Decolonizing Luciferianism: No Such Thing As Religion

This isn’t going to be a comfortable conversation.

It’s not an attack either.

I’m going to call out a lot of things here and give my suggestions for how we can do better.

You are free to take them or leave them.

Lest you think me a hypocrite, self-righteous, or a gatekeeper, know that virtually everything I am going to talk about I have been guilty of myself in the past.

This is about self-examination as much as navigating the difficult conversations Luciferians, Satanists, witches, occultists, whatever you want to call yourself, need to have.

Yes, this is directed at the Luciferian community, but it’s applicable way
beyond that.

So, let’s dig in…

What would you say if someone were to ask you to define religion?

Merriam-Webster gives us:

“the belief in a god or in a group of gods” and “an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods.”

This is probably pretty close to how most raised in a “Western” culture tend to think about religion. When asked to describe their religion, most will begin talking about what they believe, they will discuss views on deities and the afterlife. They would also likely tend to think about and describe their religion and those of others as systems that can be thought of and engaged separately from the cultures that created them.

Most of all they would talk about “organized” or “institutionalized” religion.

They will say things like “I’m spiritual but not religious.” But what if I told you all of this, the whole concept, is a new one? That it is something completely made up in the 18th and 19th century by white Christians?

This is exactly what is argued by scholars such as Wilfred Cantwell Smith and Timothy Fitzgerald, among others.

Smith tracks the development of our modern conceptions of religion from ancient times to modern in his work “The Meaning and End of Religion.” Here he shows how the Latin word “religio” simply meant one’s duties to family and community.

He shows that our conception of religion as something that can be thought of as separate from culture is false. Notice how vastly different that concept is to how we think about it now. Before the invention of religion as a concept every spiritual tradition was an “ethno-religion.”

That is to say that your culture determined your spiritual expression, it was a lived communal experience not an individualist choice. I strongly suggest these authors and their work, my concern involves the application of these ideas to Luciferian Spirituality.

Firstly, we need to recognize that most critiques of religion in western culture are really veiled critiques of a narrow form of Christianity. We should recognize and take greater care not to make blanket statements about sacred traditions, especially when those faiths have literally billions of adherents over periods of thousands of years. We need to be careful not to throw progressive members of such faiths under the bus nor the members of oppressed groups. I completely understand the history of church oppression and the very real trauma myself and others have and continue to experience at the hands of the church and other related faiths. It is 100% valid. But there is also nothing healthy about lashing out against others who have nothing to do with that, nothing liberatory.

Secondly, if we as Luciferians truly embrace the concept of liberation for ourselves and all people then we find ourselves in a position where we must confront issues like decolonization and, within that, issues of cultural appropriation. If we as Luciferians embrace the notion that it is part of our practice to break church based social conditioning, then I would argue that a reconsideration of our fundamental concept of religion is a great starting point for both of these things!

What happens when this modern conception of religion meets with global capitalism?

The commodification of spiritual traditions.

The shopping for sacred practices as though one were trying on clothing at a store to find just the right fit, mixing and matching for surface aesthetic expression.

Note that I am not condemning responsible approaches to eclecticism and syncretization here, but I am suggesting that:

a. one cannot easily pull practices from other traditions out of their context without losing something

b. if one’s intent is spiritual advancement and enlightenment it is not very productive to be making a spiritual “map” to somewhere you’ve never been out of pieces of other people’s “maps!”

c. we need to listen to and respect the communities whose traditions we engage with, listening and centering those voices, particularly when those groups are historically oppressed.

This obviously brings us to the controversial subject of cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of elements of one culture by that of another more dominant culture. This IS a real problem and issue that needs to be addressed in our community.

The arguments that have arisen on social media because of this subject, however, have risen to ridiculous and often disgusting levels. These arguments rely on poor understanding of the subjects in question and on individualist attempts at policing others behavior resulting in people simply digging their heels in when what is needed here is collective consensus building and encouragement towards individual introspection and learning on the topics.

Having seen far too often mainly well-meaning white liberals failing as often as conservatives when discussing these topics, I believe if you:

a. cannot define cultural appropriation or recognize that consensual cultural diffusion also
occurs inevitably when cultures contact and that such sharing is good,

b. do not understand the subjects you are attempting to police

c. are attempting to police a subject about which there is no general consensus

d. doesn’t understand the difference between open, closed and partially closed practices (it’s not always just an on/off switch)

…you’re not going to be a particularly good ally to oppressed groups on these subjects and are going to do more harm than good.

