Numerology is an arcane study of the purported mystical relationship between numbers and the character or action of physical objects and living things.
Numerology and numerological divination was popular among early mathematicians such as Pythagoras, but is no longer considered to be part of mathematics and is now regarded as pseudoscience or quackery by most mathematicians. This is similar to the historical development of astronomy from astrology, and that of chemistry from alchemy.
Lucky and unlucky numbers
At its very simplest, many cultures consider some numbers lucky or unlucky.
two sounds like "easy" in Cantonese. 24 sounds like "easy to die", 28 sounds like "easy prosperity"
four, considered unlucky by the Chinese and Japanese, because it (四 pinyin si4) sounds like the word "death" (死 pinyin si3)
seven, considered lucky by most cultures
eight, considered lucky by the Chinese and Japanese, because it (八 pinyin ba1) sounds like the word "prosper" (發 pinyin fa1)
nine, considered unlucky by the Japanese, because it (九 ku) sounds same as the word "pain" (苦)
thirteen, considered unlucky by most Western cultures, because Judas Iscariot, the disciple and betrayer of Jesus, was the thirteenth man in the room in which Jesus ate his Last Supper. Thirteen is considered lucky in Italy, however. It is considered lucky in China too, because it sounds like "sure life"
seventeen is the sum of the letters of Latin "VIXI" or "I have lived", implying being dead, and hence considered unlucky in Italy. It is also the first prime that is greater than 12 + 1, being the duodecimal equivalent of 13.
- 666 is Number of the Beast.
- 9413 is considered unlucky by Chinese because it (九四一三 pinyin jiu3 si4 yi4 san1) sounds like a Chinese proverb (九死一生 pinyin jiu3 si3 yi4 sheng1) which means "slim chance of survival" or lit. "nine die one lives".
In some countries such beliefs are very strong and widespread. For example, In the USA and Canada the thirteenth floor is often missing in buildings. In China lucky phone numbers, such as 133-3333-3333 or 8888-8888 were sold for more than $200,000 each.
Esoteric Significance of Numbers
Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and philosopher, was so enamored with the concept of numbers that he almost succeeded in developing a complete religion centred around the premise that the universe is based on a mathematical algorithm. Although his ideas may have seemed far fetched in his day, as we approach the 21st century scientists are only just now beginning to realize that there is truth to his thinking processes as we study the theory of quantum mechanics, postulate the existence of complete universes composed of anti-matter, and speculate what exactly does lie within a black hole. As modern scientists are able to break the atomic structure into protons, electrons and neutrons, and those primary building blocks down into smaller subatomic particles, they are beginning to realize that these structures are so minute that their building blocks must be based some higher force.
Although numbers one to nine are used in modern numerology to determine character analysis and predict upcoming trends, other numbers are thought to carry vibrational influences which must be taken into consideration to gain a more comprehensive picture of their essence:
The following summarizes the beliefs of numerologists, and it is important to note that there is no scientific or mathematical evidence to show that numbers exhibit these properties.
One is the first number used when counting and therefore it is considered to have great power; without it there would be no numbering system as we know it. Every numerical system we are aware of has had one as its initial starting point. Because one signifies the beginning of an enterprise, it is very egocentric and prefers to be the center of attention. One can be happy, loving, romantic, dynamic and charismatic, but on the downside it can be egotistical, selfish and melodramatic.
Two relates to partnerships and interaction with others. Individual achievements are not realistic because accomplishments are best realized through co-operation and teamwork. Two is paramount in the formation of life because in this world we have two genders who couple to propagate the earth. One-to-one relationships are prominent because it symbolizes two people becoming close through intimate contact. Two is feminine, intuitive, and corresponds with our protective instincts. Negatively, two can be grasping, overprotective and cranky.
Three relates to expansiveness and learning through life experiences. It is considered to be lucky, and is often associated with money and good fortune. Three generally depicts several people joining together to achieve a common goal, whether through a social or professional affiliation. Although three possesses attributes of wisdom, understanding and knowledge, negatively it can exhibit pessimism, foolhardiness and unnecessary risk taking.
