Parallels between Azazel and Cain

 

AzazelSigil5
Sigil of Azazel

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.

Azazel
Azazel – Dictionnaire Infernal (Paris,1825).

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.

cain_abel_grt
Cain and Abel – Tintoretto

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.

10 thoughts on “Parallels between Azazel and Cain

  1. Ita Hekima

    Independence and freedom are the two words I pulled from this post. Freedom from religion, rule, judgment, someone else’s morals being placed on you. Being in the wilderness starts your journey to finding your truth.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. For some reason I am currently thinking of Cain as someone who was angry at YHWH for favoring Abel for sacrificing animals instead of offering fruits and vegetables, and decided he wanted nothing to do with YHWH, and perhaps decided that killing Abel was the way to express his rebellion against YHWH, combined with his general anger and perhaps sibiling envy. And his being marked, cursed, and made to bear his “sin”, it seems like Cain had become a man permanently affixed to his path, and the memory of killing his brother, by his actions and by YHWH responding to his actions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting perspective. It does seem that in all the variations of this myth, Cain really wanted nothing to do with YHWH. I agree with you about him becoming permanently affixed to his path. His killing of Abel was essentially the first apostasy of the bible and it’s almost like it began his own personal initiation of sorts.

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      1. I’m not sure if Cain was entirely happy about it, maybe he had doubts. At any rate I doubt Cain had the same bloody psychopathic glee that much of the world paints him as having.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree, I don’t see him as some bloodthirsty murderer either. At least not anymore. I’ll admit, that reputation did make me a little hesitant to work with him in the first place. But I don’t get that vibe at all.

        I hadn’t given much thought to him having doubts, but you’re right, it would certainly be possible. I can’t imagine anyone not having some doubts in such a situation.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It definitely seems weird to work with someone who was a murderer. Not like someone who slays monsters or kills an evil tyrant but a murderer. And you can’t make an entirely convincing argument that Abel deserved to die either. So that definitely sends weird vibes.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well, I view the Cain and Abel tale as a myth, so I don’t feel like I’m necessarily calling up the ghost of a murderer or anything. I assume the story is symbolic, as most myths are. I mean, in the Egyptian myths Set killed his brother Osiris (who also was not a tyrant), but I don’t often see Setians catching flak for working with a murderer. However with that said, I still don’t claim to know what Abel is meant to represent, and in the Genesis tale, no he doesn’t appear to be personally deserving of his death.

        I’ve seen a few theories regarding what Cain might represent. I think it was the book Masks of Misrule (though I could be wrong on that, I’ll have to check) which proposed that Cain was essentially the archetype of the Green Man implanted into the Christian myths. I can certainly see the correlations, with him being the first tiller of the earth and all that. I find myself leaning toward this theory lately, but like I said, that still doesn’t tell me what Abel represents or why he was slain. If I had to guess, I’d say maybe Abel represents the churches of YHWH and their dogma, but that’s purely a guess.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Eve named Cain after the word “qanah,” which means “to possess.” She said “I have been given a son to possess,” upon his birth, so one of the meanings of the name Qayin is “possession.” When Qayin said “am I my brother’s keeper?” he was making a pun about being a possession.
    Apocryphal myth gives Cain the names “Diaphotos” [Enlightened One] and Adiaphotos [Without Light]. He takes up the name “Mahan” to signify his self-determination.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was unaware of these linguistic associations with Qayin. I can certainly see how they all perfectly apply to Him though, which is a bit stunning actually. This gives me some new perspectives to consider Him through. Thank you for posting this. I love having new info to mull over.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Have you looked into or worked with Qalmana/Luluwa, Qayin’s sister in Satanic myth? She only recently started becoming relevant in Satanic literature, but now the Lilin Society, the 218 Current, and Michael W. Ford have all written about her.

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