The chthonic greatness of Hellenism

About a year or so ago I got seduced into appreciating Hellenism through Greek black metal bands like Rotting Christ, Kawir, Varathron, Thou Art Lord, Necromantia and Macabre Omen, and since then I have even gone so far as to Hellenize my current logo (via the inclusion of laurel wreathes, meanders and a variation of the Veringian Sun).

One thing I have come to realize in the process is that there are numerous ways to look at the Greek pantheon of deities, and it is very interesting the ways you can interpret them through a chthonic or Left Hand Path lens. A number of Greek deities have surprisingly chthonic associations, and even chthonic cults. The obvious chthonic deities would definitely be Hades, Persephone, Hecate, maybe Pan to some extent. But we won’t focus on them, precisely because we immediately know of their chthonic nature. Instead we’ll focus on the major players of the pantheon of Olympus who you typically don’t think of as chthonic deities, or at least not immediately.

Let’s start with the king of Olympus himself, Zeus. Not many people know that Zeus has manifested in the form of serpent, but there are Greek myths and cults that record precisely that. As Zeus Meilichios, Zeus was worshiped as a chthonic deity in the form of a snake, and his cult was focused on the obtainment of wealth and prosperity through propitiation to the deity. Zeus Meilichios has been referred to as a kindly, seemingly benevolent deity, but his nature was believed to alternate between benevolence and wrath, and his followers were required to appease him frequently in order to stay on his good side. Xenophon once recorded how his failure to offer a sacrifice to Zeus Meilichios supposedly resulted in a shortage of money. He was also believed by a deity (or daimon) of vengeance, similar to Alastor and or the Erinyes, but was also believed to be able to purify the souls of those who killed another as an act an revenge by petitioning him with the sacrifice of a ram in a holokaustos (basically a sacrificial rite wherein they burn an animal or parts of in a pyre to the deity at night).

As a side-note of sorts, Zeus Meilichios sometimes shared cult space with Athena, the goddess of wisdom and patron of the city of Athens, and Zeus was accompanied by Athena while he was in the form of a serpent. In a similar manner, the cult of Athena Itonia has a serpent companion adjacent to the goddess, suggesting a serpent familiar. It was even recorded that, in a cult devoted to a chthonic Zeus at Koroneia, Athena takes the place of Persephone as the queen of the underworld. Athena Itonia herself is said to be an echo of a primitive mode of worship devoted to her in Athens wherein she was a goddess of the earth responsible for its nourishment. So apparently, at least when adjacent to a chthonic Zeus, Athena had chthonic associations of her own albeit expressed chiefly in local cults.

The serpent Zeus Meilichios

Anyways, the form of Zeus Meilichios this is not the only time Zeus has appeared as a serpent. Another cult has Zeus appear as a serpent in the form of Zeus Ktesios. Ktesios was the name of a benevolent spirit or daimon charged as the guardian of the household, but may also have been an old fertility deity. Zeus Ktesios was seen as a deity of the storerooms, though some say Zeus Ktesios is simply Ktesios taking the name of Zeus. Like Zeus Meilichios, Zeus Ktesios may also be a daimon of fertility, owing to his snake form. In one myth, Zeus transforms into a serpent in order to pursue the fertility goddess Demeter, who herself transformed into a serpent in order to evade yet another of Zeus’s lustful advances. Their mating produced the goddess Persephone, who would later become the wife of Hades. Zeus transformed into a serpent again (or a dragon depending on who you ask) in order to seduce Persephone, and out this union Persephone bore him a son named Zagreus. We’ll touch on Zagreus in more detail a little later.

For now though, it is worth noting that Zeus Meilichios serves as a connection between Zeus, the ruler of the sky, and Hades, the ruler of the underworld. Due to his chthonic nature, Zeus Meilichios has been identified by some as Zeus-Hades, though he was also associated with Ploutos, the deity of wealth. Despite being a sky god who rules atop Mount Olympus in what is ostensibly the heavenly realm of the cosmos, many of Zeus’ local cults were chthonic in nature in that they are devoted to a chthonic aspect of Zeus. Besides Zeus Meilichios, there was Zeus Philios who was also apparently depicted as serpent, but was a much friendlier deity (or daimon) associated with banquets. There was also a deity named Zeus Eubouleus, who was part of a triad alongside Demeter and Kore (Persephone) at Attica and who may have been treated as either a local avatar of Ploutos or a demigod. However, there was also a separate deity, or more likely a demigod or hero, named Eubouleus (who may also have been identified with Ploutos), who was the guardian of the swine of the Eleusinian mysteries and who preside over agriculture, specifically ploughing and the planting of grain (which may, or may not, explain why Jupiter is depicted as sowing seeds in the Roman de la Rose manuscript). Strangely enough Eubouleus is also listed as an epithet of Hades as well as Zeus. Another chthonic aspect of Zeus the oracular daimon Zeus Trophonios. Trophonios was the name of a mortal son of Apollo who got swallowed by the earth and re-emerged as the daimon of a cave near Lebadeia, where he also became known as Zeus Trophonios.

There was also Zeus Chthonios, who was Zeus of the Earth, who was worshipped in Boeotia and Corinthia where he was venerated as Third Most High, and who was either an avatar of Zeus or epithet of Hades. Similarly, Zeus Katachthonious (Zeus of the Underworld), though seemingly an avatar of Zeus, was most likely an alternative name for Hades – for those who dared not to invoke his real name – indicative of Hades’ role as the ruler of the underworld in the same way Zeus rules the sky and of his complete dominion over the underworld. This makes sense given that, although Hades . It is worth noting however that, at least according to Timothy Gantz, that Hades may well have been a shadowy alter ego of Zeus. In a way, to me it seems, the fact that the Greeks, in order to avoid actually approaching Hades (the Greeks were apparently so scared of Hades that he didn’t even have his own formal cult), had to recognize him as the shadow of Zeus; by identifiying Hades as Zeus Katachtonious, acknowledged Hades, who represented death in a way, as the shadow of life, as the shadow of that great heavenly thunder and fire (paging Heraclitus) that steered the cosmos for eternity. And, ironically, perhaps Hades himself has his significance as a chthonic sun.

Hades seated with Persephone

Similarly, we can look at Dionysus and his relation to Hades, and to start with let us return to Zagreus, the son born by Persephone and the serpent Zeus (who in this myth is sometimes referred to as Zeus Katachthonios). Both Zagreus and Dionysus share the same origin story: they were born from Persephone after she mated with Zeus. According to the Orphics, Zagreus was the original, firstborn incarnation of Dionysos, who was killed by the Titans who tore him to pieces out of envy that he was placed on the throne of the heavens. When Zeus saved Zagreus’ heart and placed it in his thigh (or turned into a potion for Semele to drink in one myth), Zagreus was born again as Dionysus. Zagreus might well have been considered a chthonic deity, one of the highest in the underworld, according to early fragments mentioning him as “the highest of all gods”, likely in reference to the gods of the underworld.

