It’s not good for women to go through the procedure and have something living sucked out of your bodies. It belittles women… Every time a woman has an abortion, it just crushes her self-esteem, smaller and smaller and smaller.
– Dolores O’Riordan, The Cranberries
This essay was prompted by an exchange on Twitter. An account named @LiveAction tweeted a paraphrase of the above quote, to which I responded with an excerpt from the Apocalypse of Peter (c. 2nd Century AD):
For those with eyes to see, the blue highlighted sentence revealed what was in my heart. The motive and intent.
A compassionate desire to give something, some small amount of consolation, of encouragement, of hope, to the heart of a stranger who, presumably, feels sufficient inner pain concerning the topic to have committed some part of their own life – Time, and labour energy – to public activism.
Perhaps little more would have resulted from this gesture, if not for a third party reply. An attempt at alchemical transformation; of extracting a more ‘pure’ essence from the base material – a ‘higher’, more ‘en-light-ened’ form of ‘knowledge’ – by the “royal Art” of philosophistry:
My interlocutor attempted to justify the killing of the unborn, based on the ‘logical’ reason-ing that a belief in the idea of the baby going to heaven “would arguably outweigh any bad thing about abortion”.
In doing so, he willfully ignored the majority of the quoted excerpt, detailing the punishments to be suffered by both women and men who cause their children to “be born untimely”; who “delivered us unto death”.
This perfectly manifests what is the reigning spirit – and mental-ity – of our times.
(n) from Greek: anti “opposite, against” + nomos “rule, law”
Or, stated more clearly, Satanism:
True Lords of the Left-Hand Path will .. identify with the cultural norms of ‘evil’ [..] The practice .. often manifests itself in antinomianism, that is, the purposeful reversal of conventional normatives: ‘evil’ becomes ‘good,’ ‘impure’ becomes ‘pure,’ ‘darkness’ becomes ‘light’. [Flowers, 1997]
Where have we heard that sort of inversion-of-values philosophistry before? In my previous essays, where I have explained the ancient origins of the ontological sex magick principles of Eastern and Western alchemy, that are deeply embedded in the ‘modern’ (neo-Babylonian) double entry accounting, banking, and credebt promise-based ‘money’ systems:
[The third] justification for the “transgressions” of the Vajrayana consists in the Bodhisattva vow of Mahayana Buddhism, which requires that one aid and assist every creature until it attains enlightenment. Amazingly, this pious purpose can render holy the most evil means. “If”, we can read in one of the tantras, “for the good of all living beings or on account of the Buddha’s teaching one should slay living beings, one is untouched by sin. … If for the good of living beings or from attachment for the Buddha’s interest, one seizes the wealth of others, one is not touched by sin”, and so forth. In the course of Tibetan history the Bodhisattva vow has [..] legitimated numerous political and family-based murders, whereby the additional “clever” argument was also employed, that one had “freed” the murder victim from the world of appearances (samsara) and that he or she thus owed a debt of thanks to the murderer. [Trimondi, 2003].
The same perverse form of messianic, “heal the world” (tikkun olam) by practicing evil, utopian philosophistry, appears in myriad writings of philosopher ‘luminaries’ from the Hermetic Reformation (“Renaissance”, Fr. “rebirth”) and the En-Light-enment, through to modernity’s John Maynard Keynes:
I see us free, therefore, to return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue. [..] But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight. [Keynes, 1930]
Satanism is self-Deification; specifically, the deification of the supposedly ‘rational’ individual’s “Divine Mind” – the “Absolute Intellect”, or “Absolute Reason” – associated with the left hemisphere of brain activity.
The Left-hand path ideology identifies with the “eternal rebel” (and trickster) known variously through the ages as (among other names) Prometheus, Hermes, Mercury, Satan, and Lucifer.
The “Light-bringer”. Intermediary agent of the gnosis: the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The archetype of “absolute freedom” from all social, moral, and legal taboos; “unfettered” from all restrictions to the attainment of “ultimate sovereignty” in (or rather, over) the material realm.
