“At about the same time that Parsons was trying to incarnate an extraterrestrial entity, he also claimed that he had met a Venusian in the desert of New Mexico – an odd foreshadowing of the claims of later ‘contactees’ such as George Adamski in the early 1950s.”
Jay Katz, Saucers of the Illuminati 1
THE so-called “Babalon Working” conducted by John Whiteside Parsons and L. Ron Hubbard between January 4 and March 4, 1946, has been the object of much speculation, mythologizing and wonder.
This speculation is due in part to the involvement of two charismatic and brilliant Bohemians of that period. Parsons (1914-1952) was a major force in the early development of solid fuel booster rockets, for which work the International Astronomical Union eventually named a Lunar Crater in his memory. He was an O.T.O. member from 1941, and served for a short period as Master of Agape Lodge O.T.O. in the 1940s. He died under mysterious circumstances in an explosion in 1952.
The other participant, pulp fiction author La Fayette Ron Hubbard (1911-1986), eventually founded the Church of Scientology and has been the center of stormy controversy in the decades since.
Both men were students of magick, especially the sexual magick of Aleister Crowley.
According to Bent Corydon, Hubbard once confided in his son, Ron Jr.,
“Secrets, techniques and powers I alone have refined, improved on, applied my engineering principles to. Science and logic. THE keys! My keys to the doorway of the Magick; my magick! THE power! NOT Scientology power! MY power! The real powers of Solomon…”
Hubbard Sr. made clear he was talking about the sex magick central to the OTO system, but with a unique twist:
“Sex by will, Love by will – no caring and no sharing – no feelings… Sex is the route to power. Scarlet women! They are the secret to the doorway. Use and consume. Feast. Drink the power through them. Waste and discard them.” 2
The idealist Jack Parsons could hardly have understood what sort of man he was dealing with here; he wrote Crowley in February, 1946:
“About three months ago I met Ron… He is a gentleman… He moved in with me about two months ago, and although Maggy and I are still friendly, she has transferred her sexual affections to Ron.” 3
1 In point of fact, Adamski had been trying to sell his Venusian story as science fiction several years earlier – that is, at about the same time as Parsons alleged experience in New Mexico.
2 Quoted from L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman? by Bent Corydon and L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. (Lyle Stuart, 1987) p. 307.
3 op.cit. pp. 255-56 .
While Parsons was convinced that Hubbard, as he wrote Crowley, “…is in complete accord with our own principles” 4 and proceeded to enter into a joint financial venture with the future Father of Scientology, Crowley was writing his eventual successor as O.T.O. Grand Master, Karl Germer,
“From our brother’s account he has given away both his girl and his money – apparently it’s the ordinary confidence trick.” 5
Parson’s friend Alva Rogers, who witnessed these events as they unfolded, described Hubbard’s role in this way:
“Ron was a persuasive and unscrupulous charmer, not only in social groups, but with the ladies. He was so persuasive and charmingly unscrupulous that within a matter of a few weeks he brought the entire house of Parsons down around poor Jack’s ears. He did this by the simple expedient of taking over Jack’s girl for extended periods of time.” 6
It was against this background that Parsons and Hubbard embarked upon “The Babalon Working” – an elaborate sexual magick experiment designed to bring Babalon into physical manifestation.
The whole concept of the “Magical Child” has several distinct interpretations.
In the more orthodox and traditional view, sex magick is employed to Manifest, by an act of Pure Will, a magical being the material basis of which are the sexual fluids themselves. A more literal interpretation holds that magical ritual such as “The Star Sapphire” will produce a “Moon Child” – that is, a living child who serves as host to a super-being, that is, the child is an “avatar” in Eastern terms, or an Incarnation of the Divine in Western thought.
Yet a third interpretation is that sex magick is, simply, the “Yoga of Sex” and the “Magical Child” is the Transformed Sex Magician Himself!
Hubbard and Parsons were ostensibly aiming at the second, literal interpretation; to manifest a Scarlet Woman willing to conceive a child who would embody the transformative goddess-being Babalon.
Crowley wrote Germer:
“Apparently Parsons or Hubbard or somebody is producing a moonchild. I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts.” 7
The reaction was certainly excessive.
