Why "nine"?

The number 9.

Patients are always asking me why I named my business “NINE Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine.” In simplest terms, the number nine was chosen because it is a very interesting number, mathematically, philosophically and spiritually. It was also my "lucky number" for years prior to studying Chinese medicine.

Nine is considered to be the ‘final’ number in the base 10 system, where all numbers are represented by ten distinct forms (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9).  As such, it becomes a limit, a bound, or the ultimate attainment.  The Greeks called “nine” the horizon, where the Ennead, or the nothing/void lay beyond.  

Expressions such as “a cat has nine lives,” a “cat-o’-nine-tails,” “the whole nine yards,” “cloud nine,” “dressed to the nines,”  “a stitch in time saves nine,” and “possession is nine point (or nine-tenths) of the law” are all variations of the concept of the ninth level being the nth degree, the highest level, or the maximum possibility.

“9” in Chinese culture

The number "nine" is considered “utmost yang” and was taken to symbolize the supreme sovereignty of the emperor. For this reason, the number "nine" (or its multiples) is often employed in palace structures and designs. A noticeable example is the number of studs on palace gates. The studs are usually arranged in nine rows of nine each, totalling eighty-one. (A simpler form of this configuration can be found in the logo for NINE Acupuncture & Wellness Center!)

While I was studying acupuncture and Chinese medicine I began noticing the number nine in particular techniques and theoretical explanation. First, there are the nine original types of needles (my teacher, Dr. Edward Neal, is actually in the process of having these re-produced by a Seattle jeweller).

In the past, I’d always had a particular affinity to the number three but it was the number nine (3x3) I found to be truly fascinating upon further exploration. As the most auspicious number of celestial power in ancient Chinese, 9 became the rule in 9 great social laws, 9 classes of officials, 9 sacred rites, and 9-story pagodas.  The festival of the “double yang” was held on the 9th hour of the 9th day of the 9th month. And then there’s my favorite: the Magic Square.

The Magic Square

The Chinese saw the 3X3 magic square as a harmonious blend of the nine archetypal principles of number and a paradigm of cosmic structure and process, mirroring the supreme order of the universe.

4    9    2  
3    5    7  
8    1    6

In this arrangement, the three columns, three rows and two diagonals always add up to fifteen.  In Feng Shui the numbers within each cell of the magic square have specific significance for working with the earth’s subtle creative energies for the good of society and the environment.

[Note: the 3X3 magic square also appears in the cultures of Tibetan Buddhism, Islam, Jains of India, Celts, African, Shamanic, Norse, and Jewish mysticism.]

9 in History and Around the World

Ancient and modern traditions are replete with ninefold symbolism. The Norse God Odin was the ruler of nine worlds and hung for nine days on the Yggdrasil tree. The Greeks honored 9 muses. The city of Troy in Homer’s Iliad and Oddessey was besieged for 9 years, while Odysseus wandered for 9 more years in trying to return home.  The Egyptians honored a company of nine gods. Nine was the central number of Celtic tradition. Native American, Aztec, and Mayan myth recognized nine cosmic levels (four above, earth in the center, and four below). In Scandinavia, 9 day fertility feasts were held every 9 years.

In Christian symbolism, there are 9 orders of angelic choirs in 9 circles of heaven and 9 orders of devils within 9 rings of hell. Abraham was 99 when the Lord spoke to him, Islam acknowledges the 99 Beautiful Names of God, and “amen” (from the Hebrew “so be it”) transforms in the Greek alphabet into the number 99. 

Beethoven wrote 9 symphonies, after which he died.  To this day, a superstition among many musical composers forbids the numbering of a symphony past the number 9.  Mahler wrote more symphonies, but never named any one of them, number 9. 

9 seems to be particularly associated with the process of human birth.  In addition to the 9 months of gestation, and 9 openings of the body (all of which operate in some fashion in connection with conception and gestation), there is also the fact that the tail of the sperm is made of 9 twisted threads, which after uniting with the egg, forms a centriole, which is a circle of 9 parallel tubes.

Some say John Lennon had an obsession with the number 9, possibly supported by his songs: “One after 909,” “Revolution No. 9” and “#9 Dream.”

9 in Mathematics 

Examine the nines times table:

9 X 1 =   9
9 X 2 = 18
9 X 3 = 27
9 X 4 = 36
9 X 5 = 45
9 X 6 = 54
9 X 7 = 63
9 X 8 = 72
9 X 9 = 81
9 X 10= 90

What can we deduce from the nines times table? Is there a pattern, is it random or perhaps luck?

Here are two interesting patterns:
1) Single digits of the product are ascending (1-9) and descending (9-0)!
2) Sum of the two digits of the product equals nine!
This works for any number multiplied by nine:
1439 x 9 = 12,951         

Add 1+2+9+5+1 to get 18. Add 1+8 to get, you guessed it: 9!

So this means that any number that adds us to nine is divisible by nine!

Just for fun

"Finger" representation of the nines time table:

Perform the following steps and you'll be amazed!

Example: 9 X 3 = 27

Turn your hands so that your palms are facing you. The thumb of the left hand represents the number one and the thumb of the right hand represents the number ten. The multiplier (3 in this case) represents the third (middle) finger. Bend this finger. Count the amount of fingers to the left of the bent finger. In this case the answer is two. This represents the tens column. Next, count the amount of fingers to the right of the bent finger. In this case the answer is seven. This represents the ones column. Combine the two digits (ones and tens column) to yield an answer of  27! This can be done for all multipliers up to and including ten.

Serial number on the dollar bill:
Take the 8 digit serial number and scramble it to form a new number. If you then subtract the smaller of the two numbers from the larger one then add all of its digits and keep repeating this until the final result is a single digit. The answer will always yield the number 9!

Phone or calculator keyboard:
Choose any 3 digit column, row or diagonal and arrange these digits in order and multiply this number by another row, column or diagonal. Again add all of its digits and keep repeating this until the final result is a single digit. The answer will always yield the number 9!

NINE and Ash's Personal Numerology

Numerology is the examination of numbers (calculated by the date of one's birth or one's name) and their effect on a person's life. I was recently informed that in numerology, my personal life path number is 9!