Howard Phillps Lovecraft (1890–1937) was an American writer who specialized in short horror stories. Eventually, the stories ended up having a set of common themes, including the human race being battled over by god-like entities, a set of evil deities with the best known being “Cthulhu,” the inevitability of fate in our lives, and a mysterious book, the Necronomicon, that revealed all of this information and how people could make use of it.
Lovecraft not only used these themes in his own stories, but also within stories he ghost wrote for others such as the famous escape artist, Harry Houdini. Other contemporary writers liked the concept so much that they began to use the concepts, and expand upon them, in their own stories, eventually including even each other as inside jokes. For example, “Klarkash-Ton” was a name of a high priest, and is a play on the name of writer Clark Ashton Smith, and author August Derleth named a character “Ward Phillips” as a play on Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s name.
Because so many writers included aspects of the “Cthulhu Mythos” in their stories, and because Lovecraft wrote many stories which were published under the names of others that also used references to these ideas, some people came to conclude that there must be some validity in them. For decades, people would go to used book dealers looking for copies of the mythic Necronomicon. Eventually several versions were published.
Due to a perceived inner consistency in the Cthulhu Mythos, some occultists have assumed that Lovecraft actually tapped into something very magickal, and use concepts from his writings in their works. Some independent magicians use one of the Necronomicon versions as a basis for their magick. Others acknowledge that it is mythic, but contend that all deity pantheons are mythic and the one created by Lovecraft is as good as any other such pantheons.
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by John Michael Greer, author of several titles, including the new Ceremony of the Grail.
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