Understanding Darkness

Understanding darkness from a spiritual point of view is a highly complex task but not an impossible one. Darkness can be understood from many different places. In this essay, I will try to clarify the concept but always keep in mind that this is only a partial and subjective view. It would be best to immerse yourself in this element to understand how it is for you. We cannot dogmatize or say that one idea is more legitimate than another. There are only different ideas based on personal experiences, some shared by many and some not.

            To begin with, I would like to remove any moral charge to the concept. When I speak of darkness, I never directly reference total evil; in my opinion, the Manichean idea of absolute good and evil does not exist. Darkness is that which is hidden, that which is not clear to us, that we do not see with the naked eye; it is the other side of the coin, one that has to do with a broader element. Light and darkness are part of the universe as we know it, they complement each other, and one could not exist without the other half. We must always understand all this metaphorically, but it can be applied to almost any idea.

            Darkness is a primordial element; it existed in conjunction with Chaos, the two forces that, mythologically speaking, were before the defined form. These amended elements are seen as feminine since they are the ones that gave origin and life to everything in the vast universe in which we find ourselves, so we can say the gods, men, nature, etc., were formed and emanated from this primordial chaos and darkness, in other words, they are the matrix of the universe. These ideas are present in almost all the world’s mythologies and mostly, then, come to exist in some forms, usually masculine, that seek to impose structure and order. These forms are identified with light. If we get out of the Manichaeism of good and evil, we can understand that order is born from chaos and darkness and is a natural process, even a state change. We can bring this idea closer to us. When we begin an initiatory journey, we do so in such a way that we immerse ourselves in the unknown, represented by the darkness of our mind; it is in our psyche where the powers of the magician are housed, this in his introspective journey, seeks to activate these capabilities, when this happens, there is a process where we move from a state of unconsciousness (darkness) to a process of consciousness (light). In this simple example, we can see how both ideas are connected and necessary to achieve wholeness.

            If we take as a base idea that everything starts from the primordial chaos and darkness, the gods considered luminous also emerged from the same place; this does not mean that divinity does not have a specific role. Some act as heroes, others as antagonists, and others as villains betraying the trust of their superiors. But all these are only mythological interpretations, creations of man to classify those energies that exist beyond him but need to be given a form, a name, and a role.

            Darkness is untamed. It has no beginning and no end. It exists both within us and without us. It is often associated with night, for obvious reasons, and has been connected since ancient times to the moon and its influence on people’s mood, the tides, the harvest, and magic. The secrets of magic, dreams, fantasies, and the most terrible nightmares reside in the night and darkness. Our greatest fears lurk in the dark; when we confront them, we make them our allies and empowered. Unlike, many times, those who follow a Right Path, we, the walkers of the Sinister Path, begin from the beginning of our journey a downward and spiraling path into our personal darkness; we descend into our underworlds, seeking to confront our shadow, when we achieve it, we establish a pact, an alliance with that part of ourselves, and that is when the journey begins, that is when we seek to go beyond ourselves and start to work with energies and forces that are outside of us. Although promising initially because of all the excitement it offers, this journey is not free of risks. There are no safety nets or teachers to guide us; we will be alone on the trip and must rely on our intuition to get out of it. Many people who are attracted to the Left Path do not contemplate all this before starting their journey and are introduced to it by the promise of instant power, having much faster results than in other magical currents, or by the simple glamour of the Path itself. However, it is essential that before making a decision, we inform ourselves well; this will avoid many problems in the future.

            In turn, the Left Path, in general, and the idea of darkness, have terrible negative propaganda, especially by those who follow other forms of spirituality. I can not generalize and say that everyone does or is so; this would be a mistake on my part; in fact, sometimes the same bad propaganda is made by the practitioners themselves that, in their eagerness to exhibit their practices indiscriminately, end up harming themselves. Let us not forget that one of the maxims in magic is silence, which has several reasons behind it; some are esoteric, and others are a matter of common sense. The esoteric ones are for the simple fact that we are not interested in having psychic interferences on our work from other people, in the most mundane sense, because nobody cares about what you do with your spirituality in your privacy. Just as you don’t exhibit your intimate relationships, magic is the same; you don’t have to publish it on every social network. Although I must admit that this is part of the old school, and some of us prefer to keep a more discreet profile while others do not, in the end, everyone is free to do what they want with their lives.