Four is a number of stability and building for the future. It has much energy which is directed toward the achievement of goals, such as family celebrations or other notable events. Because this is a number of progression and growth, many original ideas are likely to spring forth from what appears to be thin air. Four is a solitary number which seems to be somewhat of a loner, even in the midst of a crowd. Because of the grounded qualities of this number, it has a tendency to be steadfast and can sometimes give the impression of being boring.
Five is a number which represents service to others. It is highly analytical and has the ability to think critically, but can over-ponder an issue to the point that its significance is no longer relevant. This number governs our ability to think clearly and our intellectual capacity. It is a multifaceted number with links to our state of physical and mental health.
Six relates to tact, beauty and harmony. It is very much a relationship builder which corresponds to one-to-one encounters. It deals with that which we are attracted to and those things we find great pleasure in. Six possesses charm, grace and the ability to make small talk on any stratum, and is therefore much of a diplomat. It is considered to be a minor money number, so a little extra income will be available wherever this number is found. Negatively, six can be unfaithful, jealous, bitter and vengeful.
Seven is considered to be a spiritual number because it is illusive and contains veils which must first be uncovered, one after another, before illumination will ultimately be found. Seven is said to be sacred, and this is evidenced by the fact that there are seven days in the week, ancient texts propose that the earth was formed in seven phases, the ancient solar system consisted of seven luminaries, and some versions of the kaballah have seven sephiroth. While seven possesses qualities of dreaminess, spirituality and psychic awareness, negatively it can be dubious, deceptive and insincere.
Eight is considered to be the number of karmic influences where we are called upon to pay debts incurred in this and previous lives. It represents hard work and lessons learned through experience, and can therefore be a difficult number for some because of the very restrictiveness of its nature. Because reputation and community standing are of paramount importance, those who have it figured prominently would be wise to lead honest lives, otherwise any indiscretions will more than likely be uncovered in a most unflattering manner.
Nine was considered to be a sacred number by the ancients and was consequently not assigned a numerical equivalent to any letter in the Chaldean alphabet. It represents change, invention and growth which springs forth from inspiration. Nine has traditionally held esoteric significance which is evidenced by the fact that it takes nine calendar months to bring a baby into the world from its initial conception.
Ten is a higher octave of the number one and signifies an end of an important cycle in which a change in circumstances will soon be forthcoming. It carries with it much esoteric significance which is evidenced by the fact that it takes ten lunar months to bring a baby from conception into the world, there are ten sephiroth in many versions of the kaballah, the most common number system used today is based on the number ten, and most currencies in use today have been decimalised. It should be noted that ten is considered to be the modern number of completion because it was only within the last several hundred years that is has been used as the fundamental building block of number systems, currencies and measurements. When ten replaced twelve as the ultimate number, it heralded a change in man’s thinking patterns to become more scientific in his approach to questions of an esoteric nature.
Eleven is a higher octave of the number two and is considered to be a master number. It carries psychic vibrations and has an equal balance of masculine and feminine properties. Because eleven contains many gifts such as psychic awareness and a keen sense of sensitivity, it also has negative effects such as treachery and betrayal from secret enemies.
Twelve is a higher octave of the number three and is an indicator of great understanding and wisdom. Much of its knowledge is gleaned from life experiences which enables a sense of calm to prevail in even the most turbulent of situations. Twelve is significant in ancient man’s life because there were twelve tribes in Israel, twelve disciples followed Jesus, there are twelve astrological signs in the zodiac, there are twelve months in the year, and our modern clock is divided into two groups of twelve hours. It is considered to be the ancient number of completion as it signals the end of childhood and the beginning stages of adulthood. Additionally, the ancient numbering and measuring systems are based on this number, as evidenced by terms such as a dozen (12), a gross (12 times 12), a shilling (12 pence) and a foot (12 inches). Negatively, twelve can suffer from a form of depression brought about by a feeling of resignation that life’s events have transpired in such a way. (There are also 12 countries using the euro as of December 2004.)
Thirteen is a higher octave of the number four and is one more than twelve, the ancient number of completion. Thirteen is considered to signify the end of a cycle, as evidenced by the fact that there are thirteen lunar months in the year and thirteen signs in the Celtic and Native American systems of astrology. While thirteen foretells new beginnings, it also signifies that outmoded systems must come to an end to make way for much needed transformations. Thirteen may also be interpreted as 12 + 1 and is regarded by many as the number of the initiate. Thirteen's significance cannot really be discussed without reference to sacred geometry, more particularly the Flower of Life. It has huge significance to the creation pattern and the platonic solids.
