Monday, 16 December 2013

The Stars Are Right Here

Out of ancient, sunken R'lyeh comes the latest horrorscope craze, the Chtulhuscope. Based on writings left behind by the great ancient star-gazing sages, il-Lovecraft, is-Smith and il-Howard, among other hierophants, their texts come down to us from unfathomable antiquity. They were only recently found in an old sarcophagus, covered in strange pre-dynastic hieroglyphs of dark and sinister nature, seeming to crawl and writhe upon the unknown black material it is made of. The unholy relic does not appear to have been formed by a human hand.

Intrepid travellers brought the sarcophagus to light by from the sunless depths of the Cairo Central Station left luggage office in 1926, and the insane gibberish left on the ticket-stub glued to the cover gave no indication of its previous owners. It has taken many decades, as bouts of madness amidst researches to the occult has repeatedly prevented progress, to finally decipher the papyri.

We do not fully understand how exactly these deities, out of hundreds, were found to rule our cosmic destiny, but the chilling accuracy of the predictions confirms their authenticity. Amidst the collected prophesies were for example these words: "In the Third Aeon of Human Rule, amidst the Northern Stars, in the Sky a Great Dragon spits Fire" – it hardly takes an effort from even a moron to realise this refers to the Lockerbie bombing of 1988!

To start:

What is your birthday? Cthulhuscope uses and ancient formula of finding your actual Sign, which works like this:

Take your birthday in the European format: day, month, year. Forget the year. Now, double the day number, then invert it. Divide it with the number of letters in your first name. Sit in the dark with a bag over your head and recite the multiplication table of 7. Now, go back to the original number, write down the number of the month separately. Compare it to the following list:
  1. Ubbo-Sathla
  2. Azathoth
  3. Ghatanothoa
  4. Shub-Niggurath
  5. Cthulhu
  6. Nyarlathotep
  7. Yig
  8. Hound of Tindalos
  9. Byakhee
  10. Mordiggian
  11. Tsathoggua
  12. Yog-Sothoth

Once you have found your Unspeakable Horror Sign, see the description below: 

1. Ubbo-Sathla, the Unbegotten Source

The formless horror Ubbo-Sathla rules the lives of those born at what is now considered the first month of the year, the dark and cold, as was the gelid primordial time when Ubbo-Sathla first appeared on our becursed planet. Pullulating in its dark abode, it guards the stone tablets of the Elder Gods, much sought after by crazed practitioners of black magic. Pray they never find that forbidden knowledge!

There, in the grey beginning of Earth, the formless mass that was Ubbo-Sathla reposed amid the slime and the vapors. Headless, without organs or members, it sloughed from its oozy sides, in a slow, ceaseless wave, the amoebic forms that were the archetypes of earthly life. Horrible it was, if there had been aught to apprehend the horror; and loathsome, if there had been any to feel loathing. About it, prone or tilted in the mire, there lay the mighty tablets of star-quarried stone that were writ with the inconceivable wisdom of the pre-mundane gods.*

Those born under the maleficent Elder Sign of Ubbo-Sathla will often have many offspring, that they will ceaselessly share pictures of; even if the offspring are few the pictures will fill all conceivable space. They are prone to staying indoors, having a runny nose and they have a curious reluctance to return library books. 

Your Prediction:

You crawl and shed mucilaginous biological matter in the dark, fetid abode you call 'home' until such time as the terrible ire of the returning Elder Ones ends your miserable life in a horrifying orgy of fire, violence and destruction.

*Clark Ashton Smith, Ubbo-Sathla

2. Azathoth, the Demon Lord

In the centre of the cosmos abides the mindless God, Azatoth, father of all the dread being we call Elder Gods or Great Old Ones, or, if we are sensible, do not call at all. Those who have read the name in the dark book Necronomicon know to steer clear of anything that refers to the name of the ultimate, elemental, cosmic terror that is Azathoth.

…outside the ordered universe that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.*

To keep him from devouring the cosmos, he is surrounded by other mad, blind Elder Gods whose sole purpose is to lull him with the inhuman, horrible music they make. He is the squirming, mutable chaos at the centre of things, his actual form would make any mere human mind crack:

a pale grey shape, expanding and crinkling, which glistened and shook gelatinously as still-moving particles dropped free; but it was only a glimpse, and after that it is only in nightmares that I imagine I see the complete shape of Azathoth.**

If you have a neighbour or work colleague that cannot stand not having the radio play latest top 40 hits incessantly, this may be just because she was born under the maddening influence of the Sign of Azathoth. If your mirror in the morning after your birthday in February shows a primal horror too horrible to countenance, this is also the influence of the Mad Lord of Cosmic Chaos. Try a cream of some kind. It will probably not hurt, much.

