The Great Old Ones Return
My daughter (no longer a teenager, just turned 20) now has two screens for her computer and a seven speaker sound system, all the better to play World of Warcraft with. After helping her set up her speaker system she showed me some of the amusing images she has downloaded .
Amongst them were quite a few humorous Cthulhu ones.- like this Lego Cthulhu.
I told her that I knew people who take Cthulhu very seriously as part of their magic. She didn’t believe me. We looked up Wikipedia…. Masses on Lovecraft and Cthulhu spin-offs - whole wiki on Cthulhu / Cthulhu Mythos in popular culture but not a mention of Kenneth Grant or the magical Esoteric Order of Dagon …
“Why is Cthulhu so popular ?“ I asked her.
“It is a geek thing dad. “ she replied. Somehow Cthulhu has become part of geek (people who spend hours at at a time playing around on computers) culture. She told me she found most of the images on 4chan - http://www.4chan.org/
Which I had never heard of.
I then went off and did a bit of looking .. Google came up with 7 600 000 web entries for ‘Cthulhu’ and over 40 000 images. Although, to give context, ‘punk’ gives 98 000 000 web entries and 847 000 images, but only 470 000 and 1 900 respectively for ‘anarcho-punk’ .
Is there any significance to the pop culture / geek culture fascination with Cthulhu ? Is there much overlap with ‘popular’ occultism/ magic? There was e.g. sixties psychedelic group H. P.Lovecraft [have got their At the mountains of Madness’ lp] and - according to one of the Esoteric Order of Dagon websites
http://www.esotericorderofdagon.com/ there was a magical ‘Starry Wisdom Cult’ in existence in the USA in the sixties which in the seventies overlapped with that EOD. Also see/ hear (previous blog) Black Sabbath’s 1970 evocation of Lovecraftian theme via Behind [Beyond] the Wall of Sleep.
However, it seems likely that the occult/ magical (rather than literary / horror genre) aspect of the Cthulhu Mythos has developed out of Kenneth Grant’s work. Grant discusses Lovecraft in ‘The Magical Revival’ (his first book, published in 1972) and - as with his advocacy of Austin Osman Spare - thus ‘popularised’ the Lovecraftian/ Cthulhian Gnosis.
But did Kenneth Grant’s magickal work set a popular culture current in motion? For example, the fantasy role playing game ‘Call of Cthulhu ‘ was released in 1981by Chaosium (founded in 1975) - and thus post-dates Grant/ Magical revival. This is an interesting question. How are ‘ideas’ propagated? Do cause and effect work differently within the sphere of culture, of the imagination - of the Spectacle? Can one apply the methods of objective analysis in the realm of the subjective?
Maybe the answer lies in the expansion of cyberspace. I suspect that the Cthulhu Cult has multiplied and grown as an aspect of geek culture - which has in turn created and found a home in cyberspace. The internet / world wide web / cyberspace is therefore the ‘Gateway’ through which the Great Old Ones will return.
At which point I was about to post this blog yesterday and I had an all systems crash experience and a brief ‘ohm god - they are about to break through’ pan-ic. Fortunately for the world - if you are reading these words and not witnessing hordes of Cthulhu cultists seizing power - normal service has been resumed.
Or has it? Dot dot dot