- Beloved of Babalon - An introduction to J. W. Parsons Part II of IV At this time Helen P

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-= Beloved of Babalon =- ------------------ An introduction to J. W. Parsons Part II of IV At this time Helen Parsons was having an affair with Smith, and also supplanting Regina Kahl as Priestess in the public performances of the Gnostic Mass. Jack Parsons retained his strong feelings of loyalty towards Smith, although perhaps a little confused by events. Crowley, determined to get rid of Smith, viewed with concern the extent to which Parsons - of whom he seems to have held a high opinion - was under the spell of Smith. Whilst having a high regard for Parsons, Crowley was also keenly aware of his faults, which he hoped Parsons would outgrow in the course of time and experience. In view of subsequent eventsin the life of Parsons, these perceptions are interesting and important. Once again, they can best be conveyed, perhaps, by extracts from several letters that Crowley wrote. In a letter of July 1943 to Max Scheider, we read: "As to Jack; I think he is perfectly alright at the bottom of everything; but he is very young, and he has at present nothing like the strength to deal with matters within his jurisdiction objectively." In the coures of a letter to Jane Wolfe, in December 1943, Crowley made the following assessment: "Jack is the Objective (Smith is out, an affaire classe'e: anybody who communicates with him in any way is out also; and that is that, and the best plan is to sponge the whole slate clean, and get to work to build up Thelema on sound principals. And no more brothel-building; let's use marble, not rotten old boards!). Jack's trouble is his weakness, and his romantic side - the poet - is at PRESENT a hinderance. He gets a kick from some magazine trash, or an "occult novel (if only he knew how they were concocted!) and dashes off in wild pursuit. He MUST learn that the sparkle of champagne is based on sound wine; pumping carbonic acid into urine is not the same thing. I wish to God I had him for six months - even three, with a hustle - to train in Will, in discipline. He must understand that fine and fiery flashes of Spirit come from the oganization of Matter, from the drilling of every function of every bodily organ until it has become so regular as to be automatic, and carried on by itself deep down in the Unconscious. It is the steadiness of one's Heart that enables one to endure the rapture of great passion; one doesn't want the vital functions to be excitable." In February 1944 he wrote in somewhat similar spirit to Mr. and Mrs. Burlinghame, who were Lodge mambers: "...I am very glad indeed of your offer to co-operate practically in any way possible. I have left Jack Parsons in charge; he is quite all right in essence, but very young and easily swayed by passing influences. I shall look to you to help in keeping him up to the mark." And more expansively, in the course of a letter to Jack Parsons himself in March 1946: "I am particulary interested in what you have written to me about the Elemental, because for some little while past I have been endeavouring to intervene PERSONALLY on your behalf. I would however have you recall Levi"s aphorism "the love of the Magus for such beings is insensate, and may destroy him". It seems to me that there is a danger of your sensitiveness upsetting your balance. Any experience that comes your way you have a tendency to over-estimate. The first fine careless rapture wears off in a month or so, and some other experience comes along and carries you off on its back. Meanwhile you have neglected and bewildered those who are dependent on you, either from above or from below. I will ask you to bear in mind that you have one fulcrum for all yourlevers, and that is your original oath to devote yourself to raising mankind. All experiences, all efforts, must be referred to this; as long as it remains unshaken you cannot go far wrong, for by its own stability it will bring you back from any tendency to excess. At the same time, you being as sensitive as you are, it behoves you to be more on your guard than would be the case with the majority of people." Resolved though Crowley was to get rid of Smith, it was a long and difficult manoeuvre, and had to be approached piece-meal at first. Many of the Lodge members remained loyal to Smith, and were reluctant to see him go. Smith was only too happy to hang on, in the hope that what he saw as "popular opinion" would persuade Crowley to retain him after all. Throughout all this, Smith seemed unable to understand the depths of Crowley's hostility towards him; his letters to Crowley of this period carry the tone - whether implicity or explicity - of some wretch having to bear the gratuitous beatings of his master. Some sort of dual authority apparently operated between Smith and Parsons for a while - to the reluctance of Parsons, himself still very much a Smith loyalist. Eventually, Crowley seems to have hit upon a novel way to remove Smith; he declared that Smith was the avatar of some god and should go away on a Magical Retirement until he had realised his true idenity. To this end Crowley wrote a document of instruction for Smith to follow, "LIBER 132". Smith made an attempt at this Operation but had no joy at all in plumbing the depths of his divinity. It seems doubtful if Crowley intended him to; I have seen another letter from Crowley to an American correspondent at the time, in which Crowley came as close as he could to admitting the Machiavellian thrust of the whole affair. The way was now clear for Crowley to appoint Parsons as head of Agape Lodge. If he had hoped that the Lodge would be