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352. Duration (VII)

To pick up and expand from yesterday, Alan Moore worships the Greek god Glycon. He picked Glycon as a deity to worship around 1993 when Moore, upon his fortieth birthday, decided to become a magician and not just a comic book writer. He picked Glycon with some help from his mentor in the comic book industry, Steve Moore, a man who would later immerse himself in a deep romantic relationship with a goddess-form summoned while he pined for an unrequited love. The two men are not related; except that there is something significance in their shared names, as if Steve Moore was Alan Moore’s true father—or his magical father, anyway.

Glycon is a snake-god; a little snake with a human head and flowing yellow hair—rather as Moore’s hair is long and black. Glycon is not a very attractive figure and he is somewhat repulsive to me. He first popped up around 200 AD somewhere about Turkey. He is a fertility and health god: he represents the feminine; and this has some consequences for Moore’s views, as we shall see. From the very start, the cult was considered a hoax: Glycon allegedly emerged from a goose egg in a marketplace—a little serpent with a human face and yellow hair—and was then personally worshipped. Even the emperor, Marcus Aurelius, took an interest in the cult. The satirist Lucian, notable for his attempts to debunk the supernatural, attacked the Glycon cult from the very first as nonsense.

The basic accusation levelled by sceptics was that Glycon was a hand puppet, and this has some significance for Moore’s veneration of the god. Moore is a leftist anarchist; he identifies with the feminine against the masculine: his central characters are often women—sometimes lesbians—who are oppressed by a supposed patriarchy. His comics also show an environmental concern, a reverence for Mother Nature—in turn presented as entirely benign. So it is appropriate that Moore should worship a feminine god.

As a hand puppet, Glycon is literally a false god and Moore even finds this part of the story appealing; he likes the idea that he worships a confected god. In Gnostic terms, a puppet-god could be taken to stand for the demiurge: the false creator-god that rules profane matter (identified with the feminine); the demiurge has imprisoned the true God and so we live enmeshed in profane matter; it is only through certain exercises that we can free ourselves from this fallen world.

Plato also has a demiurge, although it is without the extreme negative connotations found in the Gnostics; nevertheless, it could still be taken to represent the realm of shadows or the cave in which most men are imprisoned. So we could say that Moore, with his constant promotion of leftist causes—such as Extinction Rebellion—represents the world of shadows and illusions; the world of the demiurge’s servant, Glycon. Indeed, the demiurge is often likened to a puppet master, a man who manipulates the profane realm; if we take this as true, Moore serves a creation of the demiurge—the puppet Glycon. What this means is that Moore’s works are obsessed—as you would expect—with sex and violence, with fecundity and production; and these are the themes that we expect the feminine to produce: the desire for constant unrestricted generation and the view that nature can only be benign.

What is absent or condemned—especially in the blond Moore character Ozymandias, with his cold plots to bring about world peace—is the masculine coldness and rational calculation that subdues and tames the world and brings order to it. So, in esoteric terms, Moore keeps everything within the realm of the demiurge; he has no aspiration towards a higher spirituality, and, indeed, the idea that there is a higher spirituality is itself a joke to him—the god appeals to him because it is a false god, Glycon started as a trick; it still is a great trick. This is Alan Moore’s universe.


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