As we arrive upon the holiday season, the time of festivity, the great winter mass, perhaps this is a good opportunity for some seemingly random and probably rambling discourse inspired by a rather cryptic quotation I found on a blog devoted to the writings of Carl Jung. The quotation is as follows:
“The first ‘devil’ in Christianity was Lucifer, the ‘light bearer’, ‘the Light of Nature’. It existed before the Light of Logos, the spirit. It is a feminine earthly light analogous to Pan.”
Try as I might, I have been unable to find a source for this quotation outside of Carl Jung Depth Psychology. Yet, strangely, it gives me a few ideas.
For some reason, I think the relation, perhaps even concordance, between Luciferianism and paganism. Perhaps I get much of this feeling from Michael W. Ford’s Magick of the Ancient Gods, for my money a good treatise on the idea of chthonic paganism, but maybe it will make sense once I explain it.
The logoic (that is, of the Logos) hierarchy of Christianity upholds the servants and avatars of the word of God in the heavens, while casting its rivals to the domain of the abyss. Thus many of the gods of old found themselves recast as evil demons in Christian lore, some of them forming the amalgamation of Satan himself (Zeus, Dionysus, Pan etc.). You find this in the Bible with many rival gods of Yahweh cast as either false gods or demons, you find it in Christian demonology such as the work of Colin DePlancy in his Dictionnaire Infernal where various pre-Christian gods from different parts of the world form a lot of the demonic rogues gallery, and in Paradise Lost where part of the infernal retinue consists of the gods of Egypt and the Levant. Hence, the gods of old, their creed, and the philosophies of their peoples and civilizations, only ever attained savage, wicked and heretical character precisely because that is what Christian and Jewish doctrine has made of them, or in a sense by the hand of the great Hebraic sky tyrant who fancies himself to be The Great Will.
When we consider the idea of Logos, from Hellenic philosophy right up to Christian philosophy, we come upon the idea of an external force directing the cosmos, bending its shape. This active cosmic principle, seen as the order of the cosmos, as the divine faculty of the demiurge of Platonic thought and in Christian doctrine the Word of God as embodied by his son Jesus, almost seems as a thing separate from Nature, supernatural in this sense that it is above and outside of Nature. Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, the old Demiurge, and perhaps other deities and philosophical conceptions, other iterations of The Great Will, represent this conception of Logos.
In that regard what might our conception of The Light of Nature represent? Perhaps he represents God-In-Nature, or Man-In-Nature, the light accessible to Man, a dweller (and transformer) of nature as Alexander Spirkin might put it. Pagans, both in the ancient world and in modernity, have seen man as a being in nature, partaking in the great spiral of the universe.
Where precisely am I going with this though, and what does it have to do with Christmas?
It is Nature’s Sun, Nature’s God, Nature’s Light, that is the object of pagan devotion. It is the birth, vacation or rebirth of the sun that is the reason for the season for pagans. For the ancient Greeks, this probably meant the travel of Apollo, the son of Zeus and a solar god of the arts, oracles and knowledge, to the mythical land of Hyperborea where spring was eternal. In Rome, December 25th was the birth of the sun god Sol Invictus, and this was celebrated with much gift-giving, light-kindling and merrymaking, including excessive drinking. Indeed, this was the festivity that the early Christians tied to the birth of Jesus, without any basis in the Bible, so that the Romans might accept their religion through popular custom. Some might claim that Mithras, the martial solar deity of the Mithraic mysteries, shares the birth date of Sol Invictus. And this may well have been linked to the whole theme of regeneration, that is the regeneration of the world through the re-emergence of the light of the sun, the regeneration of the cycle of the seasons, and the triumph of the Sun.
In a way the modern Christmas is pretty bifurcated. On the one hand, some of what we know celebrate very clearly derives from the old Roman festivity to some extent, and other aspects of it also coincide with other old winter solstice festivities and themes. On the other, the theme we have imposed upon it for over a thousand years is the birth of Jesus, which is only connected to the old tradition by the opportunistic co-option of the Roman festivities by the early Christians. It is largely from the Christian recasting of the winter solstice, however, that the commercialist mode of Christmas ostensibly springs. We echo the old festivity devoted to Nature’s Light, but in the name of Jesus and hence the Light of Logos. While, of course, the ways of old and their gods are still remember as barbarous idols in the eyes of Jesus.
In that milieu, you have the infernal pantheon, consisting of many of the old gods, and Satan, who shares many characteristics (at least aesthetic anyway) of a selection of the old gods. He occupies the spot that the Christian hierarchy allots him to, the domain into which Christianity has pushed all of its old rivals, all of that which opposed their God, their Logos. To renounce, to displace, to abolish, to truly transcend that order is to change that position. It is to return those demons, those idols, the princes of darkness, to their place of light, perhaps make the darkness conscious in a Jungian sense, to raise the fallen host from the abyss to godhood, to reject the false order of Yahweh in favour of the true one, one which spirals as nature does. Though, it must be said, there has always been chthonic force to the paganism of old. But, it was not in exile from the divine like it would be in Christianity. Instead, it was but the shadow of the divine, one aspect of it, the underworldly light of nature. Raise the Beast up to the heavens and perhaps he will no longer be beast, but just as much divine as any other god. Or, perhaps, as much a part of the web of archetypes, of deific masks, as the like of Apollo. And picture, as I have demonstrated in the past, the gods rebuked to the realm of the fallen – Ba’al, Astarte, Melqart, Pan, Tammuz, Ishtar, Amun/Ammon, and many more. In the hierarchy imposed upon them by Christianity, they are demons. Removed of that, they are the gods they once were. In this way I make sense of what may be called a holy “mission” in life: to bring forth the light of nature, where the Luciferian, Promethean light is accessible. For it is not in the logoic planes that the Christian mystics and their modern wannabes think enlightenment takes place, but in the cosmos, the material universe, the earth, where Man can meet with any sense of gnosis and knowledge, and attain the wisdom that is in the primary key to the freedom that would allow one to direct one’s own destiny and liberate your fellow man.
I hope I haven’t I seemed to out of it in writing this post, it really was simply a rambling that I wanted to do, and based on an admittedly mysterious and perhaps dubious quotation, but one that, somehow, helps me make sense of part of my worldview, and this slowly emerging “renaissance” (I say that as though I was ever truly able to part with if it as thought before) of pagan thought in conjunction with my own philosophical Luciferianism. On that note, Happy Yule, Merry Christmas, Io Saturnalia, praise to the blessings of the Jolfadr and long live the golden age of Saturn. I hope that, in keeping with the old Roman way, you enjoy the season with at least some drunkenness as I intend to do.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
During one of my regular online travels, I encountered a lengthy, fascinating and well-sourced essay entitled The Devil & the Goddess: Meditations on Blood, Serpents & Androgyny, originally written in 1997 by a man who goes by the name Gyrus and can be found within his 2007 book Archaeologies of Consciousness: Essays in Experimental Prehistory. The essay goes into incredible detail concerning the subjects of Satanism, the archetype of Satan, various strains of left hand path occult philosophy, pre-Christian pagan religions, Tantric Hinduism, goddess worship, sexuality, and many other topics, and according to Gyrus originated as an expression of dissatisfaction with the ethos of Social Darwinism he found in Satanism, particularly as expressed by black metal bands in interviews he had read via EsoTerra Magazine. In this essay, I feel I have found some keys towards crafting an identity for Luciferianism, particularly with Gyrus’ critique of Satanism and his dialogue concerning Taoism. What you are about to read is not, I must stress, a response to the essay itself, nor ultimately an appraisal of it as a standalone text, but rather a commentary on key ideas presented within it as it relates to the “real” subject: namely, the Luciferianism I seek to craft and embody.
There is one thing to bear in mind, of course, with his critique of Satanism. When dealing with Satanism, it is ultimately based on the LaVeyan doctrine of Satanism, as originally outlined in The Satanic Bible. While some theistic Satanists might be disappointed, I have said before that a lot of the core philosophy of The Satanic Bible permeates theistic Satanism as well, though the Church of Satan dares not to admit to such a fact.
