Old Souls Forum

Artwork by Minerva Tau

(Artwork by Minerva Tau)

Do you remember messageboards? They seem to have gone out of fashion a bit. Facebook and other social media have largely taken their place, but for all sorts of reasons I have never felt you get the depth of discussion and range of opinions on facebook groups that you used to get on message board forums. I miss that. I learned an awful lot from other people that helped me to grow on my spiritual path. Part of the reason I grew in such places was because people were allowed to respectfully disagree with me (and vice versa) and this caused me to think and re-think.

I enjoy writing my various blogs and will continue to do so but blog entries tend to be long essays with which people either agree or disagree but blogs are not a medium which are very good at generating actual real time discussion.

For that reason, and a good amount of nostalgia, I have created my own forum, “Old Souls”. While I’m not shy about and will never hide my own beliefs, Old Souls is certainly not only for Satanists or even just Left Hand Path practitioners. (At the moment myself and Tina are the only Satanists participating there). It is a discussion forum for anybody who acknowledges a spiritual dimension to life (whatever they construe “Spirituality to be). Presently we have atheists, pantheists, Wiccans, Pagans, Chaos Magicians and Native Americans; and there is room for plenty more. We talk about spiritual and philosophical matters but we also share jokes and talk about what music we like or what we like on TV. The only real rule is that all discussion must be respectful. If you are interested, pop in and have a look around.

http://oldsouls.freeforums.net/


Moving On… The Satanic Journey Continues…

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Post by Cassie

It is only just over 4 years ago that I wrote a post on my personal blog which was in effect my “Coming Out” as a Satanist. It hardly seems possible that so much has happened and changed in my life since then. At first I deleted the “coming out” post for all sorts of personal reasons and because I was afraid of the backlash and criticism I would receive. So my first steps into Satanic life were rather timid. However, I did reinstate that post and held fast to the decision I had made. In those early months I think I felt that actually I would find a middle path that was somewhere between Satanism and the kind of eclectic paganism I had been following up to that point. A lot of Satanic writing and precepts seemed a bit too radical, self centered and even brutal to me. But I put my faith and trust in Satan and took a leap into the dark… Now I suppose I find some of my early posts from a Satanic perspective to be far too apologetic; seeking approval and acceptance. Well, it’s a journey and you learn along the way. I learnt in big dramatic steps. Within months I was fully immersed in Satanic life, believing in and participating in things I would have bulked at a few months earlier. Within a year I was writing about Satanism with much more confidence and authority, I was deeply involved in a Satanic Coven and in various online Satanic circles. My soul was darker and my heart was probably harder. Meanwhile I got a girlfriend and adopted a daughter who both became Satanists and together our Satanic journey accelerated even further.

And now my lover and I run our own Satanic Coven. There are no half measures. We are not espousing any form of watered down middle path. Ours is a fully and exclusively left hand path. We reject all other moral systems and values and live by Satanic principles and will alone. There is nothing timid or half-hearted about our beliefs. We are Satanists. Accept it or fuck off.

But is that where the story ends? So nice little Cassie gives her soul to Satan and becomes a foul mouthed, hard arsed bitch… Is that it? Is that anything worth reading about, let alone celebrating? Is that a point at which anybody who has followed the story so far can say “Oh that was cool!” or “Told you so!” or even “What a shame!”

Well don’t worry, this is not the end. This is just a taking stock. The journey continues. The journey never ends.

It is true though… I am not as “nice” as I once was. I certainly can be a foul mouthed, hard arsed bitch and I enjoy giving that aspect of myself free reign sometimes. I no longer have any shame about the darker aspects of myself, or about expressing them when the need arises. So since I am taking stock, lets look in a bit more detail at the ways Satanism has changed and helped me.

