Luciferianism, like Satanism itself, has a multitude of forms; primarily being of a Traditionalist slant, and Modernist slant. What I am going to describe herein is primarily just a brief overview of the main differences between “Satanism” and “Luciferianism.” For more information, you’ll likely want to review the sections on Traditional Satanism and Modern Satanism, as they apply by and large to Luciferianism, as well.
Traditional Luciferianism believes in an actual entity or force which is called Lucifer…the mythos varies considerably, as with Traditional Satanism. Some consider Lucifer to be the Christian fallen angel; others, to be an elder God who pre-dates Christianity, etc. Generally the difference between Traditional Satanism and Traditional Luciferianism is one of semantics and character-emphasis: that is, Traditional Satanism tends to focus on the nature of Satan, including characteristics which are “pre-packaged” with the name, such as the connotations of darkness, of “evil,” and of anti-Christianity; whilst Traditional Luciferianism focuses on Lucifer, and the characteristics of knowledge, light, and “betterment” which come semantically bound with the name. This is not, of course, the only interpretation of “Lucifer.” Notably, the Children of the Black Rose seem to believe that Lucifer is the All of the universe, neither male nor female, neither good nor evil, everything and nothing all together.
Traditional Luciferian groups seem to be few and far between. The Church Lucifer (or Children of the Black Rose) seem to be a well-established and organized group, who claim a generational form of Satanism leading back several thousand years. They are allied with the First Church of Satan, which is also a Traditional Satanism organization. You can find more information on both in the Traditional Satanism section.
Modern Luciferianism, like the Symbolist stance of Modern Satanism takes a stance that Lucifer is depicted as a mythic figure or symbol which represents admirable qualities or characteristics. Primary among these characteristics are knowledge, independence, pride, and mastery of self. Lucifer is seen as the Light-bearer; the bringer of knowledge and truth. As a being of both fire (light) and air (wisdom), he is characterized by sunlight, wind, and fire. However, in acknowledgement of the dual nature of wisdom/knowledge, and the fact that it can be used for both “good” and “ill,” he is also represented, to a lesser degree, by the traditional “darkness” associated with Satanism. These qualities are viewed not only as admirable, but as highly desirable to achieve in one’s life. In effect, one wishes to “become Lucifer.”
This does not, however, entail worshipping the figure or doing obscure demonic rituals to empower oneself. It is more accurately described as a conscious effort of constant self-improvement through learning and effort. Small steps of self-betterment, as visible through an increase in material or emotional well-being: a promotion, a car, a new lover, a steady relationship, etc. Magick may or may not be used towards these ends; usually it is lesser magick (wish-magick) which is employed.
I believe it should be noted that, although it is true that most see Luciferianism as a “denomination” of Satanism, there are some who see the two as distinct religious pathways. I have even spoken to one Traditional Luciferian who is adamantly opposed to Satanism, and strongly dislikes the implication that Luciferianism and Satanism are one and the same. So although I do try my best to give accurate information, please keep in mind that not everyone will agree with me.
Image credit: Los Mininos