Some readers might be wondering, “When is Dan going to get off this silly Lovecraft kick and get back to the serious business of magic?” As you might have guessed, I’m going to try to do both at the same time with this review of Asenath Mason’s Necronomicon Gnosis: A Practical Introduction.
Mason is a member of the Northern European magical order Dragon Rouge, which I’ve discussed previously. This is an English translation of the original German version of this book, and it is considerably hard to find on this side of the Atlantic. (If you do want a copy of this book and need the English, the German title is the same, so make sure you’re buying one with the English subtitle or query the seller before purchase.)
The book’s goal is to provide an introduction to magical workings using the Cthulhu Mythos. (Whether that’s a good idea or just silly is not covered within this review.) Their coverage of the fiction is good, ranging from Lovecraft to Derleth to Smith to Long to Lumley. In Lovecraftian magic, the book deals with Kenneth Grant, all three of the major Necronomicons – Simon’s, Hay’s, and Tyson’s – and such lesser Internet works as De Vermis Misteriis and Phil Legard’s Grimorium Imperium. There’s also a hint or two that the author used material from Call of Cthulhu, though this is not included in the bibliography. The author acknowledges the fictional nature of all of this – The Necronomicon Files is on her reading list, in fact – but nonetheless insists that it can be a basis for genuine spiritual practice.
The book is organized into chapters discussing various topics, including dream work, necromancy, sex, Yig (a whole chapter on him!), and other matters of interest, from the perspective of left hand path magic. As you can imagine with such diverse sources, some of these chapters hold together better than others, with some connections being strong while others seeming forced. The vampirism chapter was particularly disappointing, as they missed most of the material in Lovecraft, and the chapter on air spirits was choppy. Still, Mason has done a good job of covering her material and attempting to integrate it together.
Each chapter ends with a ritual using the material in that chapter for the purposes of self-improvement. It’s likely most decent LHP occultists could assemble something similar on their own – Phil Hine didn’t give details for his, but they were more weird and exciting – but this is likely one of the largest collections of such rituals available. (The Lovecraftian magick literature remains largely theoretical.) I found the Carcosa dream-working and the rituals to Mordiggian and Yig (of course) of particular interest.
If you’re interested in Lovecraftian occultism, this book comes highly recommended – the integration of so much material that’s come before in one source is simply astounding. If you’re just casually interested in the topic, Phil Hine’s Pseudonomicon will be a better work in terms of availability and price (Mason’s book was in the $50 range after postage). If you really don’t care, I’m surprised you made it to the end of this post to begin with.