The Cult of Cthulhu holds that Man is insignificant and tiny to the cosmos-at-large
And this is is where our genuine joy and zeal for life stems from.
It is in recognizing our own insignificance that we can truly appreciate and live life to the fullest, with no fear of damnation or reward - except for those damnations and rewards that we dish out to ourselves and to each other.
Cthulhu's is not a religion of rigid dogma but of freedom and growth.
However there are a few essential ideas that one must know and agree with in order to truly call themselves a member of The Cult of Cthulhu.
Each of these ideas is a vast and interesting topic covered fully in The Bible of Cthulhu, and as you ascend the ranks of The Outer Circle you will learn about each one in more detail.
Given their scope and complexity, you will not be tested on them in the Tier 1: Cultist Exam, though you should still be familiar with them as a prospective member of our family.
They will come up again in future lessons, at which time you will be tested.
Here is an overview of each of these fundamentals:
These are the facets outlined in the previous lesson, and they will be discussed again at length in upcoming lessons.
They are: The Call, Ascension, and Unification.
There is also something called The Great Work, and it is a far more forward-looking endeavor. It involves the continuation and prosperity of The Cult of Cthulhu's Work on this planet, to ready as many of those who are Called for the ideological arrival of the time of The Old Ones.
An easy axiom to remember what The Great Work is is thus:
The best way to show your support for The Cult of Cthulhu is to actually support it.
The Void is as much a philosophical metaphor as it is a tangible idea.
The Void - a sobriquet of The Darkness - is the emptiness and desolation of deep space. It is the sandbox for all of creation.
Philosophically it ties in intrinsically with existence before birth and after death.
Death is covered in depth in The Bible of Cthulhu, and will be studied in future lessons, but our fundamental premise is that existence after Death is likely the exact same as Life before Birth. It is the emptiness of The Void, and this is why we embrace the beauty of the gift of life while we can.
The Cult of Cthulhu believes in an overlap between science and what is called Magick.
All Magick really is is the intensification of purpose and will to bring about a desired outcome. The ancient Egyptians called it HEKA: Life Force in Action. Every aspect of their culture had HEKA woven into it and it was considered a normal part of every day life.
The Magick utilized by The Cult of Cthulhu is Magick that is demonstrable to work. Therefore do not expect to generate fire from your fingertips or raise the dead. But expect to utilize it the same way that the Egyptians did: to give meaning to that which is significant, to focus your intention, and to bring to you the outcomes that you desire from life.
We believe that, while Western society has forgotten what true magick is, it still exists nonetheless, and can be proven to work to improve and better your life.
The Scientific Method is regarded as quite perfect to The Cult.
It is an empirical method of acquiring and applying knowledge, and this is what it looks like in action:
Ask a question
Do background Research
Construct a Hypothesis
Test with an Experiment
Analyze data and draw conclusions
If your results align with the Hypothesis then communicate your results for peer review
If your results do no not align with the Hypothesis then ask a new question, form a new Hypothesis and experiment again
It is thanks to this near-perfect method of attaining and applying objective knowledge that mankind has progressed to its current state. Everything around you, from your technology to your house to your vehicles to your food, including this website, is a direct result of The Scientific Method.
H. P. Lovecraft (a science fiction writer, lest we forget) both revered and feared The Scientific Method, for its beauty and utter effectiveness has the power to make civilizations rise and fall and - in his stories - to render the average mind insane.
The Great Cosmos
The Cult of Cthulhu is essentially a belief-system based on the foundations of cosmicism, so it would stand to reason that the cosmos itself is an integral part of our teachings.
Not only do we stand in awe at its beauty and size, and use it to come to terms with our own insignificance, but we also pay attention to the minuteness of the odds of our own personal existence.
The odds of you being who are you - indeed of you even existing at all - are so slim so as to be quite unbelievable.
Using quantifiable statistics and mathematics, we work out what these odds are and try to use the knowledge of the final result to experience more appreciation and gratitude for our brief time in the light.
