Lucifer Rising: A Film by Kenneth Anger

Babalon Diaries: Appendix Three

Though The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome was the film made by Kenneth Anger most associated with the Babalon Working this film, Lucifer Rising, seems to me to be related to it. Perhaps this is because of its opening shots of seething volcanoes and its  evocation of the Aeon of Horus.

Like most of Kenneth Anger’s films, it is indecipherable without his commentary, but that makes the film no less compelling. Most of Anger’s films are based on his enactments of Thelemic Rituals, and the symbols can be interpreted using Aleister Crowley‘s magickal system. I am not a Thelemite, but from my experience playing Marjorie Cameron/Babalon and my studying for the role, I have gained a little knowledge of Crowley’s universe and know a bit about of Egyptian magic.  I have figured a few things out that may help you if you want a way into this stunning little film.

The Aeon of Horus.

After the dark earth erupts with fire and light, Isis wakes. She takes an ankh, symbol of life, off of the wall of an ancient temple and wakes Osiris. As Osiris wakes and communicates with Isis, the crocodiles are hatched. In Egyptian religion, the crocodile is both revered as a symbol of strength and protection for the Pharoah, and reviled for its quick snatching of life with its long jaws. This dichotomy is shared by Devil/ Angel,  Lucifer.

I think what happens next is meant to be a new type of man born under the power of the Age of Horus. He is both fay and violent. He stabs a girl, and washes the blood off in a bathtub. The girl, played by Marianne Faithful,  comes back to life and transports herself back in time to ancient Egypt. She climbs higher and higher by stairs or mountain passes. There is fire, the Sphinx, Stonehenge and Druids carrying torches through the night. The elephant, Ganesha, remover of obstacles, symbolically steps on a rearing cobra, symbol of Pharoah, Divine Kingship, or enlightenment. Hmmm…

Kenneth Anger himself appears performing a ritual inside a Thelemic Circle. My impression is he is raising Lucifer. There is a tiger, a fiery animal, swimming in a sea, Many more water images suggesting emotion and the dramatic collision of the elements. Finally a young man wearing a jacket with the old NBC logo on the back wit the name Lucifer written above it. Some very strange things begin to happen. There are images of Aleister Crowley, juxtaposed with more knives and an atmosphere of  potential violence. At one point Lucifer carries a cake that looks to me like the Pleasure Dome. Marianne Faithful weeps into a scarf the color of Lucifer’s clothes. We see opium poppies, and strange green orgy, more Egyptian gods, spaceships flying over the Great Sphinx.

I am sure this hasn’t been all that informative, but with Anger’s films, every little bit helps. The images are hypnotic, and the music, composed and performed by Bobby Beausoleil, is absolutely mesmerizing and deeply moving.

If you have seen this, please enjoy it again. If not prepare to be both enchanted and disturbed.

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Babalon Diaries #16: Is Babalon My Guardian Angel?

Today is December 16, 2009. Three years ago on this night, we performed Babalon at the John Geilgud Theatre at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.

Happy Anniversary!

This is me at dress rehearsal in my Babalon costume.  See that stressed out scared look in my eyes? At one point, I wondered if I would even have a costume. The corset is from the now vanished Fairy Goth Mother at Camden Lock Market and was obtained under great secrecy. The skirt is a big piece of fabric held together with pins.

This is Part 16 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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Babalon: Demon or Angel?

As the events I am about to recount unfolded, I wondered if  playing Marjorie Cameron/ Babalon was a blessing or a curse. I don’t think Cameron led a very happy life, for all of its drama and intrigue, and she was the avatar of Babalon. All I could think about form here on out was that The New Aeon was about “force and fire.” And the Babalon Working was performed by a rocket scientist who blew himself up.  The explosions had only just begun.

When I left you in the last entry, I was sick with a hangover, having been falling down drunk the night before.

