What is the Ennead?

The Ennead is a term used in metaphysics and theology to refer to a set of nine or ninefold principles or entities. It can be traced back to Ancient Egyptian religion, where it originated as an interpretation of the god Atum. In later times, it was adopted by Neo-Platonists and Gnostics, and has been applied in various other contexts as well.


In its most literal sense, an Ennead is a group of nine entities or principles together forming a single unit. From this sense, the term is sometimes used to refer to the nine gods in Ancient Egyptian religion, specifically those who form the company of Atum. These gods include Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys, and Horus, all of whom were related to one another in various ways, such as through being siblings or through marriage.


The concept of the Ennead, however, reached beyond Ancient Egypt and was adopted by Neo-Platonists as a way of associating nine metaphysical principles. These principles, according to philosopher Plotinus, were the One, Intellect, Soul, Nature, Mind, Perception, Being, Opinion, and Reason. Together these nine principles were believed to describe the essential structure of the universe. Later interpretations of this metaphysical Ennead varied, with some views focusing more on philosophical concepts while others focused more on psychological or spiritual aspects.

In modern times, the Ennead has been applied in many different contexts. It has been used to refer to groups of nine items or concepts related in some way, such as the nine major desires in Buddhism or the Nine Virtues in Norse mythology. The Ennead has also been used to help structure esoteric systems of thought or belief. For instance, in the occult practice of magick, the Ennead is sometimes seen as forming the basis of the Tree of Life, which is composed of nine spheres or sephiroth.


Ultimately, the Ennead is a concept that has had an enduring presence throughout many cultures and times. Its meaning and application may vary from context to context, but in essence it is a powerful symbol that highlights the importance of the number nine and its relationship to various aspects of the human experience.

Blogger: Maroc Wallace @maroc_

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