23 – The Numbers

The Candidate Numbers

According to the Man in Black and Ilana, a number of select individuals were chosen as candidates to replace Jacob in the job of protecting the Island. The Man in Black further alleges that Jacob is responsible for bringing the candidates to the Island. Those chosen as candidates appear to enjoy a special protected status among the Others. As of 2007, according to Ilana, there are only six candidates remaining. (“The Substitute”)  (“Lighthouse”)  (“Dr. Linus”) Two candidates, Sayid and either/both Jin or Sun, were subsequently killed due to a trap set up by the Man in Black. Jacob revealed that the candidates are chosen because they are flawed and the names are crossed out because they fulfill a meaning, e.g. Kate becoming a mother. However, if a candidate wanted the position then the job would be theirs and their name being crossed off is “just a line of chalk”. Due to this any one of the Candidates could have become the protector of the island. (“The Candidate”) In late 2007, Jack Shephard accepted the job to replace Jacob, becoming the new protector of the Island. (“What They Died For”) Shortly after, Jack realized that he was not supposed to protect the Island, but to die saving it, since he said himself the Island was all he had left. Before he died, he named Hurley as his successor. (“The End”)

Inside Jacob’s cliffside cave, the numbers were revealing to represent the candidates.


The Candidate’s and Corresponding Number Symbolism

#4 - John Locke

#8 - Hurley Reyes

#15 - James Sawyer

#16 - Sayid Jarrah

#23 - Jack Shephard

#42 - Kwon

#42 - Kwon

Twenty-Three (#23) 

23 is the fifth of the Numbers. It is the only prime number in the sequence. Below is a list of appearances on the show, by episode chronology.

23 Number Symbolism

#23 - Jack Shephard



Judgement (Order)


Fertility (Water)

Occurrences in LOST

  • Jack sat in seat 23A. (“Pilot, Part 1”)
  • Rose sat in seat 23D. (“Pilot, Part 1”)
  • Bernard sat in seat 23E. (“Pilot, Part 1”)
  • Kate had a $23,000 bounty on her head. (“Tabula Rasa”)
  • Danielle asked Sayid where Alex was 23 times. (“Solitary”)
  • Jack pounded on Charlie’s chest 23 times until Kate made him stop. (“All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”)
  • Drive Shaft was 234 on the juke box. (“Homecoming”)
  • The number 23 appeared as part of a PIN on one of the crates found inside the drug smugglers’ plane. (“Deus Ex Machina”)
  • The departure gate for flight 815 was 23. (“Exodus, Part 1”)
  • Hurley’s hotel room in Sydney was number 2342. (“Exodus, Part 2”)
  • The temperature in Sydney the day Flight 815 departed was 23°C.
  • The Oceanic logo was made of 23 dots.

  • When Jack met Desmond in the stadium, Jack tripped when he was about to get past seat row Number 23.
  • The letter “W”, which prominently appears on a woman’s t-shirt in the caves as Jack reassured them of their safety, is the 23th letter of the alphabet. (“Man of Science, Man of Faith”)
  • 23 people survived the crash in the tail end of the plane according to Libby (this, however, included Goodwin). (“Everybody Hates Hugo”)
  • There were 23 survivors outside of the mid-section 42: the 22 tailies and the pilot. (“The Other 48 Days”)
  • Nathan died on Day 23. (“The Other 48 Days”)
  • The timer had 23 seconds left when Jack and Locke discovered that Kate abandoned the Swan. (“What Kate Did”)
  • Eko recited Psalm 23 as he set the plane on fire. The 23rd Psalm is also the episode title. (“The 23rd Psalm”)
  • Part of the video reel that Kelvin showed to Sayid was number 23108-42 . (“One of Them”)
  • Sayid said he was 23 years old when he was captured in the Persian Gulf War. (“One of Them”)
  • The sum of the real Henry Gale’s zip code numbers was 23. (“One of Them”)
  • 23 people were standing on the deck when it collapsed with Hurley on it; Dr. Brooks said it was built to only hold 8. (“Dave”)
  • Desmond looked at letters he sent to Penny while he was in jail. Penny’s address was 23 Dansmore Gardens. (“Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1”)
  • The number 23 was on one of the LAPD cars. (“Two for the Road”)

