As we have cited a number of times in the discussions of Shub-Niggurath, she and Yog-Sothoth reproduced in some sexual manner to produce Nug and Yeb. Again, we are defining sex in the biological / evolutionary sense – that is, there was an exchange and recombination of hereditary information between Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth, which resulted in progeny – Nug and Yeb.
Nug and Yeb by David Lewis Johnson (www.ironimageindustries.blogspot.com)
As described in Robert M. Price’s excellent article “On the Natures of Nug and Yeb” (Dissecting Cthulhu: Essays on the Cthulhu Mythos, edited by S.T. Joshi, 2011), very little is known of these two entities. This is in spite of the fact that Nug is the “parent” of Cthulhu and Yeb is the “parent” of Tsathoggua as a result of asexual reproduction (budding or fission). Dr. Price hypothesizes, based on HPL’s stories and letters that one of the reasons why Nug and Yeb are not very well known on Earth is due to the fact that these entities never resided on or visited Earth. This is in sharp contrast to Cthulhu who currently resides on Earth in stasis and Tsathoggua who has resided on Earth and Saturn during various periods in the history of our solar system.
In the revision story “The Mound” Nug and Yeb are worshipped by underground dwellers who are presumably not natives of the Earth. In that tale the protagonist mentions that the rites and ceremonies of Nug and Yeb are particularly perverse and abhorrent; so much so that he refuses to describe them. Other underground shrines of Nug and Yeb have been identified in Irem, the City of Pillars, located in the Crimson Desert.
As mentioned earlier, besides being the asexual parents of Cthulhu and Tsathoggua, little is known of Nug and Yeb. What we do know is largely from HPL’s letters and not his stories. For example, as cited by Dr. Price, in a letter from September 1936 HPL describes Nug and Yeb as being twins, each one being spherical or oval in shape with a diameter of approximately 10 feet. Other than that HPL described Nug and Yeb as being “a bit destructive sometimes” and having the ability to dissolve matter.
Great Old Ones Nug and Yeb by Henry Teh8th (www.deviantart.com)
In “The Black Litany of Nug and Yeb” (Blood Will Have Its Season by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., 2009; Kindle edition 2013) Nug and Yeb are described as dragons of black and red, respectively, and are identified as preparing the way for their Father. Using HPL’s Table of Genealogy for the Old Ones their father is Yog-Sothoth. Thus, similar to Wilbur Whateley and his twin in “The Dunwich Horror,” the coming of Nug and Yeb would apparently make substantial modifications to the existing ecosphere of Earth. These modifications focus primarily on using “ill-frost” and “black fire” to cleanse the Earth. While this obviously includes ending humanity’s dominance over the Earth, it more than likely also includes additional modifications to the ecosphere, such as changing the planet’s mean ambient temperature (e.g. altering the position of the Earth relative to the sun?), changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere, oceans and freshwater ecosystems, as well as possibly making major topographic alterations. It may also include more intra-atomic modifications that may very well change the nature and structure of matter in this part of the universe (for more on that see below).
Cover artwork by Steve Santiago
Whatever the global (or possibly universal) changes are, Pulver’s Black Litany of Nug and Yeb supports the idea that Nug and Yeb serve a critical role in opening the way to the Old Ones. While Yog-Sothoth may be the gateway and Cthulhu and Shub-Niggurath may be some of the entities that would dominant and control the Earth, it does appear that Nug and Yeb are the “engineers,” responsible for making the Earth conducive for the Old Ones. This may be another reason why the Old Ones appear to be “weak” in our ecosphere; until a proactive wizard such as one of the Whateley’s or Nub and Yeb modify and “cleanse” the Earth, the Old Ones cannot successfully take hold and establish themselves in our universe.
While most of the existing evidence, as small as it is, supports the idea of Nug and Yeb being responsible for modifying the Earth to make it more conducive for the establishment of the Old Ones, there is an alternative hypothesis for these entities. In a number of instances, besides being described as twins, Nug and Yeb are also described as being cosmic opposites. For example, in Irem the yin-yang symbol was found in a number of shrines dedicated to Nug and Yeb (The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, 2nd edition by Daniel Harms, 1998). This polar opposite perspective, coupled with the role in ushering in a new reality for the Old Ones to dwell, may indicate that Nug and Yeb are possibly physical, sentient manifestations of matter and antimatter. If their mother Shub-Niggurath ushered “matter” into our reality, the introduction of equal portions of Nug and Yeb to our universe at the exact set of space-time coordinates through the gateway of Yog-Sothoth may annihilate the universe, possibly re-starting the cycle of energy creating matter (Azathoth). This hypothesis goes beyond merely modifying the Earth to make it more conducive for the Old Ones; however, it would help to explain why we know so little of Nug and Yeb – once we meet them our universe, our reality is eliminated.
Nug and Yeb by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)
Next time we will go back to the story “The Rats in the Walls” and discuss the role of cannibalism in that tale. Also, if you are interested in more Lovecraftian Science, please check out the Kickstarter campaign at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1081353216/lovecraftian-science-volume-1.
Thank you – Fred.