In a previous piece I explored the archetypes of Lucifer and Satan and their depiction through contemporary film, looking especially at the possibilities of potential cultural programming and hidden messaging via those “left-hand” (literally sinister) archetypes.
In this piece I want to explore a related thread but from a slightly different angle: namely the question of the pervasive reality of Luciferian elements within much of contemporary spirituality.
Our guide in this exploration will be Rudolf Steiner—earlier pieces exploring aspects of Steiner’s work can be found here and here. I’ll also be bringing in trauma studies to bring light (excuse the pun) to the potential reason why Luciferianism dominates so much spiritual practice.
To dive into these ontologically flooded waters, we first need to understand Steiner’s specific (and rather unique) take on the Luciferian archetype/energy. For Steiner the Luciferian impulse is not about worshiping Satan—as covered in my earlier piece those two archetypes are separate from each other and were eventually and unhelpfully (in my view) fused in the Western tradition.
Steiner means something else, something quite distinct by the word Luciferian. For Steiner, the Luciferian impulse is to be oriented to spiritual and aesthetic experience as a way to escape material existence. Lucifer, for Steiner, isn’t the Lord of Hell (Hades) nor the trickster capturing souls with the lure of power and wealth (Loki) nor the adversary of humanity’s spiritual growth (Satan).
Rather Lucifer is the “Light-Bringer” which for Steiner refers to the notion of spiritual expression oriented to de-materializing and escaping incarnation. An example of such Luciferian spirituality then would be lineages orienting to The Ascension—if by Ascension is meant the desire to get out of the earth and earthly bound processes (like death, time, change) and ascending to a realm of Pure Light out of time and space. I’ve covered this Ascensionst discourse (see previous link) and in a followup looked at how much of Ascensionist spirituality may be rooted in a desire to spiritually bypass trauma (as in the case of so-called ascension symptoms). Please note that point about the intersection of trauma and Luciferian spirituality as I’ll return to it later.
Included in this list of Luciferian spiritual traditions would also be UFO flying saucer cults which seek to “fly away” from Earth on an alien craft in order to go home—see Heaven’s Gate as the most extreme form of this Luciferian impulse.
As noted in a previous piece there’s a superficially strange overlap between much early UFO contactee literature and fascism (particularly Nazism)—though from Steiner’s viewpoint there’s a natural overlap between the two in that they are both Luciferian in outlook. The Nazis were an occult spiritual group after all—one who believed they had fallen from the starry homeworld of perfection into the base reality of Earthly matter and had to free themselves by ascending into spiritual (and in their view racial) “purity.” In other words, The Nazis were Gnostics and Luciferians.
Speaking of Gnosticism, much of Gnostic spirituality is, per Steiner’s definition, Luciferian in nature—again not that Gnosticism worships the Devil but that it is about evading spiritual incarnation. Gnosticism sees the world as an illusion and desires to “exit the Matrix” and return to the unchanging, permanent, perfection of The Source.
Any and all traditions of yoga (as well as certain strains of Buddhism) that orient themselves to escaping the veil of maya (illusion) or getting fully off the wheel of karma by simply negating existence (nirvana) would also constitute yet another thread of Luciferianism—by Steiner’s definition of the term. Again Luciferian here DOES NOT indicate devil worshiping but rather seeking to escape incarnation.
As we can see, this desire to transcend material reality is at the heart of a vast amount of both ancient and contemporary spirituality. By Steiner’s definition, all those traditions (and many more) are Luciferian. Luciferianism is arguably the dominant strain of most spirituality for the last few thousand years (at minimum). Again the key is not interpret Luciferian in the way of some right-wing evangelical Christian type saying that all the other regions worship the Devil but rather about a disdain, perhaps even disgust and hatred, of materiality.
In point of fact much of evangelical Protestant Christianity is precisely Luciferian according to Steiner’s definition. Once more, this charge of Luciferianism does not mean secretly Devil worshiping but rather at odds with the core of it’s own official teaching on the Incarnation of the God-Man Jesus Christ (fully human, fully divine), as well as the larger teaching of orthodox Christianity that the redemption of cosmos brought on by the Passion of Christ Jesus eventually leads to the sanctification of the flesh not its transcendence. Whatever the official doctrine adhered to, the actual practice of most forms of evangelical Christianity are oriented to the great “by and by” and the “hereafter” and the “better life elsewhere." Elsewhere meaning here not in physical flesh and earthly form. Hence Luciferian.
A future piece will explore Aleister Crowley and his quixotic background in Rapture-oriented Protestant Christianity, noting that there is a strong link between his later Gnostic Left-Hand occultism and the hardline dogmatic evangelical Christianity of his upbringing because both were Luciferian (though in differing ways).
Interestingly the story of the sanctification of the flesh from orthodox Christianity forms the unconscious background to transhumaism (as I’ve detailed elsewhere). Yet, as we’ll see, transhumanism perverts that teaching in a weirdly Luciferian way.
There is a story from the ancient sources that says that Lucifer “fell” from his exalted angelic status for refusing to bow before Adam. That is, according to this story Lucifer (or Luciferian beings if you like) were seen as jealous of God’s special love of these otherwise frail and mortal human beings. Symbolically we might interpret that story to indicate that the Luciferian impulse refuses to acknowledge the value and purpose of the spirit being in flesh.
Lucifer, in other words, was the original spiritual bypasser. Spiritual bypassing, as it so happens, is a coping mechanism to evade trauma. Luciferian spiritualities then are ones that seek to escape from the reality (and importance) of transmutation of trauma.
For Steiner, on the opposite (negative) pole from Lucifer stands Ahriman (aka The Ahrimanic forces). With Ahriman, just as with Lucifer, Steiner took a preexisting spiritual archetype and gave it a distinct spin for the modern era.
