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Necronomicon

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Heather Delaria
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« on: November 02, 2007, 12:04:19 am »


What is the Necronomicon?


The Necronomicon of Alhazred, (literally: "Book of Dead Names") is not, as is popularly believed, a grimoire, or sorcerer's spell-book. It was conceived as a history, and hence "a book of things now dead and gone". An alternative derivation of the word Necronomicon gives as its meaning "the book of the customs of the dead", but again this is consistent with the book's original conception as a history, not as a work of necromancy.

The author of the book shared with Madame Blavatsky a magpie-like tendency to garner and stitch together fact, rumour, speculation, and complete balderdash, and the result is a vast and almost unreadable compendium of near-nonsense which bears more than a superficial resemblance to Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine.

In times past the book has been referred to guardedly as Al Azif , and also The Book of the Arab. Azif is a word the Arabs use to refer to nocturnal insects, but it is also a reference to the howling of demons (Djinn). The Necronomicon was written in seven volumes, and runs to over 900 pages in the Latin edition.

Where and when was the Necronomicon written?
The Necronomicon was written in Damascus in 730 A.D. by Abdul Alhazred.


Who was Abdul Alhazred?
Little is known. What we do know about him is largely derived from the small amount of biographical information in the Necronomicon itself. He was born in Sanaa in the Yemen. We know that he travelled widely, from Alexandria to the Punjab, and was well read. He spent many years alone in the uninhabited wilderness to the south of Arabia. He had a flair for languages, and boasts on many occasions of his ability to read and translate manuscripts which defied lesser scholars. His research methodology however smacked more of Nostradamus than Herodotus.

As Nostradamus himself puts it in Quatrains 1 & 2:

"Sitting alone at night in secret study;

it is placed on the brass tripod.

A slight flame comes out of the emptiness

and makes successful that which should

not be believed in vain.

The wand in the hand is placed

in the middle of the tripod's legs.

With water he sprinkles both the hem

of his garment and his foot.

A voice, fear; he trembles in his robes.

Divine splendour; the god sits nearby."

Just as Nostradamus used ceremonial magic to probe the future, so Alhazred used similar techniques (and an incense composed of olibanum, storax, dictamnus, opium and hashish) to clarify the past, and it is this, combined with a lack of references, which has resulted in the Necronomicon being dismissed as largely worthless by historians.

He is often referred to as "the mad Arab" or "the mad Poet", and while he was certainly eccentric by modern standards, there is no evidence to substantiate a claim of madness (other than his chronic inability to sustain a train of thought for more than a few paragraphs before leaping off at a tangent). It is interesting that the word for madness ("majnun") has an older meaning of "djinn possessed", the significance of which will become clear below (see What are the Old Ones?). Alhazred is better compared with figures such as the Greek neoplatonist philosopher Proclus (410 - 485 A.D.). Proclus was completely at home in astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, and metaphysics, but was sufficiently well-versed in the magical techniques of theurgy to evoke Hekate to visible appearance. Proclus was also an initiate of Egyptian and Chaldean mystery religions. It is no accident that Alhazred was intimately familar with the works of Proclus.

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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2007, 12:06:30 am »

What is the printing history of the Necronomicon?
No Arabic manuscript is known to exist. The author Idries Shah carried out a search in the libraries of Deobund in India, Al-Azhar in Egypt, and the Library of the Holy City of Mecca, without success. A Latin translation was made in 1487 (not in the 17th. century as Lovecraft maintains) by a Dominican priest Olaus Wormius. Wormius, a German by birth, was a secretary to the first Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, Tomas de Torquemada, and it is likely that the manuscript of the Necronomicon came into his possession during the persecution of Spanish Moors ("Moriscos") who had been converted to Catholicism under duress and did not exhibit the necessary level of enthusiasm for the doctrines of the Church.

It was an act of sheer folly for Wormius to translate and print the Necronomicon at that time and place. The book must have held an obsessive fascination for the man, because he was finally charged with heresy and burned after sending a copy of the book to Johann Tritheim, Abbot of Spanheim (better known as "Trithemius"). The accompanying letter contained a detailed and blasphemous interpretation of certain passages in the Book of Genesis. Virtually all the copies of Wormius's translation were seized and burned with him, although there is the inevitable suspicion that at least one copy must have found its way into the Vatican Library.



Almost one hundred years later, in 1586, a copy of Wormius's Latin translation surfaced in Prague. Dr. John Dee (left), the famous English magician, and his assistant Edward Kelly (below, right) were at the court of the Emperor Rudolph II to discuss plans for making alchemical gold, and Kelly bought the copy from the so-called "Black Rabbi", the Kabbalist and alchemist Jacob Eliezer, who had fled to Prague from Italy after accusations of necromancy. At that time Prague had become a magnet for magicians, alchemists and charlatans of every kind under the patronage of Rudolph, and it is hard to imagine a more likely place in Europe for a copy to surface.

The Necronomicon appears to have had a marked influence on Kelly, because the character of his scrying changed, and he produced an extraordinary communication which struck horror into the Dee household. Crowley interpeted this as an abortive first attempt of an extra-human entity to communicate the Thelemic Book of the Law. Kelly left Dee shortly afterwards. Dee translated the Necronomicon into English while warden of Christ's College, Manchester, but contrary to Lovecraft, this translation was never printed - the manuscript passed into the collection of the great collector Elias Ashmole, and hence to the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Parts of the Necronomicon were translated into Hebrew (probably in 1664) and circulated in manuscript form, accompanied by an extensive commentary by Nathan of Gaza, mystical apologist for the pseudo-messiah Sabbatai Tzevi. This version was titled the Sepher ha-Sha'are ha-Daath, (the Book of the Gates of Knowledge). The story surrounding this version is so unusual that it is treated fully below (see Who was Nathan of Gaza).

There are many modern fakes masquerading as the Necronomicon. They can be recognised by a total lack of imagination or intelligence, qualities Alhazred possessed in abundance.

What is the content of the Necronomicon?
The book is best known for its antediluvian speculations. Alhazred appears to have had access to many sources now lost, and events which are only hinted at in Genesis or the apocryphal Book of Enoch, or disguised as mythology in other sources, are explored in great detail. Alhazred may have used dubious magical techniques to clarify the past, but he also shared with the 5th. century B.C. Greek writers such as Thucydides a critical mind, and a willingness to explore the meanings of mythological and sacred stories. His speculations are remarkably modern, and this may account for his current popularity. He believed that many species besides the human race had inhabited the Earth, and that much knowledge was passed to mankind in encounters with beings from "beyond the spheres" or from "other spheres". He shared with some Neoplatonists the belief that the stars are similar to our sun, and have their own unseen planets with their own lifeforms, but elaborated this belief with a good deal of metaphysical speculation in which these beings were part of a cosmic hierarchy of spiritual evolution. He was also convinced that he had contacted beings he called the "Old Ones" using magical invocations, and warned of terrible powers waiting to return to re-claim the Earth. He interpreted this belief (most surprisingly!) in the light of the Apocalypse of St. John, but reversed the ending so that the Beast triumphs after a great war in which the earth is laid waste.

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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2007, 12:08:37 am »

What are the "Old Ones"?

It is abundantly clear that Alhazred elaborated upon existing traditions of the "Old Ones", and he did not invent these traditions. According to Alhazred, the Old Ones were beings from "beyond the spheres", presumably the spheres of the planets, and in the cosmography of that period this would imply the region of the fixed stars or beyond. They were superhuman and extrahuman. They mated with humans and begat monstrous offspring. They passed forbidden knowledge to humankind. They were forever seeking a channel into our plane of existence.

This is virtually identical to the Jewish tradition of the Nephilim (the giants of Genesis 6.2 - 6.5). The word literally means "the Fallen Ones" and is derived from the Hebrew verb root naphal, to fall. The story in Genesis is only a fragment of a larger tradition, another piece of which can be found in the apocryphal Book of Enoch. According to this source, a group of angels sent to watch over the Earth saw the daughters of men and lusted after them. Unwilling to act individually, they swore an oath and bound themselves together, and two hundred of these "Watchers" descended to earth and took themselves wives. Their wives bore giant offspring. The giants turned against nature and began to "sin against birds and beasts and reptiles and fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood". The fallen angels taught how to make weapons of war, and jewellery, and cosmetics, and enchantments, and astrology, and other secrets.

These separate legends are elaborated in later Jewish sources such as the Talmud, which make it clear that Enoch and Genesis refer to the same tradition. The great flood of Genesis was a direct response to the evil caused by humankind's commerce with fallen angels. The fallen angels were cast out and bound:

"And I proceeded to where things were chaotic. And I saw something horrible: I saw neither a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth, but a place chaotic and horrible. And there I saw seven stars of the heaven bound together in it, like great mountains, and burning with fire. Then I said: 'For what sin have they been bound, and on what account have they been cast in hither?' Then said Uriel, one of the holy angels who was with me, and was chief over them and said: 'Enoch, why dost thou ask, and why art thou eager for the truth? These are the number of the stars of heaven which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and are bound here till ten thousand years, the time entailed by their sins, are consummated.'"

Arab traditions hold that the Jinn or Djinn were a race of superhuman beings which existed before the creation of humankind. The Djinn were created from fire. Some traditions make them a lesser race than human beings, but folk-tales invariably endowed them with unlimited magical powers, and the Djinn survive to this day as the genies of the Arabian Nights and Disney's Aladdin. Islam has subordinated the Djinn to the Koran, and like elves and fairies they have lost their dark and extremely sinister qualities with the passage of time. In Alhazred's time the older and darker traditions of the Djinn were still current, and Arab magicians ("muqarribun") would attempt to gain forbidden knowledge and power through commerce with the Djinn.

How are the "Old Ones" Evoked?
It is now generally agreed by occult scholars that the Enochian system of Dee and Kelly was directly inspired by those sections of the Necronomicon which deal with Alhazred's techniques for evoking the Old Ones. It must be remembered that the Necronomicon was primarily intended as a history, and while it provides some practical details and formulae, it is hardly a step-by-step beginner's guide to summoning praetor-human intelligences. Dee and Kelly had to fill in many details themselves, so their system is a hybrid of ideas taken from the Necronomicon and techniques of their own invention There seems little doubt that the Sigellum Dei Aemeth (above), the Enochian language, and the Enochian Calls or Keys are authentic borrowings, and we must doubt Dee's claim that Kelly received them from the archangel Uriel. Bulwer Lytton, who studied Dee's manuscript of the Necronomicon in the last century, asserts bluntly that they were transcribed directly from the book, and if they were received from Uriel, then it was Alhazred who did the receiving!.

