ARITHMANCY -> and how it relates to Harry Potter

Arithmancy, as most will know, is an upper-level course at Hogwarts (and Hermione’s favorite). Some are aware that it’s got something to do with numbers. Probably magic, too, considering. But what is it, really? Let’s take a look at it through a very simplified approach.

It’s not just the “magic version” of mathematics, as the assumption tends to be. Arithmancy is actually a branch of alchemy aimed at predicting one’s personal future through numbers (an arguably more precise form of Divination, if you will). It also attempts to bring to light the strengths and weaknesses of a person.

When we boil it down, there are two main methods by which to study arithmancy. These are the Agrippan method and the Chaldean method; the Agrippan method is more widely known and preferred (you may remember from the first book that Ron needed the Agrippa chocolate frog card for his collection).

I like to imagine that the Agrippan method is taught in the introductory classes at Hogwarts, and the course material is expanded upon by bringing in the Chaldean method in more advanced sections of the course.

You can see the number charts for these two methods in the images above.

These number charts are used to calculate three “x numbers”, as we could call them: the heart number, the life number, and the character number. Using the Agrippan Method, they are calculated as such:

  • HEART NUMBER: add together only the vowels in a person’s name
  • LIFE NUMBER: add together only the consonants in a person’s name
  • CHARACTER NUMBER: add together all the letters in a person’s name
  • Note: if the sum of those numbers is greater than 9, add the values of the digits in the number until you reach a single-digit number. For instance, if you get 12, add 1 + 2 to equal 3.

The Chaldean method is very similar; the only difference is that the number 9 is not used in the calculations.

Example (AM):

SIRIUS

I - I - U = 9 + 9 + 3 = 21 = 2 + 1 = 3 (heart number)

S - R - S = 1 + 9 + 1 = 11 = 1 + 1 = 2 (life number)

S - I - R - I - U - S = 1 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 3 + 1 = 32 = 3 + 2 = 5 (character number)

Example (CM):

SIRIUS

I - I - U = 1 + 1 + 6 = 8 (heart number)

S - R - S = 3 + 2 + 3 = 8 (life number)

S - I - R - I - U - S = 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 6 + 3 = 16 = 1 + 6 = 7 (character number)

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