January 22, 2010

Sacred Number 7Seven ~ Did You Know…?

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.
– French Proverb

Sacred Number Seven

Seven is commonly thought of as a mystic or sacred number. It is four and three, which were considered lucky numbers by Pythagoras

A few days ago, I celebrated my 49th sun and 50th moon cycles. Being Chinese, I look at our traditional system of aging and based on the Chinese lunar calendar, I am 50 and my birthday passed in December, but according to the Western Gregorian calendar, my birth date is in January, and I am 49.

Now this is a basic question – how old are you?
Yet I am not sure…

So this has made me think of movement of life and the meaning of numbers. Turning 50 has always been celebrated in Western culture as a significant passage – it’s half a century, and in ancient times, we were closer to death than to life.

So on my 7 x 7 Jubilee year, I wanted to share some sweet sacred sevens…enjoy!


In the Bible there are Seven days of Genesis, Seven days in the week, Seven graces, Seven deadly sins, Seven years of famine, Seven years of plenty, Seven divisions in the Lord’s Prayer and Seven gifts of the Holy Ghost

In the Apocalypse, there are Seven Churches of Asia , Seven candlesticks, Seven stars, Seven trumpets, Seven spirits, Seven horns, Seven vials, Seven plagues, Lamb with Seven eyes and a Seven-headed monster. Seventy Israelites go to Egypt with an exile lasting Seventy years, there are Seventy elders, Seventy languages and Seventy nations upon earth.

Seven Last Words are the last utterance of Christ on the cross – “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Mark 15:34 and Matt. 27:46

Ancient Hebrews had Seven names of God: El, Elohim, Adonai, Yhwh (Jehovah), Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyer, Shaddai, and Zebaot.

Every Seventh year was sabbatical, and Seven times Seven years is the jubilee, along with Seven days being the celebration of weddings and mourning for the dead.

The three great Jewish feasts Rosh Hashanah (New Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Sukkot (Festival of Booths) last Seven days; and between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are Seven weeks. The Talmud has Seven stages in the life of man, and the Seventh son of a Seventh son is thought to have mystical and magical powers.

Biblical purifications last Seven days; Balaam had Seven alters, and sacrificed Seven bullocks and Seven rams; Naaman dipped Seven times in the Jordan river; Elijah prayed Seven times, and sent his servant Seven times to look for rain.

Seven Deadly Sins – pride, covetousness, lust, gluttony, anger, envy and sloth

Seven Principal Virtues – faith, hope, charity, prudence, temperance, chastity and fortitude

Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost – wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, godliness and fear of the Lord.


Arabians have Seven holy temples and Persian legends talk of Seven caverns which aspirants must pass in Seventy years.

In Egypt, Seven is sacred to Osiris and there are Seven Hothors who predict or bestow a newborn’s fate. Pharaoh had a dream where he saw Seven years for his wives, and Seven priests with Seven trumpets marched round Jericho once every day, but Seven times on the Seventh day.

Samson’s wedding feast lasted Seven days; on the Seventh he told his bride the riddle, he was bound Seven times, and Seven locks of his hair were cut off.

Nebuchadnezzar was a beast for Seven years. Astrologers and alchemists recognized Seven planets, and there are many ancient theories connecting Seven with the human body and phases of development and formation

In Greco-Roman mythology,  Apollos harp has Seven strings, and according to Orphic legends, was torn into Seven pieces, and Pan has Seven reeds in his pipe.

Seven Sages Name were given by Greek tradition to Seven men of practical wisdom ~ statesmen, law-givers, and philosophers – Solon of Athens, Thales of Miletus, Pittacus of Mitylene, Cleobulus of Rhodes, Chilon of Sparta, Bias of Priene, and Periander of Corinth.

Arabians have Seven holy temples and Persian legends talk of Seven caverns which aspirants must pass in Seventy years.

In Egypt, Seven is sacred to Osiris and there are Seven Hothors who predict or bestow a newborn’s fate. A whirling dervish turns Seven times toward heaven before spinning

Pharaoh had a dream where he saw Seven years for his wives; Seven priests with seven trumpets marched round Jericho once every day, but Seven times on the Seventh day.

Samson’s wedding feast lasted Seven days; on the Seventh he told his bride the riddle, he was bound Seven times, and Seven locks of his hair were cut off.


Snow White had Seven Dwarfs helping her and there is The Island of the Seven Cities. This is a land of Spanish folklore where Seven bishops founded Seven cities. The legend says that whoever visits the island never leaves it.

A collection of tales, Seven Wise Mastersis about a sultans sons education in the Seven liberal arts by Seven wise masters. Also known as The Seven Viziers, The Story of the Seven Sages, or Sinbadnameh. During Seven days when the prince was ordered to maintain silence, his stepmother tried to seduce him. Having failed, she tried to accuse the prince and sought to bring his death by telling Seven stories. Each of her narratives was confuted by Seven sages, who in turn told their tales.  There are versions of these tales and the oldest text is in The Thousand and One Nights

A traditional English rhyme:

As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with Seven wives.

Each wife had Seven sacks, Each sack had Seven cats,

Each cat had Seven kits, Kits, cats, sacks, wives–

How many were going to St. Ives?

Seven Dwarfs – are two S’s, two D’s, and three emotions.
S’s: Sleepy and Sneezy; D’s: Dopey and Doc; emotions: Happy, Bashful, and Grumpy.


