Satanism and Luciferianism - Part 2
I discuss my initial exposure to Luciferianism and Gnostic Satanism on the Testimony page.One can classify Luciferianism into different currents depending on the exact occultic interests of the individual and what types of magic an individual likes to practise. One current that I have written about the most in the past is Gnostic Luciferianism, somewhat arbitrarily, some of which is reproduced below.
Gnostic Luciferianism is primarily a type of Luciferianism, but one which includes a heavy Classical Gnostic component. The term Gnosis has in recent times become almost a disposal, throwaway term in occultism, used to describe any kind of occult related knowledge. It has a definite historical usage in Hellenic and Judeo-Christian spiritual lineages. Gnostic Luciferianism is generally a fusion of Classic (Alexandrian?) Gnostic religious cosmology, symbolism and philosophy combined with contemporary Luciferianism, whereby Gnostic Luciferianism are Gnostic in the panentheistic/monist sense or in an agnostic, symbolic sense. Gnostic Luciferians in this sense are still Gnostics.
Gnostic Luciferianism however is also used to describe the incorporation of 19th and 20th Century positive gnostic ceremonial hermetic magic and spiritual philosophical practices and ideas, including Theosophy, Freemasonry, Hermetic Kabbalah, Golden Dawn, Thelema and/or Hoodoo or Voudon, into Luciferianism. These practices may well be balanced with other currents and interests such as Eastern internal alchemical practices such as Qi Gong, Taoist Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Tantra, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Transactional Psychoanalysis, Psychology, Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection, creative visualisation, Chaos Magic, Reiki, and/or Psychic Vampirism, but clearly it depends on the individual as Luciferianism is extremely diverse. Most of this latter type Gnostic Luciferians tend to be more agnostic and atheistic. However, some may simply call this Luciferianism rather Gnostic Luciferianism.
The more Classic type Gnostic Luciferians may not necessary embrace ceremonial magic at all, e.g. Bestian Gnosticism, which is more Satanic, Luciferian, Kemetic and Jungian in concept, but combined with Classic Gnostic concepts and cosmology. At the extreme end of Gnostic Luciferianism is the 218 current and Anti-Cosmic Gnosticism, which can be Luciferian or perhaps Satanist, with less concept of balance with light and dark, which I will not examine in this article. The purpose of this article is to examine Gnostic Luciferianism specifically rather than Luciferianism as a whole, although some generic Luciferian concepts are mentioned.
Whilst Satanism, especially LaVey Satanism, draw on anti-Christian principles and imagery, and glorify the self in perhaps a somewhat excessive and materialistic manner, Gnostic Luciferianism tend more towards an open approach to religion in general, drawing from a variety of different religious sources, and taking from each what it sees as useful, from the perspective of the self, to seek both light and dark principles. This is perhaps less so for Modern Luciferianism which is less focussed on 'religious mish mash' and tends to stick to hermetic texts and the occult, drawing less influence from different world religions and indeed Gnosticism. Some Modern Lucifierianism dislike the tendency for Gnostic Luciferianism in some cases to adopt a heterogeneous Left Hand Path meets Right Hand Path approach. Clearly this depends on the individual and there is considerable freedom within Gnostic Luciferianism to choose one's own path and to indeed become extremely confused!
Spiritual Satanism in some sense could be likened to Gnostic Luciferianism, however the difference is really that whilst Spiritual Satanism may draw on other religions, mainly Taoism and Buddhism, there is still a primary belief in a 'dark God', like with Traditional Satanism, with the 'dark Lord' or dark gods having greater significance than for a Luciferian who tends to be more pragmatic or scientific about it (a means to an end). Luciferianism, on the other hand, is more about developing the self, and gaining wisdom, in the absence or not of any literal spiritual beliefs about a deity or deities. A Luciferian may not feel so tied to the said deity than a Satanist.
