figure eight (8) is a partially rotated glyph of infinity, and also
of the Moebian strip. It has strong ophidian resonances, linked in
Indian culture to the realm of snake-demons (Nagas), and to the serpent
of the deep (Ahi). In the West it is related to Ourobouros (the serpent
of eternity, eating its own tail).
figure ‘8' designates the number eight, the fourth even number, and
the third non-prime (with prime factors 2 x 2 x 2).
evidences indicate that eight was an important modulus in the late
pre-history of numeracy (most remarkable in this respect is the strong
connection between the words for ‘nine' and ‘new' in various languages,
is the third power of two (with factors 1, 2, and 4), and constitutes
a crucial grouping in digital electronics (with eight bits equalling
one byte (with a power of combinatorial variation equal to two-hundred
and fifty-six). It is the same set of numerical features that support
the octave of western music.
digitally cumulates to thirty-six.
Keypad direction: North.
ophidian tendency in the figure eight is compunded by the deep association
of the number with cephalopodian entities - pre-eminently the octopus
- and by derivation with the entire range of ‘tentacle-face' beings
(such as the Oankali of Octavia Butler). A further - more tenuous
- connection might be made to the amphibian hybrids of Dr Octagon
(‘half shark-alligator, half man').
numerically and figurally, eight is associated with perfection (in
the sense of macrocosmic completion and return). These are particularly
notable in the East, where obvious references include the Buddhist
eightfold path, and the eight immortals of Taoism. The number eight
- particularly in its triplicate reiteration (888) is considered an
especially auspicious number in Chinese culture.
to the Dogon, eight is the number of Nomo, and as such the primary
key to their cosmo-numerical system.
is the digital source (by cumulation to the second power) of the number
of the beast, 666 (see Six).