Perhaps the most important thing in the early days was that Satanism helped me to cope with the illness and death of my mother. It was complicated and difficult but I think that without the hardened edge and support network that Satan provided me with, I would have broken down. It was also at that time (coincidence?) that I met my life partner and her daughter and inherited a new family. My love and passion for Sophie began on a high but has steadily increased as we have both become ever more deeply involved in Satanism. And while I will probably never give birth myself, I couldn’t love my adopted daughter more. Her presence totally activated my maternal instincts and hormones and helped me to grow in ways I would never have imagined possible. Now she is old enough to begin making her own way in the adult world and I couldn’t be prouder of her. (More about that later).

Satanism allowed me to know myself better, to shamelessly indulge in my passions and pleasures, and to grow in confidence in leaps and bounds. That confidence has lead to several promotions and thus to a much more enjoyable, rewarding and lucrative work life. I am earning more money than I thought possible a few years ago, I am living in a very comfortable apartment in an expensive city but can still afford just about any luxury or pleasure that takes my fancy. While I have a few unhealthy vices, I am fit, active, happy and relaxed and therefore in very good health. Sophie and I are both approaching the phase of life that used to be known as “middle age” but I think we could both pass ourselves off as “twentysomethings” if we wanted to. And our own coven has given us both the opportunity to develop our maternal and organisational skills in new ways. Gradually we have become quite influential in wider Satanic circles. So it is as if in work, social, personal and coven life all limits and barriers have been removed.

So while people who used to know the nicer Cassie might regret the harder edge they see now, I am thoroughly grateful to Satan for the person I have become and the limitless opportunities ahead of me.

I am aware that there are elements of this post which I have spoken of before, not so long ago, and that is a bit of a problem… Looking back through this blog, we have already covered most of the themes that are important to us. We don’t want to get repetitive…

The thrust of this post so far might seem to be saying “Look we are fully immersed in Satanism now and everything is great;- end of story.” But that is not it.

There will be challenges ahead and we are not so naive as to think all our problems are over and this is where we stay now. No, life is always a journey. There are always new things to learn and experience in any path and it is no different for us. I think the three of us are Satanic to the core of our beings and that will probably not change. But how we live that out in the reality of the everyday world will always pose questions and challenges for us. We will continue to share what we learn from those experiences in this blog and we will continue to write about any themes that seem important to us. But since we have covered quite a lot of ground already we will probably not be posting to this blog as often as in the past. We do not want to be repeating ourselves too much.

However we have encouraged Tina to start a blog of her own. She has a very different perspective and voice to Sophie and myself. Sophie and I came to Satanism in our thirties after a lot of spiritual searching and all sorts of different life experiences. Tina, on the other hand, has been brought up in the centre of a Satanic family. In terms of philosophy and religion, Satanism is pretty much her normality in a way that certainly wasn’t the case for us, or for most people… Also, at sixteen, as she begins to explore adult life in general, her concerns and interests are quite different from our own. All three of us are aware there is not much quality material around for younger people who are interested in Satanism, certainly not much that we would recommend. Sophie and I are confident that Tina will become a good and knowledgeable example of a young Satanist. We hope she will indeed keep her blog going and we are curious to see what she will say.

So, while Sophie and I may be posting here a little less often in future, the journey of this Satanic family continues in many ways.

You can visit Tina’s blog here.


Misgivings and Rededication

At this time of year some Satanists, especially those of us that have theistic views, have a big ritual called the Grand Climax. Some Satanists celebrate this festival in December or at other times of the year while other Satanists do not celebrate or recognise it at all. As ever, we are a contrary bunch!

We do celebrate it. For me it marked my adoption into the coven and my full and total dedication to Satan and Satanism as a spiritual path and philosophy. A year later it marked the same change for Sophie.

You will not read much online about what the ritual consists of, at least not much which is true. And we will not give many details here of what it involves either. Among the Satanists that we associate with, it certainly does not involve any form of cruelty and nothing which is illegal. There is some blood involved  (our own) which may rule out people who are squeamish about such things and there can be a degree of consensual sexual activity. However, I would say that for those who know little or nothing about real Satanism, the ambience and drama of this ritual probably does come closer to their darker expectations than many other Satanic rituals.