The very name of their system, "Enochian", is a clue, if there were no other, that it was inspired by the age-old traditions recorded in the Book of Enoch, and it was Dee and Kelly's intention to contact the Nephilim, or Great Old Ones. The manuscript of the Book of Enoch was lost until the late 17th. century, and Dee would have had access to only the few fragments quoted in other manuscripts, so the name of their system would be somewhat enigmatic if we did not know that they had access to Alhazred's compilation of legends concerning the Fall and the end of the world. There is no doubt that Alhazred would have had access to the Book of Enoch, as it was current throughout the Middle East in the ninth century.

Another clue can be found in the Call of the Thirty Aethyrs, the nineteenth of the Enochian Calls. Aleister Crowley called this Call "the original curse on the Creation". It is uttered as if by God, and is an appalling (and immensely literate [1] ) curse on the world, humankind, and all its creatures, ending, "And why? It repenteth me that I have made Man."

This is identical to the sentiment of Genesis 6.6 where it states "And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart". This verse immediately follows the verses which describe the evil done by the Nephilim and the resulting sinfulness of the world, and it is followed by God's decision to wipe out all the life on earth with a great flood. Aleister Crowley, using his immense knowledge of the Bible, recognised the Call of the Thirty Aethyrs for what it was: God's curse on the Nephilim and the evil they had caused. It was this curse which cast them out of the earth and consigned them to the Abyss.

It is difficult to underrate this clue. To summarise: the key or gate to exploring the thirty Aethyrs is a Call in the Enochian language, said by Dee to be the language of the angels, and this Call is the curse by which the Nephilim were assigned to the Abyss in the first place. This is consistent with an age-old practice for controlling demonic power: whatever means have been used to subordinate an entity in the past can be used by the magician as a method of control. This formula is used in almost every mediaeval grimoire. In some cases the magician is quite explicit in naming precisely those occasions where the entity has been controlled by means of a formula. The entry into the thirty Aethyrs begins with a divine curse because it is a means to assert control over the entities it evokes: the Nephilim. The Fallen Ones. The Great Old Ones. This establishes beyond any doubt that the Enochian system of Dee and Kelly was identical in spirit, and almost certainly in practice, to the system of Alhazred as described in the Necronomicon.

Crowley knew. One of his most important pieces of magical work (recorded in The Vision and the Voice) was his attempt to penetrate the Aethyrs using the Enochian Calls. He did this while crossing the North African desert in the company of the poet Victor Neuberg. Why the desert? Crowley says he had "no special magical object" in going there, and he "just happened" to have the Enochian Calls in his rucksack. He is dissembling. He chose the desert for this work because he had had difficulty in entering into the 28th. Aethyr during his initial investigations in Mexico, and wanted to reproduce Alhazred's praxis as closely as possible. Alhazred carried out his more significant investigations while wandering in the Rub al Khali, a vast and empty desert wasteland in the south of Arabia - the remoteness from other human beings helped to shift his consciousness into the utterly alien perspectives of the Aethyrs. Crowley had read Alhazred's account (see below) and it was in his nature to attempt to emulate people he particularly respected and admired - he spent a good part of his life trying to outdo the exploits of Richard Burton, the explorer, adventurer, writer, linguist and field researcher into obscure oriental sexual practices.

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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2007, 12:10:43 am »

Why is the Necronomicon connected with Norse mythology?
The apocalyptic nature of Norse myth, and detailed comparisons between Ragnorok and events prophesised by Alhazred, have caused a number of commentators to speculate whether there might be a connection, however unlikely this must seem at first sight. Recent research has revealed a bizarre and completely unexpected link.

In Norse myth the gods of the earth and humankind, the Aesir and Vanas, exist against a backdrop of older, hostile powers, represented by the frost and fire giants who dwelled to the north and south of the Great Abyss Ginnunga-gap, and also by Loki (fire) and his monstrous offspring. At Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods, these old powers return once more and lock in mortal combat. Most deadly of these adversaries is Surtur and the fire giants of Muspelheim, who complete the destruction of the world.

This is essentially Alhazred's prophecy of the return of the Old Ones. This is Crowley's prophecy of the Aeon of Horus, the god of conquering fire. The fire giants of Muspelheim are none other than the Djinn, and it is even plausible that Surtur is a corruption of Surturiel. Uriel, the angel set to watch over the Nephilim, is named after the Hebrew word for fire. Like Surtur, he carries a fiery sword.

Uriel comes up again and again in connection with the Necronomicon. While ostensibly one of the mighty archangels of the Presence of God, there is a shadow side which surfaces from time to time and one wonders whether he guards the Nephilim or commands them.
This could reflect our ambivalence towards fire, but it could also be that angels and Old Ones are the flip sides of the same coin.

These links between Alhazred's Necronomicon and the myth of Ragnorok, frail though they may seem, are no longer believed to be a coincidence, and the story of how the Necronomicon arrived in Iceland is quite remarkable. The story begins in the town of Harran in northern Mesopotamia.

The town of Harran was remarkable in that while the rest of the region was conquered by the Arabs in 633-643 A.D. and converted to Islam, the Harranians did not. They continued to practice paganism and worshipped the moon and the seven planets. Even more remarkable was the fact that they possessed large numbers of hermetic and neoplatonic documents, and when they were eventually pressed (in A.D. 830) to name a prophet "approved" by the Koran, they named Hermes Trimegistus and his teacher Agathos Daemon. Many Harranians moved to Baghdad where they maintained a distinct community and were known as Sabians. Their familiarity with Greek gave them access to a wide range of literature, and many became famous in areas such as philosophy, logic, astronomy, mathematics and medicine. Alhazred speaks of the Sabians and describes them as being "famous for lore and knowledge of things long gone". It is highly probable he studied with them. It was a learned community that had managed to maintain direct links with the paganism, philosophy and secret traditions of both the Arab and Greek worlds long after they had been proscribed elsewhere.

The Sabians survived as a distinct community up to the 11th. century, but the forces of Islamic orthodoxy increased to the point where we hear nothing of them after about the year 1050. It was about that time (Norse sources imply a date of 1041 or 1042) that a large body of documents arrived in Byzantium and came into the hands of Michael Psellus, the famous historian, neoplatonist and demonologist. The bulk of the documents formed what has know come to be known as the Corpus Hermeticum, but there were other documents, including a Syriac copy of Al Azif, which Psellus promptly translated into Greek. There seems little doubt that a prominent Sabian must have moved from Baghdad to Byzantium in a search for a more tolerant atmosphere. Whether he found it is unclear!

The 11th. century was what the Chinese call "interesting times". Duke William of Normandy invaded England and killed King Harold Godwinson. King Harold Godwinson's daughter married Prince Vladimir Monomakh of Kiev (whose own mother was the daughter of Constantine IX Monomachus of Byzantium). The Russians, assisted by large numbers of Scandanavians, invaded Byzantium in 1043, an event witnessed by Michael Psellus himself standing at the side of the Emperor. Harald Hadrada ("the Ruthless"), who later became king of Norway, joined the Byzantine army with a large following of northmen ("Varanger"), campaigned widely, and ripped out the eyes of the Byzantine emperor Michael Caliphates in 1042. King Harald Hadrada of Norway invaded England in 1066 and was killed by King Harold Godwinson ... who was killed by Duke William at the Battle of Hastings. There are few soap operas to compare with these pan-European goings-on. So much for the Dark Ages.

The popular image of Vikings in furry jerkins and horned helmets is inaccurate. They were among the best equipped and most experienced heavy infantry available at that time. Their trade routes spanned thousands of miles, from North America, to Greenland, Britain and Ireland, the entire Atlantic coast of Europe, and through Russia to Byzantium. They were employed in significant numbers as bodyguards (Varanger) to the Byzantine emperors. Most Varanger spoke fluent Greek. The exact year in which Harald went to Byzantium is unclear due to a minor mismatch between Norse and Byzantine sources, but the account in the Heimskringla claims he served the Empress Zoe the Great sometime around 1030-40. The description of their arrival in longships is spell-binding:

"Iron shielded vessels

Flaunted colourful rigging.

The great prince saw ahead

The copper roofs of Byzantium;

His swan-breasted ships swept

Towards the tall-towered city."

It was the custom in those days that when the Emperor died, the Varanger were permitted to plunder the palace and anything they laid hands on, they could keep. These were turbulent and violent times (with the Empress Zoe strangling husbands in the bath) and Harald took part in three such plunders. According to the chronicle he amassed great wealth.

Harald had two close companions, Halldor Snorrason and Ulf Ospaksson. Halldor was blunt, imperturbable and dour to the point of rudeness, the son of Snorri the Priest, a leading Icelandic chieftain. Ulf was extremely shrewd and well-spoken and eventually married Harald's sister-in-law, becoming a Marshall of Norway. He was an incorrigible schemer, a keen poet, fluent in Greek, and he like to spend time with Psellus, partly to discuss Greek poetry, but mainly to keep a finger on the pulse of Byzantine palace politics. He watched Psellus translating Al Azif, discussed its contents, and in the confusion of a palace plunder arranged for a number of Psellus's manuscripts to be "removed". Fortunately Psellus still had the original Syriac version, otherwise the Necronomicon would have been lost to history.

At this point we must conjecture. We do not know how Halldor obtained Al Azif. We know that Ulf and Halldor returned to Norway with Harald, and Halldor went back to Iceland, taking with him the story of Harald's adventure and a great deal besides. We know this because Halldor's descendent was Snorri Sturluson (1179 - 1241), the most famous figure in Icelandic literature and the author not only of the Heimskringla and many other important works but author of the Prose Edda and the source for almost all of our surviving knowledge of Norse myth. It is known that Sturluson had a large quantity of material available for his historic researches, and we can now be reasonably certain that elements from the Necronomicon were mingled with traditional Norse myth in Sturluson's description of Ragnarok.

What happened to the purloined manuscript of Michael Psellus? Good question ...

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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2007, 12:12:47 am »

Why did the novelist H.P. Lovecraft claim to have invented the Necronomicon?

The answer to this interesting question lies in two people: the poet and magician Aleister Crowley, and a Brooklyn milliner called Sonia Greene. There is no question that Crowley read Dee's translation of the Necronomicon in the Bodleian, probably while researching Dee's papers; too many passages in Crowley's "Book of the Law" read like a transcription of passages in that translation. Either that, or Crowley, who claimed to remember his life as Edward Kelly in a previous incarnation, remembered it from his previous life!

Why doesn't Crowley mention the Necronomicon in his works? He was surprisingly reticent about his real sources. There is a strong suspicion that '777', which Crowley claimed to have written, was largely plagiarised from Allan Bennet's notes. His spiritual debt to Nietzsche, which in an unguarded moment Crowley refers to as "almost an avatar of Thoth, the god of wisdom" is studiously ignored; likewise the influence of Richard Burton's "Kasidah" on his doctrine of True Will.

