Out of Curiosity

What do you all find resonates most strongly with your deities, or what are some strange things that remind you of them?

For me, it’s a combination of:

  1. Lightning

The first time I heard of Lucifer being associated with lightning by another of his devotees, I scoffed and blew it off as being utter nonsense. I thought it was just something the person had come up with to make him sound more powerful or cool or whatever. That same night, I was woken up by one of the most intense thunder storms I’ve ever experienced, complete with lightning that lit up the room as though it were midday. There had been no warning of any incoming storms in that area beforehand.

I was shaken enough to go back and do some proper research before disregarding the UPG completely. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s some (speculative) basis of this connection in the gospel of Luke:

“And he [Jesus] said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (10:18)

 I used to love watching lightning strikes, and being completely in awe of how a single strike could illuminate even the darkest of nights. But I was also acutely aware of how destructive lightning could be, and was always nervous when it got too close for comfort. It was stunning and awe-inspiring, but dangerous all the same, much like a certain angel I know.

 I’ve also mentioned how sometimes I get a buzzing sort of sensation in my left shoulder blade when Lu is around—almost like the buildup of static charge from a storm.

 

2.  Freshly fallen snow

This doesn’t have anything in scripture to back it up (I don’t think so, anyways), but the bite and even the scent of cold air after a snowfall reminds me of him. It has a certain kick to it that snaps me awake and keeps me alert, not unlike Lu tends to do. The cold chill makes me sharply aware of everything, from the icy kisses on the tip of my nose to the whisper of the winter wind at the back of my neck.

And the stillness and silence, where everyone seems to be too afraid to draw in a breath lest they disturb the tranquility, reminds me of him too. More often than not, he is quiet and hesitant to influence my choices unless necessary.

And looking back on these things now, I find myself rather amused that they have something in common—in both instances, they involve something falling from the heavens to the earth. 

Guys, I must have made a deal with the wrong devil

Everyone is so caught up on the idea of Faustian bargains being a tool of the devil’s trade, but it doesn’t work that way with the Lu I know.

Well, actually, if someone was offering me something like their firstborn in return for power I would fuck up their lives in order to teach them a lesson too, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

You want fame? Go learn a trade and earn it yourself. Wealth? He’s not going to kill your long-lost aunt who named you sole inheritor of her fortune, but he’ll probably flood your mailbox with job applications. Immortality? Uh, closest thing to it is a long life—he’d sooner give you a ban on junk food than mess with your genetics.

Seriously, remember how I said he was practical? I wasn’t kidding. Now, I’m not saying asking for divine help is a bad thing. It’s certainly understandable when the situation is entirely out of one’s own control. But if you want a deity who will coddle you and give you your heart’s desire in return for your devotion—Lu is definitely not the one to go to.

So I can’t help but laugh whenever I come across the idea of Lucifer leading people astray with his ‘false promises’. I don’t know about his interactions with anyone else, but he’s never ‘promised’ me anything. As a devotee of his who has been taught to forego attachments to material things, who has restrictions in place when it comes to ‘worldly’ pleasures, I can’t see what he could possibly have to offer others that is materialistically tempting, considering the fact that they would have to work for it themselves. The only false promises I see here are the ones that have been invented by others and imposed onto him.

From my experience, he seems to favor the idea of everything in moderation.

Shocker, right? Isn’t Lucifer supposed to encourage and glorify indulging in luxury and sin? There’s that reverse-Christianity mentality again. Do those who follow a Rokkatru path have to reject the nine noble virtues of Asatru and do the exact opposite? Of course not. Why should Luciferianism embrace sins as virtues? Maybe we don’t see them as being bad exactly, but it doesn’t mean we have to automatically believe overindulgence in them is ‘good’.

Especially if we consider the idea that Lucifer was once the highest ranked angel, second only to God himself. A role like that requires trust, it is something that is earned through one’s actions and deeds—so, he must have believed that they were doing something right, otherwise why not rebel from the moment of his creation? Why does his rebellion have to mean that he rejects everything and anything that Christianity deems good and virtuous?

Let’s say I have a job in a company I am very content with. I agree with a lot of their policies, and I believe in what the company stands for. I love my work, but I can’t stand my boss. Maybe I thought he was a cool guy in the beginning, but later on realized that I don’t agree with how he’s running things—the company I loved is slowly being corrupted into something else entirely, and the employees are not being treated as they should. I’m not the only one who thinks this way, either. So I go and tell my boss exactly what I think, and he fires me.

Well, screw that, maybe I’ll just go start my own company.

It doesn’t mean I hate the previous company. It doesn’t mean I hated my old job. It doesn’t mean I’m going to run my company on ideals that are completely opposite that of the previous one. But my ex-boss and his loyal employees might see things that way, especially if they feel threatened.

