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Chinese Numerology


If life is a complex equation, some think Chinese numerology can solve it. Discover its possible effects on your life.


Numerology seeks to establish a relationship between numbers and other physical objects or living things. Numerology is said to have originated during the time of Pythagoras, in Ancient Babylonia. In China, the study of numerology became widespread. Numbers have deep significance for the Chinese. They believe that numbers have a magical quality, through which they can affect human life and destiny.


The Elements of Numerology

According to Chinese astrology, the universe is made out of five basic elements, wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each of these elements is bestowed with a specific characteristic.


Characteristics of the Elements of Numerology

  • Wood is the element associated with creativity and is also known as the tree. It is associated with the numbers 3 and 4.

  • Fire is the element of enthusiasm and motivation and is denoted by the number 9. This element has the magical quality of being able to reveal the truth by bringing things to light.

  • Earth is the element that will give people stability in their lives and help them to reach their goals. Considered to be an element that enhances your determination, it is denoted in numerology by the numbers 2, 5, and 8.

  • Metal is often associated with riches and valour. This is denoted in numerology by the numbers 6 and 7. It is said to empower you to stand up for your beliefs.

  • Water is associated with the ability to break down boundaries by communication. This is a powerful element that can help in removing stumbling blocks and paving the way for better things in life. Water is denoted by the number 1 in numerology.


To achieve harmony in your life, you need an equal distribution of these elements. The missing numbers in your birth chart indicate the missing elements in your life. It is believed that by surrounding yourself with these elements, you can imbibe the properties (vibrations) of these elements.


The Luo Shu Square (Birth chart / Magical square)

An important element of Chinese Numerology is the birth chart. This chart gives a person guidance to understand his numerological strengths and weaknesses. A birth chart is a square that is formed by a 3 x 3 matrix of numbers. The numbers are filled from bottom to top and left to right. Each square in this matrix is allocated a certain number. This matrix is known as the basic magical square (Luo Shu) and was said to have been discovered by Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi around 4,000 years ago. The square is also related to directions with the south above and the east to the left. The number five is located at the centre of the matrix.

A unique aspect of the square is that the sum of any row or diagonal will be equal to fifteen. This is said to represent the 15 days of the 24 cycles of the Chinese Year. By entering your birth date into the birth chart square, matching the digits with the existing numbers of the square, you can identify your strongest personal direction. This number can help you predict and influence your success. The Chinese believe if they change their numbers, they can change their lives as well. This is the basic tenet of Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice of placement and arrangement of space. Feng Shui and Chinese numerology are intertwined. The aim of both is to achieve harmony with the environment and in your life.

The Luo Shu magical square is illustrated below:

SE    South    SW
   4 9 2   
East 3 5 7 West
   8 1 6   
NE    North    NW

If a person's date of birth is July 31, 1982, then his birth chart would be filled in the following manner (the numbers in the brackets represent the frequency of the occurrence of that figure in his date of birth). The number zero is not included in the square. The numerical equivalent of the month is used, thus 7 is used for July.

SE    South    SW
   - 9(1) 2(1)   
East 3(1) - 7(1) West
   8(1) 1(2) -   
NE    North    NW

As the frequency of number 1 is the most, the person's strongest direction is the North in this case. If there are two numbers that have equal weightage, then both the directions are deemed to be equally important.

In this example, water is the person's strongest element. He may fill the gap in his birth chart by surrounding himself with wood (4), earth (5), and metal (6), thereby imbibing the qualities that the elements possess. This is believed to lead the person to become more creative (wood), have a stable life (earth), and gain riches and valour (metal), which would be missing in his life.


Uses of Numerology

The numbers in Chinese numerology may be used to calculate a number of things. For example, it may be used to calculate the auspiciousness of a geographical direction, the presence and alignment of the aforesaid elements in the environment, and even predict the future.

In Cantonese, numbers are associated with words that sound similar to them. For example, 8 is considered to be a prosperous number because it sounds similar to the word for prosperous. 6 is another lucky number as it is sounds similar to the word for profitable in Cantonese. Numbers in certain combinations are considered to be extremely lucky. For example, the number 168 is known as the road to prosperity or being prosperous together. In the same fashion, the number 518 means I will prosper, 888 means three times prosperity, and 1314 signifies a whole life time of prosperity.

The belief of numerology is deep set in Chinese culture. In fact, the 2008 Olympics in China will begin at 8 am on 8.8.08 because of the importance of the number 8 in Chinese numerology. Decisions regarding telephone numbers and car registration numbers are influenced by numerology in China. The effectiveness of numerology comes from your perception of what the numbers can do for you in your life.


Do you think numbers play a significant role in determining your destiny? Should numerology be taught as a subject? Do you know of other cultures that follow systems that are solely based on numerology? To share your views and experiences, click here.


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