The Meaning of Number 12
Compound numbers, like the number 12, are composed of root numbers which determine, define and illuminate their meaning.
In Numerology, the root numbers from 0-9 are the primary carriers of vibrational energy.
That is why numerologists always reduce compound numbers to their underlying root number by adding together all of the individual digits.
The energies that we experience as consciousness, as well as the particles that form matter, come from a unified field of energy.
This unified field, known in some traditions as source energy, spirit, God or atman, has an energetic essence.
It makes itself known to us by manifesting in the form of matter, thoughts, information and energy.
Numbers are mental forms that carry vibrational energies from this unified field into consciousness and appear in our minds in a variety of ways.
The more we learn about the hidden meanings of numbers, the better we will understand the forces that are at work shaping our lives.
The Numerological Meaning of 12
The number 12 is compound number that is ordinarily reduced to its underlying root number. In the case of 12 we would reduce it like this:
1 + 2 = 3
The number 3 therefore is the vibrational essence that informs the number 12. When we see 12 we can think of it as the number 3 in disguise. In this way, the number 12 has much of the same energy as the number 3, but in a diluted or problematic form.
The number 12 then is said to be informed by the creative energy of the number 3. Yet it also expresses much of the energy of the numbers that appear in its disguise — 1 and 2.
The Basic Essence of Number 12
To better understand the essence of 12, we need to recall the meanings of numbers 1 and 2. Remember, the numbers 1 and 2 form a duality that is similar to the Yin and Yang in Taoism. The number 1 is the number of leaders who are highly energetic and active. The number 2, on the hand, is like yin energy, passive and even submissive.
The number 12 then represents unbridled creativity, constrained within the opposing primordial forces that make up all things.
The Symbolic Meaning of 12
The number 12 is associated with a rather ominous card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot, called The Hanged Man. This card is associated with two types of energy that all people must deal with on their larger spiritual journey: sacrifice and the inner conflict arising from the divergent energies that move through all of nature.
In TS Eliot’s Poem The Waste Land, the fortune teller and Tarot reader Madame Sosostris (notice the S-O-S embedded in her name) warns the narrator to fear death by water when The Hanged Man fails to appear in the spread. Why is this?
The number 12, as well as The Hanged Man are both associated with the astrological sign of Pisces, a water sign. Pisces is symbolized by two fish swimming in opposing directions. This is symbolic of the inner emotional conflicts that people with that astrological sign, as well as those whose life path or soul urge numbers can be expressed as 12, experience.
How 12 Appears in Your Life Experience
The number 12 is very common, appearing twice a day on the clock, every month on the calendar, every year throughout December and often in the form of prices and dollar amounts as we go through our days. In fact, 12 is so common, we are likely to consider its appearance to be merely a coincidence. But that is not necessarily the case.
If we consider the meaning of the number, it could come to represent creativity constrained by an unrelenting inner conflict. In the I Ching, the 12th kua is translated as ‘Obstruction’ or ‘Stagnation.’ Thomas Cleary’s translation of the Confucian commentary on this kua reads: “When Heaven and Earth do not interact, things and beings do not attain fulfillment.”
When we are in the throes of an intense inner conflict, it is not likely that we will be effective in the outer world. Therefore, when the number 12 appears at salient moments in our experience, it could indicate that we need to transcend our internal conflict to realize our true creative potential, symbolized by the root number 3.
Number 12 as Karma and Destiny
When we look at The Hanged Man card, or read about obstruction in the I Ching, it may fill us with a sense of foreboding, but this is not necessarily the interpretation that we should make. The Hanged Man actually represents the key to enacting the creative energy of root number 3, which 12 reduces to once we have reconciled out internal conflict.
The Hanged Man represents the profound energy of sacrifice. Of course, the archetypal image of sacrifice in our tradition is that of Christ, but there are many other sacrifices that we can enact in our lives that will bring us balance and harmony.
A clue as to what this sacrifice may be comes again from Confucius, whose commentaries in the I Ching illuminated the enigmatic symbols that Fu Hsi discovered on the backs of cracked tortoise shells when he originally compiled the I Ching almost 5,000 years ago. Of Number 12, Obstruction, Confucius further wrote: “The Superior Person withdraws from the world and escapes surrounding evil influences.
By withdrawing inside himself, he eschews the temptation of honor and riches.”
The key to reconciling the internal conflict inherent in number 12 is to go inside and work with the conflicting energies.
Through meditation, seclusion in natural settings and getting in touch with the conflicting sides of our nature, those struggling with 12 energy can reconcile their inner conflict and enact unbridled and joyful creative energy in their lives.