The Hawthorne tale House of Seven Gables is considered a classic of American literature.

Shakespeare made literary reference to Seven in King Lear and his most frequently quoted line is from “as You Like It”, and refers to the  Seven ages of man: infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon, and second childhood, “sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”.


Seven Champions are the mediaeval patron saints of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Spain, and Italy – 1) St. George of England was Seven years imprisoned by Almidor, the black king of Morocco 2) St. Denys of France lived Seven years in the form of a hart 3) St. James of Spain was Seven years dumb out of love for a fair Jewess 4) St. Anthony of Italy, was enchanted into deep sleep and released by St. George’s sons, who quenched the Seven lamps 5) St. Andrew of Scotland delivered six ladies who had lived Seven years in the form of white swans 6) St. Patrick of Ireland was in a cell where he scratched his own grave 7) St. David of Wales slept Seven years in the enchanted garden of Ormandine

Early Rome was ruled by a succession of Seven kings. 1) Romulus (founder of the city) 2) Numa Pompilius 3)Tullus Hostilius 4) Ancus Martius 5) Tarquinius Priscus 6) Servius Tullius 7) Tarquinius Superbus

Seven Year’s War (1756-1763) against Fredrick the Great of Prussia was waged by France, Austria, and Russia. England.


Seven Senses – the “inward holy body” are Seven properties under the influence of Seven planets. Fire animates, earth gives feeling, water gives speech, air gives taste, mist gives sight, flowers give hearing and the south wind gives smelling. Seven senses are animation, feeling, speech, taste, sight, hearing, and smelling.

In Buddhism Seven represents ascent toward the spiritual center which happens in Seven stages. Muslims have Seven heavens and a whirling dervish turns Seven times toward heaven before spinning.

Seven Heavens is a concept of ultimate spiritual bliss based upon the Koran. Muslims believe Allah created Seven heavens, on above another, and the Prophet Muhammed was carried there on his horse Borak.

The Muhammadan Seventh Heaven, is said to be “beyond the power of description.” One goes after death to the Heaven earned on earth, and the Seventh Heaven, ruled by Abraham, is the ultimate one, a region of pure light lying above the others, the Heaven of Heavens.

In India, there are Seven Chakras (energy centers) in the body which correspond to states of consciousness, developmental stages of life, archetypal elements, body functions, colors, sounds, and more. They formulatewholeness and are a template for transformation.

Japanese have Seven gods of luck known as Shichi-fuku-jin. They are comical deities depicted on a treasure ship. The Shichi-fuku-jin are personifications of earthly happiness in Japanese folk religion.

  • Hotei ~ laughing Buddha of mirth and merriment
  • Bishamonten ~ watchman
  • Fukurokuju ~ god of longevity
  • Jurojin ~ god of scholorship
  • Daikoku ~ god of nutrition
  • Ebisu ~ god of fishing
  • Benzaiten ~ goddess of music

7 More Sevens

Seven Liberal Arts – classification of educational curriculum in the West during the Middle Ages, from late fifth century AD onwards. The name ‘liberal arts’ originates with Aristotle who talks of the basic knowledge needed for a properly educated citizen. They were divided into the trivium: grammar (i.e. literature), rhetoric, and dialectic, and the advanced quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

Seven Lamps of Architecture by John Ruskin, published in 1849 – Sacrifice, Truth, Power, Beauty, Life, Memory, and Obedience.

Seven Seas – Arctic and Antarctic, North and South Pacific, North and South Atlantic, and the Indian Ocean.

Seven Natural Wonders of the World – 1) Mt. Everest 2) Victoria Falls 3) The Grand Canyon 4) The Great Barrier Reef.5) The Northern Lights.6) Paricutin 7) The Harbor at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – 1) Pyramids at Giza, Egypt 2)The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Asia Minor 3) The Colossus of Rhodes 4) The Hanging Gardens of Babylon 5) The Statue of Zeus at Olympia 6) The Pharos of Alexandria 7) Mausoleum at Halicamassus, Asia Minor

Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages – 1) The Colosseum of Rome 2) The Catacombs of Alexandria, Egypt 3) The Great Wall of China 4) Stonehenge 5) The Leaning Tower of Pisa 6) The Porcelain Tower of Nanking 7) The Mosque of Hagia Sophia

The Seven-year itch has been synonymous for sexual desire since 1660. When first recorded in 1899, it meant “a type of itch allegedly requiring Seven years of healing.” Influenced by the sense of itch as a metaphor for sexual desire, it came to mean a married persons urge to roam after Seven years of marriage, a meaning popularized by The Seven Year Itch (1955) with Marilyn Monroe.

Hope all y’all had fun with these numbers….I did!

The years between fifty and Seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down.
– T.S. Eliot


CORA WEN grew up in a traditional Chinese household in Asia and the West, and took refuge in the Buddha as a teen. After sowing wild oats in New York City throug the late 70s, she had 2 successful careers in Fashion and Banking. She spent her childhood in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Switzerland, Australia and the US, and has travelled extensively in Southeast Asia. Since 1994, Cora has taught Yoga internationally, mentored by America’s most influential Yoga lineage. She has been dedicated since 2002 in support of indigenous culture for exiled Tibetan people and Cambodian land mine victims. www.corawen.com ERYT500 Yoga Alliance CYT Internatianal Association of Yoga Therapists

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