“O see ye not that narrow road,
So thick beset with thorns and briers?
That is the path of righteousness,
Tho after it but few enquires.
“And see not ye that broad broad road,
That lies across that lily leven?
That is the path to wickedness,
Tho some call it the road to heaven.
“And see not ye that bonny road,
That winds about the fernie brae?
That is the road to fair Elfland,
Where thou and I this night maun gae.”
–The Faerie Queen to Thomas in ‘Thomas the Rhymer’
With my Right Hand I call the Spirits of Waxing. With my Left Hand I call the Spirits of Wane. In my heart betwixt I know both Blessing and Bane.
There are those so-called “Left-Hand” and “Right Hand” Paths. The Left is usually associated with Thaumaturgy, Selfishness, Taboo, and the Material. The Right is associated with Theurgy, Self-denial, and the Spiritual. Most books on Witchcraft, and even Ceremonial Magic, will provide the reader with spells and rituals that are designed to change one’s life- usually with a focus on material gain. This is a Left-Hand practice. Were one truly walking on the “Right-side”, material needs would not be of such concern. Ideally you would only eat what you could get and live wherever the Good Lord (or Lady) provided for you. You would spend hours praying and meditating and trying to being Holy. You would abstain from sexual intercourse and the eating of heavy/poisonous foods (like animal flesh). If you were okay with the description of ‘magic’ you’d only perform ritual to awaken your Spirit unto the Complete Holiness of God.
Now, if someone was on the “Left-side” (as the stereotype goes) they would be into Demonology and the kind of sorcery that both Evangelicals and Pagans have a distaste for. They would relish in blood-letting, orgies and eating foods that aren’t socially acceptable. They probably could be found in grave yards or charnel grounds talking with the spirits of the Dead. They might even be conversing with gods that the “Right-side” explicitly says not to. Honestly, aside from the copious amounts of bodily fluids and potential cannabalism, sounds kind of fun.
The most beautiful thing about this dichotomy is that both Paths are seeking the same thing: Enlightenment. Knowledge. Gnosis. Love at it’s most exalted and Divine…… They just have differing ways of getting there, really. And in my opinion it is best to combine both paths, especially if you are calling yourself a Witch. What one path lacks the other shall fulfill. That is why I study the Holy Qabalah and Traditional Witchcraft, why I study both the uses of Medicine and Poison, why I seek to hold congress with Angels and Demons, and why God and the Devil aren’t really eternal enemies. It’s a Polarity and at it’s best it balances and compliments. I walk the Third Road, the middle, ferny, fairy-road that lies between the self-indulgent Left-Hand Path and that self-denying Right-Hand Path.