During the most recent NecronomiCon (August 17th-20th, 2017), I was honored to represent the Order of Shub Niggurath by giving a sermon at the biennial Sunday morning Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast. Below is a transcript of my eldritch ramblings.
Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast
“A Sermon Against Purity”
Anthony Teth (Order of Shub Niggurath)
Sunday, August 20th, 2017
We have come, once again, fellow travelers upon the path of Eternal Cosmic Night, to the divine city of Providence. Here at the tip of Narragansett Bay, where for the last few centuries, sailors and settlers have spun ghost tales and vampire legends, mingling and dancing chaotically with a myriad of strange and wondrous faiths, all because its founder, Roger Williams, thought a place where people of all religions and cultures could freely mingle without being shunned or ostracized right off the bat was a pretty stellar idea. What Cheer indeed, Netop!
And it is to here in this great hall that we return, to feast and give thanks to those many authors, artists, mystics, poets, prophets, musicians, muses and mad-pipers in honor of indescribably monstrous cosmic gods, and the grim machinations of a boundless multiverse far stranger and more bizarre than our limited imaginations could possibly be able to fathom. But that surely won’t stop us from trying.
As a representative of the Priesthood of Shub Niggurath, the Black Goat with a Thousand Young, Mother of Abominations and savior to all who seek her dread caress, it is my duty to apologize for our general quiet in an official capacity, but between taxing occult rituals and spirit flights to Benevento, Blockula or Anwynn every Solstice, Equinox, New Moon, Full Moon, Ember Day, Church Holiday and Bingo Thursday at the local Shriner’s Hall, the past few years have been both harrowing and replete with delectable rewards.
Being a priest of the Cosmic Goddess of Growth and Decay has a myriad of perks and foibles in and of itself, of course. A great deal of my time, personally, is dealt with initiates. Teaching them the basics of magic circles and spirit contact, training them in the evocation of various entities from dimensions maddening beyond description, resurrecting them when they haven’t fully grokked Step 1 before attempting Step 2 (and if there’s enough left over to reanimate, of course) and in the most unfortunate of occurrences, pulling a “Miracle Max” and depositing their loose change in a collection jar for Orphaned Shoggoths. To quote the daywalker Blade, “We’re not exactly the March of Dimes.”
On a side note but with the above in mind, I challenge anyone who has spent as much time as I have with middle-aged Wiccans to look me in the eye and tell me there’s “no such thing as too much Sandalwood or Fleetwood Mac.”
Oh there is, Sir! There is…
But all this aside, friends, to cast eyes upon this broad and beaming congregation at all of your faces, eyestalks, and spontaneously generated appendages today fills this Warlock’s curmudgeonly old heart with nothing but joy and admiration. Joy and admiration for the trillions of quarks, algae, bacteria, temporal anomalies and star explosions that could culminate in this grand event, here and now, where we may not only shed our mundane veils and express our true natures, but revel in them among the most delightful of company.
But even throughout this grand convocation of eldritch merriment there must be time for solemnity and reflection, and today I wish to reflect upon a myth. A myth that has been plaguing our hallowed congregations of Cyclopean Terror for centuries if not millennia. A myth I wish to put to rest.
That myth, my friends, is Purity.
Purity. The mere word itself has an odd taste to the mandibular sensorial apparatus. Purity. Completely clean or wholesome. It is Purity, dear travelers, that may be one of the most noxious, surreptitious, and dangerous myths of all.
The concept of Purity is anathema to life itself, since any rudimentary study of biology can clearly show the interdependence of organisms to the life cycles of the invisible squirming masses of microbes, germs, and bacteria that cling to epidermis and esophageal tract, stomach lining and salivation ducts.
Enjoy your breakfast, by the way.
Those creatures made sterile or bereft of these helpful swarms in lab experiments grow weak and die, barely able to digest or process what would normally be considered “basic foods.”
