RE: Fascinating Lucifer
- Apl 8 2005
Dear K: and Friends:
On the subject of the devil, Satan, and Lucifer the following offers some
I would like to draw your attention to the profound scholarship that HPB
reveals, not only here, but in all her writings -- it illustrates one of the
objects of the THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY -- and it shows us the depths of real
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
WHY THE MAGAZINE IS CALLED: "LUCIFER"
WHAT'S in a name? Very often there is more in it than the profane is
prepared to understand, or the learned mystic to explain. It is an
invisible, secret, but very potential influence that every name carries
about with it and "leaveth wherever it goeth." Carlyle thought that "there
is much, nay, almost all, in names." "Could I unfold the influence of names,
which are the most important of all clothings, I were a second great
Trismegistus," he writes.
The name or title of a magazine started with a definite object, is,
therefore, all important; for it is, indeed, the invisible seed-grain, which
will either grow "to be an all-over-shadowing tree" on the fruits of which
must depend the nature of the results brought about by the said object, or
the tree will wither and die. These considerations show that the name of the
present magazine--rather equivocal to orthodox Christian ears--is due to no
careless selection, but arose in consequence of much thinking over its
fitness, and was adopted as the best symbol to express that object and the
results in view.
Now, the first and most important, if not the sole object of the magazine,
is expressed in the line from the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, on its
title page. It is to bring light to "the hidden things of darkness," (iv.
5); to show in their true aspect and their original real meaning things and
names, men and their doings and customs; it is finally to fight prejudice,
hypocrisy and shams in every nation, in every class of Society, as in every
department of life. The task is a laborious one but it is neither
impracticable nor useless, if even as an experiment.
Thus, for an attempt of such nature, no better title could ever be found
than the one chosen. "Lucifer," is the pale morning-star, the precursor of
the full blaze of the noon-day sun--the "Eosphoros" of the Greeks. It shines
timidly at dawn to gather forces and dazzle the eye after sunset as its own
brother "Hesperos"--the radiant evening star, or the planet Venus. No fitter
symbol exists for the proposed work--that of throwing a ray of truth on
everything hidden by the darkness of prejudice, by social or religious
misconceptions; especially by that idiotic routine in life, which, once that
a certain action, a thing, a name, has been branded by slanderous
inventions, however unjust, makes respectable people, so called, turn away
shiveringly, refusing to even look at it from any other aspect than the one
sanctioned by public opinion. Such an endeavour then, to force the
weak-hearted to look truth straight in the face, is helped most
efficaciously by a title belonging to the category of branded names.
Piously inclined readers may argue that "Lucifer" is accepted by all the
churches as one of the many names of the Devil. According to Milton's superb
fiction, Lucifer is Satan, the "rebellious" angel, the enemy of God and man.
If one analyzes his rebellion, however, it will be found of no worse nature
than an assertion of free-will and independent thought, as if Lucifer had
been born in the XIXth century. This epithet of "rebellious" is a
theological calumny, on a par with that other slander of God by the
Predestinarians, one that makes of deity an "Almighty" fiend worse than the
"rebellious" Spirit himself; "an omnipotent Devil desiring to be
'complimented' as all merciful when he is exerting the most fiendish
cruelty," as put by J. Cotter Morison. Both the foreordaining and
predestining fiend-God, and his subordinate agent are of human invention;
they are two of the most morally repulsive and horrible theological dogmas
that the nightmares of light-hating monks have ever evolved out of their
They date from the Mediæval age, the period of mental obscuration, during
which most of the present prejudices and superstitions have been forcibly
inoculated on the human mind, so as to have become nearly ineradicable in
some cases, one of which is the present prejudice now under discussion.
So deeply rooted, indeed, is this preconception and aversion to the name of
Lucifer--meaning no worse than "light-bringer" (from lux, lucis, "light,"
and ferre "to bring")1--even among the educated classes, that by adopting it
for the title of their magazine the editors have the prospect of a long
strife with public prejudice before them.
So absurd and ridiculous is that prejudice, indeed, that no one has seemed
to ever ask himself the question, how came Satan to be called a
light-bringer, unless the silvery rays of the morning-star can in any way be
made suggestive of the glare of the infernal flames. It is simply, as
Henderson showed, "one of those gross perversions of sacred writ which so
extensively obtain, and which are to be traced to a proneness to seek for
more in a given passage than it really contains--a disposition to be
influenced by sound rather than sense, and an implicit faith in received
interpretation"--which is not quite one of the weaknesses of our present
age. Nevertheless, the prejudice is to the shame of our century.
