The Left-Hand Path
Spiritual dissent in the western world
Table of Contents
The Left-Hand Path (LHP) is generally something of an umbrella that houses a multitude of more specific manifestations of antinomian thought and related magical practice. In this article I am going to present the basics of this path as I understand it. Furthermore I’m going to explore these ideas in plain, simple language.
I suspect that I will supplement this article with some blog posts to expand upon these ideas going forward. Perhaps to make an attempt to capture my evolving understanding of these matters of Sorcerous Arte, and reflect on my 30+ year journey with the Powers of Darkness.
There are a multitude of organizations and noteworthy individuals that all self-identify under the banner of Left-Hand Path. Each with their own take on the subject. This is further complicated by lack of agreement, and even animosity between some “representatives” of the LHP. Coverage of the known universe of Left-Hand Path thought is impossible. And an attempt is well beyond the scope of this article, and way outside of my interest.
No, this article is about the Left-hand Path as I understand it, as I have walked it. The foundational concepts, ideas from thought leaders, and well regarded Masters of the Left-Hand Path that have been important to my work, and the practical philosophy that I have articulated in my own work.
The Left Hand Path is, ideally, a deeply personal, experiential approach to penetrating the mysteries of the Universe, the Self(selves), the Numinous, and Beyond. A path, a way of Being, that is risk and reward, training wheels off, shit’s about to get real.
A magical technology, a living philosophy, an aggressive charge into the darkness of the unknown that penetrates all that is occult and wrestles those secrets into the light, where they may be devoured and transcended by the cunning adept.
The ultimate goal of the LHP, which informs every aspect of The Path itself: Personal Divinity through mastery of the Black Arts. Accomplished within the structure of an antinomian life. Initiation into increasingly potent and coherent states of existence, siezing the keys to power and eternity, and ascending as a divine being; making a throne above the heavens.
At it’s very best, it’s the ultimate no-nonsense, put your big boy/girl pants on, non-natural approach to individual existence. Which is of course under the auspices of our benefactor, The Prince of Darkness. Though, for those who are not familiar, the case I present here, will probably not be the Devil you know. We will get into all of that.
The Paths Briefly
The whole of Western esoteric/occult practices and teachings can be classified as either Left-Hand Path or Right-Hand Path. Religions, can also be shuffled into these categories as well, depending on how broadly these definitions are applied.
Right-Hand Path (RHP):
The Tradition of Spiritual Surrender, usually to one or more idealized deities. RHP traditions are characterized by one or more of the following:
a) The conscious attempt to merge one’s self with some divine principle. This can be conceptualized at one end of the spectrum as the Universe itself (for example Buddhism), some after-death continuation of life as it is (the heaven of christianity), a literal merger with an ultimate divinity (the ascent of the Tree of Life as understood by the Western Mystery Tradition), etc.
A quick observation: In my experience there is a common underlying idea in the more New Age/Mystical examples of RHP pop-spirituality; that the “correct” state of existence is one of universal unity for all minds under the umbrella of “God”, which is seen as the source of individuated consciousness in humans. God having given a measure of himself to animate every individual human. In this context “God” is believed to be desirous of reunification with his estranged “pieces” currently running amuck in mankind. I find this to be among the more degrading examples of the modern pseudo-spiritualities.
It is my opinion that at its core, the RHP is an attempt to secure some kind of nebulous life after death by merging with something that is perceived as eternal, while simultaneously avoiding the terrifying responsibility of individual existence. An approach to dealing with death-anxiety that is least likely to offend the powers that be, while still offering a sense of comfort, and in the case of RHP magical traditions, a feeling of limited control over life circumstances. Of course the price is individual identity, and perhaps equally important; personal dignity.
The choice of specific RHP philosophy to be followed can be a matter of aesthetics, indoctrination, or even crisis (some trauma propels the subject towards a “spiritual” revamp of their lives). These factors are in addition to, or a component of, the cultural, psychological, environmental and genetic factors (CPEG) as might be expected.
b) A mode of living based upon the perceived precepts and rules of an operative
controlling principle or Deity. Such precepts are usually characterized by avoidance of behaviors that are mythologized as being offensive to one’s divine object of worship. Guilt can be an important enforcing agent. Naturally, the most powerful guilt is the guilt that cannot be avoided i.e. the seven deadly sins, etc. It is a common theme to view the physical body as base, corrupt or even evil (as compared to the perfection of the divine).
Like so many things in life, it is a negotiation. An attempted barter for the exchange of autonomy, identity and freedom for an idealized post-mortem
state in which one exists (or not) in a nebulous state of diffuse being as described above. This state being a reward for successfully living according to a defined set of rules. Most prominent example is common era chrisitianity/islam/judaism
c) A philosophy where the individual self is viewed as essentially meaningless or illusory in comparison with some preferred “god” or the “all”.
d) A system of magical attainment that is philosophically aligned with a), b) and/or c).
It’s also interesting to note that here in the West, when it comes to religion, mysticism or the occult; the RHP is the default option. Anything pointing leftward is viewed as unusual, sinister, evil, and destined for some horrible fate by the hand of god, karma, etc. The RHP being seen as the only reasonable approach to the natural world and the numinous.
Left-Hand Path (LHP):
The Tradition of Spiritual Dissent. Concerned with the evolution of the individual and the preservation of individual consciousness and identity. The exploration and integration of the psyche as something wholly distinct from the natural Universe. LHP traditions are characterized by one or more of the following:
a) Recognition of the self as an isolate being with individual consciousness and will. The fundamental self as a potential for becoming an isolate, eternal, divine being; having a unique existence that is not simply a byproduct or feature of the natural order.
b) The active, self-directed, and conscious attempt to preserve and strengthen the self as a singular isolate entity distinct from the Universe. Specifically by applying magical technologies to exert power over the Universe and The Self.
c) The pursuit of personal divinity, as a method of approaching existence.
d) A path of personal evolution (initiation) that recognizes the Prince of Darkness as the ultimate model and patron of this quest.
