'Supergirl': What is the Cult of Rao?
greets everyone as 'children of Rao' and then goes on to speak about how those in attendance are [...]
In tonight's episode of Supergirl, Kara investigates a religious group that quickly begins to look like a cult and one with mysterious ties to the Girl of Steel herself.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Supergirl, 'The Faithful', below!
Very quickly after the group's meeting begins, Kara is aware that it is somehow tied to her or, rather, Supergirl. The group's leader Thomas Coville (Chad Lowe) greets everyone as "children of Rao" and then goes on to speak about how those in attendance are all there because of "her grace" and flat-out says that they're there because Supergirl had saved them.
The idea of Kryptonian or Kryptonian inspired cults actually has its roots in DC Comics lore. Not up to date on your comics? Don't worry, we have you covered. Read on for more.
Before the "Crisis on Infinite Earths," worship of Rao was Krypton's dominant religion. Rao the deity is personification of Krypton's sun. Kryptonians worshipped Rao as their god of light and life.
Post-Crisis things get a little more interesting. In the distant past a group of aliens came to Krypton with a sentient preservation ship designed to preserve their culture. However, they were killed on arrival by Kem-L who then changed the ship's mission to preserve his own ideal of Kryptonian culture by eradicating all others, thus making the ship the "Eradicator."
However, one of the aliens survived, The Cleric. He later took the Eradicator and left Krypton. The Cleric eventually encountered Superman on Warworld and, after having a vision of Superman dying at the hands of Mongul, The Cleric had the Eradicator transport them away to safety. The Cleric then gave the Eradicator to Superman before dying now that his mission was complete.
It's worth noting that once on Earth, the Eradicator attempted to transform Earth into a new Krypton, and erased Superman's memory of the device when he tried to interfere.prevnext
Cult of Conner
In 2006's limited series 52, the secretive Cult of Conner arose on Earth following the death of Conner Kent/Superboy at the hands of Superman-Prime. The people of Earth grieved deeply for Superboy and quickly began to believe that their purpose was to prepare the world for the late hero to return to life. Resurrecting Superboy also meant, by extension, that death could be conquered, and the cult borrowed from Kryptonian theology as its foundation. Members worshiped the Kryptonian sun god, Rao, and created authentic Kryptonian altars with crystals, and even adopted Superboy's "S" symbol, albeit upside down, to signify resurrection. Even Superboy's girlfriend, Cassie Sandsmark, became involved with the group.
When the grave of Ralph Dibny's wife, Sue, was defaced with the Cult's symbol, Ralph began investigating the group. Cassie tried to convince Ralph that the Cult was real, but when the cult stole his wedding ring Ralph was only further convinced that the group was a fraud and enlisted the help of other heroes, including Green Arrow, Hal Jordan, Metamorpho, and Zauriel to infiltrate. The cult, which was planning to resurrect Sue Dibny as a test before resurrecting Conner Kent, was stopped but it was revealed that the resurrection rites were real -- and because of the destruction to the ceremony site, could not be tried again and thus ended the Cult of Conner.prevnext