Babalon Diaries # 12: & Love to a Great Ancestress on Samhain

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Thanks to multi-talented musician,  Brian Butler, we have a brilliant biography of Marjorie Cameron and her role in the obscure Curtis Harrington  film, The Wormwood Star.

After seeing a clip from this film, I was on a mission to find it. and stumbled on this article. I really would love to see the whole thing. It is highly poetic and very beautiful. Marjorie Cameron’s presence was  compelling, deep, and wise.

I asked Brian if I could re-print it, and he seemed to say it was OK, so Brian, thank you!

This article adds so much to the Babalon Diaries and to our knowledge of Marjorie Cameron’s influence on Witchcraft.

Enjoy a fabulous story about an amazing woman.

He has a great website at www.brianbutler.prg

CAMERON: THE WORMWOOD STAR

BRIAN BUTLER

We are Stars and herald alien laws outside the Solar Wheel

invading natural systems of the earth.[1]

The late 1940’s was an interesting time to be in Southern California. World War II had just ended and for the first time atomic weapons had been detonated in warfare. Science and technology were advancing at an alarming pace. Science fiction had become popular, and space travel seemed a possibility. There were UFO sightings; tales of Black Magick and strange new religious cults were formed. For some reason, Los Angeles became the hub for such activity. There, through a chance encounter with an old navy acquaintance, 23-year-old Marjorie Cameron was led to the home of the famous Jet Propulsion Laboratory rocket scientist and master occultist Jack Parsons in Pasadena. This house, also known as the Parsonage, had become a meeting place and boarding house for cutting edge scientists, occultists, cult leaders and science fiction authors. At the time Cameron arrived, Parsons and then science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard were well into one of the most important occult operations of the 20th century — “The Babalon Working.” Through their invocations, they had set the stage for the arrival of Cameron to assist them as an elemental spirit incarnated in the form of a redhead with green eyes. This meeting was to forever alter the destiny of Marjorie Cameron and set her on a lifelong quest to manifest the Babalon[2] current upon Earth. While much has been documented from her years with Jack Parsons, until now very little has been known publicly about Cameron’s life before or after this five-year period.

Mockery is the punishment of the Gods. What fiendish laughter…[3]

Marjorie Elizabeth Cameron –later known as Cameron – was born on April 23, 1922 in Belle Plain, 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 could 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 grandfather’s backyard:

“I remember always a tree on my grandfather’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.” [4]

Bachelor's Button III

Never quite accepted in her small hometown, Cameron spent most of her childhood alone. In kindergarten, she was placed in a special school for children with above-average abilities and it became apparent that she was very different from other children. In a town dominated by the railroad, Cameron would often venture to the proverbial “wrong side of the tracks.” She was always attracted to the darker side of things and found a kinship with other individualists and loners.

As a teenager, Cameron made a hideout in the attic of her parents’ home and there she began to develop her psychic abilities. She soon established contact with spirits that would tell her detailed accounts of what had occurred at the house in the past. Like a true witch, she collected black cats and would go for late night prowls alone dressed only in a nightgown.

When she was seventeen, the Great Depression was underway and Cameron moved with her family to Davenport, Iowa, a considerably larger town than Belle Plain. Again she had trouble adjusting. After the suicide of a close friend, Cameron attempted to take her own life several times, each time through an overdose of sleeping pills. Though unsuccessful, she found that these near brushes with death had further enhanced her psychic abilities, giving her a glimpse into the realm of the dead.

Mine eyes are terrible and strange but thou knowest me [5]

In 1943, in the midst of World War II, the 21-year-old Cameron joined the Navy -turning down several college scholarships. She was sent along with 3,000 other women to boot camp in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Soon she was soon 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 were she once met Churchill. She had a drafting table at the head of their conference room. Later, according to the principles of talismanic magic[6] she felt that many men died in the South Pacific as a result of her drawings. She always felt a karmic connection to these men and believed that the later tragic events in her life were the result of her participation in their deaths.

Later, she worked at the photo science lab on the Potomac, also called “The Hollywood Navy.” There she met many Hollywood celebrities such as Gene Kelly. After learning that her brother, a tail gunner in the Air Force, had been shot down and injured, Cameron walked out on her job and returned to Belle Plain to see him. Eventually, Cameron was declared AWOL and was court martialed. She spent the final six months of the war confined to the base.

