Hello Kultists! I would like to present you with an idea, a thought, that the alliances forged between Archons run deeper than mere pacts of consciousness. These beings depend on each other, exist only within each other, and operate together in a multitude of ways, their Principles feeding into each other and bolstering the whole. By viewing these godlike beings as they are, emanations of a primordial Principle by which humanity is fettered, we can learn something about the ways their servants and incarnations empower one another, perhaps sometimes without realizing it. Our prison is multifaceted, and this is only one understanding of it, but I hope you will find it interesting.
The Archons are visually represented by the tree of life as envisioned in qabala, an old but living occult tradition. This tree is laid out in a rather specific manner, and there are many ways to analyze the various paths and interactions between the sefirot which make up the tree. One of these manners of looking at the tree is by considering it as three pillars. The left, middle and right pillars represent different aspects which are shared by the sefirot in those parts of the tree, and describe how developments in one point of the tree might affect another. Without ascribing too much detail to what each pillar represents within qabala, let us apply the same idea to the Archons in Kult, which are laid out in just the same way. What do the pillars represent within the Kult mythos, and how can we understand the Archons’ subtle alliances through them?
The Pillar of Purity (Binah, Geburah and Hod)
Binah is the mother figure of the supernal Archons, and her Principle is Community. It is through her will and guidance that humanity understands their relationship to people they connect with. While family is the ultimate, inseparable unit over which she holds sway, Binah is the mother of all communities and oversees tribes and clans, hobby organizations, cities and whole nations of people. Community binds humanity by tying us to one another and creating a sense of homogeneity which comforts us so. The primary value and goal of a community is that everyone within it is alike, either by appearance, ideal, or other signifiers. Community demands Purity, which is the name of this left-hand pillar of the Archonic tree of life. To create a sense of belonging, to be fettered to Binah’s Principle, we must not only assume but actively ensure that the ingroup remains stable and uniform.
This is where the reign of Geburah and his Principle of Law becomes apparent, and necessary. Law is not cruel, it is not vengeful. The Judge knows the set of ideals by which he separates the worthy from the unworthy and the righteous from the criminals, and he will apply those ideals exactly as they are known to him. But by which means will he determine what is right and wrong? It is through the shared understanding of the community that he gains this knowledge. Law is a natural consequence of any group, it is the means by which the group controls itself. If there was no Law, the community would soon fall apart and splinter off into different factions with increasingly disparate ideas and goals. Geburah’s Principle acts as a limiting force on the community, creating the stability needed to maintain it.
While Geburah acts as an indifferent arbitrator, it is through Hod‘s Principle of Honor that the community’s members find their own relation to the laws that govern them. The purpose of law within the community is to maintain unity and purity, and so to aspire towards that purity becomes the source of honor and pride. To publicly display your purity and worth to the rest of the ingroup not only reinforces the laws governed by Geburah, but also acts as a teaching tool for new or uncertain members of the community. They learn through the honorable what it means to be part of the community, and so Binah pulls them closer into her motherly embrace. Honor strengthens the bond within the community, making impenetrable Binah’s core of belonging as delineated by Geburah.
With these interactions examined, we can make some observations on the nature of these alliances. These Principles serve and depend on each other, but they can also cause conflict. Even bound, humanity does not always abide the will of its captors and reality often clashes with the lofty and idealistic goals of the Archons. Furthermore, the fall of Hod plunges these clockwork mechanisms into disorder and weakens the whole of their functions. All these thoughts and principles often operate on a subconscious level, and so most humans may never be aware of the structure that governs them, as is Elysium’s goal. There is confusion and suffering inherent to that.
Consider the family unit, thought inseparable by all within it. The family is aware that they are a group, a community bound by blood. One cannot be severed from family, one belongs there. However, Geburah still operates within that space, because the family’s traditions and morals will doubtlessly shape an appropriate manner to act within that community. Don’t speak against your parents lest you be spanked. Don’t tell lies, don’t leave food on the plate, don’t associate with criminals, don’t be gay. These are the family’s Laws, and failure to adhere to them comes with consequences meant to bring in line those who go against them. With Hod as shattered and weak as he is, Honor no longer finds its place here and rebelling against the arrangement causes friction which may well lead to expulsion, even from family. Don’t speak of the homosexual son, refuse the heroin addict uncle a place to stay the night, never call grandma. Those cast out must seek a new Community outside family, there is always a place for them where Binah is waiting. Failing that, they descend into Sathariel’s domains.
