Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

[sacredlandscapelist] Re: Magic Square Numbers

Expand Messages
  • Dan Washburn
    ... Here is a quote from page 377 of William Eisen s The Cabalah of Astrology (1986) Eventually Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos was translated into Arabic in the 8th
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 29 5:57 PM
    • 0 Attachment
      Mark Swaney wrote:

      > The question is though, when and who and why did the magic squares get
      > assigned to the planets? An interesting point is that there is no planet
      > with the number 1 or 2, (there is no magic square of two.) The best
      > speculation is that the assignments were made by the Arabs, because it is
      > known that the Arabs incorporated Magic Squares with their Astrological
      > calculations. It is the classical position (such as has been researched -
      > meaning NOT MUCH) that Magic Square esotericism passed to the West from the
      > Arabs in about the 13th century.
      >

      Here is a quote from page 377 of William Eisen's The Cabalah of Astrology (1986)

      "Eventually Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos was translated into Arabic in the 8th century
      by the Jewish astrologer Al Batrig Mashallah of Baghdad, and for the next 500
      years, up until the middle of the 13th century, [Ralph William] Holden [in his
      book The Elements of House Division, 1977,] traces the passing of the
      astrological torch into the hands of the great Muslim astrologers. A renowned
      school of astronomy and astrology was established in Baghdad and flourished for
      many years. Among the most important literary works to be produced during this
      period was the Elements of Astrology, written by Al Biruni in the 11th century.
      This book carried the Equal House system of Ptolemy even further. These men
      thoroughly understood the value of the Solar Houses (where the Sun is placed at
      the ascendant, or at the East point in the chart), and they established a system
      of Arabian Points, or Parts. The position of the Moon then became the “Point of
      Fortune,” Mercury the “Point of Commerce,” Venus the “Point of Love,” etc. The
      houses in which these sensitive points appeared, when compared with the actual
      houses of the birth chart, thus enhanced the over-all interpretation of the
      horoscope to a remarkable degree."

      Mark wrote in his history summay:

      "Al-Buni was an Arab mathematician that worked
      on magic squares and also believed in the mystical properties of magic
      squares, though no details on this number mysticism are available.
      Al-Buni did his work on the squares about 1200 AD. Sources have also
      referred to the Arabs using magic squares in making astrological
      calculations and predictions, again no details are given. The
      association of the squares with astrology and the heavens appears to be
      original with the Arabs, but again, much is unknown concerning the
      Indian tradition."

      Is the Al Biruni mentioned by Eisen the Al-Buni Mark is referring to?

      Maybe not if Al-Biruni worked in the 11th century (1000-1099) and Al-Buni worked
      around 1200 AD.

      Two points:

      1. The translation of the Tetrabiblos was done by a *Jewish* astrologer and we
      know that later the rabbi of Damascus was deep into magic square Kabbalah
      mysticism around 1500. Further the magic square references in Aggrippa's The
      Occult Philosophy show associations with Hebrew, indicating a Jewish source. We
      can conclude that even if the Arabs originally assigned the squares to the
      planets, there was an interchange of ideas going on between Arab and Jewish
      mystical astrologer-mathematicians.

      2. The place of this syncretism was probably in Baghdad. Now Baghdad is in
      Mesopotamia, the site of the ancient civilizations of Sumeria and Babylonia
      where the order of the planets used in assigning the magic squares was first
      worked out.

      A quotation from John Opsopas:

      4 9 2 Magic Square of 3
      3 5 7
      8 1 6
      According to the Theory of Balance attributed to 8th century Muslim alchemist
      Jabir ibn Hayyan (based on 3rd century works
      by Zosimos and others), the Cosmos and everything in it is made from the numbers
      1, 3, 5, 8, 17 and 28; they are the
      foundation of all matter, of every science, and even of any possible language.
      The first four numbers were assigned by the
      Jabirian alchemists to the elements, 1=fire, 3=earth, 5=water, 8=air. The sum of
      these is 17, which is the fifth number. The
      Gnomon, which gives the larger square, sums to 4+9+2+7+6 = 28, the sixth number,
      the second Perfect Number.

      He also has some comments on the Chinese use of the Lo Shu square.

