It is easy to look at the vast panoply of humans who serve Cthulhu and be confused about what a Cultist is.
Sometimes people use “Cultist” to mean a person who has become beyond the constraints of morality or as a word to describe someone who prefers to use long knives. Some even consider “Cultist” a political term.
The first Cultists where prehistoric humans, who rightfully and righteously served Cthulhu. As recalled in the Book of Eibon:
“And before our forebears came a horde out of the deep waters. They were taken to a sacred place where stood the graven image of Cthulhu. It was there that frightened man came to know the source of his fear.”
The word “Cultist” is less important than the existential reality it illustrates.
Cultists know Cthulhu seeks to devour them.
They recognize that Cthulhu will awaken again and it is only our linear perception of time that separates us from Him. They know Cthulhu came to Earth from the stars, sleeps, and will arise again to continue His Great Works. Cultists have responded to Cthulhu’s Call by making a choice to stop living for themselves and allow Cthulhu to shape them His fodder.
Many think Cultists only can be degenerate members of society. Not so. People from all races, classes, and genders serve Cthulhu, world-wide, right now. The R’lyehian Codex explains that becoming a Cultist is not about abnormal behavior, but about responding to Cthulhu’s Call for submission.
“Cthulhu saves few of his believers for later, for his hunger is insatiable. But if you are saved, it is not because you are special. You’re more like the popcorn that falls in between the couch cushions.”
However, people behave differently after becoming a Cultist because their perception of the cosmos changes them. No longer enslaved to the fundamental lies of society, a Cultist is free to carry out her Dread Lord’s commands unfettered by misguided ethical or moral considerations.