A bit random perhaps but I suggest anyone who has some relevant experience on the left hand path, the right hand path and the somewhat illusory middle path to check this book out. I got it on a whim not expecting much but am blown away by the intricate information and mature perspective it offers. It’s definitely not for everyone since it goes pretty deep into certain concepts without explaining them from a stupid-simple perspective yet I still feel I owe you guys a heads-up on this.
Who wrote the book?
Stephen Flowers, who also wrote the excellent book Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris which has a translation of the original spell that became the “Bornless/Headless” rite, and a bunch of other awesomeness.
He’s very scholarly and into his languages, and the book Lords Of The LHP is very well-researched, it helped me get my ideas on the matter into a sharper focus.
Eva said it all I think you’d enjoy it 1Gza.
I just started reading it… again I do find the harsh dichotomies between left and right “hands” a bit childish. I mean even being raised a Jew, ego annihilation was never considered a part of that ideal at all, in no way, shape, or form. Granted, it’s become a modern Western interpretation, but I do feel that Westerners are not willing to admit that we are historically behind many other cultures with our popular magicks. That’s not to say that there aren’t some really old, deep magicks in Europe and the Americas, it’s just that they aren’t in the Western paradigm on a publicly known basis. So when I hear someone talk about Buddhism or even Abrahamic spirituality, and they don’t understand that the Torah is a book of elemental and arcane magick (which would be EXTREMELY hard to tap into without knowledge and fluidity of ancient Hebrew), or that Buddhism is filled with a ridiculously large amount of shamanic, power-hungry work… I don’t know. Either way, I might read it more, but opening up that book with such a recycled and honestly narrow view of magick… just my opinion anyway.
What he’s doing is trying to define the difference by stating what the logical outcomes or core goals of different paths are, rather than lay out a rule where anyone must comply with all the different definitions, and at all times, in order to consider themselves LHP, RHP, or whatever.
Ego annihilation is one aspect of some RHP philosophies, another is the need to follow the laws of a God (which is applicable to Judaism) or other concept external to yourself, and that often extends into believing that the entire destiny of your soul is dictated by how well you follow those rules.
As far as I know, languages being Flowers’ main thing, he will have read any and all source texts before commenting on them, but maybe if you explore the book a bit more his definitions will make sense even if you decide they don’t have meaning or relevance for you.
This book is about black magic and its story and connections and similar things, without any spells and rituals, or is a grimoire with a lot of history and background behind it?
There’s no spells or practical magickal stuff at all in this one, it’s a discourse about the philosophy behind the LHP, here’s a snippet that might sum it up a bit:
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.
That’s his core definition, the rest looks at Eastern traditions, the roots and history of western trad., LaVey’s “satanic cosmology,” the occult revival, and then he ends by enthusing about his personal Temple Of Set stuff, but you can tune that out and not lose the main essence of the book.
He takes a few broadsides at the RHP throughout the book, but all based in his interpretation of the perils of assigning complete authority to external moralities, and the way that tends to lead to wars, jihads, and witch-hunts, etc.
I knew this was his definition from reading the first few pages, hence why I wasn’t too keen on reading it. I mean, it’s probably a definition that has be referred to at least a few thousand times, and it’s pretty damned biased. But hey, as long as folks get something from reading it, who cares?
Haven’t continued reading due to some other things being of interest, so I can’t really say too much on the subject in depth. Just really liked the opening of the book and how well the author can get his ideas across.
Out of curiosity: what’s your idea of a left hand path the1Gza? I personally feel that the dichotomy is essential to achieve the highest acceleration possible, I view it not at all childish to distinct between the two exclusively (what people cook up with the concept of left versus right is often ridiculous and underdeveloped though). I’m not entirely sure what I think about the “grey” path, it feels to much like eating what you’re offered without scrutinizing the value of the endeavor. It seems to me a staging ground for those who have yet to decide, but perhaps I’m boxing in too much now
I feel like the dichotomy brings up delineations that, at some point, you have to get rid of when you are in magick. I mean, with RHP, the whole idea that is touted is that people surrender to some sort of God force. That might sound theoretically possible, but as a magician, that very choice is heavily inspired in rebellion. You can dress it up in surrender ideals, but true surrender to “God”… wouldn’t that mean that you took your place with what you had, and didn’t try to force a change? Even the active pursuit of surrender is counter to surrendering… does that make sense.
Things like annihilating the ego… I mean, when you listen to it, doesn’t it sound like the most egotistical thing to say. “I’m gonna rise so far above the human condition that I’m going to annihilate my own individual consciousness”… that’s terribly egotistical.
Inasmuch, many LHP practices, one of which is possession, is based on the idea of surrender. While you may not completely annihilate you identity, you are pretty much letting another entity take the wheel and operate for you. If you can’t surrender those reigns, you can get royally fucked up, and yet possession is considered and LHP practice. Don’t get me wrong, it happens in RHP, too, but it isn’t nearly as popular as it is with LHP.
As LHP evokers, we also petition and leave entities to work in our lives as “otherworldly” forces. They are often viewed as having power that we do “not” have, and that is their appeal. So despite evocation being used very much so as an “other-centred” practice, it is still heavily touted as an LHP essential. Not to mention that to evoke, you have to “surrender” your perception for a more expansive one.
So for me, the dichotomies just honestly dissolve as soon as you get into practice. That’s why for me, magick is magick, and whatever you choose to do with it is up to you. LHP, RHP, PCP… just terms that folks use for whatever reason. I mean, if it works for a person, go ahead. I’m just saying that it isn’t essential or even expansive at it’s root, let alone a dichotomy that proves universal.
Possession as I see it is a means to an end: you have $20,000,000 and you want a waterfront condo, but after laying down your specs (en suite for every bedroom, number of balconies etc.) you hand the execution and - this is the relevant part - use of your money (power/ability to act in this world, which, in possession, that’s your mind and body) over to an architect and master builders, because you know what you want, but they know the how and the why of various practical things, and also the shortcuts to get it for you.
It’s still your house you designed and it can’t happen without you, and, you get to enjoy it without needing to let them all move in and have equal shares in the outcome, they just do the mind-power stuff and the labouring because they know what works far better.
But you still hold the reins and benefit in the end from their hard work, as opposed to say devoting your life to Christ and denying yourself everything except necessities because it truly matters more to you that his values (as you understand them) are served than your own.
When I did partial possession by Azi Dahaka the idea was I’d explained my goals and he took me as far along them as possible, so I guess in some ways it’s also like being a hitch-hiker on the current the demon/god/entity is already travelling, because you get to go further with them at the wheel, but it’s your destination that you retain, and not theirs nor one they dictate for you without your input.
Obviously some possessions can go wrong or some people get influenced, sometimes maybe even to their detriment, but that’s the basic concept as I see it, it’s like slip-streaming someone because they’re going where you want to be, and not following them wherever they choose, in service.
I think I view the whole left or right thing slightly different. For me the basis of the whole question lies in the method of ascent.
I won’t bore you with my ideas that in the end everything is left hand path and that the right hand path is a deception trying to maintain a sinking ship as long as it can, I’ll just focus on the dichotomy as I see it. For me it feels more like the experience we are having as beings, whether you consider us human or immortal spirit, seems to be based in trying to keep us eternally tied to action of a specific intent: to keep you from breaking with the idea of being connected. I’ve traveled to many planes and always found the same design, wherever I went tried to root my attention entirely. There were always masters or teachers or beings to speak to but they always wanted to express their perspective, and if you understand energy you know what that means. What happens when the disillusioned God realizes he is NOT connected to all by some divine design within himself but by acceptance alone? When he concludes that in theory he only needs to connect to external elements when it is satisfactory or useful?
Perhaps a bit of a recap from the time where I used DMT to soul travel will illustrate what I mean (and yes, it is a personal experience and in essence applies only to those it resonates with):
As I started developing a working relationship with my higher self and later explored certain planes and states of awareness I kept seeing the same thing, either you align with creation and ascend within that design or you are a direct threat to the entire matrix construction.
My experience reached a crescendo when I had attained the necessary ability to control my DMT journeys to pierce certain barriers. One session I was immediately scooped up by what I would call highly developed beings of light, benevolent and understanding and free from many of the restrictions we endure. I was shown a great cosmic body, entangled in a myriad of issues due to its lack of harmony. It was partially kept in slumber as not to deal with the suffering that was going on in certain levels of its being. We traversed tunnels and I was intrigued at the depth one could explore such a consciousness in, it consisted of worlds within worlds all with their own inhabitants, all of them different and unique yet with the same overlaying themes dictating their experience. As above so below - a true cosmos upon itself.
I was amazed and when asked if I wished to aid I quickly agreed, for I considered the being I had explored to be myself, or at the very least the template of the reality I experience in this life.
Back to my normal self I was confused, really confused. Deep down I knew the cost for working with this concept would be all inclusive, it would be my life, the life beyond this life and ever onward until the puzzle was cracked and all of the being and thus all life it composed of was enlightened. This idea burdened me.
At first I thought it was my ego that was in the way, that I was selfish and perhaps even foolish for wishing to remain in this state of illusion.Was the aiding of this complex not the inevitable outcome? If so why wait? After a few weeks of doubt and conflict my higher self came in during a transcendental meditation and finally explained, in excessive detail, that I need not do this unless I wanted to. My doubt was not ego fearing existence but rooted much higher up. There was there no notion of left and right or anything in the middle for me then, there was only me exploring the desire of the entire being versus the ego self. I was relieved, and thought that if I could follow my bliss and do whatever I desired I could perhaps take a half-way approach, aid the being but also use the teachings of the higher developed guides I met there to change the quality of my physical life. Both would benefit.
