- Mar 2, 1999Dan Washburn wrote:

> Seems to me it would have something to do with the cyclical nature of time.

Dan and everyone,

> There are twelve months to the year, 13 would be the starting place for a

> new cycle, the death of the old and the birth of the new.

>

> It doesn't seem to quite fit the 13 companions in life and 13 companions in

> death saying though. Who are these companions?

>

> The Lo Shu magic square represents the 8 directions -- 4 basic directions

> and the 4 corners of the square, the intermdiate directions, SE, NW etc.

> The ninth and middle square is also a direction, the center.

>

> The directions are established by the movement of the sun from E to W. with

> the help of the gnomon and the double vesica. So the directions are a

> result of the cyclical nature of time, the alteration of day and night. We

> have 2 12 hour cycles in our day, 13 would be the point of death for one and

> birth for the other.

>

> The association of the 8 trigrams with the 8 directions should tell you

> which numbers in the Lo Shu magic square are related to which trigrams. Or

> vice versa. Perhaps this would give you a clue to deciphering a lot of

> Chinese number symbolism.

>

> The vastu-purusha-mandala is a square of 81 subsquares with 9 subsquares on

> each side. Take a Lo Sur magic sqaure of 3 and place a Lo Shu magic square

> of 3 in each of its 9 subsquares and you have a 9 x 9 square of 81

> subsquares. So the vastu-purusha-mandala is the Lo Shu square squared, or

> seen in more detail.

>

> Go, Mark, go.

>

> And please post your results! Pretty please?

>

> Dan W. and the magic lanterns.

>

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I think you may be on to something about the use of the number 13. Any

association of a number with death will also associate it with life.

I knew a Zen Master once who said that he would like to be the person who fills

out death certificates because it would be so easy. When it

asks for "cause of death" he would have a big stamp that read "birth." Jim

Morrison - "I touched her thigh and death smiled." The Tao Te Ching

does not even give a clue as to who or what the 13 "companions" may be. I think

that in some way the 13 companions are numerically

symbolic and are associated with the number 50.

A deeper question in my mind is the source of the commonality between number

symbolism between seperated cultures. In the Kabballah, the

number 13 is indicative of the idea of unity or completeness. I think that the

pack of playing cards as we know it today was originally

invented by a Kabbalist to illustrate the principals of the Kabballah. 13 is

the complete number in a Kabbalist sense, being the number of the

Tree of Life. The pack of playing cards has 4 "trees" of 13, one for each of

the 4 worlds. According to Gershem Scholem, the Kabballah

originated in about the second century AD in Palastine. It is my theory that it

resulted from a synthesis of the earlier Jewish traditional

Merkabah mysticism, based on Ezekiel's vision and the letters of the

Tetragrammaton, with the Greek Pythagorean ideas of the Decad, the first

ten numbers. If this idea is correct, then the mystical associations with 13

results from a synthesis of two similar, but different traditions and the number

13 just "fell out" of the combination. Which, if true, would mean that the

numerical qualities of the number are secondary.

On the other hand, in the Kabballah 13 is indicative of "unity". So there

you have a beginning and ending idea - a completeness suggesting a change in

cycles. The Mayan system is based on a pantheon of 13 gods which each have 20

days to influence. Another cycle (expanded) of 13. Even the 20 numbers

- actually day names - have a "base" of 13 in as much as each number pictograph

after 13 is based on a combination of elements from the tenth pictograph

and the other pictographs, much as we say thirteen (three plus ten), fourteen

(four plus ten), etc. Whatever the explanation of the 13 x 20 = 260 day cycle

of the sacred Mayan calander, 13 was an especially sacred number to the Mayans.

As was 4, 52, etc.

I don't know how the Chinese or the Mayans divided time in units smaller

than 1 day. So I don't know if the "13th hour" has any significance. It is

always

important to keep in mind the time lines for these ideas. The Chinese Tao Te

Ching is from about 400 or 500 BC. The origin of the Mayan calander is about

the same time, the Kabballah is from the 2nd century AD. Playing cards come

from around 1350 in Spain, and the Tarot were from about 1450 in Italy. The

Lo Shu magic square is the oldest example of a magic square and derives from

about 2200 BC. So there is a considerable amount of time - about 1700

years - between the knowledge of magic squares in China and the writing of the

Tao Te Ching. Plenty of time for an esoteric/mathematic tradition to

develope. Given that the Lo Shu square was so revered, can we doubt that the

Chinese studied the properties of magic squares of all sizes, and understood

their mathematic principals?

I promise to see what I can come up with on a relationship between the 8

trigrams and the numbers in the Lo Shu square. I have yet to get around to a

study

of the Indian system, (saving the best for last?) but I will, and then I can

look into the vasta purusha mandala. Then I think I will have to start all over

again

in more detail. I know I'm kinda wandering around here, but I have to get my

feet on the ground before I can convince myself (much less Barry) that there

is more to all this number/geometrical religious/symbolism than the "mere"

counting up of the days in a natural cycle or some other utilitarian function.

So there it is, I'm a mystic who refuses to accept anything but scientific

proof.

Mad Dog Murphy

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