In our quitter’s society its painfully simple to begin a project and never follow through towards the end goal. Being capable of sifting through the emotional baggage that comes with a “stay or go” mentality is a good take-off point towards arriving to acquiring the sheer belly fire and tenacity it takes to come full circle and complete the things we start.
Focus is a state of mind that remains the most tenuous and delicate balances in the process of bringing something into being. Many of us get up and put our valuable non-refundable time in at the office on a day-to-day basis. Going to work is an act we start and finish. By finishing our work, we effectively bring that thing into being. Work is real and tangible because we decided to get up in the morning and make it to the end of the day.
We are motivated to work for two reasons: because we have to, or because we want to. Work that is easy or lacks meaning to who we believe ourselves to be is the kind of work that we gravitate away from most. For the highly conscious, easy work doesn’t challenge our limits. Work that we view as below our station, such as collecting garbage for the city, or being a waitress at a hole-in-the-wall truckstop diner, lacks meaning because it reminds of of who we really are. Merely conscious individuals may be perfectly content holding jobs that are easy or less than desirable. That is okay, not everyone wants to be free from their sleeping, stimuli-addicted lives. Understanding that one is seeking something more from life, however, is the first step towards realizing that our genuine motivations are better spent elsewhere. That is–doing and becoming the things we want to be.
Think about all of the things you’ve ever wanted to do. There’s a lot of clutter in that big ‘ole mind of yours. Maybe you want to write a novel. Or master surfing, or learn to paint photo realistic landscapes. In a world with the miraculous curse that is Google at our fingertips, we can find extraordinary individuals who do any one of these things on a skill level far beyond our own ability. The first thing you need to realize is that the world at large is meant to distract us from what we should be doing to accomplish those things that we wish to complete during our finite lives. Refreshing our focus to complete something we’ve started will prevent us from exerting unnecessary and valuable energies on distractions.
Allowing distraction to leak into your meaningful work is caused by emotional servitude. Ipsissimus Don Webb of the Temple of Set refers to emotional servitude as working “only when ‘the mood is right,” however, “the Left Hand Path Initiate knows that he or she doesn’t follow his or her emotions, but that his emotions follow him.” (Webb 17) In other words, emotions are like dogs, and our wills, a leash. If something is easy, everyone does it. There is little emotional shock to our systems by seeking playful interaction with the accessible lazy existence. Difficulty, however, challenges our sensibilities, a pilgrim of the Left Hand Path seeks out “doing things that are difficult for the sheer power it gives.” (17) Therefore, only when we focus our wills to control our emotions will we be able to progress.
Medea, from Apollonius’s myth of the Golden Fleece represents an early mythological example of a Left Hand path initiate both afflicted by emotional servitude, and later by one who overcomes it. Hera’s scheme of having Eros shoot an arrow into Medea afflicting her with an unknown and naïve love for Jason is an example of her being lead around by her emotions. “Let us go to find Kypris! Let us confront her and urge her to speak to her son, in the hope that he can be persuaded to fire his arrows at the daughter of Aietes, the mistress of drugs, and so bewitch her with love for Jason.” (Apollonius 66) Arguably, Hera’s desire to help Jason by Medea’s infatuation is an allegory for Medea’s own daemonic self working against her, leading Medea to “persons that are desirable,” even though she doesn’t “recognize [Jason’s] qualities due to [his] surface manifestations.” (Webb 11)
Because Medea was overcome by emotion she couldn’t easily ascertain the nature of who Jason was on the surface level and he eventually betrays her after the in the events following the Argonautica. However, the young Medea possesses a strange duality, and attempts to resist Kypris’s bewitchment/programming at the medial level of her existence. “From her eyes flowed tears of pity, and within her the pain wore her away, smouldering through her flesh[…]where the ache and hurt drive deepest, where the tireless Loves shoot their pains into the heart. At one moment she thought that she would give [Jason] the drugs as charms against the bulls; then she would not, but would herself face death; then she would not die and would not give the drugs but with the calmness would endure her misery just as she was.” (Apollonius 84) Lashing out against her false predispositions of love for Jason she tries to talk herself into suicide, “much better would it be to end my life here in my room on this very night, in a death without explanation, and thus to escape all the bitter accusations before doing these awful, unimaginable things.” (84-5) This is her failed attempt to rebel, through suicide, against those things caused by Kypris’s unwanted programming. That is, those programs which are unrecognizable to her unchangeable self at the core level.
