Metahistory | October 20 2012
The Hypostasis of the Archons describes a further development that follows the initial emergence of the foetal Archontic entities. In the passage cited here, I apply some concepts drawn from modern astronomy to develop a more vivid picture of events presumably observed by Gnostic seers in the cosmos at large:
A veil exists between the world above [in the galactic core], and the realms that are below [exterior, in the galactic limbs]; and shadow came into being beneath the veil. Some of the shadow [dark mass] became [atomic] matter, and was projected apart [partially formed into elementary arrays, the dema]. And what Sophia created [by her impact] became a product in the matter [the dema], [a neonate form] like an aborted fetus. And [once formed] it assumed a plastic shape molded out of shadow, and became an arrogant beast resembling a lion. It was androgynous, because it was from [neutral, inorganic] matter that it derived. (The Hypostasis of the Archons, II, 4, 93:30 ff, with my glosses in brackets.)
A close reading reveals a crucial detail: after the initial formation of the embryonic Archon types, a second variant of “shadow body” arises, with distinct characteristics of its own. The Hypostasis of the Archons describes it as “an arrogant beast resembling a lion,” but this creature is also described (in another cosmological text, the Apocryphon of John 10: 5) as “a serpentine body (drakon) with a lion-like face.” Thus there are two distinct types of Archons: a foetal or embryonic type, and a drakonic or reptilian type.
In The Hypostasis of the Archons (93: 30 – 94:5), a supplicant asks the great angel Eleleth, “Teach me about the faculty of the Archons, how did they come into being, and by what kind of genesis, of what material, and who created them and produced their force.” The teachings given in response to this question were precise and detailed. Two distinct variants of the Archon type are indicated, and their behaviors are also specified. Another cosmological treatise, The Tripartite Tractate, states that “the two orders [of Archons] assaulted one another, fighting for command because of their manner of being.” (84: 5-15) Due to the two distinct stages of their generation, the Archons are invested with an aggressive and divisive nature, fighting among their own ranks. The problem is provisionally resolved, however, when the reptilian type assumes dominance over the massive horde of neonates, and, indeed, over the entire realm of the dema affected by Sophia’s plunge:
Opening his eyes, he [the drakonic Archon] saw a vast quantity of matter without limit [spread through the galactic limbs], and he became arrogant, saying “It is I who am God [the sole deity of these regions], and there is no other apart from me.” (Hyp Arch, 94:20)
While the neonate Archons are inert, their forms arrested at a premature stage of development, the reptilian leader is aggressive, territorial, and charged with demonic powers. For one thing, he is a formidable shapeshifter:
Ialdabaoth had a multitude of faces more than all of them, so that he could put a face before all of them, according to his desire… He shared his fire with them, therefore he became lord over them. Because of power of the glory he possessed of his mother’s light, he called himself God. And he did not obey the place from which he came. (The Apocryphon of John, 11:35 – 12:10)
The declaration of the chief Archon that he is the only god in the cosmos is, needless to say, a defining moment in Gnostic cosmology — if not in human evolution as well. All the cosmological texts describe this event, with slight variations. Gnostics were insistent on the identification of Yaldabaoth with Yahweh or Jehovah, the tribal god of the Hebrews. This deity is not only blind, but witless and insane (Hypostasis of the Archons 89: 24-25). To Gnostics insanity is not so much unsoundness of mind as the consequence of failure to correct mental errors. The mentality of the Archons “cannot be rectified,” and, what’s worse, “the archontic nature is not capable of development.” (Gilhus, The Nature of the Archons, p. 40) Due to the manner of their generation, Archons have no ennoia, no innate intentionality. Theirs is an Alien Dreaming, set apart from the biosphere, the intelligent life-field of Gaia.
The concept of a god who is both void of will power and insane is apparently unique to Gnosticism. Needless to say, when Gnostics expressed their views on the identity of Jehovah to devout Jews and to Christians who also revered the Jewish Father God, they were not well received.
The Apocryphon of John adds crucial details to the Archon scenario. For one thing, it presents a rare instance where Sophia is actually called the mother of the Archons. It also says of the chief Archon that “he did not obey the place from which he came.” This is a telling detail. The fact that the chief Archon moves away from the places where he arose indicates a key concern of Gnostics: the boundary-violating tendencies of the Archons. From the outset they are an invasive species.
