Ascended Beings

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The terrible destructive power of the Ascended Beings

Summary

Ascended Beings exist as a form of energy in a higher plane than the one in which corporeal beings exist.

Stargate References

Many Planes of Existence

Daniel in his "stop along the way" to ascension
Anubis "stuck somewhere between human existence and ascension"
Oma Desala in bright energy form

According to what Daniel was told by Anubis/Jim, "There are many planes of existence between human existence and ascension." When one exists in any of these planes beyond the corporeal, he is referred to as an Ascended Being because he has "ascended" to a higher plane as a form of intelligent energy. (8.18 "Threads")

It appears that the various planes of existence not only dictate the powers an Ascended Being has, but also his level of understanding the universe, or his degree of "enlightenment". The higher level of ascension at which a being exists, the more power, knowledge, and understanding of the universe he possesses. When Daniel Jackson was helped to ascend by Oma Desala, he was exposed only to certain knowledge and understanding that Oma gave him. He told Jack that all he knew was what Oma told him. She educated him at the "beginning of the journey" until he had managed to acquire all of the knowledge and power that an Ascended Being at Oma's level could have. Oma had the power to take that knowledge away, but chose instead to bury it along with his memories into his subconscious mind upon returning him to human form. Daniel, during the early days of his ascension, told Jack, "I see things, I understand things, in a way I never could have before." Near the end of Daniel's year of ascension, he still did not know everything because he constantly insisted, "All I know is what Oma has taught me. Ascension doesn't make you all knowing or all powerful. It is just the beginning of the journey." This journey was Daniel's Path to Enlightenment, the one on the road to the Great Path, which is most likely the ultimate level of ascension a being can reach. This ultimate level, however, Daniel has implied can never get a being to the level of being omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient, but is something that Ascended Beings still endeavor to achieve. Col. Mitchell stated it this way, "Look, just because we know there is some beings on a higher plane of existence than ourselves does not mean there's not an order of being higher than them." (6.06 "Abyss", 6.22 "Full Circle", 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

How far up the planes of existence Daniel reached during his first ascension remains unanswered, but since his mind contained the "infinite" knowledge of the Ancients and the "universe is infinite", he most likely reached one of the highest forms. During his second ascension, however, he was brought into one of the lowest planes of existence where he was self-aware, but did not possess any extraordinary powers or become any further enlightened. Oma described this low level as a "stop along the way" to ascension where Daniel could make the choice as to whether or not he'd like to give ascension another chance but be forbidden from interacting in the corporeal plane or end his life because his body was already dead. Daniel rephrased this choice as to "contemplate my own enlightenment." (8.18 "Threads")

Anubis reached a high plane of existence when he tricked Oma into helping him to ascend. Although Anubis held a high degree of enlightenment as to what ascension was, his soul was not pure. The fact that Oma could be deceived proves that ascension doesn't make one all-knowing, just as Daniel said. The Others sent Anubis down a few planes of existence, what Daniel described as "stuck somewhere between human existence and ascension." Anubis was still left as a being of energy, but his powers were limited. The Others instructed him that he could use only the knowledge and power he would normally gain as a regular Goa'uld, and Anubis amazingly followed that rule without waver. He gained eternal life through ascension, but now this eternal life is being spent in a never-ending fight with Oma. Oma engaged him in this fight in order to prevent him from destroying all life in the Milky Way and to take responsibility for breaking the rule, "No lone ascended being shall help a lower ascend." (3.20 "Maternal Instinct", 5.21 "Meridian", 6.06 "Abyss", 8.18 "Threads")

When the original Ancients, the Altera, were forced to flee their home galaxy for fear of their lives because of philosophical differences between them and the others of their society known as the Ori, they were on the evolutionary path toward ascension. The Ori, like the Altera, eventually ascended after this separation. The Ori's galaxy is home to a second evolution of humanity, just as the Milky Way is. When Daniel met the Ori through a psychic link with one of these humans, he found out that the Ori claimed that they were humanity's creators. It is possible that the Ori did in fact create humanity in their home galaxy through the use of technology similar to what the Ancients used in the Milky Way after life was nearly wiped out by the plague that occurred five to ten million years ago. Anubis/Jim told Daniel that the Ancients used the advanced device on the planet Dakara to reseed life in the galaxy after the plague "some million odd years" ago. The circumstances of the Ori's re-creation of humanity in their home galaxy is not known, but Daniel assumed that this occurred after all of the Ori had ascended. The Ori manifested themselves in a wall of fire near the temple in the City of the Gods on the Plains of Celestis. (8.18 "Threads", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

The Ori created a religion with which to interact and manipulate the second evolution of man in their home galaxy. This religion, called Origin, forced a human to relinquish his free will to the Ori with the promise of ascension. The Ori were manipulating humanity because they actually gained power through man's worship, but were not intending to share that power with their worshippers, so the promise of ascension was a lie. It is hardly a simple thing, but the interrelationships of all living things in the universe is illustrated in this dependence amongst the planes of existence. The Ascended Altera kept the existence of humanity in the Milky Way a secret from the Ori because they feared that the Ori would become too powerful and disturb the balance in their planes of existence. Additionally, they feared that they themselves could become corrupted by the temptation of this power in order to achieve higher levels of enlightenment. Because of this fear, the Ascended Altera established their non-interference policy. They were not certain what the outcome would be if they were to directly confront the Ori, so they decided that the best way to achieve the balance was through the actions of those opposing the Ori in the lowest plane of existence, the corporeal plane. For their part, this work included permitting one of their own to sacrifice his ascension and the chance at further enlightenment to retake human form to help humanity any way he could. Daniel had decided this was the course of action he was willing to take by retaking human form from both his times as an Ascended Being, but his advanced knowledge was not accessible to him. Orlin was given the opportunity to keep some of his advanced knowledge as a human, but that knowledge was not permanent and was life-threatening because the human brain is not physically designed to harbor or use such knowledge. Any of the Ascended Beings who have selected to return to human form are aware that their trip is most likely one-way and that they will not be able to ascend again. (8.18 "Threads", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1", 9.11 "The Fourth Horseman Part 2")

