Category Archives: Shub-Niggurath

Nug and Yeb – Offspring of Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth

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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

Shub-Niggurath and her Thousand Young

 

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A representation of one of Shub-Niggurath’s Dark Young by Michael Bukowski (www.yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com) 

Frequently, Shub-Niggurath is described as the Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young. This reference to her thousand young and her association with sexual reproduction has historically made her somewhat easier to understand relative to some of the other extra-dimensional Lovecraftian beings. Indeed her association with successful birth and increased fecundity must make her an attractive entity or god to worship for humans and other species within and even out of our space-time. Obviously, having healthy children and no mortality of the mother during childbirth would be something that primitive humans would pray for and desire. In addition, increased fecundity associated with crops and livestock was also a desired outcome and could mean the difference between life and death in both temperate (harsh winters) and equatorial (dry seasons) regions of the planet. Indeed for primitive humans the representation of the goat may not have any association with Satan or devils but more of a symbol of the successful reproduction of both the community and their agricultural resources. Therefore, of all of the strange, extra-dimensional entities, the one that would be most attractive, filtering into the minds of humanity and other species is Shub-Niggurath.

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Shub-Niggurath by Barguest (www.deviantart.com)

So what does Shub-Niggurath get out of being worshipped by these strange, fragile bags of cells and tissues, confined to three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension? I hypothesize that the relationship between Shub-Niggurath and humanity, and possibly other species, is a form of commensalism.

There are a variety of ecological relationships among organisms (e.g. predation, competition) and commensalism is one where one organism benefits from the relationship but the other receives no benefit but is not negatively impacted as in predation or parasitism. One of the most commonly referenced examples of commensalism is between clown fish and sea anemones. While the clown fish lives among the sea anemone’s tentacles for refuge and protection against predators, the anemone itself does not appear to receive any advantage or benefit with this relationship. Another example of commensalism I am more familiar in my line of work is the case where hair fungi (trichomycetes) grow attached to freshwater cladocerans such as Daphnia. The fungi get a substrate to attach to and increased availability of nutrients / organic material as the Daphnia feed on algal and bacterial cells (Symbiosis: An Introduction to Biological Associations, 2nd edition by Surindar Paracer and Vernon Ahmadjian, 2000). In contrast, there is not measured benefit or disadvantage with Daphnia being “infected” with the hair fungi. I propose that a similar commensalism relationship exists between Shub-Niggurath and humanity.

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Trichomycete (hair fungi) attached to a freshwater cladoceran (Daphnia sp.) as a form of commensalism

The benefit to Shub-Niggurath from this relationship is to receive infusions of DNA or other biological materials (e.g. proteins, cells, tissues) from the residents of our space-time. Ancient cult sacrifices are frequently associated with worshipping Shub-Niggurath, which involve blood sacrifices of animals and sometimes even humans. I hypothesize that such sacrifices provide Shub-Niggurath with the biological material from our space-time to either phase into our reality or, more than likely, produce progeny who can survive, thrive and reproduce in our space-time. This I believe is the origin of her Thousand Young, also known as the Dark Young.

As proposed above, the outcome of this “infusion” of biological material from our space-time into Shub-Niggurath is the development of the Dark Young. It should be noted that while HPL used the term “black goat of a thousand young,” he did not refer to them as Dark Young. Based on The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, 2nd edition (Daniel Harms, 1998), Peterson and Willis were the first to describe the Dark Young as the spawn of Shub-Niggurath (Call of Cthulhu Rulebook, 5th edition, 1992), although these entities were also described by Robert Bloch in the tale “Notebook Found in a Deserted House” (first published in Weird Tales in 1951). The Dark Young are described as having large black bodies with a series of thick, ropey tentacles coming off the top of their bodies with hoofed feet and large mouths filled with sharp teeth in their mid-section (see below).

