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Wedding Numerology (NY Times)

I often write about our training struggles, which truth be told feel like big, fat failures . So, today, I’m going to brag just a bit on myself. I had another article published yesterday by The New York Times. The piece, called “Lady Luck as Bridesmaid,” is my fifth for the SundayStyles section, which is a big, BIG deal. It’s hard to convey, but imagine you trained for 6 months for one run at one of the biggest, invitation-only national trials. Now, imagine the feeling of crossing the finish line with a clean run that millions of people saw. That’s  how I feel today. (Well, that, and grateful the piece is finally done.) If you’d like to read what I really do for a living, I pasted the text of the article below.

June 10, 2007
The New York Times

Lady Luck as Bridesmaid


WHAT’S luck got to do with it? For many it starts with selecting the perfect month, perfect day and sometimes even perfect hour to marry. Those of Chinese descent may consult a fortuneteller or an honored aunt or grandmother. Indian-Americans may ask their parents or Hindu priest to choose their wedding moment.

Others turn to numerologists.

Next month, for instance, wedding planners and venues have reported a startling rise in the number of couples who have booked weddings — especially in Las Vegas — on July 7, 2007, many of them having done so in the belief that 7-7-07 is a date with luck written all over it. But according to Glynis McCants, a numerologist and the author of “Glynis Has Your Number” (Hyperion, 2005), for some people, it will be anything but lucky.

Pythagorean numerologists, like Ms. McCants, break their calculations into numerals one through nine, by adding numbers again and again until a single digit remains. Some numbers mix; others don’t, she explained. Three, six and nine naturally match — as do one, five and seven or two, four and eight.

But because 7-7-2007 reduces to a five (7+7+2+0+0+7=23, then 2+3=5) and because fives, she explained, are chaotic, with things never going as planned, it is a bit of a wild-card date. “The average bride wants to be in control of her wedding,” Ms. McCants said.

But Indian-American couples have been advised that 7-7-07 is perfectly auspicious. In Indian culture, good dates, O.K. dates and bad dates to marry are based on the Hindu calendar. Sonal Shah of Save the Date Event Consultants in New York, said “99.9 percent of Indian couples that get married follow this system.”

Not many dates qualify, however, which makes for some significant competition among couples. She joined a crowd of others on her own wedding date —Nov. 27, 2004 — which she said “was the most auspicious date on the Hindu calendar in seven years.”

Amida Mehta, 32, of Richmond, Va., faced a similar problem with her wedding, and found after sorting through a list of auspicious dates that only two were viable for everyone to attend. “Picking an auspicious date is all in the spirit of family togetherness,” she said. After conferring with all parties they chose July 7, 2007, which, she noted, not only is the seventh day of the seventh month on a Western calendar, but is also the seventh day of the seventh month on the Hindu lunar calendar as well. “That’s not very common,” Ms. Mehta said.

Fernley Phillips, screenwriter of the film “The Number 23,” feels a serious affinity for that numeral. “My own relationship with 23 is much more of an intuitive thing,” he said. “It shows up a lot, and even when its presence is ‘disguised,’ I take a lot of fun in discovering it.”

Mr. Phillips met his wife, Alissa Ferguson, while peddling the script. That matchup resulted in marriage in 2004 — at 5 p.m. on Dec. 18 (figuring 18 plus 5 equaled 23). And what of the film, in which Jim Carrey played the lead? It opened, naturally, on Feb. 23 this year.

For anyone raised in Chinese culture, old habits die hard, said Shu Shu Costa, a first-generation Chinese-American and the author of “Wild Geese and Tea: An Asian-American Wedding Planner” (Riverhead Books, 1997). Chinese astrology and other beliefs come into play in weddings. “Most young couples say they don’t put any stock in superstitions,” she writes. “Astrological calendars and fortunetellers are as outdated as their grandmothers’ fairy tales and fables. But in the end, weddings are about tradition.”

When she was planning her own wedding, Mrs. Costa said in an interview, “I wanted to marry in July.” But she and her fiance ultimately picked a date in early August. “Because July apparently is the month of the spirits — when spirits that have passed on roam around,” she said. “And my mom didn’t think that was an appropriate time to get married.

“When family is important to you, you make these considerations. One could say we bowed to the spirits.”

Tanya Duncan, 37, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., thought differently. She went against wedding date suggestions from her father, who is a professional numerologist, simply because the judge was available on a different day.

Her dad “wasn’t crushed by any means, but he was a little disappointed,” she said, adding “Life is unpredictable sometimes.”

Frank Monahan is a life coach in Mountain View, Calif., who uses numerology. He said it’s that unsettled nature of human relationships that makes numerology so important. He explained that “vibrational frequencies” are set into motion at birth. “It’s not a belief,” he said. “It’s not a religion. You literally have a bar code when you are born.” Yet Mr. Monahan worries about couples who focus only on the wedding date, calling it “almost insignificant,” compared with overall numeric compatibility. “If you don’t have that,” he said, “you’re in trouble.”

Elizabeth Ann Joyce, a Pythagorean numerologist in Chalfont, Pa., said she once counseled a man in France whose wife-to-be panicked when she learned their wedding date did not bode well for longevity. “My answer was ‘Change the day,’ ” Ms. Joyce said.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.