The Devil, The Goddess, and Luciferianism

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.

A typical wolf pack

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.

Why seek power for its own sake when you can seek the philosopher’s stone instead?

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).

A mosaic depicting Dionysus riding the panther

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.

Thor, seen here, philosophizing with a hammer (Thor and the Midgard Serpent, by Emil Doepler)

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.

Shiva as Nataraja within a hexagram

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.

Baphomet, the esoteric symbol of the dialectical unity of opposites

Mythological Spotlight #8 Part 2 – Lucifer

Constantino Corti’s depiction of Lucifer

Description

The light bringer, the representation of the morning star. In popular imagination he is typically seen as synonymous with Satan, due to his identification with the myth of the fall from Heaven. Over the years the character of Lucifer has acquired traits associated with adversarial figures because of the role of the light bringer’s concordance with other traditions and stories, and the way they interpreted the bringing of light and the ascension of the morning star. Depending on who you ask, he is either a benevolent figure, a trickster, an evil king of demons or somewhat more ambivalent; an angel, a demon or a man.

 

History

The name Lucifer means “light-bringer” or “morning star”, and seems to be a personification or deification of the morning star.

The earliest appearance of a morning star deity is generally found in the ancient Canaanite deity Attar (also known as Athtar or Ashtar). Attar is mainly known for a Canaanite myth wherein he attempts to take over the throne Baal (aka Hadad), the deity of storms and fertility, with the support of Asherah while he is killed by his rival Mot, the deity of death, but proves to be unworthy of the throne. He is identified with the planet Venus, much like the goddesses Ishtar and Aphrodite. In fact, it is believed by some scholars that Attar may have been a male equivalent of the goddess Athtart or Astarte, or even started out as a male form of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. The Arabians also worshiped Attar not just as a male deity of the planet Venus, but as a weather deity responsible for rain and thunderstorms, as well as a fertility deity whose fertility is dispensed through rain thus symbolizing the power of the sky as a generative force. The Arabians may also have recognized him as a war deity. These characteristics mark him as a similar deity to Baal, and it is even suggested that Attar may have been overtaken in Ugarit and Canaan as the warrior deity of fertility and bringer of rain.

Attar may also have been associated with another deity: Chemosh; known to the Hebrew Bible as the Abomination of Moab. Chemosh may have been an important rival of the Jewish deity Yahweh (later YHWH), and at one point the two deities were pretty similar to each other. Both Yahweh and Chemosh were war deities and the deities of a specific tribe or nation (Chemosh for the Moabites, Yahweh for the Israelites), but Yahweh eventually became angrier. Chemosh was also worshiped alongside Ashtar as a syncretic deity called Ashtar-Chemosh. It is important to note that Chemosh might have been identified with the morning star through his syncretism with Attar/Ashtar, but there is little that suggests Chemosh himself is intrinsically linked with the morning star.

The morning star appears in the Bible, specifically the Book of Isaiah, where refers to someone who has supposedly fallen from the grace of God.

How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” – Isaiah 14:12

The term “morning star”, or Helel ben Shahar, is often substituted for the name Lucifer, and the Isaiah verse is used to link Satan with Lucifer in Biblical tradition. The problem: who is the morning star in this instance? Morning star, and by extension Lucifer, is used as an epithet in the Bible, rather than a name proper, similar to how Satan is used as a title in Judaism. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus identifies himself as the morning star.

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” – Revelation 22:16

Is Jesus, then, Lucifer? And if Lucifer is supposed to be the same as Satan, what does that make Jesus then? What does it make Satan? Not to mention, the title of Lucifer has apparently even been applied to John the Baptist. So what about him? Instead, the morning star of Isaiah is typically identified as a human, more specifically a king of Babylon who is struck down. The king in question is usually named Nebuchadnezzar II. He is known as the king who ordered the construction of the famous Ishtar Gate as well as the purported Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the walls of Babylon which were famous for the fact that they were so broad that you could race chariots on them. He is also known for leading the expansion of the Babylonian empire through the conquest of the Scythians, Cimmerians, Arameans and Israelites and the defeat of the Assyrians and the Egyptians. He made Babylon one of the largest and most powerful cities of the ancient world through his conquests. However, he is portrayed negatively in the Bible, perhaps because he was also responsible for Jews being held captive in and later exiled from Babylon, as well as the destruction of the original Temple of Solomon in 587 BC. Of course, that is one speculation. It is said that the title Lucifer could’ve been applied to any other king. Chapter 14 of the Book of Isaiah is intended to be a prophecy regarding a king who was then mighty but will seen face defeat and fall from glory. Indeed, the king is accused of holding in his heart ambitions of ascent to godhood.

You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” – Isaiah 14:13-14

The epithet of the morning star, with its brilliance, is supposed to signify how great the king was or believed himself to be, in order to stress the magnitude of his fall. Lucifer, here, was the title of a human; a human who stood against the Israelites in his quest to expand Babylon and thus he was seen as standing against YHWH himself.

Speaking of Helel ben Shahar, there was an Ugaritic deity named Shahar associated with the dawn. He has a twin brother named Shalim, who is considered a deity of the dusk. Both of them are sons of the sky father El. They are called upon in an Ugaritic hymn to protect the fields and their harvest. Some sources speak of a deity named Helel, who it is claimed tried to usurp the throne of El/Elyon but was defeated by , and they claim that this myth is the precursor to the prophecy of the king of Babylon in Isaiah. However, not much is known about this pre-Isaiah myth.

There is another Biblical story that is used to link another Lucifer figure with the idea of a fallen angel. The Book of Ezekiel recounts another prophecy against an ancient king, this time against a king of Tyre, an ancient Phoenician city which was sieged by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II between 586 and 573 BC. Ithobaal III is said to have ruled Tyre between 590 and 573 BC. The prophecy states that, like the king of Babylon, the king of Tyre viewed himself as a living deity, who had grown proud because of the wealth that he had purportedly amassed through his skill in trading and his wisdom, and that the “Sovereign Lord” will send barbarians against the king in order to kill him. There then follows a lamentation from the “Sovereign Lord” in which the king is compared to an unnamed cherub, who was the “seal of perfection” in the garden of Eden, adorned with all manner of precious stones, but was driven from the mount of God for having being filled with pride, desecrating sanctuaries and trading dishonestly, thereby having sinned against YHWH. Again, there is no implicit attachment to Satan found within the prophecy itself, and the prophecy refers to a human character, with the comparison. There is also no direct reference to the morning star, just that the theme is similar to that of the prophecy in the Book of Isaiah.

The idea of Lucifer as a demonic fallen angel crystallizes in the Middle Ages, replete with infernal artwork depicting him as a horned, animalistic devil. This is no doubt due to the identification of Lucifer with the Satan whom Jesus beheld falling from heaven according to the Gospel of Luke, and of course the pantheon of pre-Christian deities who were used to create the visage of Satan. By this time, there is also the influence of Dante’s Inferno to consider, which had a powerful effect on the Christian, not to mention collective, cultural imagination. In it, Satan is trapped waist-deep in a lake of ice in resentment for the crime of having betrayed God. By this point, Lucifer had already been linked to Satan by the Church and Christian tradition, with the pride and his self-deification of earthly kings identified with the morning star being used to explain the fall of Satan. The seven deadly sins were already codified into Catholic tradition by Pope Gregory I well before the Middle Ages, and in the 15th century these sins were related to specific demons. In the case of Lucifer, it is probably not an accident that the sin related to him is pride.

The closest thing to an actual deity named Lucifer is the Greek deity named Eosphoros (aka Phosphorus, Heosphorus). Eosphoros was the Greek deity of the morning star, which was the planet Venus as it appeared during the day. His name meant “dawn-bringer”. His counterpart, Hesperus, represented the evening star. Both Eosphoros and Hesperus are associated with the planet Venus, and they seem to represent different phases of the morning star. They are also depicted as bearers of light or torches. The two deities are generally accepted as synonymous with or complimentary towards each other, because the morning and evening star are both references to Venus, or rather Venus in certain phases.

