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Beelzebub

Although Beelzebub is considered all evil and is seated high in power in the hierarchy of hell, it can be safely said that this not so pretty character, the Devil Prince, is famously infamous for also being known as the ‘Lord of Dung’ or the ‘God of Filth’. The reason being, inclusive of the several different meanings of the name Beezlebub, the most widely known meaning of his name translates to ‘Lord of Flies’. 

Let’s dig in more to find out what this character, form of Satan, originally stood for and if it has changed in any way in the modern times.

Characterization of Beezlebub throughout Time

As per the Hebrew bible the name comes from a Baal’Zebub, a deity worshipped by the people of Philistines. In the original Christian and biblical content, he is referred to as the demon known for being one of the 7 Princes of Hell and as the Prince of Demons he enjoys high rank in hell. However, in some texts it is just another name used for Satan.

If we were to focus on the Christian text, then according to the occultist Johan’s stories about him from the 16th century, he was of the Order of the Kobe. Beelzebub stood against and led a revolt against Satan as Lucifer’s chief lieutenant in hell. In this version Lucifer and Satan, contrary to the primary belief, are not the same person. Satan is a fallen angel whereas Lucifer the Emperor of Hell where the demon of the hour presides over the Order of the Fly.

Moving on to another story about him, he was amongst the three prominent fallen angels alongside Lucifer and Leviathan. He was seen to have been associated with two deadly sins. Some considered him to be part of the Sin of Pride while others theoretically saw him shackled in the Sin of Gluttony, although the stories are not clear neither hold any shred of truth.

Certain groups saw him as the supplication object by confessed witches and warlocks. But if we move on to understand the concepts within religious circles, he is accused and held responsible for being the demon who possessed people. This is perhaps the background story behind the incident of the famous Salem Witch Trials in the 16th century. His name, Beezlebub, was said to have come up several times. Reverend Cotton Mather, who fed to the people’s hysteria from his writings about witchcraft that led to the massacre, wrote a pamphlet that read ‘Beezlebub and his Plot’.

Present Image of Beezlebub

Judging from the type of image Beezlebub had, one can often feel uneasy about discussing him. Interestingly, his adaptation in the Japanese anime as a young delinquent boy, has changed the prior perception of the Lord of Dung into a less intimidating one.

Though the character has no resemblance whatsoever with the legend of the satanic character, media plays a lot in changing the popular perception any concept, or image of a person or perhaps demon, in this case.

Haitian Vodou

Even though the official religion of Haiti is Roman Catholicism, the national religion that most people follow or combine with Catholic practices is Voodoo. Most Haitians practice and believe in some of voodoo. Due to few similarities between Catholicism and Voodoo, the majority of voodooists preach the fact that their religious beliefs and practices can live in harmony with Catholic practices and beliefs. There are several misconceptions about Haitian Vodou as being sinister or having to do with zombies and black magic. Let’s explore what Haitian Vodou is actually all about.

History of Haitian Vodou

In the 1700s, when Haiti was called Saint-Domingue before Haitian Independence, is when the Africans were brought over to work as slaves from the Kingdom of Dahomey located in West Africa (now called Benin). Vodou is a derivative of the term Vodu which comes from the language spoken by the Fon tribe from West Africa. Vodu in their language means, ‘spirit,’ or ‘god.’ Haitian Vodou can be seen as a combination of the West African Vodun practices alongside the slave owners’ practices involved in the religion of Roman Catholicism. The West African Vodun was practiced primarily by the Ewe and Fon people of West Africa and, thus the amalgamation of the Taino people of Haiti alongside the Europeans is what influenced Haitian Vodou.

Belief System of Voodoo

Vodou has a belief system that revolves heavily around worshipping of family spirits, who are known as loua. The loua are protectors of the children in families, thus the families would need to hold rituals periodically in order to feed the loua. The rituals involved the offering of gifts, drinks, and food to the family spirits. The two main kinds of religious services that are held for the spirits: annual ones, or once in a generation. These services are mostly held on family land at a sanctuary. Many loua exist and are different in accordance to the regions where the families were located and their beliefs. The loua are usually of two types: the petro and the rada. The petro are known to be bitter spirits who demand more extreme sacrifices. The rada spirits are known to be the sweeter variation of loua. The concept of petro spirits seemed to have developed in Haiti whereas the rada spirits seem to have originated in Africa.

Misconceptions

Voodoo has been very misleadingly represented through media. Most images of voodoo found today do not show the basis of voodoo that is the importance on family spirits. The majority of voodooists in Haiti call themselves Roman Catholics do not consider Vodou a separate religion. Roman Catholics who practice voodoo actively serve the loua and do not perceive the practice as anything deviating from Roman Catholicism. Sorcery is still actively practiced by Haitians who have made many secret societies in order to do so. They also believe in zombies who, for them, are people or spirits who have souls that have only partly withdrawn from the body.

