Ancient Religion and Diablerie
© 2016 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
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The human condition has not yet fulfilled nor unveiled any limit. It is an ongoing progression toward amity , identity and latent spirituality, or what mystics testify to as the Mystery. Throughout the spiritual epoch of the human species, evil is self-evident as a state of degenerate consciousness that excels religious premise and theological perspective. Evil in a monotheistic sense is abstract, mistakenly personified in paranoid privation. Evil is a conception of conditioned human consciousness.
Evil in the human condition maintains a sense of primacy in consciousness. Evil exists Not as theological Opposer of the righteous, nor as a phenomenon to be avoided via metaphysical dichotomy; rather, evil is a degenerated state of the human being and psyche that is severed in the absence of spiritual connection to the universe causing the soul to degenerate into a state of existence where the impetus is to cause severe and exponential physical and psychological harm to humans and animals.
Christian regard to the Devil as the personification of the origin and essence of evil is a theological failure. The masquerade of the Devil has experienced diverse cultural evolution across the vicissitudes of mortal time. The phenomenon of the Devil is best approached by transcending history of concepts limiting our study of this archetype. A historical interpretation of the Devil cannot be obtained in reference to concepts of evil that are existential.
Archetypes, in conjunction with this study, are according to Jung, “unconscious structures underlying conscious reality.” By placing the devil in this format, we concern this study with archetypal content and conceptual form. Christian personifications of evil fail to validate Theodicy in post-modern empirical societies. The Devil as an ‘obstructer’ and ‘prosecutor’ illustrates unresolved conflict between monism and dualism in the history of Christian diabolatry.
A historical exegesis of the Devil as phenomenalized evil must be countered with abstractivity and mythology. Jung’s analysis of the Devil as archetypal schism of the psyche reflect the Rabbinic teaching that two antagonistic essences inhabit the nefesch; one a tendency to preconceived righteousness (yetser ha’tob) and the other a tendency to ‘evil’ (yetser ha’ra). Thus, the Devil defuses metaphysically into allegory of evil inclinations, Ancient Ægyptian theology is polytheistic, alive with anthropomorphism, animism, and deification. Osirian religion in ancient Ægypt fashioned notions of evil designed from empyrean conflict seen in the lore of the slaying and resurrection of Ausar. There is no implicit principle of evil in such monographs as the ‘Pyramid Texts,’ the “Papyrus of Nebseni,’ or vignettes from the ‘Papyrus of Ani.’ In ancient Ægyptian theology, evil is the maleficious disruption of Ma’at.
Antagonism between Sutekh (SUTI) and Heru (HOORI) incarnates the dread of death and ignorance of natural Law in the human condition. Suti originally was a deity native to institutions in Hyksos, presiding over desert winds and the arts of combat. The politically antagonistic relationship between Heru and Sutekh retains an erotic venture with reference to Sutekh’s incestuous rape of Heru in the ‘Pyramid Texts.’
Subsequent to Hyksos ‘incursions,’ initiates dwelling along a fertile landscape whose bloodline was the Nile dreaded the withering heat of the Sun in the South, which brought agrarian sterility and ruin. Suti derives from sût, “red” akin to the coloured hue of the desert, the bodily figure of Suti shapes an image of a mortal with the head of an unidentified mythological animal called the “sut animal,’ akin to an ass or jackal. As late as the XXIInd Dynasty, Sutekh was besought for reinforcement and sanction in the arts of warfare.
The deity Sutekh (Setekh, Sut) is unrecognizable as any animal at present. Set was identified also with the hippopotamus, the pig, and ass, often abhorred by Ægyptians along the fertile banks of the Nile river. Such beasts were sacred to the god of winds, as well as crocodiles, scorpions, turtles, and other contentious beasts thought to devour the phallus of Osiris after Set dismembered Him. The ‘sût‘ animal was postulated to posses long jackal-like squared ears, a long stooping snout, and a canine-like body. Such could possibly be a composite beast part aardvark, part canine or even camel.
The cult of Heru (HOORI) likely overtook SUTI following Hyksos insurgency during the Second Intermediate Period, as Sût ceased to symbolize Lower Egypt. During the Third Intermediate Period Sutekh became associated with foreign insurgency, thus transfiguring his divinity to chaos and warfare. To the Ægyptians of the lower Nile region, he was the god who ‘ate the moon each month,’ the ‘black boar who swallowed Khonsu.’
