Dr. Albert S. Lyons - Predicting the Future - Astrology, Numerology, Tarot, I ChingH.N. Abrams Inc. New York 1990, ISBN 0.8109.3708.5
2. Technique of Numerology
3. Principles of Interpretation
terug naar Pythagoras getallenleer
Say not which cloud has dark' the light,
Nor whence it came my way,
But tell me how to spend the night,
And shall I see the day.
In a novel of mid-century by Vercors, You Shall Know Them, the author addresses the question, what determines that a creature is human and not a beast? The principal characters finally conclude that an organism is human if it has the capacity and propensity to inquire about the meaning of existence and the makeup of the world -indeed even to pose the question itself. Language, tool making, reasoning, and many other attributes are possessed by both animals and humans, but only the quest for explanations, called by some "philosophy", is a characteristic unique to human beings. Whether this analysis is valid is of less concern at the moment than the realization that looking for meanings in the past, present, and future is a very human endeavor.
Especially do we have an interest in the future. When we are young, we daydream of what the coming years have in store for us - love, career, material success. In our later years, we may in addition speculate on the future happenings to those around us, particularly family and friends. When ill, our primary concerns before all others are whether we will get well and how long it will take (the physician calls these estimates "prognosis"). We often try to forestall the inevitability of sickness by diet, immunizations, and various regimens - thus trying to anticipate future events.
Throughout history the means employed by humans of achieving foresight have depended on the state of knowledge and of the prevalent concepts of the time. Primitive peoples, who may be the inheritors of prehistoric practices, seek portents in the casting of sticks and stones. Ancient Mesopotamians looked to the stars and animal entrails for clues. Rulers and subjects for many centuries relied on those specially trained by predecessors or unusually favored by nature or deity to determine what lay ahead. Such were the prophets of the Bible; the baru of Babylonia; the sybils and soothsayers of Greece; the augurs of Rome; the astrologers of the Middle Ages; the fortune-tellers and clairvoyants of all times. (9)
In general, the two principal ways of guessing the future may be characterized as the mystical (spiritual) and the materialistic (secular). In ancient civilizations, the two approaches were not separate - astronomy, astrology, and the reading of entrails were all one process, sometimes integrated in the persons of religious and scientific leaders.
During recent centuries, the two methods are seen to be different. Those who use spiritual, mystical, magical, and intuitive means are the palmists, numerologists, tarot adepts, tea-leaf readers, and others. The astrologers place themselves in a special category, but their system too is not considered a scientific study of the stars which today is called astronomy.
The secular prognosticators calculate with the techniques of science (statistics; mathematical laws of probability; inductions based on experimentally derived facts). These predictors include insurance actuaries, economic forecasters, stock-market analysts, and even horse-race handicappers. The focus in this book is on the mystical methods that employ an organized system of prediction and that can be taught and learned. Clairvoyance, precognition, and other means of prophecy that presuppose special, spiritual, intuitive talents are not our concern.
Historical works on the mystical systems of prediction have usually been made from the standpoint of either the believer who marshals arguments to prove the truth of the technique or the skeptic who opposes the basis and contentions of the theory. Certainly few descriptions of the methods are without bias, either favorable or antagonistic. I submit that if one wishes to present, as a historian, a summary of the ways in which people have attempted to forecast the future, the beliefs of the writer should be irrelevant. The pertinent considerations are the attitudes, practices, and incentives of the humans about whom he writes, not the preconceived opinions of the author.
Surely there is nothing wrong with praising or with castigating, nor with aiming at a value judgment, if that is indeed the purpose of the historical treatise, but those aims themselves have thereby established the limits of the survey - useful and informative as it may be. An anthropologist who describes the myths and methods of some particular culture under his scrutiny is expected to be careful to offer the material, not from a lofty perch as the foolish fantasies of a benighted people, but rather from the point of view of the practitioners themselves who subscribe to the concepts and activities. So we hope it will be with this book. What role did the various structured systems of prophecy play among humans in the past and what are these techniques as still followed by them at present?
We have chosen seven of the leading methods, without deciding on their validity: astrology, handreading (palmistry), numerology, the tarot, dreams, the I Ching, and tea-leaf or coffee-ground divination (tasseology). (10)
terug naar de Inhoud
Number marks the time and day,
It counts my wealth and age,
It tells my speed, my height and weight,
Number is my gauge.
The basis of numerology is the reduction of a person's date of birth and name to a single whole numbers, which represent particular qualities. By understanding the inner meanings of the numbers the numerologist can describe a person's character and thereby suggest the likely future course of the person's life.
Modern numerology is a composite of contributions from ancient Babylonia, the teachings of Pythagoras and his disciples in sixth-century B.C. Greece, astrological philosophy from Hellenistic Alexandria, early Christian mysticism, the occultism of the medieval Gnostics, and the belief systems of adherents to the cabala in the late Middle Ages.
Throughout history numbers have been used in various ways. They were developed early for counting and measuring things. In ancient Egypt, the enumeration of objects and the construction of buildings necessitated a counting system, and artifacts indicate that the number of assembled humans or animals could be recorded early. Some scholars believe this capability was a demonstration of the beginning of abstract number concepts.
Distinctly abstract concepts of counting and mathematics were very much in evidence in ancient Mesopotamia, especially Babylonia. From 2000 B.C. to 1200 B.C., sophisticated, precise calculations involving a kind of algebra were developed. Their sexigesimal mathematics, with six and multiples of six as the base, gave us our sixty-second, sixty-minute clock, to use only one example. The Babylonians could manipulate numbers by methods that even resemble the modern system of quadratic equations. However, these processes were in essence a computational arithmetic.
The Babylonians attached to some numerals special meanings, which were the forerunners of the mystical attributions later given to numbers in sixth-century B.C. Greece. Numbers that were divisible into whole numbers by many other numbers were believed to have magical powers - as for instance the number twelve, which can be divided by one, two, three, four, and six. Yet the introduction of this type of abstract numerical magic contained only the glimmerings of a philosophy of numbers. The principal Babylonian connection to occult numerology was through astrological practices transmitted to the West, in which such concepts as the twelve divisions of the zodiac, the seven planets, and other numerical associations had special signiﬁcance.
It was in Greece in the sixth century B.C. that the principal ideas of mystical numerology began. The philosopher Pythagoras and his disciples saw numbers as the foundation not only of the world but also of the actual cosmos itself. In an admixture of geometry, arithmetic, religion, and philosophy, Pythagorean principles held that all things, ideas, and feelings are fundamentally related to the ﬁrst ten numbers.
What is known of Pythagoras has been gleaned from writings by his disciples and later commentators. He is supposed to have traveled to Mesopotamia and Egypt, where he acquired some of his ideas. But so fragmentary is the biographical information and so eager were the Greeks of that time to attribute their intellectual origins to the East, that few ﬁrm facts can be established. Even Aristotle, who was writing less than a hundred years after Pythagoras's death, used the term "so-called Pythagoreans" to describe his predecessor's followers. (160)
Evidently Pythagoras was born on the island of Samos in the Aegean Sea, promulgated and taught a philosophy, fell out with the local ruler, and fled to Crotona on the southern coast of Italy. There he founded a mystical brotherhood, exercised considerable influence under the patronage of the ruler, but was forced to flee once again during a period of political turmoil, presumably ending his days in Metapontum, much farther east on the Italian coast. The teachings of the Pythagoreans may have been partly responsible for their changes in fortune both on Samos and in Crotona, but it is just as probable that purely political involvements were the signiﬁcant cause.
What were the doctrines of Pythagoras and his followers that had such profound effect on later philosophies, medicine, and mathematics? They may be summarized under four main headings: numbers, the soul, ethics, and ritual.
1. Numbers. The Pythagorean axiom was "number is all" - in substance as well as symbol. Of course this attempt to ﬁnd a single origin for all life resembles the teachings of philosophers before and after Pythagoras. The sixth-century B.C. Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus considered water to be the fundamental element in all things. Others saw the universe as composed essentially of ﬁre, air, or indivisible particles. Today's scientiﬁc thinking places energy at the core.
To Pythagoras all aspects of nature revealed numerical relationships. Legend has it that his ideas were inspired by the sounds he heard plucked on strings. He observed that octaves, ﬁfths, and fourths in music could be deﬁned by numerical relationships, and he postulated that every sphere in the universe revolves around a central ﬁre, each at its own velocity and distance from the earth, producing sounds in harmony, or what he called the "music of the spheres".
