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Ineffable Power

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  • Tom Saunders
    Ineffable Power by Thomas M. Saunders There were two forms of Philosophy, for there were two kinds of people that practiced it, the Aphorists and the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 16, 2005
      Ineffable Power
      Thomas M. Saunders

      "There were two forms of Philosophy, for there were two kinds of people that practiced it, the Aphorists and the Scientists." This quote from "Early Greek Philosophy" the 'Penguin Classic,' is about Pythagoreans. It refers to a group of people who formed communities after the 5th century B.C.E., and had a profound effect on Philosophy in general, but now we also know they had a direct effect on early Christianity.

      The proof of this connection lies in the fact that Pythagoreans from the time of Pythagoras in 500 B.C.E., formed what Barnes, in "Early Greek Philosophy" describes as a "sort of Freemasonry" and formed communities. (Ibid p.163) Some followers of Pythagoras had a major influence in the Pythagorean movement. Empedocles, Hippasus, Anaxagoras, Archelaus, and Diogenes of Appolonia, are among the known influences of this Philosophical movement. Much of the known work of these men point toward an understanding of the natural order, the polarity of form, and the study of the 'monad,' meaning One.

      Monadology, as a modern term was introduced into Philosophy in the 17th century by Gottfried Leibnitz, who's work rivals that of Newton. (Internet Encylclopedia of Philosophy) The study of the monad is recorded by Clement in his Book 'Stromateis' Book 3 chapter 2., " speaking of the Gnostic Epiphanes the son of Carpocrates 'he was instructed in the knowledge of the Monad' (Greek THS MONADIKHS GNWSEWS) { source Dr. Andrew Criddle}

      The interest of the power or symbolic meaning of the idea of One is used in East and West, and seems to be a universal interest, and applied philosophy in Taoist, Buddhist, Pythagorean, and Gnostic Christianity. There is an amazing use of terms and ideas that share interest in all three cultures that used monadologies. The following from the "Apocryphon of John" is just one of many early Christian texts that are based upon a relationship to the monad, or 'one.'

      " I am the Father, I am the Mother, I am the Son. I am the undefiled and incorruptible 'One.' {My emphasis} Now I have come to teach you what is and what was and what will come to pass, that you may know the things which are not revealed and those which are revealed, and to teach you concerning the unwavering race of the perfect Man.

      "And I {John Zebidee.} asked to know it, {The secrets} and he {Jesus} said to me, "The Monad is a monarchy with nothing above it. It is he who exists as God and Father of everything, the invisible One who is above everything, who exists as incorruption, which is in the pure light into which no eye can look." ("Apocryphon of John," Nag Hammadi Library) {NHL}

      New interest should be taken in the origin of the "Apocryphon of John," and the "Gospel of Phillip," as to the possible link with Simon Magus. Philip, is mentioned in Acts 8., and link Philip to the Samarian followers, connected with Dositheos. Dositheos is credited with writing the "Three Steles of Seth." This would put the "Gospel of Phillip," and the "Apocryphon of John" in a closer time period to the writing of the Gospel of Thomas. There is little doubt that these texts were meant to have great significance to the understanding of Thomasine Gnosis.

      Newer studies by Davies, ("Gospel of Thomas, and Christian Wisdom, Bardic, 2005) and others suggest that the Gospel of Thomas is much earlier than scholars had earlier predicted. It can be shown that the Pythagorean influence is a major influence on Gnostic ideas. There is no question that the early Alexandrian Church had ample Apostolic lineage, and the monadic philosophy in the Gnostic arena, predates Christianity, and was adopted, the Nag Hammadi texts being evidence of the fact of the use of the monad.

      The monad from Christian history is linked to Pythagoras with the statements from Clement of Alexandria, who gives credit for the Monad to Pythagoras.

      "Again the Barbarian philosophy knows the world of thought and the world of sense -- the former archetypal, and the latter the image of that which is called the model; and assigns the former to the Monad, as being perceived by the mind, and the world of sense to the number six. For six is called by the Pythagoreans marriage, as being the genital number; and he places in the Monad the invisible heaven and the holy earth, and intellectual light. For "in the beginning," it is said, "God made the heaven and the earth; and the earth was invisible." And it is added, "And God said, Let there be light; and there was light." And in the material cosmogony."

