Madam Helena Blavatsky, one of the founders of the Theosophical Society, launched a new magazine for Theosophy members and she named it ‘Lucifer’. To her the name Lucifer meant; the light bringer.
The first issue was in September 1887 and one of her leading articles was to explain why she had titled the magazine with a name many associated with the Devil and Satan. The article ‘What’s in a Name?’ justifies why she, as editor to the magazine, did not want to change it.
She agrees that the name of a publication is important and the choice of ‘Lucifer’ is “due to no careless selection”. She gave much thought to this choice and believed that this title was the best symbol for what this magazine was going to present. She quotes from the first epistle to the Corinthians “…it is to bring light to ‘the hidden things of darkness” (Corinthians 4:5).
‘Lucis’ is Latin for light, ‘ferre’ is latin for ‘to bring’ and thus we have ‘light bringer’. Lucifer is referred to as the morning star, the bringer of light. Luciferus is the Latin name for Venus and the planet Venus is the morning star and thus the two, Venus and Lucifer, have become associated. Venus is the first star light to shine down on our planet each morning and of course, shines on through the night. In this way, Lucifer, as Venus, is seen as heralding the dawn, preparing the day for the sun light that is to come.
So, if Lucifer is a light bringer, why is he associated with the darkness and the devil? Helena Blavatsky says that the church threw a slur on Lucifer, the Divine morning star and that the church did this through ignorance and mistranslation. In Hebrew the name Lucifer is translated as ‘the shining one’, ‘the light bearer’, but various bible translations change this for Lucifer, one of the fallen angels.
In some ancient scriptures, such as the Book of Enoch, the story of the battle of heaven and the fall of the angels is told. Some of the angels rebelled against the Lord God’s Divine plan. The war began because God had created the humans and had made them His favourites, which caused jealousy in some of the angels, who then rebelled against the Divine Plan and attacked the Heavens. The rebellious mutiny failed and the guilty party of angels were cast out of the heavens and fell to the earth. Lucifer is associated with this group of fallen angels and thus as one of the rebels.
In the Old Testament, the book of (Isaiah 14:12) talks about the king of Babylon and his fall from grace and the writers describe his change in a metaphor, likening it to Satan’s fall from Heaven, which again is often attributed to Lucifer, and thus Lucifer’s name became attributed to the devil.
Over the centuries Lucifer’s name and character has been used in a number of books and poems, some of the famous being Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and Dante Aligieri’s ‘Inferno’.
Helena Blavatsky asks, how did Satan come to be called the light bringer? She goes on to explain that it was through mistranslation and misunderstanding of sacred write along with superstition and materialism and thus a prejudice arose against Lucifer not as the light bringer, but as the devil.
Blavatsky writes about the opposition she and the editors of the ‘Lucifer’ received from all manners of people in society. She writes “To object to the title of Lucifer, only because its ‘associations are so dreadful’, is pardonable-if it can be pardonable in any case-only in an ignorant American missionary of some dissenting sect, in one whose natural laziness and lack of education led him to prefer ploughing the mind of heathens, as ignorant as he is himself…”
She says the ignorant make associations and thus make errors which leads to prejudices. She writes about the name Lucifer and choosing that as the title for her magazine; “By choosing it, we throw the first ray of light and truth on a ridiculous prejudice which ought to have no room made for it in this our ‘age of facts and discovery’”.
She then reminds them that Jesus Christ himself said that He is the morning star in (Revelation 22:16). Some Christians declare that John the Baptist is the morning star, here to herald the coming of the sun, Jesus Christ.
Blavatsky’s magazine, ‘Lucifer’, was written to throw light on mystery, facts and to shine into the dark shadows that ignorance creates.
The full article ‘What’s in a Name’ can be listened to here