The Decad, however, since it is beyond the Ennead, is called Unlimited and Infinite. The Pythagoreans say: The First Monad reaches its goal in the Triad (1, 2, 3), the First Perfection; thus Initial Unity achieves First Completion. The Tetrad reaches its goal in the Hexad (4, 5, 6), the Second Perfection; thus Well-rounded Stability achieves Harmony. The Second Monad reaches its goal in the Ennead (7, 8, 9), the Third Perfection; thus Hidden Unity achieves Second Completion. After the Third Perfection comes Final Unity (10), which is unbounded.
Likewise they call the Ennead "Oceanus" and "Horizon," for these two things encircle the world and contain everything inside themselves; and they call it the Heavenly Sphere because that sphere, the Ninth, surrounds the planets, the stars, and the earth. And they call it Hyperion because it exceeds (hyper-) all other elementary numbers. The Pythagoreans also call the Ennead "Sun" (Halios) because it gathers (halizein) the numbers around itself, as the Sun causes the planets to circle it; and they call it Concord or Lack of Strife because in so gathering the numbers it makes them play in concert.
The Ennead is also called "That which Brings Completion," Fulfillment, Attainment, Incorruptible, Perfection and even Thrice Perfect, because the Triad is perfect and the Ennead is the Triple Triad. The Ennead is the Earthly Paradise.
But the Ennead is also called Near Perfect, Failure and Shortcoming because it falls short of its perfection in the Decad.
The Ennead combines Order with Crisis (9 = 4 + 5). This combination is unstable; either it will be completed and consolidated in the Decad (5 + 5), or it must decay to lower stabilities (4 + 4, 3 + 3, 2 + 2). Thus the Pythagoreans call the Ennead the Finishing Post, for it is the Goal and Turning Point of Advancement; either the test will be passed and progress will continue to fulfillment in the Decad, or it will not be passed, and there will be a return to lower levels.
The Pythagoreans call the Ennead "Hera, Sister-Consort of Zeus," because it stands opposite the Monad (Zeus) and balances it, and because the Decad comprises Zeus and Hera (10 = 1 + 9).
In summary, the Ennead manifests great strength, but also contains the seeds of its own defeat. Though it is on the threshold of the Decad, if it does not meet the challenge, it must return to a lower stage.
Image: A double cross of wands (keraunoi and thursoi) as for the Eight of Wands, but with the astrological symbol for Mercury in the center. Fiery background.
Commentary: The Mercury symbol, which is the caduceus, represents the determination to accomplish the task, as does the fiery background. The circle of this symbol represents the delimitation of the Ennead.
Image: An electrum medallion containing a downward-pointing dagger in the center of the eight swords of the Eight of Swords. Cloudy background.
Commentary: The downward pointing dagger represents the danger of sophistry, cruelty, etc.; it is in a circle to represent the delimitation of the Ennead. (Electrum is an ancient alloy of gold and silver.) The clouds represent dishonesty, anxiety and fear.
Image: The open mouth of an electrum cup in the center of eight cups arranged as for the Eight of Cups (but without the flow from the diagonal cups). It is filled with a pink liquid. Dark blue background.
Commentary: The central cup represents the delimitation of the Ennead. The full cup represents contentment, and the pink liquid represents the proper mixture of wine and water ("neither an excess nor deficiency of spirits"). The arrangement recalls that of the Cater of Cups. The dark blue background represents wisdom and prudence, but also pride (Cooper s.v. Colours).
Image: The arrangement of the Eight of Pentacles, but with a central electrum disk out of which the eight rays radiate. Light yellow-green background.
Commentary: The central disk represents the completion and delimitation of the Ennead. The light yellow-green background represents contentment, satisfaction etc.
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Last update: Mon Jul 5 11:48:27 EDT 1999