NUMEROLOGY

(Investigator 141, 2011 November)

Have you ever driven a car with a missing spark plug, dirty points, or front wheels out of alignment? If so, then you are well aware of the erratic jerking and spluttering caused by the essential parts of the whole not working in harmony with the rest. Life is much the same, if mind and body are not co¬ordinated, if thoughts and movements are not synchronized, then we become robots whose actions are dictated by a malfunction rather than a smoothly operating integrated circuit. According to numerologists, what these analogies boil down to, is simply one word — resonance; resonance being the phenomenon exhibited by any vibratory system responding to other vibrations of equal or nearly equal frequency. Where does this fit in with numerology?

For the answer we must go back thousands of years to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylon and India, whose mathematicians, astrologers and astronomers gave us the theory that the vibrations of certain numbers govern individual characters. Over 500 years before the birth of Christ, Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher and mathematician, 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. Modern numerology is based on two principles; first, numbers provide the clues to the structure of the universe, and second, 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

Below are sample characteristics culled from various publications of the nine birth numbers which, when applied to the human character, are generally accepted by numerologists to represent the inner qualities with which you were born.

Typical characteristics attributed to birth numbers

ONE. 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.

TWO. 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.

THREE. 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 which 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.

FOUR. 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 people.

FIVE. 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 usually excel in the written 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.

SIX. 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.

SEVEN. 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.

EIGHT. 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 heart is difficult to discern under a cold exterior, this inclines them towards isolationism. Eight people are compatible with those who appreciate intellect.

NINE. 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 so called 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. 1
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

Using this method has the advantage of obtaining more desirable characteristics simply by changing your name, to a diminutive or a nickname. If your name number and birth¬date number are the same and therefore harmonious you are more fortunate than others. Many well known filmstars and others in the entertainment professions have changed their name number to their great advantage for this reason.

Numerology is not a science as some of its proponents claim, but in the words of its more honest devotees, it is alleged to be "the art of predicting by numbers an accurate insight into character and personality." Only one of the ten digits is used to arrive at an assessment, which means in effect, that each individual shares the same characteristics as 500 million others on this planet, hardly indicative of a persons individuality.

The name Pythagoras, and the Jewish Kabala, are usually invoked by numerologists, who seek to give credibility to their art by an association with ancient scholarship. Pythagoras' discovery contributed to his idea that "all things are numbers." The whole heaven formed a "musical scale and number" and he identified all things with numbers. It was a philosophy of dualism, a doctrine based on two divergent assertions, as the co-existence of good and evil. Numbers 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 or inadequacies of the diviner as in palmistry and card reading.

Summed up, numerology is another attempt to reduce human complexity to a set of pre-conceived and general units. A more definitive analysis should highlight the arbitrariness, inconsistency and utter futility of the system and relegate it to its correct status of "entertainment."

Pythagoras

Prior to the introduction of Indian (Arabic) numerals into Western European languages after the 13th century, ancient languages used letters to indicate numbers. English along with other Latin based languages had no association of letters with numbers. Numerologists invented the "Pythagorean" system for English, which simply writes out the alphabet in four lines as shown in Figure 1. Pythagoras, wrote in ancient Greek, and with no knowledge of Latin, this system can hardly be attributed to him. A similar explanation exists for the so called "Chaldean" system, a crude attempt to convert Hebrew numerical equivalents into English letters. (See Figure 2.) There is no number 9 because the Hebrew letters at that point have no English equivalent.
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 A B C, G D E, H F, P I,J,Y K L M N O Q R S T U,V,W Z
Fig. 2
The connection with English therefore, is nil, the random assignment of numbers to letters of the alphabet would suffice equally as well.

The Calendar.

Dates have no intrinsic meaning, they are useful indices and measures of divisions; but as numerologists correlate time with the vibrations of the universe, it is worth mentioning the discrepancies, anomalies, and other factors related to calendars that render the hypothesis invalid.

There are several definitions of a year — sidereal, tropical, anomalistic, lunar and eclipse, all of different lengths. The solar year on which our calendar is based has a length of 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds. For convenience the discrepancy is compensated for by having a year of 366 days each fourth year and an additional leap year everyone hundred years. Even then, every 400 years the calendar is approximately 2.88 hours short of 400 solar years. Now take into consideration the length of a month. Months are loosely based on the cycles of the moon, the synodic period being equal to approximately 29.53 days. If they were to be exact divisions of a year then we would have 12.36 months in a year. So the combination of deviations amount to over 5 per cent, a large margin of error on which to base any calculations.

