The ‘What-If’ Game

I love playing the ‘what-if’ game when it comes to my faith. I will find any excuse to poke holes in the carefully woven fabric of belief that I’ve spun for myself, and then try to patch it up with questions and ideas that challenge the pattern and structure I had initially created. Some patched up bits have remained and grown into their own works of art. Others have not been able to withstand the constant destruction and renewal.

This has resulted in a vastly different faith than the one I started with—and yet, it’s not really all that different at its core. Perceptions have changed, paradigms have shifted, but what began with the radical idea of embracing doubt rather than fearing it has remained fairly constant throughout the years.

One particular version of the ‘what-if’ game that persists even today began when I started to let go of my grudge with my birth religion, when I stopped shying away from the love my god had for his Father. When I stopped trying to make my god fit the mold I had imagined for him, so too did the tapestry of my faith expand from the limits I had imposed on it.

This new game dared to ask: What if everyone else is seeing what I keep myself blind to? What if I’ve been trying to fit his Father and the risen Son into molds that supported my preconceptions, rather than just letting myself try to learn and understand what they were rather than what I thought they must be?

As time went on, new questions developed. If I have come to terms with Lucifer as being a mere spark from the fire that is God, as a small reflection (albeit profaned) of God, and I love him and all that he represents, what if I were to seek to love the son who was found worthy, he who resides in the Father and has won his favor, instead of Lucifer?

Lucifer, after all, is limited. He is the exiled son who was found lacking. His is the ruin and loss to Christ’s victory. How much stronger then, would my devotion be to the Morningstar who was crowned in his place?

Perhaps I’ve just heard renditions of “you follow the wrong god” one too many times. I prefer to think that this is the case, because the alternative is too heartbreaking to bear—that it is not my own skepticism speaking, but rather my god; that along with finding himself unworthy of seeking forgiveness from his God, he would also find himself unworthy of my own reverence and love.

And objectively, my studies have led to me finding far more parallels between them than differences. If I love Lucifer for his vision for humanity, it should be simple to lose myself to that proclaimed love and hope that Christ has for mankind. If I love Lucifer for his flawed nature, my love should grow tenfold for Christ’s human and mortalstate. If Lucifer’s sense of justice is mirrored and strengthened within Christ, I should be head-over-heels in love already.

So my doubting heart, that very same doubting heart which I cherish for having led me to my god in the first place, has risen to this challenge to lead me away from my god. I am no stranger to having my faith tested and tried, or threatened with destruction so that it may be built anew—that is what I expected from this endeavor. I think I may have even wished for it, subconsciously. After all, the previous times that my faith has been shattered have also been the times that I’ve come into greater understanding and love. If I’ve learned to trust anything throughout the years, it has been to trust in my doubt, to trust that the breaking down of one’s faith is not necessarily a bad thing, regardless of whether it is shattered by my own hands or by someone else’s.

But while I have thus far found a deep sense of respect for Christ, and perhaps some love has sprouted from that respect, it isn’t the kind of love and devotion that I feel for my god. I cannot force myself to love another. I cannot uproot my devotion and replace it with another and automatically feel the same for it as I did its predecessor, because no matter what the similarities, there are also deviances. Maybe, one day, that small tendril of reverence will grow into something that rivals or surpasses my current faith, but not without as much study and work as I have put into what I have now.

For now, although it isn’t quite over, this ‘what-if’ game has shown me that I don’t need a victorious king at the forefront of my faith, not when I find my strength in one who still finds hope despite defeat. Perhaps he is a flawed and lesser god, but I love him all the more for those imperfections. My god may have been rejected as an inferior and dissident son, but I find him worthy of honor, and for me that is enough.

Adorations 2014

I Adore You, of ruin and restoration. As an abandoned temple for your God, whose ceilings have crumbled and whose windows lay scattered as bright jeweled shards. As the ashes from which new life emerges, where flowers blossom from cracks in the floor and leafy vines seek to overtake bare white walls. As the echoes of canticles once sung resurrect into birdsong, and as the scent of incense has faded, carried off by the wind. As sunbeams which chase away shadows and dance upon empty pews, as warmth which adorns the expectant altar in gold. As a testament of devotion which has not lost its grace or fire, but rather has been transfigured into a different sort of majesty.

