What joy it is to possess. To seize and hold. Few other things bring humanity such basal enjoyment, nor bring us to conflict so easily. Even those who would rather not admit it grow seeds of Avarice in their mind, little kernels of desire for wealth and material gain to do with whatever they will. To some it is as simple as improving their own life or the lives of those around them. For others, it becomes a never-ending quest taking them to depths and highs scarce imagined by the commoners who do not hear as clearly Yesod’s whispers in the back of their minds. The world’s economy rests on the backs and bank accounts of those who heed the call of the Archon of Avarice, and through their greed they allow Yesod unmatched influence in shaping reality as we experience it. Yet Yesod is not the Archon he once was. Avarice gives form to humanity’s prison as never before, challenging and disrupting the other Archons, and the turning cogs driving our economic machinery grind away at the foundation of Elysium.
Marshall of Cogwheels
Yesod’s Principle is typically named as Avarice, and some of his titles are the Marshall of Cogwheels and the Founder. He sits near the bottom of the Archonic Tree of Life, with a direct link drawn to Malkuth, Hod, Netzach, and Tiphareth, embedded into the core of the human emotional experience.
Within the Demiurge’s machinery to entrap humanity, Yesod’s task is twofold. First, as expressed by his connection to Tiphareth in the Pillar of Stasis and Netzach in the Pillar of Truth, he imbues the human mind with an understanding of material wealth as desirable. Through Tiphareth, and by proxy also Kether, he teaches humanity how to identify and advance through the power structures made for them, by them. Yesod provides an obvious path towards Tiphareth’s Allure of success and fulfillment. With enough money you can be where you want to be, and who you want to be. Netzach, the Archon of Victory, provides a much more personal and emotional reward to accepting Yesod’s truth. In amassing wealth and relentlessly seeking to prove devotion to the ideal of Avarice, we experience the domination of our actions and desires over others. In turn, we find that it is only through that domination that we acquire yet more wealth. Throughout our lives, the people with the most means are the winners. Yesod assures all humanity of this, that economic success is the most basic means by which we measure up to others. We matter according to the things we own.
To understand and define property is also central to Yesod, and this is his second purpose, as informed by Hod and Malkuth. Malkuth embodies the physical world, the place where humanity lives out its many diminished and imprisoned lifetimes. It is full of territory to claim, of resources to mass, of wealth to gain. These are not things which inherently belong to anyone but Malkuth herself, yet through Yesod we can, and do, see them as our own. With the aid of Hod, Yesod makes us honor that claim to property. He and Hod separate the haves from the have-nots, and ensure that all know which of these groups they rightly belong to. Even among thieves and others with a liberal interpretation of ownership, we honor the understanding that the thing which I hold is something you do not have and can not have, save by my hand or your force.
Avarice plays on humanity’s divine interest in claim and conquest. When we were gods, all was ours and we had no worry for the idea that we could lack in wealth. We reached out, and we took, and we all had all that we liked. When the Demiurge imprisoned us in Elysium, he could not quell this in our nature, but through Yesod he could at least make certain that there were finally consequences to our avaricious drive. By pitting us against one another, in hierarchies of our making, we would amass and lose wealth until the end of time. We would only see that which Malkuth provided us as valuable and with Hod respect the claims made on it, and use our gains only for the purposes set out for us by Netzach and Tiphareth. We become deeply territorial creatures, competitive and ruthless hedonists at heart. Yesod sits at the base of the human psyche, guiding us to go forward and take all in our reach at the expense of those around us.
The Archon of Avarice has enjoyed thoroughly the fruits of industrialization. At the dawn of the industrial age, true wealth rested chiefly among those favored by the supernal Archons. Those sitting comfortably at the top of Kether’s hierarchies, those with Chokmah’s blessing to ask of others’ submission, and among the communities which Binah deemed deserving. Already had outliers begun to take root among the merchant lords and hungry slavers, for Yesod drove all humanity to seek material gain, but he was still kept in check by those above him. Yet humanity continued to chase the thrills of unshackled avarice. As technology improved, those with the means to buy machines and labor could devote themselves to Yesod’s whispers so completely that all else fell into the background. The marshall of cogwheels was worshipped like never before. Humanity’s dulled senses recognized, respected, and feared the success of the industrial capitalists. Yesod, with Hod’s support, forced humanity to accept the depths of their own poverty next to those who gained and gained yet more capital through the rapidly expanding machinery of the industrial age.