Most LHP traditions regard the Prince of Darkness as a benefactor and source of inspiration, not as an object of worship. Traditions that practice worship (attempting to appease thier god(s) in the hope of receiving some kind of benefit or avoiding retribution), are decidedly RHP, even if they call their god the Prince of Darkness (usually in one of his demonic cultural manifestations).
The RHP practitioner, supplicates the gods while the LHP practitioner emulates the gods.
Origin of the Terms
The terms Left-hand path and right-hand path were probably first introduced into formal Western mysticism by Blavatsky (However prior to this we find examples in Western fiction.). The terms seem to have originated in Indian Tantra where approaches to spirituality that were outside of the status quo and broke social taboos were identified as being left-handed (Vamachara – left-hand way).
Basics of the Left-Hand Path
A rudimentary exploration of the Antinomian Path of Spiritual Dissent as it exists in the modern Western world.
I want to make clear: these are my thoughts on the Left-hand Path as I understand it, having lived it for over 30 years now.
I want to structure this conversationally and informally as much as possible. It’s important that I also discuss what it is to live a LHP life. What does it look like? What are the mechanics day to day? The blessings and curses inherent.
The LHP as a practical approach to life is deeply tied to the Black Arts. Magic is the primary method of the LHP. The aim of the LHP is immortality of the self in an exalted, transcendent state of being in which one is highly potent in the Universe. A state of personal divinity, psychecentric immortality, and continued self-directed, willed evolution.
In Lords of the Left Hand Path, Dr. Stephen Flowers identifies two branches of LHP thought; The Immanent and The Transcendental.
The former being largely materialistic (even athiestic these days) in principle. The immanent branch is characterized by significant use of imagery and symbolism of a “Satanic” aesthetic nature, and is oriented almost exclusively toward the mundane world. It is a highly materialistic approach. The example given by Dr. Flowers is LaVeyan Satanism (Church of Satan).
The transcendental branch of the LHP is a psychecentric approach, being focused on the evolution of the self to a divine, immortal state. The magical methods of transcendental LHP are commonly based on eternal forms or archetypes. Dr. Flowers further defines this branch as recognizing and celebrating the ultimate separation of the self from the cosmic order, and the evolution of the self into something both permanent and powerful. Setianism is offered as an exemplary example (The Temple of Set).
As I am a practitioner of the transcendental branch of the Left-Hand Path, that will be the focus of this essay.
Central to the LHP is the pursuit of personal divinity: godhood. Through application of Black Magic and other methods, the magician can progress towards this highest of goals through the process of initiation (evolving towards increasingly potent and permanent states of being). It is my understanding that the individual subjective universe of the deified magus/maga is the launching pad or primary kingdom from which he/she could act as they so will, interact with other subjective universes (other distinct individual intelligences), and the objective universe. Being potent and eternal regardless of the universe in which they act.
In the crudest language I can fashion to describe my own admittedly adolescent concept of personal divinity; briefly, the ultimate goal would look something like this:
- Immortality of the self and being.
- Integration of the self (“parts” of the psyche or emanations).
- Seperation from the cosmic order.
- Ability to act with great power.
- Ability to access great knowledge.
- Ability to continue initiation indefinitely.
- Access to the objective universe and other subjective universes.
The Essence and Character of Spiritual Dissent
Antinomianism is the quality of character that is rebellious, independent and self-actualizing. The LHP initiate is by his/her very nature a force of rebellion, and a destabilizing agent to oppressive systems and social constructs.
Having rejected the pre-packaged and socially acceptable options for a way-of-life , the Black Magician uses his/her own observations, instincts and carnal nature to discover an optimal approach to life, and fill his/her world with elements that bring pleasure, joy, meaning, and power.
The outright rejection of social norms, especially in matters of tastes, interests, entertainment, sex and every other aspect of life is a fundamental quality of the Black Magician. This is not in any way an excuse for antisocial or criminal behavior.
As I see it, the antinomian character (as opposed to that of criminals, parasites, and the average worthless fucking loser), is firmly rooted in personal responsibility. This may seem a strange statement when we are discussing the spirit of rebellion, however it becomes clear when we look at the nature of social norms.
Conformity, as the a priori adherence to social norms, at the individual and collective levels, is heavily divorced from personal responsibility in any meaningful way due to its prescriptive nature. The herd human is hardly exhibiting responsibility in their conformity, rather they are exhibiting fear. Fear of humiliation, rejection, ostracism, and most importantly; fear of the unknown (that which is occulted). To the point I’m trying to establish, they are showing an aversion towards personal discovery of their world. Social norms, religious morality and familial expectations if adhered to, relieve the individual of any true responsibility. The plan of their life has been laid out neatly before them. All they need to do is simply obey. This is not responsibility.
The common religious myth of the fall of man describes man’s situation in a convenient metaphor. Man/Woman, having gained access to forbidden knowledge and insight by eating the forbidden fruit (complements of a sly devil) are cast out of paradise for their sins. Living within the grace of god in the garden of Eden was paradise because it posed no danger, required no rigor or intelligence, and demanded only that which is required by the life of a dumb animal. The problem is that within this “paradise” there could be no change (Any person with even a spark of life in them would swallow a fucking bullet after one day in such a hell.). No advancement, no adventure, nothing outside of “the plan”. The problem is that with the addition of the gifts of the forbidden fruit, paradise sucked. And so man/woman needed to move on to more difficult and rewarding environs. What we see today in society is a kind of Eden in which man is offered a god-approved, pre-packaged scaffolding for life including features of the inner-world like thoughts, interests and desires. Immunity from being turned into a salt-lick and entrance to heaven-everlasting is guaranteed! So long as you follow the plan.
