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 The Symbolic Meanings of Numbers

By Dr Gene Collins | Submitted On August 02, 2011

Learning numerology involves two stages or phases-learning the meaning of the numbers and calculating the various personal number values. This article is about the first-learning the symbolic meaning of the numbers. Once you learn these symbolic values, you can apply their meanings to number expressions of the numeroscope. These meanings can also be applied to astrology, cartomancy, and metaphysics in general. They can be applied in the course of your daily life to discover the underlying purpose of whatever event is occurring or whatever activity you are performing.

In numerology, every point in the universe, the infinite mind, or divine intelligence has access to information regarding all other points regardless of distance in space and time (past, present, and future). This information is contained in the archetypes of numbers, which are only partially comprehensible to humans. Knowledge of the number archetypes allows a person to align his or her will and ego with the purposes of the universe. Knowledge of number archetypes may also allow one to participate in and direct the ongoing processes of the universe or of his or her life.

Just like the zodiac, every number symbolizes a step in the process of creation. The first step is symbolized by the number one. The second step is symbolized by the number two, and so on. For example, if the numbers of a particular day add up to the number three, you know that this day favors the third step in whatever process you are engaged. If the address of a building you are in adds up to the number five, you know that this building favors the fifth step of any process. If you encounter someone whose name adds up to the number eight, you know that the energies of this person favor the eighth step of any process.

Interpretation by the Numbers

The meanings for the numbers 1 through 10, 0, and the master numbers 11, 22, 33, and 44 are given below, accompanied by personality traits and behaviors commonly associated with each number. Where applicable, the Pythagorean meanings and associated geometric shapes are given. Also where applicable, the planets, urges, and elements of C. C. Zain's esoteric psychology and the crises and resulting personal power of Erik H. Erikson's identity development are included. In general, odd numbers are masculine, active, and positive. Even numbers are feminine, receptive, and negative.

Number 1 -- Individuality, Purpose

Pythagorean numerology begins with the number 1. Called the monad, 1 is represented by a point. It is the source of all numbers, the origin of all things. It symbolizes the primal state of unity, indivisibility, and oneness. Some say that it is both an odd and an even number. The 1 is the number of God, the Prime Masculine Number, and the Yang. It manifests as the active principle, the number of consciousness, light, the ego, the father, and authority. The Pythagoreans considered 1 to be good, desirable, essential, and indivisible. The 1 is associated with the Sun, fire, and the colors red and red-orange.

Wherever the 1 is found in the numeroscope, it indicates the beginning of a new cycle, beginnings in general, creation, individuality, and selfhood. In esoteric psychology, the 1 signifies the Sun and the power urges, i.e., the desire to survive and to be something. In identity development, the 1 signifies the trust versus mistrust crisis from which arises the power of hope.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 1 include: adventure, aggressiveness, aloneness, ambition, arrogance, assertiveness, bossiness, confidence, courage, creativity, desire, determination, dignity, direction, dominant, egotism, egotistical, false pride, independence, individualism, individuality, initiative, intolerance, leadership, loneliness, masculinity, newness, obstinate, optimism, originality, pioneering, pomposity, powerful, prestige, resistance, self-assurance, self-centeredness, selfishness, solitariness, strength, tyrannical, and willpower.

Number 2 -- Polarity, Union

The number 2 is called the dyad and is represented by a line. It indicates the loss of the primal unity. The 2 is duality, and the Pythagoreans believed that 2 is a number of excess, the first feminine number, and a defective number. The 2 represents the principles of matter, manifestation, and material evolution. The 1 has been separated into 2. With the 2, a new relationship is now possible. Something has been created which is external of the 1. 2 is both the forming of dichotomies, the division of things into two categories, and the initial emergence of life. Awareness of the other creates tension and makes union and partnership possible. The 2 is the prime feminine number, the number of polarities, pairs, partners, opposites, and antithesis. The 2 is associated with the Moon, water, the oceans, and the color orange. Sometimes 2 is associated with blue.