Yesod’s impact on the War of the Archons is as yet little understood. Surely his actions drove much of humanity into a state of abject misery and worsened Malkuth’s already strained relationship with the other Archons, but we can not know what became of him once Malkuth rebelled save that he was believed slain. The Archons warred with one another and sought to establish a more workable equilibrium among each other, to ensure that Elysium did not entirely collapse once Malkuth had abandoned their cause. Yesod had already shown himself a threat to the world order set out by Kether, Chokmah, and Binah, and the growth of capitalist ideology may have made him their enemy. Perhaps they saw in advance that the path on which he set humanity would unchecked invite the influences of Inferno. Though Yesod was believed slain by the end of the War, we know now that the spectre of Avarice remained in humanity and took on a new shape through an incomplete merging with Tiphareth, the Archon of Allure.
Tiphareth is the spider in the web of Elysium. Situated at the perfect center of the Archonic Tree of Life, her reach and influence is unparalleled among the Archons. Following the War, she would have been instrumental in forging a peace. Her uniquely powerful position has allowed Tiphareth to manipulate and beguile the other Archons and take such a hold on humanity as to rival even Kether. Her greatest deception of all was to conceal Yesod’s survival. The two Archons were already closely linked, for Avarice and Allure have a natural connection to and understanding of the other, but for Tiphareth this was not enough. The wounded and broken Archon was welcomed into her embrace and made dependent on her, an alliance between monolithic wills intent on enslaving humanity by their respective ideals.
Yesod’s power once again surges, through his dominant mistress. Avarice infects every aspect of the human experience, nothing left sacred or immune to the promises of wealth. The varied pursuits of joy and success within Elysium, humble or ambitious, all collapse into each other through one unifying desire and necessity: money. The very act of staying alive, for almost every human, revolves around it. Even our basal needs become a sacrifice, and what then of all else we take on? Fame, beauty, power, pleasure, expertise, all desires are bathed in the alluring light of Tiphareth, yet it is through the machinations of Yesod that we acquire them. The two Archons live within each other, through each other, an incestous and parasitic bond through which Tiphareth causes further imbalance within the Archonic tree of life, seeking to realign its paths and powers entirely.
With the Pillar of Stasis growing ever more powerful, Yesod’s influence bears down on Elysium in unprecedented ways. Those who whisper prayers to his designs live in decadence, enjoying spoils undreamt before the industrial revolution, and through their worldly influence they maintain the status quo which only they benefit from. Ever more humans are rejected from the eroding middle class, stuck in a landscape of poverty and struggle from which there is no escape. The separated classes exist as they must, as they have been, as they always will. It is Yesod’s will that determines our surroundings, our property, our path through life, our reach, and our material resting place once we pass on towards his oubliettes. All of us pray to the Founder, either with venerating thanks or desperate pleas. No other Archon but Yesod receives so much direct attention, much thanks to his perverted pact with Tiphareth. He is her beautiful puppet, and all humanity watches enthralled as she makes him dance for us.
His new claim to power has not only strengthened the Archon of Avarice, but has also transformed him into something much more dangerous. Tiphareth believes she can control her subject, but still his actions now routinely savage the borders of the Illusions more than they strengthen them. Humanity’s degenerate clamoring for wealth or simply the means to survive has ignited a struggle so easily seized on by the shadows of the Demiurge’s machinery. The Death Angels have been given a silver platter in the expansion of the global economy. Yesod’s influence, increasingly removed from the limiting aspects of Hod, shies no means of clutching wealth and power. The desolate and thankless grind of the working class presents a breeding ground for the kind of depression and resentment through which Sathariel and Samael live and thrive. On the backs of their suffering, the moneyed find friends among the servants of Thaumiel, Gamaliel, and Chagidiel. Ever more people have their livelihoods and meager possessions claimed by an uncaring economic machine, and when Yesod can no longer hold them they simply slip through the cracks of the Illusion into the arms of eager nepharites.
Malkuth was once the Archon of Conformity, the steadfast proclaimant of the physical world and its limits. She would have sat as a limiter to Yesod, perhaps even finding ways to moderate the greed he inspired in their shared prisoners. Positioned below him on the tree of life, she was the final barrier through which all emotional desires had to be checked. No longer. Since her rebellion, the hungry designs of the willful have run unchecked upon Elysium. Our Illusion was not designed to handle this, and so it breaks. Through her rebellion, Malkuth now allows – and perhaps even encourages – humanity to fall through the veil to, for better and worse, see what waits beyond. Reality is a harsh teacher, yet teach it does, and unscrupulously.
The other Archons must oppose this development. Yesod is an enemy to their cause, for he cedes more and yet more territory and souls to Inferno for the benefit of his most affluent worshipers. Some may whisper of a formal pact between Yesod and Gamichicoth already apparent, though few outside the halls of the White House would know of such a deal. Our prison teeters on a knife’s edge, between the fraying control of the Archons and the ravenous clawing of the Death Angels. When Yesod decides to tip the balance one way or another, we shall feel it, unless by Malkuth’s hand the knife is allowed to cut the entire creation in half and let us free.