Thursday, April 21, 2016

Lucifer's Technologies, Part 2

In part one we looked at the reality of the Lucifer mythos behind the TV show adaption of the Vertigo comic, as well as the current conspiratorial huffing and puffing about so-called 'Luciferian' elitists.

We found that Lucifer is in fact a title that originally referred to any number of entities and individuals in ancient texts, one of whom was Jesus Christ himself (in the Book of Revelation).

So what then are to make of this?

A new instrument with an evil-sounding name is helping scientists see how stars are born. Lucifer, which stands for (deep breath) "Large Binocular Telescope Near-infrared Utility with Camera and Integral Field Unit for Extragalactic Research," is a chilled instrument attached to a telescope in Arizona. And yes, it's named for the Devil, whose name itself means "morning star." But it wasn't meant to evoke him, according to a spokesman for the University of Arizona, where it is housed. 
Lucifer is part of the Large Binocular Telescope, which happens to be right next to the Vatican Observatory on Mt. Graham in Tucson. That's right, the Vatican has an observatory in Arizona, manned by Jesuit astronomers. Now its next-door neighbor is named for the Devil.
See, this is where you get to thinking these people are just screwing with us.

Because how do you possibly get the acronym 'Lucifer' from "Large Binocular Telescope Near-infrared Utility with Camera and Integral Field Unit for Extragalactic Research?"

Answer: you don't.

Well, there's another method to the revelation here: Lucifer is not only associated with the heavens but also with high technology. Lucifer ultimately also takes us back to Babylon, which seems to be so resonant in the mass mind these days.

We're not just getting into planet/star lore- which the Babylonians focused their entire religion around- we're inching towards a richer and stranger vein of heretical belief, one which continues to have a powerful effect to this day. The Jewish Encyclopedia:

The brilliancy of the morning star, which eclipses all other stars, but is not seen during the night, may easily have given rise to a myth such as was told of Ethana and Zu: he was led by his pride to strive for the highest seat among the star-gods on the northern mountain of the gods, but was hurled down by the supreme ruler of the Babylonian Olympus. Stars were regarded throughout antiquity as living celestial beings. 
The familiarity of the people of Palestine with such a myth is shown by the legend, localized on Mount Hermon, the northern mountain of Palestine and possibly the original mountain of the gods in that country, of the fall of the angels under the leadership of Samḥazai (the heaven-seizer) and Azael (Enoch, vi. 6 et seq.; see Fall of Angels). 
Another legend represents Samḥazai, because he repented of his sin, as being suspended between heaven and earth (like a star) instead of being hurled down to Sheol. 
Bearing in mind that both Jewish and Christian authorities saw this entire cosmology- or at least as it's described in the extrabiblical Book of Enoch- as heresy and blasphemy, we should be aware that there's an active subculture in Christian conspiracy circles that is very much focused on Semhazai, or Semjaza, and his friends as the fallen angels described in the Book of Genesis. The late, great Filip Coppens:
The Chaldeans referred to the Watchers as “Ir”. The Egyptians “neter” means Watcher. And the Watchers are also in the Bible, where, in Genesis 6:1-4, they are listed as the sons of Gods who “fell” for the Earthly women, descended from heaven, chose women, and had children. 
They were described as “giants”, though the height of their fathers is never stated. Still, the giants did not sleep or spoke.  

The Bible refers to the Watchers or Grigori as “evil”. They were the ones who “fell from heaven” and who were “weak” for the flesh of women. In this respect, they sit within the tradition of Lucifer, the leader of the Fallen Angels, who came to Earth. Could the leader of the Watchers and the biblical Lucifer be one and the same?
Chapter VIII of the Book of Enoch describes these fallen angels- often described as somehow "reptilian"- and their role in the affairs of their mortal followers.
And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. 
And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. 
Semjaza taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, ‘Armaros the resolving of enchantments, Baraqijal (taught) astrology, Kokabel the constellations, Ezeqeel the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiel the signs of the earth, Shamsiel the signs of the sun, and Sariel the course of the moon. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven.
Fornication again. These old scribes had a major hang-up about sex.

Now, I don't know about you but I'd say these Watchers were pretty darn helpful, seeing as how they were supposed to be fallen angels and all. It almost seems as if these Watchers got the old "let's demonize other people's gods" routine.

