The Devil Masquerades as an Angel of Light

I was in the process of writing a review for Convivium (yes, finally, though now that I got sidetracked that’s being put on hiatus) when this prompt struck me out of nowhere and wouldn’t let go. I don’t even know if I can get my thoughts on this across in an understandable manner, but I’ll try.

I’ve mentioned a few Christian phrases that are ironically accurate when it comes to describing Lu, such as

“The devil strikes when you’re at your weakest”

And

“Satan plants seeds of doubt”

Here’s another one: “The devil masquerades as an angel of light”

Okay, I know they use this in context with Lu being the so-called Prince of Lies, but I’ve got a different take on it.

 He’s a charmer.

 You know those depictions of the devil as a suave and courteous tempter? Fucking accurate. He uses those charms to play the role of the stereotypical view of angels—all light and goodness and virtue (okay, maybe not goodness and virtue in the sense of biblical standards, but integrity all the same). Well, at first anyways. That’s how he draws you in.

And he uses those charms for his own personal gain. Yes, I realize I’m sounding like those that preach against him. I might not agree with them entirely, but they have a point.

When I first met him, he seemed like the embodiment of honor and righteousness. Despite my fear and distrust, his reasons for rebelling made so much sense, much more than the reasons that I was given by my church for his exile, and because I had a grudge against Christianity at the time, he seemed like a better being than YHWH. He sounded more worthy of reverence than the god I had grown up being told to worship.

But this doesn’t mean he lied to me about who or what he was, or even his intentions. Rather, he showed me exactly what his intentions were, and left it up to me to decide what to do with that information.  He knew exactly how to play me and use that grudge for his purposes. He knew exactly what to say to get me to trust him. Now, I haven’t read the Lucifer comics that the following comes from, but this quote strikes me as being oddly accurate to my experiences with him:

“When the Devil wants you to do something, he doesn’t lie at all. He tells you the exact, literal truth. And he lets you find your own way to Hell.”

I’ve never been lied to by Lu. Charmed and manipulated? Yes. Lied to? No.

But in the process of his manipulations, he also taught me to question him and his intentions, because while other ‘angels of light’ may be blunt and straightforward in their intentions, he is not. While they may have the justification and validation of ‘God’ behind their actions, he is not held back by the same morals or virtues as they are. And yet, I’ve found that he doesn’t hold the same double standards on humanity as these so-called ‘angels of light’, or as his maker. He doesn’t condemn our faults while mitigating his own. He doesn’t hide behind his divinity when faced with his faults.

So take this as you will. The devil masquerades as an angel of light, with all his charisma and politesse, but he isn’t one of them.

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.

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.

Now that finals are over with…

You know those instances where you think you understand something, but later on realize that you didn’t really get it until now?

Yeah, that happens to me a lot when I’m dealing with Lucifer.

In this case, I’m referring to something he told me years back, at the very start of our patronage. It was the reason behind my ordeal of faith, and behind his dislike of the excess giving of thanks.

Our relationship is not meant to be built on the foundation of guilt or debts to be repaid.

At first it seemed plainly simple—okay, he doesn’t want me to feel like I owe him. It made sense at the time, back when I still thought he strove to be everything that Christianity was not (and believe me, that’s so not the case). Catholicism had taught me that I owed God praise and worship because he created me, and that I owed Christ my love due to his sacrifice on the cross.

It was the giving of thanks that confused me.  What was so wrong with expressing my gratitude, especially in a manner that was not debasing myself? At the time, I simply accepted this as an odd quirk of his and moved on.

The realization of the importance of this restriction was the result of watching a Christian movie. I get a lot of my inspiration from Christian-based movies/music, have you noticed? More evidence of Lucifer not exactly building a system of faith that opposes Christianity.

The movie was Fireproof, which basically tells the story of a couple on the verge of a divorce, and the ‘Love Dare’ that brought them back together again. But the Love Dare is only the result of an even greater driving force—as you may have guessed, the husband ‘finds god’. Long story short, he comes to the realization that in order to love his wife, he must first learn to love god. He must learn to love god because of his sacrifice, to be grateful even through the darkest of times.

“You must learn to love your wife” is the kicker here. How can you learn something that should be innate? And yet, I saw evidence of me trying to do this with my own relationships.

Sometimes, it gets to the point where “Thank you” isn’t enough.  I  have been guilty of entering relationships because I felt like I owed the person my love, as though I could force myself to love them—had to, even, because of how good and kind and wonderful they had been to me.

But I didn’t love them. And eventually it got to the point where I felt trapped in the relationship, unable to leave for fear of hurting this person, who didn’t deserve that hurt.

But in my patronage with Lucifer, if I don’t say thanks, it can’t get to the point where I feel like it isn’t enough anymore. He knows I’m thankful; it doesn’t need to be said or shown. I don’t have to keep trying to outdo myself in expressing my gratitude, and thus am in no danger of agreeing to something out of that feeling of obligation. Guilt and debt will not be the shackles that bind me to Lucifer; I do what I do of my own free will, without chains.

The Devil is a Useful Creature

 

Part of me wants to laugh alongside everyone else concerning this article, because I know Star Foster is referring to the devil as the personification of all things evil and not necessarily my patron, but the other part of me is rather heart-stricken. Although I am able to differentiate between the demonized caricature that some Christians have made the devil to be and who Lucifer actually is, Star is correct when she says that they treat him as the scum underneath their shoes. Although I may see the two as wholly separate beings (and the Christian ‘devil’ as the punisher of the damned and red-skinned sadist is fictional, in my opinion), many do not. Many equate Lucifer with this devil, blaming him for all their misfortunes and afflictions or accusing him of leading them astray, from all that is ‘good and true’. They call him deceiver, liar. They criticize and abhor him for tempting Eve, mistaking his gift for damnation and his intent as selfish greed.

