An interview with Laurie Pneumatikos
Initiated into the Freemasonry order Le Droit Human Freemasonry order as Master Mason, Psychiatric Nurse, and Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition. Laurie is also Host in LHP Consortium.
Pneumatikos discovered the Left Hand Path shortly after leaving the Christian faith in 1998. After witnessing numerous abuses and becoming increasingly appalled by the rampant homophobia and misogyny in the church, Pneumatikos began to question her faith and educate herself on the roots of religion and philosophy.
During this period she declared herself an Atheist and went through a brief ‘conspiracy’ phase. But instead of reacting negatively, she became enamored by the magnificent symbolism on one of the most popular Freemason conspiracy sites at that time. The divine message of the symbols turned out to resonate so strongly that she turned her investigations toward the study of sacred geometry, astro-theology, astro-mythology, philosophy, Freemasonry, ancient religions, archaeology, ceremonial magick, chaos magick, and quantum physics.
Pneumatikos initiated into two local esoteric orders and the global Freemasonry order Le Droit Human (LDH), based in Paris, France. While no longer active in the local esoteric orders, she maintains active Master Mason status in LDH.
Shortly before initiating into Freemasonry, she realized that her own personal philosophy most closely resonated with the Left Hand Path – that of self-empowerment through education and self-exploration. She is a published author and presenter and has taught classes in Sigil Magick and the Tarot at various Pagan, esoteric, and paranormal events in the Indianapolis area.
She equates the figure of Lucifer with that of Prometheus – the Titan who took back fire from the gods and returned it to mankind. She sees both these figures as archetypes, not actual beings. And after overcoming a childhood full of abuse and witnessing further abuses in the church, she realized that the most deadly public enemy is ignorance and vowed to devote her life to learning, growing, and spreading the Light of Knowledge and Wisdom.
In July, 2014, Pneumatikos hosted a Left Hand Path conference in Indianapolis, Indiana which featured writers and artists Taylor Ellwood, Corvis Nocturnum, Rev Bill Duvendack, Dave Smith, Michael Ford, Laurielei Black, Andrieh Vitimus, Keith Mingus, Francisco Divine Mania, Ken Henson, Lucian Pharoe, Lydia Workman, Tasha Menary, Typhon Draconis, and James Wilbur.
Pneumatikos works as a psychiatric nurse and has worked as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (Child Advocate) for 5 years. She is currently in the process of writing two books and planning another Left Hand Path Conference which will take place in 2016 which this interview derives from. Among many artist, musicians, hosts Jaene Selestra and Tessa Wlyd will be presenters: Dr. Thomas Karlsson, Edgar Kerval, Corvis Nocturnum, Mona Magick, Bill Duvendack, Caleb Storms, Andrew Wiseman, Lucian Black, Jake Block, Robert Podgurski, Rachel Summers, Typhon Draconis, Toby Chappell, El Bee Kanobe, Zach Black, Kerry Lynn, Craig Williams, and Lukasz Grochocki
A short interview with Laurie Pneumatikos, Inside the LHP Consortium:
What was your original reason for bringing everyone together for the International LHP Consortium and has that reason grown to something different with this years event?
Our reason has always been to help facilitate the spiritual and intellectual evolution of mankind by bringing together various occult writers, musicians, and artists so that they could network and collaborate on real world projects. That reason has not changed or grown into anything else. We see the Left Hand Path as more of a super highway with a lot of independent, parallel pathways. Some are more radical and controversial than others but we never had a problem with it. We feel strongly that we should feature people from different walks of life; even those we don’t agree with from an ideological or political standpoint.
To the mainstream public, most Occultist and those within the Esoteric Artes are referred as being eccentric, to some even accused as going through mental psychosis (undiagnosed). As you’re in the medical field of psychiatric health, how would you like to educate the company of such ignorance?
We touched on that briefly in the interview, and I was pleasantly surprised and happy to be able to put my two cents in, so to speak. Many people think there is a fine line between sanity and psychosis but for those of us in the mental health field, the criteria for diagnosing mental illness is spelled out quite clearly in the DSM-V. As a nurse, I am not the person who does the diagnosing; however, my experience working in a state psychiatric hospital taught me that there is no comparison between a functional occultist and a dysfunctional mental patient. Let’s face it, everyone has ‘issues’ and goes through unhealthy stages in life and experiences low points. And we all have addictions; whether it is an addiction to online gaming or smoking, it doesn’t matter. But to say a practicing occultist who is a functioning member of society has some sort of mental illness would be a huge stretch; and I would invite those who try to take look at their own spiritual beliefs.
The dominant belief in America is Christianity and many of its adherents believe in the literal veracity of the Bible, i.e., talking snakes, virgin birth, and miracles. And when Christians claim that their God speaks to them, are they considered schizophrenic? No. Should Christianity be declared a mental illness? No. And there are three reasons why. First, every psych 101 textbook will tell you that mental illness is defined by cultural norms. Second, true psychosis renders the patient dysfunctional. In other words, they are unable to live a functional life within society without medical intervention. While there are some occultists and some Christians who may fit those criteria, most do not. The third reason a person’s spiritual beliefs and practices should not be considered a mental illness is because it becomes a slippery slope. Who then defines which is an acceptable religious belief and which is not?
