This is a revised and expanded version of my Necronomicon Mythos
essay. My fist essay, written off the top of my head (I didn't have any
of my books with me), contained a few small errors. I have corrected all
the errors I could find in it, but I can't guarantee this version is
perfect. The Necronomicon Mythos of H.P.Lovecraft have a strange type of
quasi-reality. It is generally believed by Lovecraft scholars that the
Necronomicon was created as a literary device by HPL for his fiction.
Despite this fact, some people believe that it is an actual book. The
Necronomicon has gained a strong "mythic power" independent of its
origins. The Necronomicon is not real, nor is it unreal. This mysterious
book hovers somewhere in between. This essay is intended to explore some
aspects of the "mythic power" of the Necronomicon and its pantheon. This
will be done by exploring the conection of these mythos with actual Arab
myth and magick as well the Necronomicon's ties to modern magick.
Part 1 : The Necronomicon Mythos According to HPL
Part 2 : The Necronomicon and Ancient Arab Magick
THE NECRONOMICON MYTHOS ACCORDING TO HPL
This section is a short summery of some of horror writer H.P.
Lovecraft's major ideas relating to the Necronomicon and its associated
Myths. This section is intended as a general introduction for readers who
are not familiar with HPL's fiction. Today, the Necronomicon is perhaps
the most infamous book (real or fitional) on myth and magick in the
wolrd. Perhaps the best way to start is by quoting HPL from _The history
and Chronology of The Necronomicon_. "Original title Al Azif-Azif being
the word used by the Arabs to designate that nocturnal sound (made by
insects) supposed to be the howling of demons."
"Composed by Abdul Alhazred, a mad poet of Sanaa, in Yemen, who
is said to have flourished in the time of the Ommiade Caliphs, circa A.D.
700. He visited the ruins of Babylon and the subterranean secrets of
Memphis and spent ten years alone in the great southern desert of
Arabia-the Roba el Khaliye or 'Empty Space' of the ancients and 'Dahna'
or 'Crimson Desert' of the modern Arabs, which is held to be inhabited by
protective evil spirits and monsters of death. Of this desert many
strange and unbelievable marvels are told by those who pretend to have
penetrated it. In his last years Alhazred delt in Damascus, where the
Necronomicon (Al Azif) was written...Of his madness many things are told.
He claimed to have seen the fabulous Irem or city of Pillars, and to have
found beneath the ruins of a certain nameless desert town the shocking
annals and secrets of a race older than mankind."
Later the Al Azif was translated into Greek under the Greek
title Necronomicon (the title is definitely not in Latin as is often
claimed). This title is translated as "the Book (or image) of the
Practices of the Dead"; Necro being Greek for Dead and Nomos meaning
practices, customs or rules (as in astronomy). The title Necronomicon
absolutely does not translate as Book of Dead Names (as Colin Wilson has
mistakenly and repeatedly stated). In order for it to mean Dead Names it
would have to be Latin/Greek hybrid (besides HPL flatly indicated the
first translation is the correct one). Still later(possibly in the
1200's) it was translated into Latin but retained it's Greek title. The
Latin text came into the possession of Dr. John Dee in the sixteenth
century. Dr. Dee made the only English translation of the Necronomicon
The Necronomicon contains dark secrets about the real nature of
the Earth and the universe. According to the Necronomicon the Earth was
once ruled by the Old Ones, powerful beings from other worlds or other
dimensions. HPL in _the Dunwich Horror_ attributes this quote to the
Necronomicon "Nor is it to be thought, that man is either the oldest or
the last of Earth's masters, or that the common bulk of life and
substance walks alone. The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, the Old Ones
shall be not in the spaces we know but between them, They walk serene and
primal undimensioned and to us unseen. Yog-Sothoth know the gate.
Yog-sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate.
Past, present, future all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He Knows where the Old
Ones broke Through of old, and Where They shall break through again. He
knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread
them, and why no man can behold Them as They tread. By their smell can
men sometimes know them near, but of their semblance can no man know,
saving only in the features of those They have begotten on mankind; and
of those are there many sorts, differing in likeness from mans truest
eidolon to that shape without sight or substance which is Them. They walk
unseen and foul in lonely places where the Words have been spoken and the
Rights howled through at their seasons...Yog-Sothoth is the key to the
gate whereby the spheres meet. Man rule now where They rule once; They
shall soon rule where man rule now. After summer is winter, after winter
summer. They wait patient and potent, for here they shall reign again."
