The Transformation of “Witchcraft”



I came of age in the 1970s. Those were the early days of the feminist movement. I always loved femininity, so the idea of becoming a miniature – (and the was the word they used) man had no appeal foe me.  I was always a rebel and wanted to be seen as a realm person, having equality with men, but I did not want to be one. I was also always very drawn to the moon. I was a natural clairvoyant and telepath, and artist and visionary. Of curse back then there was not really any language for those things, especially in traditional New England. I had to come to the west coast to find put that I “wasn’t really from here.” and that I ” shouldn’t try to fit in.”

In the 1980s the Women’s Spirituality Movement emerged. I have since learned that most “movements” are concocted by socila engineers to promote their hidden agendas and that indeed the feminist movement was a CIA psy-op designed to get women  into the workplace so they could be taxed.  But since I had to deal with this movement, spirituality resonated with me much more that any corporate ambition. I was working class so that was all Greek to me.

The books were pretty good too. The Jungian things, books like Moon Moon by Anne Kent Rush produced in those hand made 1970;s hippy style paperbacks, books like Margaret Murray’s God of the Witches, and especially Dione Fortune’s Sea Priestesss. I had also studied Surrealism in art school and read about the girl friend of one of the famous painters or poets…hmmm. I think Paul Eluard, describing his girlfriend as mysterious, in the garden at night, a witch. These works resonated with me and my natural affinity to nature.

I grew up in nature. My playground was the woods, exploring the woods, discovering wildlife, reading fairy tales, dressing in my mother;s cats off clothes, pretending to be otherworldly among the trees, at the woodland lake, in the meadow with the ancient stone walls. Woman as sibyl, as shamaness, as fairy take witch had a great appeal for me. I was not alone in this. We all grew up much closer to nature than people do now despite their “green movement” which isn’t really green but corporate. The forest was my refuge and my healer, a place of magic.

As a forest person, I’d always been naturally attracted to Druidry. The White Goddess by Robert Graves sealed that resonance for me.

Over the last 20 years a very dark strain has entered in. Via heavy metal music, horror films,  books. Satanism has replaced the lovey celebratory nature of the seasonal rituals and “witchcraft” seems to be deteriorating into the evil that our Medieval ancestors  feared. Perhaps even then the art of the wise woman, the healer , the shaman, the cunning man deteriorated into evil, just as the pagan religions fell into orgies of human sacrifice and war.

This development has been extremely distressing to me. I do not want to be associated with this darkness. When I played Cameron / Babalon in Babalon in London, I did it as a creative project ( I had been an actress at one time). I had no idea who jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron people were. Playing the Babalon roletwas fun, but as I hate war, I was disturbed at the Jack Parson’s excitement invoking “Force and Fire, my friend, Force and Fire” as the most desired reality in the Aeon of Horus. I never liked Crowley and still don’t. I am not a destroyer, but a preserver and creator. I feel I’ve spent my life watching everything I love being destroyed.

Now, I feel the old mythopoetic path of witchery is being destroyed. This probably has more to do with why I don’t write to this blog any more than anything else. These ideas work great in fiction, so that is where I will explore these themes. In fiction light and dark can dance without raining bombs on innocent people in sacrifice to some awful un-God. The theme of human sacrifice haunts us all because it is in our ancestral memories, but frankly it is the devil in the psyche that Christ sought to redeem so that it could end forever. The whole thrust of Christianity is to raise consciousness to a high vibrational level, thereby starving the dark lords and escaping their clutches. This is why they hate Christ. I never hated Christ. In fact, before I lived in London, my witchcraft was solidly aligned with the Virgin Mary.

Anyway this is my little rant. I wish for all my readers who are drawn to Malifecium that you see the error of your vision, that is it is a form of demonic brain washing manufactured to bring you down to the lowest common denominator. It backfires. It will not feed you.

The Wicca religion is filled with beauty, but one must always know that the God it celebrates is the Devil. It doesn’t have to be, but it seemd to be going more and more in that direction. This is the Being that is being uploaded into the ethers now. Not a nature God, or joyful, fertilizing spirit, but something evil.

Maxine Sanders even writes about it in the opening to her autobiography, Firechild describing a Druid ritual at Stonehenge in 1968:

“The ceremony went on until the killing of the old king when, after a few moments of dramatic knife waving it became apparent that the play acting was taking a sinister turn. Alex ( Sanders) was suffering sincere but blunt jabs that were trying to penetrate the beautiful, luckily thick, robes he was wearing; there was terror in his eyes and panic in his voice. The normally sedate priests and priestesses were screaming for the lifeblood of the old Oak King, the king of the witches, my husband…. This was witchcraft!”

So it was spelled out even then. I am curious about what you think.

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Babalon Diaries: # 17: Invocatory Theatre and the Babalon Project

Aline DeWinter: Invocatory Theatre and the Babalon Project

Interview by Alison Rockbrand

This is Part 17 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.

by Air Adam

by Air Adam

As part of her on going academic research into esoteric acting and performance/theatre at the Rose Bruford College, Alison Rockbrand interviewed me about my creative process. She was  especially interested in my use of ritual to develop roles in acting and dance.  Most actors at one time or another, study Method Acting developed by Constantin Stanislavsky in the late 19th century. I recently learned that he made great use of esoteric methods in training actors how to embody their roles. I wonder how far he originally took them in terms of Otherworld contacts….

Alison Rockbrand:

Aline DeWinter is an American medium, tarot reader, witch, writer and performer whose work has crossed from the Seattle Shakespeare Company,to the dance performances of the Companions of Musavir, to working on esoteric theatre projects in London, England where she lived for nine years. She is the writer of a detailed and extensive blog on what she calls ‘the magical path’; included in this blog is an account of her experiences while working on the esoteric play by Paul Green, Babalon, of which I  myself was the director. I spoke to her on her experiences as an individual performer in the realms of esoteric theatre and dance.

Interview with Aline de Winter

AR: You describe yourself as a witch and as a performer, can you give me some idea as to how you interpret these terms and how they relate to each other?

AD: Well, I think I have always been what I would call a witch. When I first started working with the Seattle Shakespeare Company in the 1980′s I started to feel that there were deeper levels to Shakespeare that no one was really investigating. I tried to bring my magical awareness into my performances.

AR: What do you mean by ‘magical awareness’.

AD: At the time I was doing a lot of Kabbalistic magic, you know from the Jewish Kabbala. I was getting up at five in the morning to do these meditations which were based on that system, trying to increase my esoteric knowledge. But I was always a natural witch, I always just somehow knew how to do magic. It was like what they say about shamans, I was just called to the path I am on by the spirits themselves. I have heard the same sort of thing from Native Indian shamans with whom I have had a lot of experiences. Basically I knew how to tap into other dimensional reality and bring stuff through, though my body. I would move my mind through a door. But at the time of my work with Shakespeare and particularly with the part of Lady Macbeth, I was just trying to integrate my knowledge with what I felt were the deeper levels in that play.

AR: How did you accomplish this integration?

AD. One example is the scene where Lady Macbeth conjures of all of these dark spirits or demons in order to make herself stronger. In the performance, we thought of that scene as an actual magical ritual. We drew a circle, and conjured the directions, and treated the scene very much as you would in ceremonial magic. We thought of the scene as an actual magical ritual though we were quite careful not to fully conjure the dark energies that Lady Macbeth was conjuring, or at least I did not conjure them into myself as she was because that would have been too chaotic. But we still  treated it as though I were real, as though the spirits were being spoken to during the performance. We also banished them everyday after the rehearsals and performances; we were careful to cleanse to space magically after every performance.

lady-macbeth Ellen Terry as Lady MacBeth

AR: Can you tell me something about your preparation for the performance of that role?

