Sunday, September 28, 2014

Solar Flares & Lucifer: making some Witches uncomfortable

An X1.6 class solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun in this image taken September 10, 2014, in this image courtesy of NASA. This image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in teal. A rare double burst of magnetically charged solar storms will hit Earth Thursday night and Friday, raising concerns that GPS signals, radio communications and power transmissions could be disrupted, officials said on September 11, 2014. (NASA) Courtesy of the Dark Room

I woke up this Sunday morning thinking about how productive I had been this entire week.  I thought about all the extra time I spent outside working in my garden, vending at a festival, bottling many of my new recipes.  I also remembered a quick comment by my husband, that he hadn't seen me 'charge' anything under the moon this month.  He's a Christian and I always think it's sweet when he mentions something about my Craft or uses one of our terms.  That he understood 'charging' was pleasing.  I realized that everything this month I was doing was very much solar driven.  I was taking citrine and orange calcite outside to sit in the sun as I worked on floral smudge sticks.  All the oils I chose to bottle and charge were either working with fire elements or at least balancing fire and ice.  This was unusual for I am a very lunar focused worker.  I had unconsciously balanced myself. All last week we heard about the intense solar storms that had been barraging our small green and blue marble hanging in space. Photos of beautiful Northern Light displays as well as fears of fried circuitry were posted all over the net.  Was I responding to the Solar output?

It was in this frame of mind that I posted a very small blurb on my facebook about the Craft and working with 2 significant Solar deities: Mithra & Lucifer.  Coming out of an Italian heritage, both of these figures are prominent in the ancient mythologies I focus on.  I briefly made the point that the ancient Lucifer was not the same figure (or even from the same ethnic-religious mileau) as Sa-tan: the first being Etruscan-Italian and the later being Semitic.  This led to a well meaning but very typical comment by another Pagan.  He wanted to know why I would feel the need to 'reclaim' the ancient figure of Lucifer and gently reminded me of it's terrible baggage.  He also questioned 'based on his intuition', why I would have the 'need to steal some fire'.  There is so much cultural conditioning and assumption in his questions that I could write a book about this. His language insinuated that this particular line of mythology was not worth pursuing or it was simply too dangerous and that if I was doing so, clearly I must personally be missing something or suffering from something.  My response: why would I have to steal any fire when the sun was raining it down for free in my backyard!
Points to be made:

1)I don't think there is any way I could live in modern Western society or be raised a Catholic and somehow missed the baggage associated with the name Lucifer. That seems like common knowledge and does not require an outside reminder.

2)These 'gentle reminders' from fluffier Pagans and Wiccans, although so well meaning, are really pejorative and imposing.  I practice Traditional Witchcraft and Hoodoo, neither of which follows a Threefold Law, Harm None, or Karma.  This is not to say there isn't a reaction for every action, a drawing of like energy to what you put out there.  It's the great magickal Law of Attraction.  You get what you give period and there is always a reckoning for wrongs committed. Nature is usually impersonal about balancing things so I'm very careful about what work I do. And 'harm none'... hey good intentions have killed millions. So get your sparkly wand out of my face please.

3)If I was afraid of 'baggage' when reclaiming any particular aspect of my Craft, I would have avoided the terms 'Witch', 'Pagan', & 'Heathen'.  I would never have bothered learning about the true symbolism of the Pentacle.  I wouldn't have started worshiping a God that sported a pair of horns and a huge cock. Hell, I would have just stayed in Church and kept swallowing that dry bread wafer every Sunday. 

5)The historical fact that ancient religions and their deities existed, and in some manner do continue to exist, is a bitter pill for mainstream Abrahamic religious leaders. The medieval Church had various methods for dealing with any indigenous Pagan God it encountered as it swept across Europe and then later the Americas.  Melt the statues and relics down and turn them into Vatican candlesticks.  Allow the really pesky popular deities to become folk Saints.  Shrink them into little elves and fairy folk.  Call them demons and cast them out.  Only a very few were actually merged with 'The Devil', to become a new face of Sa-tan. Interestingly, Pan, a horny little goat of a guy, very much a lesser demi-god (more of a Elemental if you ask me) was turned into the devil.  Maybe he was so offensive to the Padres because his name translates to "All' or "Total"?  Maybe it was because in Europe they encountered so many horned male deities of fertility, animal husbandry, and the wild hunt.  A prime competitor for the demasculated Christ. Had to be done away with in the strictest terms. Anything with horns now equals the Devil himself, be it goat, sheep ram, bull, elk, or deer horns. Horns Bad.  Halo Good.  Well who has the shiniest halo of all?  Um that was Lucifer- the Sun incarnate.  This ancient Etruscan deity, often associated with Apollo and Sol, has been reworked into many mythologies as both a savior and a fall guy over time.
So who was Lucifer and if he isn't 'THE DEVIL', then what was he? What is he now?

He was an ancient Solar God, sometimes described as a 'Star God', which seems less powerful than being linked with our solar system's one single sun... still a sun is a star. Semantics really.  Anyway he was the child of the personification of Dawn, often paired with Diana or later Venus as Greek mythology was imported into Rome.  Diana comes from a category of ancient sacred twins, a male female allegorical pair.  Jana and Janus, Dianna and Dianus, or sometimes Tiannus, even Frey and Freya come from this archetype.  Lucifer was the 'Bearer of Light' and 'God of the Evening Star and Morning Star'.  He was associated with Sol, Apollo, Phospheros, Mithra, and all the other young solar deities who provided light and truth and died and were reborn... hey that sounds like someone we all know!  This guy was not horned, scaly, tailed, involved in the Underworld realms, or had anything to do with any ancient Semitic figures, be it demonic or angelic.  He did occasionally have sex with his sister but so did many of the Pharaohs.

This being was associated with the fallen angels during the Middle Ages.  It was a very successful PR smear campaign accompanied by forced assimilation to the new religion, serfdom, loss of property and rights, and all economic gains being funneled to the Church and it's elite supporters.  It's power and it's fear.  That fact that a modern Neo-Pagan adherent could feel so uncomfortable with merely the mention of an ancient deity's name shows how completely successful the Church has been.  Still, unlike countless other lost gods of Europe, Lucifer's name will not ever be forgotten simply because he is so closely associated with the Biblical Sa-tan.

In the Aradia, or the Gospel of Witches, Diana creates her brother Lucifer from the dividing of herself in a cosmological allegory of light born from darkness. Aradia is a book composed by the American folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland that was published in 1899. It contains what he believed was the religious text of a group of Witches in Tuscany, Italy that documented their beliefs and rituals, although various historians and folklorists have disputed the existence of such a group. In the 20th century, the book was very influential in the development of the contemporary Pagan religion of Wicca. I personally believe that if any of this lore was genuinely being shared in secret by a hidden body of Witches in Italy, the remnants of ancient Etruscan religion were heavily influenced by Biblical symbolism and interpretation.  Here Lucifer is a fallen being of light but not a betrayer, rather a savior for the downtrodden.

A very good article on what Lucifer means within modern Traditional Witchcraft:

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