This theme may not necessarily have been new to the Greeks. Paul Collins suggests that, in Mesopotamia, Attar and Ishtar may well have represented male and female aspects of the planet Venus, with Attar representing the morning star and Ishtar representing the evening star, and one aspect representing war and the other representing love and sex.

Phosphoros is also a title given to Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting and the moon. In Rome, this has resulted in the name Diana Lucifer, depicting the goddess Diana as the bringer of light.

The name Lucifer also appears as in a positive context within, of all religions, Christianity. In the Middle Ages, there existed heretical sect of Christianity known as Luciferianism – not to be confused with the modern spiritual movement known as Luciferianism. The medieval Luciferians believed that Lucifer was the actual creator of the world and mankind who was once in heaven before being unjustly expelled by the Christian God, who is seen as the true evil deity, along with his host of angels. They believed that one day Lucifer would eventually overthrow the Christian God. Because they believed the Christian god to be evil, they did all they could to displease him so that they may be worthy of joining with Lucifer in the afterlife. It was basically an inversion of the Christian doctrine concerning good and evil. The sect was, naturally, persecuted by the Catholic Church, with many adherents burning for their beliefs. There is also an older sect of Christians who were known as Luciferians in the 4th century, but they did not worship a being named Lucifer in any capacity. They were rather named after a Roman Christian bishop who happened to be named Lucifer Calaritanus (aka Lucifer of Cagliari), who staunchly defended Catholic orthodoxy and opposed the doctrine of Arianism – a sect that rejected the notion of the Holy Trinity and held that Jesus was created by and indistinct from God. The sect was dedicated to his views on early church doctrine and to the deposing of Arian clerics and excommunication of Arian bishops. Some Gnositcs, consider Lucifer to be a messenger of the true and unknowable God, or an opponent of the Demiurge, even going so far as to identify him with the serpent of Eden. This is, of course, an alternative interpretation of the Genesis account, which tells of the serpent as just a talking serpent. Some Gnostics also believe that Lucifer is identical to the Greek Prometheus.

Lucifer is very often compared to Prometheus, based on the premise that Prometheus stole fire from the gods (or more specifically Zeus) so that he could give it to mankind, thus imparting knowledge. This is unsurprising, given the nature of the Lucifer myth. Lucifer is seen as having gone against the heavens themselves, defying either God or the gods either because he disagreed with their position on how to run the cosmos or simply because he prized the throne of heaven for himself. Either way he was cast down. Prometheus, whether he liked it or not, betrayed the gods so that he might bring the fire of Olympus to mankind, and for this he was chained to a rock until eventually being rescued by Hercules. It’s easy to see how one might draw similarities between the two. Beyond that, however, there is no obvious connection between the two (for one thing, Prometheus has nothing to do with the morning star). Some of this connection stems from the premise that Lucifer and the serpent of Genesis are the same being. According to the Genesis account, however, the serpent has nothing to do with Lucifer, or Satan for that matter. It’s just a clever talking serpent. I suppose the main connection drawn between the two is in the role they play, being dispensers of a kind of forbidden knowledge after all (the knowledge of fire vs the knowledge of good and evil). That said, I think a stronger case can be made between Prometheus and the Grigori – the angels in the Book of Enoch who became attracted to human women, were cast out of heaven and decided to gave the forbidden knowledge of the angels to Man.

Over the years Lucifer has had many roles in newer spiritual or occult traditions before the 21st century. The Anthroposophists considered Lucifer to be the embodiment of the side of Man that is imaginative, creative, artistic, spiritual and idealistic, as opposed to Ahriman who represented the rational, materialistic side of Man. Helena Blavatsky considered Lucifer to be “the spirit of Intellectual Enlightenment and Freedom of Thought” who guides the intellectual progress of humanity and sparked the initial awakening of the soul of Man within the bodies created by Jehovah. The Process Church of the Final Judgement views Lucifer to be one of the four “Great Gods of the Universe” alongside Satan, Jehovah and Jesus. They consider Lucifer to be a deity of light, love and sex responsible for the creation of women. Eliphas Levi considered Lucifer to be the name of a force that he claims was identified by the Hebrews as Samael and Satan by “other easterns” (an identification which, as we’ve established, the historical evidence does not support), and he believes that the “Lucifer of the Kabbalah” is not an evil being but rather “the angel who enlightens, who regenerates by fire”. He has also stated that Lucifer is an angel who shunned heaven so that he may illuminate the “unworked fields of light”, but would not recognize him as an angel of light unless he submitted to “the eternal order”. In his description of the pentagram, he also seems to hint Lucifer as a force of light, in contrast to a force of dusk and darkness (or Vesper), and yet seemingly two sides of the same coin. Albert Pike of the Freemasons has given praise to a figure named Lucifer, which may have led him and his organization to be accused of worshiping Lucifer or rather of worshiping Satan, but it is unlikely that this figure actually is Satan in any way. His views on God and Lucifer were the subject of an infamous hoax by Leo Taxil intended to smear to the Freemasons. Gregor A. Gregorius considered him to be a brother of Christ, while his organization Fraternitas Saturni was of the view that Lucifer is a higher “octave” of the principle of Saturn (with Satan being the lower, implying that the two are two different phases of the same concept), associated with the Logos. Manly P. Hall is said to have praised Lucifer as “the individual intellect and will which rebels against the domination of Nature”. Aleister Crowley at one point identified Aiwass, the spirit Crowley claimed to have heard, with Lucifer, whom he considered to be a solar and phallic force. The Gnostic interpretation of Lucifer found new genesis through the ideas of Ben Kadosh (real name: Carl William Hansen), who views Lucifer as the rebel who gives Man secrets that were forbidden by the Christian church. He also equates him with the Greek deity Pan, and the alchemical element of gold.

In the modern era, Lucifer as an icon found his own spiritual movement, drawing from aspects of the philosophy of Satanism. Luciferianism is a movement with multiple manifestations and more than one organization representing a form of Luciferian philosophy. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Assembly of Light Bearers, formerly known as the Greater Church of Lucifer, based primarily on the ideas of contemporary Left Hand Path occultists Michael W. Ford and Jeremy Crow. Lucifer, for this brand of Luciferianism, is an adversarial figure associated with pride, intelligence and self-liberation, and a desire to climb ever higher on the path of personal evolution towards a maximization of personal potential (a kind of “apotheosis” if you will), and an opponent of blind faith and restrictive religious dogma. His historical attachment to the planet Venus is very much accounted for, but he takes on some adversarial characteristics associated with beings like Satan, Samael, Ahriman or Azazel. He is mostly treated as an archetype, whose qualities are to be applied to any individual who desires to follow the Luciferian path, but some adherents take a more theistic approach. Another organization is the Neo-Luciferian Church, founded by Michael Bertiaux and Bjarne Salling Pedersen. This organization takes a more Gnostic approach to Luciferianism, apparently influenced by Western esoteric tradtion, Gnosticism, Voodoo and the works of Ben Kadosh. They view Lucifer as basically the light-bringer in the original sense, alien to Christianity and having nothing to do with Satan. In fact, there seem to be many Luciferian groups out there today, with their own take on Lucifer and Luciferian philosophy.