For the LHP initiate, conformity of this sort is unimaginable. Adherence out of fear is truly immoral. This is the beginning of the antinomian perspective. The Black Magician crafts a life according to their individual standards, populated with elements that bring individual joy and strength. The religiously approved, socially acceptable modes of living are rejected and spat upon the ground like a swig of warm piss. This does not mean that the Black Magician is an antisocial lunatic. In the absence of religious morality, a system of carefully crafted personal ethics is developed. Not out of any dogmatic fear, but as a logical, rational way of operating most effectively in the world. If an action or behavior could bring consequences that would stand in the way of personal goals; then it’s out. Furthermore, behavior that intrudes upon the personal freedoms of other humans, is most decidedly NOT Left-Hand Path as a matter of principle. This excludes crime, being an asshole and any other behavior that doesn’t maximize individual effectiveness in the world.
Lastly it has been both my personal experience and my observation, that initiates of the Left Hand Path are very responsible in their societies and compassion is a very common trait. There is incredible personal utility and benefit to being beloved by as many people as possible. It also feels good to have peaceful relationships with your neighbors, secure in the knowledge that they have your back. There’s nothing antinomian or rebellious about being a dick. I think that as one matures and gains diverse life experience, the importance of community responsibility becomes increasingly apparent.
Be free, stay the fuck away from T.V. and social media ads. Find out what you love, what brings you intense joy and satisfaction; pursue those critical elements zealously. Show tremendous generosity and affection towards those you love. Save all that is savage and brutal within you for those who would dare move against you or your people. Don’t ever let “god” or his prince or his people tell you who you are or what is beautiful or what is ugly. You are blessed with a divine capacity to discern these things for yourself and in doing so you expand that capacity and many others.
The Universe is the totality of existence. This is an overview of the constituent parts from a LHP perspective.
I’ve been dreading writing this section. There is so much incredible literature on the LHP Universe, and by Masters certainly greater than myself. What could I possibly have to offer on this subject? I thought about this for some time. I arrived at a compromise. I can give a basic outline of the Universe from a LHP perspective and give each aspect something from my experience to help personalize and hopefully add utility to the theories. I have also added some ideas about the Universe that are not ubiquitous, and reflect my personal understanding at this time.
Since I was quite young I would torture myself by trying to visualize or conceptualize the alleged non-existence that preceded the Universe coming into being.
A non-existence. hmmm… There are no qualities. It’s not the vacuum of space, there is no space, nor is there absence of space. It’s not the absence of light so it’s not darkness, and yet there is neither any illuminating force, nor anything to illuminate. Nothing was there and no one saw it as there was nothing to see, but since it is non-existence there couldn’t be anyone to see anything, even though there was nothing to see or any seeing apparatus anyway. “FUCK! “, my teenage mind would scream. I recall the pit in my stomach.
Now, as a man of slightly advancing years (42 of them), I have learned to appreciate calm, mellow, peace. So I don’t mind fuck myself whenever possible.
It is my opinion at this point that the Universe is cyclical and has always existed.
The Physical World/Objective Universe
The physical, material/energetic universe of the world of experience via the 5 senses. This is the domain of science. Your home. Your work. The corner of the bed that occasionally victimizes your shin. Governed by Natural Law; a series of organizing principles (sometimes conceived of as deities) that behave with reliable predictability; Natural Law.
The Imaginative World/Subjective Universe
This is the personal experience of the individual as experienced through the filters, biases, and knowledge that they have accumulated. The internal world of each being as a unique perception of the objective universe, along with internal phenomenon like imagination, influence from other subjective universes, and numinous interaction. The presence of the subjective ensures that the objective is never fully seen with a purely accurate lens, and yet that same phenomenon is the reason for personal meaning within the Universe.
Every intelligent creature has a subjective, inner world through which all experience is filtered. For the non-initiate, the subjective universe is generated by some sub-conscious process as a simple interface with the objective. It is not consciously manipulated or even apprehended.
The Black Magician however, learns to activate and operate their subjective universe. This initiated subjective then serves as the domain of individual experience and existence. Being part of the phenomenology of cultivating the Black Flame (more on this soon), and is a wholly unnatural and cosmically independent universe.
Once the initiate begins to grasp the mechanics of operating their own subjective universe; the possibility of magical action dawns.
A long time ago I was given a very special two-fold “job”, by someone in a position to hand out lifetime employment responsibilities (When he spoke to me it felt like my spine had been replaced with an iron rod, and a giant was shaking it from each end. That is how I can most accurately describe the disorienting and existence-shocking nature of this interaction.).
Anyhow, a vital component of my work in the area of Infernal Job Duties deals with making careful observations of some of the least visible, most beautiful and terrifyingly honest features of the objective world. Once identified, these features must go through a special process of illumination and distribution into the magical universe; this occurs within my subjective universe, which in turn results in changes to the objective universe via…
The Astral/Aether/Magical Link
The energetic/informational medium that functions as a magical link between the internal and external worlds. It is seen as a kind of interface. Such that magically potent alterations to the internal magical space of sufficient coherency and quality, will manifest in the “real” world via this magical link (This is sometimes called Greater Magic).
I want to extend the idea of the magical link quite a bit by identifying it as what is sometimes called the Aether or Astral Plane. Now this is not totally original; many LHP initiates would describe “astral” as subjective. What I’m proposing is that some of the phenomenon and “landscape” that has been traditionally attributed to the Astral, does in fact exist independently of the magician’s subjective universe. It is my position that the magical link and the astral are in fact one in the same. A fluid, energetic/informational field that permeates our world. A place where certain emanations of discarnate/non-carnate/pre-carnate intelligences reside, and a place where patterns can be precipitated into the physical world.
It is within the astral that nightly gluttonous excursions occur. Flying up. Straight up through the ceiling in fact, and so incredibly fast, then diving down through clouds, a roof, sometimes an attic, through the ceiling, coming to rest gently by a sleeping form and drinking deeply from the cup of life (more on this later).
