The Left Hand Path -- Discuss

#2
wow - ok... I will bite.

Based on so many unexplainable experiences, I began my personal search for explanation in my 20s. I am 58 now. During this search, I studied every kind of religion or thought system or study of consciousness that I could. I chose to discard bias with regards to what could be considered the unorthodox or "darker" religions/philosophies. This included everything "gnostic," and Paganism, and the darker ones... Satanism and Luciferianism. While studying the ones I just mentioned, I came across the term Left Hand Path often. Most of my research was centered upon the Gnostic materials.

One associate, Mark Pinkham, who is essentially a Gnostic one day made the distinction for me between RHP and LHP. He stated simply that Right Hand Path is where "the teacher" is from without (such as a dogmatic religion, the priesthood that usually informs the congregation as to what things mean, "holy writings" such as the Bible... anything external to the being). Whereas regarding the Left Hand Path, the teacher is within. Simple enough yet as I came to research more and more, I came upon much diversity and complexity depending on the source as to what these two terms mean.

Then I came upon a book written by Dr. Stephen E. Flowers entitled - Lords of the Left-Hand Path. Flowers explains what the two terms mean, the history of the two paths and how they came to be known by these terms... and then he examines all sorts of individuals and groups and looks at the movements that came about because of these individuals or groups and then determines (in his opinion) if each are proper representatives of RHP. The primary criteria seems to point to whether or not an external component is involved in the movement. He tells the reader early on that he is sympathetic to LHP and I appreciated his honesty. Yet soon into the book I came to the conclusion Dr. Flowers was to be taken seriously, that his work was scholarly and that he sourced his information well and made excellent arguments for his conclusions.

Having said all the above should not be construed by any reader that beyond the initial explanation of difference that was shared with me by Mark Pinkham that I adhere either way to LHP. I can say I clearly am repelled by anything RHP.

I have come to describe Gnostic and Neoplatonic thought as Left Hand Path Up... Paganism can range from LHP Up to straight LHP Out... Luciferianism can be anywhere Left (as there is "The Light" (meaning knowledge) Luciferianism and then there are the dark Luciferians who have no issues practicing black magic - and finally we get to Satanism which at its best is LHP Out but usually goes LHP Down.

I will make this statement which clearly excludes me from being a Satanist and has excluded me from being accepted into the Temple of Set (a Luciferian order). I do not have any desire to perform black magic in any form. I do not wish to impose my will in an indirect fashion where the beings which I might effect are not only not consciously aware of what I desire but that they aren't asked first. Having said that, I absolutely believe that we can effect the experiences of others not only by our words and deeds but also (and perhaps more so) by our own energetic emissions.

When an event occurs where I find myself experiencing an emotionally charged reaction, instead of using this energy in a way that may "impose my will," I focus the energy into the hands of what I metaphorically refer to as "The Wisdom of the Universe." Then I withdraw from forming my own desired outcomes. This took me many years to learn... to make a habit, but the results have been far more amazing than anything I could imagine within my finite scope of imagination. It is as if the Universe has a most profound wisdom that is founded by the best interests of all in mind as opposed to supporting the creation of outcomes desired by the strongest wills.

This is the last thing I will share in this post -

Dr. Flowers points out the importance of defining key words he uses in his book. The very first thing he defines is "the universe."

The universe is the totality of existence both known and unknown. This is a complex model, divided into at least two components, the objective universe and the subjective universe.
It is my opinion (though I only hold this as true for "me" and true for me "now") that there is nothing objective about any aspect of "the universe." When I read the book the first time, I suspended my opinion so as to attempt to explore his writings with as open a mind as possible. I am glad I did as there's many things he pointed out about LHP which are core tenants of my own preferred world view and the paradigms this world view suggests. Consistently Flowers points out the importance of personal responsibility. This one I completely agree with and in fact I take that statement all the way to every level of my being. The adoption of this view was the single most (positively) life changing view I have ever adopted.

OK... I bit.
 