The drakonic Archon is said to be blind (Coptic bille), so he does not see either the Pleroma or Sophia. “Blindness of the spiritual world characterizes the Archons.” (Gilhus, p. 17). He is called Samael and Saklas. Samael is Hebrew and Saklas is Aramaic for “blind one.” Understanding the blindness of the Archons is crucially important to our detection of how they can affect humanity.
The chief of the Archons is also called the Lord Archon. He is also given the bizarre name, Yaldabaoth (pronounced Yall-DAH-buy-OT). Scholars disagree on what this name might mean, and how it was derived. By one translation it means “the child who crosses space.” By another, it means “chief of the horde.” (Jarl Egil Fossum, The Name of God and the Angel of the Lord, p. 332-6.) Thus it seems to slur together allusions to both types of Archons. In the Old Testament the title yhwh seba’ot, Yahweh Sebaoth, occurs 276 times as the title of the father god. (Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, p. 155) Gershom Scholem, pre-eminent scholar of the Cabala and Jewish mysticism, explained Ialdabaoth as “a compound of the Aramaic active participle yaled (i.e., ‘to beget’) and the name Abaoth, which represents an abridged form of the name Sabaoth. Thus, Ialdabaoth means ‘the begetter of Sabaoth’.” (Nathaniel Deutsch, The Gnostic Imagination, p. 55) And there are half a dozen more interpretations.
It is likely that the name Ialdabaoth is simply a variant of Jehovah, the paternal father god of the Hebrews. Gnostics identified Jehovah with the Lord Archon and rejected the OT and the entire Judaic plan for salvation as a subterfuge of the Archons. It makes sense that they would have used the same term used by Jews to expose the true nature of the Jewish deity.
When it came to knowledge that they considered crucial to human survival, and to humanity’s coevolution with Sophia, Gnostics could be confrontational, and totally unconcerned about whom they might offend. Their uncompromising and sometimes scornful attitude, combined with their failure to anticipate the high degree of physical violence that would be triggered by their challenge to Judeo-Christian beliefs, undoubtedly fuelled the vicious fanatisicm that destroyed the Mysteries.
Magnification of the fractal Archon generation presents a graphic image that seems to fit the scenario described by Gnostic seers. The embryonic type, or neonate Archon, is clearly defined, but so is another entity: the reptilian Archon with its avaracious jaw and long spermatic tail. This “arrogant beast” seems to lunge at the entrails of the embryonic type. Right at the point where the embryonic Archon would have a nurturing umbilicus, the reptilians move in invasively. The neonate Archon remains passive, apparently sucking its finger or thumb!
Something odd is happening in the lower part of the neonate’s body, for its seahorse-tail is precariously jointed to the torso. The embryonic type remains self-absorbed, but reacts to the aggression of the other type by dropping its tail, as frightened reptiles do. We wonder if the disjointed tail will form another neonate, or another reptilian. The reptilian form does appear to be fractally repeated in the tail-structure of the embryonic type, as if the tail broke off and became an entity of its own, rather than another embryo.
The element of fear figures largely in the behavior of the Archons and their effect on humanity. In the Old Testament, fear of God is held to be one of the primary marks of religious experience. The possibility that human fear is a kind of nutriment for certain invasive extraterrestrials has been widely argued in the ET/UFO debate. The Second Treatise of the Great Seth says that the agenda of the Archons is “fear and slavery.” The Archons wish to keep humankind under “the contraint of fear and worry.” (NHLE 1990, p. 367) Other passages also warn against the Archons’ use of fear as a psychological weapon.
In another striking detail, the reptilian type seems to be holding a sphere in its jaws, recalling the mythical image of a serpent who offers forbidden fruit: for instance, the Serpent in the Garden of Hyperborea with the golden apple in its mouth. Is the neonate eating from this rounded fruit? Gnostics had their own version of what transpired in the Garden of Eden, events in which the Archons were deeply involved, and so it is perhaps not surprizing to see hints of the Paradise scenario at this primal stage of cosmic activity.
All this activity in the fractal generation of the Archons is imaginal, but it is not imaginary, i.e., not purely made up in our minds. Recreating what Gnostic seers observed is a sober use of imagination, not a flight into make-believe. It takes non-ordinary reason to describe what is happening here, but the scenario so developed is entirely reasonable and coherent on its own terms.