Extraterrestrial places in the Cthulhu Mythos
The following fictional celestial bodies figure prominently in the Cthulhu Mythos stories of H. P. Lovecraft and other writers. Many of these astronomical bodies have parallels in the real universe, but are often renamed in the mythos and given fictitious characteristics. In addition to the celestial places created by Lovecraft, the mythos draws from a number of other sources, including the works of August Derleth, Ramsey Campbell, Lin Carter, Brian Lumley, and Clark Ashton Smith.
- Name. The name of the celestial body appears first.
- Description. A brief description follows.
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A planet that revolves around seven stars beyond Xoth. It is inhabited by metallic brains, wise with the ultimate secrets of the universe. According to Friedrich von Junzt's Unaussprechlichen Kulten, Nyarlathotep dwells or is imprisoned on this world (though other legends differ in this regard).
Double star mentioned by H.P. Lovecraft as sidereal place of a demonic shining entity made of light. The same star is also described in other Mythos stories as a planetary system host (See Ymar) and sidereal prison of the Dholes.
Argo Navis is a composite sky-field collecting the constellations Carina, Vela, Puppis and Pyxis, mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dreams in the Witch-House" (1933) as one the cosmic places visited in dreams by Walter Gilman. "Somewhere between Hydra and Argo Navis" (perhaps in Antlia constellation) is indeed an extrasolar planet orbiting three Suns, each of different hue, inhabited by starfish-like, barrel-shaped alien creatures which match with the Elder Things described two years earlier by Lovecraft in "At the Mountains of Madness" (1931).
Baalblo & YifneEdit
A planet with pale red sky orbiting three Suns (perhaps the nearby triple system EZ Aquarii). There the "Sealed Tower of N'kung" is located, likely the tomb or prison of a three-eyed demonic entity of impossible horror.
Celaeno is one of the seven stars of the Pleiades. On its fourth planet is the Great Library of Celaeno, which houses stone tablets containing secrets stolen from the Great Old Ones and Elder Gods. Professor Laban Shrewsbury spent some time here, transcribing the library's knowledge in his notebook—a manuscript that would later be known as the Celaeno Fragments.
The Hyperborean name for the planet Saturn is Cykranosh. It was the home of the god Tsathoggua before he came to Earth, though several of his relatives, including his uncle, Hziulquoigmnzhah, still dwell there.
Fomalhaut is the main star of Piscis Austrinus, a bright white-blue main sequence star. It is orbited by a planet where the Great Old One Aphoom-Zhah was born and near lies the star Korvaz, where the Great Old One Cthugha is imprisoned.
Naacal or R'lyehan name for star Ras Algethi.
Glyu-Uho (or Glyu-Vho or K'Lu-Vho) is the name for Betelgeuse in Naacal (the language of Mu), and is the star where the Elder Gods came from to battle the Great Old Ones (though it may actually be the place where a gateway leads to Elysia, the dimension where the Elder Gods are thought to live). Betelgeuse is also mentioned as the homeworld of the 'Ithria, a star-faring fungoid race.
A wandering black hole located in "the Seventh Dimension beyond the Utmost Rim". Gnarr-Kthun could match with the black hole in Monoceros constellation (likely the nearby X-ray binary A0620-00) said to be the prison of the Great Old One Kassogtha, also orbited by Phphun, an extracosmic hollow comet which hosts a crypt dwelled by an eternal sentient entity called H'hphu-Yys-Echrr.
Naacal or R'lyehan name for star Mebsuta.
G'yoth & Yg'giathEdit
A pair of twin red suns located near Castor (likely the eclipsing binary YY Geminorum) and orbited by a steamy hellish planet where damned souls bound to the cult of Y'golonac and his demonic spouse relentlessly whirl and cavort.
Haddath (also Haddoth or perhaps Urakhu) is a fiery planet, possibly found near the "eye" of the constellation Hydra, and is believed to be inhabited by the chthonians. Shub-Niggurath is thought to have once dwelt here.
A green-litten planet located in Dimension N beyond our Galaxy where the "leaden hillside of Pnapf" is located. This alien world has been visited in dreams by Walter Gilman in H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dreams in the Witch-House" (1933).
