Tim Burton’s “9” is a computer animated movie that was released on 9/9/09. While some critics claimed that the movie “lacked substance”, it nevertheless conveyed powerful messages through symbolism. It even defines a “new age” for humanity as seen by occult secret societies. We’ll look at the esoteric meaning of “9”.
Warning: Gigantic spoilers ahead!
9 takes place in a dark, post-apocalyptic world where intelligent, self-reproducing machines destroyed all life on Earth. In this desolate setting, a small relic of humanity remains: Nine rag dolls animated by a scientist’s soul. These dolls, however, are constantly targeted by the machines that are determined to eradicate anything resembling life on Earth. The dolls must therefore band together to fight and destroy these evil robots.
The above paragraph pretty much sums up the plot of 9 in its entirety – and that is probably what most viewers got out of the movie. However, like all works infused with an esoteric dimension, there is more to the movie than meets the eye. Through symbolism and references, the movie describes humanity as a whole and the transitional phase it is going through. More precisely, 9 describes the world as seen by occult secret societies and the “new age” they are all predicting: the Age of Horus or the Age the Aquarius.
Before we look at the movie, let’s look at the occult philosophy behind it.
The Age of Horus
The occult elite believes that humanity needs to go through a period of great tribulation in order for it to “purge its impurities”. According to occult writers, these “impurities” include traditional religions and governments as we know them. Manly P. Hall, a 33rd degree Freemason, describes what should happen in the next phase of humanity. We’ll later see how this fits perfectly with the vision portrayed in 9.
“The criers of the Mysteries speak again, bidding all men welcome to the House of Light. The great institution of materiality has failed. The false civilization built by man has turned, and like the monster of Frankenstein, is destroying its creator. Religion wanders aimlessly in the maze of theological speculation. Science batters itself impotently against the barriers of the unknown. Only transcendental philosophy knows the path. Only the illumined reason can carry the understanding part of man upward to the light. Only philosophy can teach man to be born well, to live well, to die well, and in perfect measure be born again.”
– Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
The most prominent occultist of the 20th century, Aleister Crowley, stated that the last 2,000 years were the “Age of Osiris”. Osiris was the “king of the living and ruler of the dead” and his Age was characterized by strong governments and religions, notably Christianity’s “emphasis on death, suffering, sorrow and the denial of the body”. However, since the 20th century, Crowley claims that humanity entered the Age of Horus, who is the child of Osiris. In this phase, humans would learn to become their own gods.
“In plain language, the Aeon of Horus means that the Godhead is being passed down to the individual who needs to learn to activate and find the God-Within themselves. This latest Aeon sees the beginning of the end of Divine Power and authority being owned by kings, queens, religions, governments, big institutions and dictatorships, which will increasingly all begin to fail spectacularly. The individual will have the opportunity to become fully liberated, in charge of their own spiritual destiny. ”
– Paul Dunne, The Magic of the New Aquarian Age and the New Aeon of Horus
Through subtle symbolism, 9 describes the fall of authority (mainly the Christian Church) in an new era ruled by the Luciferian philosophy of obtaining godhood through one’s own powers. Using rag dolls and very little dialogue, 9 describes the basis of this occult philosophy and shows how it will prevail.
The heroes of the movie are themselves the product of an ancient occult concept: They are homunculi, “little men” artificially created through a magical process. They are the epitome of man playing God and giving life.
Homunculi (Latin for “little men”) is a concept that can be found in several ancient alchemical documents. In Jewish folklore, the Golem, an animated anthropomorphic being created entirely from inanimate matter, is documented in the Talmud and the Sefer Yetzirah (there are even accounts of Kabbalist rabbis successfully animating such Golems).
For a brief moment, the movie acknowledges the occult roots of its premise:
The title of the book, “Annuls of Percelsus”, basically tells the viewers: “This movie is based on hermetic philosophy and alchemy”. Paracelsus was one of the most renowned occultists of the Renaissance. His work in the field of Hermetism, alchemy and medicine are still thoroughly studied to this day, in practically all occult circles.