Gnostic Luciferianism is more syncretic and hetereogeneous than 'classic' Gnosticism. It is in general either the worship of a deity Lucifer (not usual); or the recognition of Lucifer as an archetype, ally or guide, often represented by various historical prophets, deities, Gnostic Aeons and/or philosophical positions. In the latter scenario, one can consider the allying with, embodying of, learning from or use of one particular 'Lucifer' or several 'Lucifers'. Most Luciferians and Gnostic Luciferians do not worship the deity Lucifer, although a minority indeed do. More commonly it is something which one invokes from oneself, a reflection of the self. The concept in Gnostic Luciferianism is to plant the seed of thought into one's mind and let the mind take it where it wishes, to one's own personal expression of the Self and one's Will, a little like Gnostic texts and some passages from the canonical gospels do (but perhaps different in outcome to the latter depending on interpretation).
Gnostic Luciferianism draws on the cosmology of Gnosticism, in a literal sense as defining the universe, or a metaphoric sense as defining the Self. Gnostic Luciferianism then may use a literal Gnostic framework for the incorporation of other religious beliefs, or it may indeed use a metaphoric understanding to the Gnostic cosmology as a principle in which to reinterpret/understand other chosen religions, occult practices or belief systems.
The one true, benevolent, mysterious God, Monad, or rather his Pleroma, may indeed be venerated or recognised (by some GLs). As with Gnosticism, theistic Gnostic Luciferianism holds that (in some sense) the creator God, called Demiurge, is synonymous with the Hebrew God of the Old Testament. Demiurge is for the theists regarded as being evil and imperfect and created a flawed world and physical universe full of death, disease, suffering and pain (using the Neo-Platonic and Buddhist concept of physical or earthly suffering). Demiurge trapped the human soul into human form and condemned it to a cycle of endless 'suffering', through birth and death (reincarnation).
The Aeons of Gnostic Luciferianism are messengers of light emanating from Monad/Pleroma. They may include messiahs, and deities drawn from various religions, that emanate from the one true God, Monad - from Gnostic scriptures or interpreted in a Gnostic sense. The Lucifers may also include philosophers and prophets. They depend very much on the type of Gnostic Luciferianism one is talking about. These messengers are figures of light and self-actualisation, helping followers to achieve Gnosis, but offering a variety of different types of secret knowledge, enlightenment and aspects of Gnosis. Followers of Gnostic Luciferianism can choose which Aeon or Lucifer they wish to worship, venerate, recognise or acknowledge, according to their true path or 'Will'. Gnostic Luciferian Aeons often include the Gnostic Jesus Christ (aka Luciferi Christos), Buddha, The Serpent and the deity Prometheus.
Those that believe in the Gnostic cosmology and Gnostic philosophy, but apply it to their lives in the context of Luciferian philosophy and occultism, do not generally regard Monad as 'Lucifer' in general terms. Lucifer is still the archetype of the self, in its light and dark, and indeed higher aspects, as embodied and manifested in occult ritual. Monad is just regarded as Monad. The definition of God or Monad within Gnostic Luciferianism is not the same as in the normal Judao-Christian sense or Right-Handed sense, perhaps being seen as a benevolent force or ally that helps one to experience Gnosis, knowledge, and self-conscious spiritual awakening from the experience/viewpoint of the Self. This is in some sense a cross between the Right-Hand goal of uniting with God, or learning from and emulating the essence and spirit of God, but from a Self stance, and the Left-Hand Path of self-deification and ultimate evolution of the Self.
In classic Gnosticism, by achieving Gnosis (choosing one aspect or multiple aspects of Gnosis from the various messengers) a person is able to break out of the cycle of life and death and rebirth and to ascent to join the Pleroma (the fullness or totality of divine powers) for eternity. See the section on Gnosticism for more information. In Gnostic Luciferianism, the exact details and possibly the concept of what Gnosis actually is is probably slightly different from that of Classic Gnosticism, as it contains a somewhat Luciferic component in addition to the Classic Gnostic cosmology and Aeons. Gnostic Luciferianism is like most other Gnosticism in that it acknowledges, venerates and/or worships the true, mysterious God, Monad, or rather his Pleroma, but rejects the evil creator God (the Hebrew Jehovah).
