This is the first(ish) draft of an essay I wrote on an urge the other day. As a practitioner of the black arts I have found the Lovecraftian pantheon useful on many levels, especially during the formative period of my practice. This contains many of my thoughts on the relationship between "Yog-Sothothery" and black magic, with the acceptance, in this case, that black magic is an intrinsic part of devil worship, and vice versa. I'd be interested to hear the (intelligent) thoughts of others before I consider it finished. I do not, of course, expect everyone to agree with my conclusions or even the foundations, but such is the nature of our Arte.
On the Importance of the Necronomicon Mythos in Regard to the Fledgling Black Magicians of Today
In much of the new material on the Lovecraftian paradigm, I so frequently find cautionary words warning the novice sorcerer against the entry of these currents. Whether this is mere drama or whether the author solemnly believes the inexperienced will be driven insane or eaten is irrelevant – such ‘warnings’ still do more harm than help. That there is danger inherent in the practice should be obvious, as it is in any and all acts of spirit communication. I also frequently find people who claim that all of their attempts to enter the Mythos currents have been in vain and that they are now thoroughly convinced of its unreality. It is the belief of this practitioner that the two are related. Such rare seed requires good soil in which to grow - Lovecraft’s mythology is far more useful to the black magical ‘beginner’ than to the adept.
Since its first unveiling in the early 1900’s, HP Lovecraft’s so-called ‘Cthulhu Mythos’ or, more correctly, ‘Necronomicon Mythos’, has steadily gained popularity. The rising of Cthulhu, the opening of the gates of Yog-Sothoth, the coming forth of Nyarlathotep, the mad piping of the blind demon-sultan Azathoth – these have all captured the minds and hearts of magical practitioner and sci-fi-horror fans alike. Since the earliest days of its gestation, the Necronomicon Mythos has grown and expanded, naming new Great Old Ones in the works of August Derleth, Lin Carter and Ramsey Campbell among many others, and absorbing similar entities from other literary paradigms (for example, CA Smith’s Tsathoggua) to create a rich mythology on which to base stories and also, with more bearing on this article, the ritual work of the nigromancer.
There have been many half-arsed (and some down-right failed) attempts at creating grimoires, systems and traditions based around the various forms of the Mythos over the last few decades, but especially since reaching the new millennium we have seen a vast increase in the popularity of Lovecraft’s work, and these attempts at creating coherent systems from it. For example, one may consider the Esoteric Order of Dagon, whose work owes more to Crowley than to Lovecraft, or the short-lived, ill-conceived and now defunct “Cult of Cthulhu” (based in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, and founded, under the name Venger Satanis, by Darrick Dishaw – a realtor with a penchant for bigamy and role-play games). Even the somewhat infamous Order of Nine Angles has made attempts at connecting the ‘Dark Gods’ of their tradition with the Old Ones of the Lovecraftian Mythos, however such ties are tenuous at best. Donald Tyson published several books based on his own work with the Mythos, and while having what may be called a ‘Gnostic’ core, the material is largely original and of much more use to the student of the Black Arts than, for example, George Hay’s hoax-edition of the Necronomicon, or S. Ben Qayin’s Volubilis ex Chaosium, which, at best, could be described as poor. Tyson’s work, at least, touches upon the true purpose of the Great Old Ones, so frequently and conveniently forgotten by would-be practitioners – the destruction of existence in order to return to Chaos.
Likewise, there have been multiple efforts made to explain the Mythos, and its deities, in various ways meant to benefit the practitioner. Much of what makes up the original bulk of Lovecraft’s work comes from his dreams, and it was in these dreams that Lovecraft first gained sight of the Great Old Ones, so many of the theories about the Mythos focus on their oneiric origins. There are some who believe that these Old Ones exist in reality and contacted Lovecraft through his sleeping mind so that he would write about Them, “spread the word”, thereby establishing and strengthening Their hold on earth. There is the opinion that the Great Old Ones, as They revealed themselves to Lovecraft through dream and nightmare, were ‘masks’ for his own subconscious fears and struggles – the supposed ‘benefit’ to the sorcerer here being that he can accept the Mythos as ‘nonsense’ and move on to something more ‘real’ (such as the OTO or Church of Satan, perhaps?). Similarly, but with far more relevance and reality, there are those who believe that these ‘masks’ were the nearest to comprehensible form that certain Acausal energies/entities were able to assume (or conversely, that the forms assumed were the closest to comprehensible form that Lovecraft’s mind was able to conceive). The personal stance of this practitioner being a combination of the first and the final positions listed above – They exist outside of our reality, in essence formless and thoughtless, and all that They strive for is the nihility of creation. However, for the sake of this article, the exact origin of the Mythos is fairly irrelevant. It is practice which reveals the importance of the Necronomicon Mythos.