 

Conclusion

To summarize again: Lucifer begins in Mesopotamia or Canaan as a deity of war, fertility and the planet Venus named Attar, who sought the throne of Heaven. The morning star was symbolized as other deities as well, one of whom may well have rebelled against El. In Greece he was a non-violent deity who simply brought the light of the morning star, an archetype that gradually metastasized into the concept of bringing the light of knowledge and enlightenment. He also came to be associated with powerful men who may have been seen as godlike, and who in their apparent actions towards the Israelites came to be seen as enemies of YHWH. He became attached to the ideal of Man seeking divinity, which may have linked him to a rather humanistic mythological ideal of the knowledge of the gods being spread to humans by beings who, in doing so, betray the gods. This was Satanic, adversarial, to the Christians who stressed that faith in God was key to salvation, and the idea that Man can grasp the divine on his own was the height of hubris, of sinful pride. This is perhaps how Lucifer transformed from merely the morning star, to the Satanic rebel against God. Like Satan, then, Lucifer is a concept that has evolved throughout the ages, probably for considerably longer than Satan considering that the deification of the morning star originates in Mesopotamian polytheism while the concept of Satan (not more broadly the principle of cosmic evil) evolved from Judaism. Lucifer became the epitome of the ideal of Man seeking the throne of heaven that he may sit upon it, through his own exertion, and through like the morning star or perhaps the Promethean archetype he spreads the light of the morning star, or of fire, to shine on Man. To me, thinking about it on my own, it seems fairly obvious how Lucifer came to be as he is. That the morning star is also the evening star, by virtue of the both of them being Venus, can be very easily interpreted as Lucifer, as a Venus-based archetype, containing both light of day and the darkness of light; or, the archetypal quantities of light and darkness. Perhaps this is what Michael W. Ford is hitting on.

Mythological Spotlight #8 Part 1 – Satan

For Part 3 of my planned series, I offer you a special Mythological Spotlight dedicated to comparing the archetypes of Satan and Lucifer, both of whom are important mythological figures within the current of Satanism, as well as its sister philosophy known as Luciferianism. The main impetus for these two posts is simple: although Satan and Lucifer are treated in the popular imagination as similar entities, if not the expressly synonymous, the two characters are known to have two separate historical origins within two distinct contexts. I hope that in these posts, I will adequately demonstrate how this is the case.

I had originally intended to wrote a single Mythological Spotlight comparing Satan and Lucifer, essentially making for two Mythological Spotlights in one. However, as I was writing it I decided that the single post would be excessively long, so I decided to split this into two part. The first part of this Mythological Spotlight, of course, concentrates on the character of Satan. The second part is in progress should be released soon enough.

satanjobboils_blake
Satan smiting Job with boils, as depicted by William Blake

 

Description

To Christians, he is The Devil, The Beast, That Old Snake, 666 and other names, the being that leads people away from God’s will and into sin and will soon do final battle with God. To Jews, he is just another angel of God, just that his main function is to test the faith of Mankind. To Muslims, he is Iblis, the one who refused to bow to Adam and revolted against Allah in order to become the master of the djinn. To Satanists, he is the embodiment of Man’s true nature, and the representation of Man as he ought to be. To others, just a bogeyman made up of all manner of pre-Christian deities designed solely to revile pre-Christian religions. Satan is a character with a complex and storied history, and one that continues to evolve.

 

History

Satan seems to have originated as a title in Hebrew lore, meaning “adversary”, “opposer” or “accuser”. It could have referred to anyone, often including a human, who served as an obstacle to the individual believer. Sometimes it can refer to an invisible or illusory obstacle placed by YHWH. The most familiar context of the name is that of a specific angel, or a specific kind of angel, found within the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh; one who tests the faith of Man, argues his sins to YHWH and creates difficulties for humans under YHWH’s command. This is the angel typically identified as Ha-Satan, or “the Satan”, the angel cited as the original Satan. This Satan is the angel who features in the Biblical story of Job, who thought that Job was only humbly serving YHWH because he gave him a blessed life, and that if he took it all away he would stop praising his name. YHWH accepted the challenge, and so he ordered the Satan to take his misfortune away from him and ruin his life. As an angel of YHWH, the Satan requires the permission of YHWH before he can act, and cannot act independently according to Jewish lore.

Since Satan is a title, “the Satan” or Ha-Satan is not necessarily a proper name, but rather a title referring to the role played by the angel in question, the identity of the Satan of the book of Job has been the subject of some debate. The name Satan is typically used to identify the Satan of Job, perhaps to relate to the Christian concept of Satan. However, traditional and apocryphal Jewish sources consider the identity of the Satan of Job to be Samael, also known as the angel of death. Little appears to be known about Samael, and opinion of Samael can vary wildly within Jewish tradition. Samael is either the prince of evil itself, a being unaligned with the heavenly host or even outside of it, which is the view held in some later or more apocryphal texts, or as simply an angel who, though pernicious and often malevolent, is still a servant of YHWH and is simply playing his role in YHWH’s order of things, which aligns with the view of the concept of Satan held within mainstream Judaism.

In the Ascension of Moses, an apocryphal Jewish text, Samael is identified directly as the angel who tests Job, apparently to weaken his faith so that he may collect his soul:

There was another angel in the seventh heaven, different in appearance from all the others, and of frightful mien. His height was so great, it would have taken five hundred years to cover a distance equal to it, and from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet he was studded with glaring eyes, at the sight of which the beholder fell prostrate in awe. “This one,” said Metatron, addressing Moses, “is Samael, who takes the soul away from man.” “Whither goes he now?” asked Moses, and Metatron replied, “To fetch the soul of Job the pious.” Thereupon Moses prayed to God in these words, “O may it be Thy will, my God and the God of my fathers, not to let me fall into the hands of this angel.”

The Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament by Montague Rhodes James identifies Samael as The Devil, the opposite of the archangel Michael, and is described as a being .

And Moses said unto Jesus the son of Nauë, ‘Let us go up into the mountain.’ And when they were gone up, Moses saw the land of promise and said to Jesus, ‘Go down unto the people and tell them “Moses is dead.”‘ And Jesus went down unto the people, but Moses came to the end of his life. And Samael tried to bring down his body (tabernacle) unto the people, that they might make him a god. But Michael, the Chief Captain, by the command of God came to take him and bury him, and Samael resisted him, and they contended. So the Chief Captain was wroth and rebuked him, saying, ‘The Lord rebuke thee, devil.’ And so the adversary was vanquished and took to flight, but the Archangel Michael buried the body of Moses where he was bidden by Christ our God (and no man saw the burial of Moses)

It is noted, however, that as Michael’s opposite Samael is also seen as the compliment to Michael in some way. Samael is the prosecutor and the adversary of Mankind and Israel, while Michael is its defender. As not only the Satan par excellence but also the prince of “satans”, the prince of the powers of evil, Samael is very much a figure synonymous with Satan similar to how we may understand him today. But nonetheless, this Satan is still viewed as a servant of YHWH, just a servant who fulfills a negative function – that of bringing misfortune, tempting people to sin and arguing the sins of Man or Israel to his master, which brings him into conflict with Michael.

At a later period in Jewish history, specifically during the Babylonian Exile, the role of the Satan begins to change because of the influence of Persian teachings, namely those of Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism stressed the dualistic monotheistic view more akin to modern Christianity and Islam – that of a single Supreme God who is the embodiment of goodness, light, truth and justice, juxtaposed against his opposite; the embodiment of evil, darkness, falsehood and wickedness, a concept encapsulated as The Lie. During the time of the Babylonian Exile, the Jews came into contact with Persian beliefs, and after that period Judaism became more in line with Persian teachings. And so the concept of Satan became more and more aligned with the idea of an evil opposite to God (YHWH). Samael became attached to this idea in Talmudic and apocryphal sources to the point that Samael is viewed as the architect of evil, sin and the fall of Man, as well as having mated with Eve and even either planting or playing the role of the serpent in the Garden of Eden thus being responsible for their fall from Paradise.

