Perhaps… It began with a desire to summon a goddess girlfriend, and vigorous masturbation in the Mojave Desert.
Warning: Mature. Brief mention of historically-documented statutory rape.
Also: generally just a weird one here, from the sex magic history to it not being what I usually write.
Dear Father Crowley, I Have Trumped the Aeon of Horus
Have you ever heard of that time L. Ron Hubbard helped rocketry pioneer John “Jack” Parsons summon the “Scarlet Woman” Babalon through the use of furious masturbation in the Mojave Desert?
If you haven’t, there’s a Wikipedia article you might enjoy. It’ll get you started down one hell of a rabbit hole. But even that isn’t all of it.
I hadn’t heard of this fantastic endeavour of Hubbard and Jack’s. At least, not until I was browsing good ol’ Reddit (on the weirder subs) some five years ago. A nigh-overlooked post by someone whose username I’ve forgotten was titled “Letters to Crowley by Jack Parsons”. I clicked simply because I had heard of Aleister Crowley, famous early 20th Century occultist and founder of the religion Thelema.
And man, I’m not sure whether I’m glad for or regret clicking. And I can’t say I’ve saved you all a click either, as I promise: I’ll get into it.
That post was taken down, but I saved the photos it supplied. And you will see why I did. Over the years, I have pulled open those pictures saved on my computer, and contemplated them with one part horror, one part hilarity, and one part curiosity. I’ve dug into this rabbit hole here and there, in the pursuit of explaining what I was reading. So I’ll provide what I have gleaned along with transcriptions of the letters, to… try to make some of it make sense.
Every photo in that five year old post was of a letter the poster alleged Jack Parsons had sent to his mentor Crowley in the 1940s. I’ll start with this passage from one:
The mainspring of an individual is his creative Will. This Will is the sum of his tendencies, his destiny, his inner truth. It is one with the force that makes the birds sing and flowers bloom; as inevitable as gravity, as implicit as a bowel movement, it informs alike atoms and men and suns.
This is Parsons explaining his conception of Thelema’s tenant of “True Will”. It’s an explanation Jack provided more than once – you’ll find it recorded elsewhere. And, like a bowel movement in verbal diarrhoea, I have to admit, I didn’t grasp it one bit. Until I dug deeper.
See, Crowley and Parsons loved the idea of an “esoteric” religion – in their case, one that is proudly incomprehensible to any but the select few who proclaim they understand it, so as to follow it.
To give you a quick run-down of the religion Thelema:
- It was begun by Aleister Crowley in the first decade of the 1900s as, in part, a rebellion against strict Victorian mores and the fundamentalist Christianity Crowley was raised in
- Its main tenant is that every human has their “True Will” to follow – like a divine calling. The highest law of the religion is simply “do what thou wilt” – i.e. do whatever you like, so long as it is expression or in pursuit of your True Will
- You have a magical self (styled as “magick” to differentiate from stage magic)
- Your sexual self must not be constrained. Open relationships are encouraged, all kinds of sex embraced, and drug-fuelled orgies revelled in
Or, at least, that’s how it was in Jack’s time. I can’t speak for now.
What else you need to know before we start is that Jack Parsons became a leader in the ‘40s of the California branch of Thelema; he and like-minded friends lived in an 11-bedroom mansion in Pasadena called the “Parsonage” which saw some truly voluptuous parties; he was a legitimately brilliant rocket scientist; and he met L. Ron Hubbard (yes, the founder of Scientology) in 1945.
Oh, and he was a member of the “Agape” Lodge. “Agape” means “love”, but, considering the Lodge’s sexual rituals, I will leave you to enjoy the double meaning of this.
And, by the way, you can verify all this for yourself. I’m just trying to summarise well-documented stuff.
Anyway, I digress into context. Here’s the first letter (chronologically) that poster 5 years ago alleged was sent by Parsons to Crowley. It was dated January 11th, 1946:
Most Beloved Father,
I wish not to refute your wisdom, though by my experience Capt. L. Ron Hubbard demonstrates a profound alacrity for magick and is in complete accord with Thelema’s principles. Were you to travel from England to meet him, I am assured you would agree. That Betty has transferred her sexual affections to him has only strengthened his natural affinity for magick and desire to affirm the new Aeon, such is the power of unconstrained love and understanding.
It is on the power of love I have been musing… I confided in my last letter an aim to take agency in finding myself a new mate. What better a mate than the elemental force of love and understanding herself? In this Aeon of Horus, the forces of violence, power, and new energy dominate and grow stronger, driving war, power governments, and infantilism. With no check and balance, the Aeon of Horus trends toward catastrophe, the love urge warped by fear, hatred, and unfulfilled lusts.
It is the Thelemic Goddess Babalon who is the natural counterbalance to Horus. I seek Babalon as my magical partner. With the Goddess, together we can guide the Aeon of Horus with love, freedom, and understanding. This is my True Will: to, with her power at my side, bring about a new age defined by individual liberty, freedom of sexual expression, and absence of racism, authoritarianism, corruption, and censorship.
