Tag Archives: Tsathoggua

Through the Gates of the Silver Key: Chapter V, part 2: Other Worlds and Entities

In Chapter V of “Through the Gates of the Silver Key,” written by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price, Randolph Carter describes how he is a “supreme archetype” of many beings on many worlds. Based on the documentation, Carter is one of the original models used to produce these other beings.  These passages are very metaphysical and I have presented hypotheses that may explain these thoughts of Carter’s. For example, these thoughts of being part of a larger “string” of consciousnesses may be Carter’s mind connecting to others in the Multiverse. An alternative hypothesis may be that these thoughts may be the result of having direct contact with Yog-Sothoth. Again, this part of Chapter V is more metaphysical than scientific so I will focus on some of the other subjects mentioned toward the end of this chapter.

yog_sothoth_over_the_bay Yog-Sothoth over the Bay by Sigmanus (www.deivantart.com)

Some of the “other” Carters could be accessed “…by a variation in the angle of the consciousness-plane which cuts it.” This passage may indicate that in order to have access to other consciousness, one has to know how to utilize those higher dimensions proposed by String Theory. One of these consciousnesses was an entity who “…dwelt in primal Hyperborea and worshiped black, plastic Tsathoggua after flying down from Kythanil, the double planet that once revolved around Arcturus.”

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Was Carter one of the non-human worshipers of Tsathoggua in ancient Hyperborea? Artwork by Mark E. Rogers

Tsathoggua is an entity that was discovered by Clark Ashton Smith and exists on Cykranosh; which to us is known as Saturn. There is some conflicting information on if Tsathoggua still dwells on Cykranosh or if it was brought to Earth by some unknown entities (Harms, 1998). There may be some type of inter-dimensional gate that connects Earth with Cykranosh, which would explain this historical confusion. Regardless, according to Carter, Tsathoggua may have originated from Kythanil and arrived on Cykranosh during the early formation of our Solar System.

saturn_aurora_hubble_28_jan_2004_med                                                                          Cykranosh, known to us as Saturn (www.nasa.gov)

As cited by Carter, Kythanil is a double planet system that once revolved around the red star Arcturus. While not officially recognized by the International Astronomical Union, a double planet system is a binary system where both bodies have planetary mass. For example, the Pluto (Yuggoth) – Charon (largest moon of Yuggoth) system can be thought of as a double planet. In fact, given the large size of our moon relative to the size of Earth, the European Space Agency has described the Earth – Moon system as a double planet. Very little is known of Kythanil expect that “doubtfully shaped” dwellers exist on this world. While Tsathoggua is frequently described as a large, sloth-like, bat creature, it is also frequently described as amorphous (e.g. black and plastic as quoted above). Thus, Kythanil may be the home world of Tsathoggua.

lovecraft___tsathoggua_idol_for_rpg_by_kingovrats-d6jht1t Tsathoggua Idol by King Ov Rats (www.deviantart.com)

Carter also mentions “…trans-galactic Shonhi, or a four-dimensioned gaseous consciousness in an older space-time continuum…” An older space-time continuum may actually refer to before the Big Bang. If there was some type of Space-Time before the Big Bang, which collapsed and exploded forming our Space-Time, how could any previously existing entity survive this? The four dimensions of the Shonhi may refer to four spatial dimensions. We exist in a three spatial dimensions / one temporal dimension Space-Time continuum. The trans-galactic Shonhi may have escaped destruction by entering a higher fourth spatial dimension.

The gaseous status of the Shonhi may be our limited three-dimensional senses trying to perceive a four-dimensional entity. This is similar to Edward Abbot’s Flatland where a two-dimensional being, like a square or circle, would have a difficult time perceiving the true form and shape a three-dimensional being like a sphere. Even if the sphere entered Flatland, passing through its Space-Time, it would appear first as a point, expand to a one-dimensional line, reach a maximum length, then decrease in length until it becomes a point and then disappears. This encounter between a sphere and a circle does not provide a true sense to the circle what the sphere actually looks like; the same may be for the Shonhi. To us three-dimensional entities a four-dimensional entity may look to us like a gas; however, the true form and shape of the Shonhi may be very different and we just don’t have the fourth dimensional senses to “see” what they really look like.

flatfl                                                                                                Attempting to perceive what a three dimensional sphere would look like in two dimensional universe

Another strange entity briefly described by Carter was the “…vegetable brain of the future on a dark radio-active comet of inconceivable orbit…” The fact that this entity is described as “vegetable” indicates it must be some form of autotroph, which is an organism that has the ability to produce complex organic compounds from simple substances. If the energy used to product these compounds is from light the mode of autotrophy is called photosynthesis, if energy is from inorganic chemical reactions it’s called chemosynthesis.

Given that the vegetable brain lives on the surface of a comet reveals that more than likely this entity is not a photosynthetic autotroph since they need light to exist. A comet in an inconceivable orbit spends the vast majority of its time in deep, dark space. As a comet comes closer to a star it does receive some of this light energy; indeed this is what produces the comet’s tail. However, the statement that the vegetable brain exists on a dark radio-active comet, provides evidence that it’s nutritional mode of action may be through chemosynthesis or possibly through a mode of autotrophy that uses radioactivity as a source of energy. For example, three specific species of fungi have been identified in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant that exhibit higher rates of growth and assimilation of acetate when exposed to higher amounts of radiation. A similar mode of nutrition may be utilized by the vegetation brains; using the radiation emitted from the comet to break down simple organic compounds scattered on the surface of the comet. Indeed, the ESA’s Philae lander detected complex organic compounds, like amino acids, on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

1024px-Cryptococcus_neoformans_using_a_light_India_ink_staining_preparation_PHIL_3771_lores Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungus that thrives on radioactivity as a source of energy (www.wikipedia.com)

Finally, the term “dark” may also be an indication that this autotrophic entity feeds on dark matter or dark energy; however, there is no additional information to support this hypothesis.

