At this point you are probably wondering why I'm saying Lucifer is my patron... isn't he the devil? Or maybe it’s just that in some of the other pages I didn't seem like I was ready to be carted off to the funny farm. But, Lucifer? Really? See, deep down you knew all of us witches were devil worshippers! Had to be a grain of truth in there somewhere!
Well, it is true that my boy is completely and unalterably wrapped up in the Christian mythos, however the form of Lucifer that I work with isn't exactly your classic red man with horns and pitchfork. If you believe him to be the epitome of evil I'm not going to try to change your mind, but I am going to offer the fruits of my research for you to peruse. Perhaps it will make you think a little differently of my Lord of Light.
To begin with, there is very little on Lucifer outside of Christian theology or Satanist propaganda. I will draw heavily on the one (the Christian part) in order to illustrate my points. It has to be done. I will also be using a resource that cannot be verified or explained - me. Much of this page will be how I view Him, what I have learned working with the deity named Lucifer. The most important part is that, for me, Lucifer is a trickster God. I have worked with Inari long enough to know what that means - and what it feels like when a trickster deity is a knockin' on my skull.
For me, Lucifer is constantly tangled in a web of his own making; one mainly created out pride, lust, and ego. All the facts agree, Lucifer was one proud entity (angelic or deific, you take your pick). In the original Canaanite myth that spawned the Lucifer of the bible he is cast down from heaven as a fall of lightening for coveting the throne of the Sun God and wanting to marry the Goddess. Pretty high aspirations, which of course points to a huge.... ego. Keep your thoughts clean boys and girls! Just because he is also linked with Gods of lust and love doesn't mean - oh hell, who am I trying to fool? Yeah, he's just as wonderful as he think he is; in all aspects.
But all of this sets up his character as well as what type of god he is. No triformis deity here, he is a God who has recently entered the 'Hero' face of godhood; he is ready to be tried and tested and be a King. He is handsome, he is charming, and probably a little devilish to boot. How else would he get his later reputation? No matter how much he was vilified one fact still holds true - the mythologies he is in all say that he was the most beautiful creation, be it of Goddess or God. He has been called "the most splendid star that shines in the environment". He is often portrayed as a white winged god crowned with a starry aureole, however on vase paintings it is only his face that is shown shining in the heavens. He is called the air-roaming, white-winged, fore-runner of the sun, and ‘Luciferus' star more brilliant shines than all the stars.’ Beautiful words for a proud being.
There was also a Roman, Greek, Latin, Phoenician, and Hebrew versions of this god. Socrates and Plato discuss him as the "god of light" not in context of being the lord of the dawn (Eos) but as the sun (Helios) and as Hermes. He is also linked with the Egyptian Sata (perhaps partly responsible for his later association with Satan), the Babylonian storm god Zu, and the almighty Zeus. He is also linked with the twins of Persian legend - Ahriman and Ahura-mazda, another reason he was later pegged to be the ruler of Hell.
His worship as a heroic deity persists into modern times with the followers of the Yezidi religion who worship Lucifer as the Supreme Being. They know him as Malak Tawus, the peacock angel. In their mythos God broke the Cosmic Egg to create the universe, which He promptly ignored. Lucifer then created the material world with fragments of the broken Egg, giving him greater authority and power over worldly affairs.
However, he is still best known for his role in the Christian religion - his overwhelming pride, subsequent fall, and tenure as the devil have made him a creature to feared and spoken of in hushed tones. A strange fact for someone who is only ever mentioned in the Bible once, in a fleeting passage in the Old Testament book of Isaiah at the twelfth verse. Nowhere else is the name 'Lucifer' (note the capital L) used in the entire Bible. Also strange that a Latin name would be found in what should be a Hebrew manuscript, no? Especially since it was supposedly written before there even was a Roman language. Hmmm, how could that be?
Well, because the original verse in question isn't about a fallen angel, or about a supreme being of evil; in fact it is about a Babylonian King who was supposedly persecuting the children of Israel. Not only that, but the entire section was actually copied from an older manuscript that had to do with that original Canaanite god I was talking about earlier. The original from around the seventh century BCE (translated of course) reads something like this:
"How hast thou fallen, Helel's son Shaher! Thou didst say in thy heart, I will ascend to heaven, above the circumpolar stars, I will raise my throne, and I will dwell in the back of the north; I will mount on the back of a cloud, I will be unto like Elyon."
