sábado, 18 de febrero de 2017

The Dho Chant

I have elsewhere (in the now-dead Necronomicon Files website) stated my opinion that, regardless of their use and form in earlier sources, Abdul Alhazred may have intended the three formulae called Dho, Dho-Nha and Dho-Hna as progressive ritual steps. This is partly confirmed by various sources, including such diverse authors as Charles Stross and Edward Pickman Derby. However, although said formulae have been published –never together- in various versions of the Necronomicon, I have always felt that something was missing from the Dho Formula, which appears as a meditative visionary rite in the Delomelanicon and other older sources, but I always held that in the complete version of Alhazred’s Kitab Al-Azif he had provided a Chant to go along with the procedure. My contention was mainly based in the following quote as published by Lin Carter

“Some there be the which employ the Dho formula which doth, with a full many repetitions thereof, permit the Inner Eye to penetrate to realms remote and far away, contiguous to ultra-mundane spheres and to abysmal gulfs profound.”
- The Necronomicon: The Dee Translation, Book 3, Chapter II

Now, was this merely an indication of constantly performing the Dho meditation, or as I suspected, did this refer to a spoken formula to be used as a sort of mantra? Further research finally led me to a very straightforward confirmation of my suspicions, in the scribblings of a late practitioner which Donald A. Wollheim quoted in a text first published in an old issue of Magazine of Horror and later reprinted in Robert M. Price’s Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos:

"Tuesday must say the Dho chant and widdershin six times. Hastur is ascendant. Dagon recumbent? Must investigate. See Lovecraft on the proper incantation for Yog-Sototl."
-Donald A. Wollheim, "The Horror out of Lovecraft" (1969)

This set me on the track of this Dho Chant, and the following clue which I found would turn out to be far more important than I suspected at the time. It was the following post by the blogger PsychedelicLobster, “Dho-Na Curve of the Sleeper” where he follows mathematically the various clues given by Charles Stross in his Laundry / Atrocity Archives series of stories:

“A Dho-Na curve is a modern elaboration on several ideas of magical geometry, and while its clear that there are several subsets of the Curve, some of them discovered in the far past (Alhazred,738), but most of them computationally discovered. If they are iteratively or formulaicly derived is an exercise left to the readers imagination, but we can make some inferences.

“In Stross's 1940's, German necromancers were calculating subsets of the Curve using Konrad Zuse's stolen Z-1 mechanical computer. This was a rather sophisticated machine, capable of 22-bit operations on a 64 -bit register.”

“To a mathematician, a curve is not necessary smooth and curvy, the Koch Snowflake being my favorite holotype.

“In the spirit of the old 'ABRACADBRA' magic squares, or the Sator Square, I started tinkering with this rule:

“10      Write the letter of the seed.
“20      Write up to three copies of the next letter of the seed, in any of the four cardinal directions EXCEPT when it would touch an already written letter( diagonal contacts are permitted).
“30      GOTO 20”

Using the phrase “Cthulhu fhtagn,” he actually produced a diagram which contained different R’lyehian words! Now, PsychedelicLobster never does say just why he chose “the Phrase of the Sleeper” to work the experiment; eventually, I would realize that he, like Stross, was giving away clues that would prove essential. Cthulhu, you might say, is in this instance a keyword, since the purpose of the Dho formula is to bring visions, much as those which are caused by his dream-sendings; in fact, the connection of the Dho procedures to the Sleeper might prove a fruitful, if dangerous, direction for reckless researchers.

But I am getting ahead of myself. At that point, I thought the article merely an intriguing side note, as I continued my search. But I soon found a tantalizing clue of the nature of the Chant in a brief but fascinating piece which analyzed the evidence in Shakespeare’s works of his having been acquainted with the Necronomicon, which I had fortunately printed out over fifteen years ago and and forgotten all about, which I found serepinditously among my papers… as if the Fates had led me to it! Which just might be the case, if we consider what the quote reveals:

“In Macbeth a formula (too long to quote here) is chanted to buy the three witches. This formula is merely a re-statement of the central portion of Dho.”
- Lee and Torrie, Hector S. Hoffmann, “Shakespeare and the Old Ones” in Quandry Fanzine, December, 1950

Now, this led my research in a very different direction; I sought the Book of Eibon and some obscure compilations dedicated to the Goddesses who had inspired the Weird Sisters; the Fatae or Norns, within the Xothic and Alhazredic mythos, are sometimes known as the Mothers of Sorrow, warders of the Beyond, and Eibon was the first to reveal their names; readers will probably remember them from Thomas de Quincey’s Suspiria.

In the end, it was again a fortuitous (could it be otherwise?) and tragic occurrence which brought my search to success. I cannot give names and details, for reasons which I expect will be evident, but it was as I visited the family of an elderly poet from Montecruz, Jalisco, whose passing in awful circumstances occurred only days ago, that I was shown his journal, which detailed his inexorable descent into despair as his poetic and visionary pursuits proved too much for his spirit. There, transcribed in full, was what I sought, taken from one of the chapters missing from the incomplete copy of the Latin Necronomicon held in the Montecruz library. My late poet friend stated in his journal that it had been him who, back in 1986, had stolen away several pages of the Book, including the one which contained this formula! His sons allowed me to transcribe the Chant but were adamant about burning the journal, wishing understandably to erase all traces of the tragic final months of their father. However, I managed to extract from them a promise of keeping an eye out for the stolen pages from the Necronomicon, so that if they are still among his belongings, they won’t be thrown away or burned. If fortune ever strikes, and the pages survive, they will contact me and I will forward them to the “Antonio Hernán” Library, so that their copy of the Book may be restored –after copying them down for myself, of course!

At any rate, here is, at long last, the Dho Chant, with the caveat that this is a translation made by the late poet from the Latin text and there is no way to know –yet- how faithfully or loosely did he translate the verses. Personally, I suspect that he too noticed the similarity to Macbeth’s salute to the Weird Sisters and used it as a cue:

‘Umr at-Tawil f'thagn!
Ng’ag n’gat  htagn ‘hf!
Uf’hfuh lhuf ngn!
Hfh lu hu fufh gha gn’gath fuh’luht!
Iä! Thusa!
Iä! Okkokoku!
Iä! Aulaniis!

Thou Secret, Black, and Midnight Mothers!
Thy hands do weave a deed without a name.
I conjure Thine Arte which binds and smothers,
Heed my call along thy strands and answer me!
Thou that doth release Ithaqua’s winds that they may rage
Against the spires of mosques; Thou that stir the tides
that Dagon may lead a ship to harbor or sink it on a wage;
Thou that bless the hills and burn down forests at their sides;
Warders of Nitokris’ Pyramid and Koth’s great tower;
Witnesses to the Shining Lady’s rise from Shadows’ Kingdom,
And Who causeth the graves of Sk’tai and Astir to bloom with flowers,
Mothers of the Web of Fate and the Tapestry of Wisdom,
Mother of Tears, Thusa ever young, clear my sight!
Mother of Sighs, pale Okkokoku, breathe in mine eyes!
Mother of Darkness, pale Aulaniis, dispel Thy shadows!
Three Mothers, send Thy blessing high and send it low;
That visions of the worlds Between to my sight be shown!

‘Umr at-Tawil f'thagn!
Ng’ag n’gat  htagn ‘hf!
Uf’hfuh lhuf ngn!
Hfh lu hu fufh gha gn’gath fuh’luht!
Iä! Thusa!
Iä! Okkokoku!
Iä! Aulaniis!

Again, use with care.