The Numerology of Anthony Bourdain:
A Tribute, part 1
June 24th, 2019
I can’t recall the very first time Anthony Bourdain graced my television screen, but it had to have been somewhere between 2004-2005, as I was well familiar with his work by the time his No Reservations – Iceland episode aired in August 2005. I was thoroughly hooked on his show. Travel? Yes, please. Exposure to different cultures? Hell yeah. Witty, urbane banter from a tall, lanky, silver fox? Double-triple-quadruple hell yes! That was a slam dunk for me.
I never missed an episode of No Reservations. I diligently followed him on The Layover. Even after dropping cable TV, I voraciously consumed every episode of Parts Unknown whenever possible. He was incredibly entertaining, honest, and reflective. Over the years his tone slowly morphed into one of compassion, cultural acceptance, and most notably (to me) full of humility.
He started his celebrated career as a “bad boy chef,” but in reality, he was a wise man. Evolved. Enigmatic. For 14(ish) years, I sought out his work and his words like a pilgrim seeking a mystic on a mountaintop. So often, especially in those last few years, I finished his episodes unable to summon words. His ability to capture and convey the beauty of the human spirit everywhere he went left me breathless- and often left me soaked in my own tears.
He was, and still is, my favorite celebrity. He was real. He was honest. Open. Mindful. Aware. Moral. He was incredibly authentic and endlessly curious. In short, he was my hero.
His birthday, June 25th, has been declared “Bourdain Day” by several of his closest friends and colleagues. In the spirit of celebrating his memory as we have been encouraged, I will do so in the way I know best. I will lean into my numerology training, and pay him loving tribute and respect through his numbers.
Anthony was born on June 25th, 1956. His full birth date equates to the number 34 (6+2+5+1+9+5+6). The number 34 is further broken down (3+4), which gives him a 7 Birthpath (also called Life Path) number. The Birthpath number describes the natural personality traits a person has brought into the world- it is an indication of our instinctive responses and modes of operation.
Anthony Bourdain quotes that fit the 7 Birthpath Number:
"Maybe that's enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind, no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom ... is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go."
“I'm not afraid to look like an idiot."
“I feel like Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame- if he stayed in nice hotel suites with high thread-count sheets, that would be me. I feel kind of like a freak, and I feel very isolated.”
7 Birthpaths are often serious, seemingly eccentric people who don’t easily blend into a crowd. From a very early age, they sense that they are somehow “different” than most other people. Indeed, in many ways they are here to be uncompromisingly themselves, societal norms be damned. However, whether they choose to see this difference as an asset or something freakish and alienating can make or break their entire existence, both professional and personal.
They are profoundly deep thinkers whose gaze usually leans inward rather than outward. They need to spend a great deal of time on their own in order to effectively handle the demands of the outside world. They are not really motivated by money- rather they are driven by the relentless search for the mysteries and meaning of life, and improving their theories accordingly. Because of their constant analyzing, they are naturally attentive to very fine details. They are extremely patient data collectors with a penchant for perfectionism. These qualities often lead to progress and promotion in their chosen career fields, where they often become recognized as experts in their craft.
Whether done consciously or subconsciously, they often find themselves alone. This can be a slippery slope for the 7; while they need that alone time for their respite and well-being, they are classic over-thinkers that can think themselves into utter isolation and despair if they are not careful. 7s are also prone to escapism (which Anthony spoke very openly about in terms of his earlier battles with drug use). Possessing an incredibly complex and alive inner world, they are quite content to hermit themselves. When stressed, they are capable of cutting off all contact with the outside world which they often find invasive, hostile, and disruptive, slipping away into themselves where they are utterly inaccessible.
The next major number I’ll assess is the culmination of all the numbers in his full birth name. This term has many names in the study of numerology, such as Self-Expression, Name Number, Destiny, etc. In this article I will use the term Destiny.
The Destiny number points us toward the most harmonious choices for our goals, life direction, and where our greatest potential for accomplishment lies. The sum total of the numbers in his entire birth name (Anthony Michael Bourdain) equate to 106. It gets broken down again (1+0+6), equating yet again to that enigmatic, sagacious 7.
