Nyarlathotep--ye Crawling Chaos

Ningauble

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#21
I'm forced to attribute the lightning strike to Nyarlanthotep. If he is presented in another story related to voodoo, than there is some support. I have to also believe that he was involved in the story "He", at least until this is disproved.
?????????????????????????????????? On what passage do you base that conclusion, since there is no mention of Nyarlathotep in the text? And don't give me that "inference" crap. The contents of other stories have no bearing on this.

There is plenty of Christianity in the form of Puritanism in his writing, however his own created pantheon has to be behind the motivation of any cult members or any strange folk who are evil.
No. The "pantheon" wasn't conceived of until later, hence it does not "have to be behind the motivation" of any character. It is a huge mistake to try to shoehorn everything HPL ever wrote into the Cthulhu Mythos.

There is also the similar dialect of the two characters in "He" and "The Picture in the House".
Well, duh! That's because they both hail from the 18th century!

Anyway, it simply puts the question to rest as to the source of the evil. This may give Nyarlanthotep a ranking among the extraterrestrials (mentioned in "The Call of Cthulhu"), if he was one of the Old Ones, he did not join them under the water, and that needs to be explained within the text by inference or else directly, or else in some other source such as Lovecraft's letters, unless of course the only one that can explain that is the priest Cthulhu.
Since HPL never set up any formalised system or exact background for his Mythos -- largely because he didn't want to feel bound by it -- details vary from story to story. Nyarlathotep has nothing to do with "The Call of Cthulhu".
 

Ningauble

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#22
If proof only consisted of direct references than this would not be fiction. This does not need to be defended because I am relying on inference. It is not worth describing here.
Well, don't expect anyone to take you seriously, then.
 
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#23
"Whiskers" struck me for an interesting set of reasons (and this ties in with the subject of the thread, given the sometime confusion between Azathoth and Nyarlathotep as the emblem of chaos): Upon first reading, yes, it seems very confused... until one hits those last bits, then things (for me, at least) began to form a pattern. What we are dealing with here, as in some of Moorcock's work (such as the Jerry Cornelius stories) is time and reality in a state of flux, disrupted by chaos, yet having a peculiar pattern of its own via certain referents.

At any rate, the center of the whole thing was indeed that seller of fish-parts or, rather, his cart... a sort of strange portal from which all the chaos emerged and into which it would eventually (along with everything else) be absorbed again.

It's a very strange story, but I think it has some interesting takes on the theme of chaos in Lovecraft.

Wilum: As always, you are more than welcome. Yes, I think, in a very real sense, the "Great Ones" or the gods of earth are Lovecraft's reference to the gods we've invented as the anthropomorphic pantheons so many find so comforting, whilst the "other gods" are, as he states, the ultimate, blind, voiceless, tenebrous gods... the actual forces of the universe, and (again, to me) a sort of precursor to his idea of such entities as Yog-Sothoth, the later versions of Azathoth (who remains rather vague, really) and Nyarlathotep, etc. So I do see the two as related, but more in the manner of a nascent idea which began to be clarified a bit later in his own mind, though still developing... and never hidebound; something he never felt entirely constrained to as far as systematization goes, but which he could vary depending on the needs of a particular tale. Hence we have the "demythologization" of these entities of the Necronomicon as the very physical beings of At the Mountains of Madness who (recall) the humans dub the Old Ones....
 

w h pugmire esq

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#24
Great Yuggoth, I am now looking forward to my copy of Cthulhu's Heirs. The book has a bad reputation generally as the weakest of the Chaosium fiction books. Part of my dismissal comes from one of the writers having submitted a godawful story to me for Tales of Lovecraftian Horror and stating point-blank in his cover letter, "I want to be the next Lovecraft." The book has but three reviews over at Amazon, none of which are very praiseworthy. I look forward to writing my own wee review there.
 
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#25
While I would agree that it is one of the weaker entries in the Chaosium line, nonetheless I find several things in there of interest. (There are also some stinkers in there, and some which land between the two.) I don't want to discourage you, Wilum, but I would advise a cautious optimism. You may find you hate the book, or you may find you love it. I don't know; I'm only giving my own impression. But as to that particular story... have patience with it. It does have a point (in my opinion), but such may not be apparent until the final few lines.

