View RSS Feed

Memories of the 28th Century


Rate this Entry
Earlier today someone mentioned the idea of cursing the Devil. Cursing is calling down evil on something. The Devil, in whatever form or name, is evil itself, so to call down evil on the Devil would be patting it on the back. So might cursing the Devil actually blessing the Devil in both senses. I’m tying this in knots, because this is a self-contradictory concept.

I didn’t get very far with that; although it may become a story sometime, so I started thinking about Gods and Goddesses of evil. There aren’t a lot of them, maybe one to a religion. But it gets confusing. For example, in the Norse religion Loki is the father of evil, and he has three children: Fenrir, Hel, and the serpent Jörmungandr. The mother of those three was Angrboða, the bringer of grief. In the final battle Fenrir is destined to do in some Aesir, but Hel and Jörmungandr apparently never do any evil. Hel is the keeper of the dead, and Jörmungandr is just an extremely long serpent, the Midgard serpent. Loki was recorded as having done some bits of evil in hos time, but his reputation became a lot bigger than his recorded deeds. Rather than being the Gods of evil, this crowd was more involved with doing what had to be done.

I couldn’t recall a God of evil among the Greek Gods, and a search didn’t find one either; although there were mentions of the Goods related to death, but there’s a long way from death to evil. But I found “Atë (Ancient Greek: ἄτη), alternately spelled Aite, is a Greek word for "ruin, folly, delusion". It is the action committed by a hero or heroine, often because of hubris, which leads to their downfall. She is known as the Greek goddess of evil, misfortune, obsession, guilt, infatuation, and mischief.” I was not acquainted with her, and I prefer to keep it that way.

The Abrahamic religions have Satan, who is of dubious origins and uncertain powers. He was a tempter to Jesus, but in the Book of Job he seems equal to El (or whichever God that is). The Abrahamic religions were extracted from a larger religion with more deities, so the Canaanite God of evil might be relevant. But those religions were also influenced by Zarathrustrian theology, and that brings in Ahriman, who is the shadow that Ormazd cast when he created light. Ahriman is everything that Ormazd is not, so he is the God of evil, darkness, etc.

Yazidis are called devil worshippers, but that is uncertain, because their beliefs are complicated. It seems like most of what I have learned about Yezidism has been put into doubt by what I learned later.

Someone wrote "the God of my enemies is my devil," or words to that effect, and that happened in Western Europe, when the old religions were overwhelmed by Christian missionaries. The Missionaries largely identified the old Gods with the Devil, even though the Old Gods are barely different from the Christian God; it was just matter of who benefitted from the contributions. If one goes to the trouble of tracing the origins of the various Gods and Goddesses, one may conclude that they are all the same crowd to whom various names have been applied, or that some are descendants of the Eldest Gods, the Proto-Indo-European Pantheon.

In most religions the issue of evil was skirted, but the use of black as a symbol for evil is very widespread. In the Religions derived from the Indo-European crew, in most cases there is a pair of Gods of Light and Darkness. In the old Russian religion there were Chernobog and Bielobog, in Greek Castor and Pollux, and many others (see link below). But this brings up Manicheanism the belief that there are equal Gods one good and one evil. These harken back to Zarathustrianism though, and there are some that are still with us. And the Cathars were made famous in fiction; although the history of the Albigensian Crusade was more interesting than any fiction could have been.

In fact, it is fairly common to curse the devil, when one is using devil as a general term. Evil in the general form is that which is opposed to life and joy, especial sexual joy. The darkness is the lightlessness of the grave and of dead, sightless eyes, while the light is the joy of sunshine and so on. I wasn't thinking about Samhain when I started this, but that is this dark time of year, and it was not a matter of honoring the Devil; Christian authorities didn't have as wide a view of the Gods, so they regarded any God other than their own as a thing of evil. So curse the Devil all you want. So curse the Devil all you want. You can blow off steam that way, so it may do you some good, but be careful. The Devil you curse may be some else's God and might be stronger than yours.

Stay in the Light.
Tags: darkness, evil, gods, light