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Thread: Right and Left handed paths

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    Right and Left handed paths

    I am wondering what people think of these paths and which do you follow and if anyone can explain it. Are there certain religions in which if you follow it, you automatically follow a certain path? Can you be a Christian and follow the left handed path and be a Luciferian and follow the right handed path? Also I personally follow the right handed path more. Mostly because I recognize higher powers but also because I don't see many good things about the left handed path. This could be my experience, but almost all of the left handed path I have met and known are usually unethical, arrogant and a bit selfish, wanting things for their own personal gain. I am wondering if anyone can enlighten me on this subject.

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    Re: Right and Left handed paths

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist
    I am wondering what people think of these paths and which do you follow and if anyone can explain it.
    I wrote a rather lengthy essay on the topic of Right and Left Hand Paths in which I go into much further detail, but I will give my thoughts on the matter here.

    There are essentially three primary definitions of "Left Hand Paths". I will do my best to explain:

    1. The "popular" and most common definition for a Left Hand Path is any path in which the following criteria are met:


    • The important of the Self and personal power are forefront in ideology.
    • There is little to no reservation regarding the use of offensive magick or magick that some consider to be "negative" (i.e., cursing, hexing, binding, etc.)
    • Personal gain and gratification is often prioritised over indiscriminate altruism
    • "Immortality" is sometimes sought by means of either achieving notoriety, fame or a meaningful legacy or through various advanced disciplines supposed "lasting spiritual consciousness" in which one desires to be aware of one's own death occurring and to be aware of one's own reincarnation by retaining the memory of one's past life or lives
    • The practitioner rejects "union with the Divine" or the merging of the spiritual essence with the "Source" after death


    2. A Left Hand Path may refer to Vedic interpretations and Indian-inspired traditions that may be considered profoundly divergent from common practice. The term for these variations is vamacara.

    3. The Left Hand Path is sometimes interpreted, in a Qabbalistic sense, to be those paths and practices aligned with Boaz, the Pillar of Severity as opposed to those (Right Hand Paths) aligned with Jachin, the Pillar of Mercy.

    Or, an alternate indication which most assume of the term is that Left Hand Paths include "darker" traditions such as Satanism, Luciferianism, etc. whereas a generic indication for Right Hand Paths is that they include "white light" paths such as Wicca, etc.

    I follow a Left Hand Path in regards to my first and third definitions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist
    Are there certain religions in which if you follow it, you automatically follow a certain path?
    Not in actuality due to the fact that the terms "Left Hand Path" and "Right Hand Path" do not have one singular definition, as I have explained above. But, if one is assuming that "Left Hand Paths" include the paths of Luciferianism, Satanism and Demonolatry, for instance, one could then claim that anyone practicing any of those paths would be classified as following a Left Hand Path.

    But, no - you do not "automatically" become classified as either as the definitions of what constitutes a Right or Left Hand Path vary.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist
    Can you be a Christian and follow the left handed path and be a Luciferian and follow the right handed path?
    This would depend, again, on which definition(s) you are applying to a Left Hand Path or a Right Hand Path. I will illustrate interpretations of your scenario within the context of my above definitions:

    Definition #1:

    The "popular" and most common definition for a Left Hand Path is any path in which the following criteria are met:


    • The important of the Self and personal power are forefront in ideology.
    • There is little to no reservation regarding the use of offensive magick or magick that some consider to be "negative" (i.e., cursing, hexing, binding, etc.)
    • Personal gain and gratification is often prioritised over indiscriminate altruism
    • "Immortality" is sometimes sought by means of either achieving notoriety, fame or a meaningful legacy or through various advanced disciplines supposed "lasting spiritual consciousness" in which one desires to be aware of one's own death occurring and to be aware of one's own reincarnation by retaining the memory of one's past life or lives
    • The practitioner rejects "union with the Divine" or the merging of the spiritual essence with the "Source" after death
    A traditional Christian would not likely (deliberately) align themselves with any of the aforementioned criteria. In this example, I would be compelled to say that one would not be able to operate as a traditional Christian and follow a Left Hand Path.