Its main point is to deepen our connection with and understanding of Satan in our lives. The lead up to the ritual, which can be days or weeks even, encourages us to meditate on what it means to be a Satanist and hopefully to become  more Satanic in nature.  And that means a lot of thinking…

All that thinking brings to mind some things which concern me about Satanism, some misgivings that haven’t gone away. For those that follow this blog, my misgivings will come as no surprise. They come under two headings.

1) Christianity.

While Satanic beliefs and individuals are very diverse, I do still think that many of us are still too influenced by Christianity. We need to let it go! I have met so many Satanists whom I consider as spiritual brothers and sisters who seem obsessed with that old religion of Western Tradition. Most of their Satanism seems to be about opposing anyone and anything that purports to be Christian. Such a waste of energy! Others still seem to frame their lives by Christian expectations or morals. If Christianity says it is bad it must be good  and vice versa… That is such limited thinking. While as individuals with freed wills we can and should oppose Christian morals and ideas when necessary, why the fuck should we allow a Christian perception of Satanism to in any way influence how we live. We don’t HAVE to be dark and evil just because that is how Christianity depicts us. We should be forming our own morals and values. Oh and I still occasionally hear of loud mouthed Satanists advocating burning churches. Idiots! Becoming criminals and terrorists is not going to move us forward or serve Satan in any way. Opposing Christianity is a starting point, but we really need to get over and beyond it!

2) Balance.

Yes, we follow a Left Hand path. Sophie and I adhere to this philosophy mostly because it makes logical sense to us. It is more subtle than it first appears and seems based on the realities of the human condition; making it practical and useful. And we certainly fully embrace our darker, shadow sides; without which we would not feel like whole people. This is an area that some right hand paths seem to neglect. However, while embracing, celebrating and using the darker aspects of our persona’s as productively and enjoyably as possible, we do not reject all that is deemed light. We greatly value love and kindness and many other things that right hand paths by default seem to have the monopoly on. Again it is in my opinion that some misguided Satanists give right hand paths power and credence by rejecting everything they have to offer. If we dress entirely in black, hiding in corners watching only the most gory and depraved horror and porn, we will become what our enemies want to depict us as in the first place. We should instead be striving for balance because that is intelligent and self empowering.

With all this being said, I am more dedicated than ever to Satan. I will relish this weekends ritual as an opportunity to refresh and recharge. If Satanism had no problems and no faults it would be neither human nor useful. It will never be more than a work in progress because we are all souls on a  path to self improvement. Being aware of things that need work is a good starting point for rededication.  Cassie

 

Naturally I agree with all that Cassie has said. I would just like to add that this ritual is a personal one in which as well as thinking about Satanism as a whole we are thinking about how we are personally progressing and Cassie and I would be the first to admit that we have many faults and there is much to do in our own lives in order to be better, happier and more productive satanic people.

This will also be a personal ritual in the sense that this year we will be organising and leading it ourselves with a small group of like minded friends here in Switzerland. In the past we have celebrated with Cassie’s coven in the UK, but now we are living here permanently we are unable to participate fully with them so we are branching out. That is a challenge and an opportunity that we are both quite excited about. There is for me another personal reason why this year’s ritual will be special; but I’ll write more about that next time.

So for today I will finish by wishing all those who are celebrating this weekend and all those who are perhaps merely thinking about Satnism for the first time sincere Satanic Blessings. Sophie


Visible and Invisible Satanists

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Real Satanists are invisible which is a problem because a lot of people calling themselves Satanists aren’t.

Recently there were several reports of a person who claimed to be a Satanist doing terrible and obscene things. In truth this person probably thought she was indeed a Satanist. She described being initiated into a Satanic sect in her early teens. This may indeed have happened much as she described it. She may have been encouraged by other members of that particular sect to do evil and perverted things. That does not excuse or mitigate her actions in any way. Those of us in the real Satanic community tend to scoff at such things and the media attention they generate. Some of us look down on those who unquestioningly believe that such things represent Satan or Satanism. “That was just a sect” we might say, “and there are crazy sects that attach themselves to all religions and philosophies…” But I think that type of reaction is a bit lame and short sighted.

