What is meant by the left hand path?

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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Post by Poncho » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hi David,

You said on one of the posts above on this thread:
It is the path that takes one outside the rules and ethics of the local society, into the universal realm of personal transcendence. He used the phrase 'night sea journey' in a similar fashion. (Now, if anyone knows what the specific reference of 'night sea journey' is, I'd love to hear it. I've assumed it comes from one of the classical epics, but I can't find the reference....)
Do you think that it refers to Egyptian mythology: the sun boat journey through the underworld at night? In other words, "...the dangerous journey the deceased king must make in order to be reborn. United with the sun god, he travels in the boat of the sun through the 12 hours of night, from dusk to dawn." (quoted from the first link provided below)


See HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE

The second link above relates to connections with Graham Hancock, who is as you may know an "alternative" historian. See HERE for comments by Polly Toynbee (granddaughter of Arnold). Sorry, but I couldn't find anything by Eddie Izzard though, but thanks for putting me right about Hoover and the FBI.

Hope this helps.

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Post by Siddha » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

My interpretation of the "left hand path" is that of surrendering our life in the spritual sense instead of our trying to control it in the material sense.

In his book "The way of the peacefull warrior" Dan Millman writes something like:

Don't try to be extraordinary in an ordinary realm, be ordinary in an extraordinary realm.



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Post by JR » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

The left hand path is a metaphor that has always reminded me of the various orders of labyrinth walkers, the american indian pollen path, and secret esoteric orders who in making hedge mazes always put a left-handed key in as the solution to the maze thus making it a physical metaphor for the spiritual aspect of life itself.

If, for example you were to go to the maze at <a href="http://www.puzzles.com/PuzzlePlayground ... azeSol.htm" target="blank"><font size="4"><b>Hampton Court</b></font></a>, Henry VIII's former palace, you would find that the easiest and most direct way of solving the riddle and arriving at the center of your journey would be to place your left hand on the shubbery to your left side and keep it there as you walk along through the hedgerows. No one knows who designed this particular maze, but needless to say there are many examples of this type and given the proclivity of esoteric orders towards labyrinths in general it is no small leap of faith to connect the two.

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Post by BrigidsHawk » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

OK, as a left-handed, Wiccan, female ( does that cover the three strikes rule?) I have to say that I don't much know about following the left hand path. It does seem to encompass some of the negative connotations, and frankly, as a Wiccan, I'm about as negative as pistachio ice cream. To me, the left hand means to follow non-traditional paths; to be willing to go where spirit leads us in our pursuit of truth. If it takes us outside the traditional realms of "revealed" religions, so be it.
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Post by Sophie-David » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hi BrigidsHawk

OK, I just have to ask, what do you mean when you say, "I'm about as negative as pistachio ice cream"?

Cheers!
Know that you are - already - the Christ, the Bodhisattva. By your great love the One became Many, as with delight and joy you assumed the cloak of duality. Form is made of but three things: energy, change, and love.
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Post by BrigidsHawk » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

It seems to me that there is very little that is LESS negative than ice cream. It's such a nice homey, comforting, positive kind of visual. Pistachio of course, adds a little serendipity for fun. So, I say I'm about as negative as pistachio ice cream.
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Post by David_Kudler » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Just to clarify (and I'm rather fond of pistachio ice cream), Campbell viewed the image of the 'left-hand path' in a very POSITIVE light. He used it to mean personal transformation outside the social compound.
David Kudler<br>Publications<br>Joseph Campbell Foundation<br>publications at jcf dot org
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Post by Mark H. » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I also agree that the left hand path isn't to be seen as a "negative", or bad or wrong path. I see it as the non-conventional path, one which follows the bliss, rather than climbing the ladder of success, only to find that it's leaning against the wrong wall(JC quotes here..) I also see this path as one also being taken involuntarily. Sometimes we fly out of the nest, and sometimes we are kicked out. In working with incarcerated addicts, I find those who have been "kicked out of the nest" and forced to take a non-conventional path in their recovery. It's hard for an ex-con to find a traditional job, so they tend to get creative in finding or creating their own job, if they can. Being recovering addicts also adds to the limits of their activities, although in a positive way.
'Course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong....
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Post by BrigidsHawk » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Campbell talks about finding your "center", and that you must find your own way. That if you don't find it, you'll be torn apart. The left hand path is, to me, simply my way to finding my "center". It may not be the standard, socially proscribed, popular path, but it's how I'm getting there.
BTW, I love pistachio ice cream!
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Post by JR » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

This concept of the left hand path is to me physical metaphor. something that we can use in everyday life to remind ourselves of the value of the true nature of things. It therefore often occurs to me when I am given a choice, a fork in the road, an observation of another persons' preferred choice and the consequences, etc..

This happened just last night as I was watching the last half of a film I never got the name to. It was a true story about an american citizen that was imprisoned in a turkish jail, and then through the course of sever mental and physical abuse transferred to the prison for the criminally insane, where all hope of ever leaving was quashed.

There was nothing to here in this prison but to ramble insanely to yourself, of (if you were feeling active) walk around a pillar in the lower dungeons of the prison. Around and around, always to the right, as one prisoner said, because there right is good and the left is radical. What occurred to me, as a Taoist who takes the circular nature of things always into account, is that the right is counter clock wise, counter productive, moving in the direction of stagnancy (there's and oxymoron for you). It was infact only after the protagonist had the courage to walk to the left, against the protesting crowd that he made his move to escape. The clockwise motion of the left-handed path.
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Post by Poncho » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hi JR

Was the film Midnight Express? (Warning: one or two strong images!)
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Post by JR » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

That's the one alright!
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Post by Poncho » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hi JR

Whilst I have your attention, although admittedly off topic (but then I usually am) you may be able to help out an associate on another thread.

Press HERE for the thread, Mythos Diagram. What he seems to be asking for may be the diagram you posted on the “JC monomyth structure” thread. Press HERE post number 5.

On my PC, the pictures/links are no longer there. Perhaps the links have expired. If the images are what trimtab is after, could you repost them for him on the Mythos Diagram thread please.


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Post by JR » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Sorry Ivor, and trimtab if you're reading. I don't have those images anymore, nor can I remember where or how I got them. I do like the idea though of jung's/campbell's and I can see it still in my mind's eye (fat lot of good that does you though!)

...sorry.
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Post by Poncho » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Oh well, not to worry JR.

I'm sure it'll come back to you eventually when your mind's on something else e.g. putting jam on your toast or washing the car.

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