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Preview: About.com Alternative Religions: Most Popular Articles

About.com Alternative Religions: Most Popular Articles



These articles are the most popular over the last month.



Published: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:11:02 +0000

 



Geometric Shapes

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Because basic geometric shapes are so simplistic in construction, they are found all over the world with a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particular when used in a religious or magical context.



Types of Satanism and their Beliefs

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

An overview on the types of Satanism and Luciferianism, including links to more information on these different forms.



How Do Luciferians Differ from Satanists?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

While Luciferians and Satanists both employ terms commonly associated with the Devil, they are not the same.



An Introduction to Rastafari

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Rastafari is an Abrahamic new religious movement that accepts Haile Selassie I, the Ethiopian emperor from 1930 to 1974 as God incarnate.



Papa Legba

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Legba is the gatekeeper to the spirit world, Vilokan. Rituals begin with a prayer to Legba to open those gates so that participants can gain access to the other lwas. Legba is also strongly associated with the sun and is seen as a life-giver, transferring the power of Bondye to the material world and all that lives within it. This further strengthens his role as the bridge between realms. Page 7.



What Egyptian Symbol Represents Eternal Life?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The ankh symbol originated in Egypt more than 4000 years ago. Besides being an artistic symbol, it also appears in hieroglyphs, where it means eternal life.



What Is the Ancient Egyptian Symbol Called the...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The Eye of Horus symbol originates in Egypt but appears in a variety of more modern contexts, particularly within neopagan, new age, and occult circles.



What Do Deists Believe?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Deism is not a religion but rather a perspective on the nature of God. There are a variety of common religious beliefs that deists do not accept.



9 Sins Satanists Should Avoid

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

While the Church of Satan encourages individuality and the gratification of desires, it does not suggest that all actions are acceptable.



Why do Rastas Smoke Ganja and Wear Dreadlocks?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The smoking of ganja and the wearing of dreadlocks are two of the most known things about Rastas. Each has specific meaning and purpose.



Elemental Symbols

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The Greeks proposed the existence of five basic elements. Of these, four were the physical elements – fire, air, water and earth – of which the entire world is composed. Alchemists eventually associated four triangular symbols to represent these elements. In traditional Western occult theory, the elements are hierarchical - spirit, fire, air, water and earth – with the first elements being more spiritual and perfect and the last elements being more material and base.



5 Types of Magic Defined

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

in a culture that primarily does not believe in magic, all magical beliefs are frequently grouped into a single pile and treated as if all followed a single coherent system, had the same goals, and attracted the same people. In fact, there's a wide variety of different magical practices in existence, and there can be some fundamental differences between them.



Why Are Zodiac Signs Paired with Elements?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The twelve zodiac signs were divided up among the four elements as early as the Renaissance, with three signs associated with each element.



What Are the 9 Satanic Statements?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

These statements are the opening words of the Satanic Bible, published in 1969 and written by Anton LaVey. They are basic principles guiding LaVeyan Satanists.



A Beginner's Guide to LaVeyan Satanism

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

An introduction to LaVeyan Satanism, including basic beliefs and practices.



Who Are the Luciferians and How Do They View...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The history of Lucifer is a complicated one. The Biblical use of the word has created associations with Satan that were not originally intended. As such, Satanists and Luciferians are separate practices and see their respective figures differently.



Religion Basics: What Are the 5 Main Belief...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Religions can be broken down into a number of broad categories based on general purposes and views of divinity. Here is a brief overview of some of these categories and how they are used in other articles on the Alternative Religion Guide Site.



Jedi Religion (Jediism)

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

An introduction to Jedi Religion or Jediism, including basic beliefs and practices.



Rastafari Texts

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

While Rastafari is heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian beliefs, it developed largely as a racial movement among the blacks of Jamaica which looked to Africa and Ethiopia as the Promised Land. As such, the texts commonly embraced by Rastas look to Ethiopian culture and other Afrocentric works.



How to be a Deist

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

It is sometimes difficult to understand how one practices a non-organized religion. Deism has no specific rituals precisely because none are necessary. How, then, is one actively a deist? How can deism influence a person's life?



The Rosy Cross or Rose Cross

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The Rosy Cross or Rose Cross, a complex symbol used by a variety of modern occult groups to represent a vast and complex array of meanings.



