Satanism and Luciferianism - Part 1
Last Updated: 15 July 2014
Satanism vs LuciferianismThere are numerous types of Left Hand Path philosophy and practice, the two largest categories are Satanism and Luciferianism. These represent slightly different archetypes, however a number of Satanists believe they are one and the same. Certainly virtually all Christians believe that Satan and Lucifer and interchangeable terms. Over the last 50 years, Satanism has diversified and fragmented into a large number of different styles or currents from its LaVey Satanism origins, and includes numerous types of Theistic (or Traditional) Satanism and Spiritual Satanism.
The lines between Satanism and Luciferianism are increasingly becoming blurred in many cases. However, what Satanism in general tends to have in common is the central archetype of individual strength, power and domination in one's interactions with one's environment, in the context of LHP self-deification.
Luciferianism recognises these archetypes and goals but incorporates them into a (usually) wider spectrum of archetypes and philosophies. The central goal of Luciferianism is intellectual illumination, of acquiring wisdom and of learning about the self through occult, scientific and life experience. In general one could say that Satanism is more concerned with the physical environment, is more earthbound with more 'practical' personal goals, whereas Luciferianism is concerned with illumination and the quest for the higher self, in the context of the Left-Hand Path and non-Abrahamic magic and philosophy. This is not universally true of course as some branches of Satanism have spiritual or gnostic components. Satanism is in a sense a subset of Luciferianism. Both Satanism and Luciferianism may draw on the same magical practices and archetypes, but the secondary purpose, attitude and approach to the practice tends to differ, even if the specific stated objective or goal within the ritual is the same. Luciferianism may draw from a variety of spiritual, philosophical and religious sources, but only really in the sense where they can be applied to the LHP. However, increasingly this is not really the case as many branches of Satanism, particularly Spiritual Satanism, draws on Buddhism and Taoism, in the context of Satanism. Luciferianism in many instances could be classified as more 'New Age' but some New Agers would disagree. Luciferianism embrances emotional and spiritual balance to a greater degree than Satanism overall, in terms of abstinence and indulgence, whereas Satanism is more about continual indulgence and hedonism, be this in a pleasure seeking, artistic or other senses. It seems to embrace Nihilism and the Will to Power slightly more. Luciferianism may contain 'light' and 'dark' elements, in terms of magical practice, but it ultimately depends on the interests of the individual, e.g. Light elements drawn from the Eastern and Western mystery traditions as well as darker elements such as Demonology, Voudon and/or Psychic Vampirism etc., and most frequently Chaos Magick which lies somewhere in the middle - on the basis that Chaos Magick being easy to get started with and as it is arguably pre-Luciferic in nature. Luciferianism may also purely be a philosophical practice rather than a magical one, of developing a self of self and sharpening one's critical thinking abilities and knowledge, but one of the tenets of the LHP is that it needs to be applied to one's life (the same goes for the RHP).
There is plenty of conflict within the LHP, although there need not be. Some Luciferians view Satanists as being less intellectually capable, childish, thuggish, mindlessly rebellious, insecure and/or of being stuck in the RHP mentality of requiring a 'Lord' or 'Master'(missing the point of the LHP), even if Satan or Baphomet is deemed to be on equal terms with oneself in Satanism. Some Satanists regard Luciferianism as watered down Satanism, which whilst still being LHP, giving up some its power to intellectual pursuits, endlessly studying and being 'dorks' - the pointless pursuit of the fleeting and non-existent 'higher self'. Some view Satanism and Luciferianism in the Jungian sense as reflecting stages of life, Satanism being more the youthful stage in life establishing one's own independence and separate identity from one's surroundings, whereas Luciferianism being more an 'adult' or 'parental' phase in one's life where one seeks to focus more 'higher' forms of self-actualisation, seeking more wisdom and spiritual or intellectual fulfilment and to come together with society more. According to the hierarchy of human needs, one needs to fulfil one's lower levels of need before one can effectively fulfil the higher levels of need. One could also view the two in a Kabbalistic sense, as a friend of mine Dian stated, with Satanism being more in line with Geburah and Luciferianism more in line with Chokmah.
Some of the philosophical differences between Satanism and Luciferianism are discussed at the link below.
Technically speaking, Luciferianism can be LHP and RHP, however, I would not personally call RHP Luciferianism 'Luciferian' but more Gnostic Christianity, Positive Gnosticism or Illuminism, perhaps with a Luciferian influence.
There is disagreement over the application or use of the term 'Lucifer' within Luciferianism. Lucifer literally means 'bearer of light', 'morning star' or 'bringer of dawn', and is equated with the planet Venus. Lucifer is viewed by many as an archetype of the 'higher or illuminated self', rather than a literal deity. To use this archetype means to become illuminated or to receive light. Some believe that because the term means 'light bearer' that this means that Luciferianism is about 'sharing the light' with others and educating others. Whilst this is indeed one application of the term or archetype, in my opinion, it is a distortion of the LHP philosophy to regard this as the primary meaning and belies a RHP-fixation or disposition to want to convert, save or educate others. It is often said that one have to learn to master oneself first before one can teach others these skills or knowledge effectively. Many Luciferians seem to fall into the trap of becoming fixated on sharing knowledge with others rather than applying it to their own lives fully - not putting themselves first. I find the metaphor of 'light bearer' useful up to a point but it has become so overused and cliched that it is close to becoming meaningless.