To work with so many from diverse paths it takes a lot of tolerance and patience. I know that within my own work, I have come across a lot of personalities, views I resonate with, and some that have challenged me to a multifaceted perspective and awareness. What challenges have you had to manage within putting together the LHP Consortium?
One challenge that was rather surprising to me is that many Satanists see the LHP as purely Satanic, and expressed outrage that two non-Satanists would get together with a Satanist to create this event. Other Satanists see the left hand path as separate from Satanism and expressed that they were at odds with it which really puzzled me. This made me realize that a lot of dogma had been attached to the so-called left hand path, so I made it a point to define the left hand path for myself as an individual journey toward self-empowerment. But I must add a caveat that I am not qualified to define or shape the left hand path because nobody is. This is why I simplified my own definition and kept the dogma out of it.
This year we added some controversial presenters and two of our other presenters were pressured into canceling long after we originally announced the controversial presenters. During that time, I was being admonished by others who said that I was redefining the left hand path! I responded by stating that nobody can redefine the left hand path; least of all me! The mere thought of it was laughable!
We stuck by the controversial presenters because the LHP is a controversial and unconventional path, and we felt that it was necessary to give them a voice even when we disagreed with them. However, we were forced to withdraw our invitation based on legal and safety issues only. And that decision provoked two other presenters into cancelling; proving yet again that the LHP is an individual one and there is no way you can please everyone. This is not your grandmother’s quilting bee and there is no room for butt-hurt. We are all individuals and many of us are temperamental and have type A personalities; therefore occasional drama is inevitable. At the end of the day, I respect the decisions of all of the people who left and their honesty about reasons for leaving.
However, while we have been bending over backwards to respect the individual rights of our presenters, we must draw the line at provoking violence at our event. When there is a threat of violence, it ceases to be an esoteric conference and becomes more like a medieval brawl. We are not here to reenact a scene from Game of Thrones or a Trump rally. So after 30 minutes of intense debate, we made a tough call and cancelled one of our presenters because of a statement he made on our public event page inviting his detractors to kill him. Since then, we have been criticized by people representing both sides of the issue.
The bottom line is you can’t please everyone, and we are not in the business to please everyone. We walk the left hand path and our decisions are based on what is right for our guests and ourselves. The Left Hand Path Consortium is a labor of love that we have nurtured with our time, energy and money only to be maligned when we rescue it from the clutches of those who were attempting to turn it into a platform for their own self-aggrandizement and advocating violence.
So be it. We have an amazing line-up of presenters and all of this drama is detracting from them, which is another reason we made that call.
As many are not finding what they seek within the conventional religions and want to take spirituality deeper within the currents, are you finding that people are diving into a territory that they may not be prepared to take within the LHP? It is not to say that one path should be preliminary to the other, but within many teachings of the LHP there are territories that one cannot backtrack…
I think there are a lot of territories where you cannot backtrack. In fact you cannot back track life itself, so those territories present excellent life lessons. Those who choose to go deeper into their spiritual paths will eventually find their level of comfort or discomfort. Either way, they will learn something. Personally, I have done a lot of dumb things and made a lot of silly mistakes in my life, but now I look back and realize they were not mistakes; they were opportunities for learning. And all of those dumb things I did led me to where I am now.
So in that manner, I am thrilled to see so many young people break out of the common pattern of societal indoctrination and think for themselves. It is truly wonderful to discover your path at a young age and to become a role model for empowering others. However, I am concerned that in the internet age, many inexperienced, armchair occultists are writing and publishing books and marketing their spirituality like commercial business rather than taking the necessary time to explore different paths and gain more experience in their chosen current first. I have nothing against turning your passion into a living, but many ‘adepts’ are using glitzy make-up, clothing and spooky photos to cash in, and perpetuating Hollywood’s mythical view of the occult.
Fortunately, there are many genuine esoteric practitioners who have done the real work and have something relevant to say about it. And they tend to be the humble folks who find all the spooky make-up and props unnecessary; they are far less flashy and more down to earth and approachable. Personally, I found that the size of a person’s ego and level of drama they create is inversely proportionate to their level of knowledge and wisdom.
Though the LHP Consortium in 8-10th April, there’s going to be vast amount of talent under, the line-up you’ve got is just impressively spectacular… has the bar been raised this year?
We certainly raised the bar this time by providing a three day event which includes a masked ball and a free art show. We have many famous authors, artists, and musicians coming and although there have been some changes in our line-up but we still have the most epic lineup ever with you, Dr. Thomas Karlsson, Edgar Kerval, Corvis Nocturnum, Bill Duvendack, Toby Chappell, Caleb Storms, Rachel Summers, Andrew Wiseman, Jake Block, El Bee Kanobe, Kerry Lynn, Zach Black, Robert Podgurski, Craig Williams, Lucian Black, Lukasz Grochocki, and Typhon Draconis.
Which are reflected on these pages: http://lefthandpathcon.com/ which is updated daily and will contain the more updated information about our line-up. The other page is updated weekly, but contains the link for ticket sales: http://lefthandpath.us/
We also keep the Facebook event page updated here: https://www.facebook.com/events/527193350756729/
Shea Bilé – Tzimtzum
Credits and Links:
Personal Site: http://pneumatikos93.com
- Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Electronics
- Associate of Science in Nursing (RN)
International Left Hand Path Consortium – 2016
Facebook Event Page
Georgia LHP Meetup