(Investigator 58, 1998 January)


Over 500 years before the birth of Christ, a Greek philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras, discovered the dependence of the musical intervals on certain arithmetical ratios of lengths of strings at the same tension. This contributed to the idea "that all things are numbers", the philosophical kernel of Pythagorean thought, and the astrologers and astronomers of ancient Egypt, Babylon and India, gave us the theory that the vibrations of certain numbers govern individual characters.

Modern numerology is based on two principles; that numbers provide the clues to the structure of the universe, and that a person’s name or birthdate when analysed will reveal all about that person’s character, potential, and course through life.

Birth number.

This is the most important yet simplest number to calculate. It is obtained by adding the digits of your birth-date together, then reducing the answer to one integer number. Thus: If you were born on 21st July 1965 or (21.07.1965) you add and reduce as follows:–

2+1+0+7+1+9+6+5 = 31 = 3+1 = 4    Your birth number is:–   4

General characteristics of birth numbers.

Below are the characteristics generally attributed to the nine birth numbers which when applied to the human character, are alleged to represent the inner qualities with which you were born.

Those born under the number One are very positive in their outlook but sometimes tend to be obstinate or dogmatic. They have pride in their creative ability, and in many cases this pride serves to foster independence and a reluctance to depend on others. Having an independent nature, number Ones are loath to serve in a subordinate capacity, and react strongly to any form of constraint. Leadership and the exercise of authority comes naturally to them, and when these positions are unavailable, their talents are best employed in independent undertakings. Luck features strongly in their lives, although realistically "luck" is something they tend to create rather than just wait around for. Compatibility can be found with numbers Two, Five and Eight.

While endowed with similar creative talents as the number One, number Two people tend to manifest these in a spiritual rather than a physical way. Unlike number Ones, they lack confidence and are inclined to seek the strength and protection of others. This lack of confidence will sometimes lead to a poor self-image and over sensitive reaction to some situations. Environment plays an important part in their lives, and if their surroundings are not to their taste the tendency is to look for greener pastures elsewhere. Two people appreciate the support of stronger willed people and usually seek it in number Ones, Fours and Nines.

Like number One people, Three people are ambitious, strong and conscientious in whatever they undertake. A place for everything and everything in its place is the order of the day, and they are just as much at home taking orders as giving them. Their love of discipline often finds them in the Armed Forces or government positions that require the implementation of firm decisions. Some Three people are exceptions to the rule however, and their biggest failing is to abuse those in authority to the extent of making enemies. The general tendency is to be attracted to number Eight people, with Sixes and Twos trailing close behind.

Number Fours are often individualistic to the point of unconventionalism. Radicals, they rebel against any form of constraint whether it be in the form of regulations or authoritarianism. Leaders in many fields, they are inventive, and aspire to positions of power whereby they can help others less fortunate than themselves. Financial status is rarely important to them, yet they have the ability to acquire wealth if they so desire. Inclined to be introspective at times, their moods can vary enormously swinging from deep depression to elation. Number Fours need the love, understanding and compassion that can be found in the nature of Six people, although they could learn a lot from a Five person.

Resilient would probably be the best word to describe a number Five person. They have the happy knack of being able to adapt to most situations and experiences. Change in particular appeals to them, and they feel more comfortable with travel and excitement than a routine existence. Very perceptive, they do not suffer fools gladly and have little patience with the plodder. They are adept at communication and usually excel in the written and spoken word. Money comes easy, but value for money is their watchword when it comes to spending. They are compatible with those numbers who are prepared to respect the worthwhile attributes of a Five person.

Number Six people are usually very friendly and have a happy knack of keeping relationships on an even keel. If crossed however, they can also become formidable enemies. They are attracted to the arts, keen on nature and music, and abhor discord of any kind. Security and comfort play an important part in their lives, and pursuing these desires can at times cause conflict. Their nature generally allows them to harmonize with most other numbers, particularly Sevens and Nines, but they have to watch out that they don’t smother their partners with the affection they give so freely.

Like Five people, Sevens are travellers and communicators. Their knowledge of the world and of the arts contributes to their philosophical outlook on life, and their versatility enables them to engage in a wide variety of money-making occupations. While original ideas come to them frequently, they lack the concentration needed to see them through. Their love of travel often sees them engaged in businesses connected with overseas. Seven people harmonize with most other numbers.

Single minded and ambitious, Eight people often take on the responsibility of public life, in which their endeavours are much like number Fours
to help the underdog. Deep thinkers, they tend towards the extremes in professions and callings; successful politicians to clergymen, labourers to entrepreneurs. Their motives are sometimes misunderstood because a warm head is difficult to discern under a cold exterior, this inclines them towards isolationism. Eight people are compatible with those who appreciate intellect.

Opinionated and tending to be conceited, Nine people can sometimes make enemies quicker than friends. Their attitude probably stems from the fact that many have struggled early in life to make a success of themselves. Independence is bred in them, and for most of the time they like to be in full control. Absolute power however, can corrupt. Always looking for affection, their conceit can sometimes spoil what may have been a worthwhile relationship. They are efficient, loyal and dependable, and compatible with most other numbers, in particular Threes and Sixes.

Some numerologists consider the most important number to be your name number, and this can be arrived at by using the Pythagorean system shown below:

1    2    3     4   5      6    7     8    9
A    B   C    D    E      F    G     H    I
J     K   L    M    N     O    P     Q    R
S    T    U    V    W     X    Y      Z

(Fig. I.)

Substitute the figures for the letters of your name, then add and reduce to the lowest integer as before.

Example: Betty Smith = 2+5+2+2+7+1+4+9+2+8 = 42        4+2 = 6

By using this method it is alleged to have the advantage of obtaining more desirable characteristics simply by changing your name to a diminutive or a nickname.

From the sceptical viewpoint Numerology is not a science as some of its proponents claim but simply entertainment. As only one of the ten digits is used to arrive at an assessment, it means in effect, that each individual shares the same characteristics as 500 million others on this planet, hardly indicative of a person's individuality.

The name Pythagoras is usually invoked by numerologists, who seek to give credibility to their art by an association with ancient scholarship, hardly a likely association as Pythagoras wrote in ancient Greek with no knowledge of Latin.

Numbers then, are held by numerologists to be a language in themselves, and with a simple transposition of letters for figures and simple addition, they claim that one’s destiny can be foretold; but with its fixed rules and prophecy, any divination must necessarily depend on the innate talent and inadequacies of the diviner as in palmistry and card reading.

Numerologists hold that the birthdate, which is unalterable, is the more accurate. This can easily be tested, try the following:

Ask a friend for their birthdate, calculate their numerological number, then read them one of the character assessments listed above under a number which is not theirs. You will find that they will agree that much of it was a fair assessment. Then apologize, saying that you have read the wrong one and pick another, not the correct one again they will agree that it was a fairly close assessment! Why is this? It is because we subconsciously seek to make it fit, a subliminal desire in all of us to find a formula by which we can foretell the future, or at least support the claims of those who profess the ability to do so.

Summed up, numerology is another attempt to reduce human complexity to a set of pre-conceived and general units, to analyse character, and to further the pursuit of future knowledge. The best that can be said for the art is that it is entertainment, to have any faith in it, particularly as a method of prediction, could be disastrous, as many who have purchased "lucky number" schemes promoted by numerologists, have found to their cost.

(From: Skeptoon, 1994, Harry Edwards. Harry Edwards Publications)