      Chinese knowledge of the Saturn Square is shown by the ground plan of the
      Ming-T'ang temple, which was built in A.D. 56.
      However, as Stapleton (Antiq. Alch. 15) says, "a much greater antiquity for this
      form of temple is indicated, firstly, by a temple
      of this plan being essential for Imperial worship, and, secondly, that in the
      7th century B.C., during the time of the warring
      Lords, it was believed to have been used by Wu, the alleged founder of the Chou
      dynasty in 1025 B.C., when sacrificing to his
      ancestors. Moreover, if this tradition be correct, the Magic Square form of
      temple may ultimately be of Scythian origin,
      introduced at this time from Bactria, or ancient Iran, with the foreign
      mercenaries from the West, to whose help Wu owed his
      success in establishing a new dynasty." (From Bactria it may be traceable back
      to Mesopotamia.)

      The Ming-T'ang had twelve stations for the monthly "Proclamation of Space and
      Time." There is one station for each line
      segment on the perimeter of the square, that is, two for each corner (even)
      square, one for each side (odd)
      square. The eight squares on the perimeter represent the eightfold year (3 =
      vernal equinox, 9 = summer solstice, 7 = autumnal
      equinox, 1 = winter solstice). The central square corresponds to the additional
      days of the year beyond the twelve lunar months
      represented by the twelve line segments of the outer squares. Thus the Son of
      Heaven visited the central room of the temple
      (numerically 5, the Emblem of the Center) at "the end of summer - a critical
      period when the transition was made from the yang
      seasons to the yin seasons" (Granet, Rel. Ch. 67). Alternately, the twelve line
      segments of the perimeter can represent the solar
      year and the zodiac. Thus the representation of Time; the temple also
      represented Space by assigning 8+3 = east, 4+9 = south,
      2+7 = west, 6+1 = north (the same four numbers as the elements, though not the
      same pairs of squares); opposing directions
      balance to 20, as do opposing elements. (Granet, Rel. Ch. 66-8; Stapleton,
      "Antiq. Alch.")

      Blofeld (I Ching, 218) says that mankind once understood how the Lo-Shu Square
      is connected with the (apparently illogical)
      Later Heaven Sequence of the I Ching, but that it has been forgotten and now
      only the gods know it. I certainly have not been
      able to find it. (The connection established by Hacker (41) seems to me to be
      contrived, although it is remarkable enough that
      any connection can be established at all.)


      Dan W.
    • david seth melchert
      ... Dan et al: I forwarded this to my brother, Christopher, who is a medieval Islamic scholar. He wrote: Biruni is famous. I ll send you a copy of the article
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 14, 2000
      • 0 Attachment
        Dan Washburn wrote:

        > Mark Swaney wrote:
        >
        > >
        >
        > "Al-Buni was an Arab mathematician that worked
        > on magic squares and also believed in the mystical properties of magic
        > squares, though no details on this number mysticism are available.
        > Al-Buni did his work on the squares about 1200 AD. Sources have also
        > referred to the Arabs using magic squares in making astrological
        > calculations and predictions, again no details are given. The
        > association of the squares with astrology and the heavens appears to be
        > original with the Arabs, but again, much is unknown concerning the
        > Indian tradition."
        >
        > Is the Al Biruni mentioned by Eisen the Al-Buni Mark is referring to?
        >
        > Maybe not if Al-Biruni worked in the 11th century (1000-1099) and Al-Buni worked
        > around 1200 AD.
        >

        Dan et al:

        I forwarded this to my brother, Christopher, who is a medieval Islamic scholar. He
        wrote:

        Biruni is famous. I'll send you a copy of the article from _The
        Encyclopaedia of Islam_. Buni is not famous. One reference work I have
        here in my office says that the name indicates origin in a town in Africa;
        i.e., modern Tunisia. Several men by that name are mentioned but none that
        would likely have worked with magical texts in Ethiopic languages.

        From "Encyclopedia Iranica" 1985, here are a few things I gather:

        Biruni - or al-Biruni [bee-roo-nee, accent on 2nd syllable] lived 973 - 1050. He was
        from a region near the south end of the Aral Sea, but served in various courts in
        Persia, eventually residing in what is now Afganistan. His learning was truly vast -
        he wrote something like 180 books and treatises covering mathematics, astronomy,
        history, language, pharmacology, minerology, geography, and Indology. He traveled to
        India extensively during various invasions of that country. While there is no
        mention of magic squares in the references my brother sent, he is credited with
        advancing trigonometry, and was particularly known for his work calculating the
        positions of planets.

        Seth
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.