On the path of jnana (knowledge) the practitioner is himself transformed into a being of the divine typos without sacrificing his individuated existence… [Flowers, 1997]
The eight “fetters” (does that number ring any bells?) that restrict the “liberty” of the witting (or unwitting) satanist – that hold him/her back from becoming a ‘god’ – are, in the Hindu left-hand path tradition of vamachara, “Sympathy. Delusion. Shame; the idea of sin. Fear. Disgust. Family, kinship, clan. Caste. Customary rites and precepts. As each of these bonds or fetters are broken the [initiate] becomes progressively more liberated.” (Flowers, 1997)
The phase of Blackening which usually marked the beginning of the work, was brought about either by heating the prima materia in the process of Calcination (the ‘dry way’ of the alchemists), or by the process of Putrefaction, a slow rotting or digestion over a period of weeks or months (the so-called ‘wet way’). The Black Crow or Raven was often associated with this Calcination, for on vigorous heating the calcined material would usually carbonise and layers would flake off and move like a crow’s wings in the flask. The Toad was a better symbol of the Putrefaction, the decaying mass slowly pulsating and shifting as gasses were given off, while the substance rotted down to a black mass. [..] The alchemists paralleled these experiences in their souls as a withdrawal into the darkness of their interior space, a darkness pregnant with possibility. [McLean]
The coat of arms traditionally attributed to Satan in European heraldry. In the book The Heraldic Imagination by Rodney Dennys (1975), this is traced back to the late 13th-century Douce Apocalypse manuscript, in an illustration to Revelations 20:7-10. The design is based on the “three unclean spirits like frogs” of verse 16:13. Green frogs on a red background contravene the heraldic Rule of Tincture – presumably deliberately.
Removing these “fetters” necessarily means eliminating all feelings of compassion, empathy (“sympathy”), and most importantly, guilt (“shame”).
In other words, in order to become fully “free”, one’s own “ultimate sovereign”, and thus “divine”, one must become lawless (“Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”), and a psychopath:
He may have to participate in exercises of cruelty and other aberrations of social and religious norms as a way of placing himself totally outside of profane society. Thereby he is ‘unfettered’ from the bonds and tabus of society as a way of unfettering himself from spiritual bonds. [Flowers, 1997]
Satanism – or Left-hand Path ‘magic’ – seeks “liberty” from “the servitude of conscience.“
In essence, the Left-hand Path is an egocentric philosophistry of separation or “non-union”, that prescribes the willful deception, manipulation, domination, theft, and ultimately, the destruction of one’s Right side – the faculty of emotion, empathy, holistic thinking; the intuitive, compassionate, nurturing Female principle – the Mother Nature felt in us all – in order to attain apotheosis as an individual, Intellectual ‘god’:
[A] symbolic murder is hidden behind this. The black matter, a symbol of the fundamental feminine and of powerful nature from which we all come, is burned or in some cases vaporized, cut to pieces or dismembered. Thus, in destroying the prima materia we at the same time destroy our “mother” or, basically, the “fundamentally feminine”.
The European adept does not shy away from even the most crass killing metaphors: “open the lap of your mother”, it says in a French text from the 18th century, “with a steel blade, burrow into her entrails and press forward to her womb, there you will find our pure substance (the elixir)”. [Trimondi, 2003]
[T]he essence of the vamachara [Sanskrit: “left-handed attainment”] is the total transformation of the human initiate into something superhuman or god(dess)-like. This lies at the root of why antinomianism (inversions of all kinds of normatives) is so important in the methodology of … the left-hand path.
An eternal separation of the individual intelligence from the objective universe is sought in the left-hand path. This amounts to an immortality [divinity] of the independent consciousness… .
[O]n the leftward way one does not worship a god but rather one enacts divinity from a subjective perspective. [Flowers, 1997]
“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof,
then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods,
knowing good and evil.”
In the Genesis story, the archetype of Woman (Eve) was doomed to suffer “greatly multipl[ied]” pain and suffering in pregnancy and childbirth, in consequence of disobedience to God’s (cosmic, natural) law, and the resulting Fall from innocence: a pure, ‘god’-like state of being, of not knowing both good and evil.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
The symbolism of the pear – having the form, or silhouette, of a woman with “child-bearing hips” – has important relevance in religious and alchemical lore.
The pear tree represents the Tree of Life. It is mentioned in literature and folklore connected with love and temptation. An aludel is a pear-shaped earthenware bottle, open at both ends, used as a condenser in the sublimation process, and so came to signify the end-stages of transformation. It is also called the Hermetic Vase, the Philosopher’s Egg, and the Vase of the Philosophy.
In Greek and Roman mythology, pears are sacred to three goddesses: Hera (Juno to the Romans), Aphrodite (Venus to the Romans), and Pomona, an Italian goddess of gardens and harvests. The ancient Chinese believed that the pear was a symbol of immortality. (Pear trees live for a long time.)
During medieval times, however, (if you will excuse the dreadful pun) the symbolism went pear shaped, and the pear, as a whole tree and fruit, then symbolised masculinity, which would seem extremely strange until one realises that the symbolism applied largely to the tree and not the fruit. According to Albertus Magnus, writing in the 13th century and accepting the ancient and orthodox view of his time, the pear is considered masculine because of “the hardness of its wood, the coarseness of its leaves and the close texture of its fruit.”
Sephardic Jews – in other words Jews who followed the Kabbalah and were thus part of the mystic groups, used a pear tree as their emblem.
