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The man who writes books on a Thelema that no beast shall divine. Founding member of Ordo Astri, Thelemic Magical Collegium. Member of Ordo Typhonis since 2000 e.v. More articles and essays are posted at https://ordoastri.org/ and https://tantrika.co.uk/

Friday, 16 October 2015

The True Significance of 666

The mysterious number 666 is ubiquitous in popular culture and literature. The number has been subject to quasi-mystical and scholastic speculation for centuries. Uninformed opinion finds something singularly evil in the trinity of sixes—as if a number could possess moral values. Nonetheless, once a thing is repeated often enough it comes to be regarded as fact.

True Significance of 666: Blake, Whore of Babylon
The cryptic reference to the number 666 in the visionary narrative of St. John’s book of Revelation is the best-known example.
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding calculate the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”
Historians often construe the number, as given in the context of Revelation, as a cipher for the Roman Emperor Nero (NRVN QSR). In some versions of the text, the number is given as 616, which is a direct transliteration of the Latin name (NRV QSR). It is thought this was later changed to add to 666, so as to be solar and more universal. Biblical scriptures were redacted or adulterated over many centuries to conform to values arising from social, political and economic circumstances. As it is the magical context we are interested in here, the Qabalah can provide a basis for meaningful enquiry.

To put it poetically, the number 666 is a flower blooming in the desert at night. Mystic significance is discovered in meditation, not ordinary thought, which is as night to that which springs forth in the light of Gnosis. The word, ‘meditation’ is derived from the Latin verb, meditari, which has the root meaning of ‘measure’. The measure of a thing is the key of its value; hence, “He that hath wisdom shall count the number”.

Numbers are more than the expression of quantity; they are pure ideas, things in themselves. The number 6 will always be the number 6; it will never be 7 or 8 no matter where we are or how we think about it. When any idea, object, person or creature is considered as a separate thing in itself it is meaningless; isolation gives rise to all notions of hell. Nothing can be known unless other things are brought in to ‘measure’ it. When each thing is loved and understood, knowledge becomes wisdom. Love is about the relationship of things. The meaning of any object becomes apparent when known by another. According to the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL, I: 4,
Every number is infinite; there is no difference.
Numinous source or reality is veiled by all figures arising from the Abyss. It is time to “calculate the number of the beast”.

Magick of 666

6 x 6 = 36

Now we can add together all the numbers between 1 and 36.

∑ (1–36) = 666

Now divide 666 by 6.

666 ÷ 6 = 111

True Significance of 666: Kamea of the Sun
The Hermetic Tree of Life is a decimal system based on the Pythagorean Tetractys. The 6th number or sephira corresponds to the Sun as the visible centre of our immediate universe. The sephira is named Tiphereth, ‘Beauty’ or ‘Harmony’. The Kamea or ‘Magic Square’ of the number 6 is therefore considered to be the Kamea of the Sun, expressive of natural harmony.

The Kamea of the Sun, or 6, has 36 squares, 6 x 6. When we add each row or column, even the diagonal, it always adds to 111. The number 111 is that of Aleph spelled in full, ALP. Aleph is the Fool of Tarot or Spirit of Aethyr, and the beast (‘ox’) that turns the wheel of heavens. It is the Energy of the Work, defined by the equilibrium preserved through perpetual motion.[1]

Adding together every number in the Kamea results in 666, which is a trinity or triangulation of 6. The triangle is the measure of two other points and is the means of understanding through relationship, which is love under will.

The Sun is a symbol of Logos, the life-giving word. The number 666 therefore has an affinity with Chokmah or Sophia, ‘Wisdom’, the second sephira of the Tree. Logoidal emanations pass along the 14th path of Daleth, called the Luminous Intelligence, to become intelligible in Binah, the third number called ‘Understanding’. There is a Tree in every sphere, and it is the Tree of Tiphereth, the Word (or Sun) of Chokmah and Binah, that is the Tree of Eternity or Life.

The number of the beast is declared to be that of a man. It is said that King Solomon was paid a weight of 666 talents in gold per year (1 Kings, 10: 14). In ancient times, the number 666 was used to indicate a gold standard (‘pure gold’).

The number 666 is that of the ‘flaming sword which turned every way’. According to the biblical book of Genesis, 3: 24, the sword was placed East of Eden to prevent man from returning to the Garden of Eden.

The number 666 is also the number of a woman, though the fact is rarely mentioned. ‘Scarlet Woman’, AShH ShNI, adds to 666. The Scarlet Woman is the consort of the Beast or Dragon of Time, a metaphor for dual cosmic principles such as Shiva and Shakti, Sun and Moon, Eve and the Serpent. According to Liber AL, I: 16,
For he is ever a sun, and she a moon. But to him is the winged secret flame, and to her the stooping starlight.

Wisdom tells us that neither Eve nor Adam was ever banished from the supernal Eden by a vengeful Demiurge; we only have to realise the true state of affairs to escape the Evil Genius of Man that imprisons our consciousness in a fake construct he calls ‘reality’.

To know the spiritual Sun that is veiled by the material fire of the solar system, man must do a Great Work. The sacrifice required is that of giving time to meditation until the cessation of chaotic thoughts gives rise to a flower blooming in the desert at night.


1. Ursa Major, the Great Bear constellation, is the ‘beast’ that turns the wheel of the heavens, or appears to do so while always pointing to the Pole Star. Aleph, the ‘ox’ is therefore the symbol of whirling motion. The revolution of the heavens appears that way from the point of view of the earth, which rotates as she dances around the sun.

All Qabalistic references are taken from The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth.

© Oliver St. John 2015, 2019

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