I am making this post, possibly as a series, to fixing common fallacies people may be having, and the first that I wish to confront would probably be the idea of the Left and Right Hand Path. This forum, likely, has more ideological diversity than the majority of other places, though it seems to lean towards the RHP.
So herein, I will attempt to dispel some of the misconceptions and fallacies people have about the Left Hand Path and black magic in general. This isn't to lay down the law, on what should, or shouldn't be magic, what people should or shouldn't practice. This is just a bunch of messy notes from personal researches and UPG. More constructive to dispel what we already know about black and white magic, and how people perceive those two.
First of all, black magic is simply thought to be the magic of the LHP, whereas white magic is simply thought to be the magic of the RHP. You cannot use the terms interchangably, the LHP is a mindset whereas black magic is a practice. Granted, the practices are heavily tied to the mindsets, but I prefer not to label, nor limit myself.
And yes, all of these labels, of black and white, and LHP and RHP are generally speaking, irrelevant, though since humans tend to make a fuss about how we label things, I thought it would be good to give my two cents.
Light and dark energies aren't entirely what people make them out to be. Nor are negative and positive ones. There are positive dark energies, like any demons you summon, and negative light energies, like the kind exuded by various religious patterns.
Positivity and negativity of energy comes down to the currents and patterns you are immersed in, which determines its benefit or toxicity on your magical system, both internally and externally.
For a better understanding of light and dark, I would advise one look up to correspondences for yin and yang, opposing forces of differing correspondences. Light is not yang, dark is not yin. Both, have an element of both. They are the exact same energies with different expressions, light having more yang-based active energy and dark having more yin-based active energy.
Add more of one to the other, and you've just flipped the polarities entirely. And in fact, this is what is happening and has been happening for a very long time. The Law of Rhythm and the Law of Polarity in the Kybalion come into this. The latter is the idea that all things have their opposite, but thouggh they are opposite in degree they are identical in nature.
Hot and cold are both just different expressions of temperature, and loud and quiet are both different expressions of sound. And the Law of Rhythm simply states that all items are dynamic, in that they will move from one end of the spectrum to another, back and forth, orbiting some imaginary boundaries which they themselves accept.
This, is essentially, how individuals work. If we see both the dark and light end of the spectrum as infinite, then it is relative for each individual. Some people's dark may be light for other people, etc.
Which is also why dark and light do not denote good and evil. Light can burn and slash and destroy the innocent, dark can build the lives of people from scratch. After all, isn't personal benefit one of the main reasons people go looking for black magic?
Often it isn't even a desire for power or for knowledge but for simple things like money, love, or the death of an enemy.
The term Left-Hand Path originated from translations of an Indian concept, and I'll quote some Wikipedia on this:
''Vmcra is a Sanskrit term meaning "left-handed attainment" and is synonymous with Left-Hand Path or Left-path (Sanskrit: Vmamrga). It is used to describe a particular mode of worship or spiritual practice (Sanskrit: sadhana) that is not only heterodox (Sanskrit: Nstika) to standard Vedic injunction, but extreme in comparison to prevailing cultural norms. These practices are often generally considered to be Tantric in orientation. The converse term to Vamacara is Dakshinachara (glossed "Right-Hand Path") which is used to refer not only to orthodox (stika) sects but to modes of spirituality that engage in spiritual practices that not only accord with Vedic injunction but are generally agreeable to prevailing cultural norms.''
Although the Indian path of "left-handed attainment" takes a different path, its ultimate aim is the same as the Dakshinachara orthodox method, and both exist and are practiced with the aim of acknowledging external moral and behavioural strictures (albeit, in Vmcra, by inverting or disobeying them), and both have the aim of attaining either a heavenly state with Vishnu (in Vaishnavite Hinduism) or complete merger to Parasiva/Parasakti, or Buddhahood, etc.
However, modern definitions are slightly different. In my opinion, one of the best definitions for the Left Hand Path can be found in Lords of the Left Hand Path by Stephen Flowers:
''Essentially, the left-hand path is the path of non-union with the objective universe. It is the way of isolating consciousness within the subjective universe and, in a state of self-imposed psychic solitude, refining the soul or psyche to ever more perfect levels. The objective universe is then made to harmonize itself with the will of the individual psyche rather than the other way around. Where the right-hand path is theocentric (or certainly alleocentric: "other centred"), the left-hand path is psychecentric, or soul/self-centred. Those within the left-hand path may argue over the nature of this self/ego/soul, but the idea that the individual is the epicentre of the path itself seems undisputed. An eternal seperation of the individual intelligence from the objective universe is sought in the left-hand path. This amounts to an immortality of the independent self-consciousness moving within the objective universe, and interacting with it at will.''
This is where the Left and Right Hand Path, generally, differ.
The chief goal of many right hand path traditions is to merge back into Source, to become one with the All, whereas the chief goal of many in the left hand path, is personal power, and eventual apotheosis.
But there are Satanic Anticosmic Mystics, who do have a goal of annihilating themselves and becoming one with the All, and as far as I know, the idea of merging with the All isn't a top priority for most Wiccans.
The above two examples is to illustrate how these terms are guidelines, not rules set in stone.
Another true difference is in authority figure. Right Hand Path views hold that the individual must abide by rules laid forth by an external authority, be it a pantheon of gods, a single God, Parasiva, the universe, Karma, etc.
A central idea that the human soul is flawed, imperfect, or otherwise wrongfully attached to the flesh and the material world, and that by complying with such rules, and following sacred morality, one not only avoids divine retribution but has a chance of being saved by being awarded with a divine state, like Nirvana, enlightenment, Heaven, or the likes.
The central ideas of the Left Hand Path is a focused mastery of the world around us, and within us. THat there is strength in wanting to change your world and your life, making it better. As Flowers puts it, it is not a matterof merging subjective and objective reality, but of isolating subjective reality, refining it to be what you want it to be, and releasing it to change the rest.
Not having any primary central authority figures also amounts to being the key driving force in your universe, reality, whatever you want to call it.
Rather than constraining ethics, Left Hand Path magicians have values. I like children. That would include vehemently opposing ageism in the people around me, child abuse in any form, sending an excrutiating death curse against someone who I know was cruel to their own kids, whereas it also means helping, empowering, healing, helping children.
Does that mean that the LHP must entirly walk against the currents of society, religion, family, and tradition?
Nope. It just means they are allowed to walk against them. Obviously following rules that are there for your own safety, and rules that are useful is a good idea. No one goes through the red light under the pretense that they can do whatever they want to defy that order. Likewise, they don't hold it in when they have to go to the bathroom, because ''hail anarchy!'' and then end up blowing themselves up.
These ideas of individuality from the rest of creation, power over the internal and external worlds, and freedom from oppressive bonds, constitutes the primary work of the Left Hand Path. It is an ongoing ascent aimed at personal godhood, at apotheosis, at Theogenesis.
Magic is also a bit of a balancing act, so in order to not get the leftover guck from the powers of darkness, you should also invoke the powers of light, and let them intermingle and forge you. Balance is the key, not one-sided astermanization. That's silly, and a good way to get driven insane if you work solely with darkness, and burned alive if you work solely with light.
And energy will always be dynamic. It will always shift from one end of the spectrum to another.