A Brief History of the Esoteric Order of Dagon

Compiled by a real Old Timer

Very Early Stirrings

Back in the 1940s, decades before the Internet boom, decades before Xerox machines making copying easier, those working within the Mythos (writing creative stories) or "feeling the Call of Cthulhu" were an odd lot, even when it came to science fiction fandome. They were finding others of like mind when they could, either by personally knowing them locally, or through irregularly published occult "zines" and Lovecraft literary journals or fanzines (pulp magazines back then that published strange or weird fiction, such as Weird Tales), communicating among themselves via postal mail and phone calls. Some of these people wrote stories and some were published in books, such as Ballantine Books or Arkham House books, or in what became known as Cthulhu Mythos Fanzines later on.

There is no way to know all of what was going on in those days unless someone comes forth. Likewise, there is no way to know of all the groups that may have formed, unless they come forth. Many occultists are still, to this day, very private people or no longer involved in the occult at all. Of course, there are also many theories about Lovecraft's original inner-circle, too, but without any hard proof. Also, back then, would an occult group be brave enough to openly come out? Very few did that.

What can not be doubted is that groups do tend to form when people share their likes in reading material and if there is anything that sounds occult, people tend to form groups along those lines, too, even if the group consists of only 2 people! There is no doubt that HPL himself must have been somewhat familiar with the occult enough to know what the standard Christian conception of a witch was (Dreams in the Witch House), or the names of some older pagan deities (Horror at Red Hook) or familiar with a Catholic Inquisition viewpoint on some of the ceremonies (e.g. Witch's Sabbaths) - he must have because he wrote such things (Call of Cthulhu). HPL himself said he got a lot of the Mythos ideas from Tibetan and Turanian culture (Turanians are Tatars) and possibly from his own ideas about Kabala. He wrote about the dreams he would have that inspired a new story. It wouldn't matter if HPL understood any of it - he did get dreams and ideas for stories. One of the people he collaborated with was a Theosophist (Silver Key stories collaboration). But notably, there was absolutely nothing in any of the Mythos that was what one would call "modern Western Occultism", for instance, Crowley's OTO or the much later Kenneth Grant TOTO; and nothing related to Satanism in the modern sense, despite the Farness/Derleth misinterpretation which resulted in the "black magic quote." Nothing at all. There IS a seeming connection, unconscious or possibly on purpose, (definitely on purpose with writers such as Dick Tierney who researched for stories), between some of HPL's and other writer's Old Ones and some standard mythological terms. See below for a link to an article about that.

HPL had many dreams and based many stories he wrote on these dreams. Some see these dreams as astral travel of some kind to other places, and even scholars have run into some strange things HPL wrote that later on turned out to be true. It is known that normal dreams involve R.E.M. sleep, but it's also known now that there are other experiences people have while sleeping. These seem like dreams, but they don't jump around like dreams do and they don't take place during R.E.M. sleep. Nobody can prove what kind of dreaming HPL was doing, but his own account of his dream of Nyarlathotep is like the non-REM type of dreaming - and he wrote some of the dream down while he was still half asleep and partially awake, which also makes it lucid. He definitely had lucid dreams - and in our opinion he also had non-REM dreams where he dreamed of other places, places he'd never actually been to. We also believe he "returned to those places" and continued his dream; that is, he didn't dream it all in one night. What anyone wants to call that is up to them. Astral? Dreamworking? Dreamtime? it doesn't matter what anyone calls it.

In the early 1950s and 1960s small groups of people formed and met at each other's homes to discuss occult, science fiction, horror, and creative matters. Lin Carter (writer published by Arkham House, a friend to August Derleth, and head of Ballantine Books) was involved with some of this. Around 1963 or so, he gave or mailed a manuscript or shabby book in French that he wanted translated. The book was by two French anthropologists. Information that eventually came from that is now up here as "Sirius-Xoth" (link below), though that was typed from notes that were completed after Robert Temple published The Sirius Mystery because there was information added by Temple that made it more Mythos-related. Piece by piece, story by story, notes were made and finally typed out. The sloppy mess of original notes were sent to quite a few people that were interested, such as some Priests of the CoS and some others that claimed to be in occult groups that were interested. The material, as far as the Cthulhu Mythos is concerned, is notably out of date, since it only goes up to and includes Lin Carter's Xothic Cycle when it was published by Arkham House. We don't know when Lin had the actual manuscript or book, or how long he had it, but he did know that Sirius was Sothis in the 1950s, long before he wrote Xothic stories.

