Friday, March 1, 2013

Ask Me Anything: Lucifer

In this semi-regular feature on Witch Mom, I answer select questions from readers. If you would also like to ask a question, just go to the "About/Contact" page. It could be about The Craft, parenting, pop culture, multi-religious education, healing, homeschooling, or whatever! I cannot promise to answer each one, but I will read them!

A reader asks about Lucifer, as I mention that god in a previous post as "someone that I work with".

They ask, "Lucifer, the Lord of Light – I’ve been running into printed snippets since 1984 that Lucifer may not be as Christians claim him to be.

The first time was in (a letter to the editor about an )article in 1984 about the writer’s experience with the Findhorn Institute in Scotland. Findhorn is famous for its success with trees and plants using personal communing and cooperation with plant energy and devas. That reader wrote that Findhorn has some relations with a LUCIS group, which he said is about Lucifer, the Angel of Light. 

I was intrigued. Lucifer may not be as he is painted as? There were other teasers across the years, but as those were the years before Google, I had no way to follow up the leads. At the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines, where I went to college, the scanty research I did painted him as frightening—in the Christian way.
Now, here you are saying that you work with Lucifer. I trust you, Lillitu. I know you will never follow anyone or anything evil. So, I am asking you, who is he really? I had always read that witches don’t recognize Lucifer or Satan as he’s a Judeo-Christian character. Now, here you are ... working with Lucifer. I just want to understand…and I assure you I am not in a ‘pitchfork-and-torch-carrying mode’.

Can (you) answer ... who he really is, is he really Fallen or a Prometheus, what does he ask of his followers, why do people follow him, how do you know he is really good or to be trusted?"

If you ask me, this is hawt.
Well, this is a big kettle of fish and quite a lot to tackle in one blog post! But I will do my best to talk about who Lucifer is, what is "evil", and why people work with him.

There are many cultures across the globe that talk about a Luciferian character- not all religions demonize the role of The Light-Bringer. Think of the qualities we ascribe often to light- illumination, knowledge, happiness. That is no accident. Let's start with the Judeo-Christian myth of Lucifer as a common place where we can all start:

Isaiah 13 and 14 are pretty heady stuff. God (let's call him Yahweh) is having a hissy fit over Babylon. His rant, given to Isaiah in prophetic dream is pretty horrifying:
6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;
    it will come like destruction from the Almighty.[a]
7 Because of this, all hands will go limp,
    every man’s heart will melt.
8 Terror will seize them,
    pain and anguish will grip them;
    they will writhe like a woman in labor.
They will look aghast at each other,
    their faces aflame.
9 See, the day of the Lord is coming
    —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—
to make the land desolate
    and destroy the sinners within it.
10 The stars of heaven and their constellations
    will not show their light.
The rising sun will be darkened
    and the moon will not give its light.
11 I will punish the world for its evil,
    the wicked for their sins.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty
    and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
12 I will make people scarcer than pure gold,
    more rare than the gold of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble;
    and the earth will shake from its place
at the wrath of the Lord Almighty,
    in the day of his burning anger.
14 Like a hunted gazelle,
Suffering for humanity.
    like sheep without a shepherd,
they will all return to their own people,
    they will flee to their native land.
15 Whoever is captured will be thrust through;
    all who are caught will fall by the sword.
16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;
    their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.
17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes,
    who do not care for silver
    and have no delight in gold.
18 Their bows will strike down the young men;
    they will have no mercy on infants,
    nor will they look with compassion on children.
19 Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms,
    the pride and glory of the Babylonians,[b]
will be overthrown by God
    like Sodom and Gomorrah.

So- to be clear- when Yahweh is angry, he's entitled to kill babies, rape women, and destroy cities. But Lucifer (who ostensibly stands up to this onslaught- since his "disobedience" and punishment is meted out immediately after god's ranting in the very next verses), is the "bad guy"? Here's the text where Yahweh takes Lucifer to task:
12 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!
13 You said in your heart,
    “I will ascend to heaven;
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.[b]
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
    to the depths of the pit.
16 Those who see you stare at you,
    they ponder your fate:
“Is this the man who shook the earth
    and made kingdoms tremble,
17 the man who made the world a wilderness,
    who overthrew its cities
    and would not let his captives go home?”
18 All the kings of the nations lie in state,
    each in his own tomb.
19 But you are cast out of your tomb
    like a rejected branch;
you are covered with the slain,
    with those pierced by the sword,
    those who descend to the stones of the pit.
Like a corpse trampled underfoot,
20     you will not join them in burial,
for you have destroyed your land
    and killed your people.
Let the offspring of the wicked
    never be mentioned again.
21 Prepare a place to slaughter his children
    for the sins of their ancestors;
they are not to rise to inherit the land
    and cover the earth with their cities.

The first part of this passage reads like a jealous and petulant god getting angry that someone else has gained a following. "Oh, you think you're hot shit, don'tcha Morningstar? Well, I am gonna fuck you up!"

Remember, Yahweh is the same god who declared as a commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Given how many gods are actually out there, this seems a little selfish and petty to me. I have always thought that if a god (or an entire religion, for that matter) has merit, it will draw people without media campaigns, wars, missionary work, or mandates. The god in the books of the bible sounds like a bully to me.

I personally believe that when Lucifer was cast out of heaven with some of this angelic peers, he was merely ousted for being an upstart. For caring more for humanity that its (alleged) creator*. The later stuff about Lucifer killing a whole lot of people? I don't buy it. But know what I do buy? That Yahweh in these passages is a real jerk. Killing someone's offspring in perpetuity for a grudge you cannot let go? That kinda makes you a jerk.

I think it is important to remind people here that "History is written by the winners." This includes religious history. Christians and other monotheistic Abrahamic religions are the clear winners at this stage of the game. Through conversion, conquest, and genocide there are more of them- which gives them power to define other people's gods, religions, cultures, history, and actions.

You have to look at a lot of sources if you want to really understand any one deity. Especially one as misunderstood as Lucifer, also known in other cultures as Prometheus and Tawuzi Melek.
If you start with the Christian texts, you get an insurrection in heaven, where some powerful angels start a revolt, led by Lucifer. He is cast down and left to die, but some went with him.

It is said that Lucifer loved humanity so much that he chose people over Yahweh. He came to earth and gave gifts to help us thrive: fire, science, adornment, all of these things and more. Yahweh was pissed about it, frankly (remember, this is the same god who lied to Adam and Eve, telling them if they ate a certain fruit they would die- when in reality, it gave them knowledge and self awareness, making them as gods). Then he punished his playthings by casting them out of paradise for disobedience. So Lucifer being cast out is not a new scenario for this chest-thumper, calling himself "God". The reason the bible has Yahweh posturing a lot about "thou shalt have no other gods before me" is that he knows he isn't the nicest or prettiest one and he is petty and jealous that others get any attention at all.

Now if you combine other stories of him from non-Christian cultures, you see other facets to this being: a the Lord of Light, the morning star (Venus in daytime), first offspring and consort to God Herself, the fallen angel who put out the fires of hell to spare humanity torment, The good adversary (who challenges us to become better people), and father to a race of Witches. In my tradition, He is the God of this World.

Hope that helps. Stay tuned for part two- on evil!

* As most of you know, I do not believe that a solely male god created the universe.

1 comment:

  1. Lillitu, thank you. My first post was deleted because of an error in my office's server. Will try to re-create.


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