    Definition #2:

    A Left Hand Path may refer to Vedic interpretations and Indian-inspired traditions that may be considered profoundly divergent from common practice. The term for these variations is vamacara.
    This depends entirely upon to what degree the Christian in question holds to his or her Christian traditions and what role(s) the aforementioned practices play in his or her lifestyle or spiritual existence. There are many, many variations of these practices and it would be well beyond the scope of this post to contrast Christian belief with each of them.

    Definition #3:

    The Left Hand Path is sometimes interpreted, in a Qabbalistic sense, to be those paths and practices aligned with Boaz, the Pillar of Severity as opposed to those (Right Hand Paths) aligned with Jachin, the Pillar of Mercy.
    This concept can become rather complex.

    When people think of the Pillar of Severity, they first associate it with "evil" and Chaos and this simply is not the case. While these concepts can be aspects of Boaz, they do not define it. Boaz encompasses the Sephiroth of Binah, Geburah and Hod. It is primarily feminine, which may seem to contradict the masculine energy of Christianity - but that isn't to say that a Christian can't align themselves with the virtues of Boaz. Again, this is well beyond the scope of this post - but if you are at all familiar with the essences of Binah, Geburah and Hod then you will understand that being aligned with the Pillar of Severity is not to be simplified and reduced to "that which destroys or is utterly wicked". So in this case, I would say that it is possible for a Christian to be aligned with a Left Hand Path inclination.

    Regarding the opposite and whether or not a Luciferian or a Satanist can be aligned with a Right Hand Path - again, you would need to define "Right Hand Path" and deduct from that definition whether or not the ideals and cosmologies of those particular paths mesh with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist
    Also I personally follow the right handed path more. Mostly because I recognize higher powers but also because I don't see many good things about the left handed path.
    I'm curious as to why you feel that "recognising higher powers" is more accurately associated with Right Hand Paths and in what context? Certainly, you are free to interpret either Path as you like, but I assure you that there are good things about Left Hand Paths. Again, how you define it will dictate your perceptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist
    This could be my experience, but almost all of the left handed path I have met and known are usually unethical, arrogant and a bit selfish, wanting things for their own personal gain.
    Well, "wanting things for personal gain" is not confined to practitioners of Left Hand Paths. Regardless of your spiritual path, human beings will innately act, for the most part, out of motivation driven by the desire for personal gain.

    There are plenty of "unethical, arrogant and a bit selfish" people practicing Right Hand Paths. In fact, the majority of nasty, arrogant people whom I have met are "Right Hand Path"-associated. Interesting.

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    Re: Right and Left handed paths

    I don't hear too many good things of left handed practicing people. When I say for personal gain, I mean they do it out of other people's expense, at least from I've seen and heard. They often practice things that are considered strange or taboo when it comes to practice or magic. Of course taboo doesn't always mean bad, it just means something not ordinary or frowned upon whether it actually is bad or not. Some things I hear could be bias against left handers but who knows. But it seems like it's quite opposite. As opposed to helping others, you help only yourself, as opposed to being humble, you instead become overconfident. It doesn't seem like a very ethical path to follow.

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    Re: Right and Left handed paths

    Alienist, in all seriousness - you post some really great topics for discussion and you are probably the only person here who actually asks questions pertaining to what I practice. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist View Post
    I don't hear too many good things of left handed practicing people. When I say for personal gain, I mean they do it out of other people's expense, at least from I've seen and heard. They often practice things that are considered strange or taboo when it comes to practice or magic. Of course taboo doesn't always mean bad, it just means something not ordinary or frowned upon whether it actually is bad or not. Some things I hear could be bias against left handers but who knows. But it seems like it's quite opposite. As opposed to helping others, you help only yourself, as opposed to being humble, you instead become overconfident. It doesn't seem like a very ethical path to follow.
    Yes, the key phrases in your statement are "I don't hear too many good things of left handed practicing people", "some things I hear could be bias", "seems like" and "doesn't seem like a very ethical path".

