Razors Through Flesh proudly presents a guest article by Auburney, a devoted KULTIST, that helped to bring KULT: Divinity Lost to life. Here he takes us on a philosophical inquiry regarding the Archon Yesod.
A Theory About Yesod
When looking at the Archons and Death Angels and their Principles, we find that some of the pairs don’t exactly match up very perfectly or obviously.
In some cases, an Archon and its corresponding Death Angel are pretty much the opposites of each other. For example: Hierarchy vs. Usurpation, Safety vs. Fear, or Community vs. Exclusion.
In other cases, the DA’s principles are sort of “dark corruptions” or “evil excess” versions of their Archon counterparts (Honor/Vengeance, Victory/Conflict).
But some don’t really match up. Laws vs. Torment for example doesn’t seems immediately obvious, as does Allure vs. Compulsion… but the most obviously weird one is clearly the Yesod/Gamaliel pair-up: Avarice/Lust.
Now, how to make sense of this?
Well, under the earlier editions (when we had little to no information about any of the “dead” Archons), I had always houseruled Yesod to stand for Chastity, simply out of the obvious consideration – to counterpoint Gamaliel’s Perverted Sexuality.
It seemed to fit well with the whole Christian shtick of the Archons, and also with the fact that Yesod was one of the Lost Archons – since Chastity is observably all but dead in the modern 1st world.
The whole Capitalism thing I gave to Netzach (since competition and the drive to make the biggest profit seemed close to his principle; also, the military-industrial complex does nicely combine capitalistic and martialistic agendas into one whole clusterfuck of a mess, which was an added bonus) in cooperation with Tipharet (global networks seem to be her thing, which may easily include economic networks and cooperations).
But it turns out the new edition’s authors have their own drift on things – and why wouldn’t they?
It is possible to see some similarity between Yesod and Gamaliel, though. One theory I have contemplated is that perhaps the terms are just not so ideal for easy understanding. “Lust” perhaps isn’t really all that Gamaliel is about, and therefore it looks weird next to “Greed” for Yesod. But it can make sense if you see Yesod’s principle as being “the urge to accumulate and own things”*
… and Gamaliel as the perversion of that, “the perverted Lust, the excessive Greed, the overboarding Craving to control and own stuff/people/money – an overreaching and transgressive desire which then destroys the thing that is desired”
* under the Demiurge’s system, this would have been an important part of “keeping the order of things”, to know what belongs to whom. For example, the Feudal system determined very precisely who owned what, and who had rights to claim/covet which things in life – and who didn’t.
Gamaliel would pervert and corrupt this “divine order”, of course, by making people want the “forbidden” things…
(Similar to how Kether’s principle of Hierarchy” (another important part of the “divine order”) is subverted, undermined, and corrupted by Thaumiel’s usurpation and urge for unlawful ascendance…)
But I was still not quite ready to give up on my “Chastity” spin for Yesod, just yet – and I came up with another theory. One that might reconcile the two versions outlined above:
The symbol of Yesod
Yesod could have changed his Principle.
Now stick with me on this for a minute.
Malkuth did it as well, switching from her initial principle of Conformity (as opposed to Nahemoth’s Discord) to Awakening.
Why not have Yesod stand for Chastity (and modesty, monogamy, celibate, heteronormativity, and repressive sexual morals in general) initially, but either drift away from that slowly or change more abruptly after being destroyed in the War between the Archons that followed Malkuth’s rebellion?
After his (near) destruction, canon now tells us that some part(s) of him survived, and have found shelter under Tipharet’s protection – exploited by her for the time being, but growing stronger and more forceful as time goes by.
And his new Principle is now Avarice, thus associating him with greed, wealth, thriftiness, capitalism… but also theft, debt, poverty, and bankruptcy (there are always victims of excessive greed and wealth after all)
I’m thinking that maybe this change in Principle might:
1.) have been brought upon (or enabled somehow) by his near destruction. Arguably, Malkuth’s initial rebellion, which went hand in hand with her changing her Principle (however that happened, we have no idea) could have weakened the Divine Order between the Archons which the Demiurge initially constructed. Such a drastic disruption as one Archon going completely rogue on the whole system could well have left some major rifts in the underlying metaphysical structure of Reality itself ([i]our reality[/i] at least, if not the True Reality necessarily) – and if Yesod somehow “fell into one of these rifts”, so to speak, it would stand to reason that a change of Principle was, while perhaps not inevitable, but at least was “in the cards” for things that could happen when (and if) he (or what was left of him) emerged again.
2.) in fact be less random than it might on first glance appear.
If his Principle originally was Chastity, that would be strongly associated with suppressing sexual urges and energies. In fact, Yesod might have been one of the most important Archons for the purpose of keeping the Illusion upright, since his job would have been to ward off humanity against Passion. Which is after all one of the fundamental, all-pervading pillars of Reality as we all know.
But what happens with suppressed sexual energy? It is described in the Passion chapter as an elementary drive and a direct connection to our inner divinity. Psychology tells us that such energies can either be repressed (which is bad because they will fester and boil in your subconscious mind) or sublimated, i.e. transformed and channeled into other endeavors.
After many centuries of Yesod’s influence in the world, we see great empires rise across all cultures. Incidentally, the height of Imperialism, namely the British Empire’s largest expansion (they owned and/or controlled fully 1/4th of the earth’s land mass at one point!), occurred during the Victorian era – a time well known, even notorious, for its repressive sexual mores, such as its obsession with chastity, modesty, marital faithfulness, virginity, etc. (and it’s supplementary demonization of extramarital sex, adultery, prostitution, etc.)
Could it be argued, therefore, that Yesod’s influence has always (or for a very long time anyways) caused people to find ways how to release their sexual tensions and primal urges in sublimated forms?
Could we therefore assume that where such forms led to industriousness and diligence, financial and material success was not far off? (Even under the strict hierarchy of Kether, with its feudal systems and castes and whatnot, one might advance oneself some tiny little bit – such as the rise of the middle class during the late medieval period showcases on a grand scale)
With financial and material success come wealth, jealousy, greed and so on…
So, arguably, the Avarice aspect has been a part of Yesod, if not since forever, then at least for a very long time: All organized religions everywhere have always tended to amass large amounts of money, after all – most commonly collected from their followers, but also often from church-owned business ventures (e.g. medieval monasteries with their trade of wine, honey, and other refined goods).
(There might be a good reason the Lictors included “Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbor’s” in the laws they gave to (who we remember as) Moses. And why it’s put right next to “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” in that list – as both seem pretty close to Yesod’s principle / agenda…)
So possibly, by the time Yesod got destroyed, the prevalence for avarice was so widespread and deeply ingrained in many of his followers and agents, that when he came back, that was all that was left of him. Cue the rise of capitalism, the sexual revolution happening, resulting in chastity and modesty being all but dead in the modern 1st world, but rampant greed and crass extremes of rich and poor at an all-time high…
Thank you Auburney for this great article. It is really interesting to speculate about Yesod and the principles for the other Archons.