Twenty-two is a higher octave of the number four and is considered to be a master number. It contains the secrets to many esoteric questions, as evidenced by the fact that there are twenty two letters in the Hebrew alphabet, twenty two pathways in many versions of the kaballah, and twenty two cards in the Major Arcana. Twenty two carries with it psychic gifts such as heightened sensitivity, intuition and psychic awareness, but is also predisposed to pitfalls such as treachery from hidden enemies and over sensitivity.
Zero is a powerful number which brings great transformational change, sometimes occurring in a profound manner. It has much intensity, so caution is needed wherever it appears to ensure that extremes are not encountered.
The book of Genesis tells of original man walking with God and using telepathic means of communication. This gift is said to have been lost after the mythical fall when Adam and Eve disobeyed their creator and were subsequently expelled from paradise. Having lost this ability to communicate with others without speech, the spoken word has become an art form which is vital to our ability to relate enmasse or on a one to one basis. In contrast to the verbal society we currently live in, mythical ancient civilisations such as Atlantis and Lemuria are believed by some to have had a slightly different means of communication which was composed on an elaborate system, including art forms which conveyed special messages to the observer.
In our current age of known history, early man recorded events which transpired by using pictorial representations which told elaborate stories. As time went on these pictures were abbreviated to form hieroglyphics with each symbol depicting a word. As more time elapsed the glyphs were further reduced to represent individual sounds.
The alphabet that we use today is most likely derived from an earlier Egyptian hieroglyphic system which in turn was derived from a pictographic system, similar to the concept on which the Chinese and Japanese writing systems are based. As the hieroglyphics evolved to represent sounds instead of specific words, these letters as we now know them took on a complete essence of their own: so much so that the spelling of many words has remained unchanged even though our speech patterns have evolved to make some sounds obsolete.
As mankindís system of thought and style of communication evolved to become more verbalised, the concept began to become apparent that each sound conveys a particular harmonic vibration which has particular significance to the exoteric as well as esoteric implications of our milieu. Numerologists believe that every letter in the alphabet has a specific essence that can best be described by associating it with a numerical value, thereby allowing for ease of computation. Each letter in any given word helps to add a particular flavour in order to clarify its meaning: this is especially so when it is the first letter or multiple occurrences of a particular letter are found in a word. The premier, or first, consonant or vowel of a word tends to carry significant importance and these letters will often reveal the overall essence of a word or name.
A is the numerical equivalent of 1 and the first letter of the alphabet as well as the first vowel. It has a great deal of confidence which enables it to achieve objectives. When it is the first vowel in a name, the bearer tends to be alert and bold. Negatively, A can be critical of efforts of others.
B is the numerical equivalent of 2 and represents our emotional reactions. It is friendly, sympathetic and enjoys domesticity. Negatively, B can be self absorbed if not a bit greedy.
C is the numerical equivalent of 3 and represents energy. It is particularly good humoured and gets along well with others. Negatively, C can be unscrupulous and inattentive to the needs of others.
D is the numerical equivalent of 4 and represents balance. It is very powerful and is the letter associated with business. When it is the first consonant in a name the bearer will display a need for order and tidiness. Negatively, D can be stubborn and uncompromising.
E is the second vowel in the alphabet and is the numerical equivalent of 5. It is a friendly number which is warm hearted, loving and compassionate. When it is the first vowel in a name the bearer is freedom loving and charming. Negatively, E can be unreliable and unstable.
F is the numerical equivalent of 6 and represents love. It is warm-hearted, compassionate, and has the ability to make others feel at ease. When it is the first consonant in a name it carries the vibration of a mother hen type of individual. Negatively, F can carry a sense of melancholy.
G is the numerical equivalent of 7 and represents mysticism and religious experiences. This letter is imaginative, creative, and will look for alternative solutions to everyday problems. When it is the first consonant in a name, the bearer will tend to be intuitive, learned and somewhat solitary. Negatively, Gís are loathe to take even the best intentioned advice from others.
