Calculating the Birth Path Number in Your Numerology Chart

Updated: May 25



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I often get asked about how to calculate a Birth Path Number (aka Life Path Number). ​​​​

It can feel so confusing when you first start to learn Numerology, right?? There are so many things to decide before you even get off the starting block! And wrestling with the inconsistencies can feel confounding. For example, this question of which method you'll use to calculate your Birth Path Number (aka Life Path Number)?


There are actually three different methods available.


Are they much of a muchness??

Does it matter which one you use?

What even are they???


The question of which method to use feels similar to the conundrum we face in astrology regarding which House System to use: Placidus, Whole Sign, Equal, Koch, Regiomontanus, Morinus, Alcabitius, Campanus, Porphyry, Topocentric, Meridian, or Vehlow (just to name the main ones)?? Or whether we should work with modern rulerships or traditional rulerships? (Now there's a way to start a heated conversation at a table of astrologers! Haha!)


Personally, I work with traditional rulerships. And I use both the Whole Sign House System and the Porphyry House System, depending on the astrological technique I am using. But I didn't come to these decisions lightly.


The important thing is that, in their own way, each of these options are useful. They all reveal information about someone's chart that is helpful and insightful. But you can't use them all. Ultimately, you have to do your research; put them to the test across countless charts; and then decide which one you'll use.


And it's the same in numerology.


Now, when you first start casting people's numerology charts, and learning how to calculate the Birth Path Number (aka Life Path Number), you're likely to follow the method laid out in the book you're reading, or the method that your teacher shares with you. (Like most astrologers start out working with the Placidus House System.) And that's great . . . 'cause there's so much to learn and remember! Let your teacher guide you. They're teaching from an informed position.


But if you'd like to really dig into this work, and perhaps even become a numerologist yourself, then it's worth becoming familiar with all three methods that are available to you. Do your research. And put them to the test. Cast a heap of charts using all three methods and see which reliably offers you the deepest insight.


At the end of the day, you'll need to commit to one of the methods.


Which will YOU choose?




Does it Matter Which Method We Use to Calculate the Birth Path Number (aka Life Path Number)?


From the get-go, it's important to note that all three methods will give you the same final, resolved Number.


You may be thinking, "Well, that was easy! End of conversation!"


And if (like many numerologists) the final Number really is all you're interested in, then you're right. It doesn't matter which method you use. Feel free to click away from this page.


But stay with me for a moment . . .


I personally believe that the whole Birth Path Number is critical!


While agreeing on the final Number, the different methods typically reveal different "supporting" archetypes, leading to three very different Paths. For example, one method could show someone walking a 39/12/3 Birth Path. Another could show them walking a 21/3 Birth Path. And the other, a 30/3 Birth Path. These are very different Paths!


Each Number in our Birth Path illuminates our life, and offers deeper wisdom and guidance than just the final Number alone. So, I think it's important to know which of these Paths someone is walking, if we are to be of real service to them as a numerologist . . . rather than working with a generalised 3 Birth Path Number.


So, the 64-million-dollar question is, "Which of these three Paths is right??"


I think it's worth taking the time to consider all three methods. As I said about the House Systems in astrology, each of these methods will reveal information about someone's chart that is helpful and insightful. But you can't use them all.


Ultimately, you have to pick one. I encourage you to experiment with them; to put the methods to the test. Cast heaps of charts using all three methods, and then compare the results. To your mind, which method consistently yields the most accurate, helpful results?


And then . . . commit to it.




Let's Look at the Three Methods:

(Including worked examples of my own date of birth.)


Note: Regardless of the method we work with, we need to continue adding the digits together until we reach one final, resolved Number.



a) In the first method, we reduce the Day, Month, and Year of someone's birth to single digits, and then add those together. (This seems to be Dr Juno Jordan's preferred method.)


E.g. I am born 17/02/1972.


Day: 17 = 1 + 7 = 8

Month: 02 = 2

Year: 1 + 9 + 7 + 2 = 19

1 + 9 = 10.

1 + 0 = 1


Reduced to: 8 / 2 / 1.


8 + 2 + 1 = 11/2



b) In the second method, we reduce the Day, Month, and Year of someone's birth to double digits, and then add those together.


E.g. I am born 17/02/1972.


Day: 17 = 17

Month: 02 = 02

Year: 1 + 9 + 7 + 2 = 19


Reduced to: 17 / 02 / 19


17 + 2 + 19 = 38/11/2



c) And in the third method (which is the method I work with and teach), we simply add all of the digits in the date of birth, one after the other. (This is also Dan Millman's preferred method.)


E.g. I am born 17/02/1972.


1 + 7 + 2 + 1 + 9 + 7 + 2 = 29/11/2



Ultimately, all three methods show me as walking an 11/2 Life Path, right? But they each reveal different "supporting" archetypes, and that'll make all the difference to an interpretation of my chart.




Which Method do I Personally Work With?


Over the years, when working with the charts of friends, family members, students, and clients, I've found that while the second method is certainly interesting and worth considering, it's the third method that gives me the most consistent, reliable, insightful results, and that's why I work with it.


I'm not saying that the other methods don't work. It's just that the third method reveals layers of the chart that I don't seem to be able to reach with either the first or second methods. So, it's my method of choice, and it's the one I always work with and teach.


But, as I said, I encourage you to experiment for yourself.


I certainly did when I first started out!




Master Number 11


On another note, one of the reasons we may choose to cast someone's Birth Path Number using all three methods is to look for Master Numbers, particularly the 11/2.


For example, we may see that someone has an 11/2 Birth Path Number using one or even two of these methods, but a 20/2 Birth Path Number with the other.


Technically, according to my teacher many years ago, someone isn't considered to be walking a Master 11 Birth Path unless it calculates as an 11/2 using all three methods. The supporting Numbers may be different (as in my example: 11/2, 38/11/2, and 29/11/2), but they all need to resolve to 11/2.




I hope this has been helpful? Please let me know if you have any queries at all. I'm always happy to connect! 🤓