Sunday, August 13, 2006

"The sign of the goat" and "the three words" in Charles Dexter Ward

This is speculative, but most of us know that Lovecraft enjoyed cryptography. He also studied qabbalism (kabbalah). I think he had some insights into Masonry, and as early as "The Alchemist" he alludes to the Knights Templar. In some respects, the demon magician in that story is similar to Jacques deMoley.

In any event, the sign of the goat is relatively simple. It is Baphomet. In HPL's day, it might have been fairly obscure, though. The baphomet in it's goat skull, triangular shape is reminiscent of the pentacle (pentagram).

I think the similarity of Shubniggurath to the Shugborough monument at Staffordshire in Lichfield, England is no coincidence.

It was first created in the 1760s with rRumours that the secret letters on the Shugborough monument were hiding a set of instructions on how to find the Holy Grail.

The monument related to the Merovingians and the Masonic Society through the ancient African Dogon religion. How could HPL have failed to delight in the similarity to "Dagon"? HPL was always the punster.


The three words might have referred to the father, son and holy ghost - but that's highly unlikely. More likely are the words: shalal-shalom-abai. This means many things to many people, but its simplest rendering is its literal: the father shall restore the plunder.

Oh yes, we have lots of witchcraft going on in Charles Dexter Ward. HPL had done his homework. This one was written for his pals, not his fans. Even they would have scratched their heads, I think, at some of the more obscure things. Many of the arcana were keen to only Rhode Island, so even his studious colleagues might not have known of them.

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