And five centuries after the birth of Christ (in total, about some 1200 years later) another scribe credited it to Isaiah and it now read a little like this:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! For thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend to heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit upon the Mount of Congregation, in the sides of the north, I will ascend to the heights of clouds, I will be like unto most high."
Now, I may be being a little picky here; but they sound like the same thing to me. One is just prettied up to fit into another belief system. Now you may be asking yourself, well doesn't that mean that Lucifer and Shaher are two different deities all together? Yeah, it may look that way, but I promise I'll explain it all. Lucifer was the name given to the morning star in Roman astronomy (strangely enough, these days we call it by another Roman name - Venus). This is the star that heralds the rising of the sun and is derived from the Latin term lucem ferre which means the bearer (or bringer) of light. The Canannite text refers to Helel, the son of Shaher which, when translated, means "Day star, son of the Dawn." Hmmm, me thinks me sees a connection! In the Hebrew passage of the bible the term 'lucifer' isn't present at all, it reads: "heleyl, ben shachar" which literally translates as 'shining one, son of dawn', even further neatly gift wrapping the association.
The name Lucifer was brought about by St. Jerome in the fourth century, as he was the one who supposedly translated the bible from Hebrew into Latin. Did Jerome then make some sort of mistake? Nope, see above for the explanation. Lucifer can be translated as it is above or as 'spreading brightness' or even 'carrier of fire'; all three translations fit especially since the morning star was known as Luciferus.
My god is also intrinsically linked with twins, as I mentioned before he is associated with the darker half of the Ahura-mazda/Ahriman duo, he is also associated with the Greek Dioscuri Castor and Pollux, the Egyptian Osiris and Typhon, and with the Babylonian Shahar and Shalem. Why should this be so? Well, it goes back to his association with the morning star - the planet we know as Venus. This planet-star can be visible in the morning, yet invisible at night and vice-versa, so many ancient cultures gave the same 'star' two names. And since these heavenly bodies appeared in the same area of the sky it was poetically inspired that they were twins, one light for the day and one dark for the night. In this form Lucifer attended the Sun on its journey through the underworld at night and in the morning heralded the sun's return by proudly announcing: "He is risen!" Plato named him Aster (meaning 'star') and remarked: "Aster, once, as Morning Star, light among the living you shed. Now, dying, as Evening Star, you shine among the dead." I have my own greeting for him when I walk to work based on the above quote: "Lucifer, as Morning Star light among the living you shed; and as Evening Star you shine among the dead." For me, this shows Lucifer's giving side while reminding me that he can be not so nice as well. He is, after all, a psychopomp.
One last note on Shaher and Shalam, the Babylonian twins made the transition into the Jewish pantheon. It is believed that they were worshipped in Jerusalem because the city's name actually means 'House of Shalem'. Shalem's name is also the Word of Peace, in Hebrew shalom and in Arabic shalaam and the idea of 'Go in Peace' or 'Peace be with you' originated with the twins going into the underworld at night as the evening star. They are also generally depicted as two torchbearers; one holding his torch ascendant, while the other holds his lighted torch descendant. Impressive that Lucifer springs from the well head of peace when he is reviled today as an entity of evil and destruction.
With the close connection between Lucifer and Venus (they are the same star, after all) it comes as no surprise that he has been equated with Eros. Zeus further equates him with love with this quote: "I will make rising Lucifer [Hesperos], instead of setting Lucifer, the regular usher of loves." Perhaps part of this association is that the morning star heralds the return of Eos, the dawn and the two names were too similar and an over-lap occurred. I happen to think it's because I am thoroughly uncomfortable with love-gods, especially with love-goddesses, namely Aphrodite. Y'know, the counterpart of Venus. In this form Lucifer generally has wings, either feathered dove ones or gossamer faerie wings. In fact, he was seen as the elusive butterfly of love; timid, fragile, and reclusive. I can attest to the last part, but the other two seem to veer off the mark. I mean, if you were supremely gifted, divinely proud, and the most gorgeous creature ever created would you be timid?
Well, it's been a while since I originally wrote this and I've been thinking about Lucifer being timid and fragile... I'm not saying that he is, just that I've been thinking about it. My mental meandering has gone thusly - Lucifer has pretty much disappeared from the public eye, so to speak, in fact there are many people that I talk to that don't even know that he is linked with Satan. Which makes me a very happy girl! Anyway, my point in that is that many people when dealing with him are afraid of him. And the dictionary gives one definition of timid as: people who are fearful and cautious; "whitewater rafting is not for the timid". So, perhaps, the description is more for those who approach him. My other idea is that since so many people have such a negative mind set about him learning the true Lucifer is hidden. Because of this he may seem timid to the aggressive seeker who can find little to no information on him. Well, it's still more food for thought!