Your Prediction

Your life is lived in nameless dread and you know it is all ultimately meaningless, a mad dance of particles in the cosmic void. Your nights are plagued with blood-curdling visions of writhing darkness. Do not worry, you are not mad, your view of life is absolutely factually correct. Rejoice when the dawn of the Elder Gods arrives and the sun sets on humanity.

*H.P. Lovecraft: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath 
**Ramsey Campbell: The Insects of Shaggai

3. Ghatanothoa, the First-Born of Cthulhu

So terrible is the sight of Ghatanothoa that even a replica will petrify the viewer outwardly, trapping the now insane, living person inside a mummy. Long worshipped by the pre-human inhabitants of Mu, the Great Old One has filtered down the eons as the myth of Medusa. Unsurprisingly, no-one has ever described Ghatanothoa, except in her astral body disguised as a cute Japanese school-girl. * Thus no quote of her appearance can be given.

Muvians worshipped Ghatanothoa who was originally brought down from the eternal gloom of the edge of the Solar System by Ancient Aliens. They built her a Cyclopean temple on the highest point of that legendary lost continent. Now trapped under a mountain in sunken Mu (pronounced 'moo', not 'mew' as one often hears) we hope never to have her loathsome form unearthed again. Demand a stop to underwater archaeology in the Pacific! Humanity beseeches you!

Those born under the Dark Sign of Ghatanothoa have tendency to be the un-life of any party: you have probably met them, standing in the corner, spreading a pool of confused silence and petrified expressions as they burble on about technology or some blasphemous cult of beings with superior powers only they understand or can be interested in, with possibly the exception of others like them. Be not afraid, just make your excuses and go the bathroom.

Your Prediction:

All your dreams will come true. Yes, even those. And especially those: you will find yourself subject to public derision and humiliation. Take comfort in the knowledge that when the Great Old Ones awaken, your tormentors will be crushed like ants, alongside you.

*Manta Aisora & Koin: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san

4. Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods

One of the most mysterious beings of the Mythos, but often entreated in the unspeakable rites of cultists of Cthulhu by their call of "Iä! Shub-Niggurath!" she is supposedly the significant other of Yog-Sothoth, who also has a double-barrelled name by coincidence. Or is there a sinister connection? If this rumour is true, as Yog-Sothoth is independent of time and space, his sidestep with the mortal Lavinia Wheatley presumable took place simultaneously before they met, when they were on a break and after they separated, according to him. Shub-Niggurath has also been romantically linked to Hastur and the snake god Yig, and possibly to the Nameless One, or the One Who is not be Named, but we have not been able to ascertain who that is.

She has been worshipped as a fertility goddess throughout the ages, in various garb, and there are dark rumours of hidden underground temples in the Crimson Desert, also known as ad-Dahna. To add to the credence to the myth, Saudi Geological survey has found a series of dark chasms and mazes covered in crystalline deposits in the area:

In some caves, deposits of bones cover the floors: hyenas, or something worse?

It has also been suggested She can be called to a wooded area on a new moon. A fragmented chant has been recorded, but do not, under any circumstances, say it aloud! the Lord of the Wood, even to... and the gifts of the men of Leng... so from the wells of night to the gulfs of space, and from the gulfs of space to the wells of night, ever the praises of Great Cthulhu, of Tsathoggua, and of Him Who is not to be Named. Ever Their praises, and abundance to the Black Goat of the Woods. Iä! Shub-Niggurath! The Goat with a Thousand Young!*

Those born in the influence of the Black Goat enjoy hiking in the woods, if they are not surrounded with a thousand young making demands. Or what seems like a thousand. Both male and female have a high probability of describing their relationship status as "complicated." 

Your Prediction:

Chaos may rule your life now, but you may hope everything will eventually go well, things will get sorted, as soon as the Second Law of Thermodynamics is reversed. Ha! The Cosmos itself has doomed you, miserable bag of flesh.

*H.P. Lovecraft, The Whisperer in Darkness

5: Cthulhu, the Great Old One

That is not dead which can eternal lie /And with strange aeons even death may die.

…a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters.*

Ironically the month of springtime, twittering birds and blooming fruit-trees is governed by the Great Old One himself, the Sleeper of Sunken R'lyeh. Those whose birthday falls under his baneful star are exceptional individuals in some way among the miserable brethren grubbing on the surface of the planet, unaware of the inevitable doom. It may be a great gift of twisted, dark artistry, or just uncommonly pungent earwax – anyhow, it does not matter. It is as meaningful as being the most intelligent amoeba or the prettiest slime mould spore.

Many also suffer certain social problems reminiscent of The Great Old One:

There was a bursting as of an exploding bladder, a slushy nastiness as of a cloven sunfish, a stench as of a thousand opened graves, and a sound that the chronicler could not put on paper. *

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming! Chant these words and quiver like the blob of jelly you are! Like jelly, you are merely s snack to things whose vast, malevolent powers are incomprehensible to you.

