Babalon Diaries #15+9: Cup of Abominations!

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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 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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Download mp3 of  Part 1 here:

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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Download Part 2 here:

Interview With Paul Green-Part 2.mp3

(The download links are much faster. )

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 8: The Search for Babalon


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

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

Babalon Dairy 8. Search for Babalon

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

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

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


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

Biography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Scarlet Woman

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

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

Jack Parsons

Jack Parsons

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

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

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

The Babalon Working was allegedly successful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

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

Fossil Angel by Cameron

Fossil Angel by Cameron

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


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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.

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Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

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