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H. P. Lovecraft

General Weirdness L, M

H(oward) P(hillips) Lovecraft (1890-1937) published mostly in pulp science-fiction and "horror" magazines in his lifetime and was almost unknown outside those circles when he died. His audience and his reputation has steadily grown since then, and he now ranks among the most widely read weird writers of any age; he has also inspired films, TV shows, and even computer games.

H.P.L. (as he liked to sign his letters) led a solitary life, seldom leaving his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, with one brief marriage, which lasted only months. Erudite (he began reading classic literature at the age of four) and deliberately cranky, he even preferred to keep his friends at a distance but wrote all of them long, encyclopedic letters showing a keen sense of humor hidden in his stories or appearing there only as misanthropic irony

Lovecraft's earliest works show the heavy influence of the moody tone of Edgar Alien Poe and the poetic whimsy of Lord Dunsany, but he later developed his own style, based on scientific literature, which, although often criticized as verbose, sets a mood of serious, almost pedantic scrupulosity, which leads the reader by very plausible steps to shockingly bizarre climaxes. His major stories, comprising what is called "the Cthulhu mythos," revolve around the concept that we humans are very petty and puny creatures, surrounded in infinite space-time by entities far stronger and stranger—and totally unsympathetic to us. This unique body of work reflects both Lovecraft's adult atheism and the "visions" of pagan gods he sometimes had as a bookish, lonely, and highly imaginative child. In the Cthulhu mythos, godlike entities do exist—godlike compared to us—but they are only parts of a mindless universe, and they are more likely to eat us than to do us any favours.

.Much of the Cthulhu mythos is based on the "Necronomicon," which some claim never existed until H.P.L. invented it. The Neville Spearman edition (see below) explains how Lovecraft came to read a copy of the John Dee translation, which Lovecraft's father had borrowed from the Grand Orient Lodge of Egyptian Freemasonry in Providence. Kenneth Grant, Outer Head of one branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis, claims that the Cthulhu "monsters" are allegorical figures representing the interstellar forces contacted by the "magick" (consciousness alteration) of Aleister Crowley; Lovecraft could only picture them in images of horror because of his conservative and anti-mystical bias; Crowley embraced them as a source of trans-human illumination.


The Necronomicon with Commentaries, Neville Spearman, Suffolk, England, 1978

Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God, by Kenneth Grant, Samuel Weiser, New York, 1974

Cults of the Shadow, by Kenneth Grant, Samuel Weiser, New York, 1976


According to the famous occultist Aleister Crowley, magick is "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will." ... In fact, Crowley... says that "every intentional act is a Magickal Act." If you follow his line of reasoning, there is a great deal of validity in what he says, although it is not what we are seeking at this time. We need to make the definition of magick a bit longer: Magick is the science and art of causing change (in consciousness) to occur in conformity with will, using means not currently understood by traditional Western science.

source: Modern Magick, by Donald Michael Kraig