by John Lash


from MetaHistory Website

Spanish version




Here and there the Coptic Gnostic materials contain passages that describe encounters with the ET-like beings, sometimes with explicit advice about how to handle these entities.

  • What beliefs are implied in such testimony?

  • And what are we to believe about such testimony?

I will attempt to address both these questions in this brief topical essay.


Occult Instruction

For a first-hand look at the testimony, let's consider a passage from The First Apocalypse of James (NHC V, 3), a revelation dialogue in which an unnamed teacher (the "Lord" or "Master") confers secret knowledge upon a Gnostic named James:

The Master said:

James, behold, I shall reveal to you the path of your redemption. Whenever you are seized and you undergo death-pangs (mortal fear), a multitude of Archons may turn on you, thinking they can capture you. And in particular, three of them will seize you, those who pose as toll collectors.


Not only do they demand toll, but they take away souls by theft.

  • Now, when you come under their power, one of them who is the overseer will say to you: "Who are you, and where are you from?"

  • You are then to say to him, "I am a child of humanity and I am from the Source."

  • He will then say to you, "What sort of child are you, and to what Source do you belong?"

  • You are to say to him, "I am from the pre-existent Source, and I am the offspring of the Source."

  • Then he will say to you, "Why were you sent out from the Source?"

  • Then you are to say to him, "I came from the Pre-existent One so that I might behold those of my kind and those who are alien."

  • And he will say to you, "What are these alien beings?"

  • You are to say to him: "They are not entirely alien, for they are from the Fallen Sophia (Achamoth), the female divinity who produced them when she brought the human race down from the Source, the realm of the Pre-Existent One. So they are not entirely alien, but they are our kin. They are indeed so because she who is their matrix, Sophia Achamoth, is from the Source. At the same time they are alien because Sophia did not combine with her like in the Source (her divine male counterpart), when she produced them."

  • When he also says to you, "Where will you go now?"

  • You are to say to him, "To the place when I came, the Source, there shall I return." And if you respond in this manner, you will escape their attacks.

(NHC V, 3. 33 - 34: 1- 25. Translation from NHLE 1990, pp. 265-6 and Kurt Rudolf, Gnosis, p. 174-5.)

Considerable information is packed into this exchange.


The resemblance to contemporary reports of close encounters is undeniable: the Archons induce a state of mortal panic, they often appear in threes, they perform abductions ("take away souls by theft"). These details present a striking match to contemporary ET/UFO lore.


But in an equally striking departure from the current literature, the Gnostic teacher gives explicit instructions on how to face the alien entities.


The vast amount of testimony on the ET/UFO phenomenon available today presents almost nothing on defense against alien intrusion. Contactees and abductees are passive witnessed, overwhelmed and overpowered by the aliens. But Gnostic writings not only describe such encounters, they also prescribe defensive action.


The Master offers cogent counsel for keeping the Archons in their place.

Gnosis is a remembering of our origins. The student is instructed to remember the cosmic birthright of humankind, and to affirm its direct link to the Pleroma, the Source. Specifically, the student is taught to recall and repeat the key episode in Gnostic mythology, the fall of the Aeon Sophia, and thus effectuate a defense against the Archons.


By recounting the myth of their origins, the student demonstrates initiated knowledge of the origin and identity of the entities s/he is facing. Intentional recall of cosmic matters disempowers the Archons. This, at least, is a clear inference from the above passage.


The tactic of remembrance accords closely with indigenous wisdom - consider, for instance, the saying of the Na-Khi, a Tibetan people of southeastern China:

"One must relate the origin of the medicine, otherwise it cannot work its magic."

Shamans heal, not only by their knowledge of the properties of plants, but also by their recounting the story of the plant.


Likewise, Gnostics defeated the Archons with the "medicine" (occult power) of mythological recall.

The Coptic materials become increasingly relevant as we realize they do not merely present pedantic or recondite commentaries on a dead religion, but vital insights on the timeless spiritual dilemmas of humanity, insights as valid today as they were 2000 years ago.


Describing the find at Nag Hammadi, Tobias Churton writes,

"Had Mohammed Ali not broken open the jar, we would not be able to hear these things. In the truest sense of the word, these things are dynamite. One might have imagined headlines throughout the world..."

The Gnostics, p. 12

But there were no such headlines, even in the tabloids.


