Discussion in 'Magick' started by thorn, Aug 1, 2004.
Well, the mad Arab Abdul Al-Hazrad always seemed a rather interesting fiction from the mind of HP Lovecraft.
I don't remember anything but the barest of quotes from the book:
"That which is dead can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons, even death may die."
Lovecraft had a fantastic imagination, and his writings are quite involving, as are the concepts he used. The Necronomicon forms an intregral part of the detailed Cthulhu Mythos that he developed - but, alas, along with the Old Ones and the Elder Gods, they remain firmly rooted in fiction - though many seem to have projected their own thoughts and writings into shaping what a modern Necromonicon *may* have read like. An example of over-enthusiasm, perhaps?
Yup, the Necronomicon was an invention of Lovecraft's. Prior to Lovecraft there was no mention of this particular grimoire or any of the purported authors -- because Lovecraft made all those details up.
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/necpage.htm is probably one of the best resources on the web for information about the Necronomicon and the stories told about it. There's also "The Necronomicon Files" by Daniel Harms and John Wisdom Gonce III (ISBN1-57863-269-2) which goes over a lot of the material.
There are plenty of grimoires out there with much more interesting history (online at places such as http://www.esotericarchives.com/ ) that those interested in grimoires don't need to resort to ones made up as part of fictional worlds.
Well, you know.
You can believe whatchya wanna believe.
It's YOUR mind.
(Porphyria et all.)
i always liked terry pratchett's take on this - he refers to the necrotelicomnicon of one "ahmed the mad" who preferred to be known as "ahmed the i just get these headaches". his other outstanding lost grimoire is known to scholars as "ahmed the i just get these headaches' book of humorous cat stories".
I know it's redundant, but those would be EEEVIL cats in those stories, right? (My cat, Bub, is the most EEEVIL of all felines. I'm absolutely convinced of it.)
Here’s a disturbing thought.
The Necronomicon is, of course, fiction . . . despite the growing number of Lovecraft fans who insist the poor man was privy to information so horrific, so eldritch, he was forced to disguise what he’d learned as pulp fiction. [By his own admission, Lovecraft was a rather hardened and cynical skeptic on all things metaphysical.]
However, a basic rule of magic holds that our intent and our will shape the world around us, including the unseen world of spirits and metaphysical phenomenon. Belief is a far more powerful tool than any magic wand or incantation. Further, a rather large percentage of neopagans believe that gods, goddesses, spirits, and other unseen denizens of the astral planes all have their origin within our own minds and thoughts. We create the gods, rather than the other way about, and empower them through our belief and worship. [Not my personal view, BTW, but there’s a certain amount of truth to the basic idea; the deliberate or accidental creation of wraiths, thought forms, artificial elementals, tulpas, and such-like critters is common in magical practice.]
Now, with all of that in mind, consider this. A popular book on Chaos Magick available in bookstores everywhere includes rituals for summoning Azathoth, Chthulu, and other denizens of the Lovecraft mythos, as supposedly described in the Necronomicon.
If it is true we create the gods with our belief . . . just what are these people creating out there on the astral right now? . . .
This is a common theory. It also raises some interesting concerns about all the energy that those who believe in the literal existence of Satan and other enemy-of-mankind-and-God types are handing over on a nice silver platter to the very things they claim they oppose.
The best reaction I can think of if one is ever confronted with an undesirable entity or deity is to laugh at it. It's tough to give them energy to use against you if you treat them like a joke.
well... as long as everyone doesn't go around chanting the name Hastur, we should be ok
since we're on the subject, albeit, obliquely...
has anyone ever played the sci-fi rpg "Call of Cthulhu"
i've given it a go a few times... but i'm not all that impressed with the game mechanics or the plot lines. i mean really... how many times can you encounter an Ancient Old One with a blinking .45 ACP????!!!!?!!?
I used to play the Call of Cthulhu a lot - it was actually my introduction to Lovecraft (I bought up his writings soon after).
Call of Cthulhu (another CoC!) is really meant more for the investigative element - the horror of disovery - so far as I understand playing it. It's certainly not the standard "slash and hack" RPG, which was precisely it's appeal. After all, most of the denizens mentioned in the books you could never even hope to destroy. So the human element was always open for better play than other RPG's that encouraged "power fantasies".
Back to the comments about making something real by believing in it (wasn;t this used in Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods", too?) - doesn't that reality stay within the subject? For example, if I were to believe that God is a pink elephant, this would only exist in my own subjective experience of reality, rather than confer any consensus objective existence to the object? In which case, couldn't Satan be therefore be reduced to nothing more than a powerless squeaky talking bunny, by the right number of people in the right place at the right time believing that this is all Satan is?
Satan as Harvey [of the eponymous 1950 Jimmy Stewart movie]! I love it!
