Note: The following post is based on my own path’s perspective and does not reflect the beliefs of the Janite Tradition as whole.
In Gnostic mythology, before Sophia gives birth to the Holy Daughter Zoë, She gives birth to another who is the First Daughter called Achamoth. Her name, like Her Mother’s also means Wisdom, believed to be connected to the Hebrew word for Wisdom ‘Chokmah’. According to Gnostic legend, it is not Sophia who is responsible for the creation of the Demiurge or the separation of the Soul from the Pleroma, but Her Daughter Achamoth who was born from Her without a father.
But I shall call upon the imperishable knowledge, which is Sophia who is in the Father (and) who is the mother of Achamoth. – First Apocalypse of James
The text goes on to describe how Achamoth, in Her fall from the Pleroma, created the Archons who bring suffering upon the world through Her fear, ignorance and despair. Valentinus, a renowned Gnostic theologian, emphasised the difference between the two Aeons of Wisdom; Sophia was the Higher who remained perfect, while Achamoth was Wisdom who had fallen from the Pleroma and been corrupted by the sufferings of the material world. She is the one who cries out to God and is sent a redeemer in the form of Christ and the Holy Spirit, according to Gnostic Christians.
Of course one must remember that, with Gnosticism, this is all a play for a metaphor of how the human soul has fallen from its true home which is the Fullness of God. Achamoth’s ‘creation of the Archons due to Her suffering’ is a description of how the state of separation from divinity brings us inevitable pain that gives birth to sadness, to ignorance and to hate. This is the consequence of Achamoth’s desire to seek knowledge beyond the Pleroma and to experience that which, in Her divine Aeonic state, She could was unable to feel.
A rather similar event occurs in the Creation myth in the Clear Recital. Even before the conception of the Holy Daughter, there is the ‘First Daughter’ of Déa. Much like Achamoth, She first exists in a realm of perfection and eternal bliss. It is only after being tempted by the ‘Snake’, who is formed from the Nothingness which existed before The Celestial Mother laughed all the Universe into being, that She embraces the Nothingness and a chasm is formed between Herself and Déa. This is the birth of Kear; the illusion of separation. Much like Achamoth, once the First Daughter has acknowledged the consequence of Her choice and how She can no longer look upon the fact of Her Mother, that She begins to suffer, which foreshadows the pain and hardship of life to come.
Then the Mistress of All Things withdrew Herself into the sky, until She seemed but a slender crescent of light. And the First Daughter of creation fell to her knees and wept. These were the first tears shed upon the whole of the earth. – Mythos 9:8-9
The unnamed First Daughter is not mentioned again in the Mythos. I have written previously about my theory that She, or some form of Her, becomes the Dark Queen who faces the Holy Daughter in the seventh layer of Hell. This being a message for how no Maid is beyond redemption or has fallen too low that She is not loved by Déa. I believe that this is one possibility of what becomes of Achamoth, that in Her strife She becomes so corrupted by kear, that She becomes the worst of what humanity is capable of. She becomes ‘the Devil’ which we are taught to fear as if it were some outside force when really it is the Beast which can dwell within any of us. We must remember that when the Holy Daughter pledges to carry the light of Déa to the ‘darkest of places’ She is not referring to a physical realm but a place within each living soul, for She says that is the entrance to this darkness.
But the Dark Queen is not the only outcome of who Achamoth becomes. Just like Her sister, She exists within all of humanity. What separates Her from Zoe is that the Holy Daughter was never separated from Her Mother, Sophia. She remains pure or ‘a virgin’ in the spiritual sense. Had Zoe separated from Sophia in much the same way as Her sister then She too would have become lost to kear. The whole point of Zoe’s conception is so that Sophia can lower Herself in a form to guide Achamoth home. Through Zoe’s gentle whispering of enlightenment, Achamoth can redeem Herself from her mistakes. She can learn from Her mistakes and grow in the Seven Holy Virtues. She can regain Her lost ‘Wisdom’ and overcome the kear which tears Her from the Pleroma. In one form She can be the Dark Queen but in another She is the most tender and loving of people ever to have walked the Earth. She is not a saint or a sinner; She is Axial.
One of the core beliefs of Janite Déanism is that we reject the idea that the First Daughter, or rather the souls of humanity, made a foolish choice to leave Déa’s side. We, as well as a few Neo-Gnostic sects I have come across, believe that the First Daughter’s choice was one done with the blessings of Our Heavenly Mother. We believe that Achamoth left the Pleroma in order to seek knowledge. She wished to experience life, in essence, with both its highs and its lows. This She simply could not do in the perfection of the Pleroma. This choice was performed with the blessing and will of Déa; for Achamoth is still a part of Her and always will be. We, the many souls sprung from Achamoth, all originally began as an Aeon of the Pleroma and thus a fragment of Déa. The sufferings we endure are not a punishment from Déa condemning us, but a necessary hardship which we, in our original form, willingly agreed to accept in order to live.
