Anubis weighing the heart of a deceased person against the feather of Ma’at, with Thoth recording the results.
Many Companions of the Red Lord are practitioners of what’s called the left-hand path, though this can mean very different things depending on the context. In Tantra, the left-hand path refers to yogic disciplines in which one’s spiritual purity is tested while engaging in practices that are deemed un-spiritual or even socially unacceptable (e.g., orgies in graveyards, eating red meat, etc.). Imagine maintaining a Buddha-like state of meditation even while you’re getting plugged in the butt or while you’re killing and de-boning an animal, and you’ll get the idea. But in Western occultism, the left-hand path is more often defined as worshiping the self to the exclusion of anyone or anything else, whether this means worshiping one’s carnal ego (as in LaVeyan Satanism) or some concept of a higher self (as in Thelema).
I don’t walk the left-hand path by either of these definitions. To be honest, I find the term more problematic than useful, especially when it comes to the Western definition. I believe all things in nature are manifestations of Ra and that every self is inherently divine. I therefore think it’s actually quite healthy to worship the self to a certain extent; but I don’t think it’s healthy to worship just the self. Each individual is sovereign over his or her own life, but there’s a fine line between exercising one’s sovereignty and trampling on the sovereignty of others. Sometimes, following the Golden Rule really is more important than getting what I want, and this sense of social responsibility is what I think of as “upholding Ma’at.”
Most of the Typhonian or Setian LHPers I hear from on this website are working within a paradigm that was first introduced by the Temple of Set in the 1970s. This paradigm is actually based on LaVeyan Satanism more than it is on anything related to Set, and it doesn’t include Ma’at as a core concept. Adherents have the option of valuing Ma’at if they want to, but the only idea that’s really central to Temple philosophy is Xeper (or kheper), which is basically the idea of becoming more and more Godlike. This isn’t a bad idea at all; I think it’s good for humans to become more like the Gods. But there isn’t enough recognition among LHPers that society is important too, not just the individual; and that’s how we end up with sad displays like Anton Szandor LaVey hiding in his basement with a bunch of mannequins during the final years of his life.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was one of the damn mannequins himself…
I firmly believe that Set is a worker of Ma’at. It might not seem that way all the time, especially when He acts in His role as the Slayer of Osiris. But the death of Osiris is a necessary part of Ma’at; He has to be sacrificed for the good of future generations, as well as for our ancestors. It’s not just a matter of the Red Lord doing whatever He wants; it’s a matter of Him doing something that must happen, but which no one else can or wants to do. He then turns right around and protects the unborn baby Ra from the Chaos Serpent each night, keeping the cycles of nature moving. So despite His rugged individualism, Big Red still has concern for others and for Ma’at as a whole; He’s not just a totally self-absorbed, anti-social prick. I therefore believe that for someone to truly be one of His Companions, they must also be invested in Ma’at just as He is.
I know there are left-hand path Typhonians or Setians who do uphold Ma’at (even if they wouldn’t necessarily phrase it that way). The following message is not for them. But I have been receiving visits from LHPers over the years who seem to get really butt hurt for some reason whenever I write something that “reeks of Social Justice Warrior sentiments.” I have just three things to say to these people, as I am tired of never reading them anywhere else:
First: I am not on the left-hand path, and no one has to be LHP to be Typhonian or Setian. Set’s following existed long before the “right versus left-hand path” dichotomy came along, and it existed long before the Temple of Set or any other LHP organization for that matter. Your tradition probably doesn’t go back any farther than the 1970s, so you have no business holding me to its standards.
Second: Even if I were to identify as LHP, I would still be concerned with the social problems that plague American society today. Aside from the fact that these problems continue to affect many of my own family members, I simply want to live in a society where everyone’s individual sovereignty is protected, not just that of the strong, the rich, or the socially privileged. And according to LHP reasoning, I don’t need any further justification for doing whatever I want aside from the fact that I want to do it. It seems to me that this sort of reasoning works just as well for socially conscious citizens as it does for self-absorbed shut-ins.
Third: If you have no concern for Ma’at, then you are not a true Typhonian or Setian. I’m not saying you can’t worship yourself, but there does need to be some kind of balance between yourself and the rest of society, however you might choose to work that out. If there isn’t, then calling yourself a Satanist or an “I-Theist” would be much more appropriate. Stop acting like you really give a damn what it means to follow Set, because we all know that isn’t what it’s about for you. Sorry to burst anyone’s “Erotic Crystallization Inertia” bubble, but I think you’ll be much happier hiding with your mannequins and leaving Set’s work to the grownups.
It’s clear that all kinds of right-wingers have been galvanized by the 2016 Presidential Election. Many of them seem to think that those of us who care about social change have been completely defeated, and that we should just shut up and learn to accept things the way they are. (Which is ironic, given that many of these same people did nothing but bitch and moan the entire time Obama was in office.) Well, I can’t do anything about the fact that Donald Trump is about to become our next President; but if you think I’m going to keep my mouth shut whenever I see the right wing rear its ugly head within my very own religion, guess again.
And if it seems like I’m being “unfair” to left-hand path practitioners in the process, blame LaVey for encouraging “the Nazi aesthetic” in the Church of Satan. Blame Aquino for discussing Wewelsburg in public and waving his Nazi daggers around in documentaries for everyone to see. Blame the Schrecks for making their books and movies in defense of Charles Manson. It’s telling that so many big names on the left-hand path have flirted around with some kind of right wing imagery somehow; and while I understand that using imagery and promoting an ideology are two very different things, it can’t be denied that most people (including most LHPers) are too clueless to comprehend that difference.