Oh Great Cthulhu, is it that time of the week already? Goodness gracious does time fly by. But as always, we here at Simply CSOFT are prepped and ready with a word for Wacky Word Wednesday, a celebration of some of the strangest and goofiest words out in the great expanse that is the world – both above ground and under it… Wait, what?
Today’s word, courtesy of TermWiki.com:
Relating to deities, spirits, and other beings dwelling underneath the Earth; Pertaining to the Earth; earthly; as, chthonic religions
Chthonic comes from the Greek khthonios, which means in or under the earth, whereas the more commonly known Greek word for the goddess of earth, Gaia, references the living and above ground. The root, khthon, tends to evoke more of an image of death, or a grave, and for good reason.
Chthonic may be more readily recognized due to its association with the creature Cthulhu, a fantastical cosmic being written and created by celebrated American science fiction and horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. Cthulhu, although the pronunciation of the name is debated, quite obviously derives its name and meaning from the word chthonic. The creature first appeared in the February, 1928 issue of Weird Tales under H.P. Lovecraft’s novelette The Call of Cthulhu. The Cthulhu Mythos is a beast of its own, introducing and establishing an entire pantheon of gods, demons, devils, and celestial beings. Cthulhu itself is essentially a god of terror, as it renders just about anyone or anything that lays eyes on it completely insane. It was described in Lovecraft’s original story as a malevolent entity hibernating within the sunken city of R’lyeh, located in the South Pacific. Although, in present day, Cthulhu has come to represent something of an Anti-Christ-like being, American theologian and writer, Robert M. Price, details in his essay Lovecraft’s ‘Artificial Mythology’ that Lovecraft never intended his pantheon of beings (Cthulhu included) to be supernatural creatures, but instead powerful extraterrestrials. Lovecraft’s supposed intentions were more nihilistic in origin, seeking to break down humanity from its imagined place of importance in the universe by forcing his characters to interact with aliens who were older and wiser than humanity. His human characters would worship these beings, go insane, or both. In Lovecraft’s eyes, this served to show that humans worship or apply divinity to anything they can’t understand, but in actuality, the universe is simply a random and uncaring place.
Cthulhu has been immortalized in his own pseudo-religious mythology, as well as in comic books, board games, and other forms of entertainment. Check out below for some sentences that are hopefully worthy of the “greatness” that is the word chthonic:
- This is one of the areas of treatment that we specialize in. This child is living in the Chthonic Realm and deserves a true diagnosis and treatment based on sound principles and knowledge without causing harm. (usedinasentence.com)
- I only listen to indie, 90’s underground hip hop, and chthonian electronic music, so there’s no point in asking me who my favorite musical artist is because you probably have never heard of them.
- The following is a passage from a famous story about the chthonic creature Cthulhu: “Latitude 47 9’, W. Longitude 126 43’ come upon a coast-line of mingled mud, ooze, and weedy Cyclopean masonry which can be nothing less than the tangible substance of earth’s supreme terror – the nightmare corpse-city of R’lyeh, that was built in measureless aeons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars. There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults and sending and called imperiously to the faithful to come on a pilgrimage of liberation and restoration.”
Well, that’s all for this week’s relatively darker Wacky Word Wednesday entry. Hopefully the rest your week isn’t chthonic in nature. Make sure to join us next week for a new wacky word.
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