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Thirteenth Gate: Rites and Incantations Lovecraft, The Book he unique mythology created by the American writer of horror fiction, Howard Phillips Lovecraft 7 will in this work be referred to as the Necronomicon mythos. The more common title, the Cthulhu mythos, is inaccurate since Cthulhu is not the central figure of the tales, nor does he represent all aspects of the mythos.
Lovecraft intertwined four thematic threads in his stories, only one of which directly concerns Cthulhu. However, the Necronomicon book touches upon all four of them. These threads cannot be easily separated since they cross over at various points like a woven fabric, but they can be distinguished. One thread, of which Cthulhu is a part, concerns alien races from distant star systems or other dimensions of space and time that contested with each other for the rule of the primordial Earth long before the evolution of mankind.
They still wait in secret places for the stars to "come right" in the heavens so that they can emerge and displace us as masters of this world. These beings are not evil. They are merely aloof from the concerns of humanity. They regard us as we might regard a species of bacteria.
Another mythic thread involves ancient sorceries, demons, witches, and the dark doings of magicians. Even though Lovecraft himself claimed to have contempt for occultism and a disinterest in religion, he was inherently mystical in his thinking.
His stories are filled with references to witchcraft and black magic. Lovecraft looked upon magic as a kind of alien science. A handful of human beings were capable of manipulating it, but could never truly understand it, and if they tried, they usually went insane. The author of the Necronomicon, Abdul Alhazred, was characterized by Lovecraft as the mad Arab poet of Yemen-but whether his study of magic drove him mad, or whether his madness enabled his grasp of occult secrets hidden from sane men, is not made clear.
Another thread of the mythos is concerned with the exploration of the dreamlands by dream travelers-those who remain conscious and aware while dreaming. Today, this is known as lucid dreaming, and is generally accepted as a real phenomenon. Lovecraft wrote about men who consciously explore the mysterious and dangerous lands of their dreams in the same way that waking men embarked on expeditions to distant and unknown regions of the Earth.
More powerful dreamers can go further into the dreamlands, and can learn arcane secrets available through no other source, for the dreamlands hold much lore of both men and alien races that has been lost to the material world over the centuries through neglect, decay, fires, wars and geological upheavals.
The final thread of the mythos is a dark one occupied with death, decay, corruption, the grave, ghouls, and the reanimation of the dead. These subjects fascinated Lovecraft to the point of obsession. By writing about them, he exorcised them from his own nightmares. Both his father and his mother had gone insane, and ended their days locked up in an asylum.
Lovecraft always dreaded the possibility that his own mind, so strangely unlike the minds of other men, would eventually fall prey to this hereditary weakness. Related to his dread of madness was a horror of genetic degeneration from inbreeding, or breeding with things not quite human, resulting in deformity, idiocy, and even cannibalism.
Lovecraft suffered from the neurotic conviction that his own face was hideously deformed, a fixation instilled into him at a young age by his mother. This caused him to avoid the daylight and crowds, and instead wander the streets of his native Providence late at night and linger alone in graveyards.
He was fascinated with the past, with graves and monuments, and with old buildings, and half-believed himself the reincarnation of an Englishman from the eighteenth century. There are many ways to approach this strange and often frightening mythological universe. Yet another approach is through role-playing games set within the Lovecraft mythos.
Kenneth Grant, the leader of one branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis, may be regarded as one of the godfathers of this curious child of the mythos. In he published the book The Outer Gateways, which examines the Lovecraft mythos in a serious way as the partial basis for a new system of esoteric belief and practice. On the first page of the first chapter of the book, he made this bold statement: "Said to have been written by a mad Arab named Al Hazred, the Necronomicon actually exists on a plane accessible to those who either consciously like Crowley, or unconsciously like Lovecraft have succeeded in penetrating it.
It is pregnant with meaning on all levels, and provides a cohesive set of gods and devils that are in many ways surprisingly modern. The Old Ones are beings that dwell in the spaces between the stars, and who travel through the aether of space, or through dimensional portals between worlds.
They have much in common with the modern mythology of UFOs, which supposes that the Earth was visited in the past, and continues to be observed, by beings from other worlds who remain in the shadows, but who sometimes abduct human beings for study, or transport them to their worlds for instruction. Almost a century ago Lovecraft wrote much the same thing about the races he called the Mi-Go and the Yithians.
Those who claim to be abducted by UFOs sometimes vanish through portals, or are lifted up on beams of light into disk-shaped ships, just as in the Bible the Old Testament prophets were said to be lifted and carried through the sky to other dimensions of reality by whirlwinds or strange chariots of fire. The aliens subject those they abduct to scientific tests, probing them in a clinically dispassionate way as a human scientist might probe a white lab rat.