Methods of Divination

Divination is a way for people to tell the future using knowledge and signs from divine forces. Oftentimes, practitioners of divination interpret objects, hidden geometrical patterns, and signs in order to foretell the future. Those hungry for knowledge about the fate of the world and individuals practice methods of divination. Here are some of the most prominent ancient methods of divination that some people still follow today.

Cartomancy

Tarot card readings are as popular now as they were centuries ago. The exact origination of tarot cards is unknown, but approximately more than 7,000 different kinds of tarot card decks have been produced to date. The eschatological code, however, is consistent in all the decks, however, the reader may find it difficult to understand at times as well. Cartomancy, under which tarot card readings can be categorized, is a divination method which involves making the possible and current connections visible to the individual.

Tasseography

The popular and ancient divination technique of tasseography involves interpreting the patterns of wine sediments, tea leaves, and coffee grounds. The use of tea leaves is the most common method and the interpretation of the forms found all depends on the symbolism of the figure. For example, the figure of a mountain may indicate that there are many obstacles and hurdles yet to come, whereas a fish may be a sign of good luck.

Geomancy and Lithomancy

Geomancy is interpreting shapes found in sand whereas lithomancy is using the same technique with stones. Both of them are beautiful techniques and were frequently used in parts of the ancient Muslim East. Those who use the geomancy method read the residues that are present within the strata of the sand. The aura and energy of the earth work to show signs to those willing to see. This technique usually requires either throwing sand on a special board or can be attempted by throwing sand randomly in the desert. The reader must be able to decode geometric figures made and found through lithomancy and geomancy.

Scry

Most of us have seen people using depictions of mirrors and crystal balls to tell the future. Well, that depiction comes from the ancient divination technique called scry. The method of scrying was used throughout all kinds of ancient civilizations and was even adopted into reading water reflections to foretell fate. Ancient Egyptians used ink to scry, whereas ancient Mesopotamians used oil. In Ancient Greece, reflections made by metals and mirrors were interpreted. Aztec tlatoani practiced scry using reflections made by Obsidian. Scrying was adapted according to the times, and thus the reading of crystals and the healing powers that are associated with crystal led to the reference of future-telling crystal balls.

Reading Grains Of Corn

During prehispanic times, the concept of divination was very advanced and used quite commonly. One of the most widely used techniques of divination was using grains of corn to understand the time and predict the life of crops. The technique is similar to geomancy; the grains of corn get thrown onto a white canvas, water, or any surface. Their positioning and floating are what gives people the answers they are looking for.

These ancient techniques of divination are just a few methods which may have inspired the techniques used for divination purposes today.

Divination

The word ‘divination,’ originates from the Latin word, ‘divinare’, which means to predict or guess using Godly methods. Divine wisdom has been sought by many from ancient times till now. Divination is a means to foresee future events through calling on deific entities. The practice of divination is different from fortune-telling as it is a formal ritual which is more inclined to a religious context whereas fortune telling is more informal and can be done routinely and usually for personal matters. Divination is an aid to prevent bad outcomes and plan for future occurrences. Let’s delve into the world of divination and explore the concept in more detail.

Divination Categories

Divination is categorized into 4 types by Julian Jaynes, an American psychologist. These types are:

  1. Sortilege (cleromancy): This divination type works by using objects in order to read the divine signs. They can be bones, beans, coins, stones, sticks, etc. As a matter of fact, board games and playing cards that we have today have been developed from this method of divination.
  2. Omens: The concept of omens stems from records of the Chinese who used to track strange incidents such as weird natural phenomenon and births. The patterns that coincided with some sort of sign before the event occurred were noted as omens.
  3. Spontaneous divination: This type of divination can be seen as a free form of practicing divination that does not require any medium and just utilizes practices from the other types of divination. Some members of religions such as Christianity and Islam may practice what is known as bibliomancy: this method can be used to foretell the future or answer questions in the person’s mind. It is simply done by taking whichever holy book the person follows and randomly open the book to a page and take the first passage they encounter as their answer. Reading of auras can also be considered a form of spontaneous divination.
  4. Augury: Augury is a type of divination which helps the individual rank a set of possibilities. One famous example of augury was the one used by ancient Romans called hepatoscopy, in which haruspices would examine livers of animals that had been sacrificed for the process. Another form of divination that could count in the category of augury could be the reading of tea leaves and palm reading.

The Most Common Methods Of Divination

The methods to practice divination could be divided into two main categories:

  • Observing and interpreting natural phenomenon
  • Observing and interpreting the man-made phenomenon

The natural phenomenon can include the divinatory methods of hepatoscopy and astrology. It can also include observing natural omens such as unexpected natural disasters, cloud formations, strange births of animals and man, nightmares, and display of weird behaviours by animals.