Wherever 2 is found in the numeroscope, it indicates externalization, separation, tension, conflict, union, partnership, cooperation, rhythm, attachment, nurturing, femininity, and motherhood. In esoteric psychology, the 2 signifies the Moon and the domestic elements of self-preservation and race preservation. In identity development, the 2 signifies the autonomy versus shame and self-doubt crisis from which arises the power of will.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 2 include: absorption, adaptability, apathy, appeasement, attachment, awareness, balance, bonding, caution, conflict, cooperation, cruelty, deceit, dependence, diplomacy, emotions, empathy, expedience, feelings, females, femininity, fluctuation, friendship, gentleness, home, instinct, intuition, hypersensitivity, kindness, maliciousness, marriage, mediation, motherhood, neediness, nurturing, obedience, parental, partnership, patience, peace-making, pettiness, petulance, reaction, receptivity, relationship, rhythm, self-consciousness, self-effacement, self-sacrifice, sensitivity, separation, shyness, submissiveness, tension, touchiness, understanding, union, and withdrawal.

Number 3 -- Interaction, Synthesis

The number 3 is referred to as the triad. It is represented by a plane, is composed of unity and diversity, and restores them to harmony. It is the first odd, masculine number. The 3 is the principle of spirit and the process of spiritual evolution through reconciliation of opposites by finding common elements or points of agreement. The 3 is the process of synthesis. The 3 represents the trinity or triune god found in most religions. The 1 is the thesis, the 2 is the antithesis, and the 3 is the synthesis. The 3 harmonizes dichotomies and is considered to be an extremely lucky number. It is ease, flow, grace, happiness, abundance, and rest. The 3 is associated with Venus, love, harmony, balance, intelligence, and the color yellow.

When 3 is found in the numeroscope, it indicates the possibilities of growth, relationship, understanding, equilibrium, ease, and peace. In esoteric psychology, the 3 signifies Mercury and the intellectual elements of adequate adaptation. In identity development, the 3 signifies the initiative versus guilt crisis from which arises the power of purpose.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 3 include: animation, artistic, artistry, arts, beauty, brilliant, charm, communication, conceit, conversation, cooperation, creativity, cultivation, ease, energetic, enthusiasm, entertainment, envy, equilibrium, expansive, expression, extravagance, flirtatiousness, friendship, frivolous, good luck, grace, greed, growth, happiness, harmony, humor, indecision, imagination, inspiration, intelligence, joy, laziness, love, lucky, luxury, optimism, outspoken, peace, pleasure, poetry, popularity, relationships, romance, rhythms, self-expression, sociability, sociable, spirituality, superficiality, triviality, understanding, vanity, versatile, vision, wasteful, witty, words, and writing.

Number 4 -- Construction, Creation

The number 4 is the tetrad. It is represented by a solid and is the first feminine square. The 4 represents justice, is steadfast, and a perfect square. It is also the number of the elements, the seasons, the ages of man, lunar phases, and virtues. It represents the power to manifest ideas in the material world. It is said to be the root of all manifested things. In many ancient cultures the 4 symbolized the world, the Earth, and any Establishment. It is the number of foundations, solid matter, the points of the compass, the seasons, the (classical Greek) elements, the winds, completion, solidarity, stability, equilibrium, the (classical Greek) four kingdoms of matter. The 4 is action, activity, energy, power, strength, crisis, sacrifice, the square, the cross, and processes of building and creating solid, concrete forms in the material world. It is the four psychological functions in Analytic Psychology (Jungian). The 4 is associated with Saturn and/or Mars, the Earth, and the colors red, green, or brown.

Wherever the 4 is found in the numeroscope, it indicates the presence of activity and strong energies needed to overcome obstacles, conflicts, and crises. The power to manifest one's dreams in the material world and/or to actualize important relationships is present. In esoteric psychology, the 4 signifies Venus and the social elements of the ability to band together. In identity development, the 4 signifies the competence versus inferiority crisis from which arises the power of competence.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 4 include: achievement, action, activity, aloofness, application, bitterness, building, calm, creativity, crises, energy, concentration, conflicts, conservation, construction, dedication, dejection, dependability, depth, determination, discipline, dull, economy, efficient, enduring, follow-through, form, foundation, fundamentals, gloomy, goal-orientation, growth, hardness, hard-working, ill health, impersonality, individuality, industrious, industry, joyless, limitation, management, melancholy, monotony, narrowness, organization, painstaking effort, patience, perseverance, planning, power, practical, practicality, repressive, respectable, restlessness, restriction, self-discipline, skill, stable, steady, strength, and struggles, and suspicious.

