Alan Moore’s response to KAOS 14

Northampton, 31st December, 2002


Dear Joel,

Whilst I personally had envisaged for you a perhaps more stately and aloof return to Magic publishing, I must admit that to have KAOS suddenly burst screaming from its mortuary drawer with a grenade in each putrescent fist would seem to have got everyone’s attention. Issue fourteen was a marvel, all of its diverting and diverse array of contents instantly engrossing, every item mining a far deeper, richer seam than the depleted, worked-to-death slag-reclamation projects occupying so much space on the contemporary occult bookshelf. The sheer number of intriguing points raised by each piece makes an in-depth response all but impossible, but if an incoherent mess of bounced-back radar echoes is of any interest at all, then I include the following.

Connecting Kaos or the Beast of Revelations (the one ridden by Babalon, which I think was either Fleegle or Bingo. The one that rises from the sea is definitely Snork) with Pan doesn’t seem too much of a reach. Though Crowley places Pan at Kether, largely on account of the coincidence that makes his name the Greek for ‘All’, it seems more natural, considering the god’s original priapic nature, to position him at Chokmah. As for a specific correlation with the sexual union between the Beast and Babalon, we have the myth in which Pan rapes Selene in Arcadia, which seems to have most of the elements contained within the Babalon/Beast union: a chaotic, animal, pre-human force with a relationship to Chokmah, locked in sexual congress with the most celestial aspect of the lunar and the female, as expressed at Binah. The only major difference that exists between the two tales is that one is a Myth, possibly a Creation myth, taking place in the remote past, while the other is a vision or a prophecy of something that will happen in the future, is an End-time intimation of Apocalypse. Could it be that the symbolic sexual congress between Kaos and Babalon is that between Pan and Selene, but reflected at the other end of time? Just an idea.

Another random notion surfaced during Satyr’s fascinating Black Lodge memoir, in the section where he speaks of stacking psychic sandbags as a barrier against occult attack. He describes a vision of the monstrous and demonic forces sent against him hurling themselves at his magic force-field, and makes the comparison with an almost identical scene in the film Forbidden Planet. What struck me about this linkage was the fact that the aforesaid film is obviously a science-fiction retread of The Tempest, with Dr. Praetorius as a kind of techno-Prospero, Praetorius’s daughter as Miranda and the grounded spacemen as the shipwrecked mariners. Robby the Robot understudies Ariel, while the intensely memorable “Monster of the Id” described by Satyr is a pyrotechnic Caliban. What makes this interesting in the context of Black Lodge of Santa Cruz is that the central pivot of 'The Tempest', namely Prospero himself, was almost certainly described by Shakespeare with the writer’s fellow School of Night alumni John Dee very much in mind. Prospero (or, indeed, Praetorius for that matter) is a sorcerer who’s at the end of his career, an isolated figure cared for only by his daughter. This is true of Dee, in his last days at Mortlake.

Dr. Praetorius and Prospero, save for their loyal offspring, are attended only by their spirits, sublimated pieces of themselves like Robby and the Id-beast, Ariel and Caliban. Dee too, in his last entries to The True and Faithful Relation…, has his angels by him, asking them the meaning of the blood found in his stool. If it is true that the Enochian spirits, both benevolent and fearsome, were the inspiration for The Tempest’s Ariel and Caliban, Forbidden Planet’s robot servitor and its ferocious Id-beast, then it would seem only fitting that somebody getting into trouble with Enochian Magic should see hostile forces set against them in such terms.

(Incidentally, I don’t know if this is relevant, but at least until some six or seven years ago, a place called “John Dee Cottage” out beside the churchyard grounds at Mortlake, was the editorial address of a UFOlogy and alien-contact-centred small-press publication called Magonia, which seemed to take a fairly sane and skeptical approach to its material, leaning towards a psycho-social explanation for these seeming visits from the creatures of the upper aethyrs. This, again, connects Dee by a different route to the science-fiction milieu of Forbidden Planet. If only I could find a reference in the diaries somewhere to Ed Kelly suffering from time loss or experiencing an anal probe, we really could be onto something here.)