What Does the Eye of Providence Symbolize?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The Eye of Providence is a realistic eye depicted within a triangle, cloud, or burst of light and represents divine presence or approval. It has appeared in many different locations over the centuries, from the stained glass of churches to the seals of various cities to the Great Seal of the United States.



What Is the World’s Oldest Monotheistic...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

An introduction to Zoroastrianism, including basic beliefs and practices.



A Beginner's Guide to Voodoo

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Vodou (Also spelled Vodoun, Voodoo, and several other variants) is a syncretic religion combining Roman Catholicism and native African religion, particularly the religion of the Dahomey region of Africa (the modern day nation of Benin). It is primarily found in Haiti, New Orleans, and other locations within the Caribbean.



Scientology Frequently Asked Questions

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Scientology is becoming a common topic for news and rumor. Find answers to some of the most common questions about Scientology, particularly those related to news stories and criticisms of the religion.



Papa Legba, Image 2

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Legba is the gatekeeper to the spirit world. Rituals begin with a prayer to Legba to open those gates so that participants can gain access to the other lwas. The veves of these other lwas are often drawn intersecting the branches of Legba's veve to represent this. Page 8.



Types of Western Occult Practices

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The following is a partial list of paths within the Western Occult Tradition. Many occultists follow practices involving aspects of multiple paths. This makes generalizing about the occult extremely difficult and is the reason I find it more helpful to describe individual occult paths.



Basic Teachings of the Jedi

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

These concepts widely held among modern Jedi, although their expect presentations varies from source to source. These teachings address such things as nature of the Force, the Jedi worldview, and ethical behavior.



Types of Theism

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

A theist is someone who believes in at least one god. However, there are many different types of theists such as monotheists, polytheists, pantheists and henotheists.



Squares

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

As a basic geometric shape, squares are used in a variety of images and symbolism. They commonly represent solidity, stability, materiality, and the physical world.



What Does the Winged Symbol of Zoroastrianism...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The history and meaning of the Faravahar symbol, incorporating a human figure emerging from within a winged disk, now associated with Zoroastrianism as well as Persian culture.



What Do Spirals Symbolize in Religion and...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Spirals have a long history, dating back to neolithic times, that influences the way people way see spirals in religious and spiritual contexts today.



Satanism FAQ

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

For many, the term "Satanism" brings to mind many unpleasant thoughts and images. Urban legends are full



The Orishas

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The orishas are the gods of Santeria, an African Diaspora religion that developed among the slaves of Cuba.



Ahura Mazda and the Twin Spirits

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Ahura Mazda is the supreme deity in Zoroastrianism. From him come many emanations, most notably the twin spirits of bounty and destruction known as Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu (Avestan) or as Spena Menu and Ahriman (Pahlavi).



A Complete Guide to Alternative Religious Symbols

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

A quick guide to symbols associated with a variety of alternative religions, organized by religious group. The collection includes symbols from the Baha'i Faith, Zoroastrianism, the occult, Vodou (or Voodoo) and alchemy.



Santeria for Beginners

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Santeria is an African Diaspora religion centered in Cuba. It recognizes a collection of deities known as orishas with whom human beings can interact. Santeria has gained notoriety for its practice of animal sacrifice, which provides blood to the orishas. Developed by slaves of Catholic masters, Santeria also commonly equates its orishas with Catholic saints, and believers in Santeria might also attend Catholic mass.



Science of Mind / Religious Science

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Science of mind is a 20th century religion based on the New Thought movement that began in the previous century. It teaches that all things are a part of God and that people can influence things in in the world through that connection with God. They are particularly interested in healing through their spiritual practices, although many other things can be influences as well.



Coptic Crosses

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Modern Coptic crosses often bear little resemblance to older ones, but there was a time when Coptic crosses obviously drew upon the imagery of the Egyptian ankh symbol, and some Coptic groups continue to employ ankhs among their symbolism today.



Planetary Occult Correspondences

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Correspondences form an elaborate foundation for Western occult practices. The concept of higher realms influencing lower realms leads believers to surround themselves in items associated with the desired higher power, often associated most strongly with the seven planets of the ancient world.



Why Satanism Does Not Teach "Anything Goes"

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Just because Satanists are avowed hedonists does not mean they teach you can do whatever you want without repercussion. Indeed, they don't even teach that everything you do is ethically permissible. Satanism is not simply a license to resist authority and social norms. It's a fully developed philosophy.



