Argarizim: The Fall of Lucifer is the newest release from Finnish author Johannes Nefastos to be published in English by IXAXAAR press. Nefastos will be best known to many readers as the author behind Fosforos (now in its second edition) and The Catechism of Lucifer, both published in English editions by IXAXAAR. These three titles complete a series in which this most recent release, Argarizim, forms the central pillar of the overarching occult philosophy.
Argarizim was first written in the summer of 2006 in conjunction with the founding of the Order of the Star of Azazel. Intriguingly, the book was originally one of two separate treatises, each centered on a diametrically opposed aspect of Christian mythology. The first book, known as Argarizim: The Sermon on the Mount (currently unpublished), dealt explicitly with the Sermon on the Mount found in the Gospel of Matthew chapters 5-7. This first book was written with the intention of introducing esoteric Christianity to Satanists. It was only ever released in a limited edition of fifty copies in Finnish. There are plans to release this as a newly expanded and translated edition in the future. The second volume, Argarizim: The Fall of Lucifer, was translated and released first. According to the author, it is the most important of the two and has the stated intention of introducing Luciferian perspectives to Theosophists.
The core theory driving the book is that these two mytho-poetic cycles—the Sermon on the Mount and the fall of Lucifer—represent the right and left-hand path respectively. These two paths have been preserved, embalmed if you will, within Christian doctrine yet fundamentally misunderstood and unperfected. According to Nefastos, the Catholic Church has passed these mysteries down through the ages without unlocking or understanding their core.
Each path represents an aspect of God and the journey back to reintegration and unification. The fundamental notion of Argarizim is the drive to study and understand both of these paths in relation to one another. According to the author, this notion of unification is of paramount importance to understanding and following either path. He says:
“This idea that the two paths meet and could and should be understood together, joining individualism (truth) to ethics (love)…”
Argarizim represents a methodology in which both aspects of the soul (the light and dark paths) are developed in tandem to avoid the inevitable collapse brought about by over-development some individual aspect of the soul. This could manifest in the overindulgence of the shadow or an untenable devotion to a spirituality bereft of shadow.
The book makes use of the common dichotomy between a supposed “right” and “left handed” path. Ostensibly derived from Hindu sources such as Vamachara, this notion is not new to anyone reading modern occult texts. While there has been recent criticism of this approach as being everything from a misreading of source texts to colonialist, we will leave discussions of the cultural validity of such nomenclature for another time. The book Argarizim is heavily influenced by the works of Madame Blatavisty and her philosophy, so the model of the two paths is a more-than-acceptable mechanism to explore a dualist approach to attainment in which the benefits and dangers of both light and dark are weighed and unified. According to the author, “[Argarizim] is a very theosophical – or more precisely, Blavatskyan – book, but in a way that seems to be taken as heretical by the theosophists themselves. “
The text explores and exposes the strengths of both right and left-hand paths which are illustrated as mortification and vivification processes. Throughout each chapter, Nefastos lays out cogent and complicated explanations for the shortcomings of each path in an attempt to illustrate how blind adherence to either is a path to ruin. The right-hand path and its traditional prohibitions against sexuality are criticized. This is especially apparent in the discussion of rituals of adoration and the manner in which these may easily devolve into purely sexual rites if no outlet is given to the natural human inclination and the need to celestify or spiritualize the sexual. We also encounter the intriguing notion that purely devotional spirituality, in which some object or ideal outside the self is venerated as an ultimate spiritual power, can result in a power imbalance in which the object of devotion becomes an abusive and invasive force in the life of the worshiper, likening the result to a kind of spiritual rape by an unbridled higher power.
The author also seeks to expose those aspects of traditionally “left-hand path” occultism which he finds to be self-defeating through imbalance and over-emphasis. He also criticizes the left-hand path for its lack of prohibition of violence. To Nefastos, an inability to avoid the pitfalls of overt devotion to left or right-handed paths can result in a descent into what he calls the “Brotherhood of the Fallen.” This brotherhood is composed of those aspirants who over-emphasized mortification or vivification processes to their own defeat.
