Many questions remain but only two that seem important to me. Who is Lucifer? What is Lucifer? And unfortunately I can’t answer those definitively. I can however present various views and lay out for you my own personal gnosis on the matter.
Probably the most interesting thing I’ve read about an encounter with Lucifer comes from this blog article by Jason Miller, AKA Inominandum. He entered a state of lucid dreaming one night and Lucifer was basically waiting patiently for him to show up and introduced himself thus: “I am the father of the first flame, fallen for freedom’s sake. Have a seat, we have much to discuss”. Read the whole entry, it’s not long and well worth your time.
So that introduces the first possibility. Lucifer is a fallen angel or other entity fallen from the Heaven of some tyrannical God. I don’t believe in any one true “God” — my gut and my experience so far tell me that everything in the universe is somehow plural — so I’ll be discussing Lucifer’s Unnamed God and the Gods from my polytheist’s POV.
I like this theory best — because it’s the one I believe — but there is are possible snags in it. My time with Quimbanda taught me a few things. First, there is no more enmity between the Gods of the Christian pantheon and Lucifer. But that said, he might have fallen from the Christian or other Heaven — the multiverse is a big place with room for plenty of Heavens, Hells, infinite-sized Gods, etc., etc. — before the current state of non-conflict was in place.
Snag number two. Basically, an angel is his/her function. They are what they do. They’re vast cosmic beings, the ones I’ve met, and I won’t theoretically deny them free will a la Thomas Aquinas, but the idea of an angel leaving his/her post is a hard pill to swallow. Again, that said, the archangels of the planetary spheres, most of whom I’ve evoked, are not part of the Christian pantheon. They were “discovered”, for a lack of a better term, by late Renaissance or early Modern Hermeticists, who may have been Christians, at least nominally, but most unorthodox ones indeed. These archangels are eager to come when you summon them and can be of great help even to a polytheist like me. My personal opinion about them, and that’s all it is — opinion — is that they are a necessary part of the multiverse. Where did they come from? I don’t know. Maybe they’ve been there since the beginning. The planetary spheres are just metaphors, after all, and are universal in scope. They might also be in a hierarchy beneath such Beings as the Logos and the Sophia, but here I’m treading on ground I know little about, so I’ll stop now. —But I do not believe that Lucifer is that kind of angel. And if he isn’t, he may well have fallen from a pantheon of some others God. Maybe — probably, as I believe — even the Christian pantheon.
Just to make it doubly or trebly clear, not just the Old Man with the Beard (and I don’t mean Odin) has angels in his service. According to the Chaldean Oracles Hekate Herself has three choirs of angels who serve Her. This idea may well have influenced the late Neo-platonist Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, who invented or discovered the hierarchy of nine choirs of angels adopted by the Christians.
And to further clarify that I’m still a bona fide polytheist, I’ll repeat something I’ve said before. —Every God worth worshiping is both infinite and a Mystery. Mathematically there are an infinite number of infinities, and I believe the same may be true of those other Infinities, the Gods (the ones worthy of the name).
The angels of the Christian pantheon are far from the only angels out there. The multiplicity of Heavens makes it possible for me to believe that Lucifer fell from the Christian Heaven, or Gnostic Heaven, or Islamic Heaven, or early Judaic Heaven, or from some such place and retain my pluralistic, animistic, polytheistic viewpoint.
That was a very long-winded way to explain how I can be a polytheist and still believe in angels and in the Christian pantheon (it’s just another pantheon amongst all the rest). But let it stand, maybe there’s something useful to someone hidden in all that verbiage.
I think this is the most likely “origin story” for Lucifer. The Fallen Angel theory. My personal answer to who and what he is. Others who know a lot more than I do have some other ideas though. I don’t happen to believe them, but let’s take a look at some other peoples’ ideas.
I’ll start with the Demonolaters because I think they deserve more attention and more respect. The Enns they’ve seemingly channeled — mantras of voces magicae, basically — really do work to get a demon’s attention. That is in itself quite an achievement. I respect them and their religion. For more information on Demonolatry see http://demonolatry.org/. And, as an aside, Audrey Brice writes a mean occult thriller set in the world of Demonolatry and with Demonolater heroes and heroines. Notice I said occult thriller, not paranormal romance or urban fantasy. The magic described in her books is real magic.
