Demons of the Flesh: The Complete Guide to Left Hand Path Sex Magic
by Nikolas and Zeena Schreck
(Creation Books, 2002)
Demons of the Flesh by Nikolas and Zeena Schreck may be the best book ever written in English about the Left Hand Path of spirituality. Although Zeena is the daughter of the His Infernal Majesty Anton LaVey, she broke rank with her father years before he passed and now considers herself a Tantric Buddhist. The book is a detailed survey of the origins of the concept of LHP, where it originated and how it can be utilized today. Along the way they discuss many of the colorful characters which has made the LHP tradition so media-friendly. The book concludes with a lengthy section on how to apply LHP in your own spiritual life.
Demons of the Flesh is broken up into three sections. The first one, “The Sinister Current in the East”, concerns the history of LHP tantra practices in India and China. The second section, “The Sinister Current in the West” looks at the history of LHP in the West, but focuses on the modern practitioners. The final part, “The Sinister Current in Action” is the “How To” section of the book and shows the reader ways LHP practices can be incorporated into your life.
This is an extremely witty and deep book. Although the writers lack the understanding of Sanskrit and Asian culture to delve too far into it, they more than make up on the “West” section. Furthermore, they demonstrate many ways this knowledge can be applied to life today. The book is richly illustrated with reproductions of classical paintings.
The first section of Demons, discusses the Indian tantra origins of LHP and shows where the name came from. They prefer to use the Sanskrit term Varma Marga (left hand way), which referred to the position where the woman sat in relation to the man during the spiritual services where sex was employed. They point out that the divine feminine is important in these rites. The female principal, Shakti, is the dynamic one where the male principal, Shiva, is static. The tantric texts used sex sparingly and only five percent of tantric writings mention the use of sex to achieve union with the divine. The authors differ with the purposes of traditional sexual working since they feel the adept should strive to become a divine being and not be lost in the fullness of the infinite.
The book is fascinating in its look at LHP in the western nations, especially as they move into the twentieth century. For instance, they give plenty of credit to Paschal Beverly Randolf, a Black American mystic who developed sexual workings with his Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor in the 19th century. They take a dim view of Aleister Crowley as the authors feel he saw women as tools to be used. This runs counter to their belief that the divine Shakti female must always remain supreme. They even delve into modern successors to Crowley, such as Kenneth Grant:
“To glean what may be of actual use for the practice of sinister sex magic in Grant’s writings, one must also work through surreal descriptions of sperm-sucking Mayan squid-bats surviving in abandoned chapels, aetheric monsters that breed in menstrual blood, and the premise that apes are the result of prehistoric human copulation with extraterrestrials, all hung together with obfuscatory detours into Quabalistic numerology. Your head will spin when confronted with such typical Grantisms as “clepydral horologue”, “infra-liminal vibrations” and “sexo-somniferous magnetization”.”
Among other adepts, George Bataille is mentioned and the entire cannon of modern ceremonial magic. There is an extensive section in the book about the rise and fall of The Judgement Church of the Final Process and how they attempted to work the Shakti current. Again, the section on the Western tradition is one of the best I have encountered.
The third section of the book deals with the application of their concepts to the present. There are sections on group sex and bondage. Their material is so well thought out that I urge everyone to give it a read for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
The authors look with amusement at the desire for so many people to create their own groups and give themselves titles:
“Any left-hand path group can eventually become deadened by social obligation and the surrender to routine once the original fire of inspiration that brought the group together subsides. This fire can be ignited afresh only if the celebrants cultivate a willingness to follow new directions, a strength of imagination, and a willingness to break with the desensitizing traditions that inevitably gather like dust over any group activity, even the orchestration of magical orgia.
The burgeoning magical group dedicated to the study of sex magic will remain vibrant and open to transformation only to the degree that its members actively avoid this social disposition to creating itself according to a rigid scheme. Once you have given a name to the group, for instance, you have magically bound yourself to being defined by that name and its associations forever more. Some of the most effective sex magic groups have operated under no official name, which allows for an atmosphere of freedom that encourages evolution instead of stagnation. If the group progresses according to desire and in accordance with changing circumstance, there is a chance for survival. Once the group becomes fixed in an attempt to squeeze itself into an overly cerebral abstract ideal that may no longer be relevant to actual conditions, the magical work becomes brittle and rigid. We have often observed that this is the phase when most groups disperse.”
Their advice is to forget the formal structures, just learn some auto-erotic practices, find a partner for the Great Work and, should you meet with success, find some more couples to engage in orgies or group sex workings. They even have a simplified suggestion on how to start out an evening of these practices.
I’d like to find out how many people took the advice and suggestions of this book to heart. Of course,there might be a huge movement around them, but you would never know about it.