Numerology is any study of the purported mystical relationship between a count or measurement and life. It has many systems and traditions and beliefs. Numerology and numerological divination by systems such as isopsephy were popular among early mathematicians, such as Pythagoras, but are no longer considered part of mathematics and are regarded as pseudomathematics by modern scientists.[1][2]

Today, numerology is often associated with the paranormal, alongside astrology and similar divinatory arts. [3]

The term can also be used for those who place excess faith in numerical patterns, even if those people don't practice traditional numerology. For example, in his 1997 book Numerology: Or What Pythagoras Wrought, mathematician Underwood Dudley uses the term to discuss practitioners of the Elliott wave principle of stock market analysis.



Modern numerology often contains aspects of a variety of ancient cultures and teachers, including Babylonia, Pythagoras and his followers (Greece, 6th century B.C.), astrological philosophy from Hellenistic Alexandria, early Christian mysticism, early Gnostics, the Hebrew system of the Kabbalah, The Indian Vedas, the Chinese "Circle of the Dead", Egyptian "Book of the Masters of the Secret House" (Ritual of the Dead).[4]

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.

St. Augustine of Hippo (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. See Numerology and the Church Fathers for early Christian views. However, that does not mean that Pythagoras had coined himself the system one calls numerology. Pythagoras had only paved the way to the observation of numbers as archetypes rather than mere numerals.

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 and was assigned to the field of unapproved beliefs along with astrology and other forms of divination and "magic".[citation needed] Despite this religious purging, the spiritual significance assigned to the heretofore "sacred" numbers had not disappeared; several numbers, such as the "Jesus number" have been commented and analyzed by Dorotheus of Gaza and numerology still is used at least in conservative Greek Orthodox circles.[5][6] Numerology is prominent throughout Sir Thomas Browne's 1658 literary Discourse The Garden of Cyrus. Throughout its pages the author attempts to demonstrate that the number five and the related Quincunx pattern can be found throughout the arts, in design, and in nature - particularly botany.

Modern numerology has various antecedents. Ruth A. Drayer's book, Numerology, The Power in Numbers (Square One Publishers) says that around the turn of the century (from 1800 to 1900 A.D.) Mrs. L. Dow Balliett combined Pythagoras' work with Biblical reference. Then on Oct 23, 1972, Balliett's student, Dr. Juno Jordan, changed Numerology further and helped it to become the system known today under the title "Pythagorean", although Pythagoras himself had nothing to do with the system.


Number definitions

There are no set definitions for the meaning of specific digits. Common examples include:[7]

1. Individual. Aggressor. Yang.
2. Balance. Union. Receptive. Yin.
3. Communication/interaction. Neutrality.
4. Creation.
5. Action. Restlessness.
6. Reaction/flux. Responsibility.
7. Thought/consciousness.
8. Power/sacrifice.
9. Highest level of change.

Alphabetic systems

There are many numerology systems which assign numerical value to the letters of an alphabet. Examples include the Abjad numerals in Arabic, the Hebrew numerals, Armenian numerals, and Greek numerals. The practice within Jewish tradition of assigning mystical meaning to words based on their numerical values, and on connections between words of equal value, is known as gematria.

1= a, j, s; 2= b, k, t; 3= c, l, u; 4= d, m, v; 5= e, n, w; 6= f, o, x; 7= g, p, y; 8= h, q, z; 9= i, r

...and are then summed.


  • 3,489 → 3 + 4 + 8 + 9 = 24 → 2 + 4 = 6
  • Hello → 8 + 5 + 3 + 3 + 6 = 25 → 2 + 5 = 7

A quicker way to arrive at a single-digit summation (the digital root) is simply to take the value modulo 9, substituting a 0 result with 9 itself.

Different methods of calculation exist, including Chaldean, Pythagorean, Hebraic, Helyn Hitchcock's method, Phonetic, Japanese, Arabic and Indian.

The examples above are calculated using decimal (base 10) arithmetic. Other number systems exist, such as binary, octal, hexadecimal and vigesimal; summing digits in these bases yields different results. The first example, shown above, appears thus when rendered in octal (base 8):

  • 3,48910 = 66418 → 6 + 6 + 4 + 1 = 218 → 2 + 1 = 38 = 310

Abjad system

The Arabic sytem of numerology is known as Abjad notation. In this system each Arabic alphabet has a numerical value. This system is mother of Ilm-e-jaffer, and ilm-e-haroof. These branches of knowledge are the ways of geting supernatural forces and operations of white art and alchemy.