Let us also examine the relationship between a nation state’s supposed united community of people and the desperate criminals staking their own claim to city blocks and slums within it. One might consider the drug lords reigning over Rio’s favelas lawless, but in truth they simply operate on a different set of laws. The mistake is in assuming that the Law ascribed to the Community of the “nation” still applies to the people within the criminals’ sphere of influence. They have left that community behind and belong to another one, the set of Laws enshrined into that Community’s existence much different yet still Geburah’s to claim. Binah still governs their togetherness and the faltering Hod desperately inspires the community’s members to succeed and have pride in the rules which have been shaped for them.
The Pillar of Purity is an insulating one. It doesn’t concern itself with the other, for all power within this Pillar is focused on the ingroup. It is given form by Binah, walls by Geburah, and strength by Hod. Operating on all levels of society, it teaches humanity that they belong among each other and should strive to uphold that connection. That is a powerful lesson to embed in prisoners, making them feel at home in captivity. With Hod gone or weaker than ever, humanity begins to question that wisdom. Splinter groups, crypto-ideologies, and communities evolving and changing too fast for anyone to keep up are born from this lack of Honor. There is no longer an interest in maintaining the Community according to the Laws set forth by it, but instead a fight to question those Laws, to abandon those Communities. Find new belonging, write new ideals, but always be ready to jump ship and go somewhere else. Binah and Geburah still exist and prosper in this environment, but their grip on humanity is flimsier than ever before.
The Pillar of Stasis (Kether, Tiphareth and Yesod)
In the Pillar of Stasis just as in all things, Kether is king. The Principle of Hierarchy, which belongs to him, outlines a world in which man is not equal to man. Some are better than others. More worthy, more wealthy, more blessed. The prison instills in us the understanding that this is the natural way of things, that it is what it is and to claim power above your station is foolish. Kether imbues every aspect of human life with his Principle. Whether it is the supremacy of the monarchs, the rich, the intelligent, the virtuous or the empathetic, a Hierarchy is formed which bestows respect, power, and means to those at its top. Kether more than any other Archon is inescapable, the original Crown of Elysium. Hierarchy rules our minds on such a fundamental level that it is hard to even conceive what its absence would mean. This is, of course, exactly as Kether would like it. If we cannot see what existence might be without Hierarchy, without our prison, we have no way of imagining ourselves free.
Past the Abyss and straight below Kether we find Tiphareth, who may at first glance appear to contradict Kether’s stubborn ideal with her Principle of Allure. However, she is insidious, and her Allure gives no promise outside the hierarchies already established. Tiphareth eggs humanity on, assigns value to the systems of power and reveals the path to success within them. In this, she also reveals to humans what they lack and why they are lesser. Most will fail to climb the corporate ladder, many will aspire to play soccer professionally and fall short, and the starving artist knows how challenging it is to be recognized as the genius they are. Yet they persist, they try, because of the Allure of reaching the top of the food chain. Humanity is ever looking upward at the roof created by Kether, stuck within hierarchies which lead nowhere but to themselves. The Allure of success within Elysium takes away the more primal, desperate want to escape our prison which might otherwise nag our unconscious mind.
Finally, the Pillar of Stasis has its foundation in the material world through Yesod, the Principle of Avarice and the basic human desire to cling to wealth. Avarice understands the physical realm created for humanity only in terms of what value it holds within Kether’s Hierarchy. Avarice makes concrete the abstract Allure of success. Seize what you can and hold it tight, for that is how you claim your spot in the Hierarchy. It is Yesod who stagnates the world’s systems of power, deepens class divides as wealth begets wealth, allows tenured professors and autocratic politicians to remain where they are. There is again no victory to be found here. Through Avarice and Allure humanity invests body and soul into strengthening the Hierarchies they inhabit, but none look past them. None see the alternative waiting beyond the veil.
