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Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
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GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
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Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
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Greed, Power, Witches, and the Inquisition
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From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
My Wiccan Ways...
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Finding the God (From Christian to Pagan -Part II)
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Lucifer: Mistaken for Satan for 1700 Years
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If you mention the name Lucifer to someone, the first concept they come up with is Satan or the Devil or by other modern synonyms such as Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub or the Dark Lord to name a few. Out of all these names the only correct one to be associated with Lucifer is the Prince of Darkness but not for the reasons applied to him by Christians. We will discuss this later in the article but it is important to understand the background. However, the first concept that must be corrected is the notion that Lucifer is equivalent to Satan of Christian mythology. In order to do this we must first examine the beliefs of Christianity, which have influenced the Western mind the most.
Before we can understand Christianity, we must first examine its roots in Judaism. Christianity is a religion that follows the teachings of a man who is called Jesus Christ. Jesus was of Jewish lineage and was therefore a follower of Judaism, a monotheistic religion. The origins of monotheism seem to date back to Egypt where for a one hundred year period they did away with all the gods of their pantheon a chose to worship only one god called Amon-Ra. This god had no image and at this time many statues were defaced, literally. It is hypothesized that the Sphinx was originally a jackal in honour of Anubis and was latter modified to have a woman’s face.
At the time of King Tut, there seemed to be a rebellion in which the old gods were brought back. I believe it was at this point when Judaism was created with Moses, a priest of the monotheists, leading his people out of Egypt to form a new state where they could worship one god. Note that both Christian and Jewish prayers end with ‘amen’, which is most likely derived from Amon-Ra.
Since monotheists believe in only one god, that one god in Judaism is Yahweh or Jehovah. This raises the issue of good and evil and how they could coexist in the world. If you examine the Old Testament, a book consisting of Jewish-lore, the book of Isaiah, verse 45:7, states:
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
So in Jewish cosmology you can see there is only one god, Yahweh (Jehovah) and he is responsible for everything and by everything that means both good and evil. He commanded beings called angels who would act out his will both good/creative and evil/destructive.
At the beginning of the Current Era came Jesus Christ and whether he was real or a philosophy or culmination of several Jewish prophets, a new religion started based on his teaching. Jesus Christ was not a person’s name but rather a title where Jesus is most likely a Greek derivation of the Hebrew name Yeshua or Joshua and where Krystos is a Greek word meaning Anointed One as in the Sanskrit Krishna. According to Christian mythology, Jesus was the son of Joseph which would have meant his name would be Yeshua bar Yehosef (Joshua son of Joseph) as people of Judea/Galilee did not have surnames.
A Jewish prophet would not have deviated from the monotheistic one-god philosophy, but according to Christian philosophy, he now became the Son of God, Christians yet still maintaining they are a monotheist religion believing in only one god. To have a son of a god as well as a god would make it a polytheistic religion. At this point, it would be prudent to explain the word god.
The word god means a supernatural entity that has a belief system and rituals of worship associated with it. With translations and the rise of Christianity, this god (small g) underwent a name change from Yahweh (Jehovah) to God (capital G) . This now means that when people referred to god, it was taken to mean God and that older gods were demonised. The equivalent would be for Toyota to release a vehicle called Car. If that vehicle became extremely popular then anyone who drove, let us say, a Volkswagen Jetta would be driving a false car, because it is not a Car.
From the teachings of the New Testament, Jesus was the Son of God and but there was another holy being added to the mix and that was the Holy Spirit. To recap, there is only one god but he was subdivided into three beings: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This trinity of a single being was a method of trying to maintain a monotheistic belief in what was becoming a polytheistic belief system. A holy trinity was not a new concept at all. Osiris, Isis and Horus were the holy trinity of Egypt. The Romans originally had Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus but after assimilating the Greek religion they had Jupiter, Juno and Minerva who were Roman equivalents of Zeus, Hera and Athena.
Christianity developed in the Roman Empire where there were several other religions that were gaining in popularity outside the Greco-Roman religion. The church of Isis was popular with the common folk both men and women whereas the church of Mithras was a male only religion predominantly practiced by nobles and a majority of the Roman army. Roman Emperor Constantine faced with a crumbling empire at the beginning of the 3rd Century CE looked to religion to hold it together and pick one of the three most popular religions at the time - he spun the proverbial dial and it landed on Christianity.
We’re not totally sure what the Christian religion looked like at that time but after the Council of Nicaea in the 325 CE its direction was determined and was finally set in stone. The church then blended concepts of the three popular religions – Christianity, Mithraism and of Isis. The Church took iconography of Isis and Horus and turned them into the Madonna and Child, imagery that was depicted hundreds of years earlier in Egypt. However, it was Mithraism that had the largest influence on the new Christianity. This religion had been around for hundreds of years before the Current Era, and although it was a secret society in Rome, it was gaining in popularity with more public temples in the first century CE.