I suspect that the Necronomicon became an embarrassment to Crowley when he realised the extent to which he had unconsciously incorporated passages from the Necronomicon into "The Book of the Law".

In 1918 Crowley was in New York. As always, he was trying to establish his literary reputation, and was contributing to The International and Vanity Fair. Sonia Greene was an energetic and ambitious Jewish emigre with literary ambitions, and she had joined a dinner and lecture club called "Walker's Sunrise Club" (?!); it was there that she first encountered Crowley, who had been invited to give a talk on modern poetry.

It was a good match. In a letter to Norman Mudd, Crowley describes his ideal woman as

"... rather tall, muscular and plump, vivacious, ambitious, energetic, passionate, age from thirty to thirty five, probably a Jewess, not unlikely a singer or actress addicted to such amusements. She is to be 'fashionable', perhaps a shade loud or vulgar. Very rich of course."

Sonia was not an actress or singer, but qualified in other respects. She was earning what, for that time, was an enormous sum of money as a designer and seller of woman's hats. She was variously described as "Junoesque", "a woman of great charm and personal magnetism", "genuinely glamorous with powerful feminine allure", "one of the most beautiful women I have ever met", and "a learned but eccentric human phonograph". In 1918 she was thirty-five years old and a divorcee with an adolescent daughter. Crowley did not waste time as far as women were concerned; they met on an irregular basis for some months.

In 1921 Sonia Greene met the novelist H.P. Lovecraft, and in that same year Lovecraft published the first novel where he mentions Abdul Alhazred ("The Nameless City"). In 1922 he first mention the Necronomicon ("The Hound"). On March 3rd. 1924, H.P. Lovecraft and Sonia Greene married.

We do not know what Crowley told Sonia Greene, and we do not know what Sonia told Lovecraft. However, consider the following quotation from "The Call of Cthulhu" [1926]:

"That cult would never die until the stars came right again [precession of the Equinoxes?], and the secret priests would take Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild, and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstacy and freedom."

It may be brief, it may be mangled, but it has the undeniable ring of Crowley's "Book of the Law". It is easy to imagine a situation where Sonia and Lovecraft are laughing and talking in a firelit room about a new story, and Sonia introduces some ideas based on what Crowley had told her; she wouldn't even have to mention Crowley, just enough of the ideas to spark Lovecraft's imagination. There is no evidence that Lovecraft ever saw the Necronomicon, or even knew that the book existed; his Necronomicon is remarkably close to the spirit of the original, but the details are pure invention, as one would expect. There is no Yog-Sothoth or Azathoth or Nyarlathotep in the original, but there is an Aiwaz...
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2007, 12:15:05 am »

Who was Nathan of Gaza?

Nathan of Gaza precipitated one of the most profound events in the history of Judaism. In 1665, while only 21 or 22 years old, he proclaimed that Sabbatai Tzevi was the Messiah. In itself this would not have been extraordinary, as there had been other messianic claimants in the past, but due to the extraordinary personalities of Nathan and Sabbatai Tzevi, the news of the Messiah's coming spread like wildfire all over Europe. The repercussions of this event lasted for centuries. Judaism would never be the same.

Nathan was born in Jerusalem in 1643 or 1644. He married the daughter of a wealthy merchant in Gaza and moved there. He was a brilliant student of Torah and Talmud, and took up the study of Kabbalah in 1664. The atmosphere at that time was charged with the expectation of the coming of the Messiah. The brilliant and charismatic Kabbalist Isaac Luria had hinted that the process of restoration was near to completion, and the time of the redemption and the Messiah was nigh. One of the key attributes of Luria's Kabbalah was the belief that, due to a primordial catastrophe during the creation of the universe, the souls of human beings had become immersed in a grossly material world which was nigh to the realm of the Klippoth. The Klippoth were the source of evil. The word means a husk or shell, and the implication is that the Klippoth were the husks or shells of materiality which ensnare the spirit.

Luria's Kabbalah was based on very old traditions. One such tradition was that God created several worlds before this one, but they were unbalanced, unstable, and disintegrated. The 3rd. century Rabbi Abbahu wrote "God made many worlds and destroyed them until he made the present universe". This was combined with the Biblical legend of the Kings of Edom which were but are no more, to produce a highly elaborate myth concerning the creation of the universe. The quality that Kabbalists call Din, or judgement, is that quality which separates on thing from another. The Klippoth represent an extreme embodiment of this quality. The creation of the universe was essentially a process of definition and separation, and hence an expression of Din, but the powers of Din were too concentrated for a viable universe and had to be separated out for a second, viable creation to take place. These concentrated shards of the original creation, pure Din, fell into the abyss. Unfortunately some sparks of light fell with them, so that the Klippoth were more than just empty shells. They had life. Not much life, but enough. Human sinfulness reinforces the Klippoth because it transfers some of our life to them. If I am selfish, for example, I am creating a separation between myself and another, so the Klippoth are reinforced by my selfishness.

The need to free the sparks of light from the Klippoth was one of the dominant themes of Kabbalah. It was believed that living according to the commandments of the Torah and combining this with mystical insight, concentration, and intention, could help to free the trapped sparks, but living sinfully was a sure way of strengthening the Klippoths' hold. In later developments the Klippoth were regarded as primordial, demonic powers with seven kings, reflecting the seven destroyed worlds of the orginal creation.

The Klippoth held a strong fascination for Nathan of Gaza. Sabbatai Tzevi appears to have been a manic-depressive. In his manic states he had the most extraordinary force of personality, and there are many reports of his face literally shining like the sun. In his ecstatic states he would do things which no pious Jew would do. Nathan wrote a document entitled Treatise on the Dragons (the dragons being the Klippoth) which was an attempt to mythologise Tsevi's behaviour, explaining it in terms of the Messiah's need to descend into the world of the Klippoth to redeem the remaining sparks (just as Christ is depicted harrowing Hell, and Orpheus descents into the Underworld to rescue his love). The mythic credentials of the Treatise on the Dragons are impeccable.

Before the publication of the Treatise, Nathan circulated a curious document, the Sepher ha-Sha'are ha-Daath. He described this as a commentary on two chapters of the Book of the Alhazred, an ancient history of the world. The title means "the Book of the Gates of Knowledge". The word for knowledge, da'ath, has a technical meaning. When the Bible was translated into Greek, the word da'ath was translated as gnosis. Da'ath has a very peculiar status in Kabbalah, being a kind of non-existent, a nothingness. In modern Hermetic Kabbalah it is sometimes represented a hole or gate into an abyss of consciousness. Crowley's experiments with the Call of the Thirty Aethyrs led him into this abyss.

Da'ath has a dual aspect; on one hand it is our knowledge of the world of appearance, the body of facts which constitute our beliefs and prop up the illusion of identity and ego and separateness. On the other hand it is revelation, objective knowledge, what is often referred to as gnosis. The transition between the knowledge of the world of appearance and revelation entails the experience of the abyss, the abolition of the sense of ego, the negation of identity. From within the abyss any identity is possible. It is chaos, unformed. It contains, as it were, the seeds of identity. It is from this point that an infinity of gates open, each one a gateway to a mode of being. These are what Nathan is referring to as the "Gates of Knowledge".

Nathan's purpose appears to have been to develop a methodology for a systematic exploration of the realms of the Klippoth, as part of his mission to redeem the sparks, using some of Alhazred's techniques. It is an extraordinary development of Alhazred's work, identifying the Klippoth with the primordial Old Ones. It has a modern counterpart in Kenneth Grant's Nightside of Eden.

Nathan developed a huge following and for many years Judaism was riven with charges of heresy. Many prominent Rabbis and community leaders sided with Nathan, and it took most of a century for the drama to unwind. Eventually the Sabbatean movement went underground, and while it is a certainty that a copy of the Sepher ha-Sha'are ha-Daath exists in a private library somewhere, no one is admitting that they have it.

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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2007, 12:16:48 am »

Where can the Necronomicon be found?

Nowhere with certainty, is the short and simple answer, and once more we must suspect Crowley in having a hand in this. In 1912 Crowley met Theodor Reuss, the head of the German Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O), and worked within that order for several years, until in 1922 Reuss resigned as head in Crowley's favour. Thus we have Crowley working in close contact for 10 years with the leader of a German masonic group. In the years from 1933-38 the few known copies of the Necronomicon simply disappeared; someone in the German government of Adolf Hitler took an interest in obscure occult literature and began to obtain copies by fair means or foul.

Dee's translation disappeared from the Bodleian following a break-in in the spring of 1934. The British Museum suffered several abortive burglaries, and the Wormius edition was deleted from the catalogue and removed to an underground repository in a converted slate mine in Wales (where the Crown Jewels were stored during the 1939-45 war). Other libraries lost their copies, and today there is no library with a genuine catalogue entry for the Necronomicon. The current whereabouts of copies of the Necronomicon is unknown, but there is a story of a large wartime cache of occult and magical documents in the mountainous Osterhorn area near Salzburg - this may be connected with the recurring story of a copy bound in the skin of concentration camp victims.

In Conclusion
One thing which struck me very forcefully while researching this document was that the Necronomicon was not a book out of time and out of place. Alhazred did not compose it in a vacuum. Extraordinary though its content is, it is little more than an extrapolation of existing knowledge. Many writers have followed similar lines, though not to such extremes. If we were to marry Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine to Grant's Nightside of Eden, and ask Nathan of Gaza to edit the result, then we would have something similar in spirit if not in content to Alhazred's magnum opus.

Perhaps we expect too much from the book. It is, after all, only a book. No real book, however esoteric, can fill the shoes of a mystery, and it is the mystery that people aspire to. The mystery of the creation. The mystery of good and evil. The mystery of life and death. The mystery of things long gone. We know that the universe is immense beyond any power of imagining. What is out there? What has happened? What alien powers impinge on us?

The ancients asked these questions. They were not afraid to weave myths and they were not afraid to imagine. We do it too, but our Star Treks and Babylon Fives reassure us that the universe is a safe and comfortable place where everyone speaks English and goes to Living with Diversity classes.

The Necronomicon succeeds not because of its content, but because of the existential terror induced by its existence. It doesn't reassure. It doesn't tell us the universe is a safe, cozy place. It tells us we are just a speck of dust in a vast and alien cosmos, and lots of strange things are going on out there. Look in any current astronomy or astrophysics textbook.

You know it's true.

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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2007, 12:36:03 am »

Cthulhu
by John Meluch





Lovecraft's Necronomicon
H. P. Lovecraft is a master of Gothic horror and the occult manuscript Necronomicon which he refers to in several of his stories is a literary invention. All works purported to be translations of the Necronomicon are also works of fiction. However Lovecraft drew his inspiration from real sources which go back thousands of years.



