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

.
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.

Subscribe to my email list for updates of the Babalon Diaries.

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

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

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

Please leave comments. For updates of the Babalon Diaries, subscribe to my email list or RSS Feeds
Cheers!

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Babalon Diaries: The Consecration of a Grimoire

This is the fourth 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 Rocbrand, 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.


Treadwells Bookshop

Treadwells Bookshop

Treadwells Bookshop, Covent Garden

Treadwells Bookshop in Covent Garden is gathering place for esoteric people of all stripes. The owner, Christina Oakley-Harrington, holds fascinating talks and workshops in a small open space in the basement.  Often transformed with draperies, altars, ritual tools, even a coffin when the vampires want to do a reading, this Temple of Arte is the venue for weekly lectures, workshops and events that attract magical people from all over the world..
One August night, Christina was hosting an interesting event that would bring me into contact with an unexpected destiny. This event was to be a consecration of a Grimoire dedicated to the Infernal Powers called Liber Niger Legionis, Grimoir of Phaoron.

Grimoire

Before this I had steered clear of the dark powers, but I was working on a novel, Dark Night, Lily Bright, in which the Sorceress Lianna Hedegwicke, was a practitioner of the Elizabethan Magic and demonology. I wanted to learn as much as possible about the psychology of those attracted to the Left Hand Path, and find out what techniques they used to invoke spirits. The consecration of a Grimoire was an opportunity to do a little research. Naughty me, but the writer’s mentality is such.

As I descended the narrow Georgian stairs of Treadwells the smell of incense told me preparations were being made. I had never seen the room decked out like this before! The walls were hung with long swathes of red and black cloth, the black draped altar was facing the South wall, placing the Magician in the North, facing the fiery South. (The desire of the Magician to bring the Fire Element to him in order to invoke infernal spirits is obvious. In Left Hand cosmology, Fire is the element of Satan).

There were a few people sitting in a half circle of chairs facing the altar.  At the center of the altar was frightening horned mask, and on its horns lay the Grimoire, bound in black leather with a reversed red pentagram embossed in the center. Candle branches illuminated the darkness with sputtering and smoky lights. A slim girl in tight black clothes, with a cloud of dark curls around her pale pretty face, paced around the room trying to keep us entertained, while some creepy ambient music clashed and thrummed to create an atmosphere of incipient chaos.

Liber Niger Legionis

Liber Niger Legionis

Phaoron was late, as I was his habit I would learn….The guests sat patiently. One man kept talking to me about something to do with sigils — a subject I didn’t understand very well at the time.   His chatting me up his was wearing  thin when Phaoron finally arrived flustered, but with no need of a wardrobe change.

The Ritual began with Pharaon reading from the Introduction to his little black book.
It was worth waiting for, for Pharaon’s writing was sheer poetry, his deep connection to the demonic world that would inspire my research.

Babalon

Babalon sigil

Review

Here is a  review of the Grimoire  from  the website of the Chaos Magical Theatrical Group, Foolish People. Their director, John Harrigan, is a talented magician himself.

They often perform at the Horse Hospital in London.

The Grimoire of Pharaon:

Sorcery, Chumbley, Spare, Chaos

Liber Niger Legionis, The Grimoire of Pharaon

£350
First Edition: Octavia Press 2005. Hardback 162pp. Author: Pharaon. This copy is Number 4 of the numbered limited edition of only 36 copies. It is signed and sigilised by the author. In this first edition, sigils to 36 daemons were individually produced. Copy 4 is dedicated to Samael; this unique sigil is starkly remarkable. The book’s content consists of an original grimoire, though it is evident that inspirations are drawn from Austin Osman Spare, Kenneth Grant and Andrew Chumbley. The grimoire presents an original system of Gnostic sorcery, which is both practical and cosmological. Eschewing the traditional esoteric cosmology that describes the Supernal or Divine that is in opposition to the Infernal, it instead it regards the ‘hostile’ or ‘demonic’ forces as being inherently illusory, indeed that which is the illustory itself. The response to this insight is the spiritual aim, what Pharaon calls ‘Black Gnosis’. In it, the sorcerer apprehends mystically the transience of identity. As the infernal (illusory) nature of reality is identified, one is enabled to ford the currents that underlie it, recognizing their sentience and power. In this system, the sorcerer becomes a mirror for that which is beyond. As the author draws upon the entire magical tradition, the Daemons summoned are traditional ones, ones that most will recognize. It is their relevance to postmodern reality that is emphasized, however. The author is transgressive, fiercely iconoclastic, and solitary; despite the fact that Infernal Sorcery is explicitly referred to as Cainite and relates to the work of Andrew Chumbley, the author is not a member of his Cultus Sabbatai, but instead works independently. The book, after outlining and instructing the system of Gnosis and magical practice, lists the 36 daimons, with their natures, their meaning and relevance to the system and sigil. The first edition, in which only 36 copies were printed, has become highly sought after even within the first six months after its release. Issue points distinguishing it from the second edition are the upright direction of the cover pentagram, and the particular decoration of the endpapers.

Liber Niger Legionis, The Grimoire of Pharaon

Author: Pharaon
£60.00
Second Edition: Octavia Press 2005. Hardback 162pp. This copy is Number 22 of the numbered limited second edition of only 72 copies. It is signed and sigilised by the author. This second edition features a different decorated end paper to the first edition. Also, compared to the first edition, the pentagram on the cover is inverted, which in fact was the author’s original intent.

Liber Niger Legionis, The Grimoire of Pharaon
Another copy of the second Edition: Octavia Press 2005
£60.00 – Number 36, of the numbered limited edition of 72 only copies

I just saw one of these for sale on Ebay for $1250.00.

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

Babalon: Part One

Babalon: Part Two

by Andrew Chumbley

by Andrew Chumbley

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