The spiritual meaning of the number five is believed to be magical. Of course, it’s not really magical, but when you know the true meaning of the five, it’s easy to see why it’s associated with magic.
It’s terms like “magical” in which you have to be careful when interpreting the meaning of symbols. The official meaning of symbols handed down by people in the know – and then promulgated by the profane – are misleading.
For example, in exoteric symbolism, the five is a number associated with mankind. The five-pointed star is said to represent the head and limbs of a human being. It is also associated with the five senses, or even five fingers on each hand and five fingers on each foot.
This information is highly misleading. I’ll show you why.
The Symbolic Meaning of the Number Five in Mythology
The number five is associated with the planet Mercury, and thus also the god Mercury in Roman mythology. As discussed in the symbolic meaning of the number one, Mercury is related to the Greek God Hermes.
Hermes, the god Mercury and the planet Mercury are all associated with communication. Again, this is misleading. If you don’t know that symbolism relates to self-knowledge – represented by the illuminating qualities of the sun – you would think Mercury solely represents communication with others.
Whilst Mercury can relate to communication with others, if you see the summer five, the more likely scenario is that you need to communicate with yourself.
In tarot, an ancient tradition that incorporates hermetic symbols, fives are indicative of a problem but also offers solutions. Hermes is a problem-solver (although also a trickster) that can help guide you to self-knowledge.
In Numbers, Their Occult Powers and Mystic Virtues, William Wynn Westcott tell us: “Mercury was often represented as a Dog, following a Sun Man.” In the Fool card of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, a card associated with Mercury, a dog is seen snapping at the heels of a wanderer.
Dogs can also be your guide and protector, but they can also lead you astray – like the trickster archetype. This is why the planet Mercury is associated with the Gemini zodiac sign – the twins – and is associated with needing to shift perspective.
In alchemy, mercury is associated with thoughts. The number five is also a bridge between 0-4 and 5-9. And this is where we get the biggest clue to the meaning of the number five.
Five of the 10 commandments teach us about our relationship with “God” (consciousness), whilst the last five teach us of the laws of nature – our true selves and how we should behave towards others and ourselves.
The deeper spiritual meaning of five, therefore, represents the need to acquire inner wisdom. Man must look within himself. This is the true meaning of Leonardo di Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
The Five in Religion
The spiritual meaning of five features predominantly in Christian churches as a 5-pointed star. This is actually a representation of the pentacle, or as it is more widely known, the pentagram.
An upturned pentagram, of course, is associated with Devil worship – also incorrectly identified as occultism – and thus considered an evil symbol.
This idea actually comes from the portrayal of Baphomet in his role as the dark side of human nature.
Whereas this is true, the pentagram has another side, which as seen in Christian churched points upwards.
The upward-facing point represents the spirit and is a symbol of positive energy. It is only when the point is at a downward trajectory as seen in dark magic circles, that the energy is negative.
The other four points represent the four elements, the fifth element being a connection with the creator. Each point also recognises five of the seven virtues mankind should adopt towards one another to live in harmony; generosity, fellowship, purity, courtesy and mercy.
In Hindu symbolism, the five triangles that make up the five points are collectively called the jnanendriyas – knowledge, senses, organs, breathing exercises, and pure consciousness.
Like we see in the Christian tradition, the pentacle in Hindu countries also identifies with four principles that when followed enable the initiate to connect with his true self – to bring about the fifth element of enlightenment.
The Five in Ancient Celt
The pentacle is also associated with the Celts which is another reason people have been led to believe that paganism was a form of Devil worship. It wasn’t, pagans paid respect to nature – included the True Nature of mankind; the ability to transcend our animal instincts.
If fives keep appearing in your life, it’s a symbol guiding you towards self-knowledge. Look within and listen to your inner wisdom.
There are plenty of mystical schools and organised religions that show you how to reach the most logical solutions you need in life.
However, the best solutions are always found in symbols. Understand the esoteric meaning of symbols and you have a powerful tool that will help you reached decisions with confidence.