Alice Pike Barney’s “Lucifer”
What follows is a statement of belief. A mythology. A theology. And a bit of how I got here.
After a lot of thought and consideration I have felt called to address a lack in the Luciferian community, to provide an alternative voice to what often passes for Luciferianism, Satanism, and so called “Left Hand Path” spirituality in the wider occult movement. Over many years of study and practice in which I engaged with many of these types of western “Left Hand” practice and its “scene” I became disillusioned. I walked away in disgust. Yet life has a way of calling us back, of forcing us to rethink. Fires get rekindled. I was called back with renewed vigor, and a deep feeling that what was often being taught was off base. So, I threw myself into study, dug deep into how this kind of spirituality developed, the sources of its language. I have learned much since regarding the roots of Luciferian ideas and the tangled pathways of witchcraft. I have tapped deep into veins of heresy and mysticism. Here I am certainly indebted to some amazing scholars and those who have come before me and presented their own forms and systems of Luciferian ideology, some of whom I agree with and some I most definitely do not! There are many Luciferianisms to be honest.
It is not a dogmatic spirituality.
What I intend to present here is the center of my contribution to an ongoing evolution, to present the core of Luciferianism as I teach it. It is what I refer to, to distinguish it from others and to emphasize its roots and mindset, as Gnostic Luciferianism.
To be sure, the kind of Gnosticism in question here is not the hard dualistic and anti-cosmic sort from which some others draw inspiration but closer in themes to that of the monist Valentinus. This is a Luciferianism that weaves this together in its web with Hermetic Qabalah and expresses it in the practice of Traditional Witchcraft. I seek to transcend simple reversals of Christian worldviews and approaches that seem to lead only to bloated egos, dark fetishism, and the valorization of trauma and personal toxicity. This is a mature Luciferianism focused on spiritual wholeness and embodied liberation.
What I feel called to do in this text is retell and then interpret Gnostic mythology in a Luciferian manner. But why would I do that?
Firstly, Luciferianism has a long history of incorporating Gnostic ideas, it is easily argued that the practice of witchcraft and the occult in general owes much to Gnostic derived ideas in the Middle Ages.
This is discussed by Jefferey Burton Russell in “Witchcraft in the Middle Ages” and by Richard Cavendish in the later chapters of “The Black Arts. ”
The basic scenario is that the sects and the associated systems used by the Gnostics were largely crushed by the Orthodox Church, however the ideas of these sects survived and filtered into medieval Europe over the centuries in a constant stream of heresy, from the Gnostics and Marcionites to the Paulicians, then Bogomils, then Cathars in southern France, Amalricians, Brethren of the Free Spirit, etc. Everything medieval witches would be accused of is that which all of these heresies were accused of as well. Early witch trials? Many spring up dead in the middle of Cathar country. At some point it is suggested that a reversal occurred, heretics adopting and owning the accusations against them. As Cavendish suggests in regard to the Cathars:
“ It is possible that some of them concluded that if the Catholic God was really the Devil, then the Catholic Devil might be the true God.”
– “The Black Arts”
Did such witches actually exist? It has been suggested that no one was practicing the worship of Lucifer historically, that all those accused were innocent of any sort of occult practice. But this appears overly skeptical. Certainly, if anyone was practicing such things they were not practicing any sort of survival of pagan religion. Murrayism has been debunked since the mid-20th century. So if anyone was practicing such things, what they were worshiping could only be the devil due to sheer process of elimination and the fact that confessions openly and consistently state such. But are any confessions believable? They were extracted often under torture or more often the threat of it. Well, what do we actually know about magic and witchcraft in this period?
We do know that the practice of magic was widespread among the populace. A whole host of charms and spells, herbalism, astrology and other systems of divination that any modern person would now call witchcraft was popular at the time.
Most of this was undoubtedly heretical but still very much Christian.
At every point in history there has been resistance movements to the dominant narratives.
We do know from some of the most credible confessions, especially those extracted without torture, that much of what is accused of occurring are things that could easily be stage managed with things like masks and costumes.
We know that the concoctions known as ‘flying ointments’ in trial records are functional and reproduce the very effects associated with “midnight rides to the Sabbat.” If there were no witches practicing these things, why are there functional ointments that induce these very experiences?
As there are people today and in recorded history who are attracted to such things, based on what we know it seems reasonable to conclude that there were at least a few scattered individuals and groups practicing the worship of Lucifer. We will never know for sure of course as illiterate peasants did not leave us with any records.
Regardless, that folklore and mythology, those ideas, persisted. But put yourself in the shoes for a moment of an LGBTQ person in the Renaissance. You have been raised from birth to believe you are hopelessly damned.
The god of the church does not accept you. Your community would hate you if they knew.
But there is one who will, one who offers power, and a place where you will be accepted. Celebrated.
So, do we really think no one had a good reason to seek out the Devil?
People openly claiming and praising Lucifer start showing up in the 19th century where he is embraced as a figure of rebellion and revolution by poets, artists, occultists, and anarchists.
Gnostic and Luciferian ideas and mythology show up extensively as well in modern Traditional Witchcraft with the prominence given to the folkloric Devil. So retelling Gnostic myth in a Luciferian way both honors the roots of the religion while also appreciating and considering its development in history.
The use of transgression of social norms is a defining feature of this type of spirituality. This is because to experience ultimate reality one must be able to move past one’s social condition. Mind you this is not merely a pursuit of shock value, nor is it any sort of excuse to hate the practitioners of the many diverse Abrahamic faiths, nor is it a vehicle for base hedonism. People whose interest is of this nature should be discouraged. But so long as the Christian faith remains the dominant one even to the point of shaping our very language, Luciferian spirituality will remain relevant. Heresy is always relevant, and if the things said in this text are heresies even to other Luciferians, so much the better!