Their business has over a thousand employees, with a solid reputation amongst their customers and clients, while my own newly founded company has only a handful of employees and no reputation to speak of just yet.

So when the mudslinging begins as a consequence of feeling threatened, guess who people are going to flock to and believe?

And thus we get all these skewed concepts like the Faustian bargain, and vices as virtues, and double standards—oh goodness, the double standards are the worst, I think. Selfishness and pride are okay when it’s YHVH we’re talking about, but not Lucifer? Well fuck.

Here’s an idea–how about we focus on our own faiths instead of trying to demonize someone else’s?

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.

Tricksters

As someone who struggles with the generalizations made of her own deity, you’d think I wouldn’t fall trap to the sweeping statements made of other archetypal figures. Nope, I’m just as susceptible to them as everyone else.

In particular, I’m referring to the unfortunate generalization of trickster deities. Now, many of you know that my patron has a strong dislike for Loki, the Norse trickster. What some of you may not realize is that technically my patron is also a trickster.

Woah, wait, what? Lu, the level-headed (and sometimes emotionally detached) warlord is a trickster? That can’t be right. Tricksters are supposed to be mischievous pranksters, out to blow shit up for some laughs.

Those were my initial thoughts, at least.

But one has to realize that like any other type of deity, tricksters come in a variety of personalities. There are some who are light-hearted and playful, others like Lu whose trickster-like methods are a means to an end, and then there’s Loki…who…is kind of in between, I suppose.

Take, for example, the latest Lu/Loki incident (found here). Loki is well known for using pranks as a method of tearing down the ego, and presenting a realistic view of people/gods. On the one hand—I can see that his impersonation of Lu was an attempt at poking fun at Lu’s pride (not only of himself but also of his devotees), and so had a greater purpose than just annoying him, but…let’s be honest here, it was also probably just for his own amusement. And although Lu can have his occasional light-hearted moments, he is incredibly goal-oriented and practical—so yes, I can see why Loki’s antics would frustrate him.

I suppose in my comparison of Lu to other trickster gods, I got caught up in broad sweeping statements and fell prey to flawed logic like, “well, if trickster A acts like this, so must trickster B”. This resulted in my adamant denial of Lu as a trickster for quite some time when I was first getting to know him, despite other devotees’ insistence. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that someone as…businesslike (not quite the right word, but close enough) as Lu could also be considered a trickster.

Not only that, but some tricksters seem to be outcasts in their own pantheon from the get-go. They are looked down upon by the other gods because of the nuisances they create, and usually stand alone, without much support from anyone else for their unpopular opinions. Sometimes mythos will have them do a great deed, and the pantheon will welcome them back into the fold with newfound respect.

But Lu didn’t start off as an outcast. He was once the most beloved of his creator, and respected by his kin. Even during his rebellion and consequential fall, he was not alone—mythos says that others shared his beliefs wholeheartedly, or at least enough to risk everything in their rebellion.

Does this mean Lu isn’t really a trickster? Not necessarily. If we consider the story of how Prometheus cheated the gods of their preferred sacrificial share (found here, scroll down to Sacrificial Share), or even his better known tale of the theft of fire/Lu’s offering of the Fruit of Knowledge, we see obvious trickster mannerisms—the same sort of sly, cunning planning and scheming that other tricksters portray. But in all of these stories, the focus is not on the scheme itself, but rather the end goal. He doesn’t switch offerings, steal fire, or tempt Eve for his own personal amusement, but to set plans in motion. As a warlord, he has plans within plans and intricate, sometimes perplexing strategies.

And so by judging tricksters as one-dimensional, not only was I failing to understand my patron better, but also misrepresenting several other deities who fall under the same category. This type of generalization doesn’t just happen with tricksters–it happens with all other sorts of gods as well. This is the reason I have such a problem with archetype labels, because a lot of the time they try to fit deities to the standards set by the majority. However, I also realize that I hold a very hard-polytheistic view on the nature of deity, so clearly to those who identify as soft-polytheists, this whole issue may be a moot point.

The Warlord and the Lightbringer

Transferring this conversation from my tumblr, because I think it does a good job on merging different views of Lucifer and his different aspects. It started with this picture, btw :

(source:http://inklou.tumblr.com/post/16557020911/dont-think-for-even-one-second-that-i-am-one-of)

zaquiastorm:

aviewintoyourworld:

luxettenebris:

This gives off such a ‘Lu’ vibe, and not the good kind. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable, because it reflects the side of him that would be willing to go to any lengths, to spill blood, to slay his own kin, in order to achieve his ends. It’s the cold, calculating warlord who doesn’t recognize me as a student or disciple, but simply a pawn.

And yet, I’ve come a long way to be able to accept this as a part of my patron. I may not like it, I may not be comfortable with it, but I accept it. As the Lightbringer, his light inevitably casts a shadow. I cannot claim to be his disciple while forever hiding in his blinding light, for fear of the darkness that follows. Instead, I must learn to balance in the liminal realm between the two.

