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The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Palmer Hall
The tetrad–4–was esteemed by the Pythagoreans as the primogenial number, the root of all things, the fountain of Nature and the most perfect number. All tetrads are intellectual; they have an emergent order and encircle the world as the Empyreum passes through it. Why the Pythagoreans expressed God as a tetrad is explained in a sacred discourse ascribed to Pythagoras, wherein God is called the Number of Numbers. This is because the decad, or 10, is composed of 1, 2, 3, and 4. The number 4 is symbolic of God because it is symbolic of the first four numbers. Moreover, the tetrad is the center of the week, being halfway between 1 and 7. The tetrad is also the first geometric solid.
Pythagoras maintained that the soul of man consists of a tetrad, the four powers of the soul being mind, science, opinion, and sense. The tetrad connects all beings, elements, numbers, and seasons; nor can anything be named which does not depend upon the tetractys. It is the Cause and Maker of all things, the intelligible God, Author of celestial and sensible good, Plutarch interprets this tetractys, which he said was also called the world, to be 36, consisting of the first four odd numbers added to the first four even numbers, thus:
1 + 3 + 5 + 7 = 16
2 + 4 + 6 + 8 = 20
16 + 20 = 36
Keywords given to the tetrad are impetuosity, strength, virility, two-mothered, and the key keeper of Nature, because the universal constitution cannot be without it. It is also called harmony and the first profundity. The following deities partook of the nature of the tetrad: Hercules, Mercury, Vulcan, Bacchus, and Urania (one of the Muses).
The triad represents the primary colors and the major planets, while the tetrad represents the secondary colors and the minor planets. From the first triangle come forth the seven spirits, symbolized by a triangle and a square. These together form the Masonic apron.
The Pythagorians call the Number of four Tetractis, and prefer it before all the virtues of Numbers, because it is the foundation, and root of all other numbers; whence also all foundations, as well in artificial things, as natural, and divine, are four square, as we shall shew afterwards: and it signifies solidity, which also is demonstrated by a four square figure.
For the number four is the first four square plain, which consists of two proportions, whereof the first is of one to two, the latter of two to four, and it proceeds by a double procession and proportion, viz. of one to one, and of two to two, beginning at a unity, and ending at a quaternity: which proportions differ in this, that according to Arithmetic, they are unequal to one the other: but according to Geometry are equal.
Therefore a four square is ascribed to God the Father, and also contains the mystery of the whole Trinity: for by its single proportion, viz. by the first of one to one, the unity of the paternal substance is signified, from which proceeds one Son, equal to him; by the next procession, also simple, viz. of two to two, is signified by the second procession the Holy Ghost from both, that the Son be equal to the Father by the first procession; and the Holy Ghost be equal to both by the second procession.
Hence that super-excellent, and great name of the divine Trinity in God is written with four letters, viz. Iod, He, and Vau; He, where it is the aspiration He, signifies the proceeding of the spirit from both: for He being duplicated, terminates both syllables, and the whole name, but is pronounced Jove as some will, whence that Jovis of the heathen, which the Ancients did picture with four ears, whence the number four is the fountain, and head of the whole divinity.
And the Pythagorians call it the perpetual fountain of nature: for there are four degrees in the Scale of nature, viz. to be, to live, to be sensible, to understand.
There are four motions in nature, viz. ascendant, descendant, going forward, circular.
There are four Corners in the heaven, viz. rising, falling, the middle of the heaven, and the bottom of it.
There are four Elements under Heaven, viz. Fire, Air, Water, and Earth; according to these there are four triplicities in Heaven:
There are four first qualities under the Heaven, viz. Cold, Heat, Dryness, and Moistness, from these are the four Humours, Blood, Phlegm, Choller, Melancholy.
Also the year is divided into four parts, which are the Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter;
also the wind is divided into Eastern, Western, Northern, and Southern.
There are also four rivers of Paradise, and so many infernal.
Also the number four makes up all knowledge: first it fills up every simple progress of numbers with four terms, viz. with one, two, three, and four constituting the number ten.
It fills up every difference of numbers, the first even, and containing the first odd in it.
It hath in Music Diatessaron, the grace of the fourth voice.
Also it contains the instrument of four strings, and a Pythagorean Diagram, whereby are found out first of all musical tunes, and all harmony of Music. For Double, Treble, four times double, one and half, one and a third part, a concord of all, a double concord of all, of five, of four, and all consonancy is limited within the bounds of the number four.
It doth also contain the whole of Mathematics in four terms, viz. point, line, superficies, and profundity.
It comprehends all nature in four terms, viz. substance, quality, quantity, and motion.
Also all natural Philosophy, in which are the seminary virtues of nature, the natural springing, the growing form, and the compositum.
Also Metaphysics is comprehended in four bounds, viz. being, essence, virtue, and action.
Moral Philosophy is comprehended with four virtues, viz. prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance.
It hath also the power of justice: hence a fourfold law, of providence from God: fatal, from the soul of the world: of nature from Heaven: of prudence, from man.
There are also four judiciary powers in all things being, viz. the intellect, discipline, opinion, and sense.