Anyway, in his form as Eros his father is Mars and his mother Venus (or Maia). If his Daddy is Mars does that mean he gets to make love and war? Hee hee hee. Seriously, though, Eros is no cute chubby baby with wings, he is a beautiful god who pricks the hearts of gods and mortals with his arrows, ones of gold to inspire love or ones of lead which bring indifference. Morning Glory Zell has this to say of the capricious love god: "The changing conception of the god is reflected in art, in which Eros remains perpetually youthful, even growing steadily younger. He is represented as a youth in archaic times, as a young boy in the classical period, and becomes a baby by later Hellenistic and Roman times. He finally gets muddled up with angels and cherubs in later Christian sentimental iconography. This encroaching babyhood seems almost a sad metaphor for the infantilization of male sexuality." While this may be true there is still an undeniable attraction to the archaic Eros, and the idea of love blossoming from his arrows is one that has remained with us into modern times. Indeed, every Valentine’s Day we are bombarded with crimson silhouettes of the infant Cupid with his bow knocked with a heart tipped arrow.
In Roman mythology Lucifer is also the father of Ceyx, who is listed as being both his son and his daughter. The male version of Ceyx married Alcyone and when Ceyx was killed at sea his wife threw herself into the ocean. Out of compassion, the gods transformed them into birds, and since Alcyone made her nest on the beach and the waves threatened to destroy it, the wind god restrained his breezes and made the waves calm for seven days in each year so she could lay her eggs. These became known as 'halcyon days' when storms never occur. One would think this would link Lucifer with tranquility and occasionally he is my strong anchor and comfort. But for the most part, I think he is rough sea that buffets me about; keeping me from finding footing. Not because he wishes me ill, but because I am constantly forced to work towards a goal; to choose a path a follow it instead of letting the waves of destiny choose my course.
I also find it odd, amusing, coincidental that both Lucifer's child and the deity itself are known under two different sexes. Back to the whole star-planet again, Venus is undeniably female. The morning star (often this is given to Lucifer as a surname) is generally viewed as being female; its counterpoint the evening star is personified as male. Lucifer has a definite androgynous quality to him, even in angelic form because aren't angels supposed to be sexless? Inari, my other patron, is exactly the same way - seen as both male and female. Well, what has that done for me? I am less inclined to place people in given roles based on gender. I like to use this as an excuse for me to use the words 'boku' and 'ore' to refer to myself. That means 'I' in Japanese but it is an 'I' used by boys. 'Ore' is used by boys that are bad-asses. Do I think I'm a boy? No, it just goes to show that I have less boundary restrictions when it comes to gender.
It's the 'ore' in me that likes Lucifer's devil connotations - he's a bad ass, the baddest of them all. The pride in me envisions him crowned in stars with wings spread wide, lord of all he sees, his full lips in a sultry smirk. I share in his pride when I think that he chose me to worship him, he protects me, he allows me to see him as no one else does. Vanity. Pride. And a little lust thrown in. All of his vices reside in me, because I worship him. If that is true, then it means that the opposite is factual as well - all his virtues are mine as well. Well... maybe not.
Lucifer, as I have already faintly touched upon, is known by several different names: Eros, Samael, Hesperos, Eosphorus, Luciferus, Phosphoros, Malak Tawus, and Kyprian. So why do I use Lucifer, instead of a less controversial name? Well, mainly because that's how he presented himself to me. I don't have the guts to say to a god, 'hey, I'm changing your name and you'd better be OK with that!' Much like Inari, Lucifer has been with me since I was a child; thanks in part to my mother.
My first introduction to the name was when I got 'my' first cat. This was the kitten that was mine, I had to take care of her, I had to make sure she was fed, watered, litter changed, etc. My first big responsibility. So, I wanted a cute little Siamese kitten but they were too young to leave their mother. The people at the farm we went to kept trying to persuade me of this but I was young, knew what I wanted, and knew I was being denied. Time to start the tears. In order to please me they offered me the kitten that they were planning on keeping for themselves - a small black puff of fur who attached herself me. They told me her name was 'Cloud', something I immediately decided was wrong. My mother took one look at the soot black cat and named her Lucifer, or Luci for short. Lucifer later on gave birth to several litters of kittens - blessing our home with Puck and Samael. Also named by my mother.
