Though I have never previously worked with him, Azazel has been on my mind lately. I’ve even begun to invite him into my practice a little here and there so I have been going back through the textual sources of him to try and gain a better understanding. He is broad and varied, and could take up multiple posts to really analyze, but one thing that stuck out to me is a parallel I see between Azazel in the Day of Atonement ritual of Judaism, outlined in Leviticus 16, and Cain’s tale in Genesis 4.
To quickly paraphrase Leviticus, there are two goats brought forth. Lots are cast so that one goat is for “god” (YHWH/Jehova) and the other is for Azazel. The goat for YHWH is killed as a sacrifice, whereas the goat for Azazel survives. The priest places all the blame of the communities’ sins onto it, making it a literal scapegoat, then it is lead into the wilderness and released.
This calls to mind Cain, who was marked and cast off to wander the wilderness east of Eden. In this tale, Abel is beloved of the Hebrew god, he is the favored son as it were, and he is slain by his brother. When this transgression is discovered, YHWH does not kill Cain, but rather marks him so that none shall kill him, and then sends Cain away bearing his sin. It is almost as if Abel is filling the shoes of the goat for YHWH and Cain is filling the shoes (hooves?) of the goat for Azazel.
I don’t see any direct connections between these two characters though. Cain and Abel are hardly the first tale of feuding brothers, and purely a mythical story, whereas the Day of Atonement is still a literal holiday in modern Judaism. From a Left Hand Path perspective, the archetypes of Cain and Azazel embody similar traits however.
In Islamic mythology Azazel (Iblis) is a djinn. He is first born of smokeless fire, and is the one called Shaytan/Shaitan/Satan; the one who refused gods command to bow to Adam. Whether he is a scapegoat or djinn, Azazel seems to have no problem standing his ground in contrast with god. And it’s this trait which I also see echoed in Cain’s tale. When confronted by god regarding Abel’s disappearance he spits back “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Both Azazel and Cain seem to represent strength, independence, and opposition to the ways of the Judeo “god” and so I’m finding both to be potent archetypes of the very essence of Satanism.