The Old Ones
"That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die."
- Abdul Alhazred, Necronomicon
(from H. P. Lovecraft, "The Call of Cthulhu", 1926)

The Necronomicon, tell of the Old Ones who arrived on the primal earth from "dark stars". When land appeared they swarmed from the oceans to build cities at the poles and raise temples to those cursed by the Gods. Their ghoulish spawn ruled the earth until the Elder Lords, appalled at their abominations, acted:

"...casting Them forth from the Earth to the Void beyond the planes where chaos reigns and form abideth not. And the Elder Lords set Their seal upon the Gateway and the power of the Old Ones prevailest not against its might.
Loathsome Cthulhu rose then from the deeps and raged with exceeding great fury against the Earth Guardians. And They bound his venomous claws with potent spells and sealed him up within the City of R'lyeh wherein beneath the waves he shall sleep death's dream until the end of the Aeon."
- Dr. John Dee, Liber Logaeth
(Note: Lovecraft asserted that Liber Logaeth was an English translation of the original Necronomicon, which had appeared in Arabic.

"Lovecraft's myth of the Great Old Ones has much in common with the ancient belief, recorded in the Book of Enoch, that human beings were given many kinds of occult and forbidden knowledge by fallen angels who coupled with women to create demonic entities (Lovecraft recycles this legend as The Dunwich Horror). These abominations were cleansed from the Earth by the first flood (Noah's) and the rebel angels were imprisoned in another dimension awaiting a time of judgement. This legend overlaps with the Book of Revelations, which tells what happens to the rebel angels and humanity at the end of time."
- Colin Low, The Necronomicon and Ontological Pressure

"In all probability Cthulhu is based on the Norwegian myth of the Kraken, a legendary monster thought to live under the waves of the northern seas."
-Philip A. Shreffer, The H.P. Lovecraft Companion

"Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth; faintest sunlights fell
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die."
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, "The Kraken"

In exile with their Master Azathoth, "Lord of All", in the chaotic Void, the Old Ones bide the day until they return to rule earth once again.

"Azathoth is the 'ultimate nuclear chaos', at 'the center of infinity'. It is from the Throne of Azathoth that the aimless waves, 'whose chance combining gives each frail cosmos its eternal law', originate from."
- Parker Ryan "Necronomicon Info Source"

"However, before the complete influx of these elder forces into our present space-time continuum can be facillated, the secret and primal gateways must be located, and opened, to allow access from 'outside the circles of time'. This gateway has been glyphed by Lovecraft as one of the Great Old Ones themselves - 'the noxious Yog-Sothoth who froths as primal slime in nuclear chaos beyond the nethermost outpost of space and time'.
- Tenebrous, "The Aeon of Cthulhu Rising"

"Yog-Sothoth is coterminous with ALL time and space. In Through the Gates of the Silver Key Lovecraft describes Yog-Sothoth thus:'an All in One and One in All of limitless being and self-the last, utter sweep which has no confines and which outreaches fancy and mathematics alike. ' Past, present, future all are one in Yog-Sothoth."
"HPL researcher Philip A. Shreffler states in The H.P. Lovecraft Companion that the acting principles of Yog-Sothoth and Azathoth are 'infinite expansion and infinite contraction' respectively"
- Parker Ryan "Necronomicon Info Source"

Choronzon: "Guardian of and 'Dweller in the Abyss' (Demon of Dispersion) = 333 (Noznoroch). Crowley called him the 'first and deadliest of all the powers of evil', sole inhabitant of the Abyss [Da'ath], capable of assuming any shape, the very Lord of Chaos."
- The Magicians Dictionary

"333 is the Cabalistic number of 'that mighty devil, [Coronzon],' who once afflicted Dr. Dee in the 17th Century and gave Aleister himself a rough time in Bou Saada, North Africa, 1909, as recounted in The Vision and the Voice, by Aleister Crowley.."
- Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati

"As Guardian of the Gate, he [Yog-Sothoth] is synonymous with Choronzon. The 'nethermost outpost', itself an opening or window to the dimensionality of the Great Old Ones (Universe B), is the star Sothis, or Sirius."
- Tenebrous, "The Aeon of Cthulhu Rising"

"It is now possible to see the continous flow and evolution of Aeons occuring simultaenously and passing over into the world of anti-matter. The Yog (or Yug .. an aeon or age ..) of Sothoth is the counterpoint - as the Aeon of Set- Thoth, or DA'ATH - of its Twin, the Yug-Hoor, or Aeon of Horus. Yog-Sothoth is the Gate through the aeons to the Star-Source beyond Yuggoth, the Yug or Aeon of Goth."
- Kenneth Grant, Outside the Circles of Time, p. 214

"The knowledge and formula by which this gateway can be reopened can therefore be only apprehended through the negative vortex of DA'ATH. In the case of Lovecraft himself, who in waking life vehemently denied the verdical nature of the material with which he was dealing, the process of appropriation was almost completely subconscious, occuring through the medium of dream-experiences. As would be expected, the visitation of such unhuman and ultracosmic revelations took the form of the most hideous nightmares."
- Tenebrous, "The Aeon of Cthulhu Rising"

"That cult would never die until the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild, and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom."
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The Call of Cthulhu", (1926)


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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2007, 12:36:57 am »

The Occult Secrets of Alhazred
(1) "The Mad Arab"
Necronomicon: "Original title Al Azif being the word used by the Arabs to designate that nocturnal sound (made by insects) supposed to be the howling of demons."
"Composed by Abdul Alhazred, a mad poet of Sanaa, in Yemen, who is said to have flourished in the time of the Ommiade Caliphs, circa A.D. 700."
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The History and Chronology of the Necronomicon"

According to Lovecraft's history, Abdul Alhazred "travelled widely, from Alexandria to the Punjab, and was well read. He had a flair for languages, and boasts on many occasions of his ability to read and translate manuscripts which defied lesser scholars.Just as Nostradamus used ritual magic to probe the future, so Alhazred used similar techniques (and an incense composed of olibanum, storax, dictamnus, opium and hashish) to clarify the past, and it is this, combined with a lack of references, which resulted in the Necronomicon being dismissed as largely worthless by historians."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

"Lovecraft told his colleagues that he stole the name 'Al Azif' from another author as a joke, and that the name 'Al-Hazred' was a pun on his mother's maiden name, Hazard."
- Kendrick Kerwin Chua, "The Necronomicon - FAQ Version 2.0"

"Abdul is a favourite dream-character of mine--indeed that is what I used to call myself when I was five years old and a transported devotee of Andrew Lang's version of the Arabian Nights. A few years ago I prepared a mock-erudite synopsis of Abdul's life, and of the posthumous vicissitudes and translations of his hideous and unmentionable work Al Azif ...--a synopsis which I shall follow in future references to the dark and accursed thing."
- H. P. Lovecraft, letter to Robert E. Howard (August 14, 1930)

"The name 'Abdul Alhazred' is one which some adult (I can't recall who) devised for me when I was 5 years old & eager to be an Arab after reading the Arabian Nights. Years later I thought it would be fun to use it as the name of a forbidden-book author."
- H. P. Lovecraft, letter to Harry O. Fischer (late February, 1937)

Alhazred "is often referred to as 'the mad Arab', and while he was certainly eccentric by modern standards, there is no evidence to substantiate a claim of madness, (other than a chronic inability to sustain a train of thought for more than a few paragraphs before leaping off at a tangent)."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

"HPL wrote that Alhazred's title was 'Mad Poet'. 'Mad' is usually written majnun in Arabic. Majnun means 'mad' today. However, in the eighth century (Alhazred's time) it meant 'Possessed by Jinn' [the Old Ones]."
- Parker Ryan "Necronomicon Info Source"

"Alhazred appears to have had access to many sources now lost, and events which are only hinted at in the Book of Genesis or the apocryphal Book of Enoch, or disguised as mythology in other sources, are explored in great detail."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

"And I proceeded to where things were chaotic. And I saw there something horrible: I saw neither a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth, but a place chaotic and horrible. And there I saw seven stars of the heaven bound together in it, like great mountains and burning with fire. Then I said: 'For what sin are they bound, and on what account have they been cast in hither?' Then said Uriel, one of the holy angels, who was with me, and was chief over them, and said: 'Enoch, why dost thou ask, and why art thou eager for the truth? These are of the number of the stars of heaven, which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and are bound here till ten thousand years, the time entailed by their sins, are consummated."
Book of Enoch 21:1-7a

"Alhazred may have used dubious magical techniques to clarify the past, but he also shared with 5th. century B.C. Greek writers such as Thucydides a critical mind and a willingness to explore the meanings of mythological and sacred stories. His speculations are remarkably modern, and this may account for his current popularity: he believed that many species besides the human race had inhabited the Earth, and that much knowledge was passed to mankind in encounters with being from other 'spheres'. He shared with some neo-platonists the belief that stars are like our sun, and have their own unseen planets with their own lifeforms, but elaborated this belief with a good deal of metaphysical speculation in which these beings were part of a cosmic hierarchy of spiritual evolution. He was also convinced that he had contacted these 'Old Ones' using magical invocations, and warned of terrible powers waiting to return to re-claim the Earth - he interpretated this belief in the light of the Apocalypse of St. John, but reversed the ending so that the Beast triumphs after a great war in which the earth is laid waste."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

"He [Alhazred] visited the ruins of Babylon and the subterranean secrets of Memphis and spent ten years alone in the great southern desert of Arabia-the Roba el Khaliye or 'Empty Space' of the ancients and 'Dahna' or 'Crimson Desert' of the modern Arabs, which is held to be inhabited by protective evil spirits and monsters of death. Of this desert many strange and unbelievable marvels are told by those who pretend to have penetrated it. In his last years Alhazred dwelt in Damascus, where the Necronomicon (Al Azif) was written and of his final death or disappearance (738 A.D.) many terrible and conflicting things are told. He is said by Ebn Khallikan (12th century biographer) to have been seized by an invisible monster in broad daylight and devoured horribly before a large number of fright-frozen witnesses. Of his madness many things are told. He claimed to have seen the fabulous Irem or city of Pillars, and to have found beneath the ruins of a certain nameless desert town the shocking annals and secrets of a race older than mankind. He was only an indifferent Moslem, worshipping unknown deities whom he called Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu."
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The History and Chronology of the Necronomicon"
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2007, 12:37:51 am »

(2) Barbarous Names

"Alhazred is said (by HPL) to have journeyed to Egypt in search of occult secrets. This is consistent with the time frame that it was supposed to have ocured in. Between the fourth century and the tenth century Near Eastern scholars interested in magickal matters viewed Egypt as an invaluable source of information. During this time many corrupt Egyptian words and phrases entered magical writings. Gnostic, Coptic, and Greco-Egyptian word formulas were incorporated in great number into existing Arab magickal systems.....It has been suggested that some of the Barbarous names used in Lovecraft's fiction might indeed be corrupt Egyptian word formulas. Particularly Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth, and Nyarlathotep are said to have an Egyptian origin. (Note the obviously Egyptian endings 'hotep' and 'thoth'.)"
"Azathoth is said to be derived from Asa-thoth. The Rites of the Gods states that Asa translates as 'source' from ancient Egyptian and Thoth (Tehut) is of course the popular god name. Asa is an alternate name of Thoth....(He is considered the "source" because of his association with the beginning of time). Ausaa-Thoth or Aasaa-Thoth is translated as the intelligence of Thoth."

