‘Picknett's depth and range of knowledge is impressive... readers will encounter a thick, interesting and alternative view of an intriguing topic.’ Publishers Weekly
The sequel to Mary Magdalene: Christianity's Hidden Goddess
, The Secret History of Lucifer
(2005) traces the literal demonisation of the Great Goddess, once the consort of none other than Yahweh in one of her manifestations. As the patriarchal religions took hold, the ancient goddesses became hated and feared as demons that sucked the life from men, embodiments of all that is hellish.
Myths about the fall of Lucifer - once so intimately associated with the Morning/Evening Star, or Venus - permeated the thinking of medieval churchmen who were fanatically, even insanely, determined to root out what they perceived as female evil in the witchcraft hysteria.
A misogynist rout, the witch hunts also undermined the whole of society, for the ruthless undermining of the Feminine also impinges on society as a whole. And if there were few genuine witches at the beginning of the massacres, by the end there must have been many more - for even Hell and Satan himself could be no worse than the depredations of the Church.
The goddess Diana, whose title was Lucifera, the Lightbringer
Yet also underlying the Lucifer myth is the implicit psychopathy of Yahweh, a god so jealous and incapable of self control, so lacking in maturity that he could accept no challenge, and wreaked havoc on those who stood up to him. Is Lucifer the evil one - or Yahweh?
Lucifer, the 'Light-Bearer', the bright Morning Star - and not the hateful embodiment of evil, Satan - represents the eternally questing, challenging and evolving mind of humanity, the spirit of progress and equality. Gradually, as the Church began to lose its grip in the aptly named Age of Enlightenment, came the rise of science and esoteric groups such as the Freemasons (in the 18th century the two were inextricably entwined).
Freedom brings its own challenges, and a darker side emerged with the many quasi-satanic groups who enjoyed the thrills of black masses behind the lace curtains of suburbia. However, the 20th-century founder of the Church of Satan, Anton laVey, viewed the Christian Church in a markedly Luciferan way - although his practices were too strong for many tastes and his showmanship too brash.
Altogether more profound was occultist Aleister Crowley - also an exhibitionist given to outrageous acts - whose philosophy of 'Every man and Woman is a Star' arguably provides would-be Luciferans with the rules.
But as we enter a new millennium, the hard-won freedoms are being eroded in the west, and the bright light of Lucifer is being eclipsed...
LONG LIVE LUCIFER - BUT TO HELL WITH SATAN!
A demon leaves the body of a ‘witch’ burnt by the Church – although most of those convicted of witchcraft were innocent