Saturday, April 2, 2011

Necronomicon - Tarot and World!

I have enjoyed a lot of activity and feedback since I first posted a review of the Necronomicon Tarot at the end of January.  Some of this is based on the "Tarot" side of the equation, and some centres around the "Necronomicon" part of the subject matter. 

Ye Elder Sign
The Necronomicon is a constant source of discussion and research.  Even today, scholars and researchers cannot answer whether this is purely a work of fiction developed by H. P. Lovecraft as a foundation on which to base his tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, or if it actually has some basis in long lost arcane or occult works by the "mad arab" Abdul Alhazrad or others. The argument itself matters little, as what really matters to most is - even if Lovecraft invented the term and parts of the content himself, what did he base his research on in the first place?  One only has to delve a little to discover many corollaries to the "Book of Dead Names" and various other so-called Dark Grimoires.  One of the most famous of these is the Egyptian "Book of the Dead", which is actually a manual that teaches the soul of the deceased what they need to do to survive in the afterlife.

One aspect that has fed into the confusion surrounding The Necronomicon is that there are published versions of book that purport to be historical works that predate anything Lovecraft wrote.  The entire work has taken on a mythos of its own, so that no one can for certain say that this is really and totally a work of fiction!  And wouldn't that be the way Lovecraft would have wanted it to be?

One of the most popular of these "real" versions is known as the Simon Necronomicon. This version draws on historical occult and religious works from Sumerian-Babylonian mythology, and attempts to correlate the gods of those pantheons to that of Lovecraft's Necronomicon. It also describes a number of "religious" practices and observations that should be followed in order to summon the power of The Old Ones and have them obey your bidding.  This is typical of many so-called Grimoires, promising powers, or success, or many other wants and needs of those disposed to tempt their sacred and dangerous rites and rituals! Oh - the Joy! The Pain!

And such a fountain of imagination for horror writers and would-be occultists to enthral their audiences with!

Which brings us to Tyson's trilogy of Necronomicon-inspired works, culminating in The Necronomicon Tarot.  Tyson is a well-read researcher into all things occult and magical, and his website - - is a rich resource for any would-be magicians, occultists and workers in the darker realms! He even has an excellent introduction to the origins of Tarot - The Truth About The Tarot - which I thoroughly recommend as a worthwhile read.

Tyson's three works on The Necronomicon are:
Tyson's intention in producing these works is to provide a more realistic provenance for The Necronomicon, satisfying the cravings of occult researchers and investigators stirred up by H.P. Lovecraft in the 1920's. Tyson's Necronomicon is a much more complete and detailed version than any other I have read, and should really be considered the de facto standard for what is, after all, a fictional work.  I am less convinced in the value of his early biography of Alhazred, but it is an interesting read nonetheless. In his tarot, Tyson has tried to visualize - in some cases very successfully - the imagery of The Necronomicon in order to allow diviners to derive readings from the visions portrayed. Also, by tying a storyline to each of the four suites of the Minor Arcana, he has made the deck easier to use for novice diviners, as they have less to do to create a story themselves.

One of the "warmer" places in The Necronomicon is Leng, which Tyson has portrayed in the scenery and content of XVIII The Moon: The Hounds of Leng.  This is described in another version of The Necronomicon:

 "Know ye time-shunned Leng by the ever-burning evil-fires and ye foul screeching of the scaly Shantak birds which ride the upper air; by the howling of ye Na-hag who brood in nighted caverns and haunt men's dreams with strange madness, and by the grey stone temple beneath the Night Gaunts lair, wherein is he who wears the Yellow Mask and dwelleth all alone."

Almost sounds like a version of Jabberwocky!

Another ominous and doom-ridden place is the mountian of Kadath. This warm and inviting spot is described in The Necronomicon much as Chekov describes Ceti Alpha 5 in The Wrath of Khan - the "garden spot" of evil!

"What man knoweth Kadath?
For who shall know of that
which ever abides in strange-time,

twix yesterday, today and the morrow."

"Unknown amidst ye Cold Waste lieth the mountain of Kadath where upon the hidden summit an Onyx Castle stands. Dark clouds shroud the mighty peak that gleams 'neath ancient stars where silent brood the titan towers and rear forbidden walls."

Sounds like just the place to spend some quality time with a few witches, demons, and ravenous, nymphomaniac banshees, eh? 

Tyson actually has two additional works based on The Necronomicon - The Grimoire of the Necronomicon, and The 13 Gates of the Necronomicon - but I cannot find any details about these works other than the blurb on, and they do not appear on his website.  Shame, Donald - update your internet presence!
Have fun out there, y'all!!

The Eye of Ashen White

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