Donald Tyson's Grimoire of the Necronomicon offers a very different approach to Lovecraftian magic than that of Steve Ash, which I talked about yesterday.
The ritual described by Steve was experimental, experiential and fluid. Donald Tyson's book offers a formal, structured method of honouring The Great Old Ones of the Cthulhu Mythos. This involves setting out a circle of stones and an altar in a precise layout and using specific symbols to represent seven of The Great Old Ones: Yig, Shub-Niggurath, Cthulhu, Dagon, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep and Azathoth. There are also specific rituals to honour these deities, to be conducted at precise times of the week or year.
The purpose behind these rituals, according to Donald Tyson, is no less than to bring about the end of the world. The reason given for this is a story of a fall from grace. Apparently, Azathoth once had a beautiful daughter, the goddess Barbelzoa. Nyarlathotep raped her and, in her shame, she fell from her throne at the centre of the universe and became encased in solid matter. Her inert body now forms the globe of our planet Earth. Those who follow the paths of The Great Old Ones are trying to undo that state of affairs, which will obviously not be such good news for those dwelling on Earth's surface.
Now, that is not a story Lovecraft ever wrote, but many authors of fiction have taken the Cthulhu Mythos in different directions. If you are into high Gothic romance, then you might be tickled by this take on the legends.
While the Grimoire offers a cohesive set of rituals - none of which require you to do anything illegal, I hasten to add - perusing its pages won't teach you how to raise a corpse from its essential salts, brew Space Mead to travel through space or many other spells hinted at in classic Mythos tales.
So, who is going to enjoy Grimoire of the Necronomicon? Well, I have to say I found it a thoroughly entertaining read, although it will sit on my shelf somewhere between my set of Lovecraft's fiction and my copy of the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. It certainly won't be on the shelf with my serious books of magic. The only readers I can imagine taking it seriously are bed-sit black magicians driven by teenage angst to dream of world destruction. This book should keep them out of trouble for hours.
Grimoire of the Necronomicon
Call of Cthulhu (Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying) (Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying)