Numerology has existed in various forms for thousands of years. The use of numbers to reveal insights into human lives, events, and destiny remains a popular metaphysical system today. But when and how did the foundations of numerology first emerge?
Let’s explore the ancient civilizations where proto-numerology arose, key thinkers who advanced it, and the different schools of thought that shaped numerology as we know it. Understanding the deep roots of this age-old system provides context for how numerology continues to be practiced and applied.
Seeking Meaning in Numbers: Early Origins
The fascination with numbers extends back to ancient times across many cultures looking to the math underpinning creation. Some of the first inklings of numerology arose with the Babylonians, Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks and Hebrews using letters also as numbers to discern mystical codes and omens.
Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher and mathematician (570-495 BC), is considered the father of Western numerology. He believed numbers reflected the orderly principles of the cosmos, with each number carrying qualities that could prophesize events and behaviors.
In India, numerology traditions emerged in the Vedas scriptures around 1500 BC, with elaborations in later Hindu texts and teachings. These beliefs filtered into interpretations of numbers and math as part of larger karmic existence.
Advancements Towards a Systematized Practice
While numerology concepts arose independently across ancient cultures, it coalesced into a more formal system in the West during the 20th century through key thinkers including:
Theosophists: Helena Blavatsky (1831–1891) and other mystical philosophers expanded numerology applications to unlocking the “divine science” behind life.
Sepharial (1849-1930): This British mystic further standardized correspondences between numbers, letters, and forecasts.
Dr. Julian Stenton: His influential book The Kabala of Numbers (1913) shaped modern numerology calculations.
Ruth Drown (1891-1942): This pioneering American practitioner coined terms like the “Destiny number” and synthesized different traditions.
Cheiro (1866-1936): This Irish mystic learned Indian Vedic numerology and wrote extensively on the subject alongside Western teachings.
Their work collectively evolved numerology into a systematic divination tool assessable to wider audiences beyond secretive occult inner circles.
Different Schools of Thought Within Numerology
While sharing core principles, numerology branched into different schools of thought shaped by key thinkers and cultural influences:
**Vedic Numerology:**Derived from Hindu traditions like the Vedas and Tamil texts, it focuses extensively on karma and dharma.
Chaldean Numerology: Emerged from ancient Mesopotamia and uses both numbers and letters from name meanings.
Pythagorean Numerology: Based on Pythagoras’ teachings using only numbers from names and birthdates.
Hebrew Numerology: Draws on Hebrew mysticism of letter/number connections in scripture.
Chinese Numerology: Aligns numbers with Chinese cosmological principles like Yin and Yang and the I Ching hexagrams.
While varying in some calculations and interpretations, all schools view numbers as holding universal truths applicable to understanding life.
Numerology Persists into Modern Times
The New Age movement revived wider interest in metaphysics like numerology in the 1960s. Today, online courses, books, professional consultants, and resources share numerology in diverse, accessible formats.
Numerology’s popularity endures by offering individuals a sense of control and reassurance. Finding patterns and meaning amid life’s inherent mystery remains compelling across cultures and eras. By revealing your life’s direction, numerology provides comfort and empowers you to become your highest self.
- Fontaine, David. “History of Numerology.” The Old Farmer’s Almanac, https://www.almanac.com/history-numerology. Accessed March 1, 2023.
- Gaskell, George A. Dictionary of All Scriptures and Myths. Avenel Books, 1981.
- Numerology Rising: The Kabala of Numbers. Volume 1 Origins and Esoteric Import of Numbers, edited by Katherine Roxanne Tschetter. Numerology Rising, 2013.
- Ozaniec, Naomi. Numerology: The Complete Guide: Unveiling the Secret Meaning Behind the Numbers in Your Life. Hay House UK, 2003.
- Schimmel, Annemarie. The Mystery of Numbers. Oxford University Press, 1994.
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