The word Lucifer is Latin and means “light bearer” (lux=light and ferre=to bring). In the Roman and Greek mythology, he was the designation for the morning star. In Homer’s Odyssey or in the theogony by Hesiod the “light bearer”, phosphóros (Greek phos = light, phoros = to bring), he was associated with the goddess Venus. In the Vulgata, the Latin translation of the Bible, Lucifer also symbolizes the morning star and therefore Christ, the light bearer (in the Old Testament and in the 2nd letter of Peter). „We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (2nd letter of Peter, 1, 19).
In the Revelation of John, we learn that Satan, who is symbolized by the dragon, fights against the angels and is defeated, overthrown and thrown onto the earth.
“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” (Revelation 12, 7 ff)
From the light bearer to Satan
Lucifer was more and more associated with the fallen angel and with Satan by several Fathers of the Church as from the Middle Ages. What was decisive were the statements by Isaiah and Luke.
How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the far reaches of the pit.
– Isaiah 14, 12-15
“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke 10, 18)
We can summarize that Lucifer, who was once on the angels’ level of consciousness, resisted the divine will with his own will. He did not want to subordinate himself to the divine will and comply with it. Through this application of his own will he fell out of the divine order and was outcast, so to speak: “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”
At the same time, we learn about a Fall of Man in the Old Testament when Eve ate from the tree of knowledge or from the tree of good and evil. Lucifer was thus expelled from the divine Paradise like man.
We can imagine that after his fall Lucifer created his own cosmos with his willpower, his own realm within the divine order, but completely separated from it. The human being, who fell out of the divine order with him, had to submit to this newly created realm.
In the divine paradise man was a being with a lot more capabilities. He lived in divine unity which knew no separation of good and evil, male and female, no death, no feelings of emptiness, depression or sadness. He felt one with his Creator and His Creation and therefore he felt fulfilled. He was equipped with more skills, which does not mean, however, that he was more intelligent, but he was more connected with the divine spirit, so that he had a higher knowledge and was self-creative. Now it is the task of man to return to this divine order, with all his collected experience. To achieve this, he must overcome Lucifer, the creator of this current universe. He can do this by becoming wise. He has picked a fruit from the tree of knowledge and with the bite into bitter knowledge he has received the possibility to recognize our duality with the forces of good and evil and to rise above them, in order to reach a place beyond good and evil.
What does overcoming Lucifer mean? It is not an outer battle against the evil in the world, since striving for good attracts the other side, the evil one. It is like a pendulum that swings between good and evil; if we tilt over to one side, it will inevitably pull us back to the other side – we could say we attract the pole of the other side by favoring the one side.
There is never a feeling of constant satisfaction. What the human being calls good are the beautiful and pleasant things in this world, what he dreams about, what gives him joy, lightness and happiness. However, he will immediately realize that while he is enjoying this happiness the next calamity, the next disappointment is lurking behind the corner. If he is honest, he will feel that he can enjoy what makes him happy for a while, but that there is no constant happiness that fulfills him permanently in his inner being. It is the good which is tied to social norms and values, but it is not THE GOOD, which rises above the swing of contrasts and the social norms, above success and failures and the human feelings of happiness and misery. THE GOOD is the original divine state of before the fall and it contains a fulfilment in the unity with God, a state in which the human begin opens up to the original divine forces, which will recreate the eternal within him and in which he is free of fear and desires.
How do we reach this state, this inner peace beyond good and bad?
We spoke about the outer Lucifer, the fallen angel. But is there perhaps also an inner Lucifer, the fallen angel within us? The human being is nothing bad in his core, but he is ignorant. In the best case he is, if he purifies his soul, the “fal parsi”, the “pure fool” in Richard Wagner’s Parsifal. He has lost the connection with THE GOOD, with his Creator by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, by being driven out of paradise. Since then he has been wandering through the world as an erring seeker for the jewel for many incarnations. He has his experiences, he acquires insight, and thus he can develop from a dumb fool to a wise and illuminated person.
But how can he find the connection to the divine again?
The fallen angel who created the world in self-will, wants subjects according to his will, he tries to influence people’s will, he tries to penetrate people’s psyche through his mind and to win them over for his values. We see the seductions everywhere, the power of money, the striving for human happiness, which is called wealth and power. And the human being lets himself be seduced. Through his strong need for satisfaction and his longing for happiness and the conviction that he can reach it with his own will, he lives out his Luciferic part. He can even consciously decide for the Luciferic seduction, this means he can identify with evil; … or he will obtain the necessary maturity which will help him sense where the way out is to be found through his being torn between striving for the values of this world on one hand and the disillusionment and disappointment on the other.
At a certain moment he will sense the answer in his innermost being and will know that he is called to stand still, to pause in the rush of this world, to neutralizing the opposites through not paying any attention to them, to endure the tensions which will arise and to turn towards his innermost being which still possesses the connection to the original, not fallen, divine world, in which the opposites have been lifted in the ALL-GOOD. No fight is necessary, but we must listen to the inner Voice, to the inner Light.
The Bible, English standard version
Flasch, Kurt: Der Teufel und seine Engel: Die neue Biographie, C.H. Beck Verlag, 2. Auflage 2016.
Novum Testamentum Latine, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, 3. Aufl. 2014.
Rijckenborgh, Jan van: The Egyptian Arch-Gnosis vol. 1, Rozekruis Pers, Haarlem, 2. edition 1982.
Wagner, Richard: Parsifal, Reclam Verlag, Ditzingen, 1983.