      The following is thought to have been written by Valentinus of Alexandria, in the early Second century. The progression of Monad to dyad suggests that the system is related to the Pythagorean "Table of the Ten Numbers" which is Appendix A., below.

      "I will speak my mystery to those who are mine and to those who will be mine. Moreover it is these who have known him who is, the Father, that is, the Root of the All, the Ineffable One who dwells in the Monad. He dwells alone in silence, and silence is tranquility since, after all, he {Jesus} was a Monad and no one was before him. He dwells in the Dyad and in the Pair, and his Pair is Silence. And he possessed the All dwelling within him. And as for Intention and Persistence, Love and Permanence, they are indeed unbegotten."

      Aside from the Monadic references in the Nag Hammadi collection there are the Bruce, and Askew Codices which also contain references to Jesus and the 'Monad.' The universal study of monadology in religions can be seen in the similarity of the literature of Pythagoreans, Gnostic works, and the study of Taoist principles. Some of the descriptive language and concepts concerning the power of One is almost identical, while other aspects of Monadologies are directly opposed. Empedocles especially, seems to be familiar with Eastern ideas. One can judge for himself. (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, {IEP})

      Leibnitz' theory of the Monad as matter, conflicts with the Christian idea in the "Gospel of Mary," 'Phillip,' as well as the "Gospel of Thomas." Matter perishes, and does not survive, is a main Gnostic theme.. Taoist and Gnostic ideas of spirit, soul, and transition seem to be very aligned. Even if the ideas behind monadic elements or characteristics differ, knowing the difference, still seems to help one decide which difference makes the most sense to pursue. There is at least 400 years the Eastern and Western worlds were joined by the Silk Routes, before Jesus. It will be hard to determine who knew what, and when.

      In the study of trying to decipher Christian Apocrypha, I have learned that understanding the elements of the processes of Gnosis is easier to grasp if you understand the end goal, the transition, Gnosis, which in Thomasine Gnosis is bonding the soul with the Holy Spirit. (Phillip) This is called 'enlightenment' in the Taoist or Eastern sense, and they seem to resemble each other. Consider the following descriptions of first, Theodotus of Alexandria.

      Theodotus 32." Pythagoras thought that he who gave things their names, ought to be regarded not only the most intelligent, but the oldest of the wise men. We must, then, search the Scriptures accurately, since they are admitted to be expressed in parables, and from the names hunt out the thoughts which the Holy Spirit, pro-pounding respecting things, teaches by imprinting His mind, so to speak, on the expressions; that the names used with various meanings, being made the subject of accurate investigation, may be explained, and that that which is hidden {trader?} many integuments may, being handled and learned, come to light and gleam forth. For so also lead turns white as you rub it; white lead being produced from black. So also scientific knowledge (gnosis), shedding its light and brightness on things, shows itself to be in truth the divine wisdom, the pure light, which illumines the men whose eyeball is clear, unto the sure vision and comprehension of truth. "

      This is the description from Satori, the classic, translated by Tabata, in "Secret Tactics." Satori is the Japanese term for Enlightenment, a concept which can be aligned with a lot of Eastern religions. (There is no date given for this work, many things were translated and redacted by the Japanese from classical Chinese material, like Lao Tzu, Sun Tzu, Mencius, and others)

      "Satori refers to a state of higher awareness. It is a state of spiritual awakening in which one can perceive all aspects of life with complete understanding and amazing clarity. Satori is achieved only when one has perfect control over one's state of mind....."

      Can 'Gnosis' and the concept of 'Enlightenment' in both Taoist and Christian philosophy be seen as the same thing?

      In the late 90's Martin Palmer, writer and archeologist excavated the Da Qin Monastery in Xian China. The Jesus Sutras are a collection of three surviving texts, that are from earlier texts. It is estimated that these texts, that were found buried in a cave, like the NHL, from the 7th century. Palmer's "Jesus Sutras" are very revealing as to the ease of using Gnostic material for Taoist.

