The Great Aeons
In the Ophitic Gnostic System - In other Gnostic systems
In the Papyri Graecae Magicae
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In gnosticism the aeon is a celestial power of a high order. It is a term used to indicate the first
created being or beings, with Abraxis as the most high and as
an emanation of God, comparable to the sephira. Next in rank are the female Pistis Sophia (wisdom personified) and the male Dynamis (the personification of power). According to Basilides,
the Gnostic writer, there have been 365 aeons (other sources only claim eight, twelve, twenty-four, and thirty).
Before the sixth century and the development of the Dionysian hierarchy, the aeons were considered to be one
of the ten angelic orders (or choirs). By the third
century Hippolytus had identified them as Bythios, Mixis, Ageratos, Henosis, Autophyes, Hedone,
Akinetos, Nonogenes, and Macaria. In W.R. Newbold's Descent of Christ in the Odes of Solomon,
"The aeons are the hypostatized thoughts of God," who emanated in pairs of men and women, and when
"taken together form the pleroma
or fullness of God." There is another myth that tells of a proud
aeon who, while portraying himself as chaos, became lord of the world.
Archons ("rulers") are angels who have been placed in charge of ruling the nations. Shamshiel (or Shemuiel) is considered to be the
supreme archon and sends the prayers of Isreal's people on to the Seventh Heaven. In occult lore the archons are said
to be the first planetary spirits to have been created.
They are called the "Sons of Dark who swallowed the bright elements of Primal Man" in Manicheanism.
In Scholem's Major Trends he writes, "archons and angels storm against the traveler in his ascent
[or descent] to the Merkabah." In this passage archons refers to the archangels.
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