Introduction: The Gnostic Luciferian View
I would like to begin by presenting in a brief point by point manner the basic principles of Gnostic Luciferianism, I will flesh these out over the course of these articles but for now just give them some consideration and invite yourself to consider how your life might be different if they were true.
1. All of reality is One Divine Essence manifesting as particular diverse forms in a massive web of dynamic interdependency. All that manifests may be understood as patterns of energetic vibration, from common objects to spiritual beings.
2. This Divine Essence is experienced as pure consciousness as consciousness pervades all experiential existence.
3. There is no separation between the spiritual and the physical. This Divine unity in diversity is embodied beautifully in Levi’s art depicting Baphomet and in the Hermetic maxim of “That which is above is like that which is below to achieve the wonder of the One thing.”
4. As there is no separation between material and spiritual, scientifically verifiable natural laws are Divine Laws part of the Divine Will, and science a tool for us to better know and refine spiritual knowledge and destroy illusions.
5. The diverse forms the Divine energy manifests as includes ourselves and the beings we variously call specific deities, demons, spirits, etc. The difference between humans and such beings is that deities and other spirits simply exist in other dimensions relative to our own perception.
6. Myths regarding such beings should not be seen as literal truths regarding historical events but as sacred allegories teaching mystical truths.
7. The central beings worshiped in Gnostic Luciferianism are Lucifer and Lilith as complementary manifestations of the Divine, along with various demons, and other spirits who act as spiritual guides and teachers to humanity.
8. Lucifer is the bearer of the Divine Light of Knowledge to mankind. He embodies destruction of illusion, he ignites the Black flame of Wisdom within the Self that burns away our falsehoods, that liberates us from the bonds of our social conditioning and our narratives, allowing us to see reality as it is. He is the dark and radiant Gnostic Christ. He is One with Divine Transcendence.
9. Lilith is the initiator into sensual grounded being, she is defiant sensuality, the dark womb from which all things spring, the embodiment of feminine equality and justice in a world that seeks to enslave, she is emotion and passion, the celebration of the totality of existence. She is the dark and defiant Sophia. She is One with Divine Immanence.
10. In union Lucifer and Lilith embody the goal of genuine Gnosis: Immanent Transcendence. Fully Embodied Liberation.
11. In Gnostic Luciferianism the Demiurge taught by the Church is nothing but the Divine embodiment of ego, the lower self, here defined as that aspect of Self that produces a sense of separate, disconnected identity. In so doing it creates a “world” of illusions that keep us enslaved to it.
12. Lucifer, in relation to the Christian Demiurge, IS Satan in this tradition. He is the preeminent accuser or adversary of that being. The form of the Divine known as the Devil or Satan is nothing more than a particular dark form Lucifer takes in relation to the Demiurge. This is a title he has earned, and that history has associated with him for over one thousand years. And it is purely via that association and identification that no one even knows the name Lucifer.
13. The practice of Gnostic Luciferianism is embodied in the mysteries of Traditional Witchcraft. It embraces Magick as the practice by which the Divine Self enacts its will upon the Divine substance of reality. These practices of witchcraft include spellwork, work with spirits, divination, dreamwork, and herbalism.
14. The practice of Gnostic Luciferianism embraces the use of acts that transgress, or break accepted social rules regarding spirituality. This is done for a few reasons:
a) coming from a nondual perspective where all things are considered Divine, even that which disgusts, the liberated individual is free to spontaneously engage in actions without socially constructed shame.
b) such acts are ritually engaged to intentionally break social conditioning and identification of self with socially conditioned narratives.
c) engaging in acts that “blaspheme” the practice of a dominant spiritual institution allows the initiate to tap into the reservoirs of power those institutions contain and transmute them to their purpose.
15. The morality of Gnostic Luciferianism flows directly from its nondual understanding of the world. Since all beings are Divine whether they recognize it or not, and all are enacting the unfolding of an interdependent process, one who recognizes their own Divine nature acts accordingly. One does not act according topredetermined “thou shalt nots” or under threat of eternal punishment, nor does one act from a place of egoistic reaction, but freely responding, judging the rightness of action in specific context from a place of fullness and security that is the only place from which genuine compassion, love, and kindness can flow.
When it comes down to it, stripped to its most basic essence, Luciferianism is an invitation to experience the fullness of your being, of the overwhelming beauty and terror of existence. It says, “You are and always have been utterly Divine, whole, and perfect right from the start, you need only taste and see.”
Accordingly, it is and must be an an unflinching confrontation with all that dares
blind you to that truth, to all that conceals, so that our fullness can show itself in its
To eat the fruit of the serpent is to tangibly “bite into” reality, to fully engage
and savor, to fully see and say yes to who you are. It’s not a one-time thing either, after
all how many times do we lose sight of ourselves and our path and must choose to taste
What is it in your life that is preventing you from tasting that fruit every day?
What if you just stop for a moment, every so often, and listen to that invitation?
Meanwhile, what, on the other hand, is NOT Gnostic Luciferianism? We totally reject:
…vulgar or “hyper-” individualism. That is any sort of individualism that places the individual separate from or above their social context, that rejects any sense of social obligation to other Divine beings.
… long debunked “Might makes Right” and “social Darwinist” philosophies. Such are not scientific and are simply a defense of unjust status quos and thus hold no liberatory power.
… any form of bigotry. A religion of liberation is utterly incompatible with any sort ideology that rationalizes the oppression of entire groups of people, it always stands with the oppressed.
Next, we will dig deeper and present a Gnostic Luciferian mythology and its implications.