Medea alone spiritually finances Jason’s ill-fated quest for the golden fleece through magic. What is important to understand is that despite Medea’s clouded emotional state she is able to act decisively keeping in mind Jason’s promise to marry her. Medea’s magic is strong because she remains motivated and free from distraction having “no doubts how to act.” (85) The best example of this occurs in Crete where she places the evil eye upon the boulder throwing Talos, “Three times did she beseech and call upon [the Keres, devourers of spirit] with incantations, and three times with prayers. Her mind set upon evil, she cast a spell upon bronze Talos’s eyes with her malevolent glances; against him her teeth ground out bitter fury, and she sent out dark phantoms in the vehemence of her wrath.” (138)
While I would like to propose that Medea may have ended up being much more powerful had her heart not been overcome by Kypris’s magic, I believe that the experience of her emotions leading her around by the tongue equipped her with the ability to be much more decisive in the events following the Argonautica. Euripedes presents her as a woman no longer overcome by fear of pulling the so-called proverbial “trigger.” This incarnation of Medea is rebellious and vengeful, but she is also one awakened and completely in control of her emotions. In fact, she is so much in control that she is finally capable of bypassing Kypris’s programming at the medial level. Ipsissimus Webb proposes that “magical happiness is the state of knowing who you are” (Webb 9) on the medial level of the self. Breaking free from this programming, Medea begins to examine her motivations because she has finally discovered how to “know [her] character” and arrive at magical happiness. (9) “Things have gone badly every way. No doubt of that[…]Do you think I would ever have fawned on that man unless I had some end to gain or profit in it? I would not even spoken or touched him with my hands.” (Euripides 12-3) This is Medea’s core level dynamism appearing–blossoming for the very first time.
Apollonius’s allegory of Medea’s prospective self-murder represents her lack of motivation to complete something she started. It is important to note, however, that Medea was only considering suicide because her core self was compromised with Eros’s unwanted programming. Being in love with Jason, at her core level, was something she did not desire. In Euripides’s incarnation of Medea she chooses a path of self-transformation in which she will “make dead bodies” (Euripides 13) of her enemies which includes killing off the civilized programmed version of herself with a corrosive poison “of-all devouring fire.” (38) Jason’s new bride, Glauce, mirrors the sort of woman Medea could’ve become had she not sorted through the emotional clutter of the medial self and chose a path of self-transformation. Glauce “took the gorgeous robe and dressed herself in it, and put the golden crown around her curly locks, and arranged the set of the hair in the shining mirror, and smiled at the lifeless image of herself in it.” (37-8) The corrosive poison transforms Glauce during the course of this scene and is described as “hard to be recognized[…]from the top of her head there oozed out blood and fire mixed together. Like the drops of pine-bark, so the flesh from her bones dropped away, torn by the hidden fang of poison.” (39)
The deaths of Medea’s children and Glauce represent the emotional clutter of her medial self. By removing them from the equation she is capable of regaining her true self at the core level by becoming wholly autonomous, “a traitress to [her] father and [her] native land” (43) and to Greek society. No longer bound by the dregs of her programming, Medea emerges as an individual against the whole of humanity–highly conscious and highly antinomian.
The highly conscious individual is constantly at arms with forces that interfere with progress, especially those forces that exist within our medial selves. The first step on the road towards self-transformation is shedding emotional servitude. We can accomplish this through the not-so-simple act of “completing the circle.” That is, committing ourselves to finish what we start even if unwanted programming that exists within the medial level of the self tells us otherwise. The Left Hand Path is a boundless sea cloaked by darkness. As a witch, staying motivated to accomplish a task is remaining afloat in this sea. Losing motivation, however, whether it be from lack of interest or lack of drive is to drown there.
The Satanic Puritan
Apollonius of Rhodes. “Jason and the Golden Fleece.” Trans. Richard Hunter. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Print.
Euripides. “Medea.” Trans. Rex Warner. New York: Dover Publications, 1993. Print.
Webb, Don. “Uncle Setnakt’s Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path.” Smithville: Rûna-Raven Press, 1999. Print.