Raising Cthulhu And Ending The World: A How-To For Beginners | Vol. 4 / No. 2.3

Original Image: Eric Kilby, CC BY-SA 2.0

In a post that has nothing at all to do with current events, here’s some basic instructions for how to wake the Great Old One Cthulhu from his abyssal slumber and end humanity like the horrible ignorant pestilence it is.


“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming. But he doesn’t have to wait forever. Is now your preferred time for the end times? If it is, there are some steps you could consider following.

The first thing to know is that it’s going to be tough work. If it were simple, we’d all be dead or insane already. But, as they say, no great deed is ever easy, so don’t let that stop you.

When you’re starting out, it helps to know what you’re dealing with. Cthulhu is known as a Great Old One, in fact the High Priest of the Great Old Ones, incredibly powerful and alien life forms with indefinite lifespans. Cthulhu is the great-great-grandchild of the Great Old One Azathoth, king and creator of the Great Old Ones, who like his great-great-grandchild is also sleeping. But unlike Cthulhu, who sleeps in the sunken city of R’lyeh beneath the Pacific Ocean, Azathoth sleeps at the heart of the universe, dreaming it and everything in it into being. If you could get to the heart of the universe and stop the drumming that keeps him asleep, the universe would wink out just like flipping off a light switch, but that‘s a little ambitious, don’t you think? We don’t even know where the heart of the universe is, and even if we did, it’d probably take lifetimes to get there.

Meanwhile, Cthulhu’s just under the Pacific, so he’s much easier to get to, and if he wakes up, all of humanity will descend into gibbering horror and humanity will basically be over for all intents and purposes anyway. It’s a much more reasonable goal, all things considered.

But how to wake him up? Well, that’s the tricky part, because you need the right incantations. This is a helpful guide for a crowd of enthusiasts to summon Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, who acts as a Hermes-like messenger for the Sleeper of R’lyeh, and allow them to dream horrific dreams of Cthulhu. This itself might drive you mad (or at least really embarrass you), but you might also learn how to wake up Cthulhu, so those are your options on that front. Otherwise you could search the world for the Cult of Cthulhu, get a boat, and wait in the Pacific Ocean for the correct alignment of the stars so you can get into R’lyeh when it surfaces, preferably with a lot of cowbells and cymbals because he seems like a pretty heavy sleeper.

If you have a little more time on your hands, you could invest in SpaceX in the hopes that a fallen civilization on Mars or one of its Moons (they’re named “fear” and “terror” after all) has left behind some monumental traces of its former existence, granting great wisdom and the power to converse with the Great Old Ones who will give you a guide to ushering in the Final Ecstasy of Blood and Death. Really, the options are legion.

In any case, the best clues can probably be found in the works of H. P. Lovecraft, who, despite his pretty intense racism (or maybe because of it?), seemed to know a thing or two about the great horrors of the unknown. Start with “Call of Cthulhu” and work your way in from there. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

I mean, what else are you going to do, read the news?


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Richard Ford Burley is a human, writer, and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.