This was a year of introspection, and of new understandings.
It was a year of learning to love my god in all his guises, and in all his roles. Of pushing past my theological comfort zone and falling more in love with this being who seemed to represent everything I once feared. Of coming to terms with his seemingly paradoxical aspects, and of facing my own emotional processes when it comes to understanding him.
I came to this faith approximately eight years ago because I was initially drawn by his role as Liberator, as the Throneless King who sought neither praise nor worship, and as the Exiled Prince who rebelled against a tyrant God.
And maybe that was what I needed at the time. An aspect that would initiate my own break-away from that which once burdened and chained me to stagnation.
But the basis of my faith is doubt, and my god is one of change and upheaval. It was inevitable that I’d be forced to reconsider my beliefs, as I’ve done countless times in the past. I’ve been learning to let go of my certainty, and instead embrace the vast nature of Lucifer’s mythos and symbolism, which in its depths holds various aspects that may or may not match my own expectations.
Lucifer is also a god of enlightenment and self-growth, and I think I’m finally starting to understand that all the roads I take to him will inevitably be inverted and lead back to me. Just as he prompts that any offering given to him must in some way benefit me, so too does my desire to know and understand him lead to a greater understanding of the self. No matter how selfless I am in my devotion, he will take and transform it into a method of self-reflection—in this particular case, introspection that forced me to face my discomfort regarding his relationship to YHWH. I had to face the question of what it is about these other aspects that frightened me or made me uncomfortable, and why. Why have I shied away from particular interpretations of his persona, refusing to even consider their possibility?
I once said something along the lines of wanting to understand my god in his entirety, as though his various aspects were something that could be studied and analyzed to completion—as though I was the one in control of the process. But every time I felt comfortable with one aspect, I’d encounter another that seemed to be its’ complete opposite, that seemed incompatible with what I’d previously seen and understood. They challenged my own conceptions of what I thought I was willing to accept in my devotion, by asking why I was so reluctant to consider certain interpretations, UPG or canonically-based.
I initially fell in love with a god who would not bow to a flawed higher power, who stood as a liberator to mankind and radiated light and joy. I admired him for being everything his God was not. But as time went on, I learned to embrace his grief and suffering, though I couldn’t understand why he should anguish for the very God that exiled him, the God that he had rebelled against. Nor could I understand why mankind’s Liberator would be not only satisfied but delighted when his challenges and temptations brought mankind back into the fold of God, rather than away from it (i.e. the Book of Job). But I loved him all the more for it.
And then I was faced with the startling image of my god as a humble and willing servant, head bowed in submission towards his beloved Lord in the manner I had always been admonished for. I saw him as a spark of God’s own flame, made of the same essence and Grace. And I couldn’t understand why this stark contrast to the deity I had first encountered didn’t frighten or repel me quite as much as I thought it should have. I was once convinced that if Lucifer should resemble YHWH in nature and action, that my devotion to him would be at an end. Far from that reaction, I found my devotion increased tenfold.
My path had been forged from my respect towards his ideals of free will and independence, so why now was I being brought to tears from the sheer beauty I found in his devotion? How could I possibly reconcile this with the god I had found strength in previously, when it seemed to contradict everything I had thought him to be?
This was not a god that I could shape to fit my ideal perception of what a god should be, or what I wanted him to be. This was a god that existed outside of my whims and wishes. I’ve always understood this, and I’ve always kept in mind that there may come a day where my god shows a side of himself that I cannot honor and respect. But every time I reach these limitations I thought were breaking points, I find that my perceptions have shifted so that I am able to see the beauty in aspects that were once frightening. It seems like it was my God who was instead shaping and molding me to better fit his own purposes, to better comprehend his own past, present, and future.
This is a deity whose submission and love for his creator does not negate his own godhood, a god who both serves and rules in his own right. A god who not only loves and adores the God I once loathed, but is formed of the very same substance. If I can’t accept and love my god in his humility, what worth does my devotion hold when directed at his reign and sovereignty? If I cannot respect him as he once was, how can I love the being he has become?
But more importantly, if I cannot make the effort to understand the aspects that once frightened me, how can I claim to be living my faith? How can I aspire to be a reflection of my god if I deny a crucial component of who he is?
My faith was never about revering Lucifer as a physical being, of any certain shape, form, or visage. And so it could never be fixated on one particular interpretation of his mythos, however much I once thought it was. Ultimately it was always about my devotion to the ideals he inspired, throughout various forms of scripture and mythos. I might have initially been drawn by his aspirations towards freedom and independence as the Rebel Angel, but he is so much more than just that, and his mythology is too complex and dynamic to pigeon-hole in such a manner. So maybe I have learned a lot about my god through this process, but I’ve learned even more about myself.
Through this introspection, I’ve also spent a good portion of the year reconnecting with the religion of my childhood, which quite ironically, also completed its liturgical year a little over a month ago and was aptly deemed the Year of Faith by Pope Benedict XVI. Whereas once the Church was a cold and barren place in my eyes, I’ve come to see it in an entirely new light. Although I can’t say I find myself entirely at home there, there’s a certain serenity that comes from experiencing something that once consumed my god’s own being. I’m learning to find joy in what he once found joy in, even if it’s only by proxy. And while there’s still a ways to go, this is a step towards facing the long-held grudge and animosity I had against the church, and against my god’s father.