If that’s not enough, for Heraclitus, Dionysus and Hades were essentially one. From the Fragments of Heraclitus:

“For if it were not to Dionysos that they made a procession and sang the shameful phallic hymn, they would be acting most shamelessly. But Hades is the same as Dionysos in whose honour they go mad and keep the feast of the wine vat.” – Heraclitus Fragment 15

Dionysus must have represented life due his association with a phallic festival, no doubt tied to fertility, while Hades obviously represented death. In saying that, he explains life and death as being inseparable, one and the same in a sense, and to worship Dionysus and Hades is to worship the same object. In this sense, Heraclitus casts Hades as the shadow of Dionysus. And Heraclitus is not the only one who thought this about Dionysus. According to Karl Kerenyi, there was a “secret” held by the ancients which entailed that Dionysus and Hades were the same being and that thus Dionysus was the Lord of the Dead and the Underworld, perhaps basing this on the way he was worshipped at Eleusis. Curiously enough, Zagreus (who you will remember is the first-born Dionysus) is also identified with Hades by Aeschylus in his Aigyptioi, and the Greeks also identified Dionysus/Zagreus by the Greeks, particularly Diodorus Siculus, with the Egyptian deity Osiris, who was the ruler of the Egyptian underworld, to the point that they even believed Osiris shares myth with Dionysus (specifically, the myth of the infant Dionysus being torn to shreds by the Titans).

Mosaic depicting the Epiphany of Dionysus

Multiple important deities besides Zeus and Dionysus have received the epithet “Chthonios”, indicating status as chthonic deities in some capacity, even if contained to specific cults as is the case for Zeus. One such deity is the goddess Demeter, divine patron of grain and fertility and bringer of the divine law, who was given the epithet “Chthonia”. Given that this the epithet of chthonic or even “infernal” goddesses like Hecate (goddess of witchcraft)’ Nyx (the night) and Melinoe (a goddess of ghosts), Demeter was likely also associated with the chthonic pantheon, which in her case is likely the result of her connection to earthly fertility. Her myths recount the origin of this epithet through the names of some of her worshippers, who built sanctuaries in her honor. It is said that at Eleusis Demeter was the receiver of souls, and at Sparta Demeter Chthonia was venerated as the queen of the underworld instead of Persephone. A notable myth that ties Demeter to the underworld is the myth of the abduction of Persephone, which, depending on the telling, forces Demeter to descend to the underworld in order to negotiate her release, though the typical telling is that she simply sends Hermes to do it on her behalf. This myth is also central to the Eleusinian mysteries, in which Demeter is the central goddess. Within these mysteries, the myth of Persephone’s descent and ascent from the underworld represented the soul’s transition into death and re-emergence into what was supposed to be the next life, and their psychotropic rituals were geared towards re-enacting that myth in order to understand the secret of life and death, which were the mysteries of Demeter.

Hermes is another important deity who receives the epithet “Chthonios”, and in Greek myth he served as the messenger and herald of the gods moves between Olympus and the underworld where he serves as a psychopomp. In the last  book of the Odyssey, the dead were said to be under his care and he was believed to guide them to their proper place in the underworld. There were two aspects associated with Hermes, which were both contained within him in unity – there was an infernal aspect of him that was associated with necromancy, and there was a benevolent aspect of him as the protector and shepherd of souls. All of this could be said to echo his role as the deity of boundaries, and thus associated with the liminal space between this world and the netherworld, almost like a demon. Hermes Chthonios was invoked in private rituals focusing on curses and binding spells, was said to be able to raise chthonic spirits from beneath the earth, and was venerated in festivals honoring the dead. Hermes Chthonios is sometimes identified with another possible chthonic entity by the name of Agathos Daimon, a.k.a. the Agathodaemon. The main reason for this identification is that the caduceus of Hermes represents the attributes of the Agathos Daimon, namely fertility and Hermes, due to his occasional appearance as a phallic deity, also embodies fertility, and the magical papyri of Greece and Roman Egypt position Hermes as a bringer of good fortune.

The serpent Agathos Daimon

Aphrodite, the goddess of love and/or sex, also had something of a chthonic cult to her name. In some regions of the Black Sea, where she might have been a patron of Greek colonization, she was worshipped as a chthonic goddess as well as a goddess of love. In Pisidia (now the Turkish province of Antalya), a bust was uncovered of a woman resembling Aphrodite adorned with tightly braided necklaces and round-shaped earrings apparently also associated with the cult of Demeter-Persephone, and Aphrodite was one of many deities in the region who were venerated as chthonic deities. Aphrodite, as Aphrodite Chthonios, was believed to bestow eternal life to those who had faith in her when they died, and so statues of Aphrodite Chthonios placed in tombs and the goddess was found depicted on sarcophagi thus cementing her funerary associations. In the Bosphorus the cult of Aphrodite had its own chthonic associations, resulting from a syncretism between the cult of Aphrodite and that of the Scythian goddess Argimpasa, who was identified with Aphrodite Ourania. Aphrodite-Argimpasa and may have been a local equivalent of Ishtar or Inanna. Like the Aphrodite Chthonios of Pisidia, this goddess was frequently adjacent to death, appearing as decoration of funerary objects and the garments of the deceased. Subordinate to the goddess is an anguiped, a monstrous-looking divinity with serpents for legs, who may have been a nymph or a goddess herself but was also depicted as a cruel figure brandishing a severed head. Ironically enough for a goddess with the epithet Ourania (Ourania meaning “heavenly”), Aphrodite Ourania seems to have been treated as a chthonic goddess in her cult appearances, being viewed as an ancient daimon of vegetation in association with Eros and Ares, appearing in annual rebirth. Aphrodite of the Underworld was also venerated in a sanctuary of Persephone at Locri. Chthonic Aphrodite may also have been treated as a goddess of vengeance, allied with the powers of the Erinyes (or Furies).

Aphrodite Ourania riding upon a goose

There was also a chthonic Artemis (who normally is a light-bringing goddess), worshipped as Artemis Amarysia at Amarynthos. This chthonic Artemis was considered one of two aspects of Artemis worshipped at Amarynthos distinguished mainly by the sacrifices they accepted. The chthonic Artemis accepted lame or maimed sheep as offerings while the other Artemis, Artemis Olympia, accepted bulls as offerings. The chthonic Artemis was also strongly linked with the goddess Hecate, and hence identified as a syncretic deity named Artemis-Hecate. Artemis also was associated with chthonic divinities at Kamarina, in the Italian island of Sicily, where she was worshipped in votives alongside Demeter and Persephone.

