Numerology Can Help Guide You Toward Your Life’s Purpose, Numerologists Say

Numerology Can Help Guide You Toward Your Life’s Purpose, Numerologists Say

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You don't need to be a master mathematician to know that numbers hold special meanings—both personal and cultural. Maybe you wore your lucky number seven on every soccer jersey, or perhaps you painted the number 13 on your hand in honor of Taylor Swift’s favorite number when you attended her Eras Tour. (Don’t believe me? Well, Travis Kelce is her 13th public boyfriend, so…think on that one.)

The belief that numbers have meaning can be chalked up to numerology, a.k.a., “the art and science of numbers,” according to Felicia Bender, resident numerologist at and author of Redesign Your Life: Using Numerology to Create the Wildly Optimal You.

Numbers carry frequency and vibration, meaning data and information, Bender says. The study of numerology is all about looking at a specific number's info and seeing how you can apply it to your everyday life, adds Joy Woodward, a numerologist and the author of A Beginner's Guide to Numerology: Decode Relationships, Maximize Opportunities, and Discover Your Destiny. “They really unlock the keys to the universe,” she says.

Think this all sounds a little woo-woo? Well, you’re certainly not wrong—however, there are some practical ways you can harness the power of numerology and use it to better your life. Ahead, here's everything to know about the origins of numerology, the types of numbers that can help guide you, and how the study can ultimately benefit your life.

What is numerology?

Numerology is the study of numbers and their meanings, which is derived from their frequency and vibration, according to Bender. Each number’s frequency and vibration can be thought of as a way of sharing data and info about someone that can benefit your life.

For example, Bender compares numerology to the periodic table of elements, where "each element carries a vibration and frequency that is specific and individual and, by extension, performs a particular function," she explains. The practice of numerology operates on a similar numerical code of sorts, with each number's vibration aligning with a specific purpose.

To figure out the function of your numerology numbers, you can do so by using either your birthday to find your life path number, and/or your full name to find your destiny number. (But more on that later.)

When did numerology originate?

Remember being in math class and learning a2 + b2 = c2? Well, the same guy that brought us that lovely equation, Pythagoras, is also responsible for Pythagorean numerology, which is the most common form of numerology used in the Western world, says Bender. It was coined around 500 BC, making the practice around 2,500 (!) years old, adds Woodward.

The Pythagorean system works on a 26-letter alphabet, assigning each letter a number one through nine, says Woodward. So, when you’re determining your destiny number by using your name, you base it on that letter and number system. (Again, stay tuned for an explanation on all that later!)

How can numerology benefit my life?

Numbers in numerology—e.g., your life path number and destiny number—“can give a person a very detailed roadmap into what their life's purpose is, what their characteristics are, and what their soul desires,” Bender says.

Specifically, you can use these numbers to make decisions that the universe supports, Woodward adds. “It’s very much about stepping into the flow instead of trying to control outcomes or force things to happen,” she says.

What is my numerology life path number?

Your numerology life path number highlights your characteristics, similar to your Sun sign in astrology, Bender says. “It indicates your life's pathway and your purpose in life,” she says. “It basically indicates what you checked in to do—to learn, to aspire toward, to master, and to evolve into—it is your life's work."

Life path numbers are calculated from your birthdate. So, say your birthday is December 28, 1989 (12/28/1989). You’ll essentially add all of these numbers together, starting with your birth month of 12: 1 + 2 = 3.

Then, add the 2 and 8 of your birthdate day to get 10, which you’d then reduce by adding 1 + 0 since it’s a double digit, ending with a sum of 1.

Next, add the digits of your birth year, which in this case would be 1 + 9 + 8 + 9, totaling 27. Because that's once again a double digit, you'd then add 2 and 7 together to get 9.

Once you have these three numbers, add them all together: 3 (month) + 1 (day) + 9 (year) = 13. Lastly, reduce the double digit by adding 1 and 3 together to get your life path number of 4.

What is my name or destiny number?

Your name number or destiny number “gives you an idea of what your heart desires, what your soul wants down on a deep level,” Bender says. It can show you what you need “to be happy and satisfied and feel a sense of gratification,” she adds.

Coming secondary to your life path number, your name number represents how you express the goals of your life path number, Aliza Kelly, a professional numerologist, astrologer, and author of the manifestation deck and guidebook There Are No Coincidences, previously told Women's Health.

And it’s calculated in a similar—but different—way to your life path number. Your destiny number is determined by using the alphabet and your full birth certificate name. Each letter is assigned a number like so:

  • 1 = A, J, S,

  • 2 = B, K, T

  • 3 = C, L, U

  • 4 = D, M, V

  • 5 = E, N, W

  • 6 = F, O, X

  • 7 = G, P, Y

  • 8 = H, Q, Z

  • 9 = I, R

So, for all intents and purposes, I’ll use just my first name, Addison, as an example. I would add 1 (A) + 4 (D) + 4 (D) + 9 (I) + 1 (S) + 6 (O) + 5 (N) to get 30. Then, to break it down to a single digit, I’d add 3 + 0 to get 3, my destiny number.

What are master numbers?