more stable without Smith in charge, however, he was wrong. Smith continued to live there for some time after, despite all attempts by Crowley and Germer to declare him a leper, contact with whom would warrent immediate expulsion. Parsons remained unhappy at what he considered to be the unjust treatment of Smith. In late 1943 he wrote to Crowley attacking him on this point, and offering his resignation. Crowley's esteem of Parsons may be guaged from the fact that he decined to accept the resignation, and asked Parsons to reconsider. Parsons agreed to remain as head of the Lodge. Parsons had by this time inherited a large, Victorian-style mansion from his father, in a well-to-do area of Pasadena. He needed to rent out some rooms to make ends meet, and he scandalised the neighborhood by ensuring that only bohemians and the like were accepted. By the summer of 1943 Helen had had a child by Smith, and divorce was in the air. Jack Parsons took up with Helen's younger sister Sara Northrup, known as Betty. This time was one of turmoil for Parsons. We can get a glimpse of it from a document he wrote some years later, "ANALYSIS BY A MASTER OF THE TEMPLE", where he speaks of himself in the third person. It includes the following allusion to this time: "Betty served to effect a transference from Helen at a critical period. Had this not occurred, your repressed homosexual component could have caused a serious disorder. Your passion for Betty also gave you the magical force needed at the time, and the act of adultery tinged with incest seemed as your magical conformation in the Law of Thelema." We get a futher glimpse of Parsons' uncertainty in the course of a letter from Jane Wolfe to Crowley, early in 1945. She wrote: "Last evening, when Jack brought me these various papers for me to post to you, I saw, for the first time, the small boy, or child. This is it that is bewildered, does not quite know when to take hold in this matter, or where, and is completely bowled over by the ruthlessness of Smith - Smith, who has a master-hand when it comes to dealing with this boy." However, Parsons was also beginning to be seen in something of a sinister light. In the course of a letter to Karl Germer, Jane Wolfe wrote about a strange atmosphere that was manifesting. The following comes from the end of 1945: "There is something strange going on, quite apart from Smith. There is always Betty, remember, who hates Smith. But our own Jack is enamoured with Witchcraft, the houmfort, voodoo. From the start he always wanted to evoke something - no matter what, I am inclined to think, as long as he got a result. According to Meeka yesterday, he has had a result - an elemental he doesn't know what to do with. From that statement of hers, it must bother him - somewhat at least." Phyllis Seckler, from whose account this passage of Jane Wolfe's has been drawn, adds her own memories to this: "Meeka also reported to Jane that another two persons always had to do a lot of banishing in the house. They were sensitive and knew that there was something alien and inimical was there. When I had been there during the summer of 1944, I also knew there were troublesome spirits about, especially on the third floor. It got so I couldn't stand being up there, and a friend of mine couldn't even climb the stairs that far, as the hair on the back of her neck began to prickle and she got throughly frightened." Into this maelstrom came a very fateful contact. In August 1945 Parsons met L. Ron Hubbard, the future founder of Scientology, who at that time was known as little more than a writer of pulp stories and something of an eccentric. At the time he met Parsons he was a naval officer on leave, and Parsons invited him to stay at his house for the remainder of his leave. They had quite a lot in common. Parsons was very interested in science-fiction, as was Hubbard. Hubbard, for his part, was interested in psychism and magic. As anyone will know who has read the critical biography of Hubbard, "BARE-FACED MESSIAH", by Russell Miller, he was a very bizarre character indeed. For all his charisma, charm and eccentricity, Hubbard appears to have been little other than a confidence trickster, and from his point of view Parsons was one more victem to be exploited. There is a certain parallel with Parsons' relationship with Smith - the more so because Hubbard and Betty started a passionate affair. In spite of this, Parsons' admiration of and enthusiasm for Hubbard remained unabated. In a letter to Crowley of late 1945 he wrote: "Although he has no formal training in Magick, he has an extraordinary amount of experience and understanding in the field. From some of his experiences I deduce that he is in direct contact with some higher intelligence, possibly his Guardian Angle... He is the most Thelemic person I have ever met, and is in complete accord with our own principles... I think I have made a great gain, and as Betty and I are the best of friends there is little loss. I cared for her rather deeply, but I have no desire to control her emotions, and I can, I hope, control my own. I need a magical partner. I have many experiments in mind..." The "magical partner" is a reference to Hubbard - not to a Scarlet Woman, as might at first be supposed. In January 1946 Parsons devised an Operation to, as he put it, "...obtain the assistance of an elemental mate". The core of this Working consisted of the utilisation of the Enochian Tablet of Air, or rather a specific angle of it. This was to be the focus of VIII° sexual magick, with the purpose of giving substance to the elemental summons. Parsons continued with this for eleven days, evoking twice daily. He noted various psychic phenomena during