Let’s begin this post proper with Gyrus’ commentaries on Satanism in “The Devil and the Tao”, more specifically with his critique of the social Darwinism of Satanism:
“The so-called rationalism of modern—usually ‘socially Darwinian’—Satanism rests on very dodgy philosophical ground, simply because when you bother to try and define the terms used in the idea of “the strong over the weak”, you’re invariably left with a sense of, “Yeah, and…?” It’s like saying you believe in the philosophy of “winners beating the losers”. Jello Biafra nicely undermined knee-jerk social Darwinism with his quip that “the strong prey on the weak, and the clever prey on the strong”; but in the end this just begs the question. Also, orthodox Darwinism inevitably holds that humanity is the latest in life’s progressively ‘better’ attempts at creating organisms. Surely social Darwinism would hold a similar view about contemporary culture? This doesn’t sit too well with the misanthropy, and contempt for the ‘lowering of standards’ in modern society, that is prevalent among many supposed social Darwinists. If the strong really do overpower the weak, why have we been dominated for so long by such a half-assed religion as Christianity? I think many Satanists, in claiming “strong over the weak” to be a universal principle of nature, are actually trying to say, “I’m harder than you and I could have you easily.” Or at least, “I could out-stare you, mate.” That’s another argument. But as for universal principles—forget it. Evolution and history are far too complex and multi-dimensional to limit themselves to the strategies of a fight in a pub.”
In this critique, I see many things. First of which, I see how easily I fell into the right wing of politics between the middle of 2016 and the outset of 2018. Even though many Satanists naturally find themselves averse to social conservatism and reactionary politics because of, among other things, the reactionary antipathy towards the expansion of human liberty and progress in the name of arbitrary tradition and the consolidation of state power and authority to achieve this end, the logic of social Darwinism permeates conservative politics so ubiquitiously, that many people hardly notice. The contempt for the “lowering of standards” is but one trope you see from them, as I often remember from High Tory lizards like Michael Gove when talking about the education system, but you also find it in the logic of free market libertarianism, wherein the market, in the society they ultimately desire, is this force of natural selection wherein those who are able to accumulate capital and wealth ascend to the top and those who cannot meet the demands of the market exist as essentially fish bait, and in this general conservative habit of extolling success above all else – if you aren’t successful, you’re not really worth anything.
More importantly, the brute simplicity of social Darwinism, and the primary mentality that drives it, are exposed in this section. The brute simplicity of social Darwinism lies in its emphasis on the hierarchy of strength, whatever basis for strength or superiority we’re going with here, and consequently in the ability to exert strength over others. The mentality at work is often invariably not just that the strong should rule over the weak, but also “I’m one of the natural elites and deserve to rule over the weak”, but even then this tends to amount to “I think I can beat you in a fight/arm wrestling competition/video game”. You kind of see it in this idea of being like a wolf as opposed to a sheep, after all wolves are mighty predators and sheep are defenseless domesticated herbivores who could be their prey. But wolf behavior doesn’t much the predatory vision of Ayn Rand individualism that some in the Left Hand Path suggest. Not only are wolves pack animals, immediately suggesting a little more collectivism, but the alpha male trope that supposedly stems from wolf behavior is inaccurate: wolves don’t actually compete for the spot of top dog in vicious battles for dominance with the strongest wolf becoming pack leader, rather a wolf becomes the leader of a pack simply by breeding with other wolves and producing pups which then form the pack. In fact, wolf packs are formed in much the same way human families are formed – that is, males and females from different families seek each other out, find each other, . Don’t just take my word for it; take it from David Mech, the man who originally wrote about “alpha” wolves in his 1970 book The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species and changed his mind in the light of new evidence concerning wolf packs some 35 years later.
The point of “If the strong really do overpower the weak, why have we been dominated for so long by such a half-assed religion as Christianity?” is a very fascinating and revealing dilemma for many social Darwinists. For the Satanist, Christianity is the religion of the weak and the dumb, the feeble teachings of the lamb, yet, it has dominated the Western world and the imagination of its people for less than two thousand years. Clearly, it is not the “strength” of the Christian religion that has propelled it to power – indeed, Christianity was pretty much persecuted by the Romans until the emperor Constantine embraced it; it gained power not through its own merits but through its elevation into the halls of power by the believing ruler. More to the point, if might makes right, Satan presents an odd scenario, depending on the interpretation of Satan being utilized. If we are dealing with the Satan of the Bible or even Paradise Lost, that figure is ultimately defeated, is he not? But then for many Satanists, Satan is not simply that figure, but a much broader, more universal and thus more powerful natural force that pervades the universe, a dark force of nature as Anton LaVey put it. Taken this way, what could be more consistent with might makes right than getting behind the might of nature itself! Returning to the main point, you might say that the clever rule the strong who rule the weak, and Boyd Rice certainly has, but even then, Christianity is not what I would call the religion of the clever. In fact, I believe it to be one of the most absurd and stupid religions the world has to offer, for reasons that I have devoted many a post within this blog over its entire lifespan to covering. So if the clever rule the strong, who in turn rule the weak, how did such an idiotic, foolish and self-contradicting religion as Christianity come to be the guiding religion of the Western world for over a thousand years?
At the risk of seeming glib, we find a very similar dilemma throughout fascist politics, especially in ethno-fascism. Why is it that if the strong rule the weak and the fascist represents the strong, that the fascist is always destined to be the loser in contemporary society? Why does the mighty Aryan/white man find himself subjected by other races, especially the Jews, when he is supposed to be the master race, the strongest and greatest race of mankind? Conservatives have a similar problem with their memes about how leftists are cucks, and they’re the “alpha males”. You find this encapsulated in Milo Yiannopoulos going on about Marxists being weak beta male cucks. One wonders, then, why the communists were historically more than capable of matching the West in combat, such as the Soviet victory over the Western-backed White Armies during the Russian Civil War, or the frequent routing of American armies by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Moreover, why does the fascist go on about how might makes right and yet never seem to line up in support of the victor? Oh wait, it must because the victor in the struggles of the 20th century was not fascism, but liberal democracy (or more or less whatever passes for democracy these days)! It must be, then, that the fascist places value on something other than simply might – if, that is, he isn’t simply using that as a cover for pure desire for a totalitarian, socially Darwinist state. Returning to Satanism, it seems to To value Satan, a being supposedly to be defeated by God, is to value so much more than the superficial value of might: otherwise, the logic of might makes right, taken to its conclusion, should lead to the Christian Yahweh or Jesus who defeat in in the corresponding myths.
I also find the overall mentality of social Darwinism to be inferior to the quest for knowledge, enlightenment, transformation and praxis, as well the broader sense of mission to emancipate mankind in this sense, and I will quote the late Robert Anton Wilson on this – specifically a section of his essay Don’t Be Afraid of Black Magick in which he criticizes people who pride themselves on being cunning black magicians as opposed to the “suckers” who deal in the light.
The hoodlum-occultist is “sociopathic” enough to, see through the conventional charade, the social mythology of his species. “They’re all sheep,” he thinks. “Marks. Suckers. Waiting to be fleeced.” He has enough contact with some more-or-less genuine occult tradition to know a few of the gimmicks by which “social consciousness,” normally conditioned consciousness, can be suspended. He is thus able to utilize mental brutality in place of the simple physical brutality of the ordinary hooligan.
He is quite powerless against those who realize that he is actually a stupid liar.
He is stupid because spending your life terrorizing and exploiting your inferiors is a dumb and boring existence for anyone with more than five billion brain cells. Can you imagine Beethoven ignoring the heavenly choirs his right lobe could hear just to pound on the wall and annoy the neighbors? Gödel pushing aside his sublime mathematics to go out and cheat at cards? Van Gogh deserting his easel to scrawl nasty caricatures in the men’s toilet? Mental evil is always the stupidest evil because the mind itself is not a weapon but a potential paradise.
Every kind of malice is a stupidity, but occult malice is stupidest of all. To the extent that the mindwarper is not 100 percent charlatan through-and-through (and most of them are), to the extent that he has picked up some real occult lore somewhere, his use of it for malicious purposes is like using Shakespeare’s sonnets for toilet tissue or picking up a Picasso miniature to drive nails. Everybody who has advanced beyond the barbarian stage of evolution can see how pre-human such acts are, except the person doing them.
Genuine occult initiation confers “the philosopher’s stone,” “the gold of the wise” and “the elixir of life,” all of which are metaphors for the capacity to greet life with the bravery and love and gusto that it deserves. By throwing this away to indulge in spite, malice and the small pleasure of bullying the credulous, the mindwarper proves himself a fool and a dolt.
With regards to my point, and I guess Gyrus’ as well, the TL;DR is thus: social Darwinism and the “alpha wolf” mentality of it is stupid because it tells people to focus on being the dominant personality who’s better than the suckers and the sheep rather than actually providing a framework by which the masses can emancipate themselves and seeking out anything more than the simplicity of strength, cunning and the reptilian psyche. There’s natural realism, the acknowledgement of the harsh realities of life and the necessity of strength and force, and then there’s simply wanting to gun for the king of the pack for its own sake. Church of Satan and Order of Nine Angles on suicide watch.
Next we will discuss how in “Satan’s Ancestry”, Gyrus discusses the pre-Christian lineage of Satan, and approaches discussion the Greek deity Dionysus as the nexus between the archetypes of Christ and Satan (before continuing such discussion in “Reclamation”).
