Numbers numbers numbers: NINE

Originally posted in February 2014. Due to planned festivities, I’m reposting some old favorites this week.

Numbers numbers numbers: NINE

Early on in my other life I was hand-picked and hired to assist with budgets, to work with numbers. One of the higher-ups remarked that my spelling score was quite good for a “numbers person.” This amused me to no end, as I’d no inkling that a) anyone in the world considered me fluent with numbers, or b) that the mundane labor that comprised my livelihood had been noticed, much less evaluated, by someone beyond my small, three-person office (certainly no one noticed the writing I’d produced and published). More than a quarter century later, I’m still amused. And still working with numbers, which even now remain mysterious, magical, and even inspiring.

Take the number nine. Multiply it by two, and you get 18. Add the two digits that comprise 18, one and eight, and you get 9. Multiply it by three: 27. Total the two digits forming 27, and you get, yes, 9. Multiply it by four, by five, by six, by seven, eight or nine. Add the digits that comprise the sum and you return to nine. Interesting, no?

It appears everywhere. In Islamic cosmology, the universe is built of nine spheres. In Ancient Mexico, the netherworld consisted of nine layers. The magic square consists of nine parts. Beijing was designed as a center with eight streets. Hindu temple foundations contain jewels and nine distinct grains. The human body has nine openings. The number also appears in both sacrificial and healing rites. The River Styx bends nine times. I could go on (we haven’t scratched the surface), but will refrain.

But if this piece piques your curiosity, you might find this poem inspired by zero (a truly fascinating subject) of interest:

30 thoughts on “Numbers numbers numbers: NINE

  1. 9 is my favorite number for all these reasons. And zero! It’s fascinating to study the history of math and learn about the advent of zero. But are the beauty of numbers and poetry really that far apart?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have this thing about nine, and sometimes I get a bit compulsive. Let me see if I can explain this.

    In the version of numerology I learned as a kid the numbers 1 through 9 are assigned letters of the alphabet: 1=a, 2=b,…9=i, then it went back to j=1 and so on. In order to find one’s number in numerology you’d take the letters of your given name and add them up. Typically, you’d end up with a double digit sum, perhaps 38, so you’d have to add the 3 and the 8 which would give you 11. You’d add 1 and 1, and voila, you’re a 2 on the numerology chart.
    Ok, if you’re with me so far it occurred to me that if there was a nine in the sum one could dismiss it when adding. For example, 395 would be 3+9+5=17=1+7=8 OR you could simply ignore the 9 in the initial equation and you’d get 3+5=8.
    It works regardless of the number of 9’s in the equation, and grouping numbers to make 9’s speeds the process of adding to a single number. So, 6,493,271 added to a single digit would be 5.
    Yes, I’m bonkers. This serves no real purpose! But I add the digits on license plates, addresses, etc. it’s my one eccentricity.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. it’s good to see that I’m not the only one obsessed with the number 9. For years, I’ve amassed quite a collection of everything with 9 as a common denominator… from the Bible to various mythologies to the universe and the Precession of the Equinox. The number seems to follow me around. I’m glad I’m not alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the re-post. Luckily I had a teacher when I was learning my multiplication table who revealed to us this magical facet of the number 9. Interesting facts about cultural manifestation with the number 9. Of course, the Beatles’ song is now stuck in my head. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great post, thanks! I keep wondering though… As my lucky number has always been 6 (my b-day is the 6.6.) All my life I’ve always tried and succeeded to find meaning in the number 66 as well as the 6. I was able to find the number in all different places and situations and even started collecting pictures of them. Is it either the fact that it’s the same shape as the 9, just upside down, or is it because one could find these ‘coincidences’ wherever one is searching for and wants them to be there?
    That would basically mean I could give any number meaning as well and search for historical or geographical incidents that would supprt the idea of that particular number ..? What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Math and numbers ruined for me by a poor teacher were later restored by a discovery of sacred geometry, so I found this most enjoyable. Of course I loved the poem in the link. I’m rather fond of vultures.

    Liked by 1 person

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