Left-Hand Path (or LHP) is a term for categorizing religions. Left-Hand Path religions share most of the following characteristics:
- An Agnostic view of the existence of gods and goddesses, often a Platonian-like view of gods and goddesses as "First-Forms".
- The belief that people should strive to become as god/desses and that some (probably not all) people have the potential to do so.
- The rejection of Karma, Divine Retribution, Threefold Law, and similar, in favor of self-determined codes of morality.
- The goal of becoming god- or goddess-like and retaining one's isolate intelligence and identity for as long as possible.
- The possible existence of both a male and female polarity of natural forces.
- The possible existence of more than one god.
- That practice and knowledge, not faith, makes a Pagan.
- That deity, internal and external, is both transcendent and immanent.
- That a person is solely responsible for his own actions and there is no external salvation from the results of those actions.
- That the forces of the universe can be bent to one's personal will (magick).
- That magick is based on natural laws and works in accordance with scientific principles that cannot (yet) be explained.
- The understanding that we are all interconnected to, and are an inseparable part of, this Earth.
The term does not seem to have distinct origins. Some people believe that the terms Right-Hand Path and Left-Hand Path and the philosophy relevant to them came from India. However, there are some who hypothesize the term came from this Biblical verse:
- And he shall separate them one from another,
- as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.
- And he shall set the sheep on his right,
- but the goats on his left.
- -- Matthew 25: 32-33