Crowley’s successor as Grand Master of the O.T.O. in the 1980s, Hymenaeus Beta, noted that an adequate chronicle of Parsons’,
“now – famous ‘Babalon Working’ of 1946 EV has yet to be published… Most published accounts focus on his friendship and falling-out with Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard without appraising the larger issues of what was actually being attempted, and why.” 8
4 op. cit. p. 256
5 op. cit. p. 258
6 op. cit. p. 259
7 op. cit. p. 257, but frequently quoted in various sources; See also Crowley’s novel Moonchild .
8 Freedom Is A Two Edged Sword by John W. Parsons (Falcon Press/O.T.O. 1989) introduction by Hymenaeus Beta, p. 7
Certainly, Parsons’ own description of the Working is based in the fundamentals of Ceremonial and Sexual Magick.
In “The Book of Babalon – January 4 – March 4, 1946 EV” Parsons outlines the entire experiment, including the reasons for it:
“The present age is under the influence of the force called, in magical terminology, Horus. This force relates to fire, Mars, and the Sun, that is, to power, violence and energy…
“This force is completely blind, depending upon the men and women in whom it manifests and who guide it…
“The catastrophic trend is due to our lack of understanding of our own natures. The hidden lusts, fears, and hatreds resulting from the warping of the love urge, which underlie the natures of all Western peoples, have taken a homicidal and suicidal direction.
“This impasse is broken by the incarnation of another sort of force, called BABALON. The nature of this force relates to love, understanding, and dionysian freedom, and is the necessary counterbalance or correspondence to the manifestation of Horus.”
Thus far, Parsons is reasoning in a sound manner.
Keep in mind, however, that he is working with his ‘friend’ Hubbard, then in the very process of making off with Parsons’ money and lover; a man who was to tell his son, Ron Jr., a few years later, to use and discard Scarlet Women. In what sense “scarlet?” the younger Hubbard asked.
“Scarlet,” the Scientology ‘Source’ replied, “the blood of their bodies; the blood of their souls… bend their bodies; bend their minds; bend their wills; beat back the past.” 9
This is the grossest perversion of Crowley’s teaching.
The latter merely observed in the same context,
“We do opine that it is better and easier that the other party should be in ignorance of the sacred character of the Office. It is enough if that assistant be formed by Nature signally for the physical task, robust, vigorous, eager, sensible, hot and healthy; flesh, nerve and blood being tense, quick, and lively, easily enflamed, and nigh inextinguishable.” 10
Crowley is telling us that a partner in sexual magick should, ideally, in his opinion, be involved for the sake of sensual pleasure, pure and simple.
Hubbard is telling his own son how to enslave minds, bodies and souls. Parsons, who wrote extensively on the subject of freedom, could have had no idea of what type of person he was engaged in High Magick with.
In any case, Parsons goes on to narrate that,
“In January 1946 I had been engaged in the study and practice of Magick for seven years, and in the supervision and operation of an occult lodge for four years 11, having been initiated into the Sanctuary of the Gnosis by the Beast 666, Fra. 132, and Fra. Saturnus 12. At this time I decided upon a Magical operation designed to obtain the assistance of an elemental mate.” 13
9 Corydon & Hubbard, op. cit. p. 307.
10 De Arte Magica.
11 Agape Lodge O.T.O.
12 This is a significant “crew” of initiators, indeed. The Sanctuary of the Gnosis refers to the Ninth Degree of the O.T.O. System, the most exalted of the regular initiatory degrees. The Initiators here mentioned are Aleister Crowley, the then Grand Master of the Order, W.T. Smith, the U.S. National Grand Master, and Karl Germer, who served after Crowley’s death as Grand Master until the early 1960s.
13 The Collected Writings of Jack Parsons, p. 2 Part One, The Book of Babalon, introduction, “Conception”
In a sense, deprived of his former lover, Parsons was ‘going for broke’ in looking for a partner to create a magical child with;
“All or nothing – I have no other terms,” as he put it to Crowley.14
Beginning on January 4, 1946 at 9:00 PM, Parsons and Hubbard employed the powerful Enochian Air Tablet, using an Air Dagger, parchment talisman, invocations, conjurations, Enochian Calls and invocations, and appropriate banishings 15.
