We will now continue where we left off in Lucifer? Part I.
Levi calls Lucifer/Satan an irreligious phantom that blasphemes the ideals behind religion itself. As such, he is a non-religious phantom. The definition for phantom is, “a figment of the imagination.” Therefore, Satan/Devil, is a figment of our cultural imagination. Furthermore, Levi unequivocally states that we should do away with this idol; that he is a falsehood:
Such is the irreligious phantom which blasphemes religion. Away with this idol which hides our Saviour. Down with the tyrant of falsehood, the black god of Manicheans, the Ahriman of old idolaters. Live God and His Word incarnate, who saw Satan fall from heaven. And live Mary, the Divine Mother, who crushed the head of the infernal serpent (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 15).
We now hear Levi’s background behind the general misunderstanding of religious traditions, like an attack on saints or examples of goodness, and the slander on divinity and encourage revolt. In short, his diatribe attacks the unrighteousness that is coalesced into the ideal of a Devil – a personification of evil itself, but not an individual or specific force:
So cry with one voice the traditions of saints, and so cry faithful hearts. The attribution of any greatness whatsoever to a fallen spirit is a slander on Divinity; the ascription of any royalty whatsoever to the rebel spirit is to encourage revolt and be guilty, at least in thought, of that crime which the horror of the middle ages termed sorcery. For all the offences visited with death on the old sorcerers were real crimes and were indeed the greatest of all. They stole fire from heaven, like Prometheus; they rode winged dragons and the flying serpent, like Medea; they poisoned the breathable air, like the shadow of the manchineel tree; they profaned sacred things and even used the body of the Lord in works of destruction and malevolence (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 16).
This force is in fact a composite agent, which is just the opposite of a single agent. It is an imagination of nature; an Od, or a “hypothetical power once thought to pervade nature and account for various phenomena, such as magnetism:”
How is all this possible. Because there is a composite agent, a natural and divine agent, at once corporeal and spiritual, an universal plastic mediator, a common receptacle for vibrations of movement and images of form, a fluid and a force which may be called, in a sense at least, the imagination of Nature. By the mediation of this force every nervous apparatus is in secret communication together; hence come sympathy and antipathy, hence dreams, hence the phenomena of second sight and extra-natural vision. This universal agent of Nature’s works is the Od of the Jews and of Reichenbach, the Astral Light of the Martinists, which denomination we prefer as the more explicit (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 16).
Levi defined God as purity; however, Satan is not so clearly defined. In fact, the spirit of darkness is not a personality, nor a black god, it is a perversity; in fact, he states that Satan has many forces, not a single one, “My name is legion… for we are many:”
By its clear formulation of concepts respecting the Divine, Christianity leads us to the understanding of God as the most absolute and the most purest love, while it defines, not less clearly, the spirit which is opposed to God, the spirit of revolt and hatred: hereof is Satan. But this spirit is not a personality and is not to be regarded as a kind of black god: it is a perversity which is common to all extralineal intelligences. “My name is legion,” says Satan in the Gospel, “for we are many” (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 187).
Levi discusses the biblical reference to Lucifer, “‘How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, Son of the Morning?” This particular quote has often been taken out of context by pundits of the Craft to justify their illogical thinking. He asks the question, does this mean the Morning Star of intelligence was changed somehow? – of course not – just misinterpreted or misapplied. In essence, Satan is a personification of evil and sin; in countless forms, Satan personifies the idea of disorder, whereas, God represents order:
The birth of intelligence may be compared to the Star of the Morning and, after it has shone for an instant, if it fall of its own accord into the void of darkness, we may apply to it that apostrophe which was uttered by Isaiah to the king of Babylon: ”How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, Son of the Morning?” But does this mean that the celestial Lucifer, the Morning Star of intelligence, has been changed into a brand of hell? Can the name of Light-bearer be applied justly to the angel of trespass and of darkness? We think not, more especially if it be understood, as we understand, who have the magical tradition behind us, that the hell personified by Satan, and symbolised by the old serpent, is that central fire which encompasses the earth, consuming all that it produces and devouring its own tail, like the serpent of Kronos—in a word, that Astral Light of which the Almighty spoke to Cain when He said: “If thou doest evil, sin shall be straightway at thy gates”—that is to say, disorder will take possession of all thy senses; “yet unto thee I have made subject the lust of death, and it is for thee to rule it” (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 188).
