THEOSOPHY, Vol. 57, No. 7, May, 1969
(Pages 209-216; Size: 26K)
(Number 19 of a 36-part series)



IT is in the religious doctrines of the Gnostics that the real meaning of the Dragon, the Serpent, the Goat, and all those symbols of powers now called Evil, can be seen the best; as it is they who divulged the esoteric nature of the Jewish Substitute for AIN-SOPH in their teachings; of the true meaning of which the Rabbins concealed it, the Christians, with a few exceptions, knew nothing. Surely Jesus of Nazareth would have hardly advised his apostles to show themselves as wise as the serpent, had the latter been a symbol of the Evil one; nor would the Ophites, the learned Egyptian Gnostics of "the Brotherhood of the Serpent," have reverenced a living snake in their ceremonies as the emblem of WISDOM, the divine Sophia (and a type of the all-good, not the all-bad), were that reptile so closely connected with Satan. The fact is, that even as a common ophidian it has ever been a dual symbol; and as a Dragon it had never been anything else than a symbol of the manifested Deity in its great Wisdom. The Draco volans, the flying Dragon of the early painters, may be an exaggerated picture of the real extinct antediluvian animal; but those who have faith in the Occult teachings believe that in the days of old there were such creatures as flying Dragons, or a kind of Pterodactyl, and that it is those gigantic winged lizards that served as the prototypes for the Seraph of Moses and his great Brazen Serpent.(1) The Jews had worshipped the latter idol themselves, but, after the religious reforms brought about by Hezekiah, turned round, and called that symbol of the great or Higher God of every other nation -- a Devil, and their own usurper -- the "One God."(2)

The appellation Sa'tan, in Hebrew sâtân, "an adversary" (from the verb shatana, "to be adverse," to persecute) belongs by right to the first and cruellest "adversary of all the other gods" -- Jehovah, not to the Serpent, which spoke only words of sympathy and wisdom, and is at the worst, even in the dogma, "the adversary of men." This dogma, based as it is on chapter 3 of Genesis, is as illogical and unjust as it is paradoxical. For who was the first to create that original and henceforward universal tempter of man -- the woman? Not the serpent surely, but the "Lord God" himself, who, saying:-- "It is not good that the man should be alone" -- made woman, and "brought her unto the man" (Gen, 2:18, 22). If the unpleasant little incident that followed was and is still to be regarded as the "original sin," then it exhibits the Creator's divine foresight in a poor light indeed. It would have been far better for the first Adam (of chap. 1 ) to have been left either "male and female," or "alone." It is the Lord God, evidently, who was the real cause of all the mischief, the "agent provocateur," and the Serpent -- only a prototype of Azazel, "the scapegoat for the sin of (the God of) Israel," the poor Tragos having to pay the penalty for his Master's and Creator's blunder. This, of course, is addressed only to those who accept the opening events of the drama of humanity in Genesis in their dead-letter sense. Those who read them esoterically, are not reduced to fanciful speculations and hypothesis; they know how to read the symbolism therein contained, and cannot err.

There is at present no need to touch upon the mystic and manifold meaning of the name Jehovah in its abstract sense, one independent of the Deity falsely called by that name. It was a blind created purposely by the Rabbins, a secret preserved by them with ten-fold care after the Christians had despoiled them of this God-name which was their own property.(3) But the following statement is made. The personage who is named in the first four chapters of Genesis variously as "God," the "Lord God," and "Lord" simply, is not one and the same person; certainly it is not Jehovah. There are three distinct classes or groups of the Elohim called Sephiroth in the Kabala, Jehovah appearing only in chapter iv., in the first verse of which he is named Cain, and in the last transformed into mankind -- male and female, Jah-veh.(4) The "Serpent," moreover, is not Satan, but the bright Angel, one of the Elohim clothed in radiance and glory, who, promising the woman that if they ate of the forbidden fruit "ye shall not surely die," kept his promise, and made man immortal in his incorruptible nature. He is the Iao of the mysteries, the chief of the Androgyne creators of men. Chapter 3 contains (esoterically) the withdrawal of the veil of ignorance that closed the perceptions of the Angelic Man, made in the image of the "Boneless" gods, and the opening of his consciousness to his real nature: thus showing the bright Angel (Lucifer) in the light of a giver of Immortality, and as the "Enlightener"; while the real Fall into generation and matter is to be sought in chapter 4. There, Jehovah-Cain, the male part of Adam the dual man, having separated himself from Eve, creates in her "Abel," the first natural woman, and sheds the Virgin blood. Now Cain, being shown identical with Jehovah, on the authority of the correct reading of verse 1 (chapter 4, Genesis), in the original Hebrew text; and the Rabbins teaching that "Kin (Cain), the Evil, was the Son of Eve by Samael, the devil who took Adam's place"; and the Talmud adding that "the evil Spirit, and Samael, the angel of Death, are the same," it becomes easy to see that Jehovah (mankind, or "Jah-hovah") and Satan (therefore the tempting Serpent) are one and the same in every particular. There is no Devil, no Evil, outside of mankind to produce a Devil. Evil is a necessity in, and one of the supporters of the manifested universe. It is a necessity for progress and evolution, as night is necessary for the production of Day, and Death for that of Life -- that man may live for ever.

