Transcending Good and Evil

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I want to preface this post by saying that it can in some ways be viewed as a kind of warning. We have always tried to present the positive side of Satanism and confront some of the misinformation that often circulates on the media. However, Satanism is certainly a darker path and is not right for everybody. Moreover I think it is fair to say that anybody who takes this path will have to confront aspects of themselves and of society that most people prefer not to.

Satanists and most of us who follow a Left Hand Path; a path associated with darkness, cannot help but be exposed to evil; whatever one considers evil to be. There have been times on this spiritual journey where I have come close to describing myself as fully evil and seeing evil itself as the truest expression of pure Satanism. This may come as a surprise to some who know me, even in Satanic circles, because I have usually taken a public stance which is quite different to that. But I think that all of us on the Satanic path are forced to experience and confront evil in a way that most people never do. We each go through stages in our relationship with evil and come to our own conclusions about it. Some on this path do become everything the wider world considers to be evil and are not afraid to admit that to themselves and others. Some take pride in describing themselves as evil. I do not go quite that far but I certainly do not consider or describe myself as good either. I am Satanic; and that is enough.

It is true however that the deeper one becomes involved in Satanism, the further you travel into the territory that is often described as evil by others. You may blaspheme, you may participate in black masses and other dark rituals, you may practice magic defined by others as black, the  use of blood and various sexual acts may become part of your magical and ritual life. And of course you see the enemy of Christianity and several other religions, Satan; The Devil, as your guide and inspiration. You may work with demons and dark spirits. You may see the diabolical as your kin and hell as your spiritual home. I have done all of these things and I must say that once you start to explore this territory it is intoxicating and addictive. This is where the danger lurks for us. In this new territory where there are no clear maps or boundaries, it is easy to get lost. What do I mean by that?

What I mean is that we are exploring areas or our mind and psyche that are considered taboo and forbidden by many and within those dark territories there are things we don’t really think are wrong but there are other things which still may be wrong or evil or against our true nature and judgement. In the darkness and the ecstasy of exploration we can confuse those things. To put it another way, we can begin to see and experience everything in this territory as equally valid and equally much our true nature. We glimpse that we are capable of every kind of evil and may come to feel that every kind of evil is acceptable for us. This is a stage that most, if not all, people who take a Left Hand Spiritual path; or in a Jungian sense explore their dark side, must go through. I have had moments like that. I have had moments when I have felt that to kill somebody who stands in my way would be no more wrong than fully enjoying my sexuality. I have had moments when I have felt that the power to be sadistic and cruel in the extreme without any guilt or shame would be a beautiful and liberating thing. Yes, I have had moments when I have felt that everything I personally abhorred and previously thought to be really evil is everything I actually want to be. I doubt that there are many people on a similar path who have not occasionally had these thoughts and feelings.

I should add that these moments were just that: moments. When the moments were over they became stimuli for deep soul searching and internal dialogue. They became uncomfortable points of self reflection. They became lessons which slowly and uncomfortably lead to personal growth and understanding. But it is easy to see and understand how for some people (and I would never say that I am immune) these moments could become extended… These moments could become their new reality.

Yet still I think this a path worth continuing on. It is dangerous, but it is worth it for some of us (including my partner and my daughter). I would like to speak about why I think it is worth it in the context of what Left Hand Paths are really about. And finally I would like to indicate why I think that being a Theistic Satanist offers a certain amount of guidance and protection that may be missing in some other Left Hand Paths.

The idea of the Left Hand Path first surfaced in Eastern, Tantric traditions. To over-simplify it was seen as a difficult but sometimes faster path to enlightenment which depended heavily on breaking the taboos and conventions of a given time and place. For example, within communities that were vegetarian, Tantric practioners of the left hand path would eat meat. In places where sexual morals were conservative and restrictive, those of the left hand path would explore and practice all forms of sexuality that were considered taboo or depraved. The idea was two fold. Firstly (and this may be a more modern and more western interpretation) breaking conventions and taboos can be seen as a test of the moral validity of such taboos in the first place. Secondly (and perhaps most importantly in the original traditions) the aim was for the soul to remain untainted no matter how much the body was engaged with material depravity and corruption; to remain true to your higher self in the midst of the most extreme material experiences.

I try to incorporate both these aspects into my own version of the left hand path and try to remind myself of the point of it all as often as possible. Thus with each taboo that I choose to break, I evaluate all that I gain or loose by doing so and come to a new value judgement of my own about how I should regard that thing or that action myself. Moreover, when I am momentarily overwhelmed by the sensation or possibilities of something, I try not to let it overpower or consume me but rather allow my higher self to observe and note it. A little bit of Buddhist knowledge and background is very helpful here.

So an understanding of what the Left Hand Path is about can be very helpful and protective; I would say essential. However personally I find that that alone is not enough. In the moments where I have been in most danger of losing myself, it was in fact the presence of Satan that saved me.

