The aeons are superior spiritual beings in the ancient religious system known as Gnosticism. According to the Gnostics, the aeons were the first beings to emerge from the pleroma, “the absolute spirit,” which is the true home of the human spirit.

The precise number of aeons varied. In one common schema—discussed by the Christian anti-Gnostic Irenaeus—there were thirty aeons, arranged in fifteen pairs, from Depth and Silence to Theletos (Desire) and Sophia (Wisdom). According to the Gnostic Basilides, there were 365 aeons. Yet other sources specify eight, twelve, or twenty-four.

Prior to the general acceptance of the Dionysian schema of the hierarchy of angels, some Christian writers used the term aeon to refer to one of the angelic orders.


  • Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels Including the Fallen Angels. 1967. Reprint. New York: Free Press, 1971.
  • Robinson, James M. The Nag Hammadi Library. 1977. Reprint. New York: Harper & Row, 1981.


Angels A to Z 2nd Edition – Written by Evelyn Dorothy Oliver & James R. Lewis – Copyright © 2008 by Visible Ink Press