An Ambidextrous Path?

You’ve heard of the Right-Hand Path (RHP) and the Left-Hand Path (LHP) …well, I propose another one: The Ambidextrous Path (AP) 😀 — but as I found out after Googling it, it’s not an original idea 😦 …and I thought I was being so clever …oh well. 😉

Earlier this year I read Apophis by Michael Kelly (followed by Aegishjalmur and Dragonscales, see below) in which he says,

“Draconian magic is, by definition, magic fuelled by the symbolism and energies of dragons.”[1]

However, this book is very different to others I have read on “dragon magic/k” — eg. books by D.J. Conway and Parker J. Torrence (click here). Although I found Kelly’s books interesting — quite intriguing actually — there is a lot in them that just doesn’t “resonate” with me. Having said that, there’s also many aspects of the other books mentioned that I just don’t “get” or agree with either (all matters of personal opinion really) even though overall, I did enjoy reading them and would certainly recommend them, along with Kelly’s books, to others seeking information about a draconic magical path.

A couple of pages into Apophis Kelly recommends that readers of his book also read Kenneth Grant’s Typhonian Trilogies as well as the Setian magical books by Don Webb, plus many others on the reading list of the Order of Apep and the Temple of Set. He says also of the Draconian current,

“that it is unashamedly and irrevocably Left-Hand Path in its aims and methodologies. That is to say it is a school which teaches the immortalisation and deification of the individual psyche, as opposed to the Right-Hand Path which seeks to submerge that psyche within a sense of universal oneness.”

From this (and the description provided of the book — see below) it is obvious that the Draconian path that Kelly writes about is very different to my interpretation of a “Draconian” or “Draconic” path, or to my personal understanding and experience of “Dragon Magic”.

As with many things, we take the ideas we like and mix and match those to form something that is personally pleasing and satisfying. I plan to revisit Apophis and work through its curriculum more thoroughly to see if there are aspects of it that I can incorporate into my path which is always changing and evolving.

I suppose at this stage I should provide more information here on what LHP and RHP is (or is not?) so here is a quote from the current version of the Wikipedia page on this topic…

Left-hand path and right-hand path

The terms Left-Hand Path and Right-Hand Path refer to a dichotomy between two opposing philosophies found in the Western Esoteric Tradition, which itself covers various groups involved in the occult and ceremonial magic. In some definitions, the Left-Hand Path is equated with malicious Black Magic and the Right-Hand Path with benevolent White Magic. Other occultists have criticised this definition, believing that the Left-Right dichotomy refers merely to different kinds of working, and does not necessarily connote good or bad magical actions.

In more recent definitions, which base themselves on the terms’ origins amongst Indian Tantra, the Right-Hand Path, or RHP, is seen as a definition for those magical groups which follow specific ethical codes and adopt social convention, while the Left-Hand Path adopts the opposite attitude, espousing the breaking of taboo and the abandoning of set morality. Some contemporary occultists have stressed that both paths can be followed by a magical practitioner, as essentially they have the same goals.

Terminology

There is no set accepted definition of what comprises the Left-Hand Path and what comprises the Right. Early proponents of the terms, such as Madame Blavatsky, believed that they were essentially conflatable with Black Magic and White, although this has been criticised by later occultists as being overly simplistic.

The Right-Hand Path

The Right-Hand Path is commonly thought to refer to magical or religious groups which adhere to a certain set of characteristics:

  • They adhere to social conventions and avoid taboos.
  • They divide the concepts of mind, body and spirit into three separate, albeit interrelated entities.
  • They adhere to a specific moral code and a belief in some form of judgement, such as karma or the Threefold Law.

Esoteric groups that could be considered to be RHP include Theosophy, as well as various Neopagan religions such as Druidry, Wicca, Kemetism, Celtic Neopaganism, Slavic Neopaganism, Germanic Neopaganism, Nova Roma, Hellenic Neopaganism and the Rada cult of Haitian Vodou, most of Thelema, and certain traditions of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, or the Gnostic Catholic Church. Right-Hand Path Tantra (Sanskrit: Dakshinachara) is also included. The occultists Dion Fortune and William G. Gray consider non-magical Abrahamic religions to be RHP, although the term is rarely used outside of magical societies such as Fraternity of the Inner Light and Ordo Templi Orientis. Other RHP traditions include most of Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, and all other Dharmic religions. Many groups and beliefs of the New Age Movement, particularly those based on self-help psychology, consciousness research, and many traditional religions and doctrines can also be considered RHP.

