Aug 21, 2014

Alan Moore and the gods

Glycon depicted on ancient Roman coin.

Alan Moore: In my own experience – and this is where we get into the complete madness here – I have only met about four gods, a couple of other classes of entity as well. I’m quite prepared to admit this might have been a hallucination. On most of the instances I was on hallucinogenic drugs. That’s the logical explanation – that it was purely an hallucinatory experience. I can only talk about my subjective experience however, and the fact that having had some experience of hallucinations over the last twenty-five years or so, I’d have to say that it seemed to me to be a different class of hallucination. It seemed to me to be outside of me. It seemed to be real. It is a terrifying experience, and a wonderful one, all at once – it is everything you’d imagine it to be. As a result of this, there is one particular entity that I feel a particular affinity with. There is late Roman snake god, called Glycon, he was an invention of the False Prophet Alexander. Which is a lousy name to go into business under. He had an image problem. He could have done with a spin doctor there.

Anyway, the False Prophet Alexander is a Moon and Serpent hero, a saint if you like. He was running what seemed to be a travelling Selene medicine show, he would do a performance of the mysteries of the goddess Soi. The only reference to him is in the works of Lucien, who calls him a complete charlatan and fraud. At some point, Alexander the False Prophet said he was going to preside over the second coming of the god Asclepius, the serpent god of medicine. He said this is going to happen at noon tomorrow, in the marketplace. So everyone said ‘sounds good’ and they all went down there. After a little while, they said “come on, False Prophet Alexander, where is the second coming of Asclepius?” At which point, The False Prophet Alexander bent down, reached into a puddle at his feet, pulled up an egg, split it with his thumbnail, and there was a tiny snake inside, and said “Behold, the new Asclepius”, took it home with him, where over a week it apparently grew to a prodigious size until it was taller than a man, and had the head and features of a man. It had long blonde hair, ears, eyelids, a nose. At this point he started to exhibit it in his temple, providing religious meeting with this incarnate god. At which point Lucian said, it was obvious, I could have done that. Lucian is another James Randi, you know, I could have done that, he got the snake’s head under his arm, speaking tube over his shoulder, child’s play. And he’s probably right, that’s probably how he did it. If I’m going to adopt a god, I’d rather know starting out that it was a glove puppet. To me it’s a real god, there’s nothing that precludes a glove puppet from being a real god. How else would you explain the cult of Sooty? But a god is the idea of a god. The idea of a god is a god. The idea of Glycon is Glycon, if I can enhance that idea with an anaconda and a speaking tube, fair enough. I am unlikely to start believing that this glove puppet created the universe. It’s a fiction, all gods are fiction. It’s just that I happen to think that fiction’s real. Or that it has its own reality, that is just as valid as ours. I happen to believe that most of the important things in the material world start out as fiction. That everything around us was once fiction – before there was the table there was the idea of a table, and the idea of a table before tables was fiction. This is the most important world, the world of fictional things. That’s the world where all this starts. So I had an experience which seems to be an experience of this made-up, Basil-Brush type entity. It was devastating.

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