by John Lash
From Greek archai, "origins,
beginning things, prior in time."
In the classical Mediterranean
world, archon was commonly used for the governor of a province, or,
more loosely, any religious or governmental authority. Hence the
plural, Archons, is often translated in Gnostic texts as "the
Authorities." (There is no Coptic word for Archon, so Gnostic
texts use the Greek term in Coptic transliteration.)
Pronounced Ar-kon. Adjective,
In my usual habit of attempting the impossible, I propose three
definitions, or three levels of definition:
Level One - Cosmological
In Gnostic cosmology, Archons are a species of
inorganic beings that emerged in the solar system prior to the
formation of the earth. They are cyborgs inhabiting the
planetary system (exclusive of the earth, sun and moon), which is
described as a virtual world (stereoma) they construct by
imitating the geometric forms emanated from the Pleroma, the
realm of the Generators, the Cosmic Gods.
The Archons are a genuine species with
their own proper habitat, and may even be considered to be god-like,
but they lack intentionality (ennoia: self-directive capacity), and
they have a nasty tendency to stray from their boundaries and
intrude on the human realm. Archons are said to feel intense envy
toward humanity because we possess the intentionality they lack
The Gaia Mythos describes how the Archons were produced by
fractal impact in the dense elementary field arrays (dema) of
the galactic limbs, when the Aeon Sophia plunged
unilaterally from the galactic core. See especially
This event is also described in detail
Level Two - Noetic-Psychological
In Gnostic psychology, the noetic science of the
Mystery Schools, Archons are an
alien force that intrudes subliminally upon the human mind and
deviates our intelligence away from its proper and sane
applications. They are not what makes us act inhumanely, for we
all have the potential to go against our innate humanity, violating
the truth in our hearts, but they make us play out inhumane
behavior to weird and violent extremes.
Left to our own devices, we would
sometimes act inhumanely and then correct it, contain the
aberration. Obviously, we do not always do so. In the exaggeration
of our insane and inhumane tendencies, and in extreme, uncorrected
deviance from our innate intelligence, Gnostics saw the signature of
an alien species that piggy-backs on the worst human failings.
Hence, Archons are psycho-spiritual parasites.
offspring of the Aeon Sophia (see below insert), they are
also our cosmic kin.
Gk: "emanation, divine
power, cosmic time cycle. " Pronounced A-ON,. Adjective,
Aeonic. E.g., "Reefs of Aeonic dreaming." (Gaia Mythos)
This essential term in Gnostic cosmology might be useful
in getting away from the awkward terms God and gods. An
Aeon is a god understood, not in theological
terms, but in terms of the physics of consciousness.
Aeons are not entities but
processes that may best be conceptualized as immense
currents, but currents that are alive, self-aware,
sensuous. The Goddess Sophia who becomes embodied as
Gaia is an Aeon, hence the Aeon Sophia.
Aeons are gendered. In
some Gnostic scenarios the male counterpart to the
female Aeon Sophia is the Aeon Christos.
As inorganic entities of two types, embryonic and
reptilian, Archons can at moments penetrate the
terrestrial atmosphere and terrorize humans, although there is no
reason or order to these forays, for the aliens cannot remain for
very long in the biosphere and, anyway, they have no master plan to
The ontological status of the Archons is
they exist as an alien species
independent of humankind
they exist as a presence in our
minds, rather like a set of programs operating in our mental
The risk they pose by invading our
mental software is far greater than any physical risk they might
pose by erratically breaching the biosphere.
Working through telepathy and suggestion, the Archons attempt to
deviate us from our proper course of evolution. Their most
successful technique is to use religious ideology to
insinuate their way of thinking and, in effect, substitute their
mind-set for ours.
According to the Gnostics,
Judeo-Christian salvationism is the primary ploy of the Archons,
an alien implant.
Our capacity to discern alien forces working in our minds is crucial
to survival and co-evolution with
who, as Sophia, accidentally produced the Archons in the
first place. (This comment belongs to Level One, the
cosmological definition, but as so often happens with Gnostic
teachings, noetic and cosmic elements tend to merge.)
By recognizing and repelling the
Archons, we claim our power, define our boundaries in the cosmic
framework, and establish our purpose relative to Gaia, the
indwelling intelligence of the planet.
Level three - Sociological
In the Gnostic view of human society, the Archons are alien forces
that act through authoritarian systems, including belief-systems, in
ways that cause human beings to turn against their innate potential
and violate the symbiosis of nature.
LIVE spelled backwards is EVIL,
but the Archons are not evil in the sense that they possess
autonomous powers of destruction, able to be applied directly upon
They are agents of error rather
than evil — but human error, when it goes uncorrected and runs
beyond the scale of correction, turns into evil and works against
the universal plan of life. Gnostics taught that the Archons exploit
our tendency to let our mistakes go uncorrected.
Because the Archons need human complicity to gain power over
humankind, any one who assists them can be considered a kind of
Archon, an accessory. How do humans assist the Archons?
One way (suggested in the Level Two
definition) is by accepting the mental programs of the Archons
— that is, adopting the alien intelligence as if it were human-based
— and implementing those programs by actually enforcing them in
society. Another way is by actively or passively conforming to the
agendas so proposed and imposed.
Jacques Lacarriere suggests that Gnostics detected the
humanized face of the Archons in all authoritarian structures and
and systems that deny authenticity and self-determination to the
He argues that Gnostics recognized,
"the fundamentally corrupt character
of all human enterprises and institutions: time, history,
powers, states, religions, races, nations..."
(The Gnostics, p. 24)
Corruption occurs, not because we make
errors, but because the errors we make go uncorrected and
extrapolate beyond the scale of correction. Lacarriere says that
Gnostics reached this conclusion “out of rational observation of
the natural world and human behavior.”
Ultimately, they asserted the,
“contention that all power –
whatever kind it may be – is a source of alienation... All
institutions, laws, religions, churches and powers are nothing
but a sham and a trap, the perpetuation of an age-old
This may seem like a dark view of human
affairs, but given the evidence of history (not to mention current
events), it cannot be said to be unfair or exaggerated.
For an intimate glimpse of Gnostic teaching on the Archons,
including advice on how to act when directly confronted by them,
consider the passage from
Apocalypse of James, cited in
A Gnostic Catechism.