In the Hebrew Torah and in the Talmud, inclusive of mainstream Judaic tradition, the Devil is never distinguished as a Chthonic ruler of an ‘evil empire’ of diabolical Hosts. The Satan appears first in Numbers, Job, and Zechariah as prosecutor for the Heavenly Court, not as a Fallen rebellious with designs against Yahweh or the human species. Etymology of the ‘satan’ stems from the Hebrew root, śţn, a verb meaning “to obstruct.” A few Rabbinic theologians, refuted naturally, pose śţn (śāţān) to be derived also from the Hebrew root, šūt, “to rove about.” Thus, we have also the Greek term, ‘diabolos,’ literally “to obstruct something.” The Satan of the Torah was thus a roving hierarchical prosecutor, obstructing human infallibility. The Arabic derivative šaỉţān and the substantive śţnā, also the Arabic root sh’y’ţ, does not appear in the Noble Qu’ran as a designation of evil. In the Book of Job, the Satan is an inculpator, implicating humanity in false predilections of Yahweh. In the Book of Zechariah, the Satan is a divine Host of retribution, inciting factional division and warfare within the tribes of Israel.
The mal’āk Yahweh of the Book of Numbers obstructs the Balaam, the human as an adversary. It is in this appearance, Numbers XXII; v. 22 do we glance upon the ambivalent resistance of the divine to Mankind. Only in I Chronicles XXI; v.1 and II Samuel XXIV; v.1 the term śāţān is used as a proper noun. The intimacy of these passages refer to a defined personality, as contrasting indefiniteness would leave theological ambiguity. Is there a primal Obstructer in multiplicity? The passages in the Book of Numbers as well as Zechariah pose the concept of the Satan opposing Mankind inimically as an independent personification of evil. At the time of the Maccabean War, splinter-sectarian movements such as the aesthetic Essences bolstered eschatology as the political and religious thrust of their austere and secretive Brotherhood. Metaphysical war reflected the Maacabean revolt and desire of the Brethren for a New Israel in the “Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness.” Had the Satan not existed in the Torah, the Essenes calling themselves the ‘Sons of Light’ would have invented Him.
Bishop of Lyons, Irenaeus (140-202 CE) rejected the Gnostic sectarians in favour of Pauline orthodoxy. Bishop Irenaeus was foremost preoccupied with defending the Pauline Church against early internal dissent. The tracts of Irenaeus echo those of his later contemporary, Bishop Tertullian (170-220 CE) of Carthage. The Satan apostatized in their Justinian philosophy, and was now presented in the Church as an eminent metaphysical potency. The Christology of Irenaeus and Tertullian professed the crucifixion as a recapitulation, undoing original sin.
The providence of the Satan was granted solely from Mankind’s misuse of Will, as the Willed sacrifice canceled out the rights of the Satan. The Satan was approved a Luciferian quality as atonement became for Theologians, synonymous with sacrifice. God and the Devil were redefined by Irenaeus and Tertullian as antimony of ethical opposites. Saeculum (the cosmos) and saecularia (the material) reflected the ideal of evil as created, not an independent principle.
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) abandons a Manichean influence he once early espoused in the question of Theodicy. Augustine’s literary approach, in such works as the “City of God” and “Confessions” returns Us to the ideal of evil lacking intrinsic substance. Augustine writes in his Retractionum Libri Duo (421ce): “Malvm non exortvm nisi ex libero voluntatis arbitrio” (evil does not arise except through free choice of Will). In his Confessiones (397ce), he writes: “Nemo igitur qua erat efficientem causam malae volvntatis; non enim est efficiens sed deficiens, quia nec illa effectio sed defectio.” (‘no man must ask the efficient cause of an evil Will, for the cause is deficient, not efficient; an evil will is a defect‘).
Augustine saw the principle of evil as ontological privation Evil, according to his work “De libero arbitrio” (385-3954ce), is ascribed to sin as an ontological defect, an insurgency of the Will upon Itself as both preordained and fallible. Saint Augustine attributes evil to a defective movement of Will, by choice, averse to predestination. Wrote Augustine: “Mali enim nulla natura est; sed amisso boni mali nomen accepit” (‘evil has no nature; what is named evil is a lack of good‘). The latter from the “City of God” (421ce) illustrates the heart of evil as privation, contrary to a personified ideal.
The views of Saint Augustine are grounded in traditional Christian theodicy. Later Christian Theologians such as Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274ce), and Saint Anselm (1033-1109ce) perpetuated the debate of evil as an ontological principle, of an embodiment of sin in Mankind. Saint Anselm and Thomas Aquinas were the foremost theologians whom initiated an advent of Scholasticism, and its three pillars of Christian theology.
