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HPB & Lucifer

To:          ARCANA [private elist], ARCANA@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU
From:        Tim Maroney,
Subject:     Re: HPB & Lucifer
Date:        2/2/97 11:31 AM

[quote snipped due to ARCANA privacy policy]

If you were to track references to "Lucifer" throughout the second volume
of the "Secret Doctrine", using the index, you would see that Blavatsky
very consistently applies a Promethean model to the legendary figure,
often complaining of his demonization by the church, which she hated, and
adopting the view that Jehovah was actually Ialdabaoth, the wretched
pseudo-God of the Gnostics. One typical passage appears on page 243:

"The Beings, or the Being, collectively called Elohim, who first (if
ever) pronounced the cruel words, 'Behold the man is become as one of us,
to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also
of the tree of life and eat and live for ever...' must have been indeed
that Ilda-baoth, the Demiurge of the Nazarenes, filled with rage and envy
against his own creature, whose reflection created Ophiomorphos. In this
case it is but natural -- even from the dead letter standpoint -- to view
Satan, the Serpent of Genesis, as the real creator and benefactor, the
Father of Spiritual mankind. For it is he who was the 'Harbinger of
Light', bright radiant Lucifer, who opened the eyes of the automaton
created by Jehovah, as alleged; and he who was the first to whisper: 'in
the day ye eat thereof ye shall be as Elohim, knowing good and evil' --
can only be personated in the light of a Saviour. An 'adversary' to
Jehovah the 'personating spirit', he still remains in esoteric truth the
ever-loving 'Messenger' (the angel)...."

The text goes on about the rage, envy, and jealousy of Ilda-baoth,
continuing the allegory between Jehovah, Ilda-baoth, and Zeus on one
hand, and Satan, Lucifer, and Prometheus on the other, condemning the
former and praising the latter for a total of six pages. As mentioned,
this is not an isolated passage, but can easily be corroborated by
following other references to Lucifer and Satan in the index. In fact,
Blavatsky's use of Lucifer is explicitly "Satanic":

"'Theosophy teaches that separation from the Primal Source having once
occurred, Re-union can only be achieved by Will -- Effort -- which is
distinctly Satanic in the sense of this essay.' It is 'Satanic' from the
standpoint of orthodox Romanism, for it is owing to the prototype of that
which became in time the Christian Devil -- to the Radiant Archangels,
Dhyan-Chohans, who refused to create, because they wanted Man to become
his own creator and an immortal god -- that men can reach Nirvana and the
haven of heavenly divine peace." (p. 246)

Interestingly, there is a close parallel in Blavatsky to the passage
denying the reality of the Devil that Bill Heidrick is so fond of quoting
in Crowley. Crowley and Blavatsky deny the existence of the devil as a
Chistian invention in the similar language, Blavatsky on page 209 of "The
Secret Doctrine", volume II, Crowley in chapter XXI of "Magick in Theory
and Practice". Both of them are echoing the standard Spiritualist
doctrine of the nonexistence of evil, which also became a pillar of
Thelemic thought; both then go on to express a Luciferian/Promethean
doctrine, Blavatsky in a long following section praising the Ophitic
symbols of the serpent and the dragon, falsely condemned as evil and
explicitly related by her to the Serpent of Genesis; Crowley in a long
footnote on the same page expressing the Levi-Blavatsky doctrine of
Lucifer or Satan as redeemer and the Serpent of Genesis as enlightener of
mankind, using language apparently taken directly from "The History of
Magic" by Levi.

That either of these passages could be taken out of context as expressing
a general disdain for Satanic symbolism is unfortunately not surprising.
The lengths to which people will go to deny the Satanic interests of
their spiritual forebears is a source of constant wonder. Probably the
worst excesses are committed by modern witches struggling to find some
way in which the Lucifer of "Aradia" is actually not related to the
Christian Lucifer, even though he is referred to as "most evil of all
spirits, who of old once reigned in hell when driven away from heaven".

Albert Pike in "Morals and Dogma" twice cites (actually, lifts from) Levi
a redeemed doctrine of Lucifer, using the same passage later used by
Crowley. I have had Freemasons deny to me that these passages even exist,
even when I give page numbers and quote them in full. They rarely even
try to rationalize them away, but simply repeat zombie-like that all
attributions of Satanic interests to Pike are the results of the Taxil

Thelemites cite Crowley's one passage denying the existence of the
Christian devil but ignore the passage on the same page expressing that
Satan or Lucifer is Crowley's own Holy Guardian Angel, and deny that the
Great Beast and the Scarlet Woman of Revelation are Satanic symbols even
though the text of Revelation is uncharacteristically clear on this
point. If pushed, some will retreat to a bizarre position in which
Crowley was using not the known text of Revelation, but an unknown and
lost precursor in which the Beast and Scarlet Woman were not Satanic --
this even though Crowley himself directly affirms the Revelation
symbolism, as when in his Ritual of Knowledge and Conversation of the
Holy Guardian Angel he refers to the Beast as the servant of Satan.

And now, in the recent "Sunrise" article as well as here on Arcana, we
see the same kind of willful refusal to engage the evidence about
Blavatsky. The classical meaning of "Lucifer" as "light-bringer" is cited
in isolation from Blavatsky's own statements about the symbol, which she
herself calls "Satanic" and expresses in terms of a moral inversion of
Christian myth.

The techniques of denial employed in all these cases are similar, and the
conclusions are equally mistaken in each case, due to the evidence being
ignored or ineffectually rationalized away.

Tim Maroney

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