Whilst the process of seeking illuminism and 'spiritual' self-awareness through Gnosis could be considered a Left-Hand Path, the actual Gnostic goal within Gnosticism and indeed Gnostic Luciferianism of working towards something after one's death (i.e. breaking out of the 'prison' of cyclic existence and reintegration with God/Monad/the Pleroma) is a Right-Hand Path - although I do not believe many Luciferians really have this as a goal. There are probably parallels with the Temple of Set's goal of the uniting with the Black Flame.
The concept of Gnosis within Gnostic Luciferianism is not restricted to the classical Gnostic definition and that attained through demonology, Thelema, Chaos Magic, LaVey Satanism and other 'dark' magic. Indeed the term is used in Chaos Magic as a fundamental part of practice. It may, depending on the individual's Will, other occult traditions, philosophies and sciences, such as hermetic quabalah, sabbat, tarot, other divination, astrology, lucid dreaming, astral projection, psychology, astronomy, astrophysics, particle physics, Eastern philosophies (Taoism, Ayurveda, Tantra, Yoga etc.) and indeed many other areas. It does not tend to involve 'new age' areas such as spiritual healing as the focus is on self-healing and the self rather than healing or helping others. This is discussed on the Left-Hand Path page. Gnostic Luciferianism is a diverse arena and its form depends on the uptake by the individual. Intellectual development and illuminism is thought to enable great spiritual understanding and thought and vice versa.
Some might argue that the concept of Gnosis in Gnostic Luciferianism is not consistent with the concept of (Theistic) Satanic Intelligence. Clearly Luciferian Gnosis is not quite the same as classic Gnosticism's idea of Gnosis, as it is broader in its remit and contains lighter and darker elements. However, this is some commonality with the concept of the Self. The idea of Luciferian Gnosis as mentioned above is considered a higher form of Self-wisdom and is not just fixated on sensory gratification and 'knee jerk' hostility and rebellion for the sake of it. That is not to say that there are no elements of Satanism within it.
'Modern' Gnostic Luciferians may use the framework and cosmology of Gnosticism, and incorporate their own spiritual and occult beliefs and practices into these. In this manner, they are free to choose the Aeons they most venerate or acknowledge, if at all, but also choose exactly how they view Monad (if at all). In addition, they are free to go between the different Aeons or belief systems, embracing both light and dark elements, to achieve 'balance.'
It is likely that in most Gnostic Luciferianism, that the Gnostic Cosmology is a metaphor or analogues for the Neo-Platonic ideas about the formation one's Self, rather than being a literal cosmology. The majority of Luciferians in general that I have come across are either Agnostics or Atheists, and indeed, many Gnostic Luciferians do not appear to be theistic at all, but more agnostic. For them, the Gnostic cosmology could be true, but it cannot be proven, so it is regarded as more rational to merely keep an open mind in the agnostic sense, but whilst using the symbolism as it relates closely to the human experience. Life on earth is a pursuit for knowledge of the self, wisdom and enlightenment, for Gnosis, to achieve Self-Mastery whilst alive. Regarding reincarnation, rebirth or a concept of the afterlife, who knows? It cannot be proven.
Atheistic and indeed many agnostic Luciferians appear to be simply more balanced and philosophical than their atheistic LaVey Satanist counterparts, who enjoy life but also exercise restraint and balance, rather than pursue unbalanced hedonism or a Sinister path alone.
Gnostic Luciferians may well draw upon some of the philosophical aspects of Gnostic Luciferianism and its dark magic rituals, but in general tend to bring their old religious/philosophical ideas with them and simply evolve them a little rather than replace them, but it depends on their background and how long they have been practising the LHP. Those coming from a Christian background may well tend to keep Gnostic Christianity within their Luciferian model for a number of years and slowly over time lose interest in it and eliminate more of the Judeo-Christian influences from their practice.
