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Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred

Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred

4.5 6
by Donald Tyson

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Anyone familiar with H. P. Lovecraft's work knows of the Necronomicon, the black magic grimoire he invented as a literary prop in his classic horror stories. There have been several attempts at creating this text, yet none stand up to Lovecraft's own descriptions of the Necronomicon . . . until now. Fans of Lovecraftian magic and occult fiction will delight in Donald


Anyone familiar with H. P. Lovecraft's work knows of the Necronomicon, the black magic grimoire he invented as a literary prop in his classic horror stories. There have been several attempts at creating this text, yet none stand up to Lovecraft's own descriptions of the Necronomicon . . . until now. Fans of Lovecraftian magic and occult fiction will delight in Donald Tyson's Necronomicon, based purely within Lovecraft's own fictional universe, the Cthulhu Mythos.

This grimoire traces the wanderings of Abdul Alhazred, a necromancer of Yemen, on his search for arcane wisdom and magic. Alhazred's magical adventures lead him to the Arabian desert, the lost city of Irem, ruins of Babylon, lands of the Old Ones, and Damascus, where he encounters a variety of strange creatures and accrues necromantic secrets.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First mentioned by H.P. Lovecraft in the 1920s and referred to throughout his fiction, the Necronomicon-a spurious book of occult knowledge-is so infamous that horror cognoscenti playfully speculate it might exist. Tyson (The Power of the Word) isn't the first writer to attempt a full "translation" of the forbidden text, but his may be the most comprehensive. After a brief history of the book's penning in the eighth century by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred (eaten by an invisible nasty for his efforts), the text unfolds as a series of interrelated chapters that anatomize Lovecraft's monstrous entities (Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, etc.) in archaically musty prose, leavened with paraphrases of familiar passages from HPL's stories. Tyson embellishes this core material with the sort of astrologic and mystical content that Lovecraft himself considered nonsense. Readers who know Lovecraft's book from its evocative fragments won't be dissuaded from their belief that there are some things they are not meant to know. (Dec.) Forecast: Purists may be put off, especially by the lack of any mention that the Necronomicon is Lovecraft's fictional creation, but less picky Lovecraftians and occult fans should make this a hot seller. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Purporting to be the journals of Abdul Alhazred, an eighth-century seeker of forbidden knowledge, this work of fiction attempts to re-create the notorious Necronomicon featured in H.P. Lovecraft's Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. Descriptions of the lost city of R'lyeh, the ruins of Babylon, and other, stranger places blend with tales of monsters and demons, lies and truths. Occult nonfiction author Tyson remains true to Lovecraft's spirit in this tribute to a master of horror. For larger collections, with particular appeal to fans of Lovecraft's "Cthulhu" tales. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Tyson sets about "expositing the ways of the dead." The Necronomicon is, of course, that eldritch but mythical work of Cthulhu lore often referred to throughout the creepy and gurgling pages of H.P. Lovecraft, the purple pen of Providence, Rhode Island. Here, his skin-crawling nonexistent tome is lifted from the mists of fantasy and loathsomely fleshed out by Tyson, famed dealer in magic and spells and scribe of much nonfiction on magic and the occult (The Power of the Word: The Secret Code of Creation, not reviewed). Long centuries ago, as a youth in Yemen and student of necromancy, Abdul Alhazred sets out to find the arcane wisdom of the ages. He travels through Arabia deserta to the lost city of Irem and hence to Babylon and other unnatural cities that housed the monstrous Old Ones (who will break through again, shapes without substance), and at last to Damascus as he gathers forbidden knowledge for a grisly grimoire of the dead filled with the very lispings of Yog-Sothoth. Cousins to Great Cthulhu, the Old Ones still walk among us, unseen and foul in the lonely places. Their hand is at your throat. Cthulhu himself, man-shaped, bat-winged, and as big as a mountain, flies between the stars, the formless mass of his face hung with many ropes or soft branches and throbbing with a watery softness-for he has no skull. When the stars fix aright, he will rise in fury, and no gods or men will be able to withstand his force. (NB: One needs the essential salts and a large copper kettle, stirred with a long wooden ladle, when corpses of royal blood or wizards are boiled for resurrection.)Scholarly horror, marvelously illustrated. Or as Lovecraft, in a wild ecstasy that's quoted here, would praiseit: Ph'nglui nigliv'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeb wgab'nagl fhtagn. Id!