"Cthulhu is very close to the Arabic word Khadhulu (also spelled al qhadhulu). Khadhulu (al qhadhulu) is translated as 'Forsaker' or 'Abandoner'. Many Sufis and Muqarribun writings make use of this term (Abandoner). In Sufi and Muqarribun writings 'abandoner' refers to the power that fuels the practices of Tajrid 'outward detachment' and Tafrid 'interior solitude'."
- Parker Ryan, "Necronomicon Info Source"

"Mankind, Shaitan is Khadhulu."
- Quran 25:29

"By the time Mohammad was writing Shaitan was being called 'the Old Serpent (dragon)' and 'the Lord of the Abyss'. The Old Serpent or Old Dragon is, according to experts such as E.A. Budge and S.N. Kramer, Leviathan [Hebrew]. Leviathan is Lotan [Canaanite]. Lotan traces to Tietan. Tietan, we are told by the authorities on Near Easern mythology is a later form of Tiamat. According to the experts the Dragon of the Abyss called Shaitan is the same Dragon of the Agyss named Tiamat."
- Parker Ryan , "Necronomicon Info Source"

"The dragon is an abandoner for he leaves all that is sacred. The dragon goes here and there without pause."
- The Book of Annihilation (an Arabic text on magick)

One of the titles of the Dragon is Lord of the Abyss. "The title Lord of the Abyss translated into Sumerian is 'Kutulu'. Kutu means 'Underworld' or 'Abyss' and Lu is Sumerian for 'Lord' or 'Person of importance'.... Indeed the ruler of the Abyss (kutu) in Sumeria was the Old Dragon Mumu-Tiamat."
- Parker Ryan "Necronomicon Info Source"

"Some...link Kingu (Qingu) with the Ancient Ones by assigning him the status of general for the Ancient Ones in their war against the Elder Gods (which this myth supposedly represents.) Though these groups claim to be servants of the Elder gods, they worship Tiamat as a benevolent creatrix, ignoring the fact that it was Tiamat who appointed Kingu HER general in the Enuma Elis [the Babylonian Epic of Creation], leading to the conclusion that Tiamat was an Ancient One and therefore that this group worshipped the Ancient Ones while claiming to serve the Elder Gods."
- Adapa, "The Necronomicon and Ancient Sumer: Dubunking the Myth"

"Another race is the Deep Ones who are a type of amphibious creature resembling a mixture of a fish, a frog and man. The Deep Ones worship a god called Dagon. Dagon is a deity resembling a giant Deep One. Dagon and the Deep Ones seem to be Allied in some way with Cthulhu."
"Arab myth mentions mysterious fish-men from the sea of Karkar. These fish-men are probably derivative of the myths related to the actual Near Eastern god Dagon. Dagon is a Philistine deity that appears as a giant fish-man. Dagon is a later version of the Babylonian Oannes."
- Parker Ryan "Necronomicon Info Source"
Oannes was a repulsive amphibius being who came from space in an egg shaped vehicle. The fragments of text that survive are a Babylonian retelling of a much more ancient Sumerian tale. Six thousand years ago or so, the Vela supernova was an awe inspiring sight from the earth. It was then, according to legend, that powerful beings or "Watchers" came from the sky, taught humans the arts of civilization, then made them their slaves.
According to Robert Temple in his Sirius Mystery, astronomical knowledge imparted by the Oannes is preserved by the tribal Dogon people today.




"The Greek and Latin Translations"
"In A.D. 950 the Azif, which had gained a considerable though surreptitious circulation amongst the philosophers of the age, was secretly translated into Greek by Theodorus Philetas of Constantinople under the title Necronomicon."
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The History and Chronology of the Necronomicon"

"The name Necronomicon ...occurred to me in the course of a dream."
- H. P. Lovecraft, letter to Harry O. Fischer (late February, 1937)

"This title [Necronomicon] is translated as 'the Book (or image) of the Practices of the Dead'; Necro being Greek for 'Dead' and Nomos meaning 'practices', 'customs' or 'rules' (as in astronomy) ."
- Parker Ryan, "The Necronomicon and Ancient Arab Magick"

"For a century it impelled certain experimenters to terrible attempts, when it was suppressed and burnt by the patriarch Michael. After this it is only heard of furtively, but (1228) Olaus Wormius made a Latin translation later in the Middle Ages."
"The work, both Latin and Greek, was banned by Pope Gregory IX in 1232, shortly after its Latin translation, which called attention to it."
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The History and Chronology of the Necronomicon"

"A Latin translation was made in 1487 by a Dominican priest Olaus Wormius. Wormius, a German by birth, was a secretary to the first Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, Tomas de Torquemada, and it is likely that the manuscript of the Necronomicon was seized during the persecution of Moors ('Moriscos') who had been converted to Catholism under duress; this group was deemed to be unsufficiently pure in its beliefs. .
"It was an act of sheer folly for Wormius to translate and print the Necronomicon at that time and place. The book must have held an obsessive fascination for the man, because he was finally charged with heresy and burned after sending a copy of the book to Johann Tritheim, Abbot of Spanheim (better known as 'Trithemius'); the accompanying letter contained a detailed and blasphemous interpretation of certain passages in the Book of Genesis. Virtually all the copies of Wormius's translation were seized and burned with him, although there is the inevitable suspicion that at least one copy must have found its way into the Vatican Library."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

"...The Latin text was printed twice - once in the 15th century in block letter (evidently in German) and once in the 17th (probably Spanish); both editions being without identifying marks, and located as to time and place by internal typographic evidence only.
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The History and Chronology of the Necronomicon"

"It was written in seven volumes, and runs to over 900 pages in the Latin edition."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

"Of the Latin texts now existing one (15th century) is known to be in the British Museum under lock and key, which another (17th century) is in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris. A 17th century edition is in the Widener Library at Harvard, and in the Library of Miskatonic University at Arkham; also in the library of the University of Buenos Aires.
"Numerous other copies probably exist in secret, and a 15th century one is persistently rumored to form part of the collection of a celebrated American millionaire. A still vaguer rumor credits the preservation of a 16th century Greek text in the Salem family of Pickman; but if it was so preserved, it vanished with the artist R. U. Pickman , who disappeared early in 1926. The book is rigidly suppressed by the authorities of most countries, and by all branches of organized ecclesiasticism. Reading leads to terrible consequences. It was from rumors of this book (of which relatively few of the general public know) that R. W. Chambers is said to have derived the idea of his early novelThe King in Yellow."
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The History and Chronology of the Necronomicon"
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2007, 12:38:54 am »

Dee's Liber Logaeth

"They have walked amidst the stars and They have walked the Earth. The City of Irem in the great desert has known Them; Leng in the Cold Waste has seen Their passing, the timeless citadel upon the cloud-veiled heights of unknown Kadath beareth Their mark. Wantonly the Old Ones trod the ways of darkness and Their blasphemies were great upon the Earth; all creation bowed beneath Their might and knew Them for Their wickedness."
- Liber Logaeth (translated by Dr. John Dee)

"The Latin text came into the possession of Dr. John Dee in the sixteenth century. Dr. Dee made the only English translation of the Necronomicon known."
- Parker Ryan, "The Necronomicon and Ancient Arab Magick"

"Dr. John Dee, the famous English magician, and his assistant Edward Kelly were at the court of the Emperor Rudolph II to discuss plans for making alchemical gold, and Kelly bought the copy from the so-called 'Black Rabbi' and Kabbalist, Jacob Eliezer, who had fled to Prague from Italy after accusations of necromancy. At that time Prague had become a magnet for magicians, alchemists and charletons of every kind under the patronage of Rudolph, and it is hard to imagine a more likely place in Europe for a copy to surface."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

Dee and Kelly's "Enochian system" has many parallels with HPL. Schueler asserts that the Enochian tradition proposes the existence of a God or Force which is the manifestation of Infinite Space similar to Crowley's Nuit and HPL's Yog-Sototh. Schueler also contends that The Divine manifestation of the nuclear point at the center of infinity (equivalent to Hadit or Azathoth) is also important to Enochian magick. The Enochian Keys state that the wold is nearing an eon spanning Cycle in which Ancient Gods will return to there throne and the world will be forever changed. These keys also mention an imprisoned dragon (Cthulhu?)"
- Parker Ryan , "Necronomicon Info Source"

"The Necronomicon appears to have had a marked influence on Kelly; the character of his scrying changed, and he produced an extraordinary communication which struck horror into the Dee household...Kelly left Dee shortly afterwards. Dee translated the Necronomicon into English while warden of Christ's College, Manchester..."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

"An English translation made by Dr. Dee was never printed, and exists only in fragments recovered from the original MS."
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The History and Chronology of the Necronomicon"

"...The manuscript passed into the collection of the great collector Elias Ashmole, and hence to the Bodleian Library in Oxford."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

"Dee's cipher manuscript was called Liber Logaeth, and was evidently "a portion of a larger manuscript, the origin and nature of which is not known. Due to its history and the similarity in content to the Cthulhu Mythos, this document has been presented...as being, at least a portion of, the document which was the inspiration for HPL's Necronomicon."
- Ken Ottinger

COMPARISON OF TEXTS
Dee's Liber Logaeth HPL's Necronomicon
Of Ye Old Ones and their Spawn
The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are and the Old Ones shall be. From the dark stars They came ere man was born, unseen and loathsome They descended to primal earth.
Nor is it to be thought that man is either the oldest or the last of Earth's masters, or that the common bulk of life and substance walks alone. The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be.

Beneath the oceans They brooded while ages past, till seas gave up the land, whereupon They swarmed forth in Their multitudes and darkness ruled the Earth. At the frozen Poles They raised mighty cities, and upon high places the temples of Those whome nature owns not and the Gods have cursed.
The ice desert of the South and the sunken isles of Ocean hold stones whereon Their seal is engraven, but who hath seen the deep frozen city or the sealed tower long garlanded with seaweed and barnacles?