At this point it’s worth noting that the link between any Satan and the serpent of the Garden of Eden is questionable at best. The connection between the serpent of Genesis and Satan seems to stem from a verse from the Book of Revelation which reads:

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth,” – Revelation 12:9

However, Genesis makes no reference to Satan in relation to the serpent in the myth of the Garden of Eden. The myth originates in Jewish tradition, which does not recognize a singular literal or personal Satan. Not to mention, the serpent of Genesis used to have limbs, but had his limbs removed by YHWH through a curse as punishment for tempting Adam and Eve, and is consigned to live as a snake, whereas the Beast of Revelation doesn’t appear to resemble a proper snake in both appearance and behavior. In all likelihood, the serpent of Genesis was just a serpent, unaffiliated with YHWH or any Satan, who perhaps happened to be particularly clever. Returning to Revelation, the dragon is previously described as “having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads“. You may recognize this sort of creature as the mount of the Whore of Babylon, whose appearance indicates a symbolic reference to Ancient Rome, the adversary (or perhaps, the “Satan”?) of the early Christian movement, or more specifically John – the man who wrote Revelation. It is an expression of an empire or civilization believed to be rife with sin, wickedness and blasphemy and which persecuted the believers of God/YHWH. It may also be an expression a more ancient mythological motif of conflict between a warrior figure and a dragon or serpent, such as the Old Testament battle between YHWH and Leviathan.

There is another angel in Jewish lore who is associated with the concept of Satan and is identified with the Satan of the Book of Job: Mastema. Mastema is an angel who is believed to carry out punishments on the orders of YHWH, as well as a commander of evil spirits who harass humans. He is often retconned in the pseudepigraphical Book of Jubilees as an evil force who either motivates YHWH to do strange evil things or as a someone who does some of those things instead of YHWH. For instance, he is considered to be the one who persuaded YHWH to challenge Abraham to kill his son Isaac, and the one who persuaded the followers of Moses to commit idolatry. There is also a strange instance in the Bible where YHWH tries to kill Moses, but the story gets rewritten so that Mastema becomes responsible for the attempted murder. He is also written to be the one who aids the sorcerers of the Pharaoh to oppose Moses, and is seen as the angel responsible for the death of the firstborn sons of Egypt as part of the Ten Plagues sent by YHWH. Like Samael, Mastema was not necessarily an enemy of YHWH, rather a servant of his whose role is to tempt the souls of men, obstruct and hinder them, and argue their sins. YHWH even allows him to keep a portion of demons under his service before the great flood. Indeed, in much the same way as Samael may have become synonymous with the Christian Satan, it is this sinister function that has led him to be treated not as an angel in service of YHWH but rather a devil who opposes him, to that point that Mastema is often treated as synonymous with Belial.

Returning to Zoroastrianism, Ahriman is an important influence on the character of the Christian Satan. He was, from the outset, evil incarnate. Also known as Angra Mainyu, Ahriman is the embodiment of evil and “the Lie” and opposite of Ahura Mazda (though the Gathas position him as the opponent of another being, Spenta Mainyu; an aspect of Ahura Mazda) and is believed to be the creator of all manner of nasty creatures that seek to bring harm to humans. Much like the Christian Satan, Ahriman is the deceiver according to Zoroastrian tradition, and he is the chief and/or creator of a group of demonic beings who are referred to as daevas (which was originally the Hindu term “deva”, referring to a class of deities that resided in the heavens). The entire universe is presented as being divided between Ahriman and Ahura Mazda, with both sides fighting for the souls of Man at large.

Within mainstream Christian tradition, the names Samael and Mastema seem to have lost relevance, and the chief opponent of YHWH comes to be identified simply as Satan. If anything, the Christian Satan seems to be identified with Beelzebub, who in Jewish lore was the lord of the flies who represented a rival deity to YHWH. The Book of Revelation also identifies him with the beast with seven heads, who we have discussed earlier in this post. However The Ascension of Isaiah, a mostly Christian apocryphal text, identifies Samael (or Sammael) as Satan, though the same text also identifies Satan with Belial (Beliar), the angel of lawlessness, who is also considered the ruler of this world. The being is recounted as having possessed King Manasseh in order to bring about Isaiah’s martyrdom. The Christian role of Satan no longer resembles the Jewish conception of The Satan as a prosecutor and accuser on behalf of YHWH, but the opponent of YHWH and the ruler of Hell, whose temptations lead the souls of humans to Hell and their doom and damnation, who will according the Bible eventually be judged by the resurrected Jesus and imprisoned in the very Hell he is supposed to rule over. In fact, the role of the ruler of the underworld, and his iconic appearance from the medieval period going forward, has noticeably more in common with pre-Christian pagan beliefs about the deities of the underworld – such as Hades, Nergal or Yama – than the original Jewish tradition. He certainly took on many characteristics associated with the pre-Christian pantheon: horns associated with Ba’al, the trident associated with Poseidon, goat features including hooves associated with Pan (not to mention his famously lustful attributes) and his dominion of the underworld a trait of Hades (which funny enough became an alternate name for Hell). He is also identified with the Beast of Revelation, or the Great Red Dragon chasing after the Woman Clothed in Sun. That he is identified with a draconic beast the way he is in revelation suggests, to me at least, that Satan has transformed from merely an angel in God’s service to an apocalyptic force of chaos set against God, and that this is his ultimate role in things.

In Christianity, Satan and Lucifer are typically seen as synonymous, typically based on certain Biblical verses. But, as will be explored much further in Part 2, there is nothing in these verses that actually connects Satan with Lucifer. The Book of Isaiah is typically used to show how Satan was once the morning star before he fell, when in fact the morning star seems to be referring to a king of Babylon. The Book of Ezekiel is similarly cited to show how Satan was the greatest of the angels before his fall, when in fact it is a king of Tyre being compared to an unnamed angel. Indeed, the explanations for how he turned from simply the Adversary of Job to the Beast seem strange to me.

In Gnostic Christian tradition, Samael appears as a name of the Demiurge – the malevolent or incompetent deity who creates the material universe as a prison for the souls that presently inhabit the body of Man. Since the Demiugre is treated as basically Satan, being the opposite of the true and perfect God described by the Gnostics, this is essentially stating that Samael and Satan are identical. In a similar tradition, adherents of the Bogomil sect believe that Satan created matter while God created the soul of Man. The Bogomils identify Satan as Satanael, an angel who also appears in the apocryphal Second Book of Enoch as the name of the leader of the Grigori (or the Watchers), a group of angels who fell from heaven after becoming infatuated and attracted to human women and sought to teach humans various forms of knowledge that were previously kept by the angels (in the first Book of Enoch, the leader of the Grigori is named Samyaza; the two are sometimes seen as synonymous).

The apocryphal lore surrounding the Grigori, and the identification of their leader as Satanael (whose name you may note means “Adversary of God”), may have influenced the Judeo-Christian character Satan as we know him, by positioning him as a rebellious angel who fell to the Earth and spread forbidden knowledge. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if this is partly how the serpent became seen as related to Satan – after all, the serpent performed a similar function by tempting Adam and Eve towards the forbidden knowledge of good and evil. And perhaps this is how Satan came to be seen as the Beast? The Enochian Satanael was later rewritten by an occultist named Faustus Scorpius, founder of a group known as the Order of the Left Hand Path, to show Satanael as the one or first angel in heaven to realize the concept of self-consciounsess and hence rebelled against the Demiurge and his heavenly host. He was defeated by Michael and his angels, but still set out to spread self-consciousness and freedom to Man.

In Islam, Satan is known as Iblis. Iblis was a djinn – a being made of fire, as opposed to the angels who were made out of light – who was banished from the heavenly realm for refusing Allah’s command to bow to the first human he created. Like the Christian Satan, Iblis is seen as leading souls away from Allah through temptation and actively opposes Allah’s will . Although it is generally agreed that Iblis is a Djinn, some Islamic scholars think that Iblis was originally an angel, much like Samael.

Perhaps the most famous interpretation of Satan is the one found in John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost. In this work, Satan was once an angel in Heaven who served God, but rebelled along with a third of the heavenly host, only to be defeated and be cast down into Hell, where he decides to establish his own kingdom, uttering the famous phrase “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven”. I can assume that this draws from the attempted connection by Christians between Satan and the Lucifer figures of the Bible, but it is through this depiction that the traditional conception of Satan emerges, rather than the actual scripture of Christianity or Judaism. Here we see a more romantic interpretation of Satan, and arguably a heroic Satan – the first instance wherein we see Satan as the rebellious figure, standing up to God, and arguing the case for his unjust character. Indeed, I suspect this is the source of the Satanic Temple interpretation of Satan as the eternal rebel standing up to tyrannical authority. The irony being, of course, that before John Milton Satan doesn’t seem to be shown as much of an enemy of God until the Book of Revelation, the verses typically shown before hand to refer to Satan’s fall having nothing to do with Satan. And before all of that, it was a Satan that was working with tyrannical authority, that of YHWH.

