The forgotten Lord of Self-Gnosis – Lucifer the Lightbringer

written and copyrighted by Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriuntl, 2014

ImageIn the Pagan religions, the divine ‘adversaries’ are without exception integrated into their pantheons, often at least marginally included in ceremonies and sometimes even deeply revered (Kali, Shiva, Loki.) They are also – like the Biblical Morningstar – linked with light or its more aggressive and passionate twin, fire. As fire is also a cleansing agent in magical workings, there’s suddenly a completely new (metaphorical) meaning to both hell and purgatory.
Why then is it that the majority of Pagans still cringe upon hearing his name whilst mainly Wiccans deny his very existence, claiming he was an exclusively Christian invention?

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(This is actually a book written by P. Baker, but for those without humor: it’s also tongue in cheek)

In order to understand the role of Satan, the “Adversary” we must take a closer look at his beginnings. When his name was still simply Lucifer he was “the most beautiful Angel of God” and a most humble servant of the latter.
However, there is a hint of his role as future Satan in the name Lucifer already. Latin lux/luc = light and Lucifer literally meaning Lightbringer or –bearer. Now, another translation is Morningstar, in other words Venus. (Also the planet associated with Christ Jesus, a different form of Lightbringer.) Even his Hebrew name הֵילֵל, Heylel, translates to The Shining One, while in Greek he is ἑωσφόρος(Eosphoros), Bringer of Dawn.

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Eosphoros/Phosphoros

The term Morningstar was a coined phrase during these days and thus not every Morningstar addressed in the Bible refers to Lucifer. Herein originates the misconception of his fall from grace and Heaven. Isaiah 14:14 teaches us that “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” and has been proven by historians refers to King Nebuchadnezzar rather than the angel Lucifer. In the New Testament this false belief had already solidified and with Revelations mentioning that “the old Dragon, the old Snake” will bring about the end of the world as we know it, Lucifer’s once immaculate reputation had been sullied successfully.
nebuchadnezzarOne might argue that whilst all this might be true, Lucifer already acts as Satan/Adversary in the Old Testament’s Book of Job. Not only do we get a glimpse of the lengths Satan will go to in order to test Job’s faith but he obviously does so with the full consent of God him/herself.

Let us examine the events a little closer: As Satan returns from one of his “walks” on Earth, God asks him whether he took proper notice of his most faithful servant, Job of Uz. Satan remarks that it is no great achievement to be faithful when you have been blessed with a large family, wealth and the fulfillment of all your mundane dreams and suggests testing the steadfastness of Job’s faith once he loses his family, wealth and health. Job curses, rages, begs for death, suffers horribly, yet in the end he renews his faith as God keeps exerting pressure on him.

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Hiob/Job

In the New Testament’s book of Matthew 4:1-11 Christ Jesus withdraws into the desert in order to fast for forty days. It is said in Matt 4:1 that “the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted”. This time God and Satan’s roles are reversed since God initiates the test. Also it is God who stays in the background, not making his/her voice heard as Satan exerts the pressure, asking Jesus to cast himself from the highest point of a temple in order to prove his unwavering faith that the Almighty would save him from death. When Jesus refuses, Satan offers Jesus all the earthly riches imaginable and the whole world to reign, if only he bow to Satan. Yet Jesus – without hesitation – rebukes him. Thus concludes the test.
Both Job and Jesus come to their own individual personal self-gnosis. Neither enters the preceding temptations voluntarily, yet emerges from them with newfound determination and a stronger fundament of their faith. They are – in other words – enlightened. Satan, the Adversary becomes Lucifer the Lightbringer once we break the chains of our mind and dare look beyond the physical/mundane.

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The Lightbringer “tempting” Yeshua in the desert.

There is a plethora of Gnostic traditions and approaches. In some, God and Satan are working together in harmony to maintain the balance of the universe. Then there are those that believe both are but avatars of the same Spirit or Life Force – essentially one God.

