By Miguel Conner - Luciferianism is a modern movement that really can’t be defined as religion. It’s more of an ethos—one of rebellious impulse against all manner of orthodoxy that paradoxically seeks ordered illumination within an individual. Luciferianism certainly harkens back to adaptable yet radical faiths of the past such as certain forms of Gnosticism, the Cult of Hecate, or the Cult of Dionysus. Unlike these traditions, it will never truly have defined qualities, and that has to do with the figure it is based on: Lucifer.
Although mainstream Christianity has always contended that Lucifer is another name for Satan, the reality is that Lucifer, truly by accident and by error, encompasses more elements than being the prosecutor of Yahweh or a fallen angel. In the Bible, Lucifer, as a dubious proper name, makes one appearance:
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)
The problem with this passage is that it is a translation based on Saint Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, where the name “Lucifer” is not a proper name but the Latin for “morning star” or “light-bearer of the morning.” Later translations from the Latin Vulgate assumed it was a proper name and associated it with Satan. Isaiah is actually referring to the doom of a Babylonian king. Referring to earthly kings metaphorically as stars (or fallen stars) was not uncommon in ancient Judaism (it happens in Ezekiel 28:12, which many Christian also believe refers to Satan).
Furthermore, Jesus himself is referred to as the morning star in the New Testament (2 Peter 1:19, Revelation 22:16), in a parallel literary technique of linking the Messiah to the coming of dawn. In both Luke 10:18 and Revelation 9:1, there is a mention of Satan falling from heaven, but this is more of a narrative illustrating how earthly powers, in any manifestation, will always be cast into perdition.
With the confusion of names, attributes, and divine roles, it’s not difficult to see how the unintended character of Lucifer would become a powerful symbol for the Esoterica in the 20th century. After all, this is a figure—beyond being rich in poetry and misunderstanding—that represents a deliverer of enlightenment who, at the same time, is thrown into the undesirable regions of matter. Lucifer is a cosmic actor that incorporates both Christ and Satan, and thus the eternal interplay of light and darkness. This archetype is not found anywhere in Abrahamic lore, except perhaps in Gnosticism with the concept of Abraxas.
With this in mind, Lucifer suddenly becomes part of a rich mythological tapestry reaching beyond Christianity—found in such stories as Phaeton and his chariot, the flight of Icarus and Daedalus, and Prometheus bringing fire to mankind. These and many other myths are comprised of dualistic demigods that ultimately find or deliver salvation while moving in between the dimensions of mortals and immortals, never really at home anywhere and always on a quest for the expansion of illumination (even at the cost of their own existences).
It was H.P. Blavatsky, considered one of the founders of modern occultism, who truly elevated Lucifer to a god for the new era. She started the magazine Lucifer in 1887, promoting the concept of the Savior and Adversary in one entity, not truly a deity but a spiritual process within the soul of every human being—a godly star that forever rises in victory over the world just as it collapses from paradise into the same victorious world.
Blavatsky even wrote in her book, The Secret Doctrine: “Lucifer is divine and terrestrial light, the ‘Holy Ghost’ and ‘Satan,’ at one and the same time…Lucifer, or ‘Light-Bearer,’ is in us: it is our Mind — our tempter and Redeemer, our intelligent liberator and Savior.”
It’s no wonder that modern occultism, always seeking inclusivity and universalism, would gravitate to the seemingly schizophrenic personality of Lucifer—the one who simultaneously represents and rejects the Christian dispensation, and also passionately and equally addresses the spiritual, mental, and even physical levels of humanity (the last one mostly in the case of atheistic forms of Satanism).
In fact, Lucifer as a mystagogue better satisfies those who have accepted that reaching for perfection or idealism is ultimately folly, even destructive for society. It is wiser to understand the movement of the light-bearer within each one of us—as he takes the aspects of the Arrogant King, the Returned Messiah, the Vicious Devil, the Fool for Truth—and witness how these aspects offer insights into the grand drama that is the evolution of the soul.
That is why Luciferianism seems to be a movement that appears fragmented and shifting, even though it’s actually very unified in the spreading of one’s inner fire into the darkness of mere being. The spirit of Luciferianism ironically asks the same question the Bible does when one is grappling with the demons and angels of one’s nature:
How high will you rise for what you believe in, and how low will you fall to share what you have discovered?