5: Cthulhu;

the Hierophant.


“As the High Priest of the Elder Gods, Cthulhu represents an important principal in the Tarot”, or so the Lovecraft Deck tells us. This important point is that Cthulhu lies dead, but dreaming, in the sunken city of R’Lyeh that is His home, deep beneath the Pacific Ocean. What this means is that He is actually dead, although He lies in this state in natural rest. He still dreams – in exactly the same way that you or I may dream whilst we are alive but yet asleep. He is able to do this in His existence as one of the Gods. And whilst Cthulhu lies in sunken R’Lyeh in His state of death, the dreams of which He generates are transmitted to those who worship Him. Through this He is able to keep the religious ideas of His slumber alive on the Earth. It is said that one day He will reawaken, as in the same way that reawakening is an ongoing issue in other religions. This day will be that day when the Stars are Once again Right, and His worshippers wait for that day, when our Gods, and we, will gain control of the Earth, and of the chaotic dimensions that, to humanity, are beyond our comprehension*.
        So that’s the description of Cthulhu, and this is the reason why He is seen as being central to those of us who study The Necronomicon as our religious book. As a Card of the Tarot, though, the idea is thankfully more direct, and the definition of its meaning, according to our purposes, is as follows.
      In the traditional study of the Tarot, the Card which holds the most religious significance (at least according to our purposes, with our specific outlook), is Card 15 – that Card which represents The Devil. In our interpretation, however, things are slightly different, and we regard Card 5 as being the principal symbol of divination, as Cthulhu is the greatest God of our singular religious outlook. To our specific system of the Tarot Card 5 equates directly as our main idea of worship. It is more important than any other Card of this Deck.
        And in terms of the study of this Tarot, it should be noted that with the Lovecraft system, Card 13 – the Card that is classically the Death Card – is also different from the classical interpretation with this system. The point is made here because it is important to reiterate that, for our purposes, Cthulhu is dead. There is no hidden message to this Card in making this statement, however. The point to be made is that the Lovecraft Tarot equates to a unique religious system, as this book is written to describe.
        In most ‘traditional’ Decks of the Tarot (and by this what I mean is every other Deck apart from our own), Card 5 is the Hierophant. And the Hierophant is, therefore, representative of a symbolic religious belief as defined according to whatever Deck that might be. In our version, our entire belief can theoretically be represented by Cthulhu, although our statement here is to say that our system is a slightly alterior interpretation. In our system, therefore, and aside from our theory of psychick vibration, it is our consideration to see this Card as representative of symbology. This can have meaning in terms of anything from language and the occult.
        The dreams that are dreamed by Cthulhu are communicated to humankind in our sleep. Our Tarot tells us that “Chaos and Order are not in conflict”, and in this sense the bizarre, disorientated nature of dream is the static structure to that which is conveyed to man*. As this Card is written as an explanation of dream as a vehicle to transmit symbol, dream – in this context – is the right place for the occult symbology used by humanity, to be communicated to as in universal terms of understanding. And whilst explaining the occult system ruled by Cthulhu, the Tarot tells us that “Chaos is a Spiritual Reality, while ‘Order’ is a practical but artificial model based on Chaos to further the… pursuits of human beings”. In the worship of Cthulhu this statement is definiately true.
    “The functions of the High Priest are twofold: one is to provide a common ground of symbolism and ideals”. So, as communication of ideas is represented, a ground where ideas can be understood by humanity is also created, is indicated by the Tarot. Whilst Card 5 is actually called the Hierophant, it also has the function of creating an equal understanding of principals. “The other [function of the Hierophant], is to be representative of the Way of Truth” states the Tarot. If the inception of the concept is with chaos, then the ultimate message is given to the human race as religious truth.
        Now we define all of this as being the thought of mankind turned into symbology whereby it can be universally understood. So if we can see this as being the original source of all symbology as understood by humankind, we can see the purpose of this Card, to be to unite human values and beliefs, in whatever strange form that may take place. The Tarot tells us now that, “this… function is the test of a true High Priest”, now using this term to describe Cthulhu. “A fishing village will understand a different set of symbols than will the people living in a mountainside forest.”
        In concluding this description, it is to be reiterated that, whatever the logic involved, the ways of the Great Old Ones were never meant to be clear to the understanding of the human race. The HP Lovecraft Tarot now ends the description of Cthulhu as the Hierophant, by saying that “[i]t is the role of the High Priest to render ancient, eternal truths into symbolic forms which can be embraced by groups and communities in a specific time & place… the community is given symbols with which they can identify with, and with which they can find identity… [T]he danger is obvious: contention arises around the symbols, not their actual content.”