  • There were 23 minutes between Zander and Cliff’s births. (Bad Twin)
  • The Hanso Foundation wished to purchase 23 Jeep Compass vehicles. (DaimlerChrysler Fleet Operations)

  • Jack’s pager had the time 7:15:23 on it. (“A Tale of Two Cities”)
  • Eddie Colburn’s Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department ID number was 84023. (“Further Instructions”)
  • Munson’s 10 Million was hidden in unit 23c. (“Every Man for Himself”)
  • Eko was reciting the 23rd Psalm when the Monster attacked him. (“The Cost of Living”).
  • Karl was being held in room 23 in the Hydra prison. (“Not in Portland”)
  • Juliet entered 1623 into the sonic fence keypad. (“Left Behind”)
  • The radio volume in the van was set to level 23 when Drive Shaft’s song started playing. (“Greatest Hits”)

LOST: Missing Pieces (Mobisodes)

  • Walt was held in Room 23 in the Hydra Prison. (“Room 23”)

  • The docket number of Kate’s trial was 42231615, the last four Numbers in reverse. (“Eggtown”)
  • The appropriate setting for Daniel Faraday’s consciousness time-transporting device at Oxford University’s Queen’s College Physics Department was 2.342. (“The Constant”)
  • The journal of the first mate of the Black Rock was sold at auction in lot #2342. (“The Constant”)
  • Penelope Widmore’s home address was 423 Cheyne Walk. (“The Constant”)
  • There were written “X”s marking every day from October 1st to December 23rd on the 2004 calendar in the freighter’s sickbay. In addition, only four of these “X”s were marked in yellow on the days of October 20th through October 23rd. (“The Constant”)
  • The license plate number of the taxi Jin chased was 2369. (“Ji Yeon”)
  • The secret clues on yahoo’s web site http://au.yahoo.com/lost/clue/clue407.html mentions that the last Year of the Dragon (“Ji Yeon”) is from the 5th of February 2000 to the 23rd of January 2001
  • In the episode Confirmed Dead, there was a bucket or something metallic with the number 23 on it during the sub team excavation.

  • Jack’s cell phone number was 323-555-0156. (“The Lie”)
  • Ben instructed Jack to meet up at the Long Beach Marina, Slip 23. (“The Little Prince”)
  • The photo of the island that Jack saw in the Lamp Post station was dated 9/23/54. The sum of these digits equals 23: 9+2+3+5+4. (“316”)
  • Widmore instructed Locke to dial 23 whenever Locke needed to get in contact with him on the international phone that he gave him. (“The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham”)
  • Richard first met Daniel in 1954 and again 23 years later in 1977. (“Jughead”) (“The Variable”)

  • The numbers in the license plate (4DQ5554) of the taxi that Kate carjacked add up to 23. (“What Kate Does”)
  • The finale of the series aired on Sunday, May 23, 2010.
  • Jack Shephard was number 23 on Jacob’s list on the cave wall.(“The Substitute”)
  • When the lens assembly at the top of the Lighthouse was aligned to 23 degrees, Jack Shephard’s childhood home could be observed. (“Lighthouse”)
  • The numerical address for the home of David Shepard’s mother was 23.
  • When Sayid was woken up by Omer in the flash-sideways, he commented that it was 2:30 in the morning. (“Sundown”)
  • At the concert, Jack’s family sat at table 23. (“The End”)
  • The Apollo bar Sawyer bought at the hospital was on slot 23 of the candy machine. (“The End”)

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Five (#23)

23 Reduced: 2+3 = 5

Now as we approach the meaning of Five we begin to extend ourselves even further into the outer reaches of numerology. Each number expanding out from One represents a container holding all its predecessors within its vibration.

Meaning, the number five is a container that holds the energy of One, Two, Three and Four. All of the tumultuousness and beneficence found in these numbers mixed up into the Five. Yeah, it’s a head-trip to consider the godly digits embodied into one number.