Now we hear that the divine view of Satan is actually a blunder; that Satan was made divine, although it is a passive force. Furthermore, the Church made its stance that devil had become their object or creation:
The royal and almost divine personification of Satan is a blunder which goes back to the false Zoroaster, or otherwise, to the sophisticated doctrine of the later and materialistic Magi of Persia; it was they who represented the two poles of the intellectual world as deities, making a divinity out of passive force in contradistinction to that force which is active. We have indicated that the same grave error was made by Indian mythology. Ahriman or Siva is the father of the demon, as the latter is understood by superstitious makers of legend, and hence it was said by our Saviour: “The devil is a liar like his father.” On this question the Church rests satisfied with the Gospel texts and has published no dogmatic decisions, having the definition of the devil as their object (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 188).
You see, good Christians are taught to avoid the topic of satan, the devil; instead, thinking only of God and his graces. The object of our purpose is not to omit what the church teaches regarding this omission; no, our objective is to correct the error as it relates to the occult sciences:
Good Christians avoid even naming him, while religious moralists recommend the faithful to take no concern regarding him, seeking to resist his arts by thinking only of God. We cannot but admire this wise reserve on the part of priestly teaching. Why indeed should the light of doctrine be reflected on him who is intellectual obscurity and darkest night of the heart. Let the spirit which would distract us from the knowledge of God remain unknown by us. It is assuredly not of our intention to perform what the Church has omitted; we certify on such a subject only as to the secret instruction of initiates in the occult sciences (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 188).
Therefore, according to the occult sciences, not the Christian Church, Lucifer, the “Great Magical Agent,” is a “vehicle of light;” a “mediating force.” It is a force of duality, creation as well as destruction that is within each individual; a choice, a madness, an hallucination and even visions and ecstasies. The word ecstasies can be defined as, “an emotional or religious frenzy or trancelike state, originally one involving an experience of mystic self-transcendence.” As such, Lucifer can also defined as a feeling, often based on ones decisions; and intelligence within man himself:
They have said that the Great Magical Agent—accurately termed Lucifer because it is the vehicle of light and the receptacle of all forms—is a mediating force diffused throughout creation; that it serves for creation and destruction; that the fall of Adam was an erotic intoxication which made his race subject to that fatal light; that all amorous passion which invades the senses is a whirlpool of this light, seeking to draw us down into the gulf of death; that madness, hallucinations, visions, ecstasies constitute an exceedingly dangerous exaltation of this interior phosphorus; finally, that the light in question is of the nature of fire, that it is warming and vivifying in its prudent use, but that it burns, dissolves and destroys in its excess (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 188).
Levi makes a distinction between the light of man, which earns him Immortality, and on the other hand, man’s intoxication with eternal destruction. These battling ideals between good and evil need a face, a figure to blame; God on the one hand and an adversary on the other. Yet, the adversary is an idea, not a single entity. Lucifer, therefore, is a phantom of life that escapes from an individual that results in misery, which we call the devil or satan. Even hell is included in this illusionary image:
Over this light man is called, on the one hand, to assume a sovereign empire, so earning his immortality, but, on the other, he is menaced by the intoxication, absorption and eternal destruction thereof. In its devouring, avenging and fatal aspect, the Astral Light may be called the fire of hell, the serpent of legend, while the tormented sin which abounds therein, the tears and the gnashing of teeth on the part of the abortions that it consumes, the phantom of life which escapes them and seems to insult their misery—all this may be termed the devil or Satan. Among the pomps and works of hell may be included, in fine, those actions, those illusionary images of pleasure, wealth and glory which are misdirected by the vertigo of this light (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 189).
This next section is incredibly important if one wants to understand the position of Levi; here he equates evil to that of a manifestation, a disorder, an hallucination or delirium of a diseased mind. That such thinking is repugnant to a sage or even an initiate. Indeed, there are astral disturbances when it comes to demons; but there is a distinction between the diseased mind and even a demon force or forces, and that of a single spirit, which many have referred to as Lucifer or satan the devil.
Father Hiiarion Tissot regards certain nervous diseases which are accompanied by hallucinations and delirium as diabolical possessions and, understood in the sense of the Kabalists, he is right assuredly. Whatsoever delivers our soul to the fatality of vertigo is truly infernal, since heaven is the eternal reign of order, intelligence and liberty. The possessed people of the Gospel fled away from Jesus Christ ; the oracles were silenced in the presence of the Apostles; while those who are prey to the disease of hallucination have ever manifested an invincible repugnance for initiates and sages. The suspension of oracles and obsessions proved the triumph of human liberty over fatality. When astral diseases reappear, it is an ominous sign of spiritual enervation, and manifestations of this kind are followed invariably by fatal disorders. The disturbances here referred to continued till the French Revolution, and the fanatics of Saint-Medard were the prophets of its sanguinary calamities. The famous criminologist Torreblanca, who had gone to the root of Diabolical Magic, describes accurately all the phenomena of astral disturbance, when classifying the works of the demon (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 189).