The great Leonardo Da Vinci (1452–1519) reveled in collecting cryptic puns, aphorisms, fables, prophecies, jests, mottoes, and fantastic tales. Codex Arundel 67 contains several botanical fables including one involving the laurel, the myrtle, and the pear:
The laurel and the myrtle on seeing the pear tree being cut down, cried out in a loud voice: ‘O pear tree where are you going? Where is the pride that you had when you were laden with ripe fruit? Now you will no longer make shade for us with your thick foliage.’ The pear tree replied: ‘I am going with the husbandman who is cutting me down and who will take me to the workshop of a good sculptor, who by his art will cause me to assume the form of the god Jove, and I shall be dedicated in a temple and worshipped by men in place of Jove. While you are obliged to remain always maimed and stripped of your branches [while] men shall set around me in order to do me honor.” (Embode, 1987).
Earlier in the Genesis story, the Creator is portrayed commanding Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply” (1:28). In Judaism, this commandment (mitzvah) – the First Commandment, to the First Man and Woman – is called peru u’rvu (Hebrew: פרו ורבו).
Rabbinic lore, however, overrides this First Commandment, with an exemption:
Jewish law traditionally exempts women from the obligation of peru urvu [..] This is because pregnancy endangers her life, and one is not obligated to endanger oneself. Such an exemption strengthens the woman’s right to protect her health over that of a fetus that endangers her. [Grossman, 2006]
Rabbinic lore is replete with mutually contradictory exemptions – loopholes – devised by the Sages.
For example, the Sages teach that Leviticus 18:5 (“You shall keep My statutes and My Judgments, which a person shall do, and he shall live by them”) really means that “the mitzvot were given to provide life, but they were not given so that one will die due to their observance.” (Sanhedrin 74a)
Based on this interpretation, the Sages derived the precept that “protecting life” overrides all other commandments (Tosefta Shabbat 15:17).
(Example: the subjective, arbitrarily applied – according to self-interest – “Responsibility To Protect” [R2P] euphemism as justification for U.S. “interventionist” foreign policy.)
However, while pregnant women are not obligated to endanger their own lives for the sake of an unborn child, the rabbinic Sages also insist that one is obligated to endanger oneself rather than violate the commandments against murder (?!?), sexual violence (incest, rape, adultery), and idolatry:
The Gemara now considers which prohibitions are permitted in times of mortal danger. [..] With regard to all other transgressions in the Torah, if a person is told: Transgress this prohibition and you will not be killed, he may transgress that prohibition and not be killed, because the preserving of his own life overrides all of the Torah’s prohibitions. This is the halakha (rabbinic law) concerning all prohibitions except for those of idol worship, forbidden sexual relations, and bloodshed. Concerning those prohibitions, one must allow himself to be killed rather than transgress them. [Sanhedrin 74a]
In other words, according to the ‘wisdom’ of the ‘Sages’, on the one hand, a married or betrothed woman must choose to be killed, rather than submit to rape:
[S]o too, with regard to a betrothed young woman, if she is faced with rape, she must be killed and not trangress the prohibition of forbidden sexual relations. [Sanhedrin 74a]
But, on the other hand, if she is pregnant, then she may commit murder of the unborn, if the reason given is that doing so will preserve her own life and “health”.
Notably, in Satanic lore, the first main tenet (principle, or doctrine), is Self-Preservation. The second tenet, is Moral Relativism.
True black magic is performed with the aid of a demoniacal spirit, who serves the sorcerer for the length of his earthly life, with the understanding that after death the magician shall become the servant of his own demon. For this reason a black magician will go to inconceivable ends to prolong his physical life, since there is nothing for him beyond the grave. [Hall, 1928]
Contrast the first principle teaching of Jesus of Nazareth: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Both the Torah and rabbinic lore have much to say concerning the binary notions of Life and Death.
We have seen in earlier essays that Jewish mystical philosophy (Cabala) openly confesses its origins in “Old Chaldean” ontology – a worldview, or philosophy of being and reality, in which every thing in the universe is believed to be created from the sexual union (merging, mixing, fusing, binding, blurring) of exact opposites.
This is illustrated in the Cabalistic ‘Tree of Life’ or ‘Gates of Light’, where the ’emanations’ or attributes of God and Being are depicted as gendered pairs, joined together in a sequence of mystic, ‘sexual’, father-mother-son-daughter unions of opposites.
We have also seen that the ‘trick’ of alchemical sex magick, is the cunning inversion or reversal of the natural “flow” of the (pro)creative fluids, which are considered “energies” – the semen virile and semen feminile.
To reverse the left to right pattern, contrary to nature and cosmic law requires an exercise of the faculty of will. This is an act of rebellion against nature and against divinely ordained cosmic order.
Practitioners .. may often rely on what appears to non-initiates to be chicanery and tricks involving slight of hand.