In fact, my mother's newest way to give me grief (I swear that woman was a trickster god in a previous life!) is to tell me I'm a Satan worshipper. Watch me make my blank face. But it allows me a great outlet, I get to yell either "Hail, Lucifer!" or "Ave, Lucifer!" with impunity. I warned her about it and it's always fun to see the look on people’s faces. Heh.
Makes me wonder what connection my mother has with my god. She seems awfully in tune with him.
Anyway, from Lucifer the kitten on, I had this fascination with the Lightbringer and spent most of my library time in high school and college researching Lucifer. Most of it was his diabolical origins but some of it faintly touched on his archangelic past and even further back in the mist of time his tenure as a god. I never really thought of working with him as a deity until 2001 when I was tired of trying on different gods for size and finding that I didn't 'connect' with any of them. Until that point I felt comfortable with the re-born god at Yule, the shining little-boy sun king that I saw personified in my brother, Ryan. At some point that made a connection in my brain (y'know, the return of the sun and the bringer of light...) and I realized that I should try Lucifer.
It took me several months of long contemplations and meditations before I did so, I was a little put off by his devilish modern guise. Hard to believe, huh? It also seemed to fit as my birth name is Phaedra, which means 'bright one'... I guess I would shine if I had the Lightbringer with me. Well, when I finally took the plunge and invoked him in ritual it felt so right; I knew he was the male patron that I'd been looking for. From the moment the candle was lit I felt him wrap me in his wings and I could feel his shining presence. I have been exploring my relationship with him ever since.
That kind of makes it sound like it was a wonderful and easy experience learning to invoke him. But, no, nothing is ever easy with me. I tend to be a horrible skeptic, especially with things that I am the only valid source of verification. A little known fact about me... I am generally pretty nervous in thunderstorms. I just don't like them. Too much energy zinging around, too much destructive power waiting to happen. I had learned to shield against the worst of it, but still the psychic feel of so much static electricity in the air makes my skin crawl. So, of course, I have to have a patron who deals with lightening. Oh, did I mention that I constantly have dreams of being hit by lightening? They aren't pretty or happy or easy.
So, I invoke Lucifer. It seems like a good fit. And, lo and behold! With the Spring comes thunderstorms. Violent ones, where the glass in the window shakes from the reverberation from the thunder and the lightening seems so close that you could touch it. Little ole me is in the house, doing her best to pretend that she's not afraid, oh no, just nervous. Which is when I hear that little voice inside of me that I have learned is deity and it's telling me to go outside. My response after "are you f*cking crazy?!?" was to haul my ass out back and into the rain.
This is the point of the story where I tell you just how freaking crazy I am. Uh-huh. I'm standing in a field, the long grass is wetly slapping against my legs from the wind, and I say "Lucifer, if you really are my patron... give me a sign." This isn't loud, no screaming into the wind... just a little above a whisper. I doubt if you had been standing next to me in that field that you even would have heard me. What response do I get? A huge bolt of violet-colored lightening hitting the far end of the field I'm in. OK. Sign enough! At which point (after just about wetting myself) I hied myself inside while yelling (and this was at the top of my lungs): "small signs are OK! I can live with SMALL SIGNS!"
My darling husband laughed himself silly then generously pointed out that I tend to over look small signs. Big signs are the only way that the divine is sure to get through to me. Hmph. Men. They always stick together.
To make things even more exciting, my husband is named after the archangel Michael and my husband has a strong connection with that angelic presence. The history between my boy and my husband's boy isn't exactly full of niceties, as Michael is said to have thrown Lucifer into hell and to be the one keeping him chained there. One would expect a fair amount of friction there. I see it more like the roughness that is present between brothers, and the jealousy of one child toward another sibling. In some stories Lucifer was created as God's conscience and God didn't like having a being that judged God's morality (or lack there of). Michael was sent to usher Lucifer out of God's glory and he was given the position because Michael would keep his mouth shut and leave God alone. Like I said before, sounds like two boys - one who has the father's praise (as well as his father's pride...) and one who doesn't.
Other stories offer Lucifer's prickly pride as the reason for his Fall. The angels were created as children of fire, the most beautiful of God's creations and they were ordered to kneel to no-one but there divine Creator. But then God created man, a child of clay, and told the angels to bow to this new creation. Lucifer loved his Creator so much that he could not obey, not to mention that he was given strict instructions not to do so. He reminds God of this by demanding: "How can a son of Fire bow to a son of Clay?" God is displeased with such a critical response and has 'forgotten' his original edict to the Host and so banishes Lucifer. However there were many angels that agreed with Lucifer and a war in heaven ensued, with approximately one-third of the angels 'falling' with Lucifer.