Master numbers are repeating numbers, such as 11, 22, 33, and so on and so forth. They’re calculated the same way as your life path number, using your birthday. So, if your birthday was April 5, 2000 (4/5/2000) you'd add together 4 + 5 + 2 + 0 + 0 + 0, which equals 11, a master number. Similarly, if your birthday adds up to 22, that would also be a case where you'd have a master number. In this case, you shouldn't reduce a double digit by adding 1 and 1 together to get 2, or 2 and 2 together to get 4—instead, your master number is your life path number.

“Master numbers are considered both a burden and a blessing,” Woodward says. Those with master numbers are here to lead and master their lives. “These are the people that move society forward,” paving the way for others, she adds.

However, people with master numbers don’t usually have easy pathways in life, Bender adds. They might experience bigger challenges than those with non-master numbers because they’re meant to be healing and teaching others, she says.

What does each number in numerology mean?

Every number in numerology has a different meaning, kind of like how each Sun sign has different personality traits. Here's what each one represents:

Number 1

“Ones are leaders,” Woodward says. “These are the inventors—the Ones are very good at starting things.” However, they’re not always good at finishing tasks and seeing their ideas through to fruition, even though they’re very competitive—sometimes against themselves. Overall, people with this life path number are independent, actionable, and entrepreneurial, but can be self-centered and narcissistic at times, Bender adds.

Number 2

Twos are intuitive and diplomatic, Bender says: “They're all about love and relationships.” They tend to be accommodating and don’t like fighting; and their main personality traits are kind, helpful, and emotionally sensitive. However, these peacekeepers can also be people pleasers and shapeshifters sometimes, Bender adds.

Number 3

If you’re a Three, you’re meant to be in the spotlight, and you’re a creative communicator, says Bender. People with this life path number love expressing themselves in creative ways—especially through the written or spoken word—and they’re emotionally sensitive, she says. They also tend to be very lucky, and things just work out for them, Woodward adds. However, Threes might also deal with emotional highs and lows, including depression, Bender says.

Number 4

Fours are knowledge seekers and systems builders, so they’re all about security and stability, Bender says. “They are the worker bees” of numerology, she adds. Fours are disciplined, understanding the importance of crossing every T and dotting every I, Woodward says. But they can also be pessimistic and stubborn, occasionally becoming too consumed with details. Overall, though, Fours are reliable.

Number 5

Bender calls Five the “sensuous freedom seeker,” since they’re all about change, adventure, and experience. “They like something new every day—they have problems sitting still” and need to be constantly entertained, Woodward adds. They love to travel, and they don’t like commitment in any forms, as they can be impulsive sometimes.

Number 6

Sixes are nurturing visionaries—they’re kind of the cosmic parent of numerology, says Bender. “It is the number of home, family duty, service, and responsibility,” she says. They’re perfectionists who have strong opinions and often hold things together in all aspects of their lives, whether in their friend group or with their families, Woodard says. Sixes also like to have control, which can get them in trouble sometimes.

Number 7

Sevens are analysts and intellectual truth seekers, Bender explains. They have an aura of mystery around them where “you're just wondering what's going on in their head,” Woodward says. “They can be extremely private, but they love asking questions.” Sevens also love spreadsheets, information, and continuing to learn. However, sometimes they can be skeptical, closed off, and superficial, Bender adds.

Number 8

Eight is the number of empowerment, and those with this life path number identify with key themes of power, control, authority, and money, Bender says. They’re great at making money and are “phenomenal leaders,” Woodward adds, but Eights also really know how to spend money, which can be the cause of their downfall.

Number 9

Nines are compassionate humanitarians, bringing their empathetic, self-sacrificing energy to every situation, Bender says. “They do things selflessly and anonymously,” Woodward explains, adding that if they donated money for a building, they wouldn’t want their name on it. This number is also intelligent and possesses leadership qualities, but “a lot of times, people find them polarizing because they're intimidated by their intelligence,” she adds. Also worth noting: Nines can be a bit belligerent.

Master Number 11

If you’re a master number 11, you’re an inspired healer of sorts, according to Bender. Eleven energy is very foundational and pushes people forward, meaning those identifying with this number are often the first to accomplish something, like Madonna in pop music, says Woodward. Elevens also have an incredible intuition, she adds.

Master Number 22

Last is the master number 22, a.k.a. the visionary that is able to conceive of things that don’t exist. Twenty-twos practically bring their ideas to life and break down barriers while doing so, says Woodward. Like Twos, they also possess the qualities of being sensitive, intuitive diplomats, Bender adds.

Whether you take numerology seriously or just dabble in it for fun, this practice can teach you about your strengths and weaknesses and, ultimately, help guide your decisions in life.

Meet the Experts: Felicia Bender is a resident numerologist at and author of Redesign Your Life: Using Numerology to Create the Wildly Optimal You. Joy Woodward is a numerologist and the author of A Beginner's Guide to Numerology: Decode Relationships, Maximize Opportunities, and Discover Your Destiny. Aliza Kelly is a professional numerologist, astrologer, and author of the manifestation deck and guidebook There Are No Coincidences.

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