Table of Contents – Number 4
- The Meaning of Number 4
- Number 4 – A Perfect Number
- The Four-Leaf Clover
- The Fourth Anniversary
- Astrology and the Tarot
- Pueblo People
- Book of Gates
- The 4 Castes in India
- Four Thieves Vinegar
- London Burned for 4 Days
- To be Hung, Drawn and Quartered
- 4 Round Churches in England
- The Fourth President
- Presidents Murdered
- A Quatrain
- Sonnet 4 By William Shakespeare
- Number 4 in the Bible
- Number 4 in Judaism
- Number 4 in Buddhism
- Number 4 in Buddhism – The Four Nobels Truths
- Number 4 in Mythology
The Meaning of Number 4
Number is the number of stability, order and completion of justice
Number 4 is the number of the earth and mankind.
Number 4 is the number of the square.
Number 4 symbolizes building a strong foundation.
There are four cardinal points:
North – South – East – West
There are four winds.
There are four phases of the moon.
There are four seasons.
In the West we have four elements: earth – air – fire – water.
Number 4 – A Perfect Number
The Pythagoreans believed the number four, the Tetrad, was a perfect number.
They taught that the Tetrad symbolized God.
In Pythagorean philosophy there are four parts to the soul:
mind – opinion – science – sense
The Four-Leaf Clover
The four-leaf clover is believed to bring luck to the finder,
especially if it is found unexpectedly. Each of the four leaves symbolizes something special:
hope – faith – love – Luck
The Fourth Anniversary
The fourth year anniversary is traditionally celebrated with fruits and flowers in the Western world.
Astrology and the Tarot
Cancer is the fourth astrological sign. June 22 – July 22 Number four is the number of Mars.
Number four is lucky for Leo and Scorpio.
In the Tarot the number four is the card of the Emperor.
The Emperor represents material goods and worldly authority.
Reversed it means immaturity.
Tetraphobia or the fear of number 4 is common in East Asia. You may especially notice Tetraphobia in China, Japan and Taiwan.
In these countries four is pronounced the same as the word for “death” (shi).
Many apartment and business buildings, hospitals, and hotels will skip the room and floor number four.
The same goes for the industry and their military vessels.
When visiting never give a present made up of four pieces, for example never give four flowers. That would be a huge insult.
The number four is sacred to the Pueblo people. The Zia Pueblo sun symbol is used on the flag of New Mexico, USA.
The four sets of four strips symbolizes: four seasons – four directions – four corners of the earth – four elements
Book of Gates
In the “Book of Gates” humans are divided into four different races: Egyptian – Asiatic – Libyan – Nubian
The 4 Castes in India
In India there were four different castes (classes).
Almost every person belonged to one of the four castes. This was determined by birth, you always belonged to the caste of your parents.
Some people were so unfortunate they did not belong to any caste, they were known as the “untouchables”. Today they are called the “Dalits”.
There were strict rules for what each caste could or could not do. Each caste also had many subcastes.
Even though the government now has outlawed the caste system, it is still practiced in many parts of India.
Being a vital part of the society of India for over two thousand years, it has proven to take time to change the way of life and thinking.
The four castes are:
Brahmins : priests, scholars and philosophers
Kshatriyas: warriors and rulers
Vaishyas: traders, merchants and farmers
Shudras: laborers and servants
Four Thieves Vinegar
Four thieves vinegar was a secret herb mix believed to be consumed by thieves during the plague in France.
These herbs were said to be the reason thieves could rob the sick and dead without getting sick themselves. The four herbs were thyme, lavender, sage and rosemary.
London Burned for 4 Days
The London fire lasted four days. It started on September 2, 1666 on Pudding Lane in the house of the King’s baker.
Over 13000 houses burned down and almost 90% of the City’s population lost their homes.
To be Hung, Drawn and Quartered
To be hung, drawn and quartered was the full punishment for high treason in medieval England.
The condemned prisoner was sentenced to be dragged on a wooden frame to the place of execution (drawn) be hanged by the neck until almost dead (hung) be beheaded and divided into four parts (quartered)
Edward Despard was the last person to be sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered on February 21, 1803.
4 Round Churches in England
There are only four round churches to be found in England.
1. Temple Church in London
2. The Round Church of St. Andrew the Great in Cambridge
3. The Holy Sepulchre in Northampton
4. Church of St. John the Baptist in Little Maplestead, Essex
The Fourth President
James Madison was the fourth president of the United States. 1809 – 1817.
He was the principal author of the US Constitution. Madison was only five feet four tall.
His wife, Dolly Todd was 17 years younger.
He owned a tobacco plantation in Virginia and had many slaves.
Four U.S. presidents have been killed in office.
