Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I really do prefer to use the name "Lucifer" when referring to the Prince of Darkness. It has such a sinuous ring to it:


For being the "epicenter of evil," the name itself means "light-bringer." The name Lucy is directly related. In the original Greek, it's heosphoros, or herperus, or Ἓσπερος, which translates to "dawn-bearer." Can we then assume that Lucifer is so named because he brings light, and why would that be a bad thing? The obvious correlation is with Prometheus, who brought the "gift" of fire, and thusly, civilization, to ancient man. Did bringing light, i.e. civilization, technology, modernism, etc. to the world cheapen it? This is a question best left to others.

I prefer to view Lucifer not so much as the "bad guy," but as something more approaching the following story, retold with great care by the late, awesome Joseph Campbell:

One of the most amazing images of love that I know is Persian – a mystical Persian representation as Satan as the most loyal lover of God. You will have heard the old legend of how, when God created the angels, he commanded them to pay worship to no one but himself; but then, creating man, he commanded them to bow in reverence to this most noble of his works, and Lucifer refused – because, we are told, of his pride. However, according to this Muslim reading of his case, it was rather because he loved and adored God so deeply and intensely that he could not bring himself to bow before anything else, and because he refused to bow down to something that was of less superiority than him. (Since he was made of fire, and man from clay.) And it was for that that he was flung into Hell, condemned to exist there forever, apart from his love.

What a sad tale. I can see Lucifer's attorney (of course, lawyers) pleading his case, "His only crime was that he loved too much!" Whatever the case, it's all complicated by the cultural baggage that certain names carry. I could never get away with naming my child Lucifer (light-bringer), or even Damian (old saint of free medical care).

The name of Lucifer is sullied because of its association with ineffable evil, Damian with an evil little kid in those Omen movies.