Edward Kelley's scribblings in Dee's manuscript. Latin manuscript of Necronomicon , ca. Synopsis: If we examine H. Lovecraft's use of the name "Azathoth", I believe we can shed some light on his probable source of information on the Necronomicon , namely John Dee's partial English translation. American author Howard P. Lovecraft was known for featuring sinister ancient texts in his horror fiction.
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The Necronomicon is the rarest and most terrible of the magical grimoires. 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 al Khaliyeh, or "Empty Space" of the ancients and "Dahma" 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, Al-Hazred dwelt in Damascus, where the Necronomicon Al Azif was written, and of his final death or disappearance A.
In his history of the Necronomicon , Lovecraft adds that it was translated into English by Dr. John Dee. This manuscript was never published and survives only in rare and often incomplete copies. He notes that Dr.
This is not an implausible suggestion. Dee was a passionate collector of books, and owned one of the largest libraries in Europe. He was familiar with ciphers and travelled widely on the continent of Europe, to the extent that at least one biographer has suggested he was a 16th.
It is known that one of the foremost works on occultism and encipherment of the period, the Steganographia of the Abbot Trithemius, was copied by Dee in longhand over a period of days in an intense burst of activity.
The Liber Logaeth does exist Sloane ???? As if this was not enough, another mysterious cipher manuscript has also been connected with Dee, the baffling Voynich manuscript. Despite many attempts to decipher this manuscript, it still remains unbroken. On the basis of its diagrams all we know is that it might be a herbal. It could be a cipher manuscript that Dee records as having purchased in Prague.
All else is conjecture. One of the participants in the Langford-Turner spoof Colin Wilson has admitted in print that it is a spoof. It is a good spoof however. The best spoofs work because they are founded on truth, and the untruths are so deeply embedded one needs be an expert to winkle them out. It was a technique H. Lovecraft understood well, and he used it extensively to add versimilitude to his fiction.
John Dee is a pivotal figure in renaissance theurgical magic, and the system he developed not only survives to this day, it is one of the most active areas of modern magic. Using Dee as a link in the history of the Necronomicon was an inspired move by Lovecraft. This second link between Dee and the Necronomicon has grown out of a 20th. Choronzon is a demonic entity that occurs in the transcript of a lost book that John Dee received through the mediumship of a scryer called Edward Kelley, from non-human entities who claimed to be angels.
Fragments from this book, The Book of Enoch , are scattered throughout his angelic conversations and recorded in Dee's diaries of the angelic communications. By offending so, man became accursed in the sight of God, and so lost both the garden of Felicity and the judgement of his understanding, but not utterly the favour of God.
But he was driven forth as your scriptures record unto the earth which was covered with brambles. But in the same instant when Adam was expelled, the Lord gave unto the world her time, and placed over her Angelic Keepers, Watchmen and Princes. In this context C h oronzon is identical with the Serpent of Genesis , and with the rebellious angel Samael in Jewish midrashic and kabbalistic legend.
We can equate Choronzon with the Devil, but I must emphasise this is not the Devil of Christian myth; this is the Devil from myths that predate Christianity. In one of the earliest kabbalistic works, The Bahir , it is Samael that rebels against God and tempts Adam through the agency of the serpent:. He finally found the serpent, which looked like a camel, and he rode on it.
He then cast the wicked Samael and his group from their holy place in heaven. He cut off the feet of the serpent and cursed it more than all the other animals and beasts of the field. He also decreed that it must shed its skin every seven years. Samael was punished and made the guardian angel over the wicked Esau.
To the intent that being put to the Earth, his envious will might be bridled However, traditional legend holds a surprise:.
This legend is recounted in a book that Dee could not have read because it was lost in Europe until it was brought back from Ethiopia by the Scots adventurer James Bruce of Kinnaird in By an astonishing coincidence this happens to be yet another Book of Enoch.
The angels have a great deal to say. It is interesting to compare their concerns. This theme occurs constantly, both explicitly and through symbolism which is clearly linked to the Apocalypse or Revelation of St. Dee was well aware of this, and his margin notes show that he understood the references. Dee divided the world into three ages: the first age up to the Flood, a second age up to the coming of Jesus Christ, and a final age terminated by the destruction of the world.
In common with many most Europeans of his time, he lived his life in an awareness that this end was not a conjecture - it was a matter of fact - and that it was imminent.
The angels confirm several times that the "end of days" is nigh. There are so many parallels between events leading up to the first destruction of the world the biblical Flood and events leading up to the final destruction the Apocalypse that they must be considered duals - that is, not as unconnected mythic material, but as the beginning and end of the same story reflected like mirror images at opposite ends of time.
The legend of the Watchers in the Ethiopian Book of Enoch , a book neither Dee or Kelly could have read, is that the angels set to watch over the creation lusted after the daughters of men and came down to earth. The part-human offspring of these unions were terrible and evil "giants", and Jewish commentaries on the scriptures midrash make it clear that the Flood was a direct consequence of the evil caused on earth by the fall of the angels this is not entirely clear in the Bible itself, but commentaries are very clear about the causality.
