Interview With Historian Denny Sargent About The Simon Necronomicon
Simon is a student of magic, occultism, and religion since the mid-1960s and the editor of the Necronomicon, Simon was a frequent lecturer for the famed Warlock Shop in Brooklyn and the Magickal Childe Bookstore in Manhattan for more than ten years before his sudden disappearance in 1984, speaking on topics as diverse as religion and politics, occultism and fascism, ceremonial magic, demonolatry, the Tarot, the Qabala, and Asian occult systems.
Here today with us is Denny Sargent a frequent customer of the famous Warlock Shop and ‘a Warlock Shope friend’ of Simon. ( author of the Simon Necronomicon) I came in contact with Mr. Sargent, after reading an online article he wrote a couple of months ago and he agreed to do an interview with us. I find it thrilling to actually get some insight from a person who was around during the days when the publishing of the Simon Necronomicon was in process, and from someone who has an unbiased opinion about the “Necronomicon Controversy.” Due to Mr. Sargent’s busy schedule we conducted this interview via email:
Here are your questions and some answers- I’m not terribly long-winded so if you have follow-up Qs let me know.
1) Just for our readers out there viewing the Simon Necronomicon GateWalker’s Page, would you give us a little introduction about Who you are and some of you background in the occult world?
All one would possibly want to know about me can be found at my messy but personal website:
There are several bios and interviews there, but for the sake of brevity here is my simple bio:
Denny Sargent (a.k.a.: Aion, Hermeticusnath), writer, teacher and practicing Eclectic Ritualist, was first introduced to Mythology & Magick in New York where he grew up. He has since his early teens been accepted as a member of a number of initiatory groups and esoteric associations.
In 1979 he received his BA in Education and History. During this time he was one of the founding editors of Mandragore, a journal of magick and eclectic ritualism published in New York City. In 1981 he was awarded an MA in Ancient History/Cross Cultural Studies from Western Washington University where he also taught History for three years. His research has included the magickal/religious traditions of Egypt, Sumeria, Greece, Rome, China, Japan, South East Asia, India, Europe and Pacific Northwest Indians (Kwakiutl).
In the early 1980’s he helped found, write and edit Aeon and Kalika, journals that were concerned with contemporary ritual practice and creative mythology.
From 1980 until today, the Western Magickal Tradition, Tantrika and Taoism have formed increasingly important foci for his studies and writing. In the mundane world he has taught at several colleges and academies specializing in ESL and is currently an ESL Teacher Trainer teaching Seattle University classes.
He has written for many different Pagan and magickal magazines like Green Egg and Pangaia which carried his column Worldwide Rituals for several years. Denny taught and lived and wrote for four years in Japan. There he was also a journalist for Eye Ai Magazine, City Life News, Via Magazine, Tokyo Today, The Japan International Journal, The Japan Times Weekly, The Tokyo Weekender, Mini-World and the Asahi Evening News. Denny continues to engage in extensive traveling and on-site research in Australia, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Hawaii, Mexico, Thailand, Costa Rica, Peru, Nepal, Egypt, Cambodia, America and other countries
Heal The Earth, An Environmental Textbook, Dawn Press, Japan 1991
Global Ritualism, Myth and Magick Around the World, Llewellyn Publishing
The Magical Garden, (with Sophia), Andrews McMeel Publishing 2000
The Tao of Birth Days, Tuttle Publishing 2001
Your Guardian Angel & You, Redwheel / Weiser 2004 (out now)
Clean Sweep, Banishing Everything You Don’t Need to Make Room for What You
Want, Redwheel / Weiser 2007
Editor and Publisher:
Silver Star – A Journal of New Magick (online Journal, 2003-present)
BTW- There are a few Necronomicon-ish articles in Silverstar
More than you ever wanted to know but there you are. ;-)=
2) Being that you were around the Magickal Childe community, What is your opinion about Simon and the Simon Necronomicon?
