I’ve dabbled a bit in things Lovecraftian in my author-life. One of the things that strikes me about H.P. Lovecraft is the belief that underpins his fictional reality. There are ancient, nameless, all powerful things in the universe, they will drive us mad, and destroy us. His writing is laden with fear. This is about as far as you can get from the New Age perspective that the universe loves us, is full of light and good intentions.
There are a lot of different ideas out there about how reality works. Some of them postulate kind and giving gods, others wrathful, jealous ones. Some perceive reality as something we carefully chose before we were born, our souls planning it all in detail for us to achieve some personal goal. For some, there is no meaning, no reason, no ultimate source of good or evil, there is just life and energy for as long as it lasts.
How you understand yourself and your life will depend to a degree on how you think about these bigger issues. Do we think that ultimately there is fairness and justice, or do we think that the gods have it in for us? Do we see love and light when we look out of the window, or do we see the inevitability of death, madness and tentacles? A Lovecraftian view of the world is rooted in despair, and a sense that all is futile. Worse than meaningless. A world that is merely meaningless and indifferent will let us get on with things as we see fit, whereas a world where the great powers are malevolent and hungry, will destroy us.
There’s no firm line for Druidry when it comes to ideas about the essence of reality. We’re a disparate lot. I’ve encountered ‘love and light’ Druidry (OBOD favours that) and existentialist Druidry – no external meaning but that which we make for ourselves. Existentialist Druidry pushes us to take responsibility for our actions and meaning, and works well. I’ll admit that’s how I tend to look at things, and I found a lot of that outlook in The Druid Network during my time there. No doubt there are plenty of other takes.
Are there Lovecraftian Druids? I’ve not met any, but anything is possible. How differently would we live if we thought it was like that? What would you do, if you believed, or for that matter knew, that reality is basically hostile and evil. Would you give up? Or would you fight harder? Despair is not the only available response to hopelessness. Just because something is impossible, doomed and futile, doesn’t mean we have to go with that. For a start, it’s a way of thinking that puts all the emphasis on ends, not on means. If the universe is evil and hostile, those small moments of compassion and humanity are not any less real. The love we share and experience isn’t any less real. Even if I believed we were all ultimately doomed, I would not value these things any less – probably the opposite.