“The greatest insights into Christianity and Satan can be gleaned from exploring the Greek god Dionysus. He is very typical of pagan nature gods: he is horned, signifying kinship with animals (like the closely related goat-god of the Arcadian pastures, Pan, another source of Satanic iconography); he is a ‘dying-and-rising’ god, reflecting the cyclic process of the seasons in nature; and he has a strong wild and untamed aspect, again like Pan, forming a bond with pre-civilised humanity. It’s obvious how Satan, Christianity’s repressed shadow, has derived from such an archetype. In its irrational suppression of sexuality, nature, cyclicity and the body, Christianity latched on to this archetype and pushed it so far away from human experience that it became alien, and we became alienated. The already feral, ego-shattering Dionysian godform became utterly evil and terrifying, a force to be held at bay at all costs.
Now things get confusing. Did not Jesus, like Dionysus, die and rise again? Both are intimately associated with vines and wine; both have been connected to the use of psychedelic mushrooms; the flesh of both is in some way eaten as part of their worshippers’ rites; and both names, according to John M. Allegro’s The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, stem etymologically from the same Sumerian root. There’s almost as much evidence connecting Dionysus with Jesus as there is with Satan.
It’s my feeling that we have here a crucial fork in the history of archetypes. Christianity appropriated the more abstract spiritual motifs of dying-and-rising nature gods (mainly supposed ‘life after death’) and up popped the mythical Jesus. The chthonic associations with the Earth, with sexuality and the body, were all repressed, compressed and demonised into Satan. In this division was lost all cyclicity, all the transformative and change-affirming power of nature’s process. We descended into truly profane time; linear time instead of rhythmic, spiralling, sacred time. Norman O. Brown has noted that “the divorce between soul and body [analogous to the Jesus/Satan split] takes the life out of the body, reducing the organism to a mechanism”. Likewise, the conception of an extra-terrestrial, eternal time (Heaven) as sacred renders the Earth profane, and binds us to the linear track of uni-directional historical ‘progress’. We may see ourselves as moving towards this sacred time—but it is an ever-receding carrot-on-a-stick, and tears us away from omni-directional immersion in the moment. “No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.” (Jim Morrison)”
Dionysus’s transformation, like so many pre-Christian pagan deities, into Satan, becomes a metaphor for the bifurcation of mankind, who is split between his bright and shadowy selves, extrapolated in turn as Christ and Satan, engaged in metaphysical conflict at the end of which Christ is supposed to be the winner in the end. This divorce is something that is identified by Luciferians, who desire the completion and unity of the human psyche. In this sense, it is worth discussing Dionysus as a Luciferian archetypal deity of sorts, one whose internal dialectical unity of “light” and “darkness”, or spirit and matter, embodies the unity and wholeness of self that is to be present within the Luciferian consciousness.
Where exactly are the “light” and “dark” sides to Dionysus? In Dionysus one finds both the celestial and the chthonic, his celestial component obviously derived from being a son of Zeus, but his chthonic component coming from both his lineage from the goddesses Demeter and Persephone in some versions of his myth and his identity as Zagreus, “the first-born Dionysos”. He is also frequently associated with chthonic powers, shown to be defeating his enemies by invoking his power as a shaker of the earth, and his chthonic and Olympian personae were venerated alongside each other. Dionysus even seems to have an association with Hades through his apparent powers of the underworld, and he himself made the descent into Hades in order to rescue his human mother Semele. Some, including the philosopher Heraclitus, identified Dionysus with Hades himself, even going so far as to say that Dionysus and Hades were the same being. Interestingly, in Heraclitus, the link between Dionysus and Hades is an example of the unity between opposites within his worldview, with Dionysus representing life and fertility through a phallic cult devoted to him and Hades representing death, and this unity is also solidified by water – for him, death meant the soul becoming watery after life, and for him a man’s soul became moist when drunk.
Speaking of death, it’s in his dying-and-rising that often links him to the “light” half of the Christian archetypal mythos – Jesus. And indeed he did die and resurrect, but not in the way Jesus did. Dionysus died within the womb of his mother Semele, who burnt alive upon looking at the face of Zeus (whom no mortal could behold without burning to death), but Zeus rescued the unborn Dionysus and placed him inside his thigh until he was ready to be born. In another myth, Dionysus died after being ripped apart by Titans, who then ate every part of him except his heart, only for them to be destroyed by Zeus used his heart to create him anew. Later in his life, Dionysus would die again and attain the status of godhood thanks to Zeus, as his son. But Dionysus can overlap with Jesus in more ways than just dying and rising. For the Orphics, Dionysus represented the Good in Man, whose spirit is to be cultivated as opposed to the wicked influence of man’s Titanic heritage. He of course, has a strong association with wine miracles just as Jesus does. He shared his wine and its delights to all people of all walks of life, just as Jesus would claim to offer his salvation to all people of all walks of life. Both were even identified as the morning star, as one of Dionysus’ epithets in the Mysteries was Phosphorus, signifying him as the light bringer. His more devilish or “satanic” aspects are perhaps harder to pin down, but perhaps his historical connection and often outright identification with Hades makes this a little easier, what with him becoming a master of the underworld and all. Although, if Pan is any indication, his retinue of satyrs and maenads must have lent itself to a retinue of demons in the Christian imagination, and his association with the serpent and the phallus must have lent to his lustful associations in the same imagination.
We have, in what is typically recognized as the Greek deity of drunkenness, festivity, theater and revelry, the simultaneously embodied archetypes of the redeemer, the savior, the initiator of the mysteries, and of the wild and indestructible life force whose revelries set the limits of the self asunder. His dialectical unity of opposites, and his appellation of Phosphoros, make me think that Dionysus is a sort of Luciferian archetype, though hardly the same thing as Lucifer himself (historical mythology doesn’t fit the sort of patterns we’d often like them to).
Continuing this theme of discussion, Gyrus critiques Satanism in discussion of Dionysus, or rather his being split in half by Christianity.
“In Satanism, Satan is seen as embodying the principle of division and duality, that principle without which manifestation—matter, flesh, bodies & sex—cannot occur. This is symbolized in the ‘inverted’ pentagram, where two points are directed upwards and one down. The dual realm of manifestation rules over the singular, united realm of spirit. In the ‘normal’ pentagram the spirit rules the flesh. Jesus is seen as opposing Satan, and embodies the spiritual principle of unity. So what are we to make of the actual historical beliefs and practices of the followers of these two figures? Christianity has turned out to be militantly dualistic, denying the body and ravaging the Earth, glorifying the ‘spirit’ and longing for some united heavenly kingdom. And Satanists, while obviously prioritising flesh over spirit, ego over collectivity, are inevitably involved in many practices which approach Dionysian revelry, serving to abolish individual distinction. Also, their emphasis on living for the moment instead of “spiritual pipe-dreams” could be seen to destroy the future-fixation of profane time, following Nietzsche into a whole-hearted immersion in the eternal present.
Our problems in analysing these contradictions betray our present evolutionary and cultural problems. In looking at the splitting of Dionysus, we’re seeing the mythical reflections of a phase in the development of the human species where the increase of city-dwelling and changes in agriculture & economics began to erode our bond with the rest of the biosphere. City walls are the rigidification of human ego-barriers writ large. “When Christians first distinguished themselves from pagans, the word ‘pagan’ meant ‘country-dweller’. For the first centres of Christianity in the Roman Empire were the great cities—Antioch, Corinth, Alexandria, and Rome itself.” (Alan Watts, Nature, Man & Woman) In our quest to urbanize our existence, to become as independent as possible from the less comfortable and benign aspects of nature, we have become lost in a mire of confusion. Witness Blake’s disgust at the industrial revolution in his phrase “dark Satanic Mills”, and the fact that most of the mill owners were probably devout Christians. Protestantism has been intimately linked to the rise of capitalism by psychoanalytical historians; Satanists advocate material power. A church in Coventry recently held a service in thanks for the car industry; and Jesus advocated shunning possessions and said rich people would have a bloody hard time getting into heaven. Such confusion seems to be the price for living under the sway of false dichotomies like Jesus/Satan, spirit/matter, collective/individual, intellect/instinct.”
There is an interesting contradiction referred to here with regards to Christian society, and nowhere is this more pronounced than in the United States of America. Stop and wonder how it is that society that is the most openly Christian, and chauvinistically so at that, is also most openly pro-capitalist, and the most reticent to direct the flow of capital towards the downtrodden and the poor. Jesus preached that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, yet wealth and Christian power intersect and permeate American society under the guidance of free market capitalist ideology. It is in America that what we call the “prosperity gospel” was born, and which permeates so much of Christian televangelism in the country. I can hardly imagine many rich evangelists in America actually giving money to the poor; they’re too busy telling them that God helps those who help themselves! Not only that, but, as I covered in my post against Cultural Christianity, Christian power has not arrived upon the world with the love, beneficence, virtue and compassion it preached, but instead with violence, hatred, avarice and treachery across Europe and the world.