He also concluded that a person's character and actions could be attributed to numbers representing the mind, marriage, justice, and other abstractions and that odd and even numerals mirror the paired opposites of nature in balance - a duality similar to the yang and yin of Chinese philosophy. (162)
Pythagorean mathematics was based on geometry. A point, (expressed as 1) flows into line (2), which sweeps into a plane, or surface (3); this in turn becomes a solid (4). The sacred oath of the secret society of the Pythagorean brotherhood was made on the tetractys - a geometric ﬁgure produced by pebbles laid in a triangular shape: ten stones are laid in four rows, with four at the base (△). From this conﬁguration were derived other designs involving more pebbles and further relationships among numbers.
When a triangle was drawn whose sides were in a special association, the Pythagorean theorem resulted: the sum of the squares of the sides of a right-angled triangle equals the square of the hypotenuse (the diagonal). This relationship was considered an essential truth; proof of the enduring, fundamental power of numbers.
Many other mathematical and geometric connections were also part of Pythagorean teaching, which focused especially on the proportions of triangles, circles, solids, and rectilinear forms. The six-pointed star of interlocking triangles (hexagram) was the symbol used by the members of the brotherhood for identiﬁcation.
2. The Soul. Pythagorean theory also suggested that each living creature has a soul, which comes from and is attuned to the stars. The soul of one person can transmigrate into the living body of another (metempsychosis) and can be released from the flesh (a type of reincarnation).
3. Ethics. Pythagoreans established an ethical system, complete with prohibitions. For example, no blood should ever be shed, and no flesh should be eaten. The reasons for the interdiction by the brotherhood of some foods and practices are not well understood, but physical and spiritual health was a goal to be sought diligently. Music was one of their methods of healing. It may be that the concept of "critical days" in later Greek and medieval medicine came from Pythagorean ideas, as did the idea that certain numbered days in a period of illness mark the time of crisis.
4. Ritual. A panoply of rites and rituals evidently occupied the Pythagoreans. The disciples continued the principles and practices after Pythagoras. It was through their writings that Plato later was exposed to the doctrines. Two different streams of followers developed after Pythagoras's death: the Acusmatici, who emphasized the behavior and ethics inherent in the philosophy; and the Mathematici, who were chiefly concerned with geometry, music, and astronomy. Although their focuses were different, both groups adhered to the same basic doctrines.
The Pythagorean brotherhood virtually disappeared at the end of the fourth century B.C., but its influence was present in later philosophies and mathematical systems. During the fourth century B.C., Euclid's mathematical theories demonstrated signiﬁcant similarities to the geometric conclusions of the Pythagoreans, but it was Plato (c. 428-348 B.C.), among the post-Pythagorean philosophers, whose ideas most closely resembled Pythagorean mysticism.
Plato founded the Academy, whose members debated virtually all intellectual subjects, including politics, science, and religion. The study of numbers was one of the primary topics - especially numerical representations of abstract qualities such as beauty and truth. Like Pythagoras, Plato believed that numbers - and also ideas - exist as entities by themselves. Humans may discover or observe them but they do not originate or invent them. The Platonists believed that all properties and qualities (for instance, colors, tastes, and sounds) are received by the senses, but numbers could only be perceived by meditation and mental processes and therefore exist independently. (163)
In the last centuries of the Roman Empire numerous religious and philosophical systems were permeated with Pythagorean teachings. Priestly functions commonly included astronomical, astrological, and predictive activities, each of which placed great emphasis on numbers. One of the highly influential Neo-Pythagoreans, the ﬁrst-century A.D. Roman encyclopedist and supporter of astrology Nigidus Figulus, elaborated on the spiritual aspects of numerology. Plutarch also endorsed Pythagoreanism. Much of the writings in subsequent centuries on numbers as mystical symbols relied on a basic treatise in Greek, the second-century A.D. Introduction to Arithmetic, in which the Neo-Pythagorean Nicomachus classiﬁed the nature of numbers and their relationships.
Early Christian Era
Early Christian sects embraced both astrology and numerology in various ways. To the Gnostics, whose influence lasted several centuries, speciﬁc numbers were part of the makeup of the cosmos. Simon Magus, the purported originator of the movement at the time of Jesus, accented the linkage between numbers and mysticism. For instance, the 12 zodiac signs were considered to be symbolic of evil; the 36 decans, a counterbalance of good; the 7 planets controlled fate; there were 7 spiritual fundamentals; the year's 365 days were composed of 12 months of 30 days each plus 5 inserted mystical days, in keeping with the 5 planets remaining after subtracting the 2 luminaries of Sun and Moon.
Another of the early Christian sects, the Manichaeans - an offshoot of the Persian Zoroastrians - gave special attention to the number 2, which to them symbolized the presence of two distinct godheads, one presiding over light and one over darkness. Five was also a sacred number. Thus the various sects saw numbers as the basis and the actuality of existence. In medieval Europe, these schemas of the universe were incorporated into some of the doctrines of the cabala, the Hebrew occult system of the late Middle Ages.
The early Church fathers strongly opposed and condemned the teachings of the Christian Gnostics and the other quasi-religious and philosophical sects. However, the principle that numbers have spiritual signiﬁcance was accepted rather than challenged. The works of Philo Judaeus (c.30 B.C.-40 A.D.), a devout Jew who analyzed numerical implications in the Scriptures, served as a standard for later treatises by Church leaders. He found numerical signiﬁcance in line after line of his interpretations of the Bible. Philo thus was one of the earliest Neoplatonists of the Christian Era.
By the second century A.D., attaching numbers from 1 to 10 to letters in Hebrew, Greek, and Roman alphabets had come into vogue as an expression of mystical meanings. The assignment of number values to letters, names, and words was followed from then until contemporary times. This numerological process is now called "gematria" (assigning esoteric meanings to numbers and letters). Although the name-number methodology began in Alexandria, it became widespread, and many Neoplatonists, such as Iamblichus of fourth-century Syria, propagated combinations of Pythagoreanism, Platonism, and the mystical numeration of names.
Many made use of passages in the Bible to afﬁrm the importance that God gave to the numbers of things: number of commandments, plagues, psalms, and days of the Flood and of Creation. Saint Augustine (A.D. 353-420), through his personal conduct and theological reasoning, became the Church's model of a person who traveled the path from heresy to orthodoxy. In his influential writings he wrote that numbers are the universal language offered by the deity to humans, a confirmation of the truth of Christian teachings. Just as the Pythagoreans had proposed, Augustine too believed that everything has numerical relationships; it is up to the mind itself to seek and penetrate their mysteries or else to have them revealed by divine grace. Augustine's reverential attitude toward numbers lent his imprimatur to numerology as an acceptable aid to interpreting the sacred writings. He and other church fathers drew upon pagan methodology but Christianized the meanings.
After Saint Augustine, numerological scrutiny of the Scriptures, especially the New Testament, maintained this "transcendental arithmetic". Numbers such as 3 (the Trinity) and 12 (the apostles) assumed special signiﬁcance. Saint Isadore of Seville (570-636) compiled a dictionary of the numbers that appear directly or indirectly in the Hebrew and Christian bibles. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) derived concepts about numbers from Aristotle, and Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) in his Divine Comedy made numerous references to the mystical meanings of speciﬁc numerals. (164)
When Islam spread throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Spain, Greek mathematics, including geometry, was maintained, investigated, and ultimately retransmitted to the West. The word algebra is said to have come from the Arabic treatise Al-jabr w'al muqabalah. The written symbols for numbers used over much of the world are called "Arabic numerals." The Arabs apparently introduced the zero (sifr in Arabic), although others claim that it began in India ﬁrst.
The mystical teachings of Pythagoreanism also appeared in Arabic writings, and particular emphasis was given to speciﬁc numerals (notably seven) in ceremonies, myths, and literature. The numbers ten and twelve were also held to be lucky. For instance, the circumstances of the birth of Suleiman the Magniﬁcent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire, were considered highly auspicious, for he was the tenth descendant of Osman, founder of the dynasty, and took ofﬁce in the tenth century after the flight of Mohammed. That he became the twelfth sultan was an aditional sign of his good fortune.
Although scholars differ on the precise line of bequest, the numerology of the followers of the legendary al-Geber, looked upon as the founder of the alchemy of Islam, had derivations from Pythagorean, Platonic, and Aristotelian writings. For example, number seventeen, to which the Pythagoreans gave special signiﬁcance, was at the very basis of all Geberian alchemy, indicating the equilibrium in nature. It may also be mentioned that the Greek alphabet has seventeen consonants and seven vowels (another highly valued number in Pythagorean numerical philosophy).