            Then we find ourselves with the ideas that the magicians of the Right Path have, and here I allow myself to clarify. I respect all forms of spirituality, even if it is not compatible with what I feel or believe; I do not see an enemy because someone is part of the Golden Dawn, the Rosicrucian, or any order of the style, on the contrary, I believe that there is a very interesting esoteric value and that even though I do not follow that path, it does not make us enemies. The practitioners of the Right Path seek to re-establish order, to become one with the primary unity, the whole, the cosmos, god, etc. To achieve this ascending journey, they must purify their consciousness and seek the annihilation of those elements that do not allow them to accomplish this. For this, they have their ritual methods, and it is also necessary to recognize that the path they have chosen is not simple. It requires a great will and a very particular attitude. It is very complex to advance beyond the first levels. From the beginning, the first thing to learn is to banish; by this, I am not only referring to a ritual of purifying the place where you will practice. I mean a series of exercises that seek to eliminate the concept of the shadow, of the darkness, of the night. Thus they spend a lifetime covering their darkness, but at one point, throughout the initiation, they must confront their inner demons. Usually, this is such a painful, traumatic, and complex experience that in literature, it is described as a horrible spiritual ordeal in which, if the magician fails, he is usually lost forever in an abyss of unspeakable horrors. I have no doubt that this will be so for these magicians, and this has a simple explanation, from the beginning, the search to keep away and repress any concept related to darkness, and to see it many times as an element of adversity that must be confronted and defeated after years of spiritual advancement, is a horrible task for anyone. Of course, here I am referring to the more orthodox initiatory systems because, in modernity, many traditions considered right-handed began to incorporate more somber elements in the search for a more balanced work. We can see this a lot in work with the dark feminine, although many times it is taken in a very light way or it is interpreted in a way that does not respond to the true nature of these forces; we have to admit that it is a good start, although they have much to improve.

            But just as we mentioned the work of the magicians of the right path, we must also dwell on those left-handed traditions that make a rather extreme interpretation of darkness, once again here appears the Manichean element defending that we must return to the origin, to the primordial chaos and that only through the destruction of creation can one be freed from the scourges and suffering that life here has, that this is a direct consequence of a tyrannical and capricious god who locked us in the prison of the flesh. This is nothing more and nothing less than the basis of a Christian Gnostic doctrine, but it has adhered to its figures from various mythologies that represent chaos, destruction, death, entropy, or even the concept of the adversary. These are modern currents that take ancient elements and reinterpret them. What is going on here? First, I believe that this is very comfortable for people with solid bases in imperative religions, such as Christianity; that is, if the person was a Catholic or any variant, going into this type of philosophical concept is usually more comfortable, there is a profound risk that the person does not leave the old beliefs, but invests his old god for the figure of the devil. In turn, much of what these philosophies propose is not aligned with the basic principles of the Left Path, where the magician seeks the liberation of his full potential and to be the god of his universe. If, at the end of the path, I am to merge with nothingness or chaos, a very similar idea is found in Buddhism and is known as Nirvana; in the end, I am still seeking the annihilation of my being. Of course, these ways of thinking also exonerate the magician from any responsibility. There is an external force to blame for whatever goes wrong in a person’s life, whereas self-responsibility is an elemental basis in the Left Path. Only the notion of darkness, entropy, and chaos is valid in these currents. Everything that goes out of it is wrong, giving the initiate a partial and totalitarian vision. As you already know, I do not see the essence of the Left Path in these practices, but as always, we are all free to believe in what we want, and there is no one truth more than another. It only remains to experiment and see what happens to us for ourselves.

            Finally, we come to the darkness interpreted by religions, but I am not talking about standard religions, but those that supposedly form part of the Left Path. In my opinion, religion can rarely be part of the Path, first because they have a concrete body of dogmas, that is to say, some truths are not questionable, there is a pyramidal system of positions, a central figure, a high priest who is the speaking voice of that divinity, some prophets, and a sacred text channeled by the founder of the religion. Does it sound similar to Christianity and others like it? Well, it is; here, the concept of darkness is usually represented by Satan, either as a figure, icon, or real divinity or by another deity, for example, Set. Here darkness is understood as a primordial principle, as an element of nature or that which endows man with consciousness. There is an ethical system to follow and a series of rules to obey, people who belong to this type of religion usually believe that they are part of a spiritual elite, they are the chosen ones of this or that divinity, and all the rest of us are trash. I say this with knowledge of cause because, at some point, I gave them a chance to see what they had to offer.

            Darkness cannot be contained; it cannot be measured; it does not belong to anyone, as is no only one divinity embodies this principle. Priests, messiahs, and creators of religions and cults are people like any other, with a relative spiritual value, in many cases self-given, who seek through artificial hierarchies to manage others, with the promise that they have the secret of the universe, immortality, power, etc. In my eyes, all these people are far from wanting to see legitimate progress in others. This path is traveled alone, a teacher can give you the basics, but you have to explore the way by yourself; there are no networks, no shortcuts. It is an arduous, thorny, complex path, but wonderful at the same time, full of magic, mysteries, self-knowledge, and power, a power that will allow you to be the god/goddess of your universe, and for this, you do not need anyone. It is necessary to study, read, practice, be critical, doubt, and make one’s own experience because, ultimately, only what we can experience for ourselves is worth it; the rest is just a beautiful story.

Non Serviam

Fiat Nox

Daemon Barzai

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