Tarot Hermeneutics LogoTel: 919-542-5719
Fax: 919-869-1643

Tarot Hermeneutics

Exploring How We Create Meaning with Tarot

Synopsis of Promethea Chapters

SYNOPSIS based on Alan Moore's text. PROMETHEA: Notes and Annotations by Eroom Nala.

See Index to Promethea Recorded Audio Conferences for Thoth Tarot Readings for each Chapter, as well as links to recorded sessions and other items related to past conferences.

Chapter 1: The Radiant Heavenly City

In Alexandria in 411 AD Promethea's father, a hermetic scholar and magician, is killed by a mob of Christians just after he sends her off into the desert to save her. There she meets 2 of her father's gods Thoth-Hermes who rescue her by taking her off into the Immateria where she will no longer be just a little girl but a story living eternally.

In New York in 1999 AD Sophie Bangs is working on her term paper about Promethea a fictional character who has appeared in 18th century poems, newspaper strips, pulp magazines and comic books. Her friend Stacia goes to a rock concert while she tries to interview Barbara Shelley, the widow of the last person to write Promothea comic books, but is promptly ushered out.

New York's resident science heroes the Five Swell Guys find her and ask if she is being menaced by anybody but at the time she feels safe. Shortly after a Smee (or Semi-Mindless Elemental Entity) tries to kill her but she is rescued by Barbara who has turned into Promethea. Hiding from the Smee Barbara explains about Promethea and how Sophie can become her just by writing about her.

When the Smee returns to attack again Sophie has managed to turn into Promethea and just about kills it but Margaret has been wounded and Promethea flies off with her, taking her to a hospital.

Chapter 2: The Judgement of Solomon: The Temple wants her dead. They've put out the hit from hell!

Promethea takes the wounded Barbara to the South Tower Hospital. Meanwhile Benny Solomon hires two demons to try and kill Promethea. They attempt to do so at a rock concert but Promethea proves to be too strong for them and they open up a portal into the Immateria to escape accidentally dragging Sophie's friend Stacia along too.

SYNOPSIS based on author’s work.

Chapter 3: Misty Magic Land

At the hospital Promethea checks out how Barbara is doing and Barbara helps her to follow Stacia into the Immateria using the power of her imagination. She encounters Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf before finding Stacia overcome by the sadness of The Weeping Gorilla. Almost succumbing to the effects of the Weeping Gorilla they manage to escape but are nearly caught by the Big Bad Wolf before managing to return to New York where Promethea changes back into Sophie.

Chapter 4: A Faerie Romance

In hospital Barbara's condition is worsening so her soul goes to talk to the other previous Prometheas in the Immateria. Sophie and Stacia go to the library to do some research on Promethea where Sophie reads the life story of Charlton Sennet, author of A Faerie Romance. Sennet's inspiration for Promethea was his servant girl Anna which ruined his marriage when his wife discovered they were having an affair. Anna has a child but it turns out to be only half real and she dies in childbirth leaving Sennet alone. At the library Jack Faust makes contact with Sophie/Promethea but is interrupted by Stacia.

Chapter 5: No Man's Land

At Ypres in 1915 Promethea leads a lost soldier back to safety. Meanwhile back in New York 1999 Barbara's conditioning is worsening. Barbara helps Sophie return to the Immateria where Margaret explains about the end of the world. Left alone Sophie finds herself in Hy Brasil.

Chapter 6: A Warrior Princess of Hy Brasil

Whilst Sophie lies asleep in hospital in the kingdom of Hy Brasil Grace Brannagh's version of Promethea saves Sophie from some manigators or man lizards. Using reductionism Sophie manages to help Grace to get rid of Marto Neptura who had usurped Promethea's Kingdom. Meanwhile Benny Solomon arrives in New York and summons a host of demons to get rid or Sophie/Promethea.

Chapter 7: Rocks and Hard Places

William Woolcott's version of Promethea shows Sophie how our life looks when viewed from the perspective of the Immateria. As her explanation progresses it all becomes hyperreal and photographic images take over from comic book sketches for a while. At the hospital Sophie wakes up just before all the demons arrive to attack her.

Chapter 8: Guys and Dolls

Sophie manages to sum up previous versions of Promethea as well as her own using her mother, Stacia and a nurse as hosts. The Prometheas manage to defeat all the demons but the Painted Doll blows up himself and Benny Solomon which leaves the demons in our world where they hide inside Mayor Baskerville.

Chapter 9: Bringing Down the Temple

Sophie/Promethea seeks revenge on the Temple for causing the death of Barbara but her revenge is short lived when she finds that the Temple is holding a birthday party for one of the members' children.. Jack Faust offers to teach her magic in exchange for sex and at the end of the issue she accepts.

