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Left-hand path fatwa

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A fatwa brought to you by Troll Towelhead, Grand Mufti of Satanism, including a series of lessons on the Left-Hand Path:

Why It Isn't a Path But a Modality, How to Abide This Modality, How to Stray From It, What Are Its Signs and Warrants

Lesson #1: How To Ask Questions (An Annotated Dialogue)

Introduction

{Preliminary Note: it should be understood that this format is intentionally objectionable to the prospective LHP aspirant due to its steep hierarchic presentation. An ability to ignore that aspect of it will be beneficial to the discerning reader.}

As someone with hundreds of hours interviewing budding Satanists and those fresh onto the Left-hand Path (LHP) behind me, I offer below for the interested a preliminary lesson on that path for those unused to its unusual character and approach in life.

The brief interview below was extracted fairly directly from a chat channel that I was moderating. It became crystal-clear to me in that moment that there was a characteristic difference between the manner by which a LHP initiate learns and speaks, and the way someone conditioned to provoke absolutism and submission of what I have called 'individual sovereignty' does the same, and that this was a high priority issue for an initial assimilation of information, when learning the ropes or basics.

Part of what makes this imperative is the formatting or moulding that is likely to take place during the course of instruction or engagement of inquiry at the outset of engaging the LHP. Its specific 'Wrong Way' modality and antinomian features make likely a greater degree of self-disablement were the aspirant to hit the ground running with too steep (arrogant) or shallow (debased) an angle. The former typically results from an overcompensation of impingement-response, while the latter may never in effect rise up from its proverbial Hole.

The problems of arrogance are many-faceted and self-delusive. They reproduce precisely the problem that the individual tends to be reacting to, sometimes in effecting a chain-abuse sequence of hazing malformedness. Never capable of allowing the Other its coincident sovereignty, it perpetually replicates impinging, offensive, and abrogating attitudes, evincing endless challenges and queries in absolutist and categorical tones. These are fairly obvious for all to see (due to the stigma identifying personal power with arrogance).

The problems of a debased approach to the LHP are more poignant and difficult to assess due to the comparable appearance of reserved humility and the trammelled spirit. Opportunities for expansion and development are overlooked by such people in part because they are taken for invitations to vulnerability. With repeated negative stimulus, the aspirant learns to associate growth with censure. Engaging the authoritarian or aggressive on its own terms becomes second nature, and all knowledge is assimilated within this contextual character.

Beyond the details of these dynamics and processes, the character of inquiry and response are the most important understandings for anyone who is beginning the LHP to assimilate. The most profitable manner of explaining this will be a running commentary on the dialogue as it proceeded.


  • {newbie} arrives.

{newbie} how do you make a pact with satan?

The newbie asks a question categorically. The master will re-interpret it literally and personally. The newbie wants to know how everyone does it or how one is supposed to do it. She thinks there is a One Size Fits All.

{lhp-master} with blood and a ritual of meaning to you.

The master explains how she makes a pact with hir Satan, and yet in a generalized sense, referring the authority to the newbie. {newbie} i don't really know that much about him. can anyone tell me?

Again, the newbie continues to ask for categorical replies, evaluations from an omniscient, or objectivist, perspective which sacrifices hir sovereignty.

{lhp-master} there are more daring and more conservative means of obtaining such blood.

The master retains a focus on the initial question, ignoring variation in focus for purpose of completing the first portion of the interview.

{newbie} no not about the blood, I mean tell me more about satan

The newbie displaces hir interest in the blood pact for something she decides will provide her with more basic information. The master seeks to complete the initial interview question for demonstration of the means of communication.

{lhp-master} the pact, like the relationship with Satan, is constructed by oneself, possibly after study of many such documents or the study of demonology so as to come to a broad knowledge.

The master bridges to the second question to establish a firm connection with the newbie and generally completes the response to the initial query from the perspective of self-empowerment.

{newbie} who is he and whats he like? where'd he come from

{lhp-master} these questions are asked from the posture of the initiate of the Right Hand. they ask for absolutes, generalizations, and stultify individualism. the better way to approach it will be to ask individuals for impressions, descriptions, which are not limiting but sounding.