It was around 1pm, or 13:00 in Greenwich Mean Time, when I received a phone call from my flatmate, W.,  I was starting to feel a little bit better at that point, but that feeling was quickly destroyed by what my flatmate had to say.

“Get out as fast as you can. The Home Office was down here looking for you. Someone told the agent me an B. knew you, and they came in to  ask us about you. We didn’t tell them anything except that you weren’t in. He might go to the flat.”

When I hung up the phone, I was shaking like a leaf and dizzy with fright. My passport had expired just recently and I had been too busy to replace it. My mind went instantly to that horrible two-faced A. I was convinced she had ratted me out. Now I think differently, but then I could think of no other reason why I would have the Home Office coming after me in the market. I also realized that my drunken adventure of the night before had been my salvation, otherwise I would have been at work to be  hauled down to immigration and probably put behind bars. The idea of being in cage was worse than anything I could imagine!

I didn’t know what to do. The phone rang again. I was afraid to answer it, but picked it up in case it was W. again. It was a client of mine who had a habit of calling me at the worst possible times, but this was fortuitous for once.

“Turn yourself in,” she said. “Its like taxes — its better to just deal with them.”

“I can’t,” I said. “My passport is no good. No way am I going to turn myself in.”

We wrangled for a while and then she agreed I should run for it. She was very kind and gave me the phone number of her ex-husband who was an immigration lawyer who would be sympathetic to my plight. I was lucky to catch him in. After trying to convince me I should get married in a hurry — and he knew just the person — he finally told me: “Pack your bags and go to a friend’s house. I will see what I can do to help you, but first — get out of there. Otherwise you’ll be deported.”

Deported meant several weeks in a jail cell and then being sent home with nothing but the clothes on your back and nowhere to go.

I was nervous wreck! I was laughing to myself in one way though. All through this time, I had been working on a novel called Dark Night, Lily Bright. It was a fantasy based on British Magical traditions. My protagonist in the book, was in a situation that had to be really suspenseful and scary and I was unsure if I could write it. I actually wished I knew what it was like to be scared out of my mind so I could write the scene convincingly. And here I was! A live wire of terror!

“I didn’t mean this!” I said to the Universe. Be careful what you wish for is not just a cliche.

Bloody hell.

I called a good friend.  Luckily, she was home and when I asked her if I could stay at her’s for a few days,  she was up for it. By 3pm — 15:00 — I was out of the house.

When I got to my friend’s house — who I will call L, I called W. to tell him where I was and gave him her phone number. (I was the freak without a mobile phone back then, ever since I had mine stolen in the market.)

A few hours later, I got a call from W.

“When did you get out?”

“Around 3.”

“Well we just home at 6 o’clock, and there was a business card under the door. They came for a visit, by the look of it. Good thing you weren’t here.”

“I guess so,” I said. That was a close call.

“Look, don’t call the phone here. I have to find out what to do. Just don’t come back to the flat. I think he’s parked outside.I’ll call you when I know something.”

“I’m so sorry, you guys,” I said. I really was. I never meant to drop them in it. They went as much hell as I did through this.

So, was Babalon my nemesis as I had feared? Did she disrupt my life, creating  cataclysmic events because of the volatility of her spirit? That was I thought at the time. Now, I thank the Gods that I was given that role of Babalon, that she made me so sick I couldn’t go to work, because the Home Office catching me was bound to happen.

I was also glad that my first flatmate had turned out to be unreliable and moved out leaving me holding the bag. I am also so glad I had W. and B. move in because they were so strong and so loyal to me that I would have been lost without them. The first flatmate would have been totally useless and probably a treacherous cow as well.

I have come to believe that Babalon was my Guardian Angel.

After this, the story gets really weird, so please, do come back for more!

Babalon – A Fable of Rocketry, Sex and High Magick Tickets and Information


Gielgud Theatre
33 Shaftesbury Avenue
London, England W1V 7HA
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This show is currently closed
Performance Date was December 16, 2006

Ticket Information: This show is currently closed.

