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Achad: A gematria engine

by Craig Berry

Achad is a simple tool for doing gematria (word numerology). It can support various languages and letter-number correspondences; I welcome submissions of new ones (see below).

Converting words to numbers

Achad accepts text in a special format which represents non-English characters in the English alphabet. You can use the links provided on the Achad application page to view the language files. Each line of these files is of the form

  English,letter,list   name   value,list

So, for example, the Hebrew language file contains this line:

  p,f,ph  peh    80,800

This means that a ‘p’, ‘f’, or ‘ph’ in the text you type in will, when the Hebrew language option is selected, correspond to the Hebrew letter ‘peh’, which normally has the value 80, but can be 800 if it is the last letter you type.

Some letters in other languages correspond to combinations of two letters in English; for example, the Greek ‘psi’ is best represented in English as ‘ps’. Such two letter combinations are found and applied before one letter versions. A ‘ps’ in the text (when in Greek language mode) will always be interpreted as ‘psi’, never as a ‘pi-sigma’. In the extremely rare case when you need to override this behavior, type a period between the two letters which should be read separately (‘p.s’).

Similarly, there are cases where two different letters in a language correspond to the same English letter; for example, the Greek ‘epsilon’ and ‘eta’ both correspond to ‘e’. In these cases, one of the foreign-language pair is assigned to the capital version of the English letter; so, for example, ‘epsilon’ would be typed as ‘e’, but ‘eta’ would be ‘E’. (Note that Achad is extremely case sensitive — type everything in lowercase with the exception of the few special cases which are explicitly upper-case.)

Finally, there are some letter representations which are in common use based on similarities of letter shape; for example, a capital ‘eta’ looks like ‘H’, so English transliterations frequently write it that way. Several common cases like this are supported.

Any leftover letters or punctuation are silently ignored. This can be very helpful; for example, you can put the letter ‘e’ into Hebrew words without changing their value, allowing you to type ‘aleph’ rather than ‘alph’.

In all cases, when in doubt, check the language file! Also, be sure to inspect the letter-by-letter version of your word, which appears just above its value in the output. This will allow you to catch problems before you inadvertantly found an entire new magical system based on erroneous gematria, which can really mess up your karma.

Converting numbers to words

If you enter a positive integer number in the text field, Achad works “in reverse”, providing a list of words in the selected system which enumerate to that number. Actually, the list consists of letter groups rather than words; the letters in each group appear in gematria-value order. So, for example, if you enter the number 13 in the Hebrew system, one of the results is

  aleph daleth cheth

which contains the letters of the word ‘achad’, unity, but in the wrong order. The list will not include the arrangement ‘aleph cheth daleth’. Rearranging the letter groups to form words is left up to you.

You can control the maximum number of letters which will be included in the letter groups, with the maximum being 8. For large maximum word sizes and large numbers, many thousands of letter groups can result.

Contributing new language files

If you would like to see more languages or correspondences supported, please send me correspondence files. The format is described above, and should be obvious from inspecting the currently supported languages. Also please let me know about any bugs you encounter, or suggestions for improvements.

Permanent link to this article: http://oto-usa.org/usgl/library/achad/