Numerology has been around for thousands of years, and has played a significant role in many cultures. There are early written records of numerology in Egypt and Babylon, and there is evidence of its use in Rome, Japan, China, and Greece. Where it first appeared is the subject of much debate, but modern day numerology can be traced to the Greek philosopher Pythagoras.

Pythagoras was born in Greece around 590 BC, and was one of the most respected mathematicians of his day. His name probably sounds familiar to you because you likely had to learn about his most famous theorem in high school. Remember a2 + b2 = c2? Yep, that was Pythagoras. But trust me, numerology is much more interesting than your 10th grade geometry class.

Not much is known about the early life of Pythagoras, although it has been said that he was a very charismatic person. He was also athletic, and is rumored to have won at the Olympic games. Brains and brawn probably made him a very popular guy.

Pythagoras established a school in Crotona, Italy when he was about 50 years old. He taught mathematics, astronomy, and music, and the school was open to both men and women. His students were sworn to a strict code of secrecy, and were not allowed to put anything he taught them in writing. It has also been said that his students had to go through a 5 year period in total silence, so as to develop a deep level of contemplation. Because of this, many of Pythagoras’ teachings were not written until after his death.

What Pythagoras believed

According to legend, Pythagoras was most focused on the principles behind the mathematics, rather than simply solving mathematical problems. This led him to study numerology, as it focuses on the energy of numbers, and how they influence our daily lives. He practiced numerology to predict the fates of individuals, or of events that might take place.

He also used name changing as a means to alter one’s destiny. This was important, because numerology states that one’s name has a profound influence on their life. Letters in your name are assigned numerical values, then reduced to a single digit. Pythagoras theorized that this final number – your life path number – directly influenced your life. In fact, there are several places online where you can get a free numerology reading and find out your own life path number, as well as what it means for you.

The idea that energy patters and vibrations corresponded to specific numbers became popular in Pythagoras’ time, as it was a time when scientific discoveries regarding magnetism, light, and electricity were progressing quickly. To some mathematicians of the time, these discoveries fit in perfectly with the ideas of numerology.

But it wasn’t just Pythagoras

Pythagoras gets a lot of credit for developing and popularizing the modern form of numerology, but there are many others throughout history that have used the power of numbers. For example, both the Greeks and Hebrews held 10 as the perfect number. According to the Hebrew Kabbalah, there are ten emanations of numbers out of Nothing. The emanations form the 10 sephiroth of the Tree of Life, which contains all knowledge and shows the path back to God.

The Greeks, including Pythagoras, believed that 10 comprehended all mathematical and harmonic proportions, and like God, is tireless. Further, he believed that the heavenly bodies were divided into 10 orders.

Other forms of Numerology

Besides Pythagorean numerology, there are two other major forms as well – Kabbalic and Chaldean. Any of the three forms can be used to produce a reading. You can use any system that you prefer. When you get a free numerology reading, the practitioner will tell you which method they use.

Kabbalic Numerology is originally derived from Hebrew mysticism, and is most often used to interpret names. The basis comes from the Hebrew alphabet, with its twenty two letters and vibrations. It was later adapted to the Greek alphabet, then the Roman alphabet. Kabbalists in the thirteenth century believed that the Old Testament was written in a secret code inspired by God. They interpreted the code using numerology.  As a side note, the twenty two base numerology of the Kabbalah is used in the interpretation of the twenty two Trump cards of the Tarot deck.

Chaldean numerology originated in Mesopotamia, thus it has closer ties to Astrology than the other two. However it is also related to the Vedic system in India, and the Kabbalah. Chaldean numerology says that each letter of the alphabet has a unique vibration, and it’s given a number from 1 to 8 based on its energetic quality. Because 9 is considered the most sacred number it is kept separate from the others, except when it appears as a sum of the vibrations. According to Chaldean Numerology, the single digit number of a person will reveal their outer nature, and double digits describes their inner qualities.

Modern Numerology

Most free numerology readings today are based on Pythagoras numerology, but all three forms are available if you want to explore more than one. While it may seem that numerology’s current popularity is something out of pop culture, it is actually an ancient, esoteric art form that dates back thousands of years. When you get a numerology reading you’ll be participating in something that ancient people also revered. It’s a tradition that is well worth promoting.