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Nine in Divinity

Innumerable symbolisms are associated with the number nine so it is not surprising that many have divine meaning. Since three stands for the number of innovation its square would naturally symbolize universality, supernumerary infinity is expressed by the repetitions or series of nines, such as 999,999 Fravashis who, as the ancient Iranians believed, watched over the seamen of Zoroaster, from whom all prophets would come. This neither is surprising because Zoroastrianism contained novenas recurring in the Zend Avesta when many purification rituals comprised the triple repetition of ceremony.

The ouroboros, the serpent which bites its own tail giving the image of oneness, and hence returning to the primeval and the final Oneness, is graphically related to the way the number nine is denoted in many alphabets such as Tibetan, Persian, Egyptian hieratic, Armenian, and so on.

The mystical meaning of nine includes the Sufis' term, haqq, the final stage of the Way, this leading to fana, the annihilation of the individual in the rediscovery of the whole, or as Allendy states, "the loss of personality in universal love."

The Indian tradition clearly defines the redemptive symbol of the number nine through the nine successive incarnations of Vishnu who, each time, offered his life for the salvation of mankind. Similarly in the Bible Christ was crucified at the third hour, his agony began in the sixth, and he died at the ninth. Claude de Saint-Martin concludes that in this ninth hour "the physical body and all of its properties were annihilated." According to Allrendy the Freemasons have the number nine representing "the eternal number of immortality, and the nine masters discovering the body of Hiram."

What is divine can be satanic. Whereas three and nine are regarded as divine numbers, some regard nine as a demonic number: at the ninth hour Christ underwent physical death or annihilation, Satan figures at this hour he triumphed over Christ and claims nine as his number as well. A.G.H.


Chevalier, Jean and Alain Cheerbrant. The Penquin Dictionary of Symbols. London. Penquin Books. 1996. p. 704

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