Wayne C, (Brother Zond Malek) and other students at Pennsylvania State University had the Solectus Societus in the mid1960s, and Lin Carter (aka The Mysterious Mr. N. aka Count Zarnak) had business cards made up for this group before Wayne C. had the group. However, Wayne C. and Lin Carter knew each other and Wayne C never claimed to be the head of the group or the founder. That was always a person referred to Mr. N. He got the cards from Lin in the first place and there were older Mythos fans involved at that time who would have been doing this in the 1950s. We wish to make it clear that the primary purpose of these groups was to have fun, enjoy themselves and write.

Tani J. also knew Lin Carter by phone in the early-mid 1970s (before 1975). and then lost touch. It is Tani J.'s opinion that Lin had the business cards as a semi-joke, for fun, for shock value. From phone calls, Tani J. claims Lin was definitely very strict about what "is" or "is not" a Mythos tale back then. Lin definitely knew Wayne C. because Lin mentioned him a few times to Tani J., though at that time, Tani J did not know that Mr. N. was Lin. However, as things transpired, it was noticed that Mr. N and Lin had the same phone number and address. I.e., Mr. N. was Lin Carter.

Lin obviously changed later on when he was very ill (dying of cancer), though Tani J. completely lost touch during the time Lin was ill. This assessment is based on what stories Lin wrote and published when he was ill. At that time, quite a few people not involved in any esoteric groups at all, but writers and/or publishers hated Lin Carter's guts for various reasons. In the mid to late 1970s, Tani J. and Philip M. met Wayne C. and affirm that he was a serious occultist and Lovecraftian Magickian - meaning that he had a Magickal Tradition that he came from or already knew and used Lovecraftian and other Mythos names to replace more standard names. His occultism was more like old Wicthcraft or what one would call Michelet-type-Satanism. (Satanism and Witchcraft by Jules Michelet).

From what can clearly be seen on hindsight, Lin Carter used all of this to get material, material gathered by researchers and also material that was creative, written/invented by others, to put into stories that he "wrote" and published. He didn't give anyone credit, nor was any credit promised, even though some did expect some form of credit when it was discovered that he used their research and/or ideas/creations and made money, especially without telling them! The problem is, there was quite a stretch of time between research done and stories "written" by Lin. At the time that some of this came to light, Dick Tierney was also gathering information, doing research, for his own stories and something happened between him and Lin that wasn't nice. We don't have details, but it involved published material and money and possibly an award.

Some that knew Lin Carter in those early days insist that he was, indeed, a practicing occultist. One old time publisher and Lovecraft scholar stated that Lin Carter was a Satanist. This impression could have easily been gotten from those business cards. However, those that knew him in his later days, when he was ill, notably the Christian Reverend Robert M. Price who knew him well at that time, claim he was extensively knowledgeable about the occult, but not a believer or practitioner. Perhaps he used to be an occultist and then changed his mind (after he got sick and ran to a Christian Reverend for help).

Of note: Lin can not be taken at his word, just because he stated something to an Evangelical Christian Reverend taking care of him during his illness! When Lin was alive and under Rev. Price's care, Tani J., on a hunch, asked Rev. Price to ask Lin if he knew that Sirius used to be called Sothis, to see what Lin would tell Dr. Price, and since Lin claimed his Xoth, Xothic Cycle, originated around a twin star. Sirius aka Sothis is a twin star. Lin claimed to be unaware of that! However, after Lin died, Rev. Price, his executor, found a story Lin wrote in the early 1950s and in that story, he makes it very clear that he did know that Sirius used to be called Sothis. Rev. Price published the story, The Curse of the Black Pharaoh. Why would Lin lie? Who knows.

Regardless, while Lin Carter’s own work is generally not well-reviewed, he did much for the genre by reintroducing dozens of early fantasy classics to the general public via Ballantine Books, which had an enormous impact on the acceptance of fantasy in the 1970s, leading the way for much better authors to follow. Due to the efforts of Lin Carter and August Derleth, and later Reverend Robert M. Price, all of the formerly hard-to-find old stories were made available in reprints. And thanks to the Fanzine publishers for making new tales and new ideas available to us all.

