“This is the Book of Entrance to the Seven Zones above the Earth, which Zones were known to the Chaldeans, and to the ancient races that preceded them among the lost temples of UR. Know that these Zones are governed by the celestial spirits, and that passage may be had by the Priest through those lands that border on the Unzoned Wastes beyond. Know that, when Walking thus through the Sea of Spheres, he should leave his Watcher behind that It may guard his body and his property, lest he be slain unawares and must wander throughout eternity among the dark spaces between Stars, or else be devoured by the wrathful IGIGI that dwell beyond.”
-The Book of Entrance and of the Walking by HP Lovecraft.
‘Passing the Gates’ is a series of initiatory rites within the Necronomicon, a grimoire of highly dubious origins (the best grimoires usually are) supposedly chronicling the ancient rituals and Arcanum of Sumeria-Babylon. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, the Necronomicon, The Book of the Dead, has little to do with Necromancy or consulting the human dead, but rather a book of ‘dead’ names, names of elder Gods which probably should not be spoken too often lest they begin to stir and focus their attention on the speaker.
While I am thoroughly unconvinced the Necronomicon survived the vast passage of time to be reprinted and sold in the New-Age section of Barnes & Noble, I do concede Lovecraft and later “Simon”, did channel a forgotten but authentic lineage of sorcery, but for modern consumption upon the foundation of Hermetic/Western Ceremonial Magic. Like Wicca, another recreationist magical-religion based on the foundation of Hermetic/Western Ceremonial Magic, the tradition set forth by the Necronomicon is quite capable of rousing the slumbering forces from humanity’s past (maybe best left in the past) into present-day action. I can attest to invisible presences angrily answering my summons, and whom would not depart without leaving turbulence in their wake.
Passing the Gates is the second of three essential initiation rites (the first being the rite of ‘Star Stepping’ and the third having no need for mention here) a sorcerer must successfully undergo to experience the greater mysteries connected to the Necronomicon. Due to the near-certain connection between the Necronomicon and modern Western Ceremonial Magic, the structure of the Kabbalah supports the worlds or ‘zona’ (zones) each gate conceals behind it within the Qliphothic shadow cast by the Tree of Life itself.
Entering these shadowy realms, each manifesting atop the point of seven planetary influences, interacting with the denizens therein, the sorcerer enacts a special relationship between, themselves, and the intelligences native to each zona (as well as the overarching intelligence of the zona). The gate is shown to swing both ways. At times the sorcerer travels to their abode rather than they always being summoned to the world of the sorcerer. In this way, the sorcerer gains truly uncommon familiarity with alien landscapes and exo-cultural knowledge of the otherworldly. Such experiences help to better facilitate pacts between a sorcerer and the beings he or she evokes.
“I have raised armies against the Lands of the East, by summoning the hordes of fiends I have made subject unto me, and so doing found the NGAA, the God of the heathens, who breathes flame and roars like a thousand thunders.
-The Necronomicon (the Mad Arab describing deals he made with summoned entities)
Lastly, at least for the purposes of this brief writing, Passing the Gates is entirely instrumental for the sorcerer to attain deeper, some might say terrifying, knowledge concerning occult practices, spiritus-loci, or entities associated with the zona itself. Cloistered among the perilous interdimensional landscapes, sit lost temples to dead Gods and obscure, arcane libraries containing secrets which cannot be fully transmitted via conjuration. Secrets of this caliber may only be learned through direct pilgrimage into the zonas, besting its guardians and pilfering the sites mentioned above.
“For this is the Book of the Dead, the Book of the Black Earth, that I have writ down at the peril of my life, exactly as I received it, on the planes of the IGIGI, the cruel celestial spirits from beyond the Wanderers of the Wastes.”
-The Necronomicon (the Mad Arab describes his journey past the gate and his tutelage under arguably malevolent spirits to receive and scribe the Necronomicon).
Like all trips, these sojourns have an inherent cost, and it ain’t cheap. The sorcerer’s resolve is heavily taxed, and his or her sanity leveraged against. There is no guarantee the sorcerer will come back with everything intact, if at all. However, there is almost every assurance the sorcerer will leave behind bits and pieces of him or herself with each Passing of the Gate until there is nothing left, stricken morally bankrupt, and their soul extracted as the ultimate price. The path laid out by the Necronomicon is crooked at best and even at it’s widest, little more than the width of a razor’s edge. Treading this path, one discovers very quickly what they are made of. The weak are corrupted and ruined while the strong find infinite ways to get stronger.
If anything the Necronomican serves as a dire warning, that knowledge, and initiation always carries a cost. Not all gates should be opened, and not all paths wandered down. As cautious as I am in my own Passing the Gates, I am smart enough to know I am only so smart, and the deeper I tread, the lighter my steps become.