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Author Topic: The Left Hand Paths  (Read 472 times)

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Tinevisce

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The Left Hand Paths
« on: July 06, 2016, 11:45:09 AM »

To start off, I have to say I do have an idea as to what the Left Hand paths essentially are, but it's something very nebulous and indefinite and heavily coloured by pre-conceived notions.

So, I figured I'd post here and get a range of opinions. :)

To me, the Left Hand paths offer results/power relatively faster than the Right Hand but is far less forgiving. "Falling off the bandwagon" would have some very direct, serious consequences. This is really influenced by what I know of Tantra, India's native left hand path of mysticism- I was curious how far off I am from the "official" definition.
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DragonsFriend

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Re: The Left Hand Paths
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2016, 12:11:52 PM »

I hesitate to make sweeping statements about any large group of people under a banner that holds places for many people of differing relationships with religion and magikal practices. I doubt that there is more power or that it comes more quickly. I have had minor experiences with folks from left hand paths and for the most part they are people just like everyone else. Their magik is neither stronger nor harder to defeat than any other magik.
I know very little of true Tantra but have never considered it part of the left hand path.
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Tinevisce

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Re: The Left Hand Paths
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2016, 12:50:12 PM »

I hesitate to make sweeping statements about any large group of people under a banner that holds places for many people of differing relationships with religion and magikal practices. I doubt that there is more power or that it comes more quickly. I have had minor experiences with folks from left hand paths and for the most part they are people just like everyone else. Their magik is neither stronger nor harder to defeat than any other magik.
I know very little of true Tantra but have never considered it part of the left hand path.

Oh, most definitely- whatever definition you manage to use for a path with whichever many caveats, you'll always find people who can claim the path as their own but not conform to your definition :) Generalisations, I find, are fine enough for kicking off understanding and aren't harmful as such.

I didn't mean to say that Left Hand paths offer more power, just that it usually ends up giving results faster.

Tantra is a Left Hand path to the Divine because it doesn't ask you to detach yourself from attachments or abstain (contrast this with the Right Hand form of worship, Sadhna where you're encouraged to leave behind worldly attachments in pursuit of God)...rather, it proclaims, "The very vehicle which takes you to deepest depths of the Netherworld will be your Chariot to the highest Heavens"

In practice, it also has a very involved mythology surrounding Shakti and Shiva, some of which aren't acknolwedged by mainstream Bramhanical Hinduism. Indeed, Tantra is said to be the under the sole purview of Shiva and Shakti.

Also, while we're on the topic of practical Tantra, it plays fast and loose with earthbound spirits, specifically people who have passed in untimely, violent ways.

I've never studied Tantra from the inside, but from the outside looking in, it seems fairly easy to divorce the spiritual side of Tantra from its practical magical/occult aspects.

As it stands, very few people get into it these days for the spirituality- and as you could guess far better than I could...the results aren't very pretty when you set out trying to control spirits without an underlying spiritual/moral/ethical safety net to rely on.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 12:56:59 PM by Tinevisce »
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dragonspring

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Re: The Left Hand Paths
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2016, 09:11:46 PM »

I am not really sure what would constitute a Left Hand Path.  The terms Left Hand and Right Hand are somewhat subjective in my opinion.  I know that in dealing with some in the local Pagan community, I have heard accusations that this or that person was following a Left Hand path.  Always seemed to be gossip intended to discredit a perceived rival to me.  Maybe it is in the eye of the beholder and just another way to divide ourselves.
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Re: The Left Hand Paths
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2016, 08:56:40 AM »


I agree with DS. I think left hand/right hand is a false dichotomy. I once read that a marriage only averages 50/50; at any given moment it's 80/20 one way or the other; I think the same rule applies to any concept of left or right hand path- any one given act/moment may seem left or right hand, but over a lifetime, they average out.

peace,
ES
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Tinevisce

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Re: The Left Hand Paths
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2016, 12:04:59 AM »

Thanks for the responses, ES and DS!

Quote
I am not really sure what would constitute a Left Hand Path.  The terms Left Hand and Right Hand are somewhat subjective in my opinion.  I know that in dealing with some in the local Pagan community, I have heard accusations that this or that person was following a Left Hand path.  Always seemed to be gossip intended to discredit a perceived rival to me.  Maybe it is in the eye of the beholder and just another way to divide ourselves.

