Just what is so damnably important about sevens anyways? Lucky sevens, seven deadly sins, seven days a week… they just keep showing up, but no-one really understands why, do they?
Fascinating stuff, really, and to give you a definitive look at more of the strange roots which the number 7 has, I’m going to quote some text from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, compiled and edited by W.Y Evans-Wentz, third edition, Oxford University Press (Introduction, part III, page 6 & 7)
III THE ESOTERIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FORTY_NINE DAYS OF THE BARDO
Turning now to the text itself, we find that structurally it is founded on the symbolical number Forty-nine, the square of the sacred number Seven; for, according to occult teachings common to Northern Buddhism and to that higher Hinduism which the Hindu-born Bodhisattva Who became the Buddha Gautama, the Reformer of the Lower Hinduism and the Codifier of the Secret Lore never repudiated, there are seven worlds or seven degrees of Maya within the Sangsara, constituted as seven globes of a planetary chain. On each globe there are seven rounds of evolution, making the forty-nine (seven times seven) stations of active existence. As in the embryonic state in the human species the foetus passes through every form of organic structure from the amoeba to man, the highest mammal, so in the after death state, the embryonic state of the psychic world, the Knower or principal of consciousness, anterior to its re-emergence in gross matter, analogously experiences purely psychic conditions. In other words,in both these interdepedent embryonic processes- the one physical, the other psychical- the evolutionary and the involutionary attainments, corresponding to the forty-nine stations of existence, are passed through.
Similary, the forty-nine days of the Bardo may also be symbolical of the Forty and Nine Powers of the Mystery of the Seven Vowels. In Hindu mythology, whence much of the Bardo symbolism originated, these Vowels were the Mystery of the Seven Fires and their forty-nine subdivisional fires or aspects. They are also represented by the Svastika signs upon the crowns of the seven heads of the Serpent of Eternity of the Northern Buddhist Mysteries, originating in ancient India. In Hermetic writings they are the seven zones of after-death, or Bardo, experiences, each symbolizing the eruption in the Intermediate State of a particular seven-fold element of the complex principle of consciousness, thus giving the consciousness-principle forty-nine aspects, or fires, or fields of manifestation.
The number seven has long been a sacred number among Aryan and other races. Its use in the Revelation of John illustrates this, as does the conception of the seventh day being regarded as holy. In Nature, the number seven governs the periodicity and phenomena of life, as, for example, in the series of chemical elements, in the physics of sound and colour, and it is upon the number forty-nine that the Bardo Thodol is thus scientifically based.