Cthulhu mythos

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Cthulhu mythos is the label coined by the writer August Derleth for the shared world based upon the themes, characters, and story elements found in the works of H. P. Lovecraft, as well as his protegs and later writers influenced by him. Combined, they form a kind of mythos—a system of symbols upon which Mythos authors could craft their stories.

The common theme in Lovecraft's fiction is the impotence and irrelevence of humanity in the universe. Humans are often subject to powerful beings and other cosmic forces. These forces, in Lovecraft's fiction were not malevolent so much as indifferent toward humanity. Another common theme is the search for knowledge ending in disaster.

Derleth put his own take on the Mythos, organizing and polarizing it. Instead of a valueless, meaningless universe of chaos, Derleth's Mythos system was influenced by his own Christian values and a struggle of good versus evil. Derleth once wrote:
"As Lovecraft conceived the deities or forces of his Mythos, there were, initially, the Elder Gods . . . these Elder Gods were benign deities, representing the forces of good, and existed peacefully at or near Betelgeuze in the constellation Orion, very rarely stirring forth to intervene in the unceasing struggle between the powers of evil and the races of Earth. These powers of evil were variously known as the Great Old Ones or the Ancient Ones"
—August Derleth, Introduction to Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, viii

Another concept introducted by Derleth was elementals.

Central to the mythos are the Great Old Ones, a fearsome assortment of deities led by the dreaded Cthulhu (though there are other beings in the mythos that are even more monstrous), who lies in a state of hibernation in the lost and sunken city of R'lyeh. "When the stars are right," Cthulhu will awaken and wreak havoc upon the earth.


Elements in the Mythos


Great Old Ones

The Great Old Ones are vastly powerful and ancient creatures who are often worshiped as gods by insane human cultists; many of them are made of unearthly substance which is not like normal matter. They have limits to their influence, even if those "limits" include an entire planet. Those Great Old Ones who are based in other solar systems can only extend their influence to Earth when the star of the solar system is in the night sky, along with the help of cultists performing various rituals.

Great Ones

The so-called "gods" of the Dreamlands, they are not nearly as powerful as the Great Old Ones, and not even as intelligent as humans. However, they are under the protection of the Outer Gods, especially Nyarlathotep.

Elder Gods

A group of beings who oppose the Outer Gods and Great Old Ones. Many people consider them to be non-Lovecraftian, as they import a "good" versus "evil" dichotomy into the cosmic indifference of Lovecraft's fiction. However, others retort that these beings have no more concern with human notions of morality than the beings they appear to oppose, and that humanity and the human world are far beneath their regard.

  • Bast, Goddess of cats, Pasht
  • Hypnos, Lord of sleep
  • Kthanid (according to some sources, an Outer God)
  • N'tse-Kaambl (according to some sources, an Outer God), Whose Splendor Hath Shattered Worlds
  • Nodens, the Hunter, Lord of the Great Abyss
  • Ulthar
  • Vordavoss, (according to some sources, an Outer God), Troubler of the Sands, Whom Waiteth in the Outer Dark
  • Yad-Thaddag

Outer Gods

These beings have no limits to their influence, unlike the Great Old Ones, and are likely to embody cosmic principles. The Outer Gods are also known as the Other Gods.

Other supernatural beings

Some of these may in fact be Great Old Ones, Great Ones, Elder Gods, Outer Gods or Avatars; if so, please move them to the appropriate category.

Non-human species of the Mythos




Borrowed elements in the Mythos

Many historical and mythological elements were incorporated into Mythos literature.

Derleth's Involvment

Lovecraft was an atheist who claimed Kant's ethical system "is a joke." Some contend that the Cthulhu Mythos is merely a theory proposed by Derleth; it was never intended to be a cohesive, singular entity by Lovecraft, but rather a collection of images which can be used in separate works to provoke the same emotions. Another point made by those who do not favour Derleth's take on the Mythos is that the Elder Gods never appear in Lovecraft's writings (excepting one or two, who appear as Outer Gods, such as Nodens in The Strange High House in the Mist (Perhaps this is merely a limit case showing how "rarely" they stir forth -- never) there is no unified pantheon of Great Old Ones. Indeed, the term "Ancient Ones" only appears in one story, Through the Gates of the Silver Key.

To his credit, Derleth was the publisher of Lovecraft's stories. Simply put, if it were not for him the Mythos and Lovecraft might have remained largely unknown.

External links

See also

es:Mitos de Cthulhu ko:크툴후 신화 ja:クトゥルフ神話 pl:Wielcy Przedwieczni fi:Cthulhu-mytologia fr:Mythe de Cthulhu


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