What happened next shocked me. I went back towards these beings and explained my intent, after all, they were so understanding and benevolent, they would surely agree I mused. You must understand that on such planes words are not needed, information flows more freely through channels I can’t explain very well here, it is beyond the idea of telepathy. I could feel they considered me tainted. They pressed the matter once more, and were persuasive, yet I had been trained to always consult the higher mind when in true doubt. I did and it was a no-go. I was cast out, always welcome to return, but never in the state I was in. There was no more teaching, no gifts, no healing. Nothing. Come back when you are compatible or not.
Not too long after I stopped using DMT, not because of that experience but because the journeys became so all-encompassing I was afraid they’d become my life, this one disappearing entirely in some journeys. As a way to cope I turned to dreaming and asked my higher self to bring me a guide to explain this schism in mentality which kept haunting me during waking and nighttime hours, everything seemed at it’s core to be “get with the program or drown in your own puddle of rot” wherever I had traveled during those journeys. Long story short, the guide manifested and was terrifying and loving and enlightening at the same time. It explained me many things on the ideas of left and right hand (which are of course the human interpretations of complex cosmic currents).
From that point it was for me clear: the middle path is a staging ground that can take you only so far. After that you have to choose. Honor creation as it is or reject it entirely and create your own. If you choose to compromise you cannot transcend grey you are stuck - you are neither the God who can create his own empire nor the ally of creation who transcends in alignment with the whole. There’s nothing wrong with not picking a side, as you can take all the time in the world to explore what you are and where your heart lies, but eventually progress is stunted and there is a choice to make. Are you God alone or are we God all together? Only through action can you become, grey is not action after a certain point. Do you ascend alone and consider the entire universe an illusion that you can bend to your every desire or is it to be honored as a living expression of the divine infinite?
That to me is the core of the question left and right. The exclusiveness does not dissolve for me, it becomes greater as I progress. There is no right answer as I see it, since in my deluded mind you end up eventually understanding you are the entirety of it all along. So I like to view the left and right hand paths as methods of ascent - do you find pleasure exploring the journey via the micro-cosmos or the macro-cosmos?
Bit long, hope it is of some use (or at the very least entertaining haha).
Well, for me magick is magick. The terms, ideals, and even philosophies, while useful at times, haven’t really proven universally different from one another. Again, I can say that RHP definitely alludes to what you have mentioned as LHP here Yuri at it’s very core. If you are “One” with infinity, then you got no limits. Now if folks dress up infinity as some God with an agenda… that’s up to them. However, at the core of that idea, there is some infinite Unity, and due to that, we got that all to utilize. It would also mean that there is honestly nothing we can do wrong, because we are that. You can’t take infinity as say, “Oh hey, I am a piece of infinity.” How can you break that apart… it wouldn’t make any real sense.
The problem in addressing the infinite, however, is that you will never be able rationalize it with current human perception. To ask a question as to whether you are “God alone” or “God altogether” is the ultimate paradoxical question if you are working with that. With RHP, if you say you are God, you cannot keep it in the context of religious paradigms where things seemingly tell you to consign your fate to an All-Father or all-Mother entity who takes care of you. You have to take responsibility for your own shit, and you can’t put it on any being or force as to why you have a certain hardship.
On the flipside, from the LHP POV, the idea of Union or “God altogether” is threatening because one cannot reconcile that they can exist in unison while maintaining complete sovereignty. The way we are integrated into the world, unification means several sorts of compromises, sacrifices, and limits to what someone can or cannot do. You can’t be all-powerful because you would need to “share” with those in Unity with you, or you would have to worry about someone trying to take you out for your power… Any number of things.
However, when dealing with Infinity reality potential, none of that would hold any more universal importance than Santa Claus. The fact that it holds weight with this human race is not only something that is relative to people, but doesn’t even hold weight for the entire human race. I do believe that there needs to be a definitive separation from the current reality-paradigm, as it simply will not do for my magical goals. But I find no threat to any sort of infinite connection modality, because it binds me to absolutely no rules in an absolute sense. Who would I surrender to but myself, even if I don’t know that aspect or permutation of myself yet?
So whether or not LHP is a Union-based ideal, and whether or not RHP addresses it or not, both paths leave you with the same potentiality: You are a Creator with unlimited capacity to experience reality in whatever fashion you want. If you want to create an new One, either way both paths leave you with that potential. And while this definition of LHP would make it appear to be more honest, I would still argue that many of the RHP practices are other-based. Evocation, for many LHPers, is all about not only gaining a power you don’t feel you got, but also relying on that entity to do it. Of course it’s your intent that they got out and achieve, but the so-called RHP religions utilize prayer in the same fashion. “Oh Jesus, please save me from the bill collectors”… one may not be as effective as the other, but the core practice is the same. Commission some “other” force to take care of something you “can’t” do.
But it doesn’t matter at the end of the day what you believe if it works. If you believe in the Art of 20 Belches, and manifest $20,000,000 at the drop of a hat, well then no one can call that stupid. I’ll leave it at that, because I will probably just blabber another not-so-different way of repeating the same thoughts. Peace!