|Introduction to Arithmancy
||[Aug. 1st, 2006|07:40 pm]
Arithmancy: HP math geeks unite
The art and science of Arithmancy is an ancient one, and one of the earliest recorded forms of magic. Wizards from such ancient civilizations as the Chinese, Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians, Incas, and Aztecs recorded their Arithmantic spells on clay and stone tablets, and many of these survive to this day, giving us an important insight into how Arithmancy affected the development of the Wizarding world throughout the centuries and across many cultures.
Sadly, most witches and wizards today remain woefully ignorant of Arithmancy, and many are shockingly proud of this fact. It is not at all uncommon to hear someone say, “Oh, I was always terrible at Arithmancy in school!” Oddly, few seem so willing to admit they struggled with Charms or Transfiguration.
But for those witches and wizards with a basic understanding of and facility with elementary Arithmancy, a world of possibilities is available! Though I am only providing a basic introduction to the subject today, I do hope that you will be intrigued enough to consider studying it in the future. After all, an OWL in Arithmancy is a gateway to many prestigious careers.
In this introductory lesson, I will refrain from presenting you with a great deal of theory; instead, my goal is to give you an inkling of how Arithmancy works. In general, Arithmancy is the magical art or science (depending on which expert you consult) that employs the naturally occurring magic of numbers.
You are probably aware of some of the common household uses of Arithmancy, such as checkbook balancing and cooking spells. Those who never study the subject formally are often left with the impression that this is the extent of the usefulness of Arithmancy. “Why should I bother to study Arithmancy?” they ask. “I already know how to whip up a tasty stew for eight, after all.”
You have also, no doubt, been exposed to the uses of Classical Arithmancy that overlap with Divination. In this branch of Arithmancy, letters of the alphabet are assigned digits 1-9 and then are manipulated in order to make predictions about the personality, predilections, and possible future of an individual based on his or her name. Many Arithmancers consider this branch of the field a bit woolly, to be honest. In Modern Arithmancy, there are other more noble and powerful ways to employ the magic of numbers, as will be demonstrated in this introductory lesson.
The power of Arithmancy, I must admit, lies partly in the fact that so many are ignorant of it. The spells you will learn in this introductory lesson, for example, would be utterly unmysterious to one who had studied Arithmancy for a mere year or two at school. But I suspect that you will be able to use them quite easily without many people understanding how this magic works.
You can learn more about Classical Arithmancy at the following sites:
Lessons from the Introductory Course at Lumos
Lesson 1: Determining a person’s age
Lesson 2: Passing a secret number to a group
Lesson 3: Another way to pass a secret number to a group
Lesson 4: Dividing a number of runes between two people
Lesson 5: Recovering a missing number from a sequence