in epistemology, and Top five problems with current science. On the latter topic page, the above risks are listed as problems 5 (reductionism, loosing the whole in the details) and 2 (foolish extrapolation, loosing connection of thought modelling with reality).

In contrast to this we can position a sentient and contemplative approach which is more holistic and experiential. In epochs where Man did not have the same level of consciousness (ai the advanced intellectual or developing consciousness soul), this sentient experiential approach was quite natural. Focus can lie on observation and 'simpler' reasoning or thinking. We don't go into it further now, as it will become clear as we go along.

Typically, as on this site, or in theosophy and anthroposophy, there is a high complexity of concepts and intellectual reasoning, whereby constructs of meaning are laid out in language and diagrams.

However, it is typical for initiatory processes and acquisition of esoteric knowledge, that the students were confronted with symbols, with nature, with mysteries. Examples are the two statues in the Hibernian Mysteries, the plant chalice (see Christ Module 6 - Principle in image and story), the rose cross, pentagram, and may other symbols of the rosecrucians.

Now when one has studied 'modern' spiritual science in depth, one comes to a stage when one realizes the multiplicity or multiple-dimensions-of-meaning in texts as the Lord's Prayer or Book of Revelation, to list just two examples. What happens is that one lays a foundation of concepts and knowledge, then builds on solidifying the mastery of this and thereby slowly develops insight. One can describe this as building it 'from the ground up', and then seeing the level of insight 'rising', as indeed it does into the faculty of imagination, beyond the rational intellectual thinking of waking consciousness.

A typical effect is that one leaves behind the lowest levels of distinctions: the distinctions that allowed us to gather initialize meaning by laying out and differentiating between concepts at the lowest levels. However as one studies, one realizes there are other great axes or dimensions, attributes or properties, that stand out, they arise and come back again and again. Why? Because they are properties of the underlying nature of the cosmos, attributes of that spiritual make-up, projected into our waking consciousness, our mental mode of intellectual thinking in three dimensions, space and time, euclidean geometry, etc.

Examples are 25920, and what is described as 'sacred geometry' (eg spirals in nature with Fibonacci series, golden ratio and platonic solids, ..)

See also what is described on Cosmic fractal#Introducing the cosmic fractal

Ancient symbolic languages were much closer to this, ancient Hebrew is the obvious example of a most spiritual language. Other examples of 'languages' with a different alphabet of building stones are astrology (seven planets, twelve signs and houses), numerology.

So what is a typical characteristics of the 'ancient' approach and the more contemporary 'current' approach or path towards knowledge, insight, wisdom?

The first starts with few items, concepts, characters with high multiplicity. They open up and unfold into myriads of occurences. They are like a common attribute for a class of instances where this attribute appears. So it goes top down, it starts with characteristics of the cosmos that are everywhere around us, and are of high impact for a soul with awe and amazement for creation .. it describes the properties of creation, eg with the numbers 1 to 9, as if the whole of nature and creation around us is a proof and testimony about the nature of the cosmos. We can see and experience it, feel it with our deeper soul.

The second goes bottom up, from meaningless concepts, words as empty husks, that we fill with meaning with words and diagrams. But they are still 'dead', so to speak, they are 'thought forms', actually. But as we build up our own terminology and language, we construct a knowledge framework that allows us to project into this, and describe, the actual nature of the cosmos, also in a spiritual scientific 'language'. Alchemy was such a language, but theosophy and anthroposophy are also.

Now the really nice thing is where both can meet, and when we can approach from both angles. Of course there is a large greyzone gap distance between these two. In there:

The language of symbols clothed in people and worldly stories, known as myths and sagas, is in this middle area. It gives characters and elements from nature, it gives these a symbolic meaning .. and then allows to convey meaning through a narrative. These narratives are typically multi-layered, see the parables in the gospels. Rudolf Steiner, Daskalos and Beinsa Douno made the connection for us, on how these 'simple short stories' are actually a higher meta-level of deeper meaning that connects through underneath, as we can decipher the symbolism of what is actually represented. And here we see the example of the symbol as an archetype, many different 'versions of meaning' can be seen or projected into it, exactly because of the .. not generic, but universal .. nature of the story and the symbol.

Note [3] - The work of John G. Bennett and Systemics

Systematics is the study of systems by their forms of connectedness. It was developed by J.G. Bennett over a period of 50+ years as an application of the qualitative aspect of number.

He began his investigation through the natural sciences and aimed for a pragmatic and modern meaning of ancient ideas. His work included interpretation of symbols.

The main course of his investigation is mapped out in his four volume masterpiece 'The Dramatic Universe'

For an introduction, see

The below three from five essential points by Bennett, taken from, has a remarkable correspondence with the author's (DL, author of this site) reflection Top five problems with current science and Rudolf Steiner's work.

Systematics is a study of wholes not fragments

Most other systems use analysis and synthesis as method of understanding things. We break things into components to understand how they work and then try to put them back into a whole. For example if I study a house I will look at its roof, its windows and its floor etc. Each of these components has a function and role within the house. In systematics we focus on the whole we study the house without breaking it into parts. For example the house can be seen as a living place, property, an investment etc. Each is an observation of the house in totality but from a different perspective. Part of living life fully for me is to recognise your own wholeness and development for me is to progress towards a greater sense of wholeness

Systematics includes the observer

Most other systems look at an item (the observed) as something that is out there to be studies that is independent from the observer. The state of the observer does not influence the topic being studied. Systematics claim that the observer is as important as the observed and that the one should not be separated from the other. The observer's mental framework through which observations takes place influence dramatically that which is being observed.

Systematics focus on understanding rather than knowledge

In most systems things are observed from a factual perspective. For example we count the facts and the measurables and then classify that information to create knowledge about the observed. In the house example we measure the height of the house and its width etc. We classify the houses in different styles and sizes. These things we call knowledge. In systematics we look at how the observer relate with the topic being studies. That means we look at how the observer values influence his perception of the object being studies. We call it understanding when we can find a relationship between a perspective of the observed and the value framework of the observer.

Some excerpts from wikipedia pages on Systematics

Systematics came in part out of the Pythagorean historical tradition ... The strongest personal influence was from Gurdjieff .. who had taught the significance of the 'law of three' and the 'law of seven' in a meta-scientific context, but Bennett proposed that there was a 'law' for every integral number, and that this could help people understand practical things such as management and education.

Parallels can be drawn between Bennettian Systematics and the work of C. G. Jung and Marie Louise von Franz on number as archetypal, as well as with the philosophies of engineers such as Buckminster Fuller and Arthur Young.


Every multi-term system so-defined has its special system-level attribute or characteristic emergent quality, such as "dynamism" for the triad, or "significance" for the pentad.

The emergence of these qualities, according to the work of Anthony Blake in what he calls Lattice Systematics, is mysterious but not random and occurs within a process involving both increasing "spiritualization" of will and increasing specification or "materialization" of function.

[3] - Various draft notes

  • sacred geometry - see the five platonic solids and their relationships with 3, 4, 5, 12

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Ernst Bindel (1890-1974): 'Die geistigen Grundlagen der Zahlen' (1958, 2003 in DE, in FR 2006 as 'Les nombres et leurs fondements spirituels : le nombre dans le miroir des civilisations, éléments d'une géométrie et d'une arithmétique spirituelles')
  • John G. Bennett (1897-1974): 'The Dramatic Universe' (4 Volumes)
  • René Adolphe Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1961): 'A study of numbers: A Guide to the constant creation of the universe' (1986 in EN, original in FR 1917 as 'Études sur les Nombres')
  • Walther L. Fischer. Die mathematischen Grundlagen der abendländischen Zahlen-Symbolik, der Zahlen-Mystik und der Zahlen-Magie bei den Pythagoreern (1995) - PDF free on internet
  • Helmut Werner: Lexikon der Numerologie und Zahlenmystik
  • Joachim Stiller: Einführung in die Zahlenmystik

On the internet