Magi of Conscience – Zarathustra and Ashiata Shiemash

148628e736f595fd7b0c9f03b933f006

Ancient Zoroastrian Priest

Undertaking the vast internal journey of discovery suggested by the Left-Hand Path can result in many surprises, unexpected turns, and spontaneously convergent harmonies. One such harmonic convergence can be found in the teachings of  Gurdjieff, and Zarathustra.

For me the discovery of Setian seemed to lead quite naturally to my discovery the ‘Fourth Way’ system of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. This line of investigation further resulted in my encountering a local branch of the Gurdjieff Foundation where I learned the movements, techniques for self-remembering, and engaged in advanced group study of Gurdjieff’s masterwork, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson (hereafter notes as “BTTTHGS”). All told I spent about ten years working with this group before life circumstances took me elsewhere, yet I retained many valuable lessons and found much of the work to be mutually reciprocal and harmonious with my continuing TOS work.

Some years later, thanks to super-efforts of the wise Darban I Den, I began encountering ideas from the teachings of the 10th century BCE prophet Zarathushtra. Outbursts of “wait, that sounds like Setianism!” were challenged in frequency only by outbursts of “wait, that sounds like Gurdjieff!”

In all of these things I am not alone. Many students of the Left-Hand Path have found great relevance in the ‘Fourth Way’ teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff. Still others have found the same in the teachings of the 10th Century BCE Magus Zoroaster. In fact there are many correspondences between the two teachings, and certain common fundamental ideas about the nature of man and the cosmos. For instance, things like:

  • Focus on oral tradition and the transmission of important ideas ‘mouth to ear’
  • Remembering – or in other words, initiation is largely a matter of remembering yourself.
  • Man is fundamentally good in nature
  • Objective Consciousness and the idea that life is a struggle against non-conscious mechanical forces (The Druj)
  • The source of consciousness is a singularity (monotheism)
  • Conscience – The central aim of initiation is the development of ‘Conscience‘ and that this further brings a social benefit of peace and prosperity for mankind.
  • Triads and the Law of Threes

The best place to begin this examination is Gurdjieff’s own writings and in particular his magnum opus Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, in which it is believed that he actually drew on on oral teachings of Zarathushtra in crafting the character Ashia Shiemash, whom he envisions as one of the first great pre Judaeo-Christian prophets to mankind. It is widely considered by students of the work that Ashiata Shiemash is actually a reference to the ancient Indo-Iranian prophet Zarathushtra. As a student of the Gurdjieff Work and then later a student of Mazadaism, this question for me has only grown with mystery. Gurdjieff at many times indicated that what he taught was simply the original system for becoming; the first system that had been forgotten and buried by time and instances of man’s foolishness. On the other side, the more one studies Zoroastrianism in philosophy and history, the more one comes to see that quite possibly this was the original ‘way’ – the original spiritual teaching from which all others were born, grew, diverged, and eventually lost resonance and resemblance with. Here it is my wish to highlight the significant ideas and stories surrounding the character of Ashiata Shiemash, note the various correspondences with Zarathustra as they may arise, and arouse thought on all of this in the spirit of generating a more comprehensive understanding of the universality of this line of work.

There are certainly some differences between Ashiata Shiemash and Zarathrustra. But there are as many if not more similarities, and deep ones at that. It may be useful to keep in mind that Gurdjieff never considered himself an academic, and were anyone to request academic citation for any of his ideas he would likely scoff and point them to the door. Yet it is clear from his many writings as well as the many writings about him – that he contained within himself a wealth of legitimate knowledge of man, psychology, religion, and history.

Regarding time and place there are strong correspondences with Ashiata Shiemash and what we know if the historical Zarathustra. Of Ashiata It is said he was born in Sumeria in a small village called ‘Pis pascana’ some 700 years before a ‘ great meeting of learned beings’ in the city of Babylon. Most modern scholars of Zoroastrianism generally place Zarathustra as having lived in north-east Iran or northern Afghanistan which puts Ashiata Shiemash in generally the right location. Scholars further consider Zarathustra to have lived some time between 1700 and 1300 BCE. The city of Babylon underwent a variety of incarnations over a sweeping period as far back as 2300 BCE (the Akkadian Empire) to 539 BCE (Neo-Babylonia) with a cultural peak with the distinction of largest city in the world around 1770 to 1670. So time-wise we can at least consider Ashiata Shiemash to be in the same neighborhood and Zarathustra.

Oral Tradition

Gurdjieff always insisted that all of his knowledge of ‘The System’ came from oral tradition – the kind of knowledge that is passed from mouth to ear. In fact his father was an ‘Ashok’ a tribal storyteller of the rural Armenian/Turkish culture Gurdjieff grew up in. In his book Meetings with Remarkable Men he tells of how after the Epic of Gilgamesh was ‘discovered’ and publicized in the late 1800s, he then realized the power of oral tradition, for he had already been familiarized with all of the stories in this work by the oral tradition told him by his father. From this formative experience grew G’s belief that oral tradition was infact a more powerful force than the written word for the transmission of esoteric ideas over time. This also ties in with his ideas about “Legominism.” A legominism is, according to Gurdjieff, “one of the means of transmitting information about certain events of long-past ages through initiates”.

Certainly any of Gurdjieff’s knowledge of Zarathushtra would have come from oral tradition, NOT from books of academicians or historians. In fact the first modern comprehensive writing on the subject of Zarathushtra came from explorer Anquetil du Perron who after many years of courageous exploration throughout the Middle East in search of the ancient prophet finally stumbled upon the Parsi sect in India, and subsequently published the first translation of the Avesta in three volumes in 1771. Even such publication were not widely available especially in the late Nineteenth Century Armenia where Gurdjieff was born. Again it can only be assumed that all of his knowledge here came from oral traditions.

Consider these ideas in relation to the destruction of the Temples, mass burning of books, and murdering of Priests that took place 330 BCE as the Greeks under Alexander the Great attempted to blot out Zarathrushtra’s teachings from the Earth. A full version of this storyline is found in the Ardāy Wirāz Nāmag (1.1-7; text: Vahman, 1985, pp. 76 f.; tr. Bailey, 1943, pp. 151-52, and Gnoli, p. 137):

“Once Zarathustra had received the religion it was propagated in the world until 300 years were completed. Then the accursed, wicked Evil Spirit deluded the accursed Alexander the Roman (i.e., Byzantine), who lived in Egypt, in order to cause the people to have doubt about this religion; and he came to the land of Iran with great destruction, strife, and trouble. He killed the ruler of Iran and destroyed the court and sovereignty, and ruined them. And this religious tradition (dēn), the entire Avesta and Zand as it was written on adorned ox-hides in golden ink, had been placed in Pābak’s (city of) Istaxr in the Fortress of Archives (diž ī nipišt). That ill-omened adversary, the wicked, evil-doing heretic Alexander the Roman, who lived in Egypt, carried them off and burnt them. And he slew some of the religious authorities (dastwarān), judges, hērbeds, mōbeds, religious leaders, and able and wise people of the land of Iran. … Since they (the Iranians) had no rulers, chiefs, leaders, or judges who knew the religion, and they were doubtful about things connected with the Divine Beings, many types of sects, beliefs, heresy, doubt, and disagreement came into being in the world.”

It is estimated by some that ‘1200 oxhides’ or the entirety of Zoroastrian religious writings were here destroyed. It is possible Beelzebub refers to this same event when he says:

“In the course of my subsequent investigations it turned out that , later on, when the Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash had establhsied the particular contions of ordinary being-existence he had planned, several of these tablets, on his advice and initiateive, were set up in appropriate places in many of the large towns, and upon them were engraved all kids of precents and counsels for a corresponding existence.

