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Nine, in ancient mystery, mystic numerology, folklore, and mythology, is considered the number of aspiration and wisdom; it is thought to be the "harmony of harmony" since three times three equals nine; it is held "unbounded" as it contains all the numbers within itself including zero through nine. Pythagoras considered it to be the emblem of matter. In ancient Greece the initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries took nine days. Nine symbolizes spiritual achievement and is the number of initiation. There were nine Greek Muses. The Romans held the number nine so much in reverence that the proclaimed a feast for it every nine years, called Novennalia.

The number nine is also prevalent within the folklore and mythology of northern Europe. The cat has nine tails-a symbol of practical wisdom. Merlin had nine bards. Arthur battled an enchanted pig for nine days. The Kabbalah has nine degrees, each emanating from God. The ninth hour is considered appropriate for meditation. A.G.H.

Sources: 2, 204; 47, 194; 62, 246-247.

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