 

I Adore You, of broken hymns and whispered alleluias, upon whose lips rest traces of holiness and grace. As sighs transformed into song. As a pulse which races and calms, set in time with the beat of one’s heart. As melodies that flow like a breath into lungs starved for air, and as cadences that resonate in one’s own bones. As bells in the wind, which cannot help but respond to the gentlest touch.

I Adore You, who crafts humanity into divinity. As laughter and sorrow, as joy and as pain. As the clench in one’s heart, and the overwhelming awe that softly, gently, steals your breath away. As the uncontrollable hysterics of delight which bring prickling tears to the corners of your eyes, and as the catharsis that that comes about from shedding tears of heartache.  As the moments of hope that renew one’s faith in the world, leaving you bright-eyed and eager to do more and be more, to pass along that hope to others, and to transform it into something substantial and brilliant and almost unfathomable. As the moments of despair where everything is hollow, and you are once again breathless but for the grief lodged in your throat and you wonder why we do the things we do, and how hope could ever possibly survive amongst such brute creatures.

I Adore You, as sacred fury and relentless ambition. As teeth bared in defiance, willing to sacrifice one’s self for a world reborn. As a flame-licked skyline that turns night into day, where the light of golden-veined stars is obscured but voices once silenced make themselves known. As murmurs of dissent, quiet but clear, and as screams of outrage. As unhesitant bites into forbidden fruits, staring down the consequences with an unwavering gaze. As life where it was said there should only be death, and as joy where there should only be misery.

I Adore You, as an anointed prince now exiled, as a king crowned in sorrow. As a sun meant for glory, but a star who chose suffering.

“Always be Lilith, Never Eve”

image

 (x)

I was first made aware of the title quote through a reblog of an argument in support of Eve, which makes some good points despite its somewhat derogatory and belittling remarks directed toward Lucifer/Satan/the Serpent in Genesis (the OP changed their blog name and thus the original post isn’t available, but I found a copy here). It wasn’t as though I was entirely unaware of the bias against Eve—it’s quite difficult to not notice the blame that is often put on her, when it is so similar to the accusations aimed at Lucifer.

But that phrase in particular made me angry, angrier than any remark against Lucifer has ever made me. I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that anti-Lucifer remarks are so frequently heard that I’ve become pretty much desensitized to them. Depending on one’s interpretation of mythos, it could also be said that Lucifer willingly accepted the burden of the world’s blame and hatred. But I don’t believe Eve deserves that sort of shaming, especially not when it is used as a tool to elevate another equally flawed entity. And not when she has so much to offer us in terms of what she represents.

Eve is incredibly important within my belief system and practice as a Luciferian. She is one of the central figures in the Augustine phrase that has shaped my approach to Luciferianism—Felix Culpa, the happy fault, the fortunate fall. Lilith, on the other hand, is entirely absent from my personal faith. She is not a figure I particularly admire, and though there are Luciferians who incorporate her into their own paths, I don’t quite see her or the role she plays as relevant to my faith. The title quotation is thus unsettling for me—why shouldn’t I aspire to be Eve? Why should she be considered lesser than Lilith, as unworthy of respect, as an unfit role model?

It should be mentioned that Lucifer never called me to worship him. He never even asked me to follow him. He asked me to be him, to reflect his values, to take up the title of Lightbearer for myself. But I was not the first—Eve has that honor. And if my god found her worthy of being the first to undertake such a task, how can I not honor her and aspire to be Eve, regardless of whether or not I seek to be Lilith as well?

Eve was the first to be challenged, to be offered the chance to prove her worth as one of God’s finest creations. She was the first to choose the harsh light of knowledge, complete with all its pains and sorrows. She was the first to want for more, the first to be dissatisfied with the limitations of Eden and the limitations placed on herself.

