Playing With Number Meanings
Getting Creative With Number Meanings
Numbers demand to be observed through a myriad of viewfinders. Why? Because they are so intricate and complex in meaning and implication.
Consider the number two. It means fathoms more than just the sum of 1+1. Two symbolically implies deep stuff like: Partnership, Duality, Choice (one or the other?), Polarity, Opposites, and most importantly - Balance.
Moreover, each number is governed by a planetary influence. The number two, for example, is ruled by the moon. This lends even more complexity to number meanings.
Numbers are as diverse as the equations they can potentially formulate. Further, numbers are the scaffolding of life. Have you ever heard the term: "Life is comprised of one's and zero's"? It's really true. In every nano-bit of life, a number is present.
I love numbers as oracles because they are so painfully simplistic yet vast in complexity (it's that duality thing that really sets me on the jazz about numbers).
Given their complexity and dynamic potential for meaning...how do we get a handle on the common denominator for number symbolism?
Well, I like to play with them.
Not in a mathematic sort of way...are you kidding? I'm numerically atrophied. I have to pull my socks off when I run out of fingers for counting. Math is not my bag, baby. But I can read a symbolic number meaning like the blind read Braille. Number-interpretation is a touchy-feely thing for me.
Part of that emotive, visceral experience with number meanings comes from fiddling around with them in a creative way.
You can play around with numbers too.
Here are a few ideas for 'viewfinders' and creative play we can use when exploring number meanings.
Tips for Playing Around with Number Meanings
- Holy Crayola, Batman, it's Number-Art!:
Have you ever noticed how some numbers are squiggly, and some are sternly straight? There's symbolism in that. There's no better way to peak into a deeper meaning (of anything, not just numbers) than through artistic expression. Haul out your implements of art, and start doodling around with numbers. You don't need to be an artist. Finger paints do nicely. Heck...swirling out sixes and nines in the dust on your coffee table will work! It sounds quirky, but tracing out numerals in an artsy way opens up massive insight. It's like seeing the world of numbers with a whole new lens.
- Goin' Along, Singin' a Number Song, Side by Siiiiide!
Yep...sing your numbers. This can be as simple as belting out a kid's song for numbers - like "Ten Little Indians" or "Monkeys in the Bed", or even "99 Bottles of Beer". Better yet, you can make your number song more ornate by applying math to your own music-making. Numbers are married to music. No doubt about it. You can't have a chord or rhythm without numbers. My point is, there's something about song and music that opens up a different portal in the brain. This portal can send us into new realms of understanding about number meanings. Just give it a shot in a loosey-goosey sort of way. You might be very surprised about the symbolic revelations you have about number meanings with song.
- Drum Roll Please...
This is a carry-over from singing or music-making. The concept is the same. There just can't be a percussion section in bands and orchestras around the world without numbers. Numbers are crucial to the beat of all life. We can tap into life's heartbeat by rat-tat-tatting on the drums. As you hammer out your rhythms, really focus on the number of raps, the time, the beat, etc. You can even take this a step further by joining a local drum circle. As you drum in a community - really take note of the numbers that fly into the atmosphere with each percussive signature.
- A Stitch in Time...
As a crafter, numbers are essential to the crochet, sewing or needlepoint I endeavor to create. If crafting isn't your bag, give it a shot anyway. Count each stitch with meticulous focus. The repetition alone can offer an eerie kind of calm within the psyche. I often find counting stitches to be cathartic and relaxing. Why? Because numbers comprise the fabric of life. Logically, acknowledging numbers in the fabric of our creations augers mending, healing and focus. This practice renders a sense of clarity when it comes to order and structure in our life.
- Do the Number Shuffle (or the Number Mash - whichever you prefer):
Care to dance? Numbers take the stage when it comes to cutting the rug. Consider: What would the foxtrot be without the presence of numbers buoying the choreographed steps? Dancing is a great way to tap your toes into number meanings. As a Native Texan, I do the two-step. There's something about that 1-2, 1-2 that really gets me in the number groove.
- Save the Date!
Use the calendar for creative number-play. Let's say you keep seeing the number 11. Consider the 11th month of the year, November. What does November mean to you? You could take this exercise a step further and start looking back through history about all the events that took place on the 11th, or in the 11th month, or the 11th year. You get the idea. I've done this, and have found remarkable patterns. Researching a number through the calendars of time often reveals themes. It seems the events that take place almost mirror the personality of a number meaning.
- Take a Deep Breath...
Incorporate number energy into your physical essence by doing numbered breathing exercises. Like: Breathe in, hold it for 4 counts, and exhale for 8 counts. This practice invites numerical order into the molecular structure of our bodies. It's a very nifty-keen way to get intimate with number meanings on a visceral level.
- How Many Licks Does it Take to Get to the Center of a Tootsie Pop?
Okay...you got me...I play with my food. And my numbers. When number meanings elude me (like when I keep seeing a specific number, and I can't put my finger on the meaning)...sometimes I incorporate counting while I eat. I count my cornflakes. I count the number of licks it takes to get to the center of my Tootsie pop. I count out the colors of my M&M's. I admit, it sounds odd...but seeing 12 green M&M's in my hand has given me genuine epiphanies. Admittedly, it's a far-out technique. But, if you're stumped on a number - "chewing on it" could be just the trick to offer understanding.
- Overcome the Language Barrier
Numerals are a language. String some numbers together, and they inevitably lead to some kind of dialogue - whether mathematic or symbolic. So, if they're a language, why limit ourselves to just one dialect? Meaning, have a go at playing with different number systems. Our numeric language doesn't have to be confined to Arabic. Roman numerals are super-fun to play with. Explore Asian number systems, or Greek. Pick a cool-looking Greek number and doodle on your sketch pad with it. Then associate your drawing with the value of the number. You can do this with any numeric system. You may find the results to be quite surprising and revealing.
- What a Winning Hand!
As a lover of symbols, my education in symbolic meanings would be dwarfed had it not been for my exposure to the Tarot. The Tarot is a unique system of symbolic conveyance that uses archetypes, ancient symbolism, and yes...numbers. When I'm number-stuck, I often pull Tarot cards that match the number about which I'm perplexed. Let's say number 8. I'll pull the 8 of Cups, Rods, Pentacles and Swords. I'll also pull the Strength card (8 in the Major Arcana). I'll lay all these cards out, and sure-enough...meaning will come in a themed pattern. If Tarot freaks you out, you can try doing this with an ordinary deck of playing cards.
Am I crazy for posing these tips about numerical play? Nope. At least, I don't think so. I'm stark-sane because there's a point to all this number-chicanery.
My point is this: Numbers serve as a backbone for all life. Whether we are master mathematicians or math-dunces (like me)...it makes no difference. What does matter is that we acknowledge the order represented by numbers, and drill-down the deeper meanings inherent in them. When we do, we salute the glorious structure of the universe. We tap into the perfection of universal structure.
By playing around with number meanings we institute a formula in our personal lives that says:
"All things equate the way they should - and there is perfect harmony in the formula of life."
Need more inspiration about number meanings? Check out the links at the end of this page for more articles on the symbolism of numbers.
Thanks for reading, and may all your numbers be playful! :)
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!