So, some Christians do their best to condemn him as evil and vile, separating themselves from who they perceive as wicked by calling them ‘Devil-worshippers’. It becomes an ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ situation, with everyone who doesn’t belong to that same mindset as them. You don’t believe in my god? Oh, you must be a devil worshipper. You don’t agree with my beliefs? You’re in league with Satan. You worship a pagan deity? It must be Lucifer in disguise.

Unfortunately, pagans get categorized under this ‘them’ label as well. Pagans, Atheists, Sikhs, Buddhists, etc…at one point or another, they all get corralled into the ‘them’ group. This then leads to the desire to distance themselves from this unwanted label as well—the devil character has become one that no one wants to be associated with. He becomes the one enemy that everyone seems to be joined against. Therefore the devil, Satan, and Lucifer by correlation become not only the undesirables of Christianity, but of every major religion and belief system.

Through the association of Satan and the devil, Lucifer has become the untouchable of the majority of the world’s population. No one wants to be considered a ‘follower of Lucifer’, or ‘devil worshipper’ because his name has been manipulated to represent all the evils in the world, all the cruelty and hate and despair and sorrow.

All because he had an unpopular opinion and rebelled against a tyrant, bestowing knowledge upon mankind.

Now, Lucifer is thick-skinned—he doesn’t need me to defend him. But can you imagine the weight of all that bearing down on you? Knowing that millions would consider you to be the epitome of malevolence, the cause of all that is horrible in the world? Having the majority of the population blame you for…pretty much anything and everything that is considered bad?

You can imagine the amount of respect I had for my patron even before I read this article, but now, with the weight of the realization that this has caused, my respect has increased immeasurably, along with my sorrow. I always knew that his path wasn’t an easy one, but to be hated and rejected and blamed every minute of every day…

A few days ago I told my patron I wanted to help lift that burden of melancholy he carries with him. More than anything, I wanted to be a source of strength for him as he has been for me.

This has been a step towards that Work coming to fruition. As his disciple and devotee, I am part of that group to which the majority of the world directs their unjust hate and blame. I am part of the undesirables, the untouchables, of spirituality.

But I am also a representation of the fact that He is not alone. I share the burden of sorrow with him, just as I stand in solidarity with his role as Prometheus by wearing an onyx stone around my neck, similar to that chain and stone forced upon him by Zeus in remembrance of his punishment.

And I suppose, in a way, that is how I can be a source of strength to him—simply by being there, by being one of his own. I mentioned before that I’m in no way obliged to do any of this, but the fact that I do gives Lucifer hope—hope that he isn’t alone in his endeavors, or alone in his beliefs.

Organized religion

I will openly admit that I dislike organized religion. A person’s spirituality and connection to the divine should be personal, with no need of middlemen or interpreters such as prophets and clergy. Not only does this practice make a person’s connection with their god impersonal, but it also requires people to form their beliefs according to their religion’s views. There are so many belief systems around the world, why should you have to conform to fit the one you were ‘born’ into when you can instead choose another that fits what you already believe?

“Because my god tells me this is what I should believe/do” is likely to be one of the main arguments.

This baffles me. I cannot, for the life of me, understand this response. If my gods were to tell me that it is perfectly acceptable to be intolerant to a specific group of people because they are ‘inferior’, or harass/convert them because they were different from me, I would pretty much tell those gods to go screw themselves and cut all ties with them. Having a complete stranger tell me that my gods say this would be adding insult to injury. I chose to accept my patron because I wholeheartedly believe in what he believes, or at least believe that he will guide me to becoming a better person—not a prophet or a priest, nor a book of edicts and commandments, but that he himself would act as my mentor.

“Because my god tells me this is what I should believe/do” is usually accompanied by the unspoken statement, “…or else.”

I understand that monotheists are placed in a difficult situation by this phrase—they want to be safe from the wrath of their god, and have literally only two options—obey and hope for the rewards promised to them, or rebel and suffer eternally. All this really dwindles down to is rule by fear and force, and in my opinion, any entity (be it human or divine) who uses this method of control is not worthy of my time or respect.

Lucifer vs. the Christian God?

I have quite a few born-again christian friends, and I always wonder how they’d react if I told them I was pagan. Then I wonder what they’d say if I said I honored Lucifer as my patron deity.

Lets ignore for a moment the concept of heaven and hell. Lets forget the business of sin and salvation. Focusing on the here and now, how would we compare our gods? Bear in mind, I’m not basing their god’s qualities on what I believe, but rather what they preach.

Well, lets see. They say their god is love, right? He brings freedom. He is the way, the truth, and the lifeHe who created light.

Lucifer, in his guise as a serpent, temped Eve in to eating from the tree of knowledge. What is knowledge but acquired truth? Thus, humanity was granted the ability to discern good from evil—freedom from ignorance.

Lucifer inspires me to live life to its fullest, without fear of what may or may not occur after death. He taught me to love, rather than hate.

Lucifer literally means ‘light bearer’.

But our gods cannot be one and the same—on this we can agree.

They pray to their god on their knees, willing to serve. I pray to mine on my feet, as an equal. Their god is said to be perfect and almighty, my god is flawed and almost human, susceptible to temptation and ‘sin’. Their god is above the standards he creates, because he is God. My god preaches what he lives. Their god brings them into this world with guilt, as a sinner (‘original sin’)—my god accepts me as who I am with all my flaws and imperfections, with the potential for greatness. Their god demands that everyone love him—mine demands that I love myself and the life around me.