Satan first permeated my soul in the shape of the Pagan Horned God, a figure whose voice called out to me to be heard rather than side-lined or ignored. Within the circles I moved in, people were appalled or even terrified that their somewhat neutered Horned God might be associated with the Christian Devil. Yet to me the similarities were clear. I then began to see the Christian portrayal of Satan as false and misleading. I felt His displeasure at being portrayed in such a limited and entirely negative way. And it was because I began to recognize the depiction of Satan as entirely evil as false that I became a Satanist. So when I am exploring the darker areas of my soul, it is a voice of wisdom that guides me and in particular urges me not to linger in dangerous areas for too long. It is Satan once again reminding me that he is not the caricature of evil that Christians would have us believe.

The Satanic path does require us to explore the nature of evil within ourselves and beyond, but it certainly does not require us to become evil.

I titled this post “transcending good and evil” but that might be a little misleading. What this post is about and indeed what Satanism itself is about to a large degree is transcending other people’s definitions of good and evil. As Satanists we all eventually leave behind worldly notions of good and evil and trust instead on our Satanic instincts. But we train and hone those instincts. The lessons can be hard and we can get lost but we learn and we grow. We are always accountable for our own actions and choices. We allow ourselves more freedoms but those freedoms have dangers. This is the path we have chosen but our safety on the path is not guaranteed. We can fall. We can get lost. Some people do.

For me personally (headstrong and arrogant as I can be), a focus on the true nature of Satan and a willingness to heed his advice is the strongest safety line.

For the benefit of anybody who has been skim reading this without much concentration or understanding what I am saying is that while I have glimpsed my own potential to be evil (and will do again I am sure) I have chosen not to be, and that it is Satan who keeps my moral compass pointing in the right direction.

And if you are still confused don’t worry, but don’t ever explore Satanism; you are not ready.

Cassie

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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.


Dark Fluffies and The Point of the LHP

Anyone with any experience of paganism, witchcraft, the new age movement or any alternative spiritual path will probably be familiar with the term Fluffy Bunny. For anybody who is not familiar with the term, the emphasis should be on the word fluff; because there is nothing very cute about the people who are defined by this term. In general fluffy bunnies are seen as being dumb and annoying.

Basically a Fluffy is a person who is not very well read in the path they claim to be following despite often making highly exaggerated claims for their own knowledge and experience. They may have read one or two simple books on witchcraft ( or more likely a few short wiki articles) and then think they know everything; or at least enough to lecture other people about it. They tend to come from the love and light end of the non philosophical rainbow, believing that real, good witches only practice white magic, only ever heal, cannot and will not harm anybody or anything, and that wrapping somebody in a bubble of light will cure anything from a headache to cancer. They tend to be very sheltered and naive about life in general and their own nature. And in their zeal to wrap everybody and everything in light, they don’t really care or even understand how many people they hurt or insult. They themselves are never wrong of course.

Now, there are two basic types of fluffy bunny; permanent and temporary. We have probably all been temporary fluffies for a while. When we set out on our path and lack direction or sufficient knowledge; our naivety, excitement and enthusiasm get the better of us. We try to run before we can walk (or even know the difference between the two things) we do and say embarrassing things without really being aware of it. But we can be forgiven because it is only a stage which we will hopefully grow out of as we read more and find the guidance we need and start living out our path in the real world. I went through that stage myself and cringe when I think about it now, but I was lucky to find good people to guide me and wise enough to realise how much I still had to learn.

Some people however never grow out of that stage and become permanent fluffy bunnies. The less they learn, the more disconnected from reality they become; the more annoying and sure of themselves they become. They retreat into their Disneyland version of reality growing more and more fluff to insulate themselves from the hard bumps and gritty realities of the world. Little do they know that their wilful ignorance is only exceeded by their arrogance. They marginalise themselves and become the butt of jokes by those who take their paths and the realities of life more seriously.

Such people are annoying and I’m sure we have all met a few of them. However, while they are not entirely harmless; they are pretty easily squashed.

Those of us following a darker, Left and Path also have our share of fluffy bunnies amongst our ranks. Dark fluffies are equally annoying and potentially dangerous. They have much in common with the lighter fluffies; they know much less than they think. They tend not to be very well read and lack guidance (often because they don’t think they need any). They are not very grounded and, like their lighter counterparts, they tend to be naive about life and have a very blinkered view of the world.  However, while fluffies of the Right Hand Paths tend to be unbalanced in favour of love and light (which seldom does much serious harm) Dark Fluffies are full of hate and darkness and can easily end up being a danger to themselves and others. They live on a diet of extreme imagery and can easily become perverted and threatening to those around them. They tend to want to be seen as darker than dark and more evil than evil. Unchallenged, they can do a lot of harm.

I think that Dark Fluffies miss the point of what the Left Hand Path is all about in the first place (probably because they are too lazy or arrogant to read beyond a few basic texts in the first place. In fairness however there are many definitions of what the left hand path actually is.

The term was probably first used in a tantric context where “left-hand path” and “right-hand path” refer to differences in ritual practice, not in belief. Tantric Left Hand Pathers believe many of the same things that Tantric  Right Hand Pathers believe: that there is an Absolute that we should try to integrate ourselves with, and that our selfish passions and fears can be major obstacles to enlightenment. But while RHPers attempt to overcome their dark sides by conforming to socially conventional religious practices, LHPers attempt to exhaust their dark sides by immersing themselves in whatever they personally find to be taboo. Their object is to remain spiritually pure even when immersed in all that they find perverse and profane.