The Left-Hand Path

The historian Dave Evans studied self-professed followers of the Left-Hand Path in the early 21st century, making several observations about their practices:

  • They often reject societal convention and the status quo, which some suggest is in a search for spiritual freedom. As a part of this, LHP followers embrace magical techniques that would traditionally be viewed as taboo, for instance using sex magic or embracing Satanic imagery. As Mogg Morgan wrote, the “breaking of taboos makes magick more potent and can lead to reintegration and liberation, [for example] the eating of meat in a vegetarian community can have the same liberating effect as anal intercourse in a sexually inhibited straight society.”
  • They often question religious or moral dogma, instead adhering to forms of personal anarchism.
  • They often embrace sexuality and incorporate it into magical ritual.

Under these definitions, various esoteric groups, often with widely differing beliefs, could be considered to be followers of the LHP. These include various forms of Satanism, such as LaVeyan Satanism as well as Theistic Satanism. Other Western LHP philosophies include Setianism, the Typhonian Order, Luciferianism, some beliefs of the New Age movement, chaos magic, Feri, magicians involved with demonology, as well as groups like the Dragon Rouge, and the Order of Nine Angles. The Petwo cult of Haitian Vodou reflects the LHP ethos. Several eastern philosophies could also be viewed as adhering to the LHP including forms of Taoism, forms of Hinduism such as Aghoris and Vamachara, forms of Buddhism like the Drukpa Lineage and Bön.

Criticism

Criticism of both terms has come from various occultists. The Magistar of the Cultus Sabbati, Andrew Chumbley, stated that they were simply “theoretical constructs” that were “without definitive objectivity”, and that nonetheless, both forms could be employed by the magician – he used the analogy of a person having two hands, a right and a left, both of which served the same master. Similar sentiments were expressed by the Wiccan High Priest John Belham-Payne, who stated that “For me, magic is magic.” [2]

I think the nature of my path could best be described as “ambidextrous” rather than RHP or LHP as it incorporates elements of both and is neither one nor the other. Then again, if my path is “ambidextrous” why label it as anything at all? I tend to agree with Diane Vera who wrote (in 2003):

…it does seem to me that the terms “RHP” and “LHP” aren’t very useful anymore. Regardless of whether you identify as “RHP” or “LHP,” the terminology encourages stereotyping of people and religions in the other category. And, since hardly anyone calls oneself “RHP” these days, calling yourself “LHP” just makes you sound like you’re still fighting yesterday’s battles. [3]

Further explorations of the terms LHP and RHP can be found in references [3] and [4] at the bottom of this page.

Regardless of whether my interests in Dragons, magic and spirituality are called Draconian, Draconic or something else, or are LHP, RHP or AP, I’m sure the Dragons are guiding me to find the most suitable information for my personal use to enhance my interactions with them so I will happily read whatever information they direct me to. 🙂


Books by Michael Kelly on the Draconian Left-Hand Path

See book at Amazon.com

1. Apophis

A practical handbook of Draconian Left-Hand Path Initiation. The Primordial Serpent lurks in the deepest, darkest roots of human consciousness. Each of its seven heads embodies a power which may be awakened within the psyche. ‘Apophis’ outlines the transformative process whereby the human Initiate becomes something much more than human. It provides the weapons necessary to win the war of consciousness against conformity. It openly teaches the means of immortalising the Self. (Text also available online here.)

See book at Amazon.com

2. Aegishjalmur

Aegishjalmur: the Book of Dragon Runes is a curriculum of runic study which uses the myth of Sigurd the Volsung to awaken the powers of the Northern Dragon within the psyche of the student. Uses the same highly effective and transformative pattern of Draconian Initiation first developed in the author’s previous book ‘Apophis’, here adapted exclusively to runic lore.