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THE BIRTH OF BABALON

After her release from the Navy, Cameron moved in with her family, which had moved to Pasadena, California. In January of 1946, while waiting at the unemployment office, she saw an old acquaintance from the photo science lab in the Navy. This man, whose identity remains unknown, was living at the Parsonage and told her of a “mad scientist” that she had to meet.  Inviting her to breakfast, he took her to a house at 1003 South Orange Grove Avenue in Pasadena, and there she met Jack Parsons for the first time. As she walked in, Parsons was standing in the hallway speaking on the phone dressed only in a black silk robe. They met only briefly but immediately felt a deep connection. Also living there was Jack’s magical scribe, L. Ron Hubbard. After this encounter, Hubbard and Parsons commanded the man to “go find her or we’ll kill you!” On January 19, 1946, at the climax of a magical operation that was begun by Jack and L. Ron Hubbard two weeks previously “to obtain the assistance of an elemental mate,” Cameron returned and in that moment her destiny was changed.

Cameron immediately became romantically involved with Jack and moved into the house with him.[7] Unknowingly, she had become Parsons’ sex magick partner in a ritual designed to incarnate the force of Babalon. Although Cameron was initially uninterested in Aleister Crowley or magick, Jack proceeded to instruct Cameron in the occult arts and told her of her destiny in the world. According to Jack, she was to become the vehicle for the Goddess or force called Babalon to manifest on earth. Years later, Cameron came to believe that she was in fact Babalon incarnate.

In March of 1946, Cameron witnessed a flying saucer over the Orange Grove house. She claimed that it was the “war engine”[8] that was predicted in Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law and the “sign” that Jack was waiting for.

“ The flying saucers – the miracle! – our war machine! I saw the first one in the spring of 1946 at 1003. – Oh – my god. This is the sign (drawing of an inverted triangle within a circle) Flying Saucers – imagine!” [9]

Had she reported it publicly, this would have been known as one of the first UFO sightings in America and would have preceded, by one year, Kenneth Arnold’s infamous sighting on June 24, 1947 – the sighting which propelled the “modern UFO era.”

As the magical current become more intense at the Parsonage, things began to disintegrate. Hubbard had absconded with Jack’s former girlfriend and most of his fortune. In August, Jack resigned from Crowley’s occult order[10] in favor of his own system – “The Witchcraft.”[11] As a result, the occult lodge at the Parsonage was disbanded and guests became fewer and less frequent. Cameron soon found herself spending a lot of time alone painting in the downstairs drawing room. She convinced Jack to get her a German Shepard to keep her company. As yet unfamiliar with the nature of the magical operations going on, Cameron felt that the house was haunted, and Jack would often return to find her and the dogs freezing outside of the house, terrified to return. It is interesting to note that later, in a letter to Cameron, Jack stated that the performance of Aleister Crowley’s “Bornless One” ritual was known to cause “permanent haunting” wherever it was recited:

“I will send you the ritual of the Bornless One…It is a very ancient, potent & dangerous ritual, often used by bold magicians in the Guardian Angel Working. It is useful as a preliminary in almost any sort of work, causing a tremendous concentration of force. It is, however, liable to produce dangerous side phenomena and sometimes permanent haunting in an area where it is repeated, & is for this reason often avoided.”[12]

Finally, after numerous adverse psychic phenomena at the Parsonage, Cameron and Jack consulted the Ouji board and got the message “To Marjorie–Clean Ron’s room and get out!” They immediately did so and moved to Manhattan Beach, California.

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THE RED WITCH

In late 1947, Jack sent Cameron to England to meet Aleister Crowley. Although Crowley was skeptical about Jack’s recent experiences with Hubbard and Cameron, Jack believed that if Crowley met Cameron in person his opinion would change. Using her Navy connections, Cameron first sailed to Paris and decided to stay there for a while. She became a regular at a local pub in Paris, and there she was known as the “Red Witch” because of her unusual appearance. On the day she walked into the pub to announce that she was off to London for the weekend to meet Aleister Crowley, the locals informed her that he had just died.[13]

Cameron was heartbroken that she missed the opportunity to meet the Master Therion, and following the advice of a friend in Paris, joined a convent in Lugano, Switzerland. After three weeks at the convent, she had a life changing experience – she bathed, let her hair down on her face, got on her haunches and howled into the mirror like a wild animal. It was in this moment that she realized she was in fact the Scarlet Woman and had no place in a convent. She contacted Jack, who sent her funds to return to America. Cameron remained with Jack for the next year. Jack by this time was experiencing the darker effects of the Babalon Working. From Parsons’ The Book of Antichrist:

“Now it came to pass even as BABALON told me, for after receiving Her Book I fell away from Magick, and put away Her Book and all pertaining thereto. And I was stripped of my fortune (the sum of about $50,000) and my house, and all I Possessed.