Later Stirrings

In the early-1960s, Steven M and Juni McA had the Starry Wisdom Sect in New Jersey. That was mostly standard Dark Tradition, but using Mythos words for everything. In the mid to late 1960s, Zoltan K and his two cousins had the Esoteric Order of Dagon in Massachusetts. Then, later in New Jersey, where they moved during the early 1970s, they ran into members of the Starry Wisdom Sect with whom they hooked up. The SWS was primarily Dark Tradition from various cultures, mostly Eastern with some Kabala, and the EOD was heavily focused on Polynesia and the ocean, since these people lived near the beaches. Both Zoltan K. and Steven M. knew Tani J. who was also in the EOD in a very limited capacity and in the SWS in a more serious capacity. (Steven was Tani's dance partner. Zoltan was Tani's beach pal).

Next, in the early - mid 1970s through the mid-80s, Robert K. and his wife Flora and others, including Tani J., Philip M., Wayne H., Eugene "Jackson-11" B., Robert L., Gerard G, and quite a few others that came and went at various times over the next decade, formed the Kishite group, an offshoot of the Starry Wisdom Sect with a little Esoteric Order of Dagon mixed in. Lin Carter was told about this in a phone call, one of the last phone calls - and later on, Lin gave the "tip of the hat" to the Kishites by mentioning "Kishites" in a Mythos story.

Most of these groups were involved in serious research of mythemes from around the world, specifically mythemes that the Mythos writers said they read about themselves and were familiar with, even if what they read has since been proven to be faulty (such as Egyptian history) - the point was, this faulty version was what these authors did read and did have access to. These people in these groups also wrote quite a few stories that were circulated among themselves. Many of these stories were based on dreams, too. Only a few were ever sent in to anyone for publication. Primarily, the groups hung out for fun; it's not like they/we were dour-faced serious types.

These groups were usually kept small since they met at each other's homes. If they got too big, another group would form with a new name: The Dholes, the Shantaks, The Sarnathians, etc. Above all, these people were primarily friends with this subject in common, even if they had nothing else in common. These people hung out, they had fun and everything they did was a joy.

What these particular groups formulated from the Mythos was summarized by T. Jantsang in a very short, concise article. This summary can be read via the below link at the end of this article. The article was published in an occult magazine in an even shorter form and may have been published in a Cthulhu Mythos fanzine as well.

It was the Kishites that made the "Trip to Innsmouth" that is documented with photos of every site found: here. These people found Innsmouth. They were the first. This took many trips back there to finish, all done in the 1970s. All of it was fun.

As you can see from the introduction, which explains the Trip, this information was seen personally by Crispin Burnham, publisher of "Eldritch Tales Magazine," in 1976. He wanted to publish it. However, it was never published by him because most of the piece consisted of color photographs, which Crispin was unable to duplicate for his Fanzine. Doing them in Black and White with what was available back then, just wouldn't do. The photos and the details of the trip were also seen by a great many others and anyone that ever read the notorious "EOD apa" material.

A collection of Lovecraftian photographs is also the work of the Kishite group and shows where Lovecraft lived, the places he wrote about in his tales and other Lovecraftian items. This work was done in the mid 1970s. The photos can be seen here: Lovecraft Was Here. This too, was fun.

Another Unrelated E.O.D.

Notably, and very importantly, none of these early groups used anything from what is commonly known as modern Western Occultism or "neo-occultism" including Crowley's material. They actively avoided that. No need to steal Crowley material. Lovecraft stated quite clearly where his inspiration came from and/or what he borrowed from when it came to mythology. He was also very clear about his dreams, which also inspired him. Other early writers also said where they got ideas, including the original ones that followed, like Derleth, etc. The inspiration for all of it was not Crowley or anything related to Crowley, no matter how hard modern OTO or TOTO based "Lovecraft groups" try to squeeze HPL into their mold.

It is also abundantly clear to both Lovecraft scholars and/or serious occultists from a real (not modern) tradition that Kenneth Grant has 1. no idea what he's talking about regarding Lovecraft the man and writer or his Mythos and 2. His work is permeated with a type of hysterical phallicism. This was and is the opinion of many occultist that have a pure tradition and who do not prefer to mix this up with Lovecraft or any fiction. Lovecraft Scholars outright say that Grant has no idea what he's taking about regarding Lovecraft the man and the writer.

(An aside: While Crowley at least had a tradition that was valid, though not Lovecraftian at all but more like the Dark Tradition, Kenneth Grant just made stuff up and neglected to call it fiction. Grant was not well seen in the real OTO or by Crowley and even kicked out of the OTO early on for writing garbage. He even faked an appointment as "Outer Head" of the OTO, proven to be fake. His competing group was called the TOTO aka "Typhonian OTO"; the man just could not get away from Crowley, even after being kicked out. This is not our opinion. This is documented fact. [Koenig, P.R. (1991). Kenneth Grant and the Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis; Orpheus, Rodney (2009) "Gerald Gardner & Ordo Templi Orientis" Pentacle Magazine (30): pp. 1418. ISSN 1753-898X; Staley, Michael. Starfire 2, No. 3. March, 2009.])