AD. Well as I said I was doing all this Kabbala, and that helped me to get to some of those deeper levels. But the way I always prepare for such roles is through ritual and through the use of images. I would find the right image of the magical levels within the character I wanted to use during the scene and then I would take those images into my own body, or my own awareness. I finally found that it was easier to do this with dance because then I can just totally let go in performance and let the character or the spirit I am trying to work with completely take over, like a kind of shamanic possession.

AR: You said you also used ritual?

AD: Yes, when I practice at home I always begin the practice by drawing the circle and calling in to it the energies I need for the performance. Its a magical ritual that I repeat every time I rehearse because I am trying to do magic on the stage and it takes a lot of practice of that ritualistic kind to accomplish that. The ritual might vary, but its a ritual the same as in ceremonial magic where the circle is drawn before the spirits can enter. It was the same when I started working in dance.

AR: Can you elaborate about your work in dance?

AD: I started to work with the dance company, Companions of Musavir, performing sacred dances. I was initiated into the Sufi Order in Paris in 1982.  In those days when I was dancing an doing a lot of theatre my whole desire was to use theatre as a magical vehicle.  There were very few people, if any, who had the same idea as me- only Elizabeth Dickinson, the director of the Companions of Musavir - had this as the real reason behind the dance company. I was one of two dancers who got that. I felt I could do more of what I wanted with them. I started doing my own choreographies which sprang out of my desire to unite with a Goddess or God- as Circe, Melusine, Salome, Ariadne and various others.

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Circe by Waterhouse

AR: What was your process in preparing for that kind of role?

AD: When I was working on Circe, once the choreography was set, I would move my consciousness into what I have to call ‘the Circe current’. I would try to connect my consciousness with that of the Goddess, which feels more like a specific current of consciousness rather then the mind of a character. Its something from a different reality. Then I would often find new ways to move in the choreography and a lot of it would change based on my connection. I would do this over and over again, as a ritualistic, magical and spiritual practice as a preparation for performance.

AR: How was the performance different from the rehearsals?

AD: In the rehearsal phase I would just be contacting it myself, letting the Circe current show me the dance and letting in use me to find the right choreography. In performance, I would mediate on stage between the Goddess Circe and the audience. I would try to bring something magical through to the audience. However, you never know if its going to work. You can’t control the spirit. Its a willing co-operation. If it does not want to manifest in a certain performance then there is nothing you can do. You have to work with it and develop a relationship with it, so that is why there is so much ritual practice involved- it makes the connection stronger.

AR: How do you develop this connection?

AD. I always invoke, I develop in magical circles. I make a circle, I invoke the spirit and then I let it take over me but without letting go of my critical side so that I can work. It develops through the ritual practice, but in that practice I am making my self very open emotionally. I am trying to release my conscious mind and go into the subconscious, which opens you up emotionally, and then  you can connect to the spirit through a strong emotion. In magic we often use sygils and symbols to get in touch with the subconscious mind and I use those to connect the spirits as well. I use the heart chakra combined with the third eye, which then makes you telepathic with spirits that are good for you,that have a higher energy level. From the solar plexus into the lower chakra levels you get demons who feed off your sexual energies, which can be very debilitating.

AR: What is there to be gained from this kind of connection to a spirit?

AD: Every time I perform in this way and get into the body of a spirit, or mediate for a spirit to an audience, it alters me in ways I sometimes do not know about until much later. I have gotten many gifts from this kind of practice, mainly new abilities or new insights into myself or the world. These are magical gifts which are given from the spirit who has a different reality to me, and when I communicated with it on this level, something of the spirit always stays with me, forever. And it can alter reality as I know it as well. Things change, strange things happen, my life changes. It could be a dangerous practice and many people on the occult path go insane from conjuring demons. If you conjure positive entities, then good things will follow, but often when you deal in Black Magic, then bad things tend to happen and people loose themselves. With the Babalon project, I felt that the energy of Babalon was very fiery and chaotic and many bizarre things happened during the rehearsal process in London. But I gained a lot from Babalon, especially lots of Kundalini energy rising up my spine.

AR: Can you tell me more about your preparation for Babalon?

AD: I have written in my blog about the experiences with Babalon by Paul Green and with the spirit of Babalon because it was something that altered my life in many ways and in which I saw how the use of certain energies and types of magic can have major effects in reality. In preparation it was very magical because the play itself is alive- it contains some of the Enochian keys of John Dee and Edward Kelley which were used by the occultist Jack Parsons to complete what he called “ The Babalon Working”, a magical rite to call the energies of the spirit of Babalon into the world at large. Those energies were not the kind I was used to dealing with. They were darker, more fiery. In rehearsal we sang the Enochian keys and it would get very weird. There was definitely something happening when we sang the keys in rehearsals. Since all the actors were occultists and magicians, it would seem that we could not help but actually perform aspects of the Babalon Working whenever we performed those scenes in the play.

AR: Did this differ from your private practice?

AD: In my private practice I would draw the circle, call the directions as is done in most Wiccan and ceremonial magical rituals, then I would use the Babalon sygil which Aleister Crowley created to try to connect to the ‘Babalon current’ . I would work to bring through the Babalon energy. What it felt like was a very disruptive energy, like the earth was falling from underneath me. As always I experienced it as a dimensional shift. Then Babalon would appear to me. Babalon shows up as a red fiery figure covered with jewels. Then I would walk into that figure. I would just move my body into the body of this spirit Babalon and I would focus on what that felt like, and try to remember the feeling of that for the rehearsals with the rest of the cast.

AR: Was the same thing happening in performance?

AD: No. In performance I felt as though Babalon was talking directly through me to the audience. There were moments in the performance when I felt as though the energy was really being manifested directly to them. My performance was a magical act to conjure Babalon and I think she was definitely there and I think the audience could feel that. But each time one of these spirits manifests though a medium, it will take on aspects of that person as well. So my invocation of it would be different from another actors.

AR: You said you experienced magical phenomena during the rehearsals for Babalon. Can you elaborate?

AD: The play had a magical effect way beyond just the rehearsal room. Not only on myself but in the real world as well. There is one incident which happened during the rehearsals. It was towards the end of the rehearsal process and nearing the performance. I had a problem with my flat and so I had to go and stay with a friend of mine near Hampstead Heath. At one point  she told me to find someplace else to stay because another friend of hers was coming from Germany for her job in Hemel Hempstead. The German friend’s return home was delayed all of a sudden when the factory she was working at blew up. It turned out that the factory was a producer of airplane fuel.  It’s very bizarre because Jack Parsons, the protagonist of Babalon, was, in real life, one of the inventors of rocket and air plane fuel. He was killed when he dropped a canister of rocket fuel and it exploded. His death is also the climax of the play.  I find it incredible that this should have happened so close to where Babalon was being performed and only a few days before the performance, and that I who was  playing Babalon, was directly connected to someone who worked there. It’s horrible though, really.

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The Babalon Working as it was performed by Jack Parsons was supposed to bring the energy of the ‘Babalon Current’ into the world at large, to affect the outside world and to have a major effect on humanity. Many people have wondered what was actually accomplished by it though, as Parsons was killed in an explosion not long after. I think we awoke something in our rehearsals that had a similar effect. We  performed a version of the Parsons Babalon Working and a factory close to us that stored air plane fuel blew up.  That is what I mean about real effects. This type of esoteric theatre effects things.

(Aside by me: This why we say “Don’t do this at home….” Luckily no one was hurt.)

AR: What effects did the experience have on you personally?

AD: Its always like a kind of initiation because something in me changes and a whole new side of my personality can develop. The experience with Babalon brought through something that was not there before. Initiation is about creating a holistic self  from these currents, dimensions, or conciousnesses, and letting them add to by body and to my knowledge. I have more energy then I do this. Also, the spirit becomes a muse for me, and though it new connection are born and I gain in gnosis. Working with Babalon I contacted things I had not contacted before, but now I always can again. I can always call that spirit or energy back. I still feel very connected to it today. It affects objective reality.

AR: Do you think this kind of experience is possible though other theatrical means? Do you need to be an esoteric actor to experience this or can it happen in other theatres, such as those in which use shamanic techniques ?

AD: I have done a lot of work with shamans and I have seen many of their rituals on Native American reservations in America. You cannot take the techniques of shamanism away from the shamans and expect to get the same results. Those techniques are tied to the land, to specific trees, or lakes or other natural elements, and to a specific tribe. I have seen shamans perform with feathers that were 1000 years old passed down a family line- a lot of the magic is in those feathers. Shamans are healers and they work for the whole community. There may be some similar techniques in esoteric acting, but its not really shamanism the way it is used traditionally. Our practice of Esoteric theatre is urban, it travels with us, its not tied to a place or a people. Its like a kind of urban shamanism. But these shamans like esoteric actors are trained to be able to see into other dimensions and to bring things back. I do not think that is what is happening in other theatres because the people involved are not trained in that way, the audience in not being changed in the same way because the actors are not calling in other dimensions of reality. They are exploring this reality, but we are going somewhere beyond there.

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alterofbabalon

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 #15+9: Cup of Abominations!

babylonastridethebeast_thumb1

This is Part 15 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.

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I have been slowly approaching these scary parts of the Babalon Diaries.

4 December, 2005

It was  our director, Alison’s, birthday. Since she was having the blues, I decided to give her the present of a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. The Brits love all this Americana stuff  that is so easily forgotten about when you are back in the States.

By this time the rehearsal process had become extremely intense — at least for me. I was having trouble doing research because I was so unfamiliar with computers and I didn’t know these characters at all. I didn’t even know about google images at the time.

I do now…..

The set designer was woman I will call S. Since I was going to be the only actor onstage, Alison decided to project images, sigils, photos, etc on the back stage wall so the audience would have something to look at. S. had a great fund of them and was creating a slide show with a musical score to be played before the show. She had also provided a book about Jack Parsons called Strange Angel, by George Pendle that had some photos of the Babalon crew.  Slowly I began to learn about these fascinating characters, and was drawn more and more into that world of Thelema, Magick, and the Bohemian culture of California just before WWII.
I was also bringing Babalon through — sometimes feeling entirely changed as I practiced my lines and monologues at home, repeating over and over the words of Aleister Crowley and entering the consciousness of the Scarlet Woman.

Black hooded robes were being made for the the actors, and I was looking for red and black vintage to transform myself into 1940‘s Marjorie Cameron and Babalon. We now had sound effects and voice overs. Our sound effects man, G. frequently had trouble coming to rehearsal because he worked graveyard shift, and the process of trying to get him to sacrifice sleep to rehearse was often difficult. The responsibility seemed to fall on me for some reason. This wasn’t  good with what the Babalon current was doing. The actor who played Jack Parsons was often late as well. T this held us up considerably. On Alison’s birthday, he was very late having gotten lost in Sainsburys in Covent Garden, waylaid by the wine shop on his way to rehearsal.

red-phone-box

Hail to the Red Phonebox

After rehearsal, I brought out the Jack Daniel’s for Alison. We passed it around in Treadwells and then had to leave. I remember G. had to go and that he looked like Russian Prince out of a fairy tale.We finished celebrating Alison’s birthday on the sidewalk outside. Pharoan showed up with a bottle of red wine and we passed that around too.

Now it takes very little alcohol for me to get drunk. One glass of wine and I am smashed. On and empty stomach — even worse. Mixing whiskey and wine? Unthinkable, but in the moment it seemed OK.

I don’t know how we got to Charing Cross tube station. I am sure I meant to take the train to Camden Town and then go on up to Highgate where I was living at the time. But somehow, I was sitting on my rear end on the sidewalk in front McDonalds! A homeless guy was sitting beside me pointing a row of lighted Christmas trees in a shop window across the street and asking which one I was.

“I’m the blue one. Which one are you?”

“The red one,” I said.

“You can stay here with me tonight if you want to. Curl up in my blanket.”

I remember at one point throwing up in a corner — I am naturally very tidy — aware that I had entered a sphere I would never have imagined entering before.

Next thing I recall was the Wiz talking to me, trying to pull me up off the sidewalk. A cab was waiting. I don’t know why I was being so difficult, but was alert enough to remember the Wiz saying, “Three cabs refused to pick us up and I couldn’t get you up off the side walk. I’m not letting this one go.”

“Really?” I said. I couldn’t imagine such a thing. “What time is it?”

“3 AM. S. told me to stay with you and make sure you got home all right. You were saying Hail to the Red Phonebox and took off down the street.”

“I did?”

Long story short, the cab took us to my house. I luckily had enough money on me to pay it. The Wiz came in and I settled him on the floor of the lounge. I fell into bed with my boots on.

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5 December, 2005

In the morning I woke up fully dressed and upset that my top was wrinkled and would have to be dry cleaned. The Wiz had been so kind as to remove my boots. He had to leave early, and the Goths were stirring. I usually got in the shower before they did to give them time to get ready.

The Goths and I worked at Camden Lock Market. December was time for what the management called The Christmas Package which meant we had to work extra hours to keep our pitches over the holidays. As a Tarot Reader, I never made much money at Christmas, but could never afford to take three weeks off, so I eeeked out what I could in the freezing cold, barely moving from my table  and the heat of the electric fire I had going underneath it.

I had been suspended the week before (another first for me!)  for arguing with a cut-throat  jewelry trader who was manipulating and  trying to steal a chunk out of my pitch for himself. People with terrible attitudes, and  some downright sociopaths have been known to grace the Market with their presence, and I was often a target — probably because I was a woman and because what I did for a living wasn’t perceived as valuable by them — even though I had hundreds of clients who only came to the Market to see me.  I was pretty fed up with these a_____s  at that point and full of the ferocity of the Whore of Babalon: Goddess of Love and War!

But that morning, I was so ill, I could barley stand. You know the feeling, like your stomach had fallen out and gotten left behind somewhere. I had taken my shower and was cringing on the couch.

Me: Yup! I have to go to work. I’ll feel better after my coffee…

Goth #1: You’re not going to work.

Me: I have to! If I don’t show up  for the start of the Christmas package, I’ll lose my pitch for three weeks.

Goth #2: Nope. You’re not going to work. You’re too sick.

Goth #1: You’re not going to work like that.

Me: Well what will I do?

Goth #1: We’ll tell them you’re sick and you can’t come in. Look at you. You can barely stand up.

Me: Well, OK.

I did feel so horrible. I really didn’t want to go work.

Thank God I stayed home!

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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 Dairies: # 14: Snakes and Ladders

QueenOfTheNight

This is Part 14 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 # 14

Those of you who have brought Deities through yourselves will understand  what I mean when I say: at this point all Hell  broke loose.

