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John Lennon and the Immortal Number 9

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On October 9th, Yoko Ono, in honor of what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday, will light his Peace Tower in Iceland, and perform a memorial concert.

The number 9 always had profound significance for John, especially after first meeting Yoko at a London art gallery on November 9, 1966. His second wife was a serious student of the occult and of Cheiro, the father of modern numerology.

Like John, she identified herself as a Number 9 person, 9 being the sum of the numbers of her own birthday on the 18th (of February, 1933).

Cheiro stated that 9 represented creative, universal consciousness. He characterized Number 9 personalities as fiercely independent, energetic, strong-willed, and domineering, often subject to great struggles in youth, but great success later on.

The number played uncannily in the lives of John and Yoko. Due to many previous miscarriages, plus John’s low sperm count, doctors told Yoko she had little chance of conceiving: but she delivered Sean by Caesarian on October 9, 1975. She subscribed to the Asian superstition that a child born on his father’s birthday would inherit his soul.

Yoko had suffered three earlier miscarriages. The second had occurred on October 9, 1969, on John’s 29th birthday.

After their marriage that year, John had immersed himself in numerology. With Yoko’s guidance, and that of her many astrologers, he governed his latter life according to her numbers. In one of his last interviews, he told Playboy magazine: “She’s the teacher and I’m the pupil. She’s taught me everything I fucking know.”

He had written the famous “Revolution 9,” “#9 Dream,” and “One After 909.” By 1978, the former Beatle told his tarot reader, John Green, “The big plan is that I do nothing for the next four years. Mother [Yoko] says that everything I do is doomed to failure until the year 1982. That year, according to the numbers, I’ll conquer the world again.”

In his book Dakota Days, John Green writes of Lennon’s dedicated mystical practices – his meditation, his psychic training, his cleansing fasts, his vows of silence, his Tarot study. His card was the 9th, The Hermit, presenting contemplation and introspection.

Green, who did daily readings for Lennon, predicted that 1980 would be a big year for him. On his October 9th birthday that year, he released the single “Starting Over” from his new album with Yoko, Double Fantasy. “Let’s take a chance and fly away somewhere alone,” he sang. “It’s like we both are falling in love again. It’ll be just like starting over, starting over.”

But, two months later, he was gunned down in front of the Dakota (the Central Park West apartment building where he and Yoko lived) by a demented former fan, Mark David Chapman. The fateful date was December 8. But, as his first wife, Cynthia, pointed out in her own biography, it was the 9th in the place of his birth – Britain.

According to Robert Rosen’s Nowhere Man, The Final Days of John Lennon, Chapman, obsessed with Salinger’s The Catcher In the Rye, meant to write its final, missing chapter – 27 – in Lennon’s blood. Asserts Rosen: “It’s as if 27, the triple 9, formed a numerological Bermuda Triangle that has swallowed at least five great musicians.” Referring to all those who died at age 27 (Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Jim Morrison (born on Dec. 8, Lennon’s death day), Rosen calls 27 “the unluckiest number in rock’n’roll.”

Years before Chapman had pursued Lennon, the ex-Beatle had been targeted by another psychiatric patient. Charles Manson was obsessed with John’s “Revolution 9,” believing that it was based on the Book of Revelations and that it predicted the “Helter Skelter” Armageddon to come. In 1969, hoping to involve Lennon in his apocalyptic revolution in the California desert, Manson wrote and phoned the singer repeatedly, but without a reply. John and Yoko were doing their Toronto bed-in for peace at the time. At last the cult leader and serial murderer wrote the “Revolution” composer a blood-soaked letter.

A student of history, and of ancient civilizations in particular, Lennon was aware of the enormous significance many cultures attached to numerology, especially to the number 9. There were 9 muses and 9 choirs of angels. The Greeks and Romans buried their dead on the 9th day, and held memorial feasts for the deceased every 9th year. Yet, it was also a number of rebirth. Christ remained on the cross for 9 hours before the burial and resurrection. The deceased Pope is mourned for 9 days.

Nine is unique in being the only digit which, when multiplied by any other digit, always reproduces itself (e.g. 9 x 6 = 54; 5 + 4 = 9). For this reason, it is regarded by numerologists as the symbol of indestructible matter. For the Egyptians, Greeks, and Freemasons too, it signified eternity. The Aztecs believed that the soul passed through nine stages to final rest.

And so, it is a fitting symbol for the great, immortal artist that was and is John Lennon. In honor of this, Yoko Ono opened his Strawberry Fields monument on Oct. 9, 1985. And now, celebrating his 70th birthday, she will light his Peace Tower at the top of the world.

“I’m not afraid of dying,” John had once said. “It’s just like getting out of one car and into another.” He spent his last moments, gunshot, on the back seat of an NYPD squad car speeding for the hospital, its sirens screaming as had the blitz raid sirens outside the London hospital where he had been born on October 9, 1940.

“Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream / It is not dying, it is not dying,” he had sung on Revolver’s “Tomorrow Never Knows,” channeling the Tibetan Book of the Dead. “So play the game / Existence to the end / Of the beginning, of the beginning.”

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About David Comfort

  • http://www.jeremystyron.com Jeremy

    Exceptional look at the significance of the number 9 as it relates to Lennon. And the thing about multiplying 9 never occurred to me. Fascinating stuff.

  • grapost

    I wish the media would STOP promoting and portraying John Lennon as some kind of Saint. He was a great musician AND THAT IS ALL! As a person he was very eccentric, Abusive and Violent towards women, a regular drug user and a Heroin Addict in the early 70’s, prone to rediculous publicity stunts for Peace that accomplished NOTHING, not very educated, and a lousy, absentee, uncaring father to his first son Julian. He had NO OTHER successes in his life outside of music. There are 1,000 other people who did more for the Peace movment than sing songs and make speeches who got no MEDIA COVERAGE. He owes much of his importance to being a “Darling Of The Media” for the past 46 years. I have been a Beatles fan since I was 12 years old in 1964, but I can still be OBJECTIVE, which the media has never been with Lennon. As Paul McCartney said in his Bio, “ever since John died people have tried to make him out to be Martin Luther Lennon. He was just a regular guy, and no more.” Which is the TRUTH! But the comment was later removed after a HUGE outcry by the media and fans. People don’t want the truth, they want to believe in the myths the media creates.

  • anon

    Which would you rather the media focus on? John Lennon or Sarah Palin? Yes, it’s true, many don’t receive enough recognition for their work. Some would rather not be in the limelight, esp. every detail of their life, and some use the media for good things. John did that and he was a threat to many for it.

  • frank

    i heard somewhere he was sent from allah to send a message, that all crap in my opinion cause of Islam99 and ‘why dont we do it on the road’ and before Christ comes , people will fornicate on the road. i think its all coincidents with alittle bit of bs

  • Manojj N

    Excellent work…

  • Erik Woods

    With love, I AM.

  • Oinari80

    The official English translation of the article reads:

    “ ARTICLE 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

    • Oinari 80

      This is Article “9” of the Japanese Constitution. It is said that John wrote “Imagine” after learning this as being taught the meaning by Yoko.

      A lot of Japanese think that this article of the Constitution is the most precious and prideful for mankind.