There was no "format" to what these original writers and groups did, no pageantry to it, no titles or leaders or anything like that - unless someone took a title, like "Count".

Separate from all the above activity, in the early 1980s, Paul Prevost, a janitor in Ashland, Oregon going by the pseudonym "Randolph Carter", to unite some occultists exploring the connections between the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft and other occult concepts (mostly, it turned out to be Crowley-like material or Kenneth Grant's material). His group was also known as the Esoteric Order of Dagon. Slowly, that E.O.D. (we'll call it the Greenwood EOD) began to form via direct invitations at first, and then through announcements in various Occult and related literary journals and zines.

Obviously, not everyone that was doing these types of things heard of each other or read each other's work. The earlier groups mentioned above had no interest in reading "occult journals" since many of these people came from such traditions and/or had no interested in modern western occultism, just as HPL had no interest in it. People from these traditions don't tend to create journals for the public. The early groups were interested in the MYTHOS. Some that heard hints of this avoided it, wanting not to associate HPL with Crowley. Crowley was just the wrong "feel."

In the 1990s, through the Mythos fiction genre, some word of this "new EOD" did get to some of these earlier groups and they chose non-affiliation due to the mixture they saw of Lovecraftian ideas and Crowley/Grant (Crowley and Grant mixed together!) that they felt had nothing to do with the Cthulhu Mythos. Also, consider a Jew, whose father is a Rabbi, seeing some western occultish garbage pretending to be Kabala. Consider a Lamaist, whose grandfather is a Lama, seeing the same garbage made out of Eastern traditions. Consider the person with a degree in Philosophy, graduated Phi Beta Kappa in the early 1970s, who is an expert in pre-Socratic concepts, seeing similar garbage in modern western occultish journals. Such people would have absolutely no use for such journals.

By 1983, "Randolph Carter" began presenting himself as Steven Greenwood, taking on the magical name Frater Zkauba. A network of autonomous Lodges was beginning to form and that Order began to seek fraternal affiliation with other magical organizations, particularly the Typhonian OTO, which became a point of strong contention among some members in later years who felt too much emphasis was being placed on these affiliations. For these people who didn't like this, none of this felt Lovecraftian or Mythos-ish.

In 1987 Greenwood announced the appointment of Nina Crummett, with the magical name of Soror Azenath, as a new Director of the Greenwood EOD. He hints that she was a Deep One! While portrayed as a separate person, both within and outside the Order, some thought that Greenwood and Crummett were the same person.

Under this new leadership the Greenwood E.O.D. began to elaborate upon its esoteric origins, presenting itself as a modern manifestation of the same current that has manifested throughout history, reflected in various cult practices, and most notably within the fictional mythos of HP Lovecraft, who drew inspiration from his dreams. It would be fair to note that there is much scholarship, including HPL's own letters, that would completely refute this idea. Their ideas about Lovecraft the man are also refuted by scholars.

Another shift in leadership within Greenwood's E.O.D. occurred in 1990 when Frater Nephren-Ka, a big fan of The Typhonian Trilogy by Kenneth Grant, was appointed Director and the order was further restructured to meet the vision of its new Director. That new direction included further associations with Crowley/Grant related materials (OTO and TOTO). Some of the people in the still-existent Kishite (old SWS/EOD) group did see some of this material and, as before, wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. They/we saw it as "a religious excuse for prurience" or "defaming of Nature and sea life" or "a desire to be evil."

A short while later the Greenwood E.O.D. disbanded in 1992, encouraging its members to continue to work among themselves. Wishing to maintain an esoteric feel and hoping that one day the order would be salvaged. It was decided to consider that closing to be merely the beginning of a “Period of Silence”.

In 1997, a member of the Greenwood E.O.D., Frater Bokrug, petitioned the previous directors (Greenwood, Asenath, and Nephren-Ka) for permission to open a new lodge and in 1997 the E.O.D. emerged again. Since the order had been disbanded in 1992, known former members were contacted and told of the Order's "return" and Frater Bokrug took on a new magical name, Frater Eibon, as he accepted the role as new the Director of the Order.

In 1999 Eibon elected to retire, and he chose to select Frater Tutulu as his successor. However, according to other earlier sources, Ghorl Nigral was Eibon's successor. Then, after Ghorl Nigral came Frater Yog-Shadotep. Next came H.P. Ghoule, but here is a problem.

