This going to be one of those posts I struggle with. I have edited it several times, rethinking it through. I’m on the fence here, and as such this post may adjust to reflect my changing views on the matter. Please keep that in mind.
Within the literature of the Temple of Set, there is a concept called antinomianism. This is one of the classifications of a “Lord or Lady,” of the Temple of Set. So what on earth is antinomianism, and why am I talking about it?
Antinomianism is an action against the norm. There are, in my opinion, two types of antinomianism. The first type is someone doing their true will… they have a belief that is not common among a society. Irregardless they commit to their true will, in the face of consequences.
The second type of antinomianism is to react to the cultural norms… as teenagers react to their parents. This is often without any true will discovered. It’s more of an impulsive behavior to push out a space of identity.
A reactionary concept is described by Don Webb in “Uncle Setnakts Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path,” as a Hindu, forbidden to eat beef, practicing antinomianism would then eat beef – in defiance of society. Often it is in the declaration and identification with icons considered “evil” by the current society one finds themselves in.
Antinomianism, which means “against the law,” was a centuries-old heresy whose basic tenet held that Christians were not bound by traditional moral law, particularly that of the Old Testament. Instead, man could be guided by an inner light that would reveal the proper forms of conduct.https://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1165.html
Anne Hutchinson was accused of advancing this viewpoint in the early years of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Her views were regarded as a direct threat to the political and clerical leaders of the community.
The above quote explains the concept from a type of antinomianism that is rooted with someone’s goals and will. This wasn’t simple rebellion, where people said, “ah screw it, let’s all do the opposite of these religious elders.” This is rooted into people’s religious and/or political ideologies, which were against the norm.
This I understand. However… there’s another form of antinomianism that I don’t quite understand – namely the common Left Hand Path explanation of this requirement of the initiate.
What if someone isn’t at odds with their society? What if the society the are in, is a small town that is openly excepting of other people. If one’s true will is not being oppressed, then there’s really no need for antinomianism. Yet, I feel this is still a requirement for the Left Hand Path folks… who, in such cases would revolt. They would become the opposite of their little hamlet.
Dr. Flowers is quoted below from his work, “Lords of the Left Hand Path” on this matter:
The second criterion, antinomianism, states that practitioners think of themselves as “going against the grain” of their culturally conditioned and conventional norms of “good” and “evil.” True lords and ladies of the left-hand path will have the spiritual courage to identify themselves with the cultural norms of “evil.” There will be an embracing of the symbols of conventional “evil,” or “impurity,” or “rationality,” or whatever quality the conventional culture fears and loathes. The lords and ladies of the left-hand path will set themselves apart from their fellow man; they will actually or figuratively become outsiders, in order to gain the kind of inner independence necessary for the other initiatory work present in the first criterion. The practice of this second criterion often manifests itself in “antinomianism,” that is, the purposeful reversal of conventional normative categories: “evil” becomes “good,” “impure” becomes “pure,” “darkness” becomes “light.”“Lords of the Left Hand Path,” by Dr. Stephen Flowers
Consider these selections from Dr. Flowers:
“…antinomianism, states that practitioners think of themselves as ‘going against the grain’”
Yes, I think all spiritual paths will feel that way. Going against the grain is the way of most spiritual practices. The mundane minded person will say, “that stuff don’t matter, go to church, and have fun with us.” But it doesn’t call to us, because we want more to be, than a herd mentality of followers who aren’t even trying to wake up. At this point I’m in agreement with Dr. Flowers…
However, I began to get concerned when I read things like this:
“True lords and ladies of the left-hand path will have the spiritual courage to identify themselves with the cultural norms of ‘evil.'”
When I think of “evil” as our society describes it, I think of the spree shooter in Christchurch New Zealand, who murdered 50 people at a Mosque.
Society says this is evil, does the initiate then say, “ah I will embrace this as it’s an icon of evil.” I’m pretty sure Dr. Flowers would say “no,” on this, but his directive is not toned with a set of conditions. Society considers murder, rape, child abuse, as evil. But who wants to identify with that?
Initially, I read this passage and felt that Dr. Flowers left out any conditions on how to go about this. Later on I realized Dr. Flowers does offer a condition:
He or she is bound to break the cosmic laws of nature and to break the conventional social laws imposed by ignorance and intolerance. But in so doing, the left-hand-path practitioner seeks a “higher law” of reality founded on knowledge and power. Although beyond good and evil, this path requires the most rigorous of ethical standards. These standards are based on understanding and not on blind obedience to external authorities.“Lords of the Left Hand Path,” by Dr. Stephen Flowers
I’ve bolded the terms he uses here, “ignorance and intolerance.” This is one condition – although it is subjective. Ignorance for one person could be climate change, and for another it could be climate change denial. This will depend upon the individual – that’s the nature of this path.
Another key condition is this phrase: “Although beyond good and evil, this path requires the most rigorous of ethical standards.” This requires one to be on the same page as the ethical standard described. That deserve its own post and discussion.
In context, antinomianism is the rebellion against cultural norms that are based in ignorance and intolerance – and held to the most rigorous of ethical standards.
