In the past few days I’ve seen a lot of conversations and crossfire on here, about why people identify with the LHP, why LHP people don’t like RHP people (and, of course, vice-versa), so I wanted to put some definitions up here, because I think a lot of the time people are talking at cross-purposes, or simply not understanding what a person like me means when we say we embrace the LHP & actively, passionately, shun the RHP.
This isn’t to lay down the law as to what people can mean when they say LHP, or anything like that - it simply seems more constructive for me to start a new topic about a definition I use, and which I think a lot of other people use, rather than diving in piecemeal to other people’s threads.
Enough exposition - to the topic:
Some people posting here, and elsewhere, have used the term LHP to mean doing only workings that harm others in some way, or only working with darker entities, such as those classified as demons.
The term Left-Hand Path originated from translations of an Indian concept, and I’ll quote some Wikipedia on this:
Vāmācāra is a Sanskrit term meaning "left-handed attainment" and is synonymous with Left-Hand Path or Left-path (Sanskrit: Vāmamārga). It is used to describe a particular mode of worship or spiritual practice (Sanskrit: sadhana) that is not only heterodox (Sanskrit: Nāstika) to standard Vedic injunction, but extreme in comparison to prevailing cultural norms. These practices are often generally considered to be Tantric in orientation. The converse term to Vamacara is Dakshinachara (glossed "Right-Hand Path") which is used to refer not only to orthodox (Āstika) sects but to modes of spirituality that engage in spiritual practices that not only accord with Vedic injunction but are generally agreeable to prevailing cultural norms. [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-hand_path_and_right-hand_path]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-hand_path_and_right-hand_path[/url]
As you can see, although the Indian path of “left-handed attainment” takes a different route, its ultimate aim is the same as the Dakshinachara orthodox method, and both exist and are practiced with the aim of acknowledging external moral and behavioural strictures (albeit, in Vāmācāra, by inverting or disobeying them), and both have the aim of attaining either a heavenly state with Vishnu (in Vaishnavite Hinduism) or complete merger to Parasiva/Parasakti, or Buddhahood, etc.
The descriptions and concepts vary slightly, but the end goal of Vāmācāra & Dakshinachara as usually practiced, by the majority of adherents, is one and the same.
And this is the linguistic and conceptual origin from which the modern day terms of Left-Hand Path and Right-Hand Path have arisen - but they’ve taken a different route on terms of the desired end goal.
This is important, and (I believe) the key to why this kind of discussion ends up gettling muddled a lot of the time.
The modern meaning that Left-Hand Path has come to mean, is well defined by this extract from Stephen Flowers’ excellent book, “Lord Of The Left-Hand Path”:
Essentially, the left-hand path is the path of non-union with the objective universe. It is the way of isolating consciousness within the subjective universe and, in a state of self-imposed psychic solitude, refining the soul or psyche to ever more perfect levels. The objective universe is then made to harmonize itself with the will of the individual psyche rather than the other way around. Where the right-hand path is [i]theocentric[/i] (or certainly alleocentric: "other centred"), the left-hand path is [i]psychecentric[/i], or soul/self-centred. Those within the left-hand path may argue over the nature of this self/ego/soul, but the idea that the individual is the epicentre of the path itself seems undisputed. An eternal seperation of the individual intelligence from the objective universe is sought in the left-hand path. This amounts to an immortality of the independent self-consciousness moving within the objective universe, and interacting with it at will.
With this definition explained (I hope) adequately, I personally cannot discover any meaningful common ground between the RHP & LHP, even though there may be superficial similarities.
For example, in the RHP, you MUST comply with specific moral, or at least behavioural, criteria laid down by an EXTERNAL moral authority, be it God, Parasiva/Parasakti, karma, traditional taboos, “the highest good of all” or whatever.
This model also holds that the human soul is (variously) fallen, incomplete, in dire need of evolution, or simply impure and wrongfully attached to the world of the flesh.
And that the adherent’s primary aspiration must be to comply with the guidelines given, in order to become saved, whole, pure, and detached from worldly concerns.
In the LHP, you have no moral or behavioural constraints, no outside “judge” awarding you a desired spiritual state (whether after death or beforehand) such as enlightenment, heaven, or Nirvana, and there’s no other state to aspire to except that which you desire for yourself, although for many of us who’ve bothered going this far, that will amount to becoming the primary creative force in our own spacetime perception (universe, reality, call it what you will).