Then for a period of two years I worked in the world, recouping my fortune somewhat. But that was also taken from me, and my reputation, and my good name in my worldly work, that was in science.”

In 1948, Cameron separated from Jack and went to study art in Mexico on the GI Bill. She did not see Jack for almost two years, and they corresponded solely by mail. However, it was during this period that she received the most serious instruction in practical magick from him. These letters still exist and are available on the Internet.

While in Mexico, Cameron quickly fell in with the famous artist colony in San Miguel—a group that included the painter David Siqueiros and the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. Cameron felt a deep connection to Mexico and later said that San Miguel replaced in her heart her childhood home. She had met a kindred spirit in Carrington. She also met Renate Druks and Paul Matheson who would later co-star with her in Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.” She had a brief romance with a bullfighter named Armando, but when he fell ill and died, Cameron was accused of witchcraft and run out of town.

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We dance a geometry of wizardry and wind the threads about our prey…[14]

Cameron returned to America around 1950 and lived with Jack once again as his wife in Manhattan Beach. Jack was then working for Hughes Aircraft and negotiating a deal with Israel to create an explosives plant as well as providing research for “rockets and other armaments.”[15] In September 1950, plainclothes men raided the Parsons’ home and confiscated Jack’s papers. Jack was accused of removing confidential documents from Hughes and was fired. An FBI investigation began, one that would last for over a year. An informant assessed the Parsons as follows:

“…the PARSONS are an odd and unusual pair in that they do not live by the commonly accepted code of married life and are both very fascinated by anything unusual or morbid such as voodooism, cults, homosexuality, and religious practices that are “different.” Subject seems very much in love with his wife but she is not at all affectionate and does not appear to return his affection, [deleted] She is the dominating personality of the two and controls the activities and thinking of subject to very considerable degree. It is the opinion [name withheld] if subject were to have been in any way willfully involved in any activities of an espionage nature, it would probably have been on the instigation of his wife.”15[

Although Parsons was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, on January 17, 1952, he lost his security clearance. This seriously reduced his chances for employment, so Cameron and Jack began to make plans to leave the country. They were first headed for Mexico and from there to either Spain or Israel. Jack ultimately wanted to form a magical school in Israel. Jack and Cameron moved to a carriage house on Orange Grove -a few houses down from the Parsonage.[16]

On June 17, 1952, the evening before they planned to leave for Mexico, Jack was killed in an explosion when he dropped a vial of mercury fulmate in his private laboratory. Cameron was down the street fueling the car when she heard the blast. Jack’s death was ruled an accident by authorities but Cameron always believed that Howard Hughes was somehow behind it.

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We traveled Stellar webs to darker Worlds within the Lunar mirrors of Suicide.[17]

After Jack’s death, Cameron moved into friend Renate Druks’s Malibu home for six months. Druks could not withstand the heavy vibe that was Cameron and relates strange tales of Black Magic and astral attacks. Shortly after ejecting Cameron from her household, Druks claims to have been woken by a strange astral figure floating over her bed. Described as a sort of alien creature that appeared as a bright neon-colored brain with a tail that resembled a spinal column, it increased in size as it came at her and then suddenly disappeared. Overcome with terror, she consulted with their mutual friend, Jane Wolfe. Wolfe stated ‘That was Cameron -–how naughty of her!” and instructed Druks in the banishing ritual of the pentagram to protect herself.

Exiled from Druks’s home and still deeply affected by Jack’s death, Cameron withdrew into complete isolation in the desert of Beaumont, California. There she lived in a house in an abandoned canyon that had no water or power.