I actually feel the opposite. It doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable, it gives me a fierce sense of pride. This is the side of him that went to war, despite knowing that he would be labelled a traitor, he would be cast down, and he would most definitely lose. This is the side of him that fought a losing battle, outnumbered, because it was doing what he knew was right.

This is the side of him that makes me want to stand by him, ready to fight any battle that he chooses, to move as a chess-piece in accordance with his plans.

From the start I never saw his Lightbringer side. I’ve always seen this side of him, despite how he chooses to portray himself to me, how “nice” he appears, because it’s always there, under the surface, like a storm. The rebel, the warlord, the fighter.

And it’s okay with me, because I’ve fought losing battles, and I’ve been cast down, and trampled upon. And inside me, there will always be that spark of defiance waiting for the right time to be kindled into flames.

I see it differently anyway. I see this as someone who will do whatever he needs to to get what he wants, and what he needs. A determined being, not “evil” or “dark” in the typical sense, but certainly not some “light bringer”, either. I’ve never thought of Lucifer as a bringer of light, but more as the bringer of truth, and in bringing truth, darkness. He may not be my patron deity, but he is a favourite of mine, especially in this form—the only form I’ve ever imagined him being in. Dark and dangerous, yet not cruel. His face in this is not cruel, but inviting. He looks quite inviting to me, as though he’s saying, “Come. Fight with me. Turn your back on all of the lies of this world, and cast your soul into my oblivion, for it is only there that you will be enlightened.”

I see both of your points, and I see those qualities in that side of him as well, but it may be the remnants of my catholic upbringing and pacifism that nudges me towards feelings of unease rather than pride. Perhaps it would then be best to say that this is a reflection of the harsh truths that need to be faced, whether they be in regard to war or enlightenment. 

He did come to me at first as the Lightbringer, because that was what I needed at the time. I needed to be able to look past the despair and depression in order to accept myself and the world around me. I needed to see hope and potential and beauty, to understand what was so worth fighting for. I needed to fall in love with this world and with humanity to know what was at stake. 

As expected, that didn’t last for very long. Gradually, the Lightbearer began to fade into the Warlord. It was then he taught me about the sacrifices that had to be made for the sake of that glimpse of light he had shown me, and the harsh and bitter truths that turned that brightness into gray. Then the questions was asked—amongst so much sorrow and pain, was it still worth fighting for? Is it worth turning brother against brother, is it worth foregoing mercy and compassion and all sentimental emotion in order to do what is necessary? 

Yes. 

And so I understand the feeling of pride, determination, and inspiration that this evokes. But I also understand the price that must be paid, and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me uneasy.

Adorations

There’s a trend going around the pagan community of deity adorations, which I believe began with The House of Vine’s 99 Adorations.

These are my own contributions. The first is dedicated to Lucifer/Prometheus, while the second I wrote in honor of Saraswati. I may not work with her any longer, but I still respect her greatly (plus, Vasant Panchami just passed, so this makes it perfect timing!)

(Edit: I went back and realized that in comparison to Saraswati’s adorations, Lu’s seemed so…plain. I was tempted to re-write his, but then it hit me: they each reflect the deity’s overall nature. Saraswati’s are more flowery and artistic, and after all, she IS a goddess of art/poetry/WORDS. Lucifer, on the other hand, doesn’t particularly enjoy praises in his honor, so his adorations are more straightforward and to the point.)

I adore you, light-bearer.

