This Tetraktys (from the Greek, tetras, four) is a triangular figure composed of the first ten points arranged in the shape of a pyramid. The tetraktys was devised by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras as a symbol of the Cosmos. It is composed of the integers one through ten, aligned in four rows (tetraktys means ‘fourfold).
The tetraktys was so sacred to the Pythagoreans that it formed the basis of their oath: “By that pure, holy, four lettered name on high, nature’s eternal fountain and supply, the parent of all souls that living be, by him, with faith find oath, I swear to thee.”
The dots represent numbers, and their descent symbolizes the order of creation of the known universe, and the increasing complexity of its manifestation. The four lower numbers represent the four elements; the upper, the monad, or first principle. The tetraktys and its mysteries influenced the early kabbalists, who devised a similar form to expound upon the Tetragrammaton (the four lettered name of god in Hebrew scripture). The Kabbalistic Tree of Life, with its spheres of emanation, is derived from the tetraktys.
A Kabbalistic tetraktys, designed by Christian mystic Jakob Boehme
- Are the Pyramids of Giza tetraktys? (offsite)