Anthony Bourdain quotes that fit the 7 Destiny Number:
“I always entertain the notion that I’m wrong, or that I’ll have to revise my opinion. Most of the time that feels good; sometimes it really hurts and is embarrassing.”
“The journey is part of the experience - an expression of the seriousness of one's intent. One doesn't take the A train to Mecca.”
“Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don't deserve to eat garlic.”
A 7 Destiny often denotes a philosophical, reticent nature. They often say little, and in doing so, they hear much (however, get them talking about their area of expertise, and you may become an audience to a university-level thesis). Extremely skeptical, they never accept anything at face value. (No doubt he would dismiss my analysis of his numbers, which is totally okay- I’m also a 7. I get it.) Because they are such deep thinkers, they often second-guess themselves as well as their beliefs. The “unexamined life” Socrates warned of is nothing a 7 Destiny has to worry about. If anything, they over-examine themselves- sometimes to their own detriment. It’s incredibly easy for a 7 to get disoriented and lost within their own heads. They are also champions at self-flagellation and rumination, if they do not take special care against it.
Like the 7 Birthpath, they detest superficial people and second-rate imitative knock-off products. They value originality of thought and authenticity, and have no tolerance for laziness or copycats. Not greatly concerned with how they are perceived (they too possess an awareness that they don’t blend in with the pack), 7s can be rather brusque and curt toward those they do not respect. Their priorities lie with the integrity and righteousness of their beliefs and actions. They would rather be alone with their principles than be in the company of those they deem less than admirable. Yet despite this potentially gruff exterior, 7s are often shy as well, preferring to recess quietly into the background where they can continue to silently observe and learn. This quality was widely observed by many that worked directly with Anthony.
All 7s, whether Birthpath or Destiny, possess the ability to see beyond exterior appearances, piercing through any veils of fluffed-up marketing or deceit to see the truth of the person or situation before them. They especially detest feeling pressured to deny or ignore their perspective just to keep the peace. Constant exposure to the rift between false pretenses and actual reality can make a 7 of any placement feel exhausted, jaded, cynical, and depressed. “What’s the point,” or “life is nothing but an exercise in futility” are phrases that 7s are known to use in these darker moments.
When the Birthpath and Destiny numbers are exactly the same, the psychological makeup that the person is born with is the very thing they came to do, be, and express in this lifetime. This can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, there is often a strong desire for absolute trueness to, and resolute expressiveness of, one’s self, which can be immensely courageous and inspiring to others. On the other lies an unrouteable, yet inevitable showdown with the self that cannot be escaped. The potential prize is self-actualization; the potential downfall is self-implosion/explosion from too much intensity and overexposure to the lessons of one single, unrelenting, overbearing number.
There is an inherent inaccessibility that comes with the 7 Birthpath/7 Destiny combo. These people are often unknowable on some level. Anthony Bourdain had a very personable public persona, much of which is owed to his 5 Realization number (which we will explore in a moment). However there are many personal accounts from those who met him that spoke of his reflective and reserved nature. 7s have an air of mystery about them which often draws people in, hoping to peel back that impenetrable curtain and see what no one else has seen before. Yet 99% of the time, it’s a fool’s errand. If a 7 does not want to be known by others, they never will be. In truth, they often question whether or not they even know themselves. When they are in a space of self-doubt, good luck to those that would wish to get closer, for they will most likely keep virtually everyone at an uncrossable distance. They are inherently elusive and always ready to retreat. This is especially so in the case of a double 7.
Yet despite these two strong placements of the naturally introverted 7 in the major wheelhouse of his chart, Anthony found himself and his career skyrocketing onto the world stage. Thus we introduce: the 5 Realization number, also known as the Maturity number.
The Realization/Maturity number predicts the most likely manifestation of how the Birthpath + Destiny totals will merge and be expressed. It can be spotted early in life, but it tends to become more noticeable and active after age 40.
The 34 Birthpath + the 106 Destiny = 140. Breaking down the number 140, we get the adventurous, thrill-seeking number 5.
