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Romancing the Necronomicon

To: alt.christnet.demonology,alt.necronomicon,alt.magick,alt.magick.goetia,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan.magick
From: (nagasiva yronwode)
Subject: Re: Romancing the Necronomicon (was: Necronomicon Sigils)
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 06:32:50 GMT

50000210 IVom

I'm so very glad we've moved beyond that old wrangle.... the Admirable! (Gnome d' Plume):
>I'm going to do something weird and apologize for coming down on you a
>little too hard on this "real" vs. "fake" Necronomicon issue.... 

thank you, and for my part I wish to note that I enjoyed your song
for its perspective, but I was just hearing it too many times. :>

>...I'm an old Lovecraft fan from way-back, second, I think that  the
>macabre, the gothic, etc. is a genuine element in our NeoRomantic
>movement, sub-culture, or whatever; third, I believe that an element
>of mysterioso and glamour is part of magick. If I'm going to staunchly
>defend Wynn Westcott for concocting a German Rosicrucian origin for
>MacKenzie's English Cypher Manuscript (which MacKenzie himself claimed
>he derived from German sources), then why can't I bend enough to find
>some "reality" behind H.P.L.'s Al Azif?

well said! this is precisely the line of argument to which I've
been alluding for a long time with you.

>       The answer is: I can. Lovecraft actually dreamed several (if
>not most) of his stories. His idea of The Old Ones harks back to the
>disturbing possibility that we have not always been the dominate
>intelligent species on this planet. (I just published an article on
>this concept  in The Seventh Ray in which I credit Lovecraft for
>having a psychic premonition of this.) Although I am not a full-time
>diabolist, I very much enjoy the writings and artistic gleanings of
>Kenneth Grant, who continually refers to Lovecraft.
>        So then why do I poke (pun intended) fun at the various

usually I hear you poking fun at THE Necronomicon, and my idealistic
side ruffled on account of the possibility that some worthy version
might actually be out there or might be inspired by such acute
criticism of precursors as those such as yourself might offer up.

>        Well, the answer to that is pretty easy. I appreciate the idea
>behind the Necronomicon, I appreciate its mystique and its glamour,
>but when people clap these hoaxes together I wish they would at least
>do their homework. Levenda's (Simon's) Necronomicon is full of lifted
>Akkadian, bolixed-up sigils that are insulting to those of us who know
>how sigils are constructed, and his "Testimony of the Mad Arab" is the
>poorest attempt to imitate medieval Arabic style I've seen yet. Why
>couldn't he have just read a little Burton first, for Cathulu's sake!

this is much more cogent criticism of Simon's text, and without
taking away from the previous post I'd hoped would inspire a
deeper look into what you are asserting about "how sigils are
constructed" (about which I am truly interested, wanting to
archive scientific principles of magical disciplines), I 
agree with you and affirm the limitations of that particular 
rendition of the Necronomicon grimoire.

>         But, for a moment, let's imagine that somebody does 
>fake-up a convincing Necronomicon. It would still be a fake....

and I contend that all grimoires are fakes in that sense. it
seems to me that only the dimension of the fantastic, of
the unbelievable, varies from grimoire to grimoire, and that
in some ways Lovecraft dreamt the grimoire before its actual

>-- and sooner or
>later the gullible teenager who buys it and treasures it will be
>disillusioned -- not to mention the money he forked out for it. A hoax
>for fun is often for giveable -- but hoaxes for big bucks, especially
>from impressionable teens are something else again: something bad.

unless someone actually did a good job with it, in which case it
could be crafted in a useful form for those with the interest in
putting to magical/mystical designs. that it would have arisen
from a basis of fiction would not bother me a bit, since I do
not separate the magical world from the fictional or metaphorical
in an absolute sense.

>         But if you want my vote for a good Necronomicon, I will line
>up along side Ludvig Prinn and recommend my old friend Lin Carter's
>version of "The Dee Translation." This work captures the essence, is
>marvelously entertaining, and gets Lovecraft's visions across far
>better than Simon's bastardized cash-cow -- and as far as I can tell
>Lin never made a penny on it.  I remember Lin actually created the
>first Necornomicon hoax at an early 1950's sci-fi con by baking a few
>parchment folios in the oven and letting some younger fen take a peek.
>Unfortunately that started it. DeCamp followed with his "Duriac"
>version that repeated itself every eight pages, and before long we had
>fake Necronomicons all over the place.

it is this type of intrigue which makes for good grimoires, from what
I can see. the Book of Power is too important an egregore to piss on
it every time potential for its creation arises in the ideals of
those who dream of its reality. I agree that their short-sightedness
should be disillusioned, but not at the expense of the Book of Power.

instead I say stop pissing on it directly and instead offer up a
firm critique of each version of the Necronomicon and explain how
it fails to qualify for what Lovecraft said it was. let artists
try and try again to coordinate with good scholarship and build
a grimoire worthy of magicians everywhere.

>        Allow me to close with a line from H.P.L. ". ...and you shall
>know them by their smell."
>        He was certainly right. Most Necronomicons do smell pretty
>bad. *****

of course, and it should if it was bound in human skin. :> Gnome,
I really do appreciate the distance you stepped out of our typical
go-round on this Necronomicon issue and admire you for it. thanks.

notification: I may post any email replies; cc me if some response desired.

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