Scripture, orthopraxy, and analysis of scriptural tradition are the pillars of the Christian scholastic movement. The role of the Satan in theology declined with the advent of Its metaphysical presence in History. The immediacy of the Luciferian Devil reduced the archetype to a theological novelty. Saint Anselm’s ambivalent answer to scholastic theodicy was that evil is nothing, and is privation, or deficiency of a prerequisite quality in creation. Sin according to Saint Anselm prescribed a rejection of divine grace.
Saint Thomas Aquinas decisively theorized that evil is subjective and the deficiency of Will in failing to attain actuality, or identity, then salvation. As with fellow scholastics, the thesis of Saint Aquinas on evil is privation. Nicholas of Cusa (CE 1401-1464) echoed the nominalist rejection of realist belief in universal evil, under the influence of Neo-platonic idealism. Nicholas’ chief work, “On Informed Ignorance” (CE 1440) imputes the independent principle of evil to god. All conceptions of god, evil, and the Devil are anthropomorphic, transcending imagination of being. God permits evil as privation in order for divine glory to manifest in transcendence of It.
The emergence of Zoroastrianism estimated around BCE 1400, ascribes evil not as deity, but as a co-dependent power, dualistic in an exalted context of monotheism. Surviving sacred scriptures of adherents to the prophet Zarathustra (b. BCE 630) are entitled the Avestas. A surviving Avesta, actually a fragment of the compendium, is categorized into the Gathas, or odes to Zarathustra, Yasnas, or sacrificial liturgy pertinent to various demi-gods, and finally the Vendidad, dealing with ethics and ritual impurities. The Gathas are the first and foremost revelatory texts containing a responsive discourse between Zarathustra and his god, Ahura Mazdā. Zarathustra was a Persian zaofar (Avestan, “one who invokes“, “one who pours“) influenced by a profound sense of ritual activity and religiosity.
Later texts suggest, albeit of a legendary flavour, Zarathustra receiving divine revelation of Ahura Mazdā’s division into six personified attributes called Amesha Spentas; “bountiful immortals.” Ahura Mazdā existed as the head of a pantheon in the Indo-Persian divine triad known to theologians as ahuras. The other two divine entities of the ahuric triad were Mithrah and Varuna. The Vedic concept of ŗta (r.o.t.a.) ascribes law regulating an ordered multiverse, similar to the ahuras of asha, or ‘righteousness,’ emanating directly from Ahura Mazdā. Fundamental to the problem and origin of evil in the Avesta is the allusion to the religion of the Avesta as dualistic, monotheistic, or a dynamic combination of both. Evil was a subject that profoundly exercised Zarathustra.
The starting point for the dichotomy of good and evil in Zoroastrianism proposes a radical ethical dichotomy personified in two opposing entities. The cause of choice again contributes to a proto-cosmic dualism transfiguring into eschatological monotheism. The ambivalent context of the Gathas alludes to the immaterial (menog) and material (getig) existences, pointing to an intentiality of creation. A developed Zoroastrian position on theodicy becomes clear in later Pahlavi writings. Angra Mainyu (Pahlavi, Ahriman) is the Ahuric embodiment of the principle of evil in the Yasnas, accompanied by subsidiary antagonistic spirits. Angra Mainyu is an independent substance existing co-eternally with Ahura Mazdā in the Ninth Century Pahlavi text, Budahishn.
The dialectic between good and evil is at once an exterior and interior struggle. In contrast to adherents of the Ahuric path, possessors of asha, are those stained with druj (lie), assisting Angra Mainyu, and are called drugvant. Devotional theology in the Avesta augmented belief that Ahura Mazda initiated an æthereal line of continuity by creating such praiseworthy aspects of Itself. Such personifications of righteousness Zarathustra used proper names thusly; Vohu Manah (“good though”), Asha Vahişta (“best righteousness”), Spenta Armaiti (“good disposition”), and Haurvatat (“integrity”). In contrast, the holistic spirit Angra Mainyu manifested a subsidiary hierarchy consisting of: Aka Mainyu (“evil spirit”), Aka Manah (“evil thought”), Azi Dahaka (“avarice and avidity”), and Az, or Azi (“lust”). The maleficient acts of Angra Mainyu were constrained to the getig plane, thus is the material always in greater jeopardy than the merog.