As strange as it seems, even Apollo who is traditionally held to be a solar deity had chthonic associations. In Anatolia, Apollo’s chthonic associations derived from his association with healing and incubation in artificial grottos, along with his alleged adventures in the underworld, and his apparent relation to a curious Iranian name Khshathrapati. Khshathrapati, for those who don’t know what the hell it is, is a name meaning “Lord of Power” which may or may not have been a name for a god, and scholars suspect it may have been a name either for Mithra or for Apollo. Apollo was also connected to the Babylonian deity Nergal, who was both a solar deity and a deity of the underworld and like Apollo he commanded plagues (which for Apollo might be the inverse of his aspect as a healing deity), and both were associated with snakes and ravens. It’s also worth noting that Apollo wasn’t always a solar deity, and only gradually became a solar deity within the Hellenic religion, so it is possible that he may originally have been a chthonic healing deity or something to that effect. Apollo may also have head an association with death through his association with a chthonic cult at Amyklai dedicated to him (as Apollo Amyklai) and his lover Hyacinthus (who was a mortal man). Leto, the mother of both Artemis and Apollo, represented alongside her nymphs a volatile spring that upheaved from the earth, and her cult at Lycia involved her presiding over graves, so she too has her chthonic associations.

Depiction of the throne of Apollo at Amyklai

Hera, wife of Zeus, may also have been an earth goddess at some point, possibly interacting with primeval water dragons that nourished her earth and their reinstallment on the riverbed renewing the earth, which may explain her status as the nurturer of monsters such as the Lernean Hydra. Hephaestus also has a noticeable relation to the earth, not just in being associated with volcanoes and aided by chthonic creatures such as the Cyclopes and chthonic spirits such as the Dactyls, but also as a deity who fell from Olympus, spurned by his own mother Hera, and descending to earth. His sons and grandsons are the Cabiri, who were worshipped in a mystery cult in Samothrace. The war deity Ares also has minor chthonic associations. For instance, at Sparta, the sacrifice of black dogs was seen as an unusual choice, which was taken to be chthonic in nature, the Amazons’ offering of horses to Ares was also seen as primitive, he is sometimes seen as associated with the Erinyes due to his bloodthirsty nature, and a dragon, namely the dragon slain by Cadmus, was considered sacred to Ares. Scholars also think that Ares may have originally been an explicitly chthonic deity, specifically either a fertility deity or a deity of plague and death, before becoming a vicious war deity in Homer’s writings. Finally, Poseidon, the sea deity, was originally an overtly chthonic deity, and this might still be echoed in the fact that one of his epithets, Enosichthon, means “earth-shaker”. Not only do the epithets of Enosichthon and Gaieochos signify some relation to the earth, and from there properties as an argicultural deity in addition to sea deity, but at Tainaron he even served as an oracle of the dead.

Another link to the chthonic aspect of the Greek divine was the epithet Kourotrophos, meaning “child-nurturer”. The reason for this, according to Theodora Hadzisteliou Price in her book Kourotrophos: Cults and Representations of the Greek Nursing Deities, is the notion that life springs from the earth and returns to the earth upon death, which is hence linked to the cycle that the Kourotrophoi represent – pregnancy, the beginning of life, the care of the child, life growing, and death, the departure of the soul and its fortune in the next world. Many Greek deities were venerated as Kourotrophoi, including Apollo, Artemis, Hecate, Hermes, Aphrodite, Athena, Gaia and Demeter. The children cradled by the Kourotrophoi are also held to be chthonic in nature, and those children included the Cretan Zeus, Persephone, Trophonious, Heracles, Ploutos and Erichthonios, and it is supposed that this chthonic nature is an echo of the pre-Hellenic religious tradition of the Minoans and the Mycenaeans (more on that subject later). Kourotrophos also seems to have been the name of a standalone Athenian goddess who was worshiped as the protector of children, and who may have been treated as a healing goddess as well.

A seated kourotrophos, either a goddess or a mortal woman

Something else worth noting about the chthonic aspect of Hellenism is that, before what is generally established as Hellenic Greece came into being, the religion of the Mycenaean civilization had a generally chthonic tone, or at least that is what speculated. Whereas in Hellenism the deity Poseidon was a sea deity, for the Myceneans he was a deity of the earth, specifically earthquakes, and was the head deity of the Mycenaean pantheon, which may have been suggested by the name Poseidon-Wanax (Wanax possibly meaning “Lord”). Unsurprisingly then, Poseidon’s cult was the strongest and most powerful of them all before what’s referred to as the “Dorian invasion”. A goddess known by name or title Potnia was also powerful at this point, possibly the mother goddess of the Mycenaeans, and in the later Hellenic world Potnia simply became an epithet for other goddess (such as Potnia Theron for Artemis). In addition, many of the major deities that have been described in this post emerged from the original Mycanaean religion, and it is possible that those deities had strong chthonic associations in that time that had to were largely officially shed in the Homeric pantheon and from their the Hellenic religion, leaving the most of the chthonic tendencies consigned largely to local cults.

So as it stands, we have perhaps an interesting picture of that hidden chthonic side of Hellenic religion, with many major deities having a chthonic side to them that often gets sidelined in most popular understandings of them and, to be fair, the mainstream of Hellenic religion, as well as a pre-Hellenic religious tradition that may or may not have been dominated by chthonic impulse. What it tells us, perhaps, is two things. First of these that it is a known fact that Hades and his realm of death were feared by Greek society to the point that Hades had no formal popular cult. The underworld was the place where most of the dead were thought to end up, so it was considered a place of dread, though not quite as harrowing as regions such as Tartarus, certainly not the blissful abode of Olympus. So, the local chthonic cults may well have been a way of dealing with deities like Hades and his wife Persephone and their realm as simply avatars of the divine, as was likely the case with the chthonic Zeuses, Aphrodites and Athenas. Secondly, there is the possibility that, despite their fear and loathing for death and for Hades, the Greeks considered the chthonic realm, of the underworld and the earth, as much a part of the cosmos as the realm of Olympus, so it would make just as much sense to occasionally worship chthonic deities, albeit including the chthonic guises of the Olympians, as it did to worship the Olympians themselves.

Relief of Demeter

Deific Masks

This is a post that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. I have wanted to address the concept of Deific Masks, and in a broader sense what to do with the Deity pages that I have. This is a concept drawn from the literature of the Luciferian occultist Michael W. Ford, and is thus very associated with the Luciferian belief system as defined by both Ford and Jeremy Crow.

