An Encounter with Lucifer

Satan In His Original Glory by William Blake

“Satan in His Original Glory” by William Blake

I met Lucifer the Witch Father, and his consort in Dream in late 2014, many moons before I would know for sure that it had in fact been them I encountered. My first conscious encounter with him didn’t come until near the middle of 2015. Around that time I’d begun watching Salem, the then new TV series that aired on the WGN America network until January 2017 when it was canceled. As you can tell from the title, Salem was a dramatization of life in colonial Massachusetts at the head waters of the witch hunts. That dramatized story has been told before but what drew me to Salem was the show’s often overt engagement with issues of gender and power in colonial America and the struggles women faced in every facet of life. The show did a great job of demonstrating why a woman might be drawn into the Devil’s court. In my read of the show, the women weren’t drawn to “evil” but instead to the promise of agency in a world that otherwise denied them.

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The Devil was referenced often early in the life of the show, but he didn’t make an appearance until later seasons. When he did finally appear in the flesh, it was in the form of a child. His principal servants were the Countess von Marburg and her son, Sebastian. Over the course of the show – plot details aside – the Salem universe resonated with me on some level. The dark labyrinthine woods just outside of the village were particularly compelling. The trees were tall and thin. Each was incredibly similar to the ones around it and so easily given to snaring those who wandered too far from known paths. Within the woods, there was a location called the Crags. The highly Puritanical town interred their undesirables there, everyone from criminals to plague victims. As you might guess the laws of dramatic sensationalism would demand from a show like Salem, the Crags served as a regular haunt for the various clans of witches in the town.

One night in 2015 my mind drifted to that place and my soul followed. I met Lucifer at the Crags in Salem’s dark and hollow woods. He came in the form of Sebastian, all curly hair and sinister smiles. When I asked Lucifer why we meet in the Salem universe, he said that it is a place where intellect and imagination meet. The writers made an intellectual foray into an old and primal energy current and brought the fruit of that project to the screen. He went on to say that Salem was a place of imagination, on the edge of human consciousness and awareness of that old and primal energy current. For these reasons, it was ripe (and low hanging) fruit that he could offer in order to draw my awareness to him.

sun-581377_1280As our conversation pressed on, I asked the Witch Father about his many faces. He said that one is full of knowledge and wisdom of the carnal and primal Craft. One is the source of inspiration and the light of progress. Another is the source of timidity and fear but also possibility and potential. He is the sprouting seed scorched away by the Inferno and the sprouting seed given new life after the blazing fires have passed. Lucifer mused that imagination and intellect fuel the fires of creation and destruction, progress and apocalypse. He communicated the importance of choice and will (both individual and collective) in navigating the narrow path between those two immense forces. He asserted that he is both the white hot fire of inspired creation and the apocalyptic Inferno of utter desolation.

This is the power of the Cunning Fire. Long may it burn.

Ave Lucifer, Light Bringer!
I give praise to you who ride into shadow,
The sun at your back.
Son of Night Cloaked in Morning,
With golden light above your brow,
You bestow the Cunning Fire.

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Mari Lwyd’s Weird Cousin

“Mari Lwyd, Lwyd Mari
A sacred thing through the night they carry.
Betrayed are the living, betrayed the dead
All are confused by a horse’s head.”

— Vernon Watkins, excerpt from Ballad of the Mari Lwyd

In late December I wandered into my living room, heading for the kitchen to get a drink of water. It was late evening on a random day and I wanted to satisfy my thirst before going to bed. On the quick trip from my bedroom to the kitchen I shifted my gaze down to my feet and pondered my cold toes. When I looked up again, I saw a black robed figure topped with the bony skull of a horse. He was standing at my front door, on the inside of my apartment  starting at me. At first my brain did not register his skull head as a horse. Then he bared his clearly equine teeth. The being looked like the Mari Lwyd, the Grey Mare, but minus the warm fuzzies. There was no white robe, flower crown, or seasonal bliss. The spirit at my door was quite disconcerting. Along with his large, strange teeth he had unnatural eyes and moved like a horror movie character.

I asked why he was in my living room. He said nothing. I saw the door open into the starry night. I looked out the door and then back at him. He gestured like the Ghost of Christmas Future from every A Christmas Carol television adaptation ever. Still he said nothing. In a few moments he was gone. Days later I received a message, clear as a bell in my mind’s ear: “Go now.” I immediately remembered him and his gesture toward the starry spirit road. The two moments were connected. The dark robed horse spirit had been my guide, or at least my heads up.

The message he made way for could not be ignored. As soon as I received the message to go now, I knew exactly which journey to begin. I’ve been preparing for it for quite a while. The door is open and the time is now. As soon as the message settled into my bones, I gathered what I needed and I set out.

The series of journeys at hand will be long and hard, but necessary.

Of Gods and Rivers

I identify as a devotional polytheist and spirit worker, among other things. I tend to view the gods, spirits, and other Holy Powers as distinct beings with unique personalities. This has been true for me for some time and remains true today. However, as my practice grows and changes, I’m starting to understand the common Neopagan bend toward archetypal forces. From my perspective, archetypes are the human mind’s best attempt at representing and accessing various flavors or currents of power or energy. I’ve found that archetypes seem simple and highly human-centered on the surface but in actuality they are the door and the key to vast worlds and mighty beings.
globe-691770_1920An archetype is a coordinate that our minds can use to locate and access a category or type of being that is otherwise difficult for us to begin to reach out to and connect with.  All connection and communication happens where two or more beings meet. Beings can only connect and communicate using the tools that they have. Archetypes are one tool that humans have for recognizing, trying to understand, and make meaning of patterns that have been, are, and will be. At various points in my religious and spiritual life, deity archetypes like “Maiden”, “Mother”, and “Crone” have served as stepping stones and launching pads into networks of powerful horizontal interwoven relationship that continue to enrich and deepen my understanding of myself, the worlds, the gods, the spirits, and my work betwixt and between.
I see now that I have encountered so many deities of certain “types” or of a certain “energy current” because I legitimately share harmony or resonance with those beings. I have strong ties to Underworld Gods and I also have inordinately strong connections with Star Gods. I’m learning that each river leads to the other if you follow it to its end and back again. Rising to meet Hekate and Odin and Dionysos, and so many other mighty powers led me to Loki, Lilith, Surtr and more. Deities like Hekate showed me that other deities cross currents. She drew me out into the liminal and the cosmic and beyond. Everyday I’m learning what it means to be and to identify as a spirit journeyer: one who fares forth, a wayfinder, a hedge crosser, a walker between worlds, etc.
waters-3065526_1920I feel like some important pieces are a little clearer to me these days. I (and probably most magical people) bathe in many rivers and the gods and spirits do too. When each of us – whether human, animal, plant, god, etc – looks up from our work in the river, others are staring back at us. Sometimes we merely notice one another and go about our business, other times we form bonds and connections and we help one another out, and/or we share wisdom. Magic is about connection and relationship. I am deepening my magic and my spirituality as a whole as I strengthen the bonds between me and the powers.
It has been my great joy to bathe among humans, animals, plants, gods, spirits, and then to run through the deep woods between rivers to other shores, dive deep into the currents there, and then dash back to bring them news of one another.