by Gary A. David
What’s In a Number?
The number 33 enigmatically stretches as a latitude line across many diverse cultures in many different times. Known in numerology as the Master Teacher, 33 is the most influential of all numbers, indicating selfless devotion to the spiritual progress of humankind. The other two master numbers, 11 (vision) and 22 (vision with action) form the base of a two-dimensional pyramid, and added together equal 33 (guidance to the world), the apex of the pyramid.  On the reverse of the Masonically inspired Great Seal of the United States is the pyramid with the all-seeing eye of divine Reason at its apex. According to ritual Freemasonry, XXXIII is considered sacred because in most cases there is no higher degree or level to which a Mason may aspire.
In a Biblical context we note that King David ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-three years, Jacob had thirty-three sons and daughters, and Jesus Christ was crucified at age thirty-three. Two interpenetrating triangles whose apexes point in opposite directions form the hexagram of the Star of David (3 + 3 = 6). On the other hand, 3 X 3 = 9, or the Ennead, the nine primal gods of Egyptian mythology.
The late thirteenth/early fourteenth century Italian poet Dante ended Canto XXXIII of the Purgatorio, or the second section of his Divine Comedy: “…perfect, pure, and ready for the Stars.”  Canto XXXIII of the Paradiso, or the third section, concludes with lines about the poet being turned “as in a wheel whose motion nothing jars– / by the Love that moves the Sun and the other stars.”  It is more than a coincidence that the 33rd canto of each section concludes with parallel lines regarding the celestial; it may instead be the code from a lost ancient tradition.
This number even permeates the biological realm studied by science: thirty-three is the number of turns in a complete sequence of DNA.  A more ominous connotation appears in the 33rd element of the periodic table. Arsenic is a brittle, steel-gray substance that is actively poisonous. The Greek root arsen means “male, strong” or “virile,” which suggests the active reach of this potent and potentially deadly number across the globe. Indeed, when we consider the northern latitude of 33 degrees, some intriguing synchronicities, or “meaningful coincidences,” are found.
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