It is in this aim Ron has been indispensable. As my scribe, he has joined me for my invocations. He has unparalleled sight into the ethereal plane, and by his presence my invocations are made stronger. I believe, with Ron’s assistance, my attempts will summon the Goddess Babalon.
My workings over the past six days have shown undeniable physical effects. On January 5th my invocation produced an alchemic effect on the weather, a windstorm beginning during the consecration of the Air Dagger. This windstorm remained until my invocation on the 7th, when my workings saw it subside.
This effect appears trivial in comparison to yesterday’s… I share my eagerness now for the events of January 10th and overnight, though at the time I admit the raw power I was witnessing frightened me…
I invoked twice yesterday, and for the second, Ron, as amanuensis, was in the room with me. He described afterward his astral vision. My experience contained no visions, though I felt the deep power of the working. It swept over me as I performed the Ritual of the Wand, and, when I deposited my seed as material basis on the Parchment Talisman, I saw the Enochian Air Tablet rattle upon the table. The Tablet was, of course, anointed with my blood. Its movement was as though it experienced the same power and force I did at that seminal moment…
During the invoking, Ron saw a wild beast descend on the room, a rising sun to the left, and, to the right, a noose hanging above a hand that gave the sign of “OK.” I contemplated on this with excitement. The rising sun may simply symbolize the rise of the New Aeon. The vision of the Beast gives me great hope: a sight of Therion, I have no doubt. Babalon’s steed, representing the chaos of man that is tamed by love when ridden by Babalon… Is it that Babalon’s counterpart came to observe my workings?
The noose and “OK” gesture is less clear. Perhaps it is Babalon advising me of hope for the future? I think too of the Ancient Greek meaning of the “OK” gesture. A powerful symbol of the meeting of two loving souls. Here I bestow my hope. If the noose symbolizes the threat of authoritarianism, bigotry, and antisexualism, the symbol of souls united in love may indicate the power of Babalon’s force against such horror.
I went to bed January 10th at approximately 11 PM. At 12 AM I arose abruptly from my bed to the sound of nine loud and rapid knocks. I checked my bedroom door to find no one calling me. I was unsurprised by this. The knocks had sounded to come from my room itself, not the door. As I stood to ponder it, a lamp at a far corner of my room was flung violently to the floor, where it smashed. There was no physical force that could have acted upon it.
I am convinced elemental forces have played a role. I will invoke again today.
So… there is a lot to unpack here.
To get this out of the way first: when John “Jack” Parsons says he performed the “Ritual of the Wand” to deposit his “seed” as “material basis” on a talisman… Yeah, I’m pretty sure the wand is his penis and this “seminal moment” was him jacking off on a piece of parchment. In fairness to Parsons, this would have raised fewer eyebrows in his world, what with sex magic(k) being a pretty big thing in Thelema. He describes it obscurely here, but using semen and blood in rituals was fairly standard.
Anyway, what better method is there to summon a Goddess as your ethereal mate?
Parsons identifies L. Ron Hubbard here as a “Captain”. This is an aside, but an interesting one if you didn’t know about Hubbard’s military career. While Parsons contributed to the war effort with rocketry and jet propulsion projects (which were undeniably seminal, and this time I’m not using the double meaning), Hubbard joined the US Navy in 1941.
It would be fair to say his time in the Navy was marked by both utter ineptitude and, seemingly, a remarkable ability to sweet-talk his way into positions with autonomy. On his way to serve as an intelligence officer in the Philippines, he was sent back before he got there, his superiors reporting he was “garrulous and tries to give impressions of his importance” and “seems to think he has unusual ability in most lines”. Shortly after, he was likewise relieved of sea duty due to being unfit for unsupervised command. In his next posting, he spent 68 hours engaged in submarine combat with an imagined enemy sub, and he was relieved of that post too. He then caused an international incident when he used Mexican islands he just decided were unoccupied US territory for gunnery practise.
So Hubbard (as he later admitted) faked illness after illness to avoid military discipline, complaining of everything from arthritis to stomach ulcers to haemorrhoids. He met Parsons while in California and awaiting official transfer to inactive duty.
At the start of Parsons’s letter, it’s indicated Crowley had raised doubts about Hubbard. This is completely possible. Crowley was known to be critical of what Parsons dubbed his “Babalon Working” (AKA: “I want to summon a Scarlet Woman Goddess to be my sex partner”). Later, Crowley was openly critical of Hubbard after he swindled Parsons out of $20 000 and ran off with Parsons’s ex-girlfriend.
But that happens around the time of the final letter. We do know a few other inhabitants of the Parsonage were of the opinion the strange phenomena Parsons reports were pranks played by Hubbard on him. I don’t know how Hubbard might have made a lamp fall over inside Parsons’s bedroom without Parsons spotting him, but it’s possible. Hubbard definitely went on to scam Parsons out of a lot of money.