      The following samples of the 'Jesus Sutras' in my estimation are not tailor made scripture to convert Chinese to Gnosticism. The Taoist principles, adapted to Buddhism are based upon a monadology or One, the primordial force, Wu Chi, then the icon of the Yin and Yang symbology of the I Ching, the Tai Chi, and other forms of spirit (Chi). When the Gnostic says "One," the Taoist says "One," they very much mean the same 'One.' The following scripture is certainly not Orthodox, it is Gnostic.

      "The World Honored One {Jesus, my in.} said: If someone gives alms they should do it in the knowledge of the World Honored One. Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Pay no attention to outsiders, but worship the One Sacred Spirit. The One will become visible to you, and then you should worship only the 'One." (Palmer, p. 60)

      "If you have a treasure, do not store it on earth where it can decay or be stolen. Instead present it to heaven where it will not rot or be stolen." (Ibid.)

      "Simon know this, I can be found throughout heaven and Earth. I am the Way to the Spirits. I can be seen among the people. I can embody forms beyond knowledge." (The Fruits of the Church, Sutra. Ch.2)

      "Simon you should know this:
      I see the Law. I see the reality without the distraction of form. I hear the law, I am not distracted by sounds. I smell the law, and I know how to ignore smell. I taste the law, and I am not distracted by flavors. I embody the law, and I can sense it in my body. My heart is the law, and I can feel it all. These six principles lead to the highest awakening. Through the light of this teaching everyone can be saved....you will discover the all embracing knowing the mystery. " (Ibid.)

      In 1973, near Hunan Province, archeologists found a document dated around 168 B.C. the, "Doa Yin Tu." This document represents basic postures known in both Chinese medicine, and martial arts, from that point on until now. (Cohen, "The Way of Qigong") Both Chinese martial arts and Okinawan martial arts are based upon these concepts, and other 'like' concepts which are all based upon qualities gleaned from Taoist (Daoist) adaptations. They are all based upon concepts of monadology. "Everything begins with "One." (Tatsuo Shimabuku, Founder of Isshin Ryu Karate, See also the 'Bubishi,' McCarthy, Tuttle, "Secret Tactics," Tabata)

      They are all based upon the focus of energy, and the learning is called the Way, and the point is understood as the 'one,' just like the Pythagorean sword in the dragon. "The Sword is the monad." (Table of Ten the Numbers") Any modern martial artist would understand this idea immediately. The founder of Shoto Kan Karate, Gichin Funakoshi said, "The hands and feet are like swords." Musashi said, "The sword is the soul." (See "The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate," Funakoshi, and "The Book of Five Rings," Musashi) Clement indirectly mentions the sword in his statement about "warlike" deeds, in one of his descriptions of Craftsmen.

      "For to one God has given warlike deeds, To another the accomplishment of the dance, To another the lyre and song," says Homer. "But each has his own proper gift of God " -- one in one way, another in another. But the apostles were perfected in all. You will find, then, if you choose, in their acts and writings, knowledge, life, preaching, righteousness, purity, prophecy." The Gospel of Thomas saying 98, refers to the 'kingdom' and the sword....98. Jesus said, "The Father's kingdom is like a person who wanted to kill someone powerful. While still at home he drew his sword and thrust it into the wall to find out whether his hand would go in. Then he killed the powerful one."

      The Thomas saying could have many connotations for each element of the saying. including the sword, wall, home, and 'one' could mean many different things. This is probably the point of the parables if Theodotus' description above is applied. Clement says:

      "Wherefore the holy mysteries of the prophecies are veiled in the parables -- preserved for chosen men, selected to knowledge in consequence of their faith; for the style of the Scriptures is parabolic. Wherefore also the Lord, who was not of the world, came as one who was of the world to men. For He was clothed with all virtue; and it was His aim to lead man, the foster-child of the world, up to the objects of intellect, and to the most essential truths by knowledge, from one world to another.
      Wherefore also He employed metaphorical description; for such is the parable, -- a narration based on some subject which is not the principal subject, but similar to the principal subject, and leading him who understands to what is the true and principal thing; or, as some say, a mode of speech presenting with vigour, by means of other circumstances, what is the principal subject." (Stromata, Bk VI, et sec.)


