As the Card of madness and The Fool, Azathoth represents ideas and goals that are far away, and of ambitions still to be achieved. Ideas and projects transcend barriers of thought, and challenge the barriers that time and space put before us. Azathoth is, therefore, a concept beyond the vastness of occult boundaries and possibilities of achievement. It also challenges our own constraints of what we personally believe. In this respect, this representation of The Fool challenges us with the idea that, beyond the already immense knowledge of the Universe that humanity has charted – there is still a vast dimension whereby Azathoth plays His pipes of madness. In real terms this says that, whatever our knowledge and perception, there is always infinitely still more. Although the Card of Azathoth represents that which is mad, in this case it represents insight into matters unknown – the insight that the insane have into matters beyond themselves. This Card further represents matters of Astral exploration; things still to be justified by the reason of man.
“Azathoth, the Daemon Sultan, is the Idiot God dancing at the Centre of the Void”*. Here opens our Book of Shadows. As with all of the major religious texts, the Necronomicon Book of Shadows honours those forces of the Universe that are creation, in starting at the Beginning. This book of the Tarot starts with an example of this, and goes forward to describing the evolution of our race and ideas. The Necronomicon Mythos that is our study is quite different from other forms of belief, however, and whilst a logical order is always followed in a Deck of Tarot, here the dimensions of time that start at the beginning, as the dimensions that the Great Old Ones govern, cannot be understood by human minds.
Therefore this book starts at the same place as with all other Decks, as there is nothing else that can be done in describing a study of the Necronomicon Gods. So, “Azathoth, content in His senselessness, transcends the… Greed and hunger [of the Old Ones]” is the next statement that the HP Lovecraft Tarot gives in respect to this first Card, and this is an appropriate statement to introduce The Fool as the start of this as a study of darkness. Azathoth is the first in our study of The Necronomicon as He stands as the centre of the infinity of madness, as The Fool, and the centre of the Universe.
With this opening, therefore, as we have pointed out, Azathoth accords to the Card of the Tarot that is The Fool. The principal involved with this Card is defined as the underlying chaos within all creation. Order, structure and physical matter are – in this sense – an important underlying principal of what this chaos can describe. But behind the chaos which is creation, The Fool is “beyond… need or worry… [and] it is this oblivion which is the source of his freedom”. So this is here depictive of The Fool who is at the centre of everything, but oblivious to this because he is at the centre.
If this is at the heart of the Universe and of dimensions of which humanity cannot comprehend then presumably we should have the freedom that this entails? The chaos involved, in this Tarot represents the overthrow of obstacles and the dissolution of order that allows them to be overthrown, as all rules are in the first place invented. Bounderies, here, are overcome due to the same principals of chaos. And further to this, Azathoth can also represent an autonomy of being. In this principal of chaos we are free to be alone, as rules can only be regarded by ourselves. “The Cosmic Principal embodied in Azathoth is that of the Chaos underlying all creation.” External boundaries are destroyed by this confusion and chaos – therefore allowing us to be guided by what we feel to be right for us.
In this disorder and madness, we should only be left to our own independence of thinking. With The Fool at the centre of creation, an independence of thinking can lead us to a thoughtful state of bliss (or meditation perhaps?) within ourselves and the Cosmos. We should answer to nobody, and are now free to assume a state of mind that is enlightened. In being representative of this state of mind, Azathoth here implies issues regarding the enlightened means of thinking arrived at through practices of Shamanism, and of perception arrived at through casual use of drugs. As with the limits of the human mind, “perceived order is only as firm as its origin, and can therefore dissipate with the simplest shift of the Cosmic Winds.”
POSITIVE READING: Whilst the HP Lovecraft Tarot can be read as being similar to every other Deck, the definitions of the Positive and Negative Readings are unique and very specific to this particular Tarot. It is the case in question here that this Deck equates directly to the Mythos of The Necronomicon; and in this sense the HP Lovecraft Tarot is strange and deals with its readings in a way that represents a Mythos that is bizarre, and not always logical in terms of sane understanding.
As an example, the definition of The Fool in most Decks is descriptive of the absolute bliss that ignorance imparts. The Lovecraft Deck, however, opens with its description of The Fool, defining it as the “Blessings of the Void [and] Absolute Freedom”. We are already speaking of this Card as being defined differently from other Tarots due to the fact that Azathoth represents The Fool, but this in terms of it being the blissful ignorance that is, to our religion, at the nucleus of the chaos of infinite creation.
