Well, this is certainly a new chapter in the Necronomicon Tradition. I am sure that many of our regular readers are more than familiar with the debates that have occurred between Dan Harms and myself. It has certainly been a pleasure to get to know Dan, not only as an opponent, but as a comrade in some respects. I must say that although Dan and I have a “weird” friendship, I do respect his work in the Occult Community. We may differ on many aspects of the Necronomicon Tradition, but it is in hopes that something can be gained from our debates.
I must say that I have learned more from our debates than real conversation with other Gate-Walkers. It has allowed me to really dig through the canals of Ancient Mesopotamian history and really consider the origin of the layered material appearing in the Simon Necronomicon. It has also encouraged me to look more into the Lovecraft Mythos. This is something that every Gate-Walker should take the time to do.
There is something that is very intriguing about the The Dan Harms Machine but it is something that cannot be calculated. Dan is sincere in his work and is cautious enough to ward off any predator who seeks to betray a certain honesty when it comes to presenting the Greater Mysteries. Of course I must say that we still differ in our opinion of the Simon Necronomicon, but that is no mystery at this point! 🙂 Well I had a chance to talk with Dan the other day via email. We have been corresponding and checking out what we have read while making some suggestions to each other. I decided to Interview Dan after Venus Satanas made a comment that kind of ended a debate between Harms and myself. I will post Miss Satanas’ comment after this interview, but for now let us zoom in on this conversation between Dan and I:
1) Warlock Asylum: I am sure that our regular readers are more than familiar with the name Dan Harms, as well as, many people in the Occult Community, but in your own words Dan, Can you tell us something about yourself and maybe fill us in on some of your accomplishments?
Dan Harms: I typically keep these short, so I’ll just say I’m the author of The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia and The Necronomicon Files. I also write at the blog Papers Falling from an Attic Window on grimoires, the occult, role-playing, Lovecraft, and whatever else I’m in the mood to discuss. I’m a college librarian in my “other” life.
2) Warlock Asylum: What inspired you to become a writer? What sparked your interest in H. P. Lovecraft?
Dan Harms: They actually happened in reverse order. I came across Lovecraft via the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game in middle school, and I was struck by the man’s vision and the pantheon he created, or was attributed to him. I started to read other Mythos authors, and then I created a file on an old word processing program on the various monsters and books I was encountering. My intent was never to be a writer; I just wrote, and wrote, and had people encourage me to write, and I ended up with a book.
3) Warlock Asylum: Many people associate the name “Dan Harms” with the Necronomicon Files, as it is seen all across the internet, what was your intent and approach in writing the book?
Dam Harms: At the time John and I wrote the book, there wasn’t any single good reference work on the topic of the various Necronomicon hoaxes that were appearing. Plus, the increased use of the Internet meant that more misinformation about the book was circulating than ever before. So we set out to document what was out there, being as thorough as possible in terms of covering texts and different perspectives. We also wanted to be entertaining, so there’s some humor in there. Some people were offended by that, but it was there for a reason. There was also not much of a Gate-Walking community at the time, though we did review a few books supposed to work with the Necronomicon therein.
4) Warlock Asylum: Your essays on Lovecraft, the occult, and various other writings have sparked some controversy as to your spiritual path. Some have even accused you of being a member of the O.T.O, How do you normally go about describing your “spiritual path?”
Dan Harms: First, the “some” who’ve accused me of OTO membership is actually just you. If there’s someone else, please let me know. I normally don’t describe my spiritual path, for a few different reasons. One major one is that I’ve seen just how blinkered people can be when it comes to arguments they don’t agree with. I could be anything from an atheist to a Rastafarian to – gasp! – a Gatewalker, and people would see it as an excuse to disregard what I say. If I don’t tell them what I believe, they don’t have that excuse, or they have to invent some spirituality with which to attack me, which is often quite amusing and ends up making them look bad.
5) Warlock Asylum: It seems that a few practitioners of the Simon Necronomicon have become more vocal over the past couple of years; Does this spark some concern on your end?