Satan represents metaphysically simply the reverse or the polar opposite of everything in nature.(5) He is the "adversary," allegorically, the "murderer," and the great Enemy of all, because there is nothing in the whole universe that has not two sides -- the reverses of the same medal. But in that case, light, goodness, beauty, etc., may be called Satan with as much propriety as the Devil, since they are the adversaries of darkness, badness, and ugliness. And now the philosophy and the rationale of certain early Christian sects -- called heretical and viewed as the abomination of the times -- will become more comprehensible. We may understand how it was that the sect of SATANIANS came to be degraded, and were anathematized without any hope of vindication in a future day, since they kept their tenets secret. How, on the same principle, the CAINITES came to be degraded, and even the (Judas) ISCARIOTES; the true character of the treacherous apostle having never been correctly presented before the tribunal of Humanity.

As a direct consequence, the tenets of the Gnostic sects also become clear. Each of these sects was founded by an Initiate, while their tenets were based on the correct knowledge of the symbolism of every nation. Thus it becomes comprehensible why Ilda-Baoth was regarded by most of them as the god of Moses, and was held as a proud, ambitious, and impure spirit, who had abused his power by usurping the place of the highest God, though he was no better, and in some respects far worse than his brethren Elohim; the latter representing the all-embracing, manifested deity only in their collectivity, since they were the fashioners of the first differentiations of the primary Cosmic substance for the creation of the phenomenal Universe. Therefore Jehovah was called by the Gnostics the Creator of, and one with Ophiomorphos, the Serpent, Satan, or EVIL. (See Isis Unveiled II, 184). They taught that Iurbo and Adonai were "names of Jao-Jehovah, who is an emanation of Ilda Baoth" (Codex Nazarœus). This amounted in their language to saying what the Rabbins expressed in a more veiled way, by stating that -- "Cain had been generated by Samael or Satan."

The fallen Angels are made in every ancient system the prototypes of fallen men -- allegorically, and, those men themselves -- esoterically. Thus the Elohim of the hour of creation became the "Beni-Elohim," the sons of God, among whom is Satan -- in the Semitic traditions; war in heaven between Thraetaona and Azhi-dahaka, the destroying Serpent, ends on earth, according to Burnouf, in the battle of pious men against the power of Evil, "of the Iranians with the Aryan Brahmins of India." And the conflict of the gods with the Asuras is repeated in the Great War -- the Mahabhârata. In the latest religion of all, Christianity, all the Combatants, gods and demons, adversaries in both the camps, are now transformed into Dragons and Satans, simply in order to connect evil personified with the Serpent of Genesis, and thus prove the new dogma.


Christian theology had to isolate itself, and to assert its authority. Hence it could not do better than turn every pagan deity into a devil. Every bright sun-god of antiquity -- a glorious deity by day, and its own opponent and adversary by night, named the Dragon of Wisdom, because it was supposed to contain the germs of night and day -- has now been turned into the antithetical shadow of God, and has become Satan on the sole and unsupported authority of despotic human dogma. After which all these producers of light and shadow, all the Sun and the Moon Gods, were cursed, and thus the one God chosen out of the many, and Satan, were both anthropomorphised. But theology seems to have lost sight of the human capacity for discriminating and finally analysing all that is artificially forced upon its reverence. History shows in every race and even tribe, especially in the Semitic nations, the natural impulse to exalt its own tribal deity above all others to the hegemony of the gods; and proves that the God of the Israelites was such a tribal God, and no more, even though the Christian Church, following the lead of the "chosen" people, is pleased to enforce the worship of that one particular deity, and to anathematize all the others. Whether originally a conscious or an unconscious blunder, nevertheless, it was one. Jehovah has ever been in antiquity only "a god among other Gods" (82nd Psalm). The Lord appears to Abraham, and while saying, "I am the Almighty God," yet adds, "I will establish my covenant ... to be a God unto thee" (Abraham), and unto his seed after him (Gen. 17:7) -- not unto Aryan Europeans.