H is the numerical equivalent of 8 and represents creativity and power. This letter has a great deal of business acumen and will therefore find profits through most endeavours. When it is the first consonant of a name the bearer is likely to be successful in business. Negatively, it can be self absorbed and selfish.
I is the third vowel of the alphabet and is the numerical equivalent of 9. It represents law and as a general rule is sensitive, compassionate and humane. Negatively, I can lack self confidence and is quick to anger.
J is the numerical equivalent of 1 and represents our aspirations. This letter is truthful, benevolent and intelligent. When it is the first consonant in a name the bearer will possess an unyielding desire not to give up and will therefore find success - eventually. Negatively, J can be lazy and lack direction.
K is the numerical equivalent of 2 and represents extremes. It is strong willed and influential, if not somewhat emotive at times. When it is the first consonant of a name the bearer will possess insights often missed by others. Negatively, K can be dissatisfied with life.
L is the numerical equivalent of 3 and represents action. It is charitable and well adjusted but can be somewhat accident prone.
M is the numerical equivalent of 4 and represents spirituality. This letter has a great deal of self confidence and is therefore likely to achieve success. It is also an industrious letter that can be somewhat of a workaholic. Negatively, M can be hasty and quick to anger.
N is the numerical equivalent of 5 and represents imagination. It is intuitive and communicative, but negatively can be predisposed to jealousy.
O is the penultimate vowel and equates to the number 6. This letter represents patience and is particularly studious. When it is the first vowel in a name, the person will be community minded and a good student. Negatively, O needs to learn to gain greater control over its emotions.
P is the numerical equivalent of 7 and represents power. It carries with it a commanding influence and possesses much knowledge. When it is the first consonant in a name the bearer is likely to think of spiritual matters. Negatively, P can be totally self absorbed with little time to empathise with the concerns of others.
Q is the numerical equivalent of 8 and represents originality. It is a mysterious letter which in many ways shows areas that would otherwise be unknowable. Negatively, Q can be extremely boring.
R is the numerical equivalent of 9 and represents possibilities. It is tolerant and humane but has a tendency to become short tempered. When it is the first consonant in a name the bearer will often act as peacemaker.
S is the numerical equivalent of 1 and represents beginnings. It has very attractive attributes and instils wealth. Negatively, S can act impulsively and cause massive upheavals to occur.
T is the numerical equivalent of 2 and represents growth. It is a restless letter which seeks answers to spiritual questions. When it is the first consonant in a name, the carrier will have extra strength to help other and tends to be long suffering. Negatively, T is overly emotional and is often easily influenced by the opinions of others.
U is the final true vowel in the alphabet and is the numerical equivalent of 3. This letter represents accumulation and is considered to be very lucky indeed. When it is the first vowel in a name the bearer will be freedom loving. Negatively, U can be selfish, greedy and indecisive.
V is the numerical equivalent of 4 and represents construction. It is an industrial letter which is tireless and efficient. Negatively, V can be unpredictable.
W is the numerical equivalent of 5 and represents self-expression. While this letter can be exceedingly charming, it also possesses an aura of mystique. Negatively, W can be greedy and take too many risks.
X is the numerical equivalent of 6 and represents sexuality. This letter is unrestrained in its quest for pleasure and can therefore fall prey to promiscuity and unfaithfulness.
Y is the penultimate letter in our alphabet and is the numerical equivalent of 7. This number represents freedom and dislikes restraint of any kind. Negatively, Y can be indecisive and as a consequence may miss out on opportunities in life.
Z is the final letter in our alphabet and is the numerical equivalent of 8. It represents hope as it is considered to be a peacemaker. Negatively, Z can be headstrong and must learn to think before acting.
In numerological divination, a student of the field will use the name, birthdate and birthtime of an individual to analyze and define something of the personality and propensities of that individual. Specific numbers are also assigned to the letters of the alphabet. One such system (for the English alphabet) is represented here:
Another system is based primarily on Hebrew letters, with Greek letters used as a supplement for those letters in our alphabet which do not have direct Hebrew equivalents. Exact details vary, but the most commonly-observed Hebrew/Greek format is shown below:
Advocates of this system point to the fact that the ancient Hebrews and Greeks used their alphabets to write numbers as well as letters (the so-called Arabic numerals used today not entering widespread use until much later), and the 10th letter was used to write the number "10," the 11th letter, "20," and so on, with the 19th letter being used for "100" and the 20th letter for "200," etc., while the present alphabet has never been used for such a purpose (the number 9 does not appear on the above chart because the Hebrew letters which were used to denote the numbers "9," "90" and "900" do not have specific English/Roman equivalents).