How to Ascend

The Alterans and Ori naturally ascended
Khalek's DNA was manipulated toward ascension
Daniel was helped to ascend by an Ascended Being

The evolution of a human towards ascension includes both physical and mental states. When SG-1 discovered an underground lab used by Anubis on the planet P3X-584, they learned from Anubis's research that a human needed to be evolved to using somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of his mental capacity in order to willfully ascend (the actual percentage was later discovered to be 96 when the Atlantis Expedition found an accelerator that modified a human's DNA to closely match that of an advanced human on the brink of achieving ascension). Along that evolutionary path, a human also has great psychic, healing, and telekinetic powers. The extent of such powers depended upon how far advanced the human's body had evolved. (9.09 "Prototype"; Stargate Atlantis: 3.14 "Tao of Rodney")

Natural Evolution

Within the Stargate universe, the majority of the Ascended Beings met thus far were originally humans. (It should be noted that Anubis, a Goa'uld, ascended, but he did this by trickery while in the body of a human host.) Whether or not humans are the only ones who can evolve to naturally ascend remains to be seen (the Asgard had modified their physical genetic structure through thousands of years of cloning that left them unable to ascend). (8.18 "Threads", 10.20 "Unending")

In order for an advanced human such as an Altera, Ancient, or Ori to ascend, they not only had to have the genetic structure of an advanced human, but they also had to reduce their EEG frequency to 0.1 to 0.9 hertz through meditation. Among the Atlantian Ancients who returned to Earth 10,000 years ago, there was a mixture of advanced humans who could and could not ascend on their own. Those who couldn't or chose not to ascend joined Earth's primitive societies. Those who could achieve ascension, like Moros (aka Myrddin and Merlin) and Ganos Lal (aka Morgan Le Fay), isolated themselves and meditated to achieve ascension. (10.03 "The Pegasus Project"; Stargate Atlantis: 3.14 "Tao Of Rodney")

Artificial Evolution through Technology

The Atlantis Expedition Team in the Pegasus Galaxy came across some research that the Ancients left behind 10,000 years ago that supported the idea that not all advanced humans are able to ascend naturally, and they performed research to genetically alter themselves to advance their evolution in order to ascend. They had even entrapped an energy being to study its level of existence in support of this genetic research. Some of the Ancients that left Pegasus 10,000 years ago were humans who had not reached the point where they could ascend, and they, most likely, continued their research into ascension after they returned to the Milky Way or merely integrated themselves into the primitive societies that Earth offered. (10.03 "The Pegasus Project"; Stargate Atlantis: 1.03 "Hide And Seek", 3.14 "Tao Of Rodney")

The Goa'uld Nirrti's experimentation in producing an advanced human host through the use of an Ancient DNA manipulation device and the existence of the same technology in Anubis's underground lab on the planet P3X-584 also support the conclusion that the Ancients researched artificial means to achieve ascension. Nirrti came close to creating advanced humans with great powers by manipulating the DNA of human subjects, but they were grotesquely mutated and structurally unstable. Anubis came much closer with the creation of Khalek, a human-Goa'uld hybrid whom he "grew" in the lab and then advanced in stages toward ascension. While Nirrti's experimentation was hit-and-miss, Anubis's was extraordinarily methodical and appeared to be based on the Ancients' research that it was believed he had discovered. Khalek possessed Anubis's Goa'uld genetic memories that made him evil to the core, and he was bent on the same destructive goals as his "father". Khalek died after coming very close to the ability to ascend on his own, but he had only received five of the eight treatments Anubis had planned for him. (6.16 "Metamorphosis", 8.18 "Threads", 9.09 "Prototype")

Help from an Ascended Being

The Ori artificially advanced their missionaries, called Priors, through the power they had as Ascended Beings. The Priors had the same advanced powers as the evolutionarily advanced Altera and Ori had while they themselves were still in human form. The Priors, however, were not given enough advancement to allow them to ascend on their own. The Ori were using them as pawns, promising them ascension, but never intending to help them ascend because they didn't intend to share the power obtained through the worshippers the Priors converted on their behalf. (9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.06 "Beachhead", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

Anubis found Ancient research into ascension and knew that he could find help in reaching ascension by going to the planet Kheb, where Oma Desala had built a temple and placed writings on the walls to instruct one on how to reach the higher planes of existence. When Daniel visited Kheb during his search for Sha're's son, the Harsesis Shifu, he read the writings and also talked with a monk who appeared there. Oma, who was considered an outcast by the Ascended Ancients (aka The Others), felt that it was her duty to help people ascend, even if their physical bodies had not yet evolved to the level the Ascended Ancients had reached. She felt that a person should be allowed to ascend based on the goodness of his soul and the degree of enlightenment of his mind and not be hindered by the evolutionary state of his physical body. She saw "humanity's potential" in Daniel when he first came to Kheb and offered him ascension when his body died from radiation poisoning. Her philosophy was, "When the mind is enlightened, the spirit is free and the body matters not." Anubis had tricked Oma into not seeing the evil that he was and after she realized what she had done, she tried to undo it, but The Others stepped in. Although enlightened, Anubis had an evil soul. The fact that Anubis and the Ori existed as Ascended Beings and that Khalek nearly achieved ascension through artificial means proved that one does not have to be good to the very core to ascend, but that this requirement was placed on ascension by Oma herself to determine who was worthy to have her help to ascend. (3.20 "Maternal Instinct", 5.21 "Meridian", 6.06 "Abyss", 8.18 "Threads", 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.09 "Prototype")