Folk Magic Definition and History

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Today, many people speak of magical and religious beliefs as intertwined. In order to sort out what is what, here is an overview of one particular type of magic: folk magic. This is traditionally the magic of the common folk, and it is primarily a practical rather than spiritual practice, although it can certainly include religious components.



A Beginner's Guide to Xenu and the Scientology...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Scientologists are reticent to publicly discuss or even acknowledge the existence of Xenu. Learn about Scientology's vision of creation.



Naw-Ruz – The Baha'i and Zoroastrian New...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The Persian New Year is commonly celebrated by two distinct religious groups, the Baha'is and the Zoroastrians.



Exploring Monotheistic Religions

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Monotheistic deities tend to much more closely resemble each other than do polytheistic deities, precisely because of the nature of monotheism requires they gods to be grand and all-encompassing. Many monotheists even accept that their monotheistic deity is the same deity that is being worshiped by monotheists of different religions.



Vodou Veves

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Vodou religious practices commonly include appealing to the lwa, or spirits, and inviting them to temporarily take possession of human bodies. Vodou symbols known as veves are employed when appealing to the lwa, with each lwa having its own veve.



Ogoun

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Ogoun was originally associated with fire, blacksmithing and metalworking. His focus has transformed over the years to include power, warriors, and politics. He particularly likes the machete, which is a common offering in preparation of a possession, and machetes are sometimes featured in his veves. Page 3.



11 Things the Church of Satan Believes

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Anton LaVey compiled the Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth in 1967, two years before the publication of the Satanic Bible. It was originally meant for circulation only among members of the Church of Satan as it was considered



Human Sacrifice - Facts and Fallacies of "Human...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The concept of human sacrifice is one of the more abhorrent facets of religion in the minds of most of us. Historically, minority groups have been repeatedly accused of it. Today, it is a common rumor about Satanism. Not only is that concept totally false, multiple aspects of Satanic teaching are completely contrary to the notion of human sacrifice.



Why is the Occult so Associated with Satanism?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

For many people, the word occult is practically synonymous with Satanism. Not only is that a relatively recent phenomena, but it's not grounded in any fact. While Satanists do often participate in occult practices, they are a tiny fraction of occultists. Learn how this misleading connection developed.



How Do Tarot Cards and Readings Work

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Tarot readings are a form of divination giving insight into the influences surrounding person or issue. The skill is seem by some as entirely personal, while others view it as a reflection of a universal consciousness or directed by particular gods or spirits.



Purity and Fire in Zoroastrianism

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Ritual purity is central to Zoroastrian practices. Of the six main purifying agents in Zoroastrianism, fire is by far the most potent and revered. Considerable effort is made to keep temple fires uncontaminated in order for them to bestow their purity upon others.



All About Chaos Magic

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Chaos magic is, perhaps the hardest type of magic to explain because definition is the antithesis of chaos. In short, chaos magic is magic that does not conform to any rules.



Celebrations of the Zoroastrian Ritual Calendar

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Zoroastrians celebrate a variety of holidays celebrating solar events, dedicated to particular spirits and marking historic events.



Pantheism Beliefs Explained

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Pantheism is a form of religion that believes that the universe and God are one and the same. Neither exists outside of the other. Therefore, all things are ultimately connected with one another.



Definition of Left and Right Hand Paths in...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Occult and religious paths are sometimes divided into two categories: the left-hand and right-hand paths. The left-hand path is about the elevation and centrality of the self as well as the rejection of religious authority and societal taboos. The left-hand path focuses on the strength and will of the practitioner, downplaying the need for intercession by any high power (although they may believe a higher power exists). Satanism, Luciferianism and Thelema are all considered left-hand paths.



Saturn Occult Correspondences

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Common occult correspondences for Saturn, as recorded by Henry Cornelius Agrippa in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, whose works are commonly referenced and reproduced.



Damballah-Wedo

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Damballah-Wedo is depicted as a serpent or snake. His veves reflect this aspect of him. When he possesses a human, he does not speak but instead only hisses and whistles. Page 2.



Satanic Views of Life and Death

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

LaVeyan Satanists accept no beliefs in an afterlife. Each person comes into existence at birth and disappears at death. The period in-between – one lifetime – is the sum total of existence. Life is therefore something to be enjoyed to its fullest. Satanists are encouraged to embrace whatever it is that they enjoy, living full, sensual, self-indulgent lives.