“But later, when their big wars began again, all these tablets were destroyed by these strange beings themselves, with the excepttion of that one which has somehow remained intact, as I have already told you, and is now the property of this brotherhood. [BTTHGS p.329]

Despite such mass destructions, as we learned of what has survived orally within remote groups like the Iranis in Iran, and the Parsis in India; who as a part of tradition commit whole pieces of the Gathas and other spiritual ‘song’ to memory, and daily recitation, we see that core ideas and values have indeed survived. We see them in fact quite clearly in at the root of other religious systems as well – the duality of light vs darkness, the idea of an immortal soul, the roots of the word “Magic” and “Magus,” and so forth.

It is further plausible that many of these core ideas following the destructions of Iran, Babylon, Byzantium etc, that the ideas would have  survived orally in various pockets even beyond the tight ethnic group of the Paris and Iranis. For instance the numerous Sufi groups through the Middle East which upon observation can be seen to have many of these same commonalities between Zoroastrianism and Gurdjieff. Perhaps the clearest instance of this is in the Sarmoung Brotherhood which Gurdjieff attributes to being the groups that he was initiated into and from which he received ‘The System.’

In his book Meetings with Remarkable Men Gurdjieff goes on to relate the Sarmoung to the Nestorians, descendants of the ancient Byzantine Empire, their expulsion from Mesopotamia and the city of Nineveh, so the geography matches up nicely.

In fact The word Sarmoung uses the Armenian pronunciation of the Persian term Sarman, which may mean either “he who preserves the doctrine of Zoroaster” or “bee”.

Regarding the meaning, the author and student of Gurdjieff,  John. G. Bennet  writes:

“The word can be interpreted in three ways. It is the word for bee, which has always been a symbol of those who collect the precious ‘honey’ of traditional wisdom and preserve it for further generations. A collection of legends, well known in Armenian and Syrian circles with the title of The Bees, was revised by Mar Salamon, a Nestorian Archimandrite in the thirteenth century. The Bees refers to a mysterious power transmitted from the time of Zoroaster and made manifest in the time of Christ…. Man is Persian meaning as the quality transmitted by heredity and hence a distinguished family or race. It can be the repository of an heirloom or tradition. The word sar means head, both literally and in the sense of principal or chief. The combination sarman would thus mean the chief repository of the tradition.” Yet another possibility was “those whose heads have been purified”, in other words: the enlightened.

So in the Sarmoung Brotherhood we find not only the missing link for Ashiata Shiemash and Zarathushtra, but also between Bees and Beelzebub. As Darban I Den once remarked to me, “I was never comfortable with Beelzebub being related to flies – something shitty and annoying. I always felt it must be Bees – it’s in his name after all.” This latter connection though fascinating may all have even greater implications for The Esoteric Order of Beelzebub.

According to Beelzebub, Ashiata’s teaching method deferred radically from anything done by any teacher before or any teacher after. He taught without teaching:

“The Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash taught nothing whatever to the ordinary three-brained beings of the Earth, nor did he preach anything to them, as was done before and after him by all the other Messengers sent from Above with the same aim. “ (BTTHG p. 318)

In other words, there is a very distinctive form of essence-exchange suggested by his system. Something more than the writings, and something not obtainable by the one-way authoritarian structure followed by the popular forms of monotheism. It is also here in the narrative of Beelzebub that the idea of ‘legominism’ is introduced. “A Legomonism,” Beelzebub tells us, “is the name given to one of the means used there for transmitting from generation to generation information about certain events of long-past ages through those three-brained beings who have become worthy to be, and to be called, ‘initiates.’” In other places Gurdjieff had spoken of great physical works like the Sphynx, or the Gothic Cathedrals as examples, but here he refers to a legominism called “The Terror of the Situation.” In the work this idea is known in the shock of realizing one’s own mechanical nature which can be tied back to the wish for being, or ‘being-conscience.’ As we shall see, conscience also has a central role in Zarathushtra’s teaching as well.

As Beelzebub concludes, “’legomonism’ is the name given to the successive transmission of information about long-past events on the planet Earth from initiate to initiate of the first kind, that is, between really meritorious beings, transmitting what they themselves have received from similar meritorious beings.” (BTTHG p. 320) In other words, legominism is the unique form of essential-transfer developed by Ashiata Shiemash.

Georges_Gurdjieff

G.I. Gurdjieff

 

Remembering

It is not only in the direction of academic correspondences that we must look toward in this effort, but correspondences in pattern, archetype, and resonance. Once one allows for this, one begins to see that there is actually a lot of evidence to support the notion that Ashiata Sheimash and Zarathustra are one and the same, and the most intriguing one lies right up front in the name: Ashiata Sheimash. Gurdjieff seemed to relish in dressing-up and encoding references to people, places and things in the work of Beelzebub’s Tales, in what feels like spirit of mischievous obfuscation. It is said that when his students were proofreading manuscripts for him if they too-easily arrived at his meaning, he would respond, “ah, I must bury the bone deeper then.” BTTHG offers an entire lexicon of Grecco-Armenian-Russian crafted code-words, and new names for characters that – as your eyes adjust – gradually become familiar. For instance, Lentrohamsanin = Lenin, Archangel Loosios = Lucifer, and so forth. In the prophet’s first name “Ashiata” we find the letters spelling “Asha” which is the expression of higher truth/objective consciousness in the teachings of Zarathustra. Of this word Dr. Flowers in his book The Good Religion says “There is no adequate English translation. It connotes a synthesis of world-order, truth, right, righteousness and holiness.” Which corresponds closely with the introduction of Ashiata Shiemash, who seems to have been born from such due to the conditions which Beelzebub elaborates on:

…by the all-gracious command of our Infinitely Loving Common Father Endlessness, our Highest and Most Saintly Cosmic Individuals sometimes actualize within the presence of some terrestrial three-brained being the ‘definitized conception’ of a Sacred Individual, in order that, having become a terrestrial being with such a presence, he might comprehend the situation on the spot and give a suitable new direction to the process of the ordinary being-existence of your favorites, thanks to which there could perhaps be removed from their presences the already crystallized consequences of the properties of the organ kundabuffer as well as the predisposition to new crystallizations.

From the beginning Ashiata’s own origins are divine and purposeful. He has a super-ability for seeing truth and and right-order. He sees that the way of helping others see truth is to help them remove their own buffers to truth. Gurdjeiff here introduces  theidea of ‘kundabuffer’ to refer to the idea of a tightly programed behavior of not seeing truth that has become so culturally ingrained that people come to believe it is biological, not unlike the Christian concept or original sin. Ahsiata’s mission – like Zarathushtras – is to remind people that seeing the truth and the good begins with a decision to see it, in other words seeing behind ‘the lie’ of original sin.

Kundabuffer thus represents the great obstacle to Remembering yourself, and remembering yourself becomes the central task of the Gurdjieff Work as discussed by his student P.D Ouspensky in works like In Search of the Miraculous or The Fourth Way. What may seem in the surface a simple act quickly becomes deep and complex the more one personally explores and experiments with it.

The idea of Self-Remembering is clearly reflected In the cosmology of Zarathushtra where all humans on Earth actually began as conscious souls before coming here. In this pre-soul state they do have some awareness of what life is like on Earth, and eventually the great evil and ‘Terror of the Situations’ inspires them to come to Earth to fight for the good – for consciousness and conscience. However in being born into this world one of necessity forgets much of the previous life. But one can remember, and one can find others to help one remember. In Zarathrushtra’s system this remembering the fight for good equates directly to the remembering of the self spoken of by Gurdjieff. Each act of remembering the self is thus also a conscious act and a fundamentally good act.

