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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mephistopheles


also known as Mephistophilus, Mephistophilis, Mephostopheles, Mephisto, Mephastophilis (what a mouthful ! )
Mainly found in old German folklore,this grand old man of the Infernal first appeared on the stage in the late 16th century Faust chapbooks.Shakespeare mentions "Mephistophilus" in the Merry Wives of Windsor (Act1, Sc1, line 128), and by the 17th century the name became independent of the Faust legend.
Doctor Faustus
by Christopher Marlowe
In Act 1, Scene 3, as he contemplates making a deal with the devil, Faustus remarks, "Had I as many souls as there be stars, / I'd give them all for Mephistopheles" (1.3.100-101). It sure sounds like he really loves the guy.And you know what? He really does. Mephistopheles is a source of never-ending delight for Faustus. He brings the guy women and wealth, enabling him to conjure the spirits of Alexander the Great and Helen of Troy, and taking him on a spur of the moment, round-the-world vacation. Oh, and to top it all off, ol' Mephistopheles takes the doctor on a trip to the stars, just so he can learn the mysteries of creation. That's one hell of a devil.
As a spirit, Mephistopheles has some major supernatural powers, which he uses to keep Faustus in line. He manipulates our main man out of repenting by threatening him whenever he thinks about God or heaven, or calling on his devil friends to distract Faustus and win him back to the Dark Side. It's almost like some sort of strange form of reverse psychology. He manages to make Faustus feel guilty for thinking good thoughts about God.

Mephistopheles makes his allegiance to Lucifer abundantly clear the moment he first appears, telling Faustus, "I am a servant to great Lucifer / And may not follow thee without his leave. / No more than he commands may we perform" (1.3.38-40).
Mephistopheles serves Lucifer. You don't get any more Luciferian then that.and Yes, Mephistopheles's allegiance is clear, but he even start to rebel against Lucifer himself for Mephistophilis, an agent of Lucifer, appears and at first advises Faust not to forgo the promise of heaven to pursue his goals,This makes him even more Luciferian .Goethe's Mephisto is very different from the crude devil of medieval legend and the original Faust story. He is a cultivated, witty, and cynical exponent of materialism and nihilism, and preaches a sophisticated doctrine of philosophical negation. Mephisto's most outstanding characteristic is skepticism; the inability to believe in anything. Ironically, although Mephistopheles represents evil, he can also be an unconscious force for good.According to certain extra-biblical texts relating to Christian mysticism, and a number of related works written during the 17th century, Mephistophiles was the first to join with Lucifer during the rebellion against God at the beginning of time. When the rebel angels were banished from Heaven, Mephistophiles was the second to fall, after Lucifer. In exchange for his loyalty, Lucifer granted him power in Hell, appointing him his second-in-command.Another belief was that Mephistophiles was an angel that assisted God in the creation of the universe. He was known for the designing of [[orca whales, seals, and a few other ocean mammals typically working with a fellow angel named Cerenus. Cerenus is known for creating dolphins in particular. Eventually, Mephistophiles joined Lucifer's banner due to his jealousy toward humans.Asenath Mason, founder of Lodge Magan – Polish lodge of the Order Dragon Rouge,explores the goetic tradition through an exploration of the Faustus myth, specifically his making of a Pact with Mephistopheles, whom she identifies at various times with Ahriman, Samael, the Initiator, the Opposer, and the Jungian ‘Shadow’. She sees the Faustian Pact to be ultimately a misunderstood manifestation of the Great Work of the Left Hand Path, pointing out early on that in Marlowe’s play he does not evoke demons to satisfy petty desires, as many of the later editions of The Lesser Key promise to fulfill. He does not seek material benefit, or to have control over other humans. Rather, he sells his soul in exchange for knowledge, and for exploration of the outer and inner cosmos. In this sense he seeks illumination with the ultimate aim to become himself ‘as a god’, which as Mason points out is the definitive quest of the Left Hand Path magician.And I agree with her position on this in my own work. I hope you enjoyed this litle write up on Mephistophiles and the Faustian Mythos..Copyright 2015 Vincent Piazza

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