With the number FOUR we find our first real spilt when it comes to cultural interpretation. In the West we associate the number FOUR with the four compass directions, the four seasons, the four elements (In the West it’s earth, air, fire and water as opposed to the Chinese five element system), the four suits of the playing cards and the four legs of a table. To us it’s about stability, practicality and precision. But in China the word for FOUR sounds like the word for ‘die’ which, not surprisingly, is considered unlucky. And in addition the written character looks like the phrase ‘clouds blocking the sun’ also not considered so auspicious. It is a Yin number and of the Metal element (production and material wealth). Universally the number is associated with respectability, hard work and being tenacious, industrious and organized.
There are two ways to write the number FOUR, one with the closed top and the other with the top open. It is surprising that this number is associated with stability since it stands on only one leg. And you should take note that though it is about practicality and hard work the work done is on the spiritual and intellectual areas rather than the physical ones. The closed top indicates a mind that has already created a plan and is ready to implement it. The open top indicates an openness and that plans are still being formed. Too much of the number FOUR will bring a lot of boring work, a weak suspicious mind and extreme stubbornness.