I adore you, once highest of seraphim

I adore you, stealer of fire

I adore you, celestial being

I adore you, bringer of knowledge

I adore you, fallen rebel

I adore you, eternal questioner

I adore you, ancient titan

I adore you, liberator

I adore you, exiled one

I adore you, angel of symphony

I adore you, who illuminates the beauty in life

I adore you, divine androgyny

I adore you, forethought

I adore you, prince of pride

I adore you, patient one

I adore you, beloved mentor

I adore you, who believes in the potential of humanity

I adore you, banisher of comforting lies

I adore you, cunning serpent

I adore you, blue-eyed wisdom

I adore you, shadow-caster

I adore you, inspiration

I adore you, who rejected Paradise

I adore you, choice-giver

I adore you, sorrowful joy

I adore you, who has been shrouded in undeserved hate

I adore you, strength in adversity

I adore you, equality

I adore you, who desires neither crown nor scepter

I adore you, throneless king

I adore you, dreaded warlord

I adore you, titanomachy soothsayer

I adore you, defiance

I adore you, paradigm shifter

I adore you, wearer of masks

I adore you, confronter of fears

I adore you, icy rage

I adore you, vengeful fury

I adore you, lightning sparker

I adore you, feathered comfort

I adore you, Morningstar

I adore you, cleansing waters

I adore you, mistress of speech

I adore you, mother of the Vedas

I adore you, knowledge

I adore you, goddess of the arts

I adore you, with chiming bells in your wake

I adore you, threefold shakti

I adore you, clothed in white and yellow

I adore you, who adores Truth

I adore you, wife of Brahma

I adore you, purity

I adore you, divine veena-player

I adore you, melodic sound

I adore you, who blesses books

I adore you, voice of reason

I adore you, fertile river goddess

I adore you, sacred performer

I adore you, who scorns materiality

I adore you, who whispers inspiration into my soul

I adore you, gentle muse

I adore you, patron of education

I adore you, patron of the arts

I adore you, gifted with flowers

I adore you, simply adorned

I adore you, smelling of sweet incense

I adore you, who stirs me into motion

I adore you, who basks in the reverence of many

I adore you, lover of artistic beauty

I adore you, discerning of truth

I adore you, she who flows.

Lucifer and Samael

I’ve recently had to deal with an issue that I had swept under the rug and ignored for a long time. It’s something that I had initially rejected because of the fear it inspired in me, a fear I couldn’t quite understand. I would have thought that after dealing with Lucifer, I’d have nothing left to scare me.

But clearly that’s not the case.

I’ve stated before that I see Lucifer and Prometheus as one and the same. This wasn’t an easy correlation to accept; I feel as though the more deities I link to Lucifer, the more I’m making him seem like an archetype rather than an individual god. This treads dangerous ground—archetypes, from what I’ve seen, have a tendency to become oversimplified and generalized, much like the idea that all tricksters are out to wreck havoc on peoples’ lives, or that all death deities are dark and evil.

But getting to the point of all this, I was reminded of another deity that is awfully similar to my patron, namely Samael. Now, I’m not all that knowledgeable in Jewish lore, but certain attributes do seem to stand out concerning Samael. He is said to be an angel of death, the ‘venom of god’, the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and neither good nor evil. He is also sometimes said to be intricately linked with Lilith.

But despite the similarities between the two, there are also some things that don’t fit.

In my experiences with Lucifer, I have never once thought of him as a death god. Yes, he has caused death, but he’s not in charge of mortality. When he found it necessary to rid me of the living crutch I had clung to in my desperation, he turned to Azrael for assistance. It was Azrael who comforted me and helped me grieve, and it was Azrael who left my ‘crutch’ dead for a few minutes, before gently whispering life back into him. Although I’ve only ever interacted with one death deity, and only for a brief time, I can assure you that his presence felt significantly different from Lucifer’s.

Nearly all of Samael’s devotees seem to in some way or another come into contact with his consort, Lilith. I have never heard any mention of her from my patron, not even a peep. However, I also don’t have the best track record for juggling multiple deities, so that may explain her absence.

The rest of his attributes from the literature are more or less compatible with what I know of Lucifer, but then we come to the UPG portion of the comparison. Although those that interact with Samael are just as difficult to find as theistic Luciferians, there are a couple whose experiences I’ve read about. From what I’ve seen, their UPG conflicts even more with the Samael/Lucifer theory than the lore. There are several things I can’t seem to wrap my head around, which bear no connection to the Lucifer I know, such as him being literally bound, due to the destructive chaos he would cause if free.

Samael seems like the calm before the storm, with clouds rolling in and a chill in the air, warning of the destruction that is to come; Lucifer is more like the aftermath—clear skies, haunting and desolate, but waiting for things to be rebuilt.

But I can come to terms with these differences—I can accept these unfamiliar attributes if it comes down to it, they aren’t what caused me to ignore this correlation for so long. No, my fear stems from another theory entirely.

There are whisperings in some communities that Samael and YHWH are one and the same, that they are two facets of the same god—the holy and the unholy, the sacred and the taboo.

I left Catholicism because I could not accept what I saw in their god. I had no respect for his actions, for his demands, for his jealous nature. I swore to myself and to Lucifer that if he ever expressed such characteristics as those I abhorred in the Christian god, I would sever my connection with him entirely.

So where does this YHWH=Samael=Lucifer theory leave me? As unlikely as the parallels may be, it still terrifies me. It reminds me too much of the paradigm shift I experienced when I first met Lucifer, it’s too reminiscent of when my previous world view was shattered. Knowing Lucifer, this may be another one of his attempts at keeping me on my toes regarding my faith. He keeps me questioning and doubting. If there’s one thing I can trust Lucifer with, it’s that he won’t allow me to grow stagnant in my beliefs or develop any sort of blind faith in him.

As of now, I don’t consider Samael and Lucifer to be the same deity. However, I’ve only just begun in-depth research on the true nature of this Samael figure—who knows where that will end up leading. One thing I know for sure is that Lucifer won’t allow me to hide away from this theory any longer, living in constant fear yet never striking up the courage to go and find out for myself.