See book at Amazon.com

3. Dragonscales

Dragonscales is a collection of essays and articles which supplement the Initiatory curricula presented in Apophis and Aegishjalmur. The articles may be read alone or together with the other two books in the series. These essays explore some of the Draconian themes in greater depth than was possible within the scope of the basic curriculum, providing new avenues and techniques for students to explore. In particular, this book’s contents shed much more light upon the higher ‘Heads’ in the Draconian initiatory curriculum, providing much food for thought for the more advanced student. With expanded lore, practice and philosophy across a broad scope of subjects, this book will prove invaluable to all who Seek After the Draconian Mysteries.

References:
1. Apophis, by Michael Kelly, 2009.
2. Left-hand path and right-hand path ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-hand_path_and_right-hand_path (accessed 4/11/2012)
3. LHP and RHP:  What Are They? by Diane Vera ~ http://theisticsatanism.com/pagan/LHPvsRHP.html (accessed 4/11/2012)
4. The Left-Hand Path and Right-Hand Path ~ http://www.detoxorcist.com/lefthandpath.html (accessed 4/11/2012)
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17 comments on “An Ambidextrous Path?

  1. hiramash says:

    Hi TopazDragon once again (last but not least)…

    Since I am committed to the right-hand path Draconia, I can only comment what you have brought.
    First of all, while I was reading your article, I discovered your three books, and my own personal dragon taught me (in real-time “astral audio”) that only the third book, “dragonscale” would be worth of reading in my own case.
    In a second point, if you consider that dragon’s magick is NOT ONLY magic fuelled by dragon’s symbolism, but also working any type of magick WITHIN the Draconic COMMUNITY, then you are NECESSARILY in a right hand path perspective. Do you catch the point in my opinion ?
    This is the way I practice Draconia, considering working with dragons rather than working about dragons : much more engaging. In this point of view, there is a great book about RHP Draconia (and perhaps far far greater than Conway’s one), the only problem is that it is in French :
    http://draconia.maricard.com

    Liked by 2 people

    • TopazDragon says:

      Hi again Hiramash …yes, I do see your point, and I agree that for the most part my practice does have a RHP perspective, however, there are certain elements of it that do not fit snuggly into a RHP description. It is not strictly LHP either so that is why I would describe it as a little “ambidextrous”.

      I had a look at the website for Ricard’s book — “Google Translate” doesn’t seem to work on this site the usual way (by adding the url to the translate frame) but I was able to use it to translate each page individually — it does look very interesting, but also similar in many ways to Conway’s book, including the names of the 4 main dragons of the elements: Sairys, Fafnir, Naelyon and Grael, which I’ve only ever heard of in relation to Conway’s works. I wonder if La Magie des Dragons will ever be published in English as I’d love to read the whole book, especially as it includes draconic rituals based on the Kabbalistic Cross and the LBRP, which was something I was tinkering with on my own for a while, not knowing someone else had already done that too …was I inspired by the Dragons perhaps? …hmmm, food for thought. 🙂

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      • hiramash says:

        Well, I had the opportunity to chat with M.A. Ricard a bit about his book. It is not exactly the kabbalistic cross but rather a draconic/enochian colored one, really powerful since I had the opportunity to try both versions.
        His book really called me, like a screaming book in harry potter (believe me or not 😀 ). I have studied it extensively, and practiced every ritual ; the best experience I had is the “Illumination de Draco” (Draco’s enlightening), the worst was the Eye of the Dragon ; not because of the ritual properly speaking, but because of the context, where “magickal friends” began to bring typhonian energies that interfered into my work.
        I use the draconic script every time I write something into my paper magickal diaries, it helps me greatly to channel new knowledge…
        You should know that here, in the french-speaking world, M.A. Ricard is very much despised because his workings rely on Golden Dawn techniques so it looks likes “raw copy” ; nonetheless, if you ask directly the dragons, his work is not a lie and brings a real draconic “plus-value”. It’s authentic and effective draconic work…

        Liked by 1 person

        • TopazDragon says:

