Numerology is to arithmetic what astrology is to astronomy. It is a form of occultism in which magical properties are attributed to the natural numbers; and it is probable that it has been more or less experimented with in Europe since the Thirteenth Century Kabbalists introduced it into some of their most obscure pages it is reported that at the present time the Kabbala and numerology are virtually synonymous among Jewish Kabbalists in the Near East, of whom there are a few but who carry little weight. It was the fashion for generations to father numerology on Pythagoras; and in the small scraps of information about him available in the periods before modern archeology there appeared to be ground for that doctrine; but the theory is now abandoned; it is believed that what Pythagoras discovered (as in harmonics) was the fact that numbers are not mere words, mere subjective devices of men's minds, but are true objectively, and describe properties which belong inherently to material things.
There is no evidence of any infiltration of numerology into Freemasonry. The builders of the cathedrals were too sound and intelligent in their knowledge of geometry, made too much practical use of it, to give countenance to fuzzy, unreal, heterodox occultists about numbers and geometrical figures professing magical powers. They believed in no form of fortune- telling. Nor is there anywhere evidence that Speculative Masons believed in it. The Monitorial Lectures of the Second Degree in which the numbers 3, 5, 7 occur were either written or adopted by William Preston, an orthodox Christian of the latter half of the Eighteenth Century to whom any form of occultism would have been abhorrent. . so would it have been to his predecessors, Drs. Desaguliers and James Anderson. (See article in this Supplement on WAITE, ARTHUR EDWARD; he wrote much on the subject, and out of a very wide knowledge.)
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