Self-Initiation into the Necronomicon Current
by Asenath Mason
by Asenath Mason
Δημοσιευμένο στο επίσημο site της Στοάς Magan (το Πολωνικό παράρτημα του Dragon Rouge), η συγγραφέας Asenath Mason παρουσιάζει συνοπτικά τις δυνατότητες πρακτικής εφαρμογής του μαγικού ρεύματος (current) του Νεκρονομικόν. Ιδιαίτερα σημαντικό κείμενο, γραμμένο από μια μύστη του LHP που διαφώτισε με μοναδικό τρόπο τα αληθινά μυστήρια του Μυθολογίας Κθούλου, μέσα από χρόνια συστηματική μελέτη και μαγικούς πειραματισμούς!
This essay is a part of the workshops on the Necronomicon Gnosis which I held in the spring and in the summer of 2008. It was written down as a response to numerous questions about the practical work with the Lovecraftian magic, which I received after the release of my book Necronomicon Gnosis - A Practical Introduction. The question that was asked most frequently was “what to begin with?”, “how to attune yourself to the Necronomicon Current?” The simple answer would be: “by intense and systematic practices devoted to the main godforms of the Lovecraftian lore” – meditations on their symbols and names, pathworkings, invocations, etc. In this sense it works as all other magical systems – the more time we devote to our work with the Necronomicon Gnosis, the more sensitive and open we become to its stellar transmissions. And although this might seem obvious to a more advanced practitioner, the beginners are often discouraged by a complex and alien pantheon of the Lovecraftian lore and by the thought that all of this is merely a fiction. Thus, before we begin our adventures in the realm of the Lovecraftian magic, we should realize one basic thing - all existing versions of the Necronomicon and other related texts, as well as the Cthulhu Mythos prose, even though cannot be treated as historical sources, they may still serve us as an inspiration to our own work with this magic.
Disbelievers often mention the common argument that the author himself admitted that all stories were merely a literary fiction and the name Abdul Al Hazred was invented by him in childhood, inspired by the reading of Arabian Nights. But as a response we can say that all mythological gods have been invented by humans in earlier or later times, and if we look at this issue from this point of view, the Great Old Ones seem no less valid than the ancient gods from world’s mythologies. There is a great span of time between their appearance in culture and magic, when we compare them to ancient lore, of course, but still they are all just inventions of human minds, born as a response to the contemporary needs of worship and identification. In the present times people no longer need e.g. agricultural deities, like our ancient ancestors, and the invention of more “modern” lore, to which the Great Old Ones belong, seems more suitable for present needs. Hence, their alien, intangible nature, hybrid manifestations, destructive force, and an enormous evolutionary potential – which seems to be a response to the fast development of science, quantum physics, experiments with the DNA code, etc. The Lovecraftian entities represent in a way this scientific progress, which is both fascinating and threatening, as the greater part of all these phenomena still remains unexplored and it is common to be afraid of the unexpected and the unknown. Perhaps this is the main reason why this lore has been gaining such an enormous popularity in the contemporary literature, art and esotericism.
It is, however, wrong to associate the Lovecraftian entities with any particular mythology. They are “alien”, cosmic forces of human evolution and they might be identified either with all mythologies or with none, as they represent the inherent evolutionary progress of human mind. We can draw some comparisons, like between Dagon and ancient watery gods such as Oannes. Shub-Niggurath roughly represents the concepts of a female principle associated with dark goddesses, like Lilith or Kali, but at the same time Shub-Niggurath can be identified with the wild gods of nature, such as Pan. Nyarlathotep, as a character walking among people on the earth, has a few hundred avatars and represents the concept of the trickster, the adversary, the devil of the witches’ Sabbaths, the personal Shadow, and many others, which allows us to compare him to a large spectrum of mythological gods. The serpent god Yig might correspond to other mythological serpent deities, like Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs. It is more difficult to draw any associations between the earth mythologies and the typically cosmic deities like Cthulhu, Azathoth, or Yog-Sothoth, which manifest as hybrids, completely alien to human perception, and thus they do not resemble the typical mythological gods.
In numerous online libraries or bookstores we will find a lot of “Necronomicons” and other related texts, like “Al Azif”, “De Vermis Misteriis”, “The Book of Dagon”, “The R’lyeh Texts”, and many others. It is not the subject of this essay to discuss whether these texts are genuine grimoires or hoaxes, invented to meet the needs of the market, greedy for the modern mythology. Real or not, there have been many magicians who have found them useful, and usually whoever works with these texts, admits that there’s ‘something’ in them. But this is not the matter of the texts themselves: the key to a successful practice is in the mind of the practitioner, and the reason why these rituals and ceremonies do work is the belief and focus. The real magical power is not contained on the pages of any book but within the human mind, and a mind of a creative individual can transform fiction into a genuine experience. This is how the Lovecraftian magic works. The “Necronomicons” and the Cthulhu Mythos stories may serve as an inspiration for the exploration of the labyrinths of individual’s minds, and become a tool which allows the magician to delve into the depths of consciousness. And since their nature is more up to the modern times, they often replace the ancient godforms in the contemporary occultism.
