Fleeing Sophia’s presence, Yaldabaoth/Yahweh used the divine energy he had stolen from her to create offspring of his own:
“Yaldabaoth is the first ruler, who took great power from his Mother. Then he left her and moved away from the realms where he was born. He was strong, and created for himself other realms by means of a bright flame of fire that still exists. He mated with the Mindlessness that is in him, and produced his own Authorities.”1
These “Authorities” were the archons, seven animal-headed angels who help Yaldabaoth govern our solar system; in a shocking parody of the traditional view, these sinister beings were sometimes identified by divine names normally used for the Old Testament creator god.
“The names of glory of those who rule over the seven heavens are these:
The first is Athoth, with the face of a lion;
The second Eloaios, with the face of an ass;
The third Astaphaios, with the face of a hyena;
The fourth Yao, with the face of a seven-headed snake,
The fifth Sabaoth, with the face of a dragon;
The sixth Adonin, with the face of an ape;
The seventh Sabbataios, with a face of shining flames of fire.
This is the Seven of the week; these are the ones who govern the world.”2
The ancient gnostics identified the seven archons with the seven visible planets; together these wicked archons ruled over the “hebdomad,” a multi-layered network of prison walls with the Earth at its core.