The master breaks the interview to analyze the overall character of the questions being asked so as to serve the greatest empowerment of the individual with whom she is speaking. As long as she constrains hir mind to that of absolutes and resolved and definitive answers, the newbie will remain a prisoner excluded from individual sovereignty.

{newbie} whats the right hand?

Note the continuation of the same style of inquiry, now asking about the very thing she is exhibiting. She could at any moment swap out to an alternative which is more personally-centered and empowering. For example, she might ask "What do you think that the Right Hand means?" or "What do you mean when you say 'Right Hand' here?" and this would allow the master to immediately address the query without the cementation of belief.

{lhp-master} the Right Hand is the group-endorsing, individual-subsuming path of disempowerment and aggregation. it parasitizes individual will in pursuit of a group egregore.

The master places the most extreme statement surrounding the Right Hand description despite the fact that it demonstrates itself as corrupted. Sometimes the only way to get through to those who are used to this type of categorical mindframe is to join it temporarily and then break from it by turns.

{newbie} that doesn't sound too good

The newbie encapsulates the non-comprehended reply in a categorical evaluator since she cannot resolve an understanding of it that is categorical.

{lhp-master} it depends on what you are trying to achieve.

The master breaks to ambiguity and utility rather than to affirm a solid moral, or universal, evaluation (good/bad).

{newbie} so satans NOT on the right hand? I'm trying to achieve understanding

The newbie follows the break and begins to specify what she, particularly, is doing or aiming to achieve. This is a helpful development because reference to the individual is imperative in an evaluation or derivation of a Satanism, and a determination of the direction of an individual's relation to the LHP.

{lhp-master} no, Satan is, generally, found on the Left Hand. the questions you are asking still retain their Right Hand character, and you should first become aware of this quality in order to achieve a *liberated* understanding.

The master leads in a RHP manner toward LHP trajectories.

{newbie} I want to understand Satan to better know him

The newbie concretely describes hir interests from a self-oriented view, making possible more expansive learning and the break from RHP blinders.

{lhp-master} if you are going to learn about Satan then your manner will probably have to change slightly. Satan advocates individual sovereignty, not enslavement to the Slavegods.

The master points to something in the newbie's behaviour which is inimical to an approach to learning about the LHP. She introduces the phrase 'individual sovereignty' and contrasts this with slavery (replicating an effectively Thelemic paradigm as may be seen within the text derivative of Crowley: Kings and Slaves). This archaic and mythic terminology may be helpful to hir in later social engagements.

{newbie} k so how do I do that

{lhp-master} start by paying attention to how you ask questions and formulate responses. when you ask a question, try to get to the individual with whom you are speaking and recognize if they are attempting to be definitive or limiting to your mind.

The master now begins a bending recursion of attention upon the question and answer session itself, how it is proceeding from the vantage point of the individual, and what characteristics may be part of its elements. This is the meat and most important part of the interaction, the very reason for this essay and the commentary upon it.

{lhp-master} examples:

"Do you think that Satan exists?"

"What is your impression of Satan?"

{lhp-master} particularizing the inquiry makes it less possible for the individual who is responding to you to reply in generalizations and mind-numbing conformist advocations.

The master provides rhetorical questions as examples of particularized elicitation from the focus of the interview. These are examples of questions whose answers will more than likely become useful to the aspirant, posed in self-empowering ways.

{newbie} I do not know if he is real or if he is something made up by my folks just to make me be a good lil girl

  • {newbie} departs.

The newbie fails to understand the differentiation being made, remaining in the domain of categorical delimiters. The master has had a passing opportunity to demonstrate the ideal and ply at rigidified belief structures before the newbie grows impatient or disgusted and departs.


Conclusion

The aim of this lecture and example has been to point in varying ways to a structure and approach to learning which is conducive to retaining a Left-hand Path integrity. Its emphasis on individualism and the relativism of knowledge as regards the inquirer is imperative. Such a relativism allows comparison of knowledge developed within oneself, and critical thought while reflecting fruitfully. Testing hypotheses, comparing expressions and data, is the first step in thinking clearly and escaping the clamshell of dogmatic authoritarianism.


