The number 12 serves many practical uses in our daily lives, including the way we track time (in twelve-hour clock cycles and years in twelve-month calendar cycles), measure length (in twelve inches per foot) and package items (often in multiples of twelve). There’s a good mathematical reason why counting in 12’s, called the “base-12” number system, has stood the test of time: it can be divided evenly in a number of ways such as in half (2 groups of 6), thirds (3 groups of 4), quarters (4 groups of 3) or sixths (6 groups of 2). This makes it twice as versatile and efficient as the decimal or “base-10” system of counting in 10s, which is only divisible in two ways: in half (2 groups of 5) or fifths (5 groups of 2). In short, the power of base-12 is its superior ability to creatively express the whole through smaller proportions of itself.
Not surprisingly, base-12 also reveals itself in the underlying structure and cycles of nature. After all, nature is all about expressing itself in the most diverse, balancedm and efficient way possible, making base-12 the natural choice. In quantum physics, for example, there are twelve subatomic particles from which all physical matter in the universe is made. These particles are further classified in two groups of six based on electrical charge (quarks and leptons) and three groups of four based on mass (generations). In chemistry, the element carbon is the critical building block of all organic life and of the carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis and the oxygen we breathe.
From the softness of graphite to the hardness of diamond, the versatility of carbon to combine into numerous diverse compounds is due to its base-12 atomic structure of six protons and six electrons. The spiral pattern of growth and fractal regeneration in plants and organisms also follows a base-12, “golden triangle” geometry with angles of 36, 72, and 72 degrees, the only triangle with its sides in golden ratio to each other. Last but not least, the twelve-note chromatic musical scale is the one scale which achieves the maximum number of intervals (pitch combinations) within the smallest number of notes. This scale is also inherently pleasing to hear, as it follows the same logarithmic structure as the golden spiral geometry of the cochlea of the human ear. So, even the human body is naturally tuned to the base-12 cycle.
Base-12 has always held a special place in spirituality, too. From the twelve signs of the zodiac in astrology to the twelve apostles of Jesus in Christianity, the twelve stations in life of Buddhism, and the twelve gods and goddesses of Olympus in ancient Greek mythology, the number 12 has long been a symbol of divine order and completion. Sacred geometry, the ascribing of symbolic spiritual meanings to geometric shapes and proportions, is also intimately connected to the number 12 and its various fractions and factors. Again, we see how base-12 enables the whole to be expressed fully and diversely through the sum of its parts. As above, so below.
Is Base-10 Obscuring the Truth?
As a former engineer and statistician, the prevalence of the highly efficient base-12 number system in the world around me made perfect sense. Nevertheless, modern society has largely discarded base-12 in favor of base-10 as the standard for commerce, mathematics, and science, as counting in tens is simpler than counting in “clock cycles” of twelve. The number 568 in base-10, for example, represents 5 cycles of 100 (10×10) plus 6 cycles of 10, plus another 8 (or, simply, 5×100 + 6×10 + 8 = 568). Easy to calculate and easy to picture in our mind. That same number converted to base-12 instead represents 3 cycles of 144 (12×12), plus 11 cycles of 12, plus another 4 (or, 3×144 + 11×12 + 4 = 3114). Note that 11 in base-12 is treated as a single digit, as is 10, underlined here so as not to confuse them with their double-digit counterparts. As you can see, it takes a little getting used to thinking in terms of twelves after a lifetime of tens! But like any new language, we only become fluent with practice.
Although I grew up learning strictly base-10 and applying it exclusively in my earlier number-crunching career, I always had a nagging feeling that, despite appearing easier on the surface, base-10 may actually be obscuring and over-complicating how everything naturally works in base-12. I didn’t fully appreciate this until a spiritual awakening in 2014 drew me deeply into the study of base-12 and numerology convincing me that it is indeed the true universal language beneath it all.
Why Isn’t Numerology in Base-12?
Despite the standardizing of society towards base-10, many spiritual traditions remain true to base-12, with a notable exception: numerology.
Numerology is the study of numbers as vibrational energies, with each number resonating with a distinct meaning or theme. The number 1, for example, represents the theme of new beginnings, independence, originality, and leadership, whereas the number 2 is all about duality, contrast, relationships, and balance. By adding together the digits in a number and then reducing the sum until you get a single digit, you can determine the underlying vibrational “personality” of any number or date. The numerology of any word or name can similarly be found by adding together the number value of each letter’s position in the alphabet and reducing that sum to a single digit. From just your birth date and birth name a comprehensive personal numerology reading can be derived that reveals the vibrational path and role you chose for yourself before you incarnated into this physical experience.