This essay will present a few methods of how to begin the work with the Necronomicon Current and how to use the Lovecraftian grimoires which at first glance seem too complicated or useless for a modern practitioner. Necronomicon Gnosis can be viewed as a set of tools and techniques which allow for a better understanding of the cosmic and evolutionary concepts represented by the Great Old Ones and other Lovecraftian entities. As there exists none single “genuine” version of the Necronomicon, there is also no singular approach to this kind of magic and an intelligent adept is free to invent his own methods of work, limited only by his own creativity and imagination. We must remember that as a magical system, the Necronomicon is “genuine” enough for those who are able to grasp its intangibility and get into contact with forces which transcend far beyond human rationality and perception.
Self-Initiation on the Ritual and Ceremonial Level
Self-initiation into the Necronomicon Current usually occurs on two levels, which in the further initiatory process intertwine or merge into a powerful magical path. A magician usually starts the work and builds the Temple of the Great Old Ones in their minds by building it on the mundane level. Here we might make use of the numerous Necronomicon-related texts and grimoires. The Lovecraftian grimoires and the Cthulhu Mythos lore, even though most of them claiming to be of “Arabic origin”, paradoxically bears a great resemblance to the Western esoteric tradition. A magician does not have to follow the exact directions of how to prepare the temple or ritual tools, however, as these descriptions often seem ridiculously complicated, but we might adjust them to our needs and available materials.
Build your temple
This aspect of the Lovecraftian magic is purely ceremonial. Depending on the grimoire, we are told to prepare a kind of a special temple for the work with the Necronomicon entities. In Al Azif, for instance, this is a outdoor construction, made up of a circle of stones in the open area, where each stone represents either the particular cardinal direction or a planet and has a proper symbol carved on it. In the middle of the circle we have an altar with the seal of Yog-Sothoth (who is the deity representing the concept of a “gate” to the alternative reality) and names of the most powerful deities: Azathoth, Cthulhu, Hastur, Shub Niggurath, and Nyarlathotep. Around the altar there are four stones which refer to the four cardinal directions, and around these - seven stones representing the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The whole space encircled by the stones constitutes a Gate through which the summoned forces can manifest. Quite complicated and you need at least a big garden, which might be a bit difficult these days. More or less similar descriptions are found in other Lovecraftian grimoires.
Generally, to practice the Necronomicon magic outdoors it is enough to go out into the wild and find a dark and solitary place where you will not be disturbed. It must be a place that would stir your imagination, where you could feel the surroundings coming alive – shadows moving around you, nature and winds whispering messages, the earth pulsating at the rhythm of your heart’s beating. It can be an ancient stone circle, a dark forest, a grove, or generally some kind of place that would give the impression that the border between the worlds is thin and it is easy to get into contact with forces of the irrational. Specifically for the Lovecraftian magic, this does not have to a place in nature – this could be as well an old urban area: an abandoned industrial buildings, closed subway tunnels, old ruined buildings, and others. There you can visualize a gateway through which the Great Old Ones will manifest to you.
When you, however, prefer to set up your temple indoors, you can decorate it with the imagery related to the Lovecraftian lore. There are no “ancient” depictions of the Necronomicon entities but the modern art is quickly filling this mythological gap and you can find a lot of posters, statues, and other visual representations of the Great Old Ones. The setting must affect your imagination, so feel free to put in your ritual space these items which you think are best for you. Sigils and diagrams are suitable as well.
Prepare your ritual tools
You can also go a step further and prepare special ritual tools which will be used only in the work with the Lovecraftian magic. Here we have a wide variety of choice, depending on which Lovecraftian grimoire we will choose as a reference. Among the tools that you can actually fashion, more or less following the instructions, we can mention the sword of Barzai (a ritual sword), the incense of Zkauba (used for some ceremonies), the vessel of Balon (a kind of a scrying vessel), the ring of Hypnos (used for dreamwork), and many others. Even though they come from the popular Necronomicon hoaxes, if you believe in their power and put enough effort in making them, probably they would work.
Embelish your ceremonies with signs of power
One of the Lovecraftian grimoires mentions special signs of power which can be used in ceremonies. These are the sign of Voor that symbolizes the power of Great Old Ones, the sign of Kish that opens gates and destroys barriers, the sign of Koth that seals the Gate, and the sign of the Elder Gods that hinders the power of Great Old Ones and is used in exorcisms (1).
