Thursday, December 19, 2013

Are Luciferians and Satanists Pagan?

Are Luciferians and Satanists Pagans?

This is something(as I've mentioned before in my "Who is welcome under the Umbrella" and "Free Luciferian" posts) that I run into fairly often, the question of whether Luciferians and/or Satanists are pagan or not.  This is my attempt to fully answer that question and my reasons for my answer.

What is a Pagan?

Of course, the old joke goes "Ask five pagans what the word means and you'll get six answers," but there are basically two ways to answer the question; defining it by what it is and by what it isn't.  If one defines paganism by what it is, that almost certainly includes a belief in Gods other than YHVH, and the practice of ritual magic.  If one defines paganism by what it is not, the most common answer is "Abrahamic." 

  • Many Satanists and Luciferians practice ritual magic.
  • A sizable portion of Satanists and Luciferians believe in Gods other than YHVH
  • Satanists and Luciferians, by their very nature, do not worship the God of Abraham.  The largest by far single group of Satanists; Anton LaVey's Church of Satan, do not even believe He exists.

Who is Satan, anyway?

In short, you are.  No, really.  Ha-Satan is a title from the old Hebrew that translates to something like "Adversary" or "One Who Opposes," it is a title, not a name, and can be used to describe pretty much anyone or anything that stands in opposition to God in the eyes of the speaker.  Therefore, pretty much anyone who'd choose to use that term would probably put most pagans right under that subheading.  The most famous ha-satan, of course, is the Devil... or is it?

Who is the Devil, then?

A fictional character created and refined by monks, priests and writers in-between the advent of pan-European Christianity and the renaissance, then re-touched and detailed by Hollywood.    I'm often surprised by how quick many pagans are to try to distance themselves from the Devil though, considering he's basically 25% Horned God, 25% Pan, and 25% Loki.  The archetypal trickster with goats feet and horns, who goes around dealing for souls, tricking people, and tempting them into "sin" is in many ways further appropriation by the Church and its offshoots of original indigenous beliefs, and then the necessary twisting of what they took of those Gods to discourage their followers from engaging in some of the activities that were actually quite approved under those Gods originally.  The word itself, just like ha-satan, is a descriptive or category word, not a specific individual.  

Well, what about Lucifer?

...That's where we get to the rub.  Lucifer is only mentioned a couple of times in the Bible, if you're not trying to reduce every single force that ever shows any resistance or rebellion against God from Genesis to Revelation down to one figure.  Much like the Devil, a lot of our picture of Lucifer comes from "pop culture" additions that were made to him over the centuries.  For Luciferians, Lucifer is as much a matter of reconstruction and reinterpretation as the ancient Gods are for many pagans, we draw from all available sources that we can consider credible, try to cut away the chaff, add whatever our own personal gnosis is, and do our best to try to understand the metaphysical universe as it appears to us.  Of course, on the other hand, going outside biblical stuff since, as I cited earlier, many Luciferians believe in Gods other than YHVH...  Lucifer may have some origins in Greek myth as Eosphoros, and features prominently in Stregharia(traditional Italian witchcraft) as the father of Aradia, so if you want to pick a fight with those people by trying to tell them what they are and aren't, I leave that between you and them.

So are they pagans, or not?

...It depends.  If you want a full breakdown of the various flavors of Satanism and Luciferianism, I went into detail on it in my "Free Luciferianism" post, but to make a long story short: Sometimes, there's basically a Venn overlap between the groups.  Not all Satanists and Luciferians are pagan, and certainly the vast majority of pagans are neither Satanist nor Luciferian, but some Luciferians and Satanists qualify for almost any definition of pagan not specifically thought up to exclude them.