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Infernal names, directional correspondences, etc.

by Diane Vera

Copyright © 2003 by Diane Vera. All rights reserved.

  1. LaVey's directional associations
  2. Lucifer and Belial as aspects of Satan
  3. Leviathan and the "Ancient Serpent"
  4. Samael
  5. Iblis
  6. Satan, other gods, the four directions, and balance
  7. The Dark One
  8. Lilith
  9. Azazel
  10. What names should you use? How to decide?

  1. LaVey's directional associations
  2. In LaVey's Satanic Bible, the four "Crown Princes of Hell" are Satan, Lucifer, Belial, and Leviathan. The idea that these are the "four Princes" is taken from the grimoire The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage. LaVey associated them with the four directions and the four elements as follows:

    Prince Direction Element
    Satan South Fire
    Lucifer East Air
    Belial North Earth
    Leviathan West Water

    However, before the four Princes are called forth, a so-called "Invocation to Satan" is said facing west, not south.

    In fact, west is one of two directions traditionally associated with Satan for millenia. For example, before every baptism in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, a "renunciation of Satan" is said, facing west. Older versions of the rite involved "spitting on Satan" by spitting towards the west.

    The other direction traditionally associated with Satan by Christians is north. Many old churches had a "Devil's door" on the north side. As part of the exorcism before baptism, the north door was opened briefly to let the Devil depart.

    In the Western occult tradition, the direction west is usually associated with the element of Water. But it doesn't make sense to associate Satan specifically with the elemsnt of Water.

    Nor does it make sense to associate Satan exclusively with the element of Fire. Satan, the Devil -- the entity whom Christians traditionally perceive as their enemy -- also encourages sensuality and the desire for worldly wealth and power (Earth) and is also a Promethean figure who encourages people to acquire forbidden knowledge (Air). In the New Testament, Satan is described as "Prince of this world" (John 12:31, John 14:30, John 16:11) and "Prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), among other things.

    Satan does have a watery aspect too, especially insofar as Satan is a god of magick. The things you need most in order to do magick, such as intuition, primal emotion, and access to your subconscious mind, are all associated with the element of Water. And, in the Biblical book of Revelation/Apocalypse, Satan is portrayed as both a serpent and a red dragon who spews a river of water out of his mouth (Revelation 12:17).

    Satan is a complex, multi-faceted being with aspects corresponding to all the elements.

    Many occultists, if they have a place for "Satan" in their systems at all, tend to have a rather narrow concept of who/what "Satan" is. Often they limit Satan to just one element (usually Fire, sometimes Earth) or just one astrological planet (usually Saturn, Mars, or Pluto, sometimes Mercury or the Sun).

    But the entity traditionally known to Christians as "Satan" has a much broader range of activity.

    Most forms of theistic Satanism are based, at least in part, on a reinterpretation of the Christian idea of Satan. Thus we tend to see Satan not as a one-dimensional "archetype," but as a being with a very broad range of attributes. Therefore, we should use other names besides "Satan" to refer to narrower "Satan" concepts, insofar as those concepts can be thought of as aspects of the entity we call Satan. So, we need another name for "Satan" as the Prince of Fire.

    In the late 1990's C.E., there was a "Demonolatry" website which included Prince/direction/element correspondences similar to LaVey's except that some demon I'd never heard of, Flereous, was substituted for Satan in the south. Satan was not associated with any of the four elements but, instead, with the quintessence. This made a lot of sense to me, except that I would prefer to use a better-known name than "Flereous" for the south. (After a long absence, some of the people involved in the original "Demonolatry" website are now back with a new website, OFS Demonolatry.)

  3. Lucifer and Belial as aspects of Satan
  4. In my Greetings to the Princes and the Legions of Hell, I use both "Lucifer-Azazel" and "Belial" as names of aspects of Satan.

    Associating Lucifer with the east and with Air makes perfect sense. The name "Lucifer" originally referred to the morning star (either the planet Venus or the planet Mercury, when seen in the morning), and the morning star is indeed seen in the east. Also, because the name "Lucifer" literally means "light-bearer," it makes sense to use the name "Lucifer" to refer to the Promethean aspect of Satan, the bringer of new ideas. And occultists traditionally associate human thought with the element of Air.

    "Belial" is a name which, in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 6:15), is treated as simply a synonym of "Satan." The name "Belial" is also used in some of the Dead Sea scrolls to refer to the main prince of the demons.

    In some grimoires such as the Goetia, Belial is said to help people attain positions of worldly power, e.g. "senatorships" and "preferments." So, it makes sense to associate Belial with the desire for material wealth and power, and hence with the element of Earth.

