There is a lot of rumour about Jimmy Page’s symbol and Satan, Hades, the Devil, Lucifer, etc. so I’d like to clear up a few misconceptions about these ideas.
Hell or Hades
Wonderful imagery has emerged about this place. Hades originally meant the place of the dead, and the Jewish equivalent of Hell is Gehenna – a “fiery place of torment”. Which it was. It was a very real place in this physical world outside the walls of Jerusalem, where criminals were executed and dumped and child sacrifices made. Dead bodies and burning flesh. A very nasty place, but a very real place on planet Earth – not some after-death experience.
Satan or the Devil
In biblical times “Satan” was the “challenger”, the opposition party in politics. The “devil” was a slanderer or accuser. These were originally political terms, and for the early Christian movement anyone with opposing views was Satan. This was a term used to describe real people in the real world – not the ruler of the underworld.
Lucifer was a term for the morning star, the bringer of light, the planet Venus.
So why do these terms now have such negative connotations? The fantastic negative aspects were introduced by the early Christian church to dissuade their followers from following the old ways. Venus/Lucifer was very important to early Pagan societies and was worshipped – so it was made evil. Why does the Devil have cloven feet like a goat? Because the goat was sacred to many early Egyptian tribes and was widely worshipped. The Christians didn’t like this so they made it an evil symbol. It’s not just the Christians that did this. Throughout the ages the conquering people have knocked down the temples and important sacred places of the nation they have subjugated, and replaced them with their own. It is still happening today. The sacred Pagan spring equinox celebration was replaced by the Christian Easter. December 25th was originally the Pagan celebration of the birth of the sun god, and it was replaced by the a celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Beelzebub and Ba’al
Beelzebub is a term now associated with the devil, or Lord of the Flies. It’s roots pre-date Christianity, to a god worshipped by the Philistines. In early pre-Christian societies each nomadic tribe had a ruler or Ba’al. The Christian belief was in one God and all the Ba’al with their various viewpoints were designated as false prophets. This may not have been a bad thing as there was little consistency in the justice handed out by the various rulers over each tribe. It seems likely that the original word was actually Ba’al Zebul, meaning Lord of the Heavenly dwelling, and the corruption to Ba’al Zebub was a a derogatory pun (introduced by early Christians) to change the meaning to Lord of the Flies.
The Blues and Gospel music
With its origins in the Afro-American southern US states, blues music has been called the devil’s music. There are several reasons for this, and the linkage between over indulgence in alcohol and the music didn’t impress the Christian church who tried to turn their congregations to gospel music instead.
The moral of the story is to trace back terms to their roots, and if somebody tells you not to do something because it is evil or the work of the devil, find out why.