Olives;The Left Hand PerspectivePosted: December 4, 2012
I have written specifically about the Left Hand Path here, and I have made reference to it in several other posts; but what does it actually mean to live life from a Left Hand Path perspective?
Well it can mean many things and my personal answer certainly can’t be seen as the definitive one, but to me above all else the Left Hand Path means honesty.
The Left Hand Path means acknowledging and working with those aspects of ourselves that are often considered to be dark or bad. It does not mean rejecting those aspects of ourselves which are generally thought to be good and wholesome. I am kind, I am generous, I am patient and empathic, I try to help people when I can. I am gentle and tolerant. I like Bambi and Disney movies. I like diplomacy and refined language. I like romance and flowers and tender moments of intimacy with my lover. I like ice cream and lollypops. However; I also like olives…
I can be cruel. I can be mean. I can be short tempered and harsh. I generally take care of myself before I think about others. I can be sarcastic and judgmental. I like porn and horror movies. I sometimes curse and swear like a trooper. I sometimes like to fuck like an animal on heat. I’ve done drugs and enjoyed them. I like alcohol and cigarettes. And all these things are equally as true of me as the nicer, more socially acceptable things are. That’s the truth about me.
And it may well be the truth about most people. However most religions and philosophies start off from the position that the good and wholesome things are the only parts of ourselves that should be cultivated, and the other side is either bad, avoided or ignored. Moreover they are often blind to the fact that the so called good things can be just as negative if taken to extremes or if not balanced by wisdom.
Left Hand spiritual paths look at the things the Christionized world labels as bad in a different way. I have an innate ability to be cruel. Appalling? Maybe, but also possibly useful. Being harsh may be more effective in some circumstances than being patient. Being judgmental can also mean being true to your feelings and not sitting on the fence.
Left Hand traditions also take things like horror, violence and other taboos and reexamine them. In the pain, the loss, the separation that all those things we fear threaten, we see how fragile life is and appreciate it with new relish. We explore societies dark corners and the sewers of our own mind with the intention above all things of not being consumed, but rising above the depravity we find. But we don’t pretend it isn’t there.
Over time I have come to appreciate that as much as I like sweetness and light (and I do) I also like bitterness and dark. I still like sucking children’s sweets or licking an ice cream, but I have come to enjoy the saltiness of olives and the kick of nicotine much more. I like the way my heart flutters with the first pangs of love or the first tender kiss but I also want and need to be bound and whipped and fucked until I am wailing like a banshee.
Overall, my tastes, my dreams, my priorities, my essence, my soul are more dark than light. In the more traditional Right Hand Paths there would be too much of myself to deny. There would be too many aspects of my being that I would be told to repress or be ashamed of. And I believe there are millions of people like me who are desperately trying to fit into “acceptable” traditions who must feel very uncomfortable because they just don’t really fit there.
But here is the point; everyone who has a spiritual dimension to their lives is looking for personal gnosis and progression. It doesn’t matter if you are left hand or right hand oriented; the fact that you seek out spiritual books or web-sites, investigate philosophy, try to meet with like minded people in Churches, Synagogues, Temples or Covens means that you are motivated towards personal development and spiritual growth. That being the case you have to start with an honest appraisal of who and what you are. Different vehicles will suit different people. In reality I think a lot more genuine searchers would consider left hand paths such as Satanism if it were not in itself such a taboo within Chrsitianized society
Christianity and most other right hand paths emphasize personal denial. They claim that you should put the good (by which they usually mean the rules) of your God, your guru or your community above your own. The Left Hand Path in contrast puts the self front and center. (That sentence alone will be an anathema to many people’s beliefs and values). However it seems to me that putting yourself at the center of your personal growth plan is logical and sensible. It does not mean that you cannot be kind and generous to the wider community; in fact you are likely to do so in a much more honest and effective way.
The Left Hand path does not mean being bad or elevating the more socially unacceptable parts of your persona. It simply means recognizing the truth of who you are and working with that. It means dealing with your shadow side and becoming a more whole person. Of course in theory that can also happen from a Right Hand Path perspective, but in my experience it often doesn’t.
Ideally both LHP and RHP should work to integrate the good and the bad, the light and the dark to help build more evolved and rounded spiritual people. My criticism of Right Hand Paths is that some of them have become too polarized to achieve that. Some Left Hand Paths may have the same fault, but to me they offer fertile ground to those of us who cannot fit into the Right Hand view of life.
Some of us will always prefer olives.