By the time of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, the principal tenets of numerology were for the most part in place, and the secular arithmetic of computation, geometry, and algebra were still not widely seen as disciplines separate from the use of numerals for mystical purposes. John Napier (1550-1617), for example, Scottish mathematician who invented logarithms and was an innovator in the use of the decimal system, also practiced the gematrial methods of linking occult meanings to numbers and names. His numerological studies determined that the pope was an Antichrist - a type of intellectual exercise that was much in favor. The Revelation of Saint John, a New Testament book, referred to 666 as the "number of that man" who was the Satanic Beast.
Protestant and Catholic numerologists competed in deriving the dreaded number from the names of leaders of the opposing church. The projected date of the end of the world (Napier believed it was to be sometime between 1688 and 1700) was supposed to coincide with the reappearance of Jesus after the Antichrist had been destroyed.
Attacks on some of the occult systems occurred during the Renaissance. Galileo, for instance, after being interested at ﬁrst in astrology abandoned it completely. There is no evidence that he concerned himself at all with numerology. Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), a Churchman, is often cited as another who turned his back on the occult. Yet Bruno's numerology was based on pure Pythagorean mysticism, not on the Christian methods of reading signiﬁcance into numbers in the Scriptures, as Augustine, Aquinas, and other Church fathers had done. (167)
From time to time, reactions to occult numerology, both on the Continent and in England, brought into disfavor some highly placed persons who had dabbled in astrology and mysticism. Mostly the oppositions to occult practices in royal courts were responses to unfavorable predictions, charges of undue influence on the monarch by the practitioners, or accusations of communication with the devil.
Signiﬁcant developments in numerological doctrines came from the cabala. The cabala is a complex, highly developed system of philosophy and theology. It has a long history involving many commentators. The actual dates of cabalism as a developed methodology are uncertain. Some claim that the core philosophy is in the Hebrew biblical books themselves, especially Prophets (Nebhium), Writings (Kehubim), and even the Torah (the ﬁve books of Moses in the Old Testament). The angels transmitted the words of God to Adam; then to Noah; thence to Abraham, to Moses, and to all humankind.
The cabala was formed from several intellectual approaches, of which the most prominent were Gnosticism and Neoplatonism. All three seek to reach God through intellectual probings, although the deity is considered to be unknowable and even unimaginable. One of the ancient precursors of the cabala was jewish mysticism of the ﬁrst and second centuries. During the Renaissance, elements of Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Neopythagoreanism, Hebrew cabalism, and Hermeticism (the secret mystical teachings believed to have been composed and transmitted by the ancient occultist Hermes Trismegistus) were combined into a Christian cabalism.
The word cabala, based on the Hebrew quibbel, meaning to "receive", signiﬁes doctrines that have been handed down by oral tradition and later committed to writing. It assumes that in order to be comprehended guidance is required by enlightened teachers instructed in their secrets. The power of the cabala is to be used only for achieving understanding of the godhead and for personal betterment - not for magical, destructive, or selﬁsh purposes. Of course, various magicians and adepts have claimed to draw upon its secrets to perform miraculous feats. The legendary tale of the Golem, a statue, is one of those stories. The Golem was built by a learned rabbi of a small, Jewish village in the Middle Ages. He infused it with temporary life through occult symbols from the cabala in order to smite the persecuting local Christian rulers and thereby deliver the oppressed community. (168)
The features of the cabala that pertain to numerology include the ten nodes of the Tree of Life, the twenty-two paths connecting them, and the esoteric meanings of the Hebrew alphabet. The system stimulated numerous commentaries, but the three fundamental works are the Sepher Yetzirah (Book of Creation, or Book of Formation), the Sepher Bahir (Book of Clarity), and the Zohar (Book of Splendor or Brightness).
a. The Sepher Yetzirah was written down between the third century and the sixth century A.D. Based on earlier Hebrew traditions, it links the creation of the universe, the Hebrew alphabet, and numerals, which are also Hebrew letters. All things - indeed the cosmos itself - are related to the ﬁrst ten numbers. The Eternal One, "En Soph", indicates his existence by means of ten Sephiroth ("Emanations" or "Intelligences"). These ten, together with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, form thirty-two paths to wisdom. Some claim that the actual analysis of words and names through the assignment of numerical values and meanings to the letters may have begun in the second century A.D., but the precise origins are unresolved.
b. In the Sepher Bahir, written in southern France in the twelfth century, the Sephiroth are also referred to in terms of "Light". The arrangement of the ten Sephiroth and the twenty-two letters on the Tree of Life may have also begun in this treatise.
c. The Zohar is probably the most influential of the basic works. Although legend had it that a mythical Simon ben Jochai wrote the text in the second century A.D., modern scholarship considers it a thirteenth-century compilation of the cabalistic philosophy of the time by one Moses de Leon.
The Tree of Life, which is detailed in the Zohar, is a diagram of ten stations or "nodes", the Sephiroth, which are usually represented as circles or spheres, connected to each other by twenty-two lines or roads, the "paths". Each of the ten Sephiroth (the singular word is Sephirah) is assigned a Hebrew letter, name, and number and stands for a speciﬁc moral concept. God is above and outside the Tree, the En Soph (the Boundless, the Eternal) from whom emanate the Sephiroth, beginning with the higher, spiritual attributes (starting at Kether, the Crown, number 1) and proceeding to the lower and more earthly (Malkuth, the Kingdom, number 10 at the bottom). By meditating on life's meanings, humans strive to ascend in graduated steps from the lowest Sephirah to the highest in an effort to comprehend the deity. (170)
The twenty-two Paths between the Sephiroth are each assigned a number, from 11 to 32. The ﬁgures on the Tree resulting from these combinations have been classiﬁed in a variety of ways: in the vertical row of Sephiroth on the right, 2, 4, 7 are masculine and comprise the Pillar of Mercy, or Form; on the left, 3, 5, 8, are the feminine Pillar of judgment, or Force; the middle four, 1, 6, 9, and 10 are the Pillar of Mildness.
The upper triangle formed by 1, 2, and 3 (Crown, Wisdom, and Intelligence) represents the Intellect; 4, 5, and 6 are Morality and Ethics; 7, 8, 9 are Materiality - with 10 as the bottom station, from which humans must start their ascent. The nodes and paths have also been apportioned among the three regions of the Soul (for the upper triangle), Mind (nodes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), and Instincts (10). There are obvious associations between the structure of the cabala and other occult systems, such as the twenty-two cards of the Lesser Arcana.
The doctrines of the cabala have had signiﬁcant connections to the contemplations of the Hasidic movement; from the sixteenth century until well into the eighteenth century, the cabala was also at the center of most forms of Jewish mystical thought. Christian cabalism applied the Hebrew alphabet, through gematria (assigning esoteric meanings to numbers and letters) and other mystical doctrines from the cabala, to afﬁrm Jesus as the Divine Son and representative of God on earth.
The Renaissance period saw a special emphasis on cabalism in Florence, where a ruling prince, Cosimo de' Medici, even engaged Marsilio Ficino to translate a newly discovered cabalistic manuscript, the Hermetica, purported to have been written by Hermes Trismegistus. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the head of the Medici academy, found in the awesome tetragrammaton (the four Hebrew letters of the name of Jehovah), proof that Jesus was God. By adding to Yod (standing for Fire), He (for Water), Vau (for Air), and He (for Earth), an additional Hebrew letter, Shin, to indicate the ﬁfth element, Spirit, he derived the resulting name YHSHVH, spelled Jeheshua, the Hebrew for Jesus: God's presence on Earth. (171)
In the subsequent decades and centuries, numerous commentators and translators added to the growing lore of the cabala. The abbot Johannes Trimethius, patron of Agrippa von Nettesheim (whose writings are discussed in the chapter on astrology) developed a lexicon of numerals and letters including their mystical meanings. John Dee, the influential mathematician, astrologer, and adviser to Queen Elizabeth I, also promoted the cabala. His signiﬁcance in the history of numerology is that the course of his influence mirrored the changing fortunes of occultism. At ﬁrst in high repute and a close favorite of the queen's, he later fell precipitously out of favor at the same time as occult systems began to be regarded as intellectually silly or diabolically unsavory. Today the word cabal has come to mean a secret group engaged in intrigue and conspiracy.