This cannot be helped. The two editors would hold selves as recreants in
their own sight, as traitors to the very spirit of the proposed work, were
they to yield and cry craven before the danger. If one would fight
prejudice, and brush off the ugly cobwebs of superstition and materialism
alike from the noblest ideals of our forefathers, one has to prepare for
"The crown of the reformer and the innovator is a crown of thorns" indeed.
If one would rescue Truth in all her chaste nudity from the almost
bottomless well, into which she has been hurled by cant and hypocritical
propriety, one should not hesitate to descend into the dark, gaping pit of
that well. No matter how badly the blind bats--the dwellers in darkness, and
the haters of light--may treat in their gloomy abode the intruder, unless
one is the first to show the spirit and courage he preaches to others, he
must be justly held as a hypocrite and a seceder from his own principles.
Hardly had the title been agreed upon, when the first premonitions of what
was in store for us, in the matter of the opposition to be encountered owing
to the title chosen, appeared on our horizon. One of the editors received
and recorded some spicy objections. The scenes that follow are sketches from
A Well-known Novelist. Tell me about your new magazine. What class do you
propose to appeal to?
Editor. No class in particular: we intend to appeal to the public.
Novelist. I am very glad of that. For once I shall be one of the public, for
I don't understand your subject in the least, and I want to. But you must
remember that if your public is to understand you, it must necessarily be a
very small one. People talk about occultism nowadays as they talk about many
other things, without the least idea of what it means. We are so ignorant
Editor. Exactly. That is what calls the new magazine into existence. We
propose to educate you, and to tear the mask from every prejudice.
Novelist. That really is good news to me, for I want to be educated. What is
your magazine to be called?
Novelist. What! Are you going to educate us in vice'? We know enough about
that. Fallen angels are plentiful. You may find popularity, for soiled doves
are in fashion just now, while the white-winged angels are voted a bore,
because they are not so amusing. But I doubt your being able to teach us
A Man of the World (in a careful undertone, for the scene is a
dinner-party). I hear you are going to start a magazine, all about
occultism. Do you know, I'm very glad. I don't say anything about such
matters as a rule, but some queer things have happened in my life which
can't be explained in any ordinary manner. I hope you will go in for
Editor. We shall try, certainly. My impression is, that when occultism is in
any measure apprehended, its laws are accepted by everyone as the only
intelligible explanation of life.
A M. W. Just so, I want to know all about it, for 'pon my honour, life's a
mystery. There are plenty of other people as curious as myself. This is an
age which is afflicted with the Yankee disease of "wanting to know." I'll
get you lots of subscribers. What's the magazine called?
Editor. Lucifer--and (warned by former experience) don't misunderstand the
name. It is typical of the divine spirit which sacrificed itself for
humanity--it was Milton's doing that it ever became associated with the
devil. We are sworn enemies to popular prejudices, and it is quite
appropriate that we should attack such a prejudice as this--Lucifer, you
know, is the Morning Star--the Lightbearer, . . . . . .
A M. W. (interrupting). Oh, I know all that--at least don't know, but I take
it for granted you've got some good reason for taking such a title. But your
first object is to have readers; you want the public to buy your magazine, I
suppose. That's in the programme, isn't it?
Editor. Most decidedly.
A M. W. Well, listen to the advice of a man who knows his way about town.
Don't mark your magazine with the wrong colour at starting. It's quite
evident, when one stays an instant to think of its derivation and meaning,
that Lucifer is an excellent word. But the public don't stay to think of
derivations and meanings; and the first impression is the most important.
Nobody will buy the magazine if you call it Lucifer.
A Fashionable Lady Interested in Occultism. I want to hear some more about
the new magazine, for I have interested a great many people in it, even with
the little you have told me. But I find it difficult to express its actual
purpose. What is it?
Editor. To try and give a little light to those that want it.
A F. L. Well, that's a simple way of putting it, and will be very useful to
me. What is the magazine to be called?
A F. L. (After a pause) You can't mean it.
Editor. Why not?
A F. L. The associations are so dreadful! What can be the object of calling
it that? It sounds like some unfortunate sort of joke, made against it by
Editor. Oh, but Lucifer, you know, means Light-bearer; it is typical of the
A F. L. Never mind all that--I want to do your magazine good and make it
known, and you can't expect me to enter into explanations of that sort every
time I mention the title? Impossible! Life is too short and too busy.