A Deity as powerful as Babalon, coming through a frame as sensitive as mine, was a bit too hot handle. Marjorie Cameron was a Taurus at least. Grounded! We Aquarians? Not known for it.

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I have heard so many reports of magic going haywire. Even among the pros, relationships can be ruined as the scales tip wildly and reality crumbles. Some magicians don’t recover completely. I wonder about one of our number, because he was totally out to lunch most of the time, surrounded  with all his demons and other friends…

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>I was feeling pretty rocky, sometimes sliding into a kind of hectic edginess and emotional reactivity >that was not like me at all. It was good for the role of Cameron, but I grew to fear the terrible flames <of kundalini that were coursing through my system filling me with desires I knew would lead to >serious trouble for little old me if I acted on them. I suppose there had be an outlet for trouble. It >came via a couple of my regular Tarot clients from Camden Market.

>There was this family issue.

>The Turkish one I’ll call A.  She was someone I thought was a friend, that I could trust her, at least on the grounds that I helped her so much, finding her places to stay, helping her get jobs, introducing her to people who I thought would be good for her to know. I even did readings for her during my free time to save her having to travel to Camden Town. I suppose she resented it when I didn’t want to give her discounts when she called me on my own time. Rather I charged her extra as any right thinking professional would do who needs down time after working in the public all day. I will never understand the thinking that you should get to wear somebody out and get special favors for it!??

Why didn’t I know she was a scheming, two-faced, treacherous, lying cow? Because of the fatal flaw of many of us in the helping professions — empathy!

I made the mistake of recommending her for a job at a pub owned by my other client,  who I’ll call C.

C’s father was a very wealthy, middle aged man and (HOW did I miss this?) A. was a true Gold Digger. Determined at all costs to land a wealthy, middle aged Englishman and marry him, she made her play for C’s father taking advantage of his usual drunken state and desire for much younger women.. C’s father was not divorced from her mother, so it was unlikely he would marry A. so she could stay in England legally. But that did not deter her any more than gratitude would prevent her slandering her friends when she found out C’s father did not approve of “the occult”.

Long story short, C. and A. began to coming to me every day complaining about each other and campaigning against each other. I was trying to stay balanced myself, and trying to understand where each of them was coming from, but when C. proved to me, in undeniable terms, that A. was slandering me behind my back, and telling lies about me, and telling C. that I was dangerous and  just after her money, I went ballistic and confronted A. ! Neither me nor Babalon was having any of that!

This of course made things worse. A. was so addicted to getting Tarot Readings, and so insistent on having them when she wanted them, that I began to let her trade with me for Turkish coffee readings because I knew she didn’t have any money — even when I no longer wanted any readings and knew she didn’t need them. She was just like a machine once she began a behavior, she would not stop. I put up with it because I felt sorry for her…the road to Hell was duly paved.

So A. set her cap for C.’s dad. C. grew to hate A.

<

Silly me had a great idea: Let’s solve this problem.

I was hanging out with all of these magicians so I asked one of them if he knew how to bust up a destructive relationship that was hurting so many people and causing no end of grief for me?
He said it was his “specialty”.
“How much would you charge?”
“300 pounds.”
“Maybe I have a job for you…”

So I introduced this Magus to C. and decided to let them work it out.

We sat in the Devonshire Arms, now the Hobgoblin, in Camden Town. At that time The Dev was very cool Goth pub with these wonderful dark, deathly Tarot designs painted on the woodwork. (I hope they are still there. It would be a shame for them to disappear.)

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<

C. made an excellent impression on Mr Magus. He told her she was a born sorceress and he would be happy to help her out. They made whatever agreement they made. I thought, “Good. C will be happy, and I can get some peace.” Famous last words. The Babalon current was moving through me, and taking over my whole life — Babalon:  Goddess of Love and War! (How I laugh in retrospect!)

Weeks went by and nothing changed with Daddy Warbucks and A. C. and I began to wonder if any magic had indeed been done. Despite lack of results, the  Magus came to collect his fee. I got the whole sordid story second hand.

<

The day after paying the Devil’s ransom, C. came to see me in the market. She was in hysterics.

<
She had gone to the Dev, to meet the Magus and pay him the 300 pounds.  The Magus showed up with the Wiz. They  expected, along with the 300 pounds, for  C. to buy them drinks. She being young and unsure did this for them , buying round after round until they all were drunk. They left the Dev and went to another pub across the canal where the Magus read Tarot cards for some girl, and scared her half to death.

“Arlene, that poor girl was crying he scared her so much, and they kept talking about Sex Magic and the Eleventh Degree. They wanted me to do something with both of them. Down by the canal!”

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If any of you don’t know the evil reputation of the canal that runs through Camden Town, well I have news for you! At least once a year a body is found floating in it, and in the two years before this incident, boys were fishing suitcases out of the water — ugh! I can’t even write about what was inside!  And body parts — one of the big news stories that year was the boy who was killed in a Black Magic ritual  whose remains were fished out of the canal.
The drug addicts fixed themselves up under the bridge. The Camden Ripper was at large. It was a pretty yucky place.

“You didn’t do it did you?”

“NO! But they said they were going to perform the Eleventh Degree down by the canal. With each other!”

“Oh, they are just playing with you.”

“No they’re not! And they took all my money and expected me to buy their drinks and then (Magus) terrified that poor girl….told her she had demons all around her, and was under the influence of sorcery…

My head began to throb in earnest at that point. To the Magus demonae would have been desirable. It goes to show you difficult it can be to get out of your own frame of reference!

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I figured I would try to find out what this Eleventh Degree was because I knew nothing about it. I was never into Crowley, remember. That night at rehearsal, The Two Bros would neither speak to me nor look me in the eye. Magus was straining to be jolly. I knew he was worried about what happened and that C. had told me all about it.  I stayed neutral. We were there to rehearse, after all.  When I did not act strangely, the Two Magicians seemed to interpret that to be that I didn’t know anything, so they relaxed. Still there was tension.

After the rather tumultuous rehearsal,  I grabbed G. and asked him to explain.  “What is the Eleventh Degree?”

G. seemed a bit edgy. “Why do you want to know?”

“Because Magi One and Two scared C. half to death saying they were doing the Eleventh Degree down by the canal.”

I shouldn’t have felt upset, but I was.  I suppose the whole atmosphere lent itself to that. G didn’t say much of anything after that, but I had a horrible awareness that Babalon wanted him. He was 25 years old and I was his mother’s age. But did Babalon care?

This was the big secret that those other Magic Boys didn’t know. They don’t do the choosing when it comes to Babalon. Neither does the Priestess — which is what I was at that point — Babalon is the one who decides who to bestow her favors upon. This was a very complicated thing…..

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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 #10. Podcast Interview with Author Paul A. Green

Babalon Diaries # 10. The Author: Paul A. Green

This is Part 10 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.

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be a powerful Magician?

Rocket Scientist, Jack Parsons, was one.

Author, Paul Green, tells his story in the play Babalon and in the interview below.

Click the button below to stream Part 1. This is an mp3 of 1 hour and 5 minutes and is 30.1MB

Winterspells Interview With Paul Green: Part 1

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Interview With Paul Green-Part 1.mp3

Stream Part 2 ihere: This mp3 lasts about 20 minutes and is 18.9MB

Winterspells Interview With Paul Green: Part 2

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On this interview Paul discusses his discovery of Jack Parson’s story, bits of history about Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley, L.Ron Hubbard, and Marjorie Cameron.

Also putting in an appearance: Montague Summers,  Kenneth Grant, Kenneth Anger, MacGregor Mathers and Paul Green’s dad.