In page 215 of Adversarial Light: Magick of the Nephilim, the term Deific Mask is explained as follows:

Outside our perceptions of space and time – beyond our concepts of cohesion and sequence – exist vast stirrings of raw power. This power may be canopied under the name of Primordial Darkness. It is cohesive yet it is oblivious to human concepts of individual sovereignty or patronage. It is multiplicitous. No macrocosmic sense of duality or contrast may be found – such power is endless, eternal and unbound.

Within this canopy of Primal Darkness is constant-shuffling, boiling chaos. Systems and forms both emerge and collapse within it. Collapse denotes the lack of a human context as a means to measure or discern its attributes. Emergence denotes at least some synergy with human perception. This synergy can be named as a deity.

Emergence in the context of ritual requires the Initiate to identify and sanctify those parts of the self corresponding with the deity or deities selected. This is a deific mask and does not hold specific dedication to outer reality being per se. This is up to self-determined association.

A couple of pages into the same book, Ford also establishes five categories of Deific Masks defined by specific attributes associated with the psyche.

  • Anterior: Associated with subconscious or unconscious, and the atavistic source of human being in Ford’s terms. Symbolized by the serpent or the dragon. It is related to the most base and primal instincts responsible for Man’s survival, and the concept of the abyss. Leviathan, Apep (or Apophis-Set) and Ahriman are given as examples.
  • Interior: Demonic Deific Masks. Related to the Id, to “inappropriate” desires that are interpreted by the Super Ego as the demons you and I know and love (for example, the demons found in medieval artworks). Associated with compulsion, curses, lust workings etc, as well as Goetic spirits. Lucifuge Rofocale and Glasya-Labolas are given as examples.
  • Exterior: Angelic Deific Masks. These are associated with the Super Ego and are viewed as inspiring self-improvement . Anael and Gadreel (two of the Grigori angels) are given as examples, as well as, strangely enough (for me at least) Belial (who I would’ve pegged as more of a demonic entity) and Agares (another Goetic spirit).
  • Ulterior: Therionic Deific Masks. That is, Deific Masks that are animalistic and associated with the form of beasts as well as and lycanthropy, shape-shifting and dreams. Related to deep-seated desires and secret fetishes which Therionic Sorcery is billed as exploring. Bael (another Goetic spirit) is given as an example (perhaps due to his conventionally chimeric appearance).
  • Superior: Associated with the Holy Guardian Angel, or the Azal’ucel, the spirit of the True Will (a term borrowed from Thelema) or higher self. In reference to the illuminated, awakened and perfected self. It is built upon the union of the Id and the Super Ego by the Luciferian Initiate. Could be represented as a beautiful male angel, or if feminine something along the lines of the goddess Diana (who for some reason is referred to as the “light side of Lilith” despite the two not being related to each other).

In Bible of the Adversary, says this on the gods and goddesses of the Luciferian path:

The Gods and Goddesses of the [Luciferian] path are collected from a multicultural perspective; they are what I refer to as Deific Masks, energies or spirits collected into forms in which we apply personality or image to. These spirits represent different aspects of our character, including the subconscious, latent powers and concepts.

How these spirits identify with you will be a part of the exploration process. As my own magickal work has crossed over through time and culture, the Deific Masks or Gods are also varied and have different meanings, appearances and associations.

In the book, it is recognized that the Deific Masks bring in a somewhat polytheistic angle to Luciferianism. This polytheism is viewed as a means to an end. The gods are tools of the Luciferian magician for the transformation of the self, not objects of actual worship. They are also seen as representations of natural forces, which would have been symbolized by animalistic or chthonic deities.

What I am pointing to is that such deific masks of energy hold specific aethyric and chthonic attributes which play out in nature – storms, earthquakes, volcanos, hurricanes can be considered a result of the chaotic and equally needful energy Typhon-Set, Ahriman or such.

Page 582 of Dragon of the Two Flames offers a glossary definition of the Deific Mask:

Deific Mask – Deific Masks are representations of a type of ‘power’, ‘energy’ which has a connection to the mind-body-spirit of the human being also. A Deific Mask is essentially what most identify as ‘Gods’, ‘Demons’ and other types of spirits associated with a type of occurrence in nature or the human being.

Page 36 of Necrominon describes it as follows:

The Deific Mask is the symbol and archetype of the God, Goddess or Demon which the Black Adept wears to access this specific type of energy; absorbing and compelling the power to become form in the reality we so choose. We do not become the Deific Mask; we seek to become our own unique divinity of energy in form.

Ford has also written an essay called The Many Deific Masks of Lucifer , wherein the Deific Mask is described thusly:

A “Deific Mask” is a specific representation of power”, “energy and “phenomena” which is viewed as a symbol of a “God”. Deific Masks may be considered atavisms or representations of a part of the subconscious mind; even going as far as to suggest they are “literal” to those who choose to invest belief in such.

And in Luciferian Apotheca’s website, Ford writes an article titled “Statues and Their Use in Magick” where he offers this description:

The Deific Masks represent specific types of power and their manifestation in both nature and the living temple of the mind-body-spirit. For instance, Seth (Egyptian god of darkness, war and the desert ruins) is a power of darkness and chaos bringing change, struggle and ultimately self-liberation from restrictive situations or methods of thinking. Seth challenges and will make strong the Luciferian, however uncomfortable change requires the strong character and will of the sorcerer to over a period of time, “become” (Kheper) like Seth or one of the manifestations of this Deific Mask.

Whenever the Deific Mask is described in Ford’s writings, the basic meaning of the concept is consistent. The Deific Mask refers to a form or construct relating to the human mind which is manifested or invoked through ritual. In this sense they can be seen as spirits, but the existence of the gods and those spirits is treated rather ambiguously by Ford and his Luciferian tradition, though generally it seems the gods are discussed not as literal beings or outer intelligences to be supplicated within a classical polytheist system, but as constructions that can be useful to the human Luciferian magician, at least under the right circumstances. They are not our masters, they are tools of the magician.

In this sense, what stands out about Luciferianism is what is basically a kind of psycho-spiritual semi-polytheistic framework. The gods are symbols, and there are many of them, but as symbolic archetypes these gods have a transformative power and are seen as a source of energy for the practitioner as he/she travels down the path of self-awakening, empowerment, spiritual enlightenment and transformation.