The Necronomicon STRONGLY hints that there is a cult or group of
cults that worships the Old Ones and seeks to aid them gain control of
this planet. One of the tactics attempted by this cult is to breed human
and Old One offspring that will then multiply and ingress into
terrestrial life until the Old Ones return to there pre-ordained
Some branches of the cult venerate a deity called Cthulhu.
Cthulhu is a dragon-like "god" with a face that is a mass of tentacles.
Cthulhu is dead (dormant) but dreaming in the abyss (the Pacific Ocean).
It is not certain whether or not Cthulhu is an Old One. At one point
Cthulhu is referred to as a Cousin of the Old Ones. At another the deity
is called the high priest of the Old Ones; both of these labels might
imply that Cthulhu may not be exactly like the Old Ones. The cult seeks
to raise Cthulhu in order to usher in the day when the Old Ones will
control the world. When Cthulhu rises men will be wild and free beyond
good and evil. However, if Cthulhu rises only partialy from the ocean but
it is not yet the correct time there are terrible bouts of madness. The
center of the Cthulhu cult "lay amid the pathless deserts of Arabia,
where Irem, City of the Pillars dreams hidden and untouched" The cult
places special emphasis on dreams, which they say can sometime contain
the thoughts of this "deity"
There are many other important gods mentioned in the
Necronomicon. One group or these deities, the Other Gods seem to be true
Gods (unlike the Old Ones and Cthulhu who seem simply to be very powerful
Among the most important of Other Gods is Yog-Sothoth and
Azathoth. Yog-Sothoth is co-terminous with ALL time and space. In
_Through the gates of the Silver Key_ Lovecraft (with Co-author E.
Hoffman Price) describes Yog-Sothoth thus: "an All in One and One in All
of limitless being and self- the last, utter sweep which has no confines
and which outreaches fancy and mathematics alike." Past, present, future
all are one in Yog-Sothoth. Of equal or greater importance is Azathoth.
Evidence that Azathoth is at least equal with Yog-Sothoth is that
Azathoth is the "Lord of All" while Yog-Sothoth is "All in One, One in
All" Azathoth is the "ultimate nuclear chaos," at "the center of
infinity." It is the Throne of Azathoth that emits the aimless waves,
"whose chance combining gives each frail cosmos its eternal law." It is
Extremely noteworthy that the concept of Azathoth is very closely related
to the latest models in Quantum Physics. There are also some notable
parallels between HPL's ideas about Chaos and the new Chaos Mathematics.
Azathoth the ultimate nuclear chaos that emits the random waves that
govern the universe seems to be the principle opposite of Yog-Sothoth who
embraces the expanses of infinity. Whereas Yog-sothoth is infinitely
large, Azathoth seems to be an supremely compact "quantum" Chaos at the
center of infinity. HPL researcher Philip A. Shreffler states in _The
H.P. Lovecraft Companion_ that the acting principles of Yog-Sothoth and
Azathoth are "infinite expansion and infinite contraction" respectively.
The heart and soul of the Other Gods is Nyarlathotep the Mighty
Messenger. It is as their messenger that Nyarlathotep makes the will of
the Other Gods known on earth. It is through Him that all traffic with
Azathoth must go. Nyarlathotep has a thousand forms. He is called the
Shub-Niggurath the Black Goat of the Woods is a type of "perverse
fertility deity." Shub-Niggurath also is called the Goat with a thousand
young. Judging by how frequently it is mentioned Shub-Niggurath is a very
important deity in the Necronomicon mythos, . There is obviously a
connection between the cult of Shub-Niggurath and the many Goat cults of
Beside Cthulhu, the Old Ones and the Other Gods there are
numerous minor races of creatures in the Necronomicon such as the
shoggoths. A shoggoth is a shapeless congerie of "protoplasmic bubbles."
