Updated: Mar 15
Numinous, Eternal Energies? Or Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicators?
I have recently realised that many people think of the Numbers that we work with in numerology as mere descriptors. They see them as being akin to psychological categories in those Personality Typing systems, e.g. the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
I have to admit, I was astonished when this first dawned on me.
The Numbers as descriptors??? As psychological categories?? Whaaaat???
Far from it!
And yet, now that I've thought about it, I guess it makes sense that people have taken this "Personality Typing" approach to the Numbers. I mean, as a culture, we've disenchanted the world, haven't we? So, to understand the Numbers as numinous, eternal energies rather than simple descriptors is probably quite a challenge to the average world-view.
Ever since the Enlightenment, we've been educated to approach Life in a solely rational, logical way. We've forgotten the ensouled intelligence of Life. And we've denied the sacred nature of the world around us. As Nietzsche declared, "God is dead."
I imagine that even those who've trained in numerology can initially look at the Numbers as nothing more than psychological descriptors . . . until, one day, something happens and it finally lands that these are, in fact, non-human, non-sensory, numinous, intelligent, spiritual energies that exist outside of ourselves. They are wholly Other.
They are not merely psychological types or descriptors.
And once this truly lands, you'll never look at Life the same way, again. Because in that moment, everything changes! Everything shifts. The world is re-enchanted once more . . .
The World is Holy.
I love that word "Numinous."
Taken from Greek philosophy, it refers to "an unknowable reality underlying all things." Yes! And from Rudolf Otto's book "The Idea of Holy," we understand these numinous Number archetypes as being active, energetic presences, with their own might and power; their own will and grace. They are awe-inspiring and majestic; equal parts terrifying and fascinating! I love Otto's description of the numinous as being a "Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans" (A Fearful and Fascinating Mystery).
This describes the qualities of the Numbers that we work with in numerology! They are numinous. They are beyond our conscious control. And they're able to profoundly impact and transform our lives, shaking us to our very core, and calling us to our rich potential.
We can converse with them. Engage them. Reach for them. Find ourselves being shaped by them. Rail against them. And yet simultaneously feel grateful for their presence and guidance . . . their perspective and wisdom.
Archetypes as Deities
Considered another way, humans have recognised, honoured, revered, and celebrated these numinous archetypes as deities, across the ages. While they are non-human, we have tended to anthropomorphise them, attributing human form, personalities, and experiences to them. And all across the world, polytheistic cultures have known these same Number archetypes by a multitude of different names.
For example, the energy of Number 1 is often recognised as the Warrior God, the Obstacle-Clearer, or the Blacksmithing God whose creations or innovations uplift humankind.
In the Norse tradition, Number 1 was heralded as Tyr, for whom we have named Tuesday - Tyr's Day. (Did you know that each day of the week is named after a deity?)
In several African religions, Number 1 is honoured as Ogun. In the Ancient Greek pantheon, Number 1 was honoured as both Ares (the War God) and Hephaistos (the Blacksmithing God).
It's the same Number archetype, with the same significations, recognised and revered in a multitude of cultures, but known by many different names. The archetypes don't really care what we call them!
Something I appreciate about numerology, actually, is that while we recognise the sacred, numinous quality of the Numbers, we don't anthropomorphise them. We work with the archetypes in a very abstract form . . . Numbers.
When I think of the presence and impact of the Numbers in our lives, I am reminded of both the Storm and the Angel in Rainer Maria Rilke's (28/10/1) extraordinary poem, "The Man Watching" (translated from the German by Robert Bly).
"The Man Watching"
I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can't bear without a friend,
I can't love without a sister.
The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:
the landscape, like a line in the psalm book,
is seriousness and weight and eternity.
What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great.
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.
When we win, it's with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestlers' sinews
grew long like metal strings,
He felt them under His fingers
like chords of deep music.
Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater Beings.
Thank you, Rilke! Thank goodness for poets and their ability to express the ineffable; that which is inaccessible in ordinary language. (Poetry is a 7 signification, for those who are curious.)
I'd really love to know how YOU engage the Numbers in numerology. (Have you actually thought about it before?) Leave a comment below! Share your insights and experiences with the archetypes. Super curious!
And on that note, I'll sign off.
I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Thank you for your company on this path. You know I'm so grateful for it!
Remember: We all benefit when we all shine.