I got into this (even though numbers make me vomit) a few years ago just for the heck of it. I know some of you New Agers -- if I even get any of those here -- will tell me that there's some sort of mystical significance to numerology and that I shouldn't poke around with it in jest, but I just end up using it to flesh out the characters of whatever story I happen to be working on. How does it work? Here's a tutorial.
Every letter is assigned a numerical value, and every number has certain traits and qualities attached to it. Here's what you're working with:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
Got that? It's really simple, or I wouldn't bother with it. You break down the whole name (first, middle, and last), then tally up the numbers. For instance, let's try...Louisa May Alcott, as that's the first name that popped into my head. First letter, L, with a numerical value of 3; second letter, O, with a value of 6; and so on. When we've got all the numbers for the first name (L/3, O/6, U/3, I/9, S/1, A/1), we add them up, so 3+6+3+9+1+1=23. Next step, breaking down the digits of the sum to get a single digit. Just add those two together (2+3) and you get your final number, 5. Do the next two names the same way until you've got the three digits you'll be fiddling with. In this case, it's 5 (Louisa), 3 (May), 8 (Alcott). Now we proceed to learn just what those numbers mean.
1) Ones are usually independent, focused, single-minded, and determined; often leaders. They set goals and stick to them. They don't like to take orders or work with others. They can be self-centered, egotistical, and domineering.
2) Two represents interaction, cooperation, and balance. Twos are often imaginative, creative, and sweet-natured. Peace, harmony, commitment, loyalty, and fairness are characteristic. Two also introduces the idea of conflict, opposing forces, and the contrasting sides of things. Twos can be withdrawn, moody, self-conscious, and indecisive.
3) Three represents the idea of completeness (coming from the concept that 3 is a "complete" number, having a beginning, a middle, and an end). It indicates talent, energy, an artistic nature, and social ease. Threes are often lucky, easygoing, and successful. They can also be unfocused, easily offended, and superficial.
4) Four indicates stability and firmness. Fours enjoy hard work, and are typically practical, reliable, and down-to-earth. They prefer logic and reason to flights of fancy. They are good at organizing and getting things done, and are usually predictable people. They can be stubborn, suspicious, overly practical, and prone to angry outbursts.
5) Five indicates change and uncertainty. Fives are drawn to many things at once but often commit to none. They are adventurous, energetic, and willing to take risks, and they often enjoy travel. They may not stay in one place very long. They can be conceited, irresponsible, quick-tempered, and impatient.
6) Six represents harmony, friendship, and family life. Sixes are loyal, reliable, and loving. They adapt easily, do well in teaching and in the arts, and are often unsuccessful in business. They are sometimes prone to gossip and complacency. (6 is also considered a "perfect" number. This stems from the belief in the completeness of 3; 6 is just two 3s put together, so it must be twice as complete.)
7) Sevens enjoy hard work and challenges. They are perceptive, understanding, and bright. They are often serious, scholarly, and interested in mysterious things. Originality and imagination are important to them. They can be sarcastic, pessimistic, and insecure. (7 is thought to be a mystical number...I refuse to elaborate on this one.)
8) Eight indicates the possibility of success in business, finance, and politics. Eights are practical, ambitious, committed, and hard-working. They can be jealous, greedy, domineering, and power-hungry.
9) Nine represents completion and achievement to the fullest degree (it's 3 three times over! How much better can it get?). Nines often dedicate themselves to the service of others. They are determined and hard-working, and are often an inspiration to the people around them. They can be arrogant and conceited.
So what conclusions can we reach as to Miss Alcott's personality? Her numbers were 5, 3, and 8, so we can infer that she had lots of energy and wanderlust, was a little short-tempered, quite the risk-taker, talented, artistic, and thin-skinned. She was certainly hard-working and committed, and practical-minded.
Now, before I hear any skepticism from any of you, let me just say that I read a very well-researched biography on this very lady some time ago, and from the extracts from her own journals and her life story, this is pretty much a spot-on analysis. I'm telling you, this is an awesome hobby! Grab a pad of paper and a calculator, and have at it!