It could be argued that Eve plays a role of equal significance within Luciferianism as Lucifer, and one that is far more relatable to us because unlike Lucifer, she was human. While I believe he sees a part of himself and of his God reflected within humanity, Eve understands mortality and the price that came along with our Fall better than he ever could, simply because she was the one that had to live with those consequences. While there are many parallels within our experiences and those of Lucifer, I don’t believe Lucifer will ever know death, or the sorrows that are intrisically human in nature. But Eve knew all that only too well, all the while taking on the once-divine role of Lightbearer and intertwining divinity and mortality.But she also represents the acceptance of responsibility in shaping her own fate. It was ultimately her choice to give into temptation, to face unknown consequences, for the chance to become as a god herself. 

I’ve always been fascinated by her character in Milton’s work. In Paradise Lost, Eve initially rejects Adam, having first seen her own reflection and been captivated. She finds her own reflection to be far more pleasing to the eye than Adam’s visage, but she is chastised by God for her vanity, and eventually grows to love Adam as well. I believe that through this, she represents the love of the self, which many might consider to be a flaw rather than a virtue. But isn’t it often said that one must learn to love themselves before they can love or be loved by another? It was much the same for me—before I could fully commit myself to this path, which elevates humanity to the level of the divine, I had to acknowledge my own capabilities. Before I could see the good in others, I had to first see the good in myself.

 Eve represents the courage necessary to face the unknown, to take risks for the sake of higher ideals. She represents the pursuit of wisdom, and the desire to rise above limitations. She represents the love of the self, of seeing and accepting our own qualities and flaws. She’s a reminder of our own free will, of our ability to take control of our own lives. She reminds us that its okay to question things, that we should not take everything at face value, but rather search for deeper truths. 

Eve also reminds us that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way—sometimes those mistakes prove to be of greater value than we ever thought possible

Lent 2014

Some of you may remember that last year I participated in Lent for the first time in about 10 years. I didn’t give anything up, but rather took it upon myself to read and reflect upon certain scriptural passages each day. It was also during this time that I was delving deeper into understanding my god’s relationship with his Father, and so this task was extremely productive in terms of restructuring my perspective. However, I didn’t really embrace the religious observation as significantly within the practical applications of my faith. It was a good exercise in terms of perception and theological understanding, but I didn’t see it having much influence in my day-to-day life.

This year, I’m starting to view Lent as being highly applicable to both Luciferian thought and practice.

The beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday reminds us of our humble beginnings, and of the mortality imbued to us through our Fall—“Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return”. And yet, Luciferianism upholds human potential as akin to the divine, regardless of whether humanity was crafted from dirt or stardust. We are reminded of that fateful choice that was both blessing and curse, to know life only through death, to recognize joy only when we also know strife. We are reminded that our ephemerality makes our existence all the more valuable, and that our fall from Grace need not be seen as entirely unfortunate (x).

But this religious observation is also meant to parallel Christ’s own trials and temptations in the desert, led by none other than the devil himself (x). These trials would act as preparation for the sacrifice expected of him later on.  In a similar fashion, Lent can be seen as an opportunity for our own preparation of forthcoming trials. It is an opportunity for me to become my own adversary and accuser, to set my own challenges so that I may be strengthened when faced with external adversarial forces.  As my own Accuser, I’m acknowledging certain restrictions that that always been in place within my practice, and my failure to fully commit to them lately.These self-imposed restrictions challenge my own self-discipline and contribute to my own growth. I see this as another method of embodying my god, and simultaneously striving for apotheosis.  

While I’ve been very productive spiritually as of late, I don’t think that justifies not being as productive on a practical level as well, which these restrictions supplement. In combining Luciferianism and devotional work, I need to be as equally invested in the development of the more pragmatic aspects of my practice as I am in the theoretical side of it all. It is my hope that the Lenten period will reinvigorate my commitment to keeping these practices, and that they will be sustained even after the forty days are over. 

