In the Solomonic FB group, Aaron Leitch posted a well written article about the so-called Simon Necronomicon and its parts and how they relate to actual magical practice. This is an excellent post and I believe he first posted this on his own blog so you may find it there.
The biggest hurdle with the Necronomicon is not the book itself nor is it the allegations from Lovecraft who used it as a plot device in his short stories but rather the knee jerk reactions the book's name brings from the wannabes who pretend to be actual magicKians. You know those types: the new age nutcases who MUST save everyone from themselves. "You're misinformed! I must educate you so that you do not harm your karma! There is no Necronomicon. Lovecraft made it up." Tape a nickel to the needle cuz you repeat yourself so much, you're stuck in a groove.
Let’s get one thing straight here & now: there never was a Necronomicon as Lovecraft described it. None. I have looked far and wide and spent a considerable sum of money hunting it. IF Lovecraft’s version were truly REAL, I’d have uncovered it. But Lovecraft never made one and alluded to it so well that hordes of fans of his writings have often wondered if the old codger was hinting at something. No. Pure imagination is all.
Now with that said, is there a Necronomicon today? Yes. Herman Slater financed and published it from his old Warlock Shop out of New York back in the 1970's. Allegedly some guy named Peter Lavenda (which I don’t believe is his real name), aka ‘Simon’, (note Biblical reference here to Simon-Peter) and then later some other guy came forward a few years ago claiming he did all the art & sigils for it. Sure okay whatever dude. I highly doubt these guys ever had a hand in this at all knowing the shenanigans that Herman Slater would go to make a buck.
Now is Slater’s Necronomicon the same as Lovecraft’s? Not anywhere close. *smirk* Let’s put it this way, Slater and company SUCK at writing fictitious grimoires. There were hacks that wrote grimoires in the Medeival and Renaissance periods but this "Lavenda" guy sucks worse than a bad Ed Wood film. Today he likes to claim even more about the book now that Herman Slater is dead and no longer around to refute anything claimed. Thus I take whatever Lavenda has to say with an enormous lump of salt.
Okay all of that jazz aside, is the Slater Necronomicon any good? I have used it in a magical setting back in my early years when I performed a number of experiments primarily with Humwawa seal to crush and enemy and numerous experiments with the 50 Names of Marduk. My mentor at the time, Ron Parshley chuckled when I told him what I was doing but said it couldn’t hurt. He knew Slater personally and had his own copy of the Slater Nec in his library. Ron thought the whole thing a cute piece of pastiche.
Interestingly enough, Ron was NOT surprised to find my experiments worked. He used to say, “Any system will work if it is consistent within and of itself”. So I even taught a few friends how to use it and they got results too. One friend used the seals to remove a very dangerous gang who were trying to recruit her son. Shortly thereafter the gang member was found in his own bedroom hanging by his belt from the ceiling.
Aaron Leitch, Jake Stratton-Kent, Jason Miller & several other notable practitioners, along with myself, have publicly admitted in the Solomonic group to experimenting with the Slater Nec and getting results from it. Further we know there are many times that number out there who have interesting anecdotes regarding their own experiments with the book from years past as well as today. The trouble with discussing these anecdotes is that too many self-righteous magicKians get all indignant over the discussion and post-bomb the thread with all sorts of inane garbage just so folks will give up on the thread. Not much different than born-again Xians who when they don't like something will do the exact same thing these Ceremonial Wannabes will do to disrupt discussions.
So the first thing anyone should look at is the sheer amount of people who were first introduced to the Slater Nec and experimented with it. Many got their first start this way and that is NOT bad at all. There are worse ways to come into Sorcery than via the Slater Nec. (You could waste your time with northern California Hippie Hoodoo garbage!) A number of folks who have used the Slater Nec have gone on from that starting point to delve deeply into other grimoires and systems of Sorcery and Magic with much success. Perhaps there's the rub with the Ceremonial Wannbes? Makes you wonder, eh?