An undefined realm, possibly a distant ammonia planet orbiting a dying star, home of the Great Old One Kaalut.
A jungle planet orbiting a binary star system, composed of a green star and a dead one (likely a black hole or a brown dwarf), likely matching with Yifne and Baalblo. Kr’llyand is the homeworld of the plant-like Great Old One Ei'lor, which once was a dead star like its neighbor Mirkalu, but after Elder Gods banished Ei'lor there, the seed of the Great Old One was sown and spread, fertilizing the dead planet.
Ktynga (or Norby's comet) is the name of a bluish comet that is currently near the star Arcturus. The comet is unusually hot and has strange properties, such as the ability to travel faster than light.
On the surface of the comet is a huge building, wherein dwells the being Fthaggua, and his servants, the fire vampires. Fthaggua and his minions can guide the comet to travel between the stars, and will visit our Solar System four-centuries from now.
The planet Uranus. It is inhabited by metallic, cube-shaped beings with multiple legs. These creatures worship a minor deity known as L'rog'g (possibly another aspect of Nyarlathotep), whose rituals require a yearly sacrifice in the form of the excising of the legs from a native.
When the Insects from Shaggai (the Shan) arrived, the natives of L'gy'hx initially tolerated them and allowed them to build a huge city. After two centuries, the natives even came to see the Shan as co-rulers of the planet. In time, many Shan eschewed the veneration of Azathoth and began to worship the L'gy'hx deity L'rog'g. But when some natives of L'gy'hx likewise turned to the worship of Azathoth, the event prompted the priests of L'rog'g to start an inquisition, inflicting gruesome punishments on the heretics. Relations with the Shan soured quickly as a result, and the priests of L'rog'g demanded that all temples of Azathoth be removed from L'gy'hx. A small group of the Shan, still faithful to the Azathoth sect, left L'gy'hx, teleporting themselves and their deity's temple to the planet Earth.
Dark planet inhabited by crystalline beings, and the dwelling place of the Great Old One Q'yth-az. The Nug-Soth of Yaddith journeyed to this world in hopes of finding a magical formula that would defeat the Dholes.
An ill-omened dark star with horrible past and future.
See Yamil Zacra.
Polaris (or Alpha Ursae Minoris) is the brightest star of Ursa Minor constellation and current North Pole lodestar of Earth. It is mentioned as ill-omened and hypnotic celestial body in H.P. Lovecraft's "Polaris" (1918).
A dark planet said in The Blood Rituals of Rhylkos to lie nearest to Tindalos and somehow match with planet Mars (perhaps the "Red Planet" in an alternate dimension and Solar System). Rhylkos is the abode of the ravenous Outer God Uvhash and other blood-thirsty creatures said to be "cousins" of the Hounds of Tindalos.
Shaggai (or Chag-Hai) is a planet orbiting a binary system made of twin green suns likely located in the Andromeda Galaxy, homeworld of the alien race known as the Shan or Insects from Shaggai. Lovecraft first mentioned Shaggai twice in The Haunter of the Dark, but gave no details, save that it was further out in the cosmos than Yuggoth. In this story "Shaggai" is the title of one of the stories supposedly written by its protagonist Robert Harrison Blake.
The Shan's planet was destroyed eight centuries ago, possibly by Ghroth the Harbinger. The being known only as The Worm that Gnaws in the Night also resides there.
An unknown sidereal place located "amidst the Black Nebula" and possibly related to Shub-Niggurath.
Sigma Octantis (or Polaris Australis) is a bright star of Octans constellation and current South Pole lodestar of Earth. It is mentioned in Rhys Hughes' "Sigma Octantis" (2014) as part of an eldritch Zodiac made up of 15 constellations extending from the South Pole to the North Pole perpendicularly to the Ecliptic, namely comprising Octans, Reticulum, Horologium, Eridanus, Taurus, Perseus, Camelopardalis, Ursa Minor, Draco, Hercules, Corona Borealis, Scorpius, Lupus, Triangulum Australe and Apus. Each sky field is said to be the sidereal abode of "ancient gods" (Great Old Ones and/or Outer Gods).