And it’s at this point I feel like expanding upon the Luciferian approach to Satanism, which I mentioned in my previous post. At this point, I am still basically a Satanist first, in that I root myself in a philosophy derived from LaVey, I live my live for myself and I value the world as it is and believe that Man is better off just being Man without being engineered into something that he is not by either religion, tradition, “progress” or political ideology. Luciferianism, while sharing many aspects with Satanism, is its own philosophy, stressing through , with resistance to what it considers monotheistic slave-mentality and Christian dualism a pretty big theme. Satanism, while almost certainly opposed to Christian monotheism, lacks the sense of mission that I sometimes see in the Luciferian movement – which if I’m being perfectly frank is a point in its favor (after all, I am a Satanist first, and Satanism in my view tends to resent evangelism wherever it comes from, even from another form of Satanism). The Luciferian approach to Satanism therefore, means that I would largely accept Luciferian magick and ideas as an important part of my own Satanism, even if I don’t agree with everything about Luciferianism (as you might soon see in future posts), and I embrace Luciferian spiritual goals and its conception of the Adversary. Because of this, I think I can accept the idea of the Deific Mask on the grounds that it brings the gods to the level of the individual through a paradigm that is not particularly theistic in its conception, which means that I need not worship literal deities, rather I embrace the archetypes of the gods as representing parts of the psyche as well empowering.

From what I understand the Luciferian is not limited to a specific number of Deific Masks, but can invoke many to suit specific purposes, goals or rituals. Which I guess means that pretty soon I’m going to have to think about my own system (mainly the Deities pages, in which I have six main deities listed; I guess I’ll just change “My Deities” to “My Deific Masks” for now).

The Gods on Mount Olympus by Antonio Verrio

How much of Christianity was lifted from the pre-Christian world?

Sorry to keep you waiting with this post. I guess I should’ve mentioned that the second semester of my third year at university is now in full swing.

In this post I’ll attempt not just to outline how many of the main points of Christianity are borrowed from pre-Christian/pagan belief systems, but by the end establish what that means, focusing on some of the key points found in popular Christianity as it is imagined today.

 

God himself

We already know that Yahweh/Jehovah, the supreme deity of the Bible, was originally a minor Canaanite deity of war, who ascended in status within the Hebrew pantheon as the chief deity of their people (in other words the God of Israel), the context of which transitioned from that of a merely henotheistic tradition (that is the belief that there are many gods but the practice of worshiping just one; i.e. on the basis of tribalism) to that of a full-blown monotheistic tradition. As time passed, Yahweh also accrued many characteristics associated with other deities such as El or Zeus, and became the far more warlike and supposedly omnipresent and loving version of both. And after the Jews were exiled from Babylon, Yahweh transformed from just the God of Israel to the ruling deity of everything.

Yahweh himself is just another deity in a long line of supreme deities with slightly similar characteristics. Ahura Mazda in Persia, Aten and Ra in Egypt, Ba’al and El in Canaan, Marduk in Babylon, Indra and Varuna in India, and of course Zeus in Greece. And we know that before the ascent of monotheism, Yahweh was in direct competition with other deities. Among his biggest rivals was a deity named Chemosh (or Kemosh), whom the Bible refers to as the “abomination of Moab”, a deity that archaeological evidence points to as being not so different from Yahweh.

Kemosh (aka Chemosh)
Kemosh (aka Chemosh)

 

The messianic archetype

Jesus himself was not stolen from paganism, contrary to what Bill Maher and Peter Joseph would have you believe. However, the role he plays in the Bible is that of an archetype that has been passed down throughout the ages. The archetypal role assumed by Jesus is of course the role of a dying and rising deity, or divine being. One of the most familiar examples of this in Mesopotamian mythology is the deity of vegetation known as Tammuz, the deity to whom the origins of the Christian cross are sometimes attributed. Tammuz was believed to have died at the hands of the spirits of the underworld or his wife Inanna/Ishtar, and descended to the underworld only to rise again every six months. Then there is Osiris, who was killed by Set only to be resurrected by Isis and go on to become the lord of the Egyptian netherworld. Among the deities worshipped by the Phrygians was a deity of vegetation and fertility named Attis, who went crazy and mutilated himself only to, depending on who you ask, either resurrect or reincarnate as a pine tree. In another sense, Ishtar’s descent into the underworld is sort of similar to the descent of Jesus into Hell, except that Ishtar dies and resurrects while in the underworld while Jesus is crucified to death and then goes to Hell in order liberate the souls of the damned. In the case of Ishtar, her mission was to save Tammuz who had apparently been dragged to the underworld by Ereshkigal’s spirits.

There are other aspects associated with messianic archetypes that I’ve covered in my post about the “Divine Individual“.

 

Some familiar public holidays

I’ve talked about this before in the early days of my blog and I plan on covering this subject in greater detail in separate posts dedicated to the eight holidays associated with the Neopagan wheel of the year, but we’ll quickly go through the holidays popularly celebrated in the West. The timing of the Christmas holiday season is based on Saturnalia and other winter solstice festivals and is found nowhere in the Bible, the premise of Easter hinges on a myth that, as was just explained, derives from pre-Christian archetypes and storytelling, and while the modern Halloween is largely shaped by Christian and American tradition, the date of the Samhain celebrated by Celtic pagans is, perhaps coincidentally, near to the date that Halloween is celebrated now, and the theme of monsters and night terrors associated with Halloween was also found in European pagan traditions which hold that time to be either Samhain, Walpurgisnacht or both.

 

Heaven and Hell

The belief in an afterlife divided in terms of a blissful kingdom of light versus a dark nether realm filled with demons or monsters has been traced to as far back as ancient Egypt, as has the basic concept of the individual soul being judged after death. The Duat was the ancient Egyptian version of the underworld, filled with all manner of monstrous figures and daemonic beings and the site of the regular journey of the solar deity Ra. It is even documented within Egyptian lore that a serpent bent on mankind’s destruction slithers through the underworld, waiting for the opportunity to strike at Ra whenever he journeys into the underworld, which is similar enough to the Christian view of Satan as the adversary of mankind who also appears as either a dragon or as “that old serpent” intent on striking down Jehovah/Yahweh. However, for the ordinary Egyptian, being trapped in the underworld was not the main fear, rather the prospect of being annihilated in the jaws of Ammut if the soul was found wanting by Anubis. The equivalent heavenly realm is Aaru, a prestine field of reeds which resembled life in Egypt, which the Egyptians felt was the greatest thing on earth and wanted to continue living for eternity. And if the soul was deemed worthy of passing into such a beneficent afterlife, then it would indeed be allowed to pass on an live forever with loved ones and pets. Does that sound familiar?

Don’t forget that many pre-Christian traditions have their own conceptions of the afterlife, and there are several heavens and hells found in the mythologies of the world. In Greece, for instance, those who lived a good and virtuous life or were heroic in some way would enter Elysium, provided that they were remembered by their peers and their descendants, while more wicked individuals would descend into the dungeon of Tartarus, where the Titans were also imprisoned, and everyone else would go to the fields of Asphodel, a meadow in the underworld where ordinary souls pass on that was neither a heaven nor a hell, all after the judgement of the soul. Oh, and much like how Christians believe that Yahweh reserved a lake of fire for the devil and his angels, Tartarus is the place where deities like Zeus cast down their enemies, such as Typhon.