The next thing we need to note is that regardless of how you feel about the Slater Nec, it is still one of the top selling Occult books out there on the market today. In today's world, however, I’d say it’s one of the most downloaded Occult books there is. The other top selling Occult book is Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible both of which I think are published by Avon press (not the cosmetics firm).
It is not merely teenagers who have tried their hands at Sorcery via the Slater Nec as a first time go, but plenty of adults have also used the Slater Nec for various and sundry purposes. Why? Well for many years the grimoires of the Medieval/Renaissance period were nigh near impossible to lay hands on unless you lived near the British Museum or the French Louvre where the vast majority of the originals are held.
Some of the grimoires you could get from places like deLaurance company but egads he screwed around with the grimoires to make it as if HE translated them then sold them to the public for very steep prices in a time when the Great Depression all but made people eat wood to survive. Today though with digital formatting and storage as well as Internet thieves and downloading, virtually all of the Medieval/Renn grimoires are available free. Oh sure there’s guys like Joe Peterson who has found a way to make $$$$ for these books on his site and a DVD or his *cough, cough* “translations” via Amazon (of all his grimoire copies, get your hands on his _Sixth & Seventh Books of Moses_ because it’s best edition bar none!)
The Slater Nec, after Avon bought the rights from Slater, produced the book into a mass market paperback for under $10 and THIS is why so many people, kids/adults/whoever, started with this book first prior to digital technology. Why try to ransom your kids for the money to buy a copy of the True Grimoire when you can get this Necronomicon for $5 sitting right here on the shelf at B&N? It looks scary, has sigils, has barbarous names, incantations, seals, instructions and so on.
I consider the Slater Nec to be “Sorcery Lite” like Lite Beer is? Less filing and all that. However when one discovers that there are other books of Sorcery out there to delve into that are kick ass and have Spirits like Khil, Surgat, Orobas and Lucifuge Rofocale, why the hell would you want to stay with the Slater Nec for?
But see your average Ceremonial Wannabe is only interested in being RIGHT about what they’re saying. They care naught for anything but that “I’m right, you’re wrong!” and thankfully there are a core group of advanced practitioners who have moved beyond that nonsense but still have fond memories of doing some sort of Magic from the Slater Nec, Satanic Bible, and other early books of Witchery & Sorcery.
The Ceremonial Wannabes will dick around talking about making tools, or today taking photos of their tools & altars and posting them on Fecesbook, but when you ask them to share an anecdote from their so-called “great work” *snort!* they stammer and steam up almost infuriated that you would dare to ask them such a question! In my opinion, Ceremonial Wannabes like this are frustrated crafts makers. They love to craft things but cannot sell them so they turn to the Occult and well...
Many are also self-righteous assholes who have spent a lot of time in groups like the Golden Dawn or OTO and have this snotty attitude that the only way is the RIGHT way which is (obviously) THEIR way. Pfffft! They’re just little boys playing a fantasy role playing game pretending they are doing magic. Most of them can quote you page & verse from old historical & grimoiric texts but do any of these wannabes have any balls? None that I have seen as of yet thus talk is cheap, boys. Quote anyone you wish but that does not make you wise. Only experience can give you wisdom. If intelligence were the sole key to Sorcery & Magic, then only intellectuals could get results and we know that just. Ain't. So.
One thing I’d like to mention is that Aaron Leitch in his commentary about the Slater Nec said, “But it is the product of an imaginative distortion of ancient materials by a modern individual.” Correct and not unlike the Golden Dawn, Ordo Templi Orientis and other so-called MagicKal Lodges. I see no difference there at all. Gods know those half-wits have taken ancient materials and used imaginative distortions. Funny how no one calls them on the carpet for it.
So there you have it, the book, the naysayers and why the book is not all that bad nor should it be so eschewed as if it is some sort of plague. I don’t care if you’re a Ceremonial Wannabe, McWiccan or serious practitioner of any stripe, the book is okay as a jumping off point but there are far better works out there to experiment with.
The truly sad part is that so many have the knee jerk reactions to the book’s name that all they want to do is shout, “There is no Necronomicon” when in fact there is. Only an abject moron would say otherwise.