          Hi Hiramash,
          That’s a shame that Ricard and his work is so despised. I guess it’s something similar to how some people here view DJ Conway’s work …I’ve heard some VERY derogatory things said about her work by people who think they know better. I believe the experience of Dragons and magic is very personal and everyone’s viewpoint has value. If people don’t agree with something they don’t have to use it, but others may find it valuable and valid for them. Like I said, I’d love to read Ricard’s book if ever it was translated …maybe he might consider a more international audience? …I can hope for that anyway. 🙂 I’ve not tried writing in the draconic script as unfortunately I have too much trouble remembering different scripts. As a teenager I used to write things in runes but I’ve since forgotten all of that and I know I’d have even more trouble with any other. Which draconic script do you use, by the way? I’ve seen a few different ones online, or is yours a more personal one given to you specifically? I don’t doubt that Ricard’s work is authentic and effective. Who knows, maybe the Dragons were responsible for some of the techniques of the Golden Dawn, but it wasn’t time to reveal themselves back then? 🙂 Maybe Ricard’s work is just another step in that journey (but the masses just haven’t accepted that yet) …food for thought maybe? 😉

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  2. I’ve read Conway and Kelly,(still haven’t gotten to Apophis). Lots of other articles on Draconic Tradition and LHP. Even a bit of Corillian coursework on the subject

    From what i gather the two paths differ on the “Do no harm..” clause. Norse tradition as well as Draconic hold to the credo of ” family, clan and community.” and “hold to what is yours”. Care is to be taken to follow laws of the land and its leadership. If such dire action is deemed necessary, then the consequences are to be accepted be they legal, magickal backlash, wyrd or karmic.

    I ran into this conflict not long after coming out of the broomcloset, so to speak at one of my first group meetings. I was chided sharply for using my left hand (my power hand, and yup im left handed ) within the mostly wiccan group. With talks on how the LHP works with dark magick.

    For me energy is energy, like a gun it’s what you do with it. Be it blood or sex etc.. Since its an open group we’ve agreed to disagree on this part. But it can get interesting when it’s time for the Samhain group ritual, the one we try to do as a group every year. There are always at least one objection to calling the Dark God/Goddess, but on the up side I always get picked to call the Southern quarter LOL

    My Draconic workings although limited to working with only 5, have shown me a varied mindset amongst my companions from scholarly, to bloodthirsty. I don’t think it will be fair to say all draconic tradition is LPH or RPH but when it comes down to the above DNH clause, I would have to say LPH. Other than that i agree Ambidextrous it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TopazDragon says:

      Novisha, your 2nd paragraph describes exactly how I feel. Naturally I try to “do no harm” where possible, but there are times when that is not possible and in those cases (usually in defence of my children when some gross injustice has befallen them) I accept whatever consequences there may be. I discovered a while back that my beliefs didn’t quite fit with the Wiccan ethos.

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  3. I’ve seen some examples of draconic script all over the place. Currently still working on Runic and it seems to work for me. Ricard’s book is only in french, can you still buy it in the states? No problems with getting a french/ english dictionary.

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    • TopazDragon says:

      Yes, but he also has a subdomain of that site for his dragon book at http://draconia.maricard.com/
      I found that the translate function on Google wouldn’t work for either site unless I copy/pasted the text from each page into Google Translate. Chrome has an auto Google translate function but that didn’t work well either – must be the way his websites are configured. (I have a Mac so don’t use Internet Explorer – maybe it works on that??)

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    • hiramash says:

      Well, I am sorry that you cannot access to a translation, even through a machine. The draconic script I use is the same than Conway’s one.
      Ricard wrote a chapter in his book where he explains the difference between draconia and wicca. Conway too…
      Ricard explained the presence of grades of the draconic path (“vradysconns”), one initiatory, five other elementally colored. Conway too (with different names) in “mystical dragon magick”…
      Have they talked to each other ? Have they read each other’s book ? If not, it would be simply impressive.
      You should contact the author directly : Enter the website “draconia.maricard.com” and then look for “Contactez l’auteur” and then fill the email form : You can write in English, he is canadian and speaks english.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TopazDragon says:

        Thanks for the information. It certainly would be impressive if they hadn’t read each others books …I wonder? I have sent Ricard an email via his website asking if an English translation is available. If there isn’t already, hopefully he might do one some day soon …I can only hope. 🙂

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  4. Just going to have to do this the hard way. But it’s how my friend who was from Russia learned english. Six years later she’s graduated from college with a BA and is now in her second year of RN school. No worries, it’s part of my twisted idea of fun.