Divination conducted through man-made phenomenon includes us using man-made materials in order to soothsay or perform necromancy. Reading tea leaves, casting lots, shooting arrows, or observing bubbles and rings formations made by oil poured in water can all be considered methods of divination that are used to observe and interpret manmade phenomena.

Shamans

There are an estimated 4200 religions in the world today. With access to so many religious guidelines and practices, the question of whether there could be a universal religion also pops up. However, there is one such religion that has been dated to prehistoric times and is still practiced today; it is known as “humanity’s oldest and universal expression of religiosity.” Let’s explore the world of shamanism.

History And Origin Of Shamanism

During the Paleolithic period it was determined that cave paintings indicated shamanic practices taking place. Thus, shamanism is thousands of years old, dating back to the Andean shamans of Peru over 50,000 years. The origin of the word shamanism itself is debated, but could possibly be derived from the North Asian word šaman, which translates to, ‘one who knows.’

Who are Shamans?

Shamans are basically healers of the soul, and heal illnesses, whether physical, mental or spiritual through the soul. Shamans believe that every matter is alive and carries some sort of information. Shamans work on all levels; they pay attention to the physical consumption and exercise of the body and also its exposure to energies. Shamans can remove misplaced energies, which are basically negative emotions. An example of this is when stress causes bodily reactions such as back pains or ulcers. Shamanic extraction repowers you by releasing these misplaced energies that are trying to find their way out.

The Gift Shamans Possess

Shamans look to their ancestors in order to gain insight into working with spirits, and thus start working with natural spirits such as land, rocks and trees, and can feel energies from each entity. The Shaman learns how to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Also, they learn the way to work with energies or spirits in a way that they are not affected and can exude harmony within the soul. Their gift allows them the freedom to practice soul flight, which is a shift in consciousness made by the shaman, which lets them release their soul from their body to freely wander.

Shamanic Healing

Illness for a shaman is caused by a lack of power of soul that was lost at some point in your life. The shaman may perform power animal retrievals in order to empower their patient. A power animal protects the individual, much like a guardian angel, helping them grow spiritually and to help them regain their power. Shamans also can be effective for those who suffer from long term dissociative disorders caused by trauma. Shamans practice the freedom of the soul, which is also a phenomenon that takes place with individuals at the time of a trauma, where they may feel like they are outside the event happening. If the soul is ‘lost,’ meaning that the person is in a constant dissociative state, then Shamans can perform a soul retrieval to help that part of the soul return to them.

There are of course, many other healing practices that shamans adopt, like healing land or even de-possession. All shamans have their specialities and are gifted in different aspects of shamanism, but the results matter more than whether or not a shaman can perform a certain skill or technique.

Fallen Angels

There is a belief in religions such as Islam, Christianity and Judaism that there are good angels and bad angels. It is then assumed that those bad or more commonly known as ‘fallen’ angels or in some cases demons are now leading the world’s people towards sin. Religions say that Satan was one of the highest angels who was jealous of God and His creations, wanting more power. After his defeat, he was cast out of heaven, which is where the concept of ‘fallen’ angels comes into play. It is now assumed that Satan took his followers with him, which originated in the fallen angels and their mission.

How Did the Concept of Fallen Angels Originate?

The concept of fallen angels was derived from the supposition that the reference to the “sons of God,” in Genesis 6:1-4 was to angels. The concept of fallen angels was further strengthened after the proclamation from Augustine of Hippo that giants were a creation of relations between human women and fallen angels. However, after the 3rd century Rabbis and Priests rejected these Enochian writings. Thus, Christianity’s notion of fallen angels was inspired by Satan’s rebellion and downfall, and were then linked to demons.

The Perception of Fallen Angels By Different Religions

Different religions follow different teachings regarding fallen angels, though the concept and stories may be similar in some of them. Here is the perception of fallen angels by different religions:

Judaism

Rabbis were not following the Enochian writings after the 3rd century possibly in order to stop Jews from worshipping angels and to also show that God is the Almighty and angels are only creations of God himself. However, in rabbinic writings, Samael, the archangel who is seen as sometimes good and sometimes bad, is seen to not be evil or fallen, but to have an evil inclination to disobey God which shows that he is a subordinate of God.

Islam

In Islam, mainly three fallen angels are mentioned in the Quran. One of them is Iblis, who was an angel made of fire. In Islamic teachings, it is said that Iblis refused to bow before Adam with the rest of the angels as directed by God because he felt himself to be superior to Adam. He was thus banished from heaven and is now plaguing humanity with evils.

Christianity

Christianity and Eastern Orthodox Christianity have a shared belief similar to Islam that fallen angels were banished from heaven, and will always be inferior to God. Christians feel that fallen angels are also on earth to tempt believers and to move them from the righteous path.

It is interesting to see how these religions are similar in some ways, but their concepts may differ just due to different ideologies and possibly the manipulation of historic events. However, one thing that most religions agree on, is that where there is good, there is also evil.