Gematria is a system of assigning numerical values to words, either as a mystical or religious exercise which is supposed to express hidden truths (as in the Kabbalah of the Jews or the sacred geometry of the Greeks), or as a frivolous word game similar to finding palindromes or anagrams. Each letter of the alphabet is assigned a value, and the value of a word or phrase is found by adding up the values of its constituent letters.

In languages such as Hebrew, Greek, and Arabic, in which each letter of the alphabet does double duty as a numeral, the rules of gematria are fairly straightforward; but for English there is no single accepted system of letter-number correspondence.

This blog explores various forms of English gematria, but the main focus is on the simplest possible scheme — assigning each letter the numerical value corresponding to its position in the alphabet, such that A = 1 and Z = 26. This is Simple English Gematria, or S:E:G: for short.

I didn’t invent S:E:G: — I’m sure countless people have come up with it independently — but I did give it a name, a perfect name, which I hope will become standard. At first I called it English Ordinal Gematria, after the “ordinal gematria” (mispar siduri) tradition in Hebrew, which also numbers the letters in order instead of using their numeral values. But there was something frustratingly not-quite-right about that name. One of the first things the student of S:E:G: will discover is that the words English and gematria have the same value, 74. But the word ordinal? 73! I looked around for another name that would be a perfect match, which I finally found with the help of an article by Bob “Ouzo” Evenson which termed the system “English gematria simplex.” Lose the “x” and — bingo!

  • Simple = 74
  • English = 74
  • Gematria = 74
  • Simple English Gematria = 222

Not only does each word have the same value, but the sum is a significant-looking number, obviously of the same family as 666. So it’s settled: Simple English Gematria is the name for this system.

So that’s where the name comes from, but why is it abbreviated S:E:G:, with the colons and everything? Well, when I first got into this stuff I was a little self-conscious about it and felt the need to preempt ridicule by conspicuously poking fun at gematria and the occult in general (and believe me, there is much to poke fun at!). One of these protective jokes was to use the abbreviation E∴O∴G∴ (this was back when it was still called “ordinal”) and to refer to the triple dots as “magickal puncktuation” — all intended as a parody of Aleister Crowley. Later, after I’d switched to the name S∴E∴G∴, it occurred to me to check the gematria value of the joke phrase, and I was amazed.

  • magickal puncktuation = 222

The same value as the name Simple English Gematria! So the magickal puncktuation is no longer just a joke; it’s required. I switched from the Crowleyan three-dot puncktuation to the current colon variety because, aside from the fact that it’s more convenient to type, three pairs of dots is yet another reference to the number 222.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Robert Spinarski
    Oct 03, 2018 @ 08:07:15

    Simple English Gematria IS the CHRISTIAN BIBLE SCIENCE


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