THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO THE BRAVE-AND-CURIOUS COVEN OF JESSI HUNTENBURG.
Much of my online posting–on forums, websites, YouTube–has been concerned with charting my spiritual path over the past four or five years. I have come a long way, recently formally distancing myself from Christian community as well as experimenting with practices of the Left-Hand Path (LHP). In this blog post, dedicated to the online coven that I have joined, I once again review where I have come from and what I am seeing now.
In the first two or three years, I began reading tarot, doing yoga, and practicing meditation. I gradually worked in chanting, even getting some meditation beads and trying guided meditations. These were baby steps away from exoteric religion as I started by “taking all things captive to Christ” (trying more and more of the “all things”) and moved to an inclusive, blended Christianity and finally to an all-inclusive mysticism, stepping back from the church entirely. In my desire to include all paths, I have begun engaging with the LHP.
My tarot birth date cards for the last three years correspond well with my encounters on the LHP, starting with the Temperance card for 2019, when I still often identified as an inclusive Christian mystic, but began some serious spiritual off-roading by receiving monthly tarot readings from a priestess and medium, who identified as a follower of the LHP. With this counsel and encouragement, I began working with dark deity such as Odin and Loki. I investigated a reiki group at a Unity Center in town, took courses at an Irish pagan school, and researched some other groups, but–along with my desire to be all-inclusive–I did not want to leave one camp just to join another. Some of the pagan groups seemed to be just as dogmatic as the Christian groups.
My birth date card for 2020 seems appropriate for the deeper dabbles I have made into esoteric practices. To my monthly readings from the medium, I joined an online coven and added monthly readings from the leader, Jessi Huntenburg. To my altar work, I added rituals and magickal workings. I overcame stigmas to the pentagram, to Crowley and the Thoth Tarot as well as to working with Lucifer and Lilith. Finally, having stepped back from the church formally, I began researching truly LHP groups such as the Temple of Set and–at the recommendation of a new but very close friend–began reading Uncle Setnakt’s Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path, which has dispelled some of the stereotypes and prejudices surrounding the LHP.
Over these past few years, each milestone seems to accompany a discussion with my wife Kristin, as well it should, and this Blue Moon falling on Halloween of 2020 has provided the most dramatic one yet. Kristin had seen my order for the Uncle Setnakt book on Amazon and had looked up the LHP on Wikipedia. She introduced the topic by saying she was very scared, as much as if I had come home with heroine. Her first question was whether the beliefs exalted self “to the exclusion of all else”; I was able to tell her only immature versions sunk to the level of teenage rebellion and harmful “self interest” that does not really serve the highest self. She was concerned about “occult practices,” which I evaded as she means things that still have a stigma, although we have progressively accepted Harry Potter, yoga, tarot, tattoos, and pentagrams, and I think her real concern is the associations with evil and decadence. I assured her that I am still me and love her and our children above all else.
My birth date card for 2021 is the Tower, and as Jessi Huntenburg commented at an online coven meeting, it seems I will be dismantling and building at the same time. I seem to have passed through the fear and stigma by gaining Temperance. This year I have been experiencing the thrill of new beginnings and the Devil-may-care excitement of personal liberty. As the old structures are coming down, however, I may find myself putting in place new principles and disciplines. I do want to establish a mindset that (1) is all-inclusive, (2) has a respect for the past and current group ethos, (3) seeks dissent and individual freedom, and (4) looks to progressive, continual enlightenment–not becoming a new dogma. In other words, the LHP has a piece of the puzzle but is not the new “salvation.”
In conclusion, what would really stick in the craw of some of us is if the mainstream religions turned out to be right about many things. Recently, Jessi Huntenburg produced a video on “Forbidden Fruit” that shamelessly discussed Lucifer and witchcraft together with Jesus as a radical, almost LHP prophet. She was able to discuss the story of Eden like any other myth–Norse, Greek, or Hindu–and avoid the toxicity of religion. It may take me through 2021 and beyond to do so myself, to get beyond my now reverse stigma, but I appreciate her good example. Rather than be RHP or LHP, perhaps I can be ambidextrous!