But then, there was the grandiose and ideal figure of Jesus of Nazareth to be set off against a dark background, to gain in radiance by the contrast; and a darker one the Church could hardly invent. Lacking the Old Testament symbology, ignorant of the real connotation of the name of Jehovah -- the rabbinical secret substitute for the ineffable and unpronounceable name -- the Church mistook the cunningly fabricated shadow for the reality, the anthropomorphized generative symbol for the one secondless Reality, the unknowable cause of all. As a logical sequence the Church, for purposes of duality, had to invent an anthropomorphic Devil -- created, as taught by her, by God himself. Satan has now turned out to be the monster fabricated by the "Jehovah-Frankenstein," -- his father's curse and a thorn in the divine side -- a monster, than whom no earthly Frankenstein could have fabricated a more ridiculous bogey.

The author of "New Aspects of Life" describes the Jewish God very correctly from the Kabalistic stand-point as "the Spirit of the Earth, which had revealed itself to the Jew as Jehovah." "It was that Spirit again who, after the death of Jesus, assumed his form and personated him as the risen Christ" -- the doctrine of Cerinthius and several Gnostic sects with slight variation, as one can see. But the author's explanations and deductions are remarkable: "None knew ... better than Moses ... and so well as he how great was the power of those (gods of Egypt) with whose priests he had contended," he says ... "the gods of which Jehovah is claimed to be the God" (by the Jews only). "What were these gods, these Achar of which Jehovah, the Achad, is claimed to be the God ... by overcoming them?" the author asks; to which our Occultism answers: "those whom the Church now calls the Fallen Angels and collectively Satan, the Dragon, overcome, if we have to accept her dictum, by Michael and the Host, that Michael being simply Jehovah himself, one of the subordinate Spirits at best." Therefore, the author is again right in saying: "The Greeks believed in the existence of ... daimons. But ... they were anticipated by the Hebrews, who held that there was a class of personating spirits which they designated demions, 'personators.' Admitting with Jehovah, who expressly asserts it, the existence of other gods, which were personators of the One God, were these other gods simply a higher class of personating spirits, which had acquired and exercised greater powers? And is not personation the Key to the mystery of the Spirit state? But once granting this position, how are we to know that Jehovah was not a personating Spirit, a Spirit which arrogated to itself that it was, and thus became, the personator of the one unknown and unknowable God? Nay, how do we know that the Spirit calling itself Jehovah, in arrogating to itself his attributes did not thus cause its own designation to be imputed to the One who is in reality as nameless as incognizable?"

Then the author shows "that the Spirit Jehovah is a personator" on its own admission. It acknowledged to Moses "that it had appeared to the patriarchs as the God Shaddai" .... and "the god Helion" .... With the same breath it assumed the name of Jehovah; and it is on the faith of the assertion of this personator that the names El, Eloah, Elohim, and Shaddai, have been read and interpreted in juxtaposition with Jehovah as "the Lord God Almighty." Then when the name Jehovah became ineffable ... the designation Adonai, "Lord" was substituted for it, and ".... it was owing to this substitution that the 'Lord' passed from the Jewish to the Christian 'World' as a designation of God." And how are we to know, the author may add, that Jehovah was not many spirits personating even that seemingly one -- Jod or Jod-He?

But if the Christian Church was the first to make the existence of Satan a dogma, it was because the Devil -- the powerful enemy of God (? ! !) had to become the corner stone of the pillar of the Church....(6) The choice and polity were unfortunate, anyhow. Either the personator of the lower god of Abraham and Jacob ought to have been made entirely distinct from the mystic "Father" of Jesus, or -- the "Fallen" Angels should have been left unslandered by further fictions.

Every god of the Gentiles is connected with, and closely related to, Jehovah -- the Elohim; for they are all One Host, whose units differ only in name in the esoteric teachings. Between the "Obedient" and the "Fallen" Angels there is no difference whatever, except in their respective functions, or rather in the inertia of some, and the activity of others among those "Dhyan Chohans" or Elohim who were "commissioned to create," i.e., to fabricate the manifested world out of the eternal material.

The Kabalists say that the true name of Satan is that of Jehovah placed upside down, for "Satan is not a black god but the negation of the white deity," or the light of Truth. God is light and Satan is the necessary darkness or shadow to set it off, without which pure light would be invisible and incomprehensible.(7) "For the initiates," says Eliphas Lévi, "the devil is not a person but a creative Force, for Good as for Evil." They (the Initiates) represented this Force, which presides at physical generation, under the mysterious form of God Pan -- or Nature: whence the horns and hoofs of that mythical and symbolic figure, as also the Christian "goat of the Witches' Sabbath." With regard to this too, Christians have imprudently forgotten that the goat was also the victim selected for the atonement of all the sins of Israel, that the scape-goat was indeed the sacrificial martyr, the symbol of the greatest mystery on earth -- the Fall into generation. Only the Jews have long forgotten the real meaning of their (to the non-initiated) ridiculous hero, selected from the drama of life in the great mysteries enacted by them in the desert; and the Christians never knew it.