Collective Subjective Universes
These are collective social constructs, zeitgeists, beliefs, and patterns of automatic behavior that have been taught. CSU’s are often established by force and subversion. The common social norms of agreed upon ideas and points of view, whatever those may be depending on where and when we are. I do believe that these CSUs like to exist, loath losing participants, and can even fight for their existence.
I understand this as the patterns of awareness or consciousness created by the Father of self-awareness. The First, isolate, sentient being. Our benefactor: The Prince of Darkness. This is a well of divine potential that the Black Magician draws strength from.
Don Webb has articulated an exceptional model for understanding initiation in relation to the cosmos. This can be found in his Uncle Setnakt’s Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path. If you have not read this book, then you suck. You can of course not suck by purchasing and then reading it.
The Psyche & The Black Flame
The fundamental you or sense of “I” that looks out from behind your eyes and uses your body as an interface to interact with the world around you. In the Western world we tend to think in terms of a soul per the judeo christian concept. The initiate of the LHP frequently utilizes much more sophisticated models of individual being.
O though mighty light and burning flame of comfort...
What differentiates the consciousness of man from that of the animal kingdom is something we call The Black Flame. This is the gift of higher consciousness and the potential for self-directed evolution, given to man by the Prince of Darkness.
Initiation is the process of actualizing and refining the Black Flame.
My own initiatory work now has a strong focus on identification and integration of the “soul parts” or emanations of the psyche as understood through the ancient Egyptian and Hellenistic models. Michael Aquino’s work in this area, what he calls the MindStar, has proven invaluable.
The Prince of Darkness
Oh my god. It's full of stars...
Ahhh. Now we get down to it. The source of this whole damn thing. The Devil! He who is Ancient among the Ancient Ones. The First of Darkness.
Coming from within the Western world, the idea of the Prince of Darkness defaults to a judeo christian entity; Satan. And while there are inverse-christianity type satanists out there, most LHP perspectives on the Prince of Darkness are completely distinct from the judeo christian mythos. Instead viewing this force, metaphor or intelligence (depending on where one falls in the “existence vs. non-existence vs. some mix of the two” debate), as something distinct from, and beyond the cultures and theologies that have attempted to apprehend and define it.
In this regard, it helps to think of the Prince of Darkness as an abstract principle or fundamental form that has revealed itself (or perhaps been glimpsed), through a variety of identities throughout human history and across various cultures.
Therefore the LHP initiates throughout history (and of today) that have approached The Prince of Darkness as Satan, Ahriman, Typhon, etc., were interacting with the fundamental Prince of Darkness through a culturally colored lens or mask through which an aspect of his form could possibly be approached.
Again there are so many great works by LHP scholars that should be consulted for a sound understanding of LHP philosophy regarding the Prince of Darkness, and I strongly encourage you to seek out those resources. A list will be given at the end of this section.
In a philosophy composed of so many unique individuals, there will be just as many definitions of The Prince of Darkness. In my own journey as a Black Magician, my ideas have changed radically. In my earlier initiatory years, I viewed him as a symbol or metaphor for antinomianism, certain aspects of natural law, my own potential, and other features of existence.
From there I went through a distinct period where I viewed the Prince of Darkness as an umbrella concept under which the least understood features of magic, the Universe, and all that is truly occult could be filed under.
After about a decade into my sorcerous works, my personal experiences forced me to the realization that the principle of isolate intelligence, or Prince of Darkness, is indeed a distinct, sentient being, acting within the Universe. And furthermore that this being not only took an interest in man, but was the source of man’s greatest gift; The Black Flame.
Every initiate of the LHP is challenged to find their own understanding of the nature of The Prince of Darkness. As with all posits of the LHP, it is matter that ultimately must be unraveled by the initiate through direct, personal experience, and refinement of knowledge.
The Benefactor of Man
The Prince of Darkness is seen as the source of man’s higher consciousness and divine potential. This is called the Black Flame and was touched upon very briefly. The idea of an infernal benefactor has been explored metaphorically and mythologically throughout history. From Prometheus Absconding with the gift of fire, to the serpent’s sage advice and temptation of Eve, this concept has found itself all over the world.
In modern times, The Prince of Darkness, has confirmed the truth behind these myths; speaking directly to his Earthly representatives.
It is my understanding that at some point in man’s history, The Prince of Darkness intervened in the evolutionary process of man, resulting in the unnatural explosion in brain size that may have occurred about 200,000 – 250,000 years ago. The result was the appearance of independent, sentient, self-aware consciousness (the subjective universe) in proto-man. The dawn of modern homo sapiens sapiens and the end of man’s place within the animal kingdom. I do not know if this was a genetic intervention or some other medium was used, but the result was the presence of the Black Flame in humans.
Initiates of the LHP are those few who have accepted the challenge of the Dark Lord and made the perfection of His Gift their life’s work.
An Infernal Relationship
The LHP initiate regards The Prince of Darkness as the model of what he/she is to become. Therefore there is no worshipping of the Prince of Darkness by the Black Magician. Such a relationship would be insulting to both parties and most counter-productive. The true Black Magician bows to no one.
It has been said before: Satan demands study, not worship.
Exceptional works that discuss The Prince of Darkness from various perspectives:
- The Temple of Set, Michael A. Aquino
- Lords of the Left-Hand Path, Stephen E. Flowers
- The Seven Faces of Darkness, Don Webb
- Mysteries of the Temple of Set, Don Webb
- Seth, God of Confusion, H. Te Velde
- The Book of Sitra Achra, N.A.A.218
- The Church of Satan, Michael A. Aquino
- Set The Fury of Egypt, Aesenath Mason
The practice of magic is central to the Left-Hand Path. Specifically Black Magic. In this section we are going to pin down some of the specifics regarding magic and black magical practice. I suppose we should start with a definition. This is mine:
Uncle Setnakt said it best: “It’s how we get what we need.”
Magic is the primary method of the Left-Hand Path. That is, it is the primary tool used to progress along the path and achieve our initiatory goals. And if you are good at it, it is also a great way to get what you want.