More information on antinomianism is provided by Don Webb in his work “Uncle Setnakts Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path.” I’ve quoted from the work, below:
“The forces that oppose the will, are habits of blind obedience to external symbols and signals. The LHP initiate beings his or her quest not only by rejecting sentimental attachments to cultural norms, which most non-thinking people call “good,” but by actively making fun of such attachments in Symbolic ways such as a Black Mass, a Black Seder, eating beef (if raised Hindu), and so forth. This antinomian stance is no different than the stances above, but it draws the most fire from the public, becaus it is a reminder to the sleepers that they could awaken and such reminders are always painful.”“Uncle Setnakts Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path,” pg. 4 by Don Webb
Looking at the example of a Hindu eating beef… this confuses me greatly – this again sounds like flipping the script of societal norms… What if this initiate grew up in San Francisco… would their antinomianism be to mock gay people? Is that acceptable? I raise that, as I know Mr. Webb (from his public comments) is a supporter equality with sexual orientation.
While not explicitly stated, I’ve decided that this behavior must fall under the will of the initiate, as an aspect of rigorous ethical standard (described by Dr. Flowers.) Meaning that one doesn’t simply flip the script of wherever they are, becoming a bigot or racist… but they do their will, expressing antinomianism where it fits and works with someone’s will. This is why I crossed out my previous contention above.
The one part of antinomianism is the reactive nature it may imply for some. Teenagers are a great example of this. They “react” to mom and dad, but not necessarily on sound ground… sometimes just to get a rise out of them, or push them.
A reaction (as opposed to a response) can be a form of antinomianism that I believe will not work for the initiate. Let me give an example:
Consider any disagreement you’ve ever had. Any reaction that pushed you to become the opposite of what you are reacting against. Hold that conversation or situation in your mind. It could be a reaction to a parent, an authority figure, a president of a nation… whatever it is, hold your feelings when you reacted strongly.
Who was in control?
Who was in control of your reaction? You? Are you sure? I believe it is the OTHER person, reacted against, that are in control of the situation.
By letting our rage, anger, frustration pour out of us, in reaction to another, we temporarily identify as the mirror of the one we are against. They lead us by the nose. If they were different, we’d be different. Their ideology and current state, defines our current state. Is that freedom?
Our REACTION, depends on their ACTION.
We become the slave of another’s will.
This is what bugs me about this concept. Teenagers do this all the time, they react to their parents. In doing so, they may carve out their own unique identity, but often they are really carving out a personality that depends on the parent to begin with! Why? Because they like the old title, “A rebel without a cause.” They just invert what’s present and run with it. But it makes them slaves of another.
EXAMPLE: Let’s assume you have a mother who is the opposite of what you believe in. For argument sake, let’s say she is an evangelical Trump supporter. She knows you have gay friends, so she lashes out to you as she puts on her MAGA hat, “thank Jesus for Donald Trump, he’s going to put your gay friends where they belong… in the trash.”
It’s a trigger. You find yourself screaming at your mother – maybe even worse. In a rage you explain how she’s a hypocrite, she’s cruel and twisted and you hate her. Perhaps all this is true, but you are screaming this rage as a reaction to her and not from the center of your being.
Who’s in control? She is!
If she had been different, not yelling something insensitive, would you still react to her? No, of course not. Her actions created your REACTION. Without her current personality, yours would’t exist.
I am not saying that we never respond to something. I am saying that reacting, in the sense of losing control of our emotions, puts us as slaves to another.
EXAMPLE #2: What if, instead of loosing control of our emotions, we responded (not reacted) like so, “Mom you are a shining example of why I will never again follow your faith. You are the complete hypocrite, and what’s funny as hell, is that you are the slave of the gay men and women you hate so much. Their very existence defines you – bow down then, before your true masters.” Now wouldn’t that be something?
The first response was emotional, and reactionary. It seeks an identity by mirroring (reversing) the other personality or condition… thus depends on what it’s against.
The second response is without the emotional reaction. It states a belief the initiate holds to be true and clear – in a sense it is the expression of true will. This individual is stating what their will, not reversing the will of their antagonist! Whether the antagonist is there or not, the feelings exist.
My concern here is that people may mistake emotional reaction, as antinomianism.
Becoming the Opposite
I’ve crossed out the concerns below as I think they are covered under Dr. Flowers condition that antinomianism be done under rigorous ethical standard.
Another problem with reversing societies fears , is that it can take us down a road we really don’t want to express. When we’re talking about images and symbols it’s all well and good, until someone says, “yeah I’m against pro-choice people because there’s so many in my neighborhood, so I’m going to hound women at clinics and scream at them.” In other words, “I’m going to become an evangelical Christian.” While tongue-in-cheek, it’s also true. Such ideology isn’t because one has a belief, but because one is simply mirroring out society. It’s the opposite of free will.
Need for Will or a Goal
In rethinking my views here, I’ve come to understand a bit more the need for antinomianism, wherever it arrises – as long as it is under the will of the initiate (rather than just blind angst), and held under rigorous ethical standard (i.e. not becoming yet another force of intolerance.)
I recall Michael Aquino talking about this in a way, with the difference between the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set. He said something about how the Church of Satan required Christianity, as something to rebel against, and the Temple of Set was instead a way of transformation.
If antinomianism is about doing your will (whether it aligns or not to society) then I get it.
Without a true idea to move us, inverting society isn’t giving us space, it’s making us slaves to yet another system (the other we mirror.)