During this period Cameron found a new magical teacher in Jane Wolfe and their correspondence remains as a sort of magical diary. Cameron began to see her life increasingly from a magical point of view, analyzing her experiences in terms of a life-long magical ritual or initiation. This was also her darkest period, she writes to Jane:

“I am approaching the darkest hour of the abysmal night furthest from the sun. This is the fateful hour in which I drink the cup of poison to its dregs –- eat the tainted apple -– feel the sting of the terrible dart in the core of me. Know the fang of the deadly serpent in my heart. And thereafter I shall plunge down into the abysmal horror of madness and death –- or I shall walk upon the dawn -– golden with the golden kiss upon me. This hour is far beyond the return. The turning back point was Sunset of year. My farewells were made long ago. No –- this is the hour when I approach the terrible rendezvous when all my gods shall declare themselves – when I shall call upon the secret name – open the final door.”[18]

Cameron realized that she must face this ordeal alone:

“If you have tried to contact me you have no doubt found the going hazardous – I seem to be pyramiding a mountain of fear that is closing all doors to me  — now Renee’s[19] –.

It amounts to this – in the case of each they reach a barrier of fear over which they cannot pass to follow me. And since I can show no pity – since to do so is to pity myself – I am rapidly eliminating my companions on the journey to completion. I had not expected this – as you know– the only comfort left me– is the knowledge that I have the courage to do that which no one else seems to have.  This is indeed the luxury of Kings – but I had tried to bring joy and not fear into the hearts of others. What happens from now on – I do not know. I can only remind myself constantly in this period of aloneness and dryness that which I have known from the beginning.”[20]

It is in these letters to Jane that Cameron fully divulges her feelings and candidly describes her own rituals. Most interesting is a magical working which she began shortly after Jack’s death in 1952. This ritual included some of the same people who later appeared in Kenneth Anger’s film of an occult ritual Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. According to Cameron, this working was to bear fruit in the summer of 1953. By this operation, some say that Cameron intended to create a “magical child” or “wormwood star” sired by Jack from beyond the grave.

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“This is the star which was calculated for me to give it birth. Jane– Jane– This is the star by which I shall behold him and in that union shall he be born– he whose name shall be wonder. His magnificence cannot be foretold and this is my star the Wormwood Star which will be born this summer Solstice of the year 1953.”[21]

Cameron goes on to explain the technical details of the operation based on the seven pointed star of BABALON:

“The points of the star are seven but it produces eight. It consists of the quadrupled union of four pairs of opposites. The eighth of this is not apparent until the four unions are completed. Now when each union is made the word of god must be uttered. Do you know this word? I asked for this word of Jack in March of 1949. It was given to me with no account of the cost. I carried it with me in great secrecy, not ever daring to dream of the miracle it concealed. This word I will only give to you in great secrecy.[22] With the right combination – which is my star [Star of Babalon drawn here] this great word creates — and since there is death in all birth there are four opposites destroyed – but their destruction is absorption and here again another face of the four square miracle!”[23]

She further elaborates on the formula of the operation:

“This opposite must always be the sublime whole of the opposite of the invoked. Such as in this invocation the opposites all destroyed will be pure aspects. Here is the meaning of debauchery as sacrament – the sublime follows between the six and eight of the Tarot.[24] This is the sacrament. The exquisite edge of growth and decay and this is absorbed like the fruit, the wine of the season on the dying cycle of the year. This destruction or absorption will be done each time to the union of the 8 opposites occur.”2[this footnote seems to have been lost]

She then describes the function of the unknowing participants or “elementals” in this strange working:

“Each male in this invocation is an Elemental god and these five gods will be the five fathers of the god. Each is a perfect revelation of the four represented in the Universe card of the Tarot- the Dance of the Star and the Snake. The holy 22. The kether, the Crown, the god. These four are represented as the Bull, the Lion, the Hawk and man sublime angelic – man revealed as god. I plan to write these into four commentaries – or songs – for each of the Elemental gods in a miraculous revelation. When the star is completed and the god born, these elemental gods will be known to their voices and the whole damned union will be complete and magnificent.” 25

Cameron states that she is pregnant but not with a human child:

“The pregnancy, as you understand — was not the actual growth of a human child — but the spiritual child of a psychic union – and in the case of Cupid and Psyche – this child — was a female — called Pleasure — or the birth of Babylon — which is a symbolical — but most real birth of the age of the Goddess of Pleasure — being the union of the mind and body.”[25]

After her extraordinary experiences in the desert, Cameron moved back in with her parents in Pasadena and was considered catatonic for a time. Still in isolation and confusion, she painted a series of works that she called “the parchments.” These pieces received a lot of attention, including an offer from a psychiatrist to publish them with a commentary (which she refused). She believed that through these works of art, she literally “painted herself out” of her situation. Renewed, she emerged as a “real force” in the artistic and occult communities.