Sure enough, that actually seems to be the case. From Ha'aretz:
The myth of the Watchers, familiar to us mainly from Jewish texts, started out as an Aramaic myth in Lebanon. Most of its elements are best understood against the backdrop of Lebanese folklore and local artistic landmarks, which played an important role in historical memory as early as the Hellenistic period.  
Jews learned about the myth through apocalyptic circles, only then connecting it with the biblical story of the “sons of God and daughters of man” in Genesis 6.
As it happens the same images that Islamic State maniacs are destroying (and thereby inadvertently replanting into the collective consciousness) today- winged bull-men (or Lamassu) and the like- were a major inspiration in formulating the Watcher mythos, since these statues were kicking around the area at the time but had long since lost their meaning. So the writers of Enoch and related texts came up with their own, fanfic-style. From Ha'aretz:
The ancient, engraved images looked to the later observer like a vestige from the world of the Watchers (Aramaic: ‘irim ), primordial angels who, according to popular mythology, descended to earth in hoary antiquity and bequeathed civilization to mankind. 

We don't know how these Watchers were regarded by their original Lebanese (read:Syrian/Phoenician) followers but we can get some idea by the way they were portrayed in Enoch, and how they've been repurposed by conspiracists ever since: Ha'aretz again: 
If you will, these are aliens, in a way resembling those recounted by Erich von Däniken in his pseudo-scientific book, “Chariots of the Gods.”  
Babylonian mythology already told of ancient sages who were half-man and half-fish who emerged from the sea and bequeathed civilization to mankind. This old myth was revived in new garb in Lebanon, Syria and the Land of Israel in the Hellenistic period. 
In its Jewish form, the myth bore a new aspect: the Watchers conveyed forbidden knowledge, brought to human beings in an original sin. The bearers of the knowledge in the present version were not ancient fish who emerged from the sea but the mysterious angels who descended from heaven.
Bear in mind the forbidden knowledge the Watchers provided were all very useful and practical skills that any Bronze Age culture needed to survive in a very dangerous neighborhood at a very dangerous time in history.

What exactly did the "good" Watchers do for us?

Given the many mysteries of the Phoenicians and kindred, we can only speculate on how all this was being processed within their cultures, given that so much of this history has either been stolen or destroyed. But again, Enoch was considered a heretical text and was lost for a very, very long time.  

I have a very strong feeling these mysteries want to be revealed and will be. It could reveal a body of knowledge- and a way of knowing- that we can't even begin to imagine right now.

But given the timetable and the political realities of the Levant at the time of the writing of Enoch (which is to say not long after Alexander brought most of the known world under the Greek thumb, including Israel), it's very well possible that Semjaza and Azazel could have been reflections of Prometheus, who was in fact mythology's best-known lightbringer.

The arts the Watchers taught humankind strongly reflects Prometheus' soliloquy in Aeschylus’ ancient play, Prometheus Bound. 

Here Prometheus- one of the Titans- explains that he did much, much more than bring fire to men. He taught many of the same arts as the Watchers, not to mention that of figures such as Osiris (who also suffered terribly), Enki and Oannes:

"I taught them to read the risings of stars and their settings, which up to now they ignored. I gave them numbers, that knowledge most to be prized, and the art of writing words to help memory, the mother of all the muses. 
I first yoked beasts and made them work so they could relieve Man’s back of his heaviest burdens. I harnessed horses to the chariot and made them respond to reins, a delight for the wealthy. 
It was me who invented the ship with sails that wanders the sea, a chariot for sailors. All this, to my own misery, I dared to invent and pass on to Man, but for all my cleverness I could devise no escape from my present suffering. 
...Then I taught about the smoothness of entrails, the right color of gall so that it please the gods, and how to read the liver’s lovely mottled lobe. I showed Man thighbones wrapped in fat, and how to burn the long backbone, and thus I taught Man the obscure art of prophecy, sacrifice, and the language of fire, which had not yet been understood. 
I’ll make a long story short: all the arts and crafts that Man possesses came from me, Prometheus, the god you see suffering before you now."
Aeschylus was born in Eleusis, home of the mysteries of the corn goddess, Demeter. We'll see why that is so important in the near future. 

