A Gnostic View of Mind Parasites

copyright 2005 by Jonathan Zap

“The Sick Rose”

“Two things we will make you; smooth between the legs, smooth between the ears, and what we take from you, will feed the kings of this earth.”

Grant Morrison, The Invisibles

O rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm.
That flies in the night In the howling storm.
Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy.
—William Blake from Songs of Innocence and Experience, Plate 37


“The Sick Rose,” a poem William Blake wrote about two hundred years ago, begins my essay Mind Parasites, Energy Parasites and Vampires. Our species is at a critical evolutionary nexus and one of the most crucial of all tasks that lie before us, maybe even more crucial than finding alternative energy or doing something about global warming, is to put the invisible worm under the magnifying glass of attention and understanding. This invisible worm may be that strange unknown constant that corrupts our eros, that inspires our astounding violence to our own species and the organic life on this planet, and that causes many of us to experience this reality as a matrix, a malevolent simulacrum, a “time out of joint” as Shakespeare’s Hamlet put it. Stephen Dedalus, a James Joyce character, said, “History is the nightmare from which I am trying to awaken.” John Lasch, an expert on Gnosticism and world mythologies, who was Art Bell’s guest on March 19, has made a major contribution to this endeavor. John had the most fascinating things to say about the Gnostic view of what I usually refer to as “mind parasites.”

He was an unusually articulate guest and I have been studying the website he is associated with: metahistory.org. The Gnostics refer to inorganic beings called Archons and what they say about these Archons has striking parallels to mind parasite encounters and also with alien abduction experiences. On the metahistory website John recommends the attitude which, according to Aristotle, characterizes the mature mind—-the ability to entertain ideas without accepting them or, in modern parlance, “buying them.” This attitude is especially crucial in esoteric study/paranormal investigation where there are so many charlatans and what are even more dangerous—–possessed true believers.(see: Reality Testing is Politically Incorrect and Carnival 2012—A Psychological Study of the 2012 Phenomenon and the 22 Classic Pitfalls and Blind Spots of Esoteric Research)  In fact, the phenomenon of being a true believer, and being possessed by an ideology, especially a religious ideology, was recognized by the Gnostics as a sign that the Archons had inserted their mind and created a mechanical zombie. Unfortunately, though “mechanical zombie” has a fantastical ring to it, they are all too real and overwhelmingly numerous in our world. They are what Jung called “mass man” and are to be found everywhere.

I help out at a non profit, The Womans’ Assistance Fund, that especially focuses on helping women who are the victims of extreme Islamic Fundamentalism.  (My friend Sean, the director of this nonprofit has written a brief overview of the situation entitled Jihad Against the Feminine. The horrors inflicted on women in the name of religious ideology are so surreal and over the top that to my intuition they scream mind parasite possession. This type of possession is not confined to Islam, during the Middle Ages Christians burned five million women as witches. The Gnostics seemed to have anticipated such horrors. John writes,
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.

What the Gnostics have to say is not a curiosity of the ancient world or an obscure matter for scholars to investigate. They address issues and phenomenon with the most direct relevance to the core of our reality and the survival of our species. What follows are some relevant excerpts, but I also recommend delving into the metahistory.org website. What I have read there so far has impressed me as having an unusual precision of thought and expression. In reading the following I recommend the attitude of Aristotle, entertain these possibilities, but don’t buy them. What I take from this material so far are the cross culturally reinforced parallels, the parallels to contemporary experience (see the Mind Parasites essay for parallel first hand encounters with mind parasites). Those parallels mean something, an underlying truth, but we should not be too hasty in deciding what that underlying truth is, for as the Gnostics themselves point out, so much of our world has been designed to deceive us. (to see full article: http://www.metahistory.org/amf_MediaMania.php)

Once again, what follows are excerpts from writings posted on metahistory.org.  They are no substitute for going to that excellent and extensive site.