Powers of the Ascended

Ascended Daniel prepares to kill Anubis
Ori takes Doci as a temporary host
Orlin shares his essence with Carter

Ascended Beings possess a great many powers that one might associate with all-powerful beings. They can:

  • shape their form to appear human and communicate in that manner, but their manifestation aren't solid. Because of this, they can pass through solid objects and solid objects can pass through them. Energy weapon blasts also pass through them when they are in this state. (Oma Desala, 3.20 "Maternal Instinct"; Orlin, 5.03 "Ascension"; Daniel Jackson, 6.06 "Abyss" and 6.22 "Full Circle")
  • retake human form at their own choosing. (Shifu, 4.17 "Absolute Power"; Orlin, 5.03 "Ascension"; Daniel Jackson, 7.01 "Fallen Part 1" and 8.18 "Threads"; Chaya, SGA 1.14 "Sanctuary")
  • remain invisible and influence thoughts of those in the corporeal plane. (Orlin, 5.03 "Ascension"; Oma Desala, 7.01 "Fallen Part 1"; Daniel Jackson, 6.06 "Abyss" and 6.22 "Full Circle")
  • retake human form and ascend again at will. It is not necessary for the body to die to ascend. (Shifu, 4.17 "Absolute Power"; Orlin [with stipulation], 5.03 "Ascension")
  • retake human form with the knowledge and power of the Ascended. (Merlin, 10.03 "The Pegasus Project")
  • control nature, such as light fires, levitate objects, make the wind blow, toss lightning, control electrical devices, and harness devastating energy. (Oma Desala, 3.20 "Maternal Instinct"; Orlin, 5.03 "Ascension"; Daniel Jackson, 6.22 "Full Circle")
  • travel through space without the use of a Stargate. (Oma Desala, 5.21 "Meridian"; Daniel Jackson, 6.06 "Abyss", 6.19 "Changeling", and 6.22 "Full Circle")
  • share their essence with humans. This sharing is physically pleasant to the human. (Orlin, 5.03 "Ascension")
  • advance humans and Jaffa (who were originally human) in their evolution and give them some of the powers of the ascended. (Ori, 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")
  • manifest themselves in a bright, shape-changing, form of energy. (Oma Desala, 3.20 "Maternal Instinct"; Shifu, 4.17 "Absolute Power"; Orlin, 5.03 "Ascension"; Daniel Jackson, 5.21 "Meridian" and 6.22 "Full Circle"; Skaara, 6.22 "Full Circle")
  • appear solid and create solid objects, such as balls, tents, a temple, a pyramid, and a Stargate. (Oma Desala and Skaara, 6.33 "Full Circle")
  • select who hears them and sees them in their manifestations. (Daniel Jackson, 6.22 "Full Circle" and 7.04 "Orpheus")
  • have power over other beings like themselves:
    • The Others placed Anubis in a lower plane of existence after Oma ascended him. (8.18 "Threads")
    • Anubis clearly believed that Daniel could destroy him as Daniel was about to use energy orbs against him. (6.22 "Full Circle")
    • Oma pulled Daniel out of his confrontation with Anubis before The Others got a hold of him and did something more drastic to him. (6.22 "Full Circle", 8.18 "Threads")
    • The Others stipulated that Daniel's memories be erased when he decided to return to human form. Oma, however, buried his memories instead and sent him to Vis Uban where he was discovered by his friends, taken home, and regained his memories. Oma buried the infinite knowledge of the Ancients in his subconscious mind instead of erasing that as well. This knowledge was discovered by Replicator Carter and Daniel used it in his fight against her and her brethren. (8.17 "Reckoning Part 2", 8.18 "Threads")
    • Oma has engaged Anubis in an eternal struggle to prevent him from taking further action against the corporeal plane. (8.18 "Threads")
    • The Others hid the existence of humanity in the Milky Way Galaxy from the Ori. (9.03 "Origin Part 3")
    • The Others pulled Morgan Le Fay out of a conversation she was having with Daniel while he was conducting research in Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy. (10.03 "The Pegasus Project")
  • manifest themselves in a group. The Others have done this in a storm cloud. The Ori do this as a wall of fire. (The Others, 5.03 "Ascension"; Ori, 9.03 "Origin Part 3")
  • take a human as a host with or without that human's awareness. (Anubis, 8.03 "Lockdown" and 8.16 "Reckoning Part 1"; Ori, 9.03 "Origin Part 3")
  • read the minds of humans. (9.03 "Origin Part 3")
  • resurrect or kill a human. (9.03 "Origin Part 3")
  • impregnate a human woman with a genetically-altered advanced human offspring who inherits the powers and knowledge of the Ascended. (Ori impregnated Vala Mal Doran, who gave birth to Adria, the Orici, who eventually ascended, 9.19 "Crusade", 10.01 "Flesh And Blood", 10.19 "Dominion")