The shoggoths were created by the Old Ones as servitors. They can assume
any form they need to accomplish their assigned task. They are unruly
servants, becoming more intelligent with time eventually gaining a will
of their own. Shoggoth are sometimes, according to HPL, seen in
Another race is the Deep Ones who are a type of amphibious
creature resembling a mixture of a fish, a frog and man. The Deep Ones
worship a god called Dagon. Dagon is a deity resembling a giant Deep One.
Dagon and the Deep Ones seem to be Allied in some way with Cthulhu.
Another minor group is the ghoul. Ghouls are corpse eating
monsters that are very manlike except for there canine or monstrous
facial features. It is possible for a man to be transformed into a ghoul
under the right circumstances
This concludes my short summery of HPL's major ideas on the
Necronomicon and it's Associated myths. This is by no means exhaustive
but it should give you enough general information to address the rest of
this essay with a good point of reference.
THE NECRONOMICON AND ANCIENT ARAB MAGICK
Many years ago when I first started researching Lovecraft's fiction I
read of HPL's love of Arab myth. Lovecraft admitted using Arab mythology
as a source in many sources including several of his letters. I could not
understand why "scholars" writing on Lovecraft's stories did not explore
this area. I decided that it was probably due to ethno-centric bias and
took it upon myself to look into HPL's Arab sources. Early on I found
that most of HPL's major themes seem, at least in part, to be derived
from Arab mythology. I even found that many of the places, names and
titles used in Lovecrafts's fiction are directly connected to Arab myth
and magick. Lovecraft was an extraordinarily erudite bibliophile who
loved Arab mythology when young. He also was good friends with a man who
was considered one on the best scholars in the West on Arab myth. In
addition had numerous friends who shared his interest in Arab mythology.
Lovecraft, given his interest in Arab mythology and the availability of
interesting documents through his friends, probably owned a book much
like Al Azif (Necronomicon) in content if not in title. To some people
this may sound like a difficult assertion to accept without support. I,
myself, am this type of person. The reason I make this assertion is that
I feel it is very well supported. I hope you will share this feeling when
you are done reading this essay.
The pressence of Arab myth and magick in HPL's fiction may help
to explain why these tales have such a covincing aspect. This might be
part of the key to the mythic power of the Necronomicon and it's
associated myths. In this respect it does not matter whether Arab
material was included through syncronicity or through consciouss
inclution. The very fact that ancient and powerful mythic material is
present in Lovecraft helps to explain it's odd quasi-real character.
I will now detail some of the information, referred to above,
that connects HPL's accounts of the Necronomicon and its myths with real
Arab mystical and magickal traditions
HPL wrote that the Necronomicon was written by Abdul Alhazred,
who was called the "Mad Poet." Alhazred visited the lost city "Irem of
the Pillars" (the center or the cult of Cthulhu) and encountered many
strange and magickal things there. Lovecraft placed Irem in the Rub al
Khali. When he was very old, Alhazred recorded what he had learned in his
book of poetry _Al Azif_ (later retitled Necronomicon).
Irem is very important to Arab magick. "Irem Zhat al Imad" (Irem
of the Pillars) is the city's name in Arabic. It is popularly believed by
the Arabs that Irem was built by the Jinn under the direction of Shaddad,
Lord of the tribe of Ad. The tribe of Ad, according to legend, was a
mighty race roughly equivalent to the Hebrew "Nephilim" (giants). In some
versions of this myth Shaddad and the Jinn built Irem before the time of
Adam. The Muqarribun (Arab magicians) have important beliefs about Irem
and it's significance. The Muqarribun, whose traditions predate Islam,
believe that Irem is a locale on another level of reality, rather than a
physical city like NY or Tokyo. (Why Irem is important to the Muqarribun
and how they use it will be more fully explained shortly.) The "Pillars"
in "Irem of the Pillars" has a hidden meaning. Among Arab mystics pillar
is a code name for "elder" or "old one." Thus "Irem of the Pillars" is
really "Irem of the Old Ones." (It is noteworthy that several Lovecraft
"scholars" erroneously claim that HPL created Irem, just as they claim he
created the Necronomicon, as part of his fiction.)