Small Magellanic CloudEdit
First star of Draco constellation and former northern lodestar of Earth. Thuban is mentioned in Todd H. Fischer's "The Revelation of Alexander Dyer" (1997) as the star orbited by a forsaken alien spacecraft built up by cuttlefish-like aliens called the Rells (in turn created by a greater race of squid-like horrors, the Squal'ok-nact, likely matching with the Star-spawn of Cthulhu) who used to worship Cthulhu and Azathoth.
A planet likely orbiting star Wezen where the Insects from Shaggai dwelt for a while, initially believing the planet was uninhabited. When their native slaves began disappearing, they soon discovered the terrible truth and left shortly thereafter. Thuggon is also the abode of the Great Old One Y'mo-Thog.
A place exited on Earth far in the past or a far-flung planet orbiting a black hole, mentioned as birthplace or abode of the Hounds of Tindalos, and described as a lightless world spotted with corkscrew-shaped towers.
Invented by Ramsey Campbell. A mysterious planet believed to be part of the Solar System, though the predominant view places it in a binary star system near Baalblo and its companion Yifne, namely a dark star and a green sun. The former could be a black hole, a brown dwarf or even a stellar degenerate making up an X-ray binary (i.e. a neutron star orbited by a stellar or a white dwarf companion) like the system Hercules X-1.
The being Glaaki is believed to have visited Tond en route to Earth. The same planet is the setting for all Campbell's tales of Ryre the Swordsman, gathered in his collection Far Away and Never (Necronomicon Press, 1996). Tond is also the locale of both versions of "The Madness from the vaults" (Crypt of Cthulhu #43)
A planet in the "twenty-third nebula" and the supposed birthplace of Great Cthulhu.
A black hole, home of the Great Old One Haiogh-Yai. It is orbited by a dark planet hosting the monolith city of Thalu, made of titanic blocks, and homeworld of the Voorlak, lizard or leech-like servants of this mysterious entity.
An alien planet orbiting a "purple swollen Sun" (probably a red giant) and orbited by at least two orange cratered moons. This world has been visited by Hyperborean mages and once was inhabited by the V'zathians, a native centipede-like race likely wiped out by the similar looking warmonger aliens from Yekub.
World of Seven SunsEdit
Possibly a planet near Fomalhaut according to some writers. Its inhabitants created seven artificial suns to replace their dying natural sun. Lovecraft said that Nyarlathotep shall come down to Earth from the World of the Seven Suns, but he makes no connection with Fomalhaut.
An interstellar world (likely a rogue planet) inhabited by a mysterious alien race which interacted with earliest humans in prehistorical times.
A dark star, homeworld of the Zorkai, bat-winged ravenous horrors which serve the Great Old One Hastur.
The sister planet of Shaggai. The Shan conquered this world and enslaved its native inhabitants, a race of carnivorous monsters. When Shaggai was destroyed, the Shan joined their brethren here and remained for some time.
[T]he spawn of Cthulhu ... came down from remote and ultra-telluric Xoth, the dim green double star that glitters like a daemonic eye in the blackness beyond Abbith.
—Lin Carter, "Out of the Ages"
Xoth (or Zoth) is the green binary star where Cthulhu and his ilk once lived before coming to earth. According to the Xothic legend cycle, it is where Cthulhu mated with Idh-yaa to beget Ghatanothoa, Ythogtha, and Zoth-Ommog.
Xoth is also the native home of Ycnágnnisssz and Zstylzhemghi, and was the temporary home of the latter's "husband," Ghisguth, and their progeny, the infant Tsathoggua. Tsathoggua later went to live on Yuggoth. Afterward, he fled to Cykranosh to escape Cxaxukluth's cannibalistic eating habits.
Yaddith is a distant planet that orbits five suns, and itself orbited by five moons. Yaddith is located thousands of light years from the Sun, near the star Deneb. Aeons ago, it was inhabited by the Nug-Soth, creatures with traits similar to mammals, reptiles, and insects. The Nug-Soth sought a way to prevent the destruction of their planet's crust by the Dholes, but to no avail. Eventually, the Dholes overwhelmed them and destroyed the Nug-Soth's civilization. Survivors of the catastrophe escaped, however, and hid on various planets. Life on Yaddith amongst the Nug-Soth and the Dholes that threatened them was first described in detail in Through the Gates of the Silver Key as Randolph Carter is stranded there for hundreds of years while sharing the body of Zkauba the wizard, though Lovecraft did not name the race that inhabited the planet.
