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Azathoth

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AZATHOTH—hideous name.
~ H.P. Lovecraft
Outside the ordered universe is that amorphous blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity—the boundless daemon sultan Azathoth, whose name no lips dare speak aloud, and who gnaws hungrily in inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond time and space amidst the muffled, maddening beating of vile drums and the thin monotonous whine of accursed flutes.
~ H.P. Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
Azathoth, also known as The Blind Idiot God, is the great, all-powerful Ruler of the Outer Gods and a cosmic entity of colossal proportions, created by horror fantasy writer, H.P. Lovecraft. He is omnipotent - beyond the power of the Great Old Ones such as Cthulhu and even its fellow Outer Gods - and is the sole most powerful being in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, who first appeared in the 1922 short story ​Azathoth. Azathoth is seen as all-powerful and the creator of all of existence. All of reality is merely a part of Azathoth's dream unknowingly created by itself. However, Azathoth, whilst he is asleep, is not all-knowing (being a "Blind Idiot God") and is completely mindless. The trait of being all-knowing is said to belong to its fellow Outer Gods, Yibb-Tstll and Yog-Sothoth.

History

According to Lovecraftian mythology Azathoth is the omnipotent "Blind Idiot God" or "Nuclear Chaos" - it is said to be stuck in an endless slumber and is served upon by countless lesser deities that play a maddening tune on innumerable drums and flutes to keep Azathoth from awakening, for if the great "Daemon Sultan" should awaken even for a few moments all of existence is said to be doomed as it will signal the ultimate destruction of existence as we know it.

As well as its innumerable drummers Azathoth is tended upon by horrendous dancers and is said to float in the very centre of the universe in the centre of chaos itself (and hence "nuclear" may actually refer to its dwelling at the nucleus of the universe), no mortal has yet entered this realm and survived and judging by the visions spoken of by H.P. Lovecraft and later writers it is doubtful that any who did would wish to continue living, as Azathoth held the same insanity inducing aura as the other Lovecraftian horrors despite it being trapped in slumber.

Description

Azathoth's precise appearance is only hinted at throughout the Mythos, and indeed may be unknowable by mortal beings. It is described as occupying a position outside of the universe, where it is attended by a cohort of alien servants who continually bathe it with the sounds of pipes and drums. Though it is the ruler and creator of all existence, it is described as "a blind idiot god," oblivious to the universe and the beings within it.

​Powers

Azathoth is technically "God," and additionally the"Blind Idiot God" who is absolutely mindless and unconscious, but is omnipotent and the most powerful being of all. He created all of existence as part of his dream and is not even aware of it. Should he awaken, all of existence would be no more and all would once again be Azathoth. He cannot be destroyed as the concept of destruction is merely his dream, and he exists beyond the concept of speed, strength, mortals and the Outer Gods as they are all merely part of his dream. Despite being mindless, Azathoth does have a will of his own and commands his messanger and avatar, Nyarlathotep.

Azathoth's family tree

Quotes

...I started with loathing when told of the monstrous nuclear chaos beyond angled space which the Necronomicon had mercifully cloaked under the name of Azathoth.
~ H.P. Lovecraft, The Whisperer in Darkness
Eventually there had been a hint of vast, leaping shadows, of a monstrous, half-acoustic pulsing, and of the thin, monotonous piping of an unseen flute—but that was all. Gilman decided he had picked up that last conception from what he had read in the Necronomicon about the mindless entity Azathoth, which rules all time and space from a curiously environed black throne at the centre of Chaos.
~ H.P. Lovecraft, The Dreams in the Witch House
The passage through the vague abysses would be frightful, for the Walpurgis-rhythm would be vibrating, and at last he would have to hear that hitherto veiled cosmic pulsing which he so mortally dreaded. Even now he could detect a low, monstrous shaking whose tempo he suspected all too well. At Sabbat-time it always mounted and reached through to the worlds to summon the initiate to nameless rites. Half the chants of the Sabbat were patterned on this faintly overheard pulsing which no earthly ear could endure in its unveiled spatial fulness. Gilman wondered, too, whether he could trust his instinct to take him back to the right part of space. How could he be sure he would not land on that green-litten hillside of a far planet, on the tessellated terrace above the city of tentacled monsters somewhere beyond the galaxy, or in the spiral black vortices of that ultimate void of Chaos wherein reigns the mindless daemon-sultan Azathoth?
~ H.P. Lovecraft, The Dreams in the Witch House
Before his eyes a kaleidoscopic range of phantasmal images played, all of them dissolving at intervals into the picture of a vast, unplumbed abyss of night wherein whirled suns and worlds of an even profounder blackness. He thought of the ancient legends of Ultimate Chaos, at whose centre sprawls the blind idiot god Azathoth, Lord of All Things, encircled by his flopping horde of mindless and amorphous dancers, and lulled by the thin monotonous piping of a daemoniac flute held in nameless paws
~ H.P. Lovecraft, The Haunter of the Dark

Out in the mindless void the daemon bore me,

Past the bright clusters of dimensioned space,

Till neither time nor matter stretched before me,

But only Chaos, without form or place.

Here the vast Lord of All in darkness muttered

Things he had dreamed but could not understand, While near him shapeless bat-things flopped and fluttered

In idiot vortices that ray-streams fanned.

They danced insanely to the high, thin whining

Of a cracked flute clutched in a monstrous paw,

Whence flow the aimless waves whose chance combining

Gives each frail cosmos its eternal law. “I am His Messenger,” the daemon said,

As in contempt he struck his Master’s head.

~ XXII. Azathoth , proof that all of existence is merely part of Azathoth's dream

​Theories

Because of H.P. Lovecrafts lack of explanation, there are several theories on who or what Azathoth really is.

  • Azathoth is merely a pawn of an even more terrible creature.
  • Azathoth was invovled in a Cosmic War, in which he lost his sanity.
  • Azathoth is not even the God's true name.
  • Azathoth is located at the centre of Earth, instead of the centre of existence or outside of existence.

Trivia

  • Azathoth is one of the, if not the, most powerful villain(s) in all of fiction.
  • Azathoth was only referred to in the short story Azathoth in the title.
    • The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is the true first story to mention Azathoth.
  • Azathoth presumably is omniscient while he is awake as omniscience is part of his mind.
  • Azathoth and Yog-Sothoth are often debated as to who is more powerful. However, Azathoth is more powerful due to Yog-Sothoth only being part of Azathoth's dream.
  • Azathoth is titled the Nuclear Chaos, not in terms of Nuclear Power, but in terms of a Nucleus as he is the Master and centre of existence.
  • Azathoth has Cults on Earth, who wish to summon Azathoth into the mortal world.
  • "Thoth", part of Azathoth's name, is the Egyptian God of Wisdom.

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