1. Abraham Lincoln – April 15, 1865
2. James A. Garfield – September 19, 1881
3. William McKinley – September 14, 1901
4. John F. Kennedy – November 22, 1963
July 4th is “Independence Day” in the United States. 56 delegates signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776.
Two presidents died on July 4th 1826.
John Adams (2nd president of the US) and Thomas Jefferson (3rd president of the US) both died on the very same day.
James Monroe (5th President of U.S.) died July 4, 1831
A quatrain is a poem or stanza made up of four lines
The book “The Prophecies” by Nostradamus (1503 – 1566) contains 941 rhymed quatrains.
Sonnet 4 By William Shakespeare
Number 4 in the Bible
Number four is the number of the cross.
There are four letters in God’s name: JHVH
There are four rivers flowing out from Eden. Genesis 2:10
Pishon – Gihon – Tigris – Euphrates
Winds and Beasts
“I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up of the sea, different from one another.” Daniel 7:2
“and he will send out his angels with a load trumpet call, and they will elect from the four winds, from one end of the heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:31
The Garments of Jesus
“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier..” John 19:23
“Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.” John 11:17
Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha. Jesus cried out: “Lazarus come out.”
Joseph and his 4 dreams
An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream four times.
The angel told Joseph not to fear to take Mary for his wife, for that which was conceived in her was of the Holy Spirit. The angel told Joseph that Mary would have a son and his name was to be Jesus. Matthew 1:20-21
The angel told Joseph to take his wife and flee to Egypt. Matthew 2:13
The angel told Joseph he could return to the land of Israel. Matthew 2:20
The angel told Joseph move to Nazareth. Matthew 2:22-23
The 4 Camps
There were four camps for the twelve tribes of Israel – one camp for each group of three.
The emblems of the four camps were:
The Four Evangelists
The four Evangelists have the very same emblems:
St. Mark – The Lion
St. Matthew – The Man
St. Luke – The Bull/Ox
St. John – The Eagle
Four Creatures by the Throne
In Revelation 4:6 – four creatures by the throne.
1. The first creature was like a lion.
2. The second creature was like a flying eagle.
3. The third creature was like a man.
4. The fourth creature was like a flying eagle.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
In Revelation – the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.
1. The first horseman rides a white horse.
He carries a bow and is given a crown. His power is to conquer.
2. The second horseman rides a red horse.
He carries a sword and has the power to remove peace from the earth.
3. The third horseman rides a black horse.
He carries a balance. He has the power to bring famine into the world.
4. The fourth horseman rides a pale horse.
He carries a sword. His power is death and he is followed by Hades.
The Four Angels
There are four angels standing on at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth. Revelation 7:1
There are four angels bound at the great river Euphrates. When they are released they bring death to a third of mankind. Revelation 9:14
Number 4 in Judaism
Four Cups of Wine – Four Children – Four Questions
Pesach (Passover) is the festival celebrated every spring commemorating the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and a celebration of freedom.
It is named for God’s passing over the houses of the Israelites when he killed the first-born children of the Egyptians.
The Seder meal takes place during the first evening of Passover.
Jews retell the story of the Exodus of Egypt during the Seder meal.
“And you shall tell your son on that day, “It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.” Exodus 13:8
This is a family meal, but often friends are invited. Non-Jews are also welcome to participate. Seder means order.
The Haggadah is book containing the order of the Seder meal with texts and songs. Every person around the table takes an active part reading passages and singing along.
A special Seder plate is prepared with food of great symbolism. Go to Number 6 in Judaism
During the Seder meal it is a requirement to drink four cups of wine (or grape juice).
These four cups symbolize the deliverance promised by God. Exodus 6:6-7
The four cups of wine:
|The First cup||“I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians”|
|The Second cup||“I will deliver you from their bondage”|
|The Third Cup||“I will redeem you….”|
|The Fourth Cup||“I will take you for my people….”|
In the Haggadah is the story of four different children
1. The first child is the wise child who searches for depth and meaning to the Passover story
2. The second child is the wicked child of a disloyal nature who segregates himself from the Jewish people and does not see the significance in his own life.
3. The third child id the simple child – This child is shy and naïve who wants to know how to do things, but not why.
4. The fourth child is the one who doesn’t know enough to ask questions.
The Four Questions
During the Seder meal a child will ask four questions, the child may sing these four questions. Why is this night different from all other nights?
1. Why is it on all other nights we eat chametz or matzah, and on this night only matzah (unleavened bread)?
2. Why is it on all other nights we eat any kind of vegetables, and on this night only the bitter ones?
3. Why is it that on all other nights we need not dip even once (our food), on this night we do so twice?
4. Why is it on all other nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline?
Answer to the four questions – short version.