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Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
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Necronomicon Series , #1
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Read an Excerpt

You who would learn the wisdom of hidden things and traverse the avenues of shadow beneath the stars, heed this song of pain that was chanted by one who went unseen before you that you may follow the singing of his voice across the windblown sands that obscure the marks of his feet. Each who goes into the Empty Space walks alone, but where one has gone another may follow.
Turn not your mind from night fears, but embrace them as a lover. Let terror possess your body and course through your veins with its heady intoxication to steal your judgment, your very reason. In the madness of the night, all sounds become articulate. A man sure of himself, confident in his strength, aware of his rightful place, remains forever ignorant. His mind is closed. He cannot learn in life, and after death there is no acquisition of knowledge, only unending certainty. His highest fulfillment is to be food for the things that burrow and squirm, for in their mindless hunger they are pure, undefiled by reason, and their purity elevates them above the putrefying pride of our race.
By writhing on your belly in abject terror you will rise up in awareness of truth; by the screams that fill the throat unsought is the mind purged of the corruption of faith. Believe in nothing. There is no purpose in birth, no salvation of the soul in life, no reward after death. Abandon hope and you shall become free, and with freedom acquire emptiness.

The night things that hop and skitter and flit at the edges of the campfire glow exist only to teach, but no man can understand their words unless he has lost in fear the memory of his name. Two serving maidens will come to you when you lie alone, and will lead you to the place within yourself that cannot be known but only felt. These handmaidens are Terror and Despair. Let them guide you into nightmares that follow one upon the other, like windblown grains of sand, until they cover over the markers of your mind. When you have lost yourself in the wasteland of unending nothingness, the night things will come.

With hope utterly abandoned, all else will leave you, save only fear. Your name forgotten, your memories bereft of meaning, without desire or purpose and having no regret, you would cease utterly to exist and would become one with the greatness of the night were it not for fear. Let your terror be your standing place amid the ocean of darkness. From it you cannot retreat for it is all that you are become. Pure fear is undifferentiated, a smoothness without line or color; hence a man in the extremity of terror is united with all other terrified men; more than this, in the purity of terror he becomes one with all fearful creatures in this world or other worlds, both in this moment and in distant aeons of time, and in that unity wherein dwells the wisdom of all, his mind is opened, and the night things speak.

Pain is the terror of the body, and as the body is but a pallid reflection of the mind, so is the pain of the flesh no more than a distant echo of the terror of dreams. Even so, do not despise your pain, for it has its function. Pain anchors the mind to flesh. In the absence of pain, the mind would fly up and become lost in the spaces between the stars, and darkness would consume it. Just as the mind can lose all aspects of itself, but will never cease to fear, so can the body lose all strength and sensations or longing, but will always feel pain. While there is life, there is pain, and fear continues even when life is no more.

Despair is not separate from terror but is the consequence of the abatement of fear. When terror fills the mind there is room for nothing else, but when it withdraws in part, as it must do, for it ebbs and flows even as the tides of the seas, then the mind is left cleansed and empty, and this condition is called despair. In despair there is a void that yearns to be filled up. Let the night things fill it with their whisperings, and in this way grow wise in the secret ways of this world, and other worlds unknown to men.

Of all pains, hunger is the most useful since it gnaws unceasingly, like the worm in the tomb. It is the gateway upon an emptiness vast and endless; no matter the quantity or kind of food, it is never filled up. All living creatures are but embodiments of hunger. Man is a hollow tube, ingesting food at one end and excreting waste at the other. How is it possible for man to be other than empty? As it is for the body, so it is also for the mind. The natural condition of the mind is emptiness. All efforts to fill it are temporary diversions that fail to deny this truth.

To learn arcane wisdom is the simplest of tasks. Purge the mind with terror; purge the body with pain and hunger. Take yourself out into the empty spaces of the world that express in their limited way the same qualities as the empty spaces between the stars. The things that dwell there are ever watchful. They exist only to teach. After terror comes despair, and in despair the language of the shadows is intelligible. As you empty your mind of self, the night creatures fill it with their wisdom.

The wisest of these creatures is the black beetle that lives on the dung of others. Dead food is better than food that is living, since its essence is nearer to the ultimate state of decay to which we all tend. From corruption arises new life. Fill yourself with corruption and from it you shall be reborn, even as the fungi arise and glow with radiance on the faces of the dead who have rested in their tombs a span of years. Emulate the beetles and the worms, and learn their teachings. Eat of the dead, lest you be consumed by the emptiness. The living cannot teach the dead, but the dead can instruct the living.

In the wasteland dwell those things that cannot abide the light of reason. Even as man is a creature of the day, and ceases to know himself during the darkness, so do these things of the void cease to articulate their identity during the hours of the sun. They sleep by day and wake by night to feed. The terror of man is their nourishment and their excrement is higher wisdom. The dung of these things may only be consumed when the mind is made empty by terror and is in a receptive state of despair. Unless the mind be perfectly purged, their excrement will be vomited up and lost. The exquisite rapture of hunger retains all foods, and extracts nourishment even from the husks of beetles and the castings of worms. Ingest wisdom with the darkness, and sleep by day.

