Lessons in Magick: My Take on the Devil

Alex Stoddard3

Image: Alex Stoddard

“The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people worse than they are.”

Karl Kraus

I was never given a choice if I wanted to be a Witch or not, it’s something that was formed already deep within my Soul; I suppose I didn’t really have a choice if I was going to be a rebel, either.

There has always been this darkness with me (about me), along with a heaviness, and depth about myself that has influenced greatly the path I have taken regarding Magick. I don’t consider myself evil by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, I am extremely compassionate and empathetic, I get a little showy and snappy at times because of the Capricorn Rising, and Taurus Moon (those stubborn horns) but I’ll be damned because every time my Cancer emotions triumph over everything.

I have never really considered myself part of any crowd or community; I have always just wandered alone doing my own thing, picking up pieces of wisdom to collect in my jar (my brain) for later use.

What a wondrous collection I have.

I observe the Pagan and Witch community via comment threads, and discussion boards; often finding myself enraged with what I see, I am still trying to work on the whole “don’t allow others to disturb your inner peace” thing.

Among the endless discussions and debates I read there was a common dispute that came up among all the groups, and I feel like I want to address it myself, as I have never done so before. I do not consider myself an Ambassador for the Witch community, the Luciferian Community, or any community for that matter—I speak for no one, and nothing but myself. I like to make this clear when I write pieces like this because it has gotten me into trouble when I have not said clearly that I am speaking from my perspective only.

With that said, I do not believe in the Devil. Since I am so often associated with him when I tell people I am a Witch I think it’s time to speak about it all.

The statement itself is so much more complex than it seems, and the path I had to take to get to this conclusion was not easy. First and fore most the Devil is a Christian concept that I do not subscribe to and in my logical mind, I simply cannot.

I just don’t believe there is some red dude with horns and a pitchfork who is going to condemn me to eternal pit-fires in a place called Hell for my “Sins” that are dictated and notated by some other dude in the sky.

For a very long time I was terrified to face my darker side, even when it was staring me in the face, manifesting in the most horrific ways; you can only run from who you are for so long before it finally catches up to you and often with devastating personal consequences.

I did not want to develop this part of my Philosophy because I was scared, period. It wasn’t until my late teens that I knew I had no choice but to face the fire because I was the fire. I also knew that once I opened that door, once my fingers began to grasp the handle, and once my thoughts began to wander into that territory I would unlock a force within myself that would never be contained again.

There are some in the community who don’t believe in the Devil at all like myself, but they also don’t believe in Satan, and this is where I personally get confused with their duality theory.

I believe in duality, thus I believe in Satan, but not as a being—as a collective Adversarial energy.

This energy does not necessarily have to be blasephmous, sacreligious, or extreme in nature (outward appearance, taboo lifestyle, etc) as the masses seem to think it is; it can and often is the promotion of individuation, free thinking and the idea of living, burning, breathing, and existing entirely in one’s truth.

Satan goes against the status quo, and refuses to conform simply because it is told to do so.

Are you not Satan?

I know I am.

If you subscribe to duality that does not consist only of the Masculine and Feminine but also dark and light, evil and good (subjectively and relatively speaking), above and below etc. Many Pagans and Wiccans have never been able to give me an answer when I ask, “Who or what is the opposite of your God(s)?” Even in the stories and mythos themselves there is always some great battle with an evil being, I mean, duh, all good stories have a bad guy and some bloodshed; I just don’t think our/my/the bad guy is the Devil.

We’re our own villain, just as we’re our own hero or heroine (though I don’t think we need gender specific titles or names for being bad ass, feel me?)

We should not be asking God for help, and fearing the Devil (or any form of retribution); we should be willing our wishes and desires into fruition, and fearing nothing.

Rules and ignorance do not and cannot confine me, fairy tales and holy books don’t scare me; I have been to Hell and back, dove into the Abyss, burned in the Black Flame, rose from the ashes like a Phoenix and shed my skin like the Serpent—there is nothing that can be thrown in my direction that will scare me, or that I cannot handle.

“Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.”

William Ernest Henley

A Piece of My Truth

Mike Lewis

Image: Mike Lewis

“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”

Oscar Wilde

I have not had much to say the last few days, but I have been lost deep within my mind, and plenty has been said there. I have been putting off my creativity, and my writing, even now I am struggling to get a flow that normally comes relatively easily. This post has been on my mind for months, and for some reason I have decided that today shall be the day. This is a basis of my personal Philosophy, and I am in no way trying to pass any of this off as the “correct” way to believe, think, or perceive. There is no right or wrong to belief, or non-belief, this is to clarify some questions I receive regularly, this is for my own personal reasons. As with all my writing, take what you wish, what resonates with you, and leave the rest. I am not trying to have anyone follow my path, I am trying to find my own path and in the process hopefully it will motivate you to find your own. If we agree, cool, if we don’t, that’s cool, too.

There is a lot of confusion with the terms Satan, Devil, and Lucifer. It is common practice to use the term Satan and Devil interchangeably, and the Christian ideology of Lucifer, in fact, being the Devil whom they also consider to be Satan. It has been lost in translation, literally, and in order to form your personal truth, you must seek as many pieces of the factual evidence that you can.