And, as a moderator, I'm going to step in here to prevent this thread from going completely off-track. Let's keep the discussion to information about Nyarlathotep and his relation to Lovecraft's ideas, themes, and other entities which may prove useful for what Wilum is working on. Other discussions on the subject, such as those which Tinsel has brought in, really belong in a separate thread of their own.
 

w h pugmire esq

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#26
And, as a moderator, I'm going to step in here to prevent this thread from going completely off-track. Let's keep the discussion to information about Nyarlathotep and his relation to Lovecraft's ideas, themes, and other entities which may prove useful for what Wilum is working on. Other discussions on the subject, such as those which Tinsel has brought in, really belong in a separate thread of their own.
Ah, chaos reigns! Yes, let us get back to Nyarlathotep, even though all of this deep thinking re: ye Old Ones, Other Gods, Elder Thangs and Nyarlathotep's relation to them fascinates me! Perhaps a separate thread on this matter would be advisable, nu? Of course, you have all raised so many questions, and I fear that I shall bombard S. T. Joshi with questions on all of this when I have dinner with him tomorrow! Too bad the event cannot be filmed! (However, I will be discussing Nyarlathotep with S. T. live on YouTube next week on my MrWilum channel -- and I am certain his comments will lend themselves to acute discourse on this thread! Ia!)

What I am doing at ye moment is a careful rereading of "The Dream-Quest of Unkown Kadath" so as to understand it as a source of information regarding Nyarlathotep. I am reading it in two Arkham House editions, the first edition of ye Corrected Texts and then in its very first publication in book form in Beyond the Wall of Sleep (Arkham House 1943). I am making notes in one of my Commonplace Books of interesting phrases and ideas. Then, after a few pages, I go to S. T.'s annotations in the Penguin edition of The Dreams in the Witch House and other Weird Stories. I rarely read Lovecraft this way, as intense study, and it is a wonderful experience! I have never enjoy'd "Dream Quest" more than I am at this moment -- I find it sensational. As a source of information concerning Nyarlathotep it may prove very useful. So many things have already captivated me, such as

"In the tunnels of that twisted wood, whose low prodigious oaks twine groping boughs and shine dim with phosphorescence of strange fungi, dwell the furtive and secretive zoogs; who know many obscure secrets of the dream-world and a few of the waking world, since the wood at two places touches the land of men..."

I've decided one of those "two places" is Sesqua Valley, and it is because of this that Nyarlathotep has such easy access to the valley and is oft "felt" within its woodland and its shadowland of dream & mist. Too, I have often, in my tales, made reference to a furtive race of wee black creatures who dwell within ye darkness of Sesquan woodland -- & these may in fact be related to ye Zoogs. Endless possibilities! As usual, Lovecraft proves an effective & eternal muse!
 
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J-WO

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#27
Too, I have often, in my tales, made reference to a furtive race of wee black creatures who dwell within ye darkness of Sesquan woodland -- & these may in fact be related to ye Zoogs. Endless possibilities! As usual, Lovecraft proves an effective & eternal muse!
Could these wee black creatures be a warped reflection of the Zoogs? Nyarlathotep is, naturally, powerful enough to enter or make itself 'felt' in Sesqua valley, while the Zoogs only leave freakish, self-motivated imprints in the shape of the WBC's.

Just a thought...
 

w h pugmire esq

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#28
Could these wee black creatures be a warped reflection of the Zoogs? Nyarlathotep is, naturally, powerful enough to enter or make itself 'felt' in Sesqua valley, while the Zoogs only leave freakish, self-motivated imprints in the shape of the WBC's.

Just a thought...
This is a fascinating idea, but I don't want to apply it to my shadowy things because I actually don't ever want to explain what they are -- it would spoil their mystique. But this is an excellent germ of a story idea! It could apply to so many Lovecraftian things. I actually think my wee things owe more to Machen than to Lovecraft. The story is now at 5,000 words and I am soon to bring on Nyarlathotep as a character, whut has me a bit nervous, it has to be exactly right and atmospheric to ye core. I hope to spend most of the day writing, or trying to write, or thinking about writing as I continue to study "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath." Then I have dinner with S. T. Joshi, and if I feel dinner is ye place to grill him about ye nature of ye Crawling Chaos, I shall do so....
 

