RITES OF THE NAMELESS GODS
Recent years have seen the appearence of several `Necronimica', books
from various sources each purporting to be renderings of the dreaded tome
itself! They have ranged from Sumerian scribblings to ye writings of Dr.
John Dee (now reincarnated as Robert Turner, apparently). Also, following
August Derleth's attempt to cohere the Cthulhu Mythos into an identifiable
cosmology, several occultists (notably Kenneth Grant) have attempted to
work the Great Old Ones into an `identifiable' system of one kind or
While such attempts display the Western occultists' penchant for building
up symbolic metastructures, I feel that such systemizations of the Great
Old Ones are a misappropriation of Lovecraft's original sense of them.
Their very nature is that they are ``primal and undimensioned'' - they can
barely be perceived, and forever `lurk' at the edges of awareness.
The most powerful energies are those which cannot be clearly apprehended
or conceived of. They remain intangible and tenuous. Very like the feeling
of awakening from a nightmare terrified, but unable to remember why.
Lovecraft understood this very well, probably because most of his writings
evolved from his dreams.
The Great Old Ones gain their power from their elusiveness and intangi-
bility. Once they are formalised into symbol systems and related to
intellectual metasystems, some of their primal intensity is lost. William
Burroughs puts it this way:
``As soon as you name something you remove its power... If
you could look Death in the face he would lose his power
to kill you. When you ask Death for his credentials, his
passport is indefinite.''
The Place of Dead Roads
The Great Old Ones can be thought of as primal archetypes of experience,
represented in various creation myths as the Giants or Titans. Differing
orders of deities throughout history reflect the development of human
consciousness - the evolution of a psychocosm. From the zoomorphic animal-
human deities of the Pagan Aeon to the Monotheist deity as a reflection of
the state's ideal citizen. The Great Old Ones have little, if anything in
the way of human attributions; no distinct spheres of influence or human
morality. Lovecraft made it very clear that the Great Old Ones have their
own purposes, and those that summon them, do so at their peril.
The Great Old Ones are atavisms of the pre-human strata of consciousness,
dim perceptions of the era when the primitive `dragon brain' was the seat
of awareness. In his writings, Lovecraft continually alludes to the non-
conceptual nature of the Old Ones, and to the primitive methods of
summoning them to Earth - blood sacrifice, incense, sexual magick (espec-
ially incestuous interbreeding) and Primal, or monstrous speech. All these
methods act very powerfully upon the `reptilian' areas of the brain; the
activity of which governs the basic behaviour patterns - sex, hunger and
the flight-fight response.
Of particular interest in Lovecraft's mention of primal speech; the kind
of glossolalia which can be heard at both Revivalist meetings and Voudou
gatherings. When ordered speech is replaced with gibbering, grunting and
other non-ordered noises, then patterning, inflection and tone/volume
become the means for carrying a message. In ritual, this deliberate
`blocking' of verbal communication with `static' can be a powerful means
of assisting others into a state of possession, during which the body is
controlled by `Nameless' Gods who can only gibber and flail `their' limbs
about - a state somewhat reminiscient of the floppings of lizards,
actually Seeing someone in this state brings to mind Lovecraft's
description of Azathoth as:
``a blind idiot god... the monstrous Nuclear Chaos.''
The value of such an experience is debatable. Full possession by a deity
appears to be rare in Western magick, implying as it does, a total disin-
hibition which most people seem unwilling to tolerate. These rites of the
Nameless Gods serve to hurl the consciousness backwards into a level of
awareness where the sense of being an individual `I' is blurred. Memories
of such a state will, of neccesity, be at best fractured, or even totally
absent, a phenomena not uncommon with possession experiences.
To conclude then, the Great Old Ones can indeed be summoned, but the
means of doing so requires an approach which is very different to the
established styles of Western magick.