In traditional Zoroastrianism, there were two equal yet opposite gods: Ahura Mazda (Light) and Ahriman (Darkness). Ahriman sought to bring life into a state of non-existence or oblivion. Steiner re-interpreted (and updated) this archetype for the era of philosophical and scientific materialism. For Steiner, the Ahrimanic forces are those that seek to reduce humanity to material elements alone whereas the Luciferian is about the spiritual at the cost of the material. Ahriman strips out all spiritual from the material. Lucifer strips all materiality out of the spiritual.
While Ahriman and Lucifer officially are at odds with another, in practice they tend to mutually reinforce each other. As Ahrimanic tendencies more and more degrade material existence, the counterbalancing Luciferian impulses to simply spiritually ascend out of this hellhole of chaotic materiality only grow. Rather than trying to redeem or sanctify materiality, there is simply a desire to get out (Luciferian).
In other words, Ahriman brings the trauma. Lucifer seeks to escape from it. They are two sides of one (problematic) coin.
In transhumanism there is an even more perverse combination of those two forces. The overwhelming majority of transhumanists are ultimately Luciferian because they desire to go “beyond” (trans) human existence. They want to digitize us in the ever-present reality of the Web (basically a secularized version of traditional heaven-oriented spirituality). They are also however very Ahrimanic in that they desire for technological inputs—including body modification and neural-linkages—to automatically put them into altered states of consciousness without having to do their own spiritual transformation. They want the Luciferian icing on a Ahrimanic cake.
In that regards, as odd it might seem at first blush, transhumanism is the natural expression of scientism, the philosophical (and ultimately religious) belief in science. As I’ve written about elsewhere, the actual roots of science are in alchemy and magic. Scientism as the public face of secularism, is an Ahrimanic force, hiding behind it an ultimate control of true magic (alchemy) by elites (Luciferian).
Sri Aurobindo, a contemporary of Steiner’s, whom I covered extensively on the site (here and here) began his magnum opus, The Life Divine, with a critique of what he calls the two negations. The first negation was the materialist negation—that is the negation of the spiritual by philosophical and secularist materialism. The second negation was what Aurobindo termed the ascetic, that is the spiritual denial of the value of materiality. Aurobindo is here in perfect agreement with Steiner. Aurobindo’s materialist negation is Steiner’s Ahriman. Aurobindo’s ascetic negation is Steiner’s Luciferianism.
Earlier I called Lucifer the OG spiritual bypasser and mentioned that spiritual bypassing is a coping strategy in response to trauma. Bringing a trauma-oriented lens—something Steiner didn’t particularly have in his worldview—help sheds further light on the possible reasons for the Luciferian impulse to evade and transcend materiality.
From a trauma perspective, Ahriman represents the fight impulse—to destroy and overcome nature and materiality through direct confrontation. Lucifer, by contrast, represents the flight option: to flee materiality into the other world of pure (non-material) light.
I’ve written also on the site about controlled dialectics: a binary lose-lose game hiding the true third option or way forward. Individuals ping ponging back and forth between the controlled dialectics of two false choices—Ahriman and Lucifer, fight and flight—end up confused and bewildered and expressing the final “f” in trauma: freeze.
I believe much of the Luciferian impulse exists because of a basic conflation of traumatized material existence versus material existence as such. Luciferian spiritualities do not have access to trauma-oriented processes and consequently the experience of the material is entirely suffused with traumatic materiality—hence the desire to use the spiritual process to bypass, transcend, and ascend beyond material existence. I’ve written previously on the possibility that the human self is itself an act of contraction in the face of trauma (the ur-trauma of existence). Consequently any spiritual path needs to reckon with this reality. Luciferianism simply bypasses it, while Ahriman denies any spiritual reality at all.
When however trauma regulation processes are brought to bear on the bodymind, then the spiritual impulse is free to work in harmony with a more regulated, resourced physical existence and then both sides (the material and the spiritual) can unite into a deeper, mutually enhancing, unification.
This third option, out of the false controlled dialectic of Ahriman versus/and Lucifer, is a way out of the path of trauma (Ahriman), as well as the attempts to spiritually bypass (Lucifer).
Both Steiner and Aurobindo offer a middle way beyond the extremes of Ahriman and Lucifer (or the materialist and ascetic negations). Steiner calls this alternative The Christ (or Christ Impulse). He sees this Christic imperative at work especially in Jesus of Nazareth but he does not believe it is specifically tied to him. Steiner referred to his work as Esoteric Christianity to distinguish it from orthodox Christian church theology. For Aurobindo, the way beyond those two negations is the path of incarnating The Supermind—covered in more detail on the site here.
For both—with varying points of emphasis—the idea is to bring the spiritual down into the material, thereby divinizing the material and materializing the spiritual. It’s worth noting that Aurobindo believed Christ’s teaching about seeking to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth to be precisely the right approach.
I’ve previously written on the need to supplement Aurobindo’s Supermind path with that of trauma regulation work. The trauma regulation work is necessary to free up the body mind and stabilize it such that it will then be available for the work of (true) spiritual descent and not the faux embodiment of the bypassing Luciferian path.
When Lucifer refused to bow to Adam he refused to bow to the reality of material existence which includes death, finitude, and even trauma. Lucifer therefore refused to do the work of transmutation instead seeking only transcendence and evasion of the fundamental enigmatic opportunity and challenge of trauma.
In the recent Netflix series named in his honor, Lucifer sees a therapist. This insight is almost right. Rather than a talk therapist however, Lucifer probably could use a trauma specialist to help with his spiritual bypassing.