Who Cares About the Cthulhu Mythos?

Who Cares About the Cthulhu Mythos?
by Venger As’Nas Satanis on 2008-02-28 07:57:05
tags: cthulhu, cult of cthulhu, hp lovecraft, religion

Who cares about the Mythos? That’s the Cthulhu Mythos I’m talking about… invented by H.P. Lovecraft and adored by many horror nerds and chaos magicians from the 20th century. The Mythos is old stuff from an old time. This is the age of Blu-Ray, Texas Hold’em, and the possibility of an African American man or Caucasian woman as the next U.S. President. So how important can the Mythos be in these enlightened times?

Well, it’s like anything, I guess. It’s only as important as the individual believes it to be. And for some, Lovecraft’s Gods, monsters, and secrets are everything. The Mythos is a framework based on extra-dimensional horrors that man was not meant to know. Its concepts reach into the unknown, as well as into all the myths and legends of human civilization. Cthulhuism and Yog-Sothothery tap the most primal elements - namely, that an ancient and alien race of beings exist beyond our knowledge and has influenced mankind to some degree. These Old Ones practice black magic. Is that why they lost their purchase on this world? Their reality is disturbing to us. Is that why their forbidden lore drives us insane? Such beasts are not to be worshiped because they are hideous, fiendish monstrosities too foul and unwholesome to even look upon!

We don’t know! Even the Mythos’ creator himself never fully explained. It is the frightful, inhuman quality of the Mythos that gives it that edge, that mystique, that power. It is a religion linked closer to the unknowable void than to our green and pleasant land. This is also why it doesn’t matter if the Cthulhu Mythos was made up two seconds ago or two millennia ago! It is a paradigm apart from the world we know or think we know. Where else can the Left Hand Path lie in wait? Scheming? Dreaming? Where else can the sinister forces crystallize and take shape? Hunting? Devouring? And what can madmen believe in if not the elder blasphemies that lurk in the blackness itself?

The Mythos is ill-defined. It is nebulous, hungry, expanding. It is a road that may have a distinct origin; however, there are definite pathways that stretch farther back to the very beginning of time and space - before our ignorant species mutated from amphibian life - and this road sprawls this way and that - non-linear and occasionally subterranean. It is a dark road. Other religions have a beginning and will have an end. Is that because virtually all faiths are based on man and kept alive because of their mass appeal?

Can the individualistic misanthrope have his own religion? Yes, of course, there is Satanism; however, there are times when I wonder how long this reactionary religion can endure? If Satanism is a reaction against conventional religions, then the Cthulhu Mythos is truly the anti-religion. It goes deeper. Lovecraft’s paradigm is the end of all religions as we known them, as we are used to them. The Mythos is the opposite of what every decent and reasonable doctrine should be: finally and truly beyond good and evil, where there are no moral codes, only plans for evolution. We wish to escape.

H.P. Lovecraft was just the beginning. He gave the Mythos life, but it was the eldritch entities themselves that latched onto the collective imagination of mankind. Writers and artists have influenced this paradigm just as this paradigm has influenced them. We are together in this… the Mythos and the stranger. While painters, sculptors, and poets expand this religion, it’s the cultist who elucidates it. Who cares about the Mythos? Me. Just me and a few others. In time, that will make all the difference.

If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.

— H.P. Lovecraft

Venger Satanis, 33, is the Cult of Cthulhu High Priest. Sagittarius. He lives in Wisconsin and regrets it almost constantly this time of year. Met his girlfriend of four and a half years on Lovecraft's birthday, August 20th. Not obsessive compulsive enough to overwhelmingly succeed at anything, which is probably why he dabbles. His favorite player character occupation for the Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying game is dilettante. Now you know why. Favorite color: probably green. A rarely seen shade which only exits in theory. Yes, probably green. That was supposed to have been a joke. Oh well.


Who Cares About The Cthulhu Mythos?

Not I.

I stopped caring about the mythos, and HPL, and all of that stuff last year when a chance discovery on the Cartoon Network showed Cthulhu golfing while the rest of the world turned into Lovecraftian horrors. That’s when I realized nothing was scared anymore; at least nothing related to HPL’s work.

In fact, just hearing about this stuff makes me sick. Why? Quite simply, I got so fed up with “Cthulhu” being a token big-word catch phrase being thrown around by the mainstream pop culture, the “I want to seem pretentious so I’ll use Lovercraftian lore to make myself look more learned” horror fans, gamer geeks, and worst of all, the mostly pathetic and laughable second generation Lovecraft “scholars” who get into hissy fits on their blogs because someone else’s hypothetical and speculative interpretations of Cthulhu and the mythos are different from their hypothetical and speculative interpretations of Cthulhu and the mythos.

Do I believe HPL had some ulterior motive behind his writings? No. Do I believe HPL believed in his monsters and gods? No. Do I believe the mythos can be brought back as a real-life religion? No. Why? Because it’s a corporate franchise that’s already been trademarked, copyrighted, and manufactured for decades. But more importantly, it’s also pretend. No matter how cool the idea is, it’s still nothing but imaginary prose written for the entertainment of horror and sci-fi fans. Much like Star Wars. You can hope, and wish, and pray all you want, but odds are you won’t be wielding a light saber, you won’t be hanging out with Yoda, and you won’t be fighting armies of clones on distant planets because it’s not real.

To me the mythos is stagnant, boring, and festering. Hardly any new ideas are brought in because too many people are trying to write like Lovecraft or perpetuate the same conventions, but they’re doing it by maintaining the status quo and not offering anything new. And quite frankly, I for one am sick of the same-old, same-old. The same product in a new package doesn’t fly anymore with me, and just the sheer commercialism of the franchise on whole has soured me to it. Not that commercialism is bad, but some of the conventions lumped under it using the mythos are.

Granted this is simply my own personal opinion and it is no more or less valid than anyone else’s, but you asked and I delivered.

by Werecat on 2008-02-28 21:26:17

Venger knows of what he speaks.

This reality is a dull mirror of vast and possibly infinite underlying order(s).

The end of religion is the beginning of mysticism, and mysticism is the only path with infinite breadth and unending branches. Truth is vast and overwhelming, and religion is a veil through which we allow ourselves the briefest glimpses of it.

The mythos is a dark and rich branch, lit by feeble moonlight that is reflected from a dying star, which shows us that before we began to even perceive the depths, the depths were old and perceiving our demise.

The Old Ones saw our birth with our death certificates in hand. Death is the door, truth is the key, and the mythos is a map. Tread its path carefully, because the truth shall set you free from sanity…

by roughmagick on 2008-02-28 21:29:28


Many of Lovecraft’s writings are in the public domain – which means they AREN‘T trademarked or copyrighted. I understand your animosity towards the commercialism and pop culture metamorphosis of the Cthulhu Mythos, but unfortunately, in today’s society, anything genre-bending and mind-blowing today, will be on a t-shirt in Hot Topic tomorrow.

Additionally, whether Lovecraft believed in his creations or not, there’s something to be said about research (there are some similarities between Lovecraft’s mythos and other mythologies and folklore) as well as Jungian archetypal myth creation in regards to Lovecraft’s validity.

by szul on 2008-02-29 12:55:36