The philosophical systems of the Gnostics and the primitive Jewish Christians, the Nazarenes and the Ebionites show the views held in those days -- outside the circle of Mosaic Jews -- about Jehovah. He was identified by all the Gnostics with the evil, rather than with the good principle. For them, he was Ilda-Baoth, "the son of Darkness," whose mother, Sophia Achamoth, was the daughter of Sophia, the Divine Wisdom (the female Holy Ghost of the early Christians) -- Akâsa;(8) while Sophia Achamoth personified the lower Astral Light or Ether. Ilda-Baoth, or Jehovah, is simply one of the Elohim, the seven creative Spirits, and one of the lower Sephiroth. He produces from himself seven other Gods, "Stellar Spirits" (or the lunar ancestors), for they are all the same. They are all in his own image (the "Spirits of the Face"), and the reflections one of the other, and have become darker and more material as they successively receded from their originator. They also inhabit seven regions disposed like a ladder, as its rungs slope up and down the scale of spirit and matter. With Pagans and Christians, with Hindus and Chaldeans, with the Greek as with the Roman Catholics -- with a slight variation of the texts in their interpretations -- they all were the Genii of the seven planets, as of the seven planetary spheres of our septenary chain, of which Earth is the lowest. (Isis II, 186.)

Thus "SATAN," once he ceases to be viewed in the superstitious, dogmatic, unphilosophical spirit of the Churches, grows into the grandiose image of one who made of terrestrial a divine MAN; who gave him, throughout the long cycle of Mahâ-kalpa the law of the Spirit of Life, and made him free from the Sin of Ignorance, hence of death.

Next article:
SATAN: Lucifer
(Part 20 of a 36-part series)

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(9) NOTE.--"The Christian Scheme," begun in November, 1967, is collated from the works of H. P. Blavatsky. It recounts the historical background and early development of Christianity.
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(1) See Numbers 21:8-9. God orders Moses to build a brazen Serpent "Saraph"; to look upon which heals those bitten by the fiery serpents. The latter were the Seraphim, each one of which, as Isaiah shows (6:2), "had six wings"; they are the symbols of Jehovah, and of all the other Demiurgi who produce out of themselves six sons or likenesses -- Seven with their Creator. Thus, the Brazen Serpent is Jehovah, the chief of the "fiery serpents." And yet, in II Kings 18, it is shown that King Hezekiah, who, like as David his father, "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" -- "brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made ... and called it Nehushtan," or piece of brass.
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(2) And Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel (I Chron. 21:1). "The anger of the Lord Jehovah was kindled against Israel," and he moved David to say: "Go, number Israel" (II Samuel, 24:1). The two are then identical.
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(3) Dozens of the most erudite writers have sifted thoroughly the various meanings of the name J'hovah (with, and without the masoretic points), and shown their multifarious bearings, The best of such works is the "Source of Measures, the Hebrew Egyptian Mystery."
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(4) In the above-mentioned work (p. 233 App.), verse 26 of the 4th chap. of Genesis is correctly translated "then men began to call themselves Jehovah," but less correctly explained, perhaps, as the last word ought to be written Jah (male) Hovah (female), to show that from that time the race of distinctly separate man and woman began.
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(5) In Demonology, Satan is the leader of the opposition in Hell, the monarch of which was Beelzebub. He belongs to the fifth kind or class of demons (of which there are nine according to mediæval demonology), and he is at the head of witches and sorcerers. But see in the text the true meaning of Baphomet, the goat-headed Satan, one with Azaziel, the scape-goat of Israel. Nature is the god PAN.
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(6) After the polymorphic Pantheism of Some Gnostics came the esoteric dualism of Manes, who was accused of personifying Evil and creating of the Devil a God -- rival of God himself. We do not see that the Christian Church has so much improved on that exoteric idea of the Manicheans, for she calls God her King of Light, and Satan, the King of Darkness, to this day.
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(7) To quote in this relation Mr. Laing in his admirable work "Modern Science and Modern Thought" (p. 222, 3rd Ed.): "From this dilemma (existence of evil in the world) there is no escape, unless we give up altogether the idea of an anthropomorphic deity, and adopt frankly the Scientific idea of a First Cause, inscrutable and past finding out; and of a universe whose laws we can trace, but of whose real essence we know nothing, and can only suspect, or faintly discern a fundamental law which may make the polarity of good and evil a necessary condition of existence." Were Science to know "the real essence," instead of knowing nothing of it, the faint suspicion would turn into the certitude of the existence of such a law, and the knowledge that this law is connected with Karma.
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(8) The astral light stands in the same relation to Akâsa and Anima Mundi, as Satan stands to the Deity. They are one and the same thing seen from two aspects: the spiritual and the psychic -- the super ethereal or connecting link between matter and pure spirit, and the physical.
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