by John Lash
from MetaHistory Website
The most complete version is in
The Apocryphon of John, found in
three drafts in the NHL and also in a non-NHL source, the Berlin
Codex. In the scholar's edition of the complete NHL in English, all
four versions are printed in parallel, arranged in two columns on
facing pages. The story of how the Archons arise in the cosmic
order, due to the precipitous plunge of Sophia, and how they intrude
upon humanity is not told in great detail, but it is told
The threat of Archontic intrusion into the human realm is clearly stated in the Sophianic origin myth. Yaldabaoth, the head of the Archon hordes,
This problem is inherent to the
foundational story of our species.
If we, as a species, "do not obey the place from which we came," we risk losing our place in the cosmic order. Gnostic teachings on the Archons are beautifully conceived so that at no point can we blame the Archons for what we do. Nevertheless, the Archons do exist independently of us, and do exert a significant influence on our behavior and outlook. They are both aspects of our mentality and independent alien entities.
The both/and proposition typifies the
noetic finesse of Gnostic wisdom.
Here and there I equate the Archons with contemporary ETs, those "alien" entities who seem to flit in and out of our world, particularly the Greys and Reptilians widely associated with UFO sightings, encounters, and abductions. There is, as everyone knows, a vast mythology developing about these entities.
My aim here is to show what is unique in
the Gnostic story of the Archons and analysis of their activities.
This mythological event may be envisioned in a way consistent with modern cosmological physics: The erratic surge of a plasmatic stream from the galactic core exites the elementary matter in the limbs, producing a spate of inorganic life-forms.
They are called Archons (from the
Greek archai, "prior, from the beginning") because they arise
first, before the sun and the planetary system as a whole.
This agitation occurs in the region of Orion, the most well-known and easily recognized of all the starry constellations. The Archontic entities so produced are of two types,
The rudimentary forms of these entities
can be traced in fractal patterns around the Mandelbrot Set. (See
In a bizarre image, the fractal Archon generation is compared to,
The Gaia Mythos describes how the Aeon Sophia is stunned by the spontaneous generation of these entities, for this event was not foreseen in her "Dreaming" of a world-system out there beyond the Pleroma.
The Archons arise from the impact of a
deific force-field that automatically configures the chaos of the
raw elements, the dema, rather in the way a sound-current
configures fine sand on a flat surface (the "Chaldni forms"), or a
magnet configures iron filings into a graceful rosette. This
pattern-forming dynamic is the autopoesis of the Gods, great
living currents that surge through the Dreamtime.
With this image, the mythology points
directly to an event described in modern astrophysics.
In the area mythologically pictured as
Orion's sword, or the "Phallus of Osiris," is a dense molecular
cloud, a cradle of star-birth. The sun was literally ejaculated from
this region. The stellar explosion has two effects: it propels the
newborn sun on a trajectory upstream in the third galactic limb, and
as the sun advances, its spinning motion acts like a turbine,
pulling elementary matter into a vortex. The vortex gradually
flattens into the "proto-planetary disk."
Gradually the raw elements separate, and
the ring differentiates into bands of agglomerated particles that
condense into individual planets. The conditions of this process are
such that, just by chance, the Earth evolves from a density-band
located at a unique position, neither too far from the Sun, not too
close to it. This location affords the precise conditions needed for
the development of the biosphere. The conditions required for
organic life do not arise from the other bands.
To them, the explosion of the sun in the Orion Nebula was an event witnessed and felt by cosmic powers, even by the Sun itself.
In their "visionary replay" of that
event, Gnostics used mythological language to describe the emergence
of our planetary system as if it were a sentient process, felt and
witnessed by cosmic presences - but for the seers who developed this
myth, "as if" was "as is." They did not anthropomorphize, falsely
projecting human qualities into a non-human world, but they
attempted to describe the sentient, self-aware qualities of the
cosmos at large.
At first the Archontic entities are merely ripple-like formations in the dense elementary matter arrays, the dema (the chaos of atomic and sub-atomic particles).
They are initially formed like crinkled
filigree on a skin of metals, but when the sun erupts in the Orion
Nebula, it exerts a powerful vortex effect upon them. The material
of the emergent Archons becomes organized around the spinning solar
vortex, then flattened into a vast rotating plate that
differentiates into distinct bands. (Here the description follows
As the proto-planetary disk forms, the
Archons are absorbed into it. They are inorganic beings whose
physical composition matches the inorganic chemistry of the planets,
apart from the Earth. As the disk develops, the chief Archon, the
reptilian type called Salkas, Samael, or
Yaldabaoth, witnesses its formation
and erroneously assumes that he is the creator of the
emergent system. It is as if the chief Archon sees himself mirrored
in the emergent solar disk, and then takes that system as his
This is the primordial error of the Archontic mentality: to mistake the witnessing power for the power to form what is witnessed.
Hence, the emergence of the Archons, a cosmological event, is intimately identified with the "generation of error," a noetic event. Cosmic-noetic parallelism is a mark of Gnostic visionary science, as I have elsewhere noted.
However, it is not entirely unique to Gnostic teachings. It also occurs in Buddhism.