Great Cthulhuis Their brother, the shaggoths Their slaves. The Dholes do homage unto Them in the nighted vale of Pnoth and Gugs sing Their praises beneath the peaks of ancient Throk.
Great Cthulhu is Their cousin, yet can he spy Them only dimly. lŠ! Shub-Niggurath!
Beyond the Gate dwell now the Old Ones; not in the spaces known unto men but in the angles betwixt them. Outside Earth's plane They linger and ever awaite the time of Their return; for the Earth has known Them and shall know Them in time yet to come.
Not in the spaces we know, but between them. They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.

And the Old Ones hold foul and formless Azathoth for Their Master and Abide with Him in the black cavern at the centre of all infinity, where he gnaws ravenously in ultimate chaos amid the mad beating of hidden drums, the tuneless piping of hideous flutes and the ceaseless bellowing of blind idiot gods that shamble and gesture aimlessly for ever.
They walk unseen and foul in lonely places where the Words have been spoken and the Rites howled through at their Seasons. The wind gibbers with Their voices, and the earth mutters with Their consciousness. They bend the forest and crush the city, yet may; not forest or city behold the hand that smites.

The soul of Azathoth dwelleth in Yog-sothoth and He shall beckon unto the Old Ones when the stars mark the time of Their coming; for Yog-sothoth is the Gate through which Those of the Void will re-enter. Yog-sothoth knowest the mazes of of time, for all time is one unto Him. He knowest where the Old Ones came forth in time along long past and where They shall come forth again when the cycle returneth.
Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again.

After day cometh night; man's day shall pass, and They shall rule where They once ruled. As foulness you shall know them and Their accursedness shall stain the Earth.
Man rules now where They ruled once; They shall soon rule where man rules now. After summer is winter, and after winter summer. They wait patient and potent, for here shall They reign again.



The quotes from Lovecraft were taken from his short story "The Dunwich Horror" ( 1928). Lovecraft attributes the source of his material to Olaus Wormius' Latin version of Abdul Alhazred's Necronomicon, as printed in Spain in the 17th century. Note how Dee's Liber Logaeth places the return of the Old Ones at some indeterminate future while in Lovecraft's version, They are coming soon (and in his stories have already arrived.) For the text of Olaus Wormius' version click here.

Dee's Liber Logaeth is also known as the Book of Enoch and is preserved in the following manuscripts:

"London, British Library: Sloane MS. 3189. Dee's 'Liber mysteriorum sextus et sanctus' in Edward Kelley's handwriting (1583). The clean copy of 'Liber Logaeth', 65 folios containing 101 complex magic squares, 96 of which comprised of 49 x 49 cells containing Latin letters and Arabic numerals, and 4 of 36 x 72 cells containing only Latin letters (these in Dee's hand), plus 2 blank 49 x 49 grids.
"London, British Library: Sloane MS. 2599, art. 1. A partial transcription of 'Liber mysteriorum sextus et sanctus' in at least two different hands. One of them may be Ashmole's.
"London, British Library: Sloane MS. 78, art. 11. An excerpt from Dee's 'Liber mysteriorum sextus et sanctus'. A partial transcription of the first few leaves of MS. 3189 without any tables. The same material is also to be found in 'Mysteriorum Liber Quintus' in Sloane MS. 3188."
- Introductory bibliography of Enochian and diary MSS of John Dee

"No one as yet has made serious attempts to use it, or to understand its nature beyond what is recorded in the diaries. According to the angels, 'logaeth' means 'speech from God'; this book is supposed to be, literally, the words by which God created all things. It is supposedly the language in which the 'true names' of all things are known, giving power over them.
"As described in Liber Mysteriorum Quintis, the book was to consist of 48 leaves, each of which contains a 49-by-49 grid. The book as actually presented to Kelly is somewhat different. It contains 49 'Calls' in an unknown language, 95 tables of squares filled with letters and numbers, two similar tables unfilled, and four tables drawn twice as large as the others. Two 'leaves' are recorded in Liber Mysteriorum Quintis, these are not included in the final book, and apparently serve as an introduction or prologue to the work."
- Benjamin Rowe, Enochian Magick Reference

The leaves in "Liber mysteriorum sextus et sanctus" comprise strings of unintelligible words supposedly written in "Enochian" language " that had been revealed to Dr. John Dee by the Angels". Below is a selection from the text:


Leaf 4a Zvbla ox arnogan Algers aclo.
Leaf 4b Danfal gest Axamph acrosta.
Leaf 5a Gonzahoh alch arge oho Adanch.
Leaf 5b Zvchastors plohodmax argednon acho
(Click here for the full text.)
"On the surface, the 'Calls' of Liber Logaeth do not appear to be a language as humans understand the term. There are no translations by which this might be judged in detail, but the text lacks the repetitiveness and consistent word-placement that is characteristic of the 48 Enochian Calls given in the next year. There is no apparent 'grammar' to the text. Donald Laycock remarks that the language is highly alliterative and repetitively rhyming, while Robert Turner calls it 'glossolalic'. The angels said that each element of each table could be understood in 49 different ways, so that there were that many 'languages' in it, all of them being spoken at once.
"The purpose of Logaeth was said to be the ushering in of a new age on Earth, the last age before the end of all things. Instructions for using it to that effect were never given; the angels continually put it off, saying that only God could decide when the time was right."
- Benjamin Rowe, Enochian Magick Reference

David Langford claims to have deciphered the Liber Logaeth and his translation in English appears in a book called Necronomicon, co-written with Robert Turner and Colin Wilson. This book, however, was an admitted spoof of Lovecraft's Necronomicon. (Click here for details.)

For real correspondences between Lovecraft's mythos, Dee's angelic writings and the apocryphal Book of Enoch, see:
Liora Bernstein's article "Egregor"
"Enochian Magick"


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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2007, 12:39:48 am »

The Missing Texts

"No Arabic manuscript is known to exist; the author Idries Shah carried out a search in the libraries of Deobund in India, Al-Azhar in Egypt, and the Library of the Holy City of Mecca, without success."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

"The Arabic original was lost as early as Wormius' time, as indicated by his prefatory note (there is, however, a vague account of a secret copy appearing in San Francisco during the present century but later perishing by fire); and no sight of the Greek copy - which was printed in Italy between 1500 and 1550 - has been reported since the burning of a certain Salem man's library in 1692."
- H. P. Lovecraft, "The History and Chronology of the Necronomicon"

"Nathan of Gaza precipitated one of the most profound events in the history of Judaism. In 1665, while only 21 or 22 years old, he proclaimed that Sabbatai Tzevi was the Messiah."
Nathan also wrote the Sepher ha-Sha'are ha-Daath, a commentary on the Book of the Alhazred. "Nathan's purpose appears to have been to develop a methodology for a systematic exploration of the realms of the Klippoth [husks or shells of materiality which ensnare the spirit], as part of his mission to redeem the sparks [concentrated shards of the original creation], using some of Alhazred's techniques. It is an extraordinary development of Alhazred's work, identifying the Klippoth with the primordial Old Ones."
"Nathan developed a huge following and for many years Judaism was riven with charges of heresy. Many prominent Rabbis and community leaders sided with Nathan, and it took most of a century for the drama to unwind. Eventually the Sabbatean movement went underground, and while it is a certainty that a copy of the Sepher ha-Sha'are ha-Daath exists in a private library somewhere, no one is admitting that they have it."

"In the years from 1933-38 the few known copies of the Necronomicon simply disappeared; someone in the German government of Adolph Hitler took an interest in obscure occult literature and began to obtain copies by fair means or foul. Dee's translation disappeared from the Bodleian following a break-in in the spring of 1934. The British Museum suffered several abortive burglaries, and the Wormius edition was deleted from the catalogue and removed to an underground repository in a converted slate mine in Wales (where the Crown Jewels were stored during the 1939-45 war). Other libraries lost their copies, and today there is no library with a genuine catalogue entry for the Necronomicon. The current whereabouts of copies of the Necronomicon is unknown; there is a story of a large wartime cache of occult and magical documents in the Osterhorn area near Salzburg.
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ."
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)




Sorting Fact from Fiction
(1) Spoofs, Jokes and the Magickal Tradition

"In their spoof Necronomicon, authors Langford, Turner, and Wilson suggested that Liber Loagaeth was actually a cipher version of the Evil Book, which they had managed to decode. Neither of these ideas is supported by the records.
"Colin Low has perpetuated and embellished these fictional excursions in his 'Necronomicon Anti-FAQ' and other writings. Some modern readers, lacking a sense of humor and irony, have taken his work seriously; as a consequence, the myth of Dee's connection with the book has taken on an air of Utter Authority among certain gullible portions of the magickal community."
- Josh Norton, "Enochian Magick Reference Document 2.0"

"Lovecraft denied that the book existed, and wrote as a joke a paper titled 'A History of the Necronomicon', giving a chronology of the book, names, and places. The name of the book is supposedly bastardized Greek and Latin, which roughly translates into 'The Book of Dead Names' (i.e., ikon = book, necro = die or dead, and nom = name)."
- Kendrick Kerwin Chua, "The Necronomicon - FAQ Version 2.0"

"Regarding the solemnly cited myth-cycle of Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, R'lyeh, Nyarlathotep, Nug, Yeb, Shub-Niggurath, etc., etc.- let me confess that this is all a synthetic concotion of my own, like the populous and varied pantheon of Lord Dunsany's Pegana . The reason for its echoes in Dr. de Castro's work is that the latter gentleman is a revision-client of mine--into whose tales I have stuck these glancing references for sheer fun. If any other clients of mine get work placed in W.T., you will perhaps find a still-wider spread of the cult of Azathoth, Cthulhu, and the Great Old Ones! The Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred is likewise something which must yet be written in order to possess objective reality."
- H. P. Lovecraft, letter to Robert E. Howard (August 14, 1930)

"Regarding the Necronomicon--I must confess that this monstrous & abhorred volume is merely a figment of my own imagination! Inventing horrible books is quite a pastime among devotees of the weird, &...many of the regular W.T. contributors have such things to their credit--or discredit. It rather amuses the different writers to use one another's synthetic demons & imaginary books in their stories--so that Clark Ashton Smith often speaks of my Necronomicon while I refer to his Book of Eibon . . & so on. This pooling of resources tends to build up quite a pseudo-convincing background of dark mythology, legendry, & bibliography--though of course none of us has the least wish actually to mislead readers."
- H. P. Lovecraft, letter to Miss Margaret Sylvester (January 13, 1934)

"When we then turn to the text referred to as the Necronomicon by H.P. Lovecraft, we are hard-pressed to render a 'verdict' as to its legitimacy. If indeed the text preceded Lovecraft, then this does not guarantee that it has come down to us unedited. If the idea and title were used by Lovecraft as a result of suggestions from others without an extant text, then perhaps its 'source consciousness' hid the text until a later time. If Lovecraft fabricated even the IDEA of the tome along with its title, then perhaps he was simply a 'third party' to a state of consciousness which we may never assess."
- Kendrick Kerwin Chua, "The Necronomicon - FAQ Version 2.0"

It is possible that Lovecraft was concealing an occult source of information for his writings.

