In the last posts, I introduced one of my favorites, and perhaps the most inspiring book for me as a writer, The Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft—a book of short stories, serialized novellas, and poems written by one of the forefathers of modern horror in literature, film, videogames, music, and even demonology itself. And I told you about The Shadow OverInnsmouth, a story that helped inspire my creation of one of the Sword and Sorcery Saga’s strangest cults, The Friends of the Void.
In today's post, I’d like to address how sometimes art, particularly stories, can have such an impact that they start to bleed into reality. Indeed, from those imaginative realms of quantum creation, sometimes the mightiest of things that were only once a single human beings’ idea, expand and slither out their shadowy tentacles through the ages, forever lingering in so many tainted minds. The tales contained in the Necronomicon reach out in such a way, I do not doubt that in some passing of years the name of Cthulhu will be as taboo to let spill from one’s lips as those unholy names of Lucifer and Belphegor. With dreadful foresight, I clearly see those future cults gathered under neon lights, in dark basements of future cities, and in the moonlit woods of future forests, of earth or some other world on which we shall then dwell.
Those dark outcasts of the status quo, those neo-pagans, those heathens, they shall utter inverted prayers to The Old Great One, they will speak in tongues to The Great Dreamer, oh that horrible thing, The Sleeper Of R’lyeh. To he, they shall say, Iä! Iä! Cthulhufthagn! This the untranslated prayer repeated many a time in Lovecraft’s works. It is believed to mean, “Hail! Hail! Cthulhu Dreams!” Where on the internet this translation started, or if it appeared in a translation pre-web I know not. I think perhaps it means exactly what it says: Iä! Iä! Cthulhufthagn! Just madness, just fear. In the end, I think Cthulhu is not all that complex of a concept. I think that is exactly what it is, a concept, and that is why it works so well in turning the blood cold and sapping hope from the mind and soul.
Cthulhu is the idea that we are not alone in the universe, in fact, we aren’t even alone on our little planet that drifts unaccompanied in the obsidian star-speckled cosmic sea. Something mighty, something ancient sleeps in the darkest part of the blackest ocean deep, that place that is the very reflection of outer space. The sleeper, his rest is almost up, and when he wakes, he shall remind us all that he is king. And vengeance he will have upon humankind for all the ugly devastation they had wrought as the world’s custodians in the Old Great One's absence. Cthulhu is the collective subconscious dread of a race of beings that strive to command and contort the world at their will. Cthulhu is the punishment the human race fears it deserves, and that is another core ingredient of what makes H.P. Lovecraft’s works so timeless.