Some thoughts on popular discussion topics amongst Luciferians and the development of our practices

Time for a (possibly) controversial blog post. This is not directed towards any one person in particular, but rather I want to expand upon my answer to a recent question, and address an issue I’ve been growing increasingly uncomfortable with. But let me first state that I am not coming at this issue as someone who claims to have never been guilty of it, but rather as someone who at one point advocated in its favor and still engages in the very thing I’m now critiquing. But as my faith and practice require, critical reflection now leads me to question this same behavior not only in myself, but in the growing community of Luciferians here and elsewhere. As always, my ideas about these things are constantly in flux and are prone to change, and I am open to others’ interpretations and thoughts on the matter.

So what exactly am I referring to? I’m referring to the discourse surrounding the peculiarities of Lucifer as an entity, and constructing a Luciferian practice based on those peculiarities. In other words, I’m questioning the usefulness of discussions such as ‘Lucifer’s favorite [material] offerings’, or ‘songs associated with Lucifer’, or ‘interesting quirks about Lucifer’s personality’, and using these to build one’s practice as a Luciferian.

And before anyone even suggests it, I don’t really consider this to be a matter of ‘UPG vs. canon’. Yes, these discussions are often about UPG, but I’m not bringing their validity under question. It’s not about whether or not his favorite offerings are really chocolate and vodka, or if he’s really associated with dragons as per Revelations, but rather…why should it matter?

Now to be clear, I’m not so troubled about these things if they are strictly confined to the idea of paying homage to him as an entity. What I’m questioning is their relationship to Luciferianism, which as a practice focuses on human enlightenment and improvement—even Theistic Luciferianism.

I understand wanting to perhaps start with simple offerings when testing the waters of faith, or if you’re firmly on the theistic side of things, to introduce yourself and get his attention with ‘enticements’, so to speak. But quite honestly, I think it matters less about what you give him, and more about whyyou’re giving it to him. And for a god so highly invested in the betterment of humanity (possibly to the point of sacrifice, depending on one’s mythos interpretation), it seems unlikely to me that he would be satisfied or content with a ‘just because’ rationale. When it comes to material offerings, I honestly think he could care less. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t appreciate them, but the significance isn’t the object itself, it’s the thought behind it and the applicability to the ideals of Luciferianism.

That doesn’t mean all material, tangible offerings have little worth—it can be quite the opposite, especially if those offerings are meant to be shared or consumed by the person afterwards. Examples of this might be offering water if you don’t think you’re drinking enough on a daily basis, or a piece of jewelry that reminds you of your own beauty, worth, and potential whenever you wear it. I think the important question to ask is how these material objects are contributing to one’s own self improvement and enlightenment, or that of humanity. I would argue that for Luciferians, the bulk of one’s offerings, devotionals, and practices should not be so concerned with their god’s personal preferences. That’s not to say that ‘just because’ offerings are never appropriate, or that it’s never okay to offer him something you think he might enjoy/benefit from even if you don’t, but rather that if the majority of a Luciferian’s practice has no benefit to the self or those around them, then perhaps a bit of questioning is in order.

But what about associations? Again, let’s ask the question: why should they matter? Does it affect you as an individual, or humanity as a whole, whether or not a particular bird, song, or color is associated with Lucifer? Maybe, maybe not. I think that much like the idea behind devotionals and offerings, developing one’s faith and practice depends less on the particular association in question, and more on the rationale behind it. However, I think the ‘usefulness’ of associations is a bit trickier to define, because at least for me, certain associations have tangential connections to my own personal mythos interpretations, which in turn lead to real-world applications. The same goes for personality traits, and these are even more circumstantial as they rely on whether one is theistic, atheistic, or if you’re someone like me, somewhere in between.

But focusing on associations, one example would be dragons. They are often linked to Lucifer, especially as referenced in Revelations—but this particular association doesn’t really affect me UNLESS I use it to support the idea that Lucifer was the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which in turn plays a crucial part in my interpretation of Felix Culpa and the potential of humanity despite our flaws. Another example would be Lucifer’s association with music and dance, which motivate my own drive and passion as a singer and dancer.