Robert M. Price's short story "Saucers from Yaddith" (1984) hints that Nug-Soth scientists have appeared on Earth performing various experiments on humans—some relatively harmless (such as changing a man's blood type from B to A), some rather bizarre (two brothers in medieval Germany claimed that an "angel" had switched their hands and eyes), and others utterly horrific or disgusting.
A black planet with basalt cities inhabited by a serpent-headed race known as Blaphnagidae, which employ electrifying tubular weapons.
Yaksh is the planet Neptune, and is inhabited by strange fungous beings. Hziulquoigmnzhah dwelt here for a while after fleeing Yuggoth to escape Cxaxukluth's cannibalistic urges. Hziulquoigmnzhah was evidently worshipped by the Yakshians, but he soon tired of their venerations and moved to Cykranosh.
A distant binary star made up of a bright white Sun and a dark flaming companion called Yuzh (likely a brown dwarf), both located "midway between Algol and Polaris" (probably in Cassiopeia or Cepheus constellation) and regarded by the Hyperboreans as the "fountainhead of all evil". The two stars are orbited by Pnidleethon, a circumbinary planet larger than Earth, with luxuriant tropical biomes extending up to polar regions and inhabited by savage alien life.
A Planet with three moons that orbits Betelgeuse in the mysterious Gray Gulf of Yarnak. The world may have been the one-time home of the Great Old One Mnomquah. The fabled, deserted city of Bel-Yarnak is located here.
A planet in a distant galaxy. It is inhabited by a race of technologically advanced beings which resemble huge centipedes, that are slightly larger than a human. The populace worships an entity known as Juk-Shabb, which appears as a glowing, color-shifting orb. Very little is known about this deity other than it is telepathic, and is greatly revered by the denizens of Yekub.
The Yekubians destroyed all intelligent life in the galaxy where they dwelt and sought to extend their influence throughout the universe. As part of their grand scheme, they sent out cube-shaped probes that could effect a mind-swap with any intelligent creature who found one. In this way, Yekubian agents could infiltrate the finder's world. One such cube landed on the Earth during the reign of the Great Race of Yith. When several of its members were taken over, the Yithians realized the dangers of the cube, and sequestered it under heavy guard. Eventually, however, the cube was lost.
A giant ocean planet orbiting a blue-green oval star, similar in color and oblateness to Achernar, homeworld of the Great Old One Yorith. Yilla is also orbited by Xithor, an airless moon surrounded by a golden ring, whose hollow mantle is inhabited by a sentient dwarfish race known as the Lloervs, able to capture the souls of dreamers.
The original homeworld of the Great Race of Yith, according to the Eltdown Shards. It is described as a "black, aeon-dead orb in far space" ("The Shadow out of Time", Lovecraft). Its actual location is a mystery. Some scholars place it in the Solar System, just beyond Pluto; others say it is the fourth of the five planets which orbit a dim, dark star named Ogntlach. Yith is said to have a thin atmosphere and seas heated by geothermal energy.
A planet in the same star cluster as Abbith, Xoth, and Zaoth. In Lin Carter's The Feaster from the Stars: The History of Yzduggor the Eremite, Ymar is said to orbit the star Algol and to be the homeworld of the Great Old One Zvilpogghua, an offspring of Tsathoggua (See Algol).
Yuggoth (or Iukkoth) is the dwarf planet Pluto. It is home to the Mi-Go, a race of fungi-crustacean of Lovecraft's invention. In Richar A. Lupoff's Discovery of the Ghooric Zone—March 15, 2337, it alternately appears as an enormous planet that orbits on the rim of the Solar System, coinciding with the hypothetical brown dwarf Nemesis or the putative Planet Nine. It is visited by Edward Taylor in The Mine on Yuggoth.
A planet near Xoth. It is home to metal brains and houses a great library of Yuggothian books. After Yaddith was destroyed by the Dholes, several survivors of the catastrophe fled here.