And so the meaning of Five expresses that expansiveness and its ability to know itself as a whole through the interaction of its essential parts.

Essentially, Five is the first of digits that is in a constant (sometimes driven) state of balancing its own equation.

The meaning of Five gets more dicey when we recognize its association with humankind. Five fingers, five toes, five tactile senses. These associations give number Five a link to the physical, and a grounded vibration that is similar to Four, but on a much more intricate scale.

But this grounding physicality must play a co-starring role in the essence of Five when we consider the Greek concept of the fifth element. The Greeks marveled over the philosophy of Five, and recognized the pentagram as a perfect symbol to represent the four elements (water, air, earth, and fire) PLUS the fifth element as a unifying factor. This fifth element, as Plutarch observed, is the ether or quintessence that instills harmony and unity to all elements.

Indeed, the Greeks held the number Five as a representation of dispensing spiritual knowledge (Sound familiar? Hierophant resonates with number Five) and considered it a vehicle for gaining proper spiritual understanding.

Perhaps that driving effort for more expansion lends the tendency for Five’s to be the number of travel, unpredictability, instability, and dismay. Consider each of the five cards in the minor Arcana – each may illicit a sense of loss by the interpreter – at the very least a feeling of insecurity is perceptible.

Whether we choose to inappropriately use Five energy, causing loss for ourselves (as indicated in some minor Arcana five card interpretations), or we harness the wild ways of the Five for our benefit, one thing is clear: Fives have the best of all worlds.

Five energy represents that element in each of us that seeks out more expression, more unification, and more understanding of who we are amongst the balancing tides of the universe. In essence, Five is the numerical manifestation of our own desire to balance our own internal equations.

Visually, the meaning of Five illustrates (inverted too):

  • Half Circle – Desire to be whole, united (also, the erratic push of half-moons come to mind although Five is associated with Jupiter).
  • Flag – Waiving a banner of victory or surrender.
  • Table Top – Laying it out on the table, honest, to the point (candor).
  • Arrow (pointing down off the semi circle arch) – Aim for grounding, point to the earth for stability, move by land in travel.

Common associations with the meaning of Five:

  • Tarot Cards: The Hierophant, Five of Wands, Five of Cups, Five of Swords, Five of Pentacles
  • Colors: Blue
  • Letters: E, N and W
  • Qabalah symbol: Hay
  • Astrological: Jupiter, Aries

Potential Personality of Five: 

People who resonate with the energy of Five have a genuine interest in other people, and often take active roles in the community. They are high-spirited, and love to travel too. They do not require routine or structure, and are able to adapt well in most situations. They deal with challenges with cleverness and unorthodox solutions. Five people have many projects and ideas going on at the same time and are sometimes strapped for time. This causes them to lose out on some opportunities too, but this is irrelevant as the Five personality will always come out ahead in his/her endeavors.

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The Hierophant (V) 

The Hierophant (V), in some decks named The Pope, is the fifth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

Description and symbolism

Some frequent keywords associated with The Hierophant are:

  • Education —– Knowledge —– Status quo —– Institution
  • Conservatism —– Discipline —– Maturity —– Formality
  • Deception —– Power —– Respect —– Duality
  • Social convention —– Belief system —– Group identification
  • Experience —– Tradition —– Naïve

In many modern packs, the Hierophant is represented with his right hand raised in what is known esoterically as the blessing or benediction, with two fingers pointing skyward and two pointing down, thus forming a bridge between Heaven and Earth reminiscent of that formed by the body of The Hanged Man. The Hierophant is thus a true “pontiff”, in that he is the builder of the bridge between deity and humanity. The Hierophant is typically male, even in decks that take a feminist view of the Tarot, such as the Motherpeace Tarot.

In most iconographic depictions, the Hierophant is seen seated on a throne between two pillars symbolizing Law and Liberty or obedience and disobedience, according to different interpretations. He wears a triple crown, and the keys to Heaven are at his feet. Sometimes he is shown with worshippers, as his alternate title is the Pope or, sometimes, Jupiter. The card is also commonly known as, “The High Priest,” as a counterpart to, “The High Priestess” (which itself is also sometimes known as, “The Popess,” as counterpart to “The Pope”).


