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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Lucifer

Lit. “Light Bearer,” but also used to identify the Morning Star, i.e., Venus. The name is now associated with the Devil.

Prior to John Milton’s Paradise Lost, written in the 17th century, Lucifer was not popularly associated with the Devil. It was the name of the one of the early bishops of he Catholic Church of Rome. A Christian sect in the fourth century was called Luciferians. In Revelations (22:16) Christ said that “I am . . . the bright and morning star.”

The myth is derived from an epithet in Isaiah 14:12 addressed to the king of Babylon: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,” and was linked to a passage in Luke 10:18 about Satan falling like lightning.

The Secret Doctrine explains that the legend of Lucifer, the “light bearer,” has in fact an esoteric significance.

Lucifer represents the MĀNASAPUTRAS that endowed the Third Root Race with intelligence, or the mind principle — the knowledge of good and evil. Thus men’s “eyes were opened.” The Secret Doctrine states that “Without this quickening spirit, or human Mind or soul, there would be no difference between man and beast. . . . The tiger and the donkey, the hawk and the dove, are each one as pure and as innocent as the other, because irresponsible” (SD II:513).

Thus the legend of Lucifer is similar to that of Prometheus, who brought fire (intelligence) to mankind against the wishes of Zeus. The latter punished him by chaining him to Mt. Caucasus where his liver was devoured everyday by a vulture. Helena P. Blavatsky wrote:

The allegory of the fire of Prometheus is another version of the rebellion of the proud Lucifer, who was hurled down to the bottomless pit, or simply unto our Earth, to live as man. The Hindu Lucifer, the Mahasura, is also said to have become envious of the Creator’s resplendent light, and, at the head of inferior Asuras (not gods, but spirits), to have rebelled against Brahmā; for which Siva hurled him down to Pātāla. But, as philosophy goes hand in hand with allegorical fiction in Hindu myths, the devil is made to repent, and is afforded the opportunity to progress: he is a sinful man esoterically, and can by yoga devotion, and adeptship, reach his status of one with the deity, once more. Hercules, the Sun-god, descends to Hades (the cave of Initiation) to deliver the victims from their tortures, etc., etc. (SD II:237 fn.)

Eliphas Levi, in his writings, also associated Lucifer with the Astral Light, the astral atmosphere of the earth that reflects the passions of humanity.

See Prometheus.

V.H.C.

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