Man is Fundamentally Good

When we recall that sense of existence in our Pre-soul state, we may also recall the reason we willfully chose to come to Earth – to fight against evil I.e. Ignorance, unconsciousness, coercion and mechanicalism. This is the first fundamentally good decision we made, and so our existence sent on earth is the result of this decision for the good. Thus in Zarathushtra’s system the fundamental goodness of man is not only a moral truth but a metaphysical truth as well.

This idea is in direct contradiction to the doctrine of Original Sin, so common to contemporary Christianity. The idea there is that man is fundamentally evil, is born into the world as an evil being, and so all of his life must be an effort to make good on this – to pay off his cosmic debt. An entire negative and pessimistic attitude about how to approach the phenomenon of life has grown from this, beyond monotheism and even to to influence secular ideologies. For instance, much of science views man to have evolved from a vicious and violent simeon species, who only by the grace of civilization can avoid descending back into total chaos and interspecies predation. In the far political left of Green Party and animal rights extremism you further find the idea in the form of anti-humanism – that humans are the problem where environment is concerned and overpopulation the cause of most social problems.

In these systems mans fundamental evilness is conversely a moral and metaphysical truth – it is not in anyway based in any decision that you personally made, it is rather the burden you must bear for someone else’s (I.e. Adam and Eve) bad decision. All of these systems are simply re-iterations of the idea of Original Sin, which is really more of an attitude or a negative emotion. Zarathushtra sweeps all this nonsense away with the idea of man being fundamentally good, and reminds us that it was the original perspective only later clouded and perverted by monotheistic wise-acering. It didn’t even enter Christian Doctrine until the 2nd Century by way of Iraneus.

In Gurdjieff’s cosmology, man like all other ‘Three-Brained Beings’ in the universe will naturally grow and evolve toward conscience. On Earth however a great cosmic disturbance (first moon crashing into the earth) interfered with this and resulted in man perceiving reality ‘upside down.’ The Gurdjieff work of achieving Objective Conscience is thus really a work of returning to man’s original state of goodness, which is his birth-right.

The idea of man being fundamentally good in fact corresponds with many other systems considered outside of the established realm of ‘normal’ and ‘common’ like LaVeyan Satanism, Setianism, Ayn Rand’s Objectivism and can in fact even be traced back to Aristotle. It is also worth noting that such systems – and thus the idea of man being fundamentally good –  are largely unpopular with mainstream culture.

Objective Consciousness

Gurdjieff attributes to Ashiata many first and unique accomplishments in the areas of philosophy and initiation, and many of these correspond very closely with what we know of Zarathurshtra. For instance, he says

“The Very Saintly Ashiata Shiemash was the only Messenger sent from Above to your planet who by his holy labors succeeded in creating conditions in which for a certain time the existence of its unfortunate beings somewhat resembled the existence of three-brained beings with the same possibilities that inhabit other planets of our Great Universe.” (BTTHG  p. 318)

In so many words he is saying that this prophet is the only one who was actually successful in creating ‘peace on earth’ – the aim that every other prophet touts but never really accomplishes. In a more esoteric sense what this really means is that mankind generally achieved objective consciousness and real and lasting Conscience for a time, one of the practical results of which of course would be relative peace on Earth.

It is often said of Zarathustra that this was accomplished in the reign of Cyrus the II of Persia, founder of the Achaemenid Empire (600 – 530 BC) which followed the teachings of Zarathustra and was well known as one of the most peaceful and prosperous societies in history. Cyrus respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered, following a successful model of administration working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. He also freed the Jews in Babylon and earned a special distinction in the Jewish Bible as Messiah and is the only non-Jew to be so-called.

In the ongoing work of the individual the enemy of Objective Consciousness is embodied in the idea The Druj – an Avestan word meaning “The Lie.” The Druj encompasses all the forces of ignorance, mechanicalism, coercion, slavery, abuse, negative emotions and so forth. In Setian cosmology the same fundamental ideas are represented in the struggle of Set and HarWer as accounted in The Book of Coming Forth by Night. The Ageless Intelligence must struggle to maintain independence from the confused and fitful presence of HarWer.

Though drawing on different terminology and symbolism – the moral basis consciousness = good, non-consciousness = bad reveal a great harmony in these teachings and a shared core-value.

The Source of Consciousness

It is also possible that the Jews of Babylon under Cyrus were influenced by the monotheistic model of Zoroastrianism, and it is widely recognized by scholars that Zarathustra taught the first form of monotheism. Here again we find reference to this aspect of Mazdaism in Beelzebub’s Tales in the world ‘Olbogmek’ which means, “There are no different religions, there is only one God.”(BTTTHGS\ p. 319). (“Bog” is Russian for “God” as fans of A Clockwork Orange might have recognized).

Zarathustra is universally acknowledged by scholars as producing the first form of monotheism in the character of Ahura Mazda – which is often translated simply as “Lord of Wisdom.” However some scholars assert that Maz-dah is an adjective meaning approximately “he who places (everything) in his mind” (not “wisdom as is commonly rendered.) [The Spirit of Zoroastrianism, Prods Oktor Skjaervo p.13] Such a translation runs much closer to the more technical and specific sense of consciousness and self-consciousness taught by Gurdjieff.

But it

 

ashiata

Unknown artist’s rendering of Ashiata Shiemash

Conscience

It is clear in Beelzebub’s Tales that the significance of conscience pervades the teachings of Ashiata Shiemash, that it is central to his teachings and that all of his other ideas revolve around it.

“After the second transapalnian perturbation occurred to this ill-starred planet, that is, after the ‘loss of Atlantis,’ the action of the cosmic law of Solioonensius in the common presence of your favorites took place at least forty times, and each time, thanks to this strange need of freedom which has become fixed in the majority of them, almost the same thing took place as has recently been occurring among the groups inhabiting that part of the surface of your planet called ‘Russia.’ “Here it is extremely important to note that these terrifying processes could never have occurred among the three-brained beings of the planet Earth if those data for engendering the being-impulse of Conscience, which had remained intact in their subconscious—data to which the Most Saintly Ashiata Shiemash was the first to turn his attention, and which he relied upon for the fulfillment of his mission—had taken part in the functioning of that consciousness of theirs which has become habitual for them during their waking state. “It is only because the data for the sacred impulse of being-Conscience do not take part in the functioning of this consciousness of theirs that the action of the law of Solioonensius, as well as of other inevitable cosmic laws, assumes these abnormal forms which are so lamentable for them.” (BTTHG p. 571)

Many significant ideas can be found in this passage. To begin with, in calling him the first Beelzebub is saying not only was Ashiata the first to identify the importance of Conscience, but that the word fully supported and defined his existence and mission on Earth. It is further suggested that there is an actual biological – even medical – benefit to conscience. The Beelzebub word “Solioonensius” is like kind of like lunacy from the sun – dangerous radiations from the sun make people crazy and make them want to kill other beings. There is actually Sociological support for this, as statistically homicide and violent crime rates tend to increase the closer one gets to the equator, where the influence of the sun is obviously more apparent and felt more strongly by the people who live there. Conscience, or the development of ‘Being-Conscience’ can protect us from these deleterious influences. Thus the development of Conscience goes hand-in-hand with the discouragement of animal-sacrifice, and really violence in general.

