Darkness, The Left, And Balance

I am sure many people associate darkness with evil and the left hand path with selfishness.  It would be hard to imagine finding any sense of balance in such a landscape. Yet balance is what bought me to the left hand path and the dark side of spiritual life. So either I am crazy, or I am looking at things differently. I prefer to think it is the latter!

The success of Fifty Shades Of Grey demonstrates that many people are intrigued and perhaps liberated by the prospect of experiencing what is often described as the darker side of sex. I am very sure there are many more suburban housewives experimenting with aspects BDSM these days as a result of reading and enjoying that book by E L James. Is it evil to admit our desire and taste for dominance or submission or perhaps even to explore the borderline between pleasure and pain?  Does the ecstasy we sometimes feel while indulging our darker tastes in the bedroom permanently darken our soul and consign us to an eternity of unpleasantness? Certainly we are engaging with darker and potentially dangerous aspects of our own psyche. But my guess is that the majority of us who explore those territories actually feel more whole, more centred and more liberated as a result. We don’t suddenly become monsters, we still hold down respectable jobs and bring up respectable kids. We just feel better.

On the whole we don’t give ourselves over entirely to dark, wicked, evil, sad, lonely, angry thoughts and desires. But we do find out where they are. We work with them. We integrate them. We find a balance and a wholeness inside ourselves that cannot exist without acknowledging our shadow side.

I have used the example of sex because I think it is something that a lot of my readers will understand and be interested in. But the truth is exploring our darker nature and integrating it works in all other aspects of life in the same way. In our mental processes, in our hobbies, in our work life, in our family life, in our religious, moral and spiritual lives we can only truly find balance if we work with the darker side of our nature; if we engage with our shadow side. The more we ignore or repress things; the less balanced and well we become.

Of course there is always the possibility of becoming obsessed with our darker sides, of giving our inner demons and monsters free reign. Most of us rightly fear the direction that might lead; aggression, violence insanity… We have all heard of sick and dangerous individuals who we would probably call evil. We don’t want to go there. And yet how often do we give thought to the extreme on the other side? People who do not acknowledge darkness at all? Are they any less insane? On that extreme you might find people who are weak, deluded and entirely ineffectual. At best such people tend to be a drain on everybody around them, and at worse they can cause massive problems and harm.

The truth is the majority of us naturally find a balance. One problem is that the borderline between light and dark has been arbitrarily marked out for us by the moral authorities (usually the dominant religion) in the society we inhabit. Who says sex before marriage is wrong? Who says casting spells is wrong? Who says working on a Sunday is wrong? Who says you must prey this way or that way and use this name or that name?

My choice to embrace Satanism (often regarded as a very dark religion) is partly because I find it much easier to navigate the geography there and therefore find a point of balance.

Satanism is regarded (by ourselves and some others) as being a Left Hand Path. In many respects the Left Hand Path is simply a more formalised way to speak of things which some people regard as dark or bad. The left-hand path focuses on the strength and will of the practitioner even if we believe in some form of deity (which many don’t). We tend to challenge authority based on other religions and the taboos of those belief systems. Moreover, the left-hand path is about the elevation and centrality of the self… So yes, we are self centred.

But what does being self centred mean in this context? In my view it certainly does not have to mean being selfish in a negative sense. It means taking an honest and realistic stance and admitting that we are indeed the centres of the world we inhabit. We cannot help but see things from our own perspective first (which does not mean we can’t also try to see things from other perspectives if we choose to).  We experience the world through the mind, body and senses of the body we inhabit therefore it is clearly beneficial to maintain ourselves in good condition before thinking about whether we can or should help look after other people. Some people can become selfish. Some Satanists and other Left Hand Pathers probably are selfish sometimes. Sometimes I am. However it seems to me and I think the majority of us on this path that habitual selfishness is self defeating; and therefore not very LHP at all! We need a healthy world and healthy communities to sustain us. We need friends in our communities and in our work places otherwise we will suffer many struggles and setbacks. Moreover we do love, we love passionately. We may love our families and our partners to the degree that we will sometimes choose to put their needs ahead of our own. We may choose to devote our energies to causes or charities that we believe strongly in. If we are wise however, never to the extent that we deny ourselves to the degree that we are damaged and therefore unable to do more… In other words, we find balance.

The Left Hand Path seems to go against the grain of inherited morality. But actually, if people reject the conventions of society and work things out for themselves I think a lot of people would identify as LHP if they were honest with themselves.

In the end however, whether people walk a left hand path or a right hand path, whether they scorn their inner dark-side or embrace it, it is finding balance that is important. I think perhaps the point at which we find balance both defines us as individuals and also becomes our source of power to act in the world.


One Comment on “Darkness, The Left, And Balance”

  1. Psychologically we all have our light and dark sides. I think if we suppress the latter then they are still going to ooze out in unhealthy ways. Better to let them ooze out into the molds we plan, like a BDSM bedroom lifestyle play, than to suppress them where they ooze out into totally imbalanced criminal activity like that guy in the American midwest who kidnapped and enslaved those 3 girls for 10 years. And yes some people want to live in their “dark side” so much they can’t appreciate the smell of a newly opened flower on a sunny day. Balance is everything, and the freedom and discipline to maintain your own balance will bring you joy.

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