We real Satanists have to recognise that there are many understandable reasons why people might be quick to think the worst of us. Moreover other people’s ignorance about us is no worse and no less understandable than our own ignorance of beliefs we have never studied or our habitual beliefs in things we have never had cause to question. People didn’t believe the world was flat because they were stupid, they believed it because it made sense at the time. Likewise, most people who think we Satanists are evil do not think so because they are stupid but rather because much in our culture leads them to believe so and they have never had cause to question it.

The western culture I and most of my readers have grown up in is a culture that is largely based on Christian principles and history… A culture which has uniformly painted Satan as the epitome of evil and his followers as immoral evil doers. A culture which painted all other beliefs as false, wrong, bad or evil. A history which saw many non Christians and heretics as deserving of death. A culture and history which often gained dominance by destroying or slandering any opposing culture. A culture which for hundreds of years has deemed all witchcraft as evil. And even in more recent, scientific and enlightened times popular culture continues to portray Satan and his followers as the arch villains; the bad guys in black with nothing but evil on their minds. Let’s face it even in our so called enlightened times there are places where you can still be sentenced to death for practicing witchcraft or even just for being homosexual. It is not hard to see why in this environment, Satan as a concept remains for a significant majority the personification of evil.
And then of course there are evil people who do sick and perverted things in Satan’s name… Why should anybody question the cultural archetype of Satan as the very bad guy?

Well perhaps if more Real Satanists were visible people might begin to question their assumptions. I’d like to think that the people who read this blog will realise that I am not evil and I don’t do very bad things even if they don’t agree with my views or lifestyle. But even I am only visible to a limited degree. My internet identity is just enough removed from my everyday life that I can hide to a degree. A few close friends and colleagues know I am a Satanist but if it were more widely known it could cause me problems. I imagine quite a few people would have reservations about the idea that a Satanist is teaching their child. The popular misconceptions about Satan and Satanism are indeed strongly ingrained even in many otherwise enlightened and scientific minds. Many people will simply never question the idea that Satan and Satanists are synonymous with evil.

But some will; and therein I see signs of hope and change. I questioned it. All of my Satanic friends questioned it. More and more people are questioning established religions and seeking their own spiritual paths. It is not important if they become or call themselves Satanists, what is important is that they are questioning established conventions. The veil of lies is slipping and people are challenging moral and spiritual rules and norms; they are thinking for themselves, and that is what matters. The power of the institutions which dominated the last two thousand years is waning significantly.

So as Satanists we must be as visible as it is sensible to be. We must be good examples and good ambassadors where and when we can be. And if we can be prepared to do that maybe we can depend on the spirit of the age, of enlightenment, of Lucifer, of Satan to do the rest.

Perhaps that sounds naive, over optimistic and even a bit new agey… After all, the perverts who occupy the headlines by reinforcing the negative stereotypes of Satanism aren’t going to go away anytime soon. Some people may be beginning to question things, but being prepared to turn deeply ingrained cultural norms on their head does not come easily to anybody.

Oddly I think we can take some hope and inspiration from the earliest days of Christianity. Before the power that became the Catholic Church was established, the people who called themselves Christians were a tiny, persecuted minority who were routinely vilified and regularly fed to the lions. While I don’t agree with any of the beliefs they had even at that time, it is clear that many of the stories spread around about them in those early days were false and slanderous. I think if I had been a neutral observer at that time I wouldn’t have given much for their chances of surviving a decade let alone a century. But they did survive. Fate and politics lead them to dominate the whole of the western world for the next two thousand years.

How much better are the chances for a religion which is far more egalitarian, enlightening, logical, scientific, life affirming and has at its core the notion that humans as individuals and as a species can progress without limit? I think we can afford ourselves a little optimism.


