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“Lucifer”? A new god, part two

Before we go on, let me be clear: I no longer believe my spirit companion from childhood (who went on to become my spirit husband) was ever really “Lucifer,” any more than I now believe he was ever really “Odin” (more on that in a bit).

But I do want to note that, whatever your personal or culturally-ingrained opinion of “Lucifer,” he is real for many people. Most people in the Judeo-Christian world, if asked, would say that he definitely exists. Yet after doing some research on the subject, I’m not sure there is a single discrete entity we can point to as the origin of Lucifer, either in the Bible (where the one time most of us think his name was mentioned, it turns out the translation was faulty) or in any of the cultures of the ancient near-east. Most of the Bible’s bogeymen came directly out of Canaanite religion (and were twisted to make them nasty bad guys, of course), but there is no “Lucifer” in the Canaanite pantheon. (And, point of fact, no goddess named “Lilith” either. Lilith was a Babylonian demon the Canaanites warded against.)

So, near as I can tell, when we point to “Lucifer” we are pointing to a very ancient pop cultural construct, made up of bits of a couple of historically recognized deities such as Ba’al Hadad (the Canaanite storm god) and Athtartu (the younger god who briefly and unsuccessfully tried to stand in for the former when he was “dead” for a while), plus some fallen angel types from the Book of Enoch such as Azazel. Lucifer seems to have been cobbled together purely because the ancient Jewish and Christian patriarchs needed a supreme “bad guy.” (So much for monotheism.)

And yet, however he began, cultural belief is a thing, and it could be argued that over the millennia he has certainly evolved into a distinct entity, even if he didn’t start out that way. (I will be bringing this same point up again in part three of this post series, never fear.)

Of course, when my childhood playmate began using the name Lucifer, I didn’t know any of the above. Nor had I been raised to fear that name, or any entity connected with it. I simply accepted it, and moved on.

In fact, when I was a bit older (early twenties) and met someone who seemed to have a familiar spirit similar to my own (she called hers “Ba’al”), I began to relax and enjoy the situation. I was a young woman, but not inclined to date because, frankly, my spirit companion was more interesting than any of the men I encountered. There was definite romantic and sexual tension there, and eventually that evolved into a full-blown romantic relationship. But it was more than just a “romance”; he was my other self, the other half of my soul. And now that I was growing up, I was beginning to realize the full impact of that.

Shortly thereafter, I married my familiar spirit; we took marriage vows to each other. That’s right, I was a spirit spouse at the age of twenty-two or something like that (I forget). Again, I knew nothing about the long historical tradition of witches or shamans marrying spirit familiars, and as for any sort of modern tradition—well, there wasn’t one yet, as far as I knew. (Nor was there an internet, so I was unable to check.)

My vows did not preclude taking a mortal husband, so before too much longer I did (the man I chose was a friend, and I didn’t want to be alone in the adult world of jobs and bills), and had a child too. My connections with the spirit world died down to a low roar while my daughter was growing up—something I think is not too uncommon among spirit workers with small children. (In the meantime, I was also going to college while working full time, so that probably didn’t leave a lot of bandwidth for a complicated spiritual life.) It wasn’t until my daughter was a teen that things started up again in earnest.

When my spirit companion decided to take a central role in my life again, he approached me with yet another new name, and this time that name was “Odin.” There were pragmatic reasons for the name change, of which I knew nothing at the time; my mortal marriage was failing, and his long range plan was to hook me up with my now-wife, who had a familial connection with the Norse gods. But, riddled with guilt that I had basically ditched my relationship with him for the sake of a mundane marriage that was on its way down the toilet, I decided I was going to do better this time. If he wanted to be Odin, I was going to dive into researching and worshiping Odin with everything in me. In fact, before long, I had nearly convinced myself he had ALWAYS been Odin, and had only been masquerading first as a nameless, shapeshifting spirit, and then as Lucifer.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will know exactly how far I went down the “Odin” rabbit hole; I became a practicing seidhrkona because that’s what I thought a witch married to Odin should do. I participated in the heathen community both locally and online, and I wrote reams and reams of material about my life and experiences with “Odin”, in the form of blog posts which eventually gathered quite a following, in addition to a couple of books. (And then there are all the Odin-themed tattoos—not a lot by some people’s standards maybe, but plenty by mine, including the very visible one on my left wrist.)

There was only one problem. Well, there were a few, but the main one was that at some point (fairly early on, I think), the REAL Odin—Big Odin, the actual Power—became aware of what I was doing. And although he also realized all of this devotional fervor wasn’t REALLY aimed at him, and another spirit had a long-standing prior claim on me—well, I WAS using his name, after all, wasn’t I? I didn’t necessarily matter to him as a person, but I did have talents he could make use of, and so—ever the opportunist—he stepped in, and began to fight my Beloved for control of the relationship, and of me.

That’s right, there were TWO of them, two distinct and individual spirits in my life—one who was really Odin, and one (the one I had married) who wasn’t (and who wasn’t really Lucifer either). And, having all but convinced myself that my spirit husband had been “Odin” all along, I had absolutely no defense against the real thing. I also had no explanation as to why I never dreamed about my “god-husband” (except in regard to dream scenarios designed to put me in my place), why although I took to seidhr readily enough the runes never really spoke to me as they did to his “other” devotees, why my experiences seemed so different from the ones everyone around me seemed to be having with him, and why he seemed at times so adoring and devoted to me (when it was, in fact, my actual spirit husband I was dealing with) and at times dismissive of my feelings and almost cruel (when it was actually Odin). Best of all was when my spirit husband would make a promise to me which Odin (who, to be fair, hadn’t really promised me anything) would later break, or when he would tell me something that Odin later made seem to have been a lie. It wasn’t long before I decided I couldn’t trust him—and then we fought about THAT. We fought about many things, actually, because—as I now know, but didn’t then—I was actually dealing with TWO very different People.

And thus, for the next almost-fifteen years, I became a battleground between an old god and a new one.

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