In The Insanity of God - A Buddhist
Cosmological Narrative (forthcoming in "Believe It or Not"), I
consider a rare Buddhist creation myth that presents an exact
counterpart to the Gnostic scenario of the Lord Archon,
Being blind, he cannot perceive the Pleroma (galactic core), nor does he recognize Sophia, the cosmic current that surged from the core and produced him in the first place.
He becomes infatuated, bloated with grandiosity, causing Sophia to feel shame and want to hide him from the sight of the Pleromic Aeons.
The Aeon Sophia is that cosmic current whose impact organizes the dema and produces the Archons.
This happens because She acts
unilaterally in Her plunge from the galactic core, but Sophia does
not unilaterally cause the birth of the Sun. This is a process
continually occurring in the galactic limbs, due to the physics of
the limb structure itself. In an action that might be compared to a
mill wheel grinding stones, the galactic armature churns and refines
elementary matter, constantly producing star-birth, the promise of
new worlds of experience.
The Apocryphon of John (II, 10, 24-25) describes how the Lord Archon,
Thus, he draws upon the vortex power of the central star, the newborn Sun, to organize the matter swirling in the proto-planetary disk. Yaldabaoth originates nothing, however. He can only copy the model of the Pleroma, without even knowing that he does so:
Gnostic teachings constantly emphasize that the Archons are imitators who cannot produce anything original, yet they arrogantly claim they can.
The Lord Archon is called antimimon pneuma, "counterfeit spirit." (Apoc John III, 36:17. The term occurs several times in different texts.) The cosmos he produces is described by the Coptic term hal, "simulation."
The vast planetary system of the Archons is a stereoma, a virtual reality projection in simulation of a higher dimensional pattern.
Typically, the Archontic framework of the planetary system
has been depicted by "armillary bands" that surround the Earth.
(Illustration from A. Cellarius, Harmonia Macrocosma, 1660.)
Taken in many esoteric systems (Hermetics and Rosicrucianism)
as the preeminent image of cosmic harmony, the model of the planetary spheres
reflects a mindless
imitation of divine design, not the living reality of the cosmos.
Yaldabaoth, the presumed all-mighty creator God, really creates nothing; instead, he copies from "archetypal" patterns in the Pleroma. The planetary stereoma of his making is like a plastic copy of an abalone shell. Only someone who does not know the reality of the abalone shell, and what living miracle of nature is required to produce it, would accept the plastic substitution.
Here again, the cosmic-noetic parallel
applies: Archons simulate in the cosmos at large, and they also
simulate in the human mind. This is a key indication of their
effect, a clue to their subtle intrusion tactics.
Here is further insight into "the generation of error."
One might be excused (but just barely)
for mistaking plastic for pearl, but it would be terrible ignorance
indeed to be unaware that it takes an entire ocean and a living,
symbiotic biosphere to produce a pearl. Yet such is the ignorance of
the Archons that they cannot comprehend the living miracle of divine
order, rooted in the Pleroma, even when they are imitating it.
Readers familiar with the archetypal psychology of C.G. Jung will recognize in this passage all the elements of the heaven archetype common to the mainstream religions: heavenly mansions, celestial armies, cloud chariots, virgins on order, choirs of angels arranged with military precision.
The stereoma is loaded with
spiritual kitsch. If anyone needs evidence of how the Archons can
infect human imagination, here it is, seven times excellent.
It is worth noting that Walt Disney began to reach the mainstream in the early days of American television with remarkable films on nature, such as The Living Desert.
At a certain moment, however, Disney
turned from nature to fantasy. He proposed that the construction of
Disney World in Anaheim, near Los Angeles, be overseen by a team of
"imagineers." The result is that some people today who visit Disney
World are so impressed by the simulacra, they cannot tell if the
hippos in the river are real or artificial.
Rather than stay within the boundaries of nature, and learn from what is to be observed there, he decided to make nature over in simulation. This is exactly what the Archons did by imitating "the pattern of the imperishable Aeons."
But consider the results.
Such beliefs are typical of the
Archontic subterfuge that Gnostics detected, first, in their
visionary survey of the cosmos at large, and second, in their astute
observations of how human behavior is driven by religious fantasies
and delusional beliefs.
The human tendency to be seduced by the fantastic imagination was deeply understood by Gnostics who detected therein the intrusion of the Archons into our minds, and indeed, into the biosphere we inhabit.
Of course, we recognize today - some
people do, at least - that the Disneyification of the world,
more currently disguised in technomaniac pretensions, presents a
serious deviation for humanity. Perhaps a terminal deviation. The
enthrallment of artificial intelligence is now widespread and
massively impacting every aspect of our lives. In the near future,
if not already, it may be impossible for the large majority of human
beings to discern what can be truly, livingly imagined, from
Although it takes exceptional smarts and loving patience and, yes, "the true and not the fantastic imagination," to get behind this Gnostic material, I believe the effort is worth what it asks of us. The spell of the Archons is indeed strong, but it can be counteracted by a consummate strength we find in ourselves, deep within our Sophianic endowment. This strength has to be claimed and cultivated, however.
It does not arise by itself but it is
sparked and sustained by initiated effort.
In the cosmic perspective of Gnosis we
may at last discover the secret sense of who we are and what we are
facing on this lonely planet.