Tickets by Phone: 020 7908 4800
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Synopsis


Babalon is a Paul Green play, originally written for radio, that 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.

User Reviews


Read what our TM Insiders had to say about Babalon – A Fable of Rocketry, Sex and High Magick!

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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 #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.

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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 Dairies: # 14: Snakes and Ladders

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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.

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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…

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>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?”
“300 pounds.”
“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.)

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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.

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The day after paying the Devil’s ransom, C. came to see me in the market. She was in hysterics.

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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!”

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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!

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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…..

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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 # 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.

scarlet2

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

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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August Eclipse and How to Let Go of What No Longer Works

August 5, 2009:

An eclipse of the moon at 13 degrees Aquarius.

This was the day I lost my J.O.B. This was also the day my dream of being a full time writer began in earnest.

Eclipses are about endings, especially the series of eclipses we have had this summer.  Once Pluto goes direct in Capricorn on September 11, 2009, we will be at the start of a new cycle. It is time to leave behind the things that don’t serve us and start to create the life we want to live for the next 16 years.

From Anne Ortelee:

Anne Ortelee is my favorite online Astrologer. This is what she has to say, in her over the top way, about this eclipse period:

I’ve heard a quite few “never agains” from the person sitting across the table or speaking over the phone line during the past six weeks. Watch that NEVER AGAIN energy quite carefully. Eclipses bring things to light so we SEE it in a way we never had before. Don’t say Never Again to deny YOURSELF something you deeply want. Do say Never Again to old behaviors that came to light which don‘t serve you any more. There is a difference. Notice it.

What is the Never Again you’ve been saying to yourself? Ok, now detach it from the person you’ve attached it to. I will NEVER AGAIN xyz with that person. That person was an energy in your chart, designed to be a fabulous experience, teacher and teachable moment in a great manner, by you and the desire of your soul to grow and experience things. Do you have the NEVER AGAIN detached from them? I don’t care how much you think they are the cause. It is YOUR chart ~ they are an actor in YOUR life. Detach it.

Next detach the NEVER AGAIN from you. You didn’t do anything wrong. You aren’t a bad person. You don’t deserve to be treated like this. However, you are an actor in THEIR story too. You are part of THEIR chart to help them get clear on what they are supposed to do and experience in this life time. Whether they get the lesson and learn from it is not your job. You’ve done your job by being in their life. You don’t need to stay here. Don’t give up on the idea of the lesson you were for them. Make sure you remember the point of saying NEVER AGAIN. It’ll keep you on your path.

Check her out: www.anneortelee.com

Your Future and Your True Will

WE OFTEN KNOW WHAT WE DON’T WANT IN OUR LIVES, BUT SOMETIMES WE ARE NOT SURE ABOUT WHAT WE REALLY DO WANT.

A simple ritual to clear something out of your life, is to do what I did with the J.O.B. Get rid of it!

I had to agitate to make my boss fire me. She didn’t want to. For some bizarre reason she wanted to give me the benefit of doubt. Maybe she knew how badly I wanted I out. Some people will do their damndest to hold you back.

You might be afraid to let go of the undesirable situation, or person, or thing. As for the job, I made sure I would be able to collect unemployment at a high enough amount and for a long enough time to cover the basics so I could get my projects off the ground. Then I chose the eclipse day for the bust up. People warned me against it. I wa,s and still am, a tad worried about making ends meet. But I did it anyway because the J.O.B. was making me sick, drained, and frustrated and I knew I did NOT want to identify with wage slave employee in the next cycle.  I did not want this reality!

I had long ago established who I Am as an artist and entrepreneur, a healer, clairvoyant, and teacher. I was not going to allow myself to slip into a pattern that was not in line with my True Will, didn’t suit me at all, was ruining my health, and was meant to be temporary anyway.

I hope you have the courage to walk away from your old patterns before they become fixed or  destructive to you. See the new reality opening out before you! Go for that.

