Yog-Sothoth

Yog-Sothoth ("The Lurker at the Threshold", "The Key and the Gate", "The Beyond One", "Opener of the Way", "The All-in-One and the One-in-All") is a fictional character in the Cthulhu Mythos and the Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft. Yog-Sothoth's name was first mentioned in his novella "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" (written 1927, first published 1941). The being is said to take the form of a conglomeration of glowing bubbles.

Mythos summary

Imagination called up the shocking form of fabulous Yog-Sothoth — only a congeries of iridescent globes, yet stupendous in its malign suggestiveness.
—H. P. Lovecraft, "The Horror in the Museum"

Yog-Sothoth is an Outer God and is with "all" time and space yet is supposedly locked outside of the universe we inhabit. Its cosmic nature is hinted at in this passage from "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" (1934) by Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price:

It was an All-in-One and One-in-All of limitless being and self — not merely a thing of one Space-Time continuum, but allied to the ultimate animating essence of existence's whole unbounded sweep — the last, utter sweep which has no confines and which outreaches fancy and mathematics alike. It was perhaps that which certain secret cults of earth have whispered of as YOG-SOTHOTH, and which has been a deity under other names; that which the crustaceans of Yuggoth worship as the Beyond-One, and which the vaporous brains of the spiral nebulae know by an untranslatable Sign...

Yog-Sothoth knows all and sees all. To "please" this deity could bring knowledge of many things. However, like most beings in the mythos, to see it or learn too much about it is to court disaster. Some authors state that the favour of the god requires a human sacrifice or eternal servitude.

The essay In Rerum Supernatura in the "Call of Cthulhu" role-playing game suggests that Yog-Sothoth's name may be a rough transliteration of the Arabic phrase "Yaji Ash-Shuthath," meaning "There is no peace at the gates." [Petersen, Sandy and Willis, Lynn (1992). “In Rerum Supernatura”, Call of Cthulhu, 5th ed., Oakland, CA: Chaosium, pp. 189–92. ISBN 0-933635-86-9.]

He is stated as the only being truly more powerful than the all-mighty Azathoth, and wiser than the all-seeing Yibb-Tstll.

The Old Ones

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.
—H. P. Lovecraft, "The Dunwich Horror"

Yog-Sothoth has some connection to the mysterious Old Ones mentioned in "The Dunwich Horror" (1929), but their nature, their number, and their connection to Yog-Sothoth are unknown. Nonetheless, they are probably allied to him in some way, since Wilbur Whateley, the half-human son of Yog-Sothoth, tried to summon them so that they could control Wilbur's more tainted twin and make it reproduce.

In "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", its name is part of an incantation that could revive the dead:

:"Y'AI'NG'NGAH":"YOG-SOTHOTH":"H'EE-L'GEB":"F'AI TRHODOG":"UAAAAH"

Avatars of Yog-Sothoth

Aforgomon

Aforgomon is an obscure avatar of Yog-Sothoth invented by Clark Ashton Smith. He was revered by many cultures past, present, and future as the God of Time because of his preternatural ability to manipulate time and space. Little is known of this being's appearance because he only reveals himself to those who have angered him. However, it is known that he is accompanied by a blinding light. He is the mortal enemy of Xexanoth.

The Lurker at the Threshold

This is the name given to Yog-Sothoth in August Derleth and H. P. Lovecraft's novel "The Lurker at the Threshold". In the story, Alijah Billington describes Yog-Sothoth's appearance as

...great globes of light massing toward the opening, and not alone these, but the breaking apart of the nearest globes, and the protoplasmic flesh that flowed blackly outward to join together and form that eldritch, hideous horror from outer space, that spawn of the blankness of primal time, that tentacled amorphous monster which was the lurker at the threshold, whose mask was as a congeries of iridescent globes, the noxious Yog-Sothoth, who froths as primal slime in nuclear chaos beyond the nethermost outposts of space and time!

'Umr at-Tawil

'Umr at-Tawil ("The Most Ancient and Prolonged of Life"), also spelled Tawil At-U'mr or Tawil-at'Umr, is described as an avatar of Yog-Sothoth in the story "Through the Gates of the Silver Key", by Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price. In the story, he presides over the timeless halls beyond the Gate of the Silver Key and the strange, near-omnipotent "Ancient Ones" that dwell there. He is described as the silhouette of a man behind a strange, shimmering veil.

Influence

Though not as ubiquitous as Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth sometimes appears in popular culture as a way to evoke Lovecraftian themes.

Yog-Sothoth occasionally appears in fiction outside the Cthulhu Mythos milieu:

*In the "Illuminatus!" trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, Yog-Sothoth is described as an extradimensional entity, whose attributes differ widely from those described in the Mythos. Worshipped as a god by some incarnations of the Illuminati, it is known as the Eater of Souls for its habit of feeding from human sacrifices. It is bodiless and invisible, but can possess humans, and can be imprisoned in pentagonal shapes; for several decades, it was imprisoned in The Pentagon by the Illuminati, and fed on traffic fatalities.

*Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" novel "Moving Pictures" mentions an "outerdimensional being" named Yob Soddoth, with its distintive cry of "Yerwhatyerwhatyerwhat".

*A graffito in Stephen King's 1991 book "Needful Things" proclaims "Yog-Sothoth Rules," a sign in his 1980 short story "Crouch End" reads "Yogsoggoth", and in his 1978 short story "Jerusalem's Lot", it's hinted near the climax that 'The Worm That Doth Corrupt', an enormous supernatural entity, is Yog-Sothoth, and the book used to summon it is the De Vermis Mysteriis.

*"Eggs Sothoth" are served in H.P.'s Cafe, mentioned several times in the novels of Christopher Moore.

Bands in the heavy metal genre frequently make reference to Yog-Sothoth. It is also referred to, in veiled or open form, by a number of video games and television shows.

*In their song "We Are The Gothic Archies", The Gothic Archies deny being Satan-worshippers, asserting instead that they worship Yog-Sothoth.

*The Lovecraft-inspired video game "" features an end-boss god-creature named "Yog Sethis", a reference to Yog-Sothoth, despite more closely resembling Cthulhu in appearance.

*Some Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans suspect the character Dawn of being Yog-Sothoth. [ [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WMG/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Television Tropes & Idioms ] ] The evidence being that both are referred to as "The Key", and both are capable of opening portals between dimensions.

* Sebadoh has a song called "Calling Yog Soggeth" on their "III" album.

* In the movie In the Mouth of Madness graffiti referring to "Yag Sotteh" can be seen during the second alley scene.

Footnotes

References

*cite book|last=Harms|first=Daniel|chapter=Yog-Sothoth|pages=pp. 345–7|title=The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana|edition=2nd ed.|year=1998|location=Oakland, CA|publisher=Chaosium|id=ISBN 1-56882-119-0

*cite book|last=Pearsall|first=Anthony B.|title=The Lovecraft Lexicon|edition=1st ed.|chapter=Yog-Sothoth|pages=pp. 438–40|year=2005|location=Tempe, AZ|publisher=New Falcon|id=ISBN 1-56184-129-3

*cite book|last=Petersen|first=Sandy|coauthors=Lynn Willis, William Hamblin|title=Call of Cthulhu|edition=5th ed.|chapter=In Rerum Supernatura|pages=pp. 189–92|year=1992|location=Oakland, CA|publisher=Chaosium|id=ISBN 0-933635-86-9


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