    When I first started “confessing” my draconic leanings, I think most thought I was “role playing” in my head (which pissed me off) or had some concept off wicca mixed up. But it’s what i was taught by my friend.

    One of our group (she sees it all ghosts, auras, and all the little extras that hang around ) finally “saw” him in human form hanging around. He’d been manifesting to me pretty hard that week. She then later “saw” him as the head claw and eye of a dragon. Since I’d never mentioned him to anyone, and she tends to talk a lot, I think most were convinced. Of my sincerity. But from what i’ve gathered online, many practioners still take draconic tradition with a grain of salt,at least in the states. What’s is it like overseas?

    My rituals for the group in general are Wiccan “styled”, with a few changes such as Guardians of the elements, instead of Watchtowers. But still working my own rituals at home. I don’t know if it’s odd, but I’m glad to have them, and i don’t really want to share anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TopazDragon says:

      Good luck with the “fun” …perhaps you really will end up learning French by the end of it. 🙂

      Here in Australia there are a few who follow some form of draconic tradition but for the most part it seems to be kept fairly private, probably because it’s easier not to have to deal with those who’ll say it’s rubbish.

      Our group is very eclectic in the way we run our rituals, although they are basically Wiccan “styled” also in that we cast circle and call various deities or elemental entities to guard the quarters (and sometimes the in-between “quarters” so we have eight directions called). I have my own way of doing things at home too, which is not always the same as what the group does, but I think it’s good to do your own thing as you feel called to do, not what someone else thinks you should do.

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      • hiramash says:

        I must add that the fourfold elemental structure is not solely a “Golden Dawn hack”, but a true symbolism dating back to Tang dynasty in China, and even before, I have verified. Just have a look at “Dragon Kings” on Wikipedia…
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_King
        Therefore I completely agree with you when you say that dragons might have previously revealed magical techniques to men, later transcribed by the GD.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Aegis says:

    (Sigh) I honestly don’t see a point in judging whether you are focused on the Right Hand path or the Left Hand path; because of (in my eyes) the Right Hand path is like a waterwashed version of the original path, but so has the Left Hand path over the years. That’s why I am really picky at what I read and perceive to be the truth in all magical Grimoires I come in contact with. The reason why is because all writers perceive their magical work differently. Instead of focusing on the book, use the book of the base, call on the Gods/Goddesses (or Serpents, if you will), and communicate with them about it. Tell them your views, after all we all perceive things differently.

    To admit, my Draconian path revolves around the Serpents of the Other Side, or the Serpents of Sitra Ahra. I can honestly say that my tradition views the Right Hand path as a, “We-ell, I’m not comfortable seeing this really dark stuff… so, how ’bout we change it to happy fairies and butterflies! (Skips around excitably)” No offence, it’s just a joke so don’t take it seriously. But in reality, there is some truth to this; but the same has happened to both paths, really. So I recommend that you read over all of the books possible on the subject, if you’re into RHP, look at books on the LHP. Even if you cringe at some of the stuff you read (whether it’s RHP or LHP) meditate, communicate with the listed Serpents (along with yours) and ask them questions on the truth of the subject. I promise you, they’ll give you more of a better answer than you could find out yourself. I highly recommend reading both of these ‘paths’. After all, we’re on the same path here, it has just been tainted over time by those that perceive it differently than yourself. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alanathot says:

    This whole article is obviously wrong.

    The left-hand path is defined by dichotomy, and is ambidextrous per see, as reported by practical initiatoric systems that embraced the draconian path as their philosophy, like the Qliphothic, on which reaching the goal of most rigth-hand path religions (Nirvana, etc) it’s the step before its real goal, which is to invert it and become a creator instead of uniting with the creator. A proper research and analysis can be found the writings of Thomas Karlsson, Asenath Mason, etc. Michael Kelly’s system can be used to develop and master the required skills to climb the Tree of the Night.

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