It took many years before the codexes were translated and still, even today, no scholar will allow that these rare Coptic codices contain reliable accounts of encounters with ET-like entities.


Ideological Virus

In another passage of The First Apocalypse of James, the Master refers to those people "who exist as the type of the Archons" (30: 20).


Gnostics were not only alert to the intrusion of the Archons, they were also acutely aware of the possibility of humans becoming totally "Archontized."


This threat appears to have emerged in a particularly alarming way in that era to which Philip K. Dick often refers:

the first century of the Common Era, when the incarnation of Christ is said to have occurred, according to Christian belief.

Both the time and the place where Archontic molding of human character set in strongly are specified in the Nag Hammadi texts. In his Gnostic view of the human condition, Dick assumed that the spiritual life of humanity was arrested at that moment.


It is as if the behavior of those "who exist as the type of Archons" locked into place in that era, and came to dominate all subsequent centuries - until the moment in 1945 when the Nag Hammadi texts were discovered.

In a close parallel to Philip K. Dick's vision of "the Empire," Wilhelm Reich saw the rise of a similar syndrome which he characterized as "the mechanico-mystical" complex (see The Mass Psychology of Fascism.) Its signature is "authoritarian ideology," the mindset of fascism and patriarchal domination.


Significantly, archon was the common term for "governer," or "authority" in Roman times.


In some translations of the Coptic materials, archon (plural, archontoi) is rendered as "the authorities." Reich's analysis of what I propose to call the mystico-fascist complex focuses on National Socialism, the Nazi movement, which he experienced first-hand, but The Mass Psychology of Fascism contains ample references to Catholicism and the Holy Roman Empire, the millennial ancestor of the mystico-fascist program.

For more comments on this subject viewed in a contemporary vein, see Armageddon Politics.

In allusion to the fascist ideology of the "authorities", Philip K. Dick wrote:

"The Empire is the institution, the codification, of derangement; it is insane and imposes its insanity on us by violence, since its nature is a violent one."

Valis, p. 235, citing entry 41 from "The Exegesis."

This is purely a Gnostic insight, compatible with passages in the NHC and deeply resonant with Reich's views on the massenpsychosen of Roman Christianity.


It might be argued that the Nazis were not Christians, but in fact Hitler imagined himself as a Grail Knight, modeled after Wagner's Parsifal, and the savior complex of Judaeo-Christian belief is wholly transposed into Nazi racial ideology - hence the "Aryan Christ" identified, and, to some degree, embraced by C. G. Jung.


The Holy Reich, published in 2004 by Richard Steigman-Gall, professor of history at Kent State University in the USA, argues that Hitler was sincere in calling himself a Christian, and reveals to what extent Christian ideology was embraced by the Nazi party and contributed to the advancement of their cause.

Wilhelm Reich warned that since the breakdown of the pre-Christian ethos of earth-oriented Paganism,

"the biological core of humanity has been without social representation."

(Ibid., p. xii)

This is a staggering observation, to say the least.

The "authorities" exhibit the behavior of spiritual zombies, people who exemplify a baffling mix of mystical and militaristic fixations.


(What I have called behavioral cloning - see below insert - is widely evident in both militaristic and mystical behavior, such as we see today in neocon religious realpolitik, although it is also embodied in the mass conformity of global consumerism and the rites of technophilia.)




Behavioral Cloning

 from MetaHistory Website


Proposed term for the hive behavior of a society driven by unquestioned beliefs or by technological prosthetics. Both beliefs (especially religious beliefs) and prosthetics (that is, tools that replace human faculties and functions) depend for their efficacy on a prior condition: disembodiment of the human subject, or the strong tendency toward disembodiment.

In the long-term overview developed in this site, behavioral cloning is seen as developing historically in three phases:

  • Initial Phase: introduction of religious ideology of salvation, including the idea of the Incarnation. Approximately 1800 BCE - 400 AD. 1800 is the date generally assigned to era of the Biblical Patriarch Abraham.

  • Middle Phase: repression of body knowledge in favor of abstraction. Approximately 400 BCE - 1200 AD (the Dark Ages), overlapping and extending the Initial Phase. 400 BCE marks the death of Socrates and the rise of Platonic abstraction.

  • Terminal Phase: replacement of human faculties, and eventually the human organism itself, by artificial entities. Approximately 900 CE to the present, overlapping the Middle Phase, with a surge at 1600 (the Enlightenment). The date 900 CE represents the introduction of the zero into Western science.