Conscience also can be seen to emerge with central importance in the teachings of Zarathustra and we find evidence of it in key ideas like Daena Vohuni which is often translated as ‘good conscience.’

Another way Conscience is approached in the Fourth Way work is in the elimination of contradictions, for it is impossible to experience true conscience while one holds on to internal contradictions. P.D. Ouspensky once wrote:

“Conscience is a state in which a man feels all at once everything that he in general feels, or can feel. And as everyone has within him thousands of contradictory feelings which vary from a deeply hidden realization of his own nothingness and fears of all kinds to the most stupid kind of self-conceit, self-confidence, self-satisfaction, and self-praise, to feel all this together would not only be painful but literally unbearable. If a man whose entire inner world is composed of contradictions were suddenly to feel all these contradictions simultaneously within himself, if he were to feel all at once that he loves everything he hates and hates everything he loves, that he lies when he tells the truth and that he tells the truth when he lies; and if he could feel the shame and horror of it all, this would be the state which is called ‘conscience.’ A man cannot live in this state; he must either destroy contradictions or destroy conscience. He cannot destroy conscience, but if he cannot destroy it he can put it to sleep, that is, he can separate by impenetrable barriers one feeling of self from another, never see them together, never feel their incompatibility, the absurdity of one existing alongside another

Conscience is the fire which alone can fuse all the powders in the glass retort, and create the unity which a man lacks in that state in which he begins to study himself.” (Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous)

Ashiata actually has a very personal association with Beelzebub himself, as it is Ashiata that get’s Beelzebub pardoned from the transgressions of his past:

“And thus to one of the planets of this solar system, the planet called “Earth,” a Messenger was once sent from our Endlessness – a certain Ashiata Shiemash. And as Beelzebub had fulfilled  a special task indispensable to his mission, this Messenger, upon his return to the Sun Absolute, earnestly besought His Endlessness to pardon the once young and fier but now aged Beelzebub.” (BTTHG p.49)

This ties in with the Mazdan approach to ethics which asserts there is no transgression that cannot be forgiven. That there is no Original Sin which metaphysically connects us with evil, but that good can at anytime be Remanifested by the decision to do so. In popular monotheism the fundamental nature of man is evil – he is born into the world this way due to the sins of Adam, and therefore the whole of his life clouded with shame and a sense of  indebtedness for expenses he did not himself occur. In Zarathushtra and Gurdjieff’s world, man comes into the world fundamentally good, but forgets this over the course of life. Yet he always has the opportunity to remember, that is why Teachers, Prophets, Saoshants, and Messengers from Above return to Earth at various times, to remind us.

zoroaster002

Zarathushtra

Triads – Law of Threes

Generally speaking there is quite a lot of tripartition and triadic structures in both in Zoroastrianism and the Fourth way. In Zoroastrian the cosmos is triadic with a Spirit world, a Material world, and then a yet-to-come divine world of spirit-matter fusion. There is also the triadic maxim of “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds,” with ‘good’ meaning of high quality.

An important triad in the Gurdjieff work is the Law of Threes, referring to the interaction of positive, negative and neutralizing forces in nature and in man. With Ashiata Shiemash, the great triad comes from the surviving tablet that survived the ‘big wars’ on which was inscribed the ‘sacred being-impulses’ of Faith, Hope, and Love. This triad also appears in Corinthians 13:13 but as one reads the Ashiata’s inscriptions one can’t help but suspect a deeper triadic pattern at work:

FAITH, LOVE, AND HOPE

  • Faith of consciousness is freedom
  • Faith of feeling is weakness
  • Faith of body is stupidity
  • Love of consciousness evokes the same in response
  • Love of feeling evokes the opposite
  • Love of body depends only on type and polarity
  • Hope of consciousness is strength
  • Hope of feeling is slavery
  • Hope of body is disease

 

Morality of the Left-Hand Path 7: You Have the Moral High-Ground

n02

You Have the Moral High-Ground

“But what can I do to help?” This has long been the battle cry of the the moral crusader, the social justice warrior, or what Anton LaVey liked to refer to as the seeker of “The Good-Guy Badge.” It has long been accepted that altruism and self-sacrifice represent the moral high ground. To this the Lords of the Left Hand Path came forth to say “no more!” For here is the truth – you can’t help. At least not until you have helped yourself.

So often the altruistic battle cry of only wanting to help belies in fact a desire to control, to enforce groupthink and to get that Good-Guy Badge. This is why so-called social justice warriors seem to ooze with hubris. To know thyself and to embrace thyself means to also to embrace humility and respect. To build the self is like building a strong foundation for a house, it takes time, focus and attention. The altruist or the SJW has skipped this stage, going right for the endgame of pointing the finger and taking credit for caring more than you…for sacrificing more than you…for being more sensitive than you. There game is to single you out and alienate you. But if you are strong in your sense of self, responsibility and conscience, their slings and arrow will bounce off you. Do not become entranced by their glamour, for their house is built on an empty foundation and destined to crumble.

I say the glamour must be lifted, revealing the face of the serpent! Let the Altruists and Collectivists have their Good Guy Badges stripped from them and tossed into the fire! Look upon them for what they are – immoral parasites – who in the end only want to bleed you of your essence, syphon your energy, and rob you of your own hard-earned property! Be deaf to their jeers, and toss them aside, upholding the strength of your own conviction to rational self-interest and personal responsibility! Let the strength of the fire that burns within you – the Supersubstantial source of Consciousness and Conscience – be a comfort to you as it is to others who can see the glimmer of it’s light.

When you fully embrace the personal responsibility that goes along with the Morality of the Left-Hand Path, you realize that embracing that morality really is the best thing you can do for society, even humanity. As you assert your own individuality and self-deification, the Black Flame expands and just maybe that helps make the world a better place. That is the highest sense of duty; to embrace that innermost fire of self – without regret, shame or hesitation. It is the duty that everyone must arise to and uphold within themselves. The path of temptation is the easy way of blaming all your failures on others. It’s easy to find a convenient individual or social group to blame all your problems on – perhaps a mythologized ethnic group, or maybe an economic group – or maybe the thought that anyone who is successful must have cheated to get there. The much harder way is to take responsibility for yourself, and work to achieve your goals or to create new opportunities for yourself. Indeed the path of temptation is exactly the opposite of what the Priest and Ministers of Altruism have taught us over the years.

The philosopher Aristotle was fond of using ‘classes’ to understand reality. Remember that as a member of the class of all humans, by increasing your own consciousness and strengthening your own state of being through the process of Xeper, you are literally helping to increase the overall all state of being of the class of all humans. Again, the best thing you can do for humanity as a whole is to embrace the Left-Hand Path morality of Self-Deification, Individuality, Self-Evolution and Will. In enhancing your own potential for self-consciousness, you are in fact literally increasing the overall incidence of self-consciousness in all of the vast Universe. This is why we like to call it the Great Work, for it’s implications are cosmic.

So remember when the minions of the Right-Hand Path try to waggle their finger at you, it is you who have the moral high-ground, for you embrace one of the only systems that allows for the freedom of all individuals. All of the Right-Hand Path systems that emerge from Central Authority are based on inhibiting the freedom of someone, or some group; of parasitically syphoning their their energy via religion, or even of outright robbing them of their property through progressive Statist taxation. Over time the group to be enslaved may change – At one time it was competing tribes, alternative religious groups, or perhaps people of a certain race. In more recent times the focus has switched to academic or economic class as a basis for inhibiting freedom.