Chapter 10: Sex, Stars and Serpents

Basically this is just a prolonged sex scene between Promethea and Jack Faust in which he also teaches her a lot about magick.

Chapter 11: Promethea Under Attack!

On New Years Eve 1999/2000 all the elastagel joins together to form one giant slime that threatens to drown the city until Promethea manages to make communication with it. Her two snakes from her caduceus introduce themselves as Mack (Macrocosm) and Mike (Microcosm) and decide to take her on a tour of the magic circus of the mind.
NOTE: This whole episode bears more than a little resemblance to Tom Strong Issue #3 Aztec Nights

Chapter 12: Metaphore

A tour through the 21 major arcana cards of the tarot with Mack and Mike the 2 snakes from Promethea's caduceus explaining things to her Variations on P R O M E T H E A (major introduction to Thoth Tarot trumps) each page corresponds to a card and makes a circle.


Chapter 13: The Fields We Know

Summer 2000: Sophie is determined to go off in search of Barbara. She sets up Stacia to take over the role of Promethea in her absence as she expects to be gone for quite a while. Transforming into Promethea she explains to Stacia a bit about the Kabbalah and manages to convince the other 4 previous Prometheas to let Stacia take over the role while she's gone. Stacia will be merging with Grace Brannagh as the substitute Promethea. Promethea(6) talks to the Universe and an allegorical figure from the 16th century before stepping onto a boat steered by an old man who turns out to be Charon and tells her she's dead.

Chapter 14: Moon River

Stacia buys a copy of the Fantastic Art of Grace Brannagh. Charon takes Promethea to a Houseboat on the Styx which comes from a book of the same name by John Kendrick Bangs, who is Sophie's great great grand uncle. Mr. Bangs takes Promethea up to a moonscape where she finds Barbara/Promethea(5) talking to her late husband. It turns out that he isn't really her husband but just her memory of him. Baron Munchausen and Lucian show the 2 Prometheas through Yesod to the lunar realm. At a train station they board a train which will take them on to to the solar realm.
Back in Malkuth Stacia manages to turn into Promethea after painting a picture of her.

Chapter 15: Mercury Rising

The Stacia/Grace Brannagh version of Promethea manages to destroy Jellyhead a new villain whilst in Hod Prometheas (5) and (6) get trapped on a Moebius strip and meet up with a giant Hermes who explains about chess, mathematics and language. He takes them to meet Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare and John Dee. Spare accompanies them for a short distance.

Back in our world Promethea has overcome the entire Evil 8 and threatens to kill the possessed mayor.

Chapter 16: Love and the Law

In the Mayors mind all the trapped legions of demons are in Hell. Promethea overpowers the 5 Swell Guys. Promethea(5) and (6) enter Netzach which is an underwater realm or an ocean of emotion. In this sea of green Promethea(6)/Sophie has memories of her mother and her own birth and Promethea (5)/Barbara remembers the death of her husband.

Both are overcome by their strong emotions and surrender to love. They surface on a shore to encounter Death who dismembers them but it is only a metaphorical death.

Chapter 17: Gold

In Malkuth Promethea (2b) meets up with the mayor and has a vision of Prometheas (5) and (6) trapped in Geburah.

At the moment Promethea's (5) & (6) are actually in Tiphereth a location representing beauty, harmony and the Sun. They meet up with Boo boo who is Barbara's Holy Guardian Angel and also herself at age 15.

Boo boo shows them Apollo and the Risen gods including Christ on the Cross. All three of them move on to Geburah.

Chapter 18: Universal qualities will love

In Malkuth FBI agents Ball and Drucker are in pursuit of the new militant Promethea whilst Prometheas (5) & (6) plus Boo boo arrive at Geburah, a Mars like location which is totally red. Prometheas (5) & (6) are trapped in the world of shells where Asmodeus reigns in the form of a giant spider. Back in Malkuth Promethea (2b) manages to overcome the mayors' demons by eating them and in Geburah Promethea (6) manages to calm down and by treating Asmodeus with respects lets him show his true aspect which is actually human.

In our world Promethea(2b) escapes from the 2 FBI agents. Back in Geburah Boo boo and Prometheas (5) & (6) leave to go off into Mercy.

Chapter 19: Fatherland

In Chesed Promethea meets her father for the first time since his death. He takes her away from Sophie who also finds her father Juan Philippe Estrada. Boo boo must abandon Barbara as she and Sophie step off into the Abyss.

Chapter 20: The Stars are But Thistles

Barbara and Sophie arrive at Daath where they are right off the map finding The Beggar and the Fountain. They encounter Crowley twice once in female form riding a camel ("When I'm like this you can call me Alice") and then performing the Chornozon working with Victor Neuberg. They also find another version of Austin Osman Spare but he does not remember their last encounter. They disintegrate and wind up at Binah.

