Brothers of Light

In Hermeticism, God was all that existed within the primordial chaos. For reasons hitherto unknown, God emanated the divine light into the darkness that surrounded it. As the Hermetic Corpus states: “there was darkness in the deep and water without form and there was a subtle breath – intelligent – which permeated the things in chaos with divine power. Then, when all was yet undistinguished and unwrought, there was shed forth holy light and the elements came into being.”[1](7)

The Watchtower ritual describes the light as the “image of a voice.” In other words, it is an emanation of divine will. The Gospel of John states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).” It is described as “crying aloud” as it tore through the darkness like “lightning” from Kether to Malkuth. Christ states: “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (Luke 10:18).” Light as this notion of lightning is a force of both creation and destruction.

This holy light is eternal. It cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be emanated from the One Thing. It coagulates and becomes corporeal – spirit transformed into matter. Otto Rahn described it as a green stone that fell from the crown of Lucifer during the War in Heaven.[2] This is apropos as Kether is described as a crown. This green stone that fell from the heavens is the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. It is also Nature with its green vegetation. And it is also the Green Lion of the alchemists.(7)

One of its ciphers is the astrological sign of Gemini, the Divine Twins: Christ and Lucifer. It is also Yaldabaoth, an amalgamation of serpent (Lucifer) and lion (Christ), a Gnostic version of the Rebis (Divine Hermaphrodite). Lucifer is also associated with the planet Venus when it appears as the “morning star.” Dim in comparison with the sun, this source of light is considered a “false light.” It is trapped between Yesod and Netzach on the path of Tzaddi associated with the tarot card: The Star.(7)

According to myth, Lucifer was a rebellious angel, who fell from heaven. In some accounts, he was once a member of the seraphim, the “burning ones,” the highest order of angels. Like Tiamat, a dragon who embodied primordial chaos, the seraphim were described as dragon-like creatures. In occult philosophy, the dragon is oftentimes the guardian of treasure, who must be bypassed or slain. The treasure is often depicted as a virgin princess (Sophia) who must be liberated.(7)

In Cabala, Tiphereth is the sixth Sphere of the Tree of Life that corresponds to the sun, and as such, it occupies the center of the Tree of Life, much in the same way that the sun is at the center of the solar system. But Tiphereth not only relates to the sun, but also to the heart center, the rose at the center of the cross. The light of Tiphereth shines down upon the “loud resounding sea” of Yesod, the astral plane. Like a sunrise on the ocean, one source of light is real (the sun) and one is illusory (the reflection of the sun on the water). This symbol is quite important within the tradition of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.(9)

Hermetic_Order_of_the_Golden_Dawn

Christ is considered to be the real and tangible source of light. He is known as the “Light of the World,” humble and benevolent. Lucifer the “Light Bearer” is the illusion of light mirrored in the astral world, arrogant and tyrannous. Like Janus, the two-headed god, Christ and Lucifer embody the two polarities of the divine light. Two sides of a coin, these two opposing forces are intrinsically linked. In alchemical terms, Christ is associated with gold while Lucifer is associated with pyrite (iron sulfide). As the Green Lion (sulfuric acid) that can be used to refine gold, Lucifer serves to coax the light into its full potential.(9)

Green_lion_consuming_the_sun

While we have Christ as the “Light of the World,” we also have Lucifer as the “Light Bearer,” two brothers of light, one “true” and one “false.” But truth is relative to the observer. So, then, who is who? Could both of them be valid? Could both of them be invalid? Could the two, Christ and Lucifer, be seen as two sides of a cosmic coin? Joséphin Péladan, the founder of the Salon de la Rose + Croix, believed that Lucifer could be redeemed through our compassion,[3] for his fall was due to his misguided love for humans.[4] In this capacity, Lucifer was more akin to Prometheus than the demonic monster depicted in the works of Dante Alighieri.(9)

Light is a base material that can be transmuted. Both Christ and Lucifer can be perceived as unfinished expressions of the cosmos. Lucifer, as the great villain (or antihero) of the world, his tale follows the cyclical nature of the sun. As the sun sets in the evening, Lucifer falls from heaven and bathes the world in darkness. But as the sun rises the next morning, Christ rises and illuminates the world. The villain is redeemed and becomes a hero – at least until he falls again. The cycle continues ad infinitum.(7)

Footnotes:

[1] Hermes, Scott, W., & Ferguson, A. S. (2001). Hermetica. Montana (USA): Kessinger Publishing Company.

[2] Rahn, O. (2008). Lucifer’s Court: A Heretic’s Journey In Search Of The Light Bringers. Inner Traditions.

[3] Peladan, J. (1893). Istar. Paris: Dentu.

[4] Péladan, J. (1894). Comment on Devient Artiste: Esthetique. Paris: Chamuel.

Author: Frater Dana

Dana Wright was born and raised within an esoteric Christian sect. He was introduced to the Rosicrucian tradition when he was seventeen. He studied cultural anthropology, comparative religion, and philosophy in university. He is known for his genuine, down-to-earth personality. He is accompanied on his spiritual journey by his loving wife and daughters.

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