Magic is an absurdly complicated subject even if we restrict our conversation to magic as practiced exclusively within the LHP. I have every instinct to simply direct you to explore the topic through the endless external resources available. The problem is that most every book and/or website on magic, is fucking garbage. Oh how I followed the pointless maze of the “New Age” section at the book store in my youth, and yes, I’m still a little bitter (Fuckers.). So that means it’s just you and me, and we gotta get through this, at least a little bit, or its going to bother me and possibly interfere with my sleep.
Black vs. White
Magic practiced from the Left-Hand Path is called Black Magic. The religio-magical practices of the RHP are referred to as White Magic. Neither term implies any kind of morality nor do they indicate the goals of the magic being performed. Black magic does not mean curse magic. White magic does not mean altruistic magic. Another way of looking at this division would be to state that the LHP is the non-natural approach to the Universe (separation from the Universe), while the RHP represents the natural approach (merger with the Universe). Therefore Black Magic is the non-natural approach to manipulating the Universe, where white magic is the natural approach to the same.
Types of Black Magic
There are 3 primary types of black magic based on the method of action (and also the structure of the technique to a lesser extent). I am also adding an additional type of Black Magic that is distinct from the traditional 3. As the LHP is considered a non-natural approach to the Universe, each type of Black Magic is a non-natural approach to a feature of the Universe. Or more precisely, to one of the universes (little “u”) They are:
Lesser Black Magic (LBM)
From adjusting your appearance and demeanor to pass as someone you are not, cold reading, mentalism, to complex emotional and intellectual exploitation of large groups of people. In every day life LBM is the tool used to gain advantages and favor from the people, places, and situations that make up your world; as appropriate. It does not replace normal, healthy interactions, and is not an excuse to cheat, steal, be a sociopath, etc. (See Ethics)
The key to successful LBM, is rigorous, dispassionate observation of your environment and a firm knowledgebase of what to look for.
Great Works relevant to Lesser Black Magic:
- The Satanic Witch, Anton Szandor LaVey
- The Satanic Warlock, Magister Dr. Robert Johnson
- The Power of Persuasion, Michael Kelly
- Lesser Magic and Psychic Self-Defense, Michael Kelly
- Three Masks of Lesser Magic, Michael Kelly
- How to Analyze People, James Williams
- Man and His Symbols, Carl Gustov Jung
- Maps of Meaning, Jordan Peterson
Greater Black Magic (GBM)
If the goal is to cause a change in the objective universe (operative magic), this change in the subjective precipitates into the objective via the magical link. Results are largely dependent on the quality and coherency of the change made to the subjective.
There are many cases where the magician is seeking some insight or quality to manifest via change to their own psyche in one way or another (illustrative magic) , and in these cases the method of action can be direct. The strength and immediacy of the results being dependent on the powers of the black magician.
GBM is (usually) focused ritual magic, directed at causing something to happen in the “real world” or within. Along the path, one can certainly progress to a point where the tool of ritual becomes largely unnecessary, but for most practitioners; this is ritual magic.
Great Works relevant to Greater Black Magic:
- The Seven Faces of Darkness, Don Webb
- The Satanic Bible, Anton Szandor LaVey
- Pacts with The Devil, S. Jason Black & Christopher S. Hyatt Ph.D.
- Hermetic Magic, Stephen E. Flowers Ph.D.
- The Technicians Guide to the Left-Hand Path, Roger Whitaker
- The Book of Sitra Achra, NAA 218
- Necrominon. Michael Ford
- The Octavo – A Sorcerer Scientist’s Grimoire, Peter Carroll
Medial Black Magic (MBM)
I have never heard the above definition used to describe MBM, this is my personal mechanical theory.
This is where things get weird. My definition is my current hypothesis on how this works. MBM is when you are seeking some direct effect in the world and through a brief but highly focused and impassioned expression of your Will. If successful, the desired results usually manifest very rapidly.
So let’s say you feel very strongly about something that you need to effect, like getting across the country to be with the one that got away, but you are late for your flight and there are no ticket refunds or transfers. Just before you rush out the door, you light a candle, staring into the flame you are overwhelmed by a vision of yourself holding and passionately kissing your long lost love, and with all the Will and passion you can muster, you push that vision into the flame. You arrive at the airport 5 minutes late for your flight and find that your flight was delayed by 45 minutes for a hardware swap (this is a true story).
Is this a coincidence? Of course it is! Did I cause that coinsidence? You bet your ass I did. I’m pretty good at Black Magic.
Aetheric Black Magic (ABM)
This is a classification that I have added based on my own theories and experiences. This does not necessarily reflect the ideas of the LHP community. As I stated previously, it is my position that the Aether/Astral is the Magical Link between the subjective and the objective universe.
It is also my position that direct interaction with this subtle energetic/informational field, commonly called the astral or aetheric/etheric, is its own distinct type of magic, based on the method of action and, because it doesn’t feel right to me lumping it in with one of the types of Black Magic above.
This is a broad type of Black Magic and can include predatory spirituality (vampirism), energy work, astral constructs, psychotronics, technoshamanism, and much more. I will certainly be writing on this type of Black Magic on this blog.
I love this word. Something about it resonates deeply with me. There are a variety of mainstream definitions. “the use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits” (check!) or “the use of magic, especially black magic” (check!).
Ah that’s fun.
Sorcery is my preferred word for results magic. Sorcery will not take No for an answer. It is a laser-focused, and dangerous act of magic that reaches into the darkness and pulls that which is desired into the light of day. It is acting like a god while still alive in the flesh.
Got it or Not it
Despite what you have been told by every mainstream book on practical magic or the occult; Not everyone can practice magic.
I have seen many posers; fucking losers that hang out at occult shops with Cheetos stains on their shirt, arguing over the pronunciation of “Goetia” (Usually the word they should be focusing on is “Shower.”). These people aren’t really who I’m talking about. This group couldn’t magic their way across a straight line.