this period, but felt discouraged by the apparent failure of the Operation. However, success followed several days later. In his own words: "The feeling of tension and unease continued for four days. Then on January 18 at sunset, whilst the Scribe and I were on the Mojave Desert, the feeling of tension suddenly stopped. I turned to him and said "it is done", in absolute certainty that the Operation was accomplished. I returned home, and found a young woman answering the requirements waiting for me. She is decribable as an air of fire type with bronze red hair, fiery and subtle, determined and obstinate, sincere and perverse, with extraordinary personality, talent and intelligence. During the period of January 19 to February 27 I invoked the Goddess BABALON with the aid of magical partner (Ron Hubbard), as was proper to one of my grade." In case any reader has just beamed down from another planet, perhaps it should be mentioned that the "young woman" referred to was Marjorie Cameron. The more romantic amongst us will perhaps be disappointed to learn that she seems to have existed prior to Parsons' elemental summons. She and Parsons married in October 1946; and the certificate gives her age as then 24, her birthplace as Iowa, and her profession as an artist. At one time she had served in the U.S. Navy. At the time of this Working she was on a visit from New York, where her mother lived, and she returned there after the Babalon Working for a while. The passage by Parsons just quoted is a striking one, for several reasons. It is notable that, even with the advent of Marjorie Cameron he continued to regard Hubbard as being his magical partner. I don't think that Parsons ever considered that he had conjured her from thin air, so to speak. However her appearance is accounted for - synchronicity, sheer coincidence, magical manipulation of events, or whatever - is irrelevant. the aim of the Operation as a whole was to invoke Babalon, and obtaining the services of a suitable Scarlet Woman by elemental summons was - at least at the time - a means to this over-riding end. This needs to be borne in mind, because otherwise there is a temptation to see Parsons and Cameron as constituting the love-story of the century; in fact, the relationship was rather more complex than that. At the end of February 1946, Hubbard went away for a few days. Parsons went back to the Mojave Desert and invoked Babalon. He gives no further details of this, unfortunately. All he does say is that during this invocation "...the presence of the Goddess came upon me, and I was commanded to write the following communication..." This communication, which purports to be the words of Babalon, consists of 77 short verses. Whether it was direct voice, trance, or inspired writing, he does not say. The answer probably lies in his Magical Record of this period, but as far as I know it has not survived. This communication of 77 verses he entitled "LIBER 49". He does not explain the title, but no doubt considered such explaination unnecessary, since 49 is a number sacred to Babalon. Chapter 49 of Crowley's "THE BOOK OF LIES" is a panegyric to Babalon. The connection is evident in "THE VISION AND THE VOICE", in which Babalon is a strong and alluring current, and indeed the core of the series of visions. In the account of the 27th Aethyr the symbol of Babalon is as a blood-red rose of 49 petals - red with the blood of the saints who have squeezed every last drop into the Cup of Babalon. In the afore-mentioned 27th Aethyr we read: "O Mother, wilt thou never have compassion on the children of earth? Was it not enough that the Rose should be red with the blood of thine heart, and that its petals should be 7 and by 7?" Crowley's note to this adds: "This is the use to which Babalon puts the blood of the Masters of the Temple (see 12th Aethyr) to vivify the rose of eternal creation; i.e. the attainment of the Master of the Temple fills the world with life and beauty..." Since it casts further light on the symbolism of Babalon, and shows how firmly rooted this Babalon Working is in "THE VISION AND THE VOICE", it will be useful to quote one futher passage, this time from the account of the 15th Aethyr: "There appears immediately in the Aethyr a tremendous column of scarlet fire, whirling forth, rebounding, crying aloud. And about it are four columns, of green and blue and gold and silver, each inscribed with writings in the character of the dagger. And the column of fire is dancing among the pillars. Now it seems that the fire is but the skirt of the dancer, and the dancer is a mighty god. The vision is overpowering. As the dancer whirls, she chants in a low, strange voice, quickening as she goes: Lo! I gather up every spirit that is pure, and weave him into my vesture of flame. I lick up the lives of men, and their souls sparkle from mine eyes. I am the mighty sorceress, the lust of the spirit. And by my dancing I gather for my mother NUIT the heads of all them that are baptised in the waters of life. I am the lust of the spirit that eateth up the soul of man. I have prepared a feast for the adepts, and they that partake thereof shall see God. Now it is clear what she has woven in her dance; it is the Crimson Rose of the 49 Petals, and the Pillars are the Cross with which it is conjoined. And between the pillars shoot out rays of pure green fire; and now all the pillars are golden. She ceases to dance and dwindles, gathering herself into the centre of the Rose." Parsons spent the rest of his life devoted to Babalon - some would say that he became obsessed by Her. ------------------- * This concludes "PARSONS.II", part II of IV.

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