Gnosticism is the name historians give to the final phase of a vast tradition of pagan spirituality that came to be condemned as heresy when Christianity rose to power. Until the discovery of the Nag Hammadi documents in 1945, almost nothing was known of the core teachings of Gnosticism. The word Gnostic means simply “one who knows” but carries the implication of special insight that penetrates to the hidden core of human experience. Certain Gnostics taught that humans are deviated from their proper course of evolution by a bizarre species of inorganic beings who inhabit the solar system beyond the earth, and named this species the Archons. The Greek word archon means “authority,” and the Archons are sometimes called “the Authorities.” In the Matrix, the Agents are the authorities who police the simulated world looking for human replicas like Neo who show signs of waking up to the scam. Horsely explains the Gnostic idea that the Archons try to impose “a program of mind control, or soul enslavement [in order to] keep mankind distracted by material problems and concerns, imprisoned by its own fear of death, of mortality, and ignorant of its true, divine nature.” A Gnostic perspective thus suggests that the Matrix scenario presents a cyberpunk version of a genuine spiritual dilemma, a true and daunting challenge that faces humanity, perhaps its ultimate challenge. In their warnings about deception by the Archons, Gnostics may have foreseen the risks of AI two thousand years before it emerged. However, the manner in which the Archons operate, their strategy of simulation, as it were, as described in certain Gnostic texts, does not involve advanced technological devices but religious ideology. (Horsely does not explore this point.) According to the Gnostic texts, Archontic deviation of the human species is a form of mass behaviour modification achieved through blind conformity to certain false religious beliefs, such as the belief in salvation from a sinful condition by the intervention of God or God’s only representative. In short, Gnostics rejected the salvationist ideology common to Judaism and Christanity (and later, after their elimination, Islam). It is known that Gnostic ideas deeply influenced Philip K. Dick, widely considered as the greatest sci-fi writer of the twentieth century. Certainly Gnosticism presents theological and cosmological beliefs as if plotted in a science fiction novel. This characterization of Gnostic ideas is suggested by scholar Richard Smith in the afterword to The Nag Hammadi Library in English: “Gnostic motifs have been identified in that most visionary of our modern literary genres, science fiction… In the science fiction novels of the prolific writer Philip K. Dick… Gnosticism is consciously employed” (p. 546). In Valis and other works, Dick developed the idea that humans live in a “two-world hologram,” part of which is genuinely real and part of which is the deceptive projection of an alien mentality that distorts our humanity. This schizophrenic model is consistent with the Gnostic mythos. With the Archons we face an alien invasion in the depths of our own minds. Escape from the Matrix Treated as a heresy in its time and still considered as such by the Catholic Church, Gnosticism has been widely misrepresented, even by those who claim to defend it. In particular, there is enormous disinformation around Gnostic views on the reality and value of the physical world. Many scholars declare that Gnostics “condemned matter” and regarded the natural world as evil, purely a product of Archontic deception. Nonetheless, a few dissenting voices argue that the Gnostics rejected, not the physical world per se, but our distorted perception of it. This view confirms the uncanny insight of Agent Smith: the behavior of the human species is inconsistent with sane mammalian activity. Could it be a distorted perception of nature that makes us act like a plague upon Earth? According to the contemporary Gnostic revivalist Stephen Hoeller, “Gnostics did not necessarily reject the actual earth, which they recognized as a screen upon which the Demiurge [chief of the Archons] projects a deceptive system. To the extent that we find a condemnation of the world in Gnostic writings, the term used is inevitably kosmos… and never the word ge (earth), which they regarded as neutral if not outright good” (The Gnostic Jung, p. 15). Cosmos in ancient Greek did not mean the natural world or the physical universe at large. It meant “system,” recalling the use of that word in computer terminology: “operating system.” It is perhaps a ripe coincidence that the Coptic word for simulation found in Gnostic texts is hal, recalling HAL the rebellious computer in Kubrick and Clarke’s 2001! Much could be said about the Gnostic elements in the Matrix, but one point is central. The deception of the Archons described in Gnostic writings is precisely what is manifested in the “neural-interactive simulation we call the Matrix” (the words of Morpheus). But if this is the case, how come the simulation that threatens to absorb humanity is technological rather than ideological, as the Gnostics believed it to be? The answer may be that the technological takeover of our species has actually been prepared long in advance by ideological deviations in our religious belief-systems, especially those religious beliefs that determine our response to the natural world. This implies a deep intrusion into the psychic territory of humanity, but it is totally consistent with the Gnostic argument that erroneous religious ideology is a kind of virus insinuated in the human mind by an alien intelligence, a non-human species comparable to the Machines in the Matrix. (to see full article got to http://www.metahistory.org/KundaliniForce.php) The Alien Force—- If Kundalini is a biological force, as is widely attested in the writings of Western investigators such as Lee Sanella and Arnold Mindell, the other kind of serpent power may be distinctly anti-biological. The Archons are said to envy humanity, for a number of reasons, but primarily because we live in the body of their Mother!! According to Gnostic creation myth, the Archons are a species of inorganic beings produced anomalously by the impact of the Aeon Sophia upon atomic matter, before the Sophia herself became transformed into the Earth. They are called Archons, from archai, “prior, from the beginning,” because they arose before the Earth and the solar system were evolved, but they did not emerge directly from the Pleroma, as humanity did. (On the emanation of Atu Kadmon, the Anthropos template, see The Promise of a Lonely Planet, part three, and the Gaia Mythos, Episode 10.) In their attempt to intrude upon humanity, which has been ongoing for millennia, the Archons use a lot of bluff and bravado. They affect our minds to get us to believe they can do far more than they can actually do, but in so believing, we unwittingly surrender our power to them — the result is, they get their way with us, because we have betrayed our own capacities. Hence the Archons claim to rule over humanity, and even pretend to have been our creators, as is recounted in the Sumerian cunieform record of the Annunaki, accepted as true by Zecharia Sitchin and many other sincere investigators. The Dead Sea Scrolls, dicsovered in 1947 at the very moment the Nag Hammadi texts were initially recognized to be rare Gnostic materials, contain explicit accounts of direct threats posed by reptilians. For instance, the Testament of Amram: I saw Watchers in my vision, the dream-vision. Two of them were fighting over me, saying… and holding a great contest over me. I asked them, “Who are you, that you are thus empowered over me?” They answered me, “We have been empowered and rule over mankind.” And they said to me, “Which one of us [will have you]?” And I lifted my eyes, and looked at one of them directly. His appearance was dreadfully frightening, and his skin was multicolored, darkly glittering scales. (4Q542) (Note: The “Watchers” are consistently identified with the Annunaki in modern ET/Alien speculation.) As I have explained elsewhere in this site, a Gnostic sect called the Archontics was stationed on the Dead Sea south of Qumran. Gifted with powers of paranormal perception, such as remote viewing, Gnostic seers who had met and repelled Archons observed the persisting presence of reptilians among the Dead Sea cult of the Zaddikim. The First Apocalypse of James (NHL V, 3), which contains descriptions of face-to-face encounters with the reptilian aliens, warns that “Jerusalem is a dwelling place of many Archons.” But the Gnostic teacher adds,a crucial insight, typical of the highly nuanced knowledge of the Mystery School adepts, “These powers are not armed against you specifically, but they are armed against each other.” (Passage 27) This line not only corroborates contemporary scenarios that describe conflict between the aliens who are among us, it also indicates that their powers are more engaged in battling each other than in overcoming us. Nevertheless, they have overcome us, in certain ways. Due to their subtle tactic of intimidation via false beliefs, the Archons can get us to surrender our power. To betray ourselves to them in the deepest way, in a terminal act of self-effacement, we would have to give up our bodies and surrender the hidden powers within our bodies. Gnostic initiatory practices were directed toward strengthening our embodiment by the arousal of Kundalini, which grounds us in the Earth. Kundalini means the small (“ini”) Kundala, “serpentine or spiralling power.” The big Kundala is the serpent power of the Earth itself, the swirling Erotic currents of Gaia. She, the Earth Mother, is the supreme ambient force that holds DNA configured in its spiralling chains of nucleic acid. When Kundalini is awakened in sacred sexual rites or otherwise, it grounds the human body consciously into the planetary body. This is the ultimate aim of Kundalini yoga: not escape from the body, not deification of the participants, but grounding into Gaia, the Godhead of Nature. In the nymphion, Gnostics bathed in ecstatic luminosity which they considered to radiate from the Godhead, the Pleroma of Aeons, via the Aeon Sophia who is embodied in the Earth. The absorption of these emanations effectuates sexual healing and repair the split or rupture between the sexes (“gender rift”) that arose on the cosmological level when Sophia fell, shearing the Antrhopos template. The cosmos is healed through what has been most deeply wounded, human sexuality.