There is an overall continuity here in which religion (Judeo-Christian ideology) and Platonic philosophy (the abstracting tendency) combine to turn the species away from Sacred Nature; and then, when the quest for knowledge of the natural world is revived in the Enlightenment (1600), the disembodiment has already advanced so far that the formulations of science can only continue the deviation, and extrapolate it beyond correction.


This trend culminates today in the fantasy of running the world on artificial intelligence and replacing humans by robots or cyborgs.

This entire trajectory of development would not have been possible if the quest for transcendence from the blocking of the ego-self had not been diverted into a quest of the ego-self to transcend nature.


(By "blocking of the ego-self," I mean the psychological necessity of the social ego to turn off its connection with nature so that it can develop a field of human-based, culture-oriented relations. Genuine transcendence, such as was offered in the Mystery School initiations, involved temporary dissolving of the ego-blocks and melting of self-consciousness so that nature is once again encountered as the numinous source of life.)

In his landmark essay, "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us," IT (informational technology) pioneer Bill Joy wrote:

Once an intelligent robot exists, it is only a small step to a robot species - to an intelligent robot that can make evolved copies of itself... But if we are downloaded into our technology, what are the chances that we will thereafter be ourselves or even human?


It seems to me far likely that a robotic existence will not be like a human one in any sense we understand, that the robots would in no sense be our children, that on this path our humanity may well be lost.
(In Taking the Red Pill, ed. by Glen Yeffeth, p. 250ff.)

In the terminal phase of behavioral cloning, a powerful fantasy comes into play -  but it is just a fantasy.


This is the widely hyped claim that AI (artificial intelligence), will replace human intelligence, and humans in the future will become cyborgs. The tool for achieving this goal is IT, informational technology. The presumed outcome of this transmogrification will be AL (artificial life.)


This entire proposed development shows how the Dreaming of the Archons intrudes upon the human mind and displaces our species from its proper relation to Gaia's Dreaming. In reality, the Alien Dreaming is a discarnate fantasy that cannot be realized by humankind because we are an embodied species embedded in a natural habitat, and our self-awareness depends on direct mirroring in nature. However, due to the disease of narcissism (obsession with the socially mirrored ego-self), we are prone to take the Alien Dreaming for a real prospect.

IT is the tool we are using to write ourselves out of Gaia's agenda.

By themselves the Archons can do nothing but insinuate. They rely heavily on our tendency to give over our power by wrong use of imagination.


Let's recall the alchemical teaching quoted in Sources of the Gaia Mythos:

"Let thy imagination be guided wholly by nature... And observe according to nature, through whom the substances regenerate themselves in the bowels of the earth. And imagine this with true and not with fantastic imagination."

Our problem - without question, the single most threatening spiritual problem of our species - is that we do not adequately or consistently distinguish the true from the fantastic imagination.

How we lost the "Old Gnosis" (illumined body-knowing of Sacred Nature), and how Judeo-Christian monotheism gradually undermined the imaginative faculties we need to co-evolve with Gaia, are lucidly explained by Theodore Roszak in Where the Wasteland Ends.

One of the most reliable tactics of the Archons is Simulation (Hal in Coptic).


We might assume, then, that they are capable of simulating life to the point where their simulation cannot be distinguished from the real thing. Not so. The Archons cannot make pearls from plastic, but we can become so dull in sense perception that we cannot distinguish plastic from pearl.


Gnostic seers ascertained that Archontic simulation is largely a faking process, like the special effects of the Wizard of Oz.


Our alien cousins cannot actually simulate the human organism, but if they can convince us that they can do so, we risk making the simulation look real because we grant it reality in our own imaginations. Gnostics taught that the Archons can do nothing without our complicity - and, in fact, we are the ones who do most of the work for them!


The power of human imagination is immense (Gnostics called this faculty the luminous epinoia), and the Archons rely on stealing its inventive fire to pass off their simulations as real.

Consistent with this tactic, the Alien Dreaming seduces us into believing that all kinds of ridiculous things are possible, or even have been achieved already. The fear factor plays beautifully into our inflated expectations. For instance, we live in breathless anticipation that a human being will be physically cloned, perhaps with a little help from our alien cousins on the biotechnological points.