HOW TO DISCOVER YOUR TRUE WILL, OR WHO YOU REALLY ARE!

Having always been a  passionate person and knowing since childhood that I wanted to be an artist,  I have never been able to understand people who have no idea what they want out of life. Sometimes a person would come to me for a Tarot reading and ask me “What am I here for? What should I be doing with my life?”

I would ask” What is your passion?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, what do you like to do? What gets you up in the morning? What makes you happy?”

“Being with my friends down at the pub.”

“What else?”

Blank stare.

I pondered this for a long time. Nobody is a blank slate. Inside every person is a burning desire, even if its just for the usual things like having a family and decent job.

What I think is really going on with these people is that their desires were squashed in childhood; they were shamed out of them, made to feel unworthy, told they would never be able to have that. So they gave up on their True Will — The very reason they are incarnated on this planet was abandoned,  and in giving up on their innermost desire, all fire and passion was doused as if a bucket of water was emptied over it. They gave up on themselves.

I know this because my parents, relatives, schoolmates,  tried to do that to me too. Trouble with me was that I am a very determined person. I am also an Aquarius, so I rebel. I was also on fire with images and dreams feelings that had to be made visible and tangible through creative expression. I held onto my True Will through Hell and high water.

So what if you haven’t been able to that? What if you lost all traces of your passion and your life’s purpose? Now this cycle is ending and a new one beginning — a fresh start — how do you choose what you want to create, to BE,  for the next 16 years?

Being in the Flow

I decided over the last 8 years to forge myself into a novelist. I had published and won prizes for my poetry, but that Muse wasn’t with me any more. I had poured myself into my healing practice branching out to teaching and leading public rituals before I went to London in 1998. After I completed my Grail Bearers Tarot, I began to write a novel for my own entertainment and got so immersed in it that I began to take my desire to write more seriously. I was reassured in this decision because my first Astrologer, Jeff Green, had told me that I was born to be  a writer and film maker. Since his predictions from that 1983 reading had been so accurate, I decide to follow that path.

When I write fiction I forget the time. Ideas surface and dramas play out like magic in my mind’s eye that I simply record. It is total ecstasy for me. All writers experience this. Its why they write! My decision to lose my job was coupled with the determination to BE a full time writer. Whether with novels, blogging, podcasts, videos — my next 16 years will be spent creating art from my imagination and putting it out there to share.

So I ask you: when are you in that flow state? If you know what that is, trust it. Go with where it takes you.

I believe, because I have experienced it, that if you do work that seizes you, that you can’t wait to get to, that you love, you can find a way to make a living at it. If its a relationship you want, make sure you ask that only the people who are the best for you come into your life. Choose to be happy.

If you have never been in the flow state — or don’t think you have  been– pay attention. Ask to be shown.

Say: “I am determined to know what my True Will is. I will experience what turns me on. I will live from my center, from my heart. I create the life I want NOW!”

I swear that if you ask, you will begin to notice when the flow is happening. You will have a glimpse at least of what fires you up.

You may have to go back to early childhood. Try to remember your happiest times. What absorbed your attention as a child?

You may have to spend some quiet time on the weekend tuning in to yourself and reflecting on what you can truly lose yourself in.

You may have a learning curve. Look at me! I have learned all this computer stuff from scratch, over the course of 7 months. Hard work? You bet! Worth it? Absolutely.

You may have to develop a new skill or talent. As I said I spent 8 years forging myself into a novelist. I still don’t have a novel published but I am determined, and now I have cut the time to focus on it as never before.

You may think what you love to do isn’t practical. I have a client who has always loved nature and animals. She is very spiritual and did Energy Healing with me for years, even over the phone while I was living in England. That stopped after a while. When I came back to Seattle, I got in touch with her.