The Left-Hand Path magician should be able to easily and confidently point out the essential immorality of any system that is based on inhibiting freedom and facilitating coercion. For freedom is the essence of the Black Flame, that sacred and Supersubstantial Fire that burns eternal with the Highest of Life. Remember that if all you can say of morality is that “it’s all relative,” or “morality is uncool,” then the Altruists and Collectivists will always be able to claim the moral high ground. But if you can talk about the Morality of Rational Self-Interest and Personal Responsibility as being the true and original morality you might be able to stand your ground, and just maybe we can start taking some of that high ground back.

None of this should be misconstrued as a desire to create a ‘Left-Hand Path State,’ and certainly no one need be forced into following the ideas of the LHP. But I do think everyone is a unique individual being, only most have forgotten, fallen asleep, or been coerced or cheated out of this deep metaphysical truth.

Some have suggested that RHP/Central Authority is needed because most people need to be told what to think or do because they are just too incompetent to manage their own lives. To this we must respond that even if it were so it would not have the right to come in and manage it for them, just as we wouldn’t respect someone else’s right to come in and start managing our affairs uninvited. The LHP is not about organizing a model society and forcing it on everyone for their own good – that’s actually the aim of the RHP. You could argue that you can quantify more overall good by just telling everyone what to do (utilitarianism, etc), and that may be fine by some estimates, but it’s not LHP. The essence of the LHP is claiming personal freedom as your own natural right, and acknowledging others have that right as well. You can’t maintain that value and still go about organizing everyone and putting them in their proper place.

The Daimons of the Diabolicon went through precisely this same question in regard to whether they should control the Black Flame so that no one hurts themselves with it, in the Statement of Belial

Many there were among us who felt anger at this ruthless mutilation of our Gift, and Beelzebub brought to question whether we also should not descend among man and contest this usurpation of his Will. But I said, Were we to lead man in this venture, we ourselves would declare his failure, and he would believe our Gift to be weak indeed. Messiah must see that free Will is beyond the concern of God, and that man will finally win his own destiny apart from all dictated schemes.

They concluded that to control and coerce would be an immoral misuse and denigration of the sacred Flame and that were they to do so they would be no better than Masleh.

The suggestion that Central Authority is actually protecting us from some greater evil or an ‘apocalyptic storm’ can be dispensed with peremptorily – this is precisely what Yaweh told Adam and Eve in the Garden – don’t eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge! Like Adam an Eve in the Garden, The RHP/Centralized Authoritarianism is precisely what has kept us in a general state of warfare over the centuries, and a state of total war during the last century. If anything the RHP is leading us in the direction of an apocalyptic storm. We can’t make a better mousetrap, when the mousetrap is based on robbing people and putting them in cages. Therefore we do not talk about creating a new ‘LHP State’ rather we talk about self-creation, promoting individuality, and opening a way for freedom for all

Remember that you as a rational self-interested and responsible being of conscience you are the greatest hope for the future of the human race. The majority seeks to pull all down to average and redesign humanity as a cannibalistic hive where the weak live off the strong until the strong lose their will to succeed, and the overall energy level is a bare subsistence. At that point man can only have lost all sense of conscience, all sense of true and deep emotional connection to his tribe. At that point humanity disintegrates and de-evolves into something it was never meant to be. By embracing the Morality of the Left-Hand Path we have a chance to save humanity, to promote individuality and to keep the Black Flame alive and burning.

Coming soon part 8

Return to part 1

Morality of the Left-Hand Path 6: The Spiral, Reich, and A Sense of Duty

quote-in-the-last-analysis-the-individual-person-is-responsible-for-living-his-own-life-and-thomas-merton-19-76-04

A Sense of Duty

At a cosmic level the oppressive nature of Collectivism can be understood simply as attempts to suppress the Black Flame – that cosmic Supersubstantial source of life and consciousness that fuels man’s independence and individuality. This again is the overriding theme of The Erbeth Transmissions, and publication of that book might be considered an example of a small effort to do something to leverage the situation in the direction of self-conscious evolution. “Central Authority” in that book is simply an analogy for the Church…or the State…take your pick for there is little difference. Both systems display the same centralized structure, the same outwardly emanating desire for total controls, and both display no tolerance for any alternative systems and can allow no completion to or questioning of their absolute authority.

In the Spiral Dynamics system of Beck and Cowan both Church and State fall into the realm of the Blue Meme for functionally they are virtually indistinguishable. The SD system claims that it is a natural state of evolution that all cultures go through – a natural and necessary authritarian stage that helps a culture define itself and makes certain advances from a more primal warrior society – the Red Meme. Emerging from the blue, SD envisions an Orange Meme of independence. Most consider the emergence of the Orange in the West to correspond generally with the Enlightenment, following roughly 2000 or more years of Blue authoritarian domination.

Looking at the big picture, If we consider most of our contemporary LLHPs (Crowley, LaVey, Aquino, et al) to have emerged during this most recent Orange, we next realize that most of our historical LLHPs (Yeshu, Zoroaster, Lao Tzu) come from before the last Blue Period. In other words 2000 years of dominance by Central Auhority resulted in a near vanishing of the Black Flame from the Earth. Next you have to reflect on the current geo-political environment of massive government, huge central banks, erosion of privacy and property rights and near constant warfare; and ask yourself if it doesn’t look like we are slipping back into the Blue; if it doesn’t feel like we are on the verge of sliding back into another dark age. There are more people than never exploring alternative and Satanic religious groups, but in most of them no Black Fire burns.

Another great 20th century thinker who perceive the functional homogeneity of Church and State is Dr. Wilhelm Reich. The idea that Church and State exhibit similar authoritarian patterns in their systematic attempt at suppressing the energy of the individual is a central theme in his work The Mass Psychology of Fascism. This is carried out initially through ceremonial suppression of sexuality. As he states:

Suppression of the natural sexuality in the child, particularly of its genital sexuality, makes the child apprehensive, shy, obedient, afraid of authority, good and adjusted in the authoritarian sense; it paralyzes the rebellious forces because any rebellion is laden with anxiety; it produces, by inhibiting sexual curiosity and sexual thinking in the child, a general inhibition of thinking and of critical faculties. In brief, the goal of sexual suppression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation. At first the child has to submit to the structure of the authoritarian miniature state, the family; this makes it capable of later subordination to the general authoritarian system. The formation of the authoritarian structure takes place through the anchoring of sexual inhibition and anxiety.

The idea of Church/State authoritarianism becomes axiomatic in James Demeo’s Saharasia: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World. It is easy enough to see the deleterious effects the Church had on technology and human advancement, and if you look a little closer you see the State is almost as bad. What’s ironic is that Central Authority, due to it’s inherently bureaucratic and ineffectual nature, is always playing catch-up with the latest technology. How far had e-commerce grown before they realized they needed to start forcing collection of sales tax in a new way? Look at how far Uber spread before local governments started trying accuse them of ‘piracy’? Look at the technology of smart phones – if government had decided in 1995 that everyone has a ‘right’ to a cell phone we’d all still be using cell phones the size of lunch-boxes. These are simply a few contemporary examples but one could easily write a book about them all, as did Jeffery Tucker in his book A Beautiful Anarchy: How to Create Your Own Civilization in the Digital Age. We shouldn’t have to spend as much time arguing how the church held back the advancement of technology for centuries with flat-earth theories, auto de fay, burning of witches and scientists and so forth. What is important here is simply to see the common pattern of authoritarianism inhibiting progress in the name of the bogeyman of individuality.