The Doomed Nebula of Zlykarlor (or Zlykariob according to transcriptions) is a planetary nebula where the Temple of the Infra-Red Vapour is located. There "unhuman priests" (likely the denizens of Yaddith) have imprisoned the worm Bgnghaa-Ythu-Yaddith, likely matching with the Worm the Gnaws in the Night responsible of Yaddith's bane. Within the same temple, the Shrine of Nug is placed.
Remote sidereal place mentioned as the homeworld of the Great Old One Quyagen.
- Harms, Daniel (1998). The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed.). Oakland, CA: Chaosium. ISBN 1-56882-119-0.
- Joshi, S. T. (1989). "Lovecraft's Other Planets". Selected Papers on Lovecraft (1st printing ed.). West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press. ISBN 0-940884-23-2.
- Price, Robert M. (Candlemas 1984). Robert M. Price (ed.). "Brian Lumley—Reanimator". Crypt of Cthulhu. Bloomfield, NJ: Cryptic Publications. 3 (3). Retrieved February 27, 2006. Check date values in:
- H.P. Lovecraft, "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" (1919).
- This place could match with the alien world with three Suns described in H.P. Lovecraft and Duane W. Rimel's "The Tree on the Hill" (1934)
- Kiernan, Caitlín R. (2011) . "Andromeda Among the Stones". In Ross E. Lockhart (ed.). The Book of Cthulhu (1st ed.). Night Shade Books. ISBN 978-1597802321.
- Smith, Don G. (2005). H.P. Lovecraft in Popular Culture: The Works and Their Adaptations in Film, Television, Comics, Music and Games. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 16. ISBN 078642091X.
- Lovecraft never used "Glyu-Uho" in his own fiction, but did suggest it to Derleth. (Harms, "Glyu-Uho", The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, p. 122.)
- Hchab is not mentioned in original short story but in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith.
- Robert W. Chambers, The Repairer of Reputations.
- Daniel Harms, Encyclopaedia Cthulhiana, p. 57.
- James Ambuehl, The Star-Seed.
- Price, "Brian Lumley—Reanimator". Price writes: "Kythanil [is] an alien planet mentioned in Lovecraft's portion of 'Through the Gates of the Silver Key' (though only in manuscript — it is misprinted as 'Kythamil' in the printed texts)."
- J.B. Lee, "Forces of Change" (1999).
- Daniel Harms, Encyclopaedia Cthulhiana, p. 253.
- Though the name appears as "Stronti" in Lin Carter's fiction, it is spelled "Shonhi" in the original manuscripts for "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" (1934, Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price). (Harms, "Shonhi", The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, p. 274.)
- James Ambuehl's "The Snake God of Shonhi" (1998)
- Daniel Harms thinks that the World of the Seven Suns may refer to the Big Dipper because of its association with Tezcatlipoca, Set, and Zeus. (Harms, The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, p. 331.)
- J.B. Lee "Genuine Article" (1998).
- The first mention of Yaddith was in the "Alienation" sonnet of Lovecraft's poem Fungi from Yuggoth (1929–30). The planet next appeared in Lovecraft's short story collaboration with E. Hoffman Price "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" (1932–33), though the sub-plot about Yaddith was entirely Lovecraft's idea. In Lovecraft's revision of Hazel Heald's "Out of the Aeons" (1933), Yaddith is suggested by the name of the mountain that is the dwelling place of Ghatanothoa: Yaddith-Gho. Finally, in Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark" (1935), the doomed character Robert Blake swears an oath to the planet: "Everything depends on lightning. Yaddith grant it will keep up!"; as does Alonzo Typer in Lovecraft's revision of William Lumley's "The Diary of Alonzo Typer" (1935): "And may the Lords of Yaddith succor me". (Joshi, "Lovecraft's Other Planets", Selected Papers on Lovecraft, pp. 39–40; all dates are the year written.)
- Not to be confused with James Ambuehl's Great Old One Y'lla. See Cthulhu Mythos deities.
- Walter C. DeBill jr., "The Horror From Yith", in Black Sutra, p. 98.
- Harms, "Yith", The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, p. 344.
- "Fungi from Yuggoth", a poem by Lovecraft
- "Through the Gates of the Silver Key", by Lovecraft and Price
- "The Whisperer in Darkness", by Lovecraft