Besides, it would produce such a bad effect; people would think me priggish,
and then I couldn't talk at all, for I couldn't bear them to think that.
Don't call it Lucifer please don't. Nobody knows what the word is typical
of; what it means now is the devil, nothing more or less.
Editor. But then that is quite a mistake, and one of the first prejudices we
propose to do battle with. Lucifer is the pale, pure herald of dawn--
Lady (interrupting). I thought you were going to do something more
interesting and more important than to whitewash mythological characters. We
shall all have to go to school again, or read up Dr. Smith's Classical
Dictionary. And what is the use of it when it is done? I thought you were
going to tell us things about our own lives and how to make them better. I
suppose Milton wrote about Lucifer, didn't he?--but nobody reads Milton now.
Do let us have a modern title with some human meaning in it.
A Journalist (thoughtfully, while rolling his cigarette). Yes, it is a good
idea, this magazine of yours. We shall all laugh at it, as a matter of
course: and we shall cut it up in the papers. But we shall all read it,
because secretly everybody hungers after the mysterious. What are you going
to call it?
Journalist (striking a light). Why not The Fusee? Quite as good a title and
not so pretentious.
The "Novelist," the "Man of the World," the "Fashionable Lady," and the
"Journalist," should be the first to receive a little instruction.
A glimpse into the real and primitive character of Lucifer can do them no
harm and may, perchance, cure them of a bit of ridiculous prejudice. They
ought to study their Homer and Hesiod's Theogony if they would do justice to
Lucifer, "Eosphoros and Hesperos," the Morning and the Evening beautiful
star. If there are more useful things to do in this life than "to whitewash
mythological characters," to slander and blacken them is, at least, as
useless, and shows, moreover, a narrow-mindedness which can do honour to no
To object to the title of LUCIFER, only because its "associations are so
dreadful," is pardonable--if it can be pardonable in any case--only in an
ignorant American missionary of some dissenting sect, in one whose natural
laziness and lack of education led him to prefer ploughing the minds of
heathens, as ignorant as he is himself, to the more profitable, but rather
more arduous, process of ploughing the fields of his own father's farm. In
the English clergy, however, who receive all a more or less classical
education, and are, therefore, supposed to be acquainted with the ins and
outs of theological sophistry and casuistry, this kind of opposition is
absolutely unpardonable. It not only smacks of hypocrisy and deceit, but
places them directly on a lower moral level than him they call the apostate
angel. By endeavouring to show the theological Lucifer, fallen through the
To reign is worth
ambition, though in Hell;
Better to reign in
Hell than serve in Heaven,
they are virtually putting into practice the supposed crime they would fain
accuse him of. They prefer reigning over the spirit of the masses by means
of a pernicious dark LIE, productive of many an evil, than serve heaven by
serving TRUTH. Such practices are worthy only of the Jesuits.
But their sacred writ is the first to contradict their interpretations and
the association of Lucifer, the Morning Star, with Satan. Chapter XXII of
Revelation, verse 16th, says: "I, Jesus . . . am the root. . . and the
bright and Morning Star" "early rising"): hence Eosphoros, or the Latin
Lucifer. The oprobrium attached to this name is of such a very late date,
the Roman Church found itself forced to screen the theological slander
behind a two-sided interpretation--as usual.
Christ, we are told, is the "Morning Star," the divine Lucifer; and Satan
the usurpator of the Verbum, the "infernal Lucifer.
"2 " The great Archangel Michael, the conqueror of Satan, is identical in
3 with Mercury-Mithra, to whom, after defending the Sun (symbolical of God)
from the attacks of Venus-Lucifer, was given the possession of this planet,
et datus est ei locus Luciferi.
And since the Archangel Michael is the 'Angel of the Face,' and 'the Vicar
of the Verbum' he is now considered in the Roman Church as the regent of
that planet Venus which 'the vanquished fiend had usurped'." Angelus faciei
Dei sedem superbi humilis Obtinuit, says Cornelius à Lapide (in Vol. VI, p.
This gives the reason why one of the early Popes was called Lucifer, as
Yonge and ecclesiastical records prove. It thus follows that the title
chosen for our magazine is as much associated with divine and pious ideas as
with the supposed rebellion of the hero of Milton's "Paradise Lost."
