Dead Names, Dead Dog: A Magical Muddle, Part 5

Let’s return to “Simon’s” Dead Names for some insight into his own magical past. What will be revealed?

Much of this is admittedly speculation on my part, but it is at least highly educated speculation based on information from reliable news services, on my own experience as a magician and as a religious counselor, and on years of study of magickal texts, including, of course, the Necronomicon. [My emphasis]

To quote some random book next to my computer:

Of course, there is no universal standard for what constitutes a magician, so the claim is an easy one to make…

Nonetheless, by stating this, “Simon” opens up new questions: what are his own experiences with the Necronomicon? What about magic in general?

In most occult circles, the prime measure of an operation is not its antiquity, or its supposed author, or its fit with a particular system. Instead, it is the magician’s own experience: does it work for him or her? Barring this, did it work for others. Nearly two millennia ago, the scribes of the Greek and Demotic magical papyri would leave notes at the end of spells saying that they’ve been tested. This has become a motif in metaphysical literature up to the present day – the author who says, “Hey, this worked for me. By extension, it can work for you, too.”

Let’s look at Dead Names from that perspective, starting at the end – “Simon’s” back cover bio:

Simon is a student of magic, occultism, and religion since the mid-1960s and the editor of the Necronomicon, Simon was a frequent lecturer for the famed Warlock Shop in Brooklyn and the Magickal Childe Bookstore in Manhattan for more than ten years before his sudden disappearance in 1984, speaking on topics as diverse as religion and politics, occultism and fascism, ceremonial magic, demonolatry, the Tarot, the Qabala, and Asian occult systems. He also conducted private classes for the New York City OTO during this period, with a focus on Enochian magic, “Owandering bishops,” and Afro-Caribbean occult beliefs. An ordained priest of an Eastern Orthodox church, Simon has appeared on television and radio discussing such topics as exorcism, satanism, and Nazism. The media events he organized in the 1970s and 1980s — with rock bands, ritual performances, and celebrity appearances — helped to promote the “occult renaissance” in New York City. After decades of study in European, Asian, and Latin American cult centers, this book marks his first public appearance in more than twenty years.

I gave you the whole bio to make a point: at no point does “Simon” actually give any information on his personal practices. From my experience, that’s quite unusual for an occult author writing about what we might call “practical magic” to do. The closest we actually come to are his “private classes,” which seem to imply some sort of magical practice on his part – it’s odd to hear about an Eastern Orthodox Enochian Afro-Caribbean practitioner, but it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility.

Even more intriguing is the almost complete lack of magical material in the book. For example, here’s what “Simon” has to say about the actual use of the Necronomicon:

As classes progressed, and as some of the students became more advanced in their work, we began to experiment with the rituals in the Necronomicon. It was this preliminary training program that led me to believe that the book contained important information for the magician, and that the rituals and chants were extraordinarily powerful in the hands of a trained occultist. Most students approached this subject with a sense of trepidation, and later many of them were of the opinion that the rituals should not be “overworked”; that is, used in any kind of daily or otherwise routine practice.

As best I can tell, this is the sole passage in the entire 316-page book that describes a magical operation involved in the Necronomicon.  [EDIT:  I found another, as we’ll see in the next post.  Still, two paragraphs out of three hundred pages is pretty amazing.  Let me know if you notice others.]  As a matter of fact, it’s the only passage I found that suggests that “Simon” himself was actually involved in practicing magic of any variety, and it’s blurry on what exactly his part of all of this was.

Am I stretching this too far? Just wait until next time!

Published in: on October 9, 2006 at 9:32 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. There are people out there that knew Simon (or still know him). Denny Sargent, who has published a bit of popular stuff, used to know him back in the 1970s in New York through the Warlock Shop. I’ve heard stories from Denny and a couple of others. It is clear that Simon did practice (as well as being an Orthodox priest at some point).

  2. Al,

    Thanks for letting me know. My story’s still got some twists, and maybe you can help me sort them out.

  3. Well, I could give you Denny’s e-mail. Of course, you probably already know Simon’s real name, right?

  4. I think so, but it never hurts to have more info. If you would, drop me a line at, and we’ll talk.

  5. […] Last time, we noted the curiously un-magical contents of Dead Names.  This time, I explore this further. […]

  6. […] Dead Names, Dead Dog: A Magical Muddle, Part 5 […]

  7. […] 9th, 2007 at 9:51 pm (Necronomicon, Occult) Long time readers might remember a post in which I speculated as to how much of a practitioner of magic Simon really was. As it turns out, […]

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