Because of the prevalence of Milton’s Satan in the popular imagination, Satan has been compared to a Greek mythological figure known as Prometheus. In fact, the author of the drama Prometheus Unbound wrote a preface explaining his personal judgement that Satan is the only character resembling Prometheus. Prometheus is a being related to the Titans (that is, he is a son of one of them), the personification of foresight and knowledge. He was the creator of mankind who stole the fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind, for which he was chained to a rock by Zeus. The fire of Olympus came to be a symbol of Man’s enlightenment, reason and knowledge, which was withheld by Zeus. Before stealing the fire of Olympus, Prometheus was considered an ally of the Olympian gods, thus the act of stealing it for mankind’s benefit was an act of betrayal of the gods. In a way, there are some characteristics he thus shares with Satan. Other than, however, there is no direct connection. Many connect the two through the serpent myth, asserting that Prometheus was like Satan who brought the forbidden fruit to Adam and Eve. But, as has been established, the serpent of Eden is not actually Satan.

Another influential interpretation is the story of Mephistopheles, the demon who appeared to Faust in his eponymous legend. In the legend, Faust summons Mephistopheles, who offers him his service for a period of time, at the end of which Mephistopheles claims his soul for eternity, leading it to Hell. This tale echoes into the modern world as the archetypal “deal with the devil”. Mephistopheles is explicitly a representation of the Devil, of Satan perhaps, and it seems to play on a characteristic that Jewish apocrpyha associated with Samael – that of taking away the souls of humans.

The archetype Satan found within Satanism is based on both the Miltonian conception of Satan, the Judeo-Christian notion of Satan as The Adversary and the opponent of the values associated with YHWH and the background laid by several magickal traditions in their description of Satan. Eliphas Levi describes Satan as “the goat of the Sabbath”, associated with profanation and darkness. Stanislas de Guatia views Satan as “the foul goat threatening Heaven”. The same inverted pentagram we know today from the Church of Satan actually comes from the works of Maurice Bessy. Indeed, whenever an inverted pentagram appears in historical magickal works, it is typically meant as a symbol of the inversion all that is good, which would be symbolized by the upward-pointing pentagram. Satan is also aligned with materialism in many spiritualist traditions, and indeed his symbol is taken as meaning matter prevailing over spirit. Curiously, Stanislas de Guatia’s Satan pentagram features the name Samael. It would seem to denote Samael as the negative opponent of Adam. Anton LaVey took the Satan of Judaism, Christianity and Western magickal tradition and made him a positive figure, the advocate of Man as he ought to be as defined by the philosophy of Satanism.

Finally, Satan is frequently compared with the Egyptian deity Set. Both Satan and Set are considered to be evil beings, but it is claimed that they are connected by the name Set-hen, a title purportedly attached to Set. I have been unable to find a lot of evidence for the “Set-hen” theory, with few resources available outside of Satanic circles and even then not much is elaborated. The claim seems to amount to the idea that “Set-hen” sounds like the modern Satan, therefore it’s a match. However, there are many characteristics that Set shares with the modern Satan. Much like the Jewish conception of Satan, Set was not always seen as an evil being. He was originally a deity of storms, the desert, and war. Similar to Apep, he was seen as a personification of chaos and destruction, but unlike Apep, Set was seen as very much a part of the natural order of things, his chaotic influence a necessary component of balance and harmony in the cosmos. Later on he came to be associated with foreigners. He was also considered a troublesome deity, perhaps most infamous for murdering his brother Osiris after he was seduced by the goddess Nephthys, who was supposed to be his wife, which led him to conflict with the sky deity Horus. However he was also the protector of the sun deity Ra, and at one point also considered to be one of the principle deities of the cosmos, alongside Amun, Ra and Ptah. After the Hyksos invaded Egypt and brought with them their religion, Set rose to prominence through his identification with the Semitic deity Ba’al (with whom he shares many characteristics). After they were driven out, Set’s association with the Hyksos and foreigners in general led him to be seen as an evil being who invited the conquest of Egypt by foreigners. Eventually he become almost synonymous with Apep, and lost his role as a protective deity. In Greece, Set was equated to Typhon – a monster personifying chaos and volcanic forces who lead the Titans against Zeus when they kill Dionysus.

Today, the character of Satan is alive and well and still continues to be invoked as a bogeyman, particularly in conspiracy theories wherein he is somehow one of the main benefactors. For instance, he believed to be the deity worshiped by the Freemasons, the “Illuminati” and the New World Order. Some even believe him to be the true God of the Muslims and Jews, which of course is historically and religiously illiterate. A similar point can be made about the Islamic world, where the Great Satan is a term used by Islamist regimes and Islamic terrorists to refer to demonize the United States of America. However, in the modern world, his character is also still influenced by John Milton’s characterization of him, and today the Miltonian Satan is also used as a political tool by some of those who wish for the expulsion of religion from the public sphere. Satan is often conflated with an idol named Baphomet – originally the name of the idol the Knights Templar were accused of worshiping -, a symbol that in occult traditions generally refers to the unity and harmony of opposites in the universe and not strictly to the Devil; although Baphomet has proven influential in shaping the image of Satan. And of course, Satan is a celebrated icon in the subculture of heavy metal music, where many songs, albums or musical careers are dedicated to him to this day. Not that the vast majority of heavy metal fans and musicians are Satanists or Satan worshipers per se. For metalheads, it’s just that he happens to make for awesome music.

 

Conclusion

In summation, Satan, as a concept, begins in Judaism wherein it refers to an adversary in general or to a specific angel who carries out punishment in the name of YHWH, before gradually evolving into the archetype of evil, chaos and sedition against God, to being equated with the bringer of knowledge and freedom and thus being seen as the opponent of dictatorial rule, and today the concept of Satan is influenced by both religious and literary tradition. In a way, the concept of Satan remains something of a historical scapegoat, with many people citing the Devil as the inspiration for many a malicious act on the part of themselves or of their enemies. Indeed, even among Christians different sects have been seen as in league with Satan for their heresy against the Church. And as I said earlier, if you go down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theory land it’s not too long before you find a Satan or two used as a scapegoat for many complex problems in the world. But the concept of Satan has also taken on many other meanings. Indeed, as Adversary, he can perhaps be seen as a force of passion – that is, the passion that has the potential to either lead to evil things, or drive life as we know it towards greatness and progress. In the end, the idea Satan eventually becoming the opponent of the Absolute, rather than just an accuser of Man, makes some sense when you consider the development of Jewish and later Christian tradition. At one point the Jews considered evil to be a part of God’s machinations. But, at some point the Jews suffered what would have been a great indignity, if not outright injustice, towards their faith. It is difficult to conceive that God would destroy his own temple to punish the Jews in some way. It was perhaps naturally to think that it was the work of something that was set against God. Samael then would’ve made for a terrific scapegoat, given he was the angel whose role was often an unpleasant one. Satan was once a title, and then became something of a scapegoat in the Christian tradition, but perhaps it can be said that Satan eventually took on a life of his own.

