Right, Left and Right Again

Posted: March 5, 2015 in Spiritual Journey

The two most recent tomes on my reading list are “Chaos Craft” by Julian Vayne and Steve Dee and “What Witches Do” by Stewart Farrar.

The former of these makes numerous references to the Left Hand Path (LHP). Accepting this as a catch-all term for a particular approach I filed it under my glossary of new terms as something to infer from context. In Chaos Craft is seems to be a shorthand for Chaos Magick in general and a particular approach based around an idea of stripping other practices of superfluous dressings and playing around with the heart of matters. All fine and well.

Then I started reading Farrar’s book. Yes it’s a much older piece and I have to accept that much may have changed in between his writing and the present day. However Farrar makes it clear in no uncertain terms that, from his perspective the LHP is synonymous with “Black” covens. He doesn;t go into detail but offers occasional menacing suggestions of these being a very bad thing to get involved with and the kind that might ensnare the unwary beginner.

The distinction between these two descriptions of the LHP seems to me to be a classic example of the distortions of perspective. Certainly Farrar’s background gives him little authority to comment ont eh practices of those following the LHP having clearly never been involved with it himself, giving his scare-mongering the feel of second-hand horror stories.

More than this, it got me thinking about the terms right hand and left hand. Reader beware the following contains material referring to the twin dark arts of Mathematics and Physics.

In maths, when you draw a graph, there is a convention for where you put the x and y-axis. The x goes horizontal, the y goes vertical. When this extends to three dimensions there needs to be a third axis, typically ‘z’. In mathematics, the convention is to use a right-handed system for this. What do I mean by that? Well if you were to hold out your right hand, extend your thumb upwards, point your index finger forwards and your middle finger at ninety degrees to both, so that it pointed left, then if you were to label them (in order) x, y and z you can use this to indicate the directions of the axes in relation to each other. In this case this means that the z-axis rises out of the page towards you.

Of course it follows that there is a left hand system too. And indeed there is. The left hand system is most commonly used in electromagnetism. If you were to do the same trick as before but label the thumb, index and middle fingers ‘Force’, ‘Magnetic Field’ and ‘Current’ you have the ideal tool for understanding the interrelation of these in pretty much anything involving electricity and magnets (or electromagnetism if you will).

What does this have to do with the original discussion above? Perhaps nothing, or perhaps just an example of how opposite approaches, from very different worlds (the pragmatic and real versus the ordered and theoretical) can both make sense of the same thing (three-dimensional space) but in ways that are both the same and different.

There may be a lesson to be learned here. But don’t ask me, I just got here.

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