If the number three was celebrated among the ancient sages, that of three times three had no less celebrity; because, according to them, each of the three elements which constitute our bodies is ternary: the water containing earth and fire; the earth containing igneous and aqueous particles; and the fire being tempered by globules of water and terrestrial corpuscles which serve to feed it. No one of the three elements being entirely separated from the others, all material beings composed of these three elements, whereof each is triple, may be designated by the figurative number of three times three, which has become the symbol of all formations of bodies. Hence the name of ninth envelop given to matter. Every material extension, every circular line, has for its representative sign the number nine among the Pythagoreans, who had observed the property which this number possesses of reproducing itself incessantly and entire in every multiplication; thus offering to the mind a very striking emblem of matter, which is incessantly composed before our eyes, after having undergone a thousand decompositions.
The number nine was consecrated to the Spheres and the Muses. It is the sign of every circumference; because a circle or 360 degrees is equal to nine, that is to say, 3+6+0=9. Nevertheless, the ancients regarded this number with a sort of terror; they considered it a bad presage; as the symbol of versatility, of change, and the emblem of the frailty of human affairs. Wherefore they avoided all numbers where nine appears, and chiefly 81, the produce of nine multiplied by itself, and the addition whereof, 8+1, again presents the number nine. As the figure of the number six was the symbol of the terrestrial globe, animated by a Divine Spirit, the figure of the number nine symbolized the earth, under the influence of the Evil Principle; and thence the terror it inspired. Nevertheless, according to the Cabalists, the character nine symbolizes the generative egg, or the image of a little globular being, from whose lower side seems to flow its spirit of life. The Ennead, signifying an aggregate of nine thongs or persons, is the first square of unequal numbers. Every one is aware of the singular properties of the number nine, which, multiplied by itself or any other number whatever, gives a result whose final sum is always nine, or always divisible by nine. Nine multiplied by each of the ordinary numbers, produces an arithmetical progression, each member whereof, composed of two figures, presents a remarkable fact; for example: 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8 . 9 . 10 9 . 18 . 27 . 36 . 45 . 54 . 63 . 72 . 81 . 90
The first line of figures gives the regular series, from 1 to 10. The second reproduces this line doubly; first ascending from the first figure of 18, and then returning from the second figure of 81. In Freemasonry, nine derives its value from its being the product of three multiplied into itself, and consequently in Masonic language the number nine is always denoted by the expression three times three. For a similar reason, 27, which is 3 times 9, and 81, which is 9 times 9, are esteemed ax sacred numbers in the advanced Degrees.
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