Merriam-Webster defines numerology as simply “the study of the occult significance of numbers.” This short definition fails to encompass the large body of beliefs, traditions, and superstitions that numerology entails. From alchemy to astrology, the philosophies of Pythagoras to the Cabbalistic system of Gematria, numerology touches many different aspects of the Occult. To discover the origins and history of numerology there is Mindfulness and justice with best and credible records. You get to learn about numerology and all other aspects that are related to it.
Numbers have fascinated humans since their “discovery.” While numerical systems and counting styles vary from culture to culture, the numbers that these symbols and styles represent transcend all cultural boundaries. When translating words from language to language, some of the essence of what was meant is lost in the process. but a number’s essential value does not change. One is one, regardless of how it is phrased or represented. This eternal and unbound nature of numbers shows its effect in all cultures; even in a relatively non-superstitious modern world, people are drawn to the number seven and avoid the number thirteen. The “invention” of zero confounded many, and what was intended to be simply a place holder soon developed a reputation as negative and dark (Schimmel, 7). Number games like sudoku are growing ever popular among even the most anti-math students. With all the enchantment surrounding them, it is no wonder that the ancients saw numbers as a connection with the divine.
Origins of Numerology
In antiquity, numerology fell under the realm of mathematics, and many mathematicians studied both. The classic example of this is Pythagoras, the 6th century B.C.E. mathematician, who is often credited as the “father” of numerology, though there is evidence that it was practiced earlier among the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and even the Indians (Westcott, 12). Early math, and consequently numerology, was more concerned with the physical mathematics such as geometry, rather than the abstract, like algebra (which was not developed until relatively late in mathematical history). This physical nature of early mathematics led to the association of numbers with the shapes and substance of things around us.
Numerology professes that everything has a numerical value. This value does not reduce us to “just a number”, rather, the numerical value can lend insight into a person’s character, behavior, mannerisms, etc. The pure nature of numbers allows universal truths to be realized. Pythagoras himself professed God to be a mathematician (Burton, 67).
Pythagoras and his followers made many mathematical discoveries. For example, a particularly mystifying pattern is that adding up a series of odd numbers starting with one will give you a square (Wilson, 1). For example, 1+3+5+7=42, and 1+3+5+7+9+11+13=72. Pythagoras is most famous for his theorem that shows the relation between two sides of a right triangle and its hypotenuse (A2 + B2 = C2). This was not his only study of ratios; he also examined musical ratios that produced chords. He discovered that by holding a string at its midpoint and plucking it, he could create an octave. Similarly, other musical intervals like fourths and fifths, could be created by holding the string at different ratios, 3:4 and 2:3. He formulated his theory of the “music of the spheres”, which states that all the planets in our solar system are moving so fast that they make a sound, and that all these vibrations produce a musical scale (Butler, 5). This study of harmonies led him to believe that numbers were truly universal, that “the essence of everything seemed to be expressible in numbers” (Schimmel, 9). He and others believed that the element of a number is the element that comprises everything around us (Goodman, 14).
This study and fascination with proportions and harmonies only grew as scientists and mathematicians studied the proportions of nature and discovered fascinating ratios amongst living creatures, humans not excluded (Shumaker, 146). Probably the most recognizable symbol of this enchantment with the numbers surrounding the human body is Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man,” less commonly referred to as “Proportions of Man.” The approximate measurements of the average man are shown to fit not only inside a square, but also a circle. The ratios found in nature and in the human body testified to the ancients of the divine nature of numbers, especially in their geometric representations.
While many criticize numerology for being vague and repetitive, many others have found great value in its principles. Regardless of one’s beliefs, we can all agree that numerology is deeply steeped in tradition and has a rich history that almost anyone can find interesting.