And in a way perhaps this is but a window but the turmoil and contradiction that inevitably springs forth from dichotomous thinking, which I intend to go into in my future Deconstructing Duality series of posts. When you examine our world hard enough, you find darkness where there should be light, and nothing is as it seems. We think ourselves free and individuals yet we’ve hardly been under so much pressure to conform in our lives than in modernity. We see so much contradiction in our being and in our society living in an existence bifurcated by the cross, leaving internal division that once did not exist. The pagans of old did not see the universe in same way that Christians do now. They do not see an omnipresent struggle of good and evil, overseen by an all-powerful and all-knowing intelligence, and they did not see Man fighting himself between his superego and his id. They saw ups and downs, they saw cycles inherent to the process of the natural world, and they saw multifaceted personality in both the human and the divine condition, animating the mythological and natural universes. The contradictions of Christianity simply weren’t present until, well, Christianity became the dominant force in society.
Luciferians, and pagans (and I suspect Taoists and maybe Buddhists too), know that most of the dichotomies we organize ourselves with philosophically are bullshit, they’re pointless, they bifurcate the soul in ways that are not only unnecessary but also harmful to the soul and serve as an impediment to its liberation, wholeness and internal harmony. Our interest, therefore is in smashing these dichotomies, in resolving those contradictions, in freeing mankind from his bifurcated state of being, in leading humans toward a more internally harmonious and from there liberated spiritual existence. We see the superegoic light embodied by the likes of Jesus, Horus, Zeus etc. and the id darkness of the likes of Satan, Set, Hades etc. inevitably represent but shades of Man’s psyche. (or, for the pagans, shades of Nature). Splitting the individual between the two constitutes a barbarity of the soul. Because of that, it makes just as little sense to confine oneself to the shadow as to flee to the light never part with it. It makes equal sense to desire soul as to desire flesh in that they are both parts of Man. That is why we smash the dichotomies presented to us by Christianity and related philosophies with a hammer, and that is why we do not limit ourselves to light and darkness.
Much of the essay after this deals very strongly in the theme of goddess worship so as to build a case for a connection between Satanism and pre-Christian goddess worship, and from there a detailed discussing of sexuality in Tantric practice. Such a subject makes for interesting reading and you can make of it what you will, but since I ultimately did not garner a lot of clues for the direction I should be going in with regards to Luciferianism from such lengthy historical discussion of goddess worship and Tantra, we will skip most of it.
Later on in “The Androgyne”, Dionysus is discussed further in the context of androgyny.
“Dionysus, familiar to us here as precursor of the Jesus/Satan split and son of the Earth, was raised by women, often jeered at for his effeminate appearance, and referred to by a king in a text by Aeschylus as “man-woman”. Alain Daniélou presents copious documentation, in his book Gods of Love and Ecstasy, that Dionysus is almost precisely equivalent to the Indian god Shiva—from whom we may also derive another traditional aspect of Satan, the trident, which is closely associated with Shiva. One of Shiva’s principal aspects is the Ardhanarâshvara, the hermaphrodite. “The Prime Cause may be conceived as masculine or feminine, as a god or a goddess, but in both cases it is an androgynous or transexual being.””
Gyrus’ description of Dionysus, for me, embodies a principle of moving between opposites through his status as the nexus between Christ and Satan and his seeming transgression of the boundaries of gender. He becomes a Baphometic figure, in a sense. In another sense, he could be taken as the embodiment of balance. For me, however, this unity calls for more than just balance, but what I refer to as “elegance”. Why elegance, you might ask? My rationale for this comes from my game design studies, specifically Fundamentals of Game Design by Ernest Adams and Andrew Rolling. Here is how they explain it:
Interactive entertainment is an art form, but like film and television, it is a collaborative art form. In fact, it is far more collaborative than either of those media, and development companies seldom grant the level of creative control that a film director enjoys. Designing games is a craft, like cinematography or costume design. A game includes both artistic and functional elements. It must be aesthetically pleasing, but it also must work well and be enjoyable to play. The greatest games combine their artistic and functional elements brilliantly, achieving a quality for which the only word is elegance. Elegance is the sign of craftsmanship of the highest order.
What they describe is more than balance. It is unity. It is synthesis. And as craftmanship, applied to the spiritual principle of Luciferianism, translates itself as self-making, or self-creating. And in the vein of Gyrus’ discussion of the Tao, we should see this principle of self-creation as perpetual. Elegance then is an aspect of the principle of Praxis. Ah but if only Dionysus was a craftsman, then the metaphor would be complete.
The same sense of synthesis is found in Shiva, but it is not simply through Ardhnarishvara wherein Shiva and his Shakti achieve synthesis. Shiva himself contains many opposites within himself: he is an ascetic, the lord of the of yogis, and yet as the husband of Parvati he is also keeper of his household, he is one of the “good” guys in Hindu mythology who fights and destroys demons and yet he has a host of demons in his retinue (the ganas), and indeed he himself can assume many demonic forms within Hindu myth (such as Virabhadra and Kala Bhairava), he is most well known as the deity of destruction and yet he is also the greatest possessor of creative power and energy. This internal synthesis is a trait that I have always recognized in the deity, and is one of the key characteristics of his that I have always admired as among the qualities I admire the most about him. There probably is a great deal of commonality between the two deities, and perhaps it’s for this reason among many that Shiva fits so well into what might broadly be referred to as the pantheon of the Left Hand Path.
And speaking of Shiva, there is an interesting discussion of Shaivism in “The Divine Body” that I can use to point to something that I believe I already discussed in “For the New Luciferian Era…“.
“Tantric cosmology sees the ground of existence as the union of the male and female principles, Shiva and Shakti. The manifest world is the product of their interplay, where Shiva is the static principle of consciousness and awareness, and the female Shakti is the dynamic principle of energy and manifestation. This is very similar to the Vedic idea of maya, or illusion. The ‘material’ world is seen as an illusion weaved by the goddess Maya (incidentally, this was also the name of the Buddha’s mother), behind which lies the non-manifest reality of cosmic consciousness. We can also relate this back to the idea that Satan rules the world of manifestation—”The Devil is the lord of the world” (Luther)—and God rules the ‘non-material’ realm of the ‘spirit’. Tantra’s Shiva-Shakti cosmology is much more holistic, and does not treat the web of matter weaved by Shakti as ‘illusory’ in the sense of something to be overcome, some cosmic deception that inhibits us. It is seen as the basis of our spiritual quest, the ‘raw material’ with which we should work to transmute ourselves and the world.”
In the post I mentioned, I discussed Michael W Ford’s discussion of the creation myth presented in the Enuma Elish to elucidate the point Ford makes on human evolution in the context of the myth. The blood of Qingu, who is slain by Marduk, and the body of Tiamat, become the raw material upon which the world and mankind is based within Babylonian mythology, and as Tiamat and Qingu are chaotic, reptilian, abyssal beings, Ford is implicitly stating that it is darkness that is the raw material with which humans work to transmute themselves and evolve towards the light of Lucifer, or rather the unity of light and darkness embodied in the Holy Guardian Angel, the Daemon.
But more to the point, I should mention that this view of the world not as illusory but as raw material, I detect the sense of what I have read about Kashmir Shaivism, wherein the world is not an illusion superimposed upon the divine consciousness but a real, objective realm that can be sensed and observed as a product of the energy and consciousness of Shakti or Shiva. The more prevalent view in Hinduism, such as within Advaita Vedanta, has never appealed to me because of its negation of the world, and this sense of infinite regression that it brings with it – I mean, if the world is not real, what is, and from whence did this “real” object spring, and why is this reality real and not the one we experience, sense and observe? But in this form of Hinduism, at least from what I’ve heard, the material, phenomenal world is a real, tangible thing that can be observed, felt and experienced, which allows for the subject to at least attempt to divine the truth through observation and experimentation in a reality shared between him/herself and a multiplicity of other subjects. The interesting thing about this, at the root of their view of reality, is their view that the phenomenal world is based on the energy of the divine consciousness, or the divine energy of Shakti – the divine and the phenomenal form the same body of the existence, and become the same thing, which was otherwise cleaved by such schools as Advaita Vedanta.