In the years that I was gone, her Live-in Nanny position had ended ( the kids were grown) and she went on to work in a veterinarian’s office where she found herself soothing the animals who were going in for treatment. She had bonded so quickly with the pets that she was asked to  Pet Sit and this evolved into a full time business. ( She’s still Nannying in a way). Still at the vet’s part time, she is now being asked to do Energy Healing on the pets because the owners see how their animals respond to her. In fact one of the first things we did together when I came back, was to get her to a place where she could trust her ability to heal animals with her energy. Her passion for nature and animals has given her a life of joy and celebration every day — and a living as well.

Make A Treasure Map

Today I decided to make a Treasure Map. I think these days they are called Vision Boards.

This is the perfect time: between now and September 11.

I am designing my future. How I want it to be. I did this in the past many times. It works. Weirdly and amazingly. I highly recommend it.

Put in images of  your most far fetched dreams. I say that because before I became a healer I had NO IDEA that I would ever be that. I had no background, no credentials — nothing. But I had an Enlightenment experience that was so mind boggling that word got out. Next thing I knew I was doing healing for a living.

????????

Take the chance — do it NOW. Now is the time to make changes that will last.

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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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Interview With Paul Green-Part 2.mp3

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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 Appendix # 2: The Qliphoth, by Paul A. Green

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

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

Babalon Diaries:Appendix # 2

The Qliphoth


Paul A. Green, Author of Babalon

Tomorrow, I am interviewing Paul Green, author of Babalon to have him share with us the story behind the story of his wonderful radio play about the Babalon Working of Jack Parsons, Babalon.

In order to understand what is behind the play, I spoke with Paul Green about his related novel called The Qliphoth. In it he explores the themes of Qabbalistic Magick and the way the unseen dimensions,  that run parallel to our own, bleed through, or make contact  with us.  In the case of the characters in this novel, the effects of those contacts result in chaos and madness. Such is the dark side of life in the Sub Lunar, or Yesodic realm.

It is daunting to write a straight review of a book as complex as The Qliphoth. It is a great read, full of hip, jazzy, language, and some very strange post 1960′s apocalyptic characters. The young protagonist, Lucas, sets out on a quest to find  his father, Nicholas Oscar Beardsley, who has been confined to Oakhill Lunatic Asylum. Beardsley is obsessed with researching the Lore of the Brazen Head. (I believe the Brazen Head comes from a vision of Elizabethan magician John Dee.) The result is chaos, disaster, kidnapping, murder, and the weirdest magickal ritual I ever read.

Beardsley:

“I have to get it all down, For the record, the Akashic Record of the Aeons, naturally. Wherin all our phantasms are inscribed, squiggles of amoebic neon eternity like an old broadcast of Journey into Space on its way to the Pleiades.’

And I have to set the angelic record quite straight….”

And off he goes! Wheeee!

Mountian of Initiation

Mountain of Initiation

Correspondence About the Qliphoth with Paul A. Green via Email:

I wrote to Paul after I read his book and asked a few questions. His answer is so amazing that I told him it would make a great blog post all on its own. I hope you like this. He is a great writer, so his response is so much fun to read. And if you like Thelema, Parsons, or just the craft of writing, it is very informative too.

In the middle of this post, you will find a link to Paul’s podcast of Lud Heat which I highly recommend for lovers of hauntings. There is also a link for the script of The Ritual of the Stifling Air that he mentions in the text at the end. Very strange and amazing stuff!

Arlene to Paul, or Ground Control to Major Paul:

I finished the Qlippoth and am now digesting it. Its really profound about the influence of the sub-lunar realm, Yesodic energies, etc. And quite a good read.
I take it you have had first hand experience at some of this stuff?
This could be really relevant to the Babalon Diaries in that, when I was England, I found the lunar energies extremely strong. As a natural clairvoyant I was bombarded with thought forms and  images that were quite different to my own  innate mindset. (Yesod, the Moon, is called, in Qabbalah, The Treasure House of Images.) I was aware that the group mind in London was so strong that I sometimes had trouble keeping my own thoughts and feelings free of it.