With - let me repeat this before anyone says, “But dear silly Eva, we all create our own reality anyway” - no moral or behavioural strictures whatsoever.
How these two things can be alike - how there can be a “middle path” that has a bit of both, honestly escapes me, since the whole idea of RHP is to evolve spiritually along a path determined by external laws and rules, whereas the whole idea of the LHP is to dispense with these.
This, I suspect, is why a lot of LHP folks talk about the “acausal” so much - moral and behavioural strictures are predicated upon the idea that if you do A., B. will happen - a chain of cause and effect as taught under the excellent Kybalion, a guide for all operations in the causal, material/manifest, and low-magickal realms.
These various laws, including laws like gravity, exist in the nursery school environment we inherited where man looked UP to his gods to be told how to avoid pain and death for himself, and it is the natural outcome of LHP empowerment that we begin to overturn those rules, creating our own in some situations, or merely leaving a blank slate in others.
For my own personal LHP exploration, in place of prohibiting ethics, I have values - positive things that I can aspire to, so my value of “I like animals” may equally extend to going out even though I have flu, to walk my dog - or, equally, sending an excrutiating death curse against someone who I know was cruel to their own dog.
Try parsing that under “LHP values” and it works just fine - try rationalising it under “RHP ethics” and you’re in a world of moral compromises and equivocations.
And such has always been the case, when people have tried to honour their values, whilst having to pay lip service to ethical guidelines.
I believe this is because we live in a universe of desire - of desire for more life, more love, more going-towards of all the things we treasure, and that the atrophied dead claws of RHP prohibition and externally-imposed restraint are, at their core, anti-life - as can be seen in their practices of hating women, hating sex, and forbidding exploration of any kind that may threaten their dogma.
People are currently calling Islamic State/ISIL/Daesh a “death cult” - but really, ANY dogma that hallows celibacy, hates sexual freedoms (updated 2019 comment here on this), and pins a lot of your hopes of happiness on an afterlife is a Death Cult - so hello, Christainity, Hinduism, and Buddhism!
One major difference betweern RHP & LHP, and the one that causes the most problems for people on here discussing practical magick, practical “changing reality to comply with will” (and why preaching RHP dogma is prohbited) is that most RHP belief, whether in karma, God’s judgement, the “need” to be “saved,” or simply the belief that magick must only be done “for the highest good of all” - this last one being most common in so-called “white” magick - has constraints, laws, rules, and check-points.
The problem is, that certain people then become imbued with the certainty that, because they follow God’s will (or whatever external moral authority they honour), they are acting as agents of that higher moral or behavioural force, which time and again has resulted in atrocities - pogroms, wars, oppression of women, homosexuals, and magicians, jihads, and terrorism.
That people will act in new and inhumane ways when they feel the have the sanction of authority was demonstrated in both the Milgram experiment, which was duplicated with similar results on several different occasions, and also the Stanford Prisonexperiment.
Furthermore, no legitimate research has been done to disprove the hypothesis that people will act with unexpected cruelty and inhumanity when they believe they have an authority sanctioning their behaviour.
And, what higher authority can there be, than God,“the highest good” - or whatever external force the individual uses and allows to dictate their life?
The Left-Hand Path, as defined in this post, completely lacks the moral imperative to FORCE others to believe as you do or suffer the consequences, which is a very important aspect - I won’t think less of anyone who thinks this post is a load of waffle, whereas, a believer usually HAS to have people see things their way.
And the LHP I described also lacks the ability to set atrocities in motion, and then to “pass the buck” and claim that we only burned these thousands of people alive because it was written in a book, we only beat our children and wives because we’re told to do so, etc.
We retain 100% of the responsibility for our acts, there is No higher authority.
Seriously, what’s a Left-Hand Path suicide bomber going to do - privately and quietly blow himself up, because he wasn’t quite sure he believed he was the god of his own creation?!
The Left-Hand Path is the answer to the dogmatic sickness that has corrupted our times, and our nations.
But, sure, if you want to use any other cludged together definition of LHP & RHP, you’ll find overlaps, paradoxes, and seeming inconsistancies where people may appear to have not thought things through properly!
Meanwhile, the modern day definiton as used by Flowers, and anyone else for whom it relates to the desired overall destination of the soul, no - there are none.
I hope that helps clarify some things - obviously, people are free to use words how they choose, but I think that conflating “LHP” with “baneful magick”/“only works with demons”/“must become harder, crueller or more selfish” is at best, misguided and at worse, playing into the morality traps that comprise most RHP-oriented thought.