A particularly strong supporter of Christian cabalism, Robert Fludd, took the Hermetic writings, as resurrected by Cosimo de'Medici and others, at face value, thereby emphasizing a mysterious Egyptian connection. He also pictorialized a universe that could account for good and bad without having to implicate God as the creator of the evil. Johannes Kepler, the pioneering seventeenth-century astronomer, engaged in heated controversies with Fludd on cosmology and harmonics. Fludd supported occult uses of numbers as part of his philosophy. Kepler saw in numbers a distinction between their mathematical explanations of phenomena and their symbolism of abstract meanings, which he too believed in. Although they both relied heavily on the Bible for supporting evidence, Kepler concluded that the world was planned and constructed by God according to the measuring properties of numerals, whereas Fludd considered the entire composite of natural and supernatural things to be integrated through the mystery of numbers, a belief similar to that of the Pythagoreans.
Many commentators and adepts in the succeeding centuries used the Christian cabala in their applications of occult systems. Although numerology played a role in their concepts, it was not the primary focus. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there have been a host of occult writings in which number symbolism ﬁgures prominently; but the cabala and the tarot lie at the heart of those philosophies and practices. An example is the work of Alphonse Louis Constant (he even took on a Hebrew pseudonym, Eliphas Levi), who developed a grand schema of occultism embracing the cabala, tarot, astrology, and numerology.
Among the founders of one occult group, the Golden Dawn, Westcott, Woodman and Mathers interwove the gematria into their teachings, although it was not the primary focus. Aleister Crowley, the widely known leader of the order, entitled one of his books 777. Yet number mysticism was more in service to, rather than in explanation of, the fundamental ideas of his theosophy. The tarot and the cabala, not numerology, were at the center of his principles.
Advocates of numerology in the twentieth century often combine the cabala, the tarot, and numerological practices, which modern occult writers see as intricately linked. To take only a few examples: Paul Foster Case makes connections between the Hebrew alphabet and tarot cards; Mouni Sadhu uses Hebrew letters, the tarot, and numerology for divination; Dion Fortune draws on the cabala and numerology in her philosophy; Robert Wang's main treatise considers together the tarot, cabala, and numerology; books by Richard Cavendish describe connections among virtually all the occult systems, of which numerology is one part.
Although the original primordial numbers of Pythagoras have been modiﬁed in meaning and expanded in signiﬁcance, the ancient Pythagorean number symbolism remains the essential frame of modern numerology. (174)
terug naar de Inhoud
2. Technique of Numerology (178)
In numerology, the assignment of a number to any name, birthday, or date is arrived at by simple calculation.
The Birth Number is the sum of the position of the month in the annual calendar (january is 1, February is 2, etc. - for numbers above 10, the two digits are added together; 12 becomes 1 plus 2) plus the day of the month plus each digit in the date of the year (1945 becomes 1+9+4+5=19 1+9=10 1+0=1). Thus, a birthday of May 28, 1912, is computed as 5 (May)+2+8 (the 28th day)+1+9+1+2 (the year 1912). The total sum of that birth date is 28.
Since all numbers in numerology, with a few exceptions, are reduced to a single digit between 1 and 9, the sum of 28 is computed as 2+8=10. Ten then becomes 1+0=1. The person born on May 28, 1912, therefore has a Birth Number of 1. (The exceptions to this final computation are master numbers, which have special signifiance in some systems and consequently are not reduced. The special numerals that are usually designated as masters are 11 and 22, sometimes 33, rarely 44, and a few others.)
Names are similarly put into numerals. For instance, in modern numerology each letter in Western languages such as English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and the Scandinavian tongues is assigned a number according to its position in the alphabet. In English, the assignments are:
1 2 3 45 6 78 9
Every person is named at birth. He or she therefore has a particular number personality. However, the person may change names and become clothed in different numbers at different times. For instance, after marriage, the new last name may be substituted for the maiden name, or both may be used. The letters in the various names may add up to quite different numbers for the same person. Each of us therefore may be a multiple numerological personality. For example, Henry Cabot Lodge by numerological computation was a 7. However, if he were known as Henry Lodge, with his middle name eliminated completely, then the letters would add up to 59, which is adjusted to 14 and then to 5.
Of course, the Birth Number, sometimes also referred to as the Life Path, Path of Destiny, or the Personal Lesson number, always remains the same, for it is the sum of all the numbers in one's date of birth.
1 Number One
To numerologists, number 1 contains the characteristics of a leader. As a superachiever, 1 may be compensating for deep-seated uncertainty. Reluctant to seem weak and wavering, a person whose Birth Number is 1 can be afraid that a compromise would appear to be weakness or a defect in the self-image of strength and decisiveness. When leadership is recognized by others, number 1 can be generous but, when challenged or rejected, can become domineering, unreasonable, irascible, or else withdrawn, unsociable, and moody. This number does best when acting alone even if positioned at the forefront of the crowd.
Although potentially a constructive originator, 1 must guard against foolish schemes and narrow vision. Advanced ideas can conflct with accepted conventions. Number 1 should ride freely on the positive traits while always guarding against exaggerations.
The Pythagoreans saw the number 1 as representing the unity of all, the godly spirit in everything. It was the active essence as contrasted with the passive principle manifested in number 2.
Since 1 generates all other numbers, it is the beginning of numeration and is present in all numbers. Any value multiplied by 1 remains the same. To the Pythagoreans therefore it was both no number and every number.
Virtually all cultures have sought unity among the parts of the cosmos. Even in the twentieth century, Einstein looked for a unified field theory, and physicists, chemists, and biologists find the same foundations in the basic structure of animate creatures and inanimate substances. Number 1 therefore implies both spirit and substance.
2 Number Two
The outstanding characteristics of 2 are associating well with others, forming firm friendships, and being universally liked. In any group, this type of person is apt to be the peacemaker. This number actually needs partners, companions, and a lively social milieu.
In enterprises, here is a team player, loyal to the organization and yet sensitive to the problems of the individual colleague. He or she takes few chances and performs with conscientiousness. The top positions are not sought, and yet 2 can be so suited to defusing anger, acting fairly, and lifting morale, that a high executive role may result. Moreover, although innovation and bold strategy may be absent, prudent judgment, analytical perception, and the ability to see all sides of an issue may result in a capacity for policy making.
Sensitivity and understanding may lead such a person into the pictorial arts. To compensate for self-deprecation, number 2 may be attracted to the theater, where a person can submerge his or her own personality in the character being played.
The virtue of adaptability may become exaggerated into self-effacement. Unless the inherent tendency to yield to every pressure and to fail to assert one's rights is overcome, this personality can end up as a "doormat", nonentity, colorless in ideas and expression, a friend to all but an admired companion to none. The reluctance to enter wholeheartedly into a project can lead to an unnecessary focus on picayune details.
Number 2 has to learn to expand the natural skills of friendliness, diplomacy, fairness, and judgment; take the chance of being unequivocal; be willing to act alone; keep uppermost a positive self-image.
In the teachings of Pythagoras, number 2, the dyad, was the passive aspect and therefore represented matter, as differentiated from spirit. It also signifid the principle of opposites, the existence of differences in nature. Number 1 was both unity and an entity itself. Number 2 was less clear-cut, without sharp, recognizable boundaries.
The Pythagoreans paired all the contraries in the cosmos as a function of 2: odd - even, good - evil, one - many, limited - unlimited, right - left, masculine - feminine, light - dark, straight - crooked, motionless - moving, square - rectangle.
With undefied boundaries and two sides to each characteristic, the Pythagorean 2 represented incertainty and therefore opinion rather than fact.
Along with 1, 2 was also almost a nonnumber, for it was the link between 1 and the other numbers. Thus, 3 was virtually the fist numeral. (178)
3 Number Three
The keynote of this number is expression in all forms, especially in speech, writing and the arts. Moreover, many different fields of interest attract this personality. The tendency is to be involved in too many projects to permit any single enterprise to be completed. When required to adhere to a single line of endeavor, 3 is apt to become bored.
Nonconformist, prefers to look at accepted ideas and practices in a new light, offering fresh insights and innovative principles. However, it is the overall concept rather than the detail that holds the attention.
Self-expression is also seen in fulsome affection, which 3 desires to give as well as to receive. Radiant good cheer sometimes can be extended to the extremes of silliness and practical jokes. The need to be in the midst of social activity enables such a person to be a good host or hostess, but it can also lead to disgruntlement and jealousy if the person feels left out.
Number 3s would be well advised to engage in a single enterprise at a time rather than in many and to carry through before switching paths; to be patient with themselves and with others.
The first number to refer to many things in the development of counting may well have been 3 - as distinguished from 1 and 2. Aristotle, as late as the fourth century B.C., believed that 3 was a surrogate word for "all". The union of 1 and 2 forms 3, the triad, standing for the world in Pythagorean concepts. The human family was also symbolized by 3 (father, mother, and child).