I think it is a usable system that has tenuous historical roots, but nevertheless is quite real in many ways. And I had and have utter respect for Simon as a writer but also as a mage. He is a very very bright guy, very creative and has the rare gift of renewing and revitalizing long forgotten (or never manifested!) magickal rites and symbols so they are both usable and effective. However- I do not think that the Necronomicom itself as such ever was ‘real’ until manifested by Lovecraft and others like Simon. My MA is focused on ancient history and I did a lot of my research on Egypt and Mesopotamia- so what I can say, as a historian, is that Simon’s work is BASED on Sumerian and other Mesopotamian magickal systems, images and incantations. It is my opinion that he was reviving a Sumerian magickal tradition within the ‘schema’ of the Necronomicon- and maybe he (and Herman) figured that they could make some $ as well…:)
3) What advice would you give to anyone who is interested in working with the Simon Necronomicon? And how do you feel about the use of the book as a magickal grimoire?
Know ALL the gods and spirits in that book. Do your homework. Don’t be sarcastic, stoned, slack or silly- you will get burned. Before you do one single thing in that book, read the whole thing, get some books on Sumerian & Mesopotamian mythology and read them etc etc. Then ask yourself- why do I want to mess with THIS syatem? What about Norse, Tantric, Qabala, Egyptian, Celtic….etc- systems? Most people seem drawn to the Necronomicon due to some sort of Goth ‘demonic’ Lovecraftian fixation- for those people Id suggest a role-playing game like Call of Cthulhu etc.
Magick of any sort is fire- know what you are doing or don’t do it- or at least don’t cry about it when hell breaks lose. So, IF you are going to do this system I’d suggest having a CLEAR idea why and what you want out of it, a clear plan on how you will do it and a commitment to REALLY doing it correctly. In short, don’t fuck around. Like any good program, it is GIGO.
Also- I’d develop my general meditation, ritual and banishing skills – you should have a strong and magickally developed Will and a deep knowledge of magickal Love. One should have already developed in another magickal system before jumping into the Necronomicon, IMHO.
BTW- I had a magickal friend in NYC who died horribly in the 1980s- the last thing he was doing was this system- he had the sigils all over his room- utterly disorganized and chaotic- gave me the creeps- a month later he was dead. Not for the novice. Not for the dabbler. Not for the drugged or imbalanced. Not for the weak-willed or silly.
4) Have you ever experimented of used any sections of the Simon Necronomicon? If so, what were some of your experience?
NO. It is not for me, the mythology doesn’t interest me except from an academic point of view and (see my answer above) I would not mess with ‘part’ of this system in any way. That would be half-assed. I am very much an eclectic ritualist (I wrote a book on it! Global Ritualism) but this is not an ‘open source’ mythic system- it is magickal and not devotional- One should not dabble to try out this system. DO IT or do NOT do it – don’t dabble. Read the book first!!!
5) Are there any points of interest that you feel need clarification since the controversy of the Simon Necronomicon has grown over the years?
LOL!!!! Look, reality is quite flexible- quantum & string theory clearly tell us that the observer affects/creates the outcome- do whatever you like- don’t even try to argue historical reality of this book- not going to happen- but practical reality? It is a system that I know works- take that at face value. What is there to argue about? Are these entities ‘real’- yes, I have met many of them in dreams. Is that ‘real’??? Up to you. Keep in mind- the Simon I knew was VERY funny and VERY witty and VERY sharp- way more together than most of the fuzzy occult types I met at the Warlock Shop in the 70s (and I was then a fuzzy-headed occultist myself) Think about it.
6) What message would you like to leave with everyone hear at the Simon Necronomicon GateWalker’s Info Page?
That there are three basic steps to ALL Magickal Paths:
1- Using a system to understand and become proficient at magick: mental, astral, spiritual, ritual, meditation training etc.
2- Knowledge and Conversation with One’s Holy Guardian Angel- the Guardian Spirit
3- Crossing the Abyss
It doesn’t matter what system it is these are your steps to awareness via magick- if Simon’s system helps you do any of these (Im very doubtful about it helping with #2) Go for it!
My #1 suggestion? That everyone achieves a clear connection with your Guardian Angel (Spirit, Self etc) before doing Simon’s Necronomicon system. That said- if you are dead set (!) on using his Necronomicin, then do so intelligently and with a clear plan- this is how the book is set use-step-by-step. The whole layer-by-layer pattern is important- don’t skit around and don’t be half-assed! Think of Crowley’s definition of magick:
The Method of science
The aim of religion!
My Pleasure 🙂
*Actually the pleasure has been mine. Thank you very much for taking out your time for this interview. It is deeply appreceiated!
WARLOCK ASYLUM (The Dark Knight)