The Pyres We Build for Ourselves

I know I’ve been silent for some time. I’ve left numerous messages unanswered, and I do apologize for that. To be quite honest though, I wasn’t in any shape to be answering others’ questions about my faith. A lot has happened since I last posted, and my time away was better spent answering to myself and to my god about certain situations that I found myself in, as a consequence of previous decisions.

I was guilty, and tired. I still am, to some extent.  Even now, I feel tongue-tied and like I have to scrape all these words from the back of my throat just to get them out—but writing provides a sense of catharsis, and I couldn’t ignore the feeling that I needed to go back and be more active in whatever spiritual ‘community’ this has become for me.

You’d think that after so many years, I’d have learned that my own expectations of my god are rarely if ever proven correct. Clearly that was not the case. In short, I came to some conclusions regarding what I thought my god wanted of me, and what he would consider appropriate or not in terms of my devotion. I saw the red flags way in advance, got the distinct feeling that my actions would be considered offensive and impertinent, and still I went forward. I found myself adamantly insisting that what I was doing was right, that it was sacred—I even tried to convince myself that I was reflecting my god.

In the back of my mind, I knew what would happen. I was conscious that I was setting myself up for disaster, and I even welcomed it like some sort of martyr. I was drifting further away from the god I had come to love, losing sight of who he was in favor of what I wanted.

In time, I persuaded myself into thinking that this distance from my god was a gift, rather than a curse. I considered it an honor, to be placed in a position parallel to his own—both devoted to a god who refused to turn their gaze upon us.  But ‘distance’ turned into outright ‘absence’.

It’s a strange thing, when the god you have devoted your life and love to acts as the first and last light illuminating his own darkness, yet the inky black you’re left in after he leaves is yours alone. It wasn’t holy or sacred; it was utterly human and rife with shame and guilt. I hated being left alone to contemplate my dishonor, but even more, I hated that fact that I didn’t have the strength of will to love my god from afar. This was not an honor bestowed to me, it was a humiliating and humbling exposure to the fact that I had prioritized the performance of being a ‘good’ devotee over actually doing any valuable devotional work. In trying to emulate my god, I had proven just how unworthy and unprepared I was for such a role.

I panicked and floundered for a while, trying desperately to repair the ties that connected my heart to his.  I thought I might be able to piece together some semblance of what was by sheer force alone (I still wasn’t ready to admit that I had fucked up)—if only I prayed longer, gave up more of my time to honor him, maybe then I would remember what it felt like. I think I grew to hate those moments I set aside for him, if only because I knew that they wouldn’t bring him back, and I was wasting my breath on empty prayers.

I tried a different tactic. When I first devoted myself to this path, I believe my faith grew in leaps and bounds because I had been thrown out of my element—I had packed up and moved clear across the country, leaving home and family behind so that it was just me and my god in the unknown. I thought maybe that was the key this time as well.

It wasn’t, at first–or at least, not quite. I found….something, like a memory, and it made me almost forget about that absence. It wasn’t Him, but it was a feeling like I was at least on the right track. As I got over my own hubris and started to listen once more, things started falling back into place. I’m not quite ready to share how exactly this came about (I don’t know if I ever will), but suffice to say that I managed to ‘find’ him again.

In this time, i’ve learned some things about myself and the kind of devotee I was, am, and strive to be.

I think, perhaps, I am not drawn to Lightbearers simply for the wisdom they illuminate. Perhaps I am lured by those who love too deeply, whose adoration cannot be contained in such fragile shells and so it consumes them from the inside out. I’m a moth drawn to the flames of self-immolating devotion—be that to a god, an ideal, or humanity itself.

Knowing this, I offer up this prayer to my god:

Let me not jump into the fire in search of honor, or set myself aflame for the sheer glory of reflecting You. If I must burn, let it be out of love and love alone.

Windows and Mirrors

This past week I’ve found myself rereading parts of Milton’s Paradise Lost on a whim, and today I happened to come across a very thought-provoking discussion regarding Satan’s characterization within this work. What struck me in particular was the deceptive nature of this figure that so many Luciferians tend to shy away from or deny—we defend him against the title of ‘Father of Lies’ and we instead place him on a pedestal as an illuminator of truth.