      Monadology links Pythagorean, Christian Gnostic, and Taoist ideas, of a 'polarity' (Monadic force) toward the power given to the "one' in monadologies, that transcends through all forms. Gnosis and Enlightenment can be seen as very much the same thing, in the process of metaphysical transcendence. Gnostic teaching survived in China through 7th century, and ended probably as a result of both Christian and Chinese restoration before and after the 7th century. It cannot be determined what exact aspects of ancient monadologies these ancient systems share with one another, but as study of the matter proceeds similarities, and differences will be made clear, as will historical links. The importance of the parables cannot be overstated, and the study of the significance in knowing the link to monadology opens a knew area of study in regard to using parables as tools of enlightenment.

      Appendix A.

      (The following outline of the Pythagorean numbers is a paraphrase of the writings of Nicomachus, Theon of Smyrna, Proclus, Porphyry, Plutarch, Clement of Alexandria, Aristotle, and other early authorities.)

      Monad--1--is so called because it remains always in the same condition--that is, separate from multitude. Its attributes are as follows: It is called mind, because the mind is stable and has preeminence; hermaphrodism, because it is both male and female; odd and even, for being added to the even it makes odd, and to the odd, even; God, because it is the beginning and end of all, but itself has neither beginning nor end; good, for such is the nature of God; the receptacle of matter, because it produces the duad, which is essentially material.

      By the Pythagoreans monad was called chaos, obscurity, chasm, Tartarus, Styx, abyss, Lethe, Atlas, Axis, Morpho (a name for Venus), and Tower or Throne of Jupiter, because of the great power which abides in the center of the universe and controls the circular motion of the planers about itself. Monad is also called germinal reason, because it is the origin of all the thoughts in the universe. Other names given to it were: Apollo, because of its relation to the sun; Prometheus, because he brought man light; Pyralios, one who exists in fire; geniture, because without it no number can exist; substance, because substance is primary; cause of truth; and constitution of symphony: all these because it is the primordial one.

      Between greater and lesser the monad is equal; between intention and remission it is middle; in multitude it is mean; and in time it is now, because

      p. 72

      eternity knows neither past nor future. It is called Jupiter, because he is Father and head of the gods; Vesta, the fire of the home, because it is located in the midst of the universe and remains there inclining to no side as a dot in a circle; form, because it circumscribes, comprehends, and terminates; love, concord, and piety, because it is indivisible. Other symbolic names for the monad are ship, chariot, Proteus (a god capable of changing his form), Mnemosyne, and Polyonymous (having many names).

      The following symbolic names were given to the duad--2--because it has been divided, and is two rather than one; and when there are two, each is opposed to the other: genius, evil, darkness, inequality, instability, movability, boldness, fortitude, contention, matter, dissimilarity, partition between multitude and monad, defect, shapelessness, indefiniteness, indeterminate ness, harmony, tolerance, root, feet of fountain-abounding idea, top, Phanes, opinion, fallacy, alterity, diffidence, impulse, death, motion, generation, mutation, division, longitude, augmentation, composition, communion, misfortune, sustentation, imposition, marriage, soul, and science.

      In his book, Numbers, W. Wynn Westcott says of the duad: "it was called 'Audacity,' from its being the earliest number to separate itself from the Divine One; from the 'Adytum of God-nourished Silence,' as the Chaldean oracles say."

      As the monad is the father, so the duad is the mother; therefore, the duad has certain points in common with the goddesses Isis, Rhea (Jove's mother), Phrygia, Lydia, Dindymene (Cybele), and Ceres; Erato (one of the Muses); Diana, because the moon is forked; Dictynna, Venus, Dione, Cytherea; Juno, because she is both wife and sister of Jupiter; and Maia, the mother of Mercury.