Thou Art

On Saturday, I somehow got the idea to write this poem, of sorts, dedicated to Satan. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Thou Art

Thou art the storm in the sky which brings the thunder of old, worshipped and coveted by Man

Thou art the force of desire which enters the flesh, and that which enraptures the spirit more than the Christ ever could

Thou art the eternal seed by which you propagate yourself again and again

Thou art the wild bronco that never bends to anyone’s will, the deviant troublemaker that will always pervert the establishment

Thou art competition, lust, greed, wrath, envy, pride, desire, love and all the glories of human nature

Thou art the figure in black who is pleased to meet you

Thou art Sathanas

Thou art the highest of lords

Thou art force pitted against force

Thou art the one who unlocks the freedom of mankind

Thou art the sword by which the tyrants are destroyed, the slaves are freed, the weak becomes strong and the servile becomes the master

Thou art the demiurge and the devil, matter and spirit, the master of this world and the Lucifer frees the minds of its inhabitants

Thou art the deities rebuked by the Christians, the Jews and the Muslims

Thou art that which some might describe as the will to power, to ascend above all others and to take what is yours

Thou art Sathanas

Thou art the highest of lords

Thou art the exalted goat of Mendes, the rebel chief, the lord of this world and the prince of the powers of the air

Thou art the one whose magicians honour your name with their spells, their signs, their deeds and their egos

Thou art the timeless meme of the force of beast and man, of that which shapes life, matter and spirit – that force which shapes us

Thou art the natural superior to both the religions of old and the religions of new, all of which demand the sublimation of the individual

Thou art the noblest inspiration of the artist, the creator and even the righteous who try in vain to rebuke thee

Thou art the one to whom I commit myself, from the summer of 2013 until the end of time, as the ideal that I strive to follow

Thou art Sathanas

Thou art the highest of lords

We are not Christians

There’s something that’s often said about Satanism that I’m familiar with, and it’s the claim that believing in Satan, in any way whatsoever, automatically affirms the existence of the God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. People have this idea that because Satan was an invention of the Jewish faith, and the adversary of Jehovah/Allah in the Christian and Islamic faiths, believing in Satan means believing in Jehovah and the teachings of monotheistic beliefs as well. Usually I hear this coming from people who are (at least apparently) Christians or atheists trying to belittle people who choose to identify as Satanists, whether theistic or not. I suppose I have to wonder why people don’t go around telling Christians that they’re pagans by default of the fact that their God was originally a pagan deity. Some of you may know that Yahweh used to be a Canaanite deity of war worshiped in the context of a polytheistic tradition before he came to be viewed as the one true “God” in the eyes of the Hebrew tradition.

The Canaanite Yahweh depicted as enthroned.

Satan is only dependent on the Christian Jehovah if you believe in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mythology, and if you still have the mentality that seems to come with the monotheistic belief systems. Satan, like all the deities and like all ideas, is not necessarily bound to another for validity. In the Satanic paradigm, Satan is largely independent of the Christian constructs. Although he is subverter of the monotheistic creeds and their deities and symbols,  his true identity is independent of that. What does Satan represent? He represents pure carnal existence, Man as a being that embraces it, and the freedom of such a carnal existence unchained by all the rules, norms, and mores that constraint carnal, or for that matter free and authentic, existence. In my mind, Satan doesn’t need Jehovah or his son to validate his existence, especially not while he treads upon his corpse and crushes it underfoot! By choosing Satan as a symbol for our path, we Satanists embrace a powerful archetype for our beliefs that in my mind a purely non-mythical world just can’t provide. That’s my interpretation anyway.

May Chaos come alive?

Writing the post on the Luciferian Points of Power actually gave me another idea as well. I’ve have been reading it and so far haven’t found about the passionate, chaotic, and free life force that the information on the back has implied yet, but as I think about the idea of a passionate, chaotic, wild life force, I feel like I just want it more and more, a real investment of interest towards it coming on.

I think about the force of Chaos, or perhaps the Adversary or Adversarial Force is a better term for it, and my desire for it is greater, perhaps because when I think about it I am reminded of that which I have held in the beginning, as though I have returned to it with greater understanding or new ideas. I think of that kind of life force I think of Chaos, the Adversary, Satan, The Black Flame, the Hindu Shakti as a force (and for that matter, the power associated with Shiva), and the power of Set and the power of isolate intelligence. I would also identify it with the power of heavy metal music. I’m even tempted to refer to Babalon of Aleister Crowley’s Thelema despite that Babalon is that thing you surrender yourself to (then again I might say the same of the divine Shakti according to Hindu teachings). But honestly, I’m not yet sure of the best term for it. Though if it’s really the Black Flame, or the Adversary or Adversarial Force, then just think about it for a second: Luciferianism would effectively be presenting what I’ve been trying to define in the early days of my personal path.

This could be one way of visualizing it.

Whatever it is, I think I definitely want to experience it, feel more of it, become empowered by it more than ever. I want to feel it in light and in dark forms, I want to feel it in creation and destruction, I want to feel it in imagination and creativity, I want to feel it in love, in conflict, in the thrill of battle, in emotion, in desire, in ambition, in competition, in my very being. I would like it to be so liberating and empowering, I want it to strengthen my spirit, my will, my soul, I want to know that it is the core of my being. Who knows, working with it might just dissolve not only fear and doubt but also the boundaries between emotion and reason, intellect and passion, and all in a manner that’s conducive to my being and individual to me. This might entail a conquest of my limitations, or simply the limiting of my limitations, if that makes sense. It doesn’t really matter if this force is simply my interpretation of a life force that may be considered to others, because at least that still means its uniquely my life force, or the life force I identify with. It should not be the life force to surrender to in an external form. It should be a life force within that fuels your individual being, gives you strength and life.

The only question lies in how this ties in with the mind in general, rather than overpowering it, and how this affects the arrangement of the deities I set out earlier. From at least an aesthetic point of view, part of me thinks that the deities of Asian religions that I like could go on the light spectrum of this force, as well as the light and heat of the sun, while the demons and devils can go on the dark spectrum of that force, but that’s just one simple idea, and I really hope I don’t have to overhaul my altar space too drastically. As for the conscious mind, who knows. Maybe I want to take a page from the Temple of Set or even Hinduism for this one. There’s probably a few things I can gleam from Hinduism, Taoism, and hopefully Shinto when dealing with this force.

Musings on Black Sabbath’s so-called Satanism

Despite that I’m definitely a follower of heavy metal music, I tend to have a hard dealing with the grandfather of heavy metal, Black Sabbath. It’s not because of their music, I think the music is great. It’s their reputation as this band that was in league with the dark side and the devil, which the music press seems to continue in some way despite the fact this reputation has no basis on the band or its music,. I recently saw a program in which a music critic talks about a song from their 2013 album, 13, which was titled “God Is Dead?”, and he talks about how supposedly Sabbath used to shout “God is dead” (according to him) or something along those lines and were now somehow more mature and simply ask if God is dead instead. At this point you can expect my reaction is thus:

What the fuck was he talking about!?

Honestly, it still feels like people like him haven’t been paying attention, that they haven’t seen anything about Black Sabbath or critically analyzed the lyrics. I mean, if Black Sabbath honestly believed that God is dead, then can you explain the lyrics of their song After Forever, from their 1971 album Masters of Reality? If you looked at the lyrics objectively, then you’ll have realized that the lyrics don’t refer to Satanism at all. In fact, they are Christian. As another matter of fact, as I’m sure the learned individuals who read this blog will know, Black Sabbath were never attached to Satanism at all, and it’s not just songs that reflect it. The whole image of them being supposedly being Satanic, as I’m sure you may know, is not only a lie, it was pretty much leveled against them by people who knew nothing about the band or what they were singing about. It’s based entirely on their name and the dark tone of their music, and the fact there are people who don’t understand anything about it. It’s so bad, that it never occurs to some people that the crosses that Black Sabbath wear are right-side up rather than upside down.

Black Sabbath during the 1970’s

I mean, it’s really quite baffling how musicians who went about wearing Christian crosses and put them on the stage could still be construed as Satanists, and it really speaks to level of ignorance present even in Christians. Not to mention, even if people were thinking of upside-down crosses, they’d still be thinking of Christian symbols. In Catholic Christianity, the upside-down cross is the sign of St. Peter, who is attested to be the founder of the first church, and it basically means “I am not worthy”, in reference to the story in which Peter is crucified upside-down instead of right-side up because he apparently felt he was unworthy to die in the same way as Jesus, to whom he was once a disciple. Pretty much all of the original line-up were Christian, and at least half of them Catholic.