Lifespan of the Ascended

Ascended Beings appear to have eternal life, and with all of their great powers, they might seem to be invincible. As far as it is known, no Ascended Being has ever destroyed another, but that doesn't mean that it is impossible. As mentioned above, when Daniel Jackson was an Ascended Being, he gathered powerful energy orbs to direct at Anubis, and Anubis clearly believed that Daniel was about to destroy him. Replicator Carter was under the impression that Daniel was about to destroy Anubis when she unburied his memories of the encounter. After Replicator Carter killed Daniel, Oma saved him to offer him another chance at ascension, and Daniel was given the chance to ask why Oma had kept him from killing Anubis (he used the words, "Can you tell me why you stopped me from killing Anubis the last time I was ascended?"). Oma's answer left the impression that Daniel would have succeeded in destroying Anubis if she had not stopped him. (6.22 "Full Circle", 8.17 "Reckoning Part 2", 8.18 "Threads")

The possibility of overpowering an Ascended Being led SG-1 to search for a weapon developed by Merlin, a former Ascended Being who feared the Ori and knew that The Others wouldn't directly confront them in their plane of existence. The Others claimed that they don't know what the true outcome would have been if they were to have confronted the Ori directly, but concluded that it could have been very detrimental to all planes of existence. Based on Merlin's notes, the weapon, called the Sangreal, didn't actually destroy Ascended Beings, but channeled energy from subspace to interfere with the energy form of the Ascended in their dimension (plane of existence). Daniel stated, "Well, technically, Merlin's research didn't refer to killing. A better translation would be 'neutralizing' or 'canceling out'." In later conversations concerning the operation of Merlin's weapon, however, the effect of the device was equated with killing the Ascended Beings in the scope of the galaxy wherein the Sangreal was detonated. Morgan Le Fay, on behalf of The Others, sought Merlin's device in order to destroy it, since it threatened their very existence. Morgan did destroy the device, but preserved Merlin's knowledge on how to build another one by placing him in a stasis chamber. SG-1 found Merlin, built another weapon, and sent that weapon through the Ori's Supergate to their home galaxy aboard one of their warships. Once detonated, this weapon "killed" the Ascended Ori, as evidenced by the snuffing out of their Flames of Enlightenment (their manifestation). The knowledge of how to build the Sangreal died along with Merlin, so currently no one on the corporeal plane knows how to eliminate an Ascended Being. (8.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1", 8.18 "Arthur's Mantle", 8.20 "Camelot Part 2", 10.11 "The Quest Part 2", 10.14 "The Shroud", Stargate: The Ark of Truth)

Diverse Philosophies of the Ascended

The Others manifested in a storm cloud
Daniel while he was an Ascended Being
The Ori manifested in a wall of fire

The Ascended Beings that are known to-date all came to be ascended after shedding their physical bodies; the majority of them physically and mentally evolved into the ascended state. Because they were human to start, they are as diverse as any human individuals would be. Not all Ascended Beings agree as to their role in interacting with the corporeal plane; there are different philosophies of thought among them.

At one time, the two largest groups of Ascended Beings known to exist simultaneously were The Others and the Ori. The Ancients joined the collective known as The Others, but not all members of The Others are Ancients. (6.22 "Full Circle", 8.18 "Threads", 9.03 "Origin Part 3")

While they were advanced on their evolutionary path toward ascension but were still corporeal, the Altera and the Ori belonged to one society. A philosophical difference came between the two groups that eventually resulted in the Ori's attempt to wipe out the Altera. Instead of engaging in a war, the Altera fled and after traveling for thousands of years, settled in the Milky Way, where eventually they became known as the Ancients. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

The philosophical difference between the two groups dealt mostly with the Path to Enlightenment (ascension), the responsibilities of the ascended, and the extent of interaction with the lower planes of existence. The Others established rules that appeared to purposefully counter the very actions the Ori took when dealing with the corporeal plane. Whereas The Others kept their existence a secret from humanity for the most part, the Ori demanded that humanity worship them as their creators and gods. While the Ori were corrupted by the power they sapped from their human worshippers, The Others decided that they would avoid the temptation to achieve further enlightenment through destructive means by enforcing a strict non-interference policy. (5.03 "Ascension", 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

There were some of The Others, however, who strayed from the rules because they saw something of value in humanity that they felt must be preserved rather than leaving it to fate and the exercise of free will.

Man's Free Will

The Others believe that man should exercise his own free will to determine his own destiny, even if that destiny is utter destruction. Oma Desala, although an outcast for breaking some of the rules of The Others, endeavored to teach this to her followers. Her teachings included: "Ultimately, a man must travel his chosen path alone." (5.03 "Ascension", 4.17 "Absolute Power", 8.18 "Threads", 9.02 "Avalon Part 2")

Oma also taught Daniel that the decision to pursue the Path to Enlightenment (ascension) is also man's. She told him when she offered him ascension that his fate was in his hands, that he was the only one who could decide if ascension was what he truly wanted or even deserved. Daniel rephrased this philosophy when he discussed man's free will with one of the Ori Priors: "It is we who must seek the truth of the universe in order to achieve Enlightenment." (5.21 "Meridian", 8.18 "Threads", 9.03 "Origin Part 3")

