In Jewish mythology, Samael is the husband of Lilith, Samael is an epithet of the Devil, and Lilith encountered him after her escape from the Garden of Eden. Together they gave birth to all the seductive, demonic offspring that populate Gamaliel. Samael is the great tempter, and he tempts with knowledge. In the Sepher Yetzirah, an old Qabalistic manuscript, Samael corresponds to occult wisdom, and it is within the Samael Qlipha that the true initiation on the Left Hand Path takes place. All common conceptions and perspectives of the world are questioned on this Qlipha. The magician who has reached this level will be able to see through the rules and ethical laws that have imprisoned us in a psychic censorship that darkens a large part of our consciousness. On this level, the magician will confront all these rules and ethical laws by making them conscious. Thus one receives a personal understanding of the functions of existence and individually decides what is right or wrong, good and evil. In this sense, Samael is the tempter who entices man into eating the fruits of knowledge. He also reveals the beauty of the world and points downwards, inwards, instead of up towards the kingdom of Heaven. Samael is the blasphemer who destroys illusion with his intellect. Samael deconstructs conceptions and ideas to their tiniest components. Psychedelic and surrealistic art might offer a glimpse of the Samael Qlipha, and the deconstruction of language that can be found in Dadaism can be used in magical work with Samael.
Hod is the bright side of Samael. Hod represents the intellect and belongs to the higher astral level. Samael is the dark intellect that can be perceived as madness, the originality and genius that is active outside the frames of reason and the conventions of civilization. Numerous scientists, writers and artists have touched the domains of Samael. The intellect of Edgar Allan Poe seems to have been occasionally influenced by Samael, and the following words that he wrote about himself present a good summary of the form of intelligence that is Samael:
Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence – whether much that is glorious, whether all that is profound – does not spring from disease of thought – from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.
On the Samael Qlipha, the magician makes a pact with the dark forces and realizes the invitation of Friedrich Nietzsche to re-evaluate old values. Insanity becomes wisdom; death becomes life, Samael is the ‘Poison of God’. Here is where illusions are poisoned, and all categories and conceptions are deconstructed until nothing is left. The dark side of the astral plane could be compared to a chalice filled with poison or an intoxicating fluid. While Gamaliel is the chalice, Samael is the elixir and the following Qlipha, A’arab Zaraq, is where the magician experiences the effect. The consumption of the poison is a decisive rite de passage marking the transition from one state to another. Among certain primitive tribes and shamanic cultures, the bite of a poisonous snake has been associated with initiation (sometimes in the more drastic form that causes the death of the initiate). More common, however, is that the initiate has emptied a cup containing some form of potent hallucinogen. The poison of Samael causes an initiatory death of the mundane personality of the dark magician. In its place, the true will is released corresponding to the Beast and Thagirion.
Samael is the Qlipha of the trickster. The trickster is the mythological character transmitting both wisdom and insanity. The Nordic god Loke has the qualities of a trickster and is both wise and cunning, as well as the cause of many problems. In the myths of the North American Indians, the Coyote is often a trickster character. The trickster can be a bringer of culture who imparts abilities and objects that can be both blessings and curses. A good example is the fire that can bring heat, but also burns. The symbolical initiation into the mysteries of fire belongs to the initiation on the Left Hand Path and thus, also, to the Samael Qlipha. The magician swears an oath on the Samael level and thus gains control of the Kundalini, ‘the energy of life’, and the inner fire. The dark magical initiation is a process that can be painful since it overthrows old conceptions. The dark magician develops his magical identity on Samael and can view the world with new eyes. The conceptions that are broken down by the poison of Samael will arise in a new and purer form when the magician reaches the higher worlds. The peacock demon, Adramelech, corresponding to individuality, beauty and all seeings, rules Samael. The magician abandons the ethical barriers that can prevent magical completion. Ethical values are replaced by aesthetic values. Samael poisons the moralistic barriers that hinder the magician’s artistic self-creation.