Chapter 21: The Wine of Her Fornications

At Binah Sophie changes back into Promethea and she and Barbara discover Dr. John Dee who is one of the powerhouse of benevolent adepts or Illuminati. He shows them Babalon who becomes Marie. Afterwards they...

Chapter 22: 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 occurring 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.

Chapter 23: The Serpent and the Dove

Promethea and Barbara finally reach Kether. They experience what it is like to become God.

All born/all fed/all grown/all led/all helped/all harmed/all cursed/all charmed/all brutal/all holy/all wisdom/all folly//all knowing/all seeing/all suffering/all being/all doing/all done//all one.

Eventually they find Steve Shelley and having ascended like serpents up the Tree of Life they now descend like doves back to Malkuth. Barbara and Steve are reborn as boy & girl twins while Sophie reconciles with her mother.

Chapter 24: Cross, Moon, Star, Shapes in the Sand (Everything Goes Wrong)

For the first time we learn about two other incarnations of Promethea who existed in our world (one Christian and the other Muslim) flourishing before the 11th Century, leaving to spend time in their respective heavens and returning to our world still unaware of each others‘ existence eventually fighting each other to death on opposite sides at the battle of Antioch in 1097 AD.

Juxtaposed with their story is that of Sophie and her former best friend Stacia who fight one another in their guises as Promethea and knock each other out.

From the Immateria the previous Prometheas Margaret, Bill and Anna open up a doorway and take them out of our world.

Chapter 25: A Higher Court

In the Immateria in a courtroom presided by King Solomon the final decision is that Sophie will remain as the one true Promethea on earth.

Here in Malkuth Henry Royce helps FBI agents Breughel and Ball in their search for Promethea and as a result the Pied Piper steals all of the Temple‘s children. Jack Faust is captured and taken into custody by the FBI, Stacia is shot by a trigger happy agent Breughel and Sophie‘s mother warns her to escape before the FBI agents also come for her. This is the end of the Fourth Book.

Chapter 26: later ...

In the drab almost monochromatic world of Millenium City Sophie Bangs is working in a video store but the world here seems to closely parallel our own present political situation. Agents Ball and Breughel are pressuring Tom Strong to find Promethea for the FBI but he is unsure of how to handle the situation. Using his daughter Tesla and Solomon the talking ape Tom finally manages to corner Sophie on a rooftop

Chapter 27: When It Blows Its Stacks

Sophie turns into Promethea and evades both Tom Strong and the FBI. After saying farewell to her boyfriend she heads off for New York City. Tom Strong decided to reconvene America's Best to deal with the situation. In New York everyone gathers outside as Promethea approaches.

The original advertising blurb for this issue ran as follows: An ABC crossover, as Tom Strong makes a guest appearance! Sophie Bangs, still in Millennium City, lives a quiet but happy life. She's left the guise of science-heroine behind and now revels in routine daily pleasures. But all things must pass, and that time has come for Sophie! The subject of an intensive manhunt for the last three years, she's been traced to Millennium — where a confrontation with Tom Strong forces her to once again take on the form of Promethea...no matter what the cost!

Chapter 28: Don't they know it's the end of the world? (It ended when you said goodbye)

The original ad for this issue ran as follows: Don't they know it's the end of the world (it ended when you said goodbye)? After three years on the run in Millennium City, Promethea returns to New York to commence the apocalypse and is reunited with her mother, Jack Faust, Stacia, and others from her past.

Chapter 29: Valley of the Dolls

Multiple Painted Dolls end up killing one another until there are only two left. One is mobbed by fans who want to be killed before the world ends leaving the last one to locate the 4 Swell Guys and kill his creator. FBI agents Ball and Hansard are ordered to terminate Promethea. The group of people gathered in Trish's apartment start to separate.

Stacis is reunited with Grace Brannagh's Promethea and Dennis Drucker with Bill Woollcott's Promethea. Uvula Cascade meets up with Sonny Baskerville and America's Best gather around Jack B. Quick who is putting together a Doomsday Device. The last Painted Doll approaches Trish's apartment building.

Chapter 30: Everything Must Go!

Still to be done properly

The original ad for this issue was: Everything must go as the landmark series nears its conclusion! As the apocalypse continues to extend its reach from Sophie's mom's apartment to encompass the city and the world, various persons converge on their home to put a stop to it — including America's Best, and perhaps more significantly, the last Painted Doll.

Chapter 31: The Radiant Heavenly City

Still to be done properly.

What do you do the day after the world ends? This is it, the end of the story — the one that answers all the questions! And whatever you do, do not miss issue #32!

Chapter 32: Wrap Party

Still to be done