Despite the fact that some scholars deem Lilith’s tale a hoax I will use it to reinforce my hypothesis that the (pre-)Biblical tales are less about the fight between good and evil but about universal balance through individual self-gnosis.
Lilith, or Malkah ha-Shadim, was Adam’s first wife. This story cannot be found in the Christian Bible but the Jewish Midrash (Talmud), Dead Sea Scrolls and the much later Alphabet of Ben Sira (8th – 10th century).
Like Adam Lilith is made out of Earth, in other words she is Adam’s equal in every way, yet Adam demands that she obey him. When she refuses, God appears to reprimand her. Lilith then calls out God’s secret name yet escapes Eden. Note: Magically the knowledge and usage of a name, especially a secret one, means being able to exert power over the owner of the name. Lilith had enough knowledge and power to speak God’s name but chose integrity over exerting power over God, hence demonstrating her point that no being should be the slave of another in a unique way. She is, in many ways, the first feminist as well as human rights activist.

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Malka ha-Shadim, the Dark Mother Goddess Lilitu

Although God sends the angels Senoy, Sansenoy and Lucifer to apprehend Lilith, she strenuously resists. Lucifer falls in love with Lilith and they marry. Whatever one may think about the authenticity of the actual story, there is enough in the above paragraphs to make one’s heart jump for joy. Last but not least another etymological reflection. Looking at the semitic origin of the name Lilith, L-Y-L (Layl or Layla), it translates to Night.
Let that sink in for a moment: The Lightbringer marrying Night. Yin and Yang, making peace with the Steppenwolf inside you. Harmony. Balance.

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To close with Austrian theologist Adalbert Stifter’s words: “Pain is a holy angel which has brought humans more gnosis than joy ever could”.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Who by Fire? – Fire Deities and Symbolism in Paganism | The Pagan Beanstalk
  2. Aleph
    Dec 01, 2015 @ 21:36:21

    I would disagree with the actual Biblical tales suggesting universal balance, because all the ones I know of including the extracanonical ones suggest nothing of the kind. But being as you mention the theme of balance, I wonder what your commentary is on the conflict theme in Hindu mythology.

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    Reply

    • Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt
      Dec 01, 2015 @ 23:18:15

      I understand that. It is true that the Bible is often not the best rule book for any kind of balance, but this tale was known in similar form to the Pagan Semites or people in that general vicinity, so it was interesting to try and dig a little deeper here.
      Which conflict in Hinduism are you referring to though? Are you talking a kind of cosmic conflict? I know that converts to Hinduism sometimes look at Kali and Shiva as “devil” kind of types, but that is typical monotheist thinking which I cannot take seriously by default.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • Aleph
        Dec 02, 2015 @ 00:16:39

        I mean the conflict between the devas and the asuras, which I guess you could refer to as a cosmic conflict.

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      • Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt
        Dec 02, 2015 @ 08:58:12

        What I find most interesting is not even that particular struggle for power between the two but the fact that in Zoroastrianism the devas (“daeva”) are not viewed as gentle and benevolent like in the Hindu Veda but they are basically demons and the Avesta defines them as those who “bring wicked thoughts and are the origins of all evil”.
        In Germanic polytheism the equivalent of the power-hungry Asura, the Asen/Aesir, are on the other hand benevolent towards mankind and often protective of them against some of the forces of nature (the Jöten – giants).
        So to respond with a pop culture quote, “Demon to some, angel to others”. – It’s fascinating how different interpretation even among indo-Aryan/European religions with this many overlaps there are.
        But I look at virtually any cosmic power struggle or competition this way: They epitomize cosmic duality and that (often fragile) balance that can only be upheld if none of the opposing forces ever completely win or lose. But even when the balance is tipped, after the Avesta’s “Reckoning of the Spirits”, Germanic “Ragnarök” or I think in Hinduism Kalki ends the Kali Yuga, there will be another earth, another cycle, a new cosmos. Of course, that only means everything starts anew, the rivalries and duality… so although I’m not a chaos-gnostic I at least understand the sentiment of wanting to abolish the whole system in favor of something completely different.

        Liked by 1 person

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