What Exactly Is Numerology, Anyway? And How Can It Help You?

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If you read your horoscope daily and freak out whenever Mercury goes into retrograde (which, tbh, feels like all the time), you’ve probably heard of numerology. Similar to reading your birth chart, it claims to help you uncover several aspects of yourself and what you’re capable of achieving in this lifetime. Known as the universal study of numbers, numerology works on the system that once the universe is broken down, we are left with the basic elements, which are numbers. These numbers can then be used to help us better understand the world and ourselves as individuals.

As someone who’s had several astrological readings in her life, I have to admit I was pretty curious about numerology. I really wanted to know if it could predict things coming up, and whether it would give me any insight into career, love, or home life. So, I turned to numerology expert Josh Siegel to help uncode my individual numbers and explain what exactly they meant for my life… and let’s just say, the results were shocking

Meet the Expert

Josh Siegal is one of the foremost authorities on numerology in the United States. He is a public speaker and makes frequent TV appearances related to numerology.

So, What Is Numerology Anyway?

“Simply speaking, numerology is a mathematical code in your psychological DNA,” says Siegel. “We know that we all have DNA in us, and it determines our hair color, eye color, and predisposition to certain things. On an anatomical, physical level, numerology is the code and the map to your life path.” Practitioners of numerology believe that it offers insight into what you’ve been placed on this earth to do—basically, your life’s purpose.

You don’t need your birth time for numerology, but you do need your full name (first, middle, and last name) and date of birth to find your numbers, which can then provide a host of guidance into your past, present, and future, as well as personality traits and patterns you’ve been stuck in since you were born. 

Practitioners of numerology believe that it offers insight into what you’ve been placed on this earth to do—basically, your life’s purpose.

What Kinds of Numbers Are Significant?

For his readings, Siegel uses five different numbers, but the main ones in general numerology include the life path number, the ultimate goal number, and the expression number. 

The life path number is found by adding up the date of birth until it reaches a single digit (unless it’s a master number, but that gets complicated). So, for instance, March 8, 1992 would bring about a life path number of 5 (3+8+1+9+9+2 = 32, 3+2 = 5). According to numerology, a life path number of 5 indicates adventure and freedom, so those with this number are inquisitive and intellectual, but might end up being commitment-phobes in relationships. The life path number is meant to reveal vital truths about one’s personality and challenges they’ll face in their life.

The ultimate goal number, on the other hand, reveals what ultimately brings us joy and what can help us achieve the most satisfaction in life, while the expression number reveals personal strengths and challenges you’ll face. Combined, these numbers can give you insight into who you are at your core, so you can understand yourself better.

How Can Numerology Help You?

Primarily, numerology illuminates parts of your personality that you may keep hidden or feel embarrassed by, and it also helps you to figure out what lessons you’re meant to learn in this lifetime. You’ll be able to determine why you’re here, what makes you happy career-wise, and how you’ll be able to achieve success and happiness. It can also help you figure out what patterns are keeping you stuck, and how to rise above them.

“The numbers seem to describe what kinds of challenging circumstances you're going to grow up with, and how that's going to affect you,” says Siegel. “Then we tend to repeat those patterns—we tend to be encoded with that and tend to repeat those patterns until we wake up out of it. Also another secret is we tend to attract people that mirror our lesson numbers, sometimes remarkably so.”

Can You Use Numerology to Help Predict the Future?

Here’s where it gets a little tricky: Numerology can definitely help you predict patterns, but it won’t necessarily guarantee that something will happen for you. “It’s more about the likelihood or the statistical probabilities,” explains Siegel. “You start making a mental note of what kinds of events happen under certain types of numerological influences. That number year brought this kind of thing.” 

You can’t predict the future, because free will comes into play.

Depending on your birth date, you’re born under a certain numbered year that stems from one to nine, and it repeats in nine year cycles, with each number representing a theme or lesson. So for instance, in your fifth year, which is about independence, you may likely quit a job or travel the world or break up with a significant other. The likelihood of it happening is more so, but it’s not a guarantee. 

“I'm looking to see how you respond to certain numbers historically,” elaborates Siegel. “But you can’t predict the future, because free will comes into play. It may be that it holds true most of the time that certain numbers bring certain types of events, generally speaking, but you could choose to stay in that relationship that’s making you miserable, even though the numbers suggest otherwise.”

What Is a Numerology Reading Like?

Honestly, it was kind of cool. To start with, Siegel walked me through certain numbers and explained how they indicated what types of skills I have and what my career path should be—media and communications, thankfully, with an emphasis on writing. We also talked about the types of content I was inspired by based on the different numbers in my chart, and it was really interesting to see that the types of jobs I’ve had (design, health editor roles) were based on what my numbers said would be of most interest to me. It made me feel like I was on the right path in terms of what I wanted to do with my career, and it also helped affirm my talents and skills.

Later, though, was when things got super interesting: There were two numbers at odds with one another when it came to my core personality—I had 4 and 5 both in my chart. Five, as I’ve mentioned, is the number of adventure and travel, but doesn’t really commit to anything, while 4, on the other hand, is a number symbolizing stability, commitment, and building. It explained a really huge pattern I had in relationships, which is running away when something gets too intense, but also then falling for people who were very 5 themselves, who couldn’t give me commitment. My relationships went from being super serious to flings to super serious again, and I was always wondering why I couldn’t find a balance in the middle. According to Seigel, I had to find a balance in my career to build something stable while still maintaining an independent freelance life, and I’d be able to manifest a person who was exciting to me, yet provided me the stability I really craved.

Another interesting thing I learned was that from being a life path 11, I was always interested in spirituality. It explained why I was so drawn to things like astrology, tarot reading, and numerology, but it also struck on the fact that because of my heightened sensitivity, I was somewhat at the whim of the moods of others. I often lost my boundaries and gave too much in my relationships, which was very true. It helped me realize the way to find satisfaction in my friendships and relationships was to stand up for myself more, or I’d constantly shy away from deep connections for fear that they’d strip me of my independence. Learning these patterns was seriously eye-opening, and while there’s definitely a long way to go, I think my numerology reading was a really insightful look at issues I knew I was having in my life, all while providing tangible ways to fix them.

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