Number 5 -- Intelligence, Originality

The number 5 is called the pentad and represents man or humanity, especially in regards to creativity, intelligence, talents, and self-expression, i.e., especially those qualities that are most uniquely human and separate man from the rest of the animal kingdom. Thus, the 5 represents the Quintessence, humanity, the magician, magic, the (Western) senses, and the (Chinese) elements. The 5 is the masculine marriage number, because it unites the first female number and the first male number by addition. It has the virtue of being incorruptible, because all multiples of 5 end in 5. The 5 is associated with Mars and/or Uranus, the Air, and the color blue.

Wherever the 5 is found in the numeroscope, it indicates the presence of intelligence, creativity, special talents, uniqueness, individual expression and possibly genius. In esoteric psychology, the 5 signifies Mars and the aggressive elements of the ability to defend and secure. In identity development, the 5 signifies the identity versus role confusion crisis from which arises the power of fidelity.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 5 include: activity, adaptability, adventure, adventurous, belligerence, change, changeableness, clever, conceited, courage, creativity, criticalness, curiosity, discard, enterprise, expansiveness, experience, flexibility, freedom, haste, impulsiveness, individuality, intelligence, intuition, invention, irresponsibility, lustful, magnetism, movement, nervous, progress, promotion, resilient, restlessness, resourcefulness, sarcastic, scattering, sensuality, sexual, strife, temperament, thoughtlessness, uniqueness, unpredictability, unstable, variety, versatility, and vitality.

Number 6 -- Responsibility, Success

The number 6 is represented by the hexad. The 6 is the feminine marriage number, because it unifies 2 and 3 through multiplication. It is also considered the first perfect number and is the area of a 3-4-5 triangle. The 6 represents the benefits that come from activity and productivity. To the Pythagoreans, 6 was the perfect number since, when multiplied by itself it results in the number itself (6 X 6 = 42 ~ 4 + 2 = 6). The 6 was also considered to be a perfect number because ~ 1 + 2 + 3 = 6. The 6 combines the ease, harmony, good luck, synthesis of the 3 with the polarity and awareness of the number 2. The 6 is an active, productive, and successful number 3. It brings good fortune, but through effort, productivity, and activity. The 6 is also related to the human soul, harmony, creation, love, marriage, domestic happiness, and matters of the heart, by some numerologists. The 6 is associated with Jupiter, the Earth element, productivity, and the color indigo.

Wherever the 6 is found in the numeroscope, it indicates a high likelihood of success and prosperity through work efforts. In esoteric psychology, the 6 signifies Jupiter and the religious elements of faith in leadership and tolerance. In identity development, the 6 signifies the intimacy versus isolation crisis from which arises the power of love.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 6 include: beauty, burdens, carelessness, comfort, complacent, conscientiousness, conservative attitudes, creative, domesticated, domesticity, educational, legal, religious, and/or spiritual interests, exaggeration, expansion, family, friendliness, gossipy, harmonious, harmony, healing, honest, hypocrisy, idealistic, interfering, joyfulness, justice, loyal, luck, meddling, morale, morality, optimism, over-concern for others, over-expansiveness, overindulgence, parental, passion, productivity, prosperity, protection, reliability, responsibility, selfish, self-righteousness, service, social and artistic balance, trivial, trust, understanding, and wisdom.

Number 7 -- Thought/Consciousness

To the Pythagoreans the number 7 is represented by the heptad and is associated with the Greek maiden goddess Athene. They considered 7 to be a virgin number because it has no products, and a circle can never be broken into 7 equal parts. The 7 symbolizes the cosmic process of creativity. It combines the divine trinity of the 3 and the power of physical manifestation of the 4. The 7 represents the stages of manifestation and the seven aspects of God as manifested through the seven stars or angels. It represents creation, divinity, and religious and fated activities. It symbolizes occult mysteries, magical ceremonies, and psychic and clairvoyant powers. The 7 is considered to be a difficult number to interpret in a specific and accurate manner. The 7 is associated with Saturn, religion, devotion, authority, royalty, the Earth element, and the color purple.