"The books of the The Order of the Golden Dawn, "The Equinox and The Golden Dawn, are important to a study of H. P. Lovecraft for several reasons. First, they are the closest thing to Lovecraft's Necronomicon to be produced in this century. Second, in his study of occult material, it is not impossible that Lovecraft may have come into contact with The Equinox. In fact, the Widener Library at Harvard owns Volume 1, Number 5 (March 1911), of The Equinox, which was received at the library on December 31, 1917, placing it easily within Lovecraft's reach. And third, there is a kind of peripheral connection between Lovecraft and the Golden Dawn in that several of his favorite weird fiction writers belonged to it. Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood, both of whom Lovecraft praised (albeit to different degrees) in 'Supernatural Horror in Literature', were prominent members of the order, as were Sax Rohmer, Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, and Robert Louis Stevenson."

"Since the publication in 1938 of H. P. Lovecraft's essay on the Necronomicon, at least one more copy of this obviously rare book has surfaced and is now in the collection of the [John Hay] Library at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. Printed by the Owl's Wick Press at Philadelphia in 1973, this modern edition of the Necronomicon appears to be a facsimile of the original Arabic text that Lovecraft presumed lost by the year A. D. 1050. A problematical aspect of the Brown University copy, however, is that the text, though appearing to the untrained eye to be in Arabic, is actually in a language known to Semitic scholars as Duraic. Unfortunately, there has, to date, been no successful completion of a translation."
-Philip A. Shreffer, The H.P. Lovecraft Companion

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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2007, 12:40:28 am »

(2) The Mesopotamian Connection

The "Great Beast" Aleister Crowley interpreted the horrifying communication by Kelly (under the influence of the Necronomicon four centuries earlier) "as the abortive first attempt of an extra-human entity to communicate thelemic Book of the Law."
"There is no question that Crowley read Dee's translation of the Necronomicon in the Ashmolean, probably while researching Dee's papers; too many passages in Crowley's Book of the Law read like a transcription of passages in that translation."
- Colin Low, Necronomicon FAQ
(Compiled from The Book of the Arab, by Justin Geoffry, Starry Wisdom Press, 1979)

COMPARISON OF TERMINOLOGY
H.P. Lovecraft Aleister Crowley Ancient Sumer
Cthulhu The Great Beast Ctha-lu, Kutulu represented in "CTH/\H 666"
The Ancient Ones Satan; Teitan Tiamat
Azathoth Aiwass (?) Azag-thoth
The Dunwitch Horror Choronzon Pazuzu
Shub Niggurath Pan Shub Ishniggarab (?)
Out Of Space The Abyss Absu; Nar Mattaru
IA! IO! IAO! IA (Jah; Ea; Lord of Waters)
The Five-pointed star cavern The Pentagram The AR, or UB (Plough Sign: the original gray pentagram and sign of the Aryan Race)
Vermis Mysteriis The Serpent Erim (the enemy; and the sea as Chaos;
Gothic: Orim, or Worm Great

From "The Coroner presents the Necronomicron"


"Succinctly stated: there are no 'Ancient One' in Sumerian Religion or mythology. Similarly, there are no 'Elder Gods'. Additionally, there exists no written record of any god, demon, or lesser figure whose names resemble those of the Chthonic pantheon. Some have advanced the proposition that Cthulhu is taken from the eponym Kutu-lu, a mangled rendering of 'man of Kutha'. This would suggest that Cthulhu is supposedly a title of Nergal, the patron deity of the city of Kutha in ancient Mesopotamia. Yet nowhere in any extant text is this title referred to. In fact, nowhere in any tablet is any god of the Mesopotamian pantheon referred to under the title 'man of...' Such a base descriptive was unheard of as a divine appellation."
- Adapa, "The Necronomicon and Ancient Sumer: Dubunking the Myth"

There is disagreement whether "Kutulu" should be translated as "man of Kutha" or "Lord of the Abyss" as Parker Ryan maintains.

"The Enuma Elis, the Babylonian Epic of Creation...attributed to the mid second millennium in the Old Babylonian period, stands not for the struggle between the forces of Darkness and Light, but rather serves to exemplify the movement from chaos to order in the political arena of this ancient land:"
- Adapa, "The Necronomicon and Ancient Sumer: Dubunking the Myth"

"Just as his observation about the physical origin of his country guided the ancient Mesopotamian in his speculations about the origins of the Universe, so do his memory and his experience of its political organization seem to have governed his thinking about the origins of order in that universe. Politics in Mesopotamia in the Old Babylonian Period, various and unstable, abounded in tribal and urban political forms. It ranged from near anarchy to democratic or semidemocratic forms based on general assemblies to monarchies. Its continually shifting power combinations and frequent attempts at achieving supremacy now by one, now by another, undoubtedly afforded many an object lesson in how to win power when common danger imposed unity and in how to preserve such power by wise and benevolent rule after the immediate danger was past. In the [Enuma Elis] epic, world order is seen as the outcome of just such a successful drive towards supremacy."
- T. Jacobsen, Treasures of Darkness

"In Lovecraft's panthaeon, Nyarlathotep, Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath, and so forth...represent chaos and oblivion....Later on, when the war with the Elders vs. the Others became apperant, Nodens, Bast, and the Elders became represented as deities of order and structure."
- Edmund Wilfong

It should also be pointed out that Zoroasterism, the religion of the ancient Persians who conquered Babylon, teaches about a cosmic struggle between the forces of Darkness and Light.

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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2007, 12:42:53 am »

Fake Necronomicons
"...the Necronomicon, a highly secret magical text released in paperback."
-- William S. Burroughs.


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Sigil from the Simon Necronomicon

The DeCamp-Scithers Necronomicon.
The Wilson-Hay-Turner-Langford Necronomicon.
The Simon Necronomicon.
The Gregorius Necronomicon.
The Quine Necronomicon.
The Ripel Necronomicon.
The Perez-Vigo Necronomicon.
The Lin Carter Necronomicon.
The H.R. Giger Necronomicon.
The Necronomicon Project.
The Charles Pace Necronominon.


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The DeCamp-Scithers Necronomicon

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Lovecraft biographer and science-fiction writer L. Sprague De Camp relates a tale of intrigue about how he smuggled the manuscript of this, entitled Al Azif, out of Iraq amidst various dangers. A scholar who attempted to translate it, he further states, wound up spattered all over the walls of his study. In fact, most of the book, released by Owlswick Press, consists of a mere eight pages of scrambled Syriac script repeated over and over, with the characters nearest the margins changed to help hide the repetition. As this obviously cannot be taken seriously, it would be unfair to consider this a hoax rather than a sort of in-joke.

DeCamp himself, in a later commentary on his introduction, has said:

I hope you get a chuckle out of this introduction -- but I also trust that you will not take it seriously. I may wish to go back to Iraq some day, and I do not want this little hoax to complicate my visit.

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The Wilson-Hay-Turner-Langford Necronomicon

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Typical illustration from the Wilson-Hay-Turner-Langford Necronomicon.


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Little effort need be spent to prove that this version is not the genuine article, for Colin Wilson has admitted as much in his article, "The Necronomicon, the Origin of a Spoof", which appeared in Crypt of Cthulhu and was reprinted in Black Forbidden Things: Cryptical Secrets from the "Crypt of Cthulhu", edited by Robert Price. Wilson's claims cannot be taken entirely seriously, for he says:

In fact, anyone with the slightest knowledge of Latin will instantly recognise it for a fake -- it is subtitled "The book of dead names" -- when the word "necronomicon" actually means the book of dead laws.
In fact, anyone with the slightest knowledge of Latin will recognise that the title is Greek.

Wilson describes how George Hay approached him with the idea of his writing an introduction to a spoof volume of stories about the Necronomicon. The tales, according to Wilson, were very dreadful indeed, all centering on the theme of the scholar who finds the hellish tome, stupidly invokes powers greater than he can control, and winds up smeared all over the walls. Wilson instead proposed that they attempt to produce something that could actually be the Necronomicon itself. The idea was partly inspired by a tale by David Langford, in which a computer analysis proves the existence of the Necronomicon, with the usual unsightly results. In the finished volume, Langford indeed contributes a portion in which he claims that a computer analysis has deciphered the manuscript Liber Logaeth of John Dee, revealing it to be -- none other than. Robert Turner, an actual practitioner of ceremonial magick, contributes another section, purporting to be the translation of Liber Logaeth. For the most part, it is run-of-the-mill occultist fair, with typical magickal récipés utilizing a few Mythos names. Wilson himself contributes the introduction, which presents a mishmash of fact and fantasy, claiming (unfoundedly) that Lovecraft's father belonged to "Egyptian Freemasonry" and had learned all sorts of bizarre occult secrets -- which he later spouted in his (actual) insanity. There is also a letter by a "Dr. Hinterstoisser", actually written by Dominic Purcell.

The work also includes two essays supposedly written before the discovery of the manuscript key, and if anything in the book makes it worth owning it will be these. They are: "Dreams of Dead Names: The Scholarship of Sleep" by Christopher Frayling, -- which, by the way, includes an accurate account of Lovecraft's invention of Abdul Alhazred and the Necronomicon, and "Lovecraft and Landscape", by Angela Carter.

Other than this, there is little to say about the book. Wilson's introduction will be interesting to those with the background knowledge to separate the fact from the fantasy. Some find the information on cryptography in Langford's piece interesting; there are entire books available on this subject, however, which are doubtless better sources. The material presented as the Necronomicon itself lacks aesthetic value. (For example, the near-constant -- but inconsistent -- use of "ye" for "the"; -- we could accept the authentically archaic "ye".) Whether it has value for practicing mages I leave to them to decide.

The use of the Cthulhu Mythos is also suspect. The well-known cryptic couplet appears several times misquoted as: "That which is not dead which can eternal lie..." Other inconsistencies with Lovecraft's conceptions appear as well. Shub-Niggurath appears as a male deity, whereas in Lovecraft this being is clearly female. The Old Ones are correlated with the four elements, in a scheme borrowed from August Derleth that neither appears in Lovecraft's work nor is consistent with it. The work also holds to the two warring factions, the "Elder Gods" vs the "Great Old Ones", another innovation of Derleth, along with his Christianity-inspired tale of the revolt of the Great Old Ones against their Elders and betters. The simple fact is, the vast majority of the material in this version of the Necronomicon owe its inspiration not to the Lovecraft Mythos, but to the vastly different Derleth Mythos -- when they are not simply supplanted by typical magick récipés.

