For the purpose of human focus…
There are two realms, as we can observe two domains of behaviour in nature. Those that we see as supportive and those we see as malignant, and throughout human history there have been people who have been drawn to the study and even the use of what others consider to be malignant forces. Even the otherwise respected path of exorcism involves embracing an understanding of spirits and forces that people consider potentially corrupting to be aware of. This is the origin of the idea that the Prince of Lies can tempt people into worship. Not because this being has the ability to pervert the divine order, but rather because man is subject to persuasion from potentially any source. This entity was known as Ahriman to the Magi. He has gone by many names in many cultures.
Satan? Also known as Samael, Iblis, Melek Taus.
Mara? Also Mara in the feminine. Same spirit. This is another aspect of Hermeticism. The insight that there is a universal theurgy running under all individual cultures, present in all individual minds, and that the same divinities would arise no matter what course a culture took in its understanding but just going by different names.
Hermeticism is Gnostic among its other attributes. It differs from some schools of Gnosis in deliberately not taking a subjectivist stance. They firmly believe in an underlying, objective and persistent physical and metaphysical reality, and their study was just the effort to attain insight into this absolute reality.
Gnosticism is more subjective experience? Gnosticism runs the spectrum of objective and subjective views.
Now in the Dark Hermetic practices, the seeker makes a point of tapping into what we might today call vices. To hermetic thinking, lust isn’t just a subjective or personal behaviour, it’s a cosmic principle as would be rage, ambition.
Love? Love is a spirit in Hermeticism, yes, but it is considered to be of the light. Dark Hermeticism is the pessimistic facet of their school, where mainstream Hermeticism would resemble optimism.
Is lust the dark mirror of love? For the purpose of human understanding, yes, but this gets us into the first and most primary symbol of Hermeticism, the triangle.
What is the point in taping into vices in Hermeticism? About to get into that.
The third point between the light and dark sides of reality is what we would call the actual. That which is evident, or manifests in our experience. Both the light and the dark remain in the realm of Plato’s pure forms. Nothing actually happens until the two principles interact. Procreation would fall into the realm of the actual, as would healing and disaster, really any literally physical event.
Now to answer your question, it’s always been known that humanity at large is very poor at multitasking. So some hermetic seekers gave primary attention to the dark forces as a way to arm themselves against their behaviour or influence in life, or to harness what they may have believed to be more potent sources of energy, as it does seem even in our modern era that it’s always the bad stuff that has the biggest impact.
It seems that most people always lean in one direction or the other, and focus on your weaker side may prevent any unhealthy imbalance? Perhaps so, it’s something to consider.
Does that make them more limited? If the emphasis is to increase their own power, it actually does. Because to have power one gets locked into the service of power. It has to be maintained. Where as a more peaceful center would be more freeing in general, but that peace isn’t arrived at by any form of zealousness or Puritanism either.
But the universe always balances itself. When one drops the ball another picks it up. Exactly.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.