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?

Shadow Work

To be honest, I never even knew this was an actual ‘thing’. I didn’t have a name for it, I just knew it was what my workings with Lu largely consisted of.  But apparently a lot of other people have gone through it and call it Shadow Work, based off of Jung’s Schattenarbeit (psychological shadow work), which fits rather nicely I think.

Others have noted that it isn’t really talked about within the pagan community—sure, there’ll be mentions about its importance here and there, but there are no guidelines or helpful tips on how to go about it. And that’s because Shadow Work practices are unique to each person’s needs. It’s an introspective practice that deals with our inner selves, so it wouldn’t make much sense for another person to tell someone how to go about it.

Shadow Work is a self-built process—it is ultimately up to us what we want to confront and what we’re willing to risk. That being said, this isn’t going to be a how-to guide. It’s only an overview of the broad expanse of Shadow Work as I have come to know it.

For some, Shadow Work may consist of confronting one’s own inner demons. Facing one’s fears is usually a crucial step in this practice. This can be potentially dangerous, not to mention traumatizing. Even our mental fears can have scarring effects. Others must make peace with the darker parts of themselves, their shame and regrets. Already, you can probably see why many would not be willing to share their own experiences with Shadow Work, due to the intensely personal nature of such work. Shadow Work tests limits, and seeks to break them.

You know those ‘difficult questions’ I always talk about? The ones that rip holes in the fabric of our spirituality, or that make us doubt that which we love and hold on to for support? Those are a part of Shadow Work too. The answers may not always be pretty, may not be what we want to hear, but it’s what we need to hear. Each one of those questions has the potential to tear apart the vision of reality we have built for ourselves, the ‘truth’ we cling to like a security blanket. We have the option of letting those questions haunt us or facing up to them. And on the occasion that they cause our truths to crumble around us, we have the choice of leaving it in ruins or attempting to rebuild it.

But it isn’t about morphing our fears into something more acceptable, or sugarcoating our flaws. It’s about owning up to them. Sometimes, we can even use them to our advantage. And it’s not always about overcoming or getting rid of our fears—sometimes a healthy dose of fear can be a good thing.

The end goal is not about defeating your shadow self. Those shadows are essential for spiritual growth. They are as much a part of our world as the more pleasant aspects. Instead, it’s about learning how to deal with them, living in a controlled sort of flux with our shadows. A balance, if you will. Comfort and security are nice, but fear keeps us sharp and aware. It is not a balance between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, or ‘light’ and ‘dark’.

And as you can imagine, not everyone reaches the end of some phase of their Shadow Work. Some might give up halfway, and it’s important to note that this is NOT a sign of weakness or failure. There are very real reasons as to why we fear things, why we hide away from some parts of our shadow selves, and sometimes the cons outweigh the pros in such situations. Emerging from the entirety of a phase of Shadow Work does not always equate with emerging a happier, stronger person. It isn’t a battle to be fought, with only two outcomes. If anything, it’s about how much you’re willing to ‘connect’ with the shadow. How much can you accept as a part of yourself, as a part of your reality?

I’ve heard the theory that we as humans cannot possibly hope to contain the amount of energy/knowledge/power/whatever that deities are capable of, because we would break under the sheer force or pressure. I see Shadow Work as being similar to that concept. Not everyone can delve as deeply into their shadow for fear of losing themselves or their sanity. There are very real consequences of Shadow Work that affect our mental and physical states, a common one being severe depression and/or suicidal thoughts.  

So how do we know when to stop or keep going when it comes to Shadow Work? We don’t. But personally, if I feel that something is not worth the effort or I’m in serious danger of losing everything I’ve achieved thus far, I would stop. Sometimes we have to recognize when it’s prudent to cut our losses and move on to something else.

I don’t know how others reconcile Shadow Work with their respective deities, but for me, Shadow Work is mostly solitary. Lucifer oversees my progress, but he doesn’t play an active part in it.  He does not ‘guide’ me in any way that might influence the end result. He has only once been an active participant in my Shadow Work, but that was because I was dealing with my Christianized fear of Him at the time. But even then, it was almost as though he was trying to dissuade me from making the choice I thought he wanted me to make. But mostly, he only initiates phases of my work by presenting me with questions or situations, and then leaves me to flail and deal with the consequences on my own. Then again, that’s just the type of mentor he is.

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.

Just read a post in which someone wrote a letter to the devil…

…complaining about how he makes them doubt and question all the gifts/blessings given to them by their god.

I fail to see how this is a problem.

That’s what Lucifer does—he drives personal growth by making you question everything. It’s your choice whether you use that doubt as hindrance or inspiration. So what if he brings up those uncomfortable questions regarding your loyalty or devotion to your god? He does it to his own devotees, too. And more often than not, those questions either lead to a renewed, more stable faith or one more suitable to your beliefs. Although he may not agree with the actions or mindset of your god, that doesn’t mean the doubts he plants are there to sever that connection—whether you want to be a devotee of that god is your choice and yours alone, which is ultimately the point he’s usually trying to get across in these situations. Unfortunately, a lot of times it seems that many are unable to see it as an independent choice, whether due to how they were brought up or taught to believe, or because of the concepts of sin and salvation that bind through guilt.

In short, healthy doses of skepticism, doubt, and uncertainty aren’t bad things—stop seeing them as personal attacks against yourself and your faith and use them instead to your advantage.