Evil is conceptually existent in the menog yet only approachable in the getig. It is permissible from a contextual guise to see evil as parasitic, suffocating, and infectious as evil of Itself lacks corporeality. We are told in the Bundahishn that Angra Mainyu shaped his diabolical hierarchies from the substance of dark unmitigated æthyr. The Druj is the ideal embodiment of ultimate evil according to the Yasnas and Videvdad. Personified by Angra Mainyu, Druj in canonical Zoroastrianism is the locus of malignancy and all contention. Angra Mainyu in the Bundahishn is often depicted analogous to Druj, allegedly committed to obstruct the righteous material firmament, extolled as the world of asha (righteousness).
The Mesopotamian Pazuzu has attributes of a chthonic corruption of theodicy. Pazuzu is imputed as a pale of evil in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology as patriarch of the spirits of the words. The son of the Sumerian devil Hanbi, ‘lord of devils,’ was postulated to antagonize the entity Lamaştu in ancient Akkadian vignettes, Pazuzu commanded the southwestern winds, depicted often with the body of a man, two pairs of wings, having the head of a lion or dog, a tail of a scorpion, and serpentine-like penis.
A further distinct novelty in diabolatry is the insidious corruption of Ba’al as maleficient. Etymology of the Semitic primitive stock stems from the root, bá’āl, “to possess.” Therefore, the term implies ownership of real estate, possessor of a household and is so used in diverse applications of Semitic dialect. When the noun is applied as a prefix to deity, a sense of ownership or dominion is implicit in divinity. Thus did a variety of Bá’àls elicit special attributions. Bá’àl Berîth was the ‘possessor of the Covenant,’ Bá’àl Márqǒd was the ‘possessor of ritualistic dance,’ Bá’àl Zebub the owner and lord of the Philistine city of Ekron in connection to the ill health of King Ahaziah. The corruption of Bá’àl Zebub became a novelty associated with disease-infested flies unto Philistine and Israel. The Septuagint corruption later vulgarized as Beelzebub is a phonetic dissimilation of Bá’àl Zebul (‘zebel,’ dung) in order to vulgarize the Canaanite deity as ‘God of dung.” Saint Jerome mistranslated the text as “dominvs muscarvm” (lord of flies).
The term B’El is the earliest form given as a national deity amongst Babylonian culture. In the Babylonian pantheon, B’El is distinguished as ‘god of the earth’ apart from Ea, ‘god of the underworld,’ and Anu ‘father of the heavens.’ In the Minoan, Phoenician, or Palmyrene urban centers, the sun was distinctive of the Bá’àl worshipped. Bá’àl Hadad appears the chief incarnation among the Assyrians. In ancient Canaan, methodology of Bá’àl worship is not obscure. Bá’àl was the chief proprietor of agrarian fertility, thus the lawful owner of agriculture. Worship of the Bá’àl diversifies according to place and circumstance. Noxious methodology of Bá’àl worship were seen by Hebrews as a degradation of Yahweh and elevation of Bá’àl in place of Yahweh.
Hebrews scorned the worship as lecherous religious fantasy. Subsequent to the division of Solomon’s Kingdom into Judah and Israel, Hebrews led by the Temple Priesthood to distorted petitionary worship of Yahweh, sank further into Canaanite and pagan superstitions. It is feasible that such degeneration by the Hebrews consigned Yahweh to be addressed as Bá’àl, with the existence of such terms as Baalia in I Paralipomenon (Chronicles) 12; v.5-6.
The proper noun Asmodeus is evident in the Book of Tobit as a contentious spirit whom lusted after the human women Sarai, daughter of Raguel. According to Tobit III; 8 v.14, seven husbands of Sarai were slain by Asmodeus upon the night of wedlock. Later Hebrew and Chaldaic expansions have Asmodeus rendered as docile after the marriage of Sarai to Tobias in addition to intervention from the angel Raphael on behalf of the two Lovers. King Solomon employed the innocuous demon with the assistance of Raphael in erecting the Jerusalem Temple. Haggadic legend connected the Asmodeus of Tobit with the unbearable bile of Ashmedai, a demon native to Rabbinic literature.
Hebrew Law forbade the use of ironclad tools (Exodus XX; v.26) in constructing the sacred Temple of the Israelites. The Masons, according to lore, could not fathom how to shape blocks of marble properly as the magi advised Hiram and his Masons to obtain the shamir, a worm capable of cleaving rocks with its touch. Solomon dispatched his chief, Benaiah ben Jehodah, to ensnare Ashmedai and elicit his knowledge of where to locate the shamir worms. Ashmedai succumbed to mortal trickery and remained to service the Temple until its completion.