Your Prediction:

Your life in meaningless, so making a prediction would be pointless.

*H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu 

6. Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos

The Black Pharaoh, the Mad God, master of a thousand forms so horrible they make the observer lose their mind in an instant, nevertheless prefers to show himself as a slim, suave gentleman of Ancient Egyptian origin. He is the cruellest of the Great Old Ones, revelling in torture and despair. When the others see humans as merely inconsequential trash to be swept aside when Their glorious reign begins anew, He likes to torment us like a nasty child ripping legs off ants. Almost certainly a model for the Big Evil of that late cult, Christianity, Nyarlarhotep never was an angel and has no other reason to seduce humans with his tricks and lead them to his charnel-houses underground, or the void beyond space and time, than that it amuses him. He is the most human-like of the Great Old Ones, and so possibly the most hideous.

Then we split up into narrow columns, each of which seemed drawn in a different direction. One disappeared in a narrow alley to the left, leaving only the echo of a shocking moan. Another filed down a weed-choked subway entrance, howling with a laughter that was mad. My own column was sucked toward the open country, and presently I felt a chill which was not of the hot autumn; for as we stalked out on the dark moor, we beheld around us the hellish moon-glitter of evil snows. Trackless, inexplicable snows, swept asunder in one direction only, where lay a gulf all the blacker for its glittering walls.*

The maddening heat and riotous parties or early summer are apt time for Him, who delights in subduing the senses of his subjects and make them dance to the muffled, maddening beating of drums, and thin, monotonous whine of blasphemous flutes from inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond Time; the detestable pounding and piping* – he is the source of the myth of Pan as well as the Devil and has been known to visit rock festivals. Those born under his delirious influence generally have been known to play musical instruments and think much more highly of their talent than their listeners.

Your Prediction:

Like a lunatic, you will dance to the pipes of the otherworldly beings with all the other puppets amusing His Dark Majesty, until the Great Old Ones return and feast on your shrivelled souls.

*H.P. Lovecraft: Nyarlathotep

7. Yig, Father of Serpents

Yig may be the ancestor of Quetzalcoatl, Set and other mythical serpents, such as Jörmungandr and definitely the snake James Earl Jones turns into in Conan. Midsummer is of course good time for snakes that like to bask in the sun: this may have given the Ancient Cosmotologists their inspiration of placing Him to this summer month.

The dreadful Father of Serpents seems like a reptile half-human, but mostly he makes his presence known by a multitude of his precious children, snakes, swarming over you as you sleep.

Yig, the snake-god of the central plains tribes—presumably the primal source of the more southerly Quetzalcoatl or Kukulcan—was an odd, half-anthropomorphic devil of highly arbitrary and capricious nature.*

He is very fond of his children who he protects jealously, punishing anyone killing them by turning them into hideous half-snake, half-human monsters:

The moving object was almost of human size, and entirely devoid of clothing. It was absolutely hairless, and its tawny-looking back seemed subtly squamous in the dim, ghoulish light. Around the shoulders it was rather speckled and brownish, and the head was very curiously flat. As it looked up to hiss at me I saw that the beady little black eyes were damnably anthropoid,*

Those born under the Sign of the Serpent have higher risk than most to turn into snakes, stepping on snakes or keeping snakes as pets. They have been known to get into high office, such as the already mentioned Thulsa Doom.

If you accidently kill a snake, human sacrifice is suggested. However, courts do not accept snake sacrifice as defence for killing humans. Best just to claim self-defence, and it is auspicious to hire a lawyer born under the Serpent Star Sign.

Your Prediction:

You shall spend your days slithering on your belly like the snake you are, until the boot of the Great Unnameable grinds your skull to the ground.

*H. P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop: The Curse of Yig

8. Hound of Tindalos

The Eight and Ninth Dark Sign are not named after an Elder God or a Great Old One, but instead their Earthly servants, or species of beings eons older than the hairless apes with their flat nails and bipedal prancing about who think they somehow rule the place. What we now call August, simpering fools that we are, the Elder Beings called the Month of Angles, and it was the month The Hounds, beings older than the first, single-celled blob of life on the planet, born from the angles of time, when the Earthly life sprung from curves. What does it mean? Our curved-time brains have no means to process this. We can't really process the sight of one of these Hounds either; this is the only surviving eyewitness account:

"They are lean and athirst!" he shrieked... "All the evil in the universe was concentrated in their lean, hungry bodies. Or had they bodies? I saw them only for a moment, I cannot be certain."*

Those whose unfortunate fate it is to have been born under the Sign of Tindalos often have trouble with timekeeping, but they can appear and disappear unexpectedly, and thus are most suited to the life of a ticket inspector on public transport. The Hound can appear anywhere where there are acute angles, to suck the ichor from their victims, who will be gibbering with madness from the unearthly, unnatural sight of the Hound. No, there is no escape. Just pay for your tickets you freeloading scum. 