Mithraism had developed into more of dualistic patriarchal religion at that point in history. There was the Ahura-Mazda, Lord of Knowledge, and the Ahriman, Lord of Negative Thought or, in simplistic terms, a god of good and a god of evil who were constantly at blows. Ahura-Mazda sent to earth his only son Mithras to save the world, and he slew the bull. He celebrated his birthday on December 25 and his elder priests were known as pontiffs, who would wear red caps and carry a shepherd’s mitre. Astrology was a major theme and Mithras was associated with the Sun, and there are stories of him having supper with his twelve followers, which would be signs of the zodiac. His holy day was Sunday. If Christians were true followers of the Jewish Jesus, their holy day would be Saturday but Christians had shifted their holy day to align with the Mithraism, so the Sunday became the new day of the Lord.
Angels and Demons
One more point needs to be established in this discussion in order to fully understand the concept of Lucifer and that is: what is a demon? In the Greco-Roman religion, there were the gods and man but in between, there were the daemons. A daemon was a messenger or the entity that acted on behalf of the gods but they were also beings onto their own and had free will. Also, like human beings some were good and some were bad. In Judaism, there were a set of beings that had no free will and that could only do what Yahweh dictated and these were the angels. Angels could be both good and destructive as was the case in Sodom and Gomorra where they levelled the two cities killing both good and bad people (Book of Genesis) . One must keep in mind that the Jewish god, Jehovah, was both good and evil. In the dualistic approach of Christianity, they could not have a being with the same name where one was good and one was bad. So the angels of Judaism became good and the daemons of the Greeks became bad or demons.
The Bad God
Once established as the state religion of Rome, in order not to ostracise the rest of the population, the Christian religion started to absorb the various elements of the other religions. Christianity went from following the monotheistic model of the Jewish religion to following the dualistic model of the Mithraic religion. The good aspects Jehovah were combined with the Ahuru-Mazda they were renamed to “God”. God needed an enemy or adversary equivalent to the Ahriman and he became Satan. In order to wipe out the previous religions of Europe, most of the polytheistic deities became symbols of this Satan such as the popular god, Pan, the god of nature. When people think of Satan they imagine a man with goat’s horns and goat’s legs. This is none other than Pan demonised by the new Church. He carries Poseidon’s trident, which became the Devil’s pitchfork. It is interesting to note that Jehovah is imageless like the Egyptian Amon-Ra but Satan looks like Pagan deities.
There are a few occurrences in the Old Testament of the Bible where Satan is mentioned by name however the term means the “adversary” rather than an entity and being. According to the Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satan, there are 13 references made to Ha-Satan which would be “the satan” or “the adversary”. An additional 10 are without the article ‘Ha’, which would make it 'satan' that could be personified as Satan or Adversary. King James took many liberties when translating the Bible and some of the adversaries were translated into Satan and Diabolos or Devil.
What must be understood is that in most polytheistic religions from Hinduism to Asatru, there are no deities of pure evil. There are many struggles and some gods are more mischievous than others but there is not one of true evil and there are no references to an evil deity that torments people for eternity. The images of Hades’ underworld are not the most pleasant but that has probably more to do with the uncertainty around death. The fact that when you die, you are thrown into the dark cold earth where you decompose helps contribute to the descriptions of the realm of Hades.
At this point, it is interesting to note that Christianity has, in fact, become a dualistic religion. In the Greco-Roman religion, there are three kingdoms, which are divided between three gods. Jupiter/Zeus has the heavens (Olympia) , Neptune/Poseidon has the oceans and Pluto/Hades has the underworld.
In Christianity, God has Heaven and Satan has Hell. If there is only one god, why does this other being have its own realm unless he is leasing it, at which point it makes the Christian God the ruler of Hell? With regards to the term hell, it is also interesting to note that in Latin languages, ‘hell’ is a word that means inferno as in the Italian Inferno or French Enfer whereas Hell is word that is derived from Hel, the Norse goddess of the underworld. The underworld in the Asatru religion, as all Pagan religions, is a place where all the dead go – good and bad.
Who was Lucifer?
This discussion has brought us to in a roundabout manner to the topic of this essay – who is Lucifer? Firstly, Lucifer in his physical form is the planet Venus. When viewed from the Earth, the planet Venus doesn’t stray far from the Sun as the furthest it can be seen is about 45° of arc on either side. When the planet Venus appears to the left of the Sun, it is the most beautiful star in the heavens during the evening. The Sun will set first leaving Venus in the sky shining extremely bright. When Venus conjuncts or opposes the Sun she disappears and then reappears on the right side of the Sun and visa versa. When Venus appears to the right of the Sun it is no longer the Evening Star as it now will rise before the Sun being a beautiful star in the morning or the Morning Star.
The ancient Greeks believed Venus to be two separate entities although ancient astrologers probably knew differently. In the Greek religion, the planet Venus was not associated with the goddess of beauty and love Aphrodite (Roman-Venus) although the association is appropriate. The Greeks gave the daystar the name Eosphoros or Phosphorus that in Latin translates to Lucifer. The evening star Hesperos was Vesper in Latin. Hesperos was the son of Atlas and the goddess of the dawn Eos. Eosphorus was the son of Astreus and Eos, who also gave birth to the Four Winds. The Greeks often portrayed Phosphorus as winged with a torch leading his mother Eos’s chariot.
