The right method for numerology

Numerology is a powerful system for discovery, a tool for seeking hidden knowledge and connections in the world around us. Today, however, there are two competing philosophies regarding the approach that should be taken. One system is based on number definitions, and the other is based on finding connections between words of equal value, through Alphabetic systems. These systems are so different in their assumptions that it is almost comical to call them by the same name.  One is a path to discovery and the other is a balm for needy psyches.



The practice of numerology goes back thousands of years. Kabbalah based beliefs will place the start of their mysticism in the times of Eden (6000 years ago?), and a number of other still-known belief systems emerged around 600 BCE (Pythagorean, Chaldean). It is important to remember, however, that the term numerology is not recorded in English before c. 1907. Thus one must be cautious when assessing any system that claims to have ‘knowledge’ to impart. True numerology offers no easy answers, only tools for self-discovery.

Number Definitions

The first types systems, and possibly the most prevalent when judging by online banner ad placement, are those based on number definitions. These are systems that assign a particular meaning or interpretation to specific digits. For example:

  1. Individual; aggressor; self; leadership yang
  2. Balance; union; receptive; partnership yin
  3. Creation
  4. Communication/interaction
  5. Action; restlessness; life experience
  6. Home/family; responsibility
  7. Thought/consciousness; spirit
  8. Power/sacrifice
  9. Highest level of changes


The evidence for the meaning of each number come from a variety of sources including the I Ching, Pythagorean numerology, Tarot Arcana, the Kabbalah, and so on, with different authors determining different meanings depending on the sources they draw from.

Despite the obvious flaw that reduces the person coming to numerology for wisdom or knowledge to trying to determine which author is the most correct, there is another profound error in this way of thinking.

To use a number definition system the typical practice is to have a ‘reading’ of one’s name and/or birthdate which provides an interpretation of your character, or destiny. Here’s are some examples:


Your number is: 7

The characteristics of #7 are: Analysis, understanding, knowledge, awareness, studious, meditating.

The expression or destiny for #7:

Thought, analysis, introspection, and seclusiveness are all characteristics of the expression number 7


Your Life Path Number is 9

A 9 Life Path will lead you to look at all with love, compassion and tolerance.

Your Life Destiny Number is 7

A 7’s destiny is to pursue the truth behind everything and to seek inner-knowledge.


Your psychic number is: 2

Shy and sensitive, emotional but repressed, indecisive and moody, much like the waxing and waning of the moon.

Your destiny number is: 9

Humanitarian, warm, real, direct, responsive, responsible. Always busy, work constantly.

Clearly these are three different results, all generated from the same information, which is confusing. These reading also have the assumption that there is some kind of fixed standard against which the meaning of names and birthdates can be measured.

Alphabetic Systems

The process of using alphabetic systems is assigning a number value to each letter, and then rendering words or phrases into values.


Hello  8 + 5 + 3 + 3 + 6 = 25; 2 + 5 = 7

Again, there are a number of systems possible for generating the numerical value of a word using binary, octal, or hexadecimal number systems, but what they all have in common is that at this stage there is no meaning. The traditional practice is to then search for words that have the same value in the hopes of identifying some kind of a connection.

Code_de_la_BibleOne of the more famous examples is the interpretation for the coming of the messiah.

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh come: And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he has washed his garments in wine, and his vesture in the blood of grapes: his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk” (Genesis 49:10-12)

Shiloh comes” has a Gematria (numerical value) of 358, which is the same as the Gematria for “Messiah”. This has led to this passage of the bible being interpreted as a prophecy for the coming of a Messiah. For thousands of years the claims of would be Messiahs have been examined in part through looking for connections to this value.

It should be apparent that the process involved here is markedly different from number definition systems. Alphabetic systems do not provide answers; they shine light on the possible paths to greater knowledge leaving responsibility with the individual.


In summary:

  • Number definition systems make the implicit assumption that they already possess the correct knowledge, and need only to apply it to different situations
  • Alphabetic systems illuminate possible connections between parts of our world

The first is a terminus, the second a door. The use of alphabetic systems allows us to continue to grow by asking more questions and finding the answers through our own labour, whereas number definitions only close doors.

  • Number definition systems make comparisons with a static, fixed reference
  • Alphabetic systems reflect the organic changing relationships between all the elements in the world

It is the height of arrogance to assume that any person already possesses complete answers about meaning in the universe, and we should always allow for flaws in our methodology. A number definition system is either 100% right or 100% wrong. Alphabetic systems grow in accuracy the more they are used. The advantage of Gematria-like systems is that they allow for comparison. Comparison between different number systems, and even between different languages. Number definition systems do not permit this kind of verification.


Final Notes:

I had originally intended to try to present a balanced comparison of numerology approaches, but the more I thought about it, the stronger I felt about Gematria type systems. Now I’d like to take a step back and say take your inspiration wherever it comes. If any numerology system provides you with more knowledge, or comfort, or truth, that should be a happy occasion. Overall, however, it is the easy answers that weaken us, and the hard searches that help us grow. Make sure that you are choosing the paths that lead you forward to greater and deeper knowledge.

8 responses to “The right method for numerology

  1. Pingback: Kabbalah Numerology In Jewish Religion |·

  2. There are some interesting points in time in this article but I dont know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  3. “Shiloh comes” and “messiah” values of 358 come through Hebrew gematria or Greek?

    And how about a possible third approach, the metaphysical implications of numbers and their relationships in general outside of any pre-existing philosophical beyond say the tetrakys of Pythagoras – like basic geometry proportions, underlying geometrical assumptions of systems, etc.

    • Hi Jessie,

      Numerology doesn’t really work that way in the sense the deeper meaning behind your name or birthplace wouldn’t change over time.

      What you could look at is the confluence of things taking place in your life and see how that might guide your intuition about the connections between things that are taking place.

      If it is simple direction you are looking for, I would recommend the I Ching. Embraced as a full way of living is one way to get on the path, but that is not always a kind place to be.

  4. Pingback: Which Numerology Is Correct – Numerology·

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