I think it’s also worth touching on the comparison between the Hindu concept of Maya and its superimposition over reality and the Christian conception of Satan as the ruler of the world. Applying the Hindu concepts to Christianity arguably results in the Gnostic interpretation – the real Satan, in Gnostic Christian parlance, is the Demiurge, or Yaldabaoth, who created the material world as a prison for the soul, and this prison becomes equivalent to the illusion weaved by Maya, and in turn the unmanifested divine consciousness of the Brahman becomes the true God within Gnostic Christianity (the Monad, or Bythos). But in principle you can kind of see it play out within the Christian perspective: Satan, being the father of lies according to them, weaves a web of ignorance over God’s creation through temptation and deception, resulting in a sense in a world of illusion layered over the actual world. But for Gyrus, in Tantra and Shaivist cosmology, the setup of the inferior world of illusion superimposed upon the truth and divine consciousness is done away with – instead of being an illusion superimposed upon all-pervasive and unmanifested spirit, the material universe we experience and inhabit is a real, tangible, observable thing, and the basis of our spiritual, alchemical transformation. There can be no great demiurge pulling the wool over our eyes in this set up, and the classic dualisms of ontological God and Satan, the Monad and Yaldaboath, Maya and Brahman, become quite irrelevant.
In this sense, free of the grand and ultimately false meta-dichotomy imposed by Christianity, Gnosticism and orthodox Hinduism, the universe becomes not this chess game between Yahweh and Beelzebub, or Jesus and Satan, not some parlor trick imposed upon the real self which is somehow also God himself (who, by the way, is also for my money the only logical source of the grand illusion in the first place!), and not a prison imposed upon you by, if we go by Gnostic lore, the bastard offspring of a misguided emanation of God (by the way, how is it even possible for an emanation of the perfection of God itself to make mistakes?), but the authentic locus of the perpetual transformation and evolution of all beings, forms and processes within it, and thus of the quest and struggle of mankind to emancipate and perfect itself, within which praxis is lived and achieved, enlightenment is achieved and disseminated from the enlightened to the unenlightened, and the vivifying force of life, quest, and struggle animates sentient beings. That, for me, is not only a more sensible way to view the universe, it also creates the perfect ontology for any spiritual and philosophical worldview and pathway wherein liberation is the primary goal.
So why did I bother going through all of this? What body of philosophical ideology have we grasped for Luciferianism to inherit?
First of all, I think I’ve established in a very lengthy and detailed fashion that the social Darwinism of many old forms of Satanism, for me at least, would not be a part of it. It is a simplistic outlook, one destined to lead to subjection after subjection based on such an inane characteristic as either animal might or reptilian cunning. The state of a might makes right world is one in which the criteria for the creation, maintenance and removal of human subjection is based on the possession of the greatest strength and force, it is one in which the pure competition of power generates subjection and thus cannot be emancipatory, and it ultimately appeals to so little of the human (or even animal) condition as to be crude.
Secondly, while Luciferianism in some forms already emphasizes a unity and balance of opposites, here I establish the understanding of this not simply as balance but as a dialectical unity, light and darkness contained as aspects within the broader whole rather than simply existing as poles to be checked against each other by moderation. Following from this, it is pertinent not simply to recognize both light and darkness but to smash the relevant dichotomies entirely in favor of synthesis. This idea is extended towards a much wider premise, calling for the abolition of the divorce between the world and the soul that inhabits it. Rather than retreat from the material world, embrace the unity of soul and matter.
Third, building from the idea of Michael W. Ford’s interpretation of the Babylonian creation myth, and from what seems to be Gyrus’ assessment of Tantric Shaivism, I propose a kind of spiritual ontology based on perpetual transformation and self-making and re-making, using the raw material of the world, the chaos, the ceaseless transformations therein, for there is where the potential lies. We need no Redeemer so long as we have the capacity to renew and “redeem” ourselves.
Fourth, we should all be reading up on Tantra I guess.
If you’ve been around both atheistic and conservative circles, you may well have encountered people who identify themselves as Cultural Christians. Sometimes referred to as Secular Christians, these are people who formally do not believe in God and reject the supernatural claims of the Bible and the Christian faith, but nonetheless ascribe to the religious doctrine and philosophy of Christianity either because they identify with it on a cultural level or because they feel that it is the best moral framework available for a broad society. In The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey referred to such people as Christian Atheists.
Of course the term isn’t confined solely to neckbeards on the Internet who wish they were born in the Middle Ages so they can LARP as Crusaders only in real life. The term also has some purchase in the New Atheist movement: Richard Dawkins, despite his strident criticism of Christianity and indeed all of religion, has referred to himself as a Cultural Chrisitan, stating in the past that he sings carols like most British people do and resists the charge of being “Christianophobic” – a term no less of a fraudulent political label than Islamophobia and is simply used by conservative Christians to scaremonger about the secularizing of society. There is also a somewhat more malevolent aspect to the term: it was utilized by the infamous Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik in his manifesto, and I suspect because of this the position has its associations with white nationalists and alt-righters (which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me; I mean, if you’re a white nationalist concerned with the European “volk”, why would you pay lip service to religion based on a Jewish deity?). I have never subscribed to the Cultural Christian label, and in this post I intend to show that the main arguments in support of such a position are fallacious and delusional.
The main argument held by Cultural Christians seems to be that Christianity is the basis of the loose collection of ideas we refer to as the Western canon, or Western Civilization, thus to support Western civilization is to support Christianity from a cultural position. However, a cursory glance at European history (both Christian and pre-Christian) and the teachings of the Bible easily disrupts this premise.
Do you like democracy? Well, Western democracy didn’t originate in the Bible. It arguably originated in ancient Greece, in the Republic of Athens. Sure, it wasn’t perfect (women couldn’t vote and slavery was a thing back then), but it was also one of the early attempts at direct democracy – voters would have their say on every legislative issue. The Athenians were also so invested in their democratic system, and this even permeates into their normative attitudes; namely that they derided people who took no interest in politics, and considered them foolish and ignorant. Outside of Greece, the Roman Republic was another early form of Western democracy, in fact it was a classical example of representative democracy, where the electorate would appoint representatives to the legislature rather directly ratify each issue. There’s also the Althing in Viking Age Iceland, which is widely considered to be one of the earliest forms of parliamentary democracy. Similar assemblies where also held throughout the Germanic world, and even in Britain where they were referred to as folkmoots by the Saxons. All of this before Christianity took over in the respective territories, under the auspices of pre-Christian religious traditions. In contrast, the Bible implies that democracy is a bad thing because humans cannot govern themselves and that those who challenge a prophet of God in support of democracy will be destroyed by God. The feudal system that characterized much of Europe during the Middle Ages was justified with the doctrine of the Great Chain of Being – a Christian concept which entails a rigid hierarchical order that stratifies all creation as ordained by God.
Do you like freedom of speech? The Bible actually forbids this to some extent, with one of the Ten Commandments forbidding cursing and Colossians 3:8 condemning “filthy language”. Publications and universities were once controlled by the Catholic Church, and in 1543 they decreed that no publication could be distributed without the permission of the Church. European rulers during the Christian age also used the state to control scientific publications and artistic expressions deemed threatening to public morality and the Christian faith. The Inquisition was another way of controlling publications, specifically the regulation of the import of books to colonies in the Americas by the Peruvian Inquisition. And as will be delved into further later on, the Catholic Church punished intellectuals who denied important teachings of the Church. Of course, this is one instance when the pre-Christian world wasn’t much better, with Socrates being poisoned by the Greek state for “corrupting” the minds of the people with skepticism and the office of the censor in Rome being the origin of the word censorship. In fact, the notion of freedom of speech as was understood since the Enlightenment was probably not practiced throughout much of the ancient world, and was chiefly defended by a handful of philosophers.
Human rights? While England did establish the Magna Carta, it was opposed by the Catholic Church that dominated Europe and annulled by the Pope. And the Protestants were far from better, rounding up non-believers and women to be burned at the stake for absurd charges of witchcraft, diabolism and conspiracy to commit such things. Also, a little thing called The Inquistion anyone? Not to mention the occasional slaughter of pagans in Europe such as in the Massacre of Verden, and the brutal conquest of native tribes in Latin America and elsewhere. The Bible also has several verses in which torture is an approved method of subjugation, persuasion, not to mention redemption, as well as endorsements of slavery.
How about scientific inquiry? Galileo Gallilei was banned from promoting the theory of heliocentrism, which is now well-established as scientific fact, by the Catholic Church and forced to comply with the Church’s declaration that heliocentrism was officially false. Nicolaus Copernicus also faced censure by the Catholic Church, with his book Revolutions banned by the Church. The Catholic Church burned Giordano Bruno for promoting the concept of exoplanets and generally contradicting Catholic doctrine. So needless to say it’s not got a great record on science. Not to mention, although some scientists like Isaac Newton would have considered their inquiry compatible with their faith on the grounds that both science and faith entailed the quest to discover and unlock the secrets of God’s creation, Christianity holds that it is a sin for Man to try and explain God’s mysteries because God is undefinable by nature. The Bible casts a man named Thomas in a negative light for doubting Jesus and asking for proof of his resurrection.
