Section F - Occult History

The Elder Sign holds a unique place in the Cthulhu Mythos. It has long been considered one of the few magical symbols with any protective capabilities in the face of the awesome power of Mythos entities. The sign itself has traditionally been rendered in two distinctly different forms: the flaming star and the tree/branch. The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society learned of a third form of this symbol in the writings of Elizabethan occultist John Dee. In the early 17th century, Dee translated the Necronomicon into English. Among his abundant notations in the translation, Dee refers to this obtuse heptagram as the Omen Antiquitatum (or "Elder Sign"). The HPLHS is publishing it for the first time (as far as we can tell) since it first appeared in print in 1662.

Dee does not claim to have invented this symbol but rather describes it being brought to him, probably by his associate, Edward Kelley. The text of the Necronomicon refers to both the "tree" and "star" versions of the Elder Sign, but Dee attests to having personally used the Omen Antiquitatum successfully in "various magical experiments".

Dee's Translation
There are many books written within the last thirty years under the title Necronomicon, but most are presented for entertainment or religious purposes and have little to do with historical magical grimoires. At present there are alleged to be a few authentic editions of the Necronomicon in various libraries and collections throughout the world, all of which are highly inaccessible. This copy was acquired through a book dealer in Lithuania. The edition appears to have been printed by D. Maxwell in 1662 under the title A Right Rendering of the Booke of the Arab, Al Hazred, at the Hand of Dr. John Dee (A Scholar of Great Repute): A Learned Discourse on Ancient Sorcerie and Spirits Daemoniacal. We are not aware of any other extant copies of this edition.

The HPLHS thought it would be prudent to offer its readers the Elder Sign as a first glimpse from this very rare occult work. We hope those engaged in occult practices will benefit from our offering of an etched copper Elder Sign made to Dee's specifications. For collectors, we offer a version of it mounted on a handsome oak plaque. For Mythos enthusiasts, we hope our issuance of an Omen Antiquitatum T-shirt will allow them to share in the joy we've felt at the recovery of this fascinating and important magical symbol. And because of the requests we've received for intimate magical protection, we offer ElderWear in men's briefs, women's panties and of course, the ElderThong. All of these products come with facsimile reproductions of the actual pages of the Necronomicon that discuss the Elder Sign.

Omen Antiquitatum - Elder Sign
scanned from Dee's translation of the Necronomicon

Q: Where did this come from?
A: In his translation of the Necronomicon, John Dee added many notes of his own. He included comments about this version of the Elder Sign and an illustration of it.

Q: It has a flame and branch. Does that mean both versions are right? Or neither of the other ones are right?
A: Dee does not elaborate about how this symbol came into being, he merely attests to using it successfully. The Necronomicon contains references to both the branch and star type symbols in its dicussion of the Elder Sign.

Q: What does it do?
A: It is alleged that if properly made and consecrated this symbol can act as a barrier against a variety of supernatural forces.

Q: What do all the symbols and letters mean?
A: We have spent quite a bit of time studying the Omen Antiquitatum, but but we don't understand all of it. It's style is in keeping with Dee's Enochian magic, but it some of the text may be in a code or an undetermined language.

Q: Wait a minute, are you claiming you have an actual copy of the Necronomicon?
A: We have what appears to be a copy of the 1662 Maxwell printing of Dee's translation of the Necronomicon.

Q: Where can I get my own copy of this Necronomicon?
A: The HPLHS intends to reprint this edition of the Necronomicon. It will take us a while as we have to work very carefully with the original document. Obviously there are perils that extend far beyond damage to the book itself. For now though, you can get our Replica of the Elder Sign pages here.

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