Fallen angels in Hell by John Martin
Fallen angels in Hell by John Martin

 

Angels and demons

Pre-Christian belief systems all had their own varieties of spirits, with plenty of them falling into either the angelic or demonic categories. Mesopotamia had the Shedim, which were largely seen as demonic beings. Other demonic beings included Gallu, Lamashtu and Pazuzu, the baddest of the bunch. Evil spirits were often viewed as the cause of disease and were sometimes capable of bringing harm to humans and abduct their children, particularly night spirits such as Lamashtu and Lilitu, the latter a precursor, at least in name, to the the Biblical Lilith (we’ll get into that in a future Mythological Spotlight, once I get around to writing one). The closest things to angels in Mesopotamian lore were probably beings such as the Apkallu, who were winged sages or demigods who were viewed as teachers and protective spirits. Egyptian, as was already established, was host to several spirits. What we would could demons were viewed by the Egyptians as liminal spirits, frequently either hostile beings or guardians of the netherworld who could be called upon to protect humans, and thousands of nameless demons have been found in depictions on all manner of items from both religious and mundane items in Egyptian society. The Greeks recognized the term daemon – from which we get the nomenclature “demon” – as a general term for spirit, and often these spirits were seen a guiding forces, though there were of course malevolent spirits in Greek lore (a disease spirit named Aerico immediately springs to mind). Romans had a similar belief and believed in the concept of genii, who often served as the spirits of the household. India and Persia observed the similar divide between good and evil spirits. For the Indians, it was the devas, apsaras and sometimes yakshas on the good side, with the asuras, rakshasas and other ghoulish spirits on the evil side. In Persia the devas were actually on the evil camp, identified as “daevas” and the minions of Angra Mainyu or Ahriman, while the good spirits are identified as the Amesha Spentas in service of Ahura Mazda. In fact it’s in Persia via the Zoroastrians that we encounter one of the earliest clear cut incarnations of the concept of good versus evil personified as God versus Satan in the form of Ahura Mazda versus Angra Mainyu.

 

 

Good old fashioned Christian values

The “family values” platitude that is stereo-typically attached to conservative Christians are not especially new. In fact, at the very least it goes back to the Roman Empire. The emperor Augustus instituted a series of reforms aimed at aligning Roman society towards “traditional Roman values” – values such as monogamy and chastity. He even went so far as to criminalize adultery and imposed financial penalties on people who did not marry and have children, which to be fair seems a tad more extreme than the kind of family values politics that Western societies would have to deal with in the modern world.

The concept of marriage, which is often seen as a Christian institution, has been a recognized social and romantic union for longer than Christianity has been recognized as a religion. Marriage rituals have been known to exist in ancient Greece, Rome and China, and the contract of marriage, and divorce, has even been around in ancient Mesopotamian society. In Mesopotamia, marriage was valued for much the same reason we do now – to ensure the continuation of a given family line. Rome also considered monogamy to be the tradition for marriage in society, just as we do now. Of course, the ancient world had a tendency to value arranged marriage, whereas in the modern world we value the choice of getting married.

Then there are some of the debatably more positive values sometimes ascribed to Christianity, which have been observed as far back as the days of ancient Akkad.

 

The influence of the mystery cults

Greece and Rome were home to a particular phenomenon known as the “mystery cult”, which is basically a religious movement characterized by secretive rituals and the tendency to center around a specific deity (like Mithraism for example). There was an Eleusinian mystery cult centering around the goddess Demeter, based around the story of the abduction of her daughter Persephone, the wrath she wrought upon the earth and its fertility and the resurrection of vegetation and thus life. The re-emergence of Persephone was supposed to be representative of the possibility of eternal life through participation in the mysteries. The exact nature of the ritual performed in the Eleusinian mysteries is disputed, but it is possible that the ritual took place in an underground passage or theater and was intended to convey the whole death and rebirth message. It is also said that the Eleusinian mystery participants purified themselves by bathing in the sea. The cult of Dionysus had its own communion, typically described as a sharing of wine (which would be befitting of the deity of wine). The Mithraic mysteries were also known for featuring an oblation of bread and water or wine, at least for initiates of certain degrees, which may have served as either a reminder of their faith or as a means of giving them the power to resist the forces of evil. The Orphic mysteries stressed that only by following their rites, practicing abstinence from sensual pleasures (such as sex) and devoting yourself to the mystery can you guarantee salvation and join the gods on the fields of Elysium for all eternity. And don’t forget the Egyptian mysteries, including the mystery of Osiris which proclaimed “Be of good cheer, O initiates, for the god is saved, and we shall have salvation from our woes”. The promise of eternal salvation through initiation into the mystery cult and performance of its rites very much strikes accord with the Christian idea that you can be saved by being baptized, receiving communion and following Jesus.

 

So what does that mean, exactly?

I do not consider Christianity to be a complete clone of one single religion, as many critics of Christianity are want to do, instead I consider it to be supported by collection of ideas that existed well before both Christianity and Judaism. It started off as an offshoot of Judaism, which itself emerged out of the henotheistic tradition observed in the land of Canaan, and it embraced many ideas that happened to be observed by the rivaling pagan traditions, but in doing so the Christians essentially repurposed them for their own belief system. Many of these old ideas, it seems, are in fact very ancient, and have been with humanity for a very long time. And as much as the idea that Christianity took over solely through violent conquest is an appealing narrative to people more vociferously anti-Christian than I (and believe me I still am considerably anti-Christian; it practically comes with being a Satanist/Luciferian), I suspect many appropriations of polytheistic teachings and those of the mystery cults were more likely either reflective of the religion as a product of its time – remember that the religion had developed in the Roman Empire alongside the other traditions – or as a means of drawing pagans away from their old belief systems and into the new one. I think that when this is understood when dealing with modern Christianity, you can render Christianity essentially harmless for what it is – a messianic Jewish faith that with synthesized pagan beliefs, sometimes the same beliefs that are also present in Judaism I might add.

 

Just as an aside to close this post, I can’t guarantee that I will post as frequently as I would like to, due to university commitments, but I’ll see what I can do.