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Death has been thy lover. Is there else to fear?[26]

In December of 1953, Cameron walked into another situation that was to alter both her destiny and that of those around her. This time it was the home of the eccentric and warlock, Samson Debreir, on Barton Avenue in Hollywood, California. Underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger had begun casting for his occult film, “Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome” and the stage was once again set for the Scarlet Woman. The famous erotic writer Anais Nin was to the star until Cameron appeared, upstaging her by the mere power of her presence. The rivalry between the two became a driving force behind the film.

When Anger met Cameron, she introduced herself as “the Scarlet Woman.” And Anger replied “That’s obvious… I have been waiting to meet you for a thousand years.”  By this time, she had developed a very powerful countenance, and it was this that struck Anger. He vividly recalls, “[She had] Flaming Scot red hair…real emerald green eyes that could also turn into sea mist grey according to her mood…and suddenly Anais Nin shrunk…in front of the majesty that is Cameron because Cameron wiped her out.” Cameron had a profound effect on Kenneth Anger and was a sort of mentor to him. Soon, they were living together. Anger relates many strange stories of UFOs, levitation and astral visions, and he still considers Cameron one of the most important women of his life. 

The film, in which Cameron plays herself “The Scarlet Woman,” was well received among both magical initiates and the art world. Cameron believed that this film was proof to the world that she had manifested the force of Babalon on earth.

Up the swirling scarf of smoke rise our invocations.[27]

By the late 1950’s, Cameron was living in Malibu and hanging out with a crowd of Beat artists that included the likes of Dennis Hopper, Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner and assemblage artist George Herms. In 1957, Wallace Berman’s show at the Ferus Gallery was closed by the vice squad for pornography after he displayed one of Cameron’s drawings. This drawing depicted a woman, possibly Cameron, being taken from behind by an alien creature.

That same year, experimental filmmaker and her Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome co-star Curtis Harrington directed a film that featured Cameron and her artwork called The Wormwood Star.  The film opens with titles drawn by Paul Matheson over an extreme close-up of the Seal of Solomon. “Concerning the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel as revealed to: Cameron.”  Introduced through a series of composed still frames, rather surreal in juxtaposition and symbolic props, Cameron is then shown seated, looking into a mirror as if in a trance. After a few minutes of this rather abstract portraiture, the film then shifts to a study of Cameron’s paintings that illustrate a desert procession of angels.  In the background Cameron recites a solemn invocation to her Holy Guardian Angel:

“Dark Star, I seek you in all the endless rooms of the universe

I have entered the maze of chaos and searched the promise of no end and no fulfillment

But I have seen your helmeted head flashing gold from the bloody triumphs and sunsets of the world

I have heard your voice singing lovely songs of desire in the world womb

I remember the artistry of fingers that held the rose in wonder

Your musical flute sounding the hymn of love seeking since the birth in the crashing star nebulae

Singing limbs of muscle and star-foam pursued and pursuing

Radiant Warrior, how long?

Beloved God, how long?

How long, how long?”[28]

Cameron later burned all of the paintings seen in The Wormwood Star while living with her second husband Sherif Kimmil, who was said to be the inspiration for the R. P. McMurphy character in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and was by all accounts insane. Kimmel and Cameron had been up for several days on speed and formed what Cameron called a “suicide club.” Kimmel went to the bathroom and slit his wrists.[29] In turn, Cameron symbolically committed suicide by throwing her paintings in the fire. According to Kenneth Anger, Cameron’s paintings were in reality magical talismans and had to be destroyed lest they turn and destroy the creator. He states, “She was doing art for the sake of magick and her soul. She never sold her paintings.”

In this hour I decide between nothingness and creation…[30]

By 1960, Cameron had transcended her darker period and emerged as an individual. She began to have a greater understanding of her life’s pattern. From her diary entry of October 22, 1960, she writes:

“I sense the approaching end to my years of exile. Some inner knowing prepares me for the return to the world in my just position. In the years of exile I compounded a state of mind that philosophically remains balanced regarding the continuity of my present state of existence or to finally win for myself a gracious and rewarding end to life. Ultimatums are impossible for one who has witnessed the broad sweep of existence. Yet I am tempted to sum up the experience for I fear already I have lost the vast majority of my impressions. I have lived frugally but I have squandered dreams and visions as only the spend thrift does – sowing wide golden plains.”