The terror of the abductees does not touch the emotions of the aliens, who seem devoid of compassion. They use them for various purposes when humans are able to provide useful services, but just as casually discard them when they prove troublesome. Another feature of the spontaneous modern mythology of UFO visitations and abductions is the use of human women to breed a race of hybrid children, who share genetic components from both species, and who possess physical characteristics both human and alien.
This is a very ancient myth. Demons were said in early Christian lore to visit women in their beds and impregnate them, so that the women gave birth to monsters. Even earlier than this, the ancient Greeks and Egyptians believed that the gods sometimes engendered children on mortal women, and in the Book of Enoch mention is made of the Watchers who lusted after mortal women and who descended to Earth to take them as wives.
The Old Ones impregnate mortal women to breed hybrids that they can employ as their agents on the earth. The Deep Ones seek to breed children with the men and women of the town of Innsmouth, whom they take in marriage. Why they need these hybrids is not clear, but it may be speculated that they are required to reinvigorate the genetic material of the Deep Ones, to prevent it falling into decadence and decay. Lovecraft, through his dreams, tapped into a wellspring of meaning, which he cloaked in terms of interactions between humanity and dwellers in the depths-not only the depths of the oceans and the earth, but the depths of space and time, the depths of other dimensions of reality.
The true depths tapped into by Lovecraft were those of the subconscious mind. The Necronomicon is the beating heart of the mythos, and to study the book is to study the mythos. The Necronomicon is neither wholly fiction nor wholly real, but an uncanny merging of truth and fantasy that is almost impossible for the mind to capture or express, since the boundaries that define it continue to evolve. No one can say exactly what the Necronomicon contains.
It is a history of the ages on Earth before the rise of mankind. It is the xenobiology of alien races from beyond the stars. It is a textbook of arcane chemistry.
It is a grimoire of the necromantic arts. Those who would dismiss the Necronomicon as no more than a fictional device created by Lovecraft on the spur of the moment to serve as window-dressing for his fantasies have failed to consider the history of this book of the dead that refuses to die. Why would individuals have taken it upon themselves to enter its title in the card catalogs of major world libraries and in the lists of rare book dealers and auction houses?
As a mere joke? Perhaps that is what they told themselves at the time, unaware that they served as the instruments of a higher purpose. What is true of the Necronomicon is equally true of the Old Ones, the race of gods from alien stars that ruled this planet for aeons before human beings stood erect and learned to fear them. Did Lovecraft really create the Old Ones, or did he merely glimpse them moving through the terrifying caverns and sea depths of his nightmares?
Was the Necronomicon a fantasy, or the echo of a book that stands on the shelves of libraries not of this world? There are many who believe that Lovecraft was a sleeping prophet who traveled between dimensions and across the gulfs of space and time in his dreams. Lovecraft himself mentions in numerous letters that he drew upon his dreams for the subjects of his stories. The very name "Necronomicon" was not invented by Lovecraft, but was heard by him in a dream.
For Lovecraft, dreams were more real than reality. He wrote himself into several of his stories in the character of Randolph Carter, an explorer of dreams who possessed the ability to remain selfaware and travel where he desired. There seems little doubt that Lovecraft was engaged in unconscious astral projection, and that many of his vivid dreams represented travel across the astral planes.
The Necronomicon has astral reality. So do the Old Ones and their horrifying broods and servants, and the other races that ruled the Earth in its infancy.
Whether Lovecraft perceived an existing reality and recorded it in his stories, or whether the power of his stories resonating in millions of human minds created the astral reality, is a chickenand-egg puzzle that may never be solved. I suspect it is both-that the Old Ones and the Necronomicon existed in some form on the astral level before Lovecraft wrote them down, but that by capturing the popular imaginations of millions, Lovecraft was able to bring them more firmly into our local astral environment, where they presently subsist, so close to our physical reality that it is almost possible to reach out and touch them.
It is not a grimoire of mythos magic. Those looking for a grimoire will find it in my Necronomicon Grimoire Llewellyn, The present book is a compendium of source material upon which such a system of magic can be built by those who wish to construct it.
The material gathered here is the matrix for the Necronomicon, which existed only on the astral level until Lovecraft scried its name in his dream travels and recorded a description of it and a scattering of its contents in his fiction.
The 13 Gates of the Necronomicon.pdf
The 13 Gates of the Necronomicon