I guess this is the time to explain my personal belief on the three, before I start stating facts of where the words, definitions and stories came from. I believe that the Devil is nothing more than a Christian concept, and I will not ever call Lucifer the Devil. If we go back to the Greek story of the Grigori (Watchers) they mention them all as being ‘little Devils’ but even with that, I still will not use the term. It is my belief that it has been tainted far beyond repair from the Christian sect, and in no way will I allow myself to be parallel to them on any level. So, when people call me a “Devil worshiper”, I laugh, and say, “I don’t believe in the Devil.” I allow them to think that I am an atheist, or whatever other opinion my statement makes them form; I don’t care, but it is true, I don’t believe in the Devil. The term Satan when taken as a literal translation is the adversary, and that is common knowledge to those on the LHP. I believe that all those who stand in defiance against conformity, religion, and herd mentality are all Satan. I believe our rebellious actions, free thinking, and independence feeds into this force (energy) that is Satan. I do not believe in Satan as an actual being, I believe I am equally Satan as a Daemon in the pits of Hell.

I stand in defiance against the status quo, and I form my own moral compass, not allowing society, or any outside source influence me.  I stand hand to hand with Daemons, and humans equally in rebellion from what we are told to be, what is expected of us; you can’t put freedom like this in a box.  In regards to my beloved Lucifer, he is, and always will be an Angel of truth. I believe the term light bringer means that he illuminates truth, on a grand scale, but also within our own personal lives. I think that once we begin to see, just a little, of what he has to show us, that no one would willingly go back to being blind.

So, with all of that said, let me state some facts about each.

The Devil: The Devil (from Greek: διάβολος or diábolos = slanderer or accuser) is believed in many religions, myths and cultures to be a supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly, ranging from being an effective opposite force to the creator god, locked in an eons long struggle for human souls on what may seem even terms (to the point of dualistic ditheism/bitheism), to being a comical figure of fun or an abstract aspect of the individual human condition.

While mainstream Judaism contains no overt concept of a devil, Christianity and Islam have variously regarded the Devil as a rebellious fallen angel or jinni that tempts humans to sin, if not committing evil deeds himself. In these religions – particularly during periods of division or external threat – the Devil has assumed more of a dualistic status commonly associated with heretics, and other unbelievers. As such, the Devil is seen as an allegory that represents a crisis of faith, individualism, free will, wisdom and enlightenment.

In mainstream Islam and Christianity, God and the Devil are usually portrayed as fighting over the souls of humans. The Devil commands a force of evil spirits, commonly known as demons.The Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) describes the Adversary (ha-satan) as an angel who instigates tests upon humankind. Many other religions have a trickster or tempter figure that is similar to the Devil. Modern conceptions of the Devil include the concept that it symbolizes humans’ own lower nature or sinfulness. (Source: Wikipedia, because sometimes they do know what they are talking about)

Satan: The word Satan simply means an ‘adversary’ and is used in the Bible of any opponent or enemy, the root meaning of the word being ‘to oppose’, with no supernatural overtones. In the opening chapters of the Book of Job, however, ‘the Satan’ (with the definite article, so the meaning is ‘the Adversary’ and Satan here is not a proper name) is an angel who appears in the council of the angels in order to challenge God to put Job to the test. The first use of the name Satan is found in 1 Chronicles 21:1; chronologically, Job, which was written much earlier, surpasses this. Satan is found throughout Job 1 and 2. Satan literally means “adversary” in Hebrew. Another name appears in the Old Testament in the King James Version:

‘How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!’ (Isaiah 14:12; KJV).

This is the only passage that uses the name Lucifer to refer to Satan. This name doesn’t come from Hebrew but Latin. Perhaps this translation into English was influenced by the Latin Vulgate, which uses this name. In Latin, Lucifer means “light bringer.”

I believe that Satan is complicated and I will make a note why. The following is an excerpt from Wikipedia, and under the translations it says, Shaitan; they are a form of Djinn, or Jinn, meaning genie. They are dark spirits whom have free will and can choose to be “good”, “bad”, or indifferent. They are their own separate beings.

Satan-Hebrew: שָּׂטָן satan, meaning “adversary”; Arabic: شيطان shaitan, meaning “astray” or “distant”, sometimes “devil”) is a figure appearing in the texts of the Abrahamic religions, who brings evil and temptation, and is known as the deceiver who leads humanity astray. Some religious groups teach that he originated as an angel who fell out of favor with God, seducing humanity into the ways of sin, and who has power in the fallen world. In the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, Satan is primarily an accuser and adversary, a decidedly malevolent entity, also called the devil, who possesses demonic qualities. In Theistic Satanism, Satan is considered a positive force and deity who is either worshipped or revered. In LaVeyan Satanism, Satan is regarded as holding virtuous characteristics.

Do you see how they are so similar? Do you see how everything was lost in translation? I don’t think I need to post anything about Lucifer, but, in case anyone would like historical information, I will. I think at this point though, if you have found your way to my page, then you already know who Lucifer is.

Lucifer: The name is Latin derived, and means “the bearer of light, the carrier of light” which is why many refer to him as the light bringer. It breaks down as such: “Fer”, to ferry, to carry; and “lux”, “lucis”, light: Lucifer. To find the origin of Lucifer, we turn to the Old Testament. In the Hebrew, the name Lucifer is translated from the Hebrew word “helel,” which means brightness. This designation, referring to Lucifer, is the rendering of the “morning star” or “star of the morning” or “bright star” which is presented in Isaiah. This is the complete verse that I quoted above: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:12-14).

I believe that we all need to seek our own truth, and that we must not compare our own personal Philosophy with those who walk a similar path. We are all individuals, and we must be true to ourselves.

This is my truth.