It hath also great power in all mysteries.
Hence the Pythagorians did ratify the number four with an oath, as if it were the chiefest ground whereon their faith was grounded, and their belief might be confirmed. Hence it was called the Pythagorians oath, which is expressed in these verses.
I with pure minde by th number four do swear//
Thats holy, and the fountain of nature//
Eternall, parent of the mind–
Also there are four rivers of Paradise; four Gospels received from four Evangelists throughout the whole Church. The Hebrews received the chiefest name of God written with four letters. Also the Egyptians, Arabians, Persians, Magicians, Mahumitans, Grecians, Tuscans, Latines, write the name of God with only four letters, viz. thus, Thet, Alla, Sire, Orsi, Abdi, , Esar, Deus.
Hence the Lacedemonians were wont to paint Jupiter with four wings.
Hence also in Orpheus his divinity, it is said that Neptunes’ Chariots are drawn with four horses.
There are also four kinds of divine furies, proceeding from several deities, viz. from the Muses, Dionysus, Apollo, and Venus.
Also the Prophet Ezekiel saw four beasts by the river Chobar, and four Cherubims in four wheels.
Also in Daniel, four great beasts did ascend from the Sea, and four winds did fight.
And in the Revelations four beasts were full of eyes, before, and behind: standing round about the Throne of God, and four Angels, to whom was given power to hurt the Earth, and the Sea, did stand upon the four corners of the Earth, holding the four winds, that they should not blow upon the Earth, nor upon the Sea, nor upon any Tree.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Generation_and_Corruption and http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/a/aristotle/corruption/
Since, then, we are looking for originative sources of perceptible body; and since perceptible is equivalent to tangible, and tangible is that of which the perception is touch; it is clear that not all the contrarieties constitute forms and originative sources of body, but only those which correspond to touch. For it is in accordance with a contrariety-a contrariety, moreover, of tangible qualities-that the primary bodies are differentiated. That is why neither whiteness (and blackness), nor sweetness (and bitterness), nor (similarly) any quality belonging to the other perceptible contrarieties either, constitutes an element. And yet vision is prior to touch, so that its object also is prior to the object of touch. The object of vision, however, is a quality of tangible body not qua tangible, but qua something else-qua something which may well be naturally prior to the object of touch.
Accordingly, we must segregate the tangible differences and contrarieties, and distinguish which amongst them are primary. Contrarieties correlative to touch are the following: hot-cold, dry-moist, heavy-light, hard-soft, viscous-brittle, rough-smooth, coarse-fine.
Of these (i) heavy and light are neither active nor susceptible. Things are not called heavy and light because they act upon, or suffer action from, other things. But the elements must be reciprocally active and susceptible, since they combine and are transformed into one another.
On the other hand (ii) hot and cold, and dry and moist, are terms, of which the first pair implies power to act and the second pair susceptibility. Hot is that which associates things of the same kind (for dissociating, which people attribute to Fire as its function, is associating things of the same class, since its effect is to eliminate what is foreign), while cold is that which brings together, i.e. associates, homogeneous and heterogeneous things alike. And moise is that which, being readily adaptable in shape, is not determinable by any limit of its own: while dry is that which is readily determinable by its own limit, but not readily adaptable in shape.
From moist and dry are derived (iii) the fine and coarse, viscous and brittle, hard and soft, and the remaining tangible differences.
For (a) since the moist has no determinate shape, but is readily adaptable and follows the outline of that which is in contact with it, it is characteristic of it to be such as to fill up. Now the fine is such as to fill up. For the fine consists of subtle particles; but that which consists of small particles is* such as to fill up, inasmuch as it is in contact whole with whole-and the fine* exhibits this character in a superlative degree. Hence it is evident that the fine derives from the moist, while the coarse derives from the dry.
Again (b) the viscous derives from the moist: for the viscous (e.g. oil) is a moist modified in a certain way. The brittle, on the other hand, derives from the dry: for brittle is that which is completely dry-so completely, that its solidification has actually been due to failure of moisture.
Further (c) the soft derives from the moist. For soft is that which yields to pressure by retiring into itself, though it does not yield by total displacement as the moist does-which explains why the moist is not soft, although the soft derives from the moist. The hard, on the other hand, derives from the dry: for hard is that which is solidified, and the solidified is dry.
The terms dry and moist have more senses than one. For the damp, as well as the moist, is opposed to the dry: and again the solidified, as well as the dry, is opposed to the moist. But all these qualities derive from the dry and moist we mentioned first.
For (i) the dry is opposed to the damp: i.e. damp is that which has foreign moisture on its surface (sodden being that which is penetrated to its core), while dry is that which has lost foreign moisture. Hence it is evident that the damp will derive from the moist, and the dry which is opposed to it will derive from the primary dry.
Again (ii) the moist and the solidified derive in the same way from the primary pair. For moist is that which contains moisture of its-own deep within it (sodden being that which is deeply penetrated by foreign mosture), whereas solidigied is that which has lost this inner moisture. Hence these too derive from the primary pair, the solidified from th