The definition of the Card having therefore been begun, we see that The Fool in our system, whilst being the same as with every other Deck of Tarot, also exists as a parallel as being the system that pertains to what is called the Cthulhu Mythos of Gods. The Positive Reading continues directly in terms of this definition, and describes The Fool as the “Dissolution of obstacles; momentum; Transcending of boundaries.” This is, again, outside of normal or usual definitions of Card 0, but as Azathoth is the Ignorant God at the nucleus of the Cosmos, it is justified in that.
Card 0 is now defined in this context, and the further Cards of the Major Arcana continue in this definition, with the Cards of the Tarot defined within its context of divination, but in religious regard to the study of The Necronomicon. The Positive Reading goes on to define The Fool as “Independence [and] autonomy; beyond the effect of external influences.” Again, this is immediately different from all other Decks; but this description is totally in keeping with The Fool as a symbol that the ignorance of the workings of the Cosmos is the best way to be.
Having now defined the esoteric view of our religion according to the Lovecraft Tarot and in the context of The Fool, the Tarot continues to describe “Divine Madness” as a state of “Nivarna.” It should here be pointed out that, to start with, our religion is largely about madness, and concerned with how the mad have an insight into that which is divine, and with which the rest of us usually cannot grasp. But a state of insight can be grasped in this respect, as the Card represented by Azathoth can signify this insight as it can be attained through “Shamanic revelation by transcending the limitation of human consciousness.” So now we have already opened with a discussion of the Mythos and its worship by the Cults of Darkness.
“Distinction above & beyond others; rank & exalted station” is now defined, as only the madness of The Fool can allow us to perceive ourselves as greater than another due to a position of status. But the “validation of ideals” is represented in the same statement, as ignorance can justify our goals by allowing us to think that there is nothing beyond them that can matter.
Finally in the definition of the Positive Reading, a “Holy Quest & Vision” is forecast. If we are blissful in the ignorance of The Fool, then a system of forward progress is obstructed by nothing other than that which occurs, after we have started this journey.
NEGATIVE READING: As Azathoth is the insanity that exists beyond all concepts of creation, Card 0 speaks of “Inward or Outward Chaos [personal or external]. Disorder; confusion; disarray.” It now becomes clear that whilst speaking of The Fool, we are speaking of Azathoth as the chaotic force that is oblivious. It is in this chaos that we see the destruction spoken of in creation, rather than destruction encountered in heading into a situation without foresight.
This ‘heading into a situation without foresight’ is spoken of next, as the HP Lovecraft Tarot indicates a “Complete lack of direction and / or loss of focus.” But this is defined as being more of in terms of knowing what we have set out to do, and in ‘losing the plot’ at some point after we have begun. The Tarot describes this as being “in the woods without a compass.” The Fool cannot tell us which direction to take; we must try to take one path and follow it until the end.
So with our description of the Tarot now started, Card 0 issues probably the most important warning to be relevant to our religion. “Insanity, dementia, hallucination” is forecast; “total or partial divorce from reason & reality; loss of self in one’s illusions.” So it is appropriate that this warning comes right at the start of our study, because it is probably the most important warning to be relevant to the study of the Lovecraft Tarot.
The Necronomicon Mythos is about madness. Our occult view is not about reason; many who follow our path, and many uninitiated have been known to go completely insane quite early on in their study, and the Mythos is not something that can be viewed as being rational to the ‘normal mind’. This warning should be taken seriously therefore, as insanity is the next step beyond accepting the Great Old Ones as a religious system.
The rest of the definition of the Negative Reading is less concerned with Azathoth as the centre of chaos, and more about the rest of Card 0 as representing The Fool. The Tarot defines itself here as representing the “Outcast [as] separation from the community; banishment, alientation, estrangement.” It defines this in the sense that, due to ignorance or foolishness, we may not be accepted in our place of community. The Tarot defines this statement by saying that in a negative reading it represents the “Village Idiot.” Not exactly in keeping with the rest of the description, until it is accepted that this statement refers again to the Mad Piper who exists in the ignorant madness at the nucleus of creation.
* Unless stated otherwise, quotations in this book are taken from the HP Lovecraft Tarot, Daryl Hutchinson & Eric C Friedman, ISBN 0-9659433-8-0.