I own the CoC game for research purposes, but have never played it. I agree with Brian: the whole point of Lovecraft’s stories, for the most part, was to plumb the depths of horror, despair, and insanity arising from the discovery that the universe is not benign, that the gods would as soon squash us like bugs as look at us, and that their emotions, interests, and drives have nothing in common with ours. Taking out Nyarlathotep with a .45, or even just screwing up the Old Ones’ timetable by interrupting some of their followers’ worship sessions seems to violate that premise, somehow.
I suspect that if Brian wants to think of Satan as a giant talking bunny, then for most intents and purposes, it would be so, for him. In so far as gods or other figures may derive some of their substance or reality [whatever THAT is!] from human belief, it may well be a question of numbers.
Is anyone here familiar with the concept of morphic resonance, as described by Rupert Sheldrake? This is an increasingly popular concept in biological evolution that neatly explains both behavioral evolution in species, and certain concepts of morphological evolution that are not easily explained by classical natural selection.
It seems that in the years before WWII, a study was made of certain birds in southern England, a species of tit, I believe, that had learned how to peck through the foil cap then used to seal bottles of milk delivered to people’s doorsteps in the early morning. Since bottles of milk had not been on the birds’ menu when they evolved millions of years ago, it was clear that birds were learning the behavior from one another. The phenomenon was studied, and could be seen to be growing, slowly, within a certain geographical area [the south of London, I believe it was.]
And then, seemingly overnight, the behavior was seen to be spreading, and very quickly indeed. Tits in Scotland and on the continent were performing the same behavior, and seemed to be doing so beyond the radius expected if ordinary diffusion was at work.
WWII came along. Milk was rationed, and not delivered to doorsteps for a number of years. [I don’t believe it resumed until the early ‘50s.] By that time, all of the original milk-drinking tits had died off. [They don’t live more than a very few years.]
And yet, to everyone’s surprise, tits began drinking from milk bottles as soon as they were re-introduced, and the behavior continued to spread too quickly to be explained by diffusion, at least until they stopped using foil caps for the things!
Morphic resonance suggests that there is a kind of substrate upon which behavior can be played out and which accumulates experience. [Interestingly, this is an increasingly popular and useful concept now being presented in quantum physics as well—a substrate to reality upon which all realities are played out.] For a number of years, tits learned from one another about the joys of drinking milk from bottles . . . but at some point a kind of critical mass was reached. Suddenly, all tits had access to the behavior, which was a genuine survival mechanism, of course, at least to the extent that they could pick it up much more easily than could their forbearers.
Experiments conducted on human subjects supports this idea. One study compared the ease of memorization by groups of school children of two sets of poems . . . one learned by generations upon generations of Japanese school children, the other nonsense syllables created to sound like real Japanese, but carrying no meaning. American students repeatedly memorized the genuine poem much more readily, and retained it better, than they did the nonsense rhyme.
The gods and goddesses may indeed draw some aspect of their reality from our worship. Large numbers of believers may make it easier for those deities to manifest themselves, or to communicate with their followers. There may be a critical mass involved; get enough people believing in Brian’s talking rabbit, and the talking rabbit will find it’s own reality. It’s certainly an interesting idea.
I’ve often debated the point with Wiccans who—in an effort to distance themselves from Satan-worshippers [with whom they’re too often confused by the media and others]—often say they don’t believe in Satan. Well, that’s fine . . . but that doesn’t mean Satan doesn’t exist. The misguided belief in and worship of Satan by hundreds of millions of people through a couple of thousand years, not to mention the fear and other strong emotions of devout Christians in regard to Hell, could, in my opinion, have given life to this being whether he’d existed before or not.
As for consensus reality—Brian and I have debated this one before—that is one of the big problems of quantum physics today. Each of us creates our own reality, but what happens when separate realities overlap? Is there, in fact, a “base reality” to begin with? Does created reality persist? Or, as Einstein complained once [he didn’t care for some of the weirder notions expressed by quantum physics] does the Moon cease to exist when we’re not looking at it? [And there ARE times—once a month, in fact—when NO ONE is looking at the Moon, because it’s between the Earth and the Sun, the time of the new moon. Does simple belief keep it chugging along in its orbit? Are gods and angels and other extra-planar beings observing it, and so keeping it intact? Is the Moon a kind of propagated wave effect, with persistence, the way a wave at the beach maintains its existence even though individual water molecules are not traveling as a part of it?]
However you slice it, it does appear that the more people you have observing or believing in something, the more “real” that something is.
Now, if we could just understand what “real” is.
In any case, I don’t think all THAT many people believe in Chthulu today, but you never know. . . .
The Necronomicon: Fact or Fiction... does it have to be one or the other?
Lovecraft is perhaps one of the greatest horror, fantasy, sci-fi writers of the 20th century (his writing deserves to be put in all three of those categories). Yet his works were completely fictitious, right? What's interesting in this thread isn't if the book is a work of fiction, but would a belief in the Lovecraftian gods give them reality.