Defining what is appropriative is, as I said, a matter of collective consensus building and that work is mostly to be done by oppressed groups themselves in conjunction with the best scholars available on the subjects, not relying on the whims of random individuals on the internet.

So, let’s examine some of the key issues where Luciferians could do better.

When it comes to appropriation there are two big areas where several prominent Luciferian figures are in problematic territory or could be accused of it: the misuse of eastern mystical traditions and in the relationship between Luciferianism and Judaism.

First, let’s talk about the relationship between Luciferianism and various forms of eastern spirituality. I think the biggest area to focus on here is Tantra. Far too many Luciferian writers blend and take from Tantric tradition irresponsibly. Or, rather, they try to, as much of what they are pulling from is not even authentic Tantra, its neo-tantra, which is a sexualized, westernized mix of Tantric ideas, yoga, and New Age thinking. One can easily tell this by the complete lack of lineage in such writers work, their repurposing of the 7-chakra system.

Actual Tantra, depending on whether it is Buddhist, Hindu and on what lineage can have anywhere from 5 to 14 major chakras, the 7-chakra system comes from classical yoga and first gained prominence from a text from 1577.

See scholar/practitioner Chris Wallis (Trika/Krama lineage of Saivite Tantra) discussing this:
https://hareesh.org/blog/2016/2/5/the-real-story-on-the-chakras.

It had nothing to do with snakes or dragons originally, Wallis discusses the history of kundalini here: https://hareesh.org/blog/2022/1/31/the-real-story-on-kundalini

You can see this kind of poor understanding clearly in the systems of the Dragon Rouge and Temple of Ascending Flame as well as the writing of Michael W. Ford who goes further and creates the even more absurd “Ahrimanic Yoga” as if stealing from India wasn’t enough, Iran had to get ripped off too! Not surprisingly, fraud E. A. Koetting is guilty here as well.

The misinformation and ignorance just keeps getting worse as evidenced by so called “chakra removal” being pushed by some internet personalities.

Now, there is particularly good reason Luciferian inclined people are attracted to Tantric practice and I encourage respectful study and engagement with it.

There are parallels in thinking, and the practices of Tantra complement Luciferian practice extremely well, but I think there’s a responsible way of doing this. One can practice as a dual observance: pick a lineage, learn from a qualified teacher and if you are serious get properly initiated, do not syncretize these traditions at all unless you are advanced in both traditions, and always give credit to the actual sources of these teachings and practices.

I think we should also drop the use of the term “Left Hand Path” and the use of eastern terminology in general to describe Luciferianism.

The use of the term Left Hand has been annihilated in western usage from Blavatsky to everyone after her repeating it.

I used to think the solution was to simply push people to use it correctly and responsibly and if you know its actual meaning and use more power to ya but most don’t, and the damage is done, and I don’t think the term is needed anyway. There’s no reason to borrow a term we don’t need or understand from another culture….unless we’re trying to sound exotic and authoritative.

Second, let’s start examining the relationship between Judaism and Luciferianism. Let’s start by being honest as to the origins of Luciferianism as a spiritual tradition: it grows primarily out of resistance to an oppressive church hierarchy, inside a Christian cultural context that it cannot be simply separated from. It makes sense and is valid within that context and it is valid in its interpretation of its myths.

Judaism as well is valid and makes sense within the historical and cultural context in which it grew. Jewish people are not “wrong” in interpreting their scriptures the way they do. We should be aiming for mutual respect. Just because groups disagree doesn’t mean either is “wrong.” If you cannot intelligently discuss the differences between Christianity and Jewish interpretations of their scriptures you have no business condemning them and given that Jewish spirituality and Jewish culture and ethnicity cannot be easily separated you can easily stray into antisemitic territory.

Be very careful.

If you demonize the Jewish god you are easily heading into antisemitic territory. It’s a very easy step to go from demonizing a deity to demonizing those who worship it. Do not do that. Make a clear distinction between the god of the oppressive church that you actually oppose and respect other progressive interpretations in other faiths.

Luciferianism is heavily influenced by Gnostic ideas and again, one needs to be careful here and I encourage those who want to honor those influences take a more Valentinian approach to interpreting the Demiurge. One where the material creator is seen as an important and necessary part of the creation process. Not necessarily morally “good” but not inherently
“evil” either. There is again far too much of this problem in established writers and groups, again Michael W. Ford comes to mind and is all the worse for his early fascist ties via the Order of Nine Angles, and again E.A. Koetting for much the same.

