Left hand path

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The Baphomet (by Éliphas Lévi ), an adopted figure of some LHP religions

Various religious (also occult or magical ) orientations that oppose the established, “right” beliefs are referred to as the path to the left hand , left hand path or left-hand path (LHP) . The conceptual distinction of the path on the left hand ( Sanskrit : Vama Marga ) and the path on the right hand (Sanskrit: Dakshina Marga ) is originally from the Hindu - Tantra . Vama can be translated both with “left (hand)” and with “woman”, Marga with “way” or “path”.

In contrast to the more widespread “ Right Hand Path ” (RHP), the LHP stands for the affirmation of worldly existence and the deification of the individual self. Western occult currents such as Thelema , Satanism , Setianism , the Order of the Midgard, or Saturn Gnosis are occasionally classified under the common category “path to the left hand”.

Vama Marga

Etymologically , the term Vama Marga can primarily be traced back to two specific aspects:

  • It is not always possible to wash your hands in India. Therefore, according to tradition, all dirty or unsanitary activities are carried out there with the left hand. The right hand remains clean or “pure”, which is why it is used for eating, etc.
  • The energy of the feminine is assigned to the left side in Tantra. In tantric sexual rites, which are of crucial importance in the original LHP, the woman is therefore positioned on the left side of the man.

For this reason, the left side in India is associated with the transgression of social taboos as well as the dynamic energy of the Shakti . For example, a Hindu who treads the path to the right hand is ritually forbidden to consume meat (मांस, Mamsa), fish (मत्स्य, Matsya) and intoxicating substances such as alcohol (मद, Mada). Conversely, these things are not only permitted to a person who treads the left path, but are even required as part of religious practice.

However, parallels can also be found in other cultures. For example, the Latin word “sinister” means both “left” and “dark, sinister”.

Left-handed or red tantra in connection with western neotantra means that the seminars of the respective tantra school work a lot with sexual exercises, which can also include sexual intercourse. However, this is only the case with a few western tantra schools.

Stephen Flowers

Stephen Flowers in his treatise Lords of the Left-Hand Path outlines an intercultural model of the LHP, which is structured as follows:

The universe is the totality of all being. For the human subject it is divided into the knowable and the unknowable. This complex model allows at least two basic categories of distinction:

  • The Objective Universe (OU) is the cosmos or the world order. Humans usually assign certain laws or constants in space and time to them. The OU can be identified both with “nature” and - in pantheistic currents - with God . Orthodox religious systems postulate the possibility of uniting a subject with the OU by means of mystical rites, while modern natural sciences strive for a precise, rational understanding of the OU. The OU is the origin of all matter.
  • The Subjective Universe (SU) is the "world" of every sentient entity . There are as many subjective universes as there are sentient beings. An experience of the objective universe is usually only possible indirectly (filtered by the perception of the subjective universe). The SU does not seem to be subject to the same laws as the OU, since it is based on mental processes. In this sense, the SU is “unnatural” or “acosmic”.

The “unnaturalness” of the subjective universe becomes particularly explicit where human subjects bring about an artificial change in the physical world - buildings, art, political structures, literature, etc. This requires a reflexive awareness. Although bound by the same material foundations of the objective universe , there are no completely identical subjective universes.

We find one universal commonality in all subjective universes - the separation from the objective universe that was initiated by consciousness . This principle of separation is also a quality of the objective universe. We can speak of an ontological principle of "isolated intelligence", the separate subjective universe "in itself".

Western religious currents of the Left Hand Path identify "Isolated Intelligence" as an archetype with a particular divine entity. The “isolated intelligence” can also be personified with the western term “prince of darkness”. Mythological forms of the "Prince of Darkness" are z. B. Seth , Satan or Tezcatlipoca .

Adepts of the path on the left hand to meet two main criteria: Apotheosis and Antinomianism :

LHP systems can either be oriented towards a sovereign position in the material world (" objectivistic ") or towards an absolute separation from the objective universe (" transcendent "). Of course, there are also positions that lie between these two extremes.

Dave Evans

Historian Dave Evans describes adepts of the left-hand path as follows:

  • Rejecting social conventions and the status quo, which some interpret as a search for spiritual freedom. Left hand path adepts use magical practices that are seen as taboo, e.g. B. Sex magic or satanic symbolism.
  • Questioning religious and moral dogmas, instead looking for a personal anarchism .


The terms "path to the left hand" and " path to the right hand " have been criticized by various occultists. Andrew D. Chumbley said that these terms are only “theoretical constructs” and that a magician can deal with both forms - he compared it with the fact that every human being has a right and a left hand that serves the same master. John Belham-Payne also said: "For me, magic is magic".


  • Robert E. Svoboda: Aghora. At the Left Hand of God. Brotherhood of Life, Las Vegas 1986, ISBN 0-914732-21-8
  • Stephen E. Flowers: Lords of the Left-Hand Path. Rûna-Raven Press, Smithville (Texas) 1997, ISBN 1-885972-08-3
  • Julius Evola: The great pleasure. Metaphysics of Sex. Fischer Media, Bern 1998, ISBN 3-85681-406-X
  • David Kinsley: The Indian Goddesses. Insel, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-458-34316-4
  • Nikolas Schreck, Zeena Schreck: Demons of the Flesh. The Complete Guide to Left-Hand Path Sex Magic. Creation Books, New York 2002, ISBN 1-84068-061-X
  • Frank Lerch: Ouroboros Files. Snake thoughts to the left path. Bohmeier, Lübeck 2002, ISBN 3-89094-353-5
  • Lars Dickhoff: The path to the left hand, an Indo-European tradition . In: AHA Vision & Voice of the New Aeon 3/02, pp. 58-61
  • Thomas Lückewerth: Vama Marg. The path of the left hand . In: Revealing the Darkness . Schleierwelten, Wyk auf Föhr 2006, ISBN 3-937341-21-8

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Dave Evans: The History of British Magick after Crowley . Hidden Publishing, 2007, pp. 197 .
  2. ^ Dave Evans: The History of British Magick after Crowley . Hidden Publishing, 2007, pp. 198 .
  3. ^ Dave Evans: The History of British Magick after Crowley . Hidden Publishing, 2007, pp. 212-213 .
  4. ^ Dave Evans: The History of British Magick after Crowley . Hidden Publishing, 2007, pp. 212-214 .