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3- Ascent to the One

 

The Ascent (Anagôgę) to The One is the central spiritual practice in the Pythagorean Tradition (see also "The Threefold Way" in "Part 4"). It is based on the principle that "like knows like." Therefore, to know The One, you must become The One. To know the Highest God, you must unify with and become the Highest God, a process of Deification (Theôsis). Further, since The One is the principle from which all things have their existence, by returning to The One we rediscover and preserve our eternal Essence, and thus the Ascent is the principal means of Salvation (Sôtęria) in the Pythagorean Tradition. Through Union with the Divine we come to see beyond our individuality and to understand our own roles as organs and instruments (organa) of Divine Providence. In a sense that will become clear, the Ascent achieves Immortalization.

There are three Paths of Ascent in the Pythagorean Tradition, each correlated with one of the three principle Attributes of The One: Its Beauty, Wisdom, and Goodness, and the corresponding connecting properties, Love, Truth, and Trust, which are the Chaldaean Virtues. This table summarizes their similarities and differences:

 

Pythagoreans differ about which path is better; different approaches seem to be suited to souls with different personalities and talents. I will discuss them in order:
  1. Erotic Ascent

  2. Contemplative Ascent

  3. Theurgic Ascent