Since 2 was the fist even number and 3 the fist odd number, 5 became the figure for marriage. But 1 (the self) plus 2 (together) also suggested that 3 was another kind of union and an entity in itself. The idea of a divine Trinity in Christian theology had earlier counterparts in many cultures and in the ancient Greco-Roman divisions of heaven (ruled over by Zeus, or Jupiter), the ocean (ruled over by Poseidon, or Neptune), and the underworld (ruled over by Hades, or Pluto).
Number 3 figures prominently in Judaeo-Christian culture. God has three names according to the Psalms. Three angels visited Abraham. God called to Samuel three times. Jesus remained entombed for three days before rising.
At one time, people thought of nature as having only three seasons, spring, summer, winter. The day, morning, noon, and sunset. Even today we use the expression "morning, noon, and night" to indicate the entire gamut of a day.
The highest degree of anything has often been announced by three appearances: the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes used the metaphor of cleansing oneself three times to free the mind. In many fairy tales three wishes appear. Even in sports, for instance in the American game of baseball, three strikes by the batter retire him (he has had enough opportunities to hit the ball).
In science, confirmation of a fiding or a theory requires more than just one repetition. At least two more agreements for a total of three are usually needed. In Alice in Wonderland, the reciter states baldly, in "the Hunting of the Snark", "What I say three times is true".
4 Number Four
Solidity, reliability, and integrity are the shining attributes of this number. Full effort is spent in performing the tasks at hand. Number 4 is organized, thorough, and unswerving in getting work finished. Number 3 may develop brilliant ideas or insightful plans, but 4 pursues them and can end by being far more productive than an undisciplined 3.
Conventional behavior and attitudes are usual but in the desire to set and follow the rules, 4 can become resistant to and even rebellious against any attempts to alter the pattern that has been established. This type of firmness can therefore end in bitter quarrels.
Everybody can rely completely on 4 to adhere strictly to ethical principals. The desire to be completely honest, however, may produce tactlessness. Indeed, the extremes that must be guarded against are pedantry and humorlessness. The person who is not willing ever to bend may be so self-righteous and stubborn that he or she ecomes tiresome.
Number 4 must try to maintain the qualities of fairness, honesty, and perseverance but also to lighten up, avoid forcing ideas on others, and take a broader, more tolerant view.
To Pythagoras, number 4, the tetrad, was the number of balance, the makeup of nature. Throughout Greco-Roman times and well into recent centuries, there were four basic elements (fire, water, air, earth), each with four qualities (hot, cold, dry, moist), and in conformity with four humors comprising the bodily structure and function (blood, yellow bile, black bile, phlegm). Even today physicists classify nature into four basic forces.
Numbers 4 and 7 had close associations. Of course the moon and therefore the month involved both numbers: four weeks of seven days each; twenty-eight lunar mansions; twenty-eight constellations.
It may also be that 4 and 9 were rivals for one of the abstractions of Pythagorean theory, Justice. These two numbers are the only squares (2x2 and 3x3) among the fist ten numbers (if we leave out number 1). The Pythagoreans made the choice of 4 (and the square shape) rather than 9 to stand for the fairness implied in Justice (and also in Brotherhood). We have continued to use the terms "square deal", "on the square", "square fisted", "square jawed".
The Egyptians also gave prominence to 4 in representations. The pillars of the world for instance were four in number. The Judaeo-Christian God is named by a combination of four Hebrew consonants: Yod, He, Vau, He. Jehovah created the sky bodies on the fourth day. The four Christian apostles (John, Luke, Matthew, Mark) had their four representations (Eagle, Bull, Angel, Lion), matching in a sense the early concepts of the division of all matter into four essentials. The macrocosm has usually been assumed in number 4-four winds, four directions and points (east, west, north, south).
Numerologically speaking, when a number is multiplied by 10, that is, has a 0 added, its signifiance is heightened. The enhancement of 4 (4x10=40) was important in various cultures. The duration of the world after the Exodus, according to the Book of Kings, is supposed to be a total of four periods of one hundred and twenty years (40x3). In ancient Mesopotamia the forty days when the constellation of the Pleiades was missing in the sky were a time of rain and storm. At the end, the change was celebrated, on their reappearance, as a restoration of freedom.
5 Number Five
An unfettered mind and expressive tongue typify the traits of number 5. Freedom to pursue varied interests, goals, and places is essential. Sparkle, wit, and unconventional attitudes create a charming, magnetic, optimistic personality. Of course, there is the danger of insincerity, sarcasm, and the need to shock rather than to deliver solid substance.
Number 5 is drawn to new things and is enamored of change but it can be organized in these pursuits. However, in 5 the sense of order is a means to an end rather than the main focus, as it is in 4. The variety of skills of course can lead nowhere and the very daring intellect may end with rashness. Discipline is needed.
Number 5 has to let the mind run free and adapt to change, but it must not be allowed to be buffeted by every wind. The 5 person needs to stay awhile to learn, to rein in the tendency to mock others, to use charm for constructive ends.
Early counting systems may have been based on the five digits of each human hand and foot. The term for 5 has sometimes been "one hand", for 10, two hands. (Whether this perception led eventually to the decimal system is by no means certain.) In Chinese philosophy, medicine, and magic, number 5 is prominent. There are five colors, five tastes, five virtues, five elements (in contradistinction to the Western idea of four elements). To Fire, Water, Earth, and Air was added Wood, a Chinese fundamental. The bodily organs were also divided into five groups. Indeed virtually all human endeavors and nature's possessions were collated into five categories in ancient Chinese culture.
Among the Greeks, categorization by 5s was a rival to grouping by 4s: five senses, five essences, five zones, five divisions of living thing. The material world itself was signified by number 5. Indeed the fifth essence by medieval times had come to mean highest degree or the essencial ingredient. Our term
"quintessence" indicates the significance of the number 5 of former times.
The Roman naming of months and of sons singled out 5 especially. Originally, after the months of Maius and Junius (these were the third and fourth months at one time, for March began the year), the months thereafter, contributed the names Quintilis (fifth), Sextilis (sixth), Septembris (seventh), Octobris (eighth), Novembris (ninth), Decembris (tenth).
6 Number Six
This number stands for the pillars of family and community, the advisor to all, the generous arbiter of disputes. Adverse to quarrels, number 6 craves and creates harmony and beauty. As with number 2, friendship is an outstanding trait but the attachment is often deeper and more lasting. In partnership, however, 6 is apt to end as the more dominant member. Yet power and position are sought for security rather than control. Loyal to a fault, 6 expects corresponding commitment. If carried to the extreme, these demands can lead to suspicion and secretiveness, when full affection is not shown.
The desire to be the rock on which others can stand may turn 6's traits into perfectionism. Worry may be ever present. Such a person must guard against a martyr complex. Six tries to maintain ideals but should stay within reasonable bounds and recognize that not everybody has to have the same principles.
Pythagoras considered number 6 to signal perfection. It is the fist number whose divisors (1, 2, and 3) when added together equal that number; when multiplied together they also yield the same number. Philo Judaeus at the beginning of the Christian Era asserted that creation had to take six days because it is the most perfect and productive of all numbers. Saint Augustine came to the same conclusion that God had created all things in six days just because that number represents perfection, rather than because the Lord finished his work in six days.
As a mathematical rival of 5 in its ancient meaning of marriage, 6 is the female number of marriage; It is the product of 3, the fist accepted odd number; and 2, the fist even number, whereas 5 is the sum of these two. Indeed 6 is reached by the addition of the fundamental fist three numbers - 1, 2, and 3. Pythagorean theory also recognized that there are six plane geometric figures.
An exceptional symbolism involving number 6 was the numerological analysis in the Revelation of Saint John. A passage tells how to recognize the Antichrist, the Beast of Satan, the most despicable person in the world. By converting the letters of a name to their corresponding numbers - he standard mechanics of numerology - Revelation marked 666 as the number of the Beast. The two-horned Devil Beast, states verse 18, is perceivable by an understanding mind, for the number of that man who is the Beast is "six hundred threescore and six."
Thomas Aquinas himself also participated in that numerological exercise. Indeed, in the headlong rush to brand theological opponents with the hateful number, some manipulated the name of Pope Leo X to yield 666. Similarly, defenders of the Vatican distorted Martin Luther's name to produce 666. This type of "beasting" has repeated over and over in order to pin the label on an enemy. As with the Pope and Luther, the mechanics necessary to fit the names into the number were often so devious and ludicrous that virtually any name or birth date could have been made to conform.
