The Intriguing Differences Between Numerology and Arithmancy

Numerology and arithmancy may seem similar on the surface, but they are actually quite distinct mystical practices. In this post, we’ll explore the key differences between these two fascinating subjects.

What is Numerology?

Numerology is the study of the occult meanings of numbers and their supposed influence on human lives. Numerologists analyze numbers related to a person, such as their birth date or name, in order to uncover insights about their personality, relationships, and destiny.

Some of the core beliefs in numerology include:

  • Each number from 0 to 9 has its own set of attributes and meanings. For example, 1 is associated with new beginnings and leadership while 9 represents completion.
  • A person’s “life path number” is calculated from their birth date and reveals their overarching direction in life.
  • Adding up and reducing the numbers in a person’s name can uncover their motivations, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Certain number combinations are considered luckier than others. Numerologists may make recommendations about major life decisions based on auspicious numbers.

Overall, numerology relies heavily on number symbolism and the idea that mathematical patterns can reveal hidden truths about a person and their path.

What is Arithmancy?

Arithmancy is a method of divination using numbers that was practiced in medieval times. Arithmancers would assign numerical values to letters to form words and phrases, then calculate the sum of those numbers to predict the future or gain insight.

Unlike numerology, arithmancy is less focused on the mystical properties of numbers themselves. Instead, it uses numbers as a tool for divination. Key aspects of arithmancy include:

  • Each letter of the alphabet is assigned a number from 1 to 9. For example, A = 1, B =2, C=3, and so on.
  • Words and phrases are converted into numbers by summing the value of their letters. For instance, the word “Harry” becomes 8+1+9+9+7=34.
  • Complex arithmantic formulas can be derived by assigning various numerical values to words and phrases.
  • The numbers yielded from these formulas are then interpreted to answer specific divinatory questions or reveal information about the future.
  • Arithmancers also analyze names using letter conversions to gain insight into personality and destiny. However, this practice is secondary to the complex numerical predictions.

Overall, arithmancy relies on letters as numerical substitutes in complex calculations, rather than studying the supposed mystical qualities of numbers themselves.

Key Differences Between the Practices

While both numerology and arithmancy deal with divining meaning from numbers, there are several major differences:

  • Origins: Numerology has origins dating back thousands of years, while arithmancy was recorded starting in the medieval period.
  • Goals: The goal of numerology is uncovering the occult significance in numbers related to a person. Arithmancy aims to predict the future through numerical calculations.
  • Methods: Numerology relies heavily on number symbolism and sequence meanings. Arithmancy converts letters into numbers for use in complex formulas.
  • Personal vs Universal: Numerology focuses on the numbers in an individual’s life. Arithmancy can be used for predictions about general events as well.
  • Interpretation: In numerology, meanings are assigned to numbers and number sequences. Arithmancy relies on calculating formulas and interpreting the numerical results.

While both fields involvenumbers, their core focus, origins, and divinatory purposes differ significantly. Understanding these key differences provides deeper insight into the intriguing world of mystical arts!


Hulse, David Allen (2000). The Key of It All: An Encyclopedic Guide to the Sacred Languages & Magical Systems of the World: Book I – The Eastern Mysteries and Book II – The Western Mysteries. Llewellyn Publications.

Kumar, K. N. Arjun (2004). Esoteric Numerology Based On Name And Date Of Birth. Sagar Publications.

O’Brien, Patricia (2007). Arithmancy: The Mathematical Magic of the Wizards of Hogwarts. College Mathematics Journal.

Thierens, A.E (2005). *The General Book of the Tarot_. Astrology Classics.

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