1. Baal or Ba’al. The name Baal means Master, and is not in itself a term for evil. In fact, the founder of Hasidic Judaism was called Baal Shem Tov, “Master of the Good Name”. His actual name was Yisrael ben Eliezer. The Baal of the Canaanites was the consort of Ashtarat or Astarte (the Hellenistic name), a love and fertility goddess. Her symbol was a cow (like Hathor in Egypt) and his was a bull. After the Hebrew tribes conquered Canaan their god YHVH, originally a desert tribal god, acquired bull-like attributes indicative of power and fertility, derived from both Baal and El, who was the king of the gods. The Canaanite Baal was a deity of nature. My special insight is that before gods achieve the status of gods they are lowly nature spirits, and Baal and his consort were originally the king and queen of the erotic or fertility spirits. The Celtic equivalent would be the king and queen of the faeries. Just as Baal’s consort or Baalit (Lady) had a personal name, Baal had a personal name, which was Hadad.
2. Satan (Jewish). The name Satan means Accuser or Adversary, but in Judaism as opposed to Christianity he was not the adversary of YHVH. In the Book of Job he is an angel who functions as a kind of District Attorney. He accuses Job (the Jewish everyman) of insincerity, since he cannot discovery any actual crimes in Job’s life. Christians sometimes cannot understand why Satan in the Book of Job seems to have an honored place by the throne of the Lord. The Lord (Adon) listens to Satan and does almost everything that Satan asks him to do. Jews, by the way, did not believe in an eternal hell but in Sheol, where the dead live on as “shades” that are, as the name suggests, only shadows (we might say echoes) of the deceased person. When YHVH punishes nations and persons he brings misfortune into their physical lives.
3. Ahriman, Angra Mainyu, Druj. These three names come from Mazdayasna (Zoroastrianism), which began to exert an influence upon Judaism after Cyrus defeated the Babylonian king Nabonidus and allowed the Jews in Babylon to return home. Angra Mainyu is the Spirit of Evil, and Ahriman, a term used much later, seems to be a personification of evil and assumed the status of an evil god. Druj means Lie or Falsehood and is opposed to Asha, Truth, which is an Amesha Spenta or emanation of Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord. Druj enters into the Christian concept of Satan when he is called the “Father of Lies”. Ahriman is the principle of absolute evil. Mazdayasna has a hell, but unlike Christianity, in which hell is eternal (or lasts thousands of years in the case of the Roman Catholic purgatory), the hell of Mazdayasna lasts only three days even for the most evil of men. This doctrine is probably a reflection of the initiation practice of esoteric schools in many lands, in which the initiate underwent a three-day trial involving a death, a descent into darkness, and a rebirth. It may be that Zarathustra taught that evil people had to undergo an initiation for inner transformation and rebirth before they could enter heaven. That is a concept that is completely unlike the Christian hell, which is a place of endless punishment. But both hells featured flames or “hellfire” to burn away the dross.
4. Lucifer (traditional). The name Lucifer is mentioned three times in the Bible but it does not actually refer to Satan in these passages. The name means “Morning Star” and is the Latin name for Venus. This name appears in the Latin translation of the Old and New Testaments that the Western Church used in the middle ages. After the Protestant Reformation the Latin Bible continued to be the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church until the Vatican Council gave preference to translations in the vernacular. But the King James Version of the Bible continued to use the Latin name Lucifer in the first two passages, the first of which refers to the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. The second passage refers to the King of Tyre. The third passage occurs in the Book of Revelations where Jesus is compared to the Morning Star, but in this case the English words are used instead of the Latin term. The German Bible of Martin Luther does not use the name Lucifer in any of the passages. The story of an Archangel Lucifer who rebelled against God and fell to the earth after Michael defeated him takes its imagery from the prophesized fall of the kings of Babylon and Tyre but only becomes the history of Satan in the Book of Enoch, which is not considered inspired by either Jews or Christians and is not a part of the Apocrypha (books outside of the Bible that are considered partially legitimate). The Book of Enoch offers us an elaboration of the passage in Genesis where the Nephalim or sons of God, who were “heroes of old”, had mated with the “daughters of men”. In Enoch the Nephalim are fallen angels. Scholars believe that the Book of Enoch was the source of Jesus’ concept of Satan.
5. Satan (Christian). The Christian Satan is an amalgamation of all of the preceding types. It is ironic that the Religion of Love and Forgiveness believed in the most evil Satan of all and taught that the hell that lasted for only three days in Mazdayasna (Zoroastrianism) endured forever. While the hell of Zarathustra appears to be a process of initiation and transformation for those who are not ready for heaven, the Christian hell transforms nothing and does not actually punish a crime in the way that a human legal system punishes crimes, for all human crimes are finite. An infinite punishment can only be the work of a God who is infinitely cruel. Perhaps Sri Yukteshwar Giri, the guru of Paramahansa Yogananda, was right when he wrote that the Christian era exactly coincided with the Kali Yuga or age of darkness and ignorance. I have also wondered if the Christian God and Allah, who has an identical hell, are actually the evil god Ahriman. If so, an Ahura Mazda would destroy Christianity and Islam if he appeared in order to substitute an enlightened religion for them. Another, more rational idea, is that many of the men who contributed to the Christian and Muslim scriptures and theologies were “Ahrimans” or evil persons, men with an agenda to control the people by subjecting them to abject fear.
6. Lucifer (Gnostic) The Lucifer of Gnosticism and subsequent western culture that displays a Gnostic influence is the Light Bearer and liberator. Gnostic Christianity was a “shadow” Christianity or mirror opposite of the orthodox belief. Lucifer is identified with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, but the fruit that he offers is gnosis or liberating knowledge. In this interpretation of the Garden story the God who created Adam and Eve is the partly evil Demiurge (Builder) who created the material universe after the Aeon (divine emanation) Sophia fell from the Pleroma (spiritual universe) and in so doing accidentally caused matter to appear and with it a number of Archons or planetary spirits. The Demiurge, the chief of these, is the spirit of the planet Saturn, the outermost planet. In some Gnostic systems Lucifer is the Christos, who as the consort of Sophia leaves the Pleroma to rescue her, and in other systems Lucifer is Sophia herself, where she assumes the name Sophia Lucifer. Gnostic ideas lie behind the assertion that Jesus is Lucifer, for he is supposed to have opposed the orthodox Jewish deity by teaching a doctrine of love instead of law. Since the name Lucifer literally means Morning Star--- the planet Venus---the Gnostic Lucifer could be considered to be a kind of masculine Venus or god of love (Amor). Sophia Lucifer would be the goddess Venus Caelestis, and she was supposed to have been incarnated as the Helen whom Simon Magus found in a brothel in Tyre. She was the First Thought of the Empyrion, but the angels were jealous of her beauty and caused her to fall to the earth where she became a prostitute. Simon claimed that he was the Second Thought who was sent to the earth to rescue her. Helen was supposed to be the reincarnation of Helen of Troy, herself an incarnation of Aphrodite Urania, Aphrodite of Heaven. The permutations of Gnostic thought seem endless, so I had better conclude here.
Below: In a gallery of images of Helen of Troy I found this picture. It would appear to be the fallen Sophia.