Last week I embarked on a bit of a journey reading deeply into how sex takes of symbolic and magical significance in Alan Moore comics. I began to look at two specific issues that involve sex: Saga of the Swamp Thing 34 and Promethea 10. We’ve established that Moore believes that sexual intercourse is a symbolic entwining of two beings to form one. In addition to this, the male and female together climbing towards the godhead and becoming one with everything else. I’d like to continue with this idea.
In Saga of the Swamp Thing, as the sexual act progresses and Abby and Swamp Thing become each other, then Abby/Swamp Thing narrate that they begin to feel the world. They experience the sensations of small rats, and then the sensation of hawkmoths. Moore writes: “There is no contradiction…only the pulse. The pulse of the world. Within us. Within me.” The pulse of the world symbolizes how Abby and Swamp Thing feel the world through the Swamp Thing’s energies. By feeling the pulse of the world, understanding the smallest creatures, we become one with it. And then, immediately Abby and Swamp Thing begin to experience life and death, tide and magma, and experience everything within the world, down to even the smallest twist of a fish and a claw “wounding the soil”.
The final page of the “veggie-sex” shows Abby’s and Swamp Thing facing each other with their eyes closed and in between them is something, I’m not entirely sure what to make of it, but it appears to be an amalgamation of the female sex organ and plant parts (I see roots). What I really like about the image that Bissette and Totleben draw is the interpretation of Abby as water and Swamp Thing as earth, connected by the “earth-vagina”. I really thought the balance between the two was important in symbolizing how they become the world, specifically the Earth, and how each of them represent the two opposing elements. Not only that, it also ties back into what Faust says to Promethea about the magician penetrating the mystery, the male penetrating the female the becoming a hermaphrodite. In this case, the hermaphrodite is the earth and the human. It’s a much more beautiful picture than one would normally imagine when thinking of “veggie-sex”.
One of the interesting parts of Promethea 10 happens during various points of the act; Promethea hears the voices of Sophie and Stacia outside arguing after Sophie has slept with Faust. It happens four times in the issue (if you count the actual instance). Faust’s response is “Don’t worry. It’s just when the magic kicks in. Everything gets sort of looped…” It happens again when Faust and Promethea reach the climax, or in terms of Faust’s teachings the Sahasrana Chakra (the crown). In order to understand the crown in more detailed terms, we have to look ahead to a later issue of Promethea; issue 23.
In this issue, Prometheas Sophie and Barbara are at the end of their Kabbalah journey, at the final sephiroth: Kether. Promethea explains: “All one. All god. All Kether. One perfect moment when everything happens.” Applying these words to Promethea and Faust reaching the crown sexually, it all relates to one word on the final page of the sex sequence: “Here.” They are, effectually, in all places at all times, just as Sophie and Barbara are when they reach the sphere of Kether.
I find this particularly interesting because I’d read Promethea 10 a couple years before Swamp Thing 34 and I began to marvel at the connection between the two issues. Moore takes sex, normally taboo in the modern-day moral high ground that is the super-heroic and turns it into something beautiful, something magical, that can be shared between a man and a woman. It actually validates the old parental saying: “When two people love each other very much, they decide they want to make something special.” That special thing doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to result in a child.
Posted originally: 2008-08-26 22:36:21