I’ve had the honor of meeting and even working with some of the great authentic magicians out there. Both LHP and RHP. So I have a good eye for the real deal.
I have also seen a handful of highly dedicated, rigorously applied, intelligent, would-be magicians; who just don’t have it. It’s not going to happen for them, no matter how dedicated or studious they are. They can even accurately describe the internal states necessary for successful magic. Nothing doing. Perhaps it’s something internal, a hang up, a fear, I don’t know exactly.
A Select Bunch
Combine these unfortunate souls with the posers and the vast majority who love to talk magic but would never dare try magic; and you are left with a bunch of fakers.
Contrast this with the relatively small community of true magicians within the “occult” world. Black Magicians are even fewer. This is certainly by design and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It is however rewarding to have a chance encounter with another traveler of the Left-Hand Path now and then. The scarcity of True Black Magicians makes such meetings a rare treat.
Initiatory Black Magic
This is magic that is directed inwardly, at yourself, for the purpose of calling into a being a qualitiy, perception, gnosis, or noesis that is directly related to your initiatory goals. And while all acts of magic will inform, change, and propel the initiate along the LHP; initiatory magic is focused specifically on moving forward in your initiation.
Dangers of Black Magic
Most occult writers will begin any discussion of Black Magic with dire warnings. You will hear funny phrases like “Karmic Danger”, “Three-fold Law of Return”, and other such nonsense. The truth is that there is NO cosmic/karmic score keeper doling out punishments to those who would dare practice the dread Black Magic. In fact, no one gives a shit what you do in the privacy of your ritual chamber. No one of consequence anyhow. Curses don’t rebound on the sender. Nature doesn’t lash out at the magician who secures prized pussy/penis through magic. These warnings are based on religious moralism and an ultimate fear of displeasing the powers that be. Concepts that don’t plague the Black Magician.
That being said; magic absolutely has potential dangers that come along with its practice. Make no mistake LBM gone awry can get your ass kicked, or even get you run out of town (or worse). A nasty case of SAS* can torch your life in a variety of interesting ways. The introduction of new perceptual parameters common to GBM can cause anxiety and in extreme cases, psychological harm. Black Magic must be practiced with proper respect. For yourself and for the potential power it represents. You must be many steps ahead in calculating variables and assigning potentialities to reality adjustments. The Black Magician must shoulder all of this and more. Such is the price of acting as a god. Flat fact.
*Sorcerer’s Apprentice Syndrome
Ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with ideal modes of conduct in light of moral concepts like “right” and “wrong”, in relation to personal goals.
My plan was to dive into ethical philosophy proper, then RHP moral and ethical standards and then transition to LHP ethical ideals. But in keeping with the bird’s eye spirit of this article and given that you, as a modern human have plenty of exposure to social ethics; I found it inappropriate for this piece. You live in this world and you see the drama of “moral” religiosity in the world.
The Left-Hand Path is the path of ultimate personal responsibility. This responsibility is extended to all aspects of life, you people, your community, etc.
The Black Magician will not be successful without a code of personal normative ethics that define conduct. Society will absolutely turn on you and burn you at the stake so to speak if you are not unfailingly ethical in your behavior. Flat Fact.
As you become a more effective magician, you deal with an increasing risk of unethical compulsory behavior. This is quite unacceptable and antithetical to the ultimate goals of the LHP. For example, increasing being, magical power and personal divinity requires that you lead a life of tremendous autonomy. Going to prison would indeed interfere with that autonomy and therefore criminal behavior is a big no no.
Ethical standards in the LHP are based on personal goals that are based on path goals. Any behavior that could potentially compromise your ability to realize those goals is out. The Black Magician is encouraged to study and secure a firm apprehension of moral philosophies, metaethics and ethical concepts. This will provide a rational framework and a firm foundation of ethical knowledge upon which a personal code of ethics can be developed.
In my opinion, the Black Magician should develop an individual ethic based upon personal effectiveness and rational self-interest; acting according to your personal best interest in regards to your entire existence.
That is Best Interest NOT Best Fun.
For example shooting an enemy in the face in broad daylight may prove quite satisfying in
the short term; however the long term effect of capital punishment is going to be problematic.
Sorcery offers myriad interesting solutions to ugly problems. Furthermore sorcery is not, at present, actionable in a court of law! Just don’t do something stupid like send a text to your enemy announcing your intention to curse them. That would be dumb.
Rigorous situational analysis and strategic execution of every action is required when operating in vulgar society as well as in private. Evaluate All Possibilities, Proceed with the Most Beneficial Strategy. For you, your people, and your community.
Anton LaVey gave us a fun and practical code of normative ethics to consider:
- Do not give opinion or advice unless you are asked.
- Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
- When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.
If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.
- Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
- Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and he cries out to be relieved.
- Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will loose all you have obtained.
- Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
- Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
- Do not harm little children.
- Do not kill non-human animals unless attacked or for your food.
- When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.
The Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth
By Anton Szandor LaVey
Notable Black Magicians
This is my short list of Magi that have been influential in the Path as a whole and/or in my own work personally.
They are walkers between worlds. Clothed in the Powers of Darkness, yet brilliant beyond measure. The Black Magician would be wise to listen to what they have to say.
Ipsissimus James Lewis – Grand Master Emeritus of the Order of Leviathan, Temple of Set. As a magus he gave us the key to immortality when he uttered “Remanifest”. He’s also one of the most patient and competent Masters I have ever known.
Magister H.:B.: – Priest of The Blood Father Unas. Dear friend and beloved mentor. Now walks among the clouds (and occasionally in my garage).
Ipsissimus Michael Aquino – Founder Temple of Set, Grand Master Emeritus of the Order of the Trapezoid, Temple of Set. In 1975 Michael Aquino was given an Infernal mandate by the Prince of Darkness which resulted in the founding of the Temple of Set and the re-consecration of the Setian Priesthood. Magus of the word “Xeper”. Now walks among the clouds.