Frater H.P.Ghoule had dealings with and was connected to the much earlier SWS/EOD people since the early 1990s and is a member of another organization founded and run by a few of the much earlier SWS/EOD people! (That is now an organization not related to Lovecraft or the mythos and definitely not connected to the OTO or the TOTO). H.P. Ghoule had been performing Swan Point Cemetery Lovecraftian activities for 15 years before even running into the Greenwood EOD.

Next , around 2003, H.P. Ghoule retired and may have named someone else to take over, we aren't sure. There, the connection completely ends.

Moving on - and back to the start

To clear this up: This E.O.D. right here and right now did not "come from" Greenwood's EOD. at all, even if there are some people who knew other people. After all, the Cthulhu Mythos is a rather small genre, people are going to know each other sometimes. E.g. Tani J, for a very short while in the early 1990s, corresponded with Nephren-Ka and sent him, among other things, copies of half of an invertebrate zoology medical textbook so he could understand real sea-life, and a copy of the Sirius notes (see below for link). According to Dave Mitchel, Nephren-Ka got those notes from Tani J prior to 1995 and shared them with his entire circle, despite being asked not to. Nephren-Ka contacted Tani J. due to Mythos fiction she published, which he read. Dave Mitchell (author/publisher) personally knew Nephren-Ka and also received a copy of the Sirius notes from Nephren-Ka. Nephren-Ka had "the Grey Lodge" at the time he handed a copy to Dave Mitchell.

After 2005, H. P. Ghoule, having also been connected to the much older EOD, named Anuni Mskoseen (not present online) as the GM of our EOD along with two other GMs: GM Nfagnir Krell and GM Kraken, in that order, running our E.O.D. together.

Our E.O.D. fell quiet due to economic reasons world wide (the Big Crash thanks to the crooks on Wall Street gambling with the world's money - and we [the world] are still not nearly recovered from this catastrophe as of 2012!).

As of now, 2012, GM Kraken is the only GM of our E.O.D. This EOD does come from the much earlier 1960s-70s E.O.D. - and that came from something Lin Carter cooked up even earlier. GM Kraken will now be referred to as GM Tornasuk for the reemergence of the EOD.

One might notice the stark difference between the earlier SWS, EOD and Kishites, and this later Greenwood EOD group formed along Crowley/Grant lines. Almost nothing was long-distance with the earlier groups. It was all at someone's home, very close knit - close friends. Nothing came from "occult journals" with the older groups; it either came from traditions people were actually from (e.g., Jews, Lamaists) or mythology was gathered from ancient mythology and scholarly sources, not pop occultism.

This history is a means of clarifying many long-held misunderstandings of the history of the E.O.Ds. This present E.O.D. is not the only E.O.D. or related group. We are not affiliated with Greenwood's E.O.D. Neither is this E.O.D. affiliated with the very well-known "EOD apa," though some people might be members of both. There is affiliation with these 1960-70s older groups, which are part of the EOD23 VAD Yan group.

HP Lovecraft invented the EOD. Some know that the entire concept of the EOD (and the fun) and the oceanic lure caught on due to The Trail of Cthulhu and The Seal of R'lyeh written by August Derleth. After reading that, it's hard not to tie together The Call of Cthulhu with The Shadow Over Innsmouth and merge it all together. HP Lovecraft and his pals also invented the High Priest or Prophet name Eich Pi El. Clark Ashton Smith was Klarkash-Ton. August Derleth was Comte d'Erlette; HPL called Derleth this in two stories, a "tipping of the hat" to him.

And so....

It is the Will of this Esoteric Order of Dagon and its current membership to move on and make things enjoyable. While there are groups who claim to be the "only true" E.O.D., some even making arguments to "justify their legitimacy" (if one is willing to accept their version of history and Lovecraft at face value), we have chosen not to partake in the business of debunking them.

All of us got the name of the group from H. P. Lovecraft. There is no such thing as the "REAL EOD." Anyone saying that, thinking that, is delusional.

NOTES:

On how earlier SWS and EOD used the names, how the names relate to more standard mythemes. HERE

To see the Cthulhu Mythos fiction analyzed as it progressed from HPL to the next but still very early writers. It can be analyzed as if it were a regular religion being analyzed. Here is an article.

To see the Sirius - Xoth notes see here: Sirius - Xoth

This is OUR Esoteric Order of Dagon: HERE

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