While the earliest forms of divination were based on the observance of natural elements, weather phenomena as well as behavior of animals and birds to produce omens of the future, as human knowledge evolved, mankind began to use much more sophisticated techniques for various kinds of prediction. This led to the development of practices such as astrology, horoscopy and numerology as forms of divination.
Numerology is a form of divination based on numbers. According to this practice, numbers indicate certain qualities and letters too can be ascribed certain numerical values. Based on this relation between numbers and special meanings, the character and destiny of an individual can be determined according to various important numerical signifiers in his/her life, like birth date, name, fate number and so on.
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The practice of numerology as a form of divination is a highly complex matter not only because of the meaning of different numbers, their relation to alphabets and their interpretation of the native’s character and destiny but mainly because the system of interpretation differs according to the tradition of numerology followed. There are innumerable variations of the system of numerology but globally the main traditions of numerology are Chinese, Chaldean, Pythagorean and the Kabbalah.
The Chinese system of numerology assigns a different set of meanings to the numbers and certain number combinations are considered luckier than others. In general, even numbers are considered lucky, since it is believed that good luck comes in pairs. The Ancient Chinese also believed that "the sum total of heavenly numbers and earthly numbers is 55. It is this...which sets the gods and demons in movement." In fact Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and its associated fields such as acupuncture, are based on this system on mystical numerical associations.
The Chaldean numerological system is also one of the oldest and does not include the number nine when converting the letters to numbers, although the number 9 can occur as the final sum. Then there is the Arabic system of numerology which is known as Abjad notation; in this system each letter of Arabic alphabet has a numerical value.
Most of the modern systems of numerology have evolved from the Pythagorean system which in turn is based on the teachings of Pythagoras, a philosopher of Ancient Greece in the 6th century BC. He wrote a treatise on mathematics from a religious and philosophical perspective. But Pythagoras only used the numbers from 1 to 9 as zero was not yet a concept known to the Ancient Greeks. Pythagoras also related numbers to the letters of the Greek alphabet; for instance, alpha stands for 1, beta for 2 and so on.
However the relation between numerals and alphabets owes more to the system of Gematria, which is one of the Cabbalistic disciplines. The Hebrews developed the Kabbalah using the numbers from 1 to 22 which corresponded to the letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Despite there being several traditions of numerology and their own systems of specific interpretations, modern numerology generally concurs on the basic meanings of numbers. According to this, the number 1 is the Innovator and symbolizes qualities like Unity, ego, strength as well as synthesis. Thus people with this number can be tyrants or great leaders.
The number 2 is known as the Integrator and is marked by duality, choice, ambivalence. People with this number are usually sensitive, artistic and intuitive but can also be deceitful and prone to depression.
The number 3 is termed as the Achiever and is marked by Action apart from symbolizing the divine numbers such as the Holy Trinity or Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva of Hinduism; thus the bearer of this number can be talented, disciplined and energetic, but also controlling.
The number 4 is known as the Realist and characterizes worldly things, stability, order, the four seasons, the four directions and so on. People with this number are believed to be steady, practical and realistic.
The number 5 is the Communicator as is evident from the experience of the five senses. People with this number are lively, sensual, quick-thinking but also quick-tempered.
The number 6 is termed the Peacemaker since it is not symbolizes Creativity, imagination, but also the abstract beauty and harmony. People with this number are reliable and romantic. They hate discord and strive to create harmony in their surroundings.
The number 7 is supposed to symbolize the Magician since its defining trait is Spirituality and intuition. People with this number are philosophical and original thinkers but may be rather introverted in nature.
The number 8 is termed the Entrepreneur and its overriding trait is worldly success, despite some ups and downs in the
search for balance. Thus people with this number great willpower and individuality but they can also be rebellious and keep their real feelings hidden within.
Finally the number 9 is known as the Crusader; it is a mystical number symbolizing Perfection. Thus people with this number are determined, courageous and active, although they usually have to struggle for success. At times they can seem very argumentative even though they are really humanitarians at heart.
Apart from the above nine numbers, some numerologists also taken into account secondary and master numbers while diving the character or future of a native. These numbers are 11, 12, 13, 22, 33 and 40; however many numerologists only consider 11 and 22 out of these secondary numbers to be of vital importance.
Among the most important numbers that the numerologists focus on comprise of the birth date as well as the name number of the individual. The symbolic numerals and interpretations derived from these numbers are supposed to hold the key to the native’s personality and also predict important events in his/her future. Sometimes a name number can also be analyzed in two different ways - by adding up the vowels in the name which characterizes a person’s inner personality as well as by adding the consonants in the name which marks the traits of the person’s public persona. Apart from this some numerologists also come up with the Fate number of a person by adding together the birth number and the name number.