Before I explain the Aeon of Horus, I want to take a moment to appreciate the English language for its ability to say so little, in a great many words. Trying to dig into what the hell the Aeon of Horus was, I read a lot of words. And, until I read a lot more, still had no idea. Like Parsons’s “implicit as a bowel movement” (still lost on that one)… Well, I’ll just give you a passage Crowley wrote on the Aeon of Horus:
The Aeon of Horus is here: and its first flower may well be this: that, freed of the obsession of the doom of the Ego in Death, and of the limitation of the Mind by Reason, the best men again set out with eager eyes upon the Path of the Wise, the mountain track of the goat, and then the untrodden Ridge, that leads to the ice-gleaming pinnacles of Mastery!
After reading this about 50 times, I’ve worked out he’s saying the Aeon of Horus is a great thing of future possibilities. I also have a raised eyebrow at two colons in one sentence and the “mountain track of the goat” bit.
Eventually, I came to a general conclusion. “Aeon” wasn’t given a new meaning by Thelema. It still means “age” or “period”, so it refers to the period of time ruled over by the force of Horus – our current Aeon, since around 1900-ish.
The Aeon of Horus is one that particularly spoke to Parsons because he was deeply embroiled in the possibilities of the “new”. A genius in the pioneering filed of rocketry, dabbling whole-heartedly and academically in a world of occult sorcery, and, at the same time as all that, at the frontier of progressivism, particularly in sexual freedom. The way Parsons writes of the Aeon of Horus, I get the sense he sees it as the Thelemic conception of what was going on in the early 20th Century: wars, totalitarian governments, exciting new possibilities and developments, and the rise of new thoughts and liberalism.
In Parsons’s The Book of Babalon, he writes similarly of Horus as he does in this letter. Parsons states Horus’s “manifestations may be noted in the destruction of old institutions and ideas”, and describes its force as “completely blind, depending upon the men and women in whom it manifests and who guide it”. As a result of this, Horus is prone to cause catastrophe, because (according to Parsons) people don’t follow their True Will, are not properly guided by the “love urge”, and do not understand their own natures, lusts, fears, and hatreds.
This bit I reckon is a pretty reasonable basic critique of society. People feeling hard done by, scared, angry, or deciding their religion or world view is under threat, misplacing their hatred on minorities or anyone different from them so they’ve got someone to blame, and hate to feel fulfilled by. I agree with Parsons here: it’d be fantastic if, in the age of this, people could be guided by love and understanding.
Which is where, as Parsons states in this letter and in The Book of Babalon, the Goddess Babalon comes in. In his belief system, she is that force of love and understanding… and is also sometimes indicated as the “Whore” or “Scarlet Woman” or “perfect woman” or “the true mistress of The Beast”.
The Beast, like so many of these Thelemic deities, is heavily inspired by other religions. It seems to mean both The Beast 666 (which Crowley called himself) like in the Christian Book of Revelation, and the wild beast Therion in Thelema, who Babalon rides.
Perhaps when L. Ron Hubbard saw it descending on Parsons’s “invocation”, The Beast was simultaneously both devil and Babalon’s steed.
As a last note before moving on to the next letter, we’ve got “Betty”.
For the most part, it seems to me Parsons’s intentions were meant to be good, even if he was… eccentric. He was furiously anti bigotry, corruption, and fascism; pro the rights of people to enjoy non-traditional sexual relationships; and called himself pro women’s rights (though you may not think it after reading the terminology for Babalon above, or the part about Parsons wanting to magically summon himself a woman to have sex with).
However, there is a dark side to the Agape Lodge’s focus on free love. “Betty” is also known as Sara Northrup, the younger sister of Parsons’s first wife. When his wife was away, Parsons turned his focus on her sister, who was 17 at the time and indoctrinated into a cult that disallowed jealousy and expected open sexuality. Parsons and his first wife divorced, and “Betty” remained Parsons’s girlfriend for a few years before Hubbard arrived. And as much as Parsons denied it, he was jealous Betty had “transferred her affections” to Hubbard. I’d argue that was a large part of why he wanted Babalon: well my new girlfriend is a literal Goddess!
This next letter is dated 19th January, 1946:
Most Beloved Father,
I received your telegram, and appreciate your warning. For reasons I will reveal, I am certain my invocations have not summoned any force but Babalon, as is your concern. Your reminder is warranted, however. So caught up in the phenomena my workings evoked, it had escaped my mind the only result of invocations should be the intended one. My technique was evidently imperfect and inefficient…
I must admit the phenomena became more dire for a time… I wish I had received your telegram sooner. My invocations on the 12th called another fierce windstorm that persisted. On the 14th, in the evening, all lights in the house went out. While he was walking with a candle, a magician who lives with us was struck in the arm by an unseen force. He describes it as feeling like chaos – like the frank fury of a roused man… The strike was one that left his arm paralyzed for the rest of the night.
