Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What Does Number 7 Mean?

I received an email from a friend:

Thought you might be the person to advise me. What meaning has the number 7 in pagan history?
We have the 7 Deadly Sins, 7 days of the week, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T Lawrence...

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

I replied:

No particular significance, actually.  Or not in any broad, general way. 

One could look to what it means in Numerology, or to various legends and fairy stories such as the ones you mention, and to natural phenomena such as the 7 stars in the Pleiades constellation — but none of these is especially Pagan, and the meanings are limited to the particular context.

Pagans revere Nature. It's a spiritual path lacking dogma. We don't have gospels, and differentiate ourselves from what we call 'the book religions'.

It may be that some Ceremonial Magicians would include 7 among their magickal numbers, but I think that would be based on Numerology — if indeed they do so at all.

The 7th Sephiroth in the Qabalistic Tree of Life has its own meaning, but so does each of the others — and again, not all Pagans study the Qabala.

There are varieties of Pagan. My personal interest is in Wicca, Druidry and Shamanism, in other words the earthier varieties (though I have also studied Ceremonial Magick and Qabala).

I would say the number 7 has whatever meaning a particular person or group of people assigns it in a particular context. If there is a lot of agreement on a specific interpretation, e.g. the numerological, that belief would no doubt gather some energy and might therefore have observable effects.

Thanks for raising this interesting question! It's always good to have occasion to articulate one's thoughts.

What do my Pagan friends think? Have I missed something? Please comment if you think I've got it wrong or there's more to add.