The corrupt, incestuous relationship between Tiphareth and Yesod is particularly evident in how it affects how the Pillar of Stasis manifests in the modern world. With Allure and Avarice forged into a twisted whole, humanity’s previously diverse hierarchies of communal respect, religious significance, political power, and material wealth are all collapsing inward into a singularity. Wealth is power, power is fame, fame is wealth. Little by little, global capitalism creates a stranglehold on the world’s systems of power until only the dollar sign remains. With all humanity ensnared by the same dominant Hierarchy, Kether’s power surges through reality and embeds in humanity a degenerate respect, and demand, for riches.
Yesod imbues a desire in mankind to uphold their own position within the Hierarchy, which can certainly chafe against the plans of both Tiphareth and Kether given the right circumstances. Tiphareth’s influence on viral content shows us that success is possible, that we too can reach the stars and join an influencer house on the west coast or earn millions by playing Dota 2. Yesod forms barriers to entry here. The successful only engage with each other and leave no room for newcomers, important tournaments are run on invitation only, top models must already be rich to be beautiful, and are beautiful because they are rich. While much of this is part of the duo’s alliance, taken to the extreme it diminishes Tiphareth’s Principle as interacting with the Hierarchy becomes too daunting, making it lose its Allure. It is a dance for the two Archons, a balance to be found between competition and reward. Should those two fail to reach agreement, Kether himself may falter. Should humanity lift their eyes and see the absurdity in the world’s wealth distribution, born from Tiphareth and Yesod’s foul intimacy, the Hierarchy it supports may well crash and burn.
It is important to make special note that the Stasis referred to in the name of this Pillar is not merely a statement on inflexibility and permanent castes of Hierarchy. Tiphareth’s Allure promises change, and Kether is indifferent to which humans are deemed most worthy. They can fight amongst themselves for eternity. While all three of these Archons create a stratification of power and indirectly uphold it, none of them except perhaps Yesod actively oppose upward mobility or even reshaping the means by which Hierarchy is determined. The key to the Pillar is to understand that the comparison of man against man is a flawed one, and the Stasis refers only to our acceptance of that ideal. We are all divine and limitless. Anything less than that is a lie to shackle us.
I must make special mention of Malkuth here. I do not consider her a participant in this central column of the Archonic tree of life. The reason for this will be explained near the end of this article.
The Pillar of Truth (Chokmah, Chesed and Netzach)
Chokmah is an interesting Archon, whose Principle is Submission and with the title ‘Lord of Prayers’. His influence is most often viewed through the impact it has on religion, or rather that it is through Chokmah that we discover religious beliefs. There is a lot to say on the interplay between Kether and Chokmah as to how Hierarchy relates to Submission, but for this article I will instead focus on what Submission means for the Pillar of Truth, its top blessed by Chokmah’s presence. The Principle speaks to the necessity of submission, to willingly and uncritically accept what you are told, and told to do. The Word comes from above, and so we as humans are meant to take the Word to heart. The impact this has on religion should be obvious. What the Gods have decreed must be so. Our bound minds and hearts know nothing but to accept authority’s word as Truth, whether it be a pharaoh, pope or adeptus major. Chokmah determines what is true in our minds.
But what value does Truth have to us? The answer to this lies in Chesed, with the Principle of Safety. To live uncritically and in submission to Truth eases the mind of much burden. Worry not. You have been told all that you must know, and with that you can rest peacefully. You are free of uncertainties. Chesed takes what we know as true and grows it into comforting traditions, comprehensive world views, and an assured place in society. Chesed provides a blissful ignorance to humanity. If you have been told it, it is true. If you do not know it, you can trust that someone else does, or there is nothing to know. He seeks to forge a comfortable prison for humanity, where the imagined insights peddled to us through Chokmah are all we need to concern ourselves with. With a smile we trudge along, never wondering what waits beyond the horizon line. All that we need is around us, and with that we find Safety.
We invest ourselves deeply into the understanding that what we know is right, and so Netzach lives in us to provide a response towards the wrong and the false. His Principle of Victory stands as a constant driving force for the Truth already held, that we may spread the good word and cut down the heathens who threaten our Safety and uncritical acceptance of life as we know it. While Chokmah operates on the willing or submissive and Chesed comforts and dims the soul, Netzach the Conqueror sets out to spread our beliefs to those who have never known it. Victory comes when we outlast the liars, when we sway the public opinion, when we crush the infidels under our feet and when democracy is restored. We yearn for a day when Safety can reign unquestioned over all humanity, but it is only Safety if it comes from our own sacred Truth.