In this way, names of people, places and things can be assigned numerical values, thus giving them meaning in a numerologic context. This is called isopsephy. The asserted basis of numerology is that every object, place or being in the universe has a characteristic vibration, usually imperceptible to the human senses, and that the application of numerology to the thing being addressed can help to ascertain the characteristic vibration or vibrations which apply to it, thereby revealing something of its essence. Classic numerology resolves all numbers related to an item down to a single digit, 0-9 or 1-9, plus the "master numbers" 11 and 22. The number 324, for instance, would be resolved by adding 3+2+4 to arrive at 9. 12 and 16, appearing together in a date, would resolve to 10, hence 1, no matter in which order the elements are added.
The basis of the belief that dates and times have numerologic significance appears to be that underlying vibrations of the universe as a whole occur in regular cycles and that things created or changed at one or another point in these cycles will express the properties which the vibrations at that point in the cycle create. It is less clear how names, words and appellations would follow such a rule. One theory put forward by some numerologists is that persons who name things are subtly affected by universal vibrations to assign appropriate names which harmonize with the vibrations of the thing named.
Another question which has been asked relative to the numerological significance of words is how, if letters can be assigned numbers, things can have a uniform numerological identity when they are named differently in different languages and with different alphabets. For example, the numerologic value for "shirt" in English would be 8. The same item in Spanish would be "camisa," a 6 in numerology. One theory to explain this apparent inconsistency is that the different names for an object in different languages and orthographies correspond to different distinctive qualities of that object, just as different words for the same thing in the same language can carry different connotations.
To date, there is no scientific verification for the validity of claimed numerological principles. Numerology has thus been classified as a pseudoscience, and most scientists regard it as either deluded quackery or deliberate fraud. True science, as recognized in modern society, is based on the scientific method and requires that assertions answer to the regular and replicable use of this method to be considered as scientifically verifiable fact.
Numerologists reply that their study does not answer to science as the mechanisms of interaction between universal vibration and gross physical things are too subtle to be detected, measured or quantified by tools currently available to science. However, given that numerologists make predictions about observable events, scientists would argue that the simultaneous claim that science cannot detect any effects is illogical. Empirical observations relating to the regular and predictable mathematical relationships between things in the universe are pointed to as evidence of a numerological fabric underlying all things. However, such observations give no direct support to numerology's claims.
Numerology is by no means a unified study. Proponents of its veracity may be generally divided into three schools. With limited elaboration:
- Numerology is true by Divine fiat and contains clues placed into the fabric of the universe by the Almighty for the enlightened to decipher, thereby bringing them closer to unity with a Grand Plan.
- Numerology is true because of universal spiritual agreement between all life on one level or another. And because the Universe is the product of the mean (as in statistical mean) agreement between all of life everywhere, the agreement on mathematical regularity in the universe creates a Numerological sub-fabric throughout the universe.
- Numerology is true because it is a reflection of Natural Law, giving clues to the state of a complex of vibrations which regulate function and existence in the universe. The failure of modern science to verify this fact is merely a reflection of insufficient advances in science. After all, science once believed all matter was composed of earth, air, fire and water in different combinations. If and when science is sufficiently advanced, it will be able to verify the truth of numerology.
Historians believe that modern numerology is an integration of the teachings from Ancient Babylonia, Pythagoras and his followers, (6 th. Century B.C. Greece) Astrological philosophy from Hellenistic Alexandria, early Christian mysticism, the occultism of the early Gnostics and the Hebrew system of the Qabala. The Indian Vedas, the Chinese "Circle of the Dead ",and the Egyptian "Book of the Master of the Secret House ", (Ritual of the Dead) are records giving strong evidence that Numerology dates back thousands of years.
Pythagoras and other philosophers of the time believed that because mathematical concepts were more "practical" (easier to regulate and classify) than physical ones, they had greater actuality. This is an idea in harmony with philosophical pragmatism and a choice for permanent concepts over changeable physicality.
