This is Part 14 to a series of posts about my adventures during 2005, leading up to the performance of Paul Green’s play Babalon. The story is full of cloak and dagger, initiatory strangeness, chaos, and hysteria. It shows what can happen on the Magical path if one is not careful…
Directed by occultist, Alison Rockbrand, Babalon was performed on December 16, 2005, at the John Gielgud Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to a sold out audience of London’s finest occultists and magicians. If you want to listen to it, click Radio QBSaul: Archives: Babalon. I played Marjorie Cameron/Babalon. I am called Angela Murrow because I had to hide my identity.
Babalon Diaries # 14
Those of you who have brought Deities through yourselves will understand what I mean when I say: at this point all Hell broke loose.
A Deity as powerful as Babalon, coming through a frame as sensitive as mine, was a bit too hot handle. Marjorie Cameron was a Taurus at least. Grounded! We Aquarians? Not known for it.
I have heard so many reports of magic going haywire. Even among the pros, relationships can be ruined as the scales tip wildly and reality crumbles. Some magicians don’t recover completely. I wonder about one of our number, because he was totally out to lunch most of the time, surrounded with all his demons and other friends…
>I was feeling pretty rocky, sometimes sliding into a kind of hectic edginess and emotional reactivity >that was not like me at all. It was good for the role of Cameron, but I grew to fear the terrible flames <of kundalini that were coursing through my system filling me with desires I knew would lead to >serious trouble for little old me if I acted on them. I suppose there had be an outlet for trouble. It >came via a couple of my regular Tarot clients from Camden Market.
>There was this family issue.
>The Turkish one I’ll call A. She was someone I thought was a friend, that I could trust her, at least on the grounds that I helped her so much, finding her places to stay, helping her get jobs, introducing her to people who I thought would be good for her to know. I even did readings for her during my free time to save her having to travel to Camden Town. I suppose she resented it when I didn’t want to give her discounts when she called me on my own time. Rather I charged her extra as any right thinking professional would do who needs down time after working in the public all day. I will never understand the thinking that you should get to wear somebody out and get special favors for it!??
Why didn’t I know she was a scheming, two-faced, treacherous, lying cow? Because of the fatal flaw of many of us in the helping professions — empathy!
I made the mistake of recommending her for a job at a pub owned by my other client, who I’ll call C.
C’s father was a very wealthy, middle aged man and (HOW did I miss this?) A. was a true Gold Digger. Determined at all costs to land a wealthy, middle aged Englishman and marry him, she made her play for C’s father taking advantage of his usual drunken state and desire for much younger women.. C’s father was not divorced from her mother, so it was unlikely he would marry A. so she could stay in England legally. But that did not deter her any more than gratitude would prevent her slandering her friends when she found out C’s father did not approve of “the occult”.
Long story short, C. and A. began to coming to me every day complaining about each other and campaigning against each other. I was trying to stay balanced myself, and trying to understand where each of them was coming from, but when C. proved to me, in undeniable terms, that A. was slandering me behind my back, and telling lies about me, and telling C. that I was dangerous and just after her money, I went ballistic and confronted A. ! Neither me nor Babalon was having any of that!
This of course made things worse. A. was so addicted to getting Tarot Readings, and so insistent on having them when she wanted them, that I began to let her trade with me for Turkish coffee readings because I knew she didn’t have any money — even when I no longer wanted any readings and knew she didn’t need them. She was just like a machine once she began a behavior, she would not stop. I put up with it because I felt sorry for her…the road to Hell was duly paved.
So A. set her cap for C.’s dad. C. grew to hate A.
Silly me had a great idea: Let’s solve this problem.
I was hanging out with all of these magicians so I asked one of them if he knew how to bust up a destructive relationship that was hurting so many people and causing no end of grief for me?
He said it was his “specialty”.
“How much would you charge?”
“Maybe I have a job for you…”
So I introduced this Magus to C. and decided to let them work it out.
We sat in the Devonshire Arms, now the Hobgoblin, in Camden Town. At that time The Dev was very cool Goth pub with these wonderful dark, deathly Tarot designs painted on the woodwork. (I hope they are still there. It would be a shame for them to disappear.)
C. made an excellent impression on Mr Magus. He told her she was a born sorceress and he would be happy to help her out. They made whatever agreement they made. I thought, “Good. C will be happy, and I can get some peace.” Famous last words. The Babalon current was moving through me, and taking over my whole life — Babalon: Goddess of Love and War! (How I laugh in retrospect!)
Weeks went by and nothing changed with Daddy Warbucks and A. C. and I began to wonder if any magic had indeed been done. Despite lack of results, the Magus came to collect his fee. I got the whole sordid story second hand.
The day after paying the Devil’s ransom, C. came to see me in the market. She was in hysterics.
She had gone to the Dev, to meet the Magus and pay him the 300 pounds. The Magus showed up with the Wiz. They expected, along with the 300 pounds, for C. to buy them drinks. She being young and unsure did this for them , buying round after round until they all were drunk. They left the Dev and went to another pub across the canal where the Magus read Tarot cards for some girl, and scared her half to death.
“Arlene, that poor girl was crying he scared her so much, and they kept talking about Sex Magic and the Eleventh Degree. They wanted me to do something with both of them. Down by the canal!”
If any of you don’t know the evil reputation of the canal that runs through Camden Town, well I have news for you! At least once a year a body is found floating in it, and in the two years before this incident, boys were fishing suitcases out of the water — ugh! I can’t even write about what was inside! And body parts — one of the big news stories that year was the boy who was killed in a Black Magic ritual whose remains were fished out of the canal.
The drug addicts fixed themselves up under the bridge. The Camden Ripper was at large. It was a pretty yucky place.
“You didn’t do it did you?”
“NO! But they said they were going to perform the Eleventh Degree down by the canal. With each other!”
“Oh, they are just playing with you.”
“No they’re not! And they took all my money and expected me to buy their drinks and then (Magus) terrified that poor girl….told her she had demons all around her, and was under the influence of sorcery…
My head began to throb in earnest at that point. To the Magus demonae would have been desirable. It goes to show you difficult it can be to get out of your own frame of reference!
I figured I would try to find out what this Eleventh Degree was because I knew nothing about it. I was never into Crowley, remember. That night at rehearsal, The Two Bros would neither speak to me nor look me in the eye. Magus was straining to be jolly. I knew he was worried about what happened and that C. had told me all about it. I stayed neutral. We were there to rehearse, after all. When I did not act strangely, the Two Magicians seemed to interpret that to be that I didn’t know anything, so they relaxed. Still there was tension.
After the rather tumultuous rehearsal, I grabbed G. and asked him to explain. “What is the Eleventh Degree?”
G. seemed a bit edgy. “Why do you want to know?”
“Because Magi One and Two scared C. half to death saying they were doing the Eleventh Degree down by the canal.”
I shouldn’t have felt upset, but I was. I suppose the whole atmosphere lent itself to that. G didn’t say much of anything after that, but I had a horrible awareness that Babalon wanted him. He was 25 years old and I was his mother’s age. But did Babalon care?
This was the big secret that those other Magic Boys didn’t know. They don’t do the choosing when it comes to Babalon. Neither does the Priestess — which is what I was at that point — Babalon is the one who decides who to bestow her favors upon. This was a very complicated thing…..
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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