In Arab legend Irem is located in the Rub al Khali just as HPL
said it was. To the Muqarribun the Rub al Khali also has a "hidden"
meaning (incidentally the art of encoding and decoding "hidden" meanings
in Arab mystical or magickal writing is called Tawil). Rub al Khali
translates as "the EMPTY Quarter" In this case Empty refers to the VOID
and is the same as AIN in the Cabbalistic traditions. Rub al Khali is the
"secret" door to the Void in Arab magickal traditions. It is the Exact
Arab equivalent to DAATH in the Cabbala. To the Muqarribun the Rub al
Khali is the secret gate (Daath) to the Void (Ain) in which is the "city
of the Old Ones" This is Incredibly close to Lovecraft, who made many
references to a gate connected with the "Old Ones." Further Lovecraft
claimed that the Old Ones were from Outside (another dimension of
reality) and linked them with the "infinite void." By stating this about
the "Old Ones" and connecting them to Irem and the Rub al Khali Lovecraft
tapped into the very core of an almost unknown (but important) area of
ancient Arab magick. What makes this even more interesting is that there
is no way to know about the "hidden" meaning of Irem unless you have done
some serious research into Arab magickal and mystical traditions. Thus
Lovecraft either made one of the luckiest (most syncronistic) guesses in
fiction or was actually familiar (from his reading) with some of the
deeper aspects of the Muqarribun magickal traditions. The "Rub al Khali"
(not the physical desert, but the Arab equivalent of the "plane" of
Daath) was entered in an altered state of consciousness by the
Muqarribun. This state is some where between dreams and the complete
absence of thought. Irem represents that part of the "Empty Quarter" that
acts as the connection to the Void. It is in this place (Irem) that the
communion with the Void and that which inhabits it can happen. The
"monsters of death" and protective spirits Lovecraft mentions are the
Jinn (see below). The Muqarribun can interact with these entities when he
is in the "Rub al Khali" or "Irem." When the Muqarribun passes through
Irem to the Void he achieves Annihilation (fana). Annihilation is the
supreme attainment in Sufi and Muqarribun mysticism. During Annihilation
the magicians entire being is devoured and absorbed into the Void. The
self or "soul" (nafs i ammara) is utterly and completely destroyed by
this process. This is probably the sources of stories regarding the soul
eating demons (associated with Irem) in Arab legend. This should be
compared to Lovecraft in _through the Gates of the Silver Key_ in which
Irem is a type of portal to the Outside. A close comparison of this story
with the Muqarribun ideas, discussed above, will again show that HPL
seems to have had a good knowledge of Arab magick.
Next lets look at Alhazred's title. HPL wrote that Alhazred's
title was "Mad Poet." "Mad" is usually written "majnun" in Arabic. Majnun
means "mad" today. However in the eighth century (Alhazred's time) it
meant "Possessed by Jinn." To be called Mad or Possessed by Demons would
be highly insulting to orthodox Muslims. The Sufis and Muqarribun,
however, regard Majnun as complimentary title. Indeed they even go so far
as to call certain Sufi heroes Majnun (Possessed by Jinn).
The Jinn were powerful creatures of Arab myth. The Jinn,
according to legend, came down from heaven (the sky) in the time before
Adam. They therefore pre-exist mankind and thus are called "Preadamites."
"Infidel pagans" worship these beings because they are so incredibly
powerful. According to legend, the Jinn can "beget young on mankind." The
Jinn apparently want great influence on Earth and are usually invisible
to normal men. Much of the magick used in Arab countries concerns the
Jinn (protection spells against or spells to call them up). The Jinn are
obviously virtually identical with Lovecraft's Old Ones.
Lets look at the title "Mad Poet" some more. Jinn inspire poets
in popular Arab myth. This is why Mohammed was so vehement in denying
that he was a poet. He wanted it known that his revelation came from
"God" and not the Jinn. So the word "mad" in the title "the Mad Poet"
indicates that Alhazred had made "Contact" with the Jinn (the Old Ones).
