Babalon Diaries: No !! Casting

Babalon Diaries # !! Casting

Our Lady Babalon

Our Lady Babalon

This is Part 11 to a series of posts about my adventures during 2005, leading up to the performance of Paul Green’s play Babalon. The story is full of cloak and dagger, initiatory strangeness, chaos, and hysteria. It shows what can happen on the Magical path if one is not careful…

Directed by occultist, Alison Rockbrand, Babalon was performed on December 16, 2005, at the John Gielgud Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to a sold out audience of London’s finest occultists and magicians. If you want to listen to it, click Radio QBSaul: Archives: Babalon. I played Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.

Babalon Diaries No.!!

Babalon by Paul A. Green
Voices and Characters

Jack: John Whitesides Parsons – educate Californian, Frater 210 of the OTO

Ed: Ed Forman – technician at CIT – Californian, Life long friend of Jack

Crowley: Aleister Crowley, Baphomet, Frater Perdrabo 666, Master Therion,The Great Beast, Supreme Caliph of the Order of Oriental Templars etc etc. In this last phase of his life, Crowley suffered form severe asthma. A 1930’s recording of his inimitable voice survives.

Freida: Lady Freida Harris – artist, wife of Sir Percy Harris, Bart.  Crowley’s loyal pupil and patron. In her 60’s Patrician English

Smith: Wilfred T. Smith. In his 50’s. suave Anglo- American. Frater 132. Crowley’s original OTO representative in California

Helen: Helen Northrup Parsons, Jack’s first wife. Californian

Betty: Sara Elizabeth Northrup, Helen’s sister. Later Jack’s mistress

Ron: Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, author, explorer, religious teacher. Mid-West
Founder of Scientology

Cameron: Marjorie Cameron Parsons, aka Candida or Candy, artist and vessel of Babalon

Police Officer/ FBI Officer/ Radio Announcer/

and Young Crowley

Alison Rockbrand

Director, Alison Rockbrand as Babalon in a prior incarnation

Casting

It’s about time for another installment of the Babalon Diaries. That Mercury Retrograde in September was a real blooper. I was so scattered I forgot to blog. Imagine!

One thing I learned hanging around the Thelemites involved with Babalon, is that many Magicians are not psychic in the least. This came as a surprise to me because I am not sure I would have been a Witch if I was not a Faery Seer, and I would not have been a Faery Seer if I wasn’t psychic. So, I wondered what drew these people to magic? Was it anything more than an intellectual, or academic interest? I think not because they were practicing magic to get results in alignment with their True Will.

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, Love under Will” 666

That is all well and good, but if you can’t “see” the effects of your magic, how do you monitor it? How do you gauge what is happening in the Unseen? How do you know what the spirits you are summoning are doing?

It is a very dangerous activity as those of who can “see” can attest. Even Crowley, and John Dee long before him,  employed clairvoyants to capture the visions and channel the spirits. Without a Seer, Magick is a case of the blind leading the blind down a dark alley in a storm.

These Magicians are all Londoners, city dwellers. My magical personality is totally tied up with nature, and nature is where the original psychic openings happened for me, and it was in nature that portals opened out into the Otherworld. When I asked about this, I was told that in cities, people are into Lodge Magic. That is why the Ceremonial Magical traditions like the  Golden Dawn, and Thelema, are based in Free Masonry — it is all Temple Magic done indoors with elaborate altars and trappings like the Catholic Church was before Vatican II.  This type of magic may not require psychic abilities because the rituals themselves hold the appeal, and the power that is promised is gained through study and the practice of Magic for certain results. Ceremonial Magic has much more formal rituals, very stately and beautiful ones that do indeed create atmospheres of great potency that can induce trance states and visions. In contrast, Witchcraft, and Faery Seership especially, are more spontaneous and don’t really need anything more than clairvoyance to participate in their  Mysteries.

Downloading A Goddess

So, there were difficulties.

It is too easy for me to mediate deities. I did it as a dancer, and as an actress when doing Shakespearean roles. I shift into other consciousness streams when I do readings and healing work for clients. I learned very early on, in the late 1970’s, to blank my mind with meditation so that “messages” could come through from the spirit worlds and I could know it was not my imagination, or fantasy. I was taught the importance of “slaying the ego” in order to become a vessel for the gods.

So, very shortly after I began working with my Babalon script, I was moving into Babalon’s current, and it would not be long before She would be coming through.

