Sunday, October 04, 2009

On the Paths

Jason recently posted about the Left and Right Hand Paths of mysticism and magic. From the comments, I can tell there's a lot of different understandings of what the LHP and RHP are all about. Jason's post explains that he's addressing the role of passions of the mind in your practice. Those of the LHP, sez he, attempt to use the passions in moderation, following Paracelsus' famous axiom that it is the dose that determines the poison. Those of the RHP, he says, attempt to avoid the passions altogether.

Fr. Resurgere sees Thelema as LHP, and Christianity as RHP. Apuleius sees LHP as anything not socially acceptable, and RHP as anything socially acceptable. K. Sequoia has an understanding of LHP/RHP closer along the lines to my own, judging by her Feri blog: the LHP is Service-to-Self-oriented, on the surface, while the RHP is Service-to-Others-oriented, again, only on the surface. (Any mis-categorizations can be clarified in the comments, and I apologize in advance. Nothing summed up ever quite communicates the whole.)

My own comment was made in passing, and Jason mentions the point I was making in passing in his post:

... you do personally kind of have to pick one approach or the other for yourself, at least until you can transcend the whole shibang and deal with causality as such ...
When you get into any path, you'll soon find yourself doing both LHP and RHP Work. Thelemites help little old ladies carry in their groceries, and the Blake OTO lodge in my area has a Toys for Tots thing they do throughout the year. Many fervent Christians and Pagans are some of the most materialistic and selfish people you'll ever meet. Hell, I'm a Christian who conjures demons and quotes Crowley as often as the Bible, and I can rarely get through a post without swearing.

But like Jason says, eventually you transcend LHP and RHP. Let these two asses be set to grind corn. It's such a waste of time worrying about it. Worry more about why you still need a label to describe yourself than picking one, sez I. There's nothing more selfish than a RHP person; they're doing it for themselves, yo. There's nothing more giving than a LHP person; you just don't want what they're giving most days. ;)

I like the idea that it's about passions more than the target of your actions. Even in that paradigm of the dichotomy (dichotomies got pradigms!), there's still going to be times when the RHP person uses ecstatic mystical exercises to attain, and there will be times when the LHP person subdues their passion to gain control over it. We're all ambidextrous in practice, and creating terms and conditions to apply to these terms is ... well, it's not turd polishing, but it's still pretty useless.

Fuck the LHP/RHP bullshit. Do magic, for yourself and others, and have fun. YOU are but an EYE; what eye none knoweth.* Skip witches, hop toads, take your pleasure! For the play of the Universe is the pleasure of YOU.

* Yeah, I said it, and yes, yes it is unsuited for your Grade. Because you've got EYES. And you're READING THIS. But I don't care anymore. I'm sayin' it because I got to.