Redemption on the Left Hand Path
by Jake Block
“It is the man who drinks the first flask of sake; then the second flask drinks the first; then it is the sake which drinks the man.”
— Japanese Proverb
On the path that leads directly through areas that can offer the most temptation for indulgence, those who choose to indulge can sometimes lose themselves and the indulgence becomes a compulsion. The compulsion can turn to addiction and by the time one realizes that, he or she is no longer in control, but being controlled. This can happen with alcohol or drugs, certainly, but one can also become addicted to the rush of adrenaline or the emotional bonds of lust and sexuality. Billons of dollars are spent on rehabilitation and drug treatment in America alone as a result of illicit drugs. Those who succumb to overindulgence often fall back on the idea of indulgence being alright, because LaVey mentioned it in The Satanic Bible.
“Satanism encourages its followers to indulge in their natural desires. Only by doing so can you be a completely satisfied person with no frustrations which can be harmful to yourself and others around you. Therefore, the most simplified description of the Satanic belief is: INDULGENCE INSTEAD OF ABSTINENCE.”
— “Indulgence … Not Compulsion (page 81)
Unfortunately, that’s where most people stop reading and start indulging, forgetting to read on to page 85-86, where LaVey also writes, “The true Satanist is not mastered by sex any more than he is mastered by any other of his desires. As with all other pleasurable things the Satanist is a master of, rather than mastered by sex….” and “The watchword of Satanism is INDULGENCE instead “abstinence” … BUT — it is not “compulsion.”
So, every now and then I will get someone who will tell me that LaVey encouraged drug use and that he felt that there was nothing wrong with it. He must have used drugs himself at one time or another. Well, this is wrong on both counts, because LaVey was against the use of illicit drugs and wanted nothing to do with them. One night at the Black House, LaVey had granted an interview to a man who, for some reason, thought it would be a good idea to bring a bag of marijuana with him, and at one point, he produced it and offered to share a joint with LaVey.
I was working in the office and LaVey appeared in the doorway. He was obviously angry, and said, “Jake, get that man the hell out of here… and make him bounce.” I simply said, “Yes, boss!” and did my job. I went into the purple room (the living room) and, taking the man firmly by the arm said, “It’s time for you to leave NOW.” With that, I lifted him out of the chair and shoved him out the door into the dark hallway, then though the front door, where I shoved him HARD toward the twelve steep, brick steps leading down to the gate and sidewalk below. He didn’t bounce. I was disappointed.
LaVey has long written on his disapproval of illicit drugs, as we can see from this sampling:
“Actually I’m very much opposed to drugs from a magical point of view, from a control point of view. I feel drugs are antithetical to magic. The pseudo-Satanist or pseudo-witch or self-styled mystic who predicates his success on a drug revelation is only going to succeed within his drugged peer group. His miracles go no further than his credibility. This type of witchery is limited. This, I say, despite the fact that the druggies are no longer just a marginal group, but a very large subculture which threatens to be the New Spirituality or the New Mysticism or the New Materialism. They don’t realize the whole concept of witchery is the manipulation of other human beings. Druggies are not manipulative to witches. To manipulate someone you’ve got to be able to relate to that someone. The idea or witchery is not witchcraft so much — in the sense of witchery being manipulative magic — as witchery equalling revelation of a spiritual nature. Their superego gets developed through the use of drugs. The superego can be the earmark of a new world of drones who, through soma, would attains superegos which allow them while so controlled to think they have superiority over those are really enjoying the fruits of the earth. This is why as the leader of the Satanic movement, I have to examine these popular movements in the culture from a very pragmatic point of view.
The point is there will always be, among the masses, substitutes for the real thing. A planned way of life — not drugs — gets the materialist what he wants. There’s nothing wrong with color TV and cars in the garage as long as the system which provides them respects law and order — a terribly overworked term. But as long as people don’t bother other people, then I think this is an ideal society. I’m in favor of a policeman on every corner as long as he doesn’t arrest people for thinking their own way or doing within the privacy of their own four walls what they like to do.”
— Popular Witchcraft — John Fritscher (1973)
“The official stand of the Church of Satan on the subject of drugs is vehement opposition! Asking me to provide you with drugs is like asking a hippie to give an eulogistic speech on the merits of big business.”
— Letters From the Devil, publication date: January 10th, 1971
“Let me state categorically at this point that drugs are antithetical to the practice of magic, as they tend to disassociate the user from reality, even though he often times thinks himself closer.”