At one point Carter mentions that observes a dim fantastic world that is in a quintuple star system “…in an unsuspected galaxy.” Carter describes a clawed and snouted race that battles burrowing inner horrors. Based on this scant piece of information it sounds like there is a predatory species that exists underneath the surface of this unnamed world.  Maybe the radiation from the five multi-colored suns is harmful to the burrowing inner horrors and they utilize the “unexplained tunnels” to reach the surface to attack and feed on the clawed and tapir-snouted inhabitants of the surface. This world illuminated by five suns, has bizarre metal towers and cryptical floating cylinders but the name of this world is not provided.

Next time we will move into Chapter VI where Carter dreams of the wizard Zkauba on the planet Yaddith. Thank you – Fred.

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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.

Great_Old_Ones__Nug_and_Yeb_by_HenryTeh8th

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: 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.

 

 

Postscript: Clark Ashton Smith’s Neptune

I could find only one reference to the planet Neptune in Clark Ashton Smith’s stories and it was one that was already mentioned in the discussion on Jupiter.  “Sadastor” is a short tale about a demon telling a story to a depressed lamia to cheer her up.  In it he talks about traveling through the solar system, which includes a daring flight through the clouds of Jupiter.  In that same passage the demon also refers to “the black and freezing abysses of Neptune, which are crowned with eternal starlight.”  Is this strange description somehow related to HPL’s Neptunian fungi?  While not directly related to Smith’s description, more evidence of HPL’s white fungi is provided below.

Close up of the Great Dark Spot, the Small Dark Spot and “Scooter” on Neptune.  Scooter is a large white cloud that moves quickly around the planet, thus its name.  Is Scooter a community of atmospheric, planktonic fungi, feeding off the gaseous hydrogen or liquid methane and ammonia? (from tours-throughout-the-galaxy.blogspot.com)

The only other mention of Neptune in Smith’s writings that I came across was in a little article he wrote called “The Family Tree of the Gods,” which you can find on http://www.eldritchdark.com.  In it Smith provides some information on the family history of some of the “Elder Gods,” which include members of his own mythos as well as those of HPL.

In the article he talks about how Hzioulquoigmnzhah (uncle of Tsathoggua, who we met on Saturn, called Cykranosh by the natives, in “The Door to Saturn”) left his home world in order to avoid being eaten by his parents.  He ends up on Neptune (called Yaksh – by the natives I assume) but wearying of the strange religious devotions of the Yaksahians went on to Cykranosh.  Are the Yaksahians the same group of white fungi that feed off of the atmospheric winds of Neptune or are they an entirely different race of Neptunians?  Only HPL and CAS know for sure.

This article concludes the tour of the Lovecraftian Solar System – at least for now.  I have discussed other parts of the solar sytem in pervous articles (e.g. Pluto (Yuggoth) and our moon) and I do intend to re-vsit the solar system to discuss other components (e.g. our sun, comets, metors, etc.) at a later time.  However, for now I want to move away from the Lovecraftian Solar System and focus on another of HPL’s stories.  Next time we will be discussing “Beyond the Wall of Sleep.”  Thank you – Fred

 

Postscript: Clark Ashton Smith’s Saturn

Unlike Jupiter, Clark Ashton Smith made a number of references to Saturn in his stories.  My estimate (by no means comprehensive) is at least six of his stories mention Saturn.  Of these six stories I have read four of them, all being very enjoyable.  For this article I will be briefly reviewing two of these stories:  The Door to Saturn and The Seven Geases.  It should be noted that these stories are not as dark and grim as Smith’s tales of Mars.  Both stories are more fantasy than science fiction and have a slightly comic tone.  In fact, Smith himself called The Door to Saturn “light and ironic” (from the Double Shadow Podcast).

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In The Door to Saturn the wizard Eibon, the closest thing Clark Ashton Smith had to a re-occurring character like HPL’s Randolph Carter, is being pursued by Morghi a priest and revival of Eibon’s.  The rest of the story involves their extremely strange adventures on Saturn, whom the residents of that world call Cykranosh.

A resident of Saturn (or as known to them Cykranosh).  This is a member of the race of Bhlemphroims (Mike Bukowki, yog-blogsoth.blogspot.com)

Eibon worships one of Clark Ashton Smith’s more recognizable Old Ones in the Cthulhu Mythos – this is the sleepy bat-sloth-like God Tsathoggua.  It is Tsathoggua who gave Eibon the “door to Saturn” to use as a means of escaping enemies.  Unfortunately the escape to Saturn was a one-way trip for both Eibon and his enemy Morghi .  This is one of my favorite Smith stories.

A sketch of Tsathoggua by Clark Ashton Smith (www.eldritchdark.com)

Another great story is The Seven Geases.  This story is sort of a journey through Clark Ashton Smith’s Mythos in his Hyperborean Cycle of stories.  I won’t go into all of the strange entities encountered in the Seven Geases but it is specifically referenced that while Tsathoggua lives underground on Earth, he originally comes from Saturn.  Back on Saturn, Eibon and Morghi meet a relative of Tsathoggua’s on Cykranosh, the very strange looking Hziulquoigmnzhah.

Gods from Cykranosh by Ikura Maru.

To conclude I highly recommend both The Door to Saturn and The Seven Geases.  Both are very entertaining with most of the first story occurring on Saturn, while the other includes one of Saturn’s most popular residents – Tsathoggua.  Next time we will talk about Uranus in the Lovecraftian Solar System.  Thank you – Fred

A sculpture of Tsathoggua by Clark Ashton Smith (www.eldritchdark.com).