Sex and the Satanist

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Oddly enough, this subject is as close to being taboo as Satanists get. Not that we don’t have sex or are particularly shy or conservative about the subject, it’s just that we don’t tend to talk about it very much openly. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly we tend to regard sex as a non issue. As people who value freedom and independence and who are not governed by the rules and laws that tend to predominate a lot of other religious and philosophical lifestyles we take it as read that people have their own individual sexual tastes, preferences and morals which are none of our business. It is generally not a topic for moral debate. We are human animals with sexual needs and impulses and we live within that reality.

The other reason we don’t talk about it much may be to do with the fact that we are widely regarded as sexually immoral or at least amoral and in popular culture as well as being perceived as being evil we are often believed to indulge in orgies all the time!

The truth is rather less dramatic. As a collection of people we are actually not very different from the rest of society when it comes to sex. Some of us are straight. Some of us are gay or bisexual. Some are transgendered. Some of us are promiscuous and like a lot of sex while others might prefer a good cup of tea and have very little interest in sex at all. Some of us are married or in long term monogamous relationships while others are poly-amorous or  are in more fluid relationships. The only thing that unites us in our view of sexuality is that we generally have a live and let live mentality on this subject, although of course we are not totally free of prejudice and bigotry ourselves… In truth our sexual lives, morals and attitudes are almost as diverse as in the rest of society.

In principle though, we don’t see sex as bad or dirty. We don’t believe it has to be bound up in the rules or norms of any given religion or society. We see sex as a normal and healthy function, part of our natural, animalistic nature;- fun, pleasurable, a potential aid to personal growth, a binding force in romantic relationships and a magically powerful act.

What about the orgies then?

Well there are some Satanists who indulge in orgies. They are probably outnumbered ten to one by the non Satanists who also indulge in such things in private parties, swingers clubs and other such groups. Whether I was a Satanist or not, my attitude to such activities is whatever floats your boat, so long as it is always fully consensual. Personally I have never participated in anything I would describe as an orgy but I don’t totally rule it out or judge others who might enjoy such things. However, for the record, participating in orgies is not a normal activity among most of the Satanists I know.

Where the line gets blurred is that there can be an element of sexual activity in various forms of Satanic ritual and magic.

Satanists are of course not alone in employing the use of sex magic. Many witches and magical practitioners use sex magic techniques and not only those of us who consider our path dark or Left Handed. I have been using sex magic as part of my repertoire since fairly early in my career as a witch. For me it has always been a clear and obvious method of raising and directing energy and I have never had any qualms about using it. There are many  magical techniques involving sex, many of them derived from Tantra, which  are not only effective in achieving magical aims but can also improve overall sexual performance and satisfaction. There are techniques which can be used alone and others which can be used with a partner or even in a group situation. I have used all of these variations at different times. However, sex magic does not always or even often involve any form of intercourse or penetrative sex; mostly it is about becoming more aware of how  your body functions and reacts sexually and training yourself to either retain or release energy at will. I would actually recommend learning some of these techniques to people who have no particular desire to use them magically but simply as an aid to personal development and sexual confidence. Of course nobody, Satanist or otherwise, should ever feel forced or obliged to par-take in any activity which goes beyond the boundaries they are comfortable with.

There can also be a sexual element in Satanic rituals even where there is no particular magical intent. Not all Satanists or Satanic groups engage in such things though, and once again, nobody should ever feel forced or coerced into any sexual activity they don’t fully consent to. There are plenty of individual Satanists and Satanic groups that don’t expect or engage in any form of sexual activity. For those who do use sex in ritual the sex can be symbolic or actual and aside from magic it’s purposes can be many-fold, but is most often related to raising energy, bonding, psychological alignment, celebrating the physical self, defying taboo and communion with Satan or Satanic energy. Such rituals usually begin in a controlled and formulaic way, but with such a sexually charged atmosphere there may well be scenes reminiscent of an orgy at the end although it is most often only between pre existing couples and regular partners. It certainly must always and only be between fully consenting adults. And of course individual participants must come to their own decisions about how such activities could affect their own health and their own relationships; Satanism is about personal responsibility after all.

