(Essay 1) Why Reenact the Nine-Mago Movement? by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang

Kwago (Drum for sitting position), Korea

[Author’s Note: Sequels of this essay are released in preparation for 2015 Nine-Day Solstice Celebration Project.]

Part 1: ­Why Revive the Number Nine Goddess Symbolism?

In my ongoing research on the Great Goddess/Mago, I have detected one of the major layers that constitutes Magoism and named it the nona-Mago tradition. The merit of the nona-Mago tradition, among others, lies in the fact that it offers the etiological explanation of the cross-cultural manifestations of the nine-Goddess symbolism.[1] Furthermore, revivifying the nine-Goddess symbolism would function as an expedient means to cultivate the consciousness of WE among moderns. This year, I have proposed some ways to implement the Nine-Mago Movement. One of them is the online nine-day solstice celebration event to be a way of getting together among Goddessians/Magoists of the world. Proposing 2015 Nine-Day Solstice Celebration Project, I wrote the following:

“Nine” is no arbitrary number but the symbol of the Creatrix that was widely revered by gynocentric peoples of the world. By reviving the nine symbolism, we rejoin our ancestors in the Life-affirming reality of the Great Goddess. Speaking from the perspective of Magoism, the number Nine symbolism, pre-patriarchal in origin, cross-culturally manifests in the pantheon of the Nine Goddesses/Magos. They represent Nine Goddesses known as Nine Maidens (Gurang), Nine Muses, Nine Matrikas, Nine Durgas (Nava Durga), Nine Gallicians (Gallizenaes), and Nine Gwyllions, to name a few. The number nine is also deeply embedded and widely spread in such cultures and topographies as nine Koreans (Guhan), nine dragons, nine states, nine heavens, nine waterfalls, nine-tailed fox, nine-story pagoda, and nine-nipple bell in the case of East Asia. The origin of the nine Mago symbolism is epitomized in the folk story that Mago had eight daughters and dispatched them to different islands. Mago’s daughters became the shaman progenitor in those regions. Here, Mago means the Great Goddess.[2]

When it comes to the nine-female symbolism, the ancient world knew far more than we moderns. Reenacting the nona-Goddess symbolism has a mytho-historical root. In my assessment, “the Nine-Mago Movement” was in practice throughout the world from pre-patriarchal times and onward. Best known are the nine manifestations of Durga, nine Matrikas, nine Muses, and Gurang (nine Goddesses) from around the world, to name a few. Also, the iconography of Guan-yin (Gwan-eum or Kan-non) that depicts her standing on the nine dragons rising from water suggests that Guan-yin is associated with the Nine Goddesses.

Although its female association is sometimes eroded or superseded by male counterparts, the number nine symbolism has continued to live on. It is rooted in such cultural and topological manifestations as nine-tailed fox, nine-story pagoda, nine dragons, nine mountains, nine bells, nine states, nine heavens, nine nights, nine waterfalls, nine archer peoples, nine Koreans, and so forth. To be noted is that East Asian patriarchal religions such as Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism as well as seemingly secular traditional cultures have adopted the nona-symbolism.

The numerology of eighty-one also supports the significance of ancient symbolism of nine. That the Dao-de-jing (Tao-te-ching), Chinese classical text foundational to Daoism and other East Asian schools, comprises eighty-one chapters is not haphazard. More prominently, the Cheon-bu-gyeong (Scripture of the Heavenly Emblem) not only comprises eighty-one characters but also encodes numerological philosophy.


Symbolically, the triad is associated with the Primordial Goddess, as is the Mago Triad. Three embodies the principle of cosmic creativity that self-generates without end. One divided by three repeats .333… infinitely. As seen in many patterns of triquetra or triskelion from around the world, the symbol of triad has never disappeared from the consciousness of people to this day.

The number nine embodies the highest capacity for three-circles to grow and to become. It represents a universe, both micro- and macro-world, that is fully evolving and growing. Nine that is united in One symbolizes an organic and cosmic way of Becoming. Each triad unit of the nine-circles, a nexus, is the center and part of the whole simultaneously. It is an egalitarian model of being the whole with multi-centers and infinite possibilities. Everyone in nine-circles is a micro creatrix manifesting the power of the triune.

However, the Nine Mago Movement is not just about examining the multi-faceted meaning of the number nine steeped in cultures, religions, philosophies, and mathematics from around the world. It is about how to reread about the human civilization as inherently gynocentric and to bring back the lost consciousness of WE among moderns.

To revive the nona-Mago tradition would be a reenactment of old gynocentric unity through which pre- and proto-patriarchal worlds maintained the consciousness of WE (All are connected and kindred). Peace, harmony, justice, and love are fruition of the consciousness of WE. The Nine-Mago Movement is a traditional gynocentric or matriarchal advocacy of organizing ourselves as Goddess/Mago People. By acknowledging it, each of us begins to re-claim ancient gynocentric power collectively. We are joining our ancestors in the mandate of Re-Turn to Mago’s Origin (Mago bokbon, 麻姑複本), the Womb Time/Space of the Great Goddess!

Through the Nine-Mago Movement, we re-own the power of naming ourselves. This means that we re-define the nature of human history and civilization as gynocentric, meaning primordially female-principled. We re-join the dream of our ancestors who envisioned the universe as Womb, the Creatrix. We know where we came from. We humans are directly born of the First Mother, Primordial Goddess. As the scion of Mago, we are endowed with the lens of the Great Goddess. We are entrusted with the task of managing the sonic balance of all earthlings in harmony with the cosmic music. We are the delegate of Her Clan Community and S/HE speaks through us. We are the “shamans” of the Great Goddess by birth. We as human species are entrusted to connect our earthly sisters to Her. And Mago connects us to the universe.

(Continue to read Part 2 and Part 3.)


[1] This paper is published in the journal, the Gukhak yeonguronchong 국학연구론총 (Issue 14, December 2014), 1-24. It is also published in Return to Mago in five sequels including the response by Dr. Glenys Livingstone. See [http://magoism.net/2014/12/22/essay-1-magos-muses-and-matrikas-the-magoist-cosmogony-and-gynocentric-unity/ (Dec. 22, 2014)]

[2] http://magoacademy.org/2015/07/26/2015-nine-day-solstice-celebration-call-for-videoaudio-presentation/ (July 26, 2015)

Read Meet Mago Contributor, Helen Hye-Sook Hwang.

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2 Comments on "(Essay 1) Why Reenact the Nine-Mago Movement? by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang"

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I love the way the idea of the Nine-Mago Movement, nona-Mago tradition, is becoming ever more complex and resonant. Thank you for keeping on keeping-on!