What is important here is the left-hand path technique or philosophical model of inverting or reversing natural processes through the power of will and consciousness. By being able to reverse natural ‘flow patterns’, be they in the body (subjective) or in the world (objective), practitioners of the left-hand path demonstrate or exercise their independence from the natural universe – thus establishing that which is divine in their individualities. [Flowers, 1997]
In left-hand path sexual alchemy, rather than the male fertilising the female – which would mean giving his vital “energies” to her – he steals the female’s “flows” by a secretly-practiced sexual exercise, or (for the less skilled) by drinking them.
“After he has streamed forth,” Mircea Eliade quotes a text as saying, “he draws in and says: through my force, through my seed I take your seed — and she is without seed”. The man thus steals the seed of the woman under the impression that he can through this become a powerful androgynous being, and leaves her without her own life energy. [Trimondi, 2003]
This secret Tantric practice is tacitly affirmed in Lurianic Cabala:
[Isaac Luria’s disciple, Chaim] Vital describes how the face-to-face status of the Father and Mother [sefirot] visages was maintained by ‘feminine waters’ (mayim nukvim) emanating from the interior of the Mother. [Drob, 2003]
Naturally – or rather, un-naturally, since antinomianism (inversion or reversal of normatives) is fundamental to satanic practice – it is believed that the greatest power is obtained from internalising those things that have been traditionally considered impure, unclean, and thus off-limits or taboo.
The magical principle of transforming or ‘purifying’ any substance or experience to serve the purpose of the pure Will of the magician is typical at all levels of the left-hand path.
When discussing antinomian left-handed tantrism Renou states “… we observe the inversion of normal worship and common ethical principles. The fact that those objects are ‘worshiped’ is evidence that the stage has been passed at which they would be considered sinful.” So objects or practices which would normally inspire shame, hate or fear in the orthodox .. will be willfully worshipped and engaged in with a sublimated attitude of sacrality.
It is by breaking these taboos [incl. cannibalism and necrophilia] and going beyond the barriers of good and evil that the [initiate] attains new levels of power and ‘liberation’ (from his human limitations).
It is this third category, the libertines, which [Marquis] de Sade saw as the apex of humanity. Libertines, through active use of the imagination, transform themselves through acts of will… . For de Sade the greatest pleasures were to be found in overcoming things which may have at one time inspired fear or disgust. [Flowers, 1997]
This explains why left-hand path philosophers and practitioners throughout the ages and across many cultures have evidenced a peculiar obsession with the cyclical monthly “flows” of the female.
[E]very woman knows that she has two kinds of flow that come from her vagina. Ancient sources called these the River of Life and the River of Death, meaning the clear or white flow at the time when a child is more likely to be conceived; and the forbidden flow of menstruation, when it is most unlikely that a child can be conceived. [Lishtar, 2000]
In the Hevajra Tantra the adept must drink the menstrual blood of his mudra out of a skull bowl. [..] As a tantric saying puts it, “What binds the fool, liberates the wise”, and another, more drastic passage emphasizes that, “the same deed for which a normal mortal would burn for a hundred million eons, through this same act an initiated yogi attains enlightenment”. According to this, every ritual is designed to catapult the initiand into a state beyond good and evil.
According to the tantric logic of inversion, that precisely the worst is the most appropriate starting substance for the best, the yogi need not fear the magical destructive force of the menses, as he can reverse it into its creative opposite through the proper method. [Trimondi, 2003]
“Hyle” (matter, materialism; semen virile), Left-hand side
“Menstruum” (spirit, solvent; semen feminile), Right-hand side
This may also offer a deeper insight into, and explanation for, the Western Establishment’s “liberal” support for abortion … and the sale of body parts.
“Modern philosophies and political ideologies have fully embraced principles basic and fundamental to the left-hand path, almost all of which have become the accepted norm in the west.”
“It’s not good for women to go through the procedure and have something living sucked out of your bodies. It belittles women… Every time a woman has an abortion, it just crushes her self-esteem, smaller and smaller and smaller.”
– Dolores O’Riordan, The Cranberries
Stephen E. Flowers PhD, Lords of the Left-hand Path: A History of Spiritual Dissent (1997)
V. and V. Trimondi, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama: Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism (2003), transl. by Mark Penny
John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Essays In Persuasion, The Future (1930)
Adam McLean, Animal Symbolism in the Alchemical Tradition (alchemywebsite.com)
Mark Passio, Natural Law: The Real Law of Attraction (2013)
Rabbi Susan Grossman, Mikveh and the Sanctity of Being Created Human (2006)
Sanhedrin 74a, The William Davidson Talmud, (sefaria.org)
Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages (1928)
Sanford L Drob, Towards a Kabbalistic Psychology: C.G. Jung and the Jewish Foundations of Alchemy (2003)
Lishtar, The Avenging Maiden and the Predator Gardener: A Study of Inanna and Shukaletuda (2000), citing Shuttle and Redgrove (1989)