As mentioned earlier, the true purpose of the Great Old Ones is the End of All. They work towards the annihilation of everything in existence, so that through the destruction of the lowly what is worthy and pure may be lifted up to Acausal divinity. In essence, this should also be the stance of the black magician – the illusory life around us hides the divinity of the empty and formless chaos beneath and beyond the world of distractive senses. To truly and most potently work dark sorcery, the practitioner must realise, accept and assimilate the meaninglessness of Causal existence and strive towards Chaos in order to touch the Divine, whether this Divinity is labelled Azathoth, Satan, Baphomet or what/whomever. It is in this that the Necronomicon Mythos may be of use to the serious practitioner.
The Mythos should be entered into solitarily. The practitioner should devote time to the study of the writings of Lovecraft and others and put into practice, where applicable and practical, that which speaks to him/her on a deeper level. One should take long walks in the wilderness and along lonely beaches and other liminal places, and feel the whispers from the Other Side upon the skin, comprehending the sussurant mysteries with the blood. The sorcerer should build cairn piles, stone circles and altars in the wild, where s/he can offer praises to the Heralds of the Other Side and commune with the Acausal energies that such carefully-made constructions constitute a gateway to and for. Sorcerer becomes idolater, for the work of the Great Old Ones requires fetishistic objects and likenesses which act as anchors and nexions for the currents tied thereto (“such stuff as dreams are made of”). By paying honour and respect to these energies, we awaken their reflection within ourselves and increase our own power, speeding our own Anti-Cosmic ascension.
The importance of the Necronomicon Mythos, both as the basis for occult tradition and as a phenomenon in its own right, cannot be overstated. By entering willingly into communion, and service, with that which strives for the destruction of that which most of the human race hold dear, the practitioner confronts his/her own microscopic place in the ‘order of things’ and, if the sorcerer can look upon the void of meaninglessness without shrinking away, the pointlessness becomes his/her sole reason for continuum. By seeing everything and realising you are nothing that nothingness becomes your everything. The recent increase in the Lovecraftian paradigm’s popularity points to the increase in the scope of readers and practitioners alike; people are realising the bigger picture, and some are starting to see their place – and some are seeing that “their place” is on the Other Side. The tired old ceremonial systems of the Golden Dawn, the obscure and essentially without-foundation Enochian systems, so-called ‘Sigil Magick’ born of the messy egocentric amalgam of “Chaos Magic” – they must be retired from the mind of the devoted nigromancer, and s/he must instead forge a new path of learning and progress for him/herself, guided by the Anti-Cosmic impulses within and without.
By breaking away from accepted tradition and performing magic from the core of one’s being and directed by one’s Spirit, the sorcerer prepares him/herself for all other forms of magic and will be more discriminating when it comes to discerning valuable work from amid the endless stream of new materials and rehashed systems. The practitioner also develops the ability to contact and commune with the forces utilized in potent black magic through his/her own means, leading to the formulation a truly personal tradition and system. Further, by working with these energies as the Great Old Ones, possessing various ‘forms’, of sorts, given them by writers and practitioners alike, the practitioner’s mind becomes more skilled in the comprehension of forms and messages from the Other Side – and such mysteries are the basis of higher work.
The Old Ones work slowly; They are incomprehensibly ancient, even to the point of timelessness. Their plans will roll on for years, decades, centuries, millennia... And all plans have the same eventual outcome: the return of the Great Old Ones and the total destruction of everything. That is the one thing that They want. So if the sorcerer seeks wealth, comfort, love, then, to use the vernacular, he’s shit outta luck – because They don’t care, and the practitioner should not care either. Sometimes They will provide or manipulate financial gain or fortuitous circumstances in order to repay the practitioner for various services and favours, but if such is your end goal you would do better to look to other sources. However, if the sorcerer seeks forbidden knowledge, dark power and liberating transcendence – the true goals of the black magician – then the Old Ones have much to teach.
There will always be those who spend their time and energy disputing the ‘reality’ of the Necronomicon Mythos, but the wise practitioner will smile and turn away from such pointless squabbling, choosing instead to reflect on what they know and have learnt from experience, after having experienced it. The serious nigromancer, the true sorcerer of the black arts, will close his eyes and ears to the distracting drone and blurring babble of the Causal world and instead look upon black vistas of Chaos with the eyeless sight and feverishly chant in his heart Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn! : In His house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming!