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Unearthing Alan Moore's Fossil Angels

Unearthing Alan Moore's Fossil AngelsAn age ago, was the plan for KAOS 15.

KAOS 15 is at present in slothful production, and will be an unlimited print edition published by the Moon and Serpent. One of the more interesting bits of news here is that myself, Alan Moore, Steve Moore, and William Fancourt have incorporated 'The Moon and Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels' as a commercial venture that will have a web presence. One of its first productions will be KAOS 15, followed afterwards by a number of projects, not solely restricted to book publishing. This next KAOS contains a huge and totally devastating article by Alan Moore that represents his most sustained, funny, and insightful view of the entire occult scene to date, even more so than the in-depth interviews published in Eddie Campbell's 'Egomania' magazine and Jay Babcock's Arthur magazine, issue 4. As I said to Alan after reading it: 'If KAOS 14 was throwing in the grenades, KAOS 15 will be bringing out the corpses.

KAOS 15 never saw publication. Neither did Fossil Angels. Biroco wrote;

An Alan Moore fan wrote to me this morning asking yet again when that long-awaited Alan Moore article is coming out in KAOS 15. The answer is: never, I've decided I'm not going to do another issue of KAOS.

Alan's article, 'Fossil Angels', is easily the best thing he has written about his serious interest in the occult. For those looking forward to reading it it will still be published, but probably now in 'Atziluth', a new literary magazine he's plotting to unleash when he finally manages to make his escape from his comics commitments.

Alan sees the occult as a territory ripe to conquer, as the comics scene was back when he got started in that. As he stated in an interview in 'The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore', by George Khoury:

I've just finished a brilliant article for my friend Joel Biroco's magic magazine, KAOS. I've written this article called 'Fossil Angels', which should be coming out in KAOS 15, and which is a critique of the modern magical scene. It's saying what a lot of rubbish modern magic is and how pointless it is. It's a kind of call to arms. It rattles on for about 20 pages. It's very thorough. And I'm very pleased with it. And Kevin O'Neill's probably going to do some illustrations to it just so that we can show that we're serious about beautifying magic, making magic as beautiful as it deserves to be. That's a field where I feel that I can make an impact. I feel that I made my primary impact on comics 20 years ago. Near enough. Obviously, there are still things that I can add to that and develop and all the rest with regard to comics, but I think that in the field of magic I've got a lot more to offer, because it's fresher. I can see a lot of things that I could do. And the field of magic is in pretty much the same kind of state that the field of comics was in back in 1980. It's ripe for plunder. There's not much there that could stand up to a sufficiently motivated campaign by somebody with a sufficiently strong agenda…Alan's enthusiasm for magick is unstoppable and infectious, so much so, as I have already mentioned, he managed to persuade me to bring out KAOS 14 after 13 years' absence from 'public' occultism (see Alan's response after it was published). I certainly don't regret that decision, he saw more clearly than me at the time that it needed doing, and it has afforded me the opportunity to finally put to rest a few old ghosts, enabling me to digest or spit out what I found too much to chew back in 1989, and being as objective as it's possible to be I do recognise KAOS 14 as a unique work that I and my collaborators simply couldn't create now at all.

It was a thing of the time, an urgent sort of inspiration that had to be made something of or be lost forever. However, as a side-result of this 'return' I've now had a chance to witness first-hand just how utterly shallow the occult scene still is and how lacking are most of those who profess to be occultists, and I want nothing more to do with it. I sense that my 'obligation' to the occult has been completed. This obligation came out of magick performed years ago that sought, as it were, fulfillment a long time after I thought I'd lost interest, indeed it demanded fulfillment, with the result that KAOS 14 ended up as the kind of prime-grade occult document that is so intensely involved in the occult that few can understand it who are not similarly involved.

Looking back, and thumbing through KAOS 14 again recently, I realised that it is a work of genuine occult inspiration, the gods wanted that damn thing done, the occult needed a true cutting edge after several decades of vain pretenders, and in the process I managed to find my own 'answer' to a question I abandoned like one does a burning house over a decade ago.

No, I can't regret that at all. But I would be a fool to think I could produce a KAOS 15 just like that and I would be a fool to want to involve myself in that kind of heavy occultism again. KAOS was never simply about the occult, it was the fruit of personal experience of the occult, so perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised that so few actually comprehend #14, since the way to comprehend it is to live it, and even I don't want to do that any more. I am glad though to have left my footprint in the barren wasteland of occult thought. It meant something to me once, and I dare say it means or may come to mean something to a few others, if only to show them that someone understood. That I am no longer interested and have moved on means nothing really, except that it is possible. Even that, for a few, is breaking fresh ground.

I have always combined experience of the occult with a perspective born of Zen and Daoism, this enables me to put things down, throw them away. But I also allow for possession, typical of occultism, finding a frantic genius in the possessed mind for all it is heavy and drags one down into specific and often Apocalyptic forms. My first love is the Book of Changes, and Daoist imagery of cloud-hidden mountains, monastery bells and cranes calling in the mist. But the Enochian Apocalypse too is something to be understood, with its vision of a harlot's bed in the aftermath, for all it disperses into nothing with the application of silence, like a suddenly disappeared Siren's song when the silence is eerie and unearthly, which, if you like, is the sign by which it is recognised that Choronzon has been banished, finally. The apprehensive reluctance to believe it like a fresh wound rapidly healing. I encompass both worlds, western occultism and eastern mysticism, but for now a mountain solitude calls me more than does Babalon. Perhaps in another decade she will have work for me, but whether I will listen and comply I can't say.

It feels over. It has felt over before.

Literary magazine Atziluth never emerged – perhaps it became Dodgem Logic? Until now. Alan Moore archaelologist Pádraig Ó Méalóid has just put the full text online over two pages. It begins;

Regard the world of magic. A scattering of occult orders which, when not attempting to disprove each other's provenance, are either cryogenically suspended in their ritual rut, their game of Aiwaz Says, or else seem lost in some Dungeons & Dragons sprawl of channelled spam, off mapping some unfalsifiable and thus completely valueless new universe before they've demonstrated that they have so much as a black-lacquered fingernail's grip on the old one. Self-consciously weird transmissions from Tourette's-afflicted entities, from glossolalic Hammer horrors. Fritzed-out scrying bowls somehow receiving trailers from the Sci-Fi channel. Far too many secret chiefs, and, for that matter, far too many secret indians.

Beyond this, past the creaking gates of the illustrious societies, dilapidated fifty-year-old follies where they start out with the plans for a celestial palace but inevitably end up with the Bates Motel, outside this there extends the mob. The psyche pikeys. Incoherent roar of our hermetic home-crowd, the Akashic anoraks, the would-be wiccans and Temple uv Psychic Forty-Somethings queuing up with pre-teens for the latest franchised fairyland, realm of the irretrievably hobbituated. Pottersville.

Before diving through William Blake, Beefheart, Matthew Kelly, Solomon, Fraggle Rock and Mozart. Enjoy.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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