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Summoning Shub-Niggurath from S. Petersen’s Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters (illustration by Tom Sullivan)

More than likely the Dark Young are members of the Thousand Young but more than likely they are not the only representation (or species?) of the thousand young. While they appear to be true manifestations of matter, created within our space-time, they are clearly extra-terrestrial and more than likely also extra-dimensional entities. Thus, in a sense, they may be similar to the Whateley twins in :The Dunwich Horror.” That is, they are extra-dimensional hybrids. This is the benefit Shub-Niggurath receives by being worshiped by human cultists (and possibly other species). The biological material is used to produce her Dark Young who in turn are provided with the opportunity to manifest and successfully breed in our universe. To date, the Dark Young have not been successfully established, at least in our corner of the universe.

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Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath by Azriel Mordecai (www.deviantart.com)

To conclude, while Shub-Niggurath may be thought of as the “mother” of matter in our universe, she is still trying to reproduce and seed our universe with her direct lineage. However, as with Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth, since she is from outside of our space-time she has a difficult time manifesting herself in our universe in a stable form for extended periods of time. Thus, while Cthulhu’s means of entering our universe is based on influencing the dreams of lower entities to opening the way, Shub-Niggurath focuses more on seeding our universe with her thousand young. To do this she needs to use our biological resources. However, what do humans receive from Shub-Niggurath? I propose nothing. While she may influence their dreams and stimulate their imagination to unconsciously persuade them to worship her and thus provide sacrifices, there is no evidence to suggest that the cultists are provided with provides any benefit (evolutionarily or otherwise). This is why I hypothesize that this relationship is more a form of commensalism and less of a form of symbiosis. In fact, her influence on entities in our space-time, to obtain the biological resources may be a form of “extra-dimensional biological instinct” on her part. Thus, these actions may possibly be part of a large, grand life cycle that may run over the course of billions of years.

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Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath by Khannea Suntzu

Next time we will talk about Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth’s offspring – Nug and Yeb.

Finally I do want to remind you that if you enjoy Lovecraftian Science and would like more, then please check out my Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1081353216/lovecraftian-science-volume-1. It will be a 100 page periodical with over 20 original illustrations by Steve Maschuck. Thank you – Fred.

Shub-Niggurath, the Mother of Matter

As previously mentioned Shub-Niggurath is frequently cited by HPL but was never directly featured in his tales.  Also, as shown below and described in the previous article, the union between Yog-Sothoth and Sub-Niggurath may be one of the few examples of sexual reproduction among the Old Ones.

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As shown above and previously described, the sexual union between Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath gave rise to Nug and Yeb. After this a series of subsequent asexual fragmentations or budding occurred where Nug gave rise to Cthulhu and Yeb gave rise to Tsathoggua. However, this article explores the relationships from Azathoth to Shub-Niggurath and to a lesser extent Yog-Sothoth. Azathoth will be discussed in greater detail in a future article but at this point it can just be stated that Azathoth is the beginning of universe or reality. Azathoth gave “birth” to three entities or properties of matter – Nyarlathotep, The Nameless Mist and Darkness.

We have discussed Nyarlathotep in some previous articles and will continue these conversations later. Here we have Nyarlathotep not as the prophetic showman from “Nyarlathotep,” or as the hooved Black Man of “The Dreams in the Witch-House” or as the howling, mad, faceless god in “The Rats in the Walls.” Instead, here Nyarlathotep is a distant ancestor of HPL himself! This may represent more of a cultural relationship or linkage as opposed to one related on a genetic basis, similar to the way in which Nyarlathotep is thought to have been a pharaoh of Egypt. If there is some type of direct genetic relationship, how this comes into play relative to what we know about the creation of eukaryotic life (animals, plants, fungi and protists) on Earth by the Elder Ones is not known at this time. Thus, the leading hypothesis at this time is the connection between Nyarlathotep and humanity is more cultural and not genetic.