The yearning is hopeless, though, for as we know Chesed is shattered and far beyond restoration due to Malkuth’s rebellion. We may cling to the vestigial remains of our old traditions or concoct new ones, Chokmah’s tendrils reaching out from his citadel draped in shadows to re-establish a sense of absoluteness to an increasingly chaotic and complicated world. As it stands, only Netzach remains as an Archon at full strength in the modern world, and it shows. He thrives on ideological Victory, but without Chokmah the ideology is flimsy and without Chesed it provides no security. War becomes complicated, serving ever more complex and ill understood goals for the benefit of the Archons rather than the imprisoned humanity. Unless thoroughly bound by Elysium, we find little catharsis in the proxy wars, assassinations and trade disputes riddling the world on a global scale. Netzach demands that we win and persist, but why?
The imbalance in the Pillar of Truth can be seen not only in warfare, but in all politics. In a world ruled by interests other than absolute wisdoms passed down to us through Chokmah, politicians frequently change their opinions and ideals. Goalposts shift, demands are rewritten again and again, and the most popular position to take is determined by electability rather than any sense of Truth. These people seek Victory not for their ideology or belief in what is right, but for themselves. Religious supremacy is certainly the domain of Netzach as well, but his power has reached past those archaic beliefs. The Pillar has been unstable and dysfunctional ever since the War of the Archons, and Chesed’s destruction is so complete that it may never return to form.
As said above, I view Malkuth in this model as an independent force both as the Conformist and as the Rebel. She is without a doubt a lonely Archon in this world without a Demiurge, where the angels have fallen and our prison is rapidly deteriorating. Malkuth as we know her actively opposes the rest of the Archons, but how?
With her original Principle being Conformity, Malkuth shaped the physical world in Gaia’s image. She made a place for us and governed it, and in this place all other Archons would hold power. However, the Archons are not merely personified entities, and in creating Elysium she would also be Elysium. She is that prison where we are kept, and thus it is through her that all other Archons exert their will. Conformity is a balancing power not only between humanity and the forces of Gaia, but for the Archons as well. She balances their individual wills and adheres to the goals and agendas of each of the three Pillars. She does not belong to any of the Pillars, because she works for all of them. Malkuth is the great mediator.
Or, was. I will not delve too deeply into the specifics of how and why Malkuth became the Archon of Awakening and started the War of the Archons, but it is safe to say now that she is no longer the mediating and conformist force she once was. The physical world is no longer an ally to the Archons. Instead of allowing all three Pillars to operate through her, she opposes all of them and aims to shatter their ideals, guiding humanity to Awakening.
Purity is challenged by the ever growing body of work revealing humans to be individuals beyond simple categorization. There is still much strength in the forces commanding the Pillar of Purity, but with the rapid spread of information about the hidden cruelties and impurities abundant in all Communities there are avenues for Malkuth to attack these ideals.
Stasis proves the most difficult adversary for the Rebel Malkuth. She can reveal the emptiness of success within the hierarchies by hinting at or showing what lies beyond the Veil, but so long as Kether remains at the peak of our prison’s structure he is near impossible to topple. The best attempt at destroying Stasis is, at least for now, to guide some selected souls towards the world beyond. Let them find a place to escape the Stasis of Elysium.
Truth is the concept which Malkuth has managed to fight most efficiently. With Chesed gone, humanity cannot find peace in old knowledge and must instead seek new truths. Through her, we can find an enlightened view of reality as it is and become wholly disillusioned with all we thought we knew. Netzach has the power to fight back against ascended knowledge, but what can he promise that she can not?
Our prison is complex, far too complex to be comprehensively analyzed in one little article. Tiphareth’s influence on the yetziratic Archons (Chesed, Geburah, Netzach, Hod, Yesod and herself), the fundamentally ‘human’ mindset enforced by the supernal Archons (Kether, Chesed and Binah), and all the likely thousands of other ways of understanding the Archonic tree of life could surely fill this blog with material for years or decades. Hopefully, it will. For now, all I can promise are more articles at some point in the future. I hope you’ve found this read engaging, enlightening, or at the very least entertaining. Until next time!