Wherever the 7 is found in the numeroscope, it is very likely that religion and spirituality figure prominently. Either the exoteric and/or the esoteric aspects of religion may be present. Strange and fated occurrences are likely as well. In esoteric psychology, the 7 signifies Saturn and the safety elements, and the abilities to escape from enemies and provide security. In identity development, the 7 signifies the generativity versus stagnation crisis from which arises the power of caring.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 7 include: aloneness, aloof, analysis, authority, bureaucracy, calculation, confused, conservative attitudes, contemplative, depressive, dreamy, efficiency, escapism, exactitude, example, faith, fear, fussiness, impractical, intellectual snobbery, intelligence, introspection, intuition, investigation, knowledge, lazy, legal, religious, and/or spiritual interests, loneliness, malice, melancholy, metaphysics, moody, mystery, mystical, nagging, nervousness, perception, perfection, perfectionism, pessimism, philosophy, pride, psychology, religious or spiritual development, realities, reason, research, responsibility, science, secrecy, self-knowledge, self-righteousness, skepticism, silence, solitude, suspicion, thought, understanding, the unseen, verbosity, vision, and wisdom.

Number 8 -- Power/Sacrifice

The 8 is referred to as the octad or ogdoad. It is the first cube: 2 x 2 x 2 = 8. Because it is the 4 (action, activity, energy, and crisis), divided by the 2 (externalization, separation, tension, and conflict), the 8 symbolizes the point of maximum dynamic activity, the point of the greatest energy and power. It is considered to symbolize material success and worldly involvement. The 8 is associated with the Sun and Uranus, activity, frustrations, busy work, and the colors rose and the transitional color between red and violet.

Wherever the 8 is found in the numeroscope, it indicates intense energy needed to finalize the details of and structure. At times the 8 can be very frustrating. At other times, it may feel exhilarating when our consciousness flows with the work we are performing. In esoteric psychology, the 8 signifies Uranus and the individualistic elements, and the abilities to depart from the past and develop better ways. In identity development, the 8 signifies the integrity versus despair crisis from which arises the power of wisdom.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with the 8 include: administration, authority, broad, business, busy work, capability, carelessness, comprehension, concentrated effort, control, cruelty, eccentric, efficiency, energy, extravagance, executive ability, extreme individualism, frustration, greed, guilt-ridden, haughty, hard work, impatience, lack, improvidence, leadership, loss, management, material accomplishment, materialism, money, obstinate, organization, power, promotion, rewards, ruthless, self-reliance, skill, strain, strength, struggle, success, tenacity, thoroughness, tough, unscrupulous, vindictiveness, and waste.

Number 9 --Completion

The number 9 is referred to as the nonad or ennead. It is the first masculine cube. It is also considered incorruptible because no matter how many times it is multiplied, it reduces to itself. The 9 can be thought of as a very spiritual number or as a very lucky number because it is three 3's. The 9 is similar to the 7 in that it is a very spiritual number and one that prefers isolation and withdrawal. It is actually the last number in regards to numerology because all other numbers can be reduced to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9. The 9 represents the human gestation period, ending in the completion of one cycle and the beginning of the next. It is also similar to gestation in that the actual activity of creation is not visible to the material world. The 9 is may be associated with Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto. Because of its universal qualities, it may be associated with all the colors of the spectrum, bright blue, and psychedelic colors.

In the numeroscope, the 9 suggests creativity, spirituality, withdrawal, and completion. A 9 in the numeroscope indicates that the person will give birth, probably several times, to the development of spiritual ideas, mysticism, and psychic phenomena. In esoteric psychology, the 9 signifies Neptune and the utopian elements, and the yearning for better conditions.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 9 include: attainment, benevolence, compassion, completion, creativity, dedication, devotion, disruption, emotion, expulsion, extremes, generosity, genius, imagination, impersonality, intellect, intensity, intuition, limitless power, meditation, mysticism, personal loss, philanthropy, psychic phenomena, regeneration, religious devotion, service, selflessness, shyness, ulterior motives, understanding of the spirit, upheaval, universal awareness, and universality.