Your Prediction:

It does not look good.

*Frank Belknap Long, The Hounds of Tindalos

9. Byakhee, the Servants of Hastur

The Byakhee is actually plural, a race of hideous pterodactyl-like things that can fly, carrying the worshippers of Hastur through time and space. They are notoriously hard to describe:

They were not altogether crows, nor moles, nor buzzards, nor ants, nor vampire bats, nor decomposed human beings; but something I cannot and must not recall. They flopped limply along, half with their webbed feet and half with their membranous wings*

Those born under the Dark Star Sign of Byakhee, often have webbed feet. They may be drawn to professions to do with logistics, and are unusually unmemorable. 

Your Prediction:

Romantic entanglements are in your future. You will have to decide between the dreamboat that will frisk you off your feet on a flight of mixed metaphors, and you will die a screaming, insane wreck as your blood boils and your brain bursts from your skull in the vacuum of space. Or you can stay home and pick the first mouthbreeder who will make your life a living hell. Enjoy free will, you miserable human dreck.

*H. P. Lovecraft, The Festival

10. Mordiggian; The Charnel God,

As the weather turns colder, the Elder One ruling the month is the Mordiggian, worshipped by a cult of dog-headed ghouls. He sucks warmth and light from the world, beloved by morticians and butchers, as refrigeration is a useful skill for chilling any kind of meat products.

A colossal shadow ... more than a shadow: it was a bulk of darkness, black and opaque, that somehow blinded the eyes with a strange dazzlement. It seemed to suck the flame from the red urns and fill the chamber with a chill of utter death and voidness. Its form was that of a worm-shapen column, huge as a dragon, its further coils still issuing from the gloom of the corridor; but it changed from moment to moment, swirling and spinning as if alive with the vortical energies of dark aeons. Briefly it took the semblance of some demoniac giant with eyeless head and limbless body..*

Those born under this Dark Sign also project a field of cold around them, and while not necessarily literally eyeless and limbless, they often have the nimble grace and observational skills as if they were so. As their Master, they are shifty and mutable and find it difficult to stick to one place, and dance like no-one is looking. Or is in range of injury from flailing limbs.

Your Prediction:

You shall die and the ghouls will feast on your flesh in one of their delirious, moonlit ceremonies.

*Clark Ashton Smith, The Charnel God

11: Tsathoggua, the Sleeper of N'kai

Many of those born in the dark, dying end of the year bear an uncanny, not to say horrifying, physical resemblance to their Elder God Sign, Tsathoggua:

He was very squat and pot-bellied, his head was more like a monstrous toad than a deity, and his whole body was covered with an imitation of short fur, giving somehow a vague sensation of both the bat and the sloth. His sleepy lids were half-lowered over his globular eyes; and the tip of a queer tongue issued from his fat mouth.*

Most will have at least some of the mental characteristics as well:

He will rise not from his place, even in the ravening of hunger, but will wait in divine slothfulness for the sacrifice.*

Or, in the case of his disciples, pizza. 

Your Prediction:

You shall wallow in sloth until the stars are right, and all puny humans are devoured by the Great Cthulhu and other Elder Gods. Grovel in fear and pray for Tsathoggua that your end will be brutal but swift.

*Clark Ashton Smith, The Tale of Satampra Zeiros, and ** The Seven Geases

12. Yog-Sothoth, the All-in-One

One of the servants of blind idiot god Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth is locked outside natural space and time, but as he is thus everywhere and everywhen, he is all-seeing and all-knowing. He is not completely removed from the Universe, as it is rumoured he once sired a son with a mortal woman. Yog-Sothoth manifests itself as a conglomeration of iridescent spheres, which nevertheless are less pretty than suggestive, hinting of unspeakable evil things to come. Many of His attributes clearly refer to the unholy rites, myths and decorations we now attribute to Winter Solstice, showing what idiots we are, re-imagining the primordial horror as shiny baubles and his malevolent omniscient being as some judgemental old fogey in a red coat.

Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.*

Again very much like the Old Goat that hides under the pointy hat and white beard, He can enter anywhere, and any time – even simultaneously. No wonder children are instructed to never, ever behold the sight of the supposed bringer of gifts with their tiny, innocent, mortal eyes.

Beware the gifts of Yog-Sothoth! He brings knowledge, but that knowledge will never bring anything but misery and despair.

Those born under the Sign of Yog-Sothoth have an unnerving ability to absorb information, but this brings them usually no success in life, only in quizzes. Female ones may have a "bubbly" personality, which can be pleasant or grating.

Your Prediction:

More perceptive than most, you can see the approaching doom first. This will make no difference, except your final moments will be more miserable than your more blind and ignorant brethren.

*H. P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror

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