See:

https://mythoughtsbornfromfire.wordpress.com/2021/08/07/we-need-to-talk-about-e-a-koetting-and-
also-michael-w-ford/

The various anti-cosmic trends within Luciferianism/Satanism, such as all those descended from Current 218 and the Temple of Black Light, are also guilty of such demonization.

Now, given that Luciferianism grows from a Christian cultural context, and one that reinterprets the myths of an oppressive church system, it inherently shares heritage with Christianity even as it reacts to it, and again given that Christianity has a great deal of Jewish originating concepts, scriptures and practices, Luciferianism does too.

The history of Christian and Jewish interaction and determining what has been freely shared and what has been egregiously appropriated by Europeans, is a mess to say the least; there’s probably many areas we will never know for sure. Again, I have heard several poorly understood claims being made here as well. I have heard Luciferians (and Satanists and other witches) should not work with Goetic demons, should not engage with Lilith, should not engage with Hermetic Qabalah, that these are all part of Jewish closed practice or are appropriated. Based on my understanding and study I strongly disagree.

The idea that only Jewish people should work with Goetia ignores the strongly Christian context of much of that material and the ultimately Greek roots of much of that practice in the Greek Magical Papyri and it dangerously reiterates the antisemitic trope that Jewish people are Satanic demon worshipers.

The idea that only Jewish people should work with Lilith fails to understand that she was already a part of Christian demonology long before Luciferians showed up. She can actually be found as early as the “Mirror of Lilith” rite described in the Munich Handbook of Necromancy explored in Richard Kieckhefer’s “Forbidden Rites.”

Although she may share a name we are not even talking about the same entity.

She is not some baby stealing monster to us; she is more like a dark and empowered version of the Gnostic Sophia if anything.

Jewish people are 100% valid to interpret their Lilith their way. But ours is valid in our very different context. I will add that while I agree it is totally possible to appropriate specific practices and teachings, the idea that anyone, individually or as a group, can own a sentient being, as spirits of most sorts are generally considered to be, seems profoundly unethical. Spirits and deities, much like humans, are not commodities, they are not intellectual property anyone can copyright. It is bizarre to me that people would treat spiritual beings so disrespectfully.

Finally, Hermetic Qabalah.

There are 3 different systems that need to be distinguished here.

There is the original Jewish Kabbalah, which is its own complete system specific to Judaism.

There is Christian Cabala, which is a pretty clear example of disgusting appropriation: created by the church to convert Jewish people to Christianity!

There is finally Hermetic Qabalah, a separate system produced in the Renaissance that shares some structures and names with the Jewish version but is heavily syncretized with Hermeticism, alchemy, astrology, Christian mysticism, and pre-Christian polytheism.

This system is foundational to most of the western occult and New Age. It is in every Rider Waite influenced Tarot Deck, it is the foundation of most of the Golden Dawn and Thelema and every tradition derived from or influenced by them. It is quite removed from the Jewish Kabbalah not merely in theory but practice. Luciferianism has again its own way of interpreting the Hermetic Qabalistic system which is, yet another step removed. As I said it is often difficult to even determine what was shared or appropriated from the period of development in question, so it is impossible to conceive how a system unrecognizable in its many differences and so far removed remains an example of problematic appropriation.

But what Luciferians can do here is give respect and credit to the roots of where this material came from.

Further, there is often not even a consensus within the Jewish community on these particular subjects.

There are Jewish witches and Luciferians of Jewish descent right now who work with all of these things and maintain they are not closed. Even views on the nature of Lilith within Judaism are not settled with Jewish feminists such as Judith Plaskow having established alternate interpretations of her.

So, I think it’s clear by now everyone needs to stay away from blanket statements in regards to spiritual practices and the people who practice them.

One thing Luciferians and occultists in general can do to respect Jewish culture is not use the Tetragrammaton in their rites. Don’t pronounce it, don’t spell it out. Yahweh and Jehovah and YHVH aren’t any better. So, remove them from any magick circles or incantations.

Generally, replace with Adonai or the word Tetragrammaton itself if you must refer to this being.

As Luciferians we have a lot of work to do in our community, there is far too little accountability, far too much misinformation, and far too much colonizer mindsets.

My hope that articles like this can help to start necessary hard conversations and self-examination for us all, myself included.

Confronting these things means taking a hard look inward as much around one.

It’s uncomfortable but all growth is and there is no liberation without growth.

And we are Luciferians, liberation is our calling.

About the Author

Posted by

They/them. Practitioner of Gnostic Luciferianism. Trad witch. Communist. www.facebook.com/luciferiangnosis

5 Comments

Couldn’t help but notice this article after the pingback, for which I’m thankful. I’m glad that people are spreading word about the nature of Koetting’s shady business and Ford’s problematic tendencies regarding the O9A. That said, I believe I have some criticisms of the article in the overall.

For starters to your point about religion, community, and spirituality. It is true that the category of “spiritual but not religious” is decidedly modern. However, it is likely not true that religion even in a historical sense can be defined by exclusively communal or “non-individualist” modes of religious expression. What little we know of the old mystery traditions of Greece, for instance, while definitely not conforming to modern notions of religious and social life, probably weren’t defined in terms of duties to the family, and involved pursuit of spiritual knowledge towards various ends (often joining the gods or simply securing a more blessed afterlife). By a certain definition, are these too “ethno-religions”? And what about religions such as Buddhism, or perhaps the collection of Christian sects referred to as “Gnosticism”, primarily focused on soteriological enlightenment? As far as applying the point of what is taken to be historical religiosity to the practice of Luciferianism, I’m not necessarily seeing much address of the role of individualism here among the many fine points made here.

On Tantra, I don’t think that there’s anything inherently wrong with engaging with “Eastern” concepts out of personal interests, at least so long as this doesn’t come with an inauthentic engagement with the actual traditions themselves. But in this there is a fair bit of truth raised here, and I think the example of Ford is fair to point out here insofar as the idea of things like “Luciferian Yoga” or “Ahrimanic Yoga” seems just absurd. I will say, though, that I cannot agree with the idea of abandoning the use of the term Left Hand Path, for the simple reason that its meaning is in no way closed and has already transmitted within Western occultism in various ways, not all of which conflict with the original meaning given within Tantric Hinduism. What I do think should be challenged, though, is the monopoly exercised by post-LaVeyan orthodoxy (which Ford more or less continues) over the use of the term, and the destructive and nonsensical ideas that I think result from it. The bottom line, though, is that the Left Hand Path, in its broader sense, may correspond to the idea that sacredness and divinity can be found in places normally despised by tradition and societal norms, or in the practice of breaking societal norms in pursuit of spiritual truth and enlightenment. Luciferianism has flourished on this basis and so isn’t entirely separable contextually from the Left Hand Path, at least its extrapolated Western sense. That said I do think that it is worth stressing that it’s mostly about the logic of the terminology. It’s not a license to actually fuck around with proper Vamachara Tantra without observing its traditional requirements (among them, a guru).

On God, I must wonder what it means to “demonize” the God of Judaism here. Obviously if the opposition to the God of the Bible or more specifically the Old Testament stems from his “Jewishness” then this is quite straightforwardly anti-semitic. But most LHP opposition doesn’t really stem from that. I know it’s a cliche but it really doesn’t take too careful a reading of the Bible, in both testaments, to arrive at the conclusion that God is a tyrant, and all of Satanism and nearly all self-described Luciferianism flows from this conclusion without requiring any recourse to anti-semitism. What might happen, then, if we are required to identify with God’s adversary in a way that forbids any attendant moral rejection of the God of the Bible? Nothing especially “liberating” springs to mind.

A point is made as regards Luciferianism’s relationship to Gnosticism, and it is undeniable that the family of Luciferian doctrines is influenced by it to some degree. But not everyone defines it in these terms. Many such as myself relate to Lucifer in terms of pagan gods, and Fredrik Gregorius defines Luciferianism as a belief system that contextualizes Lucifer in a non-Christian, non-Abrahamic, or even pre-Christian context. Carl William Hansen, the first man to ever call himself a Luciferian, took bits of inspiration from Gnosticism, yes, but also identified Lucifer with pagan gods, tied the worship of Lucifer to romantic ideas about pagan revival, and did so alongside an active inversion or subversion of Gnosticism. Gnosticism to me doesn’t represent what Fredrik refers to, since it’s a term that what were simply heterodox Christian sects. In that sense, to counsel a “more Valentinian” approach that serves to exonerate the Demiurge is ultimately to say that we should take a more Christian approach. I know the Church of Light and Shadow won’t be complaining but to me that is something I can’t accept, and in fact I think you’ll find for many other Luciferians and Satanists that is too much to ask.

I will say, though, for all that, I’m actually delighted to see somebody challenge the blind appropriation of Kabbalah by people who don’t even worship the God that it is devoted to. I mean why commit yourself to a broad opposition to the God of the Bible and then also practice a school of mysticism meant to worship him, let alone invoke his name(s) and the names of his thralls so as to enslave demons?

