What is the significance of numbers in feng shui?
Jacqueline R., Cleveland, OH
A few years ago, I was honored to attend a sacred geometry lecture with Robert Lawlor, an anthropologist, mythographer, symbologist and author of several books. The symbolism of numbers goes hand in hand with sacred geometry as well as feng shui. Lawlor remarked sadly that because we have been taught that numbers merely denote quantities, our society has been robbed of a metaphorical language. He further argued that everything in the physical world has three aspects or dimensions, and therefore similarly everything (including numbers) represents symbols at three different levels, and with at least three methods of meaning.
I thought that was a brilliant and very relevant point. So to answer your question, I’ll present the meanings of the most significant feng shui numbers on three levels. In feng shui, each number 1 through 9 relates to a specific area of the feng shui bagua map.
ONE: Path in life, water and career
TWO: Relationships, yin earth and partnerships
THREE: New beginnings, yang wood and family
FIVE: Health, earth and the center of your life/home
SIX: Benefactors, yang metal and travel
SEVEN: Completion, yin metal and joy
EIGHT: Knowledge, yang earth and self-cultivation
NINE: Recognition, fire and passion
Additionally, nine is the most auspicious number in BTB feng shui. It represents the most complete number. Many feng shui cures require repetitions of nine (such as repeating a ritual nine times, or using a string in increments of nine units). I also receive all my fees in a multiple of nine and in nine red envelopes. The number 108 is a multiple of nine and one of the most auspicious numbers in Buddhism. Malas, which are Buddhist prayer beads, have 108 beads, and many mantras are chanted 108 times.
Five is also auspicious as it represents the five elements or phases. The five elements are earth, metal, water, wood and fire. These elements are related to feng shui philosophy and the bagua map. They create balance and harmony when you have all five present in your environment.
Finally, pairs (or the number Two) are often used in bedrooms for couples. As I've indicated above, the number Two symbolizes a couple and can encourage a balanced and harmonious relationship. If you are looking for a partner, it's also favorable to have paired objects in the bedroom.
Numbers are symbolic metaphors and offer us unique and beneficial ways to look at our environment and the world around us.