“In any matter of Realization and Ritual, Paracelsus is an imposing magical authority. No one has accomplished works greater than his, and for that very reason he conceals the virtue of ceremonies and merely teaches in his occult philosophy the existence of that magnetic agent which is omnipotence of will; he sums also the whole science of characters in two signs, the macrocosmic and microcosmic stars. It was sufficient for the adepts, and it was important not to initiate the vulgar. Paracelsus therefore did not teach the Ritual, but he practised, and his practice was a sequence of miracles.”
– Eliphas Levi, Rituel de la Haute Magie
Paracelsus’ work De natura rerum (1537) is the first alchemical work that mentions the creation of homunculi. It actually describes a technique to create a “little man” using horse dung and human sperm.
The concept of creating homunculi subsequently appeared in other seminal occult texts, such as the Rosicrucian work Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz (1616) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, Part 2 (a German legend about a man making a pact with the Devil). More recently, Aleister Crowley and his followers were obsessed with the creation of a homunculus (Crowley used the term “Moonchild”). Crowley even added the creation of a homunculus as a “secret instruction” when one is initiated to the O.T.O’s (an occult secret society) 10th degree.
With this reference, 9 therefore taps into a crucial part of Western Occultism.
In addition to the creation of homunculi, the movie also includes other parts of Paracelsus’ research, such as the use of magically charged Talismans, a tool Paracelsus used to treat his patients.
Understanding that the backstory of 9 is steeped in ancient occultism gives the movie’s storyline a specific color: It describes the world as seen by members of occult secret societies. The evolution of the characters in 9 tells it all.
The heroes of the movie are nine rag dolls created by a scientist who infused his soul into them in order to give them life. He then died, along with the rest of humanity. Each one of the rag dolls embodies a part of the scientist’s soul and personifies one of his traits. On a larger scale, each one of these rag dolls represents a group within humanity as a whole. The fate of each doll represents what occultists predict will happen in the Age of Horus.
1: The Pope
The rag dolls are named and numbered in the order they are created, so 1 is the oldest one of the bunch. His position of authority and his distinctive garments make him the leader of the group. Given his attire, it is quite clear that 1 represents the power and authority of the Catholic Church (and religions in general).
1 is stubborn, fearful, dogmatic, cowardly, and close minded. In short, he represents all of the Church’s shortcomings as perceived by elite occult groups. In the first part of the movie, 1 forces all of the dolls to hide in a decrepit Cathedral, discouraging his followers to venture outside of it. He wants his followers to stay hidden and ignorant as he believes that it is the best way to stay alive.
As the movie progresses however, 1 loses his authority, his scepter and his cape. He even loses the coin on his hat. In this transitional period, 1 ultimately represents the fall of religions in the Age of Horus and their loss of power, wealth, and authority.
After the Cathedral burns down, the group hides in the Library. There they discover “Annuls of Peracelsus”, an occult book describing the creation of the rag dolls. 1 is against the dolls reading this book.
At one point 1 says:
“Dark Science. What does this useless rubbish do for us? Forget it!”
To which 9 replies:
- You know something. What do you know?”
- I know enough to leave their ancient evil to moulder. Look what they left us with.”
Does this scene represent religious elites holding occult knowledge while forbidding their followers from seeking it? 1 is therefore exactly how secret societies perceive the Church and how they want the world to perceive the Church … in order to abandon it.
9: The Light Bearer
9 is the hero of the movie. Not unlike 1, he is also associated with an object that holds a heavy significance: A light-bulb on a stick.
9 is pretty much the opposite of 1. He is the youngest of the group, adventurous, courageous, curious, and resolved to solve his problems by his own means. In short, he is how occult groups perceive themselves. 9 also holds the Mystery schools’ favorite emblem, a lighted torch – a nod to Prometheus, the bringer of fire (divine knowledge) to humanity.
The Judeo-Christian version of Prometheus is Lucifer, which is a Latin word meaning “light-bearer”. 9 represents the Mystery Schools’ interpretation of Lucifer: A savior who “initiated” humanity to divine knowledge and opened a path to godhood (Lucifer gave Adam and Eve knowledge of good and evil).