For example, whilst practising an invocation of Lucifer ritual, it may not literally be a deity who is believed to be invoked, but rather those feelings and illuminated and magical qualities in oneself that one believes one is invoking. For many, the broader concept of Luciferian Gnosis is that of intellectual illuminism and wisdom (through a variety of studies and practices, one of which is occult practice), a process to enjoy whilst one is alive to enrich one's life, a Left-Hand Path, rather than a means to an end to achieve the Gnostic Right-Hand Path goal of reintegration with the Pleroma. This is in keeping with Gnostic Luciferianism's claim to be a Left-Hand Path. Whilst drawing on Gnosticism and Gnostic Christianity, Gnostic Luciferianism is still very much concerned with the Self, as is a Left-Hand Path, and distinct from modern, mainstream Christianity which is very much a Right-Hand Path. Whether the Gnostic goal is a 'side effect' of Luciferian Gnosis or really a goal for some adherents is probably something that depends on the individual. For some, admitting any Right-Hand Path aspects may be 'unfashionable'!
There are very few Gnostic Luciferian texts in circulation. Many Gnostic Luciferians rely on the Gnostic cosmology as defined by the Nag Hammadi Library, and in particular, 'On the Origin of the World' and also 'The Gospel of Judas'. These considered broadly considered Gnostic Luciferian and also broadly associated with neo-Manichaeism. There is some considerable overlap between Manichaeism and Gnostic Luciferianism.
There are however differences between Manichaeism and 'Theistic' Gnostic Luciferianism. Manichaeism does not use recognise Prometheus as a deity/Aeon, nor does it involve the practice of magical rites and rituals or tarot. It is likely that Hermeticism as a whole, and in particular the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn of the 19th Century, and Thelema of the early 20th Century, helped to form the magic and occult element of Gnostic Luciferianism. This is seen as another way of achieving Gnosis.
It is not certain exactly when Gnostic Luciferianism was first founded. The term 'Gnostic Luciferian' can sometimes be found mentioned in 19th Century works such as Eliphas Levi's Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, first published in 1855. Jeremy Crow, claims to have popularised the term in 2002, when he promoted it within the Gnostic community, although elements of the philosophy have been present for arguably several decades. It is thus uncertain whether Gnostic Luciferianism is indeed very modern or whether it existed much earlier. It is probably nothing particularly new but a recycling of Traditional Luciferianism and combining it with other magical traditions like Thelema and Chaos Magic, Gnostic Christianity, Satanism and the ideas of Social Darwinist and Nihilist philosophers. Many of the Luciferian concepts have been circulating within Chaos Magic practice since the late 1970s. So whether it should be called Gnostic Luciferianism or Neo/Modern Gnostic Luciferianism - or simply an extension of Chaos Magick - is a matter of debate - but I have not come across many Gnostic Luciferians so whether the term should be used at all is a matter of debate, above and beyond 'Luciferianism'.
It is possible that the Gnostic Ophites are the earliest inspiration for what we see today as Gnostic Luciferianism. The Ophites or Ophians (Greek for snake) is the term used to refer to any of numerous Gnostic sects in Syria and Egypt around 100 AD, who gave great importance to the serpent of the biblical tale of Adam and Eve, connecting the Tree of Knowledge (of Good and Evil) to gnosis. In contrast to Christian interpretations of the Serpent as Satan, Ophites viewed the serpent as the hero of Genesis, and in line with classic Eastern/Persian Gnosticism, regarding the Hebrew God of the Old Testament as the the 'evil Demiurge'.
The following Sects are regarded as being/having been Ophite Gnostic Sects:
- Naasseners (from Hebrew na'asch = snake)
- The Sethians
- The Mandaeans are considered an Ophite religion that has survived (up to and including the present day).
- The Perates (from the Greek language peras, "to penetrate")
- The Borborites
According to Diane Vera, a Theistic Satanist, Gnostic Luciferianism is based on ancient Ophite Gnosticism, usually combined with subsequent Western occult traditions.