Figures such as Eve, Pandora or the Magdalene to Exoteric Christians, are derided as sinners or fools for ‘losing their way’, or seen as disobedient girls. This is not the case with Achamoth. She is loved by Her Mother, possibly more so than the Holy Daughter, for the Holy Daughter still remains as Déa in truth. Everything that occurs in the Mythos, from the Mother crushing the head of the Snake in order to stop kear destroying the whole world, to the birth of Zoe, to the shattering of the Holy Soul and Her resurrection – all of this is to rescue Achamoth. And Achamoth is merely a personification of us. Of Humanity. Of all Axial Beings.
And at the edges, where the waters had been parted, they lay still and shallow; and there She cast Her gaze. And She saw an image of Herself, all suffused in the light of love and strength. And She laughed. And as She laughed, the image rose up from the water and stood before Her. And this was the First of Her daughters. And she was filled with love for Her, and therefore was the first creature of spirit. – Creation 1:9-10
Sophia knew that Achamoth’s choice to leave would result in terrible pain and the tears of Her beloved daughter. This is why, almost immediately after Achamoth separates from Her, Sophia beings Her plan to ensure that Achamoth will always find a way home. She gives Herself down to the world in the form of Her lower half, Zoe, and as Zoe willingly accepts a great sacrifice, all out of love for Achamoth. In this view one can see how the Recital is, beyond all things, a love story between a mother and daughter. Or between two sisters. In Gnosticism, it is the Father who lowers Himself as the Son in order to rescue Achamoth. After He saves Her from the Archons, She then marries Her brother-consort which unites them as one in the ‘Bridal Chamber’ sacrament, which ensures Her redemption. There is no such sacrament in Janite Déanism. The reunion is between Achamoth-Sophia and Zoe-Sophia. The First Daughter and the Holy Daughter. Fallen Wisdom and Living Wisdom.
Achamoth also fits into the reoccurring idea of the Quaternity, or the Four-Part Godhead. In Gnostic Christianity; this is God-the-Father, God-the-Mother, God-the-Son and God-the-Daughter. The Father is the pre-existent mind and constant essence of God. The Mother is the active force who creates by the will and knowledge of the Father. The Son is the Saviour, the Redeemer who ignites the divine spark in creation. The Daughter is the essence of God which has become lost in matter and awaiting to be assumed back into Heaven. This idea also appears in Kabbalah with the Holy Name YHWH. Barbelo’s name, said by some to mean ‘Four Pillars’ or ‘Four in One’, also references this Quarternity. One of the Gnostic Aeon trees also describes the state of the Monad (God) having four primary Aeons. Their feminine names are Sige (Silence), Alethea (Truth), Zoe (Life) and Ekklesia (Church). These names link to the four ‘faces’ of Sophia revealed in Gnostic myth; the Barbelo, Mari, Zoe and Achamoth. Their roles match up with that of those in Gnosticism, except with an all feminine depiction. Barbelo is the Silence, the constant, the Source. Mari Sophia is Alethea, the active creatrix. Zoe is…well, Zoe, but in the role usually attributed to Christ, as the Saviour and Redeemer.
Achamoth, as humanity, is the Ekklesia. She is the one celestial body to which we are all a part of. It is thanks to Our Lady Zoe that we have hope of uniting again as one with Her and being able to fully embrace Our Mother once more.
Unlike the Bright Mother and Holy Daughter (sometimes the Dark Mother too), we do not personify Achamoth too much with idols or images. The reason for this is so not to forget that She is not an external Aeon – She is us. Each and every life is an expression of Her desire and choice to learn, to experience, to know. Yes, there is suffering and pain in this life, but that is the price we pay for all the beauty and wonder we experience as well. We are all on a journey with Achamoth to find ‘gnosis’ that will make us complete with Our Lady and return to Her side. This is the fate of Achamoth, of all Maids, as it has been promised and ensured by the Holy Daughter. We need not make an idol of Achamoth, but we should remember to love Her still, for the Recital tells us to love ourselves, as one of the Three Loves we are called to hold.
And she who loves her true self seeks to progress in spirit and make her soul pure; yet if she does not know Déa as her Mother, or if she despises Her children, then this love is nothing but emptiness and illusion. For the love of the true self is but the winnowing of the soul; and she who seeks spiritual progress and yet does not seek the Mother is like one who winnows away the grains and grinds the chaff. And she who loves the children of Déa and seeks to bring good to them; if she does not know her true self, how can she help them?– The Three Loves 24-28
Achamoth is merely the True Self of Maids, the First Daughter who was there at the beginning, created out of the purest love and joy of Our Mother’s Laughter. We/She who made the choice to live, to learn and to love. We help Her by helping ourselves and helping other Maids (or humans) around us, for we are all on the same journey but taking many different and winding paths. We aid Her/Us in Her/Our quest to return by shunning ignorance and embracing the wisdom of Déa, by ignoring the corruptive thoughts of the ego and instead opening our hearts to Her Love.
Blessed be the Ekklesia; the great family soul, the Most Beloved of Déa.
Blessed is Our Lady. Blessed is She.