A Gnosis (plural Gnoses) is an item used by The Seven to directly tap into energy from Celestia, and is proof of their status as an elemental Archon. They take on the appearance of a chess piece.
It is unknown whether gods before The Seven possessed Gnoses.
Taking on a physical appearance reminiscent of a gleaming chess piece, Gnoses typically reside within the Archon's body. They can either be forcefully removed through the powers of another Archon (as with the powers bestowed upon the Eleven Fatui Harbingers by the Tsaritsa) or willfully materialized and given away by the Archon themselves.
The Tsaritsa seeks to collect the Gnoses of The Seven for reasons yet unknown. Currently, three of them are known to be in Fatui possession:
- The Tsaritsa's own Cryo Gnosis;
- Venti's Anemo Gnosis, taken through force by La Signora and presumably delivered to the Tsaritsa;
- Zhongli's Geo Gnosis, obtained peacefully by Signora on the Tsaritsa's behalf through a contract and presumably delivered to the Tsaritsa
Ei's Electro Gnosis is currently in Scaramouche's possession after Yae Miko, who previously received it from Ei, exchanged it for the Traveler's life. However, Scaramouche has not reported back to the Fatui since then, and they believe he may have gone rogue.
All that is currently known about the uses of a Gnosis is that it is used to directly resonate with Celestia, and that it grants its respective archon the "divine ability" to defend their nation. Venti describes Visions as "primitive" compared to a Gnosis.
Archons do not need Gnoses to control the elements, unlike mortals who can only manipulate elemental energy by harnessing a Vision. Venti, Zhongli and Ei use their elemental abilities in battle during their respective Story Quests, all of which occur after they lost or forfeited their Gnoses during their respective Archon Quests. In Ei's case, she gave up her Gnosis centuries before the Inazuma Archon Quests, yet was able to defeat the Traveler during their first battle and was only defeated in the second as a result of Yae Miko's plan.
That said, Gnoses seem to greatly enhance an Archon's abilities; Zhongli states that the "power of the Geo Archon" is required to create Mora and indicates that the Golden House will have to temporarily close since he can no longer do this. He also suggests that he lost a significant portion of his power after relinquishing the Gnosis, and Azhdaha (in Kun Jun's body) could sense that Zhongli was no longer the Geo Archon.
The creation of vessels is an ability that appears to be tied to Gnoses.
Venti's vessel was his first use of his newfound divine power after he ascended to godhood as the Anemo Archon. Zhongli's body was likely created through this method as well, as he states that his "structure is not the same as that of normal people." After becoming the first Electro Archon, Raiden Makoto "reforged" Ei's body after Ei gave up her bodily form so Makoto could ascend to the "heavenly citadel."
Vessels created through this method have a glaring weakness: they are incapable of being healed through ordinary means, including a Vision-bearer's healing abilities. Venti harnesses the power of the massive tree at Windrise twice to heal himself; first was to expunge the abyssal magic that poisoned him via Dvalin when the Traveler unintentionally interrupted them, and the second was to recover after having his Gnosis taken by Signora. The exact properties this tree holds is unclear, but it may have a connection to Celestia: according to legend, it grew from the spot where Vennessa ascended to Celestia.
- In a standard (western) chess game, there are only six distinct pieces: pawn, rook, knight, bishop, queen and king, which would be one short for a full set of all The Seven's Gnoses. However, each side starts with a total of seven major (2 rook and 1 queen) and minor (2 knight and 2 bishop) pieces. These are also the pieces a pawn can promote to.
- The Anemo Gnosis and Geo Gnosis are modeled after the queen and rook pieces, respectively. Queens and rooks are considered major pieces, or pieces that can checkmate the opponent with only their own king for support.
- In Gnosticism, gnosis is a term used for wisdom, knowledge, or insight into divine nature. It is through gnosis that one can transcend the material realms controlled by the seven archons and enter the supercelestial realm of Ogdoad.
- The Chinese term for Gnosis, 神之心 Shén zhī Xīn, "Heart of God", is similar to the term for Visions (Chinese: 神之眼 Shén zhī Yǎn, "Eye of God"). Both of them are called 魔力器官 "magical organs", which was translated as "magical foci" in English.
- Archon Quest Prologue, Act III, Part 8: Ending Note
- Archon Quest Chapter II, Act III, Part 9: Wishes
- Archon Quest Chapter I, Act III, Part 6: The Fond Farewell
- Ending Note
- Labyrinth Warriors event quest: Away with Obsessions and Falsehood
- Zhongli, Gnosis story
- Keqing, Vision story
- Raiden Shogun, Gnosis story
- During Omnipresence Over Mortals, Yae Miko says she has not seen Ei since Ei entered the Plane of Euthymia centuries ago. Because Ei personally entrusted her with the Gnosis, this means Ei has not had it for centuries.
- Zhongli's Voice-Over: Feelings About Ascension: Conclusion
- Historia Antiqua Chapter Act II, Part 4: Amidst Chaos, the Rock Is Unmoved
- Venti, Character Story 4
- Zhongli's Voice-Over: Feelings About Ascension: Building Up
- Treasured Tales of the Chouken Shinkageuchi (I)
- Archon Quest Prologue, Act II, Part 4: Let the Wind Lead