I recently came across a painting of "Mephistopheles" rendered by my partner's (Lana) Russian Grandfather Aluhin "Alexander" Lubimoff in 1913.
My partner told me her grandmother, Alexandra, would almost be obsessed (at times) in talking about the enigmatic Mephistopheles.
Mephistopheles has been written about in occult texts throughout history.
Mephistopheles or Mephisto (as he was known by many names), was a mysterious spirit who served dark powers.
Mephistopheles most noteworthy mention (outside of occult literature where he was considered a demonic spirit or a "Prince of Hell") is in the tragic story of Faust by Marlow and Goethe. Doctor Faustus is a mythic figure who sold his soul to devil in exchange for wealth and power.
In some versions of the Faustian legend, Mephisto appears to Dr Faustus and warns Faust against making his foolish pact with the Devil.
An alternative interpretation of Mephistopheles is that he is a misunderstood character. Lana commented that Mephisto seems to have a complex personality. She notes his kind eyes in the painting (Depending on one's perspective and subjective analysis of the artwork).
Spirits are sometimes known to "devolve" instead of evolve in order to attain greater wisdom. Other times, generous souls will play the role of "bad guy" for the benefit of others so that these spirits can have the opportunity to evolve in new ways. Of course, this sort of complex life experience is thought to be beneficial (in terms of personal growth and development) for both parties to the life contract or "karmic contract".
What follows is an alternative history for the shadowy figure known as Mephistopheles.
Mephistopheles actually started out in life as a human spirit (an innocent soul – as we all began). Mephisto was a "learned man" – a teacher, alchemist, and wizard.
As Mephisto grew older, he became corrupted by materialism and yearned for greater worldly power. He studied dark magic and spirit conjuring in an effort to summon spirits who could increase his personal influence and ambitions in the world.
Eventually, he came to serve dark masters.
When Mephisto crossed over into the afterworld, his contorted features took on the appearance of his inner nature (what he had become).
In time, Mephistopheles came to regret his ill-fated decision to serve the forces of darkness.
Mephisto, being a powerful sorcerer, was able to convince the Higher Councils who oversee the Divine Plan to grant him a rescission from his contact with the Devil.
Being a free spirit, Mesphisto appears to those seeking to make pacts with nefarious spirits. He acts as a spirit guide who advises those seduced by illusion of materialism to turn away from the dark path, lest they become indentured servants of predatory entities.
There's a sense that Mephistopheles has "been there and done that", so he holds special knowledge in having experienced both the dark and light. This puts him in the unique position of being able to guide others who have been led astray by parasitic spirits, or those who are misinformed about the nature of such beings (by what they may have been told about them).