Lesson #2: How to Interpret and Empower Others

Absolutist (/imperialist) language has been popular in the West at least since its use by moralist dictators such as expanded within, or in the wake of, the Holy Roman Empire. Some religious like to think that it lends them an air of authority, and those fresh from moralizing Christian confines, or who are used to operating within an hierarchic stratum, will of course find this type of assertion reassuring and palatable. Becoming aware of the character of expression and its effect on learning is the subject of Lesson 1 of this series (see above).

This followup lesson, comparably, addresses being 'at cause' in engagements with others who may be starting to tread the Left-Hand Path (LHP), interpreting them in the best light as they struggle to emerge from their shell of former disability. Granted a mastery of Lesson 1, one perfects a humility in the designation of knowledge's ownership, making each person responsible for our own opinions. This grounding of information in a way that makes it more manageable and realistic in turn empowers us with respect to it.

A problem that develops with this approach is that at points we may come into sharp contention against those who use imperialist language insofar as we attempt to convert them to our way of thought and/or speech. Simply put, such a conversion is not necessary, and instead a translation (internal) can be afforded them if we have the interest during conversation.

The trick to doing this is through intentional recharacterization. The aspirant is observed making categorical comments on points better left to the interpretation of the individual, and rather than faulting them for it, or arguing with them about what constitutes 'the reality' or 'the best way to express oneself', one may simply react as if the aspirant had specified their knowledge, or inquired thereof, in that humble form. This may not convey to them the (LHP) differential of our approach, but it may allow us to communicate with them while setting a distinctly contrasting example in our conversation with them.

This LHP strategy is a conventional approach taken also by those of the RHP, excepting that within these latter contexts, the disappointment and rankling one may ordinarily observe on the part of RHP adherents is in response to individuals who are insufficiently following the ruleset. As applied by RHP individuals, one suspends one's assessment, lets go, emotionally, of the interaction, and "forgive(s) them, for they know not what they do" (i.e. presumes, too often arrogantly, that one is superior and supposes them to have the character of an indisciplined or wayward child).

Preserving the integrity of every sovereign individual, as does the strident Thelemite, takes diligent attention and work, which arrogant suppositions or a valiant defense can trample and even destroy outright. An example might be found in a reaction to the contention that a term like 'Satanism' or a phrase like 'the Left-Hand-Path' only means a single thing, which the aspirant proceeds to define in variably convincing ways. We may take such imperialistic expressions at face value, or we may 'cut the person some slack for their naivete and ignorance (or indeed the possibility that we are misunderstanding them)' and insert what we would have there included (i.e. what the term or phrase means to the aspirant is what they've described; when the aspirant uses the term or phrase this is what we can expect them to mean; they are helping us to communicate more efficiently with them by admitting of their lexicon).

This 'projective correction' can be wearying, if sustained, and yet it is a charitable and educatory service which one may offer by virtue of prolonged exposure to the manner of behaviour we prefer to exhibit. Some of us only learn by observing and mimicry, and if, at certain key points of 'shock', as some neo-gnostics are wont to observe, we remark upon the different relationship which we have to knowledge, assertion, and individualism, this is likely to mean more and have more bearing on the behaviour of those with whom we exchange thoughts than if we are forever issuing corrections, routinely chastizing for arrogance, or generally grousing over the divide and tension between RHP and LHP modalities. Each has their personal and social function.

It is true that a well-maintained discipline of mental acuity and personal hygiene (mental as well as physical) provides for a greater duration of subjective enjoyment, especially insofar as such a discipline is well-grounded in the realities which are the context for satisfiable living and not the tormented standards of the deluded against whose very natures their values and codes have been turned (as for strategic self-disempowerment by an imperialist ecclesiastical institution). It is for this reason that such projective correction ought more often to be the exception, even in the life of the master, rather than the rule. Most sojourners on the LHP are simply not up to the difficulties faced by maintaining a complete internal buffer of translation to a surrounding, corrupted world.