He called us when it occurred, and we observed, hovering above our heads, an orb in yellow-brown light. I banished it with a magical sword, though that was not the end of the night’s disturbances.
We thought at first it was only the same wind that had rattled the windows for days. It did not remain so. The Parsonage fell silent but for the screams and wails at the windows. Such a sound! Like the luring terror of a banshee, though as a crowd fueled by fury besieging our home… Not a room in the house was safe from the screams, and though in three hours it passed, my dear friend Ed is still shaken by the experience.
With Ron again as my scribe, I asked Babalon for guidance during my invocations the following day. In answer, Ron was given the number “1621” and a vision of Isis and the Archangel Michael standing with an old enemy of mine. Even mention of my old enemy brought rage to my workings and gave extra force to the windstorm before it abruptly subsided.
Through this, I have shown Babalon my vulnerability, so she can understand the need we have of her guidance. I do not further question why she sent Ron that vision of my enemy, though I do question the meaning of the number… The value indicates nothing I am so far aware of…
The windstorm that night was replaced with a sense of great and oppressive tension that descended upon the house. In my room again that night I heard the knocking. Following it I heard a metallic voice, buzzing and strange. It said “Give me freedom”. It sounded to come from my statue of Pan, and though the statue did not speak again, its eyes moved, turning its lustful gaze upon me.
The tension and unease remained over the house for several days. Many in the house asked Ron and me to cease our experiments. A lesser magician may have been deterred, but I am aware of my True Will. Fear of incompetence, of harming others, of others’ opinions, and fear of insecurity are obstacles to one’s True Will, and I shall not let them restrain me…
On the 18th Ron and I took to the Mojave Desert where he again served as scribe as I performed the invocations. My focus was inordinate, I performed the Ritual of the Wand thirteen times over the course of the night, until come over me was a sense of the breaking of tension. I said to Ron ‘It is done.” We returned to the Parsonage where, awaiting me, was a woman, her hair bronze, both fiery and demure, sincere and perverse… the Scarlet Woman in all descriptions, with extraordinary talent and intelligence.
Her name is Marjorie Cameron. Our attraction was immediate, and though she understands little of Thelema, she is an active participant in the sacrament of sex magic.
Babalon’s force is here!
And, from other sources, Parsons and Cameron enclosed themselves almost entirely thereafter within Parsons’s bedroom. For a 2-week frolic. If the story ended here, it would be an R-rated happily-ever-after. And one that would give anyone in want of a girlfriend the hope that if they just went off into the Mojave Desert and beat off 13 times in a row while chanting at the sky, they’d find the perfect lady.
I’ll take a moment to draw your attention to something Parsons says in this letter. His 4 obstacles to achieving your True Will is something he wrote about a lot, not just here. Far be it my place to get into a philosophical debate with an occultist who died in 1952, but his logic seems a little skewed. Parsons says the whole reason he’s seeking Babalon is to prevent the Aeon of Horus from descending into catastrophe as a result of people’s hate, fear, authoritarian governments, and inability to follow their True Will. Yet his instructions for how to follow your True Will are to not be held back by your fear of incompetence, hurting others, others’ opinions, or insecurity.
Maybe Parsons just lacked the insight we have today, but I reckon we can all think of someone who caused hate, fear, and the rise of new fascism through not giving a toss about whether they were incompetent, hurt others, insecurity, or others’ opinions. I do not see how, then, following your True Will, which means you have the freedom to do anything you like without worrying about it harming others, doesn’t lead to catastrophe. Especially if in following that True Will, you don’t give a damn about love and understanding – you know, those things that would make you not want to hurt others and consider their opinions.
I’m not going to say Crowley was any better or more rational a bloke, but perhaps these glaring logical flaws were part of why Crowley continually warns Parsons off what he’s doing.
But, to move on: at this point, you may be wondering to what degree drugs played a role in this Babalon Working. The answer is: plenty.
Jack Parsons was open about his drug use – drug use that spanned marijuana, cocaine, heroin, peyote, and the home brew absinthe he cooked up in his lab. It’s easy to understand masturbating 13 times in the Mojave Desert while L. Ron Hubbard took notes was benefitted by cocaine. For the rest, it’s more than possible some of it was hallucinated.
But I wouldn’t say all of it.
For one thing, other occupants of the Parsonage corroborate some of this phenomena. Ed Forman was permanently traumatised by that screaming banshees thing. I also haven’t seen any accusation that Hubbard’s pranks on Parsons extended to whacking people on their arms, screaming at every window of the house, or creating yellow-brown orbs that can be banished with magical swords.
For the other thing… I’ll get to that.
A different question you may have is about the veracity of these letters. Like I said, I found them photographed in a Reddit post. Importantly: I haven’t since found them anywhere else. There are some letters you can find documented as ones Parsons sent to Crowley (an example here), but not these ones. The poster did not say how they acquired the letters, nor what they were doing with them.