      While the monad is the symbol of wisdom, the duad is the symbol of ignorance, for in it exists the sense of separateness--which sense is the beginning of ignorance. The duad, however, is also the mother of wisdom, for ignorance--out of the nature of itself--invariably gives birth to wisdom.

      The Pythagoreans revered the monad but despised the duad, because it was the symbol of polarity. By the power of the duad the deep was created in contradistinction to the heavens. The deep mirrored the heavens and became the symbol of illusion, for the below was merely a reflection of the above. The below was called maya, the illusion, the sea, the Great Void, and to symbolize it the Magi of Persia carried mirrors. From the duad arose disputes and contentions, until by bringing the monad between the duad, equilibrium was reestablished by the Savior-God, who took upon Himself the form of a number and was crucified between two thieves for the sins of men.

      The triad--3--is the first number actually odd (monad not always being considered a number). It is the first equilibrium of unities; therefore, Pythagoras said that Apollo gave oracles from a tripod, and advised offer of libation three times. The keywords to the qualities of the triad are friendship, peace, justice, prudence, piety, temperance, and virtue. The following deities partake of the principles of the triad: Saturn (ruler of time), Latona, Cornucopiæ, Ophion (the great serpent), Thetis, Hecate, Polyhymnia (a Muse), Pluto, Triton, President of the Sea, Tritogenia, Achelous, and the Faces, Furies, and Graces. This number is called wisdom, because men organize the present, foresee the future, and benefit by the experiences of the fast. It is cause of wisdom and understanding. The triad is the number of knowledge--music, geometry, and astronomy, and the science of the celestials and terrestrials. Pythagoras taught that the cube of this number had the power of the lunar circle.

      The sacredness of the triad and its symbol--the triangle--is derived from the fact that it is made up of the monad and the duad. The monad is the symbol of the Divine Father and the duad of the Great Mother. The triad being made of these two is therefore androgynous and is symbolic of the fact that God gave birth to His worlds out of Himself, who in His creative aspect is always symbolized by the triangle. The monad passing into the duad was thus capable of becoming the parent of progeny, for the duad was the womb of Meru, within which the world was incubated and within which it still exists in embryo.

      The tetrad--4--was esteemed by the Pythagoreans as the primogenial number, the root of all things, the fountain of Nature and the most perfect number. All tetrads are intellectual; they have an emergent order and encircle the world as the Empyreum passes through it. Why the Pythagoreans expressed God as a tetrad is explained in a sacred discourse ascribed to Pythagoras, wherein God is called the Number of Numbers. This is because the decad, or 10, is composed of 1, 2, 3, and 4. The number 4 is symbolic of God because it is symbolic of the first four numbers. Moreover, the tetrad is the center of the week, being halfway between 1 and 7. The tetrad is also the first geometric solid.

      Pythagoras maintained that the soul of man consists of a tetrad, the four powers of the soul being mind, science, opinion, and sense. The tetrad connects all beings, elements, numbers, and seasons; nor can anything be named which does not depend upon the tetractys. It is the Cause and Maker of all things, the intelligible God, Author of celestial and sensible good, Plutarch interprets this tetractys, which he said was also called the world, to be 36, consisting of the first four odd numbers added to the first four even numbers, thus:

      1 + 3 +5 +7
      = 16

      2 + 4 + 6 + 8
      = 20


      Keywords given to the tetrad are impetuosity, strength, virility, two-mothered, and the key keeper of Nature, because the universal constitution cannot be without it. It is also called harmony and the first profundity. The following deities partook of the nature of the tetrad: Hercules, Mercury, Vulcan, Bacchus, and Urania (one of the Muses).

      The triad represents the primary colors and the major planets, while the tetrad represents the secondary colors and the minor planets. From the first triangle come forth the seven spirits, symbolized by a triangle and a square. These together form the Masonic apron.

      The pentad--5--is the union of an odd and an even number (3 and 2). Among the Greeks, the pentagram was a sacred symbol of light, health, and vitality. It also symbolized the fifth element--ether--because it is free from the disturbances of the four lower elements. It is called equilibrium, because it divides the perfect number 10 into two equal parts.