Ipsissimus Don Webb – Former High Priest, Temple of Set. Don Webb’s written works are foundational in the modern Left-Hand Path and second to none. Second magus of the word “Xeper”.
Ipsissimus Stephen Flowers – Grand Master Emeritus of the Order of the Trapezoid, Temple of Set. Stephen Flower’s lifelong exploration and illumination of the ancient Norse Mysteries has proven very important to the LHP. His Left-Hand Path masterpiece; Lords of the Left-Hand Path should be in every Black Magician’s library. Magus of the word “Runa”.
Sorceress Cagliastro – Blood Sorceress in the Hands of Nine. Exceptional author of totally original works of practical blood sorcery, powerful teacher, and much sought after consultant.
Anton Szandor LaVey – Founder of the Church of Satan. Spiritual father of the modern LHP, author of The Satanic Bible and other early works of LHP thought. Now walks among the clouds.
Unas – Final Pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt (Old Kingdom). Notable accomplishments include Devouring the Gods (Yes, he ate them). Blood Father of our Order. Possibly ate the clouds.
I think that initiation is usually thought of as an event, An entrance into some kind of group or organization. It implies a sort of induction into a members only situation; “I am an iinitiate of the sacred temple of the burning urethra and there are no visitors allowed! Clap! Clap!”.
LHP Initiation is the actualization of The Black Flame. The Left Hand Path concept of initiation is one of ongoing, self-directed, personal evolution. And while initiation can refer to an induction into a school, or a ceremonial recognition of accomplishment, initiation is the ongoing, structured perfection and empowerment of the self; the path towards divinity. Initiation is never completed. Certain states of being are attained, and some of those states are common among initiates of the LHP, and therefore recognizable. This is where the concept of degrees becomes relevant. If you are working within a formal LHP school, there is usually a system of degrees that recognize and designate that an initiate has reached a certain state of being and can reliably function at that level. Therefore degrees cannot be conferred, they must be recognized. For example an initiate of a LHP school has been working with a dedicated mentor for several years, and after careful observation and testing, the mentor recognizes that the initiate has come into being as an Adept and recognizes the initiate accordingly. The mentor does not confer Adepthood, he recognizes the qualities of the Adept in the student.
In the LHP, you initiate yourself, over and over again, possibly forever.
The Practice of LHP Initiation
The goal of personal divinity is an ambitious one, and rightfully so. Black magicians aim high and reach even higher. This is accomplished through a carefully structured and constantly scrutinized approach to initiation. The details of each initiate’s approach will differ greatly but there are certain commonalities to successful LHP initiation that are worth mentioning. Particularly the quest for personal sovereignty.
Understanding and mastery of one’s self and one’s world should be seen as fundamental goals of the LHP. Ipsissimus Don Web describes four types of rulership in the quest for sovereignty.
- Rulership of the Inner World – A restructuring of your internal ecosystem to support the quest of divinity. Destruction of the internal forces that stiffle your evolution.
- Rulership of the Outer World – Applying will and effort to restructure your environment to support that which brings you joy and supports your life goals.
- Royal Power in the Outer World – This deals with correct cultivation of your relationships in the world as a feature of the manner in which you have refined certain instincts and tendencies within yourself. Specifically the effect you have on the people in your life and what that means for you. Accordingly this is also about avoidance of certain social pitfalls that can hinder your progress.
- Royal Power in the Inner World – Mastery of the inward fears that paralyze initiation, steal joy, and limit power.
For more information on these and many other topics relevant to LHP initiation, I recommend Uncle Setnakt’s Essential Guide to the Left-Hand Path by Don Webb. There is no better functional introduction to the Left Hand Path that I have discovered.
Tools of LHP Initiation
Some of the fundamental tools that are required for success along the Left-Hand Path include:
Grimoire - Magical Journal
My magical journals have proven to be my most powerful tools time and time again. Take the time to record everything.
Physical & Mental Health
Your body is your greatest magical tool and ally in the world. The knowledge that can be gained from it is infinite and yet your time with your body is quite limited. Furthermore physical health has a profound effect on mental health. Attend to both every day.
The ability to recognize useful knowledge and the utility to absorb, apprehend and apply that knowledge is central to LHP initiation. The process of education must be active, aggressive and ongoing. Educate yourself in psychology, philosophy, anthropology, mathematics, science, biology, love, sex, humor, joy, parenting, architecture, art, etc. etc.
The practice of Black Magic is central to the LHP. It is the primary method of initiation. Mastery of greater, lesser, and medial black magic in a variety of traditions and systems must be central to your work.
Active, rigorous refinement of knowledge through the application of a structured methodology for testing knowledge is vitally important. Socratic Reductionism: Refutation of confused, Imprecise or illogical information or thinking, and cultivation of the ability to recognize truth.
Inspired knowledge of the universe that cannot be acquired via the scientific
method. Noesis is the result of utilizing intellectual effort and intuition simultaneously. It represents the greatest and most sublime method towards knowledge.
There are many more tools that the LHP initiate should have in their toolbox and they have been covered extensively in the recommended reading list at the end of this article.
Other Posits of the Left-Hand Path
The Left-Hand Path begins and ends with the initiate. Everything comes back to you. Total responsibility for a total existence.
This is the path of overcoming. Mastery of your world by defeating adversity within and without.
Cultivate chivalry, honor and quality of character.
Learn to protect yourself and your people by mastering a practical martial art that extends itself to real world applications.
Unplug from the streams of programmatic control that exist in all media.
This is becoming more common in LHP circles. The practice of Vampirism.
This is the appropriation of energetic resources from another being. This is NOT ingesting blood or other bodily fluids or tissues. Not every LHP initiate will agree with that, but, consuming blood is not necessary or even effective when contrasted with other methods of absorbing energetic resources.
In this context, as a LHP practice, predatory spirituality can refer to the technique of feeding on the vital energies (lifeforce, blood essence) from humans and sometimes discarnate intelligences. It can also refer to a larger tradition with its own practices, customs and beliefs. These vampire traditions are usually organized into a hierarchy, and except for a few public facing examples, are by invitation only.