What I can tell you is that the letters look believably old, the salutation is identical to other verified letters Parsons sent Crowley, the writing matches other examples of Parsons’s I’ve found, and the signature is right. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good forgery, just that I can’t find any reason in the letters to say they’re not real.
In terms of their content, a lot of what’s written in these letters has been confirmed by other people or is in other writings by Parsons. There are, though, details in these letters that I haven’t found elsewhere. Hubbard’s “visions” are an example of this. Parsons reduces the role Hubbard played in his Babalon Working in other documents – something I’ve taken to be because those were written later, after Hubbard screwed him over and stole his money.
The guidance “1621”, as recorded by Hubbard, is documented exclusively in this one letter. When Parsons wonders about the “value” of that number, I’m guessing it’s probably because like with white supremacists, Thelema places numeric value on letters. Their greeting “93”, for example, is used because it’s the numerical sum of each letter in both “Thelema” and “Agape”. These being two very important words in the religion, that they coincidentally have the same sum when arbitrary values are assigned to letters imbues the number “93” with great significance.
Parsons himself did this. A mistranslation of Latin gave him the convenient Thelemic slogan “Thelema Obtenteum Proedero Amoris Nuptiae” (meaning “The establishment of Thelema through the rituals of love”). This is convenient as it produces the acronym “T.O.P.A.N” – as in “To Pan”, a revered figure in Parsons’s Thelema. And when all these letters are added up with Kabbalistic numerology, you get 210. So Parsons, who styled himself “Frater TOPAN”, took on the number “210” to refer to himself.
The importance of coincidental number-letter significance aside, there is one thing I’d like to go into before the next letter. We’re at the part where Parsons attempts to use sex magic to produce the antichrist. You’ll encounter different interpretations of this, some suggesting that he was attempting to impregnate Marjorie Cameron with this antichrist, others saying it was to evoke “immaculate conception” of an antichrist to some woman somewhere (remember, Parsons thought himself pro women’s rights).
I am in the latter camp. I don’t think Parsons was trying to have his own baby antichrist.
To explain sex magic (which I can do now better than I’ve ever wished to), you’ve got to think of it as an act that produces spiritual creation. That it can result in literal creation isn’t the point. Crowley believed sex magic helped you focus on what you wanted – like making a Vision Board and manifesting. Just with sex. Through that divine experience of shagging (or wanking) and focus, you get spiritual creation.
So that Parsons was using sex to create this baby doesn’t mean he was literally trying to create himself a baby. That he made no fuss about Cameron getting an abortion after their 2-week sex binge indicates this. As does this section from Parsons’s Liber 49:
25. I shall provide a vessel, when or whence I say not. Seek her not, call her not. Let her declare. Ask nothing. Keep silence. There shall be ordeals.
I’ll get back to Liber 49, as it’s going to be very relevant, but the rundown is that Parsons wrote it as the “Word of Babalon” to be a Thelemic sacred text. He says that Babalon came to him in the Mojave Desert where he had such success last time, and demanded he write this down.
In my view, line 25 is Babalon telling Parsons that she will choose the “vessel” that carries the antichrist. Parsons, as it says in the 77 line document, has to toil at the “Black Pilgrimage” (his invocations) and write Babalon’s book, and that’s all the guidance he is to give this child. The “ordeals” were left unspecified, as, apparently, suffice it to know there shall be some.
As an aside that may be a relief: as far as I know, Parsons died childless.
If you’re confused as to why Parsons is still talking to Babalon through summoning rituals, rather than just having a chat with Cameron, you’re not alone. Whether he redefined what he’d done, or always meant it that way, it seems at this point he conceives of Cameron as a woman with the “force of Babalon” inside her, rather than the Goddess herself in corporeal form. I give it a shrug, because, to be honest, trying to understand all this makes my head spin. But also because good ol’ Crowley also declared he was having sex with multiple different women he called the “Scarlet Woman”, so it seems you can have a good few Babalon-women even concurrently.
This next letter is actually the longest, because sent with it were descriptions of Parsons’s rituals and Babalon’s responses written down in detail – along with that first passage I shared where Parsons describes how he sees True Will and talks about bowel movements. I’m not going to transcribe all of it, as it’s bloody long and mental, and you can read those rituals and chants in the same linked webpage that contains The Book of Babalon and Liber 49. So I’ll just pick out the important bits.
Dated 5th March, 1949:
Most Beloved Father,
I write to you of momentous news. Babalon has visited upon me and shared with me her word. I have written thus in Liber 49, to be the fourth book in our sacred text, as is her Will. It is enclosed in this letter along with a record of my invocations, so you too may hear her sacred message.
With Marjorie, I spent two weeks following my last letter engaged in the creation of the Elixir of Life. My Magickal strength much replenished, I returned alone to the Mojave on February 27th, where I invoked Babalon again. Better guided, my workings this time produced only the intended result. Babalon visited onto me in a bronzed glow as the sun set. Her power is one to behold, immaculate and immense, and her shining beauty fantastic, wild and pure.