1. The slaves of Egypt ate unleavened bread. During the exodus from Egypt they had to leave in a hurry and had only unleavened bread.
2. The bitter vegetable is a reminder of the bitterness and hardship the Jews had to endure as slaves in Egypt.
3. The salt water used to dip food into, symbolizes the tears of the Hebrew slaves.
4. In ancient times only free people leaned back at the table while enjoying their meal. Slaves had to sit up straight.
The Four Mitzvot (commandments) of Purim Purim is joyous Jewish festival which commemorates the story of Esther.
The evil Haman (prime minister) plots to wipe out the Jewish people of ancient Persia.
Esther married the king, who at the time did not know she was a Jew.
Queen Esther outsmarted Haman and saved her people.
This is the festival to party, show compassion, wear costumes, and have a great time.
The Four Mitzvot
1. The Mitzvah of Megillah (scroll) Ester (the book of Ester) The book of Ester is read twice to retell the Purim story yearly in the synagogue.
Every time Haman’s name is mentioned, his name will be overpowered by rackets of feet stomping, shouting and graggers twirling. Children will arrive at the synagogue wearing costums.
2. The Mitzvah of Mishloach Manot This requires a Jew to give at least two gifts to a friend, a neighbor or relative. The gifts are of food ready to eat.
This may be for example nuts, fruits, and potato chips and so on.
3. The Mitzvah of Matanot L’Evyonim – Charity This is the obligation of giving charity gifts to at least two different poor people.
4. The Mitzvah of Purim Seudah This is the requirement to take part in a festive Purim feast. This Purim party is most joyful. At some Purim feasts a lot of alcohol is consumed.
These parties may also involve wearing costumes. This is a feast to celebrate that the enemy once more was conquered.
New Year for Trees
Four cups of wine at Tu B’Shevat – New Year for Trees This is the day for calculating the age of a tree. A tree is considered to have aged one year on Tu B’Shevat.
This is important according to Leviticus 19:23-25 :
“When you come to the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as forbidden, three years it shall be forbidden to you, it must not be eaten. And in the fourth year all their fruit shall be holy,.. But in the fifth year you may eat of their fruit.”
Tu B’Shevat is on the 15th day of the Jewish month Shevat (late January, early February) “Tu” means 15th.
This festival may be celebrated by planting a tree and eating fruits native to Israel.
Four cups of wine may be consumed during the blessings at feast this day.
1. The First cup is white wine.
2. The Second cup is white wine mixed with a little red wine.
3. The Third cup is red wine with a little white wine added.
4. The Fourth cup is red wine.
The Four Species of Sukkot – The Festivals of the Booths
During this festival four species are held in the hand while saying a blessing.
The four species are waived to the four corners of the earth, to the heaven above and to the earth below.
“And you shall take one the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of the palm trees, and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.” Leviticus 23:40
The four species used are:
The Sides of the Dreidel
The dreidel is a popular spinning wheel. The game spin the dreilel is traditionally played at Hanukkah. Each side has a Hebrew letter printed on it.
The four Hebrew letters of the dreidel are; nun – gimel – hey – shin. These four letters are the initials for the phrase: “A great miracle happened there.” (Nes Gadol Heyah Sham).
This is the miracle of the oil.
In Israel the letter shin is replaced with the letter peh, making the initials of the phrase “A great miracle happened here”.
How to Play “Spin the Dreidel”
Each player starts with about 10-15 pieces of chocolate, nuts or whatever. Each player places one piece on the table. The youngest player starts the game by spinning the dreidel. Players take turns spinning the dreidel.
Depending on what side is up when the dreidel stops appropriate action is taken. The game is over when one player has won everything.
1. The dreidel lands with nun up: nothing happens.
2. The dreidel lands with gimel up: the player wins the whole pot.
3. The dreidel lands with hey up: the player wins half of the pieces in the pot.
4. The dreidel lands with shin up: the player adds a piece to the pot.
The 4 Matriarchs
There are four Matriarchs – foremothers.
1. Sarah: She was the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac
2. Rebecca: She was the wife of Isaac and mother of the twins Esau and Jacob
3. Leah: She was the wife of Jacob and mother to six of Jacob’s twelve sons; Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.She was also the mother of Jacob’s daughter; Dinah
4: Rachel: She was the wife of Jacob and the mother of two of Jacob’s twelve sons; Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob had children with four different women. Leah – Bilhah (Rachel’s servant) – Zilpath (Leah’s servant) – Rachel
Number 4 in Buddhism
Siddhartha Gautama was the son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maha Maya. He was born in Lumbini, which is in modern day Nepal, in 563 BCE.
He died in Kushinagar, India in 483 BCE.
The name Siddhartha means: “he who achieves his aim”.
