Numerology and Astrology

Zip Dobyns

The first issue of our journal carried an article on palmistry and astrology, and I had planned to do one on numerology before long, but it kept being postponed. Here at last is a tentative and preliminary account of some of my ideas and experiences.

In general, I still feel that all of these systems are constructs; models that are an attempt to simplify the complicated reality of life and human nature. Since models (or theories for those who prefer the term) are always simplified representations, they cannot be final and total truth. They are only more or less useful. Many different models are possible as ways to conceptualize the same complicated reality, and all can be useful in their own way. We get onto shaky ground when we think that any model is final truth so other models are “wrong”, or when we try to make one model exactly fit (correspond to) another one. The problem is similar to the one we face in translating one language (symbol system) into another. Some words may not have exact equivalents in the two systems. If we force one to mean the same thing as another, we are apt to distort one or both systems or models. Usually, the person drawing the correspondence will be more familiar with one of the two systems and will distort the other one to make it fit. Since my knowledge of numerology is minimal, compared to astrology, anything I write has to be considered highly tentative and suggestive only. Like the article on palmistry, the ideas presented here are exploratory and need much additional work.

Traditionally, numerology offers a base 9 system with 2 (sometimes 3) additional numbers that are considered “master” numbers. Since astrology uses a base 12 system (12 primary principles which can be combined in an infinite variety of ways), it would be nice if we could match the 9 primary and 3 master numbers with the 12 letters of the astrological alphabet. Actually, such a match may come closer than most people realize if we reverse 11 and 22 and realize that 4 includes may of the meanings associated with astrology’s letter 10. Let’s run briefly through the numbers and note their similarities to and differences from the corresponding astrological letter.

Number 1 in numerology is called a pioneer, a loner, associated with aggression, impatience, domination, self-confidence, courage, independence, leadership. Most people would accept that as similar to Mars and Aries except that the Sun is more associated with leading. Mars just wants to be in front but does not care if anyone is following.

Number 2 sounds more like Venus in Libra than like Taurus. It is said to be cooperative, wanting harmony, peace and companionship, comfort but not necessarily wealth, to enjoy beauty and ease, to be soft and sensitive, falling in love easily, content with small things.

Number 3 is said to scatter activities and talents, to have many friends, to take life as it comes and not worry, to be interested and expressive, to enjoy flirting and making a game out of life. It is often associated with artistic and writing talent. Does that sound a little like Mercury and Gemini?

Number 4 is said to love home, family and country, to be conventional, to want order, tradition, regularity; to be able to take orders; to be practical, thorough, organized, hard-working, good at details. In general, the qualities seem like a blend of Cancer and Capricorn: the conservatism of both, the family of Cancer and the puritan virtues of Capricorn. Since numerology does not use number 10, and since the master number 22 is reduced to 4 when the person is not capable of expressing its power potential, we might see 4 as a blend of our astrological 4 and 10 with 22 manifesting as 10 (Saturn, Capricorn, 10th house) when the individual is able to handle its power. Cancer is not usually thought of as a practical or hard-working sign, but the security needs, for self and for family, actually can make one a very successful business person.

Number 5 is associated with progress, variety, change, adventure, companionability. It is said to need sunshine and crowds, to discard readily and hold on to little, to take responsibility lightly or not at all: a creator or a traveling salesman who keeps moving on. Too many 5s in a name may imply extremes in sexuality-sensuality. There is more than a little Leo in that mixture.

Number 6 is the service number—hello Virgo. But in numerology, it is mostly given the positive side of Virgo, like Ceres in Virgo where the job is for people not for its own sake (as Vesta can do). Key words offered for 6 include responsibility, adjustment, sympathy, understanding, guardianship, stability, poise, protection, healing, firmness, conscientiousness, burden- bearing, etc. Number 6 is described as a cosmic parent, loving to work with others rather than alone, without great ambition but usually secure, with the desire to adjust all wrongs and everyone’s life.

