Normally I would call this “Union with the Divine,” but since we’re dealing with Left Hand Path a lot on this site, I thought I’d go a bit more neutral and call it “Union with Source.”
“Union, isn’t that Right Hand Path stuff?”
You know I thought so to. Crowley was interesting in that he felt that there were levels in working with an entity (like a God/Goddess) – it starts as the magician being the lowly summoner, then as friends and equals… and finally merging into one one another.
But that’s Crowley. I’ve heard that this idea of merging into an expanded sense of self or an external form was not Left Hand Path, but to my surprise, there’s an excerpt in “Lords of the Left Hand Path,” where author Dr. Stephen Flowers quotes the Chrystal Tablet:
As the Priesthood constitutes a merging of the individual soul with that of Set, so the Magistry constitutes an expansion of that merger to a full apprehension of the Aeon of Set. The Master knows not only the consciousness of Set, but the reach of that consciousness and the resultant view of creation and existence it embraces. All particular phenomena are evaluated, placed, and balanced within the continuum of the Aeon by the Master, and such adjustments in events as the Master makes are for Aeonic purposes . . . [T]he IV° is neither just an administrative promotion nor a reward for distin- guished service; it is an initiatory state of being in itself.¹⁶“Lords of the Left Hand Path,” which is citing The Crystal Tablet by Aquino
When I read this, I found it rather a shock. After all I was hearing about how merging into another spirit was annihilation, here I find that Aquino actually teaches the same thing.
This isn’t the beginning of the quote… it’s simply the clearest rendition of the merging of the initiate into another externalized source (Set in this case.) The full quote begins earlier in the Crystal Tablet (as quoted by Dr. Flowers):
In the III°, there begins the transition from a human state to a divine one: Priesthood involves the opening of a very special kind of door: the merging of the consciousness, indeed the personality, with that of the Prince of Darkness himself. In this Working the Priest or Priestess in no sense loses personal identity or Self-awareness; rather one’s consciousness is augmented, energized, and strengthened by that of Set. [T]he Priest or Priestess . . . is something more than human, something more than the individual whose human visage appears before onlookers. [H]e or she is not “possessed,” but is rather become a veritable living Temple indwelled by the presence of Set.¹⁵“Lords of the Left Hand Path”
“There it is,” you might say, “see, that’s the difference, the personality is not dissolved. Rather it is augmented.”
I doubt the so-called RHP religions believe in total dissolution either. Have you asked them? Even Crowley didn’t, at least I’d argue he didn’t. I think the only religion that might get to the point of dissolution entirely, might be Taoism. Hindu merging with Brahma isn’t necessarily this either… have you ever heard a Hindu say, “oh yes and you are annihilated…?” I haven’t. Maybe they do.
In Crowley’s case he stated in prose that the final stage was in the self being destroyed as dust… but then this dust is blown across the abyss (now able to pass the abyss as there is no more “self” (sleeping self) to hold you back) and enter the “land of the pyramids.” Crowly’s dust is still not total annihilation. I think it’s symbolic of the subtleness of being, not dissolution.
I’m not disappointed, I’m happy with it.
Isn’t this Right-Hand-Path? Is there any difference between LHP and RHP? While Aquino clearly says that the identity is not lost, there is still a merging of self with an external force.
In that same chapter in “Lords of the Left Hand Path,” Dr. Flowers says:
Aquino, operating from a left-hand-path perspective, rejects“Lords of the Left Hand Path”
Crowley’s hypothesis that upon attaining the grade of Magister Temple the initiate would undergo an “annihilation of the personality” and “absorption in the Universal consciousness.”
Yet how are these two things different – it’s almost like we’re splitting hairs here… or am I wrong?
Right Hand Path Union
It’s also quite an oddity to read the definition of RHP in Dr. Flowers work, as he defines it in the glossary:
right-hand path: The path of union with universal reality (God or Na- ture). When this union is completed, the individual self is annihilated and the individual will becomes one with the divine or natural order. Originally translated from Sanskrit dakshinamarga, “right-way.”“Lords of the Left Hand Path”
Christianity does not fall under the above description, but most consider Christianity and Judaism, as well as Islam to be Right-Hand-Path religions… simply put, they do not fit that definition.
Christian theology postulates that the individual can never “merge” with the Divine, which is heretical to their philosophy ever since they codified it under Constantine. The codified faith postulates that God is separate and we are the lowly creations that may have access to God upon death or the Final Judgement of mankind.
While Judaism and Islam may differ in theological context, they too do not have an orthodox view of merging into the Divine. While they do have mystic counterparts (Kabbalaists and Sufi’s) who may have such goals – the orthodoxy does not.
Another religion, often cast as RHP (from LHP initiates) are Buddhism – but it too does not embody the definition above… as they do not enter into annihilation at all, nor do they “merge” into anything. The Buddhist goal is Enlightenment (becoming a Buddha.)
I wonder then how the Christian faith is really postulated as RHP….