I think it would be best to talk about the themes in the Qliphoth in an interview. I have a lot of questions and if you can relate them to Babalon, the Moonchild, the Anti-Christ gang, (Parsons, Hubbard, Cameron, etc.) whatever… Perhaps we can discuss a focus so we don’t go all over the place?
The subject is very rich.

Its important not to dive in without a contact line….

Paul to Arlene:

Thanks for your generous comments on the book.  First hand experience?  Hmm, all depends on how you define experience…  On the blog, you kindly referred to me as an “occultist,” which is kind of flattering, as if I was some kind of Eliphas Levi or John Dee sage, but that could be misleading.  I haven’t been a formal member of, say, a Golden Dawn or Thelemic type group.  I haven’t participated in the kind of elaborate rites  Quilthorpe tries to conduct towards the end of the book. The “Babalon Working Group” mentioned in the blurb really existed  but it was a group of writers drawn together via the www through a common interest in Parsons.  (The most overtly pagan was the convener Adrian Lord  who used to run a big wiccan festival in  Pendle.)

Nevertheless, certain kinds of writing, in certain situations are in themselves  like magickal procedures and seem to trigger odd events.  One of my earlier radio pieces Ritual of the Stifling Air  ( written in a very dark period of my life) allegedly induced weird electronic phenomena in the studio equipment ( although I wasn’t there to hear them)  while  a piece by my friend Iain Sinclair ( from “Lud Heat”)  recorded  in the crypt of St Annes Limehouse, one of London’s strangest churches, nearly defeated the efforts of the BBC sound man to capture it properly.  You can hear the whole programme  as one of my podcast episodes.

For the wonderful, ghostly “Lud Heat” click here: Radio QBSaul: Lud Heat. This sort of poetic ghost hunt is really fabulous, especially if you know London.

St. Anne's Limehouse

St. Anne's Limehouse

Where the Qliphoth was concerned, I was immersed  in studying Crowley, Golden Dawn, Chaos Magic and the Qabalah. I was also trying to get a grasp on the multiverse idea and relate that to the Sephiroth.  As the work evolved – a  journey into the Yesodic realms, personal as well as  external -  I  began using magical techniques and mind-maps.  Locations, characters, sequences of action, visual detail were  sometimes determined with reference to Crowley’s system of correspondences, or a Qabalistic Tarot pack,  or a series of cards devised by Brian Eno which gave enigmatic Taoist-type directions ( e.g “Stop work”  or “Reverse the order”).  Dreams at certain phases were often extremely intense, and images from some crept into the book. I sometimes  used automatic writing as a way of finding the voice of a character. e.g Nick near he beginning. But progress was often slow.

A climax in the writing of the book co-incided with the suicide of a close friend, on whom certain aspects of a key character were based.  This wasn’t his first attempt, as he had a very long history of manic depression, so I’m not asserting  there was any direct connection but  it was a horrible shock when it finally happened, especially as our relationship had broken down. It was as if  writing about him was dangerous, as if I’d written him out of existence.  My own sanity was precarious at times like this. I was certainly became  very obsessive.

I think what kept me balanced was having a firm root in my relationship with my wife  and  a job (inner city supply= substitute teacher) which although exhausting and distracting  and pretty dismal much of the time kept me earthed in what I  guess is Malkuth. The Pauline story-strand  and many of the characters grew out of that.   You could say that  it was a coming-of-age novel, given that Yesod is the sphere of adolescence. And there’s a tension between Pauline’s dialectical materialism and the magickal omniverse  that breaks through at  the end. She’s forced to acknowledge  it  and even participate in it. Yet it’s her earthbound strength and resilience that saves Lucas. She could also be read as Binah, the  stern mother.

Babalon

Babalon

Click here for : The Ritual of the Stifling Air

Watch for my podcast interview with Paul A. Green coming soon!