Oh, yeah, and while we’re dipping into KAOS #14 at random, I cannot believe the sheer affrontery of your Word of the Aeon, Jubalcain. While I may not know the rules pertaining to a Magus and the speaking of his Word, I am quite familiar with the rules of Scrabble which state very clearly that if you can’t find it in a dictionary then you have to take it back. I mean, come on. Tubalcain is in there, so why aren’t you using that? I’ll tell you: it’s because a ‘T’ is only worth three or something, but if you can get that ‘J’ on a triple letter score then that’s thirty points! Thirty points! Well, anyway, you’re busted, which means it’s my go. I say that the Word of the Aeon is Shazam, the word of transformation. I can prove this beyond any shadow of a doubt by both Gematria and that other one that’s sort of like an acrostic, only Jewish. Notariqon or whatever it is. Also, I think you’ll find that I can place the ‘Z’ on that same triple letter score as you were after with your ‘J’. So, fuck you, I win. I’m Logos and I get to wear the special hat and everything. There is a special hat, right?

On a different note, all the material on Lilith was revealing, and kicked off some thoughts or half-thoughts. Firstly, I remember hearing an interpretation or a version of the “Adam’s first wife” story wherein Adam wanders into Yahweh’s secret lab before the Frankenstein work on his future mate has been completely finished. Lilith is still skinless. Adam can see all the phlegm and shit and viscera. He turns around to God and he goes “What the fuck’s this? You said you were making me a bird, but this looks like the peeled bloke in that first Hellraiser video.” And Lilith, obviously, she hears this and goes into one and storms off in a strop to fornicate with demons and give birth to monsters and abominations. The point of all this, probably, is that if you should happen to walk in upon a woman when she hasn’t got her skin on, don’t go on at her and make a fuss. Just look pleased-but-quizzical and say “Hmm. There’s something different. No, don’t tell me what it is.”

As far as the relation between Babalon and Lilith goes, I noted with some interest the material relating to King Solomon’s suspicion that his consort Sheba might be Lilith in disguise. With Solomon himself only a borderline case in terms of historical veracity, what if we think of Solomon and Sheba as two mythological (as opposed to Biblical/historical) personas? Solomon, in this role, would appear to be a sort of demigod who symbolises wisdom, which would place him kabbalistically at Chokmah, even if he wasn’t allocated to that sphere already as a court-card Tarot King. Sheba, his Queen, is said to be both fertile and adept at Magic. She is also black. Considered as a figure from mythology (and as a Tarot Queen), in terms of the kabbala she would seem to correspond to Binah. Could Solomon and Sheba maybe represent another fractal level of self-similarity, a lower, more nearly material avatar of Kaos-Babalon?

Oh, before I go, I’m sorry to report that I’m experiencing trouble in getting that article on J.K. Rowling (“J.K. Rowling: Burn her! Burn the Witch!”) together, like I promised. It’s the lack of any real hard evidence that’s difficult to get around. The only points that I’ve so far assembled that suggest we would be right to immolate the popular children’s-book author are as follows:


1. How knoweth Goody Rowling so much of the Devil’s Art, lest in truth she be a screeching hag that rideth in the night with her dark Master?


2. That Goody Rowling hath in spite caused a foul-mouthed homunculus to sprout atop the head of Terry Pratchett, wherefore he must always wear an hat, that it should be concealed.


3. That Goody Rowling hath an other teat concealed within her arme-pytte, whereat she giveth suck to her familiar, called Pyssewicket.


4. She sinketh not in water.


5. Burn her! Burn the Witch!


Like I say, it’s not much of an argument to base our efforts on if we are really serious about getting this chick set fire to. Also, when I told you that I definitely remembered seeing a copy of an earlier, more sexually provocative book in the series called Harry Potter and the Choronzon Working, it turns out this was only in a dream. Sorry.

Anyway, congratulations again on the most cracklingly potent occult magazine since, oh, The Golden Hind, The Equinox or Form. I eagerly await issue 15 and look forward to seeing you tear Magic a new K.G. Death-Hole.

Be in Love and Be Mysterious,

Your chum,


Alan Moore