Moreover, imperialistic upbraiding is generally no better situated in critical review than it is in apologetic promotion, and the sooner we can merely reframe to actualities what people are doing, rather than taking offense or reacting hostilely in a repeated manner to their rhetorical style, all the better for the movement as a whole and the integrity of those who participate within it.


Lesson 3: The Appropriation of Scientistic Language in New Religious Movements

One of the most deceptive aspects of New Religious Movements which straddle the fence of LHP and RHP modalities, especially from the perspective of a sociological examination of their rudiments, is their compromised posture with respect to scientific principles. As has been examined in a preliminary sense by authorities such as Olav Hammer (e.g. "Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age"), New Religious Movements, which include Satanism in their self-religious sensibilities, tend to play up their acceptance of scientific principles and the employment of the Scientific Method while corrupting and perturbing its application and results where their own phenomena and principles are concerned.

This is valuable to understand, as an aspirant to the LHP, since undoubtedly one will be approached by those who are part of the milieu and they will explain to how scientific they are in their approach. Given the infantile state of development of soft sciences such as anthropology and psychology, it is small wonder that the diversity of understanding and term usage exists. What with the abuse suffered within each field by the manipulative and fraudulent, and the willingness of the disciplines to accept theory with insufficient foundation in experimental support, all manner of ideology might be encountered.

The essential lesson here is to weigh the contentions of detractors versus the advocates of the superordinary phenomena and conditions purported by religious and occultists, and to try to disclose for oneself which of those may have an interest in observing the state of things on the ground, regardless of the what the actualities may in fact turn out to be. It is far too easy to offer a 'reward' for a 'scientifically-controlled demonstration' and thereafter to never undertake any kind of study or exploration of the fields in question.

One of the valuable approaches, given the foregoing, for those new to the LHP is to avoid all alignments with a positive evaluation of superordinary power or condition, affirming one's interest in observation and investigation of the claims being made. Those who ostracize the interested who are not contented with applying immediate faith to the superior status of their august leadership are by far and away likely to be charlatans and manipulative deceivers, and thus one's perspicacious attitude will save one much trouble in the way of social drama and misplaced trust.

Watch for and seek out even, balanced emotional tones in the face of intellectual challenge and opposition to the theories they tout as authoritative, true, or accurate. Those with an investment in your faith may well have your worst interest at heart. Treat those who respond to polite questions with anger, childish insult, or disgruntled impatience as the hazardous quagmires they may very well become, and give them a wide berth.


Lesson 4: LHP Practice: Transgression As An Art Form

LHP practices are more effective for those subjected to puritanical impingements or who have undertaken disciplines of restraint for their own discipline. The liberating principles of transgression will not be mistaken by theconsciousness as mere license where it is clearly in reaction to such impingement, and the ecstatic, or euphoric character of their transgressive action will be retainable, even if the original discipline to which it is an obvious and evident reaction is *self*-imposed.

For this reason, insofar as the LHP extends to an educatory sphere solely it ceases to adhere to LHP principles. It must be underscored and grounded in self-empowering transgressive rites, and especially those which are not corrupting of the individual consciousness (a tall order for those who attempt to make a specialty of the LHP). At this point in our lessons the Path as such stops being any kind of integrity. It begins to be wholly and fully about the individual and hir relationship to hir context, environment, influences, and personal endeavours. Principles of operation may be subsequently explored, but the general principles for learning in the LHP modality are all explained in these four lessons above.


The "lhp-master" included here is hypothetical, for purposes of illustration of learning principles. See the preliminary note. LHP masters generally make ourselves, though it is possible that we may be guided to our state by one or more adepts. That said, it is typical that the LHP modality constitutes an *advanced* engagement after RHP mastery is achieved in some context. The RHP master is simply unable to provide the attention or proper stimulus necessary while otherwise caring for hir RHP charges. In this manner, it sometimes comes to pass that a LHP adeptship will flip-flop into the institutionalizing of that approach, and a new lineage or tradition (RHP, as all traditions and lineages are) will be established, from which RHP masters may be turned out.