I hope you enjoy this fascinating interview.

Babalon Radio Podcast at Radio QB Saul

If you want to listen to podcasts of our December 5, 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…

Some of the books that Paul mentions in the interview can be found below. Just click the widget. It will take you to Amazon.


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Babalon Diaries Appendix # 2: The Qliphoth, by Paul A. Green

This is an appendix to my 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 Diaries:Appendix # 2

The Qliphoth


Paul A. Green, Author of Babalon

Tomorrow, I am interviewing Paul Green, author of Babalon to have him share with us the story behind the story of his wonderful radio play about the Babalon Working of Jack Parsons, Babalon.

In order to understand what is behind the play, I spoke with Paul Green about his related novel called The Qliphoth. In it he explores the themes of Qabbalistic Magick and the way the unseen dimensions,  that run parallel to our own, bleed through, or make contact  with us.  In the case of the characters in this novel, the effects of those contacts result in chaos and madness. Such is the dark side of life in the Sub Lunar, or Yesodic realm.

It is daunting to write a straight review of a book as complex as The Qliphoth. It is a great read, full of hip, jazzy, language, and some very strange post 1960′s apocalyptic characters. The young protagonist, Lucas, sets out on a quest to find  his father, Nicholas Oscar Beardsley, who has been confined to Oakhill Lunatic Asylum. Beardsley is obsessed with researching the Lore of the Brazen Head. (I believe the Brazen Head comes from a vision of Elizabethan magician John Dee.) The result is chaos, disaster, kidnapping, murder, and the weirdest magickal ritual I ever read.

Beardsley:

“I have to get it all down, For the record, the Akashic Record of the Aeons, naturally. Wherin all our phantasms are inscribed, squiggles of amoebic neon eternity like an old broadcast of Journey into Space on its way to the Pleiades.’

And I have to set the angelic record quite straight….”

And off he goes! Wheeee!

Mountian of Initiation

Mountain of Initiation

Correspondence About the Qliphoth with Paul A. Green via Email:

I wrote to Paul after I read his book and asked a few questions. His answer is so amazing that I told him it would make a great blog post all on its own. I hope you like this. He is a great writer, so his response is so much fun to read. And if you like Thelema, Parsons, or just the craft of writing, it is very informative too.

In the middle of this post, you will find a link to Paul’s podcast of Lud Heat which I highly recommend for lovers of hauntings. There is also a link for the script of The Ritual of the Stifling Air that he mentions in the text at the end. Very strange and amazing stuff!

Arlene to Paul, or Ground Control to Major Paul:

I finished the Qlippoth and am now digesting it. Its really profound about the influence of the sub-lunar realm, Yesodic energies, etc. And quite a good read.
I take it you have had first hand experience at some of this stuff?
This could be really relevant to the Babalon Diaries in that, when I was England, I found the lunar energies extremely strong. As a natural clairvoyant I was bombarded with thought forms and  images that were quite different to my own  innate mindset. (Yesod, the Moon, is called, in Qabbalah, The Treasure House of Images.) I was aware that the group mind in London was so strong that I sometimes had trouble keeping my own thoughts and feelings free of it.

I think it would be best to talk about the themes in the Qliphoth in an interview. I have a lot of questions and if you can relate them to Babalon, the Moonchild, the Anti-Christ gang, (Parsons, Hubbard, Cameron, etc.) whatever… Perhaps we can discuss a focus so we don’t go all over the place?
The subject is very rich.

Its important not to dive in without a contact line….

Paul to Arlene:

Thanks for your generous comments on the book.  First hand experience?  Hmm, all depends on how you define experience…  On the blog, you kindly referred to me as an “occultist,” which is kind of flattering, as if I was some kind of Eliphas Levi or John Dee sage, but that could be misleading.  I haven’t been a formal member of, say, a Golden Dawn or Thelemic type group.  I haven’t participated in the kind of elaborate rites  Quilthorpe tries to conduct towards the end of the book. The “Babalon Working Group” mentioned in the blurb really existed  but it was a group of writers drawn together via the www through a common interest in Parsons.  (The most overtly pagan was the convener Adrian Lord  who used to run a big wiccan festival in  Pendle.)

Nevertheless, certain kinds of writing, in certain situations are in themselves  like magickal procedures and seem to trigger odd events.  One of my earlier radio pieces Ritual of the Stifling Air  ( written in a very dark period of my life) allegedly induced weird electronic phenomena in the studio equipment ( although I wasn’t there to hear them)  while  a piece by my friend Iain Sinclair ( from “Lud Heat”)  recorded  in the crypt of St Annes Limehouse, one of London’s strangest churches, nearly defeated the efforts of the BBC sound man to capture it properly.  You can hear the whole programme  as one of my podcast episodes.

For the wonderful, ghostly “Lud Heat” click here: Radio QBSaul: Lud Heat. This sort of poetic ghost hunt is really fabulous, especially if you know London.

St. Anne's Limehouse

St. Anne's Limehouse

Where the Qliphoth was concerned, I was immersed  in studying Crowley, Golden Dawn, Chaos Magic and the Qabalah. I was also trying to get a grasp on the multiverse idea and relate that to the Sephiroth.  As the work evolved – a  journey into the Yesodic realms, personal as well as  external -  I  began using magical techniques and mind-maps.  Locations, characters, sequences of action, visual detail were  sometimes determined with reference to Crowley’s system of correspondences, or a Qabalistic Tarot pack,  or a series of cards devised by Brian Eno which gave enigmatic Taoist-type directions ( e.g “Stop work”  or “Reverse the order”).  Dreams at certain phases were often extremely intense, and images from some crept into the book. I sometimes  used automatic writing as a way of finding the voice of a character. e.g Nick near he beginning. But progress was often slow.

A climax in the writing of the book co-incided with the suicide of a close friend, on whom certain aspects of a key character were based.  This wasn’t his first attempt, as he had a very long history of manic depression, so I’m not asserting  there was any direct connection but  it was a horrible shock when it finally happened, especially as our relationship had broken down. It was as if  writing about him was dangerous, as if I’d written him out of existence.  My own sanity was precarious at times like this. I was certainly became  very obsessive.

I think what kept me balanced was having a firm root in my relationship with my wife  and  a job (inner city supply= substitute teacher) which although exhausting and distracting  and pretty dismal much of the time kept me earthed in what I  guess is Malkuth. The Pauline story-strand  and many of the characters grew out of that.   You could say that  it was a coming-of-age novel, given that Yesod is the sphere of adolescence. And there’s a tension between Pauline’s dialectical materialism and the magickal omniverse  that breaks through at  the end. She’s forced to acknowledge  it  and even participate in it. Yet it’s her earthbound strength and resilience that saves Lucas. She could also be read as Binah, the  stern mother.

Babalon

Babalon

Click here for : The Ritual of the Stifling Air

Watch for my podcast interview with Paul A. Green coming soon!

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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Podcast Interviews Coming Up!

I know I have been writing a bit fewer posts this month, but it is because I am learning how to stream audio onto this blog and create podcasts.

This will be amazing! I am rejoining a former member of my 1990′s Celtic band, Castlerigg, and we will recording some of the Scottish Fairy ballads that in the archives of this blog. Hearing the music will enhance your understanding of why these songs are the Keys to Faery.

Initiatory Faery Ballad: Tam Lin

Thomas Rhymer: An Exploration of A Faery Ballad

I also plan some podcast interviews with prominent occultists. For instance Paul Green, author of Babalon, has agreed to speak about Crowley, Parsons, Carmeron, Babalon and the Rite of the Moonchild as part of the Babalon Diaries.