Furthermore, our calendar has had a remarkable history and bears no resemblance to that originally designed to make life more convenient. The Gregorian calendar which we use today is a descendant of the old Roman calendar which had alternating months of 29 and 30 days, making 354 in a year, and an additional month added every three years to compensate. It was revised by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. This sufficed until 730 AD, when the Venerable Bede calculated a more accurate length for the year, but it was not until 1582, that the suggestion was adopted by Pope Gregory XIII who decreed that the day following October 4, would be October 15, and that only each fourth year would be a leap year.

There are many other factors involving calendric inventivity, but as it is impossible to determine exactly when the first day occurred, then any correlation between dates and the vibrations of the universe are quite meaningless when based on arbitrarily designed calendars.

Name numbers

The ambiguity and inaccuracy inherent in the various systems used by numerologists can be seen from the following example using my name and yet another system, the Cornelius Aggripa, based on the Hebrew alphabet.
 1 A I Q J Y 2 B K R 3 C L G S 4 D M T 5 E H N 6 U V W X 7 O Z 8 F P
Fig. 3
Let's have a look at what happens to one's character using the three different systems.

Although I have always been called Harry, the name on my birth certificate is HENRY CECIL EDWARDS. I have also been called "Sonny Boy" and "Son" when an infant, and later in life, "Junior." Others less flattering need not be mentioned for the purpose of this exercise! Thus using my birth certificate name and the Aggripa system I am a FOUR.

If I omit my second given name I become a SEVEN, and if I calculate on the basis of the name I have used and been referred to most of my life — Harry, then I am a NINE. Applying the two systems mentioned previously the inconsistency can be clearly seen in the table below:
 System Full name Second  omitted Common  name Agrippa: Four Seven Nine Pythagoras: Seven Two Nine Chaldean: Four Seven Two
Fig. 4
This gives me four alternatives to choose from, and even more if I choose to substitute nicknames. It is still further complicated, as numerologists will tell you that it is quite permissible to change your name so that its numerical equivalent is what you choose it to be!

Consensus among numerologists has it that the birthdate, which is unalterable, is the most accurate. This can easily be tested by referring to the method mentioned earlier which shows you how to work out your birth number and gives a list of abstract qualities. Bear in mind however, that different reference books vary in their definitions, so that you will find that your character also varies in accordance with a particular author's interpretation, thus confirming the ambiguity, arbitrariness and inaccuracy of the whole concept of numerology as a viable system of character assessment and potential.

For those readers who still remain unconvinced I suggest 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 other than theirs. You will find that they will agree that much of it was a fair assessment. Why is this? It's 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.

The best that can be said of numerology is that it is entertainment. To have any faith in it, particularly as a method of prediction, could be disastrous, as many of those who have purchased "lucky number" systems promoted by numerologists, have found to their cost. One "get-rich-quick" scam promoted by a numerologist and an astrologer I investigated and exposed nationally, conned hundreds of thousands of credulous people into parting with an estimated \$1,000,000 by charging up to \$75 for a series of "lucky lotto numbers", allegedly based on numerological and astrological calculations, which had no more chance of winning than had they been picked at random using a pin, out of a telephone directory.

Bibliography:

Brent, P. 1977. Past Present Future. Chartwell Books Ltd. NJ.
Cavendish, M. 1985. How to tell your Fortune. Marshall Cavendish Books. UK.
Dlhopolsky, J.G. 1983. "A Test of Numerology." Skeptical Inquirer, 7(3):53-56.
Edwards, Harry. 1990 "Money in Numbers — But for Whom?" the Skeptic. 9(1):6-11.
…………………… 1992. "Scientific Numerology.” the Skeptic. 12(2):33-36. Australian Skeptics Inc.
Gibson, WB. & Gibson, L.R. 1988. Psychic Sciences. Bell Publishing. NY.
Hill, D. 1982. Fortune Telling. Hamlyn Paperbacks. UK.
Leek, S. 1970. The Book of Fortune Telling. WH. Allan. London.
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Wallaby, J.R. 1990. "Numerology — it just don't add up!" the Skeptic. 9(1):12-17. Australian Skeptics Inc.
Watson, L. 1973. Supernature. Hodder Paperbacks. London.

From: Edwards, H. A Skeptic's Guide to the New Age.

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