    You are operating on hearsay and what you have read from and seen from others who claim to be associated with a Left Hand Path.

    Left Hand Paths are not defined by what you're making examples of here. There is no "law" within Left Hand Paths that says that you don't help others, that you are arrogant and cocky, etc. From whose examples are you drawing these illustrations?

    Certainly, there are nasty people who claim to follow Left Hand Paths just as there are nasty people who claim to follow Right Hand Paths.

    What is your definition of "ethical"?

    How do any of the legitimate definitions I provided you with above actually match these examples of "unethical" practices that you are giving me?

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    Re: Right and Left handed paths

    IMO the modern, western conception of 'left hand path' is a meaningless semantic and aesthetic distinction fueled by either a) a desire to adopt a certain image, or b) a fundamental misunderstanding of metaphysics leading to a fear that the "RHP" method of spiritual development necessarily results in a loss of identity/self awareness. As a categorization it achieves nothing except to create confusion.
    Last edited by Aeran; 22 Feb 2014 at 19:21.

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    Re: Right and Left handed paths

    Quote Originally Posted by Torey View Post
    Alienist, in all seriousness - you post some really great topics for discussion and you are probably the only person here who actually asks questions pertaining to what I practice. Thanks!



    Yes, the key phrases in your statement are "I don't hear too many good things of left handed practicing people", "some things I hear could be bias", "seems like" and "doesn't seem like a very ethical path".

    You are operating on hearsay and what you have read from and seen from others who claim to be associated with a Left Hand Path.

    Left Hand Paths are not defined by what you're making examples of here. There is no "law" within Left Hand Paths that says that you don't help others, that you are arrogant and cocky, etc. From whose examples are you drawing these illustrations?

    Certainly, there are nasty people who claim to follow Left Hand Paths just as there are nasty people who claim to follow Right Hand Paths.

    What is your definition of "ethical"?

    How do any of the legitimate definitions I provided you with above actually match these examples of "unethical" practices that you are giving me?
    Glad to be of service. I like asking questions about this kind of thing. It's the only way I'll learn of course.

    I guess you're right about the paths that it's only what I have experienced and heard. After all intolerance is caused by ignorance. If one is ignorant about a faith they are more likely to less trustworthy of it. I do appreciate certain parts of the left handed path like questioning authority and wanting spiritual freedom ect. I guess when it means focusing on yourself it doesn't necessarily mean one should be selfish. After all I believe I am important which isn't really bad as long as it's not overconfidence.

    It'd be difficult to explain how many ethics I have and what I consider to be ethical. It'd probably be several pages describing it. But I just found some things strange about the left handed path like using sex in rituals and so on. It doesn't seem bad but why would one do that, out of curiosity? To enhance arousal or to empower the ritual, or both?

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    Re: Right and Left handed paths

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist View Post
    I am wondering what people think of these paths and which do you follow and if anyone can explain it. Are there certain religions in which if you follow it, you automatically follow a certain path? Can you be a Christian and follow the left handed path and be a Luciferian and follow the right handed path? Also I personally follow the right handed path more. Mostly because I recognize higher powers but also because I don't see many good things about the left handed path. This could be my experience, but almost all of the left handed path I have met and known are usually unethical, arrogant and a bit selfish, wanting things for their own personal gain. I am wondering if anyone can enlighten me on this subject.
    Torey has answered the OP in great detail, and there's not that much to add to his post.

    What it boils down to is that most people who come from a Christian background into one of the 'love and light' neo-pagan faiths actually misunderstand the whole RHP versus LHP designation. To an extent it's just semantics, but it's not about 'good' vs 'bad' or 'us' vs 'them' or 'altruistic' vs 'selfish'. It's about the core concepts that differ between ideologies.