The papacy was not just a religious force, but was a political and military force as well. When the tarot was invented, the Pope controlled a large portion of central Italy. Renaissance culture did not question the abstract ideal of the Pope as God’s human representative on Earth. In Tarot of Marseilles, he wears a red cape and a blue robe, in contrast to The Papess, who wears a blue cape and blue robe.

The more commonly encountered modern name “Hierophant” is due to Antoine Court de Gébelin. According to de Gebelin, “hierophant” was the title of the chief priest in the Eleusinian mysteries (an ancient Greek ritual).


The card stands for religion and orthodox theology. It also represents traditional education or a “Man of high social standing”. These interpretations merely scratch the surface of the card. The Pope card also represents the Biblical story of God’s creation of man and woman. He is also strongly associated with the Deceiver and with Power over others.

Some interpretations also suggest a link between the card and the myth of Isis and Osiris, a claim made about many cards.Some say the card corresponds to the astrological sign of Taurus; others Sagittarius or Leo. Yet another association is with the sign Cancer. In non-Western cultures (Native American, Siberian) the Hierophant retains the role as spiritual guide, wearing here the mask of a shaman who is also the teacher of holy things. In Native America, the mythological association is with the Coyote or Trickster God, one who is a teacher, a benefactor for the spiritual student, but who is often playful or mischievous.

The Hierophant is the card representing organized religion — any organized religion. Its positive and negative aspects are those associated with that religion.

“Hierophant” literally means “the one who teaches the holy things”. Ideally, the Hierophant prepares the Querant spiritually for the adventure of life. The card also represents individuation or the point where a child starts to understand the boundaries between Self and Other, family and the community. This is the point where the individual starts constructing his or her own identity, consciously, unconsciously, or as shaped by exterior forces.

The Hierophant is usually Key 5 of the Major Arcana. Five represents the essence of things as they are, as in the word “quintessence” from the Latin words for five and for nature. It is also the number of the senses: sight, hearing, taste, feeling, and smell. The Hierophant sits on a throne straddling the world of the senses and the world of meaning.

It is related through cross sums (the sum of the digits) with Key 14: Temperance. The Hierophant presents the lessons of heaven to earth. Temperance guides the soul from this world to the underworld.

Some authorities say that the Hierophant generally represents assistance, friendship, good advice, alliances (including marriages), and religious interests. Reversed; it often refers to bad advice, lies, and persecution.

Others say that it represents the first level of understanding. When it appears in a tarot spread, it is a warning to the Querant to reexamine his or her understanding of the meaning of things; of the structure of the world; of the powers that be. Watch out for hypocrisy.

The negative aspect of The Hierophant is well illustrated by the myth of Procrustes. Procrustes was a man (or a monster) living in the mountains of Greece. He invited weary travelers into his home, washed the dust off their feet, provided a meal, and let them lie on his bed. If they were too big for his bed, he cut them to size. If they were too small, he stretched them to fit. At last, Theseus came through the mountains and accepted Procrustes’s seemingly kind offer. When Procrustes tried to cut him to fit, Theseus killed him, making the road safe. In this way, the Hierophant is like Freud’s superego. It shapes us, sometimes brutally. This shaping is necessary for us to become who we are. Sometimes, it’s merely the replication of historic cruelties. Freud theorized at one point that the superego is an internalization of one’s parents. The Hierophant may represent the parents, living in the Querant.

The Rider-Waite-Smith deck explicitly connects the Hierophant with the Ten of Swords. The dead man lying face down on the beach, penetrated by ten swords, has his hand in the same position of blessing as the Hierophant, perhaps hinting that the artist believed that the path of the Hierophant leads ultimately to death; a sanctified death, but death nonetheless.

Common Interpretation

The Pope card when upright commonly suggest to seek guidance, to follow a positive advice endorsed to the querant, to do the right thing, to have faith, to keep on the right side of God, to be a positive role model, to be disciplined in your approach to matters and to clear off negative karma.

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