      The pentad is symbolic of Nature, for, when multiplied by itself it returns into itself, just as grains of wheat, starting in the form of seed, pass through Nature's processes and reproduce the seed of the wheat as the ultimate form of their own growth. Other numbers multiplied by themselves produce other numbers, but only 5 and 6 multiplied by themselves represent and retain their original number as the last figure in their products.

      The pentad represents all the superior and inferior beings. It is sometimes referred to as the hierophant, or the priest of the Mysteries, because of its connection with the spiritual ethers, by means of which mystic development is attained. Keywords of the pentad are reconciliation, alternation, marriage, immortality, cordiality, Providence, and sound. Among the deities who partook of the nature of the pentad were Pallas, Nemesis, Bubastia (Bast), Venus, Androgynia, Cytherea, and the messengers of Jupiter.

      The tetrad (the elements) plus the monad equals the pentad. The Pythagoreans taught that the elements of earth, fire, air, and water were permeated by a substance called ether--the basis of vitality and life. Therefore, they chose the five-pointed star, or pentagram, as the symbol of vitality, health, and interpenetration.

      It was customary for the philosophers to conceal the element of earth under the symbol of a dragon, and many of the heroes of antiquity were told to go forth and slay the dragon. Hence, they drove their sword (the monad) into the body of the dragon (the tetrad). This resulted in the formation of the pentad, a symbol of the victory of the spiritual nature over the material nature. The four elements are symbolized in the early Biblical writings as the four rivers that poured out of Garden of Eden. The elements themselves are under the control of the composite Cherubim of Ezekiel.

      The Pythagoreans held the hexad--6--to represent, as Clement of Alexandria conceived, the creation of the world according to both the prophets and the ancient Mysteries. It was called by the Pythagoreans the perfection of all the parts. This number was particularly sacred to Orpheus, and also to the Fate, Lachesis, and the Muse, Thalia. It was called the form of forms, the articulation of the universe, and the maker of the soul.

      Among the Greeks, harmony and the soul were considered to be similar in nature, because all souls are harmonic. The hexad is also the symbol of marriage, because it is formed by the union of two triangles, one masculine and the other feminine. Among the keywords given to the hexad are: time, for it is the measure of duration; panacea, because health is equilibrium, and the hexad is a balance number; the world, because the world, like the hexad, is often seen to consist of contraries by harmony; omnisufficient, because its parts are sufficient for totality (3 +2 + 1 = 6); unwearied, because it contains the elements of immortality.

      By the Pythagoreans the heptad--7--was called "worthy of veneration." It was held to be the number of religion, because man is controlled by seven celestial spirits to whom it is proper for him to make offerings. It was called the number of life, because it was believed that human creatures born in the seventh month of embryonic life usually lived, but those born in the eighth month often died. One author called it the Motherless Virgin, Minerva, because it was nor born of a mother but out of the crown, or the head of the Father, the monad. Keywords of the heptad are fortune, occasion, custody, control, government, judgment, dreams, voices, sounds, and that which leads all things to their end. Deities whose attributes were expressed by the heptad were Ægis, Osiris, Mars, and Cleo (one of the Muses).

      Among many ancient nations the heptad is a sacred number. The Elohim of the Jews were supposedly seven in number. They were the Spirits of the Dawn, more commonly known as the Archangels controlling the planets. The seven Archangels, with the three spirits controlling the sun in its threefold aspect, constitute the 10, the sacred Pythagorean decad. The mysterious Pythagorean tetractys, or four rows of dots, increasing from 1 to 4, was symbolic of the stages of creation. The great Pythagorean truth that all things in Nature are regenerated through the decad, or 10, is subtly preserved in Freemasonry through these grips being effected by the uniting of 10 fingers, five on the hand of each person.

      The 3 (spirit, mind, and soul) descend into the 4 (the world), the sum being the 7, or the mystic nature of man, consisting of a threefold spiritual body and a fourfold material form. These are symbolized by the cube, which has six surfaces and a mysterious seventh point within. The six surfaces are the directions: north, east, south, west, up, and down; or, front, back, right, left, above, and below; or again, earth, fire, air, water, spirit, and matter. In the midst of these stands the 1, which is the upright figure of man, from whose center in the cube radiate six pyramids. From this comes the great occult axiom: "The center is the father of the directions, the dimensions, and the distances."