How about preserving heritage? Not only did the Christians have a tendency to destroy pre-Christian cultural artifacts in Europe, destroying idols and temples and replacing them with Christian structures, but they also destroyed the cultural heritage of peoples outside Europe. When the Spanish Christian conquerors arrived upon the Mayan civilization, they not only abolished the native religion but also burned down most of the Maya Codices, thus destroying much of the literature of an entire people and destroying what could have been a source of knowledge on the culture and civilization of that people. The Inquisition in Goa burned many Indian texts, along with many Indians, predominantly Catholic converts who were accused of being crypto-Hindus. They also destroyed Buddhist artifacts that were seized by the Portugese. There are many Saints in the Christian canon who are venerated for the destruction of former pre-Christian heritage, such as Saint Boniface and Junipero Serra. It should be noted, however, that the Christians didn’t always destroy the artefacts of the former culture. During the Renaissance, for example, artists in Christian Europe appropriated the literature and heritage of the pre-Christian classical world, often remaking them as symbols of Christian doctrine. However, those artists also faced pressure from the Church for supposedly promoting idolatry, heresy and lust, forcing the artists to justify their works within the framework of Christian dogma.
Finally, how about tolerance? Again, the Christian powers weren’t very good at that, what with destroying belief systems they found heretical. The Christian powers also frequently persecuted the Jews both racially and religiously, often expelled from the kingdoms they inhabited, and in Spain they were forced to choose between baptism and slavery.
The argument that Christianity is the basis of Western culture can easily be disputed. Although Christianity is clearly an offshoot of Judaism and is thus based on Judaism, Western Christianity also layered aspects of Hellenic philosophy on top of it, reshaping them in its own image. The Logos is a title attributed to Jesus Christ within Christian contexts, and is generally used to refer to the word of God. The Logos also appears before Christianity in the writings of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, for whom Logos was the everlasting Word in which all things become united, and the ordering principle of the cosmos. The Logos was also held by the Stoics to be the animating principle pervading the cosmos, a portion of which is possessed by each individual, thus it is comparable to the Christian concept of the immortal divine soul. The Jews, by contrast, rejected the doctrine of the immortal soul, though in Jesus’ time some Jewish sects such as the Pharisees adopted the soul doctrine. Plato’s philosophy contained many ideas that would be characteristic of Christian philosophy. For instance, Plato considered there to be a division between matter and the soul, he believed in the existence of a divine, intelligent craftsman that he referred to as the Demiurge, he believed that the resultant creation comprised an imperfect but orderly cosmos, considered mortal existence to be a passing phase in the wider cosmic existence, and he believed that by sublimating irrational desires the individual can seek perfect purity and order.
Aristotle’s conception of the nameless Prime Mover can be seen as similar to the Christian conception of God in some respects, an eternal source of motion and cosmic order without defect (his rationale being that eternal things are always good and cannot possess defects), a being that never changes, has no beginning or end, and is an immaterial being whose activities are purely spiritual and intellectual. However, unlike the Christian God, this Prime Mover has no plan for anything that exists in his creation. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity was can be said to derive from Stoic philosophy to some degree through Seneca’s conception of a threefold divine power which “we sometimes call the All-ruling God, sometimes the incorporeal Wisdom, sometimes the holy Spirit, sometimes Destiny”. The concepts of Heaven and Hell have their Greek equivalents as well – the Elysian Fields was the realm were heroes, the righteous, and mortals related to or chosen by the gods would dwell in a blissful and happy afterlife with the gods, while Tartarus is the underworld where the rest go when they do, with all of the truly wicked and evil souls residing in the fiery pit of Tartarus. In general the concept of a transmission of a soul to an otherworldly plane after the death of the body occurs not just in Greek mythology, but several pre-Christian pagan traditions, as well as the monotheisitc religion of Zoroastrianism, whereas in Judaism there was no immortal soul and Sheol was the realm where all of the dead go regardless of moral conduct in an existence severed from life and from God.
Then there’s the little things. Many Christian Saints likely evolved from past pagan deities and figures, and others became the demons recorded within Christian demonology. The Saints also, in a sense, took on the function of the old tutelary deities, serving as the patrons of nations, cities, territories, activities, families, and other things, and they could also be prayed to for various favours, which may explain why many American Protestants and Evangelicals consider Catholicism to be a pagan religion rather than a form of Christianity. The depiction of angels as winged humans isn’t entirely Biblical (Jewish tradition has all sorts of monstrous and chimeric visages for its angels), drawing instead from the Greek depictions of beings like Eros or Nike and Roman beings like Victoria. You can see this in the angelic statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus in London, depicted as a winged angel with a bow in the fashion of a mature version of the Roman Cupid, which was conveniently renamed The Angel of Christian Charity, or how in the Roman Senate all statues of Victoria were removed from the Senate to suit Christian sensibilities, except for one statue which possessed wings. Among the differing views on daemons in Greece, Plato’s view of them as spirits that watch each individual to whom they are allotted probably influenced the concept of a guardian angel that sometimes appears in Christian circles. In general, both the angels and the demons come from the concept of daemons. And of course, many holidays we celebrate have their basis in older pagan festivals. Christmas has its roots in Saturnalia and various Germanic festivals, and St Valentine’s Day has its links to the Roman festival of Lupercalia. Even Western marriage is said to come from the early Christian embrace of Roman weddings.
Much of Christianity as we know it derived its culture and philosophy from Greek and Roman philosophy and pagan religion, which it used to form a doctrine palatable to gentiles and generate a non-Jewish superstructure for a religion that was still ultimately Judaic at its base. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to say that all of Western heritage comes from Christianity, when in reality the bedrock of such heritage was established before Christianity, mostly by Greek and Roman Hellenism. All the while, Christian power sometimes actively worked against the heritage it utilized to construct itself by destroying artifacts of Greek and Roman paganism and rejecting the principles of republican democratic governance they gave to the West.
However, to say that Western culture is Pagan culture would be anachronistic in the current context. Although the base of our cultural heritage is pre-Christian rather than Christian, things have evolved rather dramatically over the last few thousand years for European civilization, and now secularism makes up the current form of our culture, having shaped that which has come before and moved it away from strictly religious purpose. Rather than Western culture being Christian or Pagan in character, Western culture, like all others, exists as a dialectical, evolutionary continuum, wherein the form of what is considered culture and civilization modifies itself over time, sometimes gradually and sometimes radically, giving rise to new forms in a cycle of perpetual re-creation. The same condition goes for all of human history, a continuum upon itself, a continuum of our continual evolution and struggle for emancipation. It is ultimately this reason combined with the absence of anything resembling modern Western values in the Bible that I reject the argument for the Cultural Christian position, for it is arbitary to try and pigeonhole Western culture as Christian culture.
Of course there is the argument further still that Christianity was a beneficial force to the development of European civilization, and was instrumental in defending the continent from the march of Islam, especially during the Crusades. The reality, however, is quite different. The Teutonic Knights (a.k.a. The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem) often slaughtered their fellow Christians in Poland and raided the territories of Lithuania, forcing Poland and Lithuania wage war against them in the First Battle of Tannenburg. The Teutonic Knights also engaged in conquests of Orthodox Russia backed by the Catholic Church. In 1204, the Crusader armies sacked the Christian city of Constantinople, killing thousands of civilians, raping women, even nuns, pillaging churches and monasteries and smashing altars to their own God. As a result of such sacking, the Byzantine Empire was left weakened and unable to defend itself from the advance of neighboring Islamic forces, such as the Ottomans and the Sultanate of Rum. And of course, the Crusaders were known for massacring fellow Christians who followed a different sect, as happened to the Cathars during the Albigensian Crusade. Far from uniting Europeans under the Christianity, Christian power was simply the glue for a civilization that constantly went to war with itself under the auspices of the Catholic Church, with, ironically, the lives of fellow Christians crushed underfoot. And that’s not even counting the times they massacred pagan Europeans, such as in Verden.
Also, despite modern propaganda concerning how Europe’s Christian ancestors drove out Islam wherever it reared its ugly head, Christian powers in Europe actively collaborated with the Islamic Ottoman Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries, including England, France and Transylvania. Martin Luther was even somewhat sympathetic to Islam on the grounds that Islam rejected the veneration of images and opposed the Catholic Church. Islam was even tolerated by the Dutch at the tail-end of the 17th century, with Muslims being hosted in Dutch trading ports. So much for Deus Vult.
