The primary interpretation that I have used is: "Understanding Jewish Mysticism: A Source Reader" by David R. Blumenthal (referred to herein as UJM).

The I Ching, the earliest Chinese text of systematic speculative thought, provides the source for a deep analogy with the 64 codons of the genetic code. Its Hebrew counterpart is the Sefer Yetzirah. It provides the source for the other half of the occult genetic code; the 20 amino acids and 2 stop codon groups.

Sefer Yetzirah is the earliest known work of Hebrew magical thought included in the subject known as Kabbalah or Qabala. It's title translates into English as "Book of Creation." It was written between the third and sixth centuries. It is extremely brief, less than 2000 words, and is written in a terse and enigmatic style which has defied all attempts to completely clarify its meaning.

In short, the text tells how The Creator used the numbers 1-10 and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet to create Universe and all the living things in it. The Hebrew letters are molded like bits of clay, placed opposite each other and otherwise manipulated to create, in a magical way, all that exists.

"... Sefer Yetzirah interprets the 'speech' of God in a very clear way. God did not talk to Himself, like an absolute monarch who wills and it is done. Rather, He generated substance, from which He formed letters, out of which he combined 'words', which became things. God's 'speech' was not sound but a modeling of units of clay." (UJM p. 46)

"... the author (of Sefer Yetzirah) maintains that, using his interpretation, one can oneself become a "creator"; though on a much smaller scale. In other words, the Sefer Yetzirah proposes not only an interpretation of 'In the beginning' but also a secret teaching of creative magic. It teaches, properly understood, the secret of Creation and of creation, of the Maker and the maker." (UJM p. 9)

"... the reader is told 'test' and 'explore' (and in some manuscripts also 'know, calculate, and form') - i.e., to try to combine letters and numbers and to 'create' as God did. Such activity was, in fact, known in the Judaism of late antiquity. By it, some rabbis were reported to be able to create small animals and homunculi (animated clay men, who cannot, however, speak)." (UJM p. 16)

"... at the conclusion of profound study of the mysteries of the Sefer Yetzirah on the construction of the cosmos, the sages (as did Abraham the Patriarch) acquired the power to create living beings." ("Kabballah", Gershom Scholem, Meridian Books, 1974, p. 352)

"When Abraham our father, may he rest in peace, came: he looked, and saw, and understood, and explored, and engraved, and hewed out, and succeeded at Creation as it is said, 'And the bodies they had made in Haran' [Genesis 12:5]." (UJM p. 43)

"The Talmud, that great compendium of rabbinic literature, reports many instances of magic as practiced by the rabbis. One example must suffice:

What [magic] is entirely permitted?

Such as [the magic] performed by R. Hanina and R. 'Oshaia, who spent every Sabbath eve in studying the Laws of Creation, by means of which they created a third-grown calf and ate it." Talmud, Sanhedrin 67a, cited in J. Neusner, There We Sat Down (New York and Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1972), p. 80

"And this is the sign: He looks and speaks, and He makes everything that is formed and everything that is spoken with One term. And the sign of the thing is twenty-two needs in one body." (UJM p. 26)

"... The twenty-two needs of the body are not specified, although whatever they are, they correspond to the twenty-two letters of the alphabet." (UJM p. 26)

"Throughout the Sefer Yetzirah, the word for 'body' is nefesh, which is usually translated as 'soul'. The context here and at the end of the book calls for 'body', however." (UJM p. 32)

So here, in the Sefer Yetzirah, we have a magical text which purports to allow those who understand and use it to create living creatures. This is accomplished using 22 letters which are manipulated like bits of clay into chains that are arranged into complementary parallels and other shapes. This is very similar to scientific descriptions of the activity which takes place within the cells of living things. Scientists use the language metaphor to describe these chemicals and their activities. Lengths of DNA and the genes which reside there are refered to as genetic sentences and their chemical components are refered to as words and letters. Counting the stop codons as 2 seperate groups there are 22 amino acid letters in the chemical alphabet of life.

"2. Twenty-Two letters are the foundation: He engraved them, He hewed them out, He combined them, He weighed them, and He set them at opposites, and He formed through them everything that is formed and everything that is destined to be formed." (UJM p. 21)

In addition to the numerical and functional analogies between the amino acids and the Hebrew alphabet there is a category coincidence as well. The letters of the Hebrew language in the Sefer Yetzirah are arranged into 3 categories.

     3 "Mother" letters: Aleph, Mem, Shin
     7 "Double" letters: Beth, Gimel, Daleth, Kaph, Pe, Resh, Tau
    12 "Simple" letters: He, Vau, Zain, Cheth, Teth, Yod, Lamed, Nun,
                         Samekh, Ayin, Tzaddi, Qoph

The amino acids and punctuation codons have many chemical properties by which they can be categorized, but the simplest property describes how they behave within their watery environment of the cell. The amino acids can be described as either hydrophobic (water hating) or hydrophilic (water loving).

