Humans have been fascinated by numbers for millennia, using them for much more than the purpose of accounting, for which they were invented. In line with this, some polytheistic and then later monotheistic mathematicians were also numerologists, just as an astronomer was also often an astrologer, and a chemist might also be an alchemist. At the same time, numerology is not to be confused with arithmancy, which is a form of divination based on assigning a numeric value to a word or phrase, by means of a simplified ancient Greek isopsephy or Hebrew gematria, as adapted to Latin.
In its most basic form, numerology is based on a belief in mystical relationships between numbers and coinciding events. It is also the study of the numerical value of the letters in words, among other things. For instance, in the 7th century BCE, the Chaldean method developed in Babylon used an individual’s name and date of birth to reveal things about their personality and destiny. This is the same in Vedic numerology. To do this, the Mesoptomanian and Indian systems only use the numbers from 1 to 8.
To the Chaldean numerologists living and working in ancient Babylon, number 9 was never used because it was regarded as sacred. Along with this, it is important to understand that the Chaldean and Vedic systems work with the name that an individual is currently using, rather than what they were given at birth (for instance, most people just call me “Josh”, rather than “Joshua”). Then, each letter is assigned to a corresponding number, based on the classic conversion chart.
In contrast to this, the ancient Greeks developed a system of numerology based on the numbers 1 thru 9. To do this, the Pythagorean method makes use of an individual’s full name as it is written on their birth certificate. Then, a numerologist assigns the corresponding number with each letter in the name, based on the Pythagorean conversion chart.
Next, they add together all of the numbers associated with each letter in the name. Finally, they reduce the number to a single digit, except in special cases.
Example: Joshua Shawn Michael Hehe
Joshua (1+6+1+8+3+1=20), 2+0=2
Shawn (1+8+1+5+5=20), 2+0=2
Michael (4+9+3+8+1+5+3=33), 3+3=6
Hehe (8+5+8+5=26), 2+6=8
Thus, my name number is 9.
Furthermore, if I were to change my name to something else, then I would get a new name number. That’s because it’s believed that this changes parts of an individual’s personality and destiny, in the process. Along with that, the birth number is viewed as an extension of the name number.
In regards to this, it’s believed that one’s birth number reveals a person’s true inner nature, as well as their overall purpose in life. To obtain this, a numerologist needs to add together all the numbers in the month, day, and year that the person was born. Then, reduce that number, as far as the system allows.
At this point, rather than adding 1+1 to end up with the number 2, my birth number is actually 11, according to the rules of Pythagorean numerology. This is because, in the classic system, there are master numbers (11, 22, 33) that do not get reduced to a single digit. Regardless, the point is that one’s name number and birth number are assigned a particular meaning and significance based on Pythagorean associations.
Since my name number is 9 and my birth number is 11, I am said to have certain tendencies and talents, similar to my natal chart in astrology, which indicates that I’m a Scorpio. As part of this, since my birth number is the first of the master numbers, I am a “spiritual teacher” with an “old soul”. Moreover, the calculation of my vibration also reveals that as an 11, I have essentially the same qualities and characteristics of a 2, but more enhanced.
More to the point at hand, this kind of personality typing made numerologists the psychologists of their day and age. It’s also, at least, part of the reason that the practice of numerology still exists in the 21st century. Ultimately, the bottom line is that the world is based on patterns on top of patterns and the human spirit is driven toward interpreting them. This is how the discovery of numbers led to the advent of numerology, and, in my humble opinion, it’s why the practice will continue to impact people’s lives long into the future. Of course, only time will tell…