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Fossil Angels
October 24, 2010 6:19 PM   Subscribe

Fossil Angels - written by Alan Moore in December 2002 to appear in KAOS #15, which never appeared. Published here for the first time.
posted by MetaMonkey (22 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I gave up trying to figure out what the hell the point of the article was after the first paragraph. Running it through Readability helped with the formatting, but did nothing for the actual content.

Perhaps someone could do a better job to explain WTF this is and why anyone should bother reading it?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:46 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I loves me some Crowley contemplatin' and Magic musin'
posted by Balisong at 7:19 PM on October 24, 2010


Perhaps someone could do a better job to explain WTF this is and why anyone should bother reading it?

It's an unpublished Alan Moore thing. For more info, read this.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:20 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Background: Unearthing Alan Moore’s Fossil Angels
posted by MetaMonkey at 7:20 PM on October 24, 2010


Reading that first paragraph is like sipping whiskey.
posted by boo_radley at 7:28 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a meditation on magic from Alan Moore. Call it an editorial about financial reform written for people with a fourth grader's understanding of the material. It's a call to action for those who style themselves occultists. The specific action it's calling them to take is calling magic an Art and restyling themselves as performers, as a way of getting out of the competition with Religion and Science. It argues for making magic a subset of Art.

Or actually and more accurately it calls for making Art a subset of Magic. For stealing that third space that isn't Science or Religion away from Art and making it Magic. It's a call for more sides in the battle between Logic and Everthing we don't understand.
posted by Peztopiary at 7:28 PM on October 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Perhaps someone could do a better job to explain WTF this is...

It's something like the Imagists' "Make it New!" propounded for the occult instead of poetry, and with John Dee and the Renaissance wizards stepping in for Arnaut Daniel and the Troubadours as the exemplars of a more vital moment.

Imagism popped up around a century ago in response to the increasingly lapidary, turgid work of the late Victorian period, and it succeeded in bringing about a new era in the art. Nothing really arose to challenge the tacky, threadbare forms of the late Victorian occult, and one of Moore's points (he has rather too many points; this is a pincushion of an essay) is that we're living in a poorer reality because of it.
posted by Iridic at 7:53 PM on October 24, 2010


It's well worth the effort to buckle down and parse that dense prose. Do try, won't you?
posted by limeonaire at 7:54 PM on October 24, 2010


This is gorgeous. I'm going to return to it tomorrow morning, when I'm rested, but for now, I'm putting a placeholder here for myself to think further on the intersection of this directive:

Even the sick friend example cited earlier: just go and visit them. Support them with your time, your love, your money or your conversation. Christ, send them a card with a sad-looking cartoon bunny on the front. You’ll both feel better for it. Purposive and causal magic would too often seem to be about achieving some quite ordinary end without doing the ordinary work associated with it. We might well do better to affirm, with Crowley, that our best and purest actions are those carried out “without lust of result”.

...with the intensely-process-focussed actions chronicled in Herzog's Of Walking In Ice, and the ways in which that work may or may not dovetail with Moore's idea of magic.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:59 PM on October 24, 2010


Well, at least it's not written in ugg-speak.
posted by Artw at 8:17 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would have not killed the OP to use MetaMonkey's link to frame what the post was supposed to be about. As it currently stands, it's a random bookmark with no context.
limeonaire: I did give it a try and gave up. It makes no sense at all. Discovering that the subject matter is supposed to be about "Art of Occult" was a surprise, I thought it was just random ramblings about brillig amongst the slithy toves that were gyre and gimbling in the wabe.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 8:25 PM on October 24, 2010


Old'n'Busted, it seems like what happened is that you decided your yawning idiot mouth was itself somehow relevant and should be given voice even though you couldn't be arsed to read more than one paragraph.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:36 PM on October 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd love to hear Lev Grossman's take on this. Some of what's being expressed here feels like familiar territory after reading and reflecting on The Magicians.
posted by weston at 9:07 PM on October 24, 2010


Art is an intentional act to evoke an emotional response.
Magic is an emotional act to evoke an intention.
posted by Balisong at 9:45 PM on October 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Fossil Angels"? That's not a REAL Alan Moore script.

THIS (PDF, 224k is a real Alan Moore script.

Note the consistent use of CAPSLOCK.
posted by vhsiv at 11:51 PM on October 24, 2010


If only more of Alan Moore's work went unpublished...
posted by Yakuman at 1:18 AM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Faskinatin'. See also: Art is Magic. I've always got time for Moore.
posted by Drexen at 3:02 AM on October 25, 2010


Like magic is supposed to be easy or understanable

(I just wish Dodgem Logic had been better and more mental)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:25 AM on October 25, 2010


Well, the Kevin O'Neill bits are nice... Some of the stuff they run seems like Big Issue back in the day when they were kind of random and not so corporate.
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on October 25, 2010


Note the consistent use of CAPSLOCK.

I've seen that convention used in scripts before, where the scene description is in all caps and the dialogue is written in the normal fashion (as Moore does here). There's just more CAPSLOCK in Moore's scripts because he's notoriously precise in his scene descriptions.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:05 PM on October 25, 2010


I did give it a try and gave up. It makes no sense at all. Discovering that the subject matter is supposed to be about "Art of Occult" was a surprise, I thought it was just random ramblings about brillig amongst the slithy toves that were gyre and gimbling in the wabe.

Yes, it is definitely part of Moore's style that demands annotation. However, be well aware that every thing that you don't understand in that opening paragraph is actually a rather deft and specific reference to certain aspects of the hermetic traditions, and is really quite funny if you have a broad understanding of what's being evoked.

The 'game of Aiwaz Says' and 'Temple uv Psychic Forty-Somethings' in particular really cracked me up - 'Aiwaz' was the spirit that supposedly dictated large portions of mystical learning to Alaister Crowley, which was then transcribed into the various Libers; Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth is a modernest mystical tradition that arose some 20-25 years ago amongst the post-Burroughs-ian circuit of noise and avante-self-destruction following Genesis P-Orridge's works with COUM Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle.

Basically, Moore is writing on very specific and almost technical details in a very alliterative and free-flowing style. Think of this as poetry using the lingo of nuclear chemistry for an understanding of why you don't understand it.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:15 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


This piece is an almost fractal snapshot of a whole subculture - Hell, just take the title and run with it: Fossil Angel was painted by the scarlet woman, summoned by a mystical ritual performed by a mad rocket scientist and a....

Oh, forget it. Like magic, you're not going to get any more out of it than what you put in.
posted by Orb2069 at 5:19 AM on October 26, 2010


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