Diane claims that: 'some Luciferians are also strongly influenced by LaVeyan Satanism or by the Temple of Set paradigm, though most are not. Luciferians typically make a sharp distinction between "Lucifer" and "Satan" and between "Luciferianism" and "Satanism," although their idea of "Lucifer" typically does borrow at least some themes from the Christian Devil concept. But a few Gnostic Luciferians do identify as "Satanist" as well as "Luciferian"; a well-known example was Herbert Sloane's Lady of Endor Coven, founded back in 1948. Those relatively few Gnostic Luciferians who do see "Lucifer" and "Satan" as the same entity (or as aspects of the same entity) can be considered Primary Theistic Satanists.'
Diane Vera, regards Gnostic Luciferianism in general as a form of Secondary Theistic Satanism. She defines Secondary Theistic Satanism as a religion or spirituality in which Satan is part of the pantheon and is worshipped, revered, or at least propitiated in some way, at least to some extent, but is not the primary object of worship, veneration, reverence or emulation. She claims that a subset of Neo-Gnostic Luciferians revere Satan as well as Lucifer, but regard Satan as a distinct entity. Gnostic Luciferians however claim not to worship an entity called Lucifer per se, but worship or revere Aeons or 'Lucifers'. Is Satan then one of these 'Lucifers' or is he just an archetype?
Others also believe Gnostic Luciferianism to be closely linked to Theistic Satanism or a subset of Theistic Satanism.
Jeremy Crow, from what I have understood from his articles, associates Jesus, Buddha and Prometheus with Lucifer.
Luciferian Research Society, created by Jeremy Crow, is a Ning-hosted social media community for LHP practitioners, and seems to occupy a middle ground between its Luciferian focus (and name) and being a generic LHP community. There are other Luciferian groups and forums on the internet but this is probably the biggest specialist community, outside of religiousforums.com etc.
Gnostic Luciferianism introduces a wider variety of Aeons, prophets, teachers or Lucifers than can be found in classic Gnosticism. In this sense, Gnostic Luciferianism is more syncretic than Gnosticism. However, the criticism of Gnosticism that I have that focussing too widely on a variety of interlinked teachings does not really allow one to full embrace the spirit of those teachings (at all, in enough depth or for long enough) applies even more so here.
I find that Gnostic Luciferianism as a whole often seems to attract people who consider themselves to be very intelligent and philosophical, almost to the point of narcissism and pretentiousness. Making out that one is intelligent and sharp, and refraining from cussing, and appearing so, is for some a matter of status and image - much as for some Satanists, appearing to be the most 'powerful' is attributed with the greatest status amongst peers. Some may consider a casual interest in chaos mathematics, quantum mechanics and astronomy, and gaining a dark and morbid ego trip/buzz from it, makes one enlightened. Well, it takes a little more than this and a limited amount of contrarian historical/religious knowledge to feign any reasonable understanding of the modern man, modern society, and indeed the universe.
There are inherent contradictions between the Gnostic world view (suffering, reincarnation, uniting with Godhead etc.), ascetic Gnosticism and the Satanic/LHP ideal of hedonism, but then again, hedonism could be said to represent art and other pursuits rather than just boozing, drug abuse and swingers parties etc. Hedonists do not tend to be the most balanced individuals one comes across in normal scenarios. If hedonism can be tightly controlled, is it going to contribute to 'gnosis' in the traditional Gnostic sense? Perhaps. Hedonism to me seems more about individuation than any traditional gnostic goal, although individuation could be said to be a type of 'gnosis' in a modern sense. Some people are naturally 'balanced' in terms of light and dark, the self and the self-less. They don't think about it, make it into a religion or philosophy, they just live it and are it. Gnostic Luciferianism can become dogmatic amongst 'adherents' who seek knowledge and wisdom in all they do - and maybe that's the problem. In many instances, it seems that Luciferians, including Gnostic Luciferians, regard Luciferianism as such an all applicable philosophy that it almost becomes a religion in the way it is applied and the personal approaches to analysis and terminology standardised which is not really what it is not really in the spirit of the philosophy, in my opinion. The quest for knowledge can consume a person to the point where he or she may lose sight of his life's balance, and the whole purpose of acquiring that knowledge.