THE PRESENT MANUSCRIPT was delivered into the hands of the Editor by a priest who had managed to get ordained through uncanonical methods which have been entertainingly described in the several books and articles on the ecclesiastic phenomenon, the "wandering bishops". Just such an "unorthodox" prelate was Fr. Montague Summers, who wrote numerous books on demonology, witchcraft, and the like. Suffice it to say, we were rather doubtful as to the authenticity of the work before us. In the first place, it was in Greek and for quite awhile it was difficult to ascertain what it might actually be, save for the title NECRONOMICON and the many weird drawings. In the second place, after translation, we found several internal inconsistencies and some evidence that would suggest we did not possess the entire Work. There may still be some missing or the irregular monastic might have withheld certain of the chapters. As the chapters are not numbered, it is too difficult to day.
A great deal of misfortune accompanied the publication of this book. First, we went through more than one translator. The last finally absconded with his preface, describing his work in the some detail. This, we will have to do from memory in the following pages. At one point, an unscrupulous publisher from the West Coast took a copy of the initial preface and some of the miscellaneous pages in translation (including some dummies, which we were in the habit of giving potential publishers for our protection) and went off, and has not been heard from again.
At a crucial stage in the preparation of the manuscript, the Editor was stricken with a collapsed lung and had to undergo emergency surgery to save his life.
But, let us proceed with a description of the contents of the NECRONOMICON:
Within these pages a series of myths and rituals are presented that have survive the darkest days of magick and occultism. The exorcisms and bindings of the famous Maqlu text are here presented for the first time in English, although not completely: for the originals in their entirety were evidently not known to the author of the NECRONOMICON, nor are they to present scholarship; the various tablets upon which they were written being cracked and effaced in many places, rendering translation impossible. The MAGAN text, which comprises the Creation Epic of the Sumerians (with much later glosses) and the account of INANNA's "descent into the Underworld", along with more extraneous matter, is presented. The unique "Book of the Entrance" has no counterpart in occult literature, and the drawings of magickal seals and symbols are wholly new to anything that has yet appeared on the contemporary occult scene - although bearing some resemblances to various diagrams found in the ancient Arabic texts of the last millennium. Although some of the characters found in these pages can be traced to Mandaic and Demotic sources, and are evidently of a much later date than the Rites of Sumer, the overall appearance of the seals is quite unusual, almost surreal.
The Book begins with an introduction by the alleged author, the Mad Arab (the name that Lovecraft made famous, 'Abdul Alhazred' does not appear in our copy of the Ms.), and ends with a sort of epilogue by the same Arab. We have called the first part "The Testimony of the Mad Arab" and the latter "The Testimony of the Mad Arab, the Second Part." The Second Part if the most chilling. The author has, by this stage in the writing of his opus, become fearful for his soul and begins to repeat himself in the text, saying things he has already said in previous chapters as though having forgotten he had said them, or perhaps to stress their importance. The Second Testimony is riddled through with non sequiturs and bits of incantation.
He does not finish the Book.
It trails off where he would have signed it, presumably, in the Arab manner, but giving his lineage. Instead, it ends before he can name himself or even one relation. We can only imagine with horror what fate befell this noble Sage.
Another problem that confronts the Editor is the suspected frequency of the copyist's glosses; that is, there do seem to be occasionally bits of sentence or fragments of literature that would seem to be inconsistent with the period in which the text was written. However, no final word can be said on this matter. The difficulty arises in the age-old question of "which came first, the chicken or the egg?". For instance, in the MAGAN text, the final verses read though from the Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster:
"Stoop not down, therefore, into the darkly shining world," which might have been of Greek origin and not Zoroastrian. It is a question for scholars.
The etymology of certain words is a game that has fascinated both the Editor and perhaps a score or more of Sumerian researches of the past. The Sumerian origin of many of the words and place-names we use today provides us with an insight into our own origins. For instance, the Sumerian word for the temple is BAR, from which we get our word "barrier", or so it is said by Waddell. This makes sense in the context with the erecting and maintaining of barriers against the hostile forces Outside.
The etymology is even dramatic where Magick is concerned, and aids us in understand even Crowley's system better than we do. As an example, Crowley of (or Aiwass) ends the Book of the Law with the words "AUM.HA." In the Sumero-Aryan Dictionary by Waddell we read that the word AUM was known to the Sumerians, in almost the same sense that it was, and is, known to the Hindus. It is a sacred word, and pertains to the Lord of Magicians, ENKI. Further, the Greek spelling of ENKI was EA, by which he is most commonly known in the European texts which treat of Sumeriology. In the Greek alphabet, EA would appear as HA. Q.E.D: AUM.HA betrays the essential Sumerian character of that Book.
After the initial Testimony, we come to the chapter entitles "Of the ZONEI and Their Attributes", Zonei is, of course a Greek word and refers to the planetary, or heavenly bodies; for they are "zoned", i.e., having set courses and spheres. They are also known as such in the Chaldean Oracles. The 'spirits' or bodies that exist beyond the zonei are called the azonei, meaning "un-zoned". Whether this refers to the so-called "fixed " stars (having no sphere ascertainable to the early astronomers) or the comets, is unknown to the Editor. Whatever the case may be, the zonei seem to include the Seven Philosophical Planets, i.e., including the Sun and Moon as planetary bodies, along with Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Each has their own seal and their own Number.
