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Yig (the Father of Serpents) is a deity in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. He first appeared in the story "The Curse of Yig", which was created by Zealia Bishop and almost completely rewritten by Lovecraft. In this story he is described as "shapen like a man, except ye look at him clost." According to Lovecraft, one of Yig's main characteristics is his devotion to snakes - his "children" - he punishes those that harm them by turning them into spotted snakes.
To Native Americans in Lovecraft's story, Yig is regarded as "bad medicine". According to Lovecraft's story, Yig is also alluded to in western American folklore: he is identified with the Mesoamerican deity Quetzalcoatl, and may be a prototype for that god and other serpentine gods worldwide. Some authors identify him as the Stygian serpent god Set from Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, and also with the Great Serpent worshiped by the Serpent Men of Valusia from Howard's Kull stories.
Yig in popular culture
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Yig is the subject of a song by the shock rock band GWAR entitled "Horror of Yig", which appears on their album Scumdogs of the Universe. Yig also appears in an often-used version of GWAR's logo, as well as appearing on-stage as a monster the band battles. The band The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, famous for their Lovecraft references, also refers to Yig in a song titled "Yig Snake Daddy". The death metal band Nile also references the deity, as well as Father Set in their song "SSS Haa Set Yoth," drawing references between the two as serpent gods, postulating a mythological Lovecraftian interpretation of the Reptilian conspiracy proposed by David Icke, namely that the Reptilians are in fact the children of Yig and Set.
Yig is also the name of a deity in the Arcanis Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting. Yig was once (and may still be) worshiped by the Ssethregorean Empire, a group dominated by various lizard and snake-like beings. Yig in this mythos is a female deity, but still strongly associated with serpents, suggesting the name is not a coincidence. Yig appears in the Role Playing Game Pathfinder as well, as the Chaotic Neutral Great Old One god of procreation, cycles and serpents. He is said to be the most benign of the Elder Mythos.
Despite being spoken of on only a few occasions in Lovecraft's work, Yig is one of the Ancient Ones included in the Arkham Horror, Eldritch Horror, and Elder Sign board games, appearing alongside Great Old Ones such as Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep.
Yig appears as a deity in Green Ronin's role-playing game Mutants & Masterminds, alongside references to The King in Yellow, as described in the Book of Magic sourcebook. the book gives three spells that can be invoked in his name, one of which is called The Curse of Yig (mimicking the title of Bishop/Lovecraft's novel), which conjures snakes depending on the character's magic rank. The magic item, The Serpent Scepter, may also be linked to Yig, but the sourcebook doesn't explicitly describe this.
Yig is the subject of the poem "Fiesta of Our Lady" by Ann K. Schwader in her Dark Energies verse collection (Sydney: P'rea Press, 2015).
- The Curse of Yig by H.P. Lovecraft. originally published in Weird Tales, 14, No. 5 (November 1929), 625–36.