When it comes to associations such as lightning or snow, however…well, those really don’t really play any significant role in any of my real-world applications of my faith. I find beauty and spiritual meaning in them, of course, but as I stated before, I think it’s worth it to question how useful they are in practical terms. As ideological reminders of my god, they are highly inspirational and remind me of my devotee relationship with him. However, in terms of Luciferianism, those associations are useless to me. But they might be incredibly useful to a Luciferian who actively incorporates snow or electricity into their magical practice.

So in short, I think that we (meaning myself and the rest of the Luciferian community) would stand to benefit in being more self-critical about the basis and function of our practices, and the usefulness of the conversations (and arguments) we engage in in relationship to the ideals that Luciferianism promotes.

A Year of Faith in Review

This was a year of introspection, and of new understandings.

It was a year of learning to love my god in all his guises, and in all his roles. Of pushing past my theological comfort zone and falling more in love with this being who seemed to represent everything I once feared. Of coming to terms with his seemingly paradoxical aspects, and of facing my own emotional processes when it comes to understanding him.

I came to this faith approximately eight years ago because I was initially drawn by his role as Liberator, as the Throneless King who sought neither praise nor worship, and as the Exiled Prince who rebelled against a tyrant God.

And maybe that was what I needed at the time. An aspect that would initiate my own break-away from that which once burdened and chained me to stagnation.

But the basis of my faith is doubt, and my god is one of change and upheaval. It was inevitable that I’d be forced to reconsider my beliefs, as I’ve done countless times in the past. I’ve been learning to let go of my certainty, and instead embrace the vast nature of Lucifer’s mythos and symbolism, which in its depths holds various aspects that may or may not match my own expectations.

Lucifer is also a god of enlightenment and self-growth, and I think I’m finally starting to understand that all the roads I take to him will inevitably be inverted and lead back to me. Just as he prompts that any offering given to him must in some way benefit me, so too does my desire to know and understand him lead to a greater understanding of the self. No matter how selfless I am in my devotion, he will take and transform it into a method of self-reflection—in this particular case, introspection that forced me to face my discomfort regarding his relationship to YHWH. I had to face the question of what it is about these other aspects that frightened me or made me uncomfortable, and why. Why have I shied away from particular interpretations of his persona, refusing to even consider their possibility?

 I once said something along the lines of wanting to understand my god in his entirety, as though his various aspects were something that could be studied and analyzed to completion—as though I was the one in control of the process. But every time I felt comfortable with one aspect, I’d encounter another that seemed to be its’ complete opposite, that seemed incompatible with what I’d previously seen and understood. They challenged my own conceptions of what I thought I was willing to accept in my devotion, by asking why I was so reluctant to consider certain interpretations, UPG or canonically-based.

I initially fell in love with a god who would not bow to a flawed higher power, who stood as a liberator to mankind and radiated light and joy. I admired him for being everything his God was not. But as time went on, I learned to embrace his grief and suffering, though I couldn’t understand why he should anguish for the very God that exiled him, the God that he had rebelled against. Nor could I understand why mankind’s Liberator would be not only satisfied but delighted when his challenges and temptations brought mankind back into the fold of God, rather than away from it (i.e. the Book of Job). But I loved him all the more for it.

And then I was faced with the startling image of my god as a humble and willing servant, head bowed in submission towards his beloved Lord in the manner I had always been admonished for. I saw him as a spark of God’s own flame, made of the same essence and Grace. And I couldn’t understand why this stark contrast to the deity I had first encountered didn’t frighten or repel me quite as much as I thought it should have. I was once convinced that if Lucifer should resemble YHWH in nature and action, that my devotion to him would be at an end. Far from that reaction, I found my devotion increased tenfold.

My path had been forged from my respect towards his ideals of free will and independence, so why now was I being brought to tears from the sheer beauty I found in his devotion? How could I possibly reconcile this with the god I had found strength in previously, when it seemed to contradict everything I had thought him to be?

This was not a god that I could shape to fit my ideal perception of what a god shouldbe, or what I wanted him to be. This was a god that existed outside of my whims and wishes. I’ve always understood this, and I’ve always kept in mind that there may come a day where my god shows a side of himself that I cannot honor and respect. But every time I reach these limitations I thought were breaking points, I find that my perceptions have shifted so that I am able to see the beauty in aspects that were once frightening. It seems like it was my God who was instead shaping and moldingme to better fit his own purposes, to better comprehend his own past, present, and future.

