If you think numbers don't play an important role in your life, ask yourself if you would seriously consider getting married on Friday the 13th.
I knew nothing about numerology until recently. I'm still no expert, but I have to admit to being amazed how much the numerologist Lana Miller was able to tell me about myself.
The cynic in me wondered whether she was simply a very good "cold reader", but there were certain things she could not possibly have deduced.
Why a numerologist?
But back to the beginning. Why did I do this?
Our editorial team has set out to explore the alternative and complementary health sector, in both diagnostic and healing areas. I chose the numerologist, for two reasons: numbers have always fascinated me, and I didn't much fancy having needles stuck into me by an acupuncturist, or being given a concoction to drink by a traditional healer. These experiences I left to the more adventurous members of our team. I was a township teacher for 16 years – I've had all the adventures I need in my lifetime.
Picture the scene: a boiling Wednesday afternoon in Vredehoek, and I am trawling up and down a seemingly endless road looking for a particular block of flats, one which – when I find it - looks pretty much like all the other blocks of flats in the street. Not the sort of setting I would have expected – until the door is opened.
Lana is someone who would stand out in a crowd, with her brightly coloured clothing and hair. I'm hot and bothered, and she gestures me to a comfortable couch and brings me a glass of water. She has a gorgeous, peaceful flat, the stuff of which features in decor magazines are made.
Before the session, Lana had requested the following details: my date of birth, my full name (I have only one first name) as it appeared on my birth certificate, and any nicknames other people and family might have for me. Apart from also knowing what job I currently do, that was all she knew about me.
Before I get onto the fascinating things she told me, here's a bit about numerology.
What is numerology?
Numerology, according to Wikipedia, covers many systems, traditions or beliefs in a mystical or esoteric relationship between numbers and physical objects or living things. Modern numerology draws on a variety of ancient cultures and teachers, including Babylonia, Pythagoras and his followers (6th century BC), early Christian mysticism, the Hebrew system of the Kabbalah, and the Indian Vedas, to name but a few.
In 325 AD, at the first Council of Nicaea, numerology was classified along with astrology, divination and "magic" to the "unacceptable" pile. But it seems to have bounced back.
How does it work?
Numerologists often reduce a number or sequence of numbers to a single digit, and then reach conclusions based on this. Your birth date is seen as the date on which you soul has chosen to come back into the earthly planes, hence its significance.
For example, my date of birth, 14 March 1963, translates to the number 9. This is how it is done: 1+4 =5 (day). 5+3 (month) = 8. 1+9 = 10 (which is reduced to 1 as 0 is not deemed to have a value) and 6+3 = 9 (year), which is added to the 1, giving 10, which translates into a one. Now you see why numerologists have to do a course. So ultimately, my date of birth translates into an 8 + 1, which makes me a 9.
Nine is the number of completion and closure. It's the number representing the ability to let go – in some cases. Nines want rewards, and they make good anarchists, and good kings.
And now onto my name – numerologists allocate numbers to letters according to a chart. The vowels indicate the path of your soul and the consonants what your personality wants.
It was at this point that Lana leaned forward and said out of the blue, "You do of course know you're a witch, don't you?" Who was I to disagree? Maybe that explains why my black cat found me, and not the other way round.
But there were some fascinating things she told me – things she could not possibly have known. These included my fascination for things logical, mechanical and mathematical. (Career counsellors had told me that mechanical engineering would be the best career choice for me, but I had a fascination for languages too, and that's where I went.)
She told me that I had made a major decision at the age of 38 – spot on. I changed careers completely. A scary thing for someone who likes feeling in control of their work environment.
There was also a significant Scandinavian influence in my numbers. It took me a while to figure that one out. My best friend's surname is Scandinavian.
She said my name denoted a 5 – the middle number. I am a middle child, and have spent my life often caught between two cultures, two languages, and different belief systems.
She also told me I was patient and fair-minded, and could rely on my intuition. I do, all the time. (I sometimes wonder whether numerologists would tell you if they thought you were a horrible person, or if they would couch it in the kind of terms that sound encouraging rather than condemnatory.) I suspect that her 'encouraging' remark to me was that she could quite imagine me to be quite scary if I became angry. Right on.
I was told that even though I knew nothing about numerology, I had lived my life and made all major decisions absolutely according to its teachings. Well, blow me down. As far as the future is concerned, I must look out for gynaecological and kidney problems, prepare for some overseas travelling next year, and for lots of work-related travelling after 2014. I am packing my bags.
So what is my verdict?
I certainly found it intriguing and thoroughly enjoyed being the focus of someone's positive input of energy for more than an hour. I think there is certainly something there, but as with all these things, I think we should beware of turning things into self-fulfilling prophecies. But I was fascinated, and would recommend the experience.
And it was out into the heat again. I wasn't the only one feeling the heat - my departure was the signal for Lana's beautiful fat grey cat to go and have another drink of water out of the fish tank.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, January 2008)
Lana Miller can be contacted on (021) 462 4740. Her tariffs are in the region of R400 per hour. Telephonic, written and face-to-face readings can be done.