Dan Harms: I have actually encouraged Gatewalkers to make their faith more public from time to time, so it’d be odd for me to be concerned about it. If people have something valid to say about their spirituality, then they can say it so the world can hear. If they have nothing valid to say, they’ll reveal that. The great benefit of the Internet is that it makes it much easier to find the stupid people. So, no matter who speaks and their level of commitment, we all benefit.
6) Warlock Asylum: Over the past couple of years, Dan and I, have had quite a few debates. In your own words Dan; what insights have you gained from these debates if any?
Dan Harms: Overall, they have been useful, as they’ve meant that, from time to time, I have to re-engage with the source material on Mesopotamian religion, Lovecraft, or other topics. I do wish that you’d attempt to engage with it in a similar manner, and that is a disappointment.
7) Warlock Asylum: What advice would you give Warlock Asylum, or any other practitioner of the Simon Necronomicon who chooses this tome as a spiritual path?
Dan Harms: Well, you asked. First, understand that what you’re practicing is an amalgam of ceremonial magic, Sumerian ritual, pagan sensibilities, and pulp fiction assembled in the mid-Seventies, likely with a profit motive on the part of one or more of the main participants, and with an origin story that’s changed over time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with practicing such a spiritual path and finding personal satisfaction or growth through it.
Where GateWalkers get into trouble is when they assume that, because the book is impressive or they’re getting results, they can use the book as a source on Mesopotamian religion or Lovecraft, or decide that Simon is a holy prophet, or declare that I must be the devil, or proclaim themselves to be religiously persecuted because someone disagrees with them on the Internet. Some people will never respect GateWalkers because of their system, but I think they lose much of their support through trying to expound on areas where they don’t have expertise or trying to blow disagreements into tales of deep personal agony. Of course, developing expertise in those areas and then talking about them deserves respect, and anyone who’s lost family/friends/a home/a job because of their faith deserves sympathy.
Don’t be lazy. There have been a number of times that I’ve asked various GateWalkers to read a book, or write an essay, or walk to their local library. It’s amazing how these mighty wizards who can stare the Ancient Ones in the faces and undergo the most arduous initiation processes suddenly find something better to do when someone makes a suggestion that might give them greater understanding or allow them to reach more people. I don’t expect them to do something just because I suggest it, but when it gets to the point where I feel I have to edit Wikipedia to reflect the practitioner’s perspective, I start to wonder where these GateWalkers are.
Now, if those individuals are so devoted to spirituality that they don’t want to engage with the outside world, that’s fine. Nonetheless, that’s not the case for most GateWalkers I’ve met. They claim that they’re horribly misunderstood and looked down upon, and yet they never do anything to challenge those impressions. Either ignore your critics or engage with them by creating something of worth and value. Caring about what they say and not doing anything about it is either passive aggressive or an attempt to play the victim.
That’s not to say that there isn’t great potential out there – I’d cite Warlock Asylum and Ashnook as intelligent individuals who could probably turn out some impressive work that would give GateWalking more respectability, if they turned up matters a notch and didn’t get distracted by some of the concerns I’ve raised above.
Warlock Asylum: I would like to sincerely thank Dan Harms and The Dan Harms Machine for taking the time and agreeing on this Interview. One thing that you can say about Dan, whether you like him or hate him, is that he is a living legend, and his work as a writer has been priceless to the Occult Community, even in spite of the debatablilty of his observations. I think this is a very important chapter in the Necronomicon Tradition that cannot be overlooked even by those who are not involved. I would like to close this Chapter of Necronomicon History with a comment that Venus Satanas made during a debate between Dan Harms and Warlock Asylum. The comment appears under the article The Simon Necronomicon: A Spiritual Martial Art and can be read in its entirety by clicking on the said link:
“In posting on both of your blogs and reading them for quite some time, I have seen that you are not arguing simply for argument’s sake. that many things between you have been revealed and understood between you both. I did not mean to cause trouble, nor are your discussions with Dan any of my business, nor is it my place to judge either of you for your beliefs. Regardless, as an observer these things fascinate me and I am always interested in learning about new and unusual methods of magic that aren’t readily accepted in mainstream occult.”
The Dark Knight (Warlock Asylum)