But what we should understand is that the Lucifer myth as is commonly understood was largely created at the tail end of the Renaissance, a period when European scholars had rediscovered the art, literature, science- and yes, even the religion- of the Greco-Roman world.

This cannot be stressed enough because Lucifer was seen by some as a wedge which would re-open Europe's doors for the old gods to once again hold dominion.

This is not as ridiculous as it sounds- depictions of the old gods were to be seen everywhere during the Renaissance, particularly in Italy. Florence would even adopt hoary old Hercules as its patron and stamp his image on the city seal, as if the last millennium had never happened.

And Hermes would enjoy a whole new wave of admirers with the Hermetic Revival, a movement that captured the imaginations of some of the finest minds of their time.
So more traditional-minded believers who felt a sense of siege from Europe's old gods weren't entirely unjustified in their misgivings.

And as we'll see, those same fears persist into the present, among a considerable subculture in religious communities. And not entirely without cause this time either.

Oh no, not at all.



  1. Lovin' it, Chris. :)

    First: yeah, I agree the scientists with that "Lucifer" telescope are just fucking with us at this point. XD

    I have long gotten the sense that the Judaeo-Christian and Islamic religions had it backwards ( I believe even Gene Roddenberry of Star Trek fame stated something like that in an interview) and that the classical religions that shape our lives are about repression & control.

    Even the Watcher business you reference, oh nos, they bring technology, learning, and sexytimes - we can't have this! Woman can't possibly be allowed to own and enjoy their own sexuality, and if people learn skills and tech that improves their lives, why then they won't be slavin',away for the nobility and priest class, now will they?

    I mentioned before that I was raised and abused by my Southern Baptist father. I have come to learn that he was wrong about *everything*, faking his way through life, making one awful decision afters another.

    But - since I've come out, taken my life in my own hands, I have integrated my personality and enjoyed my life. My life, my choices, my sexuality, *my freedom*.

    Is that why the Fundies fear this "Lucifer" imagery so? Do they know that we can all set ourselves free by owning our own lives?

    1. It is very strange that Lucifer seems to have this power autonomous of Satan. Even groups like the Process saw them as separate entities. So I can't exactly answer where this strange fixation comes from yet, but this idea of rebellion from the cosmic order does seem part of it. But every innovator and creator in history can be said to have done that. Maybe there's a kind of jealousy at work.

    2. Jealousy, Aye. That's a major part of it, in my experience. Even when I get Homophobes threaten, curse, and slut-shame me, the noticeable reaction is that they are jealous. Jealous of my style, jealous of my sexuality, jealous of my attitude. It comes across most strongly when the stupidest of Right Wing Fundies try to exert authority and also scare me with the "wrath" of their god. I can see it, what they are really saying is "I slave away, pray on my knees, listen to these boring sermons, yet here *she* is, grinning, looking stylish, dating, and the rest." XD

  2. Naming the telescope Lucifer reminds me of SATAN, the computer software developed in the 1990s as a first-generation method for testing the abilty of an Internet-connected server in rebuffing hacker attacks. The guy who wrote it got tons of free press off the name, even appearing on the Letterman show. So, yeah, they're having a jape for free PR.

    1. Yeah, that reminds me of LaVey, who I think was more Barnum than Beelzebub. The rubes seem to take the bait every time.

  3. Maybe those astronomers chose "Lucifer" because they didn't want Fundamentalist Americans to think they were worshippers of the dreaded Lbtnucifuer! :^)

    Love these posts. Thanks for another great history lesson!

    1. You're welcome. Great name, and appropriate in light of recent events.

  4. Chris, I've always fantasized that you would delve into Rudolf Steiner's work. Here is an excellent article on his view of Lucifer, which is in essence the same view that you are articulating:

    1. Yes, very interesting indeed. Bonus factoid: Esalen uses Steiner's methods on their organic farm. I must say the results are excellent.

    2. Hello Chris,

      I really enjoy your blog and am glad to see this focus on Lucifer as I have been a Steiner student for 40 years now and even a retired Waldorf teacher, so I can elaborate later on Steiner's cosmic balancing act of putting Christ between the extremes of Lucifer and Ahriman (Satan).

