Temple of Set Reading List: Category 7
Reprinted from: "The Crystal Tablet of Set" (c) Temple of Set 1989 CE Weirdbase file version
by TS permission by Michael A. Aquino, Ipsissimus VI* Temple of Set
The novels and short stories of Howard Phillips Lovecraft are famed for their horrific imagery. To the Setian, however, their importance lies in their success in capturing emotion, motives, and patterns of behavior long suppressed to near-extinction by conventional civilization. These qualities may be effectively employed in Black Magical operations. Collectively the Lovecraft writings illustrate the concept of "genetic memory", also a key magical principle. [See also #6L and #6N.] 7A. "Lovecraft: A Biography" by L. Sprague de Camp. NY: Doubleday & Co., 1975 (paperback edition available). (TS-3)
MA: "This is the definitive biography and psychological profile of HPL, with detailed analyses of the philosophical principles he incorporated into his writings.
In contrast to the sanitized image portrayed by August Derleth, de Camp covers all aspects of HPL's personality, socially-acceptable and otherwise. Consequently this biography has been criticized by some HPL fans who want to see their idol exemplify and reinforce their own social ideologies. Its objectivity, candor, and thoroughness nevertheless make it indispensible for a correct understanding of HPL the man, the writer, and the philosopher." 7B. "The Dunwich Horror & Others" / "Dagon & Other Macabre Tales" / "The Mountains of Madness & Others" / "Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos" (four volumes) by H.P. Lovecraft. Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House, 1963+. (TS- 3) (OT-1)
MA: "The first three volumes contain the bulk of HPL's principal works, and the fourth contains both HPL material and selected stories by the most prominent writers of the 'Lovecraft Circle'.
The magical philosophies and techniques illustrated herein were experimented with by the Church of Satan and are currently applied effectively by the Temple of Set." 7C. "The King in Yellow" by Robert W. Chambers. NY: F. Tennyson Neely, 1895 (Dover paperback available). (CS-5) (TS-5) AL: "First on my list, as it is the work of a writer of cheap romances who became daemonically possessed after being involved in espionage work of a delicate nature, the implications of which are still cycling.
Chambers, in his literary emergence from the Impressionists of his day, cast a die for Lovecraft, Orwell, Huxley, and many others. Yes, the reading of "The King in Yellow" in its entirety CAN drive one mad, if one realizes the insidiousness of the thing."
MA: "This is the book at the core of HPL's mythos and the model for his fictional "Necronomicon". It constitutes the beginning of a type of Black Magic unknown prior to this century - at least in traditional esoteric circles. It may be read by the non-Initiate with consequences no worse than confusion, but to the Adept this book is exceedingly dangerous if misapplied." 7D. "The Necronomicon" by George Hay (Ed.). London: Neville Spearman, 1978. (TS-3)
MA: "The fame of HPL's fictional "Necronomicon" inevitably inspired other authors to produce books purporting to actually be that terrible tome. Some are good-humored tributes; some appear to be deliberately fraudulent.
This Hay version, which is both a collection of commentaries and a 'translation' of the "Necronomicon", is both the most entertaining and the most scholarly of the good-humored types. Included are essays by Colin Wilson (#4A, #7E, etc.) and David Langford (#21D), with 'translation' by Robert Turner [from the 'John Dee Edition' - which was invented by Frank Belknap Long for one of his Cthulhu-mythos stories!]." 7E. "The Mind Parasites" by Colin Wilson. NY: Bantam Books #F-3905, 1967. (TS-3)
MA: "When Wilson criticized HPL in "The Strength to Dream", August Derleth challenged him to write a better HPL-style novel. Wilson's response was this book, the writing of which increased his respect for HPL and caused him to embark on his own series of related novels and short stories.
This Bantam edition contains a preface by Wilson explaining this. Other novels in the series include #19A and "The Space Vampires" (sequel to "Parasites" - later made into the science-fiction movie "Lifeforce" - which in my opinion is more interesting than the "Space Vampires" novel)." 7F. "Selected Letters of H.P. Lovecraft, Volume V". Sauk City: Arkham House, 1976. (TS-4)
MA: "The fifth and final volume in this "Letters" series, this one is recommended because it encompasses the period 1934-37, when HPL's personal philosophy had reached its greatest maturity and complexity. Many of the letters are far more revealing of his thought than are even the most ambitious of his stories. Arkham House [and various paperback licensees] make a deliberate effort to keep the #7B books more or less continuously in print, but other Arkham works, such as the HPL Letters series, tend to be limited editions, infrequently reprinted if at all.
Hence if you are interested in specialized Arkham works and see what you want in a used or specialty bookstore, you are advised to snap it up without delay if the price is reasonable." 7G. "Lovecraft at Last" by HPL and Willis Conover. Arlington, Virginia: Carrollton/Clark, 1975. (TS-4)
MA: "This is a beautifully presented and bound account of HPL's correspondence with Conover, containing some unusual insights into the Cthulhu mythos and some rare photographs of HPL himself. Many HPL letters are included in both photo-facsimile and typeface - including one in which HPL recounts the history of his mythical "Necronomicon" in great detail, to include its inspiration by #7C." 7H. "The Man Who Lived in Inner Space" by Arnold Federbush. NY: Bantam Books #Q8794, 1973. (TS-5)
MA: "In this beautiful, ethereal, occasionally chilling novel, a man whose body and lifestyle are shattered by the surface world and its inhabitants becomes more and more enchanted by the sea, first watching it, then studying it, then living near it, then living in a permanently- submerged habitat, then finally adapting his body to an amphibian existence.
HPL treated a related theme in his "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", but the only horror to be found in Federbush's account comes from the savagery of the surface world and its inhabitants. This is not a superficial novel, but one which looks carefully into human anatomy and oceanography. A powerful 'genetic memory' statement, it ranks with #7C and #22G as a magical text. An excellent non-fictional bibliography is appended for those who wish to pursue this area further."