An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of April 14, 2008
Issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort adjoining Chichén Itzá Ruin in
YUCATÁN, MÉXICO

3 + 4 = 7

My friend José the shaman came to show the hut I live in to a writer from New Zealand. I'd expected the usual spiel about how each pole in the house is the trunk of a specific tree species chosen for a specific structural purpose, but this time José was in mystic mode and began by pointing out the Maya woman's presence in the hut as exhibited by triangles -- the woman's number being three, which taken together form a triangle. He pointed to the triangle formed by three limestone rocks upon which the comal rests as tortillas are baked, and the triangle above the comal created by the big beam joining the walls and the two other beans above it forming the roof's crest.

"The feminine three complements the male four," José continued, pointing out the four strong posts upon which the whole roof rests, which also represent the four directions toward which offerings must be made, and then we saw that in the hut's structure there were many triangles and many quadrangles, as shown below:

hut ceiling

"And three plus four equals seven," José smiled, as if he were a magician successfully pulling a rabbit from his hat. "Seven represents the family," and then he went doubling, multiplying and dividing threes, fours and sevens until all the seasons and the entire cosmos and all life in it revealed themselves as rooted in and governed by those numbers, all pretty self- evident, when you hear José talk about it. In fact, as we left the house he spoke of the seven illnesses:

"We are all born with the seven illnesses inside us," he reminded us, "but they lie latent and only express themselves when things drift out of balance, as by eating or drinking unwisely."

At dusk I sat in the hut, my head swimming in threes, fours and sevens, trying to put myself into the mind of untold generations of Maya men and women in similar homes, similarly cocooned in numbers that define and either fulfill or sabotage us. And how would it be to manfully be all the fullness of a four-cornered square, to support and wrap around the feminine three- cornered triangle as this hut wraps around 3 + 4 for its magical sevenness?

I could see that it might feel pretty good.

But, I have come of age in a different culture. Try as I may, I feel no fourness within myself, have sensed no threeness in the women I've known, nor has any home ever struck me especially as seven. In fact, I have always felt downright antipathetic toward the pseudoscience of numerology.

However, I do believe in the power of metaphors, paradigms, and mental images. If we focus on the image of a golden lotus slowly and beautifully blossoming, somehow grace and tranquility enter us, change us.

Therefore, if we're not lucky enough to have been born into a society ordered by 3 + 4 = 7, is there another model to take its place?

In my life the metaphor/paradigm/mental image that has carried me further than someone with my modest talents should expect to go is this: The Six Miracles of Nature, which we've often spoke of, and which are discussed at http://www.backyardnature.net/j/6/.

When I fix the mental image of the Six Miracles of Nature in my mind, see that I am part of an evolving reality blossoming into ever more gorgeousness and mystery, I find more purpose in being alive, in fact feel more alive, and experience a profound spiritual buzz.

And then there's this: The Six Miracles appear to be sequential events along a path leading to a final unity.

And, when that happens, that'll be Miracle #7. Facebook Icon.