nigourath

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#30
These speculations ,about the nature of one of the most intriguing entities,could lead to even more greater obscurity -i also think ,that could be a great thing!!I had an almost identical query, as pugmire ,about the meaning of the phrase 'idiot chaos' ,and whom it refers upon...Although the "crawling chaos" is nothing, but the terrible entity reffered to as nyarlathotep(a name of eartly origin for an earthly manifestation...),my best guess was ,that it had to be "Azathoth"-also referred as a mindless ,blind entity by HPL...As it is evident in the poem "Fungi from Yuggoth" the "idiot chaos" ,that scatters earth"s last remains,is a cosmical power,that could represent Azathoth, but not the cosmically weaker Nyarlathotep.Despite being an entity capable of taking many different shapes and forms- of the undescribable proportion-he always seemed to me to have a lesser cosmical intent.

The "crawling chaos" doesnt profess a being of extrodinary cosmical power to me like, for examble Azathoth appears to be ,but more like the qualitative properties of the chaotic state.A chaos that "crawls its way through" is what Nyarlathotep represents, meaning the totally dynamic nature of the chaotic situation,a state of matter which in the field of plain physics today. is considered to be "rich in energy",a phenomen called "entropy".
Entropy is pretty much the main parameter of ataxia in a given "system" and as much as it increases the closer we get to a spontaneous change of that system,but lets return to the post:I think, what Lovecraft wanted to symbolize here ,was the dynamic property of the chaotic state and its tendency to "various changes",and remember nyarlathotep is a master shape-sifter ,an entity of many guises ,many of them impossible to even imagine.So my guess on this is ,that the "crawling chaos" is a very successfull characterization given by Lovecraft ,describing the chaos as a "form of energy" always ready to materialize ,which is not far from the scientific truth.If Azathoth is the being ,that is the nucleus of the chaos,an entity of unimaginible power ,but with no clear will,Nyarlathotep is nothing else than its "personified property", a terrrible being ,that "crawls its way" through constant change , a messenger of the universal cosmical truth,that any form of order is above all defined and controlled by chaos- and at the same time in a balance with it,yet even this balance prone to change every time and to every direction.....

And as the "crawling chaos" ,this is the very entity, that can take any possible physical form possible, that can create any possible instrument or use the most exotic energies imaginable or not.....
 
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#31
niggourath: On the following:

I think, what Lovecraft wanted to symbolize here ,was the dynamic property of the chaotic state and its tendency to "various changes",and remember nyarlathotep is a master shape-sifter ,an entity of many guises ,many of them impossible to even imagine.So my guess on this is ,that the "crawling chaos" is a very successfull characterization given by Lovecraft ,describing the chaos as a "form of energy" always ready to materialize ,which is not far from the scientific truth.If Azathoth is the being ,that is the nucleus of the chaos,an entity of unimaginible power ,but with no clear will,Nyarlathotep is nothing else than its "personified property", a terrrible being ,that "crawls its way" through constant change , a messenger of the universal cosmical truth,that any form of order is above all defined and controlled by chaos- and at the same time in a balance with it,yet even this balance prone to change every time and to every direction.....
I can't agree with you that Lovecraft intended such, or wanted to symbolize this, as there is no evidence that I am aware of that this aspect of physics (or metaphysics) was something he was familiar with; at least developed to this extent. (Then again, perhaps my memory is simply failing me....)

That said, however, its a fascinating reading of the idea of Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, and one which, authorial intent aside, might well bear up as a genuine thematic reading of the texts... especially if you correlated all the appearances of Nyarlathotep in Lovecraft's fiction and verse (and, if possible, letters... but especially -- as they were intended as artistic constructs rather than his more free-wheeling correspondence -- the fiction and verse) and built a case using these as support for such an idea.

It is also quite remarkable that you would mention the following conception:

A chaos that "crawls its way through" is what Nyarlathotep represents, meaning the totally dynamic nature of the chaotic situation,a state of matter which in the field of plain physics today. is considered to be "rich in energy",a phenomen called "entropy".
Entropy is pretty much the main parameter of ataxia in a given "system" and as much as it increases the closer we get to a spontaneous change of that system
That, frankly, is almost uncanny, as Wilum had mentioned/queried me about his using a term involving entropic energy... so your comments here may prove of great interest in that regard. (Hope you don't mind me mentioning this, Wilum....)