Like the inspiration that penned your book Moonchild, Babalon has sought my assistance in the birth unto this Earth of Babalon incarnate. Her child will be Babalon and the Antichrist as one, the prophecy fulfilled. The child will preach the word of the Beast 666… that there is no law beyond Do What Thou Wilt. The end of the tyranny of Christian morality, the end of pious lies and hypocrisy is nigh! A child without God as its master will arise to take command of the Aeon of Horus!
I was tasked to continue my Black Pilgrimage and share the Book of Babalon, which I have done over March 2nd and 3rd, and will continue to do, for it is my Will.
If you have gotten this far reading, you definitely want to know what the “Elixir of Life” is. You’ve probably also already guessed.
It’s the mixture of semen and Babalon’s vaginal fluids (only Babalon’s, seemingly, so good thing Cameron is… both Babalon and not Babalon, at once, I suppose). In sex magic, there’s also the mixture of semen and menstrual blood. That’s called “Elixir Rubeus”. This was evidently common enough an elixir Crowley abbreviated it in his writings to “El. Rub.” and I can’t explain easily why that amuses me.
Crowley’s 1917 fiction novel Moonchild is… essentially a story about white magicians that attempt to win a magical war by impregnating a woman with an ethereal being, only, before all this comes to fruition, WW1 breaks out. I don’t know how good it is, because I haven’t paid to read it. Sorry.
That aside, we get to Parsons’s invocations and Babalon’s responses, and if you thought he sounded like he’d lost another marble in this letter, you need to hear this stuff. As a chronological guide, Parsons went to the Mojave on his own on the 27th, where he heard Babalon’s word the first time and wrote it into Liber 49. Then on March 2nd and 3rd, Parsons and Hubbard invoked together again, seemingly performing the rituals that would bring about the corporeal birth of Babalon.
Liber 49, the record of the almighty Babalon finally choosing to reveal herself to Parsons in a bronzed glow after SO MUCH sex magic, begins with this line:
1. Yea, it is I, BABALON.
Remarkable introduction. I would suggest to all reading that if a deity reveals themselves to you in any other way, be suspicious of their credentials.
In this document, Babalon goes on to say all sorts of amazing things, such as this:
53. For thy sake shall I stride through the flames of Hell, though my tongue be bitten through.
54. Let me behold thee naked and lusting after me, calling upon my name.
55. Let me receive all thy manhood within my Cup, climax upon climax, joy upon joy.
56. Yea, we shall conquer death and Hell together.
57. And the earth is mine.
Pretty impressive stuff. People have followed leaders that sounded less confident about it. I’m also really glad Babalon told Parsons to start ejaculating into a cup rather than on crusty parchment talismans. You just know he didn’t clean them and probably kept the “material basis” stored for the magic to work.
On March 2nd and 3rd, back at the Parsonage with Hubbard, Hubbard served as the channel that heard and dictated the words of Babalon to Parsons. Considering Hubbard went on to defraud Parsons, buy a bunch of boats with Parsons’s money, and then found Dianetics and Scientology, I’m going to hazard a guess he wasn’t the true believer in Thelema Parsons thought he was. So I’ve got to say, he either was channelling something, or kept up one hell of a grift as he invented on the spot these words from Babalon (and this is only a small part of it):
In verse seven verses of seven lines, seven magick words. Stand and chant seven times. Envision thyself as a cloaked radiance desirable to the Goddess, beloved. Envision Her approaching thee. Embrace Her, cover Her with kisses. Think upon the lewd lascivious things thou couldst do. All is good to BABALON. ALL.
Then rest, meditating on this:
Thou as a man and as a god hast strewn about the earth and in the heavens many loves, these recall, concentrate, consecrate each woman thou hast raped. Remember her, think upon her, move her into BABALON, bring her into BABALON, each, one by one until the flame of lust is high.
(Again: Parsons told people he was pro women’s rights)
This whole thing is really long and complicated, so I’ll remind you of where, in the second letter, it seems Crowley warned Parsons that the phenomena from his first invocations were the result of Parsons accidentally summoning the wrong deity. Parsons denies this, though admits perhaps his method needs refining, as his workings are evidently “inefficient”. Either way, their consensus is that the appearance of phenomena is a sign of something going wrong.
Well, looks like something continued to go wrong during these invocations to bring about Babalon’s Birth-on-Earth, as the phenomena came back. Parsons describes repeatedly that sense of mounting tension and unease, and of his own growing anger, which has him lashing out at fellow inhabitants of the Parsonage. On one occasion, a friend he got angry at became sick immediately afterwards. Earlier that same day, Parsons describes feeling shoved by a “force of fury” which causes him to fall badly. This time, there’s no knocking in his room, or his statue of Pan chatting to him. It seems to all be just a force of anger that’s mounting around them, and to me, that’s foreboding.
Babalon, while she’s being “channelled” through Hubbard, notices. She says:
Then know thou art already faulty in thy delivery. These are extraneous things. The elemental was not properly released, thou wert guilty of human rage, the current of force has been disturbed. Beware, should’st thou falter again, we will sure slay thee.
Whether or not Parsons falters again, I can’t tell you, as he didn’t specify one way or the other. But he was only slain in 1952, so presumably not as a result of this.
And then Parsons and Hubbard came up with an invoking poem for Babalon, which is a trip to read. That, and a lot of what is above, is in the same Book of Babalon/Liber 49 I’ve linked, so I won’t spend much more time on that part.
I’ll move on to what is in the letter Parsons sent Crowley, but is not in his Liber 49. Because there are some discrepancies.
The first glaring one is that Parsons details how he summoned Babalon. This is something he glossed over in Liber 49, but specified to Crowley:
My technique required a) The altar, appropriately adorned. b) Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil”. c) myself dressed in black and d) stood in the centre of a swastika drawn into the dirt with all arms directed to the compass points.
Something of a “hol-up” moment when I first read that. Parsons was pretty anti-Nazi. But he goes on to explain that he means the swastika as “an ancient symbol of divine spirituality and success”, which, like with the “OK” gesture, it used to be before white supremacists took it (and still is in some nations).
Parsons then chanted his invocation, which I will provide in a moment, and then performed the “Ritual of the Wand” 7 times. Hardly his record of 13 ejaculations, but still an appreciable effort.
I want to take a moment to pause and let you picture this. Imagine it’s 1946, and you’re having a stroll or drive in the evening through the Mojave Desert, as you do. There’s a Joshua tree somewhere nearby, it’s dry as a bone, and there’s the outline of mountains against the horizon. And there, in the foreground, is Jack Parsons, standing before an altar in the middle of a swastika, chanting to the sky, and beating off viciously to the choral voices of Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” – which you know was played on some old-school gramophone that would have to be re-cranked or something every time it slowed down and the voices got even creepier.
And then you hear what Parsons is chanting. It went like this:
Come to me, o’ Babalon the Lion! Come to me on this Earthly Plane!
Taketh for thyself the greed, the power, the minds, the souls, and the lusts!
For you are the Sun, and the Seed, and the Womb, and the Whore!
The Hate, and Fear, and Anger is in your hands, for you to command!
Rise up and command the Aeon of Horus, o’ Babalon the Great!
Just how funny that is aside, this is another thing I find worrying. Parsons states in that detailed explanation he sent to Crowley how, as he called this to the heavens, he felt that weight of fury descend upon him. When he gets home later and Hubbard describes to him a vision of Babalon riding a lion, he feels it then again too.
What I find worrying is that Parsons was trying to call the goddess of love and understanding. And, repeatedly, he felt fury doing it. Not only that, like with his bizarre assertion that one should be guided by love and understanding, yet not give a shit about hurting others or others’ opinions, it seems he misses his mark in this invocation too. He wants Babalon to guide humanity in a loving way, that’s why he’s telling her to take hold of their hate, fear, anger, greed, power, and command of people’s minds. But like a Christian extremist who is damning you because they supposedly “love” you, that message gets twisted, I reckon, in this invocation.
Perhaps I’m going to sound nutty here too, by admitting I do believe Parsons summoned something, but I think you’ll see why I suspect that later. And what he summoned, I reckon, was a bad thing – was a warping of all he was trying to do. Like when you have to be very careful with your wording when giving the Genie your wishes, I think Parsons muddled his words and ideals just a little too much, and brought an unintended horror down upon us.
But I’ll move on for now. In Liber 49, lines 5-8 are missing from the documents the world has of it. In the letter Parsons sent Crowley, however, those lines are there. Here are the complete lines 1-11 of how Babalon supposedly responded to Parsons’s summons in the Mojave:
1. Yea, it is I, BABALON.
2. And this is my book, that is the fourth chapter of the Book of the Law, He completing the Name, for I am out of NUIT by HORUS, the incestuous sister of RA-HOOR-KHUIT.
3. It is BABALON. TIME IS. Ye fools.
4. Thou hast called me, oh accursed and beloved fool.
5. Know not what ye have called, for I am the power of thunder, strike of lightning, and cry of the damned.
6. Thy lust, greed, hate, and fury is my own, that I command to my will.
7. Question me not! For I am messiah, and above the suspicions of men.
8. The blind will follow me, for we are the lions among sheep.
9. Now know that I, BABALON, would take flesh and come among men.
10. I will come as a penelous (sic) flame, as a devious song, a trumpet in judgement halls, a banner before armies.
11. And gather my children unto me, for THE TIME is at hand.
And this isn’t the only time “Babalon” tells Parsons to blindly follow. When Hubbard is “channelling” her, he responds to requests for direction with:
Follow instructions exactly and in detail. Avoid loose interruptions. Be diligent. Do not hesitate or question, act. All depends on your time.
