I was somewhat horrified today to learn that Donald Tyson, a self-professed practitioner of "magick" who has published extensively on how to use Cthulhu in magic rituals (though he claims this is for "entertainment," not serious magic), is planning a new volume for this fall that claims that H. P. Lovecraft was an "astral traveler" and a "prophet" of the New Age. Here is the description of The Dream World of H. P. Lovecraft: His Life, His Demons, His Universe:
"Occult scholar Donald Tyson plumbs the depths of H. P. Lovecraft's cosmic visions and horrific dream world to examine, warts and all, the strange life of the man who created the Necronomicon and the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft expressed disdain for magic and religion, and most of his biographers have dismissed the mystical side of his nature. Tyson concludes that Lovecraft was a man in fundamental conflict with himself, and reveals Lovecraft for what he truly was—a dreamer, an astral traveler, and the prophet of a new age."
It seems that Tyson is intent on forcing Lovecraft's biography to conform to his pseudo-scholarly mystical view of a universe pregnant with magic. Even if we accept nearly all of Tyson's premises about the Cthulhu Mythos as suitable fodder for magic, the Mythos leaves us with a prima facie problem for Tyson's thesis: Lovecraft's universe is free from magic (it is, at best, a misunderstood illusion created by science beyond human understanding), ruled by science, and--most importantly--demonstrates time and again that humans are too insignficant to successfully wield the power of the cosmos in any form, a direct rebuttal to the very foundational beliefs of "magick."
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, The Skeptical Xenoarchaeologist, for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.