But what I’ve come to realize is that Light is capable of both revealing and concealing truths (in that it can illuminate but also blind), and I think Luciferianism itself portrays this extremely well. Too often we may fool ourselves into thinking that we couldn’t possibly be wrong about something because our faith is so deeply rooted in seeking enlightenment. It is nearly unfathomable that we might willingly blind ourselves to truth in our endeavors to better ourselves, but it happens so often and with such ease that we don’t even think about it.

Speaking from experience, it is very easy to fall into a state where you think you are putting so much effort into learning and growing within this belief system that you really believe your faith and practice are showing you something new but in reality it’s just a more ornate version of the same old thing. I don’t say this to discourage people or to point fingers (like I said, I fell trap to this very mindset myself for a fairly long time), but as a reminder that we need to frequently take a step back and critically examine ourselves and the work we’re doing.

We tend to look to these luciferian figures we admire so highly and try to rebuild ourselves in their image while forgetting that we were first drawn to them because they appealed to our own values. We have projected our own ideals onto them and now seek to emulate and develop them within ourselves—these lightbearer figures represent everything we want for ourselves because we have made them in our romanticized image. This is NOT necessarily a bad thing, particularly if we recognize that this is what we are doing and are thus knowingly giving these symbols a human voice—our voice. When we uphold humanity as having its own sort of divinity, and we acknowledge mankind as being capable of initiating enlightenment and growth within ourselves and creating our own gods within ourselves, this methodology is brilliant.

But with Lucifer figures who not only act as Lightbearers but Seducers as well, it is incredibly important that we recognize when they are merely holding up mirrors so that we may see our own reflections. They are meant to tempt us by appealing to what we think we already understand and accept, the challenge lies behind that mirror. This is where all those difficult questions come into play, where we must shatter those comfortable ideas and perceptions we have held onto so tightly and rebuild anew so that we see through windows instead of mirrors.

The Mountain


I want to thank wanderinglistener for their most recent piece of artwork which reminded me of The Mountain, a timelapse video that has become more like a religious experience for me.

Without fail, The Mountain makes me tear up every single time I watch it. I’ve often said that finding this faith was akin to falling in love, and that description is still the best I can give—but The Mountain acts as a reminder that I fell in love with far more than a set of ideals, I fell in love with humanity and the world around me. So it only makes sense that my understanding of my faith, and my preferred visualization of my god would not be confined to a particular shape or form.

Instead, he is a sky that should be dark and empty (for what could arise from Godlessness except darkness?), but instead has become a canvas on which he paints to honor his Lord. He paints to remember, to resemble, to reflect—to become more like God in all his ways (for He must increase, and I must decrease). It is a paltry likeness, but what do we know of God anyways—for humanity it is breathtaking and awe-inspiring all the same. Unsuccessful though his attempts may be, he has brought us a bit closer to knowing an unfathomable God, and to bringing the divine to earth.

He has starlight for eyes, countless burning suns shining all the brighter despite (or perhaps because of) the eternal separation from his God. Crowned in his broken glory, he announces a Dawn that will nevermore grace him with its light. Wrapped in shadow though he may be, his steps leave sunbeams in his wake.

I see him as an exile in a world where flowers bloom at his feet only to wither and fade, but endure despite the destructive expanse of humanity. A world where the depths of the sea lure the relentless curiosity and greed of mankind, who see opportunity in place of beauty. A world where it becomes less about him and less about God (despite his attempts to paint the sky and remind us of The One who loved us enough to denounce his beloved prince for the sin of failing to love us with the same fervor), and more about us, with all our faults and imperfections. A world where amidst all the death and suffering and darkness there is also life and joy and hope. A world where we have made ourselves imitations of the divine, stumbling in our quest to become our own flawed gods.

And because not unlike him, wherein our divinity is seen best when we are rising from our darkest moments, he gives us the opportunity to be refined by fire, to become more like God. If that means having to become the monster of our nightmares, an adversary that is as horrible as we can conceive ourselves to be, then so be it. If it means forsaking the pearls and jewels that once adorned his being, replacing them with a mask reflecting our own doubts and fears (for that which is holy is hidden and veiled), it will be done. If it means becoming hated rather than revered for his trials, then he will serve in the only way he knows how. He will test and illuminate and burn if he must, but in the end we must make that choice for ourselves, and craft ourselves into divinity.

My faith resembles a kiss between earth and sky, where humanity and divinity become so entwined that it is impossible to tell the two apart. Instead, they become something far more radiant in their unity.

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.

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.