By choosing it, we throw the first ray of light and truth on a ridiculous
prejudice which ought to have no room made for it in this our "age of facts
We work for true Religion and Science, in the interest of fact as against
fiction and prejudice. It is our duty, as it is that of physical
Science--professedly its mission--to throw light or facts in Nature hitherto
surrounded by the darkness of ignorance. And since ignorance is justly
regarded as the chief promoter of superstition, that work is, therefore, a
noble and beneficent work.
But natural Sciences are only one aspect of SCIENCE and TRUTH. Psychological
and moral Sciences, or theosophy, the knowledge of divine truth, wheresoever
found, are, still more important in human affairs, and real Science should
not be limited simply to the physical aspect of life and nature.
Science is an abstract of every fact, a comprehension of every truth within
the scope of human research and intelligence. "Shakespeare's deep and
accurate science in mental philosophy" (Coleridge), has proved more
beneficent to the true philosopher in the study of the human
heart--therefore, in the promotion of truth--than the more accurate, but
certainly less deep, science of any Fellow of the Royal Institution.
Those readers, however, who do not find themselves convinced that the Church
had no right to throw a slur upon a beautiful star, and that it did so
through a mere necessity of accounting for one of its numerous loans from
Paganism with all its poetical conceptions of the truths in Nature, are
asked to read our article "The History of a Planet." Perhaps, after its
perusal, they will see how far Dupuis was justified in asserting that "all
the theologies have their origin in astronomy." With the modern Orientalists
every myth is solar. This is one more prejudice, and a preconception in
favour of materialism and physical science. It will be one of our duties to
combat it with much of the rest.
H P B
LUCIFER, September, 1887
--------------------- Footnotes --------------------
1 "It was Gregory the Great who was the first to apply this passage of
Isaiah, 'How art thou fallen from Heaven. Lucifer. son of the morning,'
etc., to Satan, and ever since the bold metaphor of the prophet, which
referred, after all, but to an Assyrian king inimical to the Israelites, has
been applied to the Devil."
2 Mirville's Memoirs to the Academy of France, Vol. IV, quoting Cardinal
3 Which paganism has passed long millenniums, it would seem, in copying
beforehand Christian dogmas to come.
Best wishes as always,
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2005
Subject: Fascinating Lucifer
Dear and friends
This criticism is not new coming from christian sources...
Lucifer for example has got , as may you know, additional sense, Christians
and also the other Protestant sects think Lucifer is as the same as Satan,
or the Devil, the Demon.
In Brazil there is a big church called Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (
something like " Universal Church of the God´s Kingdom" ) that has spread
out to many countries ( last time I counted it was 40 countries! )
High hierarchy bishops gain a lot of money as much as the churches collect
and they read and follow the Bible under dead letters...radical at extreme.
Pre-fab miracles, healing difficult diseases, and a lot of exorcism, "
pulling out lucifer´s or satan " from peoples´s bodies!!!
Little churches...great busine$$.
They are entreprises that do not pay taxes and make miracles without any
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2005 4:02 PM
In Arthur's case it seems he was influenced by young people who had
no such background as his own. In later memories of this time he
refers to `the godless companions of our youth', and says that
during energetic and thoughtless days among them there were `a
number of occasions when he was in imminent peril, brought face to
face with death'.
Whatever these escapades were, they were probably unknown to his
parents. But to their grief there was another development in his
life that they could not miss. Not only did their eldest son turn
from their faith, he turned to Theosophy.
"Theosophy is a cult which, although only formed into a Society in
1875, claims a special knowledge (theosophia - divine wisdom) which
is supposedly preserved from generation to generation by a
brotherhood of initiates.
At the beginning of the twentieth century its best-known British
publication, the monthly magazine LUCIFER, indicated clearly enough
its anti-Christian nature.
Its leading journal The THEOSOPHIST, at
that time published monthly at the Society's headquarters in Madras,
India, promoted in esoteric form the `wisdom' of eastern religions,
including belief in reincarnation.
While denying the personality of God (and the supernatural in
Christianity), Theosophy claimed to be able to unify all religions
and to establish a universal brotherhood. Its main `messenger' in
the nineteenth century was the Russian, Helena Blavatsky (1831-
1891), and she was followed by Annie Besant (1847-1933), who left
her clergyman husband in 1873 for a life in politics, mysticism and
eastern religions. From 1907 to her death she was President of the