— The Compleat Witch – publication date: 1970
“Drugs are great for the slaves, but no good for the Masters. The glories attained through a drug experience are no more valid than the meaningless baubles with which the status-seeking drone surrounds himself. The difference lies in that a drug trip is cheaper and less work to obtain than a split-level ranch home, two cars, and a big color TV. Those who eulogize on the unfoldment gained through drugs have obviously been insensitive to such awareness-provoking stimuli as complete sexual fulfillment, beautiful music, inspirational literature, etc. The excuse that certain drugs are a necessary adjunct to the practice of magic is quite lame. Drugs may be employed, however, to provide or develop and unswerving belief in magic — in fact, an unswerving belief in just about anything!I can condone the use of certain drugs for easing the last stages of a terminal illness where intense pain is present. Perhaps those who need drugs are suffering from a sort of terminal illness where constant and intense pain are present … but of a different sort. I consider drug abuse a polite alternative to suicide. Perhaps one day euthanasia will be made attractive enough and the drug problem will be solved.”
— “Black Magic, Satanism, Voodoo (Leo Martello )
Drugs present probably the most visible and socially prominent hazards of over indulgence and the negative impacts that can and often do occur from the compulsive and addictive use of illicit and even prescription drugs. LaVey’s admonition that the official stand of the Church of Satan concerning this was “vehement opposition” carried much more weight while he was alive than it does today, when there are others who identify as satanists who do not fall under the auspices of today’s Church of Satan, who’s official stand, as posted on their website is, “This is all quite simple. The Church of Satan does not condone illegal activities. If the use of certain drugs is illegal in your country of residence, they are just that: illegal.”
So, when someone who identifies as a satanist does get into trouble with drugs, they can come up against a philosophical dilemma. Many treatment options options are faith based or, like Alcoholic’s Anonymous, appeal to those seeking their assistance to rely on “a higher power” (God as we understood him,) which satanists and those opposed to faith based anything might easily see as “God or Jesus.” For some reason, many of today’s satanists see no problem with “taking what works” from many different philosophies and placing them under the umbrella of “Left Hand Path,” but they see a problem with taking the same attitude when it comes to the acceptance of treatment.
Should one simply reject any faith-based care, and by the way, most hospitals are faith-based, the two remaining options are commercial rehab facilities and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). But, you say, AA is heavily “GOD BASED,” as one reads their 12 Step program will show:
What Are the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous?
The Twelve Steps are a set of guiding principles in addiction treatment that outline a course of action for tackling problems including alcoholism, drug addiction and compulsion.
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
— Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program
The 12 Step program model has been adopted by numerous other groups and while most see “spirituality” as a component of their system, “God” is replaced by the idea of “a higher power,” meaning some concept or thing that one can point to as descriptive of some quality that they would like to reach or emulate. Chris Eakins, MA lists some non-religious concepts as examples one might choose as a replacement for “God” as their “higher power.” These include “Nirvana, Mother Earth, The Universe, Nature, Energy, Ego, Self-Will, or simply “Us.” Certainly those on the Left-Hand Path can identify with something that they can ascribe to as a “Higher Power,” unless we are simply paying lip service to our own rhetorical concepts.
What could someone on the Left choose? For those who identify as satanists, we could choose our perfected selves, since we claim to be gods. If gods can’t rely on themselves, then they hold their self-deification low in value. Personally, if I gave my word that I was going to do something as important as kicking a habit that is killing me or destroying the quality of my life, damned if I wouldn’t succeed! Failure simply would not be an option I could accept. Others might choose science, logic, the Black Flame, or even their adversarial conviction that nothing will keep you down. Surely one can find SOMETHING to cling to if their very life depends on it, and if all that was holding me back was a simple word that has no real meaning for ME, then you can bet your ass I would find a way to work it out.
Then, I have seen people on the Left who simply refuse to find or accept any form of treatment because in their addiction, they can’t take the idea that they can no longer get high. The loss of jobs, friends, family and respect simply is worth less to them than their bottles, vials, powders or pills. These few are the lost and failed that the strong leave behind to fend for themselves. One cannot claim to be free when they place the shackles of addiction on their own feet. Whether out of fear of change or counterproductive pride, the Satanic model does not support pity, especially for those who foster their own predicaments.
One could better reserve concern and assistance for those who become the innocent victims of a drug’s effects as a patient in treatment by a reputable doctor for a legitimate disease.
But for those on the Left-Hand Path who do find themselves unfortunate enough to become victims of their own compulsions, redemption can be found in being prideful enough to accept care and rehabilitation wherever one can find it. It takes guts to admit that one has fallen into the trap and courage to fight one’s way to freedom of mind and body. It is heroic to want so much the oblivion offered by the darkest abyss, but to step back from the edge and walk away and back into the light. And it is Satanic to vanquish the monsters within and rise again like the Phoenix for all to see and marvel at your personal strength and resilience.
Rise, Phoenix and FLY!