This stigmatizing of 6, which the Pythagoreans had dubbed a perfect number and which has become highly moral in modern numerology, may have arisen from several sources. ln Latin, 6 is sex. Egyptian seshemu is sexual congress in meaning and hieroglyphic symbol. Arabic and Persian mystics used a similar word to express eroticism. Even the Middle Eastern fairy tale of the secret mountain, in which the magic phrase is "Open Sesame", may have been referring to similar terminology. Some have even equated the secret cave in that charmed mountain with the uterus. Whatever the line of derivation may have been, 6, sex, and sin were at times all closely associated in medieval lore and some Christian mysticism. But the earlier meanings of purpose, responsibility, and security have eventually triumphed. (182)
7 Number Seven
Seven has usually been considered a lucky number. It marked the end of the creation process when God rested and was satisfied with the result. At one time, 7 meant ill fortune rather than good luck, perhaps just because on the seventh day all activity was forbidden and every enterprise was to be avoided. Even in early Mesopotamian times, special days of the month that had unfortunate signifiance were multiples of 7. For instance, the forty-ninth day (7x7) after the beginning of the previous month was especially ominous.
However, wisdom and contentment are most often associated with this number. But the perceptiveness and understanding of a 7 person, along witht studiousness and erudition, can appear as pedantry and humorlessness. Contentment may be interpreted as smugness, and the combination of an analytical mind, intuitive capability, and quiet behaviour may lead to observation rather than participation, to eccentric reclusiveness rather than involved friendliness. The thinker must not become a dreamer. The exceptional intellect and broad idealism need the friendliness of others. Seven has to let abilities shine forth rather than remain hidden; analysis is best accepted when accompanied by expression of sympathy and affection; contemplation should be followed by action.
In Pythagorean numerology, 7 had the unique signifiance of wisdom and self-containment. This number was unrelated to any of the solid figures-each of which had an assigned number. In a sense, therefore, 7 generated itself. Only seven moving sky bodies were known at that time - Sun, Moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn. For a long time there were seven accepted stars in each of the several constellations that were important to seafarers. That there were seven planets, and only seven, was satisfying, for it signified a consistency in the order of destiny. Indeed, one of the objections to Galileo's discovery of the moons of Jupiter was that it upset the comfortable established system of seven heavenly bodies.
As mentioned in the segment on the number 4, 7 and 4 had relationships with each other. The four winds of Mesopotamia were expanded to seven. The week as a unit of seven days came into use in the fist century A.D. in Alexandria. The ziggurat towers of ancient Babylon had either three or four stories - which add up to 7. Each of the seven steps had seven colors. The goddess Ishtar passed through seven gates.
Religious associations in other cultures were also strongly associated with this number. The Hebrew candlestick has seven branches. The leprosy of Naaman in the Bible was cured by immersion in the Jordan seven times. Dante described seven levels of purgatory, which fit into later concepts of the seven steps to perfection. "Seventh Heaven" has come to mean the highest bliss just below the ultimate paradise.
Arabic writings contain a host of references to 7: seven great leaders from Adam to Muhammad; seven repetitions of magical formulas; seven degrees of Hell; seven journeys of Sinbad the Sailor; seven regions of the earth; seven seas; seven divisions of the arts; seven verses for completion of a poem.
Of course, folklore, literature, and customs are replete with accents on 7. There are seven openings in the head - two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, and one mouth. The seven wonders of the ancient world were a model of marvels. Shakespeare described the seven ages of man. Ancient and medieval medicine held particular days of an illness to be critical, when either resolution or decline would result. The seventh day was one of those special times. Indeed, 7 itself was sometimes imbued with a sense of time. In the gambling game of craps, 7 is central for its appearance signals either a win or a loss, depending upon how the player has placed the bet.
8 Number Eight.
Number 8 reaps the harvest. Power and position are used in order to be productive and achieve financial gain, not for the sake of the power itself. However, the tendency to be dictatorial and authoritarian must be guarded against. Although material rewards are the goal, ideals and principles often lie unperceived underneath. Large philanthropic enterprises may be an objective, often stimulated by the observance of unfair treatment of others' needs and rights.
Inspiring confidence and aware of the incentives that can drive people, number 8 falls easily into positions of authority. He or she is bold and adventuresome and correspondingly often successful but may also taste failure instead, because extremes are part of this personality. The dual nature of the number stands for other opposites besides success and failure: destruction and regeneration; disappointment and promise; practicality and generosity.
The paradox is further emphasized in the numeral itself. Upright, it is the two circles of selfcontainment and its arithmetic quantity is a doubling of 4, the number that is "down to earth". Yet, on its side, 8 is the mathematical sign for infiity, a reminder of boundlessness and eternity. The 8 personality must learn to exert control over self, not just others; choose a mate and companions who can add intellect, art, and spice; slow up and taste, instead of rushing ahead single-mindedly.
Sanctity has enveloped this number from early times. The four Hebrew letters standing for Jehovah - in Hebrew they are consonants - Yod, He, Vau, He, are the tenth, fith, sixth, and fifth letters in the alphabet.
These numbers add up to 26 (10+5+6+5), which numerologically is 8 (2+6). Furthermore the last letter in the alphabet is the twenty-sixth, also therefore an 8 (2+6).
The sacred covenant between God and the Jews was the circumcision on the eighth day after birth. Eight also meant the second beginning of humankind after the Flood. Since there were only eight persons in Noah's ark, the subsequent makeup of the earth' population came from those eight people. The new world of humans was far better in God's eyes than that of the past but it was not as perfect as the original creation in six days. After seven years of famine in the biblical story of Joseph, the eighth year began a period of plenty. To sanctify a place as holy, eight days of sacrifie or ceremony were required.
In Pythagorean geometric mathematics, 8 stood for the fist cube, and because its surfaces numbered 6 (the perfect number), it was also a perfect structure. Numbers 7 and 8 were often linked in number philosophies, since 7 was the highest and the most that could be expected before the ultimate 8. In the ancient lore of several cultures, there were seven steps to perfection before the eighth, Paradise, was reached.
The Neoplatonists postulated a journey after death by the soul through each of the seven planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) in order to return the traits originally received from each sky body before the spirit could attain the eighth level of heaven.
9 Number Nine
Number 9 is regarded as particularly special. By whatever number it is multiplied, the product ends in the same number 9, using the numerological method. For example: 2x9=18=1+8=9; 3x9=27=2+7=9; 85x9=765=7+6+5=18=1+8=9. Perhaps of even greater mathematical signifiance, when any single-digit number (that is from 1 through 9) is added to 9, the resulting figure by numerology remains that same number. For instance, 1+9=10=1+0=1; 2+9=11=1+1=2; 3+9=12=1+2=3; 4+9=13=1+3=4. Therefore, the 9 outward personality, inner drive, and life path in numerology can be like any other number's. It is a chameleon, allowing the coloration and characteristics of other numbers to be taken on - through choice. Thus, influenced sufficiently and motivated enough, 9 can direct the self according to circumstances, in keeping with its numerological characteristic. Yet its basic features remain: universality, intellect, and emotion. Generally 9s are broadminded, altruistic, and far-seeing, but the extremes of naiveté, unreality, and vulnerability can be dangers.
Wisdom coupled with wide knowledge permits a 9 to perceive the essential nature of persons and events not readily apparent to others. That talent for quick insight is apt to lead to impulsive action rather than deliberate behavior. Moreover, the tendency to take the long view may cause immediate concerns to be overlooked.
Although the impression given may be of coolness, actually compassionate feelings are strong and affection is needed in return. The 9 person seeks admiration and recognition rather than material rewards. Advice to number 9 people is to see the individual trees not just the forest; to consider material needs of others in addition to the cosmic view; to follow their own vision but to keep their sights on the local path.
Universality has long been implied by this number. Whereas number 1 was considered as already in all numbers and therefore virtually not a number to the Pythagoreans, 9 was capable of becoming all numbers and yet remained the same. Since 10 was completion, 9 was not quite the end. It symbolized the last defect before perfection. As the last of the single-digit numbers of which everything was composed, it signifid a broad worldview. It also was used to express a long duration and exceptional power. For nine years Troy was besieged and Odysseus wandered. In medieval times, 3 times the Trinity made 9 even more potent than 3. The symbolic meanings in number 3 thus were heightened, that is, were multiplied into 9, while the unique universality of 9 itself was maintained.
10 Number Ten: The End and A New Beginning
Number 10 had great signifiance in Pythagorean times, but modern numerological principles usually separate every double-digit number into two. Thus 10 is 1+0=1. Those who look upon 10 as a separate number may assign to it honesty and also ambition; the vision to find and the worldliness to grasp opportunity.