Number 10 -- Rebirth

The number 10 is called the decad. It represents completion, infinity, and rebirth. It is also the number of our fingers and toes. The 10 is said to contain all the numbers because after 10, the numbers repeat themselves. The number 10 is generally not used in numerology because the 10 is reduced to 1 in numerology (1 + 0 = 1). The 10 has characteristics of both the 0 and the 9. In esoteric psychology, the 10 signifies Pluto and the universal welfare elements, and preservation through cooperation among individuals.

Number 0 -- Everything and Nothing

The 0 is not included in Pythagorean numerology. It represents God unmanifest, i.e., Spirit without Matter and without things. It is God before creation, especially physical or material creation. It is Divinity without awareness. The 0, or circle is divine potential upon which no action has been taken. It is the cosmos before the cosmos comes into being, before the Big Bang, or whatever. It is also a symbol of infinity. The 0 also reminds us of the positive value of powerlessness. In metaphysical symbolism, a circle with a dot in its center indicates that creation or physical manifestation has begun. It especially symbolizes that the Spirit or God, has divided into individual parts so that it may come to know itself. This division is not real. It is the false perception of mater or material objects. In astrology, God manifest is represented by the symbol for the Sun. The Sun is the individualized spirit that sustains each of us. The 0 is not used in most numerological calculations or in the numeroscope. The reason is that 0 + any number = the number. The 0 has its own significance, but it does not add anything to numerological calculations.

Master Numbers

The term master number refers to two, three, or four numbers which are considered to be above and beyond the normal spectrum of the average human being. These numbers imply genius and superior accomplishments brought over from previous lives. Master numbers may possess greater potential or higher vibrations than other numbers. They may be highly charged and difficult to handle. They may take great effort to integrate into one's personality. Realizing the power of master numbers may require time and maturity. After interpreting a number as a master number, it is usually reduced numerically to a single digit, and the standard interpretation is applied as well.

The numbers 11, 22, 33, and 44 have all been referred to as master numbers. Master numbers are interpreted before they are reduced to single digits. As previously mentioned, most numerologists recognized 11 and 22 as master numbers. A few use 33 as a master number, and even fewer use 44 as a master number. Some numerologists do not use any master numbers.

Number 11 -- Inspiration/Illumination

The number 11 refers to idealism and outstanding accomplishments that are largely intellectual or mental in nature. It often indicates artistic or musical talent. The individual with an 11 is said to be inspired, and he or she is usually an inspiration to others. An 11 may also display characteristics of a 2. Of course, not everyone with an 11 is capable of manifesting the talents and characteristics of an 11. In such cases, the 11 becomes an ordinary 2.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 11 include: altruism, aviation, creativity, confusion, debauchery, deception, delusion, destruction, dreamer, ecstasy, elation, electricity, escapism, evangelism, faith, fame, fanaticism, greatness, idealism, ideals, illumination, impracticality, independence, inner conflict, insight, inspiration, intangible, intuition, limelight, mysticism, nervousness, obligation, originality, peace, perversity, phobias, principles, psychic, radicalism, rebellious, religion, reverence, sacrifice, self-destruction, sensitivity, shyness, spirituality, spiritual vision, subconscious, tactlessness, truth, understanding, and uselessness.

Number 22 -- Masterful/Master Builder

The 22 is interpreted as a number of great material accomplishments, often through the use of spiritual or magical abilities. It is the most powerful of all the numbers. A person with a 22 turns dreams into reality. He or she is referred to as a Master Builder. A 22 may also display characteristics of a 4. Of course, not every with a 22 is capable of manifesting the talents and characteristics of an 22. In such cases, the 22 becomes an ordinary 4.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 22 include: achiever, ambition, broad vision, discipline, distribution, intense, limitless, materialistic, methodical, pressure, practicality, resourceful, self-confidence, strong, and success.