Oh, they're definitely very subjective! For an Indian, all forms of witchery would be considered Left Hand (for the layman because it's witchcraft and you aren't worshipping in quite the same way as the others are, and for a more discerning person because you aren't renouncing worldly life in the pursuit of spiritual power), whereas for me, an Indian who considers himself a witch, my practices seem on the rather "right" side of the spectrum. In my head, folks who do more spirit work and come from traditional folkloric magic traditions come across as more towards the left hand paths- but that's my impression, who knows what it would like from the inside?  :rolleye:

Quote
I agree with DS. I think left hand/right hand is a false dichotomy. I once read that a marriage only averages 50/50; at any given moment it's 80/20 one way or the other; I think the same rule applies to any concept of left or right hand path- any one given act/moment may seem left or right hand, but over a lifetime, they average out.

peace,
ES

But what, according to you, would be the difference between the left and right hand approaches? :)
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Athena

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Re: The Left Hand Paths
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2016, 10:48:23 AM »

Thanks for the responses, ES and DS!

Quote
I am not really sure what would constitute a Left Hand Path.  The terms Left Hand and Right Hand are somewhat subjective in my opinion.  I know that in dealing with some in the local Pagan community, I have heard accusations that this or that person was following a Left Hand path.  Always seemed to be gossip intended to discredit a perceived rival to me.  Maybe it is in the eye of the beholder and just another way to divide ourselves.

Oh, they're definitely very subjective! For an Indian, all forms of witchery would be considered Left Hand (for the layman because it's witchcraft and you aren't worshipping in quite the same way as the others are, and for a more discerning person because you aren't renouncing worldly life in the pursuit of spiritual power), whereas for me, an Indian who considers himself a witch, my practices seem on the rather "right" side of the spectrum. In my head, folks who do more spirit work and come from traditional folkloric magic traditions come across as more towards the left hand paths- but that's my impression, who knows what it would like from the inside?  :rolleye:

Quote
I agree with DS. I think left hand/right hand is a false dichotomy. I once read that a marriage only averages 50/50; at any given moment it's 80/20 one way or the other; I think the same rule applies to any concept of left or right hand path- any one given act/moment may seem left or right hand, but over a lifetime, they average out.

peace,
ES

But what, according to you, would be the difference between the left and right hand approaches? :)

I stand somewhere on the neutral ground on this discussion of left and right hand paths. Binding to Hindu mythology, Shiva and Shakti have been the prime deities I associate myself with. Even when I started learning about witchcraft, I discovered the parallels between our traditional and socially acceptable forms of worship and wiccan rituals. Mantra, for example, is one thing that I rely on most of the times in my rituals. Isn't it the same as affirmations and chanting and raising vibrations as per your will? May be, people don't get suspicious about it, because there's no physical form attached to mantras.

Tantra, on the other hand, uses other elements that are more solid in nature. Crystals, metals, potions, charms, etc. - something that is very visible and hence creating a perception of being more effective / faster. May be it's also about combining more than one element in a ritual that makes tantric rituals so powerful and fast. As for me, no matter what elements or rituals you're using, it all comes down to the kind of energy you're setting out with your intentions. Accordingly, a dexterous path would be the one which produces sinister results. Again, I am not going by the books but just sharing my opinion.
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DragonsFriend

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Re: The Left Hand Paths
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2016, 04:48:54 PM »

I do not so much worship deities, rather I am a partner with them. In my communion with them and in circle we meet as near equals. We all have the same potential but humans are more or less limited by their narrow view of themselves. We tend to extend our narrow view to the gods as well. (gods being both genders, either or none all at the same time)
My relationship with deity has grown as I experience glimpses of my true potential through their eyes. As far as the dichotomy of right and left hand paths it brings up the same old argument of good and evil. The concept is a million shades of gray that centers on the reason behind and the intended results of the work performed. Left hand magik would be the injury of another or even one's self for the sake of showing that one could do so or with malicious intent. There is a difference in stepping on an ant as you are walking down the street absentmindedly and going out of your way to kill an ant knowingly and maliciously.
If the bulk of ones works are based on ego and the desire to be stronger then it could be termed a left hand path. If you were a theistic satanist who worked toward being a better person and improving the lives of others you could be practicing a right hand path.
I don't believe that any pantheon, type of ritual, or expression of faith is necessarily right or left handed. It is up to the individuals use of his or her potential that is the determining factor. The unseen reasons and intent govern the "good" and "evil" of an individual's path and not the perceived results.
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: The Left Hand Paths
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2016, 08:31:13 AM »

"Only a Sith deals in absolutes." ;)
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