Ghost River – 12

October 23, 2006 at 4:38 pm (Ghost River)

There is a vast lore on the mystical significance of numbers. Like all theosophical investigators, my grandfather was fascinated by this. In his uncompleted and rather deeply unorthodox, A Treatise on Alchemical Magic, he begins to push the veil back a bit on this, but then stops. However, in his uncollected works I found some additional notes which suggest he was particularly enamored of the number nine.

In these notes there are frequent references to the ninth hour, the ninth room, to a castle with nine towers, to ‘nine brothers who rule nine different kinds of fire’, to the ‘nine daughters of dawn’, to ‘nine arrows of the spirit whose face is half red and half black’, to the ‘blacksmith and his nine sons who worship the horse headed god’, and to the nine ‘mirrors of creation’.

In Westcott’s 1892? edition of Numbers, Their Occult Significance and Mystical Virtues, a book still bearing the stamp of the Omaha Theosophical Society, we read, “the ennead, the first square of an odd number, is said to be like the ocean flowing around the other numbers…it is like the horizon because all numbers are bounded by nine”.

He notes, as have others, that whenever you multiply the number nine by any other number, the sum of the new numbers when added back to a single digit, will always produce nine again. Westcott refers back to a still more venerable work, John Heydon’s Holy Guide of 1662 which asserts that the number nine engraved on silver and carried about one renders the wearer invisible. He also recalls the roman festival of Novennalia, which was celebrated every ninth year, in memory of the dead.

So with all that in the back of my mind, why should I have been surprised when a young Indian girl appeared one morning while I was working in the garden, told me her name was Nava, her tribe the Dgulha, and that she was nine years old.

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