I think the addition of audio will make the blog more fun and hopefully interactive. I may also have to write something very controversial to get a conversation going on here…what do you think?

Also! News! A couple of months ago, my love of writing fiction caused to start a new blog Gothic Faery Tales: For the dark side of Faery Tales….

Angela Carter

Angela Carter

I have a few posts but it is new. Nonetheless, there seems to be a lot of interest. I plan to read tales via podcasts on there as well. There are some very old tales, some new — for instance there is one by Angela Carter posted already, and one by A.S.Byatt from her great novel “Possession” some original like my forthcoming “Roses, Briars, Blood”.

Check it out: here’s the link:

http://www.gothicfaerytales.com

I hope this sounds as exciting to you as it is for me! I can’t wait to get my first audio on here — hopefully this weekend.

Aldrovandi

by Aldrovandi

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Babalon Diaries: The Audition

Babalon Diary 666

This is the sixth 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.

Pharaon was the constant companion of a gentleman who will henceforth  be referred to as the Wizard, or the Wiz if I get lazy.  When I first saw the Wizard, and he saw me, we were attending a talk by Gareth Knight at Treadwells.  Gareth Knight is one of the great Western Mystery magicians of Britain, author of many books on Arthurian material and the Goddess. This was the second time I heard him speak, the first being shortly after I arrived in London in 1998 when I went to Wales for a Holy Grail Conference starring most of my favorite teachers and authors. Gareth Knight is a shy, quiet man, so to have seen him speak twice is a privilege.

Anyway, Pharaon and the Wiz were sitting together, as always. The Wiz was looking at me, and I had the strange sensation of energy bouncing back, or reflecting back as in a mirror.  I didn’t like this feeling. Perhaps he had psychic protection up, but I sensed the vibe had a manipulative undercurrent that was being blocked by me. It is still a mystery…He put me on red alert anyway.

After I gave the Grimoire to Kallistratus, we all met up at the famous Goth Pub, the Devonshire Arms, (now the Hobgoblin)  in Camden Town.  (This pub used to scare me before I found my Dark Side. It is full of Vampires. The owner, Robin, painted all these Tarot images along the walls that are very cool. He shows the most amazing old films and has the best music I heard in London where James Blunt had taken over the airwaves as an alternative to constant HipHop. I have outlined a Vampire novel that begins in the Devonshire Arms if I ever get to it…)

Devonshire Arms

Devonshire Arms

My friend/ Tarot client, Katy, came along as well. Pharaon took a fancy to Katy and decided she was a natural Sorceress. Kallistratus, expecting the author of such a powerful little book to look like Anton LeVay,  decide Pharaon looked like a milkman.  I mention these people because they all have their parts to play in my near demise…

Vampire meeting at the Dev

Vampire meeting at the Dev

Cutting to the chase!

I had arranged a meeting newteen Pharaon  and Kallistratus at the Dev because he was looking for  actors to audition for a play called ‘Babalon’ to be directed by Alison Rockbrand. I thought Kallistratus might make a good Aleister Crowley. If  not,  the Goth scene in  general, would be a good place to find someone to play Crowley — the most difficult role to cast. Pharaon came with a few fliers calling for auditions. As he was putting one up on the wall, he mentioned that they needed someone with an American accent to play Marjorie Cameron. I told him I had a lot of theater experience, but I was uneasy about getting involved.

“Magic has a very disruptive effect on me. I am writing a novel. I don’t need any horrible upheaval just now.”

“Well, just come read for it. It will be fun. Jack Parsons is my favorite magician of all time.”

“I bought a Grimoire from a milkman…I can’t believe I bought a Grimoire from a milkman…” moans Kallistratus to himself.

“I don’t know…”

“Please, just come an read for it so we can get a sense of it. You can say ‘no’ later.”

“OK.” I didn’t want to admit I had no idea who Marjorie Cameron was, though I had heard of Jack Parsons in passing as someone who was a follower of Crowley and done Black Magic with L.Ron Hubbard.

Alison Rockbrand as Babalon

Alison Rockbrand as Babalon

Later that week:

That evening at Treadwells, I was sitting in a circle with other hopefuls clutching a script handed to me by Alison. This was the second time I had met her. This time she was dressed in office clothing having come straight from work, looking very professional and capable.  As we read the through the script, I played Marjorie Cameron, called Cameron, with my usual sense of irony, for laughs.

I did not want to to be in this play! At that point the kind of Magick these folks were into scared me. But I am fearless and a fool sometimes, so I let Alison talk me into taking the script home and at least giving it a good once over.

Script

This was the first page of the script I got. It has a little information about these characters.

SYNOPSIS -CONCEPT & BACKGROUND

Jack Parsons (1914-1952) pioneered the rocket-fuel technology that culminated in NASA’s Apollo missions and Space Shuttle flights. He was also the Californian head of the Order of Oriental Templars, an esoteric group founded by the occultist Aleister Crowley (1875-1947)
who was his mentor and inspiration.

By 1946 Crowley, prophet of the turbulent Aeon of Horus, was slowly dying in an English seaside boarding house. With the assistance of the writer L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) and the artist Marjorie Cameron (1922-1995), Parsons performed the notorious “Babalon Working”, a magical experiment allegedly intended to invoke a new entity who would re-focus the energies of the Aeon.

The Babalon Working transformed the lives of the main participants -notably Parsons himself, who suffered a series of personal and career crises, ending with his death in a mysterious explosion -another episode which has been the focus of much speculation.

I’ve done extensive research into the source materials -which are often obscure or contradictory, particularly for the period 1947-52. So BABALON is not a definitive “drama-biog” of Parsons’ life. It is rather a dramatic exploration of the Parsons myth, in all its mysterious paradoxes. The story time covers the years 1938-52.

VOICES & CHARACTERSJACK : John Whiteside Parsons -educated Californian. Frater 210 of the OTO.

ED: Ed Forman – technician at CIT -Californian. Life-long friend of Jack.

CROWLEY: Aleister Crowley, Baphomet, Frater Perdurabo 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 from severe asthma. A 1920s recording of his inimitable voice survives.

FRIEDA: Lady Frieda Harris -artist, wife of Sir Percy Harris, Bart. Crowley’s loyal pupil and patron. In her sixties. Patrician English.. .

SMITH: Wilfred T. Smith. In his fifties. 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 and religious teacher. Mid-West

CAMERON : Marjorie Cameron Parsons, aka Candida or Candy, artist and vessel of BABALON.

POLICE OFFICER/FBI OFFICER/RADIO ANNOUNCER

and YOUNG CROWLEY

666: Number of the Beast

In those years I was living in Highgate in a wonderful flat ten minutes walk from Highgate Cemetery and about two minutes from the Highgate Tube Station (a very important consideration when renting a flat in London.)

I went home on the tube and read the script, full of inner conflict. The script was really good. So good in fact that I felt I would miss out if I didn’t participate. But I had determined NOT to engage in other peoples’ magic. It just wasn’t safe. I rolled the script up and put it in my bag.

I had to pick up a few things at the corner shop. Squeezing in between the loaded shelves in the tiny store owned by very nice  brothers from Sri Lanka, I picked up a few bits and headed for the checkout. Imagine my surprise — NO! Total shock at the amount of my purchases. Up on the face of the old fashioned cash register, big white and shiny, were the numbers 666!

Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley

***

Foolish People

Foolish People

BABALON – A Fable of Rocketry, Sex and High Magick Mystery Theatre of the Aether and 93 Fm present Travesty Theatre’s production of BABALON – A Fable of Rocketry, Sex and High Magick  on FRIDAY DECEMBER 16 at 8.00
in the Gielgud Studio Theatre  at RADA, Malet Street, London WC1
£7.00

On Friday December 16th at 8.00 in the Gielgud Studio Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art , Mystery Theatre of the Aether presents Travesty Theatre’s production of Babalon.

***************************************************************************************************************

Paul Green’s play, originally written for radio, explores the enigmatic life and mysterious death of Jack Parsons (1914-52),  pioneering American rocket scientist,  disciple of the magus Aleister Crowley, and passionate devotee of Lady Babalon,  the Scarlet Woman of the New Aeon.   Alison Rockbrand’s highly stylised production  reinforces the resonance of the text with soundscape and visual projections to create  unique moments of ritual theatre. There are also elements of dark farce and tragedy as Parsons’ apocalyptic vision is subverted by hostile forces.

Paul Green’s plays include: The Dream Laboratory, The Aleph (CBC Radio Canada); Ritual of the Stifling Air (BBC Radio 3); Powerplay, (Capital Radio); The Mouthpiece (Resonance FM); Terminal Poet (New Theatre Works)

Alison Rockbrand founded Travesty Theatre  and  the  Dead Dolls Cabaret in Montreal.  Her productions include the collective creation Mumbo Jumbo: King Leopold’s Opus  and a rendition of Macbeth including stylised dance gestures based upon the Kathakali  dance tradition in India.  In February 2006 she is directing Stuart Draper’s Departure Lounge in the Prompt Corner at the South London Theatre Company.

Tickets for Babalon can now be reserved via  the RADA Box Office on 020 7908 4800.

Posted by John Harrigan on December 02, 2005 at 09:39 PM in Magick, Occult, Theatre

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

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

Subscribe to my email for updates of the Babalon Diaries. The plot thickens….


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Babalon Diaries: Pharaon’s Grimoire Comes to Life

This is the fifth 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 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 play Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.

A page out of the Demons’ Book

Before I found Treadwells Bookshop in Covent Garden, I had been in hiding from all things Arcane for a few years. This was due a  spontaneous, prolonged, and shattering Initiation by the Horned God shortly after I moved into a bedsitting room close to Hampstead Heath. I had also been the target of constant, virulent psychic attacks from, in her own words, The Overseer of All Tarot Readers in London. (It took two years of being  back in the States to realize who was behind these attacks. She’s that good.)  Apparently she resented my thriving practice as a Tarot Reader in Camden Lock Market, as well as the fact that I didn’t bow and scrape to her. Why would I? As an American, that type of obeisance wouldn’t even occur to me.  All the time I was London, I didn’t think of this woman because I so seldom saw her. I thought the Universe was trying to destroy me, that the Goddess, and the Faery Realm, had turned against me. I was wrong.

For the first time in my life, I wanted nothing to do with Magic or practitioners of Magic. This led to a Dark Night of the Soul, for never had I felt so isolated, so cut off from the sources of life and inspiration.

I will tell these stories in more detail in future blog posts.

The Cycle of the Horned God’s Initiation Ends

One of my Tarot clients was an interesting Goth girl from New England. I was telling her how much I missed like minded friends, and she told me about Tteadwells Bookshop. There I would be able to reconnect with the only people I felt I had  anything in common with: Magical People and Artists.

It was late 2004,  when I started going to talks there. There are so many interesting people speaking at Treadwells. The first talk I attended was with Caroline Wise . She was discussing the Deer Goddess Elen of the Ways. This  Goddess, with her antlers and woodland aspect, was very resonant with me. Through the  discussion, I gained many insights that brought me back in touch with myself. It was no accident that Elen of the Ways, or the woodland track, led me out of the darkness into which I had been plunged by the Horned God seven years before. Her’s was the feminine end of the cycle of Initiation I had undergone with the masculine Stag God, Cernunnos.

Elen means Light. In the case of this Woodland Goddess, it is the gentle light that filters through the trees. My time of endarkenment was over…one would think.

Cheska Potter, Elen

Cheska Potter, Elen

Magicians

I went back  to Treadwells again and again, thinking I had found a second home. I later found out I had cut quite a dash without realizing it. This was not a necessarily a good thing…

I met all sorts of people there, from Celtic Pagans to Black Magicians. In my years reading Tarot in Camden Lock Market, I had met many Goths and became friends with an amazing couple, Pippi and Kallustratus, who had links with Gothic Satanists. Kallistratus claimed to come from a line of Cuthulu devotees, a magical path based on the. literary works of H.P.Lovecraft. These paths and lifestyles were not my cup of tea. I didn’t understand how the Necrinomicon could be the basis of a religion. As Pippi said about me, “She doesn’t have any evil in her.” It is pretty true despite appearances. It’s just that, as an artist, I have a tendency to go where angels fear to tread….

Out of curiosity, open mindedness,  and a quest for material, I allowed myself to get to know various Dark Magicians. They turned out to be extremely intelligent, creative, and quite fun to be around, though I kept a firm limit on how far I would get involved. I am very sensitive, and have to work overtime to keep my psychic boundaries intact, never mind the  social ones. After my  Underworld Initiation when the Holy Grail erupted form the earth in 1996, I was well aware of the extremely powerful effect magic has on me, and am very careful not to get involved with other peoples’ workings.

It was among these Magicians that I met Pharaon, author of the wonderfully poetic Grimoire, Liber Niger Legionis. This magically inspired book is filled  with invocations to Infernal Deities, or Demons. I told P. and K. about it and they wanted a copy. It was a limited edition, beautifully bound by hand. A work of Art. Each one of the 72 Grimoires is dedicated to a certain Demon.

Ophiel

Ophiel

When I went into Treadwells to make the purchase, its author was unexpectedly there to greet me. There were only 3  Grimoires left. The one I chose was dedicated to  Ophiel, an Angel of the Air sigilized as a kind of vortex of dark wind. Pharaon happily signed the Grimiore for me, increasing its value for my friends. We had a nice chat and a laugh. I was relieved to find him genuinely friendly and easy to talk to.  I took the Grimoire home planning to give it to K. and P. at the Market on the next Monday.

The Grimoire Speaks

When I got it home, I laid the Grimoire on the kitchen table thinking I would take a look at it during dinner. As I was cooking, I my attention was drawn by the sound of tinkling bells. The sound seemed to be coming from the book! I was a bit concerned because I wasn’t up for any more ‘Initiations’. I went into denial for a moment because I wanted to look through the book. It was so well written and beautifully put together. I felt P.and K. would be very pleased with it, but I hadn’t bargained for Magical contact with Demons. The bells continued to tinkle. When I opened the book the sound of soft , dark chanting, far away as if it was in the back of my mind, came through. Then the unmistakable scent of dirty laundry, that I have come to associate with the presence of unclean spirits, wafted up.

Oh, no! What have I gotten myself into now?