If the previous Card is that of hierarchy and issues of authority that are immediately involved with that, then Cthulhu is representative of organization in society, and the Positive Reading directly speaks of the benefits that are involved with such social structure. Leadership and standing are issues in all forms of human society and, in the consideration of the last Card and associated issues, such standing can often be beneficial in human society.
         Cthulhu speaks to His worshippers through dreams. So, in respect to this, when the Lovecraft Tarot defines its meaning as representing a “Figurehead, Emissary, Ambassador”, it does so in respect to the worshippers of Cthulhu passing on the decree of their God to others within cult religion, who Cthulhu rules in His slumber of death. In practical terms of forecast this Card may mean that we will obtain information that must be passed on to others, or that we might be approaching a situation whereby information may be entrusted to us. The Card continues this definition as this statement continues to define an “Agent of communication & Transmission”. Communication and transmission are therefore appropriate in this context, as our religion, in this aspect, is about the will of the Great Old Ones, through dream and aspects of that which most people consider bizarre.
        Directly leading on from that statement, the Lovecraft Tarot justifies the above with an indicator to the tribal systems of societies who naturally worship Cthulhu, as they are undiscovered by Missionary Christianity. It here defines itself as speaking of “Elder, Counsel, Advisor; Wise Man / Woman accepted in society.” Again this can probably work two ways, with information coming towards us from a person who is wise, or we may come to receive information that will be important to somebody else.
        The Tarot seems to go immediately off at a tangent now, as it defines this Card in a reading to indicate “Organization of Symbols & Semantics common to a particular group and / or society.” Again we should consider this in the context of Cthulhu and His influence on the subconscious. Cthulhu is the messenger of dream, and His messages are those communicated into the subconscious, as the interpretation of symbols and semantics is deeply psychological. At the same time the same paragraph defines its meaning as “Community, commonality of Ideas & Goals.” This statement implies that, despite the nature of the subconscious mind, we can read such strange vibrations as being the same.
        Human nature and tribal behaviour - both in modern society and tribal – is defined here, and it is to be noted that most of human behaviour is ritualistic. “Ritual, Pattern, Rite” is defined, and speaks of human behaviour as we are controlled by the subconscious mind, as well as that ritual of magickal ceremony and the regard of the Great Old Ones. “Meaningful ceremony [and] Rite of Passage” are defined, and this should be interpreted as being something positive in situations in the future.
        Continuing with this, the idea of the Tribal Elder returns as the Tarot defines a “Spiritual Vanguard and / or Herald, ‘First Wave’; ‘Elijah’, ‘Rapture’.” I give this two meanings. Firstly this definition could be speaking of a new religious leader coming into play. But, in the context of the Lovecraft Tarot, however, I see this Card as being more probably indicative of the dreams of Cthulhu being transmitted into the sleep of one who will be the new religious leader for our belief. Such a definition speaks of the virtue of such a leader being instated.
        In ending the definition of the Positive Reading, the Lovecraft Tarot seems to go of at some sort of tangent now. “Remembering & Honouring the past; Tradition, Legacy; Passing on a Heritage & or Birthrite” is defined. In examining this discussion of the HP Lovecraft Tarot, I feel that this statement is self explanatory in the context of this Reading, and nothing more here needs to be explained.

To begin with this dialogue concerning the negative meaning of this Card in a Reading, it should be remembered that Cthulhu is the nearest, and therefore the most terrible, God of our religion. A Negative Reading here, then, can be destructive and catastrophic. This is not to frighten the Magus, but to give forewarning of this possible implication.
        The Negative Reading begins, then, as with every other here, of following the idea of an opposite with the previous Positive Reading. The idea of Cthulhu as the communicator of man through dream is continued, in speaking of the “Messenger with no Message.” There is no guru or wise man here, dreams are without regard. “Empty Transmission; Empty Promises, False Prophet, Cult leader” is defined here; this is no religious statement; our guru has no connection with the Great Old Ones or our worship.
        Religion is the subject of the following definition, as following on from this statement that there is a religious falsity. “Bias & Prejudice, Sectarianism; Misinterpretation” being symptoms of false religions, possibly aiming to convert the worshippers of the Great Old Ones into another esoteric belief. Religion is therefore very much a statement with this Card, as it is pointed out that Cthulhu is the main God worshipped by those of the following of The Necronomicon as our religious book.
        The insanity of the worship of Cthulhu is now hinted at, as the Tarot defines itself as indicating an “Obsession with Form & Structure, loss of content & substance.” It is accurate with this statement, as Mythos literature goes some length in describing the bizarre and weird nature of sunken R’Lyeh as Cthulhu’s Tome, the strange and cosmic nature of His origin in space and the insanity of His dominion. “Fear of Spirit; Timidity & Hesitation in [r]evolutionary action; Fear of Change” is defined, and the degeneration of psychological makeup that can come as the result of worshipping Cthulhu without utter integrity is defined here as something to be aware of.
        The definition with the Negative Reading here concludes with a warning of the powerful destructive nature of Cthulhu which seems accurate to the description of Him as a God, that we get from the study of Mythos literature. In the statement that warns us of a coming “Academic severity in the deconstruction of Intellectual & Spiritual forms & Ideals” we are warned of the destructive effect of worshipping a God who is not of our world. And whilst the worship of Cthulhu is to seek insight into the secrets of the Cosmos and its related dimensions, He is terrible, and to enter into His worship without caution, is certainly to sacrifice one’s mind.

* Psychick vibrations as the communication of the Great Old Ones and contemporary Psychiatry, is the subject of a planned second book on the Tarot, which will be called ‘The Astral Tarot of Starry Wisdom”, which was pointed out earlier.

* One thing to point out here is that such a statement can be seen as something that could be related to a reading. Usually, in respect to this study, the meaning of a Card in terms of divination is explained for these purposes with the definition of a Positive or Negative Reading. However, if the main statement can be read in context with a reading, the Magus should seek to do so at all times.