Satanism vs. Devil Worship vs. Luciferianism

After responding to a question on my last post, I realize that I’ve yet to formally make a post talking about the differences between Satanism, devil-worship, and Luciferianism. Its an issue that pops up a lot, I’m surprised it took me this long to mention it.

[Keep in mind that this is not by any means a definitive separation of the three faiths, but merely one take on the nuances between them]

The differences between those three terms (luciferianism, devil worship, and satanism) are complicated. Some will use all three synonymously, others like me do not consider them to be the same thing. Lets start with the broadest of the three–Satanism.

Satanists are mostly atheistic. They see Satan as a symbol, and their faith is heavily focused on the here and now–the materialistic, the pleasurable, the self-serving. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing–its really just self worship. Then there are the theistic Satanists who see Satan as a real being.

This is where it starts to get fuzzy. Theistic Satanists may or may not differentiate between Lucifer and Satan, but I and many Luciferians do. We see Satan as the figurehead of carnality and of the more…worldly issues, so to speak. He represents embracing what life has to offer, and living for the self. The more fervent theistic satanists may call themselves devil worshippers. Just as with any faith, there are extremists and radicals who will present their faith in a less-than-pleasant way, which has been the case for ‘devil-worshippers’. Just because the ones you hear about on the news are insane and psychopathic doesn’t mean they all are.

Luciferians can also be either theistic or atheistic. Whether we consider him a symbol or an actual god, he represents knowledge in all it’s forms. The majority of us strive for apotheosis–to become like gods, knowing good and evil. We hold ourselves accountable for our actions, and even theistic luciferians like myself rely largely on our own potential and effort. Lucifer is a guide and mentor, but ultimately my faith is what I make of it.

While I have seen a few theistic Luciferians claim to worship Lu, I myself do not use the term ‘worship’ to describe my devotion to him. Worship has connotations of submission and hierarchy and Lu has beaten it into my head enough times that we are equals in potential. There’s also the issue of blind faith in regards to worship. You have to earn praise and respect through your actions—being a god doesn’t automatically make you worthy of admiration.

While I may differentiate between all these terms, I am aware that the majority see them as interchangeable. When they speak of satan or the devil I can usually safely assume that they are also referring to Lucifer. When they refer to my practices as worship, however, I do make the effort to try to inform them on why that is not an acceptable term for my devotion.

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If you’re going to call it ‘spiritual warfare’, don’t romanticize it

I’ve been talking with a few devout Christians lately, and have had a few start following my blogs. I was pleased to note that we could get along, and even have calm and rational discussions regarding our faiths. I find myself finding more similarities between us than differences, as a matter of fact.

 But one thing I noticed they seem to mention a lot when referring to Lu, or the antagonistic relationship that their god and my own has, is that the ‘war has already been won’. They place a lot of emphasis on the biblical prophecy that says my patron will be defeated (again). Although they may not say it directly, they imply that they are on the side that will claim victory, while Lu and his devotees will be defeated (and cast to Hell, one would presume). Now, clearly not all Christians have this sort of mindset, but it does seem to be prevalent even amongst the mild of the faith.

It seems like such a fixed concept—like our Work is such a lost cause. So what’s the point of all this if it won’t make a difference in the end?

The point is that it’s not about winning, but standing up for what we believe in.

Maybe it’s because the end goal of Christianity revolves around salvation and redemption, which necessitates the defeat of ‘evil’, that they seem to focus so heavily on treating Lu as an enemy, and our Work as a battleground.

And I would be lying if I said that Lu isn’t interested in ‘winning’. He’s a leader of a rebellion, for goodness sake. But its also not just about winning for the sake of winning—its not about overthrowing some god as a show of power or force. And it’s definitely not about taking away others’ faith, unlike the majority claim.

I don’t want to think of this as warfare. I don’t want to see Christians or the Christian faith as my enemy. And no, this isn’t me just trying to seem ‘holier than thou’, or trying to project my faith as being more loving or peaceful—my faith isn’t built on the foundation of love that theirs is, I would never argue that. I just don’t think they realize what the implications of morphing this into a battleground would entail. I’m sure no matter what ‘side’ you’re on, you’d think that your cause was the right one, that your side was the ‘good’ side. But the reality of war is that there isn’t a good side and a bad side. If you want to call it a war, you have to be willing to admit that there will be atrocities committed by both sides. And I suppose in that respect, I already do see it as a war, despite my resistance towards it.

