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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

What is Divination?

This article was written by David Allen Hulse on May 31, 2002
posted under Numerology

By stars, cards, and alphabets. These are the three most popular methods of divination that have survived into the twentieth-century. The three occult sciences governing these oracular techniques are astrology (divination by the placement of the stars), cartomancy (divination by the random fall of the tarot or playing cards), and numerology (divination by the numbers concealed in the letters of a name or the digits of a birth date).

The word "numerology" comes from the Latin numeralis, meaning figure, character, or number. The dictionary definition of modern numerology is, "the belief in the occult influence of numbers upon the life of an individual."

Of the three methods of astrology, cartomancy, and numerology, numerology is the easiest oracular technique to learn and master. The term "numerology" appears to have become popular in the nineteenth-century literature of popular occultism. The source for this term in the European medieval magickal tradition is "arithmologia" (coined by Athanasius Kircher in 1665). Arithmologia is the combination of number (arithmo) and word (logia). It is the ancient divinatory and meditational technique of giving number value to the letters of any word or name, and can be found in 13 distinct esoteric languages from ancient cuneiform to modern English.

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