So not only is it utterly arbitrary to attach Christianity and Christian power as the basis of Western civilization, and not only was Christian power ultimately the source of a lot of violent national and ethnic conflicts in Europe that resulted in thousands of deaths, but Christian power isn’t even the strong bulwark against Islam that traditionalist ideologues claim it to be, given that the Crusaders allowed for Islamic powers to make ingress into Europe and the Protestants were happy to ally with Islamic powers to the East in opposition to the Catholic Church. Christian power truly was a cannibalistic, self-destructive, self-betraying force in its day, on top of being tyrannical, regressive and intolerant. A force of barbarity to behold.
Finally, the Cultural Christian position often entails an attempt to justify conservative politics using religious scripture. But if you’ve ever taken even a cursory look at the Bible, you’ll soon become aware that the Bible is not a consistent political manifesto, and there are several different verses that can be used to justify any position across the political spectrum, even in cases where it doesn’t mean what the people invoking it says it means. In this context, Cultural Christianity for the most part becomes simply the secular version of the longstanding right-wing Christian trope of using an internally inconsistent and contradictory tome to justify their overarching politics.
In summary, the Cultural Christian position is a vanity. It neglects the reality that Christianity as we know it is largely a product of Hellenic ideas and philosophy mingling with apocalyptic Jewish faith, and the reality that history, culture and civilization are continuums compounding upon themselves to start with. It neglects the barbarous reality of Christian power. Its assumptions about the relation between Christianity and Western values are not actually supported by history or even the Bible, and are the work of pure propaganda and pure ideology. It exists solely as the result of a contradiction of having a conservative mindset towards religion and culture within a Western Christian context but being unable to believe in God or the supernatural claims of Christianity. It, frankly, serves to appeal to the feelings of not just Christians (many of whom reject Cultural Christianity anyway because it’s not really belief in God and Jesus) but also the atheists who hold this position because, for some reason, they feel that Christianity equals The West (which, by the way, also dovetails nicely with dumb right-wing political thought concerning the “clash of civilizations”). If someone tells you that he/she is a Cultural Christian, feel free to laugh at such a person. They deserve it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the first of a series of posts I will write discussing the topic of the mythological figure of Jesus, because there’s a lot about the subject, and of the related subject of Christianity that I have on my mind. And to start, I’d like to write about an idea promoted by Jordan Peterson, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, because he sparked some interesting ideas in my head. I’m sure you remember Peterson best as the professor who stood at the center of a crowd of social justice warrior type protesters who were attacking a free speech rally at the University of Toronto where he was protesting Bill C-16, a Canadian law which would add the subjectively defined notions of gender identity and gender expression to a list of prohibited grounds of discrimination and criminalize “hate propaganda” based on gender identity – which, in practice, seems to amount to the ability to punish someone for refusing to call someone “ze”. But enough about that, let’s talk about his concept of the Divine Individual.
The Divine Individual is a concept that Jordan Peterson uses to illustrate as a principle that societies, in need of social cohesion, can use to unite under a banner and organize in order to overcome fragmentation whilst avoiding both nihilism and totalitarianism. Let’s go through an excerpt of his New Year’s Message on his YouTube channel where he outlines the premise. We’ll explore this bit by bit, exploring pertinent points made by Peterson.
“One alternative to fragmentation is, of course, union under a banner. A collective ideal, cause or purpose. The problem with uniting under a banner, as the postmodernists who push identity politics rightly point out, is that to value something means simultaneously to devalue other things. Thus to value is an exclusionary process. But the alternative is valuelessness, which is equivalent to nihilism, and nihilism does not produce freedom from exclusion; it just makes everyone excluded. And that’s an intolerable state: directionless, uncertain, chaotic and angst-ridden. When such uncertainty reaches a critical level, the counter-response appears. First the unconscious, and then the collectively expressed demand for a leader possessed by totalitarian certainty, who promises, above all, to restore order. Thus a society without an underlying principle oscillates unmoored between nihilism and totalitarianism. Human beings have been wrestling with this problem since the beginning of civilization. When our capacity to form large groups, for all its advantages, also started to pose a new threat: that of the hyper-domination of the state or collective purpose. But without the state there’s just fragmentation into smaller groups.“
I just want to raise this point because it sounds like this is how he understands the dichotomy of order and chaos. For Peterson, chaos is the state of society characterized by valuelessnees, uncertainty and nihilism, one that eventually gives way to order, but at an extreme level, which he identifies as totalitarian certainty. I find it interesting how this can be interpreted in the political/cultural context of current society: the modern left has embraced postmodernism and valuelessness, only to give rise to totalitarian certainty. An uneasy example of this is found in the social justice warriors, which openly embrace totalitarianism in order to prop up postmodern ideology. Of course that’s probably a more liberal perspective. A more conservative perspective might be that the SJWs, and leftists in general, embraced valuelessness and postmodernism, creating conditions that will allow totalitarianism to take hold: whether by the hand of big government, communism or radical Islam (and make no mistake: Islam and communism are, in practice, among the ultimate embodiments of what Peterson would call totalitarian certainty). The other reason I find this very fascinating is because the whole tension presented by Peterson it reminds me of quite a few discussions I had on the subject with other people, and it also reminds me of the theme of Law and Chaos in the Shin Megami Tensei series, as well as one of my favorite passages in the history of the written word: the opening passage of Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
“The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been.” – Luo Guanzhong, Romance of the Three Kingdoms
It illustrates Guanzhong’s cyclical worldview regarding empire, or more specifically the Chinese empire, which seems to be characterized by a history of fragmentation and civil war, followed by unity under the banner of a new emperor and dynasty, followed by fragmentation and civil war after the decline of the dynasty, and so repeats (presumably until the advent of the modern republic of China, but that’s as far as my knowledge of Chinese history goes I’m afraid). It also kind of evokes the kind of cyclical worldview found in Taoism, one of the main religions historically practiced in China and still practiced to this day. Speaking of Taoism, it seems to me like Peterson has a very yin and yang view of order and chaos, and the dangers of their extremes, much like I do. I suppose that’s why I like him, coupled with the way he elucidates this understanding. Anyways, enough of the massive tangent, let’s get back to the next important point.
“In the West, starting in the Middle East thousands of years ago, a new idea began to emerge – evolve is not too strong a word – in the collective imagination. You might, following [Richard] Dawkins, consider this a meme, although this is far too weak a word. This idea, whose development can be traced back through Egypt to Mesopotamia, before disappearing into unwritten history, is that of the divine individual. The eons-old work of the imagination is a dramatic presentation of an emergent idea, which is the solution to how to organize social being without falling prey to nihilistic divisiveness or deceitful totalitarian certainty. The group must unite, but under the banner of the individual. The individual is the source of the new wisdom that updates the antiquated, nihilistic or totalitarian detritus and glory of the past.”
This is where we, finally, come to the main point – the concept of the Divine Individual. In a way it actually reminds me of characters who might fulfill the narrative of the “monomyth”, or the Hero’s Journey, courtesy of Joseph Campbell, which funny enough we had to talk about during the second year of my game design course. You know, that structure that has influenced the development of many films, such as the Star Wars films, and details the archetypal hero’s quest for glory, or for greater knowledge and wisdom. I see the Divine Individual as possibly a person (or, in mythical terms, a deity) who has undertaken that journey and accrued a powerful new wisdom which he brings back to the world at large, in that sense becoming the source of the new wisdom.
Also, there definitely are examples of characters that might fit the idea of the Divine Individual in various cultures in the regions Peterson mentions. In Mesopotamia we have the story of Gilgamesh, who travels to find the secret of immortality only to realize that humans cannot achieve immortality. There’s also Utnapishtim (aka Atra-Hasis or Ziusudra), the man who built a great boat and survived a flood before Noah did it and was blessed by the gods afterwards. I could also make the argument for the Babylonian deity Marduk possibly being an example – by challenging and slaying Tiamat, the draconic embodiment of the primordial chaos, Marduk overthrows the rule of an older group of primordial deities and creates the cosmos out of the spoils of battle, creates mankind out of the blood of one of her monster allies, Kingu, mankind is created. In Egypt I find this is more difficult to find, but I believe the best example is the sun god himself, Ra, who every day undergoes a journey to the underworld, and with the help of his guardians (or sometimes on his own in the form of a cat) he defeats the serpent Apep and the forces of evil, who would otherwise destroy the cosmos, and ensures that the light of the sun continues to shine on Egypt. Why stop there?
