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

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

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

 

God himself

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

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

Kemosh (aka Chemosh)

Kemosh (aka Chemosh)

 

The messianic archetype

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

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

 

Some familiar public holidays

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

 

Heaven and Hell

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

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

Fallen angels in Hell by John Martin

Fallen angels in Hell by John Martin

 

Angels and demons

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

 

 

Good old fashioned Christian values

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

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

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

 

The influence of the mystery cults

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

 

So what does that mean, exactly?

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

 

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

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The Divine Individual

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.

Lucifer

Lucifer

 


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.

A bit on pagan festivals and a request for Halloween advice

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

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

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

May or may not adopt the festivals of the wheel.

May or may not adopt the festivals of the wheel.

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

Detaching from paganism

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

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

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

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

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

Boredom with conspiracy theories

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.

Like this shit right here. How fucking spurious can you get.

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.

What’s so satanic about sun worship?

The sun being upheld by the ankh in Egyptian artwork

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

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

Easter or Spring?

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

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

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