If Central Authority stays out of it, new technology typically gets out to everyone who needs/wants it pretty fast. But Central Authority can always just catch up later, requisition it, put their stamp on it and start re-writing history to make it look like they invented it, which is precisely what they are doing right now with the institution of Healthcare. Propaganda slogans like “You didn’t build that!” can have the effect of simultaneously affirming their authority and ridiculing the belief in individuality. This is also essentially what the Church did and still tries to do with the phenomenon of human life – “we built that, so you need to follow our requirements for using it.” When you start to see this you realize that ‘separation of church and state’ was really just a transfer of authority from church to state. But in seeing these little successes and advancements we are reminded that there is hope, and that in exercising our own individuality – even a little – it stirs up that sacred fire that can spread, help cleanse the air, and maybe even help someone else ‘wake up.’

Everything that is encapsulated in P.D. Ouspensky’s ideas about ‘Negative Emotions’ are things that are propagated, perpetuated, and enforced through the various institutions that comprise Central Authority. The sooner one realizes that such institutions are fundamentally immoral, the sooner one can divest their time, effort and attention in them. These institutions do nothing but work against Self-Deification and Individuality, and even if they really wanted to, they couldn’t help you anyhow. You must take responsibility yourself.

This is where the sense of duty kicks in. When you start taking responsibility for yourself. “Responsibility to the Responsible!” as Anton LaVey worded it. When you can finally see most of society is engineered to remove the sense of responsibility, you begin to realize how dire the situation is. It is so corrupt and mechanical that none of the Politicians or Priests could do anything to change it even if they wanted to, for to become a part of it is to be absorbed and absolved of responsibility. It is quite literal the case, for despite all their blatant crimes and corruptions no one who is part of this system every emerges as responsible. The secret is that responsibility cannot be given, only taken!

This is the great challenge given to us by the Magi – to become a responsible being. This is the greatest hope for humanity – that YOU awaken and take responsibility.

Coming Soon Part 7

Return to Part 1

Morality of the Left-Hand Path 5: Compassion is Not Collectivism

 

collectivism

Compassion is not Collectivism

Confusion over the meaning of the word “Collectivism” is quite common in the contemporary environment. You may encounter the erroneous assumption that simply because you uphold a morality of Self-Deification and Individuality it means you don’t believe in compassion – that you’re just a selfish brute, a narcissist, or an egomaniac. This is a false conclusion for as a free thinking individual you are free to exchange with whomever you want as much as you want, and as long as you are doing so voluntarily it is an act of free will and by definition not an acquiescence to collectivism. Collectivism always bears some amount of coercion if not out-right force. In truth it is always collectivist, socialist, and totalitarian systems which attempt to twist and mutate compassion to make good soldiers or police who can kill without conscience, to stir an irrational sense of impersonal love for ones own tribe or ones race, and so forth. The free individualistic and self-deifying Black Magician allows his compassion to develop freely and for it to develop him in return. Compassion is a great source of virtue and power and that is maybe just on reason Anton LaVey made it fully one-third of his system of Greater Magic.

It is the same for the act of cooperation. There are those who will point to any act of cooperation you appear to engage in saying, “See? You need collectivism!” Again this represents a wrong understanding of collectivism and obliviousness to the fact that it always carries with it some amount of coercion. Free and willful cooperation is the cornerstone of a productive society and the successful individuals who make it so. Cooperation is merely the continued exchange of value for value on another level that drives and fuels creation and innovation. It is in fact always collectivist, socialist and totalitarian systems that seek to control or prohibit free and voluntary cooperation between individuals, for instance by regulating and taxing certain transactions to manipulate human interaction and make certain forms of cooperation appear more or less valuable.

Communication is another area where confusion will emerge. Really more at the extreme end of the socialist spectrum, here the objection is that any form of communication demonstrates that you are part of a collective and that you are therefore being somehow hypocritical in rejecting collectivism. This is the extreme form of the old saying “no man is an island,” a ridiculous assertion that the only way to maintain individuality is to be completely cut off from any external influences of the environment. Communication via words and ideas is of course one of the great ways people trade value and learn and grow and is a vital part of human nature. In that it is engaged in voluntarily it represents no loss of will and no threat to individuality. Again, it is in reality always collectivist socialist and totalitarian systems which seek to coerce and control communication via propaganda, censorship, and political correctness (or as George Orwell called in in 1984 – Newspeak).

I realize that some who read this may scratch their heads and wonder why I have spent so much time on what may seem fairly obvious points, but I assure you each and every one of these – compassion, cooperation, and communication – have been presented to me as objections and evidence of mans need for collectivism and governance. Clearly there is much misunderstanding out there, and that is just one reason why it’s worthwhile spending some time considering the moral basis of rational self-interest, self-deification and individualism. Until we do, the Christians, Monotheists and Statists will always be able to claim the moral high-ground. If all you can say in response to their charges is “everything’s relative,” they will win the argument every time.

But if you can point out and articulate the very real and substantial immorality of coercion and sublimation of the self, then you will be able to stand your ground. Maybe in debates and such, but more importantly in your own mind. In your own mind you must understand clearly and without compromise why the Left-Hand Path is the moral high-ground. And you must also understand that regardless of any apparent goodness of anything the RHP tries to do –whether it’s feeding the poor or fighting bad-guys – they cannot do any of it without coercion and control. There is always a price, or as Dr. Aquino likes to say, “There is no free lunch.”

It is perfectly natural and normal for a self-actualized and centered person to have compassion for others, to be capable of sympathy, and to wish for love and companionship in one’s life. It is one of the tricks of the RHP to convince us that those who follow the LHP have somehow given up on such things. But in reality it is those re-born and Remanifested in the Black Fire of Set who come to know a much deeper and more powerful potential for compassion, a more objective sense of love, and a deeper sense of conscience. In these ways we develop stronger ties to others that transcend ethnicity, and may endure many trials and tribulations.

By embracing the LHP morality, it empowers and charges your ability to make more significant contributions to the various groups, circles, and institutions in which you interact. This is a foundational idea for what in the Esoteric Order of Beelzebub they call The Circle of Reciprocal Maintenance which demonstrates that your contributions to the right kind of group – one that embraces the morality of the LHP – may actually fuel and fire your own becoming.

To feel compassion does not mean that your individuality is fusing or blending with a collective, or that we can start blending our psyche-centric consciousness with collectives nowadays since we’re in some kind of new ‘post-individualism era.’ There is no such thing as a post-individualism era, and it should be noted that the idea we are some how ‘out-growing’ individuality as a species and growing into a collective mind is an idea that really comes from Karl Marx; it does not come from any of the Lords of the Left-Hand Path. Rather these teachers were trying to give us something to help us defend ourselves against this sort of idea of the diffusion of individuality. None of them went through all that trouble to utter words and suffer the slings and arrows of an ignorant world and establish teachings just for us to be able say “it’s all relative.”

If you read Dr. Aquino’s book MindStar, you may learn that the survival of the psyche is simply the idea of our individuality – the Subjective Universe – continuing beyond biological death within the Objective Universe, and that it may have existed even before we came here. In this teaching the only sense in which there is a blending of OU and SU is in the CSU or “Collective Subjective Universe,” which is something which can be used privately or creatively, but is more often used by monotheistic and statist systems to control you. Sure, by virtue of your separate psyche you’re still an individual no matter what, but don’t let your actions and your course in life be broken down into that of a slave. You were not given the Gift of Set so you could come to Earth and be a slave.

