In Which Deities Aren’t Always What They Seem

Sometimes I’m afraid that the reason I’m so compelled to respect and admire Lu is because I’ve essentially shaped zir into what I think of as an ‘ideal’ deity.

And the problem with working off of an ‘alternate perspective’ of a story is that it’s easy to make excuses for one’s deity.  It’s incredibly simple to say that ‘there’s more to the story’, in regards to the parts of Lu’s mythos that I’m uncomfortable with.

“Ze committed fratricide? Oh well, ze had valid reasons—there’s more to the story than scripture gives us.“

This is something that I’m always wary of. I really don’t want to make excuses for Lu, even if I have made it a point to defend zir against the biased smear campaign aimed against zir. Being objective is one thing, making zir out to be some sort of hero is quite another.

But then there are zir aspects that have given me entirely different perspectives than I once held. And it makes me think that maybe it’s really the other way around—I haven’t molded zir to my own standards, Lu has molded me to zir’s.

I started off on this path with hatred toward anything and everything related to YHWH. He had no redeeming qualities in my mind, and I wanted nothing to do with him.

But it’s hard to be a devotee of Lu, who retains so many Pre-Fall aspects, and hold onto that mindset. Without me even knowing it, ze led me to let go of those judgments, and had my whole world view turned upside down.

I can’t hate a god who my own still loves. Like it or not, Lu represents a part of who that god used to be, however long ago or small a part. Zir Morningstar aspect retains much of that former Grace.

They may not see eye-to-eye on everything, and Lu’s exile is definitely a sore spot, but YHWH is still zir maker. And believe me, I never would have thought that I could tolerate, much less feel the same sort of ache that Lu does towards zir god, but here I am. I have no reason to miss something I never knew, there’s no love lost between YHWH and I, and yet Lu’s pre-Fall aspects have allowed me a glimpse into what once was a deity I might have been able to respect, at least in part.

Lu was created to serve, worship, and adore YHWH. Those instincts didn’t just disappear after the Fall.

If anything, they’ve only been repressed. More often than not, ze is the Throneless King, whose reign is built upon that which zir rebellion and Fall inspired. But every so often I’m reminded of who and what Lu once was, and that the emptiness and longing is still there. I’ve mentioned before that I tend to use Christian music as devotionals, but only at Lu’s request. I think it reminds zir of home, and of zir creator.  If certain scriptural interpretations are to be believed, ze was once the angel in charge of worship, an angel of music. It then comes at no surprise that what ze would ask of me are sung prayers and hymns.

So I find it incredibly hard to believe those who speak of Lu’s hatred and loathing for God when experience tells me differently. Warnings of zir lust for revenge don’t speak as clearly as the heartache I’ve felt regarding zir exile, in which hell represents a separation from God. No matter if Lucifer’s rebellion was for a ‘worthy’ cause, or the necessity of it at the time, it was still a sacrifice for those that fell to be cut off from their home and creator. I could never have understood these sentiments had I remained held back by my revulsion of YHWH. My shallow understanding of what Lu stood for could only take me so far, but it eventually led me to a standstill. Just as I had to rid myself of the comforting ‘good vs. evil’ dichotomy to move forward, so too did I have to understand that there was more at stake here, that Lu was not merely a product of zir rebellion.

Had I wanted a deity who fit the ideals I strove for in the past, I would have been more comfortable with a Lucifer who did loathe zir god, and who strove to be everything YHWH was not. But that’s not the case. Instead, my own perspective was changed in the rebuilding process. I was changed to fit the mold Lu wanted, rather than me trying to form Lu into my own ideal god. This is what I speak of when I say that who and what we want to be are not always in the best interests of the gods we are devoted to, and often times they will change and remake you, little by little, until you no longer find strength in that which once inspired you, but instead are driven by a completely different cause. 

Advertisements

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.