While some of us might consider it to be silly, humans have a long history of ascribing spiritual significance to certain numbers. This process is known as numerology, and it teaches us that each number holds a kind of power. As the theory goes, if we open our minds, we can tap into this power and learn to understand how numbers influence our behaviour and decide our fate. At least, that’s the idea.
Western Numerology can trace its origins all the way back to the sixth century BCE, to a mathematician named Pythagoras. You probably remember him for this famous mathematical theorem: A2+B2=C2, the one that helped you with all of those tricky triangles back in junior high. But what your math teacher didn’t tell you is that Pythagoras was also a mathematical mystic who preached about the spiritual power of numbers.
Pythagoras taught his followers that numbers vibrate at different frequencies and that these frequencies can be manipulated to create good fortune or tell the future. The key to achieving happiness in life (according to Pythagoras) is to live your life according to what the numbers dictate.
All numbers within Pythagorean numerology can be distilled down to a single digit, and each digit from one to nine can be paired with a specific attribute. For example, if you were born on 12/01/1982, you would add the digits of each individual number together (1+2/0+1/1+9+8+2), and then add the sums together [3+1+(2+0)] giving you a “birth number” of six. Six is the number of family and nurturing, so to live your life to its full potential, Pythagorean numerologists would advise surrounding yourself with family.
All numbers in life are significant, from your address to the sum of the letters in your name, and each one is said to influence your fate to some degree. Unlike astrology, numerology does not attempt to describe who you are, but rather what kind of person you should become in order to maximize your own individual happiness.
Numerology couldn’t exactly be called a hard science, given that different cultures have different numerical systems and calendars of differing lengths. But even though the specifics of Western numerology don’t translate easily, Pythagoras’ belief in the power of numbers is something that resonates across cultures.
Biblical numerology is a Christian numerological system that crops up quite frequently. Certain numbers are constantly repeated throughout the Bible, and these numbers carry a certain amount of luck with them, good or bad. For example, three (representative of the trinity) is the number of unity and completion, and it brings a lot of good luck. Six, on the other hand, is the number of imperfection and should be avoided. Three sixes in a row, of course, is complete imperfection, and represents evil.
Chinese numerology is based around the idea that certain numbers sound like certain attributes when spoken aloud. For example, in Chinese mysticism, the word for seven sounds remarkably similar to the word for togetherness and, therefore, is the number of unity. Six, in contrast to Christian thought, is a lucky number when it comes to business.
Unfortunately, for those looking for hard answers in life, the solutions that numerology provides can be quite variable. The good news is that if one numerological system isn’t quite working out for you, there are plenty of others to choose from. t8n
Sir Isaac Newton, widely considered one of the greatest physicists of all time, had only a passing interest in science. His real passion was Biblical numerology, and he spent most of his days tracing the patterns of numbers in the Bible, trying to predict the second coming of Christ.
Numerology isn’t only practiced by mystics. One of the most common numerological beliefs is triskaidekaphobia: The belief that the number 13 brings bad fortune.