Musings on the Seven kinds of Archons: a speculative essay
In Gnostic myth the archons are governors of the cosmos, led by the top Archon, known as the Demiurge, the supreme Creator and Ruler (called “Yaldabaoth” in Sethian texts). These multiple archons are identified with the celestial bodies and the forces of nature.
But as one grows in spiritual knowledge it is inevitably revealed that the issues are a little more complex. I know at this point that the doctrine of the Demiurge and the archons is meant to be the Gnostic’s answer to the Bible and pagan religious thought. Gnosis takes these ideas which are contradictory and nonsensical and converts them into a myth with a rational meaning. In retrospect I see Gnostic myth as an answer to the logical and ethical fallacies of the Old Testament and popular pagan myths (e.g. Plato, Republic, II, 378) and not so much as an assertion that there really is a Demiurge or that the planets are supernatural beings.
The truth about the Archons, the essence of this doctrine, is something that is much more sublime and ultimately this truth cannot be discovered through reactionary logic. Reactionary logic and repentance both serve a vital purpose but they are just the beginning; being the first critical and necessary steps. Early Gnostic writers can be seen as expressing themselves at various stages of repentance.
On the other hand, I do not deny the existence of archons and I do believe that early Gnostic myth touches on a real issue. But in my own spiritual growth I find that the existence and nature of the archons are issues that are more complex than Gnostic myth makes it out to be. I acknowledge that archons do exist in our world, in our lives and in our minds. And I would like to set forth my thesis viz. that there are (at least) seven kinds of archons which exist for various reasons and manifest themselves in our lives in various ways on various levels.
1) The first and most common archon is the human ego. If one fails to be aware of and understand one’s own ego then that ego will be a tyranny over that person. The ego is always motivating us and we must always be mindful of it. In its proper role it is one’s enlightened self-interest. But if unchecked and unmastered it becomes a force of selfishness, greed, ignorance and violence; of lawlessness and evil. When one’s ego gets out of control the inner government, one’s inner Republic, collapses and becomes a lawless petty tyranny—ruled by a dictator rather than by checks and balances, which represent one’s spiritual capacity for logic and virtue.
2) A more latent and insidious archon is the primitive animal nature that is latent in the flesh of all humans. Its drive is to eat and pro-create and expand boundaries just as animals do. Its law is survival of the fittest and it follows the ego like a shadow, constantly tempting the ego to steer it away from spiritual virtue.
3) The dark animal nature in humans and in animals, carnivores, shares a common nature with another type of archon: the dark spirit which in our age is often referred as a “demon” or evil spirit. Dark spirits are native to the Earth and were present on this planet before fleshly life existed. Their origin is from the Earth’s core and the magnetic field. They are intelligent but lack any kind of spiritual virtue such as empathy or compassion. They view humans as interlopers on the Earth which they regard as their property. They can afflict humans in various ways, e.g., by planting dark thoughts in their minds or even taking over their minds. The ego is vulnerable to such attacks. Dark spirits can destroy one’s health, divide families, or drive people insane. Their goal is to destroy the human race and to either gather souls to themselves or drive them from the planet (extinction).
4) Another type of archon is what Greek philosophers referred to as the “world soul”. It is the soul of the collective cosmos, of our environment. While it is wrong to say that our environment is sentient or fully conscious it does nonetheless have a nature to it. It does have the focus of a monad or singularity. And as a nature it can rule over us. It can be a nature that one may find either pleasant or foul. And of course the ancient Gnostics recognized that the nature of the world was foul, viz. that the world was created and governed by malevolent archons. Plotinus argued against such people (Ennead 2:9). The world soul exists as a result of many trends in motion, most important of which is the creation of the human race (see #6).
5) A fifth type of archon is the earth-bound soul. Our world is filled with lost souls that remain earth-bound after death. They either will not or cannot cross into the Pleroma. They remain bound to the world because they are still attached to the cares of their past lives or are consumed by dark passions. Just like dark spirits they can afflict the human race and have a negative effect on the health of the living. Moreover, if what Theosophists like Helena Blavatsky and Anne Besant say is true then there are entire organizations, or “hierarchies”, of dead people who want to steer the course of the human race from beyond the grave. If you have read Theosophical literature then surely you have noticed the theme that the “Hierarchy” has a grand agenda for the human race. It was in reference to the hierarchy that Krishnamurti spoke these words when asked about the ascended masters: “Gods, masters, apparitions may exist; but they are of no value to the man who is seeking truth…”
Following up on point number five: some souls remain behind in this world because they care about their families. There are many caring souls who remain in the world. And it is likely that if some miracle occurred in your life; if you survived an accident that should have killed you then it was likely due to an ancestor watching over you. Clergymen and theologians will talk of the providence of God or “divine intervention” but most often if something good happened in your life, or you survived by a miracle, it is because an ancestor was watching over you.
If you are a Gnostic in the classic sense then you believe, or have revelation, that there is a plan within the Pleroma to recover from the world what belongs to it. The Pleroma does not govern the world but it may intercede on behalf of the elect, to gather the spiritual seeds.
6) Next we move along to the sixth type of archon which is the most mysterious and which desires to keep itself hidden. Gnostic myth teaches that we humans were not created by a supreme Being but rather by lesser gods or fallen angels. In the real world this means that humans were created by some other intelligence that is not divine and is probably not all that different from us. Personally, on my path, based on my experiences, I believe the mystery of human origins is connected with the existence and presence of UFOs. My point is that there is another civilization, another intelligence, that is here along with us. It may not even be Extra-terrestrial, but rather Para-terrestrial. And regardless of which term is accurate, they were certainly here before us. They refuse to talk to us in any open fashion. Those people who have had contact with them have gotten no useful information. Supposedly the U.S. government has had contact with these beings and has received information and refuses to share it with the public.
Everything about this world, and the paradoxes of human existence, leads me to believe that we humans don’t exist because of some divine plan. Rather, we exist at the pleasure of some other party for reasons that they refuse to reveal—because whatever those reasons are they have nothing to do with our benefit. And so we’re left to struggle in the dark as prisoners of our own ignorance. This too is what it means to be ruled by an archon.
7) The seventh type of archon is the government and political process that we humans set up over ourselves, often with the end result of shackling ourselves in chains—all with the best of intentions. Human history is littered with fallen republics and democracies, which collapsed into tyrannies. This pattern reflects the inability of humans to maintain that Republic within themselves, to maintain their mastery over the ego and the base desires that seek to overtake and use it. And in direct connection with this, government and authority, is the power and worship of money. Money ultimately decides the priorities of our governments, and often, our own lives.
Conclusion: Knowledge, Gnosis, is power. Knowing the archons and how they work in one’s life can allow one to keep from being governed by them. The most important ally of the archon is ignorance. The less you know about them the easier it is for them to gain mastery over you—and you don’t even realize it.
By Jim West. Copyright © October 21, 2013; revised Feb. 3, 2014.
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