By Tracy R. Twyman
Originally written for Dagobert’s Revenge Magazine, Copyright 2001. (Does not necessarily represent author’s current viewpoint.)
As mentioned in the article “The Cutting of the Orm,” the number 9 is one of the guiding principles of our solar system, and the universe. The orbit of all bodies in the 9-planet system can be evenly multiplied into what’s known as “The Nineveh Constant” — 195,955,200,000,000, which is divisible by nine, and includes the precession of the equinox — 25,920 years — also divisible by 9. The word “Nineveh” means “City of Fish,” deriving from “Nun,” the Babylonian/Sumerian word for “fish,” and it is the name of the ancient Babylonian city-state where this number was found — a city founded by “Ninus” or “Nimrod,” another name for Cain, the “Fish-man” God-King who undoubtedly provided it with its name. However, “Nineveh” also contains within it the English word “Nine,” and since scholars such as L.A. Waddell have suggested that the Sumerian language is derived from the same root as Old English, this gives us pause for reflection. The word for “nine” in Latin is “novem,” which is very close to “novus,” the Latin word for “new,” linked specifically to the concept of “renewal” in celestial cycles. The number nine is also linked to the passage of time through celestial cycles, and its cabalistic meaning is defined by Aleister Crowley as “stability in change.” The thing that creates the “stability in change” that we find in the heavenly bodies of our solar system is the Sun, which causes bodies to rotate and revolve around itself in orbits that tend towards perfect circles — circles of 360 degress, which is, of course, divisible by 9.
The connections between the number 9 and the cycles of the heavens were not lost on ancient man. Many ancient cultures thought of the year as a perfect circle of 360 days, with five extra “non-days,” which were considered to be “outside the circle,” and were therefore not recognized. (As postulated in the article The Cutting of the Orm, this author believes that there originally were 360 days, and the addition of the extra five came later, as a slight change in the Earth’s orbit created that necessity.) Michael Schneider, in A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, described how ancient man marked the recurring cycles of important dates in his circular calendar on the points of an enneagram — a nine-pointed star. “If we put January 1, the beginning of the Western year, at the top of the enneagram at point nine,” he wrote, “the distance between each of the remaining points marks a period of forty days, a traditional milestone in time-reckoning and mythological symbolism.”
Nine is associated with cyclical regeneration for other reasons as well. It is the last number in the series 1-9, before the series begins to repeat itself again in the number 10, which is considered by numerologists to be merely an extension of the principles of the number 1. This is why philosophers of mathematics such as Pythagoras have called 9 “the finishing post,” “that which brings completion,” and “the horizon,” which Schneider says, “lies at the edge of the shore before the boundless ocean of numbers that repeat in endless cycles the principles of the first nine digits… Nine is the unsurpassable limit, the utmost bound, the ultimate extension to which the archetypal principles of number can reach and manifest themselves in the world.” 9 is 3 cubed, and thus takes the numerological attributes of the trinity to their maximum representation. And 9 regenerates itself with its peculiar mathematical properties, one of which is well-known even to schoolchildren. Unlike any other number, the multiples of nine can all be reduced to the same digital root, which involves the process of adding all of the digits in a number together to get the sum, and then adding those digits together, and on and on, until you are down to a single digit, which is the “digital root.” When dealing with multiples of 9, the digital root is always 9 as well. You can also, because of this property, take a multi-digit number that is a multiple of 9 and move the digits into any configuration you wish. The resulting number will still be a multiple of 9 — always, every time.
Another interesting property of 9 that is based on this same principle can be found by examining the familiar multiplication table of the numbers 1-9, and then creating a second table which reduces those numbers to their digital roots — a process called, since medieval times, “casting out nines.” The rows whose digits add up to 9 form geometric patterns that mirror one another perfectly and turn at right angles. The only pattern created that has no mirror reflection is the one created by the number 9 itself. “A square of four nines appears at the table’s center,” writes Michael Schneider, “and then a wall of solid nines forms a boundary along the table’s edges, the proverbial horizon, or shepherd, which the numbers below approach and revolve before in patterns but never pass beyond. Nine bounds and directs the choreography of the cosmic order revolving around it.” And there is more than one way in which the number nine acts as a binding agent for ordered systems. We’ve already discussed the relationship between 9 and the circle. But in addition to that, we find that the sum of all the corner angles in any symmetrical polygon has a digital root of 9. As Schneider writes, “Nine serves to bound or enclose numbers and shapes despite their apparent differences,” providing that “stability in change” that Crowley described so aptly.
The concept of the number 9 as the utmost extension of the power of number can be found in the common idioms of our Western culture. Cats are said to have “9 lives,” and no more. To put your greatest effort into something is to go “the whole nine yards.” When we are in our happiest possible state we are on “cloud nine,” and when we are looking our absolute best we are “dressed to the nines.” Nine also shows up in mythology and ritual magic as the ultimate expression of cosmic order. For instance, consider the 9 muses in Greek mythology, or the endless sets of three goddesses in mythology who each have triple attributes (such as Virgin, Mother, and Whore.) And in A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, Michael Schneider shows how 9 points can be arranged to form a St. Andrew’s cross, or an X, which can then be used as the basis for building a labyrinth in which a person who walks through it takes nine turns through eight rings, a traditional labyrinth design. “Initiates ritually traversing labyrinths chanted tones as they followed the path,” he writes. “The lost clues to their music are built into the labyrinth structure. Each ring of this labyrinth corresponds to a note of the musical octave. The order in which the traveler ritually traverses the different rings determines the sequence of notes to be chanted as the ‘song’ of that labyrinth.”
Given the demonstrable relationship between 9 and the cosmic order — specifically in the movements of heavenly bodies, it is not that surprising that the Priory of Sion should choose to us it as the basis for the structure of their order — a structure that contains a secret code indicating a sacred calendar known only to initiates. This calendar, described in the article The Cutting of the Orm, is based on both the numbers 9 and 13, 9 being a solar number that factors into the revolutions of the Earth (and other planets) around the sun, and 13 being a lunar number that factors into the revolutions of the moon around the Earth. The extremely complex and accurate Mayan and Aztec calendars were also based on the numbers 9 and 13. It seems that we have unlocked one of the greatest secrets of the ages, and it is based on the “universal language” of number.