The skillful engagement of the caustic in LHP or Chaos magic enterprise to sustained effect, surviving their embrace or the dance affiliated thereto) is fully explained within the document "Kathulu Majik: Luvkrafting the Roles of Modern Uccultizm", ( http://www.luckymojo.com/avidyana/shaitan/kathulu-majik.html ) by Haramullah. Additional questions relating to this imperative topic welcomed here. Kathulu Majik: Luvkrafting the Roles of Modern Uccultizm, by Haramullah


Below is an interview with a cultist who is a friend of mine (Alison SIN Jones, Priestess of R'lyeh in the Cult of Cthulhu under Ipsissimus Venger Satanis, who was kind enough to recognize me as a Keeper of the Green Flame).

1. How do you personally define RHP/LHP?

The heart of the problem surrounding the Wrong Way is that definition cements or tries to freeze into stability a flurry of vying ideas with which any particular term might be associated for purposes of expression, and the authors or speakers employing it may intend by it myriad meanings. This sets out the practical limitations of doctrine and tradition, identifying orthodoxy as the death knell of personal empowerment and blasphemy as the disrupting influence of innovation.

In the neo-tantra that I know, derived as it is from my God and guru, doing things wrong is only meaningful in terms of a contextual directive. For this reason, the LHP so called has no meaning without a RHP against which to prop or contrast itself. The size and importance allotted to a RHP are the primary variables, therefore, in determining the significance of any LHP which may become its eddy.

The largest RHP manifestations stifle and crush LHP potentia, enhancing the personal power derivable from straying from it or subjecting it to travesty while making precious little opportunity to practice or enhance it. This is almost always corporate, institutionalized, and will at some point become overtly identified as 'orthodox' (the correct path). In hegemonic and imperialistic forms, this combines with martial and leveraged force aspiring to totalitarian and pervasive ends, overtly taking up identifiers such as 'universal' (or 'catholic').

The smallest manifestation of LHP play against an individual's own discipline and projects. Insofar as this discipline exists, has directives, enduring movement, standards of operation, and structured momentum, so will intermittent or occasional breaks, 'reverse spins' or counter-discipline indulgence bring ecstasy, revitalization, insight, and consciousness to what might otherwise become a moribund and lifeless drudgery.

The most important aspect to understand is that the solvency or dynamic of any LHP is dependent not only upon the existence of a RHP for the initial drive involved, but also on its limitation so as not to decimate or overwhelm said LHP action. Secondarily, once these roles are swapped out in some way with regard to process (the activities previously acting in transgressive reaction to a RHP becoming their own form of orthodoxy within a delimited context), that proportion applies specifically to the context of operation. What had previously been a sizable transgressive system operating as an eddy to a large social system, when institutionalized or regimented to its own system, may become a crushing resistance to any individualistic and transgressive action within its sphere (establishing a hegemonic RHP dominion under an LHP banner).


2. What sources would you consider to be authoritative works on the subject?

I consider those sources to be authoritative on the subject of the LHP which are polar in their character (rather than dualistic), those which do not stridently take a stand with respect to any particular system or terminology (thus themselves never attempting to establish an 'orthodox' term-set), those which redirect the locus genius of authority and innovation to the individual rather than to the group, to counter-culture rather than to culture or subculture.


3. How does that compare to other personal definitions you have run into, when conversing with fellow occultists?

Most esoteric sources (mystical, religious, arcane) espousing opinions on this pair of phrases (Left-Hand Path, Right-Hand Path) which I have seen embraced a type of dualism by demonizing or mischaracterizing one at the expense of the other. Some sought to demonize the LHP by associating it with their other dualistic calumnies (identifying reactive and transgressive activities as malignant, immoral, malefic, etc.). Some tried to legitimate the LHP by white-washing it (removing the transgressive and antinomian aspects in pursuit of emphasizing insight). Still others attempted to legitimate the LHP by completely separating it out and denigrating the institutions against which it had arisen. With some few mystics I found commonality in understanding these two terms as polar and interdependent, in associating the term 'tantra' with an activity of weaving, and as part of an interplay between the individual and society, between blasphemy and orthodoxy.