"Poet" Implies that his writings were directly inspired by them. "Mad
Poet"(The One Possessed by Jinn, Whose writings are inspired by JInn) is
entirely consistent with what Lovecraft wrote about Alhazred. Anyone
unfamiliar with Arab magick and mysticism could not know the significance
of "the Mad Poet" in Arabic. This again seems to indicate an
extraodinnary syncronicity or that Lovecraft had a Knowledge of rare
information on Arab magick.
Lovecraft wrote that Alhazred's Necronomicon was a book of poetry
originally titled _Al Azif_. This also shows a deep connection to Arab
magick and mysticism that would not be apparent to someone unfamiliar
with these subjects. Al Azif is translated as "the book of the howling of
the Jinn." This title is remarkably consistent with the meaning of "the
Mad Poet" in Arabic (The One Possessed by Jinn and Whose Writings Are
Inspired by the Jinn). It is Also important that the Al Azif was said to
be written in poetic verse. The Necronomicon (Al Azif) was concerned with
many religio-magickal and mystical subjects. Nearly all Arabic books on
religion or mysticism were written as poems. This includes orthodox works
(such as the Quran) as well as Sufi and Muqarribun writings.
The name Cthulhu provides an Important and fascinating parallel
with Arab magickal practice. Cthulhu is very close to the Arabic word
Khadhulu (also spelled al qhadhulu). Khadhulu is pronounced c'athulu with
the "c'" sound similar to the "ch" in the Scottish "loch." The "th" is
like the "th" in "the" and the "u"s are long. Khadhulu (al qhadhulu) is
translated as "Forsaker" or "Abandoner." Many Sufis and Muqarribun
writings make use of this term (Abandoner). In Sufi and Muqarribun
writings "abandoner" refers to the power that fuels the practices of
Tajrid "outward detachment" and Tafrid "interior solitude." Tajrid and
Tafrid are forms of mental "yoga," used in Arab systems of magick, to
help the magician free himself from (abandon) cultural programming. In
Muqarribun texts Khadhulu is the power that makes the practices of Tafrid
and Tajrid possible for the magician. Although I was familiar with the
use of "abandoner" in Arab mystical and magickal writings I was unaware
(until a several years ago) that Khadhulu appears in the Quran. I owe the
knowledge Khadhulu shows up in the Quran (in a very significant way) to
William Hamblin. In the Quran chapter 25 verse 29 it is written,
"Mankind, Shaitan is Khadhulu" this verse has two orthodox
interpretations. The first is that Shaitan will forsake man. The other
orthodox interpretation is that Shaitan causes men to forsake the
"straight path of Islam" and the "good" ways of their forefathers. The
orthodox Muslim would view forsaking Islamic culture as sinful and
ungodly. However Muqarribun and Sufis, as already discussed feel
abandoning culture is vital to spiritual growth. The identification of
Shaitan of the Islamic tradition is very important. By the time Mohammed
was writing Shaitan was being called "the Old Serpent (dragon)" and "the
Lord of the Abyss." The Old Serpent or Old Dragon is, according to
experts such as E.A. Budge and S.N. Kramer, Leviathan. Leviathan is
Lotan. Lotan traces to tietan. Tietan, we are told by the authorities on
Near Eastern mythology is a Later form of Tiamat. According to the
experts the Dragon of the Abyss called Shaitan is the same Dragon of the
Abyss named Tiamat. Scholars specializing in Near Eastern mythology have
stated this time and again. Why is this important? It's importance is in
the fact that HPL described Cthulhu as dragon-like and sleeping in the
abyss (ocean). Leviathan/Tiamat is also said to be sleeping or dormant.
The Identification of Shaitan the Old Dragon Lord of the Abyss with
Khadhulu in the Quran is thus a very fascinating parallel with Lovecraft.
The connection of the "Abandoner" with the Dragon is strengthened
somewhat by a few lines from "The Book of Annihilation" an Arabic text on
magick. One of these lines translates as, "the dragon is an abandoner for
he leaves all that is sacred. The dragon goes here and there without
pause" While this line is obviously symbolic (most likely referring to
the practice of Tafrid) it does serve to further establish a connection
between the Dragon of Near Eastern myth with Khadhulu in Arab magick. The
ancient dragon of the abyss (Tiamat) traces back to Sumeria. Sumeria is
the oldest civilization known to have existed. If the Khadhulu of Arab
mysticism is synonymous with the Dragon of mythology (which the evidence
suggests it might be) then Khadhulu has been "worshipped" for a very long
time. The numerous parallels between Cthulhu and the Muqarribun's
Khadhulu are strong enough to suggest that Lovecraft expanded on Arab
myth to create his deity Cthulhu.