He is the founder of Buddhism.
Siddhartha grew up in luxury. He married Yasodhara. She gave birth to their son, named Rahula.
Shortly after their son was born Siddhatha left the palace and his family. He was deeply disturbed by the four sights he had seen.
1. A crippled old man
2.A sick man
3. A decaying corpse
4. An ascetic, a monk
Siddhatha left everything behind and started his quest to find the truth about suffering and how to end it.
It is told he achieved enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree.
He now knew the answer to suffering and how to end it. The answer was “The Four Noble Truths”.
Picture: Wat Phra Yuen Plutthabat Yukhon Amphoe Laplae, Uttaradit Province, Thailand
Number 4 in Buddhism – The Four Nobels Truths
The nature of suffering.
Birth, death, sorrow, grief, despair are all suffering – and the list goes on and on
The origin of suffering.
One cause would be craving
The cessation of suffering.
Freedom and cessation of craving.
The way leading to the cessation of suffering.
The way meaning the Noble Eightfold Way
Dukkha – Samudaya – Nirodha – Mãrga
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Gautama Buddha, Founder of Buddhism
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be thankful.” Gautama Buddha, Founder of Buddhism
Number 4 in Mythology
4 Rivers, 4 Dwarfs and the Tree of Life in Norse Myth
In Norse mythology four rivers of milk flowed from the teats of the cow, Audhumla.
This is the cow that licked salt from the stone from which Buri was created.
Buri was the first god and grandfather of Odin (the well known chief of gods)
Also in Norse myth there were four dwarfs who supported the sky.
They were placed in each corner of the world and their names were:
North – South – East – West.
In Norse myth we find Yggdrasil the Tree of Life.
Four deer lived in this tree.
Their names were: Dåin, Dvalin, Dunøyr and Duratro.
The Goddess Freyja
Freyja was the goddess of love, beauty, magic and death in Norse mythology.
She owned a gorgeous necklace named Brisingamen.
One day when she was out walking, she came to a huge stone where some dwarfs lived. The stone was open and Freyja entered.
Once inside she saw the most beautiful necklace she had ever laid her eyes on.
The four dwarfs living in the stone had made it. Dwarfs were masters of craftsmanship.
Freyja begged to purchase the necklace. The dwarfs would not sell it for any amount of gold.
Freyja asked them to name their price. They replied that she may keep the necklace if she would spend one night with each of the four dwarfs. Freyja went along with the deal.
After four night of lovemaking, she walked away with the necklace. That is how Freyja became the owner of Brisingamen.
Helios and his Horses in Greek Mythology
Helios was the sun-god. He had a chariot made of gold and precious gems. It was drawn by four horses. The names of the horses were:
Eous – Æthon Phlegon – Pyrois
Helios made daily journeys across the sky from east to west. Helios saw and heard everything.
In 290 BCE a giant statue of Helios was built in Rhodes. It was 140 feet high. The Helios statue fell down in the earthquake in 226 BCE.
In Roman myth Helios is called Sol.
The 4 Dragon Kings – Chinese Myth
The four Dragon Kings rule the four seas, each sea corresponding to one of the four cardinal directions.
The Dragon Kings live in crystal palaces. The palaces are guarded by crab generals and shrimp soldiers.
The Dragon Kings have the power to control the clouds and the rain, in addition to the seas. If they are upset, they will cause floods.
1. Dragon King of the East – Ao Guang
2. Dragon King of the West – Ao Run
3. Dragon King of the North – Ao Shun
4. Dragon King of the South – Ao Qin
The Four Children of Lir – Irish Myth
Lir was the god of the sea. Lir and Aeb had four children, one daughter and three sons.
The girl was named Fionuala. One son was named Aodh and the twin boys were named Fiachra and Conn.
Aeb died and Lir married her sister, Aoife. The four children were turned into swans by their jealous stepmother.
They were cursed to live as swans for 900 years. They had to endure the cold waters, charming their listeners with their songs.
The spell could only be broken if the children were blessed by a monk.
Fortunately Saint Patrick converted Ireland to Christianity and eventually the spell was broken. The children had grown old, but were baptized before they died.
“The Children of Lir”, sculpture in the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, Ireland.
The Canopic Jars
The Four Sons of Horus – Egyptian Mythology
These jars were placed around the dead.
The four jars were representative for the four sons of Horus.
1. The jar of Duamutef contained and protected the stomach of the deceased. It was placed in the east corner.
2. The jar of Qebehseneuf contained and protected the intestines. It was placed in the west corner
3. The jar of Hapi contained and protected the lungs. It was placed in the north corner.
4. The jar of Imsety contained and protected the liver. It was placed in the south corner.
The heart remained in the body. The brain was thrown out.