I understand that the very idea of having any form of sexual activity in a “religious” context can seem strange and amoral to some. I do not take that view. Personally I see sex as something beautiful and natural and very human. It has always had a deep spiritual significance to me and does not seem out of place in a religious or spiritual context. Personally I would have more moral qualms about eating the body and drinking the blood of a God/Man; but Christians do that all the time!

Each to their own.


Award

Many thanks to Aleister Nacht for nominating Devils Advocate for the Liebster Award. Over the past year I have been lucky enough to receive a few award nominations for my other, more general, blog, but this is the first time Devil’s Advocate which is specifically about my spiritual path in Satanism has been nominated. My spiritual beliefs go to the core of my being and so I am very touched to be nominated for this award. Thank You Aleister.

About the Liebster Award

“The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The word ” Liebster” comes from German and can mean the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, most beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you. Done!
  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)
  • You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog!

11 Random Facts about me.

1) I like snakes.

2) I can sing.

3) Walking, swimming and sex are the closest I come to sports.

4) I speak German, Spanish and Italian fairly well.

5) I hardly ever use facebook or twitter.

6) I have studied English, Education and Comparative Religion to degree level.

7) I have just finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy.

8) Springwatch/Autumnwatch is my favorite factual program on TV.

9) Firefly is my all time favorite sci-fi TV series.

10) I never buy expensive lighters or pens because I lose them every day.

11) I’m very disenchanted with politics in my country.

Questions For me to answer.

1. What makes you happy?

Being with my girlfriend. Friends in general. Going to gigs. Listening to music. Traveling. Sex. Achievement. Nature.

2. If you could change one thing in your life (past or present), what would it be and why?

That my Mum was fully fit and healthy as she should be at her age.

3. What do you believe is waiting on the other side of death for each one of us?

I don’t know exactly but I think there is progression and continuation of some sort.

4. What do you want to achieve in 2013?

Re-establish links with some old friends. More success at work on my own terms. Find a new place to live which better suits my needs.

5. What are your vices?

Sex, cigarettes, alcohol, ink,musicians, and flirting.

6. If you were given one week to live, what would you do during that week?

Organize my funeral, see all my closest friends and have lots of sex.

7. What was the most painful experience of your life?

My mum’s illness.

8. If you could spend 30 minutes with anyone in history, who would it be and why?

Plato or Leonado DaVinci; I’d just like to listen and learn.

9. What advice would you give to anyone?

Live as fully as you can, don’t worry too much about making mistakes but try to avoid regrets.

10. Why do you blog?

To express myself and see my thoughts in words, to communicate and connect with others and to improve my writing skills.

11. What do you plan to be doing 10 years from now?

I don’t really plan that far ahead but hopefully I will be writing professionally, living happily with the woman I love and taking a leading role in a growing Satanic community.

11 Questions for my nominees to answer.

1) What’s your favorite room at home?

2) What fears have you overcome?

3) What is your idea of hell?

4) What is your idea of paradise?

5) What is your favorite possession?

6) Something you are proud of…?

7) What does the word “satanism” mean to you?

8) What is your favorite sport to watch or participate in?

9) What is your favorite way to relax or pamper yourself?

10) Which causes or charities do you support?

11) How are you feeling?

My nominees for the award.

There are supposed to be 11 nominees, but I have recently nominated a lot of people for other awards so I want to pick a handful of nominees here that I think are very interesting or whom I would like to answer my questions.

A supportive Heathen friend

An inquiring mind

A curious Christian

A collective of thoughtful people

A sex positive feminist

Eye candy for lovers of beautiful women, beautiful tattoos and Rockabilly style.


Olives;The Left Hand Perspective

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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.