And of course, if you want to listen to podcasts of our December 16, 2005 performance of Babalon, the links are just below.

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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Understanding the Tree of Life, and the Qliphoth

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

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

Babalon Diaries: Appendix 1

I am very excited to announce that an interview with Paul Green, author of the play Babalon, is coming up on the Winterspells blog. This should be very interesting, as he is a wonderful writer with a lot to say. He shall bring us his insight into the magical paths of Jack Parsons. L.Ron Hubbard, Marjorie Cameron, and the Babalon Working.

Since Paul’s knowledge of magic, and  especially Thelema, is very deep, I thought I should give you an overview of the one of the most prevalent Magical Patterns in Occultism, or Western Mystery Tradition: the Qabbalistic Tree of Life. An basic understanding of the Tree will provide a foundation for understanding most magical systems, from Ceremonial Magic to Wicca.

My Background in Qabbalah

I began my study of the Qabbalah in 1983, when I was reading book by the esoteric author, Dion Fortune, a former Golden Dawn Magician. The book was the Mystical Qabbalah, a journey through the ten Sephiroth, with descriptions of the spheres of the Gods, and their corresponding planets, colors, numbers, choirs, and the Legions of Angels. The Qabbalah is the key to the Magic of the Angels and for the Union with the Holy Guardian Angel.

During the time of my studies, I was living in the servants quarters of big mansion in Seattle that was home of my  Middle Eastern Dance director and instructor, Elizabeth Dickinson. She gave me refuge when I broke up with my rock star boyfriend who was fun, but drank way too much. I couldn’t physically take it any more…wimpy I know, but I had to leave. (But his idol was Keith Moon who was dead, after all.) I also left because I read Dante’s Inferno as part of my study for a Shakespeare play I was in, and I realized I was, oh my God, in the Upper Hell!

I guess my latent Catholicism kicked in big time, because I went through a very holy phase. One holy thing I did was wake up at 5:00 every morning to study the Qabbalah book and meditate. I worked with it like this for a very long time and began having visions of the Sephiroth Gods and Goddesses, using all the correspondences to build altars, and just got into doing Magic. I think I wanted to be like Vivian LeFay Morgan from Dion Fortune’s Sea Priestess book among other things. I used the magical images and ideas I learned in the Mystical Qabbalah in my own dances for the troupe I was in called the  Companions of the Musavir. It was Sufi dance troupe. As the dance company was about using Scared Dance to tell Sufi stories, my contributions fit in very well. I always liked the idea of the theater as a temple.

So my knowledge of the Tree is pretty extensive, but also very old. I will give you what I have internalized over the years. It may be technically off for some people, but if you are one of those, please feel free to leave comments. I would enjoy an refresher and it will help the other readers as well.

Tree of Life, Tree of Lights

Above is a very nice diagram of the Tree of Life, the basic glyph, or magical pattern, on which the Qabbalistic system is based. But in case you are new to this, here is a simple one:

As you can see, there are ten spheres with thirty-two paths linking them together in various ways. The spheres are called Sephiroth and, in my experience, when you work with them, they open up as little chapels with altars in them that correspond to the qualities of the deities that work through them. Each Sephiroth is aligned to a planet and with the Gods, Goddesses, Planetary Intelligences, Angels that make up the consciousness of that Sphere.

You can also meditate standing within the Tree, so that your feet at at Malkuth (Earth), your pelvis is at Yesod  (Moon), heart is at Tiphareth (Sun) and so on. You must “Cross the Abyss” (Daath) so that your head is just below Kether whose symbol is appropriately enough, a Crowned King.

This is a huge topic that entire books have been written about, but these little keys can help you go through the doors on your own. It is the basis of Tables of Correspondences, relationships between powers and deities, and many other things. It is very enlightening to take your favorite Gods, say the Greek Gods, and put each one in a sphere according his or her planetary association and see how the energies collide and interact. You can understand things at a much deeper level when you play with the Tree of Life in this way.

