INTRODUCTION TO THE GRIM ROOM
Welcome, reader, seeker, thinker of your own thoughts, lover of life and death, possessor of diabolical nerve. Here is one introduction to the Darkside.
Let us start with history. A grimoire, evocative as the word is, began as a ‘grammar’ of magic. Early Medieval Western grimoires were written by practitioners whose influences came from as far as India, filtered through Middle Eastern and Levantine esoteric knowledge, and then codified so it could be turned into a form of praxis. Magic during these times was a purely technical matter. The magician learned to manipulate the heavens and the earth, and the entities that governed them, in order to achieve a practical end such as the finding of a treasure, or protection from disease. Motifs from Biblical or Classical thought were employed to lend legitimacy and historicity, and doubtlessly intense scholarship was necessary. However, the practice itself was entirely pragmatic. These were instructive texts as straightforward as a how-to manual for a computer, and as mechanical. There was no psychological or moral gloss.
This changed during the nineteenth century as occultism became psychologically minded. Instead of literally manipulating the stuff of the universe, the magician used magical instructions to enter an altered state of consciousness, which in turn provided a vehicle for the experience of magic. A very simple example illustrates this. The medieval or early modern grimoire might include a spell for making a person invisible. The Order of the Golden Dawn, from the the nineteenth century, might provide a ritual aid that would stop a person from being seen by others.
By the twentieth century, magical instruction had largely decoupled itself from its Right Hand Path religious roots. Gone were the elaborate rituals and the secrecy. The new deconstructionist magical grammar was free form and emphasised individual creativity. The very notion of belief was undermined as magic was seen as being entirely subjective within a shifting, post-quantum matrix of intersecting possibilities.
Magical praxis may now absorb its influences from throughout the ages. Practitioners may use traditional Goetic demonolatry, invoke pagan Gods, and hedge witchery all together. This is a world that cares little for orthodoxy and unity. Wisdom is gained from shared experience as much as from theory. Populations are fluid and communities ebb and flow online and in vivo.
The Left Hand Path is the form of magical and other spiritual work that embraces the Nightside. All the usual experiences typically thought of as spiritual or religious–including the usual Right Hand Path traditions as well as ‘White’ magic and strands of work such as Wicca–exist only in a bubble of consensual reality which excludes, ignores and fears a very large part of what is actually real. There are many ways into the Nightside, possibly as many as there are LHP practitioners. However, there are also acknowledged masters who possess proven wisdom and whose advice is sought. LHP thinking includes forms of Satanism both theistic and non-theistic, Luciferianism and Dark Paganism. Such heterodoxy exists that the word ‘Satanisms. in the plural is sometimes used to describe the many disparate groups, which are often at odds with each other.
While there is no dominant theory, there are commonly held principles, and I will explore a few.
1. The Left Hand Path has as its aim the godhood of the individual. Whether we are all Gods in training, or whether practitioners who earn the right to ‘Remanifest’ can become Gods, is up for debate.
2. The Left Hand Path has its dangers which can be severe, and most people will find it unattractive or too arduous. Beginners can expect rapid and uncomfortable personal growth at the very least.
3. The Left Hand Path expects transgressional behaviour as part of its antinomian stance. However, it also holds its practitioners to a high ethical standard. Failing to meet this standard generally results in curtailed life chances rather than any social sanction.
4. Darkside entities may or may not have any independent or intersubjective existence. For some of us, this matters.
You see before you what may be the first group-written grimoire ever. It emerges from several interlinked online communities of Left Hand Path thinkers and practitioners. It reflects the diversity of practice hinted at above. It includes visual art, devotional works, invocations, spells and descriptions of rituals designed for didactic purposes. Its authors range from longstanding LHP workers to relative newcomers describing first forays into the Nightside and the wonders they have found there.
Naturally there are caveats. For a start we take no responsibility for the practice of others. Nothing here is guaranteed to work, especially if you have the wrong attitude. To work within the milieu of the LHP you need two things – a spine and a frontal lobe – before you can try to take any of it seriously. In other words, grow up and learn about yourself first. You will require your entire emotional and intellectual range to make anything significant happen for you, but when it does happen, be prepared for joys and fears, delights and horrors, and bliss beyond anything in your mundane life. ‘Try this at home ‘by all means, but be aware of the consequences. Magic, especially on this crooked and steep path, bites back. Never do anything unless you are willing for it to change you permanently.