/end rant

Forms of Devotionals

I’ve been doing some thinking lately, regarding a topic I briefly mentioned in my last post—spontaneous devotionals vs. ritualized, consistent devotionals.

At the start of my relationship with my patron, spontaneous devotionals were the only sort I did. Doing devotional work because I had to was unthinkable—I felt as though forcing myself to honor my god meant my work would lose all its sincerity and become a menial task.

I’ve often heard people relate forming patron relationships with deities like dating, and it seems like a pretty accurate metaphor. There’s the honeymoon phase, where everything you do is with your patron in mind, every breath you take becomes a whisper of love and thanks. Then you slowly start to peel away the romanticized view of your patron and relationship, and realize that like any relationship, this will take work from both ends.

The ‘honeymoon’ phase of my patronage lasted quite a while—two or three years, I would say. Within those years, I didn’t have to strain to hear or feel my patron—I knew he was there. It was like stepping outside and being aware of everything—the warmth of sunlight hitting your bare skin, the breeze playing with your hair, the smell of rain. I didn’t have to go looking for our connection, it was just always there.

This sensitivity to my patron made it easier to connect with him, and to break out into spontaneous devotional multiple times a day. It was something that came as naturally as breathing.

But now that I’m past that phase, now that I don’t sense him as easily anymore, I realize that I’ve been relying on him to instigate my devotionals. I was in need of constant reminders of his presence to acknowledge him, however easy it might have been.

Now I can go days, weeks even, without having that awareness of his presence. It’s getting harder and harder to be sincere in my work, and occasionally I forget why I do it. When I doubt myself or when I doubt Him, it’s a struggle to sing like I used to, or even just bask in his warmth. I know he’s still here, but it shouldn’t be his sole responsibility to tap into our connection. For so long, I relied on him to be the spark of inspiration necessary for my devotionals, that I forgot my role in our relationship. I can just as easily reach out to him, instead of waiting for him to reach out to me—I just refused to, be it because of my lack of faith, or my skepticism, or my lingering doubts.

And that, I see now, is where daily or ritualized devotionals come into play. While it may not be as heartfelt as spontaneous devotionals, it too serves its own purpose—and in my case, that purpose is to remind me of my patronage.

It is to remind me of the work I’ve done, the obstacles I’ve overcome, the experiences I’ve had, and the love I’ve felt. It’s a reminder of how far I’ve come, both as a person, and as a devotee.

And, I think He appreciates this just as much as spontaneous devotionals, if not more. With spontaneous devotionals, they’re usually always in the form of praise, honor, and thanks-giving. Because he sees us as equals, this doesn’t always jive well with him. I think he tolerates it because it is what I grew up with, and is all I’ve ever known in terms of how to honor one’s god. That being said, he has broken me out habits that he sees as totally unacceptable, such as kneeling while praying.  Even thanking him too often or for little things has gotten me scolded before, so I’ve learned to restrain myself.

Like I said, it requires work from both ends of the relationship.

Lux Et Veritas

My main reason for creating this blog was to express my deepest truths, while remaining anonymous all the while. One of those truths is my faith—something I’ve never told anyone, for fear of prejudice and bias against me.

I am a Luciferian.

You can see why I’m so hesitant in revealing that fact. The mere mention of it would cause people to conjure up images of devil worship, blood sacrifices, black magic, you name it.

Of course, there’s always those who instead think i’m part of an elitist group who wants to rule the world and is in reality a reptilian.

Let me clarify things. I don’t consider Luciferianism a ‘religion’, per say. There are no definite rules to follow by, and no text that sums up what every Luciferian believes. We don’t worship anything, be it deity or otherwise—we aren’t subservient. Not all Luciferians are theists, either. In general, Luciferians believe first and foremost in finding their own truth.

So what is my personal truth? I believe that there are many deities existing in this world. I believe that none of them are defined by labels such as ‘absolute good’ or ‘absolute evil’.

To me, Lucifer symbolizes knowledge and independence. He freed Adam and Eve from the beautiful prison that was the Garden of Eden, and gave them the knowledge of good and evil—to be like Gods themselves. He led the rebellion in heaven, against the unjust tyranny of the child-like Christian God who demands blind obedience and worship.

But this is simply my truth. I accept the fact that others may follow a path that is better suited to their own beliefs, and don’t begrudge them that—as long as they don’t attempt to condemn me based on those beliefs, or convert me.

I don’t hate the Christian God, I simply don’t agree with his teachings. Where one person may read the bible and see only love, peace, and freedom, I see genocide, hate, and slavery.

I don’t believe someone should be persecuted because they are different, nor that there is only one true way to live.

You might ask why I bother to believe in any deity at all. In truth, I know I may very well be suffering from an overactive imagination, but some of the experiences I’ve gone through are too real for me to ignore. These experiences are deeply personal, but maybe one day I’ll explain some of them. For now, I’ll just say that Lucifer has shown me time and time again that he is indeed real and present in my life. He isn’t the only one, however—I also deeply respect the Hindu goddess of wisdom and the arts, Sarasvati. She has helped me through some difficult decisions, but isn’t as prevalent in my life as Lucifer.

I can’t sum up everything in a single blog post. There are too many sides to my faith, most of which I’ve yet to discover myself. I just wanted to share my beliefs with the world, but keep the security that my anonymity offers. I can try to answer any questions anyone may have about me being a Luciferian, but again I want to state that not all Luciferians are the same.