By Allen Griffin
Jones, Scott R. When the Stars are Right. Martian Migraine Press (March 21st, 2014). Paperback: 128 pages. $15.99 CAD. ISBN-978-0-9879928-8-8.
To say we are going to discuss another book that posits The Mythos as spirituality reality is likely to elicit a chorus of groans and more than a few dismissals. Please wait, though – there is something here for everybody.
I have no intention on passing judgment on the veracity of the Mythos in the real world, although books on the subject have always fascinated me. We all know H.P. himself would have none of it, so authors exploring the subject must clear that hurdle first. Some, such as Kenneth Grant and Peter Levenda, play with the notion that the Mythos stories were channeled by Lovecraft: He didn’t understand the implications of the words he put down on the page.
Scott R. Jones takes a different approach, one best described as dismissal. Not only does he seem to not really care what Lovecraft believed, but it seems unimportant if any of it is true, at least in the sense of “gospel truth.”
Rather, Jones’s approach is to use various Mythos entities as representations of cosmic forces, not unlike how Eastern deities are sometimes represented. In this case, Yog-Sothoth is the potential for all existence while Shub-Niggurath is the moving chaos that gives life to that potential, a cosmic horror version of the Shiva and Shakti dynamic. Perhaps I am oversimplifying, but this gives you an idea of some of the concepts put forth.
Within When the Stars are Right, you’ll find several chapters of meditations on the major players in the pantheon of Mythos deities. These are supplemented with reflections on topics such as sex, death and mental illness through the prism of R’Lyehian spirituality. And also, the author provides a few chapters of practical application, the most interesting of which is titled, “Chilling in the Ghetto with My Deep Down Homies.” Here, Jones describes a beach party/ritual he put together to celebrate Lovecraft’s birthday.
What one derives from this work is dependent on what they bring to the table (which, of course, could really be said of any text). The practicing occultist who places a great deal of value in Lovecraft’s works will find the chapters about the deities to be excellent fodder for contemplation.
The same can be said for writers, as well, who can use these mental exercises to take their cosmic horrors beyond the realm of tentacles and such, and infuse them with a greater sense of philosophical import. Beyond that, I see potential for the writer in the practical applications. How could one’s stories benefit from the inspirational processes used in chapters like “Chilling in the Ghetto with My Deep Down Homies”? These types of exercises could almost be construed as a sort of Method acting for writers.
Once again, there is something here for everyone. At one point, the author states the whole project started as a joke. But I am reminded of Aleister Crowley’s famous pun in Chapter 69 of The Book of Lies, a pun which some claim laid bare the secret teachings of the IX degree of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a pun that would resonate with occultists over the course of decades, if not longer.
When the Stars are Right is a thought grenade and reading this tome may just send ripples through one’s thought processes. Contemplate these concepts at your own risk; you might just come out the other side a practicing R’lyehian.