In his visions, the seer of the Book of Enoch is taken by the angel Uriel to a deep abyss And beyond that abyss I saw a place which had no firmament of the heaven above, and no firmly bounded earth beneath it: there was no water upon it, and no birds, but it was a waste and horrible place.
It is estimated that the earliest parts of this work date from BC, hundreds of years before any part of the New Testament was written. The continuity between the fall of the angels, the first destruction of the world, their imprisonment, and the final judgement and end is explicit here and in other passages:.
There is a strong probability that the seven stars "burning like great mountains" are identical with the seven evil demons of Assyrio-Babylonian sorcery:.
Seven gods of the broad heaven, Seven gods of the broad earth, Seven robber gods are they. Seven gods of might, Seven evil gods, Seven evil demons, Seven evil demons of oppression, Seven in heaven and seven on earth. Knowing no care, They grind the land like corn; Knowing no mercy, They rage against mankind; They spill their blood like rain Devouring their flesh and sucking their veins, Where the images of the gods are, there they quake? In the Temple of Nabu, who fertilizeth the shoots of wheat.
They are demons full of violence, Ceaselessly devouring blood. The evil giant offspring of the Nephilim in Jewish legend were also noted for their vaste appetites, eating thousands of animals a day, and even human flesh obviously a memory of large sacrificial offerings. The "seven evil sons of Ea" described on ancient clay tablets are enumerated as the South Wind, a dragon with mouth agape, a grim leopard that carries off young, a terrible serpent, a furious beast, an evil windstorm and one that cannot be identified because of damage to the clay tablet.
It is possible that these seven evil sons of Ea reappear in the Apocalypse, firstly as the seven angels with seven trumpets whose sounding progressively causes terrible events to occur that mark the end of the world, and also the "seven angels with seven plagues" carrying bowls containing the wrath of God. It is highly likely that the ninth Enochian key from Dee's angelic transcript evokes the same terrible seven:. These gather up the moss of the earth as a rich man doth his threasor: cursed ar they whose iniquities they are in their eyes are milstones greater than the earth And from their mowthes rune seas of blud: Their heds are covered with diamond: and upon their heds are marble sleves.
Happy is he, on whom they frown not. For why? The God of righteousness reioyceth in them. Come away and not your Viols That Choronzon is identical with Samael is evident. The lore concerning Samael is somewhat confusing however.
He tempted Adam and was cast out of heaven to earth. He was assigned to watch over the earth, but fell with his angels and begat monsters, culminating in the first destruction of mankind.
He is chief of the evil seven seven imprisoned stars in Enoch, seven Assyrio-Babylonian demons, seven deadly angels that God keeps at hand for running the more unpleasant parts of the eschatological process.
He will be judged at the end of time. He will be unleashed at the end of time. This apocalyptic theme is strongly pronounced in the work of both H. Lovecraft and the 20th. Crowley had a fundamentalist Christian upbringing, and incorporated many elements from the book of Revelations into his personal myth.
He reinterpreted the symbols to suit himself, but there is no question that like Dee, he had a deep and scholarly knowledge of the book. Crowley continues:. The idea that there are forces ruling the earth is a little odd to the modern mind, but it is consistent with very old traditions that the earth is watched over by a hierarchy of powers, and can be traced back to the earliest times when the stars and planets were worshiped literally as the divine rulers of the world the Sumerian cuniform for a god is a star symbol.
One of these is in charge of the destinies of this planet for periods of years". Just in case you assume Crowley was talking purely metaphorically he was a complex man and routinely talked on several levels at once In other words, Crowley is referring to a zodiacal sign as being "in charge" of the planet.
He is referring to the onset of what is more routinely referred to as "The Age of Aquarius". Crowley understood the Book of the Law to be the corporate mission statement of the new planetary management, delivered by the trinity of Nuit, Hadit and Ra-Hoor-Kuit with himself as mouthpiece and prophet.
It has an apocalyptic flavour, firstly because it literally marks the end of one age and the beginning of a new age, and secondly because this new age has something in common with the terrible "end-time" of Revelations. Crowley admits that many people will find some parts of this small book "repugnant". It is tempting to read many passages mystically, magically or metaphorically to blunt the harshness of the message. These are some extracts from the words of Hadit:. Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire are of us.
We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit; let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched and the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world. Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live.
The Necronomicon is the rarest and most terrible of the magical grimoires. 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 al Khaliyeh, or "Empty Space" of the ancients and "Dahma" 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, Al-Hazred dwelt in Damascus, where the Necronomicon Al Azif was written, and of his final death or disappearance A. In his history of the Necronomicon , Lovecraft adds that it was translated into English by Dr. John Dee.
The Necronomicon , also referred to as the Book of the Dead , or under a purported original Arabic title of Kitab al-Azif , is a fictional grimoire textbook of magic appearing in stories by the horror writer H. Lovecraft and his followers. It was first mentioned in Lovecraft's short story " The Hound ",  written in , though its purported author, the "Mad Arab " Abdul Alhazred , had been quoted a year earlier in Lovecraft's " The Nameless City ". Lovecraft approved of other writers building on his work, believing such common allusions built up "a background of evil verisimilitude.