A number of on-line versions of the Wilson-Hay-Turner-Langford Necronomicon exist. These include only the purported translations of Liber Logaeth, and omit all other material. They include:

Liber Logaeth (dead).
Liber Logaeth (forbidden).
Liber Logaeth.
Liber Logaeth.
Liber Logaeth.
Liber Logaeth.
Liber Logaeth.
Liber Logaeth (forbidden).
Liber Logaeth (dead).
Liber Logaeth (Belgium).
Liber Logaeth (Germany).
Liber Logaeth (Poland).
Liber Logaeth (Spain).
Liber Logaeth (Spain; translated into Spanish).
Liber Logaeth (Norway; dead?).
Liber Logaeth (Norway).
Liber Logaeth (Sweden).
Liber Logaeth (Croatia; dead?).
Liber Logaeth (Yugoslavia!).
Liber Logaeth (Russia).
Liber Logaeth (Russia).
Liber Logaeth (Russia).
Liber Logaeth (Russia; translated into Russian!).
Liber Logaeth (Russia; translated into Russian!).
Liber Logaeth (Russia; translated into Russian!).
Liber Logaeth (text only).
Liber Logaeth (text only).
Liber Logaeth (Belgium; text only; dead?).
Liber Logaeth (Soviet Union! -- text only).


There has since appeared a purported R'lyeh Text, compiled by the same team, which claims to continue the manuscript begun in the first volume. It is interesting to note that Lovecraft never used the name R'lyeh Text, which was in fact invented by August Derleth after Lovecraft's death, and which is not identical witht the Necronomicon or any part of it. (It is supposedly in the actual tongue of Cthulhu himself and possibly brought from the stars with him.) For the most part, the book is just more of the same. There is included an interesting essay, "Awake in the Witch-House: On the Trail of the 'real' Brown Jenkin", by Patricia Shore -- which, however, includes the notorious, spurious, "black magic" quotation. By 1992, one's scholarship really ought to have been better than that.

The additional material attributed to Liber Logaeth is now on the Web as well:
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2007, 12:43:26 am »

The R'lyeh Text.


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The Simon Necronomicon

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Typical illustration from the Simon Necronomicon.


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As this is the only Necronomicon which qualifies as a full-blown hoax rather than a spoof or in-joke, it will receive a longer examination than the others. There are quite a number of problems with the volume, all of them impeaching its claims to represent a true text of the Necronomicon.

The claims concerning the supposed manuscript are unconvincing. The publisher states that the MS cannot be held up to public inspection. But scholars would not normally use the actual manuscript of such a work; they would work from a set of photographs of it. Provision of such a set would certainly bolster the book's claim. In any case the story told about the discovery of the manuscript is simply too much like a bad Cthulhu Mythos story to be credible. In addition, they state that the manuscript is in Greek, whereas Lovecraft makes it clear that the Greek text has been lost for centuries. Simon says that one section of his putative translation, the URILLIA TEXT, "might be Lovecraft's R'lyeh Text". Lovecraft, however, never referred to the R'lyeh Text, which was an invention of August Derleth's (after Lovecraft's death); and the work is distinct from the Necronomicon in Derleth's conception.

It is evident that the majority of the work is composed of adaptations of existing translations of various Mesopotamian religious and magickal texts, with Lovecraftian names tossed in wherever the original is unreadable. Simon tosses together Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian materials without discrimination, in an historically impossible fashion. The pieces purporting to represent the original languages of various incantations are apparently simply gibberish.

Simon would like us to see great similarities between both his Mesopotamian material and the magick of Aleister Crowley, and the Lovecraft Mythos, but provides essentially no correspondances between them. What few he does attempt to argue for, are unconvincing. He would like us, for example, to see great similarity between the name Cthulhu and the Greek word stélé (as in Crowley's Stélé of Revealing); -- in the right Greek typeface, it does look kind of like CTH^H. The other entries on his short list are either commonplaces of magick and weird fiction or even less similar. Again, he wants us to notice the similarity between Shub-Niggurath and Crowley's Pan (a commonplace of magick and weird fiction both), whereas Shub-Niggurath is female. (Yog-Sothoth would certainly correspond fairly well, on the other hand, given the basis of "The Dunwich Horror" in Arthur Machen's "The Great God Pan".) Again, he would have us note the similarity between Lovecraft's exclamation Iä!, Crowley's use of the commonplace exclamation Io! and the equally commonplace deity name IAO, and the Sumerian deity name IA, which Simon claims as a variant of the god EA (despite which, in his Necronomicon, it is used as the Lovecraftian exclamation).

Simon also wishes us to see a great correspondance between the Lovecraft Mythos and the Mesopotamian mythologies. He states:

Lovecraft depicted a kind of Christian Myth of the struggle between opposing forces of Light and Darkness, between God and Satan, in the Cthulhu Mythos.
And again:

Basically, there are two "sets" of gods in the mythos: the Elder Gods, about whom not much is revealed, save that they are a stellar Race that occasionally comes to the rescue of man, and which correspond to the Christian "Light"; and the Ancient Ones, about which much is told, sometimes in great detail, who correspond to "Darkness". These latter are the Evil Gods who wish nothing but ill for the Race of Man, and who constantly strive to break into our world through a Gate or Door that leads from the Outside, In.
Those knowledgable of modern Lovecraft scholarship will recognize that this does not accurately describe Lovecraft's work, in which there are no Elder Gods, and no cosmic conflict between Good and Evil in any form either. The term "Ancient Ones", as well, only occurs in one story -- and there, it is made clear that they are amoral and indifferent to man rather than evil. It is in fact an accurate description of the Derleth Mythos rather than the Lovecraft Mythos. Considering that renaming the Good and Evil sides of the Mesopotamian deities "The Elder Gods" and "The Ancient Ones" is the major attempt at syncretising the two systems, it would appear the attempt ended in abject failure.

The treatment of individual deities is hardly any better, however. Cthulhu appears as KUTULU, a name which never appeared before this book. Simon derives it from KUTU, the city Kutha, and LU, man. The proper Sumerian form, however, would be LU-KUTU, if these words were compounded. In any case, the name Cthulhu is of non-human origin and thus not amenable to such interpretation.

Simon derives Azathoth from a compound AZAG-THOTH, where AZAG is indeed a Sumerian demon, and THOTH is the Coptic name for the Egyptian deity Tehuti. As to how this compound name could have come about, however, he gives us no clue. Nor does he tell us why it had never appeared in print before.

Other deities are less convincing. Shub-Niggurath appears as ISHNIGGARAB. Yog-Sothoth appears as IAK SAKKAK.

Even where Simon merely cites a Lovecraftian name, without attempting to give a corresponding form, he frequently misspells them. So Yog-Sothoth appears as Yog Sothot, Azathoth as Azatot, "the mad Arab" as "the Mad Arab", shoggoth as shuggoth, etc.

At least one deity of paramount importance in Lovecraft, Nyarlathotep, has nothing corresponding to him in the Simon Necronomicon, as is the case with various minor creations of Lovecraft's that one might expect to put in an appearance, such as Yig, Nug and Yeb, Ghatanothoa, or Rhan-Tegoth, whereas several of the most important Mesopotamian deities in the volume have no corresponding deity in Lovecraft. These include: MARDUK, TIAMAT, PAZUZU, ENKI, NANNA, and INANNA (ISHTAR). Likewise, the various alien races invented by Lovecraft have no place in Simon's Necronomicon, while a host of supernatural creatures from Mesopotamian cultures, with no answering form in Lovecraft, figure prominently.

Another questionable assertion that Simon makes is as follows:

Lovecraft's mythos deals with what are known as chthonic dieties [sic], that is, underworld gods and goddesses, much like the Leviathan of the Old Testament. The pronunciation of chthonic is 'katonic', which explains Lovecraft's famous Miskatonic River and Miskatonic University, not to mention the chief diety [sic] of his pantheon, Cthulhu, a sea monster who lies, "not dead, but dreaming" below the world; an Ancient One and supposed enemy of Mankind and the intelligent Race.
There is quite a number of problems with this statement:

The pronunciation of chthonic is 'thawnick'; the 'ch' is silent.
Sea monsters are not usually considered chthonic.
The name Miskatonic most likely derives from American Indian roots.
Cthulhu's name derives from an alien language predating humanity by aeons; it cannot derive from the word chthonic, though Lovecraft may have been influence in his coining of the name by that word. In any case, this assertion conflicts with Simon's proposed derivation of the word as KUTU + LU, used everywhere else in his Necronomicon.
Cthulhu is not the chief deity of Lovecraft's supposed pantheon, but is important due merely to his proximity.
Cthulhu is not a 'sea monster', but an extraterrestrial or extradimensional creature impeded by being trapped beneath the ocean.
Cthulhu is never referred to as an 'Ancient One', though he is associated with a group called the Great Old Ones.
Cthulhu is not an actual enemy of Mankind; men are merely in his way. This is like saying that a human is an enemy of Termitekind because he would exterminate those who infest his house.
What 'the intelligent Race' might refer to here is unclear; it would not seem to correspond to anything in Lovecraft.

Most readers seem to find the portion labelled "The Testimony of the Mad Arab" to work effectively as Lovecraftian fiction. Many claim that the volume works wonders in the area of magick, regardless of whether the factual claims made regarding its origins are fraudulent or not. This is fully consistent with modern theories of magick.

In addition to the inexpensive paperback edition, the Simon Necronomicon was also released in an expensive leatherbound edition of 666 copies, followed by another of 3,333 copies.

There is also a Simon Necronomicon Spellbook (originally titled The Necronomicon Report), which gives a more récipé-like approach to the section "The Book of Fifty Names". Another such volume, The Gates of the Necronomicon, was also announced for publication, but apparently never appeared. Avon has recently re-issued the Spellbook.

The Simon Necronomicon exists in pirated form on the Web:

The Simon Necronomicon (not currently up).
The Simon Necronomicon.
The Simon Necronomicon.
The Simon Necronomicon (Russia; dead).

Or for a text-only version presented by the Coroner:

The Simon Necronomicon (dead).
The Simon Necronomicon.
The Simon Necronomicon (Poland; text file).
The Simon Necronomicon (gopher text).

Those interested in its validity may also wish to see:

Comments on the Necronomicon
And:
The Necronomicon and Ancient Sumer: Debunking the Myth.

Various rumors have spread around concerning the true identity of "Simon". One of these states that he was Herman Slater, the proprietor of the Magickal Childe occult bookshop of New York, which is indeed mentioned prominently in the volume. Another, more likely rumor, has it that he was a magickian in need of cash, who has subsequently gained a great name for himself in the field of Chaos Magick. Less likely candidates rumored to have authored the Simon Necronomicon include L. Sprague De Camp, Colin Wilson, L. Ron Hubbard, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, and Sandy Pearlman (the Lovecraft-influenced lyricist for the band Blue Öyster Cult).


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