lunes, 8 de febrero de 2010

Sadowsky's Couplet Re-Translated

Many of us have been fascinated by William Hamblin’s famous article Further Notes on the Necronomicon about Phileus P. Sadowsky’s etymological research on the Al Azif; Hamblin’s notes concerning the possible roots of various eldritch names, such as Cthulhu being compared to the Arabic Kadhulu, have even proven a source of inspiration for authors such as Simon (in Dead Names: The Dark History of the Necronomicon) , Parker Ryan (in his famous The Necronomicon Info Source), and Warlock Asylum.

Well, far be it from me to cast a shade of doubt upon the late, illustrious professor Sadowsky, whose very existence was conceived in order to uphold the noblest interests of devout Chaosium Call of Cthulhu RPG rulebook users, but I confess, I recently submitted Sadowsky’s Arab rendering

La mayyitan ma qadirun yatabaqa sarmadhi
Fa itha yaji ash-shuthath qad yantahi

to Zizo, a native Arab who happens to be an online acquaintance of my ex-wife (well, OK, I pestered her about it for a couple of weeks), and here are the results.

I hoped Zizo would be open minded enough, since he is an artist himself; still, he was quite appalled by these weird verses, and when we showed him the equivalent translation,

That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange Aeons even death may die.

Well, his reaction made it obvious that he was not acquainted hith Lovecraft, to say the least!

At any rate, ignoring the English version, he rendered the Arabic text, as it was, in Spanish for us, and it was my turn to be astonished when he wrote:

ما ميتا ما قارد يتبقي
سر مدي فانا يجي الشذاذ الموت
What is dead Gard remains the secret
of how I am the death of Luigi

This was very strange, to say the least. Mi first impression was, “Luigi? Italian for “Luis”? Is he doing a wordplay on my name? But he never even knew my name!” Then I noticed the word Gard and was even more confused. I know there are lots of eclectic neo-Wiccans who want my hide, but how come Alhazred predicted my death at the hands of a dead Gardnerian???

Zizo assured us that this was a correct rendering. When questioned concerning the word “Gard”, he explained what was clearly a word he didn’t find a Spanish cognate for:

“It’s like saying, ‘I love life and adore people,’ ‘don’t worry, except for life’”

That would mean, an approximate rendering of the couplet of the Mad arab would be something like

ما ميتا ما قارد يتبقي
سر مدي فانا يجي الشذاذ الموت
What is dead with a careless love for life remains the secret
of how I am the death of Luigi

Zizo refused to translate anything else; that was when he pressed my ex-wife until she explained that this translation was for me and why I wanted it, and he kindly directed me to Google Translator for any further queries.

Evidently, professor Sadowsky transcribed the wrong couplet from the fragment of Al Azif he worked from. Your guess is as good as mine as to just who would this “Luigi” be, but finding an Italian name in the Arabic text kind of makes me wonder if Pietro Pizzari wasn’t so far off-base when he postulated that the Mad Arab was actually an Italian seaman who was captured by Arabs and then sold as a slave to an Arab necromancer! On the other hand, this strange word, “Gard,” is clearly an Arabic cognate of the well-known mantram, “Hakuna Matata” – which of course means that singing merkaats and warthogs must be a sure sign that the stars are coming right for Cthulhu’s awakening.

Just in case, I’ll make a point of saying “Klaatu Barada Nikto” if I'm ever approached by a dead Gardnerian.

sábado, 6 de febrero de 2010

Starting off

I always knew that I’d return to my old role as chronicler of the Necronomicon, something I did nonstop for several years. From 1992 to 1999, I compiled a lengthy bibliography and history of the forbidden book; a history which encompassed fictions, facts, legends... I wrote a couple of pieces with information for Daniel Harms and he posted them at his old website The Necronomicon Files... -damn, I was going to add the link but it seems the domain is gone. Maybe Xastur ate it or something. Check Daniel's and John's book The Necronomicon Files instead-. I compiled my findings until that point in my chapbook El Necronomicon: Un Comentario (La otra Orilla, 2000, Mexico), which crammed (and I mean crammed) in 54 small pages, constituted an exhaustive expansion upon H.P. Lovecraft’s brief essay History of the Necronomicon, which left nothing out, with three appendices: one dedicated to Dr. John Dee and the various versions of the Necronomicon attributed to him –most notoriously, Liber Loagaeth, Grimorium Imperium and Lin Carter’s Dee Necronomicon– , another for the Simon recension, or Simonomicon, and finally one for a purported copy of Alhazred’s work rumored to have been found here in Guadalajara, Mexico (much as some people refuse to believe it, I did not author the quaint article I reproduced in said third appendix -which somebody reproduced here).

My work on the subject did not end there; it continued for several years, albeit growing sparse. A difficult situation which I had been facing for years came to a head, and with it came what I can only describe as a stroke of Fate, and I underwent profound changes, both in circumstances and as a human being. I left my ever-expanding chronicle aside (I kept compiling information but rarely worked on it), I left an important translation unfinished (another great regret), I stopped mantaining valuable contact with several people... but in the middle of it all, well, how shall I put it? Let us say that I was led to encounter Umr at-Tawil; that I went down seven steps and came back up; it wasn't really in a Necronomicon context, but what I mean is, what I experienced amounts to a rough equivalent. So, I almost fell to pieces, but I managed to rise and break through that which had been weighing on me for so many years.

Yes, I’m changed; people change a lot sometimes. I even stopped writing horror fiction for the most part, something that lasted several years. Don’t get me wrong; I still loved horror fiction and films, it was just that it wasn’t so easy to conjure horror up from within when writing. I learned something about myself; it was so easy to write about Lovecraftian cosmic horror because it resonated within me, it echoed my own deeply-buried worldview. But now, ever since the first, intense experiences I had, I learned one thing above all: there is a sense, a purpose, to everything. And where there is a purpose to life, there is no place left for true, Lovecraftian cosmic fear; not any longer.

The first time I managed to write a new Lovecraftian piece, last year, it was so exhilarating; it’s so very different, but it’s also like visiting old, dear friends. Yes, I will continue devising Yog-Sothotheries from time to time; I love them too much not to. And I am taking up my various Necronomicon projects, slowly, steadily. It is time; I am better prepared for it all.

I have several webs and journals, dedicated to Traditional Witchcraft (in Spanish), to literature (also in Spanish), my books, even my LiveJournal which is mostly dedicated to debunk esoteric frauds and, of late, my new series LOL-Cat-Astrophe 2012, which concerns a feline roasting of 2012 New-Ageish beliefs.

But here I will post whatever I have to say concerning Lovecraft, Cthulhu, grimoires and especeally whatever concerns the Necronomicon, Al Azif, in its various versions. As a writer of horror fiction, of Mythos fiction, contributing to this haunting world is always a pleasure; as a fascinated student of the pseudobiblia, I never cease to be amazed; as a witch, I am very interested in the magical (or magickal if it suits you better) undercurrents of Cthulhuvian grimoires and the various brands of Necronomicon gnosis.

Stick around; I intend to rock the boat.