Therefore, to recap, the planet Venus appeared in the morning to the ancients it was known as Phosphorus in Greek and Lucifer in Latin. Lucifer is derived from Lucem – light and Ferre – to bring, meaning the light bringer. In order to piece this puzzle together properly, one must understand that the darkest point of the night is just before dawn. When the planet Venus rises before the Sun, it is the brightest light in the sky at the darkest time of the day making, Venus or Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness. What does the Prince of Darkness say to us? He says the light or enlightenment is coming - to wake up and to sleep no more. The question bears to be asked why would something that brings you illumination be bad? It is interesting to note that the time after the Roman Empire collapsed and Christianity took over Europe they entered the Dark Ages.
The website http://www.mythindex.com/greek-mythology/P/Phosphorus.html lists the follow places where Phosphorus/Lucifer is mentioned in the ancient texts
• Phosphorus as a personification is called a son of Astraeus and Eos (Hesiod Theogony. 381) ,
• of Cephalus and Eos (Hyginus Poeticon Astronomica ii. 42) ,
• or of Atlas (Tzetzes ad Lyc. 879) .
• By Philonis, he is said to have been the father of Ceyx (Hyginus Fabulae 65; Ovid Metamorphoses xi. 271) , and
• He is also called the father of Daedalion (Ovid Metamorphoses. xi. 295) ,
• of the Hesperides (Servius ad Aeneid iv. 484) , or
• of Hesperis, who became by his brother Atlas the mother of the Hesperides. (Diodotus iv. 27; Servius ad Aeneid i. 530.)
It should be noted that in these passages the gods are written about in a way the authors assume you know who they are and their stories. Very much like a modern person suggesting, “do you expect me to walk on water?” which would be a reference to the story in Christian mythology, where Jesus walks on water. If you were not familiar with the myth, then the phrase would be wasted on you. So it seems that we do not have a real grasp of Lucifer’s abilities and attributes and if there were any practices associated with him.
Lucifer in Christianity
When did Lucifer get mixed into the Christian pantheon? It seems to have been the Christian scholar Origen as well as a few others around the third century of the Current Era who took any reference to the Morning Star and equated those passages to the personification of the morning star, Lucifer. The passage was from Isaiah 14:12. A direct translation is below:
How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
According to www.jewishencyclopedia.com, the story is about a Babylonian King. Origen who was who would have known enough about the Roman religion applied Lucifer, the Morning Star, to the story and preceded to teach this was the adversarial fallen angel, Satan. This demonised the Roman god and Satan and Lucifer have been incorrectly equated to each other ever since. It is interesting to note the author of Revelations (written around 68CE) , John of Patmos, who was an astrologer, refers to Jesus Christ to as the Morning Star in Revelation 22:16. This makes Jesus the messenger who announces the coming of Sun or God. It is a similar function of the Phosphorus/Lucifer.
While it may be difficult for many Christians to accept, Satanism is actually an offshoot of Christianity as there is no Satan in any Pagan or polytheistic religion or in the Jewish religion for that matter. While many people have been accused of worshiping Satan through the ages and put to death, there was no real public church until Anton LaVey created the Church of Satan in 1966. All people previously accused of worshipping the Devil were either healers, Pagans or victims of opportunity.
Aradia of Italian Witchcraft
American author Charles Leland studied witches in Tuscany, Italy at the end of the nineteenth century. There he discovered that Italian witches worshipped a trinity of Diana, Lucifer and Aradia. Diana would be the Roman goddess equivalent to Artemis, goddess of the wild and of the hunt. Lucifer was the Light Bringer. Aradia was their daughter sent to Earth to be the Queen of the Witches and help protect people from the Catholic Church. His books Aradia: Gospel of the Witches and Etruscan Roman Remains may have influenced the Wiccan and modern Neo-Pagan movements.
Author Raven Grimassi, who practices Stregaria, an Italian word for witchcraft, states in his book Italian Witchcraft that Aradia may have been a Dianic priestess in the middle-ages. However, this belief looks like it may have been a Pagan rebellion against the control of Catholic Church. It is difficult to dismiss the coincidence of how Lucifer who had now been equated to Satan for many centuries and an insignificant deity during Pagan times, rose to be part of this holy trinity of a religion. It seems that if this was a belief system it was thumbing its nose at the Church. Nevertheless, Leland`s book did start something and Aradia is called on today in many Wiccan ceremonies whereas Lucifer is not as common, again probably do to the association to Satan of Christian mythology.
As one can see, Lucifer has nothing to do with the Christian Satan. It seems that Lucifer has been bastardised into the Christian god of Satan and any real understanding of the original god has been lost in the process of spreading the Good Word. The only the real attribute we have left is that as the Prince of Darkness, Lucifer announces that the light or enlightenment is on its way. Next time you see the planet Venus in the morning sky, look up to Lucifer and ask him to open your eyes or at least to just enjoy his beauty if you have the opportunity to up at that time to see Lucifer in the sky.
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