Fearing this will occur, or eagerly waiting for it to occur, we do not see what is actually occurring, what is actually happening to us. It is as if we lived in a building under constant threat of an earthquake while acid is silently eating away the foundations. This tactic of distraction, or misdirection, is extremely effective.

Consequently, the world today is constantly jolted with the immanence of human cloning, while behavioral cloning proceeds unnoticed.

Common forms of behavioral cloning are:

  • rote learning of religious scriptures (often accompanied by shaking the head, seen with devout Jews at the Wailing Wall, or the entire body, seen in Muslim schools where children are forcefully indoctrinated)

  • conformity to empty religious formulas and vicarious rites (in the Catholic mass, for instance)

  • usage of mobile telephones (involving the same set of gestures around the world: eyes fixed on keyboard to text messages, phone-set to ear while walking, eating, driving, etc)

  • flag-waving and slogan-chanting at political rallies

  • the spiked fingers gesture of heaving masses at rock concerts (Who remembers that at the original Woodstock gathering, Frank Zappa told the immense crowd of hippies, "You are all wearing uniforms"?)

  • mass gymnastic spectacles in Korea and China

  • dance crazes and mindless imitation of dance moves modeled by pop idols and mimicked by "Star Academy" candidates

  • accumulation of designer labels and chic logos

  • self-cloning via video-game "avatars"....

Furious and unabated, these and other forms of behavioral cloning proceed without the blink of an eye.


Indeed, they are encouraged and enforced at every turn, especially where financial gain is at stake. Their effect is to reinforce the zombie mentality that allows them to occur in the first place.


The dynamic of behavioral cloning is a classic case of "positive feedback" - an unfortunate designation, however. In the language of complexity theory (formerly, chaos theory) positive feedback is a self-enforcing loop that eventually spins out of control and self-destructs.


On an icy road, when a car begins to slide out of control, the smart driver will steer slightly and steadily in the direction the car's rear end is shifting, thus correcting the spin. This exemplifies "negative feedback," but I propose it would be better called corrective feedback. Many of the natural processes on earth, such as the formation of the polar icecaps and the carbon cycle, demonstrate corrective feedback.

If the driver on an icy road panics and makes the seemingly logical move to steer out of the slide (i.e., away from it), the car goes into an uncontrollable spin. This is positive feedback, but I would prefer to call it dystrophic feedback. Dystrophy (from dys-, "abnormal, impaired," + tropos, "turn.") is a physical disorder of the limbs characterized by the wasting of organs and tissues, as in muscular dystrophy. Dystrophy - literally, "a turn for the worse" - is more radical than entropy, which is merely the passive running down of a system.


Dystrophic feedback leads to violent disintegration of an organism or machine. In short, it is the path of catastrophic breakdown.

Behavioral cloning is extremely deceptive because the high degree of conformity it demands gives the impression of order and stability. Yet a society driven by behavioral cloning will, sooner or later, enter the path of catastrophic breakdown. Behavioral cloning is the norm in societies where the ruling powers are blindly driven to pathological extremes, such as the Sun sacrifice madness of the Aztecs.


As noted above, behavioral cloning is driven from within by belief and lured or entrained from without by technology and trickery (i.e., "magic," as in the case of Aztec magical ceremonies to feed blood to the dying sun).


When beliefs and technology combine, the formula is LETHAL.

Gnostics taught that the Archons do not autonomously cause us to deviate from our proper course of evolution, but they exploit our tendency to let our errors extrapolate beyond the scale of correction -  i.e., to verge on dystrophic feedback. To my knowledge, no other ancient teaching carries such a clear predictive view of the risk of evolutional deviance inherent to human social behavior.


The Gnostics may have been silenced 1600 years ago, but they can still speak vividly to us today.

The dynamics of behavioral cloning can also be understood by way of two seminal ideas proposed by cultural anthropologist Rene Girard:

  1. mimetic desire

  2. the mechanism of unanimity



According to Reich, these fixations, focused on the master fixation on a transcendent God beyond the Earth, arise from the repression and displacement of somatic sensations, especially sexual-genital feelings.


Philip K. Dick agreed with Reich in observing that the mystico-fascist ideology grows like armor around people who adopt these fixations, either through indoctrination or intimidation ("conversion").


The mystico-fascist ideology operates like a virus,

"imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes it enemies."

Valis, p. 235

The ideology of the authorities can infect even those who resist it. Hence it turns humanity against itself.