This is a deity whose submission and love for his creator does not negate his own godhood, a god who both serves and rules in his own right. A god who not only loves and adores the God I once loathed, but is formed of the very same substance. If I can’t accept and love my god in his humility, what worth does my devotion hold when directed at his reign and sovereignty? If I cannot respect him as he once was, how can I love the being he has become?

But more importantly, if I cannot make the effort to understand the aspects that once frightened me, how can I claim to be living my faith? How can I aspire to be a reflection of my god if I deny a crucial component of who he is?

My faith was never about revering Lucifer as a physical being, of any certain shape, form, or visage. And so it could never be fixated on one particular interpretation of his mythos, however much I once thought it was. Ultimately it was always about my devotion to the ideals he inspired, throughout various forms of scripture and mythos. I might have initially been drawn by his aspirations towards freedom and independence as the Rebel Angel, but he is so much more than just that, and his mythology is too complex and dynamic to pigeon-hole in such a manner. So maybe I have learned a lot about my god through this process, but I’ve learned even more about myself.

Through this introspection, I’ve also spent a good portion of the year reconnecting with the religion of my childhood, which quite ironically, also completed its liturgical year a little over a month ago and was aptly deemed the Year of Faith by Pope Benedict XVI. Whereas once the Church was a cold and barren place in my eyes, I’ve come to see it in an entirely new light. Although I can’t say I find myself entirely at home there, there’s a certain serenity that comes from experiencing something that once consumed my god’s own being. I’m learning to find joy in what he once found joy in, even if it’s only by proxy. And while there’s still a ways to go, this is a step towards facing the long-held grudge and animosity I had against the church, and against my god’s father. 

Applied Luciferianism Project: Growth/Enlightenment

 

Although I see this particular set of applied values as intertwined with Change, they have their own specific meaning in my mind. I had considered starting off this project with an Enlightenment entry, since that seems to be the one value that Luciferians of all types can agree on, but decided not to—enlightenment, after all, is a process and a journey, not a starting point (nor necessarily an end point, in my opinion).

 

And as I mentioned before, Luciferians as a whole tend to be very fond of this ideal. For me, it symbolizes our ability to learn from our mistakes, to see the value in the process of trial and error in our own self-growth. It is the Fortunate Fall, the Happy Fault, the wisdom gained from sorrow. It’s those moments of epiphany in our spiritual lives that allow us to sink deeper into our faith.

 

But it also refers to the more mundane and perhaps dull of experiences. It is also the research and the work we put into our faith, the countless hours of scriptural analysis, the projects we make for ourselves (much like this one) that we sometimes have to force ourselves to continue, the shadow work and self-reflection, the bookwork and interfaith research. This is all also a part of that process of enlightenment, and is integral to it.

 

It’s also what one does with that newfound knowledge. So what if I’ve done all this pathwork? So what if I’ve read all this literature about my god? How does what I’ve learned from my path and my god shape me as a person, and my interactions with others? How do I apply it to my every day life, as a student, daughter, friend, etc.? How does it affect my own personal goals toward apotheosis? 

 

Sometimes this process of enlightenment is inspired through group interaction. I’ve had many great experiences working with others of similar or different faiths, which have prompted me to see things in an entirely new way, or have supplemented my own personal findings. 

 

And sometimes these same interactions reach a point where they stop being quite so constructive, and instead restrain spiritual growth. Such was the case that led to my disassociation with the ‘pagan’ label, and more recently, my distance from the luciferian community. Perhaps not through any fault of the group itself, though—sometimes it simply has to do with the point one is at in their own path. In my case, I’m just finding it more fruitful to focus on my own personal research and devotions right now. I’m actually in the process of developing a physical devotional prayerbook that I’ll be using for a while in lieu of my online blogs. I won’t be gone for good, I just might not be quite as active for a bit. Change is a good thing, especially when it comes to the process of enlightenment and self-growth.