   12 Amino Acids are Hydrophilic: Serine, Threonine, Tyrosine, Histidine,
      Glutamine, Cysteine, Asparagine, Arginine, Aspartate, Glutamate,
      Lysine, Glycine
    8 Amino Acids are Hydrophobic: Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Leucine
      Phenylalanine, Tryptophan, Alanine, Methionine

Since Methionine also serves to mark the starting point for translation on the mRNA strand, I put it in the "Punctuation" category along with the 2 stop codon groups. Therefore the 64 codons of the genetic code, those that code for amino acids and those that serve as "Punctuation" (start & stop), can be put into the same number of categories with the same number of items in each, as the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

     3 Punctuation groups (2 stop groups, 1 start group [Methionine])
     7 Hydrophobic Amino Acids
    12 Hydrophilic Amino Acids

This curious coincidence of similar categories was very useful when the time came to match up the individual Hebrew letters with their corresponding amino acids.



When scientists speak of the chemistry of life they often use the metaphor of language, as pointed out earlier. They also use other metaphors. The strands of DNA or mRNA are also spoken of as "threads" and the entire genome is often refered to as "the thread of life." I mention this because one of the many translations of Sefer Yetzirah which I have read uses the "thread of life" metaphor extensively.

"The twenty-two letters which form the stamina after having been appointed and established by God, He combined, weighed and changed them, and formed by them all beings which are in existence, and all those which will be formed in all time to come." (p. 20) (The Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis - AMORC, translated by Rev. Dr. Isidor Kalisch, 1877)

The word that Kalisch translates as "stamina" is the Hebrew word yesod which others translate (more correctly) as "foundation." Why Kalisch chose "stamina" is unknown, but its use in this context is provocative since it is derived from the Latin:

STAMINA - the plural of stamen = warp: the thread of life spun by the fates. endurance. Greek stemon = thread. Note that: Stamen - the organ of the flower that produces the male gamete. This shows that "the thread of life" concept was linked early on to the process of reproduction.

So, if we substitute the origin of "stamina" for "stamina" in the text, we get: "The twenty-two letters which form the thread of life after having been appointed and established by God, He combined, weighed and changed them, and formed by them all beings which are in existence, and all those which will be formed in all time to come."

"This Torah, the linguistic movement of Ein-Sof within itself, is called a malbush ("garment"), though in fact it is inseparable from the divine substance and is woven within it ... (the garments) length is made up of the alphabets of the Sefer Yetzirah and had 231 "gates" ... which form the archistructure of divine thought. Its breadth was composed of an elaboration of the Tetragrammaton according to the numerical value of the four possible spellings of the fully written names of its letters, ... , which were the "threads" and the "weave" that were originally situated in the hem of the garment. ... The size of this garment was twice the area necessary for the creation of all the worlds. After it had been woven, it was folded in two: half of it ascended and its letters stood behind the letters of the other half." (Kabbalah p.132)

We can see then that the tradition of the Hebrews uses the metaphors of clay and threads to explain the creation of all living things, including man. We pass now to the Chinese whose I Ching forms the other half of the occult genetic code. They too have creation myths and traditions that use similar metaphors. The following exerpts are from: "Mythologies of the Ancient World", Samuel Noah Kramer Ed.

Fu Hsi is the legendary creator of the I Ching. His sister/consort is Nu Kua. She is also portrayed as the creator of mankind:

"It is popularly said that when Heaven and Earth had opened forth, but before there were human beings, Nu-Kua created men by patting yellow earth together. But the work tasked her strength and left her no free time, so that she then dragged a string through mud, thus heaping it up so as to make it into men. Therefore the rich and the noble are those men of yellow earth whereas the poor and the lowly - all ordinary people - are those cord-made men." (p. 338)

To wrap-up the analysis I will demonstrate some of the curious evidence derived from the Qabalistic practice of gematria, the practice of assigning number values to Hebrew words based on the numerical values of the Hebrew letters. Note that there are 46 chromosomes in the normal human. Each of the parents contribute, via their sperm and ovum, 23 chromosomes to the new being they create together.

Note also that each of the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching has 6 lines and so there is a total of 384 lines in all.

  (life 23)   +   (thread 23)  =  46
  (father 4)  +   (mother 42)  =  46
  (Adam 45)   +   (Eve 19)     =  64
  (sperm 277) +  (ovum 107)   = 384
  (male 227)  +  (female 157) = 384

Return to Contents