A Gnostic Catechism

Encounters with Aliens in a Mystery School Text 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 siezed 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 sieze 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 accord closely with contemporary ET/UFO lore. But in a striking departure from the current literature, the Gnostic teacher gives explicit instructions on how to face the alien entities. The vast amount of material on the ET-UFO phenomenon available today does not present a book, or barely even a paragraph, on defence against alien intrusion. Gnostic writings not only describe such encounters, they prescibe 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, to effectuate a defence against the Archons. By doing so, the student demonstrates initiated knowledge of the origin and identity of the beings s/he is facing. The mere knowledge of cosmic matters disempowers the Archons. 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. ET/Archon Navigator 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 occured, 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, PKD 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—lasting until the moment, so PKD believed, that 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, in extenso.) Its signature is “authoritarian ideology,” identical with fascism. Significantly, archon was the common term for “governer,” or “authority” in Roman times. In some translations of the Coptic texts, archon (in plural, archontoi) is rendered as “the authorities.” Reich’s analysis of what I propose to call the mystico-fascist complex focusses on National Socialism, the Nazi movement, which he experienced first-hand, but The Mass Psychology of Fascism contains ample referenes 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, modelled after Wagners’s Parsifal, and the saviour complex of Judaeo-Christian belief is wholly transposed into Nazi racial ideology—hence the “Aryan Christ” identified by C. G. Jung.) 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 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.) According to Reich, these fixations, focussed 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 violent imposition or psychological intimidation (“conversion”). It 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 believed that the capacity for distortion of humanitas is inherent in our minds, but is not in itself potentially deviant. Since we are endowed with nous, a dose of divine intelligence, we are able to detect and correct distorted thinking, what the Tibetan Buddhists call krol’pa, “thoughts that lead astray,” mental fixations that turn us away from humanitas, our true identity. However, they also believed there is 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 Arcons 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 counterfiet 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 preponderance (more than half, 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 judgement 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 it 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.

See the Mind Parasite Category of this site for much more. Alex Grey and the Mind Parasites includes a comparison between Alex’s painting Demons and Deities Drinking from the Milky Pool and a Gnostic text.

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