The Grand Oil Painting of Existence
The Grand Oil Painting of Existence is a mental analogy used by The Cult to put time into perspective.
If all of space-time can be imagined as a monumental canvas, then all of reality would be the abstract paint upon it.
Cultists use this analogy to make sense of the past and understand the present, as well as to make intelligent predictions for the future.
The Grand Oil Painting of Existence ties in with Azathoth's Dream.
Sanity and Madness
The Cthulhu Mythos and The Old Ones themselves are steeped in madness, for to see any one of Them is to be rendered insane.
The Cult of Cthulhu considers much of the modern world - indeed much of humanity itself - as quite mad.
Is not what we have done to our planet quite mad?
Is not the notion of world hunger and poverty quite mad?
Is not the notion of racism and inequality quite mad?
The insanity of The Cult of Cthulhu is an ideological statement against the state of humanity today:
If this presented reality is what our kind call sanity, well then The Cultist must likewise be insane.
The Cult of Cthulhu is in many ways a common-sense belief system.
We utilize quantifiable facts, entertain interesting and reasonable philosophical premises, and are open to evolution when presented with new data.
We work together to improve our lives and to build a strong network of friends and family.
And we do it all with a vibrant and stimulating dark aesthetic.
The Cult of Cthulhu has often been referred to as a religion for the non-religious.
Anyone who has stood in authentic timeworn holy places of worship, or attended services of the Right Path religions, know of the warm light of vivid stained windows, of the distinct aromas that wrap and curl on the air, and of the flawless sense of wonder that accompanies it all.
It is a veritable buffet for the senses.
And the camaraderie of the attendees of these services is a simple bonding of human brotherhood that is denied to non-believers.
The Cult strives to combine all of our teachings with rich iconography, symbolism, and aesthetic so as to activate these senses and bring that same sense of beauty, mystery, and wonder to those who have been denied this experience by Right Path religion.
A Church, not for a sky-god creator, but for the cosmos, for life and death, and for the beauty and wonder of The Old Ones and their philosophy.
If The Cult were to have such a church, its location would be wherever a Cult Gathering takes place.
The planet itself acts as the cosmic church to The Old Ones, so Gatherings, like their pagan ancestors, are primal and connected to the earth and the stars.
They are social events, made for the bonding of Cultists with one another and with the cosmos. They typically require a bonfire of some kind, a view of the stars, drums, idols of reverence, and official Cult attire.
While they are best held near the ocean, they are also carried out in forests, woodlands, caves, and fields.
Cultists have the opportunity to meet their local brothers and sisters, eat, drink, dance, and celebrate, whilst also performing group rituals and taking part in Cult activities and games.
Gatherings are centered around Unification and are a thoroughly worthwhile and rewarding experience.
To uphold this religious aesthetic and aid in Unification, The Cult of Cthulhu has a number of ceremonial customs it employs.
From specific phrases and terminology, to classic call and responses, even hand signals and gestures used to identify one another and to show respect.
The first two customs every Cultist should know are the signature calls,
IA IA CTHULHU FHTAGN
MAY THEY RISE
to which the receiver should always respond in kind.
As religious imagery, dogma, and iconography are vital to providing a stimulating sensory experience, The Cult of Cthulhu also has a number of Religious Dates that are considered sacred.
From the anniversaries of H. P. Lovecraft's Birth and Death, to significant dates in The Cthulhu Mythos (like November 1st, the date of the Cult Gathering in Call of Cthulhu) each of these dates have their own significance and suggestions for how to be celebrated.
Cultists can often get leave from work for these Sacred Dates on religious grounds.
Know these beliefs intimately.
Each one of these ideals is crucial to The Cult of Cthulhu and, in the event that you do not fundamentally agree with them, perhaps you should question if this indeed is the path for you.
If, on the other hand, you see yourself in these words, if you see Truth, then our doors are open to you.
With everything that you have learnt so far, it is time to study up.
For now you sit your first exam, and begin your journey in the ranks of The Cult.