I’ve been away for a little longer than usual. The last post drew a quiet line underneath a lot of the work I had been processing through this blog; it felt like a point of inflection that redirected my intellectual and spiritual trajectory. I can point out others like it but this pass through the Necronomicon seems more profound.
I realize how odd that sounds. I stripped the Necronomicon back down to its fictional bones in Lovecraft’s writing and set them out for examination, nothing more. Without the occult trappings they had accumulated, you would expect such an operation to diminish the Necronomicon‘s significance, but I experienced it as precisely the opposite. Pulling the Necronomicon out of its fictional and occult elaboration helped me to see … something that I am still trying to articulate.
Behind Lovecraft’s heat and fear, there is the creaking of trees in an autumn breeze. It is just, for a moment or two, Lovecraft saw the breeze for what it was, the rustling of air generated by the alien sun singing in a chorus of stars bombarding the earth with their unwavering gaze. The world ceased to be a place ordered beneath the stars and became a place betwixt and between them, a dull seething mass dancing to inhuman powers.
For Lovecraft, this is an erasure of order; genius and beatitude collapse beneath the weight of this. Much of Lovecraft’s effective horror suspends the reader at the point of collapse, leaving them with a sense of immanent danger. But it is not genius and beatitude that are broken, only Lovecraft’s expectations of them. This forms the core of modernity, a sense of the world torn open and made homeless. Amidst the invasive cosmopolis of empire the storms began, but it is with industrialism that the clouds flower into a relentless gyre. There are many ways to respond to this (dread and withdrawal; ecstatic surrender; cultivated detachment; willful assertion), but the figure of the Necronomicon hints at another.
We can set our sights at a new genius and beatitude that yields up a song in the face of the onrushing storm, that joins us to the alien stars even as it sets us in harmony with the churning forces of the earth. We can learn to hold that place that makes us into a roving crossroad.
I’m working on that language, pardon the clumsiness. I see some avenues for talking about this, so I will start taking them. My best to you.