Wednesday, August 8, 2007



Most of us probably don’t reflect much on the meaning of numbers. I’m not talking about the amount, the sum or even their line-up; I am talking about the personality behind each number.

Yes, personality.

The Chinese have chosen the date 08.08.08 as the opening day of the Olympics in Beijing next summer. Random? Coincidence? Come on, people. This is the same civilization that won’t use knives or scissors on New Year's Day (cuts off fortune), or clip toenails or fingernails at night (the person will be visited by a ghost). Nothing is random. Not even numbers.

Deriving from the same I Ching that Feng Shui principles are based upon, the Chinese believe each number carries with it a specific energy. Similar to how the five elements (Wind, Water, Fire, Earth, Metal) can be used to balance a space, numbers can also be used to improve an environment. In this system, called Numerology, numbers are not only for calculating and counting, they explain and predict as well.

In other words, some numbers are “lucky” while others, sadly, are not.

Numerology was originally formed by the pronunciation of the numbers themselves. For example, the Chinese word for “one” sounds much like the word “honor” and carries the attributes of stillness and strength. The word “two” is similar in pronunciation to the word “sure” meaning steadfast and symmetry. And the word “three” sounds like “growth” which translates into abundance.

Unfortunately, the Chinese word for “four” sounds like the word “death”. So unless you own a funeral home with the number 4 in the address, or you stand to inherit great sums of money from the contents of a safe deposit box numbered 4, death pretty much implies “unlucky.” 13’s unfortunate reputation has the 4 to thank. In Numerology, all single digits are added together to determine their base meaning, which when done with 13 becomes a 4. (1+3 = 4). Had the Chinese word for “four” translated into “great sex” instead, it might be standard for every hotel to have an entire elevator board full of 13th floors. As it stands now, many hotels skip this “unlucky” ├ętage all together.

The word “Five” represents balance as it is associated with the Five Elements. “Six” sounds like “wealth” and carries abundance. “Seven” sounds like the Cantonese word for “sure” and is associated with easy happiness. The pronunciation of the number “eight” resembles the word “multiply” and is considered to bring prosperity and fertility. Which means if your husband/boyfriend/significant other’s roomy backseat has a license plate with the number eight in it, you might want to get a room instead (making sure, of course, to avoid the 13th floor). Finally, “Nine” sounds like the words “long life” which to most of us implies happiness and fulfillment. Hopefully yours does.

Sometimes things are confusing in Feng Shui, and sometimes they are just plain synchronistic. When I started this entry, I hadn’t thought much about the address of the house I am living in. It is my parent’s house where we are lucky enough to spend the summer. And it is 4 house. 4 Something Lane, to be exact. (Had the address been 22 Something Lane, it would be very auspicious. 11, 22, and 33 can never be reduced and are all fortunate numbers). This house, however, represents death.

Time for a remedy.

If your house/apartment/dorm room is the number 4 don’t panic. (I threw up, but that’s because really, what were the chances of this?) Instead, take a red pen and circle the number 4 on your house/apartment/dorm room door. Alternatively, you can use the pen to make a red dot on either side of the number (I did both). Either remedy works to burn off the unluckiness of the number 4. If your address includes a 4 - 147 Something Street for example, its overall effect is much less harmful and doesn’t need a remedy at all.

Human personalities can be studied with Numerology as well. In fact, according to this system our characters were set before our last limb left the womb. The only information required is your birthday. I was born June 30th 19.., on second thought I can’t remember my birthday so I will use my friend’s, that is to say, yours. You might have been born 10/26/1979: 1+0=1 +2 =3 +6=9 +1=10 which =1 +9=10 which =1 (again) +7= 8 +9 =17, which when added together = 8. This means if your birthday is October 26, 1979, you are an 8 and should play the lotto often and buy things for your friends, even those you have never met before.

So what does this mean for those of us whose birthday adds up to a 4? Tattoo red dots on either side of our nose? No. Fortunately, a kinder set of rules apply to birthdates. Once you have reduced your birthday to the lowest denominator find your number below:

One - Correlates to independence, but can lead to isolation.
Two - Represents double possibilities and partnership, but can lead to co-dependence.
Three - Attracts enthusiasm, which can lead to impatience if not careful.
Four - Stability, but can turn into stubbornness.
Five - Carries excitement, which can result in restlessness.
Six - Affiliated with nurturing. Be mindful not to turn into martyrdom.
Seven - Associated with spirituality, but can lead to pessimism if too materialistic.
Eight - Prosperity comes easily, but can turn into selfishness if not careful.
Nine - Hopeful and idealistic, but can become self-centered.

Unlike an environmental space, there are no physical remedies to thwart the negative side of each number (you could go ahead and try the red dots on either side of your nose though, and let me know what transpires). Insight, however, can go a long way into identifying and repairing negative personality traits, whether this is your own or your mother-in-law’s. Think of Numerology as a new prescription for reading glasses. Begin to take note of the people in your life and their personality numbers. It might just give you 20/20. (Don’t mind the fact that this adds up to 4).