The latin quotation "et in Arcadia ego" must be completed with the predicate
"fui" (I have been): "I also have once been in Arcadia" - thus expressing nostalgia for a lost paradise. The sentence appears first on a painting of the Italian painter Schidone (died in 1615). "Et in Arcadia ego" is also the motto of Goethe's "Travel to Italy".
There is a more famous painting about Et in Arcadia ego painted by Poussin and mentioned in the text. You can see it further down in my annotations. Here is a lot of information about the painting and the meaning of the expression Et In Arcadia Ego
FBI Agents Breughel and Ball learn that Henry Royce sent a Smee to try and kill Promethea. Stacia shows up at Jack Faust's shop wanting to know where Sophie is and when she will return from the Immateria.
In Chokmah Promethea (6) and Promethea(5) enter an Arcadian landscape where the sacred and profane meet in a taboo tableau of Pan raping Selene. They experience the primordial moment of the Big Bang and realize that spacetime is eternally occuring always. Promethea (5) worries about whether the end of the world has already started and they find Crowley dressed as a fool sitting at the bottom of a staircase too frightened to go further up as looking up into the face of God for too long means that you can never look away. Promothea (5) and Promethea (6) continue up the staircase in pursuit of Steven Shelley.
“Apparently, this thing was sent to kill her and failed, accounting for its sorry condition.” – FBI Agent Hansard describing the remains of the Smee, pg. 1
“Promethea…didn’t she kill me? That was BAD. They sent a blot to do a man’s …jot?” – Smee, pg 2
“Old Mages Do It Better.” – T-shirt worn by Jack Faust, pgs 4-6
“You were the squeaky kid in the library with Sophie that one time.” – Jack Faust
“Uh-huh. And you were the kiddy-fiddler with the bad teeth. You still are. Me, on the other hand I got promoted.” – Stacia, Pg 5
“Jesus, I’m an old man. You could have killed me.” – Jack Faust
“Yes, well, don’t change into clean underwear just yet, darling. I still might.” – Stacia, pg 6
“You know in the twenties Magicians still had style. Turbans, tuxedos and tarts in tiaras. Smashing times. Now it’s all Sigils, stubble and self abuse.” – Promethea(3) (ie Grace Brannagh showing the alliteration Marto Neptura is famous for), pg 6
“Now, do you have a scrying glass, or does everyone search on the net these days.” – Promethea(4), pg 7. Not being a magician myself I use the net
“I can feel my soul on fire. White wings spreading out, Opal at the feather-tips.” – Stacia(5), pg 8
“This place is new and fresh but it’s been here forever.” – Promethea (5), pg 10
“The Land before the Moon.” – Promethea(6), pg 10. Anyone have a reference for this quote?
“The structure of everything, of being, it’s just so … splendid.” – Promethea (6), pg 11
“Not human sex. It’s godsex.”- Promethea(5), pg 11
“This perfect timeless moment where everything is happening. The beginning. The end…”- Promethea(6), pg 11
“Understanding, that happens in the wombdark silence inside us.”- Promethea(6) pg 12
“This is where all the stars spurt into being.”-Promethea(5), pg 13
“What’s that word? The word that means sacred and profane?”-Promethea(5)
“Taboo.”-Promehtea(6), pg 13
“”It’s always still going on. Spacetime. The beginning. The end. All the time. All at once.”-Promethea(6), pg 19
“Revelation. This heavenly light. This is what everything begins in. This is what everything ends in.”-Promethea(6), pg 20
“You think it’s started? The end of the world?”- Promethea(5), pg 20
“What are you doing here?”-Promethea(6)
“Talking to spirits and delusions, evidently.”-Aleister Crowley, pg 22
“I think I’m afraid. You see, from here you can look up and behold the vision of God, face to face. Up at the top of the stairs. Don’t look at it for too long, or you’ll never look away.”- Crowley, Pg 22
“I’m already there. I’ve always been there, just like I’ve always been sitting undecided here.” – Crowley, pg 23
“That’s what this ‘fool’ path is about. Irrational leaps into the unknown.”- Promethea(6), pg 24
“The white light. The pure, perfect experience of God. Some souls just dissolve into it, forever. Some souls go into it and don’t come back. But then…why would you?-Promethea(6)
NOTES & ANNOTATIONS
Reality Creator Workbook Series
Page 1, Panel 1: “Science wonks”
wonky Adj. Unstable or misalligned. E.g."Watchout for that rear wheel, it's wonky."
From A dictionary of Slang
wonk - To cut a person's bangs so short that she appears far younger and more alarmed than she actually is.
ex. My friend was giving me a haircut and she wonked it.
wonky - "messed-up, gone wrong, esp. in reference to technology."
ex. the server went all wonky & I couldn't get my email.
From the Pseudodictionary
Finally another 2 definitions;
1. A student who studies excessively; a grind.
2. One who studies an issue or a topic thoroughly or excessively: “leading a talkathon of policy wonks in a methodical effort to build consensus for his programs” (Michael Kranish).
Last 2 definitions from Dictionary.com
I think the 5th definition is the more accurate one in this case although Agent Ball has certainly been wonked.
Black Egg -
Akasa (or Akasha)derived from a Sanskrit word meaning "to shine." The Tattva associated with the element of spirit, depicted as a black egg.
from the Golden Dawn Glossary.
Panel 2: 178 or 17B – any idea if this refers to anything?
“Trotsky’s” Incident – see Issue #2
Page 1 Panel 5: - Note the smiley face tie the bureau science wonk is wearing.
Page 2 Panel 1: Our old friend the Smee is back for the first time since Issue #1.
He may have partially regenerated but he still hasn’t got his legs back yet.
Panel 3: the true meaning of the acronym is “Semi Mindless Elemental Entity”
Page 3 Panel 1: the TEMPLE, Shirley – nice Shirley Temple joke.
the many roles of Henry Royce – or the many Rolls of Henry Royce since the historical Henry Royce was one of the co-creators of the Rolls Royce motor car.
Panel 2: Apart from pointing out how cool the eye appendages look there's really not much more I can think to say about them.
Panel 3: 17 on the arm of machine on left.
Panel 4: Agent Hansard.
Hansard is the name given to the printed and now online version of the House of Commons Parliamentry debates.
Page 4 Panel 3: Is it just me or does the 5 on Marvs’ tie look more like a 6?
Panel 4 777 by Crowley. One of 3 books Alan Moore gave to JHW3 when they began working on Promethea.
Panel 4-5: The lyrics Jack Faust is singing are from the song
That old black magic
Panel 5: note the jackals’ head on the walking stick.
The resignation of Mayor Baskervill(e) – interesting development. Who will replace him?
Page 5 Panel 1 another change of hair color for Stacia. Red in front, blond at back.
Panel 2 note the snake on Stacia’s handbag.
Panel 3: Nice skull on the left.
“My sacred identity” nice variation on my secret identity.
Panel 4: Stacia’s method of becoming Promethea is to draw her.
Page 6 Panel 1: Jack Faust looks a bit overweight here.
Panel 4: Scrying - “To see or predict the future by means of a crystal ball.”
definition from Dictionary.com
Here’s some more details about scrying using different methods.
Here’s a place to obtain tools and supplies.
and finally here’s a little bit more information about scrying and how to do it.
Page 7 Panel 2: Ed Kelly. You'll find him under people of significance to satanism
Panel 4: You can just start to see Promethea(6) at left and Promethea(5) at right coming into focus.
Note that JHW3 painted all the color on pages 8-24
Several readers have commented about how sexy this issue is which I presume is the effect JHW3 was trying to produce. He should be very pleased with his results in this issue.
Apart from black, white and gray the colors seem to be confined to red and yellow and variations of those two eg. pink, purple and orange, etc. There is also a very nice effect with splashes of white in many different panels.
JHW3 explains how he achieved these results:
The art for 22 was done by first by outlining the figures of Sophie and Barbara with a fine line of ink. Then I proceded to paint in all of the tones and colors using copic gray tones and color tones and color pencils and acrylic paint. All of the backgrounds were done in the same way only without using any outlining. The pages toward the end were done in gray tone first then I took prismacolor pencil and roughed in the colors, then blended them into more solid tones with a copic clear blender. There will be some pages in issue 24 done in this way as well but with a lot more color. I like using the blended color pencils instead of all paint because it creates a unusual texture. It has the slightest hint of grittiness. Anyway it is all mixed media.
The general idea of Chockmah is emanation - it's the first emanation. The natural symbols of Chockmah are the branch and the twig, representing the principle of the line which arises from a point (or a seed). But the best symbol for the power of Chockmah is the phallus. He embodies the quality of erection, through the erection, the penis becomes a wand. Finally, when the phallus ejaculates the sperm, that action manifests the pure power of Chockmah. The sperm expresses the essence of Chockmah. The ejaculation of the sperm is united with the orgasm. The orgasm, often described as an explosion, is also an expression of Chockmah (combined with the energy of Binah). For most people, this is the only possibility to reach the level of Aziluth for some seconds. (paraphrased after Hans-Dieter Leutenberger, The school of Tarot - The tree of life (Der Baum des Lebens), Freiburg 1981).
Page 8 top panel: It’s a bit hard to read the highway marker but according to the previous issue it should be 14.
Page 10 Panel 1: Note that once Barbara takes off her clothes the pupils in her eyes reappear. Thanks to timaximus for pointing this out.
Panels 1-2: "What did those four words near the arch mean? "Et in Arcadia Ego...?"
"I think it's this famous incomplete quote from a Poussin painting "And in Arcadia I..."
Here's the painting although you can't read the writing on it:
Page 10 Panel 4: The explanation Sophie gives here is important for what we will see on pgs. 16-17.
Pages 10-11 center Panel The knights or kings are extremely tall and thin.
IHVH and in Astrology Yod-He-Vau-He that expresses meaning of the whole tree of life
Chokmah = Yod (male fire wands spirits)
Queens at Binah = He (female)
Princes at Tiphereth = Vau (male)
Princesses at Malkuth = He (female)
Page 11 Panel 3: musk and hashish: nice combination of smells.
Page 12-13: The phallic fountain spurts out.
On the floor are the astrological signs for Aries, Taurus and Gemini.
Panel 2: This is where all the stars spurt into being
TL notes that: We can take the word literally and understand: this is the big bang and the origin of the universe with its stars (macrocomos).
But "star" is also a symbol for the individual self which comes into being here (microcosmos).
The occultist Benjamin Rowes writes:
"This is the meaning of the important phrase in book I of Liber AI vel Legis:
"Every man and every woman is a star". Each being alive in the world is simultaneously incarnated as a star in this other universe. Rather, that star is our incarnation, viewed from the correct point of vantage. The purpose of each of us is to increase the beauty and the brilliance of the Stars that we are, by our experience of the ugliness, beauty, and mundanity of this world of Earth."
See (The Beast and the Star A Vision of the Abyss by Benjamin Rowe).
Pages 14-15: The original printing of this issue was not the artwork as originally planned. The Hardcover collected book corrected this. The unmodified art full version of these pages without any interruptions was first published on pages 24-25 of Eddie Campbell's Egomania #2.
Unfortunately it is only in Black and White and much smaller than seen here but the effect is still very impressive
Page 14 panels 1-2: Does anyone else think Selene looks a lot like the Barbara/Boo boo combination of Promethea?
Note the Moon tiara(?) on Selene’s forehead.
Pages 14-15 Panel 3: From TL:
(the bird flying into the chalice) reminds me of the German expression "vögeln" ("to bird") which means to have sex. There's a passage in the works of Jorge Luis Borges where he mentions that word. I'm sure Moore knows Borges. But apart from that association, the symbol "bird" for phallus is universal.
The hexagram is a symbol for the union of male and female energies.
Benjamin Rowe writes in "The Beast and the Star - A Vision of the Abyss" on this subject:
Natural man is viewed as the pentagram of the elements, as a being with five limbs, and five basic forces composing his being. These are the traditional elements of fire, air, water; earth, and spirit. The spirit aspect can either be directed towards the sexual forces (symbolized by the inverse pentagram) or it can be directed towards the spiritual realms.
It was shown to me that Man can become developed to the degree that the spirit (defined as the consciousness aspect) can be directed to either the sexual or the spiritual side at will, or to both at the same time. When a man attains this degree of development, he becomes the hexagram. The sexual organs - male or female - become the sixth point which is missing in the pentagram.
There were then a series of pictures in which the relations between the downward-pointing triangle and the upwardpointing triangle in the hexagram were demonstrated. It was noted that the forces of the two triangles are complimentary and act in opposition to each other when allowed to. They tend to push each other apart, causing Dispersion. It was then shown that for the triangle to unite into the hexagram in man, they have to be interlocked with each other. Otherwise, the downward-tending emotional forces (Luna, Mars, Jupiter) and the upward-tending mental forces (Saturn, Mercury, Venus) will act in such a way as to disrupt each other's effects.
Quoted from The Beast and the Star A Vision of the Abyss by Benjamin Rowe.
Page 15 Panels 2-3 Pan’s eyes are bright yellow in his ecstasy.
Page 16 Panel 1: Pan plus another Pan page
Selene and another Selene page
I think the following list might be Moore's attempt to list various ideas that are used to make up the famous Theories of Everything
The Weak nuclear force
The Strong nuclear force
Earth Air Water Fire See also this and this is pretty interesting
This Phosphorous Angel
Here are a few webpages dedicated to Theories of Everything
Theory of Everything
Platonic Solids and Plato's Theory of Everything
Our Resonant Universe
Towards a Theory of Everything
Ultimate Theory of Everything
Everything Forever shows one of my favourite pieces of graphic art.
Pages 16-17 center Panel: HR Giger type spaceship but manned by human like alien figures
to me it looks like the four figures represent YHVH referred to and explained back on pgs 10-11 by Sophie. The bottom male figure appears to be steering the vehicle using a wand (wings on top of a pole) then we have a female figure then another male figure with either some sort of animal or just an artistic squiggle on his chest and lightning bolts around him and finally another female figure.
Thomas Lautwein adds:
The Giger type spaceship is the phallus of Pan, the grey-white curvature on the left side are the buttocks of Selene. The four figures could be the angels of Chockmah, the Ophanim. "Ophanim" means "wheels", and we can see wheels on the vehicle.
Rob Keery suggests that
the four figures representing the elements/fundamental forces are I'm sure intended to recall the Fantastic Four on the take-off platform before heading into the life-changing cosmic rays. the electromagnetism guy's sparks could just as easily be interpreted as flames, and the figure on his right is so androgynous and indistinct I think it qualifies as a 'thing'.
One of the regular bits of Moore apocrypha is that it was an early Lee/Kirby issue of the Fantastic Four that cemented him to the comics world.
The elemental/fundamental correspondences of the FF, their powers and personalities, have appeared in Marvel Boy and FF:1234 and probably a million other places besides.
What intersts me in this is that it may be within comicbooks' power to explain the current G.U.T feelings of our leading scientists. One of the major issues for science right now is figuring out exactly how the fundamental forces inter-relate, and having read plenty of FF comics I can tell them:
the electromagnetic force agitates the gravity, which is held from collapsing everything by the weak nuclear force , and all of them are being held within each others' spheres by the innovative and potentialising aspects of the strong nuclear force. [or am i just being sexist supposing that sue is the 'weak' electro force just because she's a girl? thinking about it it may be far more likely that her powers mark her out as the strong force, and reed as the weak.]
Page 17 Panels 2-3: “Building like music. Building to a crescendo. Building to its outburst..building to..that first formless…utterance..that first expression…”
Reminds me of John Lennon describing to George Martin the effect he wanted to achieve towards the end of “A Day in the Life” as a sort of musical or orchestral orgasm or in this article the end of the world.
Page 17 Panels 1-3 Zooming in to an extreme close up of the art on the first panel in panels 2 and 3. Very nice effect
Pages 17-18: In… the beginning…is…… the word…… and the word…… is…I
a variant on the New Testament John 1:1
"In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God"
Page 18: From TL the "I" is the hebrew letter "Yod" of the tetragrammaton, the wand, the line and the divine "I" (God says to Moses: "I am who I am"). The explosion is also the moment where God says: "let there be light". See chapter 16 in Dion Fortunes "The Mystical Qabalah, London 1957".
Page 19: Nice effect of almost pure white out of focus gradually coming into focus on this page. Very cinematic effect here.
Pages 20-21 Nice effect of the characters turning around to look us in the face for added emphasis
Page 21 bottom panel: Crowley’s fool costume adds green to the palette of colors used in this issue.
This is just a guess but the red balloon might be a reference to the short film made in 1956 in France called Le Ballon Rouge.
Here's the story:
I forget where I found this quote:
Most of French director Albert Lamorisse's films celebrate the miracle of flight, but few were as landmark as his 1956 short subject The Red Balloon. The story, told without dialogue, concerns a little boy (played by the director's son Pascal) who comes across a helium-filled balloon. As he plays with his new acquisition, the boy discovers that the balloon seemingly has a mind of its own. The little red orb follows its new "master" all through the streets of Paris, then dogs the boy's trail into the schoolroom, which drives the teacher to comic distraction. Towards the end, it seems as though boy and balloon will be parted forever....but director Lamorisse has a delightful surprise in store for us. In an unusual move, The Red Balloon in its American TV premiere was introduced by Ronald Reagan as an episode of the CBS anthology G.E. Theater on April 2, 1961.
Which by a nice coincidence was exactly one year to the day before I was born.
Here's a nice review of the film.
The red balloon also reminds me of the smouldering corpse almost but not quite holding onto a red balloon on the cover of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2 Issue 2.
When I asked JHW3 about this his reply was:
I'm not quite sure what the red balloon signifies. perhaps it means the apocalypse?
A totally different possibility is that it might be a reference to the Tim Hardin song Red Balloon which is apparently about Heroin although you wouldn't know it from an innocent reading of the lyrics. The British music magazine Mojo explains the heroin reference in its December 2002 issue on pg. 70
As naked an ode to heroin as has ever been written, once you're wise to Hardin's use of dopespeak-that the product is frequently sold in latex balloons; that the "pinning of my eyes" refers to the drug-induced contraction of the iris; and "took the lovelight from my eyes" to the junkie's loss of libido.
Crowley was known to have used heroin on numerous occasions.
Yet another possibility is that it is sort of injoke from Alan to Neil Gaiman.
In Neil Gaiman's Sandman Vol 4 Season of Mists Episode 5 on pgs 157 and 162
Chaos hands the Sandman a single red balloon (On pg. 157 she tells him)
"You can have my balloon if you like."
and he ends up giving it to Matthew the crow
(on pg 162)
"Okay boss. Nice balloon you got there"
"If you like it Matthew, it is yours. Here take it"
"Huh.What will I do with a ..."
Matther then flies off with it after which we never see it again.
I wonder what a red balloon signifies to Neil Gaiman?
According to Hy Benders' The Sandman Companion he got the idea for having Chaos as a little girl by looking at his six year old daughter
"Holly - it didn't seem a stretch to incarnate Chaos as a small girl. Holly had just had her birthday, for which she put on a clown face and wore oversize clothing and wandered around with balloons, and I thought, "There we go, that's what Shivering Jemmy will look like."
On the other hand to paraphrase Sigmund Freud
Sometimes a red balloon is just a red balloon.
Page 22 Panel 1:"What are you doing here?"
"Talking to spirits and delusions evidently."
Does this mean the 2 Prometheas are just spirits and delusions?
I’m in my temple at Cefalu. It’s 1921 and I’m preparing to become Ipsissimus.
A quote from Thomas Lautwein explaining Ipsissimus
Ipsissimus is the tenth and highest degree in Crowley's O.T.O. Latin "Ipse" means "himself", "-issimus" is the sign for the superlative degree, so "Ipsissimus" = "the highest self, the I in its highest degree".
Some information about the grades from Crowley's Liber B vel Magi sub Figura I
15. Now the grade of a Magister teacheth the Mystery of Sorrow, and the grade of a Magus the Mystery of Change, and the grade of Ipsissimus the Mystery of Selflessness, which is called also the Mystery of Pan.
16. Let the Magus then contemplate each in turn, raising it to the ultimate power of Infinity. Wherein Sorrow is Joy, and Change is Stability, and Selflessness is Self. For the interplay of the parts hath no action upon the whole. And this contemplation shall be performed not by simple meditation --- how much less then by reason! --- but by the method which shall have been given unto Him in His initiation to the Grade.
17. Following which method, it shall be easy for Him to combine that trinity from its elements, and further to combine Sat-Chit-Ananda, and Light, Love, Life, three by three into nine that are one, in which meditation success shall be That which was first adumbrated to Him in the grade of Practicus (which reflecteth Mercury into the lowest world) in Liber XXVII, "Here is Nothing under its three forms."
18. And this is the Opening of the Grade of Ipsissimus, and by the Buddhists it is called the trance Nerodha-Samapatti.
A quote from Lawrence Sutin's biography of Crowley Do What Thou Wilt:
"Crowley returned to the Abbey in April....[he] came to a resolution for which he had been bracing himself for some six years, since his assumption of the grade of Magus. His destiny was to evolve to the highest grade conceivable by human consciousness-that of Ipsissimus, 10 degrees=1square, on the plane of Kether, the kabbalistic Crown of the Tree of Life, where the first emanation of pure Godhead is made manifest. Crowley's diary entry on this new and final grade was as much terrified as exultant. The "deed" referred to is unknown:
'I am by insight and initiation an Ipsissimus;I'll face the phantasm of myself, and tell it so to its teeth. I will invoke Insanity itself;but having thought the truth, I will not flinch from fixing it in word and deed, whatever come of it.
9:34 p.m. As a God goes, I go.
10:05 I am back at my desk, having done the deed, before the Scarlet Woman as my witness. I swore to keep silence, so long as I live, about the fact of my attainment. (The Scarlet Woman is not thus bound, of course.)'
As to this vow of silence, Crowley seems to have been as good as his word. He never made direct mention of the Ipsissimus attainment in his writings. But in the private sanctity of the Abbey, Crowley had at last jumped the gap between God and himself."
For anyone interested here is “Crowley’s holograph chronology of his spiritual advancement:”
Taken from handwritten notes on a diagram of the Tree of Life found on pg xxxiii of Magic: Liber ABA, boof four, parts I-IV (Samuel Weiser, 1994)
0 – Neophyte…Nov 18,1898
Page 23 Panel 3: Note what looks like two spermatozoas invading Barbaras’ pupil which looks like an ova.
The serpent and the dove are seen just above the next caption.
White Light – one of Alan Moore’s favorite writers Rudy Rucker wrote a novel called White Light.
What follows has to be mostly removed but I'll do it properly later in case I lose something important
Shining rainboe dew jewels
Eden humidity I can feel my soul on fire
Take my clothes off be naked in this experience
New robes feel okay. Somebody new here
Place new fresh been here forever gentle shimmering grace
Arcadia Ancient Greek State complete wilderness Pan dwell Land before the Moon
Brilliant joy musk hashish
Zodiac all the stars
Everything is happening
The beginning and the end (eg. I am the Alpha and the Omega)
Path wands royal road
Water downward triangle
Fire upward triangle
Son of union is air Star of David
Elegant simple lovely ringing with holiness glorious wisdom womb dark silence inside us
A guy thing
Where all the stars spurt into being
Honestly without any misunderstanding sex whispering afterwards soul touching soul at the source of all existencde pure & dirty sacred and profane taboo
Everything just came Big Bang
Spacetime all the time at once
Apocalypse Revelation Heavenly Light
What everything begins in and ends in
Humming Prismatic Radiance on an earthly plane terrifying
Illumination moment lights go on
I'm worried about what's occuring back on earth
You think it's started the end of the world
Hear something wind
Color changing stairs sitting on them Crowley dressed up as a Fool
Looking for Steven Shelley
Path 11 the Fool
Good luck with God
Very polite for Crowley
Idiot trust impulse
Irrational leaps into the unknown
Scared hold hands
Highest sphere one crown
You can be annihilated in it. Fuse with it
White light pure perfect experience of God
Souls dissolve into it forever don't come back...why would you?