Daniel continued to support his argument for man's right to choose his own path during his encounter with the Doci of the Ori: "Don't get me wrong, I mean, we should all be trying to better ourselves. I mean if ascension is the ultimate end we're trying to achieve, then so be it, but we should all be allowed to get there or not of our own free will." Daniel had always believed in man's right to choose his own path, but Oma's teachings added new meaning to it by specifically addressing ascension, something he hadn't realized as ever being available to him. He was so adamant about man's right to choose his own path that he concluded with, "You can kill me for saying that, but that is what I believe and nothing you say or do will EVER change my mind." (9.03 "Origin Part 3")

Although the Ori taught that they had given man free will in their religion, called Origin, they denied man's exercise of it by giving him a limited choice — either he was a follower of the Ori or he was not, and if he was not, he was doomed. The Ori themselves grew corrupt because of the power gained through the sapping of the life force of their worshippers. They spoon-fed Origin to the humans of their galaxy to obtain this power and denied man the exercise of his own free will in pursuing the Path to Enlightenment or not, thus making his death of the "most meaningless kind" because he never had the choice of pursuing other ways to his own salvation. (9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.05 "The Powers That Be", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

The Doci of the Ori said that The Book of Origin specifically stated that those on the Path to Enlightenment should not be led astray. Their scriptures gave many encouraging stories of redemption of those who had strayed but then eventually realized their need to return to the Path. However, if the Ori determined that a person was completely lost to them, that there was no chance that he would repent, then that person should die. Turning a brother in for punishment was a measure of devotion as well as considered the right thing to do because the worshippers believed that the Ori were the only ones who could see whether or not a person's heart was pure: "Fear not, for the Ori see all, outside and within. If your heart is pure and your devotion unwavering, they will protect you. They will cleanse your being, and you'll be taken to be with them forever. If not, may the fire burn you down to the ground and lay you in the dust." This harsh judgment was most likely considered by the worshippers as just and true if a man failed to accept the gifts the Ori promised, the most valued of which was ascension itself. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

Absolute Power and Playing God

The reason that The Others had their strict non-interference policy was because they feared that they would give into the temptation of manipulating man in their own thirst for power. This corruption was what they saw in the Ori and they wished not to go down that same path. They decided that there must be other ways to achieve further enlightenment and gain more power than to deny man the right to exercise his own free will. (9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

The possibility of growing corrupt with extraordinary power exists on the corporeal plane also. The strict non-interference policy of The Others' is designed to not only protect themselves, but man as well. Several technologically advanced civilizations have learned what happens to less advanced civilizations when they are given knowledge or power before they have matured enough to handle it. The Tollan, Nox, and Asgard were all alien societies that limited the amount of advanced knowledge or technology they shared with those of Earth because they recognized that man was "primitive", "very young", or "less sophisticated". No matter which definition was used, these advanced societies had learned that the risk of the misuse of the advantage was too great to ever consider sharing the knowledge or technology without proof of the ability to handle the power that comes with it. For the Asgard, the SGC of Earth eventually proved itself capable of handling the technology the Asgard had to offer. (1.08 "The Nox", 1.17 "Enigma", 4.01 "Small Victories Part 2", 6.11 "Prometheus", 8.12 "Prometheus Unbound", 10.20 "Unending")

To emphasize the importance of the non-interference policy, The Others established the rule, "Do not accelerate the natural ascension process of those beneath." This acceleration can be both physical manipulation of DNA as well as increased knowledge. One example of the enforcement of this rule has to do with Orlin, one of The Others who didn't wish to see the Velonans be wiped out by the Goa'uld, so he communicated the knowledge of how to build a powerful weapon and they defeated the Goa'uld. But then, the Velonans decided to use the weapon on other worlds for conquest. The Velonans had not developed far enough to know how to handle such power. The Others destroyed the Velonans because Orlin had prevented their destruction by the Goa'uld and banished Orlin to the desolate planet as punishment for disobeying the rule. They accepted him back into the collective when he sacrificed his newly-taken human form to prevent the weapon from falling into the SGC's hands. (5.03 "Ascension")

Another Ascended Ancient who was punished by The Others for interference was Chaya in Pegasus. During the Ancient-Wraith War 10,000 years ago, she protected a planet from the Wraith by destroying their approaching ships. She was full of anger because the Wraith were going to annihilate these defenseless humans and The Others would do nothing to stop it. Her punishment for interference was that she was permitted to protect the people of the planet, but only them. This punishment also disallowed her people from taking in refugees seeking sanctuary. Surprisingly, Chaya posed as a goddess Athar to these people whenever she used her ascended powers. In order to live as a human among her people, she posed as a priestess who communed with her goddess form. (Stargate Atlantis: 1.14 "Sanctuary")

Oma attempted to teach Daniel on various occasions concerning the possibility of corruption on the ascended planes. Her first lesson was taught through Shifu, her "stepson" whom Daniel had given into her care and protection. Oma buried Shifu's Goa'uld genetic memories into his subconscious because the evil within them was too strong to resist. The best way for him to ever avoid the abusive power was to never attempt to access the knowledge — to deny the battle. This philosophy is closely related to The Others' reasons for their non-interference policy — in order to avoid the corruption brought forth by the power gained through humans' worship, it is best to cut one's self off from humans entirely. With this policy in mind, The Others have denied the battle, or risk, of ever advancing themselves in the planes of existence by such means. (4.17 "Absolute Power", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