Black Sun

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The Black Sun design originates from a floor design at Wewelsburg Castle, which was renovated by Heinrich Himmler during the Third Reich. It draws influence from older Germanic symbols of similar design.



What the Elohim Has to Do with the Raelian...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Find out about the Elohim, who, according to the Raelian church, are a human-like alien race that created life through scientific processes on Earth.



Squaring the Circle

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Squaring the circle commonly means doing the impossible. The idea of squaring the circle has been a mathematical puzzle for thousands of years. It is also used in alchemical illustrations.



Why the Hexagram Is a Powerful Religious Symbol

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The hexagram has possessed a variety of meanings over the last several thousand years. It shows up in Hindu artwork, occult works, Kabbalistic sources, and it is the modern symbol of the Jewish faith. There are two forms of the hexagram. The first is of two interlocking triangles. The second is a unicursal figure.



Marriage of the Red King and White Queen in...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

In alchemy, the Red King and White Queen are allegorically brought together in the great work to produce a united whole. Here is an explanation of an illustration of the King and Queen according to The Rosarium Philosophorum, or the Rosay of the Philosophers.



Zoroastrian Funerals

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Zoroastrians strive for purity in their lives, and death is considered the one of the ultimate corrupting influences.



Vodou Ceremony at Bois Caiman

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Controversy surrounds the history of the ceremony held at Bois Caiman in 1791 on the eve of slave revolution against the white colonists. Those wishing to speak ill of either revolutionaries or Vodou practitioners encouraged the notion that this ceremony involved a pact with the devil, although there is no evidence that such a demonic ritual ever occurred.



What is Theistic Satanism?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Theistic Satanism encompasses a variety of related beliefs honoring a figure addresses as Satan or associated with Satan. In contrast to LaVeyan Satanism, which is atheistic and considers Satan merely a symbol for what their faith encourages, theistic Satanists view Satan as an actual being. Theistic Satanism is largely a development of the 20th century.



The Rebis from the Theoria Philosophiae...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The Rebis is an allegorical image representing the ultimate goal of alchemy, the great work. It represents the harmonious union of opposite, the bringing together of spirit and matter.



Orthopraxy vs. Orthodoxy

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Religions are generally defined by one of two things: belief or practice, or the concepts of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.



Raelian Movement

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

An introduction to the new religious movement and atheistic religion, including origins, basic beliefs and practices.



Luciferian and Satanic views of Christianity

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

While neither Satanists nor Luciferians follow the Biblical figures mentioned in their names, the choice of those names was very deliberate. To Satanists and Luciferians, Satan and Lucifer are symbols of enlightenment, rebellion and freedom, particularly against what they consider oppressive religious institutions, which most certainly includes Christianity.



Octagrams - Eight-Pointed Stars

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Octagrams – eight pointed stars – show up in a variety of different cultures, and modern users of the symbol borrow liberally from these sources.



Eliphas Levi's Pentagram

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

19th century occultist Eliphas Levi constructed this pentagram. It is commonly interpreted as a symbol of mankind, as many pentagrams are. However, it is a symbol of many things that unite in the existence of mankind, as is evidence by the variety of additional symbols involved. Page 3.



Is Ganja Legal for Rastas in the United States?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Marijuana, commonly known as ganja among Rastas, is illegal in most countries, including the US. However, as an important part of the Rastafari religion, is ganja smoking protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees religious freedom?



Where Does the Occult Symbol Baphomet Come From?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Deciphering Eliphas Levi's Baphomet of Mendes, a popular 19th century occult image still used by a variety of occult traditions today.



33 Jedi Teachings to Live By

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Jedi Religion is a very non-dogmatic, non-organized religion. As such, there are few if any rules that can be expected to be followed by all believers. However, this also allows for wisdom to be put forth by members of the community for believers to study, accept or reject as they see fit.



A Beginner's Guide to the Western Occult...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Rumor, conspiracy



New Religions are Appealing to Many People

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

New religions are constantly developing, and sizable numbers of people are converting from older, more traditional religions to these new faiths. Explore the reasons for this trend and what makes these new religious movements attractive to many.



Taboos in a Religious Context

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Taboos are a basic part of culture. Not nearly all are religious in nature, but there are also a fair number that do exist within the culture's religious context.