Trouble is, that on my side of issue, I am still me. I have simply allowed Babalon to take space in my consciousness and being, and to express Herself through me. But I do I do not have multiple personality disorder. On the contrary, I am highly aware that I am still me. I just now have emotions and forces moving through me that are not quite mine — but they are also, in the sense that these emotions and forces belong to all of us, not alien.

It seems in retrospect that some of my cast members did not understand this.

The Wiz came to rehearsal smelling of roses and working the eye contact with me/ She.
I,  of course was not able to separate myself from Babalon and wondered why he was attempting such an obvious seduction, as if I wouldn’t know what he was up to.
This would all play out in a rather unfortunate and somewhat silly way later on.

Babalon is a Love Goddess, and also a Goddess of Destruction, very much like Lillith.
She is red roses and blood, sex and transformation through the power of sexuality. Try to live in the world with this volatile cocktail of forces moving through you and you can easily court disaster, especially when She has Her own agenda.

BABALON

A Speculative Fiction for Radio
concerning the life and death of Jack Parsons (1914-52)

This conceptual synopsis and complete script of BABALON is copyright© Paul Andrew Green 1998/2005, who asserts all rights of authorship and intellectual paternity under the 1988 Copyright Act. It may not be reproduced , developed, adapted, performed, or broadcast in any form or medium or format whatsoever without the express written permission of the author or his agent. A staged version was performed by Travesty Theatre at the Gielgud Studio Theatre, RADA, London WC1 on 16 December 2005.

The live recording is now on-line at Radio QBSaul VOICES Angela Morrow Marjorie Cameron George Sieg Jack Parsons

Anthony Lewis Ed Forman/AleisterCrowley/Harbourmaster/FBI Agent Elizabeth Daily Lady Frieda Harris/Helen Parsons/Mrs. Crowley David De Blank Wilfred Smith/Warden/ Thomas Crowley/Announcer Marysia Kay Betty Northrup

Joe Murray L. Ron Hubbard/Police Officer VISUALS Sara Mulryan SOUND Georgi Georgiev/Paul Green DIRECTOR Alison Rockbrand

See how they try to hide…

Treadwells Bookshop

Treadwells Bookshop

How We Met Each Other

I went to a read through at Treadwells and Alison wanted to cast me. At that point, my American accent and acting experience made me a desirable choice to play Cameron/Babalon. I didn’t want to do, especially after the incident when, script in pocket, I went to the corner shop in Highgate where I lived, and bought a few items that totaled up to 6.66. Crowely’s Magical personality as the Great Beast was, of course, 666!

I hadn’t made up my mind. Though I was attracted to the project, I was scared. I didn’t want a Goddess of Destruction coming through. Suddenly, one day when I was home, it felt like an earthquake ripped through the flat. Emotionally, I became unstable, almost crazy with anxiety. I couldn’t sleep that night and somehow got on the phone with GG, (we had just become friends) and he was very kind and supportive, but I must have been  nightmare to deal with because I was basically freaking out.

A few days later, I was approached again by Pharaon about being in the play. I agreed to do it, ignoring my sense of foreboding…

A group of quite wonderful actors were assembled. But it was impossible to cast Crowley! It was weird. Here we were in the middle of London working out of an occult book shop, and we couldn’t find a middle aged to old, bald headed magician to play Aleister Crowely! The original plan was that, since the play had been written by Paul Green as a radio play, that only Crowley and Frieda Harris would be on the stage, along with a Cameron/Babalon, while the rest of the cast would be in hooded robes speaking from a gallery that runs along the top of the stage at the John Geilgud Theatre. Since Cameron/ Babalon didn’t come on until Act 2, this left the stage bare for half the play.

Cameron as Babalon

Cameron as Babalon

Weeks went by, still no Crowley. I asked my young shaven headed Goth friend to it — he would have been great because he was flamboyant, and funny as Hell, as was Crowley, but even he refused. Nor could we find an old lady to play Freida Harris.

Alison had no choice but to cast a couple of twenty somethings who were good for the roles but visually totally wrong for the parts, and keep them offstage. Anthony   Lewis,   who did the voice of Crowley  during the rehearsals was an amazing Crowley. He found recordings of Crowley’s voice, and really nailed it. He also gave the character of the Great Beast tremendous wit and charm.

The Darkness Thickens

We initially assembled upstairs in Treadwells, in the middle of the bookshop, because another theatre group, Foolish People, were rehearsing down in the “crypt”…I remember looking out the windows at the streets and the restaurants thinking how dark it was. It was now October and night fell early all of a sudden.