Separate yourself from humanity, for what use have you for these pale, blinking fools and their ceaseless yammerings? In life they serve no function, and in death they are only food for the crawling creatures. Take yourself apart, embrace your fear, and listen to the darkness. Your teachers will come; as they appear before you, consume their wisdom. Grind their chitinous cases between your teeth and partake of their essence. The whirring of their wings and the rubbing of their legs is music. Consume all, even the other things that approach, those that have no bodies but only teeth and eyes that gleam in shadow. The crawling things instruct the body, and the shadow shapes teach the mind, but the wisdom of both must be consumed. There is only hunger in the universe. Devour everything.

The desert known as Roba el Khaliyeh is a lover of the dead and a hater of all things that have life. The creatures that dwell in the desiccated wastes of this Empty Space imitate the dead in all possible ways, and thereby steal life from the dryness. What are the qualities of the dead? They are cold and lie without motion within the earth, hidden from the burning sun; their skin is hard and black; at night they rise and wander far in search of nourishment to satisfy their ceaseless hunger and thirst. So it is with the living things that struggle to remain alive in the land of the dead. They lie beneath the earth, in caves or covered over with sand, during the heat of the day; they move little or not at all to conserve their fluids; their skin is hard and dark, their eyes dry and glittering jewels; only under the light of the moon dare they venture forth to hunt.

A man who would cross the wilderness of stone and sand must emulate the dead, even as do the creatures that live in the waste, for only by becoming as they are may he survive. At the setting of the sun, arise and go in quest of nourishment. Water is more precious than food, so always seek water, and food will cross your path without the need to look for it.
The life of the desert is an endless quest for water that renders other quests meaningless. When the paling of the east announces the dawn, dig a hollow in the sand and cover your body, or huddle in a cleft between rocks that is forever in shadow. Lie as one dead, and sleep out the day.

Seek the deepest depths between the rocks in the low places of the land where the sands have fallen inward, for there will be found moisture. Even when it is too attenuated to serve the needs of life directly, it may be had by sucking the juice of crawling things that concentrate the dampness within their shells. Corpses newly buried along the caravan roads are fat with water. The brain remains wet for weeks, as does the marrow of the bones. The blood of a hunter hawk is good, but the blood of a carrion bird may carry disease that cripples or kills the unwary. More wholesome is the flesh of serpents and worms, sweet to the taste and a glut to the belly.

In the deepest pits where water drips and pools, there flourishes a certain fungus that may be known by its color, for it is the green mingled with yellow of the pus from a newly lanced boil. This growth emanates a faint radiance that seems bright to eyes accustomed to the blackness of caves. It is of the length of half a forefinger, but from it emerge longer stalks containing pods of spores that break open with a faint sound, like the crackle of brush in a fire, when disturbed. Among this living carpet that covers the rocks and walls and roofs of caverns live small spiders of the purest white. As they move among the stalks, they brush them with their legs and cause them to open and spread their seed upon the damp air, so that in the silence deep beneath the earth there is an endless soft crackle that resembles stifled laughter.

To consume three of the white spiders transforms the power of sight, allowing demons and shades of the dead that wander the desert after the setting of the sun to be seen clearly with eyes, though these wraiths pass otherwise unseen. Three spiders, and three alone, must be eaten. Two is insufficient; four causes vomiting and sickness that persists for several days. Three yields merely a lightness and spinning in the head that is not so severe as to inhibit walking. It is the spores from the pods fallen upon the spiders that produce the second type of sight. By themselves the spores have no power, but when mingled with the secretions on the back and legs of the spiders they acquire this potency.

To sight fortified by this strange meat, the shades of the desert stand forth from the rocks and dunes with the whiteness of candle wax. Near the burial sites of Bedouin caravans may be seen lares who retain their human form, though they go naked after death. These are mindless vessels that stand or stagger upon the earth above their graves, moving in circles and arcs but never venturing more than a dozen paces from the mound where their putrefying flesh lies buried. They have one use alone: to identify the place of burial when the desert nomads have attempted to conceal the place from ghouls and tomb robbers. No matter how well concealed the surface of the grave, the lar of the corpse stands watch above it.

Meet the Author

Donald Tyson (Nova Scotia, Canada) is an occult scholar and the author of the popular, critically acclaimed Necronomicon series. He has written more than a dozen books on Western esoteric traditions. Visit him online at DonaldTyson.com.

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Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very interesting and it's a lot of fun to read. It's based on HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, but it's not the same thing, there's plenty of individual touches to make it more colorful. It's probably the most unique book I've ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an outstanding read, even if you have no intrest in the occult or magic. The detail and attention to little things are superb.