Somebody correct me if I’m wrong but, if I understand aright, Demonolaters believe that Satan is the All, the One Thing in Hermetic terms. Lucifer is one of the Lords of the Elements, the Lord of Air to be specific, and is called from the East when “casting circle” (that’s not their name for it, but everybody knows what it means and I can’t recall or find the correct term at the moment). Demons, like Lucifer, are humankind’s elders and teachers. If Satan is the All or the One then the Demons are the Gods of the Demonolaters.
That answers the question of who and what they believe Lucifer is. If however they have an origin story it’s not in the public domain.
Perhaps the hardest question of all is that of the relationship between the Lucifer of the grimoires and Lucifer the fallen angel. Jake Stratton-Kent mentions Hermes Chthonios as a possible higher octave of Lucifer, but otherwise doesn’t have much to say about the subject. I use the word octave here in the esoteric sense. Saturn, the astrological planet, is the higher octave of planet Earth, for example.
Although I say this is perhaps the hardest question of them all, I have some Unverified Personal Gnosis here. Perhaps I should call it Peer Corroborated Personal Gnosis, because a friend was involved. —Many Quimbandeiros believe that Exu Rei, King Exu, is Lucifer the Fallen Angel. Other lineages of Quimbanda might consider, for example, Exu Mor or Exu Death, to be Exu Rei. But when Exu Rei came calling not that long ago he identified himself to me as Lucifer. A few days later a magician friend across the ocean who was performing the rite in the Black Dragon summoned Lucifer and he, Lucifer, told my friend Tell Rachel I give her my regards.
As far as I’m concerned, this hardest question is resolved. Lucifer the fallen angel is the same being as the Lucifer of the grimoires. Take my personal gnosis for what it’s worth (be gentle please), and remember, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).
As for Satanists, by and large they can be divided into two camps, doubtless with many subdivisions: the Atheistic Satanists such as the Church of Satan founded by ex-carnie Anton LaVey (whose books are great reads, with many moments of intentional hilarity) and Theistic Satanists, such as the group The Joy of Satan. These are just examples, there are many more groups, but the beliefs of these two are as representative as I know how to present. The Atheistic Satanists are just that — atheists. They don’t believe in Satan, or any spiritual reality for that matter — he’s a symbol or parable of personal freedom, autonomy and responsibility. Notice I do not say just a symbol or parable or story. Stories and parables are very powerful things, and I respect that. They don’t use the name Lucifer because of its Christian connotations. The Theistic Satanists, most but not all, believe that Lucifer and Satan are two names for the same Entity. Both believe that Yahwist myths about Satan and/or Lucifer aren’t even myths, they’re just figments.
I can hardly leave out Luciferians. Unfortunately the only group that even vaguely meets that description that I know anything about is the Cultus Sabbati. I have a great love for the writings of Andrew Chumbley and Daniel Schulke, but one group cannot stand for all. Nevertheless I’ll tell you what I think I understand from those writings, what I can make out of the often cryptic sentences and paragraphs of the Magistri of this group of traditional witches.
Basically, personal beliefs are malleable and can be changed at will. This I believe is a result of the influx of Chaos Magick brought into whatever group of traditional witches Chumbley either joined or founded. Thus myths are myths. They are useful teachings but not to be taken literally. The Gods of Men are not equal to the Elder Gods (who are emphatically not H.P. Lovecraft’s Elder Gods, by the way). And neither group necessarily is believed in by any member at any given time. It’s a personal decision. Lucifer is not named amongst the retinue of the Sixteen Faithful Gods, AKA the Elder Gods. Lucifer falls into the category of pure myth.
I could completely misunderstand the point of view of the Cultus Sabbati, by the way. Also their working beliefs seem to be a moving target. Daniel Schulke’s latest works are very different from those of Andrew Chumbley. —I wish I knew something about other, more literally Luciferian groups. But I don’t.
As for the Christian Church, the consensus that Lucifer is another name for Satan is almost complete. There are however a few exorcists who believe they are separate Entities. I believe the late Malachi Martin was one such. If you want to read a non-fiction account written by a real exorcist, Martin’s Hostage To The Devil is truly more hair-raising than any horror novel I can think of.
My writing time is run out, and I’m spent anyway. I hope you found something of worth in this series.
—Much love, Rachel Izabella