It is the end of all and yet the beginning again. It represents totality and therefore perfection itself. Even today, we use the phrase "on a scale of ten" when we evaluate a person, a thing, or an action.
This number has had many associations. In astrology, three decans of ten degrees make up each zodiac sign. Greek mathematicians saw that all of the planar and solid figures together comprised ten types. So important was 10 to the concept of perfection that the Pythagoreans postulated a tenth body, a "Counter-Earth", in order to fulfil the theoretical requirement of ten heavenly bodies (Sun, Moon, five planets, Earth, and a central fire around which the others revolved equal only nine units).
In Mesopotamia, the tenth day was signifiant for religious practices. Multiples of ten figured in the one hundred days of the flooding of the Nile in Egypt. There are ten plagues in the Bible and God is reported to have issued various warnings ten times. There are the Ten Commandments, and today when ten males gather together in Jewish observances (a "minyan") various religious ceremonies can be performed.
All numbers are in 10, which is also 1 numerologically. It is the end of the fist 10 numbered series and therefore the measure of completeness.
11 Number Eleven - Revelation
The number 11 suggests unusual talents, particularly insight, and even more perceptivity than 9. This type of person may be inspired to start a new movement or introduce an original concept. He or she does not easily form a partnership but on the other hand is not a loner. Once a relationship is made there is intense commitment to one mate or companion. Discrimination and selectivity are the characteristics. Selfishness, aloofness, and fanaticism are dangers. The leadership and originality of 1 are enhanced so that 11 is virtually an inspired prophet, illuminating the road ahead.
Number 11 must not be overwhelmed by dreams or be too zealous in espousing his or her own cause. Balanced discernment is needed with receptivity to the ideas of others. The 11 person should keep to a lower key (to resemble 2, which is the sum of 1+1) and yet maintain creativity and individuality, as a double of the power manifested by 1. Since 11 is beyond 10, it has been held to represent transgression beyond the Ten Commandments. This unfavorable connotation is balanced by the implication of insight beyond the norm, the ability to go beyond completed measurements.
22 Number Twenty-Two - Integration
The Hebrew language - which some cabalists assume was the tongue used by God to create the world and to communicate with humans - contains twenty-two letters. The number therefore is inspired. It implies power and prophecy. However, as the relative of 4 (2x2), 22 also signals the substance of reality; concern with the environment and material resources, but not money itself. Involvement in the earth's possessions can lead to an altruistic devotion to the betterment of humankind. Practicality and control can achieve high productivity. In the most favorable sense, 22 integrates the individual with the whole of society. It can make dreams come true.
33 Number Thirty-Three - Harmony
Those who consider 33 as one of the separate master numbers, rather than as a 6 (3+3), place harmony, service, and sympathy as its hallmarks.
This number's importance is stressed in various ways. For example, the highest degree in the Masonic order is the thirty-third. The expressiveness exemplifid by number 3 (in this instance 33 is 3 doubled) and the purposefulness of 6 (as the sum of 3+3) can combine to produce revolutionary attitudes and a challenge to authority. However, this dissident person achieves the goals of lifting the oppressed, helping those in need, and preserving peace by persuasion, good cheer, and friendship, rather than by confrontation and destruction. One must avoid being overbearing and the opposite, surrendering one's principles. (187)
terug naar de Inhoud
3. Principles of Interpretation
Among the single-digit numbers to which dates and names are reduced, the most important ones for numerological interpretations are derived from
- the full date of birth (known as the Birth Number, Life Path, or Path of Destiny),
- the name given at birth (Personal Number),
- the vowels in the birth name (Inner Drive or Soul Urge), and
- the consonants in the name (called the Outer Personality by some, the Passive Nature by others, and the Potential by still others).
Additional numbers often used are the birth day, the birth month, and a host of combinations involving parts or all of the dates and names. Differing relative emphases are placed by numerologists on these numbers, but all agree that the Birth Number and the Personal Number are the most important.
Birth Number (Life Path)
The Birth Number is formed by adding together all the numbers of the date of birth and reducing them to a single digit - except when it is a master number (11, 22 or 33). Some prefer to reduce each part of the date and then add together the single-digit numbers thus obtained. This latter method of listing sometimes can result in a master number showing up before reduction that might be missed in a straight addition of all the numbers. For example, February 1, 1934, yields 2+1+1+9+3+4=20=2+0=2. But fist reducing each part: February=2; day=1; year=1+9+3+4=17=1+7=8. The sum is then 2+1+8=11, yielding a master number missed in the previous addition system.
Of course, if the master number 11 were further reduced, it would be 1+1=2, the same number again, but these special master numbers are often used intact. (On the other hand, the method of fist reducing the parts of the date can also miss a master number that the ordinary addition of all the numerals would reveal.)
The Birth Number signals the direction that lies ahead. However, the number represents the impetus but not necessarily the ultimate journey, for numerology recognizes the influence played by an individual's decisions, teaching that if someone is aware of the likely path suggested by his nature, that person can either continue or alter direction, avoiding or compensating for the negative and making the most of the favorable features.
The Life Path obtained from the full date of birth is sometimes modified by the significance of the day in the month that a person is born. For instance, an example of May 28, 1912, with a Life Path number of 1, is further supported by the 28th day (2+8=10=1). Here the value of the Life Path 1 is reinforced by the 1 of the Birth Day. But if the day of birth had been the fourth of the month, conscientiousness, strict integrity, and efficiency would have given organization and limitation to any rash, unrealistic, or acquisitive aspects. Extravagant tendencies would be more likely to be circumscribed.
Birth Name Number (Personal Number)
All the vowels and consonants together form the Personal Number, indicating a person's full makeup, the sum of inner forces, outer display, and total potential. However, a person may be born with one name, be nicknamed another, choose a third, or be known by a fourth. He or she may have received several names at birth and may drop one or more. An initial may be used for one of the names or the person may be known entirely by one of the names. And upon marriage a woman may continue to employ her maiden name or substitute the married name, or have both maiden and married names together. For instance, Lenore Robinson (with a Personal Number of 4) is known to all, even herself, as just Leni, without any last name. Her Personal Number then would be considered 22, for 3 (L)+5 (E)+5 (N)+9 (I)=22. This master number may be the principal key to her attitudes and feelings, rather than 4.
The vowels in Lenore Robinson yield 5 (E)+6 (O)+5 (E)+6 (O)+9 (I)+6 (Q)=37=3+7=10=1. This sum is known as the Tuner Drive or Soul Urge. It represents the drives that are the bases of a person's attitudes. For Lenore Robinson, 1 signifis the urge to lead, to give play to originality. While adhering strictly to the conscientiousness and originality that her Personal Number 4 announces, she cherishes underneath the ambition and the individuality to take a chance and to forge ahead boldly. (Some letters of the English alphabet, particularly Y, are looked upon as either a vowel or a consonant. For example, used directly after A or O, Y is a vowel; but directly before a vowel, Y can be considered a consonant. This possible versatility can change the total number value of the vowels or the consonants, depending on how the numerologist classifis the letter.)
Numerologists are not universally agreed on the signifiance of the consonants. To many, outward personality is announced by the sum of the consonants. To others, this number represents the undriven nature, the quiet part of the person, even unrealized potential. The individual numerologist thus determines how the characteristics of the number will be interpreted. For instance, it may be that to the world Lenore Robinson, a 3 in consonants, sparkles with good cheer, self-expression, and affection - ut she may have insecurities.
Clearly many different aspects of the same person can be found in an examination of the numbers. Indeed, there are also a great many uses to which the numbers can be put. Some systems through complicated assignments choose days, months, and even hours that are in harmony or disharmony with a particular person's Personal Number (Birth Name Number). (188)
The Personal Year, sometimes also called the Year Lesson, is relied upon to evaluate the chances for good or bad fortune in the current year or in any future time. The sum of a person's month of birth and day of birth plus the year being examined yields the Personal Year number for the year chosen. For instance, if one wished to know what was ahead in 1988 for someone born on May 28, 1912, 5 (the birth month of May) is added to 2+8 (the 28th)+1+9+8+8 (the sum of the digits in the year 1988) to yield a total of 41=4+1=5. This is the Personal Year number of the year 1988 for the person born on May 28 of any year.
We saw that the Life Path or Birth Number of this person (which uses the month, day, and year of birth) is 5+2+8+1+9+1+2 (May 28, 1912)=28=2+8=10=1+0=1. The Life Path of 1 and the Personal Year of 5 can then be matched to see how they will mix in 1988.
