H. P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition
by John L Steadman
|Publisher:||Weiser Books (September 1, 2015)|
Reviewed by Frater Neo
Looking around me, I find the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft , along with several Lovecraft-themed board games, and clothing items. It is no use to hide my Eldritch fandom. Hence, I was excited to receive a copy of H.P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition from Red Wheel Weiser.
This is the first published book by John L. Steadman, a Professor of English Language and Literature at Lansing Community College in Michigan. Steadman identifies himself as an occult scholar, Lovecraft scholar and a Magickal practitioner. This in itself is intriguing, in contrast with many of the books of this type which are presented as only a study. It is refreshing to have an author or such material stand by the application of the theories and methods presented in his work as actual working rites.
Steadman's book certainly carries the sometimes clunky, but intriguing dark charm that most Lovecraft stories bring forth in the reader. There is a wonderful mix of suspension of disbelief along with extreme and fictional concepts. This makes the book a very enjoyable read, especially for those with a love for Lovecraft.
The book begins with a background in Black Magickal tradition, and a well organized and relatively complete history of Lovecraft, and his stories. This stage setting eventually leads to a moderately detailed analysis of the various versions of The Necronomicon that have been published and disseminated over the years, a mythical book that is figured prominently in several of Lovecraft's stories. Steadman purports that all modern publications and recensions of The Necronomicon are clearly hoaxes,except possibly for Simon's Necronomicon. Personally, I find that listing the "spurious" Necronomicons and then setting aside the Simon Necronomicon is a quite a leap. But it allows the author to discuss magickal practice based on the text, in conjunction with Lovecraft 's material, as a mostly complete system of Magick.
Magickal workings based on the Necronomicon are well-covered and complete, and the author draws various correlations between Lovecraft / Necronomicon Magickal practice with that of Vodou, the O.T.O., the Church of Satan, and modern Chaos magick.
Despite my personal preference for "traditional" pantheons and classical Magickal procedures, I find that the whimsical concept of attempting to work this type of Magick more attractive than I have previously. I credit this to the author who was able to balance the undeniable allure of Lovecraft's seedy fiction with a functional systems of Magick.
"In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming." - The Call of Cthulhu, 1928 H.P. Lovecraft