So....arithmancy. No one uses it anymore, and it's one of the old-school divinatory arts. An interesting and useful art, and a shame that it isn't utilized more. At least, I've thought so. I went ahead and did something about it and have written a pamphlet about Arithmancy and Arithmantic magic. I'm going to release it in parts as blog posts, and then the lot will be downloadable from here. Hope you find something useful in it!
Arithmancy is a method of divination rooted in number and numerology; it was known to the Chaldeans and Greeks, and of course to the Renaissance Magicians. As with many of our modern divinatory and magical methods, Henry Cornelius Agrippa is our primary source of wisdom in its use and method.
In his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Agrippa gives us the occult meaning of Number, and understanding as to its use and application in divination and magic. The text itself is sometimes difficult to understand for those who aren’t familiar with the style of English written at the time. This text aims to present the art of Arithmancy in a way that straight forward to understand.
The method presented here will be rooted primarily in the Agrippa method, with changes and alterations made by myself in the course of creating a practical and working Arithmantic practice. For the pure method of Agrippa, or reference the Chaldean method, I recommend study of those primary texts.
There is a special power in number, in that it allows us to discover hidden connections to things that we may otherwise not have been able to work upon.
The Power of Numbers and their Use
In Chapter III, Book II of his “Three Books of Occult Philosophy” Agrippa expounds upon the virtue inherent in number, and it’s efficacy in both the natural and the supernatural. He states:
“…simple numbers signify divine things: numbers of ten; celestial: numbers of an hundred; terrestrial: numbers of a thousand; those things that shall be in a future age. Besides, seeing the parts of the mind are according to an arithmetical mediocrity, by reason of the identity, or equality of excess, coupled together: but the body, whose parts differ in their greatness, is according to a geometrical mediocrity, compounded: but an animal consists of both, viz. soul and body, according to that mediocrity, which is suitable to harmony: hence it is that numbers do work very much upon the soul, figures upon the body, and harmony upon the whole animal.” Pg.240, Book II Chapter III, Three Books of Occult Philosophy Henry Cornelius Agrippa
It’s important to note that “mediocrity” in the above quote referenced an average measure, something commonplace and regular; quite different from the modern use that alludes to something below average or of little worth.
In the above we have the whole of existence being signified by number, and as we can create effect through the power of sympathy, we can make connection with all things through the symbols and meanings inherent to number. Agrippa also says:
“…that all things which were first made by the nature of things in its first age, seem to be formed by the proportion of numbers, for this was the principal pattern in the mind of the Creator. Hence is borrowed the number of the elements, hence the courses of times, hence the motion of the stars, and the revolution of the heaven, and the state of all things subsist by the uniting together of numbers. Numbers therefore are endowed with great and sublime virtues.”pg.237, Book II Chapter II, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Henry Cornelius Agrippa
From Pythagoras, who has said “Number is that by which all things consist”, to Agrippa who has gone at length to give understanding of the value of number, we find that our wisest minds appreciate the efficacy of number in thought and in practical use. My intention is to communicate a simple system of Arithmancy for Divination and Arithmatic Magic for thaumaturgy and theurgy, so that the magic of number is put to use in our age as it was in ages past.
(continued in next part)