Who is the Devil?
Satan Strikes Fear in the Heart
Who is Satan? What is the devil? Is it all just bad press?
Satan is a powerful archetype in many societies. Typified by his horns, cloven hooves, goat legs and arrow pointed tail; often depicted brandishing a trident to terrify and threaten all who happen to fall into his traps. In Western civilization the Devil represents evil, cleverly and constantly finding new ways to lay temptation before mankind. With the lure of pleasure, worldly goods, lust and gluttony; the charms of the devil are difficult to resist and the price we pay is our soul.
Satan lurks around every corner and his work is easy to see in our society-people dabbling in spiritualism and Ouija boards, carnal pleasure, gluttony and gambling. Some would lay all this at the cloven hooves of the devil.
It is not a coincidence that Satan is depicted as a half man, half human horned icon brandishing a serpent. This ancient figure was a powerful deity in Celtic times.
Christianity has marched its crusading ways across many religions and cultures, trampling ancient Gods, festivals of fertility, death and new life, vilifying, borrowing and transforming underfoot.
Could the character we know as the devil have much more important roots and meanings for us than the simple antagonist that the church would like us to know?
And God Created Satan
The bible tells us that God created Satan as an angel, long before the creation of Man. However pride caused Satan to rebel and so God cast him down to earth, where to this day he continues his rebellious work, trying to persuade mankind to rebel also and dethrone God.
Satan was created by god as a cherub, a powerful angel, but when he rebelled took one third of God’s heavenly angels with him, to become his demons.
In the Garden of Eden Satan appeared in the form of a snake, where he was able to tempt eve into eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge (a powerful Pagan symbol). Eve then persuaded Adam into following her lead, and from then mankind became sinful creatures.
To this day god and Satan have a constant struggle, both locked in a battle for souls.
One of Satan's cleverest tricks is to convince us he doesn't exist. We have to keep purity in our heart and body to resist Satan’s seductive charms. Unless we believe in god and Jesus as our savior; pray regularly then our soul cannot be saved.
Satan is an intrinsic part of Christianity, without him there is no adversary; no antagonist to fight the holy crusade. Without the devil the duality of the Christian faith could not exist. Satan is a very useful character to the Christian and Catholic Church as a way of instilling fear and guilt allowing the chosen few to yield power.
We don't have to dig very deep to discover the roots of the Christian devil, and realize that the mythological characters he has been built upon are not so Satanic after all.
Cernunnos at Val Camonica
Cernunnos An Ancient Celtic God
The Lord of the Hunt
Satan bears an uncanny resemblance to many old gods throughout Europe and Asia.
The colourful imagery: horns, goat legs are nothing new, many ancient earth gods such as Pan, Dionysus and Cernunnos shared similar characteristics, but unlike Satan were not particularly evil: neither were they particularly begin, such was the way of gods in a polytheistic system.
The horned god in all his manifestations was an earth god, a god of the forest, of luck, successful hunting of sexuality, fertility,
Gods were summoned and celebrated at different times of the year; the concept of the Horned God is a repeated metaphor throughout many religions, representing an affinity with the animal kingdom.
If we stretch back eons of time we can find drawings and carvings of horned gods and creatures on cave walls over forty thousand years old, and even to Neanderthal man. The idea of a horned god predates Christianity by a very long time. Ancient man would perform ceremonies and wear animal skins and antlers to ensure success in hunting, which would have been crucial in ensuring survival especially during harsh winter months when vegetation became sparse.
At Caverne des Trois Freres at Ariege in France there are carvings which date to 13000 BC depicting a goat or stag rearing on hind legs, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Christian idea of Bahomet, The horned god was called many things in his different cultural guises, Pan Puck, Baccus or Dionysus,
In ancient Celtic society in Europe we see evidence of the god Cernunnos; the name Cernunnos means horned, and an early depiction of him van be found in Italy at Val Camonica from the 4th century BC, complete with horns and serpent.
Cernunnos is in evidence again in a stone relief on a pillar in the remains of a roman temple, now situated near Paris in France. In an edifice named The Pillar of the Boatman, the name Cernunnos is etched in stone, and the figure clearly depicted with the familiar antlers and torc.
Another famous image of the horned deity is a silver cauldron found in a Danish peat bog in 1891, near Gundestrup in northern Jutland. The chalice is the largest piece of Iron Age silver work found in Europe, measuring 42cm high and dating to around 2BC.
This silver cauldron clearly depicts a horned god sitting cross legged brandishing a snake and a torc. The figure is Cernunnos, surrounded by animals, a hound and a stag.
Pan Seducing Aphrodite 100BC
A needed force in a modern world.
Christianity has taken and altered many of the symbols of this masculine animal character, changing forever the view of the horned god as a tool for spreading fear by creating a devil out of these component parts.Increasingly the aspects of the horned god are being recognised as relevant and useful in today's society. The important aspects of this forgotten god have been lost.
Remembering that we are simply another species- Cernunnos with his representation of man as an animal reminds us of this that we are simply co- existing with other species who share this planet. He shows us our connection to the earth and our place in the cycles of birth growth and death.
An evil force- or a corruption of a useful archetype?
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