Yet the concept of Purity is also anathema to death. Those aforementioned masses responsible for the continuance of a creature’s life will almost immediately begin devouring their host the moment life processes cease, while dozens of various mammals, reptiles, molds and fungal growths eventually have their fill and leave the rest to worms, mites, plants and trees. Even if we go back to the philosophical root of death itself, entropy, we find not this supposed purity, but an exceedingly complex system of devourment and proliferation, with cooperation and competition creating a teaming miasmal stew of wonder and possibility.
So where is this supposed Purity? It certainly isn’t in the composite gasses we breathe, nor within the life-teeming water we consume or aspirate (for those children of Innsmouth here in attendance), for pollen, mold spores, phytoplankton, tardigrades, radioactive fungi and airborne pathogens have caressed our nostrils, gills, and venticular protrusions since time immemorial. Searching for purity within our food, whatever or whomever it may be, is equally troublesome for similar reasons.
And one of the most ridiculous of these, shall we say, Puritanical concepts, is where folks profess this enigmatic and frankly preposterous Purity within, of all bloody things, human genes. Yes, humans, those oddly bipedal, domestic primates who for thousands of years have been humping their neighbors, humping their friends, humping their neighbors’ friends and friends’ neighbors, until eventually deciding to migrate elsewhere and continue the rampant rutting cycle with whomever happens to be nearby and (theoretically) willing. Humans who have been mongrels since the beginning, and shall be so at the end.
Yet some take this even further, claiming even greater purity and superiority over these shambling masses of great apes, while carrying Polynesian garden torches of all things, and flashing a salute fit for Caesar.
Of course, they seem to have forgotten that the Roman Republic’s most famous dictator was quite literally stabbed in the back by rich, racist senators who could not stand, among other things, the sight of those filthy, pale Celts and Gauls being allowed seats in their sacred halls of statecraft. Or that the Romans themselves, according to their own account of history, were migrant refugees from a Near-Eastern city-state torn asunder by war. Or that the first Runic alphabet was created by Phoenician Semites as they sailed the Southern Mediterranean.
But that’s humans for you.
Yes, humans who claim superiority over all other terrestrial life on this adorably blue, spinning sphere due to a combination of brain size and thumb dexterity, but still have a helluva time figuring out that most basic of tenants: Don’t shit where you eat.
That is why, fellow travelers, to the hundreds of you gathered with us today in this great hall, to the thousands and thousands of you ambling about on this weird, spinning, wet rock, for the billions and trillions of you voyaging toward the illimitable gulfs beyond —
I call not for Purity, but for Polyphony!
For as I lay ocular cavities upon this glorious congregation of Mi-Gos, Night Gaunts, and Cthonians, Cho-Chos, Star Vampires, and Elder Things, Shoggoths, Byakhees, Ghasts, Gugs, Tindalosian Hounds, and all other beautifully bizzare entities both Nameable and Unnameable, I know in my gut of guts with the greatest of pride that we are all part of a magical and monstrous Mythos which stretches beyond the petty intrigues of state and bloodline, human and alien, shambler and spawn. When we are united beneath the grand arbor of the Mythos we become a cyclopean cosmic gestalt that can shake the very bonds of the Multiverse itself.
And that is why, fellow travelers, I have come from my humble Covenstead not with complicated sigils scrawled in the blood of some rare and dangerous creature, nor with the implements and unguents necessary for the more intricate rites of necromancy, but with the simplest of chants. One I am willing to bet you already know. One that holds more power than most can imagine.
For remember well that the Goddess I revere is called a Harlot not due to some puritanical concept of sensual delight, but because she refuses none in her terrifying embrace.
Our chant, fellow travelers, is one of Union.
IA IA IA
IA IA IA
IA IA IA
Praise be to thee, Yog Sothoth, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, Abhoth, the mightiest of gates shatter at thy whim.
IA IA IA
Praise be to thee, Yig, Shub Niggurath, Tulzscha, Ubbo-Sathla, the jewels of the stars are thine to command.
IA IA IA
Praise be to thee Hastur, Cthulhu, Dagon, Chaugnar Faugn, untold generations have knelt to thy might.
IA IA IA
Praise be to thee, Y’Golonac, Cthuga, Shudde M’ell, Tsathoggua, for thy kingdoms shall return.
IA IA IA
IA IA IA
IA IA IA…