As I said, I can't see this as intent on the part of Lovecraft, but I can see where a case can be made for this as at least a very intriguing (and quite possibly strong) reading of this entity....

A very absorbing and fascinating post....:)
 
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w h pugmire esq

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#32
This is, indeed, quite uncanny and very cool. It has given me much food for thought, to the point where I am still awake when I should be asleep so that I have the energy in the late morning to actually work on the new story. I hunger for ideas concerning Nyarlathotep -- and thus these last two posts have been of keen interest. My fascination with Nyarlathotep deepens and deepens.
 

J Riff

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#33
Crawling chaos; a grotesquely liquiescent madness, undulating insanely in a space not of this universe.
Yet even pure chaos requires a mode of communication between multiform entities that may dwell therein - to stay alive, to keep each other alive by believing, as the humans no longer do, in the existence of impossible mutative realities such as their own.
And Nyarlothotep,the chaotic stream of purplish-black ooze that permeates all, and informs all - will sound the alert when the time is finally right... when enough humans have read the Lovecraftian reanimation passages... and Chaos will return to this world of mortals, and by doing so enslave or destroy it, as the old ways are re-established, never again to fall.
 

J-WO

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#34
Crawling chaos; a grotesquely liquiescent madness, undulating insanely in a space not of this universe.
Yet even pure chaos requires a mode of communication between multiform entities that may dwell therein - to stay alive, to keep each other alive by believing, as the humans no longer do, in the existence of impossible mutative realities such as their own.
And Nyarlothotep,the chaotic stream of purplish-black ooze that permeates all, and informs all - will sound the alert when the time is finally right... when enough humans have read the Lovecraftian reanimation passages... and Chaos will return to this world of mortals, and by doing so enslave or destroy it, as the old ways are re-established, never again to fall.
Thanks, J. Now here's Bob with the weather.
 

J Riff

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#35
Well. Waxing Lovecraftian is not something to be taken lightly. I'll have you know that it was pitch dark when I wrote this ..) ..and an eerie soughing wind caused me to imagine there was something outside my window. I was quaking in real fear, let me tell you ... - I thought it was the police.
But nay. Twas a simple being, an elder sprite-like enitity of the Northern wastes where I reside. It spoke to me of many things, not least of which was the need for more and better tales of terror that don't involve a middle-class family in a small mid-western town who have just purchased an old house that has a reputation of etc.

Meanwhile - Is there anywhere online that penniless types can peruse your fiction, or samples thereof, Mr. WHP ?
 

w h pugmire esq

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#36
Well. Waxing Lovecraftian is not something to be taken lightly. I'll have you know that it was pitch dark when I wrote this ..) ..and an eerie soughing wind caused me to imagine there was something outside my window. I was quaking in real fear, let me tell you ... - I thought it was the police.
But nay. Twas a simple being, an elder sprite-like enitity of the Northern wastes where I reside. It spoke to me of many things, not least of which was the need for more and better tales of terror that don't involve a middle-class family in a small mid-western town who have just purchased an old house that has a reputation of etc.

Meanwhile - Is there anywhere online that penniless types can peruse your fiction, or samples thereof, Mr. WHP ?
Some portions of my prose poem sequence may be read at the Ligotti forum, Thomas Ligotti Online. Other than that, I cannot recall. Oh, maybe some few things may be read on my blog, or at the Sesqua Valley Fan Page at Facebook. I've been far more active at my blog of late.

I finished my new novelette concerning Nyarlathotep to-night, and much of my inspiration came from reading and dwelling on this thread. I cannot thank y'all enough. This is an enchanting forum and I am so impress'd by the ideas express'd, and by the love shewn toward H. P. Lovecraft and ye Mythos. Because of the inspiration partially culled from you, I now have a new book completed! I especially want to thank j. d., whose comments and interest have been crucial. Now -- go dream dark dreams, my darlings.
 

nigourath

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#38
I would be curious ,about Pugmire"s version of nyarlathotep.What Lovecraft did many times was to blend scientific facts with unexpected out of the ordinary events and i believe, that is the way he pointed out, to any possible ambitious expander of his literature.(From the meteorite of unusual properties in the "colour out of space",and the slow intoxication of the ground soil ,around it or the discovery of planet pluto reffered in the whisperer in darkness ,that happened around that time and which he reffers to as Yuggoth and a main base of activity for the obscure entities Mi-go or even in the "dream-quest of unknown Kadath",where he includes the scientific fact of the unseen side -from earth- of the moon,a fact that not even the 80 percent of people today, are aware of-the moon is a fixated planetary body , around earth with a constantly hidden side.Well,if you dont believe me, about that percentage,just ask your way around -and yes , an educational value in Lovecraft"s literature,after all exists hehe...)