I remember how ghostly it was that year. One day, my room mates, P.& K. who were Goths, had gone to Highgate Cemetery. They had met at the Whitby Vampire Festival 10 years before and were inseparable from that moment on. They were really into horror films and vampires and death and all that good Goth stuff.   That night, I had a dream that some shadowy figures crept silently onto the flat and went into their bedroom. They had attracted ghosts into the house. Things were moving in a very murky direction.

The days grew darker. GG was the sound effects man. He was having trouble making it to rehearsals and the Babalon part of me was getting upset. I am not sure if I would have been unhappy about it on my own, or if the magic that was being done behind the scenes was too strong for me to take. Pharaon, who was playing Jack Parsons,  also had trouble getting to rehearsals on time, and the Wiz was frequently ill with asthma — Crowley’s malady at the end of his life. As a former professional actress and dancer, I was appalled that actors would be late for rehearsals, but I also sensed that there was stuff going on among the Thelemites that I, as an outsider, was not privy to. Things would get very much weirder before I found out.

And of course, if you want to listen to podcasts of our December 16, 2005 performance of Babalon, the links are just below.

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

Please leave comments. For updates of the Babalon Diaries, subscribe to my RSS Feed or my email list. There is more to come…

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Babalon Diaries 8: The Search for Babalon


This is the eighth in a series of posts about my adventures during 2005, leading up to the performance of Paul Green’s play Babalon. The story is full of cloak and dagger, initiatory strangeness, chaos, and hysteria. It shows what can happen on the Magical path if one is not careful…(as if one has choice…)

Directed by occultist, Alison Rockbrand, Babalon was performed on December 5, 2005, at the John Gielgud Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to a sold out audience of London’s finest occultists and magicians. If you want to listen to it, click Radio QBSaul: Archives: Babalon. I played Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.

Babalon Dairy 8. Search for Babalon

Research is an important part of creating a character, especially if it is an historical figure. I was embarrassed to say that I had never heard of Marjorie Cameron, but then again, I was never a Thelemite. I had heard of Jack Parsons a long time ago, in some distant connection with the Manson murders, perhaps to do with the Hollywood location, and through this, I knew he was known for performing rites of black magic with L.Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. I later found a reference to Parsons in a book by Kenneth Grant, a magician who seems to combine Crowely’s teachings with the Cuthulu mythos created by H.P. Lovecraft. In discussing Crowley, and the atom bomb, Grant mentions the rocket scientist, Jack Parsons, as an early American devotee of the Great Beast.

But Cameron was completely new to me, and it was she I had to become…

I was also not very familiar with the internet in those days. I had to be tutored by Sara, the graphics designer for the play, on how to find images on google. She also told me about wikipedia. What I read there was so astounding that I will just reprint it here because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! (I had to edit some of it, I found to my chagrin, after this post was published…)


Marjorie Elizabeth Cameron (23 April 192224 July 1995) was an American writer, painter, actor, and occultist

Biography

Cameron was born in Belle Plaine, Iowa, the eldest of four children. Her father, Hill Leslie Cameron, was a Scot from Illinois who worked with the railroad. Her mother, Carrie V. Ridenour, of German and Dutch decent, was a native of Iowa. The night of Cameron’s birth was surrounded by chaos; there was a terrible thunderstorm and her father got drunk and attempted suicide because he thought his wife was dying. Her grandmother, a staunch churchwoman, believed Cameron to be a child of the devil because of her fiery red hair.

As a child, Cameron began to have strange and powerful visions that were so vivid, she could not be sure if they were real or imaginary. One night from her bedroom, she saw a ghostly procession of four white horses float by her window. Later she would recall these dreams in detail and was able to capture this in her artwork and poetry. In a letter to magician and Aleister Crowley associate Jane Wolfe, she mentions finding a “hole to hell” in her grandmother’s backyard:

“I remember always a tree on my grandmother’s property from which hung an old, old swing where my mother had played as a little girl. Near this spot I recall a well which I always believed was the hole to hell – also the blue Bachelor Button flower grew near this spot. Herein I find again a new concept of the 4 elements and the name of god – the tree, the well, the swing (water’s life) and the flower – which is seed.”

When she was 17, the Great Depression was underway and Cameron moved with her family to Davenport, Iowa, a considerably larger town than Belle Plaine. Having trouble adjusting after the suicide of a close friend, Cameron tried to take her own life several times by overdosing on sleeping pills. She claims that these near brushes with death further enhanced her psychic abilities, reportedly giving her a glimpse into the realm of the dead.

