The Number 4

Initial manifestation of matter, primitive, imperfect, but stable material form, impulse towards further development

Triangle_pyramidSince 4 is an even number and can be divided by 2, it contains within itself the antagonism, the conflict and the confrontation of the number 2, but it takes it to a higher level. 4 is of course the product of 2 times 2 and thus it can be said that its symbol is the square. The square represents a situation which is stable, permanent and enduring, but at the same time it may be limiting, restricting and inhibiting. Another typical symbol for the number 4 is the prison grid, which makes perfect squares. The number 4 is however raising the energy of the previous number 3. The number 3, which is represented by a unilateral triangle, exists only in a two dimensional reality and feels very comfortable and harmonious there, but it is not aware at all of the three-dimensional world around. On the other side, the number 4 can be represented by a pyramid with a unilateral triangle as a base and three exactly the same triangles as sides. Such a figure comprises 4 triangles, which are exactly the same and which form a three-dimensional pyramid. Therefore 4 is the first number, which can be depicted as a three-dimensional figure. Or if we want to formulate the same statement with other words we can say that the number 4 can be regarded as a symbol of the three-dimensional, material world in which we all live.

However 4 is still a very small number, thus it operates on a very low level. For this reason from the perspective of the number 4, it looks like the material conditions are already created, but the spirit locked in these material conditions finds them extremely restrictive and suffers enormously. The enlightenment of the spirit and the break-away of the restrictions of the material reality will happen later on, when we reach the larger numbers, which can be divided by 4 (for example 16, 32 and 64), but on the level of the number 4 this is still impossible. On a more mundane level, two partners that live on a street with number 4 may find themselves in a situation, which looks very stable, permanent and committed. There are no signs that the relationship will ever break up – quite the opposite the relationships seems stable, certain rules are established and everybody seems to follow a well defined line of behaviour. However, the partners in this relationship may feel as prisoners in this situation, and may secretly wish to break away.

rosecr_crossThe number 4 can also be represented with a cross. The cross is essentially dividing the space into four quadrants. It is not coincidental that Christians borrowed this figure as a symbol of their faith. Christianity and the cross as a major representation of this religion are synonymous for suffering and self-sacrifice. It is also a universal symbol of faith, destiny and the relationship between the man and the cosmos. The horizontal bar of the cross divides the space into two parts. The upper part symbolizes the spiritual world, the lower part symbolizes matter. Therefore, in the number 4 we can see for the first time the spirit incarnated in the matter. While the number 3 is still living purely in the spiritual world (represented by the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), in the number 4 we see the spirit incarnated in material form for the first time. The first contact with the matter is shocking for the spirit – it finds it too restrictive compared to the freedom that it used to have in the spiritual world. Nevertheless, the spirit needs the matter in order to express itself and to learn about itself.

The vertical bar of the cross divides the space again into two parts – left and right. The right hand side represents masculinity and men, while the left hand side represent femininity and women. These two energies are equal in their strength (although in a different way) and any attempt to favour one side or the other leads to imbalance in the cross, which may have disastrous consequences. Both men and women originate from the Holy Trinity (represented by the previous number 3). The energy contained in the number 3 divides itself equally into two planes of existence in the number 4 (the spiritual and the material) and into two sexes, thus forming a cross. From an esoteric point of view it can be seen that the human spirit incarnates sequentially in both sexes; one can be a woman in this lifetime, but in the next lifetime will be incarnated as a man and the vice versa. Certain spiritual lessons can only be learned in one particular sex or the other. But similarly to the yin and yang symbol, where the black is contained within the white and the white is contained within the black, every single man possesses some female energy and every single woman possesses some male energy. Regardless of our sex however, the right-hand side of the body is where the male energy resides and the left-hand side of the body is where the female energy can be found. This is the reason why, when getting married in the church, the groom stands on the right hand side of the bride, while she stands on his left hand side.

yin-yangSince the number 4 is made up from 2 times 2, which as we said earlier represents confrontation, it can be said that the number 4 represents also confrontation, which is twofold. On one side there is the confrontation between the spiritual and the material and on the other side there is the opposition between men and women. In reality however, since everything in the Universe stems from 1, it only appears that we deal with oppositions, but actually the opposites attract, complement and need each other. Number 4 is very symmetrical by definition. 4 = 2 X 2 and also 4 = 2 + 2 and so any deviation from the symmetry leads to distortion and great suffering. The purpose of this number is to bring stability and solidity and thus any attempt to favour one side of the cross more than the other leads to disastrous consequences. On a personal level, this happens when people become imbalanced – for example when they become too spiritual, but neglect the needs of their physical body or when they care only about their physical needs, but forget totally about their spiritual development. The same thing happens when people decide that one sex is “better” than the other, and begin to favour it through legislation or by any other means. What such people do not understand is that even if they manage to live in privileged circumstances in this lifetime in one particular sex or another, the inexorable law of karma inevitably will make them to be incarnated in the body of the opposite sex in their next life-time, so they can experience for themselves the consequences of the imbalance of the cross.

The number 4 remembers the harmony of the number 3 (4 = 3 + 1), and so it desires to reach a similar state again, but it does not have the proper means to do so. Almost every attempt of the number 4 to reach the spiritual world leads to failure, since in this number the spirit is by definition very rigidly locked into the matter. However, many of its attempts bring constructive and practical results, which were not expected initially and this is the greatest potential of this number. The attempts of the number 4 to fly high in the spiritual world are almost always unsuccessful, because this number is bound to be perfectly symmetrical – it cannot grow too much vertically, neither horizontally in either direction, but it has to remain locked in a stable, symmetrical structure, represented by the cross, or the square. Thus, the best what we can obtain from the number 4 is the impulse towards the further development, which eventually brings concrete, practical, although not refined results on the material plane.

In astrology the number 4 is represented by 4 planets located symmetrically in a wheel and thus forming a perfect square and at the same time the diagonals of the square form a cross between them. The sides of the cross are all negative aspects, which are called “squares” and the diagonals of the square are also tense aspects, called “oppositions”. Both aspects are very powerful and stressful and lead to a lot of tension and anxiety in the areas of life, denoted by the planetary positions in signs and astrological houses. Such symmetrical figure does not appear often in an astrological chart, but when it does is referred to as “a grand cross”. The grand cross can be described with one quality. This is known as the “make or break” pattern, since people having it are either extremely brave, energetic, powerful and successful, often overcoming great obstacles to win – or they cannot cope with the powerful energy locked in this configuration and crumble. Another important application of the number 4 in astrology are the 4 elements – the fire, the earth, the air and the water which form the very foundations of this science.

4 = 2 + 2. Number 2 represents antagonism, which cannot be resolved. In the addition to the initial antagonism, which was purely in the material plane, now we have antagonism on a higher level, i.e. the conflict between the material world and the spiritual world and the conflict between the two sexes.

4 = 1 + 3. The absolute energy, represented by the number 1 gets incarnated in the very imperfect and primitive forms of the initial, material manifestation represented by the number 4. This is causing great distortions of the spiritual forms, but nevertheless this too is part of the great plan (the number 3)

 4 = 3 + 1. The number 4 goes outside the limits of the number 3 and gets to another dimension (3D), but at this stage it looks like this will be a difficult process, with very long adaptation time.