Number 33 -- Initiate/Master Teacher

The number 33 symbolizes the principle of guidance. It is the most influential of all numbers. The person with a 33 has made great spiritual accomplishments in previous lives. He or she has successfully integrated the 11 and the 22 and has risen to a higher level. He or she has become the Master Teacher, and his or her dharma or spiritual purpose is to uplift humanity spiritually by communicating the wisdom of the ages. He or she must forsake all personal ambitions.

The Master Teacher displays a high level of devotion to truth. He or she must seek understanding and wisdom before preaching to others. The Master Teacher must find original ways to encourage spiritual evolution. The arts, medicine, or some unconventional form of healing are possible mediums through which the Master Teacher addresses the public. He or she must share the truths he or she knows. If not, the Master Teacher may stagnate. His or her opportunities for further growth dwindle away until he or she performs the duties of the Master Teacher. A 33 may also display characteristics of a 6. Of course, not every with a 33 is capable of manifesting the talents and characteristics of a 33. In such cases, the 33 becomes an ordinary 6.

Personality traits and behaviors associated with 33 include: artist, blessing, bravery, Christ-like, compassionate, courage, discipline, educator, guidance, healing, healer, honest, inspiration, love, martyr, monk, physician, protection, self-sacrifice, teacher of teachers, and truth.

The 33 manifests only when the birth day, the birth month, and the birth year (day/month/year) each add up to 11, when the month and day add up to 22 and the year to 11, when the month and year add up to 22 and the day to 11, or the day and year add up to 22 and the month to 11. For example, during the 21st century the years 2009, 2018, 2027, 2037, 2045, 2054, 2063, 2072, 2081, and 2090 add up to 11. During the 20th century, only the year 1901 adds up to an 11. Years like 1991 add up to a 2. 1991 = 1 + 9 + 9 + 1 = 20 (1 + 9 = 10, 10 + 9 = 19, 19 + 1 = 20, 2 + 0 = 2).

The master numbers 11, 22, and 33 are said to represent a triangle called the Triangle of Enlightenment. In relation to the Triangle, the number 11 represents the vision, 22 combines vision with action, and 33 offers guidance to the world.

Number 44 -- Masterful/Master Manager

The 44 is the number of the Master Manager. The Master Manager is extremely rare. He or she is a conscious bridge between the physical plane and higher planes or realms. The Master Manager is capable of manifesting whatever he or she focuses on with desire. He or she is learning to be a creator. A 44 may also display characteristics of an 8. Of course, not every with a 44 is capable of manifesting the talents and characteristics of a 44. In such cases, the 44 becomes an ordinary 8.

Gene F. Collins, Jr., Ph.D. has been counseling, teaching, and writing in the areas of astrology, numerology, tarot, meditation, metaphysics, psychology, psychotherapy, parapsychology, and transpersonal psychology for over 40 years. He has served as a clinical psychologist, mental health counselor, and psychotherapist in major university, government, private medical centers, psychiatric hospitals, and mental health centers in Florida and Illinois. He is a retired licensed psychologist in FL and a retired clinical psychologist in IL.

Dr. Collins is certified in natal astrology (1974), is a Life Advanced Member of the American Federation of Astrologers (LAMAFA), and has served as the Vice President of the Illinois Federation of Astrologers. He specializes in natal, predictive, psychological, and karmic astrology as well as relationship compatibility. He is the author of Cosmopsychology - The Psychology of Humans as Spiritual Beings (2009) and Cosmopsychology - A Holistic Approach to Natal Astrology (2011).

Dr. Collins received his B.A. in Psychology (1974) and his M.A. in Clinical Psychology (1975) from Bradley University, and his Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology (1985) from the University of South Florida. He has published as a second author in Developmental Psychology (1975) and as a first author in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy (1984).

In addition to his clinical and community work, Dr. Collins has taught psychology, communications, relationship, and personal growth classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and has been published in both professional journals and community magazines. His professional include personal growth, the psychology of romance, sex and marital therapy, sexual identity, transpersonal psychology, alternative medicine, AIDS, and death and dying.

Dr. Collins has advance training/certification in hypnotherapy, personality assessment, sex therapy, stress management, client-centered therapy, gestalt therapy, rational-emotive therapy, transactional analysis, crisis counseling, telephone therapy, meditation, silva mind control, est training, and graphoanalysis.

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