The numerology system followed most widely today is Pythagorean numerology established in ancient Greece about 2,500 years ago by the philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras. Also called “Western” numerology, this approach to numerology follows the base-10 number cycle from 0 to 9. An even earlier system originating from Mesopotamia, called Chaldean numerology, is different yet again, excluding the number 9 as being considered sacred.
So, unlike most other areas of metaphysics that follow cycles of 12, numerology doesn’t. This just didn’t make sense to me intuitively or logically, so I immersed myself in numerology searching for answers.
Re-Tuning Numerology to Base-12
Through an unexpected detour into the mathematics of prime numbers, the missing link between numerology and base-12 revealed itself to me in the form of a base-12 pattern hidden within the prime numbers themselves. A prime number is any whole number greater than 1 that’s only divisible by 1 and itself. Thus, the numbers 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13 are the first handful of primes. Also, all possible whole numbers are either primes or products of primes. This is why prime numbers are often called the building blocks of mathematics.
It turns out that all prime numbers except for 2 and 3 (as the factors of 12 itself) occur at just four positions of the base-12 cycle, positions 1, 5, 7, and 11. When graphed as a repeating cycle, those four positions combine into an elegant, infinity-shaped vibrational waveform that looks just like the double-helix spiral of DNA. And wherever this waveform intersects the horizontal number line is where the prime numbers can occur. Combining those two overlapping waves together in turn produces a single perfect cosine wave, which appears to represent the fundamental vibrational chord of the primes and the path along which each number’s vibration achieves balance.
I realized that this base-12 waveform must be the fundamental structure of the prime numbers when numbers themselves are considered vibrational frequencies. As that’s exactly what numerology is, I was confident I had found the connection between numerology and base-12 that had been tugging on me. Still, numerology takes it a step further by giving specific qualities or personalities to each number frequency within the cycle and to double-digit master numbers such as 11, 22, and 33. These number definitions have stood the test of time, remaining unchanged over thousands of years. So, I wondered how the traditional base-10 number meanings might fit into the new base-12 pattern I had uncovered, if at all.
Sure enough, when I applied the traditional base-10 number definitions for 0 to 9 and master number 11 to the base-12 prime waveform, the geometry of the waveform at each number matched its number meaning perfectly. It also revealed the geometric meanings of the numbers 10 (awareness) and 11 (illumination) as single digits in base-12 and clarified the meanings of the double digit master numbers (as higher octaves “mastering” the digits being doubled). This included identifying a missing master number, the 11 of mastery of self, now that the 11 of illumination was put in its proper place as a single digit. This not only validated the ancient number definitions from a mathematical perspective but also confirmed that the true language of numerology has been base-12 all along. More importantly, I now had a practical blueprint that explained everything about numerology in a single intuitive picture, a blueprint only brought into focus by switching from a base-10 lens to base-12.
What convinced me to adopt base-12 most of all was how much more accurate and insightful my numerology readings were in base-12 than in base-10. Comparing the two methods for many individuals whose life stores and personalities I knew well, such as myself, family, friends, and famous celebrities, base-12 simply provided superior results across the board.
At the Heart of 12 is the 6 of Love
To me the most important aspect of the base-12 cycle is that it is centered at the 6 frequency of love. Not only does this feel right and agree with the universal idea of love being the center and source of all things, it also resolves another discrepancy with base-10 numerology. Although the number 6 does represent love in base-10 numerology, it is not at the center of the base-10 cycle but rather the 5 of change.
So, in our vibrational journey from the 0 of potential to the 11 of illumination, it is through the 6 of love that we must pass to progress from the more physically focused themes of 1 through 5 to their more spiritually enlightened counterparts from 7 to 11. Like a window to our soul, the 6 of love provides the divine perspective to clearly see what matters most. It is only at 6 that the two opposing waves of the base-12 prime vibration come together into a still point, a timeless state of pure joy and connection that defines the very geometry of love.
Although I have described the base-12 cycle as beginning at the 0 of potential and ending at the 11 of illumination, this is merely the illusion of time as we perceive it—moving relentlessly forward in a linear way. In truth, the universal cycle begins and ends with the 6 of love, reaching outward as a figure-eight to explore both past and future but always relative to the timeless now. Like the central black hole from which a galaxy emerges to creatively experience itself and back into that which was manifested and learned is reintegrated, so too is love the source and destination of all that we are and all that we learn while in physical form. This pure state of love we experience upon our return home to 6, I believe, is our true spiritual essence between incarnations and the true nature of All That Is/Source/God of which we are part. So each moment we express love for ourselves or another we are experiencing heaven on earth.
And according to the wisdom of base-12, it’s perfectly natural.
BY MICHAEL SMITH