A Brief History of Numerology

Photo by JB Kilpatrick via Flickr Creative Commons

Understanding How Numerology Developed

As with many ancient philosophies, the earliest roots of numerology are somewhat of a mystery. Not all numerologists agree on how it got its start. Some of the earliest written records of numerology appear in Egypt and Babylon. It was here that the Chaldean system was developed under the influence of the Hebrews. There is also compelling evidence that numerology was used thousands of years ago in China, Rome, Japan and Greece.  However, the credit for modern-day numerology is usually given to the Greek philosopher Pythagoras.

How Pythagoras came to be seen as the father of modern-day numerology

Born in Greece around 590 BC, Pythagoras was one of the most well-respected philosophers and mathematicians of his day. If his name sounds familiar it is likely because you were taught his theories in high school geometry class. He was a very important figure in the development of mathematics, although surprisingly little is known about his true achievements.

There is very little recorded of the early life of Pythagoras. It has been reported that he was a charismatic person and that everyone loved him. He is also rumored to have won prizes for his agility at the Olympic games.

When Pythagoras was around 50 years old, he established a school in Crotona, Italy. The school, which was more like a secret society, was called the semi-circle. There, he taught mathematics, astronomy, and music. The society was open to both men and women. His students adhered to a strict code of secrecy and were not allowed to put any of his teachings in writing.

It has also been reported that his students had to go through a 5-year period of perfect silence, allowing them to reach a level of deep contemplation and to develop faith. Most of what is known about the information that he taught was written down after his death.

Rather than focusing on solving mathematical problems like modern-day mathematicians, Pythagoras was primarily interested in the principles behind the mathematics. He felt that the entire universe could be expressed through numbers. To that end, he created a system to do just that which was later expanded by other Greek philosophers.

Although Pythagoras did not invent numerology, his theories took it to a different level. His revolutionary theories earned him the reputation of being the father of modern numerology.

The evolution of numerology in the modern-day world

In many parts of the world, Dr. Julia Stenton is credited with raising awareness of numerology in modern times. She also is the person who came up with the name “Numerology” for the science of names and numbers.

Although numerology is probably the least known or understood of the metaphysical sciences, it is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Today, it primarily used as a means of discovering secret meanings and predicting the future.