Numerology is the esoteric study of numbers. It is most commonly used in the West as a form of personality delineation. A chart of values is created based on the date of birth and the name on the birth certificate. This chart can interpreted similarly to a natal chart in astrology and can also be progressed. Numerology is also used to examine dates, events, and words for mystical significance. It can also be used in various ways in magical practise. Many cultures around the globe have assigned mystical significance to numbers and mathematics. There was a time when mathematics was both sacred and scientific. The ancient metaphysicians were scientists AND priests. Numerology as it is practised today in the West is attributed to the ancient teacher, Pythagoras.
What we practise today in the West is decidedly modern. The calculations revolve around a language and calendar that did not exist in the days of Pythagoras of Samos, about 2500 years ago. He was Greek. I’m sure he was multilingual and more than familiar with Latin, but he taught in ancient Greece for quite a while before fleeing to Southern Italy and establishing a school there. The modern English alphabet is Latin-based but it has 26 letters and was developed in the 7th century – nearly 1200 years after Pythagoras was gone. The first mention of “Pythagorean Numerology” actually appears in the early 1900s. Popular Victorian astrologer Cheiro used what he called “Chaldean Numerology” in the late 1800s.
Is Numerology a closed practise?
Social media platforms, especially TikTok, are being used to raise a lot of awareness regarding cultural appropriation and closed practises. With this in mind, let’s look at it in relation to numerological study.
It is important to clarify what we mean by “closed practises”. When we refer to closed practises in common discussion today, what we mean are those beliefs and practises often handed down from family member to family member within a specific ethnic group. These practises may not be standard across a culture. There may be small differences from household to household or across regions of an area. These practises may also have been negatively affected by colonization. As a result, the practitioners are unwilling to share these elements of their culture with outsiders, particularly the descendants of colonizing forces. Please be respectful with regard to this.
Western Numerology, either the Pythagorean or the Chaldean forms, is not closed. At one point, over two thousand years ago, the teachings of numerology that we are most familiar with may have been taught only to initiates in the mystery schools of Persia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean – but even that isn’t “closed” as they would have been the university students of their day. Pythagoras would have been educated in either the Chaldean or Babylonian number systems which were taught alongside mathematics and astrology. The current incarnation of Numerology available to the Western public is 100% developed around the modern alphabet as it is used by English speakers with a Western naming system and a Gregorian calendar – not ancient and not closed.
This does not mean that there aren’t closed practises within the scope of numerology. There are many esoteric systems practised by many different peoples that are off-limits to outsiders, and some of those systems may include sacred teachings about numbers. If you encounter such a thing and are asked not to do it, the proper thing to do would be to research this claim and if you are treading on forbidden ground, leave that practice alone.
Is Numerology a belief system?
No, it is not. It is a set of calculations with corresponding interpretations. You do not have to make any leaps of faith to believe in it. You are not required to suspend any logic. Numerology is a practice. It’s existence and it’s ability to produce results does not require you to believe in it. Like astrology, each calculation produces a result that can be interpreted whether you believe in it or not.
Why do I use Chaldean numerology and not Pythagorean?
Pythagorean numerology uses letter values. The Chaldean uses sounds. A common criticism of the Chaldean system by Pythagorean numerologists is that the Chaldean system doesn’t use the number 9 in its letter-number key. This is true also of the Vedic system. Both of these cultures felt that 9 was too sacred for letters.
Another criticism is that there is no order in the assignment of numerical values to letters, thus making it confusing. The Pythagorean system assigns value based on order, so it goes A B C D E F G H I…1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 and then the cycle repeats until one runs out of letters. The Chaldean and Vedic systems assign numerical values to letters differently. It assigns value of letters based on sound. While it does mean that the numerologist will have a little bit of memorization to do, it means that other languages whose writing isn’t based on the Latin alphabet are not excluded. When you work with phonetic sounds it doesn’t matter how a word is spelled.
The system that I use does include the number 9 because it does not have a standard letter = number system. The standard Chaldean letter/number scale is different than the Pythagorean, but practitioners still focus on the spelling and not the sound. The method that I use has, for example, several different values for the “i sound” depending on how it is said within a word.
The interesting thing about this, is when you shift your focus from the spelling to the sound, words become alive. They change depending on who is speaking them. Core charts become dynamic, evolving works-in-progress because how someone says their name changes over time. Where they place their stresses change. They have changed and this is how it should be. Our charts should not be static and unchanging. It’s incredible to listen to clients and realize that within their speech, I can tell how they really see themselves and what they really want in life. It’s just amazing.