In 1961, Cameron appeared in the film Nite Tide. Directed by Curtis Harrington, this film also featured Dennis Hopper’s first staring role. Cameron played a mysterious figure that is seen prowling the beach in Santa Monica. In the film she has a strange, compelling presence.  On October 3, 1964, the Cinema Theatre in Los Angeles presented “The Transcendental Art of Cameron,” which featured slide projections of her paintings while she read from her journals.

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By the late 1960’s Cameron moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. A short experimental film from this period (1969) by John Chamberlain entitled “Thumbsuck” still exists. It shows Cameron as a striking figure with long red hair and piercing eyes. She is applying makeup to her face in a sort of Kabuki style while her daughter Krystal and two other children are seen playing in the background. Cameron ignores them while staring into the mirror, smoking a joint.

And the Hag with lizard eyes embraces shadows…[31]

As Cameron grew older, she took on the image of an old witch or crone with long, straight white hair. She lived in a small house on North Genesee in West Hollywood and could often be seen practicing Tai Chi in Bronson Park. Her last art show “The Pearl of Reprisal” was held at the Barnsdall Art Park on April 8, 1989. Here she exhibited a haunted series of pen and ink drawings titled “Pluto Transiting the Twelfth House.” “Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome” and “The Wormwood Star” were shown. Cameron also gave a reading of her poems by candlelight. The same year Cameron edited Freedom is a Two Edged Sword –a compilation of the writings of Jack Parsons published by New Falcon.

Cameron died of cancer on July 23, 1995. A magical rite was performed at her bedside at the VA hospital. A wake was held at the Beyond Baroque bookstore in Los Angeles where her poetry was read by friends and her paintings were exhibited, including the “Black Angel” painting of Jack Parsons as an angel with a sword.

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[1] Cameron magical diary September 1962.

[2] Babalon is the companion of the Beast 666 in Aleister Crowley’s Thelemic pantheon. Crowley first wrote extensively about this in Vision and the Voice which documents his experiences with the Enochian system of magic and his own initiation. After the magician crosses the “abyss” that separates the spiritual world from the rational or mental world, he is greeted by the goddess Babalon, the great mother who resides in Binah on the Qabalistic tree of life, which is the spiritual  home of those who have achieved the grade of Magister Templi.

[3]Cameron magical diary June 21, 1964.

[4] Cameron letter to Jane Wolfe December 26, 1952.

[5] Cameron from the film The Wormwood Star 1957.

[6] Cameron considered all of her drawings to be magical talismans that had very real effects on the world.

[7] On October 19, 1946 Cameron and Jack were married.

[8] Liber Al Chap. III v7: I will give you a war-engine.

[9] Letter from Cameron to Jane Wolfe Jan. 22, 1953.

[10] Despite numerous attempts this order has yet to be revived by a competent group of magicians in America.

[11] See Jack Parsons, Freedom is a Two Edged Sword (New Falcon)

[12] Letter from Jack Parsons to Cameron Jan. 10, 1950.

[13] Aleister Crowley died on December 1, 1947.

[14] Cameron magical diary January 21, 1962.

[15] FBI file on Jack Parsons.

[16] Although the Parsonage was destroyed, Cameron believed the house to be eternal on the astral plane like Crowley’s Boleskine in Scotland.

[17] From the book “The Black Pilgrimage” by Cameron 1964. Privately published.

[18] Letter to Jane Wolfe, dated December 6, 1952, 6:00am.

[19] Renate Druks.

[20] Cameron letter to Jane Wolfe April 7, 1953.

[21] Camron letter to Jane Wolfe Dec. 26, 1952.

[22] This word not here revealed. The present writer has however obtained it.

[23] Cameron letter to Jane Wolfe Dec. 26, 1952.

[24] Atu VII of the TARO is the Chariot. The formula contained in this card is one key to understanding this working.

[25] Cameron letter to Jane Wolfe August 23, 1953.

[26] Cameron magical diary March 11, 1962

[27] Cameron magical diary September 1962.

[28] Cameron from the film The Wormwood Star 1957.

[29] While writing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey worked as a janitor in the psychiatric ward of the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, California (often under the influence of LSD). It is possible that it was there that he encountered Kimmel, who was committed to the VA Hospital for several months as a result of this suicide attempt.

[30] Cameron letter to Jane Wolfe January 22, 1953.

[31] Cameron magical diary June 21, 1964

Brian Butler

Brian Butler

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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

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