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The Incantation of the Elder Sign

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is from a little-known dark tome called the

Confessions of the Mad Monk Clithanus, or the Confessions of
Clithanus. Here one will find the full text of "The Incantation of the
Elder Sign." It is collectively by August Derleth and Mark Schorer;
with missing text restored by Lin Carter.

--Editor, Allen Mackey, Grand Archivist

NOTE: In their story, "The Horror from the Depths, first published in
1940 under another title, Derleth and Schorer quoted briefly from the
Confessions of Clithanus. I have recently found a copy of this obscure
book in the library of the Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan,
and looked up the passage. I discovered that they omitted forty-seven
words (probably for story-reasons), and that in three places a word
was mistranslated. The opening line, which they omit, reveals, most
interestingly, that the entire passage is not only borrowed from the
Necronomicon (from which Clithanus frequently quotes), but seems
to be nothing less than the ritual incantation by which the powers of
the Elder Sign may be evoked.

I here give the relevant passage in full, having corrected the

mistranslated words.

--Lin Carter
xxix. The Incantation of the Elder Sign

And as Alhazred has written, the Evil Ones may only be driven back
and held down by the power of the blessed stars laid out over the
water in the form of one great star, * the five points of which marking
the directions of the earth* and the secret place beyond the earth
from which the Things of Evil had first come: the holy ones
meanwhile whispering the secret words, the words known only to
them, translated by them into this language from the ancient
gibberings in which the Elder Gods had given them the potent words,
which are as follows: Things walking in the darkness. Things notof
this earth. Things belonging to the damned hosts of Evil, get you
down into the nameless kingdoms under the seas. Get existence.

O Elder Gods, from your impenetrable fastnesses, look down and

confirm, extend your power once more. Go down, you Evil Ones, and
remain forever in eternal darkness. Hosts of mad Cthulhu, spawn of
unspeakable Hastur, loathsome brood of Yog-Sothoth, get you down
into everlasting sleep.

Never again may you rise on the fair earth. Go, in the name of the
Elder Gods, you Old Ones, whom once you sought to displace. Go
now, and the power of the five-pointed star shall forever hold you
below the surface of the earth, and in the hidden and lost sea-
kingdoms of the vast unknown!

[ * The four cardinal directions?--LC]

St. John's Eve 1984

As it was of old, so shall it ever be, for the Elder Gods rule forever,
and here we evoke their power against all that is evil.
Translator's Comments:

While I have not yet found this incantation in the Necronomicon, that
may be because the last few books into which the Alhazredic text was
divided (probably by its Greek translator) consist of spells, formulae,
liturgies, ceremonials, recipes, in which I have little or no interest.
This ritual will probably be found in that place.

Clithanus himself calls this an "invocation, " while it reads more like
an exhortation, a prayer, or even an exorcism. Since we know that on
many occasions the star-stones from Mnar have been used
successfully by men against the Great Old Ones and their minions
without the necessity of reading or chanting this incantation aloud, it
occurs to me that what we might actually have here is the spell by
which the star-stones are energized--that is, rendered potent, or
blessed, or charged with power.

A parenthetical note: glancing through the Confessions, I could not

help noticing that the Mad Monk characteristically uses the term "the
Evil Ones" when referring to the beings more commonly called "the
Old Ones." I wonder if this could perhaps be where Derleth picked up
the term, which his later, and wider, reading in the forbidden books
caused him to abandon the first usage in favor of the later, more
common one?

I'd like to thank a friend of mine, a reclusive scholar who lives in

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in a town aptly called Tophet, for his
help in translating this rite anew from the rather barbarous Medieval
Latin of Clithanus.

--Lin Carter

Originally published in Crypt of Cthulhu #23 (1984).