I am not as knowledgeable about Kabbalah as I would like to be b I believe that in this context, the LHP has been identified with magical rituals or operations that deal with the left pillar of the Tree of Life (or the “Pillar of Severity”), which includes the sephiroth called Binah (Understanding), Geburah (Power), and Hod (Majesty).

Then in a Satanic context, the LHP is usually defined as a self centred and self worshipping path in which we recognise our potential to be or become Gods ourselves. Atheistic Satanists see Satan as a symbol of opposition to theologies that denigrate our human potential while theistic Satanists generally regard Satan as a God or power of enlightenment and liberation from prevailing orthodoxies.  So while Tantrists usually define the LHP in terms of method (e.g., the practices one uses to reach enlightenment), Satanists  define it more in terms of ideology.

My own Left Hand Path draws on elements of all the above, but the point is that all of us who take our left hand path seriously are not so dumb as to believe it is sufficient to be nasty and hateful. We are all looking for progression, many of us also believe it is important to be balanced.

Fluffy Bunnies at both ends of the spectrum are intellectually stunted and unbalanced. They are annoying of course and potentially dangerous. Perhaps they are best served boiled…

 

Come on; you all know there were worse pictures could have used!


The Left Hand Path

Does being a Satanist mean that my spiritual feet are now firmly entrenched on the “left hand path”? What is the Left-Hand Path anyway?

Broadly the left-hand and right-hand paths are labels that refer to styles of  occult practices. Traditions of the LHP tend to reject conventional religious dogmas and/or practices in favor of techniques or positions that are generally considered “taboo.”Left hand path practices are usually associated with Satanism, Setian, Qliphothic magic, black magic and various forms of dark paganism. However the term has come to possess several different meanings depending on who is using the term and  the context in which it is being used.

In a Tantric context (where the term may first have been widely used), “left-hand path” and “right-hand path” refer to differences in ritual practice, not in belief. Tantric “LHPers” believe many of the same things that Tantric “RHPers” believe: that there is an Absolute, that we should try to integrate ourselves with it, and that our selfish passions and fears are major obstacles to enlightenment. But while RHPers attempt to conquer their dark sides by conforming to socially conventional religious practices, LHPers attempt to exhaust their dark sides by immersing themselves in whatever they personally find to be tempting, disgusting, or terrifying. The object is to remain spiritually pure even in the midst of great distraction or corruption.

In a Kabbalic context, the LHP has been identified with magical rituals or operations that deal with the left pillar of the Tree of Life (or the “Pillar of Severity”), which includes the sephiroth called Binah (Understanding), Geburah (Power), and Hod (Majesty). In some cases it is identified with rituals pertaining to the so-called “Tree of Qlippoth,” a reversal of the Tree of Life made from the “broken shells” or “bodily waste” of the cosmic organism.

In various expressions of Satanism the LHP  may be defined as a path focusing on worshiping oneself as one’s own God, or of seeking to become a God either on earth or after death.  It also alludes to such things as sex magic, maleficium, necromancy, the use of culturally taboo symbols, and worship of (and/or identification with) deities that were rejected by other traditions.

Still others may define the LHP as virtually any path of which they personally disapprove. Throughout human history, the side of the left has always been linked with filth, fury, and flesh. . The word Left is possibly derived from the Anglo-Saxon word  “lyfy” which literally means weak. The left hand in some cultures, had always been considered to be the weaker hand, and the right hand was known as stronger one. It has been said that the left hand takes in and receives energy and the right hand exudes energy. (I have personally found this to be the case).

For me the Left Hand Path is a mixture of many of the things mentioned above. I have no desire or intent to restrict my practices and beliefs exclusively to those things which are regarded as LHP in nature. In this sense my views either haven’t really changed since becoming a Satanist; (or perhaps my views were always inclined in that direction anyway because I have never been adverse to using any technique if it worked).

As a Wiccan and then as an eclectic pagan witch, I never really believed in a great divide between methods of magic and ways of life that were exclusively black or exclusively white; all good or all bad, or left verses right handed. In a practical sense I have always been prepared to do whatever needs to be done no matter what side of the fence that method might be perceived as being. Most of my experience, training and practice has probably been right handed and I will continue use those methods if I need to. On the other hand I have never been averse to trying alternative ways of doing things and perhaps in future I will learn and use a lot more techniques associated with the LHP.

In a more general sense as a person and as a theistic Satanist I accept the very fact that I honour Satan places me firmly on the LHP in many people’s opinion. In fact I worship Satan both as an external deity and as an aspect of myself. I am prepared to break most taboos and explore and promote the darker sides of my psyche as valuable and fundamental aspects of who I am. Acknowledging and integrating my shadow side was part of the reason I became a Satanist. But essentially I am striving for balance. If it is possible to be balanced while on a primarily Right Hand Path, it must also be possible to be balanced while mainly operating from a Left Hand Path perspective.

(I’d like to thank Darth Brookes and Venus Satana whose essays on this subject helped with my definition of LHP practices and history).