What is Numerology & Can it Predict Your Future?

Everyone as a child had a lucky number. Many of us still do or play the lottery with the same set of digits each week. Why is this? 

There's no mathematical reason to individual numbers being more or less portentous than others, yet for centuries many human cultures have invested considerable stock in the occult power of numbers.


From the Kabbalah and Pythagoras to classical Chinese and Arabic philosophies, we humans have been fascinated by numbers and their meaning beyond the counting, measuring and labeling function. The reason behind this interest is our innate propensity for the arcane.

Since our earliest days, we have told stories of mystics, witchcraft, and gods who walk among us. It is, therefore, easy to see how we storytelling apes incorporated one great invention, the number, into our stories. The technique has shown a resurgence in popularity in the West since the 1930s, and now has celebrity followers such as Madonna, Prince, Jim Carrey and Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens).

Numerology is also an important part of traditional Shia Islam, with even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad consulting numbers before making critical speeches. If that sounds a bit scary, let us remember that Ronald Reagan kept astrologer Joan Quigley on staff during his presidency. Christianity has its own numerological history. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, anyone?

The Beijing Olympics opened at the auspicious time of 08.08.08pm on the 8th of August, 2008. The number eight, in Chinese numerology, is sudden fortune or prosperity. Having lots of eights is clearly better, inspiring someone in Chengdu, China, to purchase the telephone number 8888-8888 for over two hundred and seventy thousand US dollars.

So, How Does Numerology Work?                    

There are many different kinds of numerology, but the standard method works by replacing the letters of our full birth names with numbers and thus allowing for interpretation. I’ll not go too far into the procedure, but here’s a brief example of how it is done.

numerology chart

By adding together the resultant numbers, you should arrive at a single digit, known as a destiny number. For example:

John Smith would be rendered as  John:1+6+8+5 = 20. We add 2+0 to leave us with 2. Smith:1+4+9+2+8 = 24, which leaves 2+4 = 6.

John Smith’s destiny number is therefore 8. John’s goal in life “will be a move up the ladder of attainment in the material world, to achieve financial security, and status amongst [his] peers.” Way to be a capitalist, John.

OK, it might seem a bit reductionist to say that the entire sum of human experience and future can be divined from numbers, but how many of us consult the horoscope in the newspaper? Why do we do this? Why have we consulted runes and looked to the skies or tea leaves for answers to the mysteries of life?

Partly it is because we are the storytelling ape. We love stories; they bring us together, promote social cohesion and entertain us. We love tall tales and fantasies, what could be and what has been. The greatest story we ever tell is that of our lives, and it is begun without a script. Whereas the stories of Jesus, Anansie, Perseus, Sinbad the Sailor and Spiderman all have patterns to follow, our own stories seem to be without guidance.

This is not entirely correct, as we are in fact incredibly efficient at pattern recognition, but this skill that we use every day is without narrative.

With that in mind, we can see that tools for the imposition of patterns in a more tangible way have long been desired, even necessary, for us to explore our realities, and possibilities. From the example, John Smith might not in fact be a capitalist, but consulting his destiny number he sees that this is apparently so. Perhaps John has had money worries and took some solace from this. Perhaps he rejects the concept entirely and goes to Goa for a year instead. The important thing is that John has been given a possible template for his life. Whether he rejects it or adopts it isn’t so important- it is he who has to make the choice and live his life.

Is it Worth Having a Reading?

The skeptical take on numerology is that it is unprovable in scientific terms and is, therefore, useless. Of course, you get the people who add up the numbers in the names of famous people to reveal that they are the Antichrist, or that 9/11 happened because of the numerology of a speech given by George Bush Senior, but these people miss what any cipher system is for. Our universe is simultaneously incomprehensibly random and as well machined as a Swiss clock.

Human life seems chaotic and meaningless sometimes, without order, yet even the post-modernist prankster worshippers of Chaos, The Discordians, point to the recurrence of number 23. Now that I have mentioned the number 23, I wonder if you too will see it on the way to the shops, or on a passing bus. It’s a mental tool that we use to shape our reality around us, nothing more or less. Can it tell our futures? Of course. But we must shape our reality to that future, not sit passively and wait for the future to happen to us.

Interpreting numbers can be fun and interesting, but ultimately what the great and misunderstood benefit of numerology is not that it tells the future or divines our nature but merely displays possible futures, possible characteristics that we can adopt if we so choose.

The responsibility for our story ultimately resides within us, whatever the numbers, or the stars, or the tarot may say. With that in mind, the methods you use to write your story are entirely up to you.

>> Get a free numerology reading here & take a peak at your destiny!

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