4. Do you consider yourself to be RHP, LHP both or neither?

I am a neo-tantric Shaktiist. I embrace both poles of dyadic systems, or try to, and use this dynamic for personal and social benefit at the expense of corporate and orthodox impetus. I tend to see RHP and LHP as modes of behaviour in association with groups, systems, or my own disciplines (the latter of which have varied through time in composition and intensity). Therefore, in terms of identification or character, I may be said to be 'LHP with respect to Christian culture' (Satanist) and 'RHP with respect to projects and orgs of which I am the director and primary dynamo' (Magus).


5. In what way is this dichotomy useful? In other words, what does it do for you? What you get out of it? What do you put into it?

I don't use the two phrases as part of a dichotomy so much as different modes of behaviour which cannot be seen as mutually-exclusive and retain their essential qualities of combined utility. What they do for me is to emphasize appropriately both individual sovereignty and substantiating drive. Instead of demonizing polar energies or forces within a context, I can reframe them using this conceptual lattice so as to embrace the whole of participative contributions, even when it may seem disruptive or antagonistic. This applies not only to projects which I control or drive myself (seeing those who oppose me as acting within a certain valence), but also to an evaluation of my own activities in estimation of their participative value. In observing this about my usage and my interests, I am contributing to their enshrinement and downfall should my interests be taken up and become a new orthodoxy in ubiquitous popularization. My general mode of pleasant criticism and iconoclasm will ensure that this is unlikely.


6. Are the RHP/LHP absolute or flexible?

As character-shrouds or appliques of relative merit and role, they are absolutely relative! Moreover, the LHP cannot exist without the RHP, and attempting to effect its extraction will merely result in transforming whatever was LHP in respect of a broader RHP construct into an RHP system. This is not true in reverse, and the epitome of RHP inclinations is dictatorial fascism.


What neither Chaos Magic nor Neopaganism (even at their most Discordian) ever really achieved that Satanism has come to epitomize at points is a solid foundation and connection with what should be known (after Indians) as the Left-Hand Path (LHP). This principle of antinomian transgression ('doing it the Wrong Way') breaks down quickly, in terms of meaning and value, outside the framework of a moral culture (unintentional, often inherited) or a system of discipline (more often selected and intentional, but usually not combined with the LHP).

One of the identifying elements, at least of Satanism as it began, has been the fact that it originated within, and in reaction to, a moralizing impetus. one of the first inversions remarked upon by Moody in the 70s was the swap of the terms 'evil' and 'good'. There is no doubt that Satanism could be turned into another Christianity (which is some of the reason there is occasional rancor at theism in Satanism, or at the characterization 'Father Satan' even amongst theists!), and it is tenable to speculate that Christianity began as a type of antinomian transgression (cannibalistic symbolism? glorifying an icon of capital punishment?? secret rites and hidden gods??? ya think this was ubiquitous?).

Neither Neopaganism nor Chaos Magic have as their basic leverage a strike against orthodoxy, and Chaos Magic comes closest by relegating the orthodox to just one more paradigm to toss into the toolset. Too many take from this that transgression and rule-breaking is, by itself, prone to lead to valuable results. They don't see that 'too much of a good thing' can curdle its virtues, sully its product, and corrupt the aspirant into a monster. In part this is what justifiably alarms moral and orthodox culture about LHP constructs.

Instead, the LHP must 'work off of' something, and that is a solid foundation of will employed toward orderly purpose, whether on the dictates of a society into whose charge and inculcation the individual has come to reside (and out of whose blinders she then claws her way), or as the result of a diligent (and often mystical) aspirant sincerely embracing a system of self-improvement with ideals solidly linked to method (interrupted by ritual reminders of its abject artificiality by breaking those self-imposed disciplines). From there, like the sand becoming a pearl, the structure can make possible a refinement of virtue and value, whereas, absent this prerequisite, there'd just be a lot of irritation and mess.

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