Coming Soon, Part 6: A Sense of Duty

Return to Part 1

Continue to Part 6

Morality of the Left-Hand Path 4: Church and State

6a00d8341cb34753ef017ee8fff32b970d-800wi

Church and State

For some the Individualism Vs Collectivism axiom comes down to a question of balancing the needs of the many with the needs of the few; The objection we often hear is that while pure individualism is a great idea, it doesn’t work out in the real world where we must rely on leaders to help us balance the needs of the many with the needs of the few, in order to insure equality and fairness.

While such proponents will sometimes try to make the case that we are somehow ‘out-growing’ individualism, or that there can be a blending of individualism and collectivism, a serious examination of the four precepts leads inevitably to the conclusion that such assertions are simply reiterations of collectivism. A blend with collectivism is a win for collectivism, just as a compromise with evil is a win for evil. It may be helpful to recall that the idea of a centralized authority with a monopoly on force that’s going to put everyone into their proper place is not a new idea. This has been the way of Kings and Popes going back to the days of the Pharos.

Notice I said Kings and Popes; this is because from the point of view of LHP morality there is functionally very little difference between church and state.  This is why in The Erbeth Transmissions I began interchangeably using a common and inclusive term for them: “Central Authority.”  Both institutions follow the same sort of ‘hub and spoke’ structure with an indisputable and absolute centralized organizing body. Each member of this body (a spoke) will connect with a singular figurehead (the hub, e.g. a Pope or King) at the center. From this Central Authority flows the various laws and mechanisms which form what we call the Right Hand Path.

It at first seems counterintuitive that church and state should be qualitatively synonymous. After all, so much of contemporary secular education is pervaded by the idea that there is a separation of Church and State. But if you dare to study a little closer you will begin to see that all the main contemporary justifications for the State – that it protects us from evil and bad guys, that it helps the less fortunate, and so forth – are all ideas that the Church once used to justify its authority. The Church provided the first Hospitals, the first schools, and validated or blessed the King’s army and war powers as it saw fit.  Most of the early heretics and Lords of the Left-hand Path rejected precisely these authoritarian powers of the Church. Are all those same powers now suddenly legitimate simply because the final authority for their exercise has been transferred to a different organization? If we had a time machine and could go back to the days when our Left-Hand Path forebears were struggling and risking their lives to thrust off the oppression of the Church, would we try to stop them? Would we intercede saying “yeah I know none of it’s true but they do help the poor and protect us from evil!” Certainly many use just such justifications for continued participation in RHP systems, but it is safe to assume most followers of the LHP have overcome such justifications, noting that either they simply are not true, or else if there is a shred of truth in them it still doesn’t justify the sort of totalitarian power the Church exercised for so many centuries.

The more one examines the nature of society in relation to the sovereignty of the Individual it becomes increasingly clear that the patterns that form the political landscape are really just the same patterns that formed the Church, and adherence to either is really just the same pattern of collectivism, and a reiteration of the Right-Hand Path. It’s certainly not dedication to ideas like Self-Deification, Individualism, and so forth. Whether it’s a politician or a Pope the message they hand down to us is always the same – obey and conform; let us make the important decisions for you, we know what’s best.

There is nothing new or innovative about a centrally planned economy with a monopoly on force. It has been the way of society going back to the Pharaohs. Freedom of individuals and markets is (was?) really the radical new idea, which Remanifested in the Enlightenment Era with such fury that entirely new societies were formed around it. If that hadn’t happened, it is very unlikely anyone would even be talking about following a Left-Hand Path. The pattern, conveyed in The Erbeth Transmissions, was that the ideas about Supersubstantial Fire that Remanifests self-consciousness were all ideas originating somewhere in the Pre-Dynastic era.

No matter how much we may wish there were some sort of blending of Individual with Collective, in the end it really is simply an either/or question; the Individual is separate from the Collective in the same way the Subjective Universe is separate from the Objective Universe, for to blend them is simply to eliminate the former. That’s also why Hegel’s dialectic does not apply – there can be no synthesis from something that is completely obliterated. The SU is what gives rise to the very real and physical sense of individuality that all conscious beings are able to experience. Or if you prefer, our physical separation from each other has facilitated the arising of the Subjective Universe. Either way, the uniquely Setian concept of a Subjective Universe that is the core of the soul and can Xeper and Remanifest and maybe even live forever absolutely does indicate that individualism is distinct from collectivism, and the difference lies not only in their metaphysical implications but also in their underlying moral basis’.

When one can finally see clearly the very real threat to Individuality – and thus to the Subjective Universe and the Gift of Set itself – posed by Central Authority and the RHP, one realizes the dire urgency not only of embracing the LHP, but very real need to clarify, understand, and champion the LHP on moral grounds.

Part 5 Compassion is not Collectivisim

Return to Part 1

Morality of the Left-Hand Path 3: The Individualism Axiom

150403_2_Individualism_Tribalism_aoi_36_tiff_x

The Individualism Axiom

The concept of Individuality is so significant in the study of morality it deserves special consideration. Individualism, which is perhaps best understood in examining the contrasting dichotomy of Individualism vs. Collectivism, is really axiomatic for the whole code of LHP Morality. It could easily be considered number one of the four precepts, because all the others are dependent on it. What could Self-Deification mean without individualism? How can you experience initiation without your own individual effort? If the collective can initiate you then we should all go back to Church-on-Sunday existence. Can Magic and Will ‘happen’ without an individual behind it?

Another reason why these questions are worth considering is that in recent years we’ve seen a lot of what can only be considered challenges to these four precepts, from within (apparent) LHP groups! We’ve heard that collectivism is good, or that we can Xeper as a collective. We’ve been advised we are collectivists to anyhow, since just talking to someone else means you are part of a collective. We’ve been told by self-proclaimed representatives of world-wide Satanic movements that compassion is a the highest virtue,  equality is a supreme social ideal, or that the collective state is a righteous authority.

The problem here clearly is that again, many simply haven’t studied these questions deeply enough, and are simply mistaking ‘cooperation’ or ‘communication’ for collectivism. We all work with people every day, exchange ideas, exchange value and so forth. That’s not necessarily collectivism. Collectivism always involves some sort of coercion, some sort of sublimation of individual will, ‘you’re either with us or against us!’ That’s not the same thing as cooperation and exchange, which is essential for our learning, growing, loving, and initiating. Cooperation, communication and exchange are all voluntary. Collectivism is involuntary.

Sometimes people confuse “collectivism” with the Aristotelian sense of “class,” that simply because I am in the same class of humans, or class of males, or class of people with green eyes and so forth, means I’m naturally a collectivist. Again this is a wrong understanding of the term because these are mere circumstances, and not the result of coercion.

The misunderstanding about equality comes again from confusing Morality with Metaphysics. To say that we should treat other as equals, that none have special authority due to birth, that no one is a slave, is a morally sound and in line with LHP Morality. But to insist that there is metaphysical equality is totally irrational. There are undeniable differences between individuals, both physically and intellectually. As Thomas Sowell once pointed out, “The same man is not even equal to himself on different days.” To insist that all are equal is also to deny the possibility of change, evolution, and Xeper. Yet this is precisely the sort of mentality that RHP collectivist groups like Church and State try to foist on the masses. The area of income is an especially contested area, the idea advanced by the state being it is ‘unfair’ for one person to do better than another. In the end the use this only as an excuse to rob people of greater amounts via taxation. So-called Satanic groups that support these sorts of egalitarian propaganda myths are embarrassing for their naievety.