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Nyarlathotep, the black pharaoh by Girhasha (www.deviantart.com)

Moving to the other two progeny of Azathoth, literally nothing is known about The Nameless Mist or Darkness so the hypotheses suggested here are simply based on the names of this entities or forces. If Azathoth can be equated to the birth of our universe / reality (or in more distinct terms, possibly the Big Bang), The Nameless Mist and Darkness must represent in some capacity matter and/or energy. The Nameless Mist may be a manifestation of our space-time (3 spatial dimensions and one of time) as well as the other seven dimensions that are necessary for String Theory to be verified. In turn, Yog-Sothoth is described as being a congeries of iridescent spheres and “the key to the gate, whereby the spheres meet.” This description could mean that Yog-Sothoth is the structure of our universe and other universes. Or that possibly Yog-Sothoth is the offspring of Azathoth that gave rise to the “multiverse” and the associated dimensions. At this point, this is all supposition with no testable hypotheses. However, as we use partial physics to delve deeper into the intra-atomic nature of matter, string theory may provide some clues as to the true nature of reality and the role of Yog-Sothoth.

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Yog-Sothoth by Hvergi (www.comicvine.com)

While The Nameless Mist gave rise to Yog-Sothoth, Darkness gave rise to Shub-Niggurath. Since Shub-Niggurath is thought of in more tangible, biological terms, in contrast to Yog-Sothoth being thought of as a gate, Darkness may represent Dark Matter.

Various methods can be used to measure the amount of mass in a galaxy. However, when such calculations are conducted it appears that up to 90% of the matter that should exist (given the influence of gravity) is non-detectable. This undetectable, missing mass is called “dark matter” (Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension by Michio Kaku, 1994). In addition to being undetectable or represented on our own electromagnetic spectrum, dark matter itself may actually exist in a parallel universe but still have the ability to influence our universe through gravity. So even though we can’t detect it may still impact our reality!

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Thus, Darkness may be a representation of matter and Shub-Niggurath may be a portion of this matter that passed through Yog-Sothoth into our space-time. Shub-Niggurath may not be the direct “mother” of live on Earth, but she may be the “mother” of matter in our universe! Meanwhile dark matter exists in other parallel universes and impacts our reality, possibly by gravitons passing through Yog-Sothoth. However, giving birth to matter in our space-time does not mean Shub-Niggurath’s work is done. It seems as if she is always attempting to generate more life or matter in the form of the “thousand young.” Next time we will discuss the fecundity of Shub-Niggurath, her thousand young and how this has had a direct impact on humanity and other species.

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Shub-Niggurath by Borja Pindado (www.deviantart.com)

Also, if you are interested in receiving more “Lovecraftian Science” please check out my Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1081353216/lovecraftian-science-volume-1. Thank you – Fred.

Shub-Niggurath: biological highway to other dimensions

I am going to temporarily divert the discussion away from “The Ralls in the Walls” to spend some time discussing Shub-Niggurath.  One of the reasons for this is that the Lovecraftian entity of the month on the Lovecraft Eternal Facebook page is Shub-Niggurath .

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Shub-Niggurath by Muzski (www.deivantart.com)

As the great Robert M. Price identifies in his introductory comments in The Shub-Niggurath Cycle: Tales of the Black Goat with a Thousand Young (Chaosium, 1994), Shub-Niggurath is one of HPL’s most interesting trans-dimensional entities.  She (more on that later) first appears in “The Last Test,” co-written with Adolphe de Castro, which is one of HPL’s revision mythos stories.  However, unlike some of the other revision mythos entities Shub-Niggurath freely crossed over into HPL’s main mythos stories.  While she does not make an actual appearance in any of his stories, she is frequently referred to in a number of HPL’s stories such as “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Whisperer in Darkness” and “The Dreams in the Witch-House.”

So what is Shub-Niggurath?  Based on a letter to Willis Conover dated 1 September 1936 HPL states that she was a “hellish cloud-like entity” (“On the Natures of Nug and Yeb by Robert M. Price, in Dissecting Cthulhu: Essays on the Cthulhu Mythos, edited by S.T. Joshi, 2011).  Shub-Niggurath is frequently referred to as the Black Goat of the Wood with a Thousand Young.  As with any of the Old One entities, we are limited by our human senses on how to interpret the appearance and motives (if any) of these entities.  For example, Cthulhu is perceived by humans to be a combination of an anthropomorphic octopus with large bat-like wings; as we have previously discussed we can not “see” Cthulhu’s true nature or appearance due to our limited five senses since its a being from another dimension.   In the case of Shub-Niggurath, she is frequently seen as a cloud-like being with the horns and/or hooves of a goat (for examples see below).