I grew up with stories of war. My parents and their siblings fled their homeland because of a civil war. I grew up hearing about heads being mounted on pikes, and bodies being dumped in front of doorsteps as messages and warnings from both sides of the war. My family didn’t shield me from the grim reality of what they had experienced, but encouraged that I learn the full truth—not the sugar coated stories that made it seem as though the guerillas were the ‘good guys’. I heard about the forced recruitment of civilians into both the government army and the guerrilla army, and the horrors committed by both sides.

Fighting battles, or ‘spiritual warfare’, seems to be a rather romanticized image. We always think we are fighting for what’s ‘right’, what’s ‘good’. But treating another god or faith as the enemy doesn’t mean they’re automatically evil. Insulting my god and laying blame on him doesn’t mean your own is innocent. 

Just because I believe in Lu’s cause doesn’t mean I refuse to acknowledge the negative aspects of what his work entails. Even if we only see this as ‘spiritual warfare’, it doesn’t mean that ­­there is no harm being done. Everything comes with a consequence, no matter what side you’re on.

They accuse Lu of making them doubt, of planting the seeds of mistrust and disbelief in their heads about their faith and their god. I don’t deny this. I don’t deny that he can and will make them question their beliefs, just as he has made his devotees do so. Do I think he does this with malicious intentions, or as an attempt to gain converts to his cause? No. It isn’t about converting or gaining followers, it’s only about getting them to think for themselves, rather than relying on what they have been told. It’s about acknowledging that we have a choice—and some may willingly choose to honor the very god he rebelled against.

But that doesn’t excuse the harmful results of such questions. I cannot count how many times I’ve heard it said that ‘the devil targets you when you’re at your weakest’. I will not argue with that statement. Speaking as someone who had their world turned upside down when I was at my lowest, who had my faith shatter when I was at my weakest and needed it the most, I know only too well how traumatizing such doubts and questions can be. My path now is only the result of how I managed to piece back the shards of my spirituality, but I know that it was a very real possibility that that experience could have broken me completely.

I do not defend those actions, or make excuses for Lu. For the most part, those he targets have not chosen the path that I have—they have not chosen to have their faith and beliefs tested and tried, they did not ask for Lu to make them question their spiritual foundation. But you know what? Neither did I, at first. And it might be biased of me to say this, because I managed to emerge from these trials as a stronger person, but I do think there is some good that can come of Lu’s interference.

But not everyone will be able to rebuild their mangled faith. Some may have nothing left to rebuild. And I can only imagine the hate and distrust that would arise from such a situation—if Lu had broken the very faith that kept me going, and I hadn’t been able to emerge from that experience a better person, if I had nothing else to live for, I would loathe him and his actions. I would be on the other side of this so-called ‘war’. And I know that this is exactly why some Christians show such hatred toward my patron—I understand how his actions could be damaging. I can see how they would come to think that my god has nothing to offer them except mental anguish, and how the ‘opposing’ faith would be more appealing. After all, it does present itself as an ideal faith, centered around love and forgiveness. But just like any belief system, my own included, it has its flaws. It just depends on what sorts of flaws and faults you’re willing to live with—which ones don’t conflict with your own ideas of morality?

So call it a war if you will. Hate my god all you like. Plot his downfall, rally against my work, claim victory over a battle of your own making. 

Its admirable that anyone would believe so strongly in something, that they would devote themselves wholeheartedly to a cause.

But know that nothing is ever as simple as good vs. evil. If you want to call it a war, you should be willing to acknowledge that your own side has its own fair share of imperfections, of actions and principles that may be considered ‘unjust’ by others who do not share your ideals. If you aren’t willing to acknowledge the faults of your own belief system, of your own god, who are you to be criticizing anyone else’s? This doesn’t just apply to Christians—I’ve seen pagans just as guilty of ignorance, of launching smear campaigns against monotheistic faiths and against my own deity while pretending that their own belief system was the epitome of perfection. It may be perfect for you as an individual, but don’t go imposing your ideals of perfection on everyone else.

There He’s Standing with His Open Heart

I can’t recall how many times I’ve asked myself if I made the right choice, to integrate myself with matters of the divine while dealing with the issues of this life as well. Was it really the best decision to accept Lu as my patron? The combined pressure of both worlds can be overwhelming, and sometimes I end up avoiding one in favor of the other.