    The names "Lucifer" and "Belial" have also been used to refer to entities distinct from Satan. For more about this issue, see the sections on Lucifer and Belial in the Church of Azazel FAQ. See also the section on Lucifer-of-Sophia in my article on the Rising gods of the modern West.

  5. Leviathan and the "Ancient Serpent"
  6. It makes sense to associate the name Leviathan with Water (and hence with the west), because the name "Leviathan" originally referred to a sea monster. In an older version of my standard ritual, I used the name "Leviathan" to refer to the aspect of Satan associated with the element of Water.

    The name "Leviathan" has occasionally been used, in literature, as a name of Satan. However, because "Leviathan" has not been used very often as a name of Satan, I eventually decided to use "Ancient Serpent," one of the Biblical names of Satan (Revelation 12:9, in the same chapter of Revelation/Apocalypse where Satan is also portrayed as a river-spewing red dragon).

  7. Samael
  8. What name should we associate with the south and with the element of Fire, if not "Satan"? In an older version of my standard ritual, I used the name "Samael."

    The Christian (New Testament) idea of Satan is derived, in part, from Jewish lore concerning an entity known in first-century C.E. Jewish lore as "Samael ha-Satan," the king of the demons. Although "Samael" is sometimes distinguished from "Satan" in Jewish lore, many of the same legends are told about both.

    The Christian "Satan" concept is different from what is now the Jewish "Satan" concept. In the first century C.E., there were some Jewish sects that held ideas about Satan/Samael very similar to the Christian idea, i.e. "Prince of this World" and opponent of "God." However, mainstream Judaism came to reject this idea in favor of the older Jewish idea of a "Satan" who is not an ememy of "God" at all, but rather the heavenly prosecuting attorney or police agent, as portrayed in the Biblical Book of Job. Thus, the mainstream Jewish "Satan" (actually "ha-satan," a common noun, not a proper name) is "evil" in the sense of causing concrete harm and destruction, rather than "Evil" in a God-centered sense. (See Satan and "Evil" in Christianity and Satanism.) The mainstream Jewish "Satan"/Samael does not have a Promethean aspect, for example, but is only a tormentor and destroyer.

    To this day, some Jews still do believe in a "Satan" who is at least somewhat more like the Christian Devil concept, but regard that entity as distinct from the heavenly prosecuting attorney. One mystically-inclined Jew told me that he believed in two distinct "Satan" entities -- the "Greater Satan" (a personification of the "evil inclination" in humans, and a rebel against "God") and the "Lesser Satan" (the heavenly prosecuting attorney).

    As I said earlier, most forms of theistic Satanism are based, at least in part, on a reinterpretation of the Christian concept of "Satan," who is seen as manifesting in many different ways.

    To refer to the narrower concept of "Satan the fiery destroyer," one could use the name "Samael" rather than "Satan." Samael is associated with the element of Fire in Henry Cornelius Agrippa's Celestial Magic (Book Two of his Three Books of Occult Philosophy).

    However, these days the name "Samael" is ambiguous. Not many people use that name to refer to an enemy of Jehovah anymore. Modern Jews more commonly identify "Samael" with "ha-satan" of the Book of Job. Hence my decision to use the more unambiguous name "Iblis" rather than "Samael."

  9. Iblis
  10. Iblis is one of the most common Islamic names for the Devil. Muslims traditionally believe that Iblis was created from fire. So it makes sense to use the name "Iblis" to refer to the fiery aspect of Satan.

    According to the Koran, Iblis "fell" because he refused to bow down to Adam. So, it also makes sense to associate the name "Iblis" with pride and with the aspect of Satan that inspires in people a refusal to bow down to other people or to accept other people's beliefs blindly.

  11. Satan, other gods, the four directions, and balance
  12. As detailed above, I associate all four directions with aspects of Satan.

    Some other theistic Satanists associate one of the four directions with Satan and associate the other three directions with other, distinct gods. However, in my opinion, doing so suggests an equality between Satan and whichever gods you associate with the other three directions. This doesn't make sense if you regard Satan as your primary deity and/or as the king of all other gods who might be aligned with Him.

    In my standard ritual, I aim to approach Satan in a balanced way, symbolized by a balance of the four elements. Thus I associated Satan with all four directions, and with the downward direction as well.

    Some Satanists perceive Satan almost exclusively in terms of His Luciferian aspect as the bringer of knowledge. Others focus almost exclusively on Satan as the fiery destroyer, or on Satan as an embodiment of raw passion.

