Destiny vs. Free Will; A Numerologists Perspective

Dear friends,

As a working Numerologist, I have often encountered frustrating moments where I have been exploring an idea or principle and there has been no-one to talk to who is understanding of this subject. There are only a few books that attempt to pursue the truth behind an issue yet it is all too common that the subject material is ‘scanned’ to provoke contemplation with no future outlet for follow-up, conclusion or general opinion. So I would like to remedy this by discussing an area that has gone largely unchallenged.

First, let me describe briefly my credentials. My first introduction to the esoteric was through the Tarot. I have studied the Tarot for 19 years and, as a result, have written a book entitled ‘The Philosophy of the Tarot for the Twenty-First Century’ (Yet to be published but watch my website (address below) in the near future). My interest in Numerology came a couple of years later. Initial studies of the subject were undertaken through the guidance of the books written by Matthew Oliver Goodwin who has, without a doubt, made a valuable contribution to the advancement of Numerology. I have since devoured every worthy book I could find. My own studies have concluded, however, that Mr Goodwin underestimated the importance of the number he called the ‘secret self’. Further investigation revealed that there are many title variations to the core element numbers of a chart and this is an issue which begs for a more open discussion.

The purpose of this address, however, is dedicated to the raging argument that exists between ‘Destiny’ and ‘Free Will’. The first task in learning Numerology, is to add up the numbers one ones month, day and year to determine a single digit total. It was disconcerting to find that this number Mr Goodwin termed the ‘Life Path’, while others referred to it as the ‘Destiny’ number. Questions must surely be raised at this discrepancy. Aside from that, however, one must question that if our lives are ruled by destiny, what would be the point of exercising free will?

Let us first form a foundation with which to start. Numerology is based on the belief in reincarnation and, it is believed, we must live many lives in order to develop and grow the spiritual self. Each incarnation begins with a predetermined lesson that will best serve the soul’s spiritual growth. In contrast, it is arguable that the element of free will exists so it is to what degree both destiny and free will determine our lives.

Which ever method is espoused – the Life Path or the Destiny Number – the implication is the same. We are incarnated for a purpose. My personal studies have involved the combined principles of the Tarot and the Qabalah as well as Numerology. My conclusion indicated that the Life Path / Destiny of an incarnation is merely a key. To use it we must then find the right door. Both terms, however, can be considered misleading if taken literally. Spiritual growth is not a course of events per se but the experiences of those, and any, events. In my opinion, the path of life is a path of experiences – not a path of timed events as is often suggested.

It is believed by those involved in Spiritualism that there is no such boundary as ‘linear time’ in the Spirit world. If we are to believe this to be true then ‘Destiny’ as a timed linear event must surely be questionable, if not inconsistent with this popular belief.

My belief is that Life Paths are built upon principles to be experienced, mastered and understood. Imagine if everyone were to understand the principles of their Life Path and live up to it to the best of their ability. A utopian view? Of course, but the reality of our current evolutionary state is grim to behold and it helps sometimes to reflect on the ultimate goal. My personal observations of the human race, in general, suggests that people appear to be unhappy and unsatisfied for much of their lives. Where I live, in London, England, there is evidence of hardship, apathy and resignation. People find it difficult to break free from Welfare State Benefits and those who work but exist within a poverty trap seem to be denied that little extra boost to ease the burden. Yet we must, in contrast, consider that the rich and the poor share the same birthdays, the same Life Paths. This would seem to demonstrate that being born into wealth or poverty is irrelevant. Perhaps it is, therefore, what we do with our lives that is important. After all, what is the difference between wallowing in a privileged lifestyle to wallowing in the depths of poverty? Our Life Path suggests that we have the choice and the free will to better ourselves within the limitations of our potential and ability.

I can only conclude that the experience of our lives, how we relate to them, how we approach them and how we understand them are destined by our chosen Life Path – but we may choose to reach, or not to reach, that destiny by the intervention of our own free will. Those who choose to ignore their Life Path will find their lives difficult and will be inevitably forced to encounter the same problems. In other words, the experiences of the negative aspects of their Life Path will apply; whether over-balanced or under-balanced. It is believed by some that even if the Path of a soul is a straight one, the road is extremely wide. Some people will follow the course of their Life Path without knowing that they are doing so. Most, however, are bound to find the Path obscured by the restrictions of society and the chores of daily life – sometimes blundering blindly from one crisis to another – learning their lessons the hard way and achieving little satisfaction in the process. With this in mind one must protest that it cannot possibly be the Destiny of people to suffer without good cause. To take an extreme for example; No-one can adequately justify that destiny decides the untimely death of a child who is too young even to know the difference between right and wrong.

Eastern schools of Numerology lean their delineations heavily towards spiritual matters. The Western world has little time for this point of view because it is too busy with the material. Here again, it is indisputable that people in the East share the same birthdays and Life Paths with people in the West. It can be agreed that a balance of material and spiritual would be a tremendous achievement but this does not detract the point that the Life Paths of East and West are agreed on the same number principles so the differences cannot be relevant.

People who embrace a more spiritual lifestyle do so out of choice. People who pursue material success do so out of choice. People who rise from the quagmire of poverty do so, not because of some preordained event but because they choose to make the best of an opportunity; or got lucky. It is unpalatable to subscribe to the notion that we are puppets in the hands of some Universal Intelligence. We chose our Life Path. We must, therefore, be responsible and accountable to ourselves; and this is something many people appear to be unwilling to do. It is easier to blame society, life, God, etc.

Some methods of Numerology suggest that our name can hold Numerological events that will happen in our lives. There are several problems with this. Even if, as some claim, we chose our parents before we were born, it is inconceivable that something so inherently changeable as a name can change our Destiny. Surely, if we follow this train of thought to its conclusion, it must be claimed it was Destiny that we changed our name – thereby denying us the use of free will.

Is there such a thing as Destiny? Yes I think there is. I also believe, however, that destiny is not as mundane as to be tied to a course of predetermined events. If it were true then we could choose to live in anarchy because Destiny would have our lives mapped out for us! If we get into trouble, its Destiny. If we succumb to vice, rob, kill…..don’t blame us – its Destiny!

I believe destiny is a series of experiences which the numbers in our chart have been purposefully designed to attract. Whether we understand and learn to benefit by those experiences is entirely up to us. We cannot be forced to accept growth or development. Sometimes it may take years of the same old thing until we finally realise what it is that we are doing wrong. We cannot hold up events because we are not ready, neither can we expect wisdom in a day. We have to elect whether we can benefit and learn by an experience. I’m sure we can all accept that we don’t always make the right choice. Life is hard and dangerous in today’s society and we may choose whether or not we expose ourselves to it.

There is obviously more to this subject and I feel that I have done little more than express a personal view. Many of you will have something more to contribute but there is nowhere to do this to any great purpose; that is to say there is no pooling of resource or opinion where results of this, and other topics, are analysed and fed back to its participants. This, I feel, is a great shame and a loss of an opportunity to establish definitive precedents. To this end I have started to create such an outlet which is dedicated to the pursuit of truth and honest debate. If you have found this discussion interesting, you may be interested enough to complete the questionnaire on this website.

I’m sure you will agree, there is much in the esoteric world to challenge and fully understand. Any contributions to validate a claim or dispel a fallacy can only be for the good of all. It’s time we put our collective heads together and joined forces.

Shane Ward