Numerology is perhaps the least understood and least known forms of divination. It is a metaphysical science that has a long history, though not much detail is fully understood about it. Despite the mystery surrounding numerology, it is currently experiencing a revival in popularity. Many people use numerology today to uncover secret meanings and predict the future. In ancient times, numerology and the study of mathematics was mixed with astronomy. Ancient astronomy was much more like the astrology we know today.
The practice has a cloudy history, as there is no definite origin pinpointed in the past. While Egypt and Babylon both are recognized to have the first official recorded history of numerology, there is also evidence that it was a prominent practice in ancient Rome, Greece, Japan, and China. What we typically understand as numerology today, however, is based on what the Greek philosopher Pythagoras practiced.
The basic idea behind numerology is that everything has a numerical value. It is a very simple system in which all letters of the alphabet correspond to a specific number, one through nine. Every word, name, or date must be summed down to a single digit in order to get an accurate numerological reading. So, if you had 6+9, the sum would be 15. At that point, you would add 1+5 to get 6. Numerologists must have a clear and concise understanding of all numbers one through nine. This is the basic way that Pythagorean numerology works today.
Although there is very little known about the early life of Pythagoras, we do know he was born in Greece around 590 BC. He was a very magnetic, charismatic person that grew into one of the best known philosophers of his time. He is well known for his theories in geometry and development in mathematics. It is rumored he won accolades at the ancient Olympic games. Pythagoras believed that numbers could explain the entire universe and that order is created out of chaos through the use of numbers. Pythagoras’ approach has influenced what most modern numerologists practice today.
Numerology was never popularized among ancient Christians, and was in fact deemed to be an unapproved belief, much like astrology, divination, and magic. Early Christian scholars like St. Augustine held similar beliefs as Pythagoras, and introduced numerology in their works despite the harsh view of the theories. Numerology was viewed harshly by many other groups throughout history, but prevailed. Numerology is mentioned in ancient texts, works of literature from centuries past (especially those leading toward the Renaissance period), and modern day writings.
Although Pythagoras can be credited with the methods that modern numerologists use and is known as the “Father of Numerology”, he did not invent the practice. Although it cannot be confirmed, one of the oldest forms of numerology originate in the Hebrew Kabbalah. Based on ancient numerology practices, the three main forms that developed were Pythagorean, obviously, the Kabbalah numerology, and Chaldean numerology.