And, when Parsons asks for clarification:
Do not trouble yourself with this. It does not concern you. I will provide the vehicle, I will show you a sign, and signs. It is the now which concerns us. Keep your faith, think not overmuch.
I don’t know who this is making you think of, but I know who it reminds me of. Lions among sheep? A trumpet in judgement halls? Commanding people’s hatred for his own will? A whole squadron of QAnon folks who wait for any possible sign, and then read into it beyond the realms of rationality? The blind following him like a messiah?
I didn’t see a theme in these letters until last year. Like I said, I found the post 5 years ago. 5 years ago they were just a fun exercise in raised eyebrows for me.
But you’ve probably already seen the theme here. Already know what I’m getting at.
And it’s the other reason I don’t think Parsons and Hubbard just hallucinated things. It’s part of the reason why I do think their minced invocations summoned something bad in 1946.
Hubbard’s vision of “to the right” a noose over the “OK” gesture. In the ‘40s, that hadn’t the significance it does now. In the ‘40s, and when I first read the letters 5 years ago, the number “1621” had no meaning.
Seems a bit too much of a coincidence, to me, that they were seeing all that back then, whatever other drug-fuelled madness or pretence on Hubbard’s part was going on.
Because, if you do dates like the Americans, it’s January 6th 2021. Where there was a noose erected as a symbol of oppression, and the white power symbol, a twisting of the “OK” gesture, made quite the appearance. A day spearheaded by a little bronzed man called Trump. A man very adept at following his “True Will” and doing whatever the hell he likes despite what harm it causes others.
And I have one last reason why I think this: the final letter in this 5 year old post. It was dated 14 June, 1946. The day of Donald Trump’s birth.
I fear your suspicions of Capt. Hubbard may have been well-placed, though for reasons other than his ability with magick. I am convinced, however, that Liber 49 is no hoax or false summoning, as you suggest. Babalon’s force is clear and absolute.
I write having arisen from a powerful dream. I feel the tide of change, as a physical force of great strength upon me. In my dream, I saw the culmination of my efforts: the lion leading a marching force of many, under the triumphant banner of freedom. The Aeon of Horus has gained its indomitable leader, and the blind shall follow the trumpet call.
I share this with you in the wish it shall sustain your hopes too.
Jack Parsons would go on to write “Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword”. The essay condemns corruption, censorship, racism, fascism, and rigid controls on sexuality. That was Parsons’s hope for America, to be free from such things. Whatever your political leanings, chances are you can agree with Parsons’s title of this essay at least: freedom is a two-edged sword.
You’ll note this letter is shorter and cooler than Parsons’s usual. My suspicion is that this is the first time he wrote to his “father” Crowley since the last letter in March, and my guess for that has to do with the doubts it seems Crowley voiced to Parsons. To other people, Crowley openly called Parsons an idiot for his Babalon Working. My assumption is Parsons wasn’t so happy to hear that from his mentor, especially not when he believed he’d witnessed a fantastic deity.
Parsons would never live to see the rise of modern liberalism alongside growing reactionary right-wing politics. He died, as I mentioned, in 1952, and his last years certainly held examples of the “ordeals” Babalon told him to expect. He lost his FBI clearance to work on national rocketry projects, was investigated under suspicion of espionage, had a rough patch with Cameron over his infidelity, and then died by explosion in his own lab – a death still unexplained. Theories span accident, suicide, murder by anti-Semites, and political assassination.
However much you think Parsons’s attempts to make America great ended up twisted into something sinister – by magical means or through simple reactionism – it is at least an incredible story from history. The Aeon of Horus certainly didn’t go the way mad genius (as many have described him) Parsons wanted it to. It would have been really nice if more love and understanding had been involved.
As I have been contacted in the past by someone not realising I write fiction, I will clarify that while a great deal of this story is non-fiction, I made up the letters. It gets murky, what part of this is fiction and what isn’t, as the letters also contain events that were said by the inhabitants of the Parsonage to have happened. In essence: if you are digging into this rabbit hole, you can safely assume I had at my disposal only the same resources you do, so if something is here that isn’t elsewhere, I made it up. No one posted photos of these letters 5 years ago (as far as I know).
It’s a good question to ask, if you are, why the hell I wrote this. I asked myself it many times, because this story was a real bugger to write.
I wrote it because while I was digging into Jack Parsons’s story, I did have raised eyebrows, and saw the tempting parallels. And, particularly, because… When I heard Donald Trump was running for presidency, I thought it hilariously ridiculous. When he won, I again thought it hilariously ridiculous. It’s gotten less funny since then. That was my main driver for this story: something hilariously ridiculous that gets less funny when you see the consequences of it. That’s the primary parallel in this story: the danger of things you do not see as threat because they’re hilariously ridiculous.
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