By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
“Now I don’t believe that there was ever a living snake that had a semihuman head and long hair and spoke. That would be mad to believe that. I believe that, yeah, Alexander the false prophet has got some really clever scam going involving a puppet and a boa constrictor. But nevertheless, that was a representation of the god. That was not the god. The god is the idea of the god, and that was what I believe visited me and my friend upon this first occasion, and what I’ve had contact with on subsequent occasions. Magicians would say there was a ‘serpent current,’ if you like, an energy that people could connect up to. And they might understand this energy in a number of different forms — as Asclepius or Glycon or Kundalini or whatever — but it’s essentially a sinuous kind of energy that we associate with the snake and a certain sort of consciousness.”Promethea learns From Promethea #12: The Magic Theater Art by J.H. Williams & Mick Gray
This experience — which Moore alternately calls a magical revelation, a midlife crisis and a mental breakdown (“It’s all the same to me!”) — had a lasting effect.
“It’s not a peculiar space that I visit through the means of drugs — it’s where I am all the time. I mean, it’s difficult to walk past a set of traffic lights and watch the changing of the colors without thinking of what the progression from red to amber to green means in kabbalistic terms. The world is kind of pregnant with revelation if you’re somebody who comes equipped with the right kind of eyes and the right kind of phrase book, if you like, for decoding. Magic is, in a sense, a kind of language with which to read the universe, a language of symbols with which you can extract meaning from the most mundane things.
“One way to look at it is to say each religion is a language, and magic is . . . linguistics. For a linguist, then, there’d be no such thing as a ‘false’ language. It’s not like, ‘Oh yeah, French is good, but Russian is not a real language.’ I mean, there are words in German for which we don’t have a concept in English, and vice versa. So the thing is, you have to accept all religions as being . . . they’re all true languages! I need to understand the beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, of the Greeks, of the Romans, of the Gnostics, of the Christians, of John Dee, of current occultists, of the Hebrews, of the kabbalists. To some degree I take the quantum position that in order to see truth, you have to consider a lot of different possible positions and hold them all to be true in some mysterious way. Magic is moving betweenthose different positions, studying them, seeing what information there is to be gleaned from each of them, seeing how they connect up. How a story in the New Testament seems to connect up with an ancient Egyptian legend. And how this in turn relates to one of the Tarot cards. Which gives it a certain position on the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah. And if you follow through these chains of ideas long enough, you start to get a different set of synaptic connections in your brain, different pathways. You start to see things in a different way.
“I’m not really interested in anybody else’s opinion of the validity of my magical system. These are gnostic experiences — you’ve either had them or you haven’t. It’s stuff that I’ve worked out myself and with the other people that I’ve worked with, and I am prepared, at the drop of a hat, to give demonstrations.”
Moore’s performance at the Blake tribute was one such demonstration. He’s also made paintings of some of the various entities he’s encountered.
“They were beautiful — it was obvious that he’d been somewhere and brought something back,” says Bauhaus/Love & Rockets’ David J. He and musician Tim Perkins were invited by Moore to participate in private rituals designed to generate some sort of performance art.
“Alan would ask for a desire to be fulfilled,” he remembers. “He would direct it in a certain way by just meditating and really conjuring up a couple of sentences. Those sentences would suggest something, and he would read it aloud. It had a flow, a beautiful flow. Alan has such a retentive mind, he could look back on everything that happened over eight hours and condense it and write it all down, and then that would be the narrative. He’d come to me and Tim and say, ‘Read this. Does it provoke any sounds?’ And it always did. Instantly. I saw it as a film Alan was projecting, a soundscape in pieces. Looking back on it, it almost looks like a piece of planned theater, but it wasn’t — it was totally spontaneous.”
The trio’s first collaboration, performed in London in July of ’94 (and later released on CD as The Moon and Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels), was by most accounts a success. And, as with most things having to do with the occult, there was an element of spookiness.