Do you ever wonder why some numbers seem more special than others? This is because certain numbers are sacred to different religions and cultures. In Wicca, there are five sacred Wiccan numbers that stand out as being very important according to Gerald Gardner. These five numbers correspond with the sacred elements of our religion. The following blog post will go into depth about what each number means and how you can use it for good luck!
Numbers mean many different things in different cultures. The most sacred Wiccan numbers include 3, 5, 8, 13, and 40, as well as multiples of those numbers. Read on to find out why.
Much of Wicca’s lore comes from just a few people, and Gerald Gardner is one of those people. A prolific writer and ritualist, Gerald Gardner is responsible for a lot of the base text of Wicca in its infancy – and he drew from other sources like Aleister Crowley who wrote at the turn of the 20th century.
What numbers did Gerald Gardner consider “sacred” Wiccan numbers?
I am going to quote Gerald B. Gardner in his brief, confuddled explanation in Witchcraft Today, below:
Because three and five make eight, many things must be in eights; but eight and five make thirteen, and so thirteen is another good number; but since five eights, or three covens and a leader, make forty, forty is a good number and certain things must be forty.
Does anyone else feel like they were robbed of intelligence with that reasoning? Either way, that is the traditional perspective. The numbers in Gardnerian Wicca which are special are 3, 5, 8, 13 and 40.
Spiritually, the numbers can easily be assigned deeper meanings.
3 – The God, the Goddess, and Life/Child/Creation/etc. The goddess in her triple form. Three is a classic number for Wiccans, and you’ll see it plastered all over pop culture whenever witchcraft comes up.
5 – Man. The Pentacle. The Horned God. The Sacred Circle. The reasons that five is sacred are plentiful, and they date at least back to Leonardo Da Vinci, if not earlier.
8 – The Wheel of the Year – the 8 solar sabbats. (4 “height of (insert season here)”, 2 equinoxes, 2 solstices). This includes Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnassadh, and Mabon – all of our favorites!
13 – The Wheel of the Year – the 13 lunar esbats.(full moons). Traditional coven membership. In some ways, I think claiming the number 13 is reclaiming it from certain Christian mystical traditions which consider it unlucky, or even a sign of a devil.
40 – I’m at a loss here. I do like his explanation. Three covens and a leader. I’m going to be honest though, I think it’s a bit of a stretch. I think mostly he wanted to scourge people a whole bunch.
Keep in mind that within Gardnerian tradition, these numbers become exceptionally important in the initiation rites – the purification/test act of scourging is assigned to these various numbers. I believe I mentioned the scourge in an earlier post.
Is 9 A Sacred Number For Wiccans?
The number conspicuously absent from Gerald Gardner’s list, despite it making appearances in the Wiccan Rede, mainstream culture, and the Books of Shadows of witches everywhere – is nine.
One could argue that nine is automatically sacred because it is three cubed, and Gardner had identified three as a sacred number. One would especially do that if one was a patriarch of a religion who had left a number out of the sacred order of things!
So, yes. Nine is a sacred number for most Wiccans, even if it doesn’t take a top seat at the table in Gardner’s eyes. Luckily for us, modern witchcraft is not necessarily caught up in the intricacies and power struggles of the Gardnerian tradition. Many of us just kind of, you know – do our own thing.
Does the number 4 mean anything to Wiccans?
Wiccans also view the number four as sacred. This number is associated with the elements because the world was believed to be created in four stages: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. It is also viewed as a symbol of wholeness because there are four seasons, cardinal directions (North, South, East, West), elements, and more.
And of course, 4 is really just two 2s, and 2 represents the ultimate duality of the God and the Goddess, the sacred and the profane, the light and the dark. So it makes sense that 4 would also be sacred to most folks.
What other numbers are sacred to Wiccans?
Are you wondering if a particular number is a Wiccan number? Sacred for religious reasons? Let me let you in on a dirty little secret: since we walk our own paths, and reflect on things going on in our personal lives, the number you’re considering is, in fact, sacred.
That’s right, kids. Every number that needs to be sacred, is. If you’re being called to do something 43 times because that’s the number that has significance in that moment of your life, then, by the gods, in that moment, 43 is sacred to you.
Basic principles of Wiccan belief mean that we make our own paths, and rules, and sometimes, assign sacred value to objects or concepts that may not be sacred to other people. As we become our own high priest or high priestess, it’s mostly just important to listen to ourselves think and be open to the wisdom of the universe.
Parting Thoughts on Sacred Wiccan Numbers
Sacred numbers are a big part of Wiccan spirituality. In fact, there are some numbers which are considered sacred in the Wiccan path, including 3, 5, 8 and 40. Other common sacred numbers include 2, 4 and 9. But any number can be sacred if you’re feeling called to reflect on it, so keep an open mind!
If you want to learn more about this facet of spiritual practice or other aspects related to the Charge of the Goddess ritual for example – we have a PDF available online that’s perfect for beginners like yourself! Ready? Download our free Charge of the Goddess PDF now by clicking here.
This post was originally written in July 2008 and most recently updated in November 2021.
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Reading the quote listed here from Gardner I had a horrible flashback of high school math class. Sitting at my desk staring blankly at a sheet of word problems which made about as much sense to my brain as ‘John has 5 apples and Katie is driving 38 MPH to buy a bakers dozen of maple bars and stops to buy gas 10 miles from destination. What is Katies change?’…yup 🙂
What about the number 23? It took me that many times to draw a sigil from a dream what does it mean?