A bit on pagan festivals and a request for Halloween advice

Even though I don’t consider myself a pagan these days (I’m probably more like what my good friend Mo called “post-pagan”), and I don’t think I was that much of a practicing pagan even back then or at least I was pretty damned lazy, I have fond memories of the days when I talked about paganism and my attraction to it. I think back to 2012, 2013 or 2014 when I talked about pagan gods, pagan symbols and polytheism, and particularly when I talked about Christmas, Easter and Halloween and I remember my fondness for that sort of work. I think there’s room for some elements of what is generally called paganism in my own path or worldview, and I’m not entirely sure but I think I still retain aspects of that “paganness” in faint ways.

Not to mention, it’s not entirely un-Satanic to participate in pagan holidays let alone adopt them. I should know. I’m still fond of Christmas – or should that be the Yule, Xmas or as I might say the Winter Mass – possibly because of its pagan roots. And though the Church of Satan may be by and large a corporation of Peter Gilmore’s design in its contemporary state, it does still offer some pearls of wisdom for the Satanist on its website. For the Church of Satan, celebrating the days of the equinox and the pagan festivals associated with them is only fitting for the Satanist because of the fact that Satanism embraces Nature. I think few Satanists can argue with that point.

I am considering, probably beginning next year, to actually partake in the gamut of pagan holidays – unless during my esoteric studies I find some kind of Luciferian holidays that I adopt instead – or at least to do a better job of celebrating the actual equinoxes. I’ll probably need to do a bit of reading, perhaps a little revisiting of the “pagan” stuff.

May or may not adopt the festivals of the wheel.
May or may not adopt the festivals of the wheel.

I’d also like to use this post to ask for a little advice on how best to spend Halloween. The reason I’m doing this is because I think it’s likely I might get carried away and busy to do much in the way of preparing for Halloween on my own. There is a lot of work and academic study ahead of me, and it will be time-consuming stuff. In addition, October 31st is a Monday, which means I’ll probably be working for most of that day and will probably not be in a good position to attend any kind of Halloween parties that are out there (unless they happen to be before the 31st). Also, over the course of my lengthy esoteric study I may decide to change my altar but might not do so within just the coming month, so there’s that to keep in mind if you do have any advice to offer.

That time of year

If you’ve been anticipating the holiday season, then chances are you may have been following coverage of what’s referred to as the “war on Christmas”. Every year someone does something that isn’t “festive” enough or too secular for the conservative Christian crowd, and all of a sudden it’s declared a war on traditional values and a war on Christmas. This year is no different. Most famously (or infamously if you will), last month we saw Starbucks unveil their festive holiday cups to signify the approach of the holiday season, but instead of having the cups being decorated with festive imagery, this year’s cups were a simplistic design featuring simply an ombre or red color. The company stated that its intent was to allow its customers to write their own story on the cups in contrast to previous cups telling stories of their own, which I think is somewhat noble but kind of pointless because there is a better way for people to tell their own stories than just write on a coffee cup (then again, this is the same company behind that disastrous Race Together campaign). Anyways, this is all something that nobody made a big deal out of until some guy named Joshua Feuerstein decided to whip up a frenzy about it, claiming that Starbucks wants to ban Christmas from their stores, ban employees from saying Merry Christmas, and hates Jesus.

But of course, Starbucks was not the only example of this madness. Apparently, there was one person on Fox News who tried to suggest that the San Bernandino killings could be a literal war on Christmas, and I think some people are thinking that the killings were a hoax . Then there’s the Nevada lawmaker Michele Fiore (who is also a member of the NRA) releasing her own Christmas card, featuring most of her family facing the camera and carrying guns (which people in the UK probably find chilling but in America not so much) and with a caption saying “It’s up to Americans to protect America. We’re just your ordinary American family”. And then there’s the University of Tennessee being accused of placing a “ban” on celebrating Christmas, or at least referring to the holiday season as Christmas (even apparently going as far as banning Secret Santa). And America isn’t the only one participating. In Italy, the headmaster of a comprehensive school in the town of Rozzano was accused of cancelling Christmas celebrations for fear of offending non-Christian schoolchildren and parents, particularly those of the Islamic faith, provoking outrage from mostly the right-wing.

Clearly, the same old “war on Christmas” malarkey has persisted to this day. But then there’s the other side of it: when I find people commenting on the “war on Christmas”, and the foolishness of asserting that the holiday season should be the exclusive domain of the Christians, I often see the same old malarkey from the pagan point of view. You know, stuff like this:

Putting aside the narrative that all conversion was forced and happened over a short time as opposed to over a thousand years, last time I checked Christmas as we know didn’t come about as a result of violent conversion. In fact, the modern Christmas isn’t one pagan holiday (like Saturnalia for instance), but rather an amalgamation of winter solstice festivals and traditions, among various of customs even including modern commercial traditions. In the case of the Christian holiday, the winter celebration of Saturnalia was assimilated in the Roman Empire when it became Christian, but ultimately the Christian Christmas that people bicker over nowadays emerged as a result of a mingling of folk, Christian, and what were then modern inventions.

The only historical equivalent I can think of for any “war on Christmas” was when the Puritans tried to stamp out the Christmas holiday in the 17th century in England and in the early American colonies. In other words, when Christian fanatics were trying to get rid of a tradition they thought was pagan, whereas other Christians assimilated it instead.

For me the Christmas we celebrate today doesn’t exclusively belong to Christians or to pagans. And even if this was formerly the case, it isn’t anymore. In fact, Christmas is just the Christian name (derived from an Old English phrase literally meaning “Christ’s Mass”) for what we now recognize as a more universal, or secular, winter celebration that some can choose to celebrate and others can choose not to. I even know some people in LHP circles, circles where people can be against anything perceived as having anything to do with Christianity, who plan on celebrating the holidays in their own way. The Christian way is not the only way to celebrate Xmas, and neither is the old pagan way. For that matter, which old pagan way exactly? Anyone who knows about the pre-monotheistic world knows there were many ways to celebrate the winter solstice. Or are we referring to some new, more universal modern “pagan” tradition, aimed at celebrating a purely “pagan” holiday?

My point is, Xmas/Christmas/Yule is not a Christian holiday, but it stopped being a pagan holiday a long time ago, thanks to the mingling of various traditions and cultural forces and the march of cultural evolution into the modern world, and I’m willing to argue the same for all the holidays I’ve previously heralded as pagan holidays (well, maybe except Easter). And because of this, I think no religious group has the right to claim the holiday season for themselves. Shame on those who try to turn the holiday season into a conflict of traditional values versus modernity, or of monotheism versus polytheism.

Detaching from paganism

In recent times I feel I have lost attachment to the label of paganism, and have lost any interest in calling myself a Pagan. Paganism has simply become less emphasized in my personal beliefs, while my interest in Satanism and Luciferianism has basically become the dominant religious influence over time.