Daniel applied this lesson when working with less advanced civilizations. Right before the accident that led to his ascension, he told Jonas Quinn of the planet Kelowna (Langara) when Jonas asked for Earth's help in advancing their development of a weapon of mass destruction, "Some very wise people have shown me first hand how a sudden leap in weapons technology by a civilization that's not ready for it can lead to its destruction." Daniel learned this lesson "first hand" when he was given the dream by Shifu (and most probably Oma, too) that showed him how he might be corrupted by the extraordinary knowledge within the Goa'uld genetic memories. In this dream, Daniel used advanced weapons meant to protect Earth to destroy Moscow instead because the world was not yet to a point where the destructive power of the weapons could be used only for defense. (4.17 "Absolute Power", 5.21 "Meridian")

Daniel's next lesson concerning the possibility of corruption on the ascended planes came at the point that he was offered ascension. Oma told him, "Walking the Path brings great responsibilty. You cannot fear or hesitate in your resolve." Up to that point, Daniel knew very little about the motivations of The Others and nothing about the Ori, but only of what Oma had shown him concerning ascension. Since she was not a typical Ascended Being, Daniel had many false impressions on what ascension truly meant, but he believed that he understood that there was additional power that he had to keep under control or he'd be corrupted. He also believed that he'd be permitted to use that power for the good of humanity because some of his last words to Jack were, "I think I can do more this way." After becoming an Ascended Being himself, he told Jack, "The hardest part of being who or what I am is having the power to change the things I want to change and knowing that I can't — even when I'm certain, even when it's absolutely clear to me, even when it affects the people I care about, because for all I can do, I'm no more qualified to play God than the Goa'uld are." After obtaining the power and knowledge as an Ascended Being and discovering the true nature and limitations of his own ascension, Daniel decided to return to human form because he felt his path was not to pursue his own Enlightenment, but to fight for humanity any way he could. (5.21 "Meridian", 6.06 "Abyss", 6.22 "Full Circle", 7.01 "Fallen Part 1", 8.18 "Threads")

Playing God was one thing that the Ori did openly as a result of their corruption. They built a religion around worshipping them as gods and as humanity's creators. They performed impressive feats, calling them miracles, using their advanced knowledge and power to convince humans of their godhood. Their position as gods was based on what they wished humans to perceive them to be, not on what they truly were: "What is a god, but a being that is worshipped by those beneath? Is great knowledge, power, understanding not enough for you to revere the Ori?" (9.03 "Origin Part 3")

The Ancients became gods themselves, even if they did not actively seek the worship of humans. The Sodan Jaffa, in the process of looking for Kheb, found a planet formerly of the Ancients where they could find freedom from their enslavement to a Goa'uld. Over the 5,000 years that they had been a free society, they centered their religious teachings around the Ancients and their writings. When the Prior of the Ori offered Origin, they were open to accept it because their gods, the Ancients, had not made their presence known, but the Ori had. The Ori didn't require "blind faith", but only asked that a person "believe what you see and know to be true." Ultimately, the Sodan realized that the Ori were not worthy of their worship when the Prior asked them to destroy a planet full of defenseless people simply because they had refused Origin. The Sodan's refusal to worship the Ori came at a high price: all but one of them were killed. (9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.06 "Babylon", 9.11 "The Fourth Horseman Part 2", 9.18 "Arthur's Mantle")

The meaning of Oma Desala's name is "Mother Nature", and Daniel speculated that it was African tribal in origin. It is possible that she might have actually been worshipped through religions focused on the worship of nature. The monk at Kheb also encouraged a trust and belief in Oma when he began teaching Daniel about ascension and Oma's powers to better keep the Harsesis Shifu safe and protected. Oma demonstrated some of her powers by controlling the weather and manipulating fire, and actually used lightning as a lethal weapon. (3.20 "Maternal Instinct")

And surprisingly enough, Daniel himself was thought to be a god by the Abydonians, even though Teal'c tried to persuade them otherwise. While preparing to defend their position at the pyramid against Anubis's forces, one of the Abydonians, Tobay, said that Skaara had told him that Daniel was a god, that he was powerful, and that he would protect their families. Tobay was prepared to fight in Daniel's name and die for his cause. (6.22 "Full Circle")

Sharing the Path to Enlightenment

Part of The Others' enforcement of their non-interference policy included keeping the knowledge of the higher planes of existence a secret so that humanity was not tempted to worship Ascended Beings as gods. This position seemed to fall in direct opposition to the Ori's establishment of Origin and their interference on a daily basis with their own galaxy's humanity. The Ori declared that the Altera were evil for raising their humanity in darkness by not showing them the Path to Enlightenment (the "truth of the universe"), as well as "selfish in their powerful advantage." (9.03 "Origin Part 3")

But, somewhere along the way during humanity's history since their creation by the Ancients some "million odd years" ago, Earth's cultures have developed religions similar to the one that Oma Desala taught. Daniel saw similarities between Oma's philosophy and Zen Buddhism of Earth. He also appeared to see some of this philosophy in The Book of Origin that led him to ask the Doci of the Ori, "I guess what I'm trying to understand is whether the Ori have spoken to you directly and told you to worship them, or whether you've misinterpreted some evidence you've found along the way and developed this religion on your own." Daniel might have been wondering if perhaps all of these religions had a common root in the Alteran's and Ori's original human society before the rift occurred. Additionally, he believed that the Ancients might have influenced the association of fire with demons as a warning about the Ori, since the Ori manifested themselves in a wall of fire and fire was the central icon of their religion. This influence, however, was most likely done by outcasts such as Oma or by human Ancients (those who returned from Pegasus 10,000 years ago are thought to have influenced the Greek, Roman, and Celtic histories, among many others), since it is assumed that The Others have had their non-interference policy in place for millions of years (at least since their first wave of ascensions). (3.20 "Maternal Instinct", 2.16 "The Fifth Race", 9.01 "Avalon Part 1", 9.03 "Origin Part 3"; Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1")

