The Necronomicon: The Lost Masterpiece of Occult
Today, not a lot of people will jump out of their seats when the name Necronomicon is mentioned; but there was a time when the name would have generated such a reaction. As time passed, the Necronomicon settled in the obscure corner of our minds.
Necronomicon is a grimoire, mainly fictional appearing in the stories of renowned author, H.P. Lovecraft, who specialized in the gothic genre. Authors like August Derrieth and Clark Ashton Smith also cited it in their works. It was believed to have been somewhat influenced by the 18th century Gothic literature like works of Walpole and Radcliffe. Lovecraft used these because he believed that the allusions built up a background of ‘evil vensimilitude’.
It is speculated that Robert M. Chambers’ collection of short stories, namely the ‘King in Yellow’ had a peculiar influence on Lovecraft’s work. It may not come as a surprise to those who are familiar with Chambers’ style as they know that he marvels at mythical absurd.
In one of his letters to Willis Conover, Lovecraft writes: ‘There never was any Abdul Alhazred or Necronomicon for I invented these names.” He also w
rites that, ‘As for seriously written books on dark, occult and supernatural themes-in all truths they don’t amount to much. That is why it is more fun to invent mythical works like the Necronomicon and Book of Eibon.’
Now, Lovecraft’s style has often been a target of many criticisms, some of which claim that his imaginations ran ‘amok’ when he wrote Necronomicon. Even if such criticisms are discounted, people do not find a compact reliability with his work. But that of course is the point of the book, ‘to not relate, to be in awe.’
Lovecraft insisted that the title Necronomicon has been derived from the Greek words ‘nekros’, meaning dead, ‘nomos’, meaning law and ‘eikon’, meaning image. It makes sense as it has been depicted by the critics that Necronomicon is ‘an image of the law of the dead.’
The Necronomicon is mentioned in several of Lovecraft’s works like ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ and ‘The case of Charles Dexter’. In ‘The nameless city’, a rhyming couplet that appears at two points in the story is ascribed to the crazed author Abdul Alhazred:
‘That is not dead which can eternal lie
And with strange aeons, ever death may die.’
When Lovecraft refers to ‘Old ones’, it’s occult roots are being specifically indicated; but surprisingly he never mentions or even alludes to witchcraft or dark magic in his works. It has been speculated that he was intentionally subtle, but of course his influences are factual. The Necronomicons also appeared in the story ‘The Dunwich Horror’ where the Necronomicon is consulted for a specific spell.
As everybody knows, in late 70’s a book considered to be a translation of the real Necronomicon was published. Interestingly enough the occult references in that piece gave way to quite a stir among enthusiasts. This book by ‘Simon’ had little connection to Lovecraft’s version but as it was dubbed the ‘Simon Necronomicon’, it attracted attention. Lovecraft’s version has been stated as ‘potentially the most dangerous black book’ known to the western world. Several spell books have been published after that.
The Necronomicon’s impact on occult, dark magic, witchcraft and even sorcery and numerology have been observed. A very interesting work, namely ‘Necronomicon: the wanderings of Alhazred’ by oculist Donald Tyson was published in 2004. It states that the Necronomicon are obviously fictional but records its vast impact. Very few other literary works have had such a great tremendous but credible effect in the world of occult and its acceptance. Lost in obscurity, today the book might not be potentially significant, but remains a true occult masterpiece.