But it would appear that some Gnostics were immune to infection - not by accident, but due to their deliberate practice of orgiastic sexual techniques to produce immunity, and due, in equal measure, to their explicit teachings on the Archons and how to resist them, as seen in the above passage from The First Apocalypse of James.


Gnostic observers on the ground when Christianity arose saw salvationist ideology exactly the way Philip K. Dick did: as a virus. An ideological virus, to be precise.


Pagan intellectuals of the day even used that very term for the fanaticism of the converts. Gnostics saw the tyranny of belief, of metaphysical fantasies that underwrite militaristic agendas, in the rise of early Christianity.


We can only imagine what they would see today in the political religiosity of the American right.


Defending Humanity

What are we to make, then, of Gnostic beliefs about the Archons?


It might be said that Gnostics believed that only by confronting what is insane and inhumane in ourselves, can we truly define what is human. In essence, to define humanity is to defend it against distortion.


Gnostics asserted that the capacity for distortion of humanitas, or dehumanization, is inherent in our minds, but this capacity alone is not potentially deviant.


Since we are endowed with nous, a dose of divine intelligence, we are able to detect and correct distorted thinking. We can master what Tibetan Buddhists call krol'pa, "thoughts that lead astray," mental fixations that turn us away from humanitas, our true identity.


However, Gnostics also warned of an alien spin that can add a truly deviant element to our thinking.


The effect of the Archons is not to make us err, but to make us, largely through dullness and distraction, disregard our errors, so that they extrapolate beyond the scale of correction.

The Archons cast a 'trance" over Adam... They put him into a sleepy state, but it was his perception they dulled... They make our hearts heavy that we may not pay attention and may not see. So we lose the reflection of the Divine Light within us.. . [Thus the Archons acted on humanity] with a view to deceive.

When the life-spirit increases and the illuminating power of the body strengthens the soul, no one can lead you astray into the lessening of your humanity. But those on whom the counterfeit spirit preys are alienated from humanity and deviated... The despicable spirit gains strength by leading us astray.


The Archons burden the soul, attracting us to works of evil, and pull us down into oblivion, making us forget who we are.
The Apocryphon of John, II, 22: 14-10, through 27-20

The catechism on alien encounters in The First Apocalypse of James is not exceptional.


A great deal of Gnostic teaching was dedicated to the theory of error I have just summarized. In a practical sense, Gnostic teachers in the Mystery Schools instructed the neophytes in how to face the Archons both as alien intruders, comparable to the Greys and Reptilians of contemporary lore, and as tendencies in their minds.


The detection of Archontic intrusion in both these modes of experience seems to be unique to the finely nuanced noetic science of the Mysteries.

In the Gnostic view, human beings "who exist as the type of the Archons" are those who blindly follow religious ideologies of an insane and inhumane nature, for it is primarily through religious beliefs that the Archons intrude upon us.


Behavior driven by such beliefs produces pathological personality fixations, resulting in the spiritual zombie.


All scholars agree that some Gnostics condemned equally the Jewish origins of the Christian salvationist program, and the Pauline-Johannine program itself. Doing so, they did not spread a hate message against anyone. Rather, they attempted to expose what they perceived to be the hateful and deceiving message disguised in the Judeo-Christian ideology of salvation.


At the source of this message, they detected the subliminal intrusion of the Archons into the human mind. Hence the thrust and preponderance (more than half of all surviving material, by my estimate) of politically and theologically incorrect passages in the Coptic materials.

Whether or not Gnostics were delusional about the Archons is a private judgment call.


But a fair and open-minded reading of the Coptic texts will not yield much evidence for derangement on their part. The seers who exposed derangement were not deranged. They were sober and methodical in describing what they knew, and extremely conscientious in prescribing action to face the perceived threat.


They believed that they really had identified that most baffling of all enigmas: the root cause of inhumanity in human nature.

What are we to believe about all this today?


There is an issue of credibility here, of course - that is to say, we may consider the source of Gnostic teachings apart from their content. But Gnosis is by definition a matter of knowing and not of believing. It is about enlightenment, not faith.


To give Gnostics credit for actually knowing what they claimed to know is only the first step. Beyond that, we must confirm what they knew by our own resources, our own faculties.


This is the perennial challenge of Gnosis, the living, ever-renewing cognition of the human spirit.

Knowledge of that which is alive can alone banish terror.
Wilhelm Reich

The Function of the Orgasm