So,anyone with daring literally ambitions ,won"t go wrong ,if he chooses that direction(and a hard road ,that will be,so every effort should be supported by the reader ,at the rate of possible).
And what i would like ,personally, to see as a reader, about the very intriguing entity, called the crawling chaos(nyarlathotep):
His enigmatic involvement in the ancient egyptian society ,as according to Lovecraft, he arose there in those ancient times and possibly as a pharaoh-was that in the prerecorded part of the egyptian civilization,which was somewhere before 4000 b.c ,when the first written records (hieroglyphs) appeared.How did he acquire ,that kind of authority and power,with what means ?(a parallel possibility here with his short story "Nyarlathotep" exists...)
Furthermore ,what was his influence on the ancient egyptian society ?some propositions follow:
the unexplained worship of Death ,by the ancient Egyptians -could there be a connection ,during the unknown pre-hieroglyphic era, with "someone or something" inspiring, that decadent belief??...
How was that sense of decadence created and which later doomed the great ancient egyptian civilization,almost in a mathematical sequence??..
And what about the mystical construction of the Pyramids ,with various scientific scenarios existing today:they were of-course constructed, during the recorded era of the egyptian civilization,but could there exist "strange",uncanny instruments and objects ,that helped in that peculiar -uneven for the common humanity"s potential at that era-construction?Instruments and unknown gadgets ,that there existed somehow "inherited", before the pre-4000 b.c times...what was the insane knowledge behind them..-did more exist.... ??
And what was the source of the ludicrous belief of mummification techniques?Who taught them those incredible techniques ...and by whom , they were transfused the insane conviction,that maybe they could come back to life-intact, after many eons pass??....
The possibilities are endless ,and there could exist so many beautiful spin-offs of the Lovecraftian thematics.
And for those possesing those "literally guts" ,which HPL himself, i think ,was infamous for ,why not insert the Nyarlathotep figure into the biblical scene ,creating alternate versions of events-for examble replacing "the christian devil" -i say this phrase very accurately....-in the case of the Judas betrayal of christ..and after that act ,what madness overtook him ,which led him to his suicide?Maybe it wasn"t guilt at all ,as proclaimed before ...,but a sheer act of madness, obeying to the beatings of strange drums....Maybe an over the top literrally effort ,that would be ,but i think noteworthy and genuine.Just remember ,HPL has done such parallelism before -in the "dreams in the whitch house" HPL depicted Nyarlathotep, as the "black man", an image closely associated with the common devil of the witches incantations ,at the even blacker medieval ages,creating new literally routes......
 

w h pugmire esq

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#40
My use of Nyarlathotep had to be confined to his role in my novelette and thus had to be fairly specific. I failed in my initial plan to have my story a sequel of sorts to "The Haunter of the Dark" -- it is instead a total sequel to August Derleth's "The Dweller in Darkness," and I used some of Derleth's ideas and imagery in (I hope) my own fashion. I refute Derleth's image of Nyarlathotep as some huge mass with claws and tentacles, gawd how boring. I like to present Nyarlathotep in his human guise, although at one point in the story I shew him in one of his alien forms, a form that inspired a strange stone totem that was once near the lodge at Rick's Lake. (The totem does not actually appear in Derleth's tale, but it was shewn in the fabulous Stephen E. Fabian illustration for "The Dweller in Darkness" that appeared on page 38 of In Lovecraft's Shadow.) I hate Nyarlathotep's appearance/representation in "The Dreams in the Witch House," where he adds absolutely nothing to ye narrative.

My collection, of course, has a series of tales that I have written and revised over the past decade or two, and it displays my growing obsession with the fictive possibilities of my favorite Lovecraft "god". This new novelette is a coalescing of everything I have written before it and shews my present presentation of the Crawling Chaos and its relationship with Sesqua Valley, where he/it is the obsession of the valley's Great Perverted Beast, Simon Gregory Williams.
 
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