Demons and Nightmares

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Later that night, I was visited by a dream so vivid, it woke me up.  A huge, black serpent was in the living room growing larger and larger, unwinding and rewinding its coils, filling the space with breathing, groaning, and menace. Opening one eye, I lay very still. If you can see them, they can see you and I wasn’t sure I wanted Ophiel to know I could see him.
I stole a glance at the clock on the stand beside my bed. It was about 3 AM. I learned in my ordeal with the Horned God, that 3AM-6AM are the true witching hours. These are the hours when the cock crows, the hours when most people die.
As Ophiel breathed, expanded, and contracted in the living room, there were other sounds, voices murmuring. Much of the phenomena that I don’t remember, but it kept me awake in a state of hyper-vigilant fear until dawn. Suddenly I heard all these little chattering baby voices. It felt as if a cloud of tiny spirits had entered my ear and gone into my head!  I sat up and decided I had to get the Grimoire out of the flat.
The book was still sitting on the kitchen table. This meant I had to  creep quietly out of my room (as if it mattered!) and cross the dark living room where Ophiel still wound in and out, seething and breathing like a black cloud of pollution. The lights from the street lamps came in through the windows, casting shadows on the floor, but the mass of shadows in the center of the room still swirled and oozed. When I reached the kitchen table, I grabbed the Grimoire. I knew it had to go outside, but where?

There was a small balcony outside a door in the wall of my bedroom, but it was often wet with rain. Frantically, I rummaged  through a kitchen drawer for a plastic bag, and wrapped the Grimoire in it — it was expensive, and a gift after all! Then I slunk back to my bedroom and placed it outside on the threshold of the door under the eaves. Then I tried to get back to sleep.
Though the book was now outside, wrapped in a plastic Sainsbury’s bag,  I still didn’t get any sleep because the phenomena continued. Spirits are not barred by walls or doors. I endured their haunting me until  6AM — the same hour the Horned One vanished had when he Initiated me into his mysteries seven years before.

***

This was just  the beginning of my association with Pharaon and his magical associate, Alison Rockbrand, talented director of Babalon.

Preview of Coming Attractions


This is a creatively re-edited bit from Kenneth Anger’s film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, based on Crowley’s Babalon Working. In this scene, Marjorie Cameron plays Kali, Goddess of Death and Rebirth, for Transformation of the soul. I studied this film when I was preparing to play Marjorie Cameron, though the Babalon that I portrayed was very different.

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This film gives some idea of the energies I was dealing with as things heated up for the Play.

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

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

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Cheers!

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Babalon Diaries: Ninth Gate and the Great Whore

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This is the second 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 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 play Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.


After putting this post together, I understand what it was about Lucifer, the Gates, and the Whore of Babylon, as shown in the film Ninth Gate, that was so magnetic for me. As a Faery Seer working in Celtic Faery Tradition, I had  deep encounters with the Irish Goddess Brighid in her  Dark Moon aspect, for it mirrors the phase of the moon at my birth.

For eight years, I led bi-monthly Moon Circles at my house with a group of women friends.  Once the Circle was cast we worked with our Animal Familiars and moved into the Otherworld in the manner of a Shamanic Journey. When one moves into the Underworld of Elfhame, encounters with the dark aspect of the Goddess are inevitable. Many people would like spiritual experiences to be bright and sunny and healing all the time. But that cannot be, for everything is cyclical, especially with the Great Goddesses of Nature. If one never experiences the darkness, one cannot spiritually mature. Shock and trauma are needed to shake the character loose of the karmic crud of the past. If the dark side is successfully avoided, the practitioner is not on a spiritual path, but is merely amusing him or herself in a fantasy land that they control.

My attraction to the Nine Gates was resonant with my descents into the Underworld of Faery. But, as was the case when I found out that the Spirits of the Land in London  are totally different, more violent and shocking, than those in Seattle, I also found going through the Nine Gates of the Luciferian Path led to a very different form of the Goddess. Lucifer: the Morning Star, Venus, the Angel of Light ( how those images move through the body in their darkness illuminated by green fire!)  left his exile in the green Underworld Faery Hill to return to red-gold earth of ancient Mesopotamia where he is the Underworld King. He is accompanied by Babalon, Goddess of Love and War, disparaged deity of the ancient Middle East filtered through the Magickal thought processes of Aleister Crowley.

Lucifer by Blake

Lucifer by Blake

Lesson: Do not take lightly the forces of Magic. Pay attention to details if you don’t want surprises. The price of liberation is constant vigilance. Everything is connected.

Lucifer, Faery, & Babalon

Although the experience was overpowering and mind bending, I do not regret my initiation into the Mysteries of Babalon. But the dark side of anything brings, with its endarkenment/ enlightenment, pain, loss, sorrow, even death. There are not many volunteers for that!

The Faery Realm is also “ruled” by the fallen Angel, Lucifer. This Tale of the Nine Gates gives us a glimpse of Luciferian Gnosis at its source. Faery Witchcraft is of the Green Ray of Nature and the Earth. Babalon is of the Red Ray of Blood and Passion. Red and Green are complimentary, or Flashing Colors, on the color wheel. Their juxtaposition charges them both. Their blending results in muddy gray.

Our Lady

Our Lady

The Biblical Source

The “great whore”, of the Biblical book of Revelation is featured in chapters 17 and 18. Many passages define symbolic meanings inherent in the text.

17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth (King James Version; the New International Version Bible uses “hills” instead of “mountains”).
17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
17:12 And the ten horns which thou saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

The Film: The Gates

One of my favorite things about the film Ninth Gate is flying through the nine gates to this gorgeous music. It has proven to be a Shamanic journey inducer — if you want to go to the Kingdom of Shadows. Click this and you will go straight to YouTube to watch it.

The Place: The Devil’s Tower, Puivert, France

This is the postcard of the castle Corso found in Baroness Kestler’s Book of the Nine Gates. It also shows up on the wall of Balkan’s library, just over his shoulder when he tells Corso how privedged he is.  An ancient Cathar stronghold during the Albigensian Crusade, this fortress was called the Devil’s Tower in the film.  Corso chases Balkan to this sinister place for the ‘tragic’ climax of the story. And as it burns he is initiated in a scared sexual rite, into the Mysteries of the Goddess as Babalon.

Isn’t it strange, a stronghold of the Gnostic Cather sect who were annihilated for heresy, should become the setting for  Luciferian heresy in Roman Polanski’s film? But Polanski knew what he was doing, for the themes of pre-ordination, resonance, and return run through the film.

The Music: sung by Sumi Jo

This music by Kilar Wojciech has a tremendous trance inducing power. It evokes the mystery of the Underworld; the melody transports consciousness into another realm, dark and fiery, ancient and cosmic.  When you listen you feel as if you had entered through a mysterious door into Magic.

As an aside, Kilar also wrote the soundtrack for Coppola’s Dracula. He is master of musically evoking the shadowy side of the soul.

Luciferian Gnosis

Awen

Awen

The Goddess first appears to Corso as a young, nameless, blond woman whom he calls Green Eyes.  The green eyes are a clue to her demonic origins, for green is the color of Faery, and is also the color Lucifer. In Celtic Tradition, the Holy Grail was said to be the emerald that fell from Lucifer’s diadem when he plunged to earth after losing the War in Heaven. Alchemists believed that this green emerald was the Philosophers Stone. Another link with Faery is the girl’s use of  her own (angelic) blood to trace the Awen on Corso’s brow, signifying enlightenment.

Though I suppose there some who would see the blood on his forehead as a pitchfork…..

Babalon Returns

She carries a book like the High Priestess in the Tarot, who in older decks, is called The Papess. She waits on the other side of the Abyss and points to the heretics’ Castle of Fire and Light. Her mysteries are sexual but have little to do with procreation. Rather sexual energy, and union with an enlightened partner, is a vehicle that transforms consciousness and builds the Body of Light.

This is Her secret…

Whore of Babylon

Whore of Babylon

Now I know that the Light comes from Darkness.

The Light of the Underworld

The Ninth Gate

The Ninth Gate

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

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

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