Archives For Alan Moore

Pagan voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media, or from a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice you’d like to see highlighted? Drop me a line with a link to the story, post, or audio.

Wendy Griffin

Wendy Griffin

“To me, whether or not to have professional ministry is the wrong question. We have one even if we don’t call it that. The real question is do we want an educated ministry? Do we want Pagans who will serve in these ministerial situations who have been trained in things like ethics and boundaries, family dynamics, substance abuse, social justice issues, interfaith dealings, counseling techniques – all from a Pagan perspective? As Paganism continues to grow and more Pagans feel safe to practice their religion openly, I don’t think we can afford not to have a professional priesthood, and by that, I mean men and women who have been systematically educated to minister to Pagans in need. I believe we owe that to ourselves and to our gods.” – Wendy Griffin, Academic Dean at Cherry Hill Seminary, on the subject of a professional priesthood within modern Paganism.

T. Thorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle

“When I say I am not a believer, it doesn’t mean I believe nothing. It is that belief is not central to my religious and spiritual life. As a matter of fact, belief holds little importance to me at all. Belief doesn’t structure my experience; my experience structures what few beliefs I might have. My spiritual life consists of praxis first, theoria second. Any theories I hold are simply there to explain — or give context to — experience. Sometimes gnosis enters on a flash of synaptic lighting, but the pathway is usually opened by practice first. The times when this process is reversed, it is still practice that shows me whether or not the flash of insight was an aberration. Like the scientific jolt that happens in the bathtub or while stepping on a city bus: after the big event, we return to the processes that test and compare.” – T. Thorn Coyle, at the Huffington Post, explaining why she isn’t a believer.

Michael York

Michael York

“At the Pagan Federation Conference in London yesterday, we got to see *The Spirit of Albion* and loved it. The dialogue may present a bit to be desired for, and Richard considered the film to be an English pagan *Umbrellas of Cherbourg*, but the viewer is drawn in all the same. The film is an astounding collaboration of volunteers and a low-budget enterprise, but it presents ‘what is always there’ beneath and behind the ‘illusion of modernity’. A wonderful work for explaining paganism to the wider community. Patrick and Barbara, it has already been used most helpfully in prison work and with prison authorities. All the music has been composed by Damh the Bard, and the movement between the worlds is fascinating. I strongly recommend Gary Andrews production.” – Michael York, author of “Pagan Theology: Paganism As A World Religion,” on the Pagan film “The Spirit of Albion.”

Hope M.

Hope M.

“It is only when I fully accept what I am powerless over that I can take my rightful place of power in the center of the pentacle and access the powers of spirit, earth, air, fire and water. At that moment, I finally understand myself in right perspective to the things that are around me. A witch cannot shape reality until she understands it. Admitting that there are things in the world, in nature, that she is powerless over is acknowledging that she is part of the tremendous web of life in which all things are connected. Humans, no matter how impressive our cognition, cannot set ourselves above or apart from the forces of nature. We are all bound by the laws of physics. We are all touched by death. To admit we are powerless over things is to claim our birthright as people of this Earth. It is to lay our heart out open and say “Yes, I am vulnerable. See how strong my heart beats” And yet, In their efforts to rewrite the Twelve steps for a more Pagan-friendly model, many authors have written the concept of powerless out of the first step.” – Hope M. of the 12 Step Witch blog writing about the importance of understanding powerlessness at PaganSquare.

John Beckett

John Beckett

“The liberal religions (which include virtually all forms of Paganism) are not proselytizing religions – we have no desire to convert the whole world to our ways. But there are plenty of folks who need what we have. They feel the call of the old gods and goddesses. They feel the call of Nature and the spirits of Nature. They feel the call of magic, of the alchemy that refines not base metals but human souls. Do we welcome them? Do we have a place for them? Do we help them find their way to Druidry or Heathenry or Humanistic Paganism or whatever flavor they’re best suited for? Or do we close ourselves off in our box pews and let them fend for themselves?” - John Beckett, discussing box pews, both physical and metaphorical, at the Patheos Pagan Portal.

Thom Swanson

Thom Swanson

“Our original (pieces are) heavily Pagan oriented.  Because a lot of them – at least, mine – have come from either when I’m invoked, or through trances, or at drum circles . . . they just pop in.  To help bridge that gap, we throw in some traditional Irish songs, as well as traditional English ones.  And that sort of helps at our concerts  . . . it makes sort of welcome listening for everyone.  That’s the way I see it should be.  Whether it’s Pagan music or mainstream music, it should be able to appeal to the masses.  Because that’s what music is: a voice, and an entity that wants to be heard, that needs to be heard, and especially with today’s society, the music needs to be heard by as many people as possible.” -Thom Swanson, of the Celtic folk-rock band Raven’s Call, in an interview with Diane Morrison at PaganSquare.

Fire Lyte

Fire Lyte

“I believe modern Pagan thinking, Wiccan-influenced Paganism especially, could take a tip from the evolution of the Muses in Classical Greek mythology. There are nine classical muses that represent all sorts of areas of interest, ranging from science to literature to music and theatre. We could, and should, recognize that people walk all sorts of different paths, and that our instinct is to relate to gods that resemble those paths. As was said before, we like gods that look like us, but the flip-side is that we find it hard to relate to – at least when it comes to worship and having a personal relationship with – gods and goddesses that look nothing like us, whose domain of influence is alien to our personal worldview. Anthropotheism says that we made the gods look and act like us, but the confusion here is that we think that’s where it stopped. That we created archetypes and deities and gave them names and faces and associations and carved it in stone somewhere and said THIS IS HOW THINGS ARE AND HAVE TO BE. Good news! You can continue to evolve your concept of the divine just as much as the divine continues to help you grow and change. We work together, us and the divine, because we are part of it, of them. As above, so below, right? If you need the Goddess to wear different mantels, then so be it.” – Fire Lyte, of Inciting A Riot fame, discusses the triple goddess at The Witches’ Voice.

Cherry Hill Seminary's Holli Emore

Holli Emore
Executive Director, Cherry Hill Seminary

“Wild Garden will explore and report on Pagans in the growing – yes, like a garden – interfaith landscape. I’ll be posting, as well as hosting a number of other Pagan bloggers who are out there somewhere in the blackberry patch. Wild Garden will place a particular emphasis on the local and regional grassroots movements happening around the country. By sharing our experiences, we hope to inspire readers to put on a sunhat, grab some gloves and come on out into the sunshine. Some of you have read my past accounts on Palimpsest, about months of my religion being listed as “Other,” about the minister who made an apology to me and all Pagans the subject of his Sunday sermon, about my role on the board of directors of Interfaith Partners of South Carolina. I’ll continue to share those stories here at Wild Garden, along with my observations and the personal lessons I learn. Maybe you have a story to tell? We at Wild Garden will be all ears to your comments here at the blog. We want to hear what you are doing, what has worked for you, scared you off, intrigued you and inspired you.” – Holli Emore, introducing the new group Pagan interfaith blog “Wild Garden,” at the Patheos Pagan Portal.

Alan Moore

Alan Moore

“I think that the current interest in occult and magical activities among musicians and artists is kind of to be welcomed, and in some ways perhaps predictable and inevitable. I think that our culture has gone about as far as it can in having no content or meaning to its art, and I think that an attempt to invest meaning in our culture and in our art by imbuing it with a sensibility of magic is probably necessary, and, like I said, probably inevitable, and certainly long overdue. I salute it considerably.” – Alan Moore, writer and magician, in an interview with The Believer magazine.

 

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

Preliminary Australian Census numbers. (PaganDash)

Preliminary Australian Census numbers. (PaganDash)

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

A few quick news notes to start off the week.

The Case of the Disappearing Library Books: The Lewiston Sun Journal in Maine tackles an oldie but goody, which books “have legs” in the local public library, that is, which books are most often stolen.

“It’s like you know as soon as you order them; it’s almost like you have a betting pool. Anything to do with Wicca, witchcraft, supernatural, things like that. Especially the spells.” At her library, those books seem to bolt before they’re checked out, taken directly off the shelves. The library simply reorders every once in a while. Increased use of eBooks will help, she said — there’s nothing physical to lose. Her best guess on why it happens? “You know, I think there probably is just a little bit of fear that somebody’s going to judge. ‘They’re going to think I’m into something weird,’” Neal-Shaw said. “It’s almost like they’re trying to hide it from themselves; they haven’t come out of the Wicca closet.”

An informal survey conducted in 2001 by the American Library Association found similar results, books on Witchcraft, Paganism, and the occult get nicked on a regular basis. Why? Well, there’s the shame theory, as elucidated above, and there’s the anti-occult thievery theory as well.

“People take them because they don’t want other people to read about witchcraft, and people use them without returning them. I think we have a little bit of both going on.”

While there’s no doubt that some library Pagan/occult sections are getting thinned due to anti-Pagan sentiment, those perpetrators usually like to make a public statement regarding their actions. I think in many cases it is simply individuals who believe they have a right to keep a book, and lack the moral clarity to see how their actions harm other library patrons. It’s hard enough finding decent occult and Pagan-oriented library collections, and these thefts only make it harder. After all, why waste money on books that will simply get stolen?

Alan Moore on Austin Osman Spare: Writer and practicing magician Alan Moore (Promethea, Watchmen) discusses the British fine artist and magician Austin Osman Spare on BBC2.

The tribute to Spare was in timed to the closing of an exhibition of his art at Cuming Museum. You can find some of Spare’s occult writings, here. You may also want to check out this profile in the Fortean Times.

Christine O’Donnell Dominates: She didn’t win the election, but she did win more election-season coverage than any other political figure short of the President. Thanks to “dabble-gate”, and other embarrassing incidents, Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell dominated the news cycle, dragging a large number of Pagans into the spotlight with her.

What does it mean? Well, that there is such a thing as bad press, and that the mainstream media was more interested in talking about O’Donnell’s tenuous ties to “witchcraft” than about the real issues Americans actually cared about. Certainly this isn’t what I was hoping would be the most-reported story involving modern Pagans this year. In my heart I’d like to think this could be a wakeup call for the press, but I highly doubt it.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Every year, a fundraising conference called TAM (The Amazing Meeting) is held for the James Randi Educational Foundation (home of the famous one million dollar challenge), an organization founded by James “The Amazing” Randi, a former stage magician who has dedicated his life to debunking paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims. As one might expect, these conferences draw famous skeptics, free-thinkers, and atheists to give talks, and this year is no different. Headliners this year include Richard “The God Delusion” Dawkins, PZ Meyers, Cory Doctorow, Stephen Fry, and Alan Moore.

Wait a minute …  Alan Moore?!?

“Richard Dawkins is of course author of The Selfish Gene, a volume that popularised the reinterpretation of Darwinian thinking to explain altruism. He is also the number one evangelical atheist in the media. Alan Moore, of course, worships a snake god, describes himself as a magician and has outlined a number of spells that he has cast. Which should be interesting.

Yes, interesting would certainly be the word. One of Moore’s upcoming works is a “a clear and practical grimoire of the occult sciences,” and his ground-breaking comic series Promethea is, in essence, a primer on magickal thought and theory from the very basics to an extended journey through the Kabbalah.

Depending on when you ask him, Moore is also quite convinced as to the reality of Glycon, the snake god.

He shows me his altar to the Roman snake god Glycon. “He was exposed as a glove-puppet in the second century”. And he explains how he used to accompany his magical experiments with psychedelic drugs but now finds he doesn’t need them. “It’s frightening. You call out the names in this strange incomprehensible language, and you’re looking into the glass and there appears to be this little man talking to you. It just works.”

So this leads us to speculate on the nature of Moore’s support for the foundation, and what the organizers think of his rather unique ideas concerning the efficacy of magic. Perhaps he, like myself, wishes there was more skepticism amongst those who practice magic and worship strange gods. Maybe he just thinks James Randi is fun guy, and is doing him a favor. Or maybe, he’s enjoying the best of both worlds by telling the skeptics and the believers what they want to hear. After all, he did say that  “everything everyone says about magic is true as long as you understand it’s all in their mind.” So everyone’s right, and Moore can invoke Glycon and raise some cash for Randi’s foundation without too much bother. Still, makes you wonder what the hardcore atheists in attendance will make of it.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s this gigantic blockbuster film featuring dystopian super-heroes coming out later this week called “Watchmen”. Perhaps you’ve seen an ad or two. The film is an adaptation of one of the most critically lauded comics of all time. It, and several other works from writer/creator Alan Moore, have been turned into would-be blockbusters against his wishes. This reluctance to play the Hollywood game, and his outward eccentricities, guarantee a run of profiles by journalists often amazed that he doesn’t want to cash in.

At 55, the Northampton hermit will take no more credit for the film than he did for From Hell, the screen adaptation of his Jack the Ripper comic book, which starred Johnny Depp, or for the anodyne film version of his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Moore’s name will not appear on the credits of Watchmen and his share of the cash goes to his illustrator on the series, Dave Gibbons.

So what? Aren’t “Hollywood botches the book” or “Hollywood cashes in against the wishes of the writer” stories a dime a dozen? What’s different is that Moore is, for all intents and purposes, “one of us”. By that I mean he’s an occultist/magician who possibly worships the “sock-puppet god” Glycon, and is currently hard at work writing a “a clear and practical grimoire of the occult sciences”. In addition, he also wrote an outstanding 32-issue comic series that doubled as primer in magic entitled “Promethea”. Yet, despite all that, Moore isn’t really a figure of much discussion outside the small subsection of comic-book collecting Pagans and occultists. Neil Gaiman in contrast, who has a comparable track-record of critical and mainstream successes, has a huge Pagan following. Perhaps it’s that Gaiman is far more outgoing, Internet-savvy, and willing to work with Hollywood? Whatever the reason, you’re far more likely to hear a Pagan talk about “Coraline” (which was great) than the fact that Moore’s upcoming “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” comic sequel (due out in April) will prominently feature fictional/literary versions of Aleister Crowley.

“…an apocalyptic plot masterminded by obscure W. Somerset Maugham villain Oliver Haddo, a parody of Aleister Crowley; it almost goes without saying that Moore seizes the moment to populate Haddo’s entourage with fictional creations of the actual, prolific Crowley, while steeping the diabolist’s scheme in arcana from Crowley’s 1917 novel Moonchild.”

So when you head off to the theatre to see “Watchmen”, keep in mind that what you see on the screen is merely an echo, a fannish recreation (warning: spoilers at that link) of a work specifically created for the comics medium. A work not intended to be adapted to big-screen action. Or better yet, why not spend the weekend (and the money you might have spent on admission, a large popcorn, and soda) getting to know one of most brilliant writers of his generation. A writer who happens to share with us an interest in the practice of magic. I think that in retrospect, historians of our wider religious and philisophical movement will pay far more attention to the influence of people like Moore than the dozens of “Wicca 101″ niche writers we currently argue and debate over. Perhaps it’s time more of us got a jump on those historians.

A brief look at happenings in the world of film, television, comics, and novels.

Well, the first episode of the BBC’s new series “Merlin” premiered yesterday, what did the critics think? I think it’s safe to say that Mark Pickavance at Den of Geek hated it.

“…it’s all over the place. One minute it’s legend, then slapstick, then panto, then drama, horror and then mystery – they missed out the science fiction and western genres, but we’ve another 12 episodes of this for that to be rectified.”

Meanwhile, TV Scoop was far more kind.

“…for those of us who were holding our breath and hoping against hope that Auntie’s latest Saturday night blockbuster series wouldn’t be another turkey like Robin Hood, or, worse, another Bonekickers, that bated breath was released in a rousing cheer of appreciation. This time, they’ve really pulled it off.”

It seems the more you’re expecting historical realism or accuracy, the more you’re going to be disappointed. Something to keep in mind when it debuts this Winter in America.

Speaking of Brits who practice magic, the Los Angeles Times interviews Alan Moore, author of “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, “Promethea”, “V For Vendetta”, and “From Hell” about his upcoming projects and his opinion about the currently-in-litigation film adaptation of his critically acclaimed work “Watchmen”.

“Moore has no intention of seeing the film and, in fact, he hints that he has put a magical curse on the entire endeavor. “Will the film even be coming out? There are these legal problems now, which I find wonderfully ironic. Perhaps it’s been cursed from afar, from England. And I can tell you that I will also be spitting venom all over it for months to come.” Moore said all that with more mischievous glee than true malice…”

In addition to cursing Hollywood (a regular pastime for Moore) he also plugs a recent documentary made about him entitled “The Mindscape of Alan Moore”, and his upcoming book of magical instruction and history entitled “The Moon & Serpent Bumper Book Of Magic”.

While I’m on the subject of Hollywood ruining good stories, Neil Labute thinks his atrocious and wrong-headed remake of the cult-classic “The Wicker Man” is misunderstood.

“The director thought he was taking his personal battle-of-the-sexes theme to its logical extreme by presenting “the uber male nightmare of ‘Here’s an island of women, and this is what happens when they rule the world.’” But many folks couldn’t get past Nicolas Cage in a bear suit. “I’d been very used to polarizing people, and there would be as many benefactors as detractors, but people sort of got together on that one and said, ‘You know what? I think we’re all in agreement. We just don’t care for this,’” LaBute reflected matter-of-factly.”

He thinks the film, like the original, was simply marketed wrong. With that I can only agree, Labute’s remake should have been marketed as a comedy. In a separate interview, Labute actually disses the original Wicker Man, proving he just didn’t “get it”.

“I love this movie, love the ending, but it’s not that well made. The songs are goofy. I can do something else with this.”

Well, he certainly did “something else” with it.

In a final, not-really-pop-culture note, go check out the saga of an angry Wiccan taking down a scam money-for-spells online site. This one has it all, multiple identities, drama, intrigue, and pro-anorexia ties!

“FastSpells.com is a scam website that claims they will cast Magick on your behalf for various sums of money. They claim to be able to find you love, give you an abortion, cure your cancer, grant you immortality, and change you sex organs. No, I’m not kidding about any of those.”

Make sure you read the comments, here. It looks like his expose has resulted in the offending sites being taken down by the scam-artists.

That is all I have for now, have a great day!

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

If you have ever read any of Alan Moore’s occult-tinged comics and wondered if he would ever come through on his promise to write a grimoire of his own, wonder no longer! Top Shelf Publishers have posted promotional information concerning Moore’s forthcoming book on magickal theory.

“Splendid news for boys and girls, and guaranteed salvation for humanity! Messrs. Steve and Alan Moore, current proprietors of the celebrated Moon & Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels (sorcery by appointment since circa 150 AD) are presently engaged in producing a clear and practical grimoire of the occult sciences that offers endless necromantic fun for all the family. Exquisitely illuminated by a host of adepts including Kevin O’Neill, Melinda Gebbie, John Coulthart, Jose Villarrubia and other stellar talents (to be named shortly), this marvelous and unprecedented tome promises to provide all that the reader could conceivably need in order to commence a fulfilling new career as a diabolist.”

The bad news? It isn’t scheduled for release until 2010. In the meantime you’ll have to content yourself with the recently released “The Black Dossier”, which features all sorts of occult tidbits for the careful reader.

The Tropaion blog has dug up a well-regarded History Channel documentary about the ancient Greek gods and goddesses on Google Video.

“History Channel once again had produced a remarkable documentary presenting the ancient Greek gods and heroes. The narrator will guide you with an extreme sense of respect towards the Hellenic religion’s believes and practices giving you just the recorded facts and letting eminent Classicists from US’ Universities to add their opinion. It is, thus, this combination that makes this documentary a classic work on the ancient Greek gods and their most eminent rites and rituals in the Hellenic world.”

You can find a direct link to the video, here.

The Religion Clause blog is documenting “War on Christmas” skirmishes so you don’t have to. Of particular interest is a legal showdown brewing in Menominee, Michigan, where an atheist group is unhappy about the erection of a nativity scene in a public park.

“The co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., said in a Nov. 15 letter that the display would violate the separation of church and state. “It is unlawful for the city of Menominee to maintain, erect or host a display that consists solely of a Nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for and endorsing one religion, and commemorating its most holy day,” Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote to Menominee city manager Eric Strahl.”

The city of Menominee is trying to legally protect itself by having a provision stating that “non-Christians be allowed to add their symbols”. I can only hope that this means an enterprising Pagan group or two are getting public displays ready to sit next to the nativity scene. What about a baby Mithras? A mini-temple to Saturn? How about a Yule Goat? Lets get creative here!

It isn’t the holiday season without a visit from the ghost of Satanic Panic’s past. A strange case involving a mayor in a small Arkansas town who claimed he was kidnapped by Satanists and brainwashed into his current identity made the national news recently. To make sense of it all, Bartholomew unravels all the “Satanic Panic” connections.

“LaRose claims that he only regained his original identity after being brainwashed when he was given a truth serum by Dr. Marvin DeHaan, brother of the radio evangelist Richard DeHaan. Richard W. DeHaan is the author of Satan, Satanism, and Witchcraft, published in 1972 by Zondervan. The book came out at a time when popular Christian paperbacks on Satanism were in their heyday: a year later, Mike Warnke (with the help of David Balsiger) produced The Satan Seller, a now thoroughly-debunked memoir of life as a Satanist. The momentum from books like these eventually led to the “Satanic panic” of the 1980s.”

Looks like Satanists aren’t just good for selling pulpy Christian books, they can also help you start a new life when things get rough. Is there anything imaginary Satanists can’t do?

In a final note, check out esoteric author Erik Davis’ write-up of “hard-core, shamanic, eco-metal” band Wolves in the Throne Room for Slate.com.

“The contours of this myth echo what my chat with the band after the Santa Cruz show confirmed: Wolves in the Throne Room are hard-core tree-huggers, with a Manichaean view of the environmental crisis and a pagan faith in the transformative powers of nature.”

You can also read a (somewhat) longer commentary by me on this story at my music blog “A Sweeping Curve of Sound”.

That is all I have for now, have a great day!

Why The Empire Fell

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  December 15, 2006 — 1 Comment

Comic Book Resources features a short excerpt from a longer editorial by writer Alan Moore (writer of Promethea, V for Vendetta, and worshiper of a possible hand-puppet) concerning pornography for the magazine Arthur. In the article Moore details the history of imagery and stories meant to titillate, and their importance to civilization.

“In bygone Greece we see a culture plainly unperturbed by its erotic inclinations, largely saturated by both sexual imagery and sexual narratives. We also see a culture where these attitudes would seem to have worked out quite well, both for the ancient Greeks and for humanity at large. They may well have been hollow-eyed and hairy-palmed erotomaniacs, but on the plus side they invented science, literature, philosophy and, well, civilization, as it turns out.”

So where did it all go wrong? Well, in the opinion of Moore, Christianity and the shaming of sex influenced by such thinkers as the Apostle Paul.

“Sexual openness and cultural progress would seem pretty much to have walked hand in hand throughout the opening chapters of the human story in the West, and it wasn’t until the advent of Christianity, or more specifically of the apostle Paul, that anybody realized we should all be thoroughly ashamed of both our bodies and those processes relating to them. Not until the Emperor Constantine had cut and pasted modern Christianity together from loose scraps of Mithraism and the solar cult of Sol Invictus, adopting the resultant theological collage as the religion of the Roman Empire, did we get to witness the effect of its ideas and doctrines when enacted on a whole society.”

This massive social experiment, in Moore’s opinion, eventually brought about the fall of the Roman Empire.

“If we take a traditional (and predominantly Christian) view of the collapse of Rome, then conventional wisdom tells us that Rome was destroyed by decadence, sunken beneath the rising scum-line of its orgies, of its own sexual permissiveness. The merest skim through Gibbon, on the other hand, will demonstrate that Rome had been a heaving, decadent and orgiastic fleshpot more or less since its inception. It had fornicated its way quite successfully through several centuries without showing any serious signs of harm as a result. Once Constantine had introduced compulsory Christianity to the Empire, though, it barely lasted for another hundred years.”

In his view, this compulsory conversion experience destroyed the syncretic and (mostly) religiously tolerant (for its time) society of Rome. Specifically, it hurt the recruitment of foreign military who didn’t wish to toe the new religious line making Rome weak to invasions by barbarians. Moore’s conclusion?

“…sexually open and progressive cultures such as ancient Greece have given the West almost all of its civilizing aspects, whereas sexually repressive cultures like late Rome have given us the Dark Ages.”

It should be interesting it read the entire article to hear Moore’s views on the tension between libertine excesses and repressive shame in our modern era. It seems that no happy balance has yet to be struck. With one side often losing its own compass with issues regarding the degradation of women, and the other so worried about homosexual sex that it sees such impulses as demonic possession and pure evil.