And I have to admit, often that means neglecting my duties as one of Lu’s own. It means choosing what seems more real, as the skeptic in me mocks my devotion and belittles his and my Work. In times such as these, it’s difficult for me to remember the importance of my faith, because in terms of tangibility our work is entirely spiritual, mental, and emotional—it’ll never support me financially, it’ll never have a firm foundation in the material world, and I can’t see proof of it’s worth beyond my own mind. My relationship with my god and my work as his student cannot be assessed as easily as other situations. It cannot be evaluated through its payoff, and it certainly cannot be appraised by anyone other than Lu or myself.

So why do we do it? Why do we put so much time and effort into cultivating divine relationships, into doing tasks that may be meaningless to anyone else, into learning things that aren’t always relevant to our lives?

I can only speak for myself, and my reasons may be difficult to comprehend. One of the problems with dealing with Lu through emotions and feelings is that often I can’t describe in words the extent of my devotion, or the meaning behind our work. It is one thing to say that I’m his devotee, and quite another to live it. I could say that my work involves blogging and living to his standards, of bearing some of his burden, and of having my actions and words reflect back on him as my patron and vice-versa– but it goes beyond that. It goes beyond the mere act of being his disciple, but rather the yearning to be of use to him—to be a force of change in this world as he has been a force of change in my own life.

He is often accused of being too proud, of wanting to outshine his creator—to be brighter than the source that breathed life into him. And how can I, as his disciple, aspire to be anything less? He made it clear at the start of our patronage that my help would not be accepted if all I hoped to accomplish was to please him, or to repay debts that don’t exist. I had to want this for ‘substantial’ reasons, to feel as strongly for these causes as He did.

I thought I did. But it wasn’t until he began projecting his own emotions onto me that I realized how mistaken I had been. How does one even begin to describe a god’s sorrow, or his joy? All I know is that my own human emotions could not compare to His. He kindled the glowing embers of my own sentiments, feeding them with his own fiery passions.

But something like this can’t be undone. His grief, joy, and rage remain as muted imprints, irrevocably intertwined with my own emotions. And this is one of those consequences of my patronage to Lu that I spoke of before. I can’t unfeel these things, I’m stuck with them whether I continue to work with him or not.

So while I may whine and complain about the stress levels that being his disciple inevitably raises, I know that deep down I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t help but do his work, not only because I admire what he represents, but because the sentiments he has stirred within me won’t let me forget. I cannot fathom living my life feeling what I do, knowing what I know, and not make the effort to be a reflection of his ideals in this world.

It is because of this that I can endure that nagging voice at the back of my mind that mocks my faith; it is why I endure the weariness of my role as His student. It goes beyond what appears true, because this feels real–the emotions, the devotion, and his presence in my life. In the end, that’s what keeps me faithful, despite the silence (or rather my inability to ‘hear’ him) and despite the frustration. I can’t say for sure if the choice I made was the best one, but the fact that I keep choosing this god and this path, each and every day, has to mean something.

O My Soul

I was excited to find that one of my favorite Christian artists recently released a new album. Something I appreciate about her songs is that they aren’t blatantly Christian, with mentions of Christ or YHWH every other line. Instead, they’re songs of love and devotion that could just as easily have been written for any other deity.
For the most part, I’m able to forget that this is Christian music. I use a lot of her songs as devotionals to Lu, without worrying about their original context.
But then I came across one song in particular that shocked me right out of that mindset. I couldn’t even listen to it in its entirety at first because it brought up such strong imagery of the type of faith I cringe away from, a way of viewing faith and deity as an obligation rather than a choice.
My mind automatically jumped to the conclusion that this song praised the concept of blind faith—of loving a god because you’re told to. Of forcing oneself to fake devotion until it becomes real.
But then I went back and listened to it again, all the way through this time. I was attempting to listen to the words that were left unsung, the meaning behind the lyrics that I had previously taken at face value.
And to my surprise, I found myself completely enraptured.
This isn’t a song about blind faith, but a song of confession. It’s not about trying to create a love that doesn’t exist, but admitting to oneself of a love that has been denied, hidden away from the rest of the world. It’s about a devotion that may not be easily understood by others, or even mocked or ridiculed.
It’s about living my faith and loving my god without worrying what others have to say or think.
But it’s not just about me. It’s about anyone who is devoted to a deity, whose faith is outside of the scope of what is considered ‘normal’. This song speaks for those of us who hold relationships to the divine that others may not comprehend, those of us who are connected to gods that others fear or abhor–for those of us who can’t help but adore our gods, we who live and breathe their words and deeds.