An important reason for this is because the Paganism I used to espouse is starting to seem to me as a generalized paganism. In early times I tended to associate paganism with the idea of a religion of nature worship, polytheism, sexual liberty, and celebrating life in an anti-prudish manner. What was I thinking? I may as well have been describing Satanism in part. In fact, the paganism I used to identify with may as well have been an auxiliary of the Satanism I followed, and I think shrunk to that level. In truth, Pagan is such a broad label that refers to all polytheistic non-Christian traditions, but it can also be used to refer to any and all faiths outside the Abrahamic faiths, so as a label Pagan is simply unreliable. The fact is, Paganism is an umbrella term for tons of belief systems that would otherwise be unrelated in terms of their actual substantial philosophy. Paganism, and Pagans, as we know today did not exist until after the rise of Christianity as the dominant religion of Rome and the rest of Europe. Look at the polytheistic traditions of Egypt, Rome, and Scandinavia for instance, and you might find a lot of differences between them in terms of their worldview. There’s a lot of difference between those traditions and Hinduism for matter (despite what I said in one earlier post, which was probably just me trying to find a way to reconcile Hinduism with Paganism and reconcile both with Satanism). How about Shinto? Bon? Tengriism? Taoism? Voodoo? Animism? Shamanism? The Aztec religion? Every primitive belief system across the planet? Is it really a good idea to label all of them under one banner rather than try to look at them as individual belief systems?

Another reason is that I’ve found that I can’t really get attached to the wider world of paganism of today like I can with the wider world of Satanism and the Left Hand Path, mainly because paganism doesn’t seem to appreciate Satanism, or the Left Hand Path, from what I’ve heard. Pagans have often tried to differentiate themselves from Satanists not by positively demonstrating that Satanism has no relation to their religion, but by promoting misconceptions of Satanism, such as the misconception that Satanism is nothing more than a Christian heresy involving the worship of a lord of evil. And the sad thing is this is because Christians have vilified the followers of polytheistic traditions as worshipers of Satan for so long, and I think the pagans have become fed up and thought “we’re not gonna take this anymore”.

The third and final reason is because Satanism and Luciferianism both allow you to fit beliefs from other systems, or even your own personal ideas, into your framework so long as they align with your own feelings and will. For instance, I have an interest in mythological deities, and Luciferianism can allow you to explore the old gods as archetypes that relate to us personally, sometimes parts of our personality and being. In addition, there’s the psyche-centric approach to gods offered by both Anton LaVey and Michael A. Aquino. Anton LaVey posited that Man invents the gods or draws them from the carnal ego, while Michael A. Aquino states that all the gods are ultimately derived from Set, who represents the isolate consciousness, and by his own consciousness Man gives life to the gods, rather than the gods giving life to mankind. Other beliefs I had that I associated with paganism were either already present in Satanism or can be made a part of my own Satanism. Therefore, the label of Pagan is now obsolete.

With Luciferianism I’d still like to read Wisdom of Eosphorus so that I can be more determined about Luciferianism through a clearly defined worldview, because even after declaring my intentions to identify with Luciferianism, I have asked questions and have not always been clear on Luciferianism. That’s why I’d prefer to know more after reading from the best sources.

What’s so satanic about sun worship?

The sun being upheld by the ankh in Egyptian artwork

When I see conspiracy theories involving supposed Satan worship, one thing I tend to encounter, depending on what I chance upon via search terms or what links I find, is the belief among Christian conspiracy theories and theorists that sun worship is the same thing as worshipping Satan (or Lucifer, as some of them still erroneously call him), often as part of conspiracy theories directied at the Freemasons and the Catholic Church. They also claim that Mithras, Baal, Lucifer, and Nimrod (the last two aren’t even deities) were sun gods, and that Ra or Amun-Ra are analogous to Satan for no apparent reason other than they are high sun gods.

It makes me wonder, why do Christians find sun worship so satanic, and what does it have to do with Satan other than they hate any form of worship that doesn’t involve Jesus? I mean I thought for Christians Satan represented darkness not light. And don’t give me anything about Lucifer because he doesn’t have anything to do with Satan. What exactly does Satan have to do with the sun in any context? And of all the things Christian conspiracy theorists pick on, why sun worship?

Easter or Spring?

Easter is basically a Christian holiday, meant to celebrate Jesus, but it’s not based on anything pagan, at least from what I’ve been reading. Easter has basically just taken over from the spring holidays as something to celebrate in spring instead of the pagan holidays. That being said, this actually creates a lot of confusion.

I recently re-examined information on Easter, and from what I’ve read, Easter by itself has nothing to do with paganism. Easter doesn’t even have anything to do with the spring or vernal equinox. I’ve been tempted in the past to use Easter to celebrate Ishtar or Astaroth, but Easter has no actual connection to them. Nor do Ishtar and Astaroth have even a remote connection with the Germanic goddess Eostre/Ostara, a goddess whose name is commonly held to be the source of the word Easter. But even then, Eostre probably has little connection to Easter, and what connection Everything else about Easter is probably more to do with secular commercial tradition and has nothing to do with the Christian Easter, and barely anything to do with paganism except perhaps for the goddess Eostre.

This re-examining has put my plans into shambles. I planned to celebrate Easter by venerating Astaroth or Ishtar, but what’s the point of doing that when it doesn’t mean anything? I’d just be celebrating Easter, when it doesn’t mean anything other than a commercial/secular/Christian holiday. At any rate, I doubt there can be a pagan Easter nowadays. The only thing I can say is that I will just celebrate spring, but I’m no longer sure how.

Wearing a snake on St. Patrick’s Day

I don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but I have contemplated wearing a snake on St. Patrick’s Day. I was inspired by how, apparently, some pagans wear snake brooches against St. Patrick’s Day, and how the snakes Patrick was said to have driven out were actually symbolic of paganism. Patrick did not literally drive the pagans or commit an anti-pagan genocide, as some popular myths have stated, but he was basically out to convert Ireland from paganism and Christianity.

St. Patrick driving out the snakes

St. Patrick’s Day is officially a Christian holiday intended to honor the apostle of Ireland and commemorate Patrick’s conversion of the Irish to Christianity, but people also take it as a day to celebrate Irish heritage. However, in modern culture, St. Patrick’s Day is basically a day for people to just act Irish, wear shamrocks, think about leprechauns, and drink till their fucked. I don’t claim any connection to or interest in Irish culture or heritage. I’m just a non-drinker who’s against beer culture, and a Satanist/pagan who’s against Christian culture, so to me St. Patrick’s Day is just a coming together of beer culture and cultural Christianity, both cultures that I particularly despise. So my plan for the day is to honor the serpent in both pagan and Satanic symbolism, maybe honor Satan too, instead of Christianity and beer. That’s why I plan to wear a snake on that day.