Elder Gods

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The Elder Gods are a fictional group of deities in the Cthulhu Mythos of August Derleth; the similar concept of the Raaee are a creation of William Hope Hodgson for his Carnacki stories.

Summary

Elder Gods

In post-Lovecraft stories, the Elder Gods oppose the Outer Gods and the Great Old Ones. Some consider them to be non-Lovecraftian because they employ a good versus evil dichotomy which is contrary to the cosmic indifference of Lovecraft's fiction. However, these deities are no more concerned for human notions of "good" and "evil" than the beings they oppose and consider humans to be less than fleas although they can be sympathetic to humanity on occasion and their interests usually coincide with our own.

The main "Elder God" used by Lovecraft is Nodens, who acts as deus ex machina for the protagonists in both The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (fiction) (1926) and "The Strange High House in the Mist (fiction)" (1931). In this regard, he functions like Lovecraft's Nyarlathotep, although Nodens is obviously less malicious. Another entity mentioned as an Elder God is Hypnos (fiction), the Greek god of sleep. He appears in the story fragment "Hypnos" which is about a mediocre poet who is suddenly granted the power to usher in a new Golden Age. It is also speculated that Bast, the Egyptian goddess of cats, qualifies as an Elder God due to Lovecraft's feline obsession and because of hints given in Lovecraft's "The Cats of Ulthar (fiction)" (1920).

Raaee

William Hope Hodgson employed a concept similar to (and predating) Derleth's Elder Gods in the mysterious and vaguely-described Raaee from his Carnacki: the Ghost-Finder stories. There, Carnacki speculates based on a Victorian understanding of electricity that the malignant entities which assault the human race from the outside must be opposed and balanced by the fundamental physics of the universe with beings that are opposed to them by complimentary but equal and opposite "vibrations"; this opposing force are the mysterious and apparently distant Raaaee, which on a few occasions appear to have been induced by Carnacki (and, before Carnacki, by an equally vaguely-described cult of "Ab-human Priests of Raaee") to intervene on humanity's behalf against the most severe assaults from the powerful and predatory Outer Monstrosities that await in the "outer circle" to break through the Earth's psychic and supernatural defenses to invade the Earth and menace the human race. Intervention by the Raaee usually takes the form of a mental suggestion or warning: on several occasions Carnacki was saved by psychic prompting which allowed him to complete the "Unknown Last Line of the Saaamaaa Ritual", or by a sudden flash of intuition which gave him the insight to avoid an attack or time to escape.

Small Gods of Pegana

Influences over Lovecraft's concept of weird small "other gods", Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegana and Time and the Gods introduced Dunsany's little Gods of Pegana, dreamed into existence by the "Mana-Yood-Sushai". See Gods of Pegana for details.