Exhumator Esoterics

Encyclopedia of Spiritual — Letter D - DEVIL

Exhumator Esoterics
Exhumator Esoterics

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The devil has been given numerous names that are synonymous for identifying the devil; Satan, Prince of Darkness, Lucifer, Mephistopheles, and the fallen angel. Regardless of which label one decides to use to identify the evil one, the devil, is without a doubt labeled as the cause of all evil, destruction, and suffering in the cosmos. The concept of the devil only exists in select religious traditions, namely the predominant monotheistic religious systems. Every religion has demons and evil antagonistic gods that persuade humans to commit evil deeds. But within the great religious world there exists only four religions (Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam) that believe in one evil figure, the devil, as the cause of evil and suffering in the world. Belief in the devil and his home, the underworld or hell, can have differing influences on individual religious and/or spiritual development-from extreme to minimal to nonexistent. Whatever the impact, throughout human history, the devil has played and will continue to play an important role in the development of religiousness and spirituality throughout the world.

Zoroastrianism, the world's first monotheistic religion, was centered on the belief in a balanced world: light and darkness, good and evil. The all-powerful god of light and righteousness was Ahura Mazda, who was in constant battle with his demonic antagonistic match, Angra Mayu. This battle between the forces of good and evil laid the foundation for the additional monotheistic traditions focusing on this concept. Ancient Hebrew, Christianity, and Islam are rich with narratives of Job, Jesus, and other biblical figures that wrestle with the devil and his incitements to do the opposite of what God wants.

Because the devil is described as chaos, he is designated, along with his many names, by a variety of symbols that represent evil and chaos. In the Hebrew text there is the serpent from Eden and the monster Leviathan. The crescent moon came to be interpreted as the horns of the devil, which are on ancient symbols of power, fertility, and luck. Therefore, the horns of the devil represent his princely power wrought with negativity.

The character of the devil was created through the meshing of pagan deities that came to be classified as demons by Christians linking Greco-Roman deities to attributes of the devil. The one mythological deity that has had the most influence in the creation of the image of the devil is the god Pan. Pan was associated with wilderness and hostility and was feared by the ancients. Pan was believed to be hairy and was similar in appearance to that of a goat with horns and cloven hooves. Christians took the myth of the god Pan and mixed his characteristics with another Greek deity, Hades, the god of the underworld, ruler of death. The final deity that was combined into creating the devil image was Charun, the Etruscan god of death. He was represented in Etruscan art with a huge beaked nose, shaggy beard and hair, pointed ears, wings, and smirking image. These three images were well-known in the ancient world and through fusing their physical and personality traits, the image of the devil emerged and is depicted in medieval and modern art as a goat or beastlike creature, a concoction of meshing three feared ancient deities into one figure, the devil.

There is a definite tension that exists within the world, the constant struggle that humans endure having to choose between good and evil. This sets the dynamic for the dualism, the power of God the righteous Lord against the source and concept of evil, the Lord of Darkness, the devil. The reality and problem of evil is constant in the world and is present within every world view.

The good and righteous God resides in heaven with his band of angels, seraphim and his servants, whose main objective is to protect humans, and through them God delivers His messages and works. In contrast, the devil presides in the underworld, beneath the earth, in a dark and dreary land. From the place of the devil's kingdom, emerges the myth of hell with its image of a land soaked in burning fire, the color of blood. This red fire led to the direct association that the devil himself was also red. As in direct contrast to God, the devil too has servants, demonic forces that work his will and tempt humans from righteous choices, attempting to steer them away from God.