St. Augustine of Hippo in A.D. 354 - 430 wrote " Numbers are the Universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth." Similar to Pythagoras, he too believed that everything had numerical relationships and it was up to the mind to seek and investigate the secrets of these relationships or have them revealed by divine grace.
In 325 A.D., following the First Council of Nicaea, departures from the beliefs of the state Church were classified as civil violations within the Roman Empire. Numerology had not found favor with the Christian authority of the day. It was assigned to the field of unapproved beliefs along with astrology and other forms of divination and "magic." Through this religious purging, the spiritual significance assigned to the heretofore "sacred" numbers began to disappear. In spite of this suppression there were still many devout believers, who kept the secret knowledge locked away.
An important example of the influence of numerology in English literature is Sir Thomas Browne's 1658 Discourse The Garden of Cyrus. In it the author illustrates that the number five and related Quincunx pattern throughout' art, nature and mysticism. The Discourse is a late example of the influence of Pythagorean thought in English philosophy.
At the Million Man March in 1995, Minister Louis Farrakhan made repeated references to the number "19" during a speech he gave at the event; some have speculated that these references had numerological implications.
A claim of numerology is that its practitioners, through empirical observation and investigation, have concluded that through the study of numbers man can uncover hidden aspects of himself and the universe.
Numerology in science
Number-coincidence arguments are still used in science, although there is great controversy about their validity.
The physicist Arthur Eddington at one time thought the fine-structure constant α, which had been measured at approximately 1/137, should be exactly 1/137, based on aesthetic and numerological arguments. Careful measurements have shown this not to be the case: the value of α is currently estimated at 1/137.035 999 76(50).
When another (erroneous) measurement showed α to have a value nearer 1/136, Eddington constructed an argument relating the number 136 to the Eddington number, his best estimate of the number of electrons in the Universe.
There is also a serious postmodern critique of Number and the actual cognitive, linguistic, and political meaning of numbers. John Zerzan and George Lakoff are the best known of these theorists. A common argument in such circles is that the Greek and Roman worlds elevated Number to a god, in part for its power to predict timing of natural phenomena, and engineer reliable infrastructure. At the core of such claims is that primates have an intuitive ability to "count up to four" using their own senses, and that retaining the counted items and the criteria by which they are distinguished from the sensory environment in short-term memory becomes unreliable - requiring trust in memory, measurements and counting systems and a social hierarchy of priests or military or administrators. In short, a culture.
Numerology, according to this cognitive science of mathematics, is readily explained by the fact that numbers themselves are a part of culture:
"Math is a mere human invention, a systematic way of capturing the way the brain sees the world. "The only mathematics that we know is the mathematics that our brain allows us to know," George Lakoff claims, "Consequently, any question of math's being inherent in physical reality is moot, since there is no way to know whether or not it is. "Mathematics may or may not be out there in the world, but there's no way that we scientifically could possibly tell," Dr. Lakoff claims. Math succeeds in science, Drs. Lakoff and Raphael Nunez argue, "only because scientists force it to."
This claim is controversial among scientists, but the thesis has received few serious objections, and has been warmly received by mathematicians in fields, such as chaos theory, which seem to require new cognitive foundations .
Critics of these claims point out that while mathematics and numbers (at least above four) may well be a human invention, and the sharing of mathematical proofs and thus numerology may well be part of human culture, the great apes have the same sensory and cognitive abilities. Recent experiments have demonstrated that the chimpanzee specifically can quickly distinguish collections up to a dozen items. Future theorists may be forced to distinguish between objective primate mathematics relying directly on shared traits of great apes, and a subjective mathematics with perhaps no more of a basis in cognitive reality than traditional systems of numerology.
Numerology and astrology
See the main article at astrology and numerology
Some astrologers believe that each number from 0 to 9 is ruled by a celestial body in our solar system -- the layout below is the most widely accepted system amongst modern astrologers but there are other conflicting systems as well.
In the movie π, the protagonist is searching for hidden numerical patterns in the stock market and the Torah. Each Hebrew letter corresponds to a number. The true name of God is said to correspond to a 216 digit number.
Last updated: 05-12-2005 23:27:43
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04