Nyarlathotep and Temple work
Now that we have the ritual space and tools prepared, it is time to choose the entities most suitable to begin our work with. Here two godforms are suggested. One is Nyarlathotep, the other Cthulhu. Why these two? Nyarlathotep is one of the leading deities in the Cthulhu Mythos because of his role as an intermediary between humans and the Great Old Ones. He is the one who leads man to the stars and through the path to divinity. And he often appears in the shape that can be understood and grasped by man – usually in a human form. This is important, because it is easier to visualize an anthropomorphic god than a hybrid with thousand of tentacles and bubbles. For instance, in Lovecraft's story Dreams in the Witch House we see him as a black, thin figure, with a ghastly pale skin, dressed in long black robe and a hat. It’s quite significant to notice that in the story he acts as an intermediary between the adept who makes a pact with the Great Old Ones and their representative, the god Azathoth. The protagonist, Walter Gilman, is drawn to the Other Side, where in a dark chamber he signs his name with blood into the black book and makes a pact with the dark forces – a typical theme in the Western esoteric tradition. Nyarlathotep performs here a similar role as the intermediary devil, such as Mephistopheles in Faustian legends. Nyarlathotep is thus the intermediary between the Outer Forces and humanity. He is the Left Hand Path initiator who destroys everything and ruthlessly shatters all weaknesses of our minds. He is the Crawling Chaos who opens the gate to the Outer Void through which the Great Old Ones can enter our consciousness. Nyarlathotep is thus the beginning (the initiator of communication with the outer gods) and the end - the destroyer and the principle of disintegration. He is said to have 999 avatars, which appear in all cultures, religions in mythologies worldwide, from the dawn of time till now.
Thus, it seems logical to choose him as the first entity to work with when we start our adventure in the labyrinths of the Lovecraftian magic. Besides, Nyarlathotep, as one of very few Necronomicon entities, is the character that can be encountered in the outdoor workings, out there in the wild, as well as in our ritual space indoors. We can work with him through a wide variety of techniques: simple meditations and elaborate pathworkings, invocations and evocations, scrying, dream and astral workings, and even through such types of magic as necromancy or sex magic. Of all Great Old Ones it is easiest to establish contact with him, and then through him we can find access to other, more cosmic and alien principles.
The other way to attune yourself to the Necronomicon Current is not through ceremonial workings but through a more subtle awakening of the unconscious, i.e. through dream work.
Here, of course, we have Cthulhu, the Lord of Dreams. As dreams are the key to unconsciousness, this kind of magic is one of the most important techniques in exploration of Necronomicon worlds and meeting its entities. Cthulhu lies "dead but dreaming" in a sunken tomb in R'lyeh – the city representing the depth of the unconscious. Although he is dormant, he has the ability to contact humans through dreams - sending visions and dreams about the old times and about gods who ruled the world at the beginning of time. In Lovecraftian prose such transmissions take the form of hideous nightmares, but they can be a very useful tool in the work with the Necronomicon current if someone willingly opens his mind to the “call of Cthulhu”.
Similarly as Nyarlathotep, Cthulhu is described as the “high priest” of the Great Old Ones, the one who can communicate with humans and act on the behalf of other cosmic deities. While Nyarlathotep acts mostly through the material plane and can be met in the waking world, Cthulhu acts through dreams and the realm of sleeping. It’s not usual to hear his voice spontaneously, but we may help our subconsciousness to open itself for these transmissions.
The techniques for dream work with the Lovecraftian magic do not actually differ much from other dreamworking methods, but it is worthwhile to remember some hints. For example before going to sleep we can read a story from the Cthulhu Mythos, either random, or devoted to Cthulhu or other chosen entity. Or we can watch a movie with a Lovecraftian theme, like “The Call of Cthulhu” “From Beyond”, “Dagon”, etc. Then, while falling asleep we visualize the scenes from the story or mentally focus on the names or images. It is also recommended to memorize some descriptions, and then, while falling asleep, use them as a gate to enter a conscious dream. This demands a good visualisation skill and clear focus. If you do it right, the scene should continue in your dreams.
The same procedure can be applied to a meditation on a sigil or an illustration representing Cthulhu – a focused meditation prior to sleeping, and then trying to fall asleep while visualizing the image. When you do this kind of a meditation, try also to establish link with the entity through the picture itself – gaze into it and send a mental message to invite Cthulhu to your mind. You can also create your own sigil or draw your own pictures. Or instead of a visual representation, you can meditate on a mantra. I recommend the classical mantra: "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" or simply "Cthulhu R'lyeh Fhtagn”. Or while falling asleep, fill the room with the smell of an incense which you’ll be using only to the Necronomicon workings. The alternative is a quiet Lovecraftian music.
The voice of Cthulhu
When your dreams become filled with visions and atmosphere from the Lovecraftian prose, that would mean that you are on the right way with your work and your consciousness has been awakened to this kind of gnosis. You may receive the "call" of Cthulhu in dreams as a mysterious voice or a message spoken in a monotonous manner, enigmatic and apparently without meaning. Then follow visions of slimy temples and monoliths located in a huge, forgotten city. You can also see names, images, symbols, mantras, and words of power that can le later used in conscious communication with these forces. A conscious entering into such a dream allows for clear contact with Great Old Ones and other akin entities who exist on the border of the dreaming and waking worlds.
An example of a Cthulhu dreamworking which combines several techniques can be found in my book: Necronomicon Gnosis: A Practical Introduction”. There you’ll also find some more information about how to work with the Lovecraftian dream magic.
(1) The pictures are provided in “Al Azif” or in my book “Necronomicon Gnosis – A Practical Introduction”