Thelema

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Thelema is a complicated set of magical, mystical and religious beliefs formed in the 20th century by Aleister Crowley. Thelemites might be anything from atheists to polytheists, viewing the involved beings as actual entities or primal archetypes. Today it is embraced by a variety of occult groups including the Ordo Templis Orientis (O.T.O.) and Argenteum Astrum (A:.A:.), the Order of the Silver Star.



African Diaspora Religions

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

When African slaves were brought to the New World, they brought their religions with them. Different tribes practices different religions, and slaves were sent to many different locations in the New World. As such, a variety of New World religions developed based on various aspects of tribal African religions and Catholicism, the primary religion of their keepers.



Beliefs and Practices of Scientologists...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

An overview of Scientology beliefs concerning what happens to us after we die and how they commonly reflect these beliefs through funeral services.



Hieroglyphic Monad

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Monas Hieroglyphica, Hieroglyphic Monad, John Dee, occultism, occultists, sigils, glyph,s images, symbols, esoteric, monad, western occult tradition, western esoteric tradition, western mystery tradition



Scientology

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

An introduction to Scientology, including basic beliefs and practices.



History of Deism

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Deism is a religious movement that grew out of the Age of Enlightenment in Europe in the 18th century as an alternative to traditional Christianity.



Why Is Scientology So Expensive?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

One of the central complaints of Scientology critics is the vast amount of money required for auditing procedures. How much money is really on the line, and is it money well spent?



The Orishas – Orunla, Osain, Oshun, Oya,...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The orishas are the gods of Santeria. here we discuss Orunla, Osain, Oshun, Oya and Yemaya.



Syncretism - What is Syncretism?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Syncretism is the process of combining multiple beliefs into one system. Sometimes the result is a completely new religion. Sometimes the result is one religion embracing new ideas or practices from another religion or the surrounding culture. All religions experience some degree of syncretism, but some religions intrinsically depend upon it for its foundational beliefs.



Purification Rituals in Religion

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Purification is a central facet of many religion's rituals. Sacred space is a place set aside from the mundane world. As such, it is important to many religious people to keep corrupting influences from entering such a space.



Alchemical Sulfur, Mercury and Salt

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Western alchemy is highly allegorical, often describing spiritual processes in terms of chemical reactions and processes. The most central elements in western alchemy are mercury, sulfur, and salt.



Eye of Horus within Triangle

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The Eye of Horus is an ancient symbol originating in Egypt. However, in modern times it has evolved into a similar symbol set within a triangle. Page 6.



freemasonry religion freemasons occultism free...

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The Freemasons are a fraternal order dating back at least four centuries and have likely roots in medieval mason guilds. Questions abound today as to what exactly Freemasons do, believe, and expect from members, thanks in part to hoaxes, gossip, misunderstanding and a distrust of anything that offers even the notion of secrecy.



Who is Satan?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Satan appears within multiple belief systems. Unfortunately, there is a common presumption that all of these Satanic figures must indeed be the same being, despite the fact that each religion has its own very unique perspective and description of him.



Elemental Pentagram

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The pentagram has represented many diverse meanings over the centuries. Since at least the Renaissance, one of its associations is with the five elements. Traditionally, there is a hierarchy among the elements ranging from the most spiritual and rarefied to the least spiritual and most material. This hierarchy determines the placement of elements around the pentagram. Page 7.



As Above So Below

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Few phrases have become as synonymous with occultism as “as above, so below” and various versions of



Damballah-Wedo, Image 2

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Damballah-Wedo is depicted as a serpent or snake. His veves reflect this aspect of him. When he possesses a human, he does not speak but instead only hisses and whistles. Page 6.



Who was Zoroaster (Zarathushtra)?

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

The very early history of Zoroastrianism and it's founder, Zoroaster.



Magic Square of the Sun (Sol)

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

In the Western Occult Tradition, each planet has traditionally been associated with a series of numbers and particular organizations of those numbers. One such method of numerological arrangement is the magic square. Page 4.



Elemental Correspondences

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

Ceremonial occult systems traditionally depend on systems of correspondences: collections of items that are all associated in some way with the desired goal. While the types of correspondences are nearly endless, associations between elements, seasons, time of day, elements, moon phases and directions have become fairly standardized in the West, and are frequently the basis for additional correspondences. Page 8.



Magic Square of Jupiter

2016-09-30T11:11:02Z

In the Western Occult Tradition, each planet has traditionally been associated with a series of numbers and particular organizations of those numbers. One such method of numerological arrangement is the magic square. Page 2.