The Testament of Solomon reveals that the Ashmedai mythos corresponds to representation of demons by their characteristics. Passages in the Talmud shed less light on the characteristics of Ashmedai-Asmodeus. Rationalist Theologians equivocate Ashmedai-Asmodeus with the Persian arch-demon Aeshma frequently mentioned in the Pahlavi text Bundahishn and the Zend’Avesta. Asmodeus-Ashmedai of the Testament of Solomon seduces mortals to debauchery, enmity, and addiction, a striking resemblance to the unchaste deeds of Aeshma in the Bundahishn.
Azazel is the name of a being associated with the ritual of the Day of Atonement in Rabbinic literature. The High Priests, according to Leviticus XVI, presented to Yahweh sacrificial offerings of a burnt ram and two young goats. One goat and ram was slain before the Tabernacle as atonement unto Yahweh for the sins of Hebrews. The last goat was sacrificed in a glamorous and elaborate ritual offered to Azazel. The Priest laid his hands upon the goat and confessed upon it the sins of the Hebrew nations. The petitionary goat, now laden with impurities was led astray and set loose into the isolate wilderness.
As the epitome of impurities, Rabbinic literature interprets the etymology of Azazel as Azaz (rugged) and el (strong) in allusion to the rugged terrain where the sacrificial goat was cast forth. Modern scholasticism concludes, though retaining the orthodox lore of Azazel, that Azaz’el belonged to hairy goat-like demons called the Se’irim. We have allusions to hairy goat-like demons in Leviticus XVI; v.8, II Chronicles Xi; v. 15, and Isaiah XXXIV; v.14, reaffirming the goat as a sacrificial sin offering carrying the impurities off Israelites into inaccessible terrain inhabited by hairy goat-like demons.
The cultural figure of Azaz’el is an object of fetish ascribed to penitent prayer in Rabbinic sacrificial ritual. Azaz-el is not a foreign cultural assimilation or the invention of a canonical Prophet. The Book of Enoch confirms Azaz’el as an antagonist in the classical Fall of the Angelic Hosts. According to Enoch’s recounting and witness, Azaz’el brought iniquity to Mankind, teaching carnal Man the arts of combat, of constructing swords, spears, poisons, and shields, and the use of coasts of mail. Azaz’el taught women to impart deceit, ornament the body, cosmetics, and eroticism. Azaz’el is possibly a degradation of Babylonian deities Mot, ‘Uzza, or ‘Azzael. In the Mandaean and Phoenician Pantheon, we have the promontory “rǒş’aziz (‘head of the strong’) and the conjecture that the merging of āzāz, and él only would lead Us to far in archaic literature cited for this context. To fallow Christian diabolatry, ‘Ǎzāz’él is no more than a demonic motif of the desert.
To a primeval Host is acquiesced the Holy Name Lvcífer, a Septuagint dissimulation of lvcís (lvx) and fero (ferre), Latin “to bear light.” The compound Lvcífer (-fera, fervm) was the substantive “morning star” of Isaiah XIV; v. 12-15 in the Vulgate. Lvcífvge Rofocale, from Lvcís (lvx) and fvgo (fvgare, fvgvs) is the proper name committed to a Chthonic being, a notable figure in the conjurations of the Grimorivm Vervm (pub. by Alibeck the Egyptian ce 1517). Lvcífvge, “to shun, flee Light” commands three subordinate demons in the Grimoire; Ba’él, Agares, and Marbas. Accounts of possession and interviews with the alleged daemon are recounted at the Louviers Affairs of ce 1647 at the Louviers convent in Normandy, France. To Binah is attributed Lvcífvge as archdemon of divine wisdom and chthonic gnosis.
The Septuagint translation of Lvcífer is from the Hebrew ‘helel ben shahar,’ the ‘son of dawn, morning.’ The passage of Isaiah XIV; v.12-15 and a mere enigmatic reference in I Job; v. 16 alludes possibly to the Canaanite lore of Helel, son of the deity Shahar. Helel in Phoenicia and Canaan besought the throne of El, a chief deity and was cast down in defeat into inexplicable regions. An Ugaritic poem speaks of Shahar and Shalim, twin deities called ‘dawn’ and ‘dusk’ respectively, born out of sexual congress between El and mortal women. The myth of the Host fallen from Empyrean grace is common with the Babylonian mythos of Zu, the Greek Phaethon, the apocryphal Shamyazi (‘heaven seizer’) of the Book of Enoch suspended between earth and heaven rather than cast in She’ol; and the Septuagint Lvcífer, fallen from grace with fierce angelic pride.