Not to mention, whenever they talk about Satan/The Devil, it’s in a negative, Christian-influenced viewpoint, and right down to their self-titled song from their self-titled debut album, and that song talked about the Devil showing up and everyone being scared of him just like in the Middle Ages. I don’t think there was ever a metal band that sang about Satan in a celebratory fashion, and with genuine references to Satanism, until Venom showed up, and even then it was basically all for fun in their case. The same album had a song called N.I.B. which was also about the Devil (referred to as Lucifer), but it was about him falling in love and supposedly becoming “good” because of it. The second album, Paranoid, only has one song that has anything remotely to do with Satan, and it’s in traditional Christian context. Masters of Reality has a song called Lord of this World, in which the Devil is the evil overlord of this world, like he’s treated by Christians and their Bible. To be honest, I doubt religion and the devil are as highly talked about in Black Sabbath’s lyrics as people think, and people seem to be think that’s the bulk of what they talk about. A lot of their songs are about lots of other subjects including drug use, war, the horrors being inflicted upon mankind and the world by mankind itself, love (but not really in the same way all those pop and soul songs were doing it), and other subjects. I think the crosses and the name were all supposed to fit in with their dark, heavy, and striking sound, and I can only assume it worked even if not entirely the way they intended it.

Speaking of the Devil, I also suspect that Black Sabbath pretty much knew nothing about real Satanism and were entirely ignorant of it. Below is what Geezer Butler, Black Sabbath’s lyricist, stated on the BBC TV program Classic Albums about the song War Pigs.

“I wanted to write a song called ‘Walpurgis’ – you know, the Satanic version of Christmas – write it about that Satan isn’t a spiritual thing, it’s warmongers. That’s who the real Satanists are, all these people who are running the banks and the world and trying to get the working class to fight the wars for them.”

When you describe Walpurgis Night as basically Christmas for Satanists and warmongers as the “real” Satanists (never mind that here Satanists are confused with devil-worshipping cultists in the Christian sense), then your ignorance, nay stupidity, on the subject of Satanism becomes obvious, and I can’t find myself showing a lot of respect for people who are possessed of such ignorance. And that’s sad when you consider the virtues of the music itself, most prominently the way it challenged the hopes of the optimistic climate of the 1960’s and the tastes and expectations of “liberal” middle-class culture and the conservative mores and climate that may usually wag its finger at rock music in general, and the way it first introduced heaviness and darkness to music.

What’s wrong with Satan being likeable?

Lately I’ve been hearing about an upcoming TV show called Lucifer. Yes, Lucifer. It’s based on Neil Gaiman’s comic book interpretation of Lucifer, who was the ruler of Hell until he became bored and unhappy with this station and decided to retire and live in Los Angeles. This would mean Lucifer being identified with Satan, as is commonly the case, based on both the Christian depiction of Satan and the Satan of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Anyways, in this show, Lucifer Morningstar (as he is called) now apparently spends his days as a consultant for the Los Angeles Police Department, while simultaneously he runs a nightclub called Lux (which isn’t a very creative name). Ironically enough, the show is being aired by FOX of all channels.

Pictured: Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar

The thought of a TV show centering around Lucifer, Satan, or any similar entities, was bound to scare and/or outrage the ignorant, no matter how that being is interpreted, and in America (as usual) people are proving that they aren’t ready to live in a society where religious prejudice is being shunted to the side in creative media. A group called One Million Moms has been launching a petition against the show in recent days, feeling that the show disrespects Christianity and mocks the Bible by making Satan seem likeable. Here’s where we get to the crux of the matter: what’s wrong with Satan being likeable?

I must wonder how tired some people in the modern age are of explaining to Christians that the world does not revolve around them, or their Bible, or their church, but that’s exactly what’s going on here. Christian parents are complaining about a TV show and want it pulled because it mocks their religion, because they assume the world revolves around them, and it’s sad that this is still the case in America in particular. This is the same mentality that drives opposition to laws concerning freedom of expression and the right of the individual to freely pursue lifestyles other than the conventional Christian lifestyle. Outside the perceptions of Christianity and Islam, there’s nothing wrong with making Satan a likeable character, or seeing him as such. In fact, from objective viewpoint, he does less harm to human life than Jehovah does, if he causes any harm to humans at all. Even if you follow the belief that Satan tempts you to do evil things, that changes nothing, for in that instance it is you commits evil actions actions, not Satan. It is Jehovah who ultimately sends you to hell for going against his will, not Satan. And depending on your view point, Satan is the same serpent who gave mankind knowledge of good and evil and of their own desires, not Jehovah. If anything, people are likely to see Satan as more likeable than Jehovah as soon as they take a closer look at the same Biblical mythology that Christians clearly want to cram down our throats non-stop.

The heavy metal archetype of Satan

Heavy Metal Devil Horns by kennypick on Deviantart.com

As I have mentioned before, Satan is a figure commonly associated with heavy metal, but I think Satan’s association with heavy metal is not arbitrary, and not limited to how dark the music is. The presence archetype of Satan in heavy metal music makes a lot of sense to me.

I know that a main reason that Satan or demonic forces got associated with heavy metal is because of a musical interval known as diabolus in musica, or the tri tone, so named because in medieval times it was the sound that was believed to arouse the devil himself. It was believed that the tri-tone was meant to arouse sexual feelings and the forces of darkness, which is why it is associated with the atmosphere of black masses and demonic activity as portrayed in music. It gained importance to heavy metal music because it was that some kind of sound that Black Sabbath evoked in their music, particularly their famous self-titled song, a sound they borrowed from classical music. The band wanted to use that kind of sound because they liked the effect it had for their music. They wanted to create music that was dark, heavy, and doomy, music that reflected the environment they grew up in. Remember, the guys who formed Black Sabbath grew up in a time when the optimism of the 1960’s had dissolved and the 1970’s was coming down on the masses as a time of disillusionment, fear, and woe after the dream of flower power died and became a nightmare. They had no idea they were raising the devil with their music, or were being perceived as such. They had a fascination with the occult, and particularly the dark side, and I suppose they wanted to make music that reflected the darker side of things, but they weren’t intending to raise the devil and they weren’t Satanists. In fact, Geezer Butler, the man who wrote the lyrics, had a pretty orthodox view of things, and his lyrics spoke more against Satan than for Satan. But in the minds of listeners, and for those who would go on to turn their music into the whole of heavy metal, this is the sound that really did evoke Satan itself. Because of this, and other bands that became known for putting Satan on their album covers, writing songs about Satan, or generally employing Satanic imagery, Satan became the archetype for heavy metal music as a whole.

But this still doesn’t answer the question of why this makes sense. All it does is provide background. The reason I feel the archetypal association of Satan with heavy metal music makes sense is because of how heavy metal music as a whole has developed, crystallized, and become what it is today. Satan represented the darker forces that the tri tone evoked, but as the music evolved Satan also came to represent rebellion (though some of that can be attributed to the fact that it shocked the parents of those who listened to it) and the metal mind-set as a whole, simply by becoming attached to the music. Of course in black metal the association is far more involved regarding the tradition of exalting Satan than other forms of music, and a lot of metal bands don’t actively write a lot about the devil, but in a lot of forms of metal flirting with demonic forces is a tradition, if at times a cliche, because of how much Satan has become attached to the music. Satan is an archetype for the music itself, and the mind-set of metal and its fans, and that rings true in a way closely aligned with the philosophy of Satanism perhaps without any conscious intention behind it.

Of course, for a lot of the musicians, it’s all in good fun, and it’s all about finding something that suits the music.

