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666: A Kabalistic Interpretation

Sep 19, 1995 09:44 AM
by jrcecon

 The Number of the Beast:
 An intuitive interpretation by a mediocre Kabalist
 [With apologies to Alan (-:) - who could probably do a far
 clearer exposition of the topic].

 "He that has understanding, let him count the number of the
beast, for it is the number of man, and this number is six
hundred sixty six".
 Probably one of the best known lines from the New Testament,
and probably one of the single most misinterpreted. The
Revelation of John, received by him on the island of Patmos in
68-69 AD, was written as Nero's brutalizations of the Christians
were at their peak and is full of all the fire of a true mystic,
combined with the intense paranoia of the persecuted.
 It also, however, seems to have something beyond its
particular time - a transcendent quality that has caused people
in virtually every generation to read it as though it applied
precisely to the times *they* were living in ... and to attempt
to apply its metaphorical imagry to the particulars of the times
(hard to resist - in fact once, after a particularly expensive
tune-up, I figured out a permutation of my mechanic's name that
added up to 666, and thereby attempted to convince him that *he*
was, in fact, the beast (-:).
 Like Ezekial, Song of Songs, Genesis and etc., there is the
implication of some sort of key throughout the text. To say "666"
seems to imply that there is a system of numbers within which the
statement will make sense - else it is simply an arbitrary piece
of lunacy ... why 666, why not 777, or 23?
 What follows here is a stab at a possible interpretation.

 It's hard, I s'pect, in modern times, to fully understand
languages in which number and letter are integrated concepts ...
it implies a whole different way of understanding meaning.
Beginning with the Greeks (in the western world at least),
mystery schools emphasized the study of mathematics as a means
training the minds of pupils. To think in numbers orients the
mind at a particular angle towards the world, and seems to be
able to reveal patterns in the world that thinking with words
 Perhaps, to some of those old mystics, numbers were more
than the means to count objects or measure spaces, but were
actually philosophical *concepts*, and mathematics not a means of
simply solving problems, but of making philosophical arguments.
This mode of thought still survives in (for instance) the Tarot
 Every situation, for instance a relationship (which would be
the suit of cups), has an "Ace", or one ... the entirety of the
relationship; a "two" ... the duality, the man and the woman; a
"three"... the interaction between the two; a "four" ... the
patterns those interactions inevitably begin to form and which
form the structure of the relationship; a "five" ... the
catabolic energy that periodically upsets those structures
(uncomfortable, but necessary ... or else permutations of the
first form of a relationship would be all that was ever
possible); a "six" ... or the harmony achieved between the
structuring of the "four" and the dissolving effects of the
"five" (and healthy relationships always have some aspects that
are growing and some that are dissolving).... etc., etc.
 Point is, thinking in terms of numbers allows patterns to be
glimpsed at multiple scales. This, I think, may be the first
relevent part of the verse: The text instructs the reader to
"count the number...", but then just states the number (666),
which would be analogous to a math teacher saying "solve this
problem" and then in the next breath mentioning the solution -
unless the injunction to "count" meant something else ... perhaps
to "count" might mean to *engage in the thinking process
associated with numerical philosophy*. That is, it is not
arriving at the answer that is the point, but rather the
subjective state induced by unpacking the philosophical
"statement" named by "666". Here's my shot at "counting" ...