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Shub-Niggurath by Verreaux (www.deviantart.com)

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Shub-Niggurath, Goat with a 1,000 Young by King Ov Rats (www.deviantart.com)

As with Cthulhu, actual encounters with Shub-Niggurath (or her “dark young” – more on that later) are perceived through the limited perceptions of the human senses.  In this case, the prevailing themes with Shub-Niggurath are having a cloud-like body (similar to Cthulhu who was described as being plasma-like in nature) and having horns and/or hooves.  However, while Shub-Niggurath is not as well described as Cthulhu may appear, her worship by human, pre-human, extraterrestrial and extra-dimensional species appears to be far more common.  Reasons for this may be two-fold.  First, Shub-Niggurath is associated with fecundity and birth something that all entities, particularly those species who reproduce sexually (Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos by Bobby Derie, 2014) are concerned with.  Second, Shub-Niggurath or her avatars / progeny may have had more direct interactions with the species of our existing space-time and beyond.

I believe the key to understanding Shub-Niggurath can be found in the “Genealogy of the Elder Races” found in Leslie S. Klinger’s The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft (2014), Appendix 4.  This was originally drawn from a letter to James F. Morton dated 1933.  I have cited this chart in pervious articles but for convenience it is provided below:

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Looking at the chart above it is interesting to note that Azathoth gave rise to Nyarlathotep, The Nameless Mist and Darkness. This may be the origin of the hypothesis that Azathoth is and was essentially the Big Bang of our universe. As one moves down the chart the majority of the creation of new entities appears to be largely asexual in nature, either as a biological process (fragmentation, budding or spore development) or as a transfer of consciousness from one physical body to another. As described in Bobby Derie’s Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos (2014), such asexual means of reproduction are quite common in HPL’s tales. Thus, it is not surprising to see that the majority of the alien, inter-dimensional modes of reproduction / creation are largely asexual.

However, it should be noted that there are two instances in which some type of sexual reproduction may be identified. Specifically, the fact that Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath “joined” or mated and gave rise to Nug and Yeb, which in turn gave rise to Cthulhu and Tsathoggua, respectively.

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Shub-Niggurath by Mr. Zarono (www.deviantart.com)

From an evolutionary standpoint sex is basically referring to the production of new genomes by the recombination of preexisting genomes (Evolution: The First Four Billion Years, edited by Michael Ruse and Joseph Travis, 2009). Think of it as having two separate decks of 52 cards, shuffling them together as one large deck and then separating them out as two separate decks (each with a new combination of 52 cards). This biological invention provides an increased amount of variation within a species that provides the raw materials for natural selection (mutations are obviously another source of potential variation). While bacteria and some viruses can conduct a limited amount of sexual reproduction, this evolutionary strategy is largely a function of eukaryotic organisms (animals, plants, fungi, protists). Thus, is sexual reproduction a natural but unintentional outcome of the creation of more complex cells through endosymbiosis or was sexual reproduction “engineered” into Earth life by the Elder Things? Another future topic for discussion.

Getting back Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath, this sexual union may have generated offspring, such as Cthulhu and Tsathoggua that are more conducive to living in our space-time. Evidence of this is provided simply by the general appearance of Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath in comparison to Cthulhu and Tsathoggua. The general physical descriptions of Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath are frequently somewhat nebulous (e.g. cloud-like entity; iridescent collection of spheres or bubbles) when compared to Cthulhu and Tsathoggua (large, sloth-like, bat creature). In addition, this sexual union between Yog-Sothoth and Shub-Niggurath and their birth from Azathoth itself may provide valuable information into the structure of our space-time and beyond, which will be the next topic of discussion in the next article. Thank you – Fred.