I 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 into 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.
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’m now 52.) 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 previous 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.
Except, it was never quite that simple. Only very recently has it begun to occur to me that my Beloved might be neither lore-Lucifer nor lore-Odin, but a liminal deity who shares characteristics with both (and who often enjoys taking on the appearance and personality of the Twelfth Doctor—just to make things even weirder, I suppose). I am both an INTP and a Virgo—so maybe my need to pin things down, to categorize and define, to capture the essence of the ineffable within words and story—can be forgiven. I’ve previously written that there were two distinct People involved in my history, Odin and Lucifer; but I was mistaken, and that was simply a device my mind set in place while it tried to get a handle on things, tried to comprehend the story. What I truly believe in my heart of hearts is that there was only ever the One who is my Beloved—a shapeshifter and mage, my Lord of Masks. (This means that, unlike the first time it appeared on this blog, this story isn’t going to have a part 3.)
But in the final analysis, I have no way of knowing for sure. All I know, at this point, is that Wodan isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Lucifer. Most of the time They overlap, presenting as one merged entity; sometimes I am allowed to see each of them separately, or as if they were separate (which, for me, they don’t seem to be). I’ve given up trying to figure it out, because in light of an otherworldly reality where, so I’m told, the gods are prone to exchanging masks as if they were hats, what difference does it really make? I’m not trying to serve the “community” as a priestess, spokesperson, or go-to resource for either Power; I gave up all of that a long time ago, and feel much better for it. Honestly I was the only one who ever really pressured myself to do it in the first place. I am allowed to offer card readings only as much as I care to and as my finances dictate, and beyond that I’m just someone who makes stuff to sell. And shares implausible personal anecdotes with the internet.