    There are a number of people who use being a LHPer as an excuse to be selfish jerks. These are the same sorts of people who use being a Satanist as an excuse to be selfish jerks. They would be selfish jerks regardless of what path they follow, but they have specifically chosen to claim a path that they think validates their behaviour. Which just indicates that they don't actually understand the path nor the spirituality behind it.

    Serious LHPers, Satanists, Luciferians et al are not generally selfish jerks. They are generally serious spiritual and magickal practitioners who happen to hold a fundamentally different ideology to the average neo-Wiccan or Christian person. It's not about being selfish, caring only about yourself, hurting other people for no reason, doing taboo things just because you can and you think it's edgy, or walking around being cocky and insulting everyone else. That's not what a LHP path is. It's about valuing the self, making careful choices about when altruism is appropriate, knowing yourself and your limits and talents, recognising that the self is Divine and is not subservient or inferior to deity, and having a slightly more realistic set of ethical guidelines than 'harm none'.

    The reality is that most of us (in the wider neo-pagan community) actually walk somewhere up the middle, and are neither LHP nor RHP. I know an enormous number of neo-pagans who would never consider themselves to be LHP, but who lean further in that direction than the other. Personally, I'm not into dichotomous linear models of ethics or persuasion. I think that life and ideology is a great deal more complex than that and I just don't resonate with binary models. But I am one of those practitioners who you could say fits more at the LHP end than the RHP end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist View Post
    I don't hear too many good things of left handed practicing people. When I say for personal gain, I mean they do it out of other people's expense, at least from I've seen and heard. They often practice things that are considered strange or taboo when it comes to practice or magic. Of course taboo doesn't always mean bad, it just means something not ordinary or frowned upon whether it actually is bad or not. Some things I hear could be bias against left handers but who knows. But it seems like it's quite opposite. As opposed to helping others, you help only yourself, as opposed to being humble, you instead become overconfident. It doesn't seem like a very ethical path to follow.
    It's not opposite, but that's what most hardcore 'love and light' people would have you believe. The LHP doesn't say you can never help others... it's about understanding that always helping others and being altruistic is not practical, and that your own self deserves just as much help as other people. It's not about being overconfident, but recognising your own worth and talents.

    When you think about it, the extreme RHP is actually not realistic at all. It's a goal that some people strive towards, but it's one that very, very few people can actually achieve. ALWAYS help others, no matter the cost to yourself? Always give up your own resources, no matter if it leaves you starving or vulnerable? Trust everyone and always give them the benefit of the doubt, even if they are liable to stab you in the back or cheat you out of your money? Be nice to everyone and never say anything against them? Never harm another living thing? Always be humble and never boast or be prideful of your own deeds or skills? Strive to meet some deity's unrealistic model of virtue so that you can bask in their eternal presence when you die? Walk in the light always? Really... what does that sound like to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist View Post
    But I just found some things strange about the left handed path like using sex in rituals and so on. It doesn't seem bad but why would one do that, out of curiosity? To enhance arousal or to empower the ritual, or both?
    The use of sex in ritual is normally one of two things. Actually three... no five.

    1) The Great Rite, which in neo-pagan circles is a traditional Wiccan thing (not neo-Wiccan, Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca) that Gardner pulled from certain earlier ceremonial practices. It's about joining the male and female essences and energies and is a celebration of the joining of the two. It comes from earlier Ceremonial Magick practices, where there is even more symbology and esoteric meaning behind it, which gets rather complex and abstract when you dig into it. Basically... this is not about sex. It's about what the sex symbolises.

    2) Sex magick purely for the energy source. Sex is a brilliant way to raise and focus energy... if you can keep control of it (which is a skill that takes practice). This can either be done alone or with a partner (or partners)... I wont go into the mechanics of it but needless to say it's a way of raising energy which is then released towards a goal. There are all sorts of ways to do it, and all sorts of skills involved that can make it a very profound and effective tool for all sorts of magickal goals.

