Nyarlathotep is the God in this system for communication and the written word, and is depicted in this Card as an Egyptian Pharoh. This is appropriate here as He is (in Mythos reference), often depicted as a God with serious influence in the Egyptian religious system. We can note here, that the Egyptian Tarot can be studied with each Card relating to a separate Mythos God according to its depiction, but with this Card it could be presumed that he Egyptian religious system could stand as a mythical front for this God. If it could be taken that Nyarlathotep is the icon for the Egyptian religious system, then He is to be considered as evil. As He is depicted here as a Pharoh; His eyes are glaring, demonic, staring directly at the eyes of those who draw this Card in a reading, and destructive. Those who have worshipped and honoured Nyarlathotep are rewarded with power, and in the dark and demonic history of His worship, He is often worshipped towards these ends. It is assumed, and it is a part of this belief, therefore; that Nyarlathotep was the object of worship upheld by the Egyptian Pharohs, and this is directly from where they assumed such oppressive power.
Having passed Card 0, we now meet Nyarlathotep as the Communicator. “[Nyarlathotep] gives rise to creation. He raises one of his hands towards the realm of Spirit so he may draw down its sacred life force and transmit it to the many realms of manifestation below” (The Tarot Workbook, Nevill Drury). If the God Azathoth can be taken as representing the origin of everything with an insane astral chaos, then Nyarlathotep is representative of creation. With this in mind, then, this Card here represents the inception of communication in man.
“Magus, Messenger, Wanderer between Worlds, Nyarlathotep is the Herald and Ambassador of the Great Old Ones, most specifically Azathoth, the Idiot God of Chaos.” The God of Communication and the written word in this Mythos, Nyarlathotep appears to humanity in various different forms. Being the mediator between mankind and the higher spheres, His appearance differs depending on which part of mankind He speaks to, and the message it is His to deliver. And as the God who is behind so many of the beliefs of humanity, it is His to appear in different forms according to the religious sect that He speaks to. It is in this that many different cults have different religious deities. Nyarlathotep appears in different forms to lead the religious views of mankind.
This idea is conveyed by the Lovecraft Tarot as it states that “Nyarlathotep is capable of assuming any form necessary in his wanderings, sowing the seeds of Chaos in each realm he visits.” It is integral to the understanding of this God that He does appear in such a myriad of different forms as, being the Communicator God for the Mythos, this is how Nyarlathotep mediates for mankind. We understand it as part of His worship, in this sense, that this is one of the reasons why human religion has so many different forms of secular worship, and – in this – so many Gods. The Lovecraft Tarot goes further than this, though, as the idea is that every one of these ‘different faces’ is appropriate in form for which to communicate His message to the different sects of mankind.
But with that having been defined, Nyarlathotep is also the ‘God of all magick’. It is thought that the religions of magick were the first to be taught to humanity shortly after the emergence of our race by the Great Old Ones, and this would explain why Nyarlathotep appears to religion in so many different forms. In studying this Card as it is The Magician in so many different Decks, Aleister Crowley noted “He [Nyarlathotep] is the fluidic basis of all transmission of activity; and, on the dynamic theory of the Universe, he is himself the substance thereof… No true image is possible at all; for, firstly, all images are necessarily false, as such; and, secondly, the motion being perpetual… any stasis contradicts the idea of the card”*.
However, despite this definition of the Communicator and His multiplicity of form, Nyarlathotep has a direct and defined representation as Card 1. Here He appears to us in the form of the Black Pharoh. We believe this to be the form that He chose to take as part of the religion of ancient Egypt, and this justifies what is written here. In this Card Nyarlathotep carries a rook, and we take this as being representative of how this God relates in other (more powerful) world religions. Christianity, for example, regard the rook as their religious symbol of communion, and of the ‘shepherd herding his flock’. We define this Card, with this, as representing the religious principals embodied in the idea of ‘God as Messenger and the communicator’, as He is regarded as being powerful, frightening and daemonic.
The religious aspects and the secrets of He who appeared to man as the Black Pharoh are manifold. We can express this if we assume Nyarlathotep to be the religious force who conveyed every Egyptian hieroglyph, which in turn is descriptive of every Egyptian Goddess and God. “Nyarlathotep is the Patron – and Matron – of all magicks”, states the HP Lovecraft Tarot, and it is our belief that each of these hieroglyphs can be seen as depicting another Mythos God. But it is in the role of communicator that these statements were transcribed.
But beyond Egypt as one example, Nyarlathotep is worshipped by many other religions, and it can be reasoned that He is the force behind the religious understanding of humanity. In particular it is part of our religious outlook that Nyarlathotep was the esoteric entity behind the worship of the Witches in early Britain and Europe, that was persecuted by the Witch Trials.
As a force of God, however, the manifestation of Nyarlathotep goes further, and to us it is believed that He is the representative figure behind the Fallen Angels that were written about by Enoch. “[Nyarlathotep] can be… identified with the Fallen Angels of the Book of Enoch” the Lovecraft Tarot tells us, “who taught the… human race the arts of sorcery, harlotry, and war.” The Fall from Grace is now put into context, as the study of the Necronomicon Gods begins, and this opens our religious study.
It is also true that the acts of magick that were first taught to humanity were taught by the Avatars of Nyarlathotep, as the messengers behind His almighty and wholly destructive power. And as with all of the Gods of this religious system of the occult, His existence is beyond what can be envisioned by our race. It is in terms of insanity and chaos, and is above understanding.
That having been said, with this as a working system of the Tarot and a statement concerning religion, this Card should be considered very much one of the mind. It should be considered in this context, that Card 1 is also significant of the knowledge of higher worlds. Whilst the understanding of mankind is usually quite mundane, we are capable of achieving altered states, as well as ascending to higher planes. Therefore, Nyarlathotep as represented by a Card of the Tarot, is here symbolic of communication with higher spheres. This can sometimes be achieved through dreams, although the worshipper of Nyarlathotep should attempt to ascend to higher levels wherever this should be possible.