Abjad Karbalai

There are more than 52 Abajad having different natures of forces and power. The new Abjad developed by a well known spiritual scholar "M.A Karbalai", hence named "Abjad Karbalai". This Abjad is very unique because it was devoloped by integrating the original and completed alphabets from Quran. The unique name of the Mother of Hazrat Moosa (A.S) is hidden in its sequence of alphabets, which can be found from a little hit and trial.

Pythagorean system

Pythagoras was never involved in the numerology systems known nowadays. He was actually a philosopher who contributed with the concept of numbers as symbols rather than mere numerals, but numerology as we know it is a system based on Gematria, which is one of the Cabbalistic disciplines. Through Gematria one can get the number of each word or name, since the Hebrew alphabet has the same symbols for both letters and numbers. Western numerology is but a way to adapt the principles of Gematria into the Latin alphabet so as to get the numbers of words and names as well.

Chinese numerology

Some Chinese assign a different set of meanings to the numbers and certain number combinations are considered luckier than others. In general, even numbers are considered lucky, since it is believed that good luck comes in pairs.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and its associated fields such as acupuncture, base their "science" on “mystical numerical associations”, such as the “12 vessels circulating blood and air corresponding to the 12 rivers flowing toward the Central Kindgom; and 365 parts of the body, one for each day of the year” being the basis of locating acupuncture points.[8]

Chinese number definitions

Cantonese frequently assign the following definitions (based on its sound), which may differ in other Chinese languages:

  1. [jɐ́t]  — sure
  2. [ji̭ː]  — easy 易 [ji̭ː]
  3. [sáːm]  — live 生 [sáːŋ]
  4. [sēi]  — considered unlucky since 4 is a homophone with the word for death or suffering 死 [sěi], yet in the Shanghainese, it is a homophone of water (水)and is considered lucky since water is associated with money.
  5. [ŋ̬]  — the self, me, myself 吾 [ŋ̭], nothing, never 唔 [ŋ, m][need tone]
  6. [lùːk]  — easy and smooth, all the way
  7. [tsʰɐ́t]  — a slang/vulgar word in Cantonese.
  8. [pāːt]  — sudden fortune, prosperity 發 [fāːt]
  9. [kɐ̌u]  — long in time 久 [kɐ̌u], enough 夠 [kɐ̄u] or a slang/vulgar word derived from dog 狗 [kɐ̌u] in Cantonese

Some "lucky number" combinations include:

  • 99 — doubly long in time, hence eternal; used in the name of a popular Chinese-American supermarket chain, 99 Ranch Market.
  • 168 — many premium-pay telephone numbers in China begin with this number, which is considered lucky. It is also the name of a motel chain in China (Motel 168).
  • 518 — I will prosper
  • 814 — Similar to 168, this means "be wealthy, entire life". 148 also implies the same meaning "entire life be wealthy".
  • 888 — Three times the prosperity, means "wealthy wealthy wealthy".
  • 1314 — whole lifetime, existence.
  • 289 — ease in finding enough luck/fortune and holding it for a long time. (2 is easy, 8 is fortune, 9 is enough and/or for a long time)

Indian numerology

  1. 1, 10, 19, 28 are ruled by the SUN, count 1 for letters: AIJQY
  2. 2, 11, 20, 29 are ruled by the MOON, count 2 for letters: BCKR
  3. 3, 12, 21, 30 are ruled by JUPITER, count 3 for letters: GLS
  4. 4, 13, 22, 31 are ruled by RAHU, count 4 for letters: DMT
  5. 5, 14, 23, are ruled by MERCURY, count 5 for letters: NE
  6. 6, 15, 24 are ruled by VENUS, count 6 for letters: UVWX
  7. 7, 16, 25 are ruled by KETU, count 7 for letters: OZ
  8. 8, 17, 26 are ruled by SATURN, count 8 for letters: FHP
  9. 9, 18, 27 are ruled by MARS, no letters for 9
  • 518 — WE will prosper
  • 814 — Similar to 168, this means "be wealthy, entire life". 148 also implies the same meaning "entire life be wealthy".
  • 888 — Three times the prosperity, means "wealthy wealthy wealthy".
  • 1314 — whole lifetime, existence.
  • 289 — ease in finding enough luck/fortune and holding it for a long time. (2 is easy, 8 is fortune, 9 is enough and/or for a long time)

Other fields

Numerology and astrology

Some astrologers believe that each number from 0 to 9 is ruled by a celestial body in our solar system.