Oma influenced the Jaffa belief system as well. Kheb became a sacred place spoken of for over 5,000 years: "An old tale about a place discovered long ago by a few Jaffa and kept secret from the Goa'uld: When they could no longer carry a primta (larval symbiote), they would make their journey to Kheb. There their calak (soul) would learn the path through the darkness into the next life." This "path through the darkness into the next life" was called the Path to Enlightenment by the Jaffa all those thousands of years, but after Teal'c and Master Bra'tac learned the truth about Oma and ascension through Daniel's experiences, they realized that they had taken away the hope of this Path to ascension and that this was why the Jaffa were easily turned toward Origin because the Ori offered this Path openly. (3.20 "Maternal Instinct", 5.18 "The Warrior", 9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.08 "Babylon", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

Part of Oma's Path to Enlightenment included actually ascending a person once he proved to her that he was worthy. Her helping a person to ascend was a direct violation of the rule: "No lone ascended being shall help a lower ascend." With all of the care she took to ensure that the person was good to the core, she still made mistakes in judgment, proving that an Ascended Being is not perfect. Her biggest mistake was helping Anubis to ascend, and she was punished for this, but still continued to help "lowers" to ascend. Why The Others permitted her to begin her work all of those thousands of years ago remains a mystery, unless she actually strengthened them in some way. The Others have a say as to whom they accept into their collective, so it is possible that they actually accepted many of the people Oma helped to ascend during all that time: "If you deserve to be here you should be able to get here on your own. If there's an exception, for whatever reason, a majority vote by the collective can get you in." (8.18 "Threads")

The Ori promised ascension to their followers, but this promise was a lie because they didn't intend to share their power. They advanced their human representatives, the Priors, in their evolution to demonstrate the powers of the ascended and to reward their devotion. The Priors also leaned on the promise of ascension at death for themselves. They were devoted to their work in converting human populations to Origin, believing that the deaths of a few are worth the salvation of the many. (9.02 "Avalon Part 2", 9.06 "Beachhead", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1")

Intervening on the Corporeal Plane

Eventually, Oma took responsibility for breaking the rules and helping Anubis to ascend by engaging Anubis in an eternal struggle to prevent him from destroying all life in the Milky Way. If Oma had not taken action, it is possible The Others might have let Anubis continue with his plan, but it is just as possible that they would have intervened because of the next rule: "Basically, the Others use their collective powers to keep him [Anubis] from affecting anything on a grand, cosmic level." The destruction of an entire galaxy might have been enough cause for The Others to use their collective power to prevent, since it is very likely that such destruction would have had a grand, cosmic impact. There is some foundation to this assumption given that it was most likely The Others who stepped in and confused Anubis's Kull Warriors during a battle with the Free Jaffa on Dakara and stopped the countdown on the self-destruct that the SGC started in response to the possibility that their Stargate had been opened by Anubis when he about to send the destructive energy wave to end life. (8.18 "Threads")

When Daniel realized that the Ori were sending Priors to the Milky Way through the Stargate and that The Others didn't stop them, he concluded that The Others didn't prevent the Priors' attempts to convert humanity to Origin because they recognized man's right to exercise his own free will. He did believe, however, that The Others would have intervened if the Ori themselves approached humanity directly because there was evidence of their taking action against other Ascended Beings in the past. Not knowing what the outcome would have been if they confronted the Ori directly, The Others chose to fight this battle on the corporeal plane first by selecting an indirect means of intervention: permitting one of their own to retake human form with some of their advanced knowledge intact in order to help humanity stop the Ori's growth in power, because if they were not stopped it would have been "bad for everyone" (i.e., everyone on all planes of existence). This member of the collective "descended" with the understanding that he was no longer a member of the collective, that he was sacrificing his own ascension and the possibility of further enlightenment, and that he would not be accepted back into the collective or permitted to ascend again (as was the case for Orlin). Ironically, by taking this approach, The Others were depending on outcasts, such as Orlin, to preserve the balance in the ascended planes. (9.03 "Origin Part 3", 9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1", 9.11 "The Fourth Horseman Part 2")