Anthony Bourdain quotes that fit the 5 Realization/Maturity Number:
"Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride."
“Good food and good eating are about risk.”
“If I'm an advocate for anything, it's to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food, it's a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”
The number 5 and 7 have some very stark differences between them. Where the 7 is quiet, the 5 is bombastic. The 7 is contemplative, while the 5 is experiential. The 7 is more introverted, the 5 is more extroverted. Learning how to integrate and blend such two diversifying energies can take years upon years of effort, trial and error, rigorous self-discipline, and most importantly, self-forgiveness.
The face of his 5 Realization/Maturity number is one of the most recognizable components from his writings and TV appearances: charismatic, on-the-go, outspoken, eating almost anything, traveling almost anywhere, constantly hungry not just for good food but for incredible adventure. 5 is a physical number which loves all pleasurable experiences which enhance the five senses (food, booze, sex, etc.). It’s a risk-taker, a boundary-pusher, and a lover of travel. There is a nonstop restlessness inherent in a 5 vibration, one that will never be satisfied with sitting still or adhering to one single routine for too long. 5s need to move, move again, and move some more on top of that.
As previously stated, this aspect becomes especially prominent after age 40. Anthony’s career as we knew it became launched through his famous New Yorker article “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” which he wrote at age 43.
Anthony carried some intensely introverted numbers with him, yet his 5 Maturity number helped place him in a highly extroverted career path. In many ways, he craved that energy. He was endlessly curious and fascinated by the world around him, and he often remarked that he had the best job in the world. In other ways, those double 7s would never fully leave him alone to enjoy that dream job in peace. Constantly in a state of self-analysis, he openly spoke about the toll his travel and work took on him, and how it left him feeling lost and bewildered. In his Buenos Aires episode, he did a sort of mock session with a therapist, which revealed far more to us than we could envision at the time. To me, one excerpt from that episode in particular stands out, hinting at the high level of inner discord he carried inside himself:
Anthony: “So I had this dream again… I’m stuck in a vast, old Victorian hotel with endless rooms and hallways, trying to check out. But I can’t. I spend a lot of time in hotels, but this one is menacing because I just can’t leave it…
And then there’s another part to this dream always, where I’m trying to go home, but I can’t quite remember where that is.”
Therapist: “Are you alone?
Anthony: “I’m alone in this dream, yes.”
As a numerologist, I would estimate that his up-tempo, outwardly moving 5 Realization/Maturity number raced along at too frenzied a pace for his inwardly focused 7 Birthpath and 7 Destiny to keep up. The 5 is a well-spring of unending physical energy, however the 7 operates on the subconscious/spiritual level. 7s need time for reflection, and are highly susceptible to burn-out. These numbers can produce a dizzying concoction of extremes and juxtaposing personal needs. The 5 may have driven him forward to debunk the “life is futile” darker side of his 7, and yet the wild and unpredictable nature of his travels ultimately exposed him to even more human suffering on a larger worldwide scale, contributing to his inner anguish. It is possible to find ways to harmonize these numbers together, but I would theorize his double 7 nature required more personal downtime devoted to that goal than his career demands allowed.
Nevertheless, Anthony found so many remarkable ways to utilize the best qualities of his numbers and appeal to our hearts. His inner vision and lust for life encouraged us to think bigger, be bolder, and live better.
Through the boundary of television, Anthony was able to dazzle us, and then safely retreat back into his private inner world to recuperate. The camera may have filtered his image to us, but he still chose to lay down many of his 7’s defenses, and he allowed the image we saw to be honest. Anthony was many things, but more than anything, he was real.
That’s why so many of us came to think of him as a friend. That’s why we loved him.
In Part 2, I’ll be examining Anthony’s vowels (what he needed to feel personally fulfilled), his consonants (his exterior personality and impression he made on people he met), and the power of the final Pinnacle of his life.
For today, let’s all raise a glass, celebrate his glorious legacy, and give thanks that we got to be alive during his time on the planet. We are all better for having known him.
© 2019 Bethany Abrahamson – InTheKnow Tarot+Numerology LLC