Numerology and alchemy

Many alchemical theories were closely related to numerology. Persian alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan, inventor of many chemical processes still used today, framed his experiments in an elaborate numerology based on the names of substances in the Arabic language.

"Numerology" in science

Scientific theories are sometimes labeled "numerology" if their primary inspiration appears to be a set of patterns rather than scientific observations. This colloquial use of the term is quite common within the scientific community and it is mostly used to dismiss a theory as questionable science.

The best known example of "numerology" in science involves the coincidental resemblance of certain large numbers that intrigued such eminent men as mathematical physicist Paul Dirac, mathematician Hermann Weyl and astronomer Arthur Stanley Eddington. These numerical co-incidences refer to such quantities as the ratio of the age of the universe to the atomic unit of time, the number of electrons in the universe, and the difference in strengths between gravity and the electric force for the electron and proton. ("Is the Universe Fine Tuned for Us?", Stenger, V.J., page 3[9]).

The discovery of atomic triads (dealing with elements primarily in the same group or column of the periodic table) was considered a form of numerology, and yet ultimately led to the construction of the periodic table. Here the atomic weight of the lightest element and the heaviest are summed, and averaged, and the average is found to be very close to that of the intermediate weight element. This didn't work with every triplet in the same group, but worked often enough to allow later workers to create generalizations. See Döbereiner's Triads

Large number co-incidences continue to fascinate many mathematical physicists. For instance, James G. Gilson has constructed a "Quantum Theory of Gravity" based loosely on Dirac's large number hypothesis.[10]

Wolfgang Pauli was also fascinated by the appearance of certain numbers, including 137, in physics.[11]

Numerology in gaming

Some players apply methods that are sometimes called numerological in games which involve numbers but no skill, such as bingo, roulette, keno, or lotteries. Although no strategy can be applied to increase odds in such games, players may employ "lucky numbers" to find what they think will help them. There is no evidence that any such "numerological strategy" yields a better outcome than pure chance, but the methods are sometimes encouraged, e.g. by casino owners.[12]

Popular culture

Numerology is a popular plot device in fiction. It can range from a casual item for comic effect, such as in an episode titled The Seance of the 1950s TV sitcom I Love Lucy, where Lucy dabbles in numerology, to a central element of the storyline, such as the movie π, in which the protagonist meets a numerologist searching for hidden numerical patterns in the Torah. The movie The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey, was based on the mystery of the number 23. In the DC comics maxi-series "52", the number 52 repeatedly appears as hints to the overall plot.

See also


  1. ^ FEMINIST NUMEROLOGY by Prof John Webb, Science in Africa
  2. ^ Underwood Dudley (1997). Numerology. MAA. ISBN 0-88385-507-0. 
  3. ^ Lynne Kelly (2004). The Skeptic's Guide To The Paranormal. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-74114-059-5. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Η Ελληνική γλ�σσα, ο Πλάτων, ο Αριστοτέλης και η Ορθοδοξία
  6. ^ Αγαπητέ Πέτρο, Χρόνια Πολλά και ευλογημένα από Τον Κύριο Ημ�ν Ιησού Χριστό.
  7. ^ Comparative Numerology: The Numbers One to Ten: Fundamental Powers.
  8. ^ ”Seeing the Body: The Divergence of Ancient Chinese and Western Medical Illustration”, Camillia Matuk, Northwestern University, [1]
  9. ^ Colorado University
  10. ^
  11. ^ Cosmic numbers: Pauli and Jung's love of numerology, by Dan Falk, Magazine issue 2705, 24 April 2009 - New Scientist
  12. ^ "Number Symbolism - Myth or Reality?". Retrieved 2009-12-07. 


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