“For better or worse, that idea reaches its apogee in Christianity. The divine individual is masculine because the feminine is not individual. The divine feminine is instead mother and child. However, it is a hallmark of Christian supposition that the redemption of both men and women comes from the masculine, and that’s because the masculine is the individual. The central realization, expressed dramatically and symbolically, is that the subordination of the group to the ideal of the divine individual is the answer to the paradox of nihilism and totalitarianism. The divine individual is the man that every man admires, and the man who all women want their men to be. The divine individual is the ideal from which deviations are punished by the group with contempt and disgrace, and fidelity to which is rewarded with attention and honor.“
And here’s where we come to the part where Peterson ascribes the role of the divine individual to Jesus. I can’t help but disagree with a few things here, but we’ll start with the role of Jesus. I’ll grant that the conventionally understood form of Jesus can indeed fit the role of the divine individual – besides being the offspring of a deity (which I don’t think was mandatory for the role), he studied Jewish law and went on to spread, supposedly, a new form of Jewish teaching that spoke of the end times coming, God coming to overthrow the corruption of Rome and telling people to love they neighbor. He is, however, not much of a reformer. In fact, Jesus is quoted in the Bible as saying that he favors the old Jewish law.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For I tell you truly, until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” – Matthew 5:17-18
And this apparently even includes the stuff about loving thy neighbour. That famous New Testament verse was actually from the Book of Leviticus, the same text that condemns lying with another man as with a woman. I suspect Jesus was only considered a reformer in the sense that he came after the Pharisees because he viewed them as hypocrites, possibly because they advocated following the spirit rather than the letter of Jewish law and maybe because they put less control of the Jewish teachings in the hands of just the priests. He would have been a conservative who wanted to preserve the dogma of Jewish lore, rather than the reformist source of a new wisdom that would have updated the dogma. In fact, one of the things he criticized the Pharisees for was that they didn’t kill disobedient children, which was sanctioned by Jewish law in the Old Testament, the very same law that Jesus was sent to uphold. Jesus was also the kind of guy who talked about fearing God, condemned entire cities for not believing him, reserved eternal hellfire for those he damned and ordered people to chop off hands and feet to cleanse themselves of sin. Sounds like he’s a figure of totalitarianism to me, and that’s not all there is to it (I will address that in a separate post). The other embodiment of totalitarian certainty is, of course, his father, Jehovah/YHVH – the deity who demands blind faith and complete obedience according to the Bible or you will be destroyed or condemned to eternal damnation. So the main problem I have is that Jesus is quite easy to deconstruct based on what is actually written in the Bible.
Interestingly enough, however, since there is a figure of totalitarian certainty in the Christian religion, what represents the opposite – that of valuelessness and nihilism? I would argue that, for the Christians, that doesn’t mean Satan, as one might suspect, but rather Hell itself. In the popular Christian conception of Hell, Hell is either the lake of fire where in the soul is tormented by demons, or a place of darkness where the soul is completely and utterly separated from God, either way it is the source of horror, weeping and the gnashing of teeth. But typically, it is the place where the soul no longer knows the love or the presence of God, and instead knows torment and anguish. There are verse of the Bible which seem to imply both
Other than that, there are other points to make. It is generally true that the heroic figures of many mythologies are male, and many goddesses embody a maternal role. But I can think of one female mythological figure who doesn’t necessarily fit this role – the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. She journeys into the underworld, the land of the dead and of death, without fear, to try and fight Ereshkigal, the ruling goddess of the underworld, only to wind up imprisoned, striken with disease and killed by one of her minions, and then resurrected by a eunuch of the gods and returning to the surface to – all to revive her lover, Tammuz (deity of vegetation), after he died. And the idea of the man that every man wants to be and every woman wants their men to be I find is easily exemplified in, say, Greek mythology, where we can find such heroic figures – like Hercules, Achilles, Perseus, Odysseus, Jason or Theseus – men who in the modern world are still lionized in popular culture. Or hell, not even just mythology: did someone forget about Leonidas I, or Alexander the Great if his ruler cult is anything to go by? Those people became immortalized, in a manner of speaking, both in ancient religion (as is the case in Alexander the Great) and modern fiction (Leonidas I).
The divine individual is the builder, maintainer and expander of the state, he who boldly goes where no man has gone before, and someone who watches eternally over the widows and the children. His power of direct and honest communication is that which identifies, discusses and then resolves the continually emerging problems of human existence.
I guess that’s one reason for him to think of Jesus as fitting the role, considering Jesus is sometimes depicted in a regal fashion, and is often referred to by Christians as their “king”. But I think this applies to Marduk as well. As the creator of the cosmos, king of the gods and patron deity of the city of Babylon, I think the role of the builder, maintainer and expander of the state suits a ruler figure such as Marduk. Or how about Ziusudra or Gilgamesh, who were both kings? Or how about the rulers who were deified in classical Greece? Indeed I see this applying outside the Christian context pretty much categorically.
However, I’m willing to put forward because of its long-standing presence in human culture, and the clearly positive values attributed to it, I think the idea of the divine individual is worth pursuing. I think Peterson’s concept should be influential to me at least, as it seems like an effective way of expressing the idea that . In a way, pursuing the ideal of the individual is an idea I suspect some Left Hand Path systems, if not many, actively pursue. In fact, I see this in Luciferianism, and the way we Luciferians view the example of Lucifer – a mythological being that has evolved for so long in the collective imagination, from possibly being a Canaanite/Ugaritic deity associated with the morning star to being the figure of the Enlightenment. For us I think he’s more like the Enlightenment type figure, though more influenced by the John Milton characterization of Satan (which, if we’re being honest, sort of comes from the Christian characterization of both Satan and Lucifer). On this basis, I think the concept of the Divine Individual is worthy of appraisal and analysis.
If you want to see all of the posts that Jordan Peterson discussed, click here. I highly recommend it, because his perspective is nonetheless a fascinating one.
Also, I think he kind of deserves a little appreciation. At least because, as you’ll see in the video, he seems deeply troubled, if not pained, by some of the maladies he sees in the modern world, and I think he’s really trying to set things right in his own way by speaking his mind.
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.
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.
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.
In the past I have sometimes talked about conspiracy theories involving Satan, devil worship, the occult, and pagan gods, and made artwork that flirted with some of the ideas presented in those conspiracy theories. At those times, I thought they were fun, even though I did not believe in them. I even played with conspiracy theories on various levels. What was I thinking?
I feel fed up with conspiracy theory, becasue not only are those conspiracy theories mere showcase the ignorance and utterly closed minds of fundamentalist Christians, but the fact that this is the case eventually shows, especially if you question the whole point. For the average Bible-worshipping fundamentalist Christian conspiracy theorist, everything that is not Jesus Christ and/or is outside his/her particular brand of Christian belief is actually affiliated with Satan, or part of some Illuminati/Masonic/NWO conspiracy (the latter kinda moot when you consider that often this very conspiracy is believed to be Satan’s plan for the earth). And often times, even more absurdly, they accuse the symbols, myths, and holidays closely tied to their own religion as originating entirely from some ancient monolithic “pagan” religion bent on world domination, probably as per Satan’s will. Some of them believe that there was an ancient monolithic religion devoted to the worship of Nimrod (a king of Shinar depicted in the Bible) and Semiramis (an Assyrian queen), and that Nimrod and Semiramis are the sources of the gods and goddess respectively, which is all just laughable at best.
And the problem with all this is that it gives a really bad image of everything pagan, occult, and satanic because, if you really believe that stuff or even fiddle with it, it partially derides from the gods, the symbols, belief system, and even knowledge of such things for what they really are, and when you get a better and more mature, informed, or at least refined understanding of those things then all this conspiracy shit starts to crumble.
And speaking of the occult and the satanic, I forgot to mention about demons supposedly being in everything. It’s not just neoclassical symbols that dot Washington DC that supposedly contain the power of occult forces, it’s fucking everything according to these people! Pokemon (among other video games), Santa Claus, Coca Cola (for Muslim extremists anyway), energy drinks, Disney, every popular musician and their music videos, the Super Bowl, sign language, even saccharine cartoons intended for little girls. Every innocuous thing imaginable, based on nothing more than the crazed and distorted imaginations of some people and their utterly closed beliefs, themselves pathetic excuses for religious beliefs to begin with.
The fact is, it’s all from the point of view of not just Christianity, but some even more twisted and paranoid version of Christianity, more times than not designed to suit some delusions and/or extreme agendas to deceive and/or divide ordinary people. And if it has any influence, that is worrisome. But for the mind that is open, perhaps mature and refined too, then these ideas will eventually become worthless, and hopefully that will lead to a correction, an ability to understand the symbols, gods, and belief systems of the world for what they are, not to mention Satan and paganism. And if that leads to either acceptance or rejection of any of those things, it doesn’t matter, so long as whatever you do is based on a better understanding of things, and your true connection or relation to things.
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?