The Left-Hand Path and the Right-hand Path
A brief introduction into esoteric belief systems
In the occult community, you will often hear the terms left-hand path (LHP) and right-hand path (RHP). For those unaware of these terms, I will try to give a short definition for each of them, and to offer an explanation from my point of view.
Basically, the LHP and the RHP are two opposite belief systems which cover specific esoteric topics. These terms were first used by Madame Blavatsky, a 19th century occultist and the founder of Theosophy.
There are some attributes which define the LHP and RHP. In my opinion, these attributes are a little subjective. For example, the main idea is that they represent duality. The “Dark/Negative” belief systems are called LHP while the “Light/Positive” belief systems are said to be RHP. As far as I know, in popular culture, it is believed that the left side represents the forces of evil, and the right side represents the forces of good. But good and evil, to an extent, are just subjective ideas and terms.
Even though the LHP and the RHP are different, some occultists consider that both ways can be followed because they have the same goals. These were used to refer to the practitioners of Black Magick (LHP) and White Magick (RHP).
Stephen Flowers gives another description for these two directions. He suggests that the RHP systems are used to become one with Divinity, while the LHP systems are used to become a Divinity yourself (A God or God-like). It is important to understand that they do not refer to Deification in the literal sense (they don’t become Gods) but rather follow a spiritual alchemical process that leads to an evolved stage of separation, individualization and liberation. A deeper analysis can be found in his book “Lords of the Left Hand Path”.
LHP attributes and characteristics:
– one goal would be spiritual freedom/liberation
– uses magical practices that are regarded as taboo in the traditional way of thinking
– uses sex in rites and spiritual purposes
– rejects or questions religious dogmatism and morality
– respects nature, and tries to bond with it
– it is considered an individual way
– it is egocentric
– focuses more on personal evolution, rather than veneration
The main LHP systems are considered to be: Satanism, Luciferianism, Demonolatry, Sethianism, Paganism, Witchcraft, Thelema and Chaos-Magick.
RHP attributes and characteristics:
– adheres to social conventions and avoids taboos
– adheres to a specific moral code and to a belief in judgment, such as karma or the threefold law
– one goal is to create a spiritual bond with Divinity
– it is altruistic
– focuses more on veneration rather than personal evolution
– rejects or discredits nature
The main LHP systems are considered to be: Esoteric Christianity, Mystical Judaism and Islam, Buddhism, New Age belief systems, Theosophy, Wicca, Druidism, Neopaganism.
The Sinister Path group from Flacara Neagra explain it a bit differently, and I’d like to quote them as they make an important statement.
“Erroneously, people label RHP as altruistic and LHP egoistic. Another misleading conception stands in the way of presenting the difference between the two. Right-Hand Path is represented as the “good side” while the Left-Hand Path is a representation of the “evil side”. The reality is different. They differ mostly by the ways of practice and thought and by their goals.“
I think that both sides can be used. I think that in order to achieve perfection, balance is needed. Andrew Chumbley once said that a person has two hands, both serving the same master. I detailed my views in the article Balance in life and spirituality.