The Individualism vs. Collectivism precept is so important in fact we could consider giving it a special name, maybe “The Individualism Axiom,” which can be expanded into the ‘Individualism vs. Collectivism Dichotomy.’ The other LHP precepts – Self-Deification, Initiation, and Magic – all follow from that axiom.  Economists who favor individualism like to talk about a ‘free-market’ – a market free of coercion – and this is simply the same idea taken to a social level. The Temple of Set differs from its predecessors in taking the same axiom to a metaphysical or spiritual level: the apprehension of one’s own uniqueness and individualism leads to the realization of isolate intelligence, and the idea that one can live an isolate and immortal existence beyond the body, as Dr. Aquino discusses in his book MindStar.

You may have also heard this expressed as the morality of ‘rational self-interest’. This term has been used by Setians, Satanists, even Ayn Rand, whom Anton LaVey had cited as an important influence, as well as many of the fathers of the Enlightenment such as John Locke, John Milton. It continues to appears at other points in history going back to the Greeks, Persians, and Ancient Egypt and begins fading into mythology somewhere in the pre-dynastic era. Tracing this line of true LHP thought throughout history is what the rest of Dr. Flowers’ book Lords of the Left-Hand Path does.

 

Continue to Part 4: Church and State

Return to Part 1

Morality of the Left Hand Path 2: The Four Precepts

Demon+devil+satan

 

For the idea of a morality that rejects authority in favor of individual sovereignty, we must look outside the narrow view offered by Church and State. From time to time great teachers who appear at seemingly significant moments have suggested we take the initiative ourselves and look within for the highest apprehension of the good and virtuous. Is there such a thing as a ‘morality’ of the Left-Hand Path? Or is the LHP simply a dark aesthetic void of morality, ethics or judgment? Can the LHP exist simply as a fondness for all things dark? Or does it require something more substantial in order to qualify as a ‘path’ or a ‘way’?

One of the greatest studies of this question and its occurrence throughout history comes from Stephen Flowers’ seminal work Lords of the Left Hand Path, where he not only offers excellent definitions which codify the LHP as a coherent, whole and complete system of thought and ethics, but also traces manifestations of the same throughout history. According to this work, a true Lord of the Left Hand Path is defined by two major criterion – Self-deification and antinomianism. I here wish to examine the first of these – Self-Deification – a little more closely. Flowers further breaks this into four components like so:

  1. Self-deification – attainment of an enlightened (or awakened), independently existing intellect and its relative immortality.
  2. Individualism – the enlightened intellect is that of a given individual, not a collective body.
  3. Initiation – The enlightenment and strength of essence necessary for the desired state of evolution of self are attained by means of stages created by the will of the magician, not because he or she was “divine” to begin with.
  4. Magic – practitioners of the LHP see themselves as using their own wills in a rationally intuited system or spiritual technology designed to cause the universe around them to conform to their self-willed patterns.

Since Self-Deification appears as a criterion and a component, it could make sense to consider Individualism, Initiation and Magic as components of Self-Deification. In any case, it is apparent these premises work together to form a comprehensive and legitimate morality of the Left-Hand Path. They suggest value judgments, metaphysical assertions about what the world is made of, and recommendations for what to do with that world and how to behave virtuously within it.

Antinomianism doesn’t really constitute a component of the moral equation. Quite simply it doesn’t deal with such notions as right or wrong, but rather focuses more of preference, taste and aesthetics. Also, what is considered antinomian is temporal and subject to change since it is determined by what is popular at any given time. For instance, at one time in history it may have been antinomian to wear black clothing, but as more people started to do it eventually it became common and predictable, so true antinomians had to start wearing white. In many ways Antinomianism is simply a matter of taste, and not really a strong belief about right or wrong behavior.

It may be noticed by anyone studying Lords of the Left-Hand Path that Dr. Flowers doesn’t actually use the word “Morality” in referring to any of these things. However he uses a close cousin “ethics.” As he states: “Although beyond good and evil, this path requires the most rigorous of ethical standards. These standards are based on understanding and not on blind obedience to external authorities.” Merriam Webster’s simple definition of “ethics” is “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad.” They are pretty close, but it looks like ‘ethics’ tends to refer more to rules, while ‘morals’ are the core beliefs. Perhaps then Self-Deification is best understood as the morality, with Individualism, Initiation, and Magic as ethical components. At a certain point such questions may be splitting hairs, but nevertheless there is ample support here for the idea of a Left-Hand Path Morality. The reason this is important will be addressed in the next chapter.

Some may object that Initiation and Magic are not ethical concerns at all, but rather metaphysical, in other words beliefs about what reality is, rather than what should be done with it. Here is must be noted the specialized LHP usage of these terms – explicit in Flowers’ definitions of them; for a specialist in these ideas “Initiation” is simply the idea of “evolution” taken to a personal level, and “Magic” is simply the idea of “Will” or self-determinism taken to a personal and practical level.

Getting to the level of ethical valuation, we could further elaborate on those precepts in the following manner:

  1. Self-Deification = good, Self-sublimation = bad
  2. Individualism = good, Collectivism = bad
  3. Initiation/evolution = good, Stasis = bad
  4. Magic/Will = good, Obedience/Slavery = bad

All of these components work together to form a clearly defined morality of the LHP that is certainly apparent in TOS and the Old COS. In the current COS criteria 3 and 4 (Initiation and Magic) have possibly lost some relevance due to the emphasis on atheism. The erosion of Left-Hand Path morality is even more apparent in some contemporary ‘Satanic-looking’ groups, whose professed mission of encouraging benevolence and empathy among all people seems blissfully unaware of any the four precepts, and in the end amount to no more than naive attempts to form alliances with liberal political factions. Fighting against oppression is admirable, but if one hasn’t prepared anything more substantial beneath it, any gains will eventually crumble away.

The more one looks at these sorts of groups it begins to look like really the main thing – their ‘reason for being’ is simply to support their preference for the dark esthetic and personal fetishism. They do generally maintain a sense of being ‘against the grain,’ and one could make the case that they do in that sense qualify as antinomian. But as stated before this in the end identifies only a certain sense of aesthetics.

And this reveals one of the key problems in considering antinomianism as a sole criteria for LHP – it is inconsistent. Antinomianism is always formed as a reaction against a certain movement or trend, it’s nature is therefore always being dictated by its opposition, and this in itself is in contradiction with the ideas like free will and individualism.

The other problem is that since such trends and movements are often transient – changing with the wind and subject to revolutions of style and fashion – it is possible that what yesterday was rebellious and underground might tomorrow find itself mainstream and common. Therefore the dedicated antinomian must always be scrambling to embrace new paradigms, or concocting new justifications for old paradigms.

Therefore be careful not to confuse the LHP with youth movements, fashion trends, or ‘special interest’ political fads. Antinomianism as a concept may help us to understand the the dark aesthetic of the LHP; but the core ideas – embodied in the Four Precepts of Self Deification – provide the unchanging values and moral core of the LHP.

“But doesn’t everyone have different boundaries and priorities? Isn’t defining a common morality just another attempt at authoritarianism? With a group of LHP Magicians isn’t that like trying to herd cats?”

The Morality of the Left-Hand Path – of self-interest, self consciousness and self-deification – makes no requirements or mandates on the priorities or boundaries of others, beyond maybe mutual respect or common courtesy – which is really just common sense and doesn’t really need to be codified anyhow. It is a moral code that an individual uses to strengthen and affirm their self. Again, it would be the Morality of the Right-Hand Path – the morality of authoritarianism, obedience, and collectivism – which concerns itself with organizing/herding people/cats. Those who object to LHP morality on these grounds simply haven’t considered the question deeply enough.

 

Continue to Part 3

Return to Part 1