Giving Lucifer his due

On various occasions I have been thinking about Lucifer and Luciferianism, particularly in reminiscence of how Lucifer was basically how I saw Satan in the past, and I more recently I have been trying to examine the philosophy of Luciferianism in comparison with Satanism. Between January and this month I have been pondering Luciferianism, and a few days after being shown the Greater Church of Lucifer, I think I can finally say what to do about it on my own.

You see, in recent times, I have started to feel that I have always been more positive than negative, or at least strived to be. I certainly seem less negative than my brother in spite of my moments of doubt, cynicism, and fear. I have also seen my path of Satanism as a positive path of spirituality, rather than as a purely material path, and I maintained beliefs in the soul and heaven, just that unlike in many religions my soul is my own and that my heaven is my own, and preferred to maintain an interest in the light side as well. I wanted light, but also darkness. I wanted harmony, but also chaos. I wanted those things because I felt both in me in different ways, and I recognized their history as a part of my being. And I wanted to bring it all within a Chaos-inspired Left Hand Path framework.

There are those who may ask me, what is wrong with Satanism? My answer: nothing! I don’t think anything is necessarily wrong with or bad about Satanism, and I never intended to leave Satanism in the strictest sense. Quite opposite. I intend to improve my framework. The thing is, Satanism on its own is a very earthly and carnal religion, and the focus is on pleasure and personal power. I actually still agree with the Satanic creed of live your life for yourself. A creed which can be expressed by Satanists as “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, a phrase borrowed from Aleister Crowley (but expressed in a totally different manner to the way Crowley intended). I also still follow the Satanic idea that each Man is his own god and the true master of his own life, and I like the idea of seeking out power and pleasure. But on its own, it’s very much a carnal religion, and there’s a lot of emphasis on the darker side and the darker entities. Of course, I didn’t really mind because all that attached to a philosophy I hold dearly: the philosophy of self-freedom, fierce individualism and resistance to self-denial, and personal empowerment. But now I feel there are elements to my own personal framework that are either missing, or not encoded, or just not explored enough. That is where Luciferianism comes in. And, in a way, so does Lucifer himself. 😉

Bringer of Light by fuzzyzombielove on Deviantart.com

Whereas Satanism is a philosophy that primarily espouses the physical nature of man and focuses on the darker side of human nature and the entities that personify it, Luciferianism embraces the carnal, dark, and physical aspects of the self but also believes in the bright and spiritual aspects of the self. In fact, it believes in embracing both light and dark, all aspects of the self, and also advocates balance, often in a manner very similar to Taoism. Luciferianism is a Left Hand Path philosophy that worships the I its fullest form, that teaches that the individual should seek out wisdom and spiritual truth in pursuit of continual enlightenment, improvement, and the godhead of the self, all without negative energy. Like Satanism, Luciferianism is highly individualistic (no popes or sacred texts to dictate your lives, only your self and your inner light), rejects the surrender of the self to any God or universal consciousness, believes in the God within the individual (in other words, there is no true God higher than oneself), and adopts a mythical being as a symbolic archetype for their beliefs while not necessarily worshipping it. In this case, that being is Lucifer. Both Satan and Lucifer are commonly associated with each other in the public consciousness, where both are treated as devils if not referred to interchangeably. But while Satan represents the physical and carnal nature of Man,  Man’s pure animal drives, and the dark force in nature, Lucifer represents spiritual self-exploration, enlightenment, and the individual who is free in spirit and in body. Lucifer is also seen as a kind of Promethean figure, who symbolically stuck his own neck out and dared to share the gift of freedom, fire, and inner light with mankind. Luciferianism is sometimes seen as a form of Satanism that that venerates Satan as Lucifer the light bringer rather than as a figure of darkness, though Luciferians may tend to view their religion as very different from Satanism.

The Greater Church of Lucifer (which isn’t really a church in the traditional sense) has offered me a very interesting perspective of Luciferianism and by extension an incredibly fascinating way for me to improve my spiritual framework and understanding, and it is impossible resist such allure. If you look at their website and their Facebook pages, you might understand what I’m talking about. I am actually called back to when I used to refer to Lucifer rather than Satan (of course that was before I decided I was a Satanist), and my background in Shin Megami Tensei influences, where Lucifer is being associated with the Chaos faction and its philosophy of freedom and unbridled individualism, but the actual philosophy of Luciferianism reminds me of Chaos with influence from Neutrality, or Chaos with a balance, so that’s all the more interesting.

At this point, I must point out that Luciferianism can be atheistic, or theistic, or anywhere in between, much like in Satanism. It all depends on the perspective of the Luciferian in question, and not all Luciferians have exactly the same ideas. And going back to Satan, it’s a similar deal within Satanism. LaVeyan Satanists are atheists, who believe Satan is merely a symbol of the carnal Man and power in this world and vital existence over spiritual, but does not really exist anymore than God does, but theistic Satanists believe in Satan as a spiritual being that embodies those things, alongside a pantheon of Dark Lords. While theistic Satanists don’t worship Satan or any dark lords in a master-servant relationship, they do treat them with nominal respect in a manner that might be similar to modern paganism. Some theistic Satanists may see Satan or the Dark Lords as representatives of a dark spiritual force in nature, much like LaVeyan Satanists only not limited to physical nature, or see Satan as an external being interested in the development of human beings, similar to how Lucifer might be seen. Satan can also be believed to be the sum total of the dark spirits, or dark gods, of human mythology, in contrast to Christianity where he’s just a lord of evil (not to mention, in Christian theology he’s not even a horned god to begin with).

In my opinion, Luciferianism offers an excellent framework for me, and it relates to me in many ways. But I also still wish to continue the Satanic path as I see it, to give myself power to live without fear, to be a spiritually stronger individual, and to live right and with honor. So here is what I plan to do: I propose that I can be both.

Lucifer’s Pentagram by LenartLenartLenart on Deviantart.com

Think about it, I can basically see myself as philosophically and spiritually Luciferian, but maintain a Satanic leaning. I can seek about both light and darkness, spirituality and carnality, walk with my complete soul, my self, and inner flame and inner light until the day I die, but also cling to the Satanic path I mentioned by also remaining on the side of the Satanic values of the strength of the individual and the pursuit of power for the individual. This I feel can be achieved by invoking the Black Flame, described by Luciferians and some Satanists, to invoke personal power and become stronger in life. Also, some Satanists believe you are already your own God, and some Luciferians believe the goal is to become your own God through continual wisdom. Personally, I believe I am the creator of my own spiritual and personal world, I am what I am and nothing else, and I am my own master.  I embrace the Satanic idea that I am my own God, but embrace the Luciferian idea of growth and continual enlightenment. I believe that one’s own personal world, one’s own self, and one’s own identity, can be enriched with not just continual experience but also continual understanding. Not just understanding yourself, but understanding ideas and the world which helps you understand yourself anyway. With that in mind, and considering I believe in my own heaven, my own world, I believe that the Luciferian ideal of continual enlightenment can only serve to make your inner world and your imagination that much richer. Enlightenment doesn’t mean a total understanding that overhauls your identity and who you are. Rather, the Luciferian way is to understand your self, and continue learning things as you go, and you see things become a part of your self, or you see your self grow, certainly not be taken over or be destroyed by some religious totality. And, since the Greater Church of Lucifer has shown me many ways, my support for that organization will naturally increase because I see it as an individualized group with values I can get behind, without worrying about succumbing to group-think.

So that’s basically how I stand on Luciferianism now. I have decided to accept Luciferianism as a part of my paradigm, and identify as a Luciferian, whilst maintaining the Satanic ideas I have always maintained, and also incorporating my pagan ideas and ideas from other belief systems. In the future I will explore the concept of the Black Flame and any relation between Luciferianism and ideas I have explored before. But for now, all I have written here will suffice. In closing, I would like to thank my friend Tadashi for initially recommending Luciferianism to me, Tony Asmodeus and Vincent Piazza, along with the people at The Greater Church of Lucifer, for further inspiring my path, and James Nicholson and Sean Ridley Ravensdale for their additional support.