Kenneth Grant, author of Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God, may be interested to know (or may already know) that the Number of the Sumerian Goddess of Venus, hence of Love and War, is Fifteen. In many of the ancient tablets of that period, she is actually referred to as "the Fifteen", as a shortcut to spelling out the whole Name in cuneiform, was assume. Grant made much of "the Goddess Fifteen" in his study of Crowley's system as related to Tantricism, without mentioning the Name by which this Goddess is quite well-known, or even mentioning Her native country!
After the chapter on Zonei, we come to the "Book of Entrance" which is really a system of self-initiation into the planetary spheres and may have something to do with the planetary arrangement of the steps of the ziggurats of Mesopotamia, which were seven storeyed mountains. Not much is revealed to the potential candidate for initiation as to how these "gates" work, or what he might find there, save to say that the key of one Gate lies in mastering the Gate before it. The Mad Arab was either keeping a sacred Secret, or found human language inadequate to the task of describing what other initiates in similar systems have expressed in the vague abstractions of the truly illuminated, likening the experience to an LSD trip.
The "Incantations of the Gates" follow, and are probably meant to accompany the preceding chapter, being prayers proper to each of the celestial Gates. The "conjuration of the Fire God" follows this, and resembles the others in its mixture of Greek and Sumerian phrases. It should be noted here that wherever a Sumerian phrases. It should be noted here that wherever a Sumerian phrase appears in the original MS. we have kept it as it is, untranslated, as we expect the Mad Arab would have wanted it. Quite possibly, even he did not know the exact meaning of much of the conjurations in the Old Tongue, but viewed it as a 'barbarous' tongue' which must be preserved because of its essential Power. Indeed, with the publication of this Book, Sumerian may become as popular among magicians as the strange, angelic language of Enochian, discovered by Dr. Dee in Elizabeth England.
In Greek, in the original MS., a common incantation would look something like this (using Roman characters for the Greek):
'O Kakos Theos
'O Kakos Daimon
PNEUMA TOU OURANOU THUMETHERE!
PNEUMA TES GES THUMETHATE!
(O Wicked God
O Wicked Demon
Spirit of the Sky, Remember!
Spirit of the Earth, Remember!)
Yet, a word like SHAMMASH, the Name of the Solar Deity, would read SAMAS or SAMMAS, and in the text of the NECRONOMICON we would make the word read like its original.
The "Conjuration of the Watcher" follows the Fire God conjuration. The word "watcher" is sometimes used synonymously with "angel", and sometimes as a distinct Race, apart from angelos: egragori. The Race of Watchers are said not to care what they Watch, save that they follow orders. They are somewhat mindless creatures, but quite effective. Perhaps they correspond toe Lovecraft's shuggoths, save that the latter become unweildly and difficult to manage.
After the Watcher, comes the MAKLU text, which appears to be a collection of exorcisms, which includes the famous "Xilka Xilka Besa Besa" incantation, in the original, to which a translation has been appended in this work - a translation evidently not at hand when the author compiled the MS. Thus, for the first time, this much-rumoured exorcism is available in full and in English.
After this, the "Book of Calling" needs little explanation. It is the grimoire of the NECRONOMICON, containing the formulae of ritual conjuration, as well as the seals and diagrams to accompany the rites. It is followed by "The Book of Fifty Names" being fifty separate powers of the God MARDUK, defeater of Chaos. This is interesting, in that the names seem to come from the Enuma Elish, in which the Elder Gods confer these fifty names upon MARDUK as titles, in their appreciation of his routing of Evil. A sigil is given for each of the Names, and a word of Power for most of them.
Then appears the Centrepiece of the Book, the MAGAN text. The word MAGAN may mean the Land of the MAGAN which was said to lie in the West of Sumer. For a time, it seems the name MAGAN was synonymous with the Place of Death - as the Sun 'died' in the West. Hence, it is a bit confusing as to what MAGAN is really supposed to mean in this text, but in context the "Place of Death" explanation seems quite valid. The MAGAN text is nothing more than an incomplete and free-form version of the Creation Epic of Sumer, along with INANNA's Descent into the Underworld, and many glosses. We are told how MARDUK slays TIAMAT - after much the same fashion that the Chief of Police of Amity slays the great white shark in Benchley's novel JAWS, blowing an evil wind (the oxygen tank) into Her mouth and sending in an arrow (bullet) in after it to explode her. Surely, the two or three most box-office successful films of the past few years, JAWS, THE EXORICST and, perhaps, THE GODFATHER, are an indication that the essence of Sumerian mythology is making itself felt in a very real way in this, the latter half of the Twentieth Century?
After the long and poetic MAGAN text, comes the URILLIA text which might be Lovecraft's R'lyeh Text, and is subtitled "Abominations". It has more specifically to do with the worship of the Serpent, and the nature of the cults that participate in the Concelebration of Sin. Again, more conjurations and seals are given, even though the reader is charged not to use them; an inconsistency that is to be found in many grimoires of any period and perhaps reveals a little of the magicians's mentality; for there is very little that is evil to the advanced magus, who cares not if he deals with angelic or demonic forces, save that he gets the job done!
Then, following the URILLIA text and forming the very end of the received MS., is the Second Part of the Testimony of the Mad Arab. It is a haunting and sorrowful occult personality. Was he really mad? This is perhaps a question that will go on for as long as Man tries to understand himself; himself as a part of the cosmic dance and spiral, which includes the satanic as well as the deific, the sad as well as the happy. Perhaps the Arab was privy to some other-worldly secret that he could not reveal. Perhaps he had opened the Door by mistake, his own personal Gate to the Abyss, and was forced to cross its threshold into the Unknown. We may never know.
Or, we may wish we never had.
New York, New York
October 12, 1975