Notable Characters

  • Chaya - Outraged at seeing the Wraith attack defenseless humans on her home planet, Chaya used her ascended powers to destroy the attackers. She was punished by The Others by being permitted to protect only that specific planet and could not extend her protection to others, even if they sought sanctuary there. Chaya, as an outcast, accomplished her sentencing by posing as a goddess whenever she used her ascended powers and as a priestess to interact with her people in her human form.
  • Oma Desala - Oma Desala was banished by The Others because she felt it was her duty to help people ascend, thus breaking one of the most sacred rules of the ascended. The Others watched and waited for Oma to take responsibility for helping the evil Goa'uld Anubis to ascend. Because she was prevented from destroying Anubis, Oma felt that she could make up for his evil actions with helping good people to ascend. Finally, after Daniel made a heart-felt plea on her behalf to end her punishment regarding Anubis, Oma decided to take action herself. She engaged Anubis in an eternal struggle that would prevent both of them from ever interacting with the corporeal plane again.
  • Shifu - Because he was the offspring of two Goa'uld hosts, he inherited the genetic memory of the Goa'uld. This knowledge is evil and corrupts the person who holds it. Oma Desala buried these memories into Shifu's subconscious mind in order to protect him. Oma also helped Shifu to ascend.
  • Orlin - At one time, Orlin was an outcast, but he was accepted back into The Others. After the Ori discovered humanity in the Milky Way Galaxy, The Others permitted Orlin to return to human form with some of his ascended knowledge to help the SGC in the fight against the Priors, the Ori's corporeal representatives.
  • The Others - They are a collective of Ascended Ancients (also known as Altera) who have established rules for their involvement with matters of the corporeal plane. They kept the existence of humanity in the Milky Way Galaxy a secret from the Ori in order to protect them.
  • Daniel Jackson - Mentored by Oma Desala, Daniel ascended after his death from radiation poisoning. He remained with her for a year, but then his attempt to help SG-1 and the Abydonians resulted in his choice to return to human form ("descend"). Oma offered him ascension a second time after he was killed by Replicator Carter, but he returned to human form this time as well.
  • Skaara - He was one of the Abydonian people ascended en masse by Oma when Abydos was destroyed by Anubis.
  • Ori - They were a collective who manifested themselves in a wall of fire in a far galaxy thought to be the home of the original Ancients (called the Altera). Their philosophy was almost in direct opposition to that of The Others. They believed that as creators of humanity, they should have been worshipped as gods. They also believed they had the right to accelerate the ascension process of the humans in their galaxy and to destroy those who reject them. The Ori were eliminated when SG-1 sent and detonated Merlin's weapon, the Sangreal, to the Ori's home galaxy.
  • Merlin - He was one of the Ancients who returned to Earth from Atlantis 10,000 years ago (his Ancient name was Moros). Afterwards, he ascended, but then decided to retake human form in order to develop a weapon that could be used against Ascended Beings, namely the Ori. SG-1 found Merlin in stasis and revived him. Daniel transferred Merlin's consciousness into his own mind (Merlin was too old and weak in his own body) and rebuilt the weapon, known as the Sangreal. Not only did Daniel possess Merlin's knowledge and memories, but also inherited Merlin's advanced human powers. Eventually Merlin returned Daniel's body to its state before the download, but not before sending the weapon to the Ori's home galaxy.
  • Morgan Le Fay - She was an Atlantian Ancient (her Ancient name was Ganos Lal) who come to Earth 10,000 years ago and eventually ascended. She was sent by The Others to watch Merlin who had retaken human form with all of his ascended knowledge and powers to build a weapon that could wipe out Ascended Beings. Morgan found and destroyed the weapon, but placed Merlin in stasis so that if the weapon was needed, he could build another one. When Morgan tried to help Daniel in his search for the weapon, The Others pulled her out, and she was sent into exile. As an outcast, Morgan used her powers to help SG-1 find and use the Ark of Truth against the Ori's Priors so that their campaign to convert humanity to Origin ended. Morgan then engaged the last Ori, Adria, in an eternal struggle in the ascended planes, much like Oma engaged Anubis to stop his interference.
  • Adria - She was the genetically engineered spawn of the Ori and her human mother Vala Mal Doran. She led the Ori army in their crusade in the Milky Way. Eventually, Adria's advanced human body died, but she ascended. Because she ascended after the Ori were eliminated by Merlin's weapon, Adria became the last Ori and inherited all of their power. She was stopped by Morgan Le Fay, who engaged her in an eternal struggle in the ascended planes.

Alliances

Alliances within the Ascended themselves:

  • Ori, Doci, and Priors of the Ori - The Ori created a religion called Origin and those humans who followed were rewarded with advancement in their evolution toward ascension and became Priors. The Doci was an advanced human who permitted his body to be taken as a temporary host to an Ori being in order to "speak the word of the Ori". The Priors of the Ori were advanced humans who were given special powers to preach Origin. They carried staffs with blue orbs that glowed when the Prior used his advanced powers. The Priors were not aware that the Ori didn't plan to follow through on their promise of ascension, but instead were pawns used by the Ori to gain more power through the worship of humans. After the Ori and Adria were removed, the Doci and Priors still remained as a force to be reckoned with. Their campaign on behalf of "dead false gods" was ended when they were exposed to the enlightening light of the Ark of Truth.
  • The Others - These are the Ascended Ancients who had protected humanity in the Milky Way from the Ori, but the Ori eventually discovered their existence and planned to interfere in man's development.
  • Oma Desala's group of followers are those who were helped to ascend by Oma and were never accepted by The Others. They might still exist as a group even though Oma is occupied forever with battling Anubis. Daniel was a follower of Oma while he was ascended, but he never mentioned any others by name. It is possible that Shifu, the monk from Kheb, and the Abydonians are currently members of this group.

Enemies

  • As a whole group, Ascended Beings have no known enemies, however, the Ori and The Others were opposed to each other.
  • In the corporeal plane, Members of the SGC were against the Ori and their representatives for the sake of all humanity in the galaxy. They were joined by some members of the Free Jaffa Nation and the Tok'ra in combatting the Ori's invasion. The Asgard were also allies until their race became extinct.

Episodes

Stargate SG-1

Stargate Atlantis

Gallery

  • Ascended Beings Screencapture Gallery Contains images of Oma Desala, Shifu, Orlin, The Others, the ascended Daniel Jackson and the partially ascended Anubis. Clicking on each thumbnail will lead you to a larger image that you are welcome to download. At any time, you can return to this page by clicking on the home button.

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Keywords


--DeeKayP 05:34, 26 Jun 2004 (PDT) --Updated by Alison 27 Jun 2004