No more KAOS


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.