Ideed, there is other evidence (which I have detaled in previous posts)
that tends to generally support the idea that Khadhulu as the "Dragon of
the abyss" has been a part of the magickal traditions of the Near East
for a very long time.
Lets closely examine the material on Arab magick. I believe it leads to
one conclusion. Lovecraft used material on Arab magick and myths to a
great degree in his stories. Lovecraft used Irem in a manner that
parallels the Muqarribun use before this information was generally
available. The Rub al Khali (Roba el Khaliye) is in truth important to
the Muqarribun. The Jinn are exact counterparts of the "Old Ones."
Lovecraft's description of Alhazred is VERY consistent with the Arabic
meaning of the "Mad Poet". The Al Azif (the howling of the Jinn) is
obviously related to Alhazred's title: "The One Who is Possessed by Jinn
and Whose Writings Are Inspired by Jinn." Al Azif being a book of poetry
is consistent with the fact that almost all mystical or prophetic
writings in Arabic are poems. Khadhulu's association with the sleeping
Dragon of the Abyss is VERY close to Lovecraft's dragon-like Cthulhu who
lays dreaming in the abyss (ocean). All this seems to indicate that
Lovecraft used a great deal of Arab mythology in his stories and it may
even indicate that he had sources of material (given to him by his
scholarly friends?) not commonly available. It appears HPL expanded on
some of the material, in his sources, in his fiction. Please note that
this in no way detracts from his considerable creativity. HPL's stories
are great not because of few isolated elements but rather because of the
way Lovecraft could blend the individual pieces into a whole.
In addition to the material above there are numerous other
instances in which Lovecraft borrowed from Arab and Near-Eastern
mythology. Lovecraft probably expanded on Arab and other near eastern
myth when creating his Deep Ones and Dagon. Arab myth mentions mysterious
fish-men from the sea of Karkar. These fish-men are probably derivative
of the myths related to the actual Near Eastern god Dagon. Dagon is a
Philistine deity that appears as a giant fish-man. Dagon is a later
version of the Babylonian Oannes. Oannes (Dagon) was the head of group of
semi-divine fish-men. The Fish-Man zootype still plays an important role
in some systems of magick. Clearly Dagon and the Deep Ones are direct
expansions on Arab and Near Eastern mythology familiar to Lovecraft.
The Ghoul is another obvious example of Arab mythology that has
worked its way into Lovecraft's fiction. The Ghoul is derived from the
Arabic ghul. The ghul is a man-like creature with monstrous facial
features. It inhabits desolate and lonely places especially graveyards.
The ghuls which inhabit graveyards feast on the corpses there. This
obviously is the source of Lovecraft's ghouls. To this day the corpse
eating ghul has a distinct role in the magickal practices of Arabs and
The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young traces back to
ancient Egypt and Sumeria. While both Egypt and Sumeria had Goat cults it
was probably the Egyptian version that was most influential. The
so-called Goat of Mendes was a "black" incarnation of Asar. The cult was
fertility based. Aspects of these Goat cults were absorbed into Arab
magical systems. For instance The Aniz tribe is designated as the Goat.
(Anz "goat" and Aniz are cognates.) The Aniz are called the Goat because
their founder practiced fertility based magick. The Symbol of this cult
is a torch between two Goats horns. This symbol has become important in
western magickal traditions.
THE BARBAROUS NAMES
Alhazred is said (by HPL) to have journeyed to Egypt in search of
occult secrets. This is consistent with the time frame that it was
supposed to have occurred in. Between the fourth century and the tenth
century scholars in the Near East interested in magickal matters viewed
Egypt as an invaluable source of information. During this time many
corrupt Egyptian words and phrases entered magickal writings. Gnostic,
Coptic, and Greco-Egyptian word formulas were incorporated in great
number into existing Arab magickal systems. The barbarous names often
only vaguely resemble their Egyptian forebears. For instance, Asar Un
Nefer became Osorronophris. Although the name has been badly corrupted
the original can still be deciphered. Often Egyptian words and their
corrupt counterparts can have even less phonetic similarity than this
example. It has been suggested that some of the Barbarous names used in
Lovecraft's fiction might indeed be corrupt Egyptian word formulas.