      The heptad is the number of the law, because it is the number of the Makers of Cosmic law, the Seven Spirits before the Throne.

      The ogdoad--8--was sacred because it was the number of the first cube, which form had eight corners, and was the only evenly-even number under 10 (1-2-4-8-4-2-1). Thus, the 8 is divided into two 4's, each 4 is divided into two 2's, and each 2 is divided into two 1's, thereby reestablishing the monad. Among the keywords of the ogdoad are love, counsel, prudence, law, and convenience. Among the divinities partaking of its nature were Panarmonia, Rhea, Cibele, Cadmæa, Dindymene, Orcia, Neptune, Themis, and Euterpe (a Muse).

      The ogdoad was a mysterious number associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece and the Cabiri. It was called the little holy number. It derived its form partly from the twisted snakes on the Caduceus of Hermes and partly from the serpentine motion of the celestial bodies; possibly also from the moon's nodes.

      The ennead--9--was the first square of an odd number (3x3). It was associated with failure and shortcoming because it fell short of the perfect number 10 by one. It was called the called the number of man, because of the nine months of his embryonic life. Among its keywords are ocean and horizon, because to the ancients these were boundless. The ennead is the limitless number because there is nothing beyond it but the infinite 10. It was called boundary and limitation, because it gathered all numbers within itself. It was called the sphere of the air, because it surrounded the numbers as air surrounds the earth, Among the gods and goddesses who partook in greater or less degree of its nature were Prometheus, Vulcan, Juno, the sister and wife of Jupiter, Pæan, and Aglaia, Tritogenia, Curetes, Proserpine, Hyperion, and Terpsichore (a Muse).

      The 9 was looked upon as evil, because it was an inverted 6. According to the Eleusinian Mysteries, it was the number of the spheres through which the consciousness passed on its way to birth. Because of its close resemblance to the spermatozoon, the 9 has been associated with germinal life.

      The decad--10--according to the Pythagoreans, is the greatest of numbers, not only because it is the tetractys (the 10 dots) but because it comprehends all arithmetic and harmonic proportions. Pythagoras said that 10 is the nature of number, because all nations reckon to it and when they arrive at it they return to the monad. The decad was called both heaven and the world, because the former includes the latter. Being a perfect number, the decad was applied by the Pythagoreans to those things relating to age, power, faith, necessity, and the power of memory. It was also called unwearied, because, like God, it was tireless. The Pythagoreans divided the heavenly bodies into ten orders. They also stated that the decad perfected all numbers and comprehended within itself the nature of odd and even, moved and unmoved, good and ill. They associated its power with the following deities: Atlas (for it carried the numbers on its shoulders), Urania, Mnemosyne, the Sun, Phanes, and the One God.

      The decimal system can probably be traced back to the time when it was customary to reckon on the fingers, these being among the most primitive of calculating devices and still in use among many aboriginal peoples.

      Further Reading:

      The Nag Hammadi Library, Robinson, Harper, 1988.
      Ten Great Works of Philosophy, Wolfe , Signet, 2002
      Early Christian Mystics, McGinn/McGinn, Crossroads, 2003
      The Jesus Sutras, Palmer, Ballantine, 2001
      Hidden Wisdom, Smoley/Kinney, Penguin, 1999
      The Bible of Karate, Bubishi, McCarthy, Tutle, 1995
      The Gospel of Mary Magdala, King, Polebridge, 2003
      The Gospel of Philip, Leloup, Inner Traditions, 2003
      The Gospel of Thomas, and Christian Wisdom, Davies, Bardic, 2005
      Early Greek Philosophy, Barnes, Penguin, 2000.
      The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate, Funakoshi, Kodnasha, 2003
      Tao Te Ching, Lau Tzu, Feng/English,Vintage, 1972
      Secret Tactics, Tabata, Tuttle, 2005

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