In 1943, in the midst of World War II, the 21 year-old Cameron turned down several scholarships to join the Navy. She was sent along with 3000 other women to boot camp in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Soon she was selected for a high-level job in Washington, DC, where she applied her artistic skills by drawing maps for the war efforts. She was then sent to the Joint Chiefs of Staff where she once met Winston Churchill. She had a drafting table at the head of their conference room. Later, she felt that many men died in the South Pacific as a result of her drawings, Cameron considered all of her drawings to be magical talismans that had a very real effect on the world, she always felt a karmic connection to these men and believed that later tragic events in her life were the result of her participation in their deaths.

By the late 1950s, Cameron was living in Malibu and hanging out with a crowd of artists that included the likes of Dennis Hopper, Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner, and others. Wallace Berman’s show at the Ferus Gallery was closed in 1957 after displaying one of Cameron’s drawings which depicted a woman, possibly Cameron, being taken from behind by an alien creature.

Cameron also played the role of a ‘sea witch’ in experimental avant-garde film directed by Curtis Harrington. This 1960 black and white supernatural thriller, Night Tide, starred actor Dennis Hopper and Linda Lawson. This film was shown at the Venice Film Festival in 1961, and released in the U.S. in 1963.

Hmmm. With all the visions I was having, I felt an sense of coincidence to be playing Cameron. But my visions were not so dark, but sublime, and beautiful. I was not a dark person, but a nature loving witch, and healer. The sense of foreboding returned as I wondered how deep I was going to have to go into this whole Babalon thing….where was it going to take me?

The Scarlet Woman

When rocket propulsion researcher and occultist Jack Parsons met Marjorie Cameron, he regarded her as the fulfillment of magical rituals he had been performing as the beginning of the Babalon Working, roughly, an attempt to incarnate, in a physical body a divine entity, a living Goddess, that would usher in the Aeon of Horus ,and change the course of history.

Parsons wrote of Cameron in a letter to his mentor Aleister Crowley in 1946:

Jack Parsons

Jack Parsons

“The feeling of tension and unease continued for four days. Then on January 18 [1946] at sunset, whilst the Scribe and I were on the Mojave Desert, the feeling of tension suddenly stopped. I turned to him and said ‘it is done’, in absolute certainty that the Operation was accomplished. I returned home, and found a young woman [Marjorie Cameron] answering the requirements waiting for me. She is describable as an air of fire type with bronze red hair, fiery and subtle, determined and obstinate, sincere and perverse, with extraordinary personality, talent and intelligence. During the period of January 19 to February 27, I invoked the Goddess Babalon [a particular aspect of the Egyptian goddess Nuit] with the aid of magical partner (Ron Hubbard), as was proper to one of my grade.”

They termed this incarnation the Moonchild. Writes Aleister Crowley on the subject:

“The Aeon of Horus is of the nature of a child. To perceive this, we must conceive of the nature of a child without the veil of sentimentality – beyond good and evil, perfectly gentle, perfectly ruthless, containing all possibilities within the limits of heredity, and highly susceptible to training and environment. But the nature of Horus is also the nature of force – blind, terrible, unlimited force.”

The Babalon Working was allegedly successful.

After her husband Jack Parsons’ death, Cameron starred in Kenneth Anger’s 1954 cult-film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, which also featured Anais Nin. Both Cameron and Anger believed that this film was proof to the world that she had manifested the force of the Goddess. “She was doing art for the sake of magick and her soul. She never sold her paintings.”

Cameron burned most of her paintings in the late 1950s in a symbolic suicide performed with her second husband Sherif Kimmil. They had been up for several days on speed and had formed what Cameron called a “suicide club”. Kimmil slit his wrists in the bathroom while the paintings were burning.

Cameron’s two brothers, her sister, and her father worked at JPL, the company co-founded by her husband, Jack Parsons. She was a protege of mythologist Joseph Campbell.

Marjorie Cameron Parsons Kimmel died of cancer on July 24, 1995.

Alison Rockbrand is also a highly creative person who fuses her art with occult workings. I am still not sure exactly what was going on behind the scenes, but there was an enormous energy at rehearsals. It was unsettling for me, destabilizing at times, and yet created a wonderful spell of bright darkness  that is very hard to describe to someone who has not experienced it. Alison and I both resonanate with Cameron/Babalon. She more consciously than I.

To listen to the Radio Show, Babalon, click here:

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

Please leave comments. For updates of the Babalon Diaries, subscribe to my RSS Feed or my email list. There is more to come…

Fossil Angel by Cameron

Fossil Angel by Cameron

Below, I have posted some books and DVD’s from Amazon that I used to study these incredible people. Among them Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome from which most photos of Marjorie Cameron are pulled.


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