    3) The sort of 'ritualised orgies' and 'gratuitous dirty sex' that gives Christians and extreme RHPers nightmares... which is utilised largely as psychodrama designed to break down ingrained concepts of taboo and 'virtue', thus opening up the psyche and self to more profound growth and experience. You see this in the writings of people like LaVey and Crowley, which is often misinterpreted into 'gratuitous dirty sex' but actually has a much deeper meaning. This is the sort of thing that is copied by superficial pseudo-Satanists who want the shock value to make everyone think that they are dark and edgy and cool (but who have really just missed the point and proven their own ineptitude). There are some modern groups who now use BDSM sex magick in a similar way.

    I should probably also add...

    4) Fertility rituals and magick. Sometimes sex in ritual is just about celebrating the human body and fertility, especially at common neo-pagan festivals like Beltane.

    Oh and...

    5) Tantric sex. Lots of neo-pagans are exploring tantric sex, which is a form of energy work that you do with your partner and is about balancing and purifying your own and your partner's energy, and enriching your relationship. Some people use it to enrich their love lives without all the spiritual stuff (and mix it up with kama sutra), but it is originally a very spiritual practice and not at all just about sex in odd positions.

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    Re: Right and Left handed paths

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist View Post
    I don't hear too many good things of left handed practicing people.

    This for me was one of the most interesting parts of this thread (although I must say that both Torey and Rae'ya have given excellent replies).

    The thing is, we should always question what we hear and from whom we hear it. 'I don't hear too many good things of....' is a statement we need to explore thoroughly (and truly, this is no criticism of you, Alienist).

    When people tell us things it's always important to explore what and why they make such statements. Do they have a hidden agenda perhaps? Are they misinformed? Practising disinformation? Or what?

    When I was young, I was always questioning things. And this often got me into trouble. It certainly got me a reputation as a trouble maker and rebel. It was Mr Penry who hit the nail on the head when he remarked 'You're not a rebel - you just hate injustice.'

    It's been my experience that 'other people' are far too ready with opinions, based on far too little information. And this is something we all need to be aware off. Because it's not LHP or RHP that is really the issue - it's how far do those who criticise really know what they're talking about?
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    Re: Right and Left handed paths

    Quote Originally Posted by Alienist View Post
    I don't hear too many good things of left handed practicing people. When I say for personal gain, I mean they do it out of other people's expense, at least from I've seen and heard. They often practice things that are considered strange or taboo when it comes to practice or magic. Of course taboo doesn't always mean bad, it just means something not ordinary or frowned upon whether it actually is bad or not. Some things I hear could be bias against left handers but who knows. But it seems like it's quite opposite. As opposed to helping others, you help only yourself, as opposed to being humble, you instead become overconfident. It doesn't seem like a very ethical path to follow.
    LHP practitioners are pretty much still just people. The end result being that you'll come across any number of great people that follow a LHP, any number of LHP practitioners that you want nothing to do with and a host of people somewhere in between. A philosophy doesn't define a person. The choices made in applying a philosophy to life will.

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    Re: Right and Left handed paths

    I think what gets me is the notion of RHP / LHP is very much an oriental mysticism concept, much akin to Karma and karmic debt. When carried into the Western model it looses so much of its content and purpose. Consider sex for instance. In RHP concepts you get into gods / goddesses and enlightenment through resistance and acceptance. Yet in many LHP concepts you arrive at the same conclusions but by engaging fully in exploring it from the self. Yet the exploration is seen differently in that it becomes an issue of self gratification versus self enlightenment and discovery of the higher self. Even what i've written not fully defining the Eastern Mysticism usage of LHP / RHP.


    In a lot of western practices it seems more a godliness versus and ungodliness and obtained through divinity vice obtained through humanity. SO much discolored by the assumption of Christian notions of Satanism and such and its equation as a LHP.

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