Number 1 as the Life Path is apt to do best in 1988 in communications and in the pursuit of any change in the offig, whether in people, business, money, or activities. However, the unfavorable 5 properties suggest there are dangers to be kept in mind and avoided: rashness, waste, and inconsistency. This 5 Personal Year would appear to be suited especially to entertainment, commerce, and teaching for the 1 person' enterprising, executive, creative, and communicative skills.
The Personal Month number is obtained by the addition of the Personal Year number (just described) plus whatever month one is asking about in that year. Continuing our example of the person with a birth date of May 28, 1912 (Life Path of 1), and a Personal Year number of 5 in 1988, the number for August 1988 would be 5 (the Personal Year)+8 (August is the eighth month)=13=1+3=4. An interpreter could say that although new endeavors and bold ventures, notably in the communicative filds, are especially suited to this person in 1988 - as sketched in the preceding paragraphs on the Personal Year - August in 1988 is a time for caution. The 4 Personal Month number tells the person to be sure to attend to details, maintain full integrity, and be conscientious. The month of August might best mark the point in 1988 to slow the pace, to reexamine what has been done, and to set up pragmatic, realistic goals in the remaining months of the year. Many other days, weeks, and even hours in any year ahead or in the current year are assigned a number based on calculations similar to those for the birth month and day. Usually the hour from midnight to 1 A.M. is assigned to 1, 1 A.M. to 2 A.M. to 2, etc., until the 8th to 9th hour, which is assigned number 9. The next hour, from 9 A.M. to 10 A.M. is 1 again, and so forth.
Oher Modifying Numbers
There are also many other methods for deriving other signifiant numbers. For instance, the combined value of the fist and last letters of a person's fist name may have special signifiance apart from other number assignments. Also, in names with an odd number of letters, the letter in the middle may be seen as an added key to personality, a clue to the central core of the person's makeup. For example, William might suggest that the value of 3, in the middle letter L, lies ready to be realized, even though the Personal Number (Birth Name Number) of William is 7.
Numerologists also derive numbers from a variety of other additions and subtractions - using names, birth months, days, and years - or arrive at myriad interpretations and forecasts. Years in cycles of 3, 9, and 12 are supplied to each person according to special calculations for the purpose of evaluating an entire lifespan. Another system finds numerological meaning in each 27-year-span. From birth to about age 27, the signifiant operative number is obtained by subtracting the day of birth from the month of birth. The number controlling the next approximately 27 years is found by subtracting the birth year from the day of birth. The remainder of life is inflenced by the qualities of the number derived from subtracting the birth year from the birth month. These represent the signifiant numbers for each cluster or cycle of years in a person's lifetime and summarize the challenges that he or she must face up to. These challenge numbers are further manipulated to reveal an unchanging, ever-present number by subtracting the number for the second 27-year cycle from the fist 27-year-cycle number.
In a listing of all the reduced numerals for the full name, the vowels, the consonants, and the date of birth, several numbers from 1 to 9 will probably not be present for any one person. These missing numbers are held to represent those characteristics that the person lacks. The numerologist therefore may point to these absent numbers as representing traits and endeavors that the person should try to add in order to enlarge and enrich his existence. Some mystics deem that these traits are related to actions and attitudes of a person' past lives.
Numerologists look for compatibilities between two people with different number values. For instance, the leadership of number 1 is eminently suited to the passive, receptive number 2; 3 and 5 are in perfect harmony, adding together the self-expression of 3 and the freedom of 5. On the other hand, 7 and 4 may be incompatible because the bold, creative, energetic bent of 7 wars with the conservative, down-to-earth, and patient tendencies of 4. But numerology recognizes that someone whose name adds up to any particular number, for instance 6, may be quite different in personality from another 6 person because of the different mixes of the positive and negative features. Since each number has favorable and unfavorable properties, the strengths inherent in any two numbers may be blended to produce a superb team effort and the dangers can be nullified by identifying and subduing them, but even the most suitable pair of numbers may be in utter mutual opposition if the negative features are allowed free rein. Here are a few examples of how the strong qualities can be enhanced and the potential weaknesses adjusted to achieve a firmly cemented relationship and a productive goal:
1 with 2: the initiative of 1 and the friendliness of 2 can combine to produce highly effective teamwork. Let the cooperative nature of 2 mollify the headstrong bossiness of 1. In return, number 1 with its originality and courage can lead 2 out of apathy and shyness.
1 with 3: the self-expression and versatility of 3 can carry the creativity of 1 into channels acceptable to others. Each must control impulsiveness and diffuseness.
1 with 4: finance and business enterprise can be thoroughly successful when the originality of 1 is added to the organization and conscientiousness of 4. Number 4 must not weigh down 1's expansiveness with rigid narrowness. Number 1 has to guard against upsetting the prudent, orderly actions of 4 with rash, unrealistic decisions. The incorruptible integrity of 4 can turn 1 away from greedy and grasping paths. Number 1 can inject a touch of expansiveness into the overly prudent, strait-laced outlook of 4.
1 with 5: this combination of eloquence, wit, and persuasiveness that is possessed by 5, mingled with the originality, boldness, and aspirations of 1, can form an irresistible duo. But the dangers are competitiveness and too much individuality. Number 5, with its adaptability and broad-mindedness, can handle possible frictions better than 1. On the other hand, 1 can prevent 5 from straying into frivolity and superfiiality through determined, serious leadership. Number 1 can also give more purpose to the shifting interests of 5.
1 with 6: the feeling for the arts and the intellect in 6 can give roundness and warmth to the ambitious strivings of 1. The imagination and investigative mind of 1 may expand the single-mindedness of 6 and discourage timidity. The individuality and demands of 1 must be curtailed; 6 has to become more open.
terug naar de Inhoud
Modern defenders of numerology emphasize that numbers play an important role in virtually all the activities of our lives: dates, social-security numbers, telephone numbers, and many other measurements identify us to ourselves and to others. The ancient Pythagoreans concluded that the cosmos of heavenly bodies, the earth, its creatures, and its objects form a single unit, of which the fundamental connections can be expressed by numbers. The assignment of abstract spiritual meanings to each of the basic numbers continues today because the validity of the associations in the minds and experiences of people in all walks of life has been confimed. The connections between Hebrew letters and numbers are still used by Hasidic sects to formulate profound truths. The more scientists learn about the universe, the more they find that numbers are at the basis of all things. Space, energy, matter, sight, and sound can be expressed by mathematical and geometrical relationships.
The mechanism by which numerical values exert their inflences on us is not known, but increasingly we are discovering the heretofore unsuspected forces acting from other bodies in the universe and existing within each atom in all substances around us. Some numerologists postulate that vibrations are inherent in each number. Others remain uncommitted to any specifi explanation. All, however, accept the ancient Pythagorean principles as valid.
Numerologists teach that names and dates of birth reveal character and behavior. Detractors might argue that we often become what we and others expect of us. Reducing a name or date of birth to one of the nine primary numbers encourages each person to become whatever that number signifies, as long as we believe in its significance, but that set of circumstances is in no way a proof of the truth of numerology. However, numerology's supporters point out that this argument by the objectors actually affirms the beneficial inflence of numerology, even if it were true that its tenets are not factual. The use of the associations between letters of the alphabet and their corresponding numbers has been a workable method for understanding the observed inflences of names and numbers on people, even if they are merely living up to what the numbers are supposed to signify. This reliance on a useful, although as - et unproved, hypothesis, say the supporters, is standard scientific methodology.
On the other hand, say the opponents, although the world is indeed full of numbers and statistics, statistical evaluations have not been applied to the signifiance of numbers as indicators of human traits, behavior, and events. It is unreasonable in principle and undemonstrated by testing that only the fist nine numbers (and an additional few more in some systems) are a rational basis for perceiving psychological makeup, drives, behavior, destiny, and events - in short, all human thoughts, fears, and actions. Numerologists arbitrarily combine the basic nine numbers in many combinations to accommodate the virtually endless varieties of experiences and happenings.
The letters in the whole name, the vowels alone, and the consonants taken separately may each produce a different numerical sum. The numerologist thus can find support for any type of makeup and destiny, no matter what the number. Numerologists reply that the very diversity of possible meanings in names and numbers fits the complexity of humans.
The basic nine numbers are merely the fundamental building blocks, just as physicists use the four basic forces in the universe to explain energy and matter. In short, detractors look upon numerology as number nonsense; whereas its practitioners see a useful application of ancient principles that have lasted for twenty-five hundred years.
terug naar het literatuuroverzicht
terug naar Pythagoras' getallenleer