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Constantin von Hoffmeister discusses the eerie link between the French Revolution and the Cult of Cthulhu, its malevolent effect on traditional Europe, and the imminent return of the Great Old One.

As the hand of the great clock of time swept across the twilight of the eighteenth century, there arose from the gloom of the Old World a spectacle of monstrous transformation that would rend asunder the fragile veils of order and civilization. It was the birth of a hideous monstrosity called the French Revolution, an event of such profound horror and deep impact that the vestiges of traditional Europe – steeped in the potent legacy of noble lineage, faith, and chivalry – would forever be swept away in its chilling undertow.

This storm, which shook the world, was not of mere political ambition or economic discontent; it was a ghastly manifestation of a cult too terrible to behold, a cult birthed in the shadows of forgotten times and forbidden lore: the Cult of Cthulhu.

The dire influence of this cult – whose dread origins extend back to the dim epochs before mankind – on the French Revolution has remained largely obscured beneath the blanket of history. Its anti-natural doctrines, however, proved a fertile breeding ground for the tumult that would shatter Europe.

From the squalid depths of the Parisian catacombs, whispers of “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” emerged. Yet, they were but echoing refrains of the cult’s more ancient chant: “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” (“In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming”). Both, in essence, held the same terrible promise: the collapse of the old order, the obliteration of the old faiths, and the ascension of a new world, unspeakable and terrifying.

Here, amidst the shadowy labyrinth of the Parisian underbelly, the Cult of Cthulhu nurtured the philosophies of men like Robespierre and Marat, their minds ensnared in the eldritch enchantments of the Great Old One. With doctrines of equality and fraternity, the cult’s malevolent influence seeped into the fabric of the Revolution, steering it towards chaos and destruction.

The madness bore its grim fruit in the Reign of Terror, a period echoing the great disturbances in the cosmic order when the Great Old One raged against his imprisonment. The guillotine, the symbol of this reign, was not merely a tool of death but an altar to Cthulhu, each severed head a macabre tribute to the great beast’s undying hunger.

Moreover, the destruction of the Church, a traditional bulwark against the encroachment of pagan deities, symbolized Cthulhu’s victory over the spiritual fabric of Europe. The cult de la Raison, the new “religion” of the Revolution, was but a perverse, humanist mockery of the true worship that the Cult of Cthulhu propagated in those cryptic, moonlit nights in the catacombs. The extermination of the ancient remnants of faith paved the path for the indescribable reign of the alien abomination.

As the French Revolution blazed through Europe, it left in its wake the charred remains of centuries of tradition. The Europe that had once been – a land of kings and knights, of faith and honor, of quiet villages and vast cathedrals – was no more. In its place arose a new world, a world defined by the revolutionary ideas of equality and secularism.

Yet, this world was borne of the murmurings of the Great Old One, and thus, even in the midst of its seemingly rational constitution, it bore the taint of the otherworldly, the non-Euclidean, the Lovecraftian. In its heart, it was a world made in the image of the Old One, a world that no longer looked to heaven for divine guidance, but instead peered into the abyss, ever-waiting, ever-dreading, anticipating the day when Cthulhu would rise again.

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Constantin von Hoffmeister

Constantin von Hoffmeister studied English Literature and Political Science in New Orleans. He has worked as an author, journalist, translator, editor and business trainer in India, Uzbekistan and Russia. You can subscribe to his newsletter here:

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Toni George
Toni George
8 months ago

I am overwhelmed at the intelligence that this former foreign exchange student, who I was privileged to have in my home, possesses! Thoughtful and provocative is this essay and I am grateful to have read this and to have known this young man!

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