    To others, including me, Satan is both a creator and a destroyer and fosters both rationality and passion. Likewise both imagination and practicality, and likewise both our animal nature and our uniquely human qualities.

    In my standard ritual, other gods are called on separately, not as part of a call to the four directions. See the Call to the rising gods of our age.

  13. The Dark One
  14. My standard ritual format involves greeting the "Legions" of the four directions and then also the "Legions of the Pit" -- looking downward. I associate the downward direction not with any specific name but, rather, with the nameless "Dark One," the hidden source from which the various other aspects of Satan spring.

  15. Lilith
  16. In the Middle Ages there arose the Jewish folkloric myth of Lilith, the queen of the demons, wife of Satan (or of Samael, depending on your source). The myth of Lilith is almost identical to the Islamic Satan/Iblis myth. Lilith and the Islamic Satan/Iblis are both said to have defied God in precisely the same way, namely refusing to bow down to Adam.

    Lilith was traditionally thought of as a destroyer (especially of children -- She was blamed for fatal childhood diseases). She is also associated with sexual lust and other sensual indulgence. She also encourages pride, especially in women. In recent decades, she has come to be associated with feminism, due to her refusal to bow down to Adam. (She has been adopted into the pantheon of quite a few feminist Neo-Pagans who otherwise abhor Satanism, even though she's traditionally the wife of you-know-who.)

    It seems to me that Lilith has found an almost perfect embodiment in contemporary (post-mid-20th-century) Western civilization, with its combination of freedom for women, relaxed sexual mores, and great destructive power, both deliberate and unintentional. Whereas LaVeyans would say that we live in the "Age of Satan," I would say, more specifically, that we live in the Age of Lilith. Thus, the recent favorable changes in Lilith's image are only to be expected.

    In an earlier version of my standard ritual, I associated Lilith with the north and with the element of Earth. However, Lilith is really too multi-faceted to be associated with a specific direction/element.

    I now call on Lilith as part of my Call to the rising gods of our age. See also the section on Lilith in my article on the Rising gods of the modern West.

  17. Azazel
  18. Another name I use in my standard ritual format is Azazel, another Jewish mythological figure on whom the Christian (New Testament) Satan concept is partly based.

    In the apocryphal Book of Enoch, Azazel is the leader of the rebel angels (the "hosts of Azazel") and is said to have taught various arts to humankind, including everything from metalwork to eye makeup to "the eternal secrets which were (preserved) in heaven". Thus, Azazel, like Lucifer, is a very Promethean figure.

    But Azazel is also much more than just a Promethean "light-bearer" figure. In the Old Testament, Azazel is associated with the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:10), and thus is associated with all the many "sinful" aspects of human nature from which the worshipers of Yahweh aim to separate themselves. Likewise, the Book of Enoch says, regarding Azazel, "To him ascribe all sin." Therefore, I consider "Azazel" to be too multi-faceted to be associated with a specific direction/element.

    Azazel is the one figure in Jewish lore who corresponds most closely with the Christian idea of Satan, in all of Satan's many aspects. Furthermore, "Azazil," an Arabic form of "Azazel," is one of Islam's names for the Devil. Therefore, I regard "Azazel" as another name of the entity Christians call "Satan."

  19. What names should you use? How to decide?
  20. On various other theistic Satanist websites, you'll find various other correspondences between various infernal names and various directions.

    Which infernal name should you associate with a given direction? I would recommend that you do your own research and make your own decision about this, based on what makes sense to you in terms of your own personal beliefs. Feel free to use my own correspondences, as outlined above, if they make sense to you, but don't use them if they don't feel right to you. And don't accept someone else's channeled information as the Absolute Truth, no matter how "close to Satan" that person may claim to be.

    Whatever correspondences you do use, remember that their meaning is purely symbolic. It's not as if the Earth is flat, and likewise Hell beneath it, with Leviathan (or whoever you associate with the west) literally living in the west, Iblis (or whoever you associate with the south) literally living in the south, and so on.

    If you don't like my directional correspondences, I would be interested to hear your reasons -- as long as your reasons are something other than "Person X, who is The True Mouthpiece of Satan on Earth today, says we should associate name Y with direction Z." Feel free to discuss this matter in my Theistic Satanism email groups.

    Why bother to associate infernal names with the various directions in the first place? For one thing, doing so helps you create a sacred space in which to do your ritual. Also, associating infernal names with the four elements is a good way to remind yourself of various different aspects of Satan in a balanced way.

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