Numbers, Their Occult Power and Mystic Virtues, by W. Wynn Westcott, , at sacred-texts.com
The number One or the Monad has been defined by the mathematician Theon of Smyrna as "the principal and element of numbers, which while multitute can be lessened by subtraction, is itself deprived of every number and remains stable and firm"; hence as number it is indivisible, it remains immutable, and even multiplied into itself remains itself only, since once one is still one, and the monad multiplied by the monad remains the immutable monad to infinity. It remains by itself among numbers, for no number can be taken from it, or separated from its unity. Proclus observed: "The first monad is the world itself; the second is the inerratic sphere; then thirdly succeed the spheres of the planets, each a unity; then lastly are the spheres of the elements which are also Monads"; and these as they have a perpetual subsistence are called wholenesses—holotetes in Greek.
The Monad, Unity, or the number One received very numerous meanings. Photius tells us that the Pythagoreans gave it the following names:—
1. God, the First of all things, the maker of all things.
2. Intellect, the source of all ideas.
3. Male and Female—both together produce all things; from the odd proceed both odd and even.
4. Matter, the last development of universality.
5. Chaos, which resembles the infinite, indifferentiation.
6. Confusion. 7. Commixion. 8. Obscurity, because
in the Ineffable principle of things, of which it is the image, all is confused, vague and in darkness.
9. A Chasm, as a void.
10. Tartarus, from its being at the lowest extremity, is dissimilarly similar to God, at the highest end of the series.
11. The Styx, from its immutable nature.
12. Horror, the ineffable, is perfectly unknown and is therefore terrible.
13. Void of Mixture, from the simplicity of the nature of the ineffable.
14. Lethe, oblivion, ignorance.
15. A Virgin, from the purity of its nature.
16. Atlas, it connects, supports, and separates all things.
17. The Sun. 18. Apollo. 19. Pyralios, dweller in fire. 20. Morpho. 21. The Axis. 22. Vesta, or the fire in the centre of the earth. 23. Spermatic Reason. 24. "The point within a circle," "the Central Fire Deity."
The lingam, an upright pillar, was its Hindoo symbol.
The Monad being esteemed the Father of numbers is the reason for the universal prejudice in favour of Odd Numbers over Even ones, which are but copies of the first even number the Dyad, or universal Mother; the father being more esteemed than the mother, for "Might."
Odd numbers were given to the greater Gods, and even ones to the inferior and terrestrial deities.
The number one is represented in the Roman and Arabic systems, by an upright simple line, but in many old systems whose numerals were their letters, we find that almost universally the letter A, from being chosen to commence the set of letters, had the task of representing the Monad.
In Numeration, note that the Romans began with lines, I, II, III, IIII, and then followed the Acute Angle V for 5, then for ten this was doubled X, for fifty the angle was laid down and became L, for a hundred, two fifties, one inverted became C, for five hundred C and L became D.
Hermias, the Christian philosopher, author of "Ridicule of the Gentile Philosophers," quotes from the Pythagoreans;
[paragraph continues] "The Monad is the Beginning of all things"—"arche ton panton he monas."
The figure of one signifies identity, equality, existence and preservation, it signifies living man" alone among animals "erect"; on adding a head we make of it P, the sign of creative Power (paternity, phallus, Pan, the Greek gods and Priapus, all commencing with the vocable P).
Another dash added, and we have man walking, advancing, with foot set forward, in the letter R, which signifies "fens," "iturus," or "advancing."
Compare Unity, solus, alone, the unique principle of good; with Sol, Sun God, the emblem of supreme power; and they are identical.
The Hebrew word for One is AChD, achad, and it is often put for God; God's One voice to man is the Bath Kol, the echo or daughter of the Divine Voice.
The Talmud in Berachoth vi. 1 says that the Shekinah shall rest even upon One who studies the Law. One pang of remorse is of more avail for reformation than many stripes.
One thing obtained with difficulty is more valued than a hundred obtained with ease. Talmud.
It is indiscreet for one man to sleep in a house alone, for fear that he may be attacked by Lilith, who was said to have been Adam's first wife; she is the Night Spectre, and has also power over newly-born infants who are not protected by an Amulet.
Rabbi Nathan exhorted—"Repent One day before thy death"; a wise maxim inculcating the duty of being ever prepared; every day some advance in knowledge and goodness should be attained.
Ever work and ever pray, "for the road winds upward all the way," as the Lord Buddha taught in ancient India.