Most of the religions of the RHP have structured their clergy as a body of professional event organizers and sermonizers, frequently called upon to administer spiritual penance solutions for confessed sinners. “Oh you masturbated on your cat 3 times this week! Say 10 Hail Mary’s and 10 Our Fathers.”
In some cases, most notably the catholic church, the priest is treated as an intermediary between god and the congregation. To the extent that the eternal fate of the individual parishioner is subject to the whims of the local priest. Scary stuff, and let’s not forget that the catholics have been perfecting these schemes for centuries; the medieval times saw the catholic church selling purgatory pardons for cash! In RHP religions, the priesthood is chosen by the church (or synagogue or mosque), to serve the religious needs of their congregations, and to support the interests of the church.
The concept of priesthood has an interesting and pragmatic manifestation within the Left-hand Path, where individual priests and priestesses of The Prince of Darkness are chosen by The Prince of Darkness. The idea is that certain initiates so embody the highest aspirations of the LHP that they are selected by the big man himself. The priest/priestess becomes a literal physical locus where the essence of the Prince of Darkness dwells and radiates forth The Powers of Darkness.
Being a living temple for the Prince of Darkness does not submlimate or suppress the will or autonomy of the priest/priestess. Quite the opposite in fact, as the newly consecrated finds their individuation from the Universe strengthened as they come into being even more completely as their isolate, individual self, exhibiting their unique nature and personality to a greater degree.
This process of merger with the Prince of Darkness was recognized by the early Church of Satan and this carried over to The Temple of Set, where it has been more thoroughly explored and documented.
I have personally seen this phenomenon at work even in initiates that work totally isolated, having no affiliation with a formal LHP tradition. An interesting mystery of The Path indeed.
The Infernus: Initiatory Maps & Daemonic Models
Black magical systems of the LHP are sometimes organized around a symbolic map which can serve a variety of functions. For example:
- Details the initiatory course of the aspirant
- System of magical correspondences
- Targeted ritual symbolism
- External intelligences to work with towards specific magical goals
- Subjective “landscape” for exploring the possibilities of the personal magical universe
Common LHP maps include:
The dark or averse twin of the Tree of Life. A map of the infernus that plots increasingly advanced magical experiences under the auspices of specific demonic rulers.
The World Tree (another fucking tree), an ancient Norse map of the cosmos with a great many interpretations.
The Nine Angles
An initiatory map from the Order of the Trapezoid. Symbolized by a pentagram and trapezoid superimposed. Frequently used with the pantheon of Lovecraft’s mythos.
I have used a variety of infernal psychocosms in my work over the years. Presently I use a syncretization between the Egyptian emanations of being and a unique interpretation of the nine angles.
A Test of LHP Readiness
Is the Left-Hand Path for you?
Do you feel the call? Something fundamentally…alien about yourself? A call to the ideas and aesthetics that terrify the average Joe? It is my opinion that antinomian souls are born, not made.
If you want an interesting magical synchronicity to help you clarify where you stand and possibly shock you into action towards the LHP, I have a technique that never fails.
Dip your toe
This technique will require access to an idol or statue of some sort. Preferably of a person or animal. It doesn’t really matter what the figure represents. It could even be a little figurine of Jesus on the cross, or a dashboard mounted Buddha. A large public statue would be preferred. If your location offers nothing in the way of public statuary, go to an antique or thrift store and wander around. You will also need either a tunable radio or a very crowded location where there are lots of distinct conversations occurring. Trade shows are perfect. Or the mall on black Friday. Obviously Covid-19 is making large crowded gatherings a rarity. Lastly you will need some earplugs.
This technique has two parts. The Request and the Answer.
First go to your statue (or idol), get as close as you can without getting arrested. Ask the idol: “Am I ready to pursue the Left Hand Path?” Immediately place the earplugs in your ear.
Ignore any phone calls.
Proceed to either your crowded location, or to a private space where you can use the radio.
Wander to a spot that feels right.
Turn on the radio and tune the dial till it feels right.
Now remove the earplugs
A conversation will jump out at you immediately. The contents of that conversation contains your answer.
If you are using a radio, slowly turn the dial until a station is tuned. Same rules apply.
Does this seem like allot of work just to answer a question? Then maybe this Left-Hand Path thing isn’t for you.
Recommended Reading List
I think a list of relevant resources is in order.
- Uncle Setnakts Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path, Don Webb
- The Laws of Human Nature, Robert Greene
- 12 Rules for Life, an antidote to chaos, Jordan B. Peterson
- The Church of Satan, Michael Aquino
- The Temple of Set, Michael Aquino
- The Satanic Bible, Anton Szandor LaVey
- The Devil’s Notebook, Anton Szandor LaVey
- The Seven Faces of Darkness, Don Webb
- Lords of the Left Hand Path, Stephen Flowers
- The Technicians Guide to the Left Hand Path, Roger Whitaker
- Azazel Steal the Fire from the Gods, E.A. Koetting, Kurtis Joseph, Asenath Mason, S. Connolly,
Edgar Kerval, Bill Duvendack, J.S. Garret, J.D. Temple, Frank White, Orlee
Stewart & W.J. Oliver
- Qliphoth The Complete Series, Edgar Kerval, Asenath Mason, Dante Miel, Sean Woodward, S. Ben Qayin, Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold, and others
- The Book of Sitra Achra – A Grimoire of the Dragons of the Other Side, N.A.A.218
- The Book of Abramelin A New Translation, Abraham Von Worms, Georg Dehn, Steven Guth, Lon Milo Duquette
- Mindstar, Michael Aquino
- Futhark, Edred Thorsson
- Daimonosophy, Sakaki 4
- Infernal Geometry and The Left Hand Path, Toby Chappell
Thank You for your time
I hope you have enjoyed this content. Questions or comments are certainly welcome.