The final statement regarding this Card, is that Nyarlathotep, in this study of the Tarot, is representative of our learning about ourselves in terms of our becoming the masters (or mistresses) of ourselves, our personalities and our egos. Our personal creative work is represented here as well, and this Card in a reading is symbolic of learning through the experiences that life throws at us, and what we can learn about ourselves.
POSITIVE READING: Nyarlathotep is the Communicator, and – in this – Card 1 is representative of humanity and the point at which we left the domain of the animals. We make the assumption, with this being the start of our study of the Necronomicon Mythos, that it is the ability of humanity to communicate, which elevates us from the rest of the Planet which is animals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects.
The mind of humanity is elevated from the rest of the living intelligence of the Earth, although it is the intervention of the Old Ones that gave us this initial intellect. As the only species with our ability of communication, Nyarlathotep is the God who represents human intelligence. Card 1 goes further than this, though, as it indicates that human intelligence has always been elevated above the simple forms of communication that are unique to our race. The definition of this Card speaks of the “Knowledge of the Unity of Worlds.” With this statement the assumption is made that there is more to understanding than what we regard as mundane, and that this sentient understanding, since early civilization, has always been in the acknowledgement of the esoteric existence of the forces of the Cosmos that are greater than us.
The ancient magickal acts of humanity are defined in the same context, as the Lovecraft Tarot defines the meaning of this Card as representing “Theurgy, Magick [and] Shamanism.” These were the early sciences of mankind, and magickal literature tells us that these arts were taught to our elders through their communication between the Gods. The question is still there to be asked, however, as to what does this actually mean in terms of a Reading of the Tarot?
To answer that, the statement should be made right at the start of these books on the understanding of magick and The Necronomicon, that the HP Lovecraft Tarot can, at times, be quite obscure. Whilst these words are uniquely defined as having specific meaning, the interpretation in this Tarot is sometimes difficult to define. This Tarot does not state where these arts will come into the life of the person who the reading is for, but that they will have some occurance. Our Tarot sometimes defines statements in this manner, and it is in this that our study can be quite unique and different from other studies of the Tarot.
So if Nyarlathotep is described as creation and the first communication that defines human kind, the Tarot continues to discuss the meaning of Card 1 as to define “Service to a Higher Cause and/or Principal.” This can be read as being relevant to the acknowledgement of God, as it is only humanity who are known to think with the acknowledgement of the Gods as a greater force. Whilst it can be seen that this acknowledgement is one of the earliest concepts of humanity as a thinking species, it can also be read in regard to an acknowledgement of God in the current day setting of our day to day lives. As Nyarlathotep is the God of communication with humanity, this can be read as representing the first acceptance of the Mythos into our culture. It is in this sense correct that the Tarot defines “Spiritual Nobility”; as this personal acceptance of the Gods is a step that is taken as an act of personal honour.
Card 1 is, further to this, the acceptance of the self as communicator and this is, in the context of this Card, a very personal matter. It is our understanding of ourselves which allows us to communicate. So as the Tarot defines its meaning as the “Trickster as Catalyst for Development”, this refers to that ingenuity within ourselves that is ready to play games. It can also forecast that the subject of the reading will express this principal in this context. The same paragraph also forecasts “Opportunism”, and this is to be read in the same context.
It is very much a part of this definition that communication is a part of the understanding of the self, which is why this is at the start of this Tarot. Therefore, in defining its meaning as being the “Mastery of Personality & Self”, the Tarot is speaking of our understanding of ourselves as a fundamental issue as governed by Nyarlathotep as the Communicator. So “Progressive action [and] Productivity” is justified as a statement in the context of the understanding of ourselves. In this understanding, of ourselves and on a greater level, the Tarot tells us that our actions will turn out to be productive.
NEGATIVE READING: In this context, Card 1 is to be understood as relating to our outlook on life, but more importantly as our understanding of ourselves. “Self-deception, Denial; Escapism into obscure intellectual pursuits” is forecast. It is time to look within ourselves to question ourselves, and whether these are issues to be cautious of? The Tarot as a means to forecast such issues is an oracle of serious religious importance.
Other symptoms of the self are defined, and “Egotism, Narcissism [and] Arrogance” are forecast. Again these are issues of the understanding of the self, and if such issues of the self, and if such issues of the self are to be apparent, then we should see this as a warning of something to come and to be cautious of. This definition continues with “Repetition of, & slavery to, stagnant patterns of action.” These are warnings and, whilst these in a Negative Reading are pointers towards things to come, we should be aware that such Readings represent future situations to be cautious of. Such symptoms of attitude are here something to be mindful of.
A “Loss of Self [and] Submission to others” is forecast. With a meaning such as this in a Reading, we should ask ourselves how much we are respecting ourselves, and how much we are living under the authority of others? We should take time to consider ourselves, and respect ourselves as individuals not to be submissive to other peoples control.
The definition ends by warning of “Phantasm, Indolence [and] Lethargy.” These being symptoms of attitude, the Tarot is still talking in terms of our perception of ourselves. It is interesting that the Cards as defined in this context of the Necronomicon Mythos Gods can give us definitions of meaning that are defined as being different from every other system of Tarot. The Mythos as regards the mind is to be regarded as a very different system as regards the occult. The Mythos in this sense defines itself as unique; as will be seen as our study continues.
* This quotation is used in the text of the HP Lovecraft Tarot, although this dialogue does not state from where this statement from Crowley is taken. It does seem, however, to be appropriate to use the statement quoted in this context.