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666 - Its Meaning and Significance

This article is based on an extract from the book The Keys to the Temple, which describes a vast twin circle landscape temple set out over the Marlborough Downs in England. The circumference of these circles is very closely proportional to the equatorial circumference of the Earth by the ratio 666. See article: Keys part 1

The article explores some of the references to the number 666 and why it might have been seen as significant in past times.

What is so special about the number 666?

The Book of Revelations says:

   Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast for it is the number of man; and his number is six hundred, threescore and six.
   Revelations (13:18)

Many people have associated 'the beast' with the anti-Christ and interpreted this quotation to mean the 666 is the Devil's number. But the Book of Revelations is full of enigmatic numbers. For example, it talks about the measurements of the New Jerusalem:

   And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city and the gates thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth; and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

 Revelations (21:15-16)

A cubed city of twelve thousand furlongs would be of immense size particularly as it would reach 1500 miles into the air - the stuff of science fiction. St John might have glimpsed a distant technological future of planet Earth, but it is much more likely that the verse has symbolic rather than factual meaning. Number symbolism, found extensively throughout the Bible, is very significant in Judaic belief. Indeed, as I was to discover, the first mention of the number 666 is not Revelations, but the Book of Kings which say

   Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred, three score and six, talents of gold.

 Kings (10:14)

The name Solomon is derived from the Hebrew word Shalom, meaning peace, but has then been translated in the King James version as an alchemical amalgam of sol (sun), and omon (moon).

Alchemy, as it emerged in the Middle Ages, had its origins in the Hermetic sciences that stemmed from the esoteric wisdom of ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptian name for their land was Kemet, from which we get the words chemistry and alchemy. The esoteric Judaic tradition seen in the Kabbalah is also thought to have derived some of its concepts from Egyptian beliefs.

In alchemy the sun and the moon expressed archetypal principles, which, when united, symbolised the harmonious relationship between the masculine and feminine elements.

alchemical symbol



Alchemical symbols of the Sun and the Moon
Sol and Luna

Gold in alchemy, represents the purified spirit and is also traditionally associated with the sun. The year, of course, relates to the solar cycle, so there is a suggestion in the Biblical quote from Kings of a link between the number 666 and the sun.

There is another mention of the number 666 in Ezra, referring to the peoples who had returned to Judah from Babylon:

   The children of Adonikam, six hundred, sixty and six.

 Ezra (2:3)

The word Adonikam means : 'In praise of the Lord.'

It is possible that the biblical references to 666 have no other meaning than what is presented on the surface. Yet St. John, in using the number 666, was connecting into a Judaic mysticism that used number symbolism allegorically. He was conveying a message that could be understood by those initiated in the tradition, although precisely what he meant is now obscure.

Coincidentally, the first six Roman numerals written in their correct descending order (DCLXVI) represent 666:

D = 500
C = 100
L = 50
X = 10
V = 5
 l  = 1
Total 666

So it is possible that the allusion to 666, being the number of the beast, could have been a sideways swipe at the Roman authorities, who were responsible for the crucifixion.

The Magic Square of the Sun

 6 32 3 34 35 1
 7 11 27 28 8 30
 19 14 16 15 23 24
 18 20 22 21 17 13
 25 29 10 9 26 12
 36 5 33 4 2 31

The number 666 also emerged in another context- through the number symbolism of magic squares. As John Michell pointed out in his book View Over Atlantis the magic square of the sun contains all the numbers from 1 to 36 and is laid out as follows:

Total number of figures = 36
Sum of each row and long diagonals = 111
Sum of numbers of perimeter = 370

The magic square of the sun has the curious property that if all the numbers between 1 and 36 are added together the total is 666. That this number should again be associated with the sun - as in the Kings quotation mentioned earlier - may indicate some fragmentary knowledge or tradition from the distant past. Symbolic associations were undoubtedly important to ancient peoples. Yet it is likely that originally there was some valid practical thinking behind their number symbolism. We do not know what this can be, so we can only surmise.

To continue our investigation of 666, let's take a close look at the number itself. The factors of 666 are 2 x 3 x 3 x 37 or 18 x 37. The number 37 has the unusual properties that many of its multiples have repeated digits:

1 x 37 = 37
2 x 37 = 74
3 x 37 = 111
6 x 37 = 222
9 x 37 = 333
10 x 37 = 370
12 x 37 = 444
15 x 37 = 555
18 x 37 = 666
21 x 37 = 777
24 x 37 = 888

Glasonbury Abbey ground plan

Bligh Bond discovered that the ground plan of Glastonbury Abbey was based on a regular grid of squares of 74 ft or 888 inches.

Although a prime number, 37 strikes a subliminal chord within the human psyche, as psychological research into people's preferences has shown. Offered the opportunity to select at random any number between 11 and 50 with two non-repeating digits - not 22, 33, or 44 - people are most likely to select 37. This has recently been highlighted by the British National Lottery. The reason why this is so is not known, but it is a fact nonetheless.

Of its factors, the numbers 111 and 370 are woven into the magic square of the sun and the number 18 (18 x 37 = 666) may also have been seen as significant because this number is the sum of 6 + 6 + 6.

My research into 666 was tantalising but inconclusive. Nevertheless if ancient measurements are related to the size of the Earth and the number 666 has some ancient symbolic significance, it seemed relevant that the circumference of the Marlborough Downs landscape circles should be almost exactly equal the Earth's equatorial circumference by the ratio of 1/666

Extract from The Keys to the Temple

Useful Links follow on articles giving more details of other landscape patterns.
Twin circles of the Marlborough Downs explores sacred patterns of Wiltshire
Marlborough Downs Sites a tour of the sites that make up the twin circle pattern
The Cotswold Circle an article on a similar sized circle that over-lights the Cotswold area
The Hidden Geometry of Avebury a look at the hidden geometry of Avebury
Silbury Hill and the Sanctuary an article on significance of Silbury Hill and the Sanctuary
The Keys to the Temple information on the book The Keys to the Temple by David Furlong

For further information please write to: David Furlong Myrtles, Como Road, Malvern Worcs WR14 2TH
Tel: +44 (0)1684-569105 or Mobile: + 44 (0)777-978-9047
Email: David Furlong

David has been working as a healer, therapist and researcher for more than 40 years. He is the author of six books including The Healer Within and Working With Earth Energies
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The Keys to the Temple - book

The book The Keys To The Temple from which the article is taken. Click the image for further details.

marlborough circles

The twin circles of the Marlborough Downs relate to the equatorial circumference of the Earth by the ratio 1/666 (click image to enlarge).

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