The Dark Side of the Tree, Tree of Death?

Now, more appropriately for Parsons and Thelema, I shall do my best to explain the Dark Side of the Tree of Life. Think of it as the same as the Dark Side of the Moon, where a crater has been named for Jack Parsons, where everything is reversed like a reflection in a mirror.

The mirror can be front to back as with a coin, but also up and down as when a tree is reflected in a lake. (See  the image at the top of this post.) This essay is about the front/back dichotomy. The up/down has to do with the Underworld of Faery.

Most things that live in the dark, or on the dark side, have developed fearful shapes in the minds of the members of the Big Three religions that have been indoctrinated to to seek, exclusively, the Light. In Christianity, I think the idea that God is Logos, equated to the Sun, may have something to do with this. Therefore, the moon, or the dark being opposed, must be anti-God.

Exploring the reverse side of the Tree of Life was forbidden, for it was said to be  the abode of demons, shells, and destructive, chaotic forces — the flip side of the acceptable qualities of the bright side of the tree. An example of this would be:

Chesed, ruled by Jupiter and all the Gods of beneficence, mercy, abundance, and expansion can flip over into excess, greed, compulsion, and cancerous growth. Think of the good and bad sides of Sagittarius: jovial, fun- loving, active, philosophical, but wow, can they be dogmatic, bullying, crude, and its my way or the highway!

Its like that for all of the Sephiroth, whether Netzach (Venus), Hod (Mercury) Geburah (Mars) Binah (Saturn), etc.. (See the charts) The Dark Tree houses  chaos, disintegration, unbalanced power, or forces out of conscious control — for what is in the dark is unconscious, instinctual, reacting without thought. Furies live on the dark side of tree, and all those beings that we, or society as a whole, reject. Death lives on the dark side, waiting in the shadows.

Qliphoth and Astral Shells

Some Occultists have a need to redeem these exiled entities, wishing to bring about wholeness and healing. In order to do that safely, one must have been initiated into their own shadow side, in a real way, so that when these beings show themselves, they can be understood.

Some Occultists feel that the Qliphoth are storehouse of power.  The truth is that the darkness brings you deep, and if you seek to look into what has been repressed, or forbidden, then the paths that work with the dark side of the Tree will have a magnetic pull for you.

The Qliphoth are what are called by Occultists, Astral Shells. What this means is that, at one time these were bodily forms with souls, perhaps human, but they are now dead and emptied out of any Divine spark, or consciousness. Ghosts are considered by some Parapsychologists to be Astral Shells, or just figments or imprints left behind in the aethers after the original occupant has moved on. These shells can be used, taken over by wandering entities, that seem a bit like hermit crabs looking for new homes. Since they are floating around on the dark side, the  spirits that take them over are, of course, low grade entities and demons who can be magically persuaded to do the bidding of Black Magicians. Nyahahah! The lovely Lillith is considered to be one of these.

Lilith by Anandazone

Lilith by Anandazone

Astral Realm or Sub Lunar Realm

I have a question about the idea of Astral Shells. The word Astral means Star, so it suggests that the Qliphoth are dead stars perhaps? But the Earth is under the Moon; we live in the Sub Lunar Realm. It is said that, at one time, the Earth and the Moon were joined. The Moon split off and we descended into denser material forms.

Therefore, are the demons Astral Shells or Lunar Shells? They sure seem to be of the dark side of the moon to me.

I understand why someone would want to do magic with the Underworld Tree, another forbidden zone by the Big Three Religions. It is because  I feel very resonant with Faery. But I must admit, even though I played Majorie Cameron/ Babalon in the play and was deeply effected by Her, I don’t understand the attraction of some people to destructive forces, chaos, and astral shells. there is a gap in my education that, hopefully, Paul Green will fill when we speak at the end of this week.

The interview will be recorded over Skype and then I will stream it from the blog. Cross fingers that all goes well. Technically speaking that is.

Of course, 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

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