While 1 apparently awaits a divine intervention to save the world, 9 represents the Promethean/Luciferian concept of attaining godhood through one’s own means. In the end of the movie, 9 does just that and even brings life back on Earth.
In this movie that takes place in a transitional period of humanity – between the Age of Osiris and the Age of Horus – 9 symbolically represents the Luciferian principle overthrowing traditional religions … and saving the world.
Other Notable Characters
A Purge to Save Humanity
The dolls flee the burning Cathedral and seek refuge in the Library, where 3, 4 (the historian and archivist) and 7 (the warrior) already live.
This part of the story is telling because it represents the “evolution” that occult secret societies want to see in the world. Ever since the time of the medieval Knight Templars, occult secret societies have accused the Church of stifling knowledge, science and progress. It is difficult to find an occult writer who doesn’t extensively denounce the Church’s role in censoring occult knowledge and punishing those who teach or practice it. The move from the Cathedral to the Library therefore represents the abandonment of religions for knowledge.
Moving to the Library is however not enough. The robots still find the dolls and attack them. In the end, sacrifices must be made and some elements must be “purged” in order for the group to survive.
The occult elite perceives the evolution of humanity as an ongoing alchemical process. The goal of alchemy is to turn crude metals into gold and it is believed that humanity needs to transform using the same process. The first phase of the alchemical Great Work is called Nigredo – blackening. This phase represents the process of burning, turning the base material into black ashes in order to break it down and remove its impurities. In 9, the world is definitely going through the Nigredo phase: It is dark, burnt down and in ruins.
The end of the movie is also extremely symbolic. 9 creates a bonfire in the shape of a five-pointed star to liberate the souls of the dolls who were killed by the robots.
After the bonfire, 7 asks 9:
“What happens next?”
“I’m not sure exactly. But this world is ours now. It’s what we make of it”.
Then it starts raining and we see living organisms in the drops of water. The purge has allowed life to be brought back to Earth and only the representatives of the Luciferian principle have survived.
When one takes a first, superficial look at 9 and its promotional material, one is inclined to think that it is a children’s movie, with a slightly darker feel. Critics summed up the movie as being “eye candy with little substance”They may have understood the in-your-face “too much technology is bad, m’kay” message, but its deeper, esoteric message was probably missed by most.
However, once one understands the background knowledge used to build the storyline, the occult references, and the movie’s overarching philosophy, it is easy to see an entirely different dimension to the movie. 9 is about humanity going through a transitional period, embracing a Promethean/Luciferian savior, and destroying the rule of traditional powers, such as religion.
Aleister Crowley believes that this transitional period is now. He called this new age the Aeon of Horus. Horus was the child of Osiris and Isis and, for this reason, it is believed that humanity is currently taking the traits of a child. After finding the “Stele of Revealing” in an Egyptian museum (it was exhibit #666), Crowley wrote this about the coming New Aeon:
“Horus rules the present period of 2,000 years, beginning in 1904. Everywhere his government is taking root. Observe for yourselves the decay of the sense of sin, the growth of innocence and irresponsibility, the strange modifications of the reproductive instinct with a tendency to become bi-sexual or epicene, the childlike confidence in progress combined with nightmare fear of catastrophe, against which we are yet half unwilling to take precautions.
Consider the outcrop of dictatorships, only possible when moral growth is in its earliest stages, and the prevalence of infantile cults like Communism, Fascism, Pacifism, Health Crazes, Occultism in nearly all its forms, religions sentimentalized to the point of practical extinction.
Consider the popularity of the cinema, the wireless, the football pools and guessing competitions, all devices for soothing fractious infants, no seed of purpose in them.
Consider sport, the babyish enthusiasms and rages which it excites, whole nations disturbed by disputes between boys.
Consider war, the atrocities which occur daily and leave us unmoved and hardly worried.
We are children.”
– Aleister Crowley, Book of the Law on the New Aeon / Age of Horus
This is what 9 is about. But there is one question the movie doesn’t answer: Is humanity organically entering this phase of History or is it being forced and provoked by the powers that be in order for it to achieve its own “Great Work”?