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
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.
“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!
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.
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.
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.
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