Particularly Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth, and Nyarlathotep are said to have an
Egyptian origin. (Note the obviously Egyptian endings "thoth" and "hotep.")
I was given a privately printed document called _The Rites of the
Gods_. This document consists of several short rituals and an
introduction. It is said to be a translation of an Arabic document. I
feel that this, however, is very unlikely. I will have to remain
skeptical of this booklet's Arabic origin and its antiquity until I have
some solid evidence (such as an Arabic Original). It is more probably a
modern attempt to reconstruct "ancient rituals" dedicated to the Other
Gods. Although I regard this document as probably apocryphal the
introduction contains some very interesting and possibly accurate
speculation on the origin of the names Yog-Sothoth and Azathoth. _The
Rites of the Gods_ suggests the following origins for these names.
Azathoth is said to be derived from Asa-thoth. _The Rites..._ states that
Asa translates as source from ancient Egyptian and Thoth (Tehut) is of
course the popular god name. However, Asa is an alternate name of Thoth.
A friend who knows much more about Egyptian mythology than I do assures
me that Asa, the god, is indeed closely associated with the concept of
"source" (he is considered the "source" because of his association with
the beginning of time). Ausaa-Thoth or Aasaa-Thoth is translated as the
intelligence of Thoth.
According to _The Rites of the Gods_ Yog-Sothoth is derived from Yak-Set
Thoth. This is supposed to translate as follows Yak means: "one" or
"union" (Yak, or perhaps more correctly Iak, and Yog seem on the surface
to be quite different. This is an illusion the "og" in Yog is pronounced
like dog. The vowel sound "a" in Yak is pronounced "ah." Thus the vowel
sound in both words is identical. K and G are based on the same root
sound. K and G are formed in exactly the same way by the tongue and
pallet. The only difference is the way the air is released at the end.
Yak and Yog are phonetic equivalents. To prove this to yourself try
saying Yog (as in dog) then Yak (as in hawk) alternately. They sound
quite similar.) Set is of course the deity Set and Thoth is again the god
Thoth. Thus Yak-Set Thoth translates as "Set and Thoth are one" or "the
union of Set and Thoth." Set and Thoth are the dark and light aspects of
the moon respectively in Egyptian mythology. According to _The Rites of
the Gods_ the magickal significance of the name Yak-Set Thoth is "the
union of opposites in a lunar-vaginal context."
No translation for Nyarlathotep was offered in the introduction to _The
Rites of the Gods_. I first realized, many years ago, that Ny and Hotep
were Egyptian words meaning "not" and "peaceful" respectively. "Not
peaceful" certainly seemed to fit Lovecraft's Nyarlathotep. I still
didn't know what "Arlat" could mean. I am again indebted to William
Hamblin for the complete translation. Ny means "not" Har means "at" or
"through" Lut "gateway" or "place of judgment" and Hotep means "peace" or
"rest." Thus Nyharluthotep translates as "there is no peace through the
gateway" or "there is no peace (rest) at the place of judgment." The
magickal functions of Nyharluthotep are very close to those of Thoth
(tehut). In fact, some people suggest that they may indeed represent the
same force. The Thoth-Nyharluthotep equivalence will probably clarify the
meaning of the name Asa-Thoth. (Please note that just because I used
information from William Hamblin's writings in this post does NOT mean
that Mr. Hamblin shares any of the views in this post)
It is very interesting that the Barbarous names associated with
the Necronomicon do not only have an Egyptian sound but seem to made of
actual Egyptian word and obey Egyptian Grammar. Corrupt Egyptian words
and phrases often appear in Arab magickal texts. The Appearance of what
certainly seems to be real barbarous name in Lovecraft's fiction should
cause one serious thought. Did HPL derive these names from a rare book on
Arab magick? Could it simply be syncronicty?