      However, your comment about bio-dynamics at Esalen caught my attention and, given your focus on this blog, I think you will really be interested to know that the Nazis, specifically Heinrich Himmler, supervised a thriving bio-dynamic plantation at the Dachau Camp.

      Here I link you to an article in the FAZ, the main Frankfurt newspaper from 2012. I am fairly fluent in German, so I translated the first 3-4 paragraphs for you.

      Nazi Nutrition: “HEIL, HERBS!”

      By Jan Grossarth
Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung
      September 13, 2013

      translated by Tom Mellett

      80 years ago, the Nazi regime created the Reichsnährstand (RNS) = The Reich Food Estate. Here the farmer became esoteric and whole-grain bread became a political issue — and German careers took their course.

      “Heinrich Himmler liked to visit the Dachau plantation and made sure everything was going well there. He would ask his SS brothers if “alles war in Ordnung” in the bio-dynamic herb garden. And everything was always in the very best of order: There were gladiolas, thyme and savory sprouting in long lines facing the sun. The bio-dynamic herb garden was located right outside the Dachau concentration camp. Many hundreds of prisoners, who were herded there every morning as slave labor, would bring in wheelbarrows filled with bags of organic medicinal herbs into the field — and later wheel back the emaciated corpses of prisoners who did not survive the workday.

      Today the plantation is in disrepair. The glass panes of the greenhouses are broken, irrigation pipes are rusted through, and the herb beds are now overgrown. This locale north of Munich is a macabre relic of Nazi nutrition policy. Cow horns were ground up here, moon phases were studied, and the SS leader Heinrich Himmler himself was devoted to esotericism and to Steiner’s agriculture with all its unconventional recipes. From this SS-owned plantation, black pepper would be shipped to the Eastern Front while other herbs were used for human experiments with homeopathic medicines. Merck, the pharmaceutical company, ordered rose-hips, and the citizens of Dachau shopped at the farm store. Here the co-existence of genocide and unprecedented state health care was simply taken for granted. 

      It is a baffling relic. Himmler’s greenhouses leave as many questions as shards of glass: Why were the Nazis occupied, not only — as is widely known — with hallucinated enemies, weapons and contours of the cranium, but also with basil? Why was it so important to them what people ate? — [Just like today, Nazi] food was regional, organic, seasonal, unprocessed, rich in vitamins and low in meat, produced by rural farms, free from pesticides, whatever anyone could wish for. . . . ” 

      PHOTO CAPTION: Grass grows over the plantation in Dachau, where the Nazi dictatorship had cultivated medicinal herbs.

  5. Aaargh this is so good I wanna rub it on my face! It's so hard to find a sane source on the interwebs to break down this concept, let alone as artfully as you have. Thank you!

    1. Well, that gets the Reaction of the Week award! Thank you. Stay tuned!

  6. Don't forget the Sumerian goddess Inanna - goddess of beat-downs; maximum sluttiness; and totally stealing shit from the pantheon and giving it to humanity.

  7. It's not correct to say that Jewish and Christian authorities considered Enoch to be heretical... it's quoted as an authoritative text in Jude, and several church fathers treat it as legitimate. From what I understand, a big rationale for its exclusion from the canon was that it purports to be an antediluvian text, while Judaism was codified by Abraham, so it pertains mainly to the world that passed away in the flood, having little relevance for Christians and Jews. Outside of Ethiopian Christianity (where it has always been considered a canonical book) it was considered lost until the 1700s.

    Judging by certain tropes parallel with Hermetic and Kabbalistic literature, it could plausibly have survived in underground circles in some form, but these could equally as likely be examples of the "unanimity" of mystical literature.

    1. It was excised from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and was only recovered in the 18th Century because it was accepted by the Ethiopian Church. Jude was almost excised because it quoted it. The overwhelming opinion of Rabbinical and Church authorities has always been that Enoch is non-canon. Which only makes it more interesting to me, of course.

  8. I'm interested to know if you have read much of Rudolf Steiners work? Just curious as he sees Ahriman as having more to do with Techology and materialism and Lucifer as being more about being lost in spirituality and unearthly pursuits. Curious to hear your thoughts.

    1. I've read some Steiner but don't put a lot of stock in any school of Theosophy to be frank.