Number 7 is farthest from the astrological meaning of Libra and the 7th house. It is said to want silence and peace to live an inner life, to meditate on the spiritual and perfection; to prefer old homes and gardens and traditions; to be highly analytical, philosophical, secretive and shy. The few traits mentioned that sound like Libra are not liking to soil the hands, wanting peace, looking at things from every angle, refinement, poise, and fear of loneliness and poverty. Some of the adjectives sound like Scorpio, so 7 may carry the overtones of trouble in relationships and withdrawal when they are not harmonious. I have seen some strong “7 people” who seem to have retreated into spirituality as a way to avoid close relationships. A spiritual role can keep others from coming too close.

Number 8 is associated with big power and big money, with a love for struggle against opposition, a desire to manage and direct others, a capacity for organization, thoroughness, dependability, and control. There are clearly some Scorpio overtones here. My own experience includes numbers of people with an 8 emphasis who were more interested in power over knowledge than in power over money or other people.

Number 9 is said to indicate universal love, compassion, brotherhood, self-less service, philanthropy, generosity, breadth of viewpoint. It is associated with wisdom, intuition, and a life that belongs to Humanity. When carried to an extreme, 9 is associated with the danger of escapism and unrealism, including alcoholism or drugs. In general, there are similarities to both of Jupiter’s signs: Sagittarius and Pisces.

All numbers higher than 9 are reduced to a single digit with the exception of the double numbers 11, 22 and 33. (I’m willing to carry the double numbers farther than that since my first name totals 55). The associations given for the master numbers are somewhat similar in concept to the idea of higher octave planets. Number 11 is called a universal teacher, a dreamer and visionary, concerned with humanity rather than with individuals, with an “electric” mind that is capable of inventions. Shades of Aquarius! Sometimes 11 is into evangelism and martyrdom. Individuals with 11s in their name or birth date may fail to reach the heights and may operate with it like a 2. Number 22 is given power on all planes, with more power over the material world than the 11 which is essentially mental. But if not capable of such power, the 22 person may function as a 4, dealing with ordinary work and security issues. Most numerology books do not comment on the 33 but it is the highest step in Masonry which originated as an occult organization.

My suspicion (subject to much more testing) is that the numbers are really closer to the 12 key principles of astrology than most of the books realize. As already indicated, number 7 shows the greatest discrepancy from the astrological letter 7, and I think it often marks the person seeking to learn to handle personal relationships, with 8 also a part of this effort to learn how to live with others for mutual pleasure. Since 10 is missing in traditional numerology, number 4 with its concern for security seems to carry a mixture of the astrological Cancer and Capricorn but 22 seems truly Capricorn. Number 9 seems a blend of both Jupiter letters. Number 6 traditionally has more associations with love and family than is usual for Virgo. As already suggested, it carries the connotation of the earth-mother side of Virgo, the asteroid, Ceres. The power side of number 5 seems not to have been adequately acknowledged, but it comes through clearly in my own cases. The rest of the numbers fit surprisingly well into our astrological alphabet. But we have to discard the erroneous associations of some numerologists who give 1 to the Sun, 2 to the Moon, etc.

Probably most of our readers are already familiar with the basic methods used in numerology, but in case not, the usual technique is to assign each letter to a number, going through the alphabet in order and starting over after 9. Thus A = 1; B = 2; J = 1; R = 9; Z = 8.




































Since English has only 26 letters, we have only two for number 9. The other numbers have 3 letters each. Traditionally, the numbers for the vowels are placed above the name; the consonants are placed below the name; a total is given for vowels, for consonants, and for the whole name. This is repeated for all names given at birth, and later for married names when women take their husband’s name. Nicknames, pen names, usual (often shortened) signature, are also considered, but the most important name is the full one given at birth. Vowels are said to represent the inner “soul” urge of the individual; consonants are considered the outer (visible personality) expression of the person; the whole name is the Destiny or Life-Work number. The month, day, and year of birth is also summed as the Birth-Path or what you came to do in this incarnation. Different authorities give different names and meanings to some of these factors, but the basic tools are as described above with many additional complications for which we lack space.

Examples are more interesting than theories, so let’s look at a few. Unusual people offer the best test of a theory, so for a start, we have James Warren Jones born May 13, 1931.

1 5 1 5 6 5 = 6 6 11 = 5


1 4 1 5 99 5 1 5 1 = 6 1 7 = 5

Note that his individual names suggest service and a universal teacher in the soul urge (vowels), service, pioneering spirit (or individuality) and that questionable 7 which may be spiritual or have problems with relationships as his personality expression (consonants) and verbal fluency, another questionable 7 and a spiritual seeker 9 as the totals of the individual names. These sums sound the way his life started out. But the totals of the whole name give us 5s for both inner and outer expression with a 1 as grand total; the need to be number 1 in everything he did. His birthpath from the birth date gives us 5-4-5 = 5 for his destiny number. The combination begins to look a little too oriented toward change and adventure and personal will, but it really comes into focus when we calculate the totals of numbers from all the letters. Out of 16 letters in the full name, 6 are 1s and 6 are 5s. When we add that to the 1s and 5s in the sub-totals and the birthpath, it becomes a bit overwhelming. If we think of 1 as like Mars or Aries or 1st house and 5 as like Sun or Leo or 5th house, we have a picture that fits the description of the life degenerating into need for total power, sexual abuses, and general instability. There are two 9s (the double R in Warren), and the quest for humanitarian principles finally dissipated into drugs and poison. There is one 4, and he was family-oriented and obsessed with the need for security, and one 6 in the individual letter count. But the sheer weight of emphasis on 1 and 5 is startling.

Another unusual individual from the recent headlines is John Wayne Gacey born on March 17, 1942. His letters give us three 1s, five 5s, and three 7s. Gacey was divorced twice and finally murdered a series of young men after sexually using them. Yet his neighbors considered him the one to turn to when they needed help. He too has one 6 in individual letters and several in sub-totals. He also picks up three more 5s in his sub-totals and another 7 in his birthpath.

One of the favorite subjects for astrologers for some years was former president Richard Milhous Nixon.

9 1 9 63 9 6 = 1 9 6 = 7


9 38 94 4 38 1 5 6 5 = 6 7 7 = 2

His individual letter totals are well distributed, with an interesting gap. 2 and 7 are the missing numbers; the ones associated with relationships, capacity for positive ones and danger of negative ones but need to learn to handle them. His birthpath has a 1 month (need to be in front or on top) and a 5 year (power and leadership drive) with a 9 day (he really thought he was destined to do something great for the world). The name total is also a 9, with the soul-urge repeating the need to deal with 7 and the outer expression trying for the master number 11, the universal teacher. One more interesting individual is Burrhus Frederic Skinner, leading proponent of psychological determinism, author of the book which denied any freedom, dignity, or responsibility to humans. His individual letters have the astonishing totals of five 5s (eight when we include sub-totals) and seven 9s (eight with sub-totals). 7 is his missing letter, and his philosophy is questionable, to put it mildly, yet he has spent his life teaching and has been voted the most influential psychologist in the world. His auto-biography of his early years (through his undergraduate degree) is somewhat obsessed with his desire for sex and difficulty in getting it, but the 5s were also an accurate indication of his eventual rise to power in his own field. His sub-totals include master numbers for outer expression for his first and last names; 11 and 22. He also has a large number of 3s and in his early life was very active in debating, writing (at one point hoped to be a professional writer) and of course, he taught for much of his life. The name he uses, last name with just the initials of the first two names, sums to a 5 inner urge; a 3 outer expression; and an 8 total for his research and power over knowledge, yet he rejected his early religious leanings and settled for materialism. He was born on March 20, 1904 for a 1 birthpath.

There are a variety of other techniques used in numerology but they will have to wait for more space and more testing.

Copyright © 1980 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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