The Left Hand Path is often associated with “evil.” Be it from the outsider, or even from the insider, these projections of “evil” are very common. Although the misguided Christian wouldn’t know the term, “Left Hand Path,” they would associate it with so-called Satanism. To such a Christian, the Satanist is an enemy of god. If their god is “good” then the enemy must be “evil.” Once labeled “evil,” the Christian then extrapolates from this simplistic logic, casting every known evil upon whomever appears “Satanic.”
In other words, the Christian then assumes that the so-called Satanist is a murderer, child rapist, backstabbing villain. Conspiracies target such people, and they begin to see “Satanism” everywhere. Case in point was the phenomenon that flooded America in the 1980’s, known collectively as “the Satanic Panic.”
It isn’t just the Christian who’s responsible for the misplaced judgement of people deemed “Satanic.” Sensationalists on the Left Hand Path, share a similar guilt. LaVey’s theatrics or the words of Crowley taunted their Christian oppressors. These taunts though seemed like acknowledgment of heinous deeds. LaVey simulating a human sacrifice, King Diamond singing about murdering his grandmother, political LHP entities screaming taunts… all of this reinforces the irrational Christian fears.
Even confusing aspects of modern “Satanic” writers, like Stephen Flowers, can fall prey to this as well. Consider his passage below:
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.”Flowers, Stephen “Lords of the Left Hand Path”
Read off the cuff, Flower’s quote above reads like he also embraces evil. It takes some consideration to understand what Flowers’ point. He is referring to the icons of evil, and by embracing those symbols of impurity (fears of the culture one resides in), that one is separated from mass think, and on a path towards Individuality.
For an outsider, however, this resonates with the Christian fear that folks like this murder people on moon lit nights. Why else embrace the symbols of evil? What exactly is a symbol for evil? The Swastika? A woman raped? A child murdered? That’s what the Christian will presume is being discussed here, and this is why Stephen Flowers’ should have written this with clarity.
The Symbols that Flower’s is referring to here, are more like the symbol of Satan – the biblical free thinker. The symbolic fiction of Lovecraft – monsters and beasts.
If the Christian, and the sensational Left Hand Path writers/musicians/provocateurs are misguided, then what is Evil and what is Good?
The Left Hand Path, is not a reversal of Christianity. It is not a simple inversion of cultural norms. Left Hand Path philosophy is about Individuality. Therefore, I would observe that any action which works against Individuality is Evil.
If I respect, my Individuality, then by proxy I respect yours. The reason for that is in the quality itself. To be an Individual, is to seek my own truth. If in the process I force my truth, or needs upon others, then I’m no longer seeking Individuality. In other words, the concept of Liberty, like Individuality, relates to the greater segment, and not just one entity.
Therefore it is true Evil, to harm another for one’s personal gratification. Unless of course, the person being hampered was themselves taking away the liberties of others. A fellow who thinks they follow “Lucifer” but abuses women and children, is instead finding a path more akin to the Christian god… a path of totalitarian control and manipulation. If one agrees with Individual Liberty, then they must agree with it in concept (as it relates to everyone) and not just how it benefits their own limited self.
Likewise, true Good is that which benefits Individuality and Liberty.
There are of course real concerns, where one submits to the authority of another. In most societies there is a police force, a governmental body, and an employer. In each case we acknowledge the authority as having decision making power over our actions.
In some cases, a person may feel their cause is just and fight these authorities. Such concerns is not the focus of this essay. The point I’m making here, relates to the notion of Good.
What benefits Liberty and Individuality is Good. But these requirements to bend knee to an employer, or governmental body, are a limitation of only one aspect of us: the Limited Self. In my opinion, the Left Hand Path (by whatever name it could be known), is not about raising up the Limited Self, but in the realization of the Individual Self (Self-Liberation perhaps).
Our physical bodies are a part of who we are, and yet they are not the totality of self. The main problem I find with people upon the Left Hand Path, is a misunderstanding of what the “Self,” really is. They tend to see the “Self,” like a Christian. They see it as the “body complex.” This skin, or this body, because the “self.”
If a person thinks themselves the body only, then they will attempt to raise their physical identity above others. But this is misguided. The physical form is not the True Individual Self. If it was, then simply be a Republican, and you’d find your spiritual quest.
Do you believe that the richest, greediest people on the planet have achieved greater spiritual insight than others? There’s something very limiting about selfish behavior at the level of body identification.
Don Webb, in his work “Uncle Setnakt’s Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path,” illustrates the concept of Self as something expanding outward. For some, the self is the body + mind. For others, it is the body + mind + spirit/soul.
If you’ve ever had an out of body experience, which was real for you, then the idea of existing non-corporeally is not a hurdle, and the idea of Self is something grasped as being greater than the physical form and its many limitations. For those without a direct experience, they may struggle here. For such, psychology and the body might compose their idea of self. This again though, is limiting.
This is where the path deals with. It deals with expanding our ideas of Self. In my opinion, this is one of the most important aspects of the path. What is “me?” Am I the body only? Am I the psychological form in the body? Am I something beyond both, that inhabits and uses the brain/body? This answer can’t be taught, but only discovered… and the process of discovery is through spiritual work: Philosophical reasoning, meditation, and ritual can help the aspirant understand this truth for themselves.
If a person is greater than their physical form, then the Liberty of Self (and it’s Individuality) takes on an entirely different focus.
Instead of trying to gather the most stuff before you die, the growth of the Individual could be reasoned as understanding what one really is. The power that infuses one’s spiritual work, the seemingly external forces wielded by the occultist… could that be an aspect of Self?
This frames what is Good and Evil.
Responding to Religious Bigots
All that said, I want to point out… for those on the Left Hand Path, who consider their good to be the dominance of others, how akin to Christianity that is. Many a seeming LHP follower tends to have more in common with Christians than not.
The Christian faith has operated like the very “satanic evil” they fear so much. Unfortunately they are so blinded by their faith they can’t see their own failures. It’s not pagans who are abuses children in mass. It’s not “satanists” who are forcing their will on a population.
Christianity has yoked itself to political power, and as such, it has been a political war machine for some time. Burning “witches,” torturing women and killing children all in the name of their god. Praising Jesus for personal forgiveness one moment, and punishing the “wicked” the next.
Even the Bible, written to reflect the Abrahamic god in the best light, represents that god as petulant, prone to rage, hateful, wrathful, jealous and murderous. All those things he says humanity must not do, it does.
Consider how that “god” micromanaged humanity, explaining what we should eat, drink, who we could have sex with, and even oversaw circumcision. Yet this god who had all this micromanagement going on with humanity, seemed unconcerned about topics like slavery, women’s rights, abuses against women and children. Why is that?
Because the Abrahamic root faiths are not about freedom, but slavery. Slavery to a god concept that is based on violence and rage. While Jesus supposedly “forgives,” enough passages can be used by christians to defend rape, mass murder, child murder, torture, and political dominance. No wonder there are so many abuses from the church today.
Granted most Christians aren’t attempting to murder you, but the Bible can be used to defend murdering people for “not being virgins,” working on the sabbath, fornicating, adultery, talking back to parents and so on. The same book both demands feeding the hungry, and has verses to demand not feeding them. It’s a pick and choose religion, which allows for the greatest of pain to be perpetrated against others… and if one is wrong, they simply “ask for forgiveness.”
If anything fits our modern concept of evil (even from a non LHP perspective) it is the above description. A religion that asserts its nature over others. Can be used to create massive abuse and in the end walk away saying, “I’m forgiven.” That is True evil.