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Right-Hand and Left-Hand Paths


Right-Hand and Left-Hand Paths


The Origin of the Terms

The West has a long history of associating the “Right” with goodness and correctness and the “Left” with inferiority. A person’s most trusted adviser is often called his right-hand man. Until recently, left-handed children were often forced to learn how to do things with their right hand, since left-handedness was considered a developmental error.

What Are the Right-Hand and Left-Hand Paths?

Occult and religious paths are sometimes divided into two categories: the right-hand path and the left-hand path. While there are many religions and spiritual practices in each path and they vary considerably, they hold a few things in common. These terms are not void of controversy and bias, however.

What Is the Right-Hand Path?

The right-hand path concentrate on the symbols of goodness, of the sun, of herd mentality and submission to god and religious authority. To put it a little more diplomatic, the right-hand path can be thought of as one of dogma, ritual, and a belief in the community and formal structure as well as a higher power. The vast majority of religions are considered part of the right-hand path, from Christianity to Witchcraft.

What Is the Left-Hand Path?

The left-hand path is considered to be about the elevation and centrality of the self as well as the rejection of religious authority and societal taboos. The left-hand path focuses on the strength and will of the practitioner. It downplays the need for intercession by any high power although some may believe that a higher power exists. Satanism and Luciferianism are considered left-hand paths. Though each of those can also be found in left-hand path religions, there is less focus on indulging the self in the right-hand path.

Limitation and Bias of Usage

One very large limitation of this terminology is that it is primarily used by followers of the left-hand path. Satanists commonly describe their path as that of the left-hand. However, Christians, Jews, Witchcraft, Wiccans, Druids, and the like do not identify themselves as being of the right-hand path.

As such, definitions of the right-hand path tend to be phrased in fairly derogatory terms as demonstrated. In addition, many people described as being of the right-hand path would disagree to varying degrees with the definitions commonly given.

Conversely, those people who do identify themselves as followers of the right-hand path generally describe the left-hand path as a one of evil, maliciousness, and danger. In this use, the terms become roughly synonymous with white magic and black magic, two other highly biased terms.

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