AOH :: NEC1.TXT|
The Necronomicon Mythos according to H. P. Lovecraft
Subject: Necronomicon info 1
From: email@example.com (PARKER RYAN)
Date: 2 Jun 94 13:27:04 -0500
This is a revised and expanded version of my Necronomicon
Information post. My first post, written off the top of my head (I didn't
have any of my books with me), contained a few small errors. I have
corrected all the errors I could find in it, but I can't guarantee this
version is perfect.
Part 1: The Necronomicon Mythos According to HPL
Lovecraft's ideas on his myth-cycle
Part 2: The Necronomicon and Ancient Arab Magick
Arab magick as a possible source for HPL's fiction
Part 3: Sources on Ancient Magick
Research sources and some more data
Part 4: The Necronomicon Mythos and Modern Magick
A. Crowley, Anton LaVey, Kenneth Grant, A.Spare and Dr. Dee
THE NECRONOMICON MYTHOS ACCORDING TO HPL
This section is a short summary of some of horror writer
H.P. Lovecraft's major ideas relating to the Necronomicon and its
associated Myths. The Necronomicon is perhaps the most infamous book
related to the magick (whether real or fictional). Please note that I am
not claiming that the information presented in part is historical fact.
Rather I am simply summarizing what HPL had to say in his fiction and
other sources about the Necronomicon. After reading ALL parts of this post
AND doing your own research, you will be the judge about what may or may
not be historical fact. Perhaps the best way to start is by Quoting HPL
from _The History and Chronology of the Necronomicon_. "Original title Al
Azif-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. He 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... 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."
Later the Al Azif was translated into Greek under the Greek title
Necronomicon (the title is definitely not in Latin as is often claimed).
This title 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). The title Necronomicon absolutely
does not translate as Book of Dead Names (as Colin Wilson has mistakenly
and repeatedly stated). In order for it to mean Dead Names it would have
to be Latin/Greek hybrid (besides HPL flatly indicated the first
translation is the correct one). Still later (possibly in the 1200's) it
was translated into Latin but retained it's Greek title. 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.
The Necronomicon contains dark secrets about the real nature of
the Earth and the universe. According to the Necronomicon the Earth was
once ruled by the Old Ones, powerful beings from other worlds or other
dimensions. HPL in _The Dunwich Horror_ attributes this quote to the
Necronomicon "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, the Old Ones shall be
not in the spaces we know but between them, They walk serene and primal
undimensioned and to us unseen. 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. He knows where They have trod earth's
fields, and where They still tread them, and why no man can behold Them
as They tread. By their smell can men sometimes know them near, but of
their semblance can no man know, saving only in the featurs of those They
have begotten on mankind; and of those are there many sorts, differing in
likeness from mans truest eidolon to that shape without sight or substance
which is Them. They walk unseen and foul in lonely places where the Words
have been spoken and the Rights howled through at their
seasons...Yog-Sothoth is the key to the gate whereby the spheres meet. Man
rule now where They rule once; They shall soon rule where man rule now.
After summer is winter, after winter summer. They wait patient and potent,
for here they shall reign again."
The Necronomicon STRONGLY hints that there is a cult or group of
cults that worships the Old Ones and seeks to aid them gain control of
this planet. One of the tactics attempted by this cult is to breed human
and Old One offspring that will then multiply and ingress into terrestrial
life until the Old Ones return to their pre-ordained position.
Some branches of the cult venerate a deity called Cthulhu. Cthulhu
is a dragon-like "god" with a face that is a mass of tentacles. Cthulhu is
dead (dormant) but dreaming in the abyss (the Pacific Ocean). It is not
certain whether or not Cthulhu is an Old One. At one point Cthulhu is
referred to as Cousin of the Old Ones. At another the deity is called the
high priest of the Old Ones; both of these labels might imply that Cthulhu
may not be exactly like the Old Ones. The cult seeks to raise Cthulhu in
order to usher in the day when the Old Ones will control the world. When
Cthulhu rises men will be wild and free beyond good and evil. If Cthulhu
rises partly from the ocean but it is not yet the correct time there are
terrible bouts of madness. The center of the Cthulhu cult "lay amid the
pathless deserts of Araibia, where Irem, City of Pillars dreams hidden and
untouched." The cult places special emphasis on dreams, which they say can
sometimes contain the thoughts of the "deity."
There are many other important gods mentioned in the Necronomicon.
One group of these deities, the Other Gods seem to be true Gods (unlike
the Old Ones and Cthulhu who seem simply to be very powerful entities).
Most important among the Other Gods are Yog-Sothoth and Azathoth.
Yog-Sothoth is coterminous with ALL time and space. In _Through the Gates
of the Silver Key_ Lovecraft (who, despite the fact that E. Hoffman Price
appears as co-author, wrote nearly every word of this story) 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. Of equal or greater importance is Azathoth. Evidence that
Azathoth is at least equal with Yog-Sothoth is that Azathoth is "Lord of
All" while Yog-Sothoth is "All in One, One in All" 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. It is Extremely
noteworthy that Azathoth is very closely related to the latest models in
Quantum Physics. There are also some notable parallels between HPL's ideas
about Chaos and the new Chaos Mathematics. Azathoth the ultimate nuclear
chaos that emits the random waves that govern the universe seems to be the
principle opposite of Yog-Sothoth who embraces the expanses of infinity.
Whereas Yog-Sothoth is infinitely large, Azathoth seems to be infinitely
compact (e.g., the quantum center). 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"
The heart and soul of the Other Gods is Nyarlathotep the mighty
messenger. It is as their messenger that Nyarlathotep makes the will of
the Other Gods known on Earth. It is through Him that all traffic with
Azathoth must go. Nyarlathotep has a thousand forms. He is called the
Shub-Niggurath the Black Goat of the Woods is a type of "perverse
fertility deity." Shub-Niggurath also is called the Goat with a thousand
young. It is apparently a very important deity in the Necronomicon mythos,
judging by how frequently It is mentioned. There is obviously a connection
between the cult of Shub-Niggurath and the many Goat cults of antiquity.
Besides Cthulhu, the Old Ones and the Other Gods there are
numerous minor races of creatures in the Necronomicon such as the
shoggoths. A shoggoth is a shapeless congerie of "protoplasmic bubbles."
The shoggoths were created by the Old Ones as servitors. They can assume
any form they need to accomplish their assigned task. They are unruly
servants, becoming more intelligent with time eventually gaining a will of
their own. Shoggoth are sometimes, according to HPL, seen in drug-induced
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.
Another minor race is ghoul. Ghouls are corpse eating monsters
that are very manlike except for their canine or monstrous facial
features. It is possible for a man to be transformed into a ghoul under
the right circumstances.
This concludes my short summary of HPL's major ideas on the
Necronomicon and it's Associated myths. This is by no means exhaustive but
it should give you enough general information to address the rest of this
post with a good point of references.
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