I love the argument that man creates god and not the other way around (for the record, I don't see this as true). This leads to the question of whether or not reality is purely subjective, or if there's a "base reality" which can be subjectively affected. Or maybe reality is purely objective, and the whole argument is meaningless. I for one don't believe the gods, or God, or that which is Divine was created by man, on the other hand, I don't believe man was created by God. My personal belief is that the universe is an act of co-creation among all life in the universe. So if everyone in the room believes a brown table is red then the brown table will become red, right? The problem with that argument is that at the same time everyone in the room believes it's impossible for a table to spontaneously change color (go ahead, try and really convince yourself that by chanting "the table is red" you'll change the color of a table). You'll end up with a conflict of belief here, you believe the table is red, but you also believe the table can't change so spontaneously, so there's no change in the table (You might be surprised a few weeks later when red pain is spilled all over it, or when a relative has given you a red table as a gift in place of the old brown table).
So, if everyone believes there's a certain god (let's name him Fluffy Bunny) then Fluffy Bunny must exist, right? There's a problem with this too. Reality, as I believe it to be, is an act of co-creation, and if Fluffy Bunny does not want to exist, then again you'll have a conflict of belief. You believe in Fluffy Bunny, but Fluffy Bunny doesn't believe in you or itself, in other words, you can't bring together energy that does not want to come together. Besides (and here's a scary way of looking at it) if you believe that Fluffy Bunny has always been the god of everything at all times, and you believe this to be absolutely true, then Fluffy Bunny must come in existence before you began believing in him. So did Fluffy Bunny, in the past, begin believing in you so you'd believe in him? And which did come first, the chicken or the egg?
My concern, then, isn't whether a bunch of people can get together and create Cthulu through their power of belief. I think a greater concern is if there's something out there, lurking at the edge of mankind's knowlege, waiting just outside the known universe that wants to be Cthulu. All it needs is enough people believing in it to make its subjective way into our experience of what is and isn't real.
I don't think that'll happen though, nobody takes Lovecraft serious, right?
WHKeith hit the nail on the head. Though the Necronomicon's origins are in fiction, it's effects on the magickal world have been very real. I'm one of several individuals who can't actually open the Necronomicon without being overwhelmed by nausea and a buzzing sensation in my head.
I learned about Al Azif and Lam shortly after discussing this an another forum. Good times.
Say, Rain of Brass Petals, I find that fascinating. Are you referring to the popular Simon version of the Necronomicon? Or something else?
And, lest anyone think I'm reversing what I said about it earlier . . . there ARE a number of "Necronomicons" out there, including several interesting hoaxes and several commercial efforts capitalizing on the name. The one written by "Simon" is the most widespread, available in most book stores. I've also heard that some people have trouble with it. Some of the spellwork and path workings described therein are NOT well thought-out, contain contradictions, and could be harmful.
But Lovecraft's volume, supposedly written by the mad Arab, is indubitably fiction.
Yes, I am speaking of the Simon version. I apologize, I should have specified. Since I'm stubborn, I wasn't a fan of being denied the ability to read the grimoire, so I asked around and found out that it's the Mad Arab, Al Azif who would be responsible for what I experience.
Since he was 'unavailable' I contacted Lam and asked him about getting in touch with Al Azif, and he was quite cooperative ... provided you threaten him with celestial bureaucracy.
I personally picture Satan (sometimes) as the Eveready Energizer Bunny (a battery operated pink bunny that is/was used to advertise a particular brand of battery) rather than Harvey.
Lovecraft is great.
His is a nihilistic universe where morality is noexistant and gods are chaotic beasts that don't care about us.
But the best is that knowlegde and understanding always i horrible and painfull in his universe.
Science is doomed to destroy mankind becouse it's knowlegde will awaken the elder ones or make humanity into the Old Ones..
Order is illusion and every understanding of cosmos comes through chaos
since understanding opens us up to new dimensions.
All order is human futile attempts to believe that humans emotons and human or moral thoughs matters but it doesn't.
I love it.
I love reading about small minded characters who dies or harm themselves becouse they are stupid.
I love it.
I think that he didn't fear so much his own monsters as he was making parody of others useless and small minded fears.
There are a large number of letters written between Lovecraft and other authors. He was a prolific correspondent.
His letters disclose that all he was interested in was squeaking a living out of horror stories, and how to write more effectively.
He had no belief in his own mythos of "ancient lore better left forgotten".
He was a recluse and semi-hermit who lived in the house kept by his mother and sisters and was most often near destitute.
A master of a literary niche, but not a mystic by any estimate.
I always thought that the insistance that Lovecraft "stole" the Necronomicon from reality does a HUGE disservice to HPL's imagination.
Hmm any thoughts.... A mere book written by Lovecraft.. Just "another" book like many others to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Separate names with a comma.