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#4
I have come to describe Gnostic and Neoplatonic thought as Left Hand Path Up... Paganism can range from LHP Up to straight LHP Out... Luciferianism can be anywhere Left (as there is "The Light" (meaning knowledge) Luciferianism and then there are the dark Luciferians who have no issues practicing black magic - and finally we get to Satanism which at its best is LHP Out but usually goes LHP Down.

Wow. Thanks Sam. I had never considered the LHP as anything other than what mainstream Paganism often describes it as : the path of ego and black magic.

I'm open to your definition. It seems to be intriguing.
 
#6
That’s just not right ! ..;)

They say that It's likely when we say things like - 'you’re right' . ( we really mean right hand path ) .
Wonder if we used the expression 'you’re' left' (meaning wrong).
Well, we seem to associate right with a solar path, masculine energies, light and activity ie consciousness.
Whereas the left seems to indicate lunar powers, feminine energies, darkness and inner-directedness.
 
#8
What is the difference between a new age practitioner calling on the energy of some crystals and using the power of attraction and someone using magick and will? How do they relate to RHP and LHP?

I'm still trying to get a grasp on the distinction.
 
#9
What is the difference between a new age practitioner calling on the energy of some crystals and using the power of attraction and someone using magick and will? How do they relate to RHP and LHP?

I'm still trying to get a grasp on the distinction.
Well, again from a background of mainstream Paganism, the first would go under the "An' it harm none, do what thou will", while the second would be closer to Crowley's "Do what thou wilt be the whole of the law" I guess.
 
#10
Well, we seem to associate right with a solar path, masculine energies, light and activity ie consciousness.
Whereas the left seems to indicate lunar powers, feminine energies, darkness and inner-directedness.
This echoes my understandings as to the origination of the two terms and thus their original meanings. Clearly, you have done your homework.

What I have found when I have attempted to discuss this sensitive subject with folks who speak the English language is that many seem influenced by the word "right" where it appears they are subconsciously attracted to the word right as if this implies "correct." In Spanish we would distinguish these two with the terms "derecho" (as in "on my right side) and "correcto" (as in "correct"). When words have two distinct meanings... this often occurs.

If someone feels the synchromystical implication still suggests RHP as being the "correct path" I would ask as to what authority decides this? And this then returns us back to a more proper difference between the two paths. With RHP the authority is external...God or "a book" or the interpretations of a priest/priestesshood, etc., yet with LHP - the individual practitioner (and perhaps his "higher self" using metaphor) is one's only authority. You decide what is right for you and what is right for you to impose upon others. You are the one (and only one) responsible for what you choose in this regard. This is one of the positives I have incorporated into my own world view. This has made me a better person in the eyes of those who have encounters with me.

I don't do religion regardless of whether it be RHP oriented, LHP oriented or any other path orientation and I also irritate some folks because I sometimes change my mind which prevents others from placing me in a box.
 
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#11
Well, again from a background of mainstream Paganism, the first would go under the "An' it harm none, do what thou will", while the second would be closer to Crowley's "Do what thou wilt be the whole of the law" I guess.
It is interesting to note that some folks who have read The Book of the Law interpret Crowley's infamous quote far differently because they read, "Do as thou Wilt," within the greater context of his writing.

Crowley did not define Thelema as "one's will" (as in one's waking state, surface desires) - Thelema means "true will" as in "the will of one's most high self" with an implication that one's true will is divine. And in essence he further suggests that one's true will is ultimately the unification of the primary "opposites" - one's individual self and the Absolute (or universe).

Crowley has a reputation that (in my opinion) is undeserved and in fact if we consider the following statement... he may actually have as his own goal (and perhaps assumes this goal is for all) metaphorical self immolation -

It is therefor incumbent upon us, if we wish to make the final Yoga with the Absolute... to train ourselves in knowledge and power to the utmost; so that at the proper moment we may be in perfect condition to fling ourselves up into the furnace of ecstasy which flames from the abyss of annihilation.

If Crowley's view is that one's ultimate goal should be "self annihilation" then Crowley was an adherent to the Right Hand Path. Surprised? I sure was.

This is an example why we might take the personal responsibility to do our own deep research prior to drawing definitive conclusions. And why I also always remain ever open minded.
 
#12
What is the difference between a new age practitioner calling on the energy of some crystals and using the power of attraction and someone using magick and will? How do they relate to RHP and LHP?

I'm still trying to get a grasp on the distinction.
My opinion is only that... just my opinion.

I see any form of intentionally willed action where a specific result is sought as black magic regardless of using crystals or ritual and regardless of whether or not anyone considers the result of the magick to be "good" for another who might be effected by that magick. For me, the idea of 'white magick" is a delusion.

This is why I practice all and only what I call "Clear Magyck" ™ (haha)

No... I haven't bottled it and sold it (yet!) In fact... I already gave it away in post #2 above.
 
#13
Hey Sam.

I'll just point out that one possible sign of what you term the "Right Hand Path" might be a tendency to dichotomize everything. In other words if you are truly "Left Hand" you shouldn't get too attached to such dichotomies, as in assuming that Crowley's statement is "clearly" right-hand. Which way would Buddhism fall? The answer might depend on how a given individual (or school) approaches it-depend on what the Buddha said, or depend on what your immediate experiences are...
 
#14
When one considers the destination of RHP to be "self - annihilation" then Crowley's statement is clearly RHP. Note: I have taken the definitions of the two paths from Dr. Flower's work as mentioned above. Folks can take a term and define it any way they wish, but they would not have difficulty communicating.

Again... this is according to "Lords of the Left-Hand Path."

RHP leads to eventual self-annihilation. The primary goal of LHP is eternal individuation.

I do my own thing which at best is "left then up" and may end up with ego annihilation though I hope it takes eternity for this to happen.
 
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#15
I have been of two minds (natch) about that-self annihilation-in point of fact.

Ken Wilber talks about the ascending vs. descending paths-evolution vs. involution. Perhaps they align with the two paths that you describe?

I am personally not too crazy about pure ascent (which might be equated to the annihilation/RH path that you allude to)-as in abandon all appreciation of diversity-abandon the world-while you go and stare at your navel in a cave somewhere for the rest of your life? On the other hand (heh), my own consciousness appears to have evolved in some significant fashion over just my current lifetime...so how do you balance/reconcile the two?

The trick I seem to have pulled off is to ascend my own consciousness while simultaneously allowing it to "flow" into everything I perceive while also letting go of all attachments and graspings in the same moment(s).
 
#16
Based on my experiences of this lifetime (as I recall no others) and the opinions I currently hold (but may reject at any moment) to me... all of these types of discussions seem to require a context and in this thread, the context my posts have been generated from has come from the POV of a sympathetic to LHP view and definitions of the two terms based on one man's writings. This is clearly quite limited and is subjective (based especially on my sympathies). But I never would impose my views (nor the paradigms these views suggest) as to be "true" for anyone else. So for me to discuss this further, I am only interested in doing so within the context of the definitions and connotations presented by the narrow exposure I have had to these two terms.

Anyone who researches what is available on the internet will find great debate about these two terms... what they mean, etc. Some folks conclude that the destination of either path is the same and cite "eastern concepts" to support this view while at the same time point out that "the western view" has "gone off track."

The essence to all (for me) is "The Mystery" which seems impossible to put into words yet perhaps can be pointed to and perhaps as well... "known."

In the past I would find myself in debates regarding the question - Is life an illusion or is it real? One day I discovered (again... this is only my opinion which I only apply to myself)... that it is both!

Form... in and of itself is relative and thus certainly not absolute much less THE Absolute. Yet... when I drop that heavy rock on my toe... while I am bouncing up and down screaming "That freaking hurts..." it is very difficult to call this an illusion.

All my words were all and only meant to state... I cannot know how it is both despite that it feels like both and I have come to "know" (is this gnosis?) that it is both... again, stating this true only for myself.


Ohhh... and I have appreciated Ken Wilber and many of his writings as they stimulated me to "think" (contemplate... meditate) more for myself...
 
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