To better understand what Levi was writing about, I have separated the following for clearer study and absorption. You see, the ancients looked upon the idea of demons as a disorder of the mind; often displayed in imaginary forms, which resulted in frenzied behavior. Not something a sage would seek:
Here are some extracts from the 15th chapter of his work on Operative Magic:
- (1) The demon is endeavouring continually to lead us into error.
- (2) He deludes the senses by disturbing the imagination, though he cannot change its nature.
- (3) When things abnormal are manifested to the eye of man, an imaginary body assumes shape in the mind and so long as that phantom remains therein, the phenomena continue.
- (4) The demon destroys equilibrium in the imagination by a disturbance of the vital functions, whether by irregularity in health or actual disease.
- (5) When some morbid cause has destroyed this equilibrium, and that also of reason, waking dream becomes possible and that which has no existence assumes the semblance of reality.
- (6) The mental perception of images in this manner makes sight unworthy of trust.
- (7) Visions are bodied forth, but they are merely thought-forms.
- (8) The ancients distinguished two orders of disease, one of them being the perception of imaginary forms, which was termed frenzy, and the other corybantism, or the hearing of voices and other sounds which have no existence (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 189).
Levi continues to explain his point that a Demon is in fact a disease:
It follows from these statements, which are curious in several respects, that disease is attributed by Torreblanca to the demon, who indeed is disease itself, with which we should agree entirely—if permitted by dogmatic authority (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 190).
To which, Levi specifically illustrates that disease held instinctively a spirit of perversity and a love of destruction; that it was an astral perversity of hate and death:
The recurring efforts of the Astral Light to disintegrate and absorb entities are part of its nature; its ceaseless currents have a wearing effect like water and it consumes even as fire, for it is the very essence and dissolving force of fire. The spirit of perversity and the love of destruction which characterise those whom it governs are instincts of this force. They are further consequent on the suffering of the soul, which is conscious of incomplete life and feels torn in opposite directions. The soul yearns to make an end of itself, yet fears to die alone, and therefore would include all creation in its destruction. Such astral perversity assumes frequently the form of the hatred of children; an unknown power impels certain subjects to kill them, and imperious voices seem to demand their death. Dr. Brierre de Boismont cites terrible examples of this mania, recalling the crimes of Papavoine and Henriette Cornier (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 190).
Here we see Levi writing about the sufferers of astral perversion as being malevolent or evil; that they are jealous of others happiness. They have no hope. Their life is associated or synonymous with suffering and even death. In fact, this astral perversion hinders the act of regeneration, leading to death itself:
Sufferers from astral perversion are malevolent, and they are jealous at the joy of others; they are especially inimical to hope, and even when offering consolation they choose the most desperate and heartrending figures of speech. That explanation is that their life is synonymous with suffering and that they have been whirled into the dance of death. It is, moreover, astral perversion and the lust of death which abuses the act of generation, leading to its perversion or dishonour by sacrilegious mockeries and shameful pleasantries. Obscenity is a blasphemy against life (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 191).
More specifically, the above vices are attributed to a demon, or a distorted reflection of divinity (God); these are the idols of death, not life. Levi also lists several examples of demon associated entities:
Each of these vices is personified by a black idol or by a demon, which is the negative and distorted reflection of the divinity who communicates life: these are idols of death. Moloch is the fatality which devours infants. Satan and Nisroch are gods of hatred, fatality and despair. Astarte, Lilith, Nehamah, Ashtaroth are idols of debauchery and abortion. Adramelech is the god of murder, while Belial is that of eternal revolt and anarchy. Such are the monstrous conceptions of reason, when it pauses on the verge of extinction and slavishly worships its destroyer, so that it may reach the end of its torment by the destroyer absorbing it (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 191).
Even more confusingly, Levi makes mentioned that the true name of Satan is that of Jehovah – Satan is not a black god – he is the negation or opposite of Deity (God). Satan is the personification of atheism or the none belief in Divinity, and of idolatry or false worship. Furthermore, the devil is not a personality, but a force applied to evil, and is personified through such figures at the horned god Pan – hence the goat like figure – a false lucifer:
According to the Kabalists, the true name of Satan is that of Jehovah reversed, for Satan is not a black god but the negation of Deity. He is the personification of atheism and idolatry. The devil is not a personality for initiates but a force created with a good object, though it can be applied to evil: it is really the instrument of liberty. They represented this force, which presides over physical generation, under the mythological figure of the horned god Pan, and hence comes the goat of the Sabbath, brother of the old serpent, the light-bearer or phosphorus, converted by poets into the false Lucifer of legend (Eliphas Levi, The History of Magic, 1860, p. 191).
I hope you enjoyed Lucifer? Part II. Next month, this series will continue with Lucifer? Part III. Until then, enjoy life forever my friends!
So Mote It Be!!!