 666: Two different concepts to unfold here ... the fact of
the "6", and the fact that the 6 is extended into the hundreds.
 The 6: the number of tension between opposites having
achieved equality ... but not resolution. It is the interlaced
triangles that form "Solomon's Seal" ... the triad pulling upward
towards the spiritual, and that pulling downward towards the
flesh; it is the incomplete dialectic - thesis and antithesis
with no synthesis; it is the apparently irreconcilable tension
between the rock and the hard place, between extropy and entropy,
between the mortal and the immortal, between matter and spirit.
 The extension into the hundreds: The Kabalists speak of four
worlds (roughly translated) the Archetypal, the Creative, the
Formative, and that of physical manifestation. The Archetypal is
measured in single digits (1,2,3, etc); the Creative in tens (10,
20, 30, etc.) the Formative in the 100's (100, 200, etc.) and the
terrestrial in the 1000's. This means, for instance, that when a
Hebrew God name is mentioned in the Kabala, both a name *and* the
*philosophical statement inherent in the number* (as in Hebrew
every letter has a number associated with it) is being stated.
IHVH, for instance, is also the number 26.
 A means of grasping the scales (1's, 10's, 100's, and
1000's) purely at the physical level might be to see the scale at
which the Sun works as the Archetypal, the scale of planetary
events as the Creative, the scale of (on earth) local and
regional systems as the Formative, and the scale of individual
lifeforms as the Terrestrial. To see the system in motion,
imagine, for instance, one huge solar flare shooting out from the
sun (a "single digit" event). This will cause, as it hits the
planets (and in this example, earth) dozens of alterations in the
immense biosperic systems (global electromagnitism, weather
patterns, the catalysis of faster chemical reactions in the
atmosphere, the alteration of the nitrogen, carbon and oxygen
cycles, etc.) ... which are at the scale of "tens". These dozens
of changes in the Creative world leads to hundreds of changes at
the scale of individual ecosystems ... individual lakes alter,
forest ecosystems alter their food webs etc. Finally, these
hundreds of changes produce thousands of changes at the
Terrestrial (individual) level ... individal plants, animals (and
humans) find their individual lives affected.
 Now if this general idea, instead of being looked at
"horizontally" (i.e., all within the physical world) is instead
imagined *vertically* ... we might imagine (for instance) one
"action" (incomprehensible as it is to us) in the present moment
by the Dhyani Chohans causing dozens of "actions" by those we
term "Masters" (each voluntarily embodying one aspect of
originating impulse - and perhaps, for instance, initiating a
current like the Theosophical Society, or an ideology like
democracy, or a particular movement in the arts etc.) - which
causes hundreds of actions, unfolded over centuries, on the
part of the leadership of the human kingdom, which finally
manifests as the final effects on thousands of individual lives.
 *Now*, what does it mean that "666" is the number of the
beast *and* the number of man? In this scheme, 666 is the
statement of the ideas embedded in "6" on the scale of hundreds
..i.e., the "Formative" world, or, the scale above the
Terrestrial (that of individual lifeforms completely subject to
their environment), and beneath that of the Creative (the scale
at which huge planetary impulses work).
 It suggests a type of consciousness that stands in the midst
of the struggle between the sprirtual and the physical, and
expresses this duality at the scale of the Formative world. In
pragmatic terms, this type of consciousness could well be called
the *human rational mind* ... which was really only being born at
the time John was writing (the vast majority of most populations
were still illiterate, largely unschooled, and not trained to do
what a modern human would term "reasoning" - and John clearly
caught a glimpse of the ramifications of this becoming
widespread). The rational mind (probably could be related to the
"lower manas" in Theosophical terminology) sits *precisely*
between spirit and matter. It is the ceiling under which the
animal lives, and the floor upon which the Spirit stands.
 John, I believe, was seeing the immanent rise of this mind,
and understood that it would accomplish the transformation of the
human kingdom from a kingdom living largely in the Terrestrial
world (i.e., totally subject to local environmental, cultural,
and spiritual conditions) to one claiming control over the
*Formative* world ... i.e., capable of imposing *control* over
the Terrestrial world. And as he so poetically put it, the number
"666" is *both* the number of the "beast *and* the number of
 When that mind is used *by the animal for animal ends*, it
becomes beastly beyond conception ... because the animal has
access to powers of the Formative world (which the animal kingdom
does *not* have). For an animal to battle with its own kind, to
generate focussed violence, to battle to get the greatest amount
of food, is not "evil" in any sense of the word ... it is the
animal being an animal. When, however, those same impulses are
given access to the reasoning mind, territorial disputes come to
be fought with chemical, biological, and even nuclear weaponary;
the urge for "more food" turns into greed, and causes
environmental devastation far beyond anything an animal species
(with the limited abilities of the Terrestrial world) is capable
of. In this sense, "666" truely *is* the "number of the beast".
 666 also, however, is the number of "man" ... and becomes so
when the concrete human mind, and the powers of the Formative
world it has access to, *assumes the responsibilities appropriate
to its position in the great Chain of Being*. It implies that the
*planetary* Formative world has achieved self-consciousness, and
is hence capable of evolutionary leaps, because the collective
concrete human mind can also choose to *delibrately respond to
the impulses transmitted to it from the Creative world* - to give
the final *form* to the pure impulses of spirit generated by the
Dhyani Chohans and formulated by the "Masters" ... and hence the
planet as a whole becomes sort of "tuned" by a tuning fork, and
thus becomes not a battleground, but a smoothly unfolding
manifestation of the Grand Design. In short, human reason can
allow spiritual impulses to manifest with far greater and
more refined precision than they could without that mind, but can
also permit the beast to achieve devastation on a scale beyond
the conception of even the most paranoid among us.

 So, it is rather a waste of time to try to find a *person*
whose name "adds up" to 666 ... or to point to actual physical
things that happen to the number 6 associated with them
(frreeeoooo! *damn* good thing Social Security numbers are nine
digits instead of six, or the conspiracy theorists would be
having coronaries right now (-:) - because this was *not* the
level at which John was writing. The "revelation" does not refer
to a *particular* time with particular events caused by a
specific individual person, but rather refers to an *ongoing*
revelation unfolding on the scale of centuries.
 This is perhaps the final point. I believe John had reached
the mode of consciousness associated with the Creative, rather
than the Formative world - he was thinking at the *scale* of the
Masters, and was doing his damndest to attempt to express this
enormous scale of thought in the terms of human language ... a
product of the *Formative* world. And this means it is nothing
less than gross distortion to *interpret* the revelation at the
Formative or Terrestrial scales ... that is, it is not about a
revolution in a particular religion or culture (the Formative
level - at which, for instance, it will be taken to mean that
"Christians" are saved while all others suffer tortures) nor is
it about tiny events at the individual scale (the Terrestrial
level - at which, for instance, microchips embedded in animals to
help pet owners find lost pets is somehow construed as being
related to the mark of the beast). John is speaking *from* the
Creative world about the *effects*, on the *entirety* of the
Formative world, of the rise and widespread distribution of the
human reason. John is not telling us to find a guy whose name
adds to 666, he is telling us to "count the number", i.e., to
engage in a particular sort of contemplation that of its own
accord directs the mind itself towards thinking *about* becoming
responsive to the Creative world ... which prepares it to
actually *become* responsive - that is, to *enter* the
 The last thing to mention here may be one of the most
bizarre ramifications of the revelation. The Revelation *itself*,
and even the number 666, is coming to be used by *those driven by
cloaked animal impulses - fear, territorialism, "us vs. them"
mentality - to further the ends of those impulses*. The
revelation itself is being used by fundamentalists to get *money
from followers* ("its the end times! our mission needs your help!
send money today!") - used by people who wish to degrade others,
by people wanting their particular religion to *win* over all
other religions (i.e., to *expand its territory*). That is (and
few paradoxes are as positively wonderful as this one!) ... there
are growing numbers of people who, by virtue of the way they are
*using* the concept of 666, are becoming perfect *manifestations*
of the very beast *described* by the concept.
 YeeeHaaaaaaa, as we say in Montana (-:). -JRC

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