In Gnostic religious traditions, the term archons refers to supernatural beings, considered to be responsible for the creation of the physical world.
Differentiated existence is created when a Divine Unity emanates from itself paired opposites.
From the symbolic intercourse of these paired opposites is born what we call “physical” worlds as well as worlds of matter so subtle that we would label them thought, emotion or intuition. This is called by gnostics the “Pleroma,” which means “fullness” in Greek.
Powerful hierarchies of intelligent entities evolve in these subtle realms and express all possible nuances of being and meaning: from gods and angels to daemons and devils; from the personalities of starfish to the patterns within the genetic code.
Our spacetime world is created by the archons — not by the supreme Godhead, which is a seamless unity.
The rainbow is a good metaphor for understanding the way in which our experience of the physical world is shaped by archons. White light – metaphorically streaming out from the Godhead – is refracted by rain droplets, and we see the colours of the rainbow. The rainbow is not “really there” – you cannot go to the end of it looking for a crock of gold – it is an illusion – but it is not imaginary. But the archons are powerful, and even when you know that it is an illusion you cannot stop seeing the rainbow.
Just like the splitting of light into colours, we cannot help seeing the world as divided in so many ways: subject and object, noun and verb, etc.