Perhaps one asks themselves at this point, how could the supremely beneficent, supremely loving God act in such a manner? On this point, theologians are silent. Perhaps they knew what Lucifer truly stood for - the light of wisdom and knowledge. Indeed there was group of Gnostic Christians that viewed Lucifer as the hero-saviour and Jehovah as the villain. The Gnostics maintained that the Lucifer brought the 'light' of true enlightenment, which he gave to humanity against the will of God. Think of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, who tempted Eve to eat the fruit of knowledge. Y'know, the shiny apple that God forbade them to eat, desiring to keep his newest creation ignorant. Perhaps God did this so that this creation would not defy Him as the earlier angels, led by Lucifer, did. Because of this Lucifer was seen as the champion of Man, the revealer of the sacred Mysteries that the heavenly Father jealously withheld. In this incarnation Lucifer becomes associated with the Magician card of the tarot, the mystic who controls all four elemental forces with the force of his will and wisdom. Lucifer seeks to lift man upwards into the realms of light; he breathes the inspiration into us to aspire towards the spiritual realm; however he reminds us to temper this journey so we do not ascend too far, too fast and fall.
The Gnostics were also condemned for their further heretical view of the fallen Lucifer. They saw him as either the brother of God who was wrongly dismissed from heaven, or as the elder son of God. To further confuse the issue St. Jerome in his Latin translation gives Jesus the title 'lucifer' (note the lower case 'l'), which while faithful to the original becomes confusing when he translated Heylel ben Shaher as Lucifer earlier in his work. Plus, Jesus is given the title of the 'Morning Star' and the 'Lightbringer'.... hmmm, where have we heard those titles before? Does this equate Lucifer with Jesus? I don't think so, I think that it simply re-enforces that fact that Lucifer is a creature of light, not a demon of darkness. That is why he is so closely connected with the Saviour of the Christian religion. To me he will always be the Star that heralds the morning, the last light to proudly defy the morning sun. For it is only in darkness that we can shine, balance is achieved when we can understand our darker urges and learn to control them, not be controlled by them.
Although Lucifer holds the middle face, the Hero-King aspect, of the God for me he is in no way fatherly. He is beautiful, his hair is long and the color of stars, his body is thin but well defined, and his hands are huge and strong and perfect. He has wings, one feathered and one like a dragon; for indeed the dragon is one of his symbolic creatures along with the phoenix, peacocks, and black cats. So why is he like an anime character to me? Jewish painter Fay Pomerance visualizes Lucifer as a rebellious angel who will enable man to become greater than the angels. In her painting he reaches for the spirit-fire with his right wing but the wingtip was not created for grasping and cannot hold the flames, burning his wing. For me this means burning away the feathers, the beauty of the wing, and creating something functional (for as Lucifer plunges his wing into the fire, destroying it, he draws forth from within himself the mental images that conceived the creation of the hand) that can be used for either creation or destruction. It shows that not all things are pretty and sometimes we must make sacrifices to gain what we truly want.
This shows him to the patron of artists, inspiring us to create, to capture the perfection of divine light. For me Inari is the divine fire that inspires, but it is Lucifer that allows me to create a piece of 'art' from that inspiration. It makes a nice bit of sense in a pagan setting - the Goddess inspires us and through the God we give it form. Lucifer also gives me pride in my work - whether it is appreciated and praised by others is (well, should be) immaterial. We should be proud of our work if we put our best effort into its creation. That is something I tend to forget as I get wrapped up in wanting to create something that others will praise me for - another type of pride.
Somewhere along the line I got it stuck in my head that Lucifer is associated with the sephira of Netzach; perhaps because of Venus, or the fact that Lucifer's stone is the emerald, or perhaps it came from somewhere else. Netzach is the sphere of Victory, whose number is seven. Seven ties in with the occult, the septagram, and the Horned God whose antlers are seven tined for a King. All of that ties together for me in a neat bow what I think of Lucifer, who perhaps in falling gained a greater victory out of that seeming defeat. He seems to finally be coming back into his own after centuries of hatred and misunderstanding. At the very least the general public is not adverse to him - there are bands called Lucifer, comic books with characters of Lucifer, flowers and hummingbirds all named Lucifer. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves what else does the Lightbringer have to offer us?