What Does It Mean?
by Graeme Kapono Urlich
This question was posted on an online forum that I sometimes frequent. "I keep seeing the number
158 all the time. What does it mean?"
People have been assigning meanings to numbers and all manner of things for thousands of years. Much
of this is pure superstition and some of it is useful as in mathematics for example but even pure
superstition can be useful if the belief is strongly engrained and it can be applied to a goal of some
The simple fact is that anything only has the meaning that you personally assign to it. We share many
meanings about things but we are also free to assign our own meaning to anything at all. For me
personally Friday the 13th has always been a lucky day so I look forward to it and can usually find
some event during the day that I can consider to be especially "lucky".
On a practical level you could try the "blue feather" exercise that I teach in my Hawaiian
Shamanism workshops on the Huna philosophy. It shows how what we focus on comes to us. This could mean
that we become aware of something in our environment that we previously were not aware of or it could
mean that our focus brings something new into existence.
When we buy a new car for instance we can have the experience of seeing that type of car all the time
when previously we did not notice them. It's just that now that we own one our subconscious
becomes tuned to that type and our attention is drawn to them. They were always there but we just
didn't notice particularly. This usually fades after a while as our excitement at having a new car
On another level, in Huna and shaman thinking, we actually create the thing or the situation that we
think about persistently enough. In a recent workshop in Hawaii that I attended we did this exercise
using the image of a black flying pig. Almost immediately a blackbird flew down and landed within a
few feet of our group, this being the nearest available equivalent that our subconscious minds could
find at the time.
While driving back to my hotel I noticed a large black statue of a pig. I had driven past it many
times but hadn't noticed it until after the exercise. This again was a close equivalent to what we
had meditated on. It was a black pig but it didn't fly. The blackbird did fly and was black but
wasn't a pig. I decided this was good but not close enough and meditated again.
On my way back home to New Zealand I was wandering around the International Market in Honolulu and
wandered into one of the back areas that I had never been to before. I came around a corner and found
one of those battery operated toys that fly around on a string. It was a black and white pig. I had
seen these toys before but never a pig and this one was mostly black which was close enough for me. In
shaman thinking this toy might not have ever existed before and our focus on it in the meditation
You can try this with something simple like a blue feather, or something common but that you usually
don't encounter. In the workshop we wanted to stretch things a little.
As far as the 158 goes, in numerology you add the single digits up until they come down to a single
digit. 1 + 5 + 8 = 14, 1 + 4 = 5. In the system of numerology I studied for a while this number
represents intuition so it could mean that you are developing stronger and more accurate intuition.
There are many variations of numerology and the meanings that are assigned to the numbers however and
this is my point.
When I speak on a subject like this I am talking about it from the shaman viewpoint and specifically
from the Huna philosophy and the Kahili Kupua tradition from Kauai (Hawaii). There are many
other systems out there and the thing to remember is that they are all made up, even Huna which is
probably the oldest on Earth. There is only subjective reality.
One of the main differences in the shaman viewpoint is that we switch from a cause and effect reality
to an action reaction one. Instead of reaction to external causes we believe that the external reality
moulds itself to our internal reality, our beliefs. We can only experience something that we believe
is possible at some level of consciousness. We see the cause of any experience as being a reaction to
our own thoughts.
One of Einstein's favourite quotes is "Reality is just an illusion, albeit a persistent
one". In shaman talk this means that life is a dream and we, individually, dream it into
existence. If you were able to erase all of the beliefs that you hold now and replace them with a
whole different belief system then you would cease to exist in this part of the infinite universe and
begin to exist in another part that reflected the new belief system. The more people share beliefs the
more "real" the reflection seems to become.
Play with some new ideas and you will see your reality changing. Look for ways of thinking that bring
more fun into life and life will become more enjoyable.
Graeme Kapono Urlich (November 2009)
Addendum: Shortly before submitting the article this image arrived in my inbox.
Aloha New Zealand - School of Huna and Hawaiian Shamanism