Thank you for your feedback and I think you make some good points as well.

“On God, I must wonder what it means to “demonize” the God of Judaism here. Obviously if the opposition to the God of the Bible or more specifically the Old Testament stems from his “Jewishness” then this is quite straightforwardly anti-semitic. But most LHP opposition doesn’t really stem from that. I know it’s a cliche but it really doesn’t take too careful a reading of the Bible, in both testaments, to arrive at the conclusion that God is a tyrant, and all of Satanism and nearly all self-described Luciferianism flows from this conclusion without requiring any recourse to anti-semitism.”

– To this I would say the reason God is tyrant in the bible has way more to do with the text reflecting the problematic folks who were writing it rather than the being inspiring it and needs to also be balanced against all the good in the text too. To just say hes a tyrant seems more like a kneejerk response and an oversimplification that is way too common in the community. It is a cliche and I think we do need to read carefully. Folks claim to do horrid crimes in the name of Lucifer as well and folks like Koetting straight up tell them to but we dont for a second think thats Lucifer doing so so why do we assume that Adonai is doing it when humans do the same ?

……

I am well aware there is a tendency for folks to do a lot to separate Luciferianism from Christianity altogether, to either claim he just straight up IS a pagan god or is just a new form of one. Besides the problem of even defining such a nebulous term as “pagan” I don’t really buy some of that. I’ve seen folks trying to play like he was literally a Roman deity which I’m sorry is very disingenuous since it kind of implies ancient folks were out worshiping Lucifer alongside deities like Mars. Theres no shrines or temples, or rituals or anything from back then devoted to Lucifer of course. So at best one can claim some other deity/ies was actually secretly Lucifer the whole time?
Personally I think if we are honest we should be able to admit that theres a reason most Luciferians are in Christian dominated countries, why this being resonates with the people it does, and if we were able to somehow delete Christianity from history and culture we would find Luciferianism would never develop. I think thats something to embrace not reject and yeah that does put me kind of in the Lux et Umbrae school of thought to some extent and I’m ok with that. And its ok if some folks aren’t .

There’s a bit of a difference between people doing bad things in the name of an entity versus said entity more or less expressly telling you that you’re not allowed to worship any other being, presumably on pain of some kind of punishment. I’d say that alone might justify certain interpretations of God’s character, which I honestly would never have expected to see exonerated from an apparent Luciferian. I also think people would benefit from considering the New Testament as not so much better than the Old. For one thing, it affirms that basically all authority is legitimated by God (not a very Luciferian thing as I’m sure you understand), and the arguable pantheism of Acts leaves hardly any room for human free will.

Obviously we’re not dealing with the Roman Lucifer here, but that’s not exactly what’s meant here. “Pagan” isn’t necessarily limited to the polytheistic religions that existed before Christianity, though it does often serve as a placeholder for an often but not always polytheistic religious outlook centered on reciprocity with the divine, or nature, or both. But regardless, the Lucifer we know, and his myth, compounds echoes of parts of the old pre-Christian world, you can look to Peter Grey for at least some of that, as do medieval depictions of him, which take on aspects of not only Pan but several chthonic gods.

But I must wonder, since your version of Luciferianism holds that maybe God’s not so bad after all, what role does he play within it? Is it anything like Michael Howard’s views where Lucifer is actually an emanation of the godhead, who instead of rebelling against God sacrificed himself to incarnate in the world?

I think on some level getting Luciferians to agree on things can be a real pain, we are known for our individualism and rebelliousness after all so theres always gonna be things we won’t see eye to eye on. lol
I kinda wanna say “stay tuned…” here because i am actually planning articles that are going to be looking at not only what my own beliefs and practice actually are, but maybe going some more in depth on some of these topics perhaps in a longer format than is good for a comment section as well.

This article is very though provoking. I don’t usually think about Eastern practices since I’ve grounded myself in my career and hanging with family mostly nowadays. But you made me think about the small tools I do use such as the Tree of Life in oracle readings, basic chakra meditations (sometimes), and using reiki on friends and family when needed. I am by no means an expert in any of these areas.

I agree with dropping ‘Left Hand Path’ and the article in whole. As a Luciferian, I worship nothing at all. I’m a deist simply because I’ve worked with spirits in the form of gods and demons. Hell, the Greek word for deity or any spirit is ‘daemon’. I still struggle with my spiritual path, trying to rise above the anger and rage holding me down. I’m proud and happy to have seen this article pop up in my email. I still have a long way to go.

Add a Response

Leave a Reply to Aleph Skoteinos Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: