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Old 10-19-2007, 02:53 AM
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Question - This question was asked by John Storch on 2001-03-19.
Mr. Moorcock:

Just a quick little question... What is the origin of the Chaos Symbol you describe in your stories? Is it from your own imaginations or did it evolve out of any particular mythology?

John Storch
Milwaukee WI
Answer - Mr. Moorcock answered this question on 2001-03-19
Sorry, I thought I'd just done this one. The origin of the Chaos Symbol was me doodling sitting at the kitchen table and wondering what to tell Jim Cawthorn the arms of Chaos looked like. I drew a straightforward geographical quadrant (which often has arrows, too!) N.S.E.W.and then added another four directions and that was that -- eight arrows representing all possibilities, one arrow representing the single, certain road of Law. I have since been told to my face that it is an 'ancient symbol of Chaos' and if it is then it confirms a lot of theories about the race mind.

Equally, Stormbringer was described as being 'ancient mythology' by the band which used the name for its album. The first Stormbringer album, I suspect, was an unconscious lift. I once sat and listened to a guy in a cafe tell me about a tunnel which ran under the Convent of the Poor Clares in Ladbroke Grove, which led into other planes of existence. I was fascinated until it gradually dawned on me he was giving me back the plot of A Cure for Cancer as a folk tale! It's always flattering when that happens.

As with so much of this stuff, a lot of the provenance only goes back as far as the 19th century and the various romantic revivals or to late Tudor searching about for historical authority, so a lot of Celtic stuff is actually the invention or suspicion of Lewis Spence and the early, very romantic myth-tasters. Most Druidic tradition, for instance, is as authentic as Ku Klux Klan ceremonies -- i.e. borrowed from romantic fiction. I've pointed out elsewhere that the famous fascist salute didn't exist before the Italians invented it in those extravagant historical pictures they made before the first world war and the Klan didn't appear in its familiar 20th century guise until after Birth of a Nation made the 'Knights' romantic, calling on material taken more from The Scottish Chiefs than from real Scottish history. That is to say, about as authentic as Braveheart! Or Riverdance, for that matter! As far as I know the symbol, drawn by Jim Cawthorn, first appeared on an Elric cover of Science Fantasy in 1962, then later appeared in his first comic version of Stormbringer done by Savoy. More details of that can be found on the Savoy website. Elsewhere on the net you will find early accounts of my creating Elric. A long boring answer to a quick question! All best, MM
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