Argarizim is not an overtly visual text that lends itself to paging through like many of the heavily illustrated grimoires of late. It is extremely dense despite its short length of 140 pages. Each chapter (and its associated footnotes) will build upon the next. Concepts introduced in previous passages will return and will be important to fashion a true understanding of the overall message. This structure is obviously not lost on the author who organized the chapters by locations and stages in the descent into Dante’s Hell.
One will be best served reading from cover to cover as Argarizim builds its own world and its own nomenclature of Eastern and Western spiritual notions. There is definitely an experience to the reading, and it’s a spell best experienced from start to finish. Many of these concepts may be unfamiliar to readers who have not experienced the writings and cosmology of The Theosophical Society. It would be beneficial to have a passing familiarity with the cosmology of the Theosophists and their relationship to both Lucifer and left-handed occult practice.
What strikes me as most interesting about the book is the source material from which it derives to makes its point about the nature of Luciferian spirituality. Unlike many overtly satanic tomes of self-professed left-hand path occultism, the theology espoused here does not rely on adolescent inversions or contrarian tantrums of blasphemy. Throughout the text, readers are referenced to scripture, philosophers, Christian mystics such as Soren Kierkegaard, and the lectures of Pekka Ervast, founder of the Finnish Theosophical society.
What may be most unusual about Argarizim is the aforementioned relationship with Theosophy which is so fundamental to understanding the text. According to the author, Theosophy as conceived and presented by Madame Blatavisty is invaluable because unlike many other occult doctrines, “it emphasizes the major factor of ethics.”
It is this connection with Theosophy which renders the book most fascinating and perhaps confounding for some readers. In the modern anglophone occult world, the Theosophical society is sometimes regarded as something of a relic and a curiosity—an old strong branch that gave birth to many vibrant children. Generally, many occultists will disregard the work of Blavatsky, Besant, and company in favor of other more popular and “sexy” orders.
Nefastos has stated that the intention of Argarizim was to introduce a Luciferian understanding and greater sensitivity to all aspects of the Satanic myths to the Theosophical movement.
Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society never shied away from the notion of Lucifer as a liberator (the official journal of the Theosophical Society was indeed named ‘Lucifer’), but they didn’t embrace notions of the left-hand path or empowering those darker aspects of humanity. This is where the philosophy in the book diverges the most from Theosophical teachings.
In Argarizim, both paths are equally valid; they simply must be combined to be effective. Furthermore, the path of Satan is not as simple as a necrosadistic drive to destruction. The book strives to illustrate Satan as a liberating force—a positively charged destructive element. Argarizim argues that Jesus cast fire upon the earth as the Holy Spirit. It is so close to God that it destroys everything that cannot be a part of that unity. This unification includes all things light and dark, good and evil, God and Satan. It is interesting to note that many ninth-century occultists, Eliphas Levi among them, equated the Holy Spirit with Lucifer.
According to the premise of the text, Satan, being absolutely holy, will appear absolutely evil to the uninitiated. Throughout the book, scripture is quoted in support of this alternate reading, The spiritual path outlined here ultimately seeks to reconcile the lessons of The Sermon on the Mount and The Fall of Lucifer, respectively: Two scenarios which exoterically seem to express extreme opposition. To Nefastos, this is but a blind, and the true liberation is achieved when they are combined.
Overall, the book is quite fascinating and will be indispensable for anyone who has followed the previous two entries in the trilogy. The translation is more than adequate, but there are some scattered errors and awkward phrasings which will not impede understanding. I think it may well inspire a new look at Theosophy among modern occultists. This is in no way a bad thing. There is a richness and depth in these older methodologies which can only help to elucidate our own practice when we look for ways to open and explore that which they still have to offer.
I would highly recommend Argarizim for anyone interested in a nuanced and developed take on Luciferian spirituality. The book is refreshing in that it diverges from the commonalities seen among recent publications and offers a fresh perspective with deep roots in a fertile occult tradition. You will be able to understand the text without having read the previous two books in the series, but I also highly recommend both Fosforos and The Catechism of Lucifer to those who find a resonance with Nefastos’s unique Luciferian Theosophy.