According to Parsons, at various times over subsequent days, wind storms were raised, electrical power was disrupted (January 14), during which Hubbard allegedly had a candle knocked from his hand by Something; several witnesses saw a “brownish yellow light about seven feet high” 16 which Parsons banished.17
On January 18 Parsons and Hubbard were out in the Mojave Desert when Parsons suddenly had an epiphany, and realized the experiment was accomplished.18
“I returned home,” he tells us, “and found a young woman answering the requirements 19 waiting for me.”
For the next month he invoked BABALON with her as his partner, “as was proper to one of my grade” 20 – in other words, by the sexual Eucharist of the Mass of the Holy Ghost.
While his magical partner visited in New York, on February 28, Parsons returned to the Mojave, and received a “communication” he referred to as Liber 49, The Book of Babalon, which identifies its source as Babalon Herself. It should be noted that Hubbard was also away then.
Liber 49 asserts, among other things,
“The working is of nine moons… And she shall wander in the witch-wood under the Night of Pan, and know the mysteries of the Goat and the Serpent, and of the children that are hidden away… I will provide the place and the material basis, thou the tears and blood… Thy tears, thy sweat, thy blood, thy semen, thy love, thy faith shall provide. Ah, I shall drain thee like the cup that is of me, Babalon 21
…Let me behold thee naked and lusting after me, calling upon my name… Let me receive all thy manhood within my Cup, climax upon climax, joy upon joy… Gather together in the covens as of old… Gather together in secret, be naked and shameless and rejoice in my name.” 22
14 Corydon & Hubbard, op. cit. p. 257
15 This is standard ceremonial magical ritual practice.
16 Book of Babalon, Parsons, p 6; also quoted by Corydon & Hubbard, op. cit. p. 256
17 These are common side effects in serious magical rituals.
18 This is, of course, the same area that the Adamski Orthon contact took place a few years latter, the area in which Dr. Wilhelm Reich, M.D. conducted his experiments with shooting down UFOs with Orgone Energy, and various other UFO-related events.
19 Marjorie Elizabeth Cameron (b. 1922 – d. 1995), or the future Ms. Parsons; see Freedom Is…op. cit. Also The Magical Link, Spring-Summer, 1995. “
20 Book of Babalon, op. cit, p. 4
21 After Liber Cheth, a Class A Holy Book of the Thelemic Canon.
22 Book of Babalon, op. cit. pp. 5-9
It is interesting that much of this anticipates the emergence of Wicca, at a time when Gerald Gardner in England was only beginning to formulate his ideas. Parsons spent much of the remainder of his short magical career writing on the subject of ‘witchcraft’ .
In any event, when Parsons communicated the Good News to Crowley, the old Magus was perplexed, or amused, or, conceivably both.
He wrote Parsons,
“You have me completely puzzled by your remarks. I thought I had a morbid imagination, as good as any man’s, but it seems I have not. I cannot form the slightest idea what you can possibly mean.”
Apparently undaunted, upon Hubbard’s return Parsons prepared to impregnate his magical partner, impressed by a vision Hubbard had “of a savage and beautiful woman riding naked on a great cat-like beast.”
According to Francis King’s account,
“Parsons was High Priest and had sexual intercourse with the girl, while Hubbard who was present acted as scryer, seer, or clairvoyant”.
This occurred on the first three days of March, 1946.
The aftermath is the subject of much rumor, and points out the high significance of sexual magick.
“This secret is the true Key to Magick,” said Crowley, “that is, by the right use of this secret man may impose his Will on Nature herself…”
Hubbard took off with Parsons’ former partner and the funds of their joint enterprise. Parsons caught up with Hubbard in July of 1946 in Miami, having to evoke Bartzabel 23 to raise a storm at sea, forcing Hubbard back to shore.
Ron Hubbard nevertheless married Parsons’ former lover the following month, and went on to write Dianetics – The Science of Mental Health and, eventually, to organize the Church of Scientology, built on a hidden mythos of a 75 million year old disaster in which the inhabitants of a 76 planet galactic federation were blown up by a dictator named Xenu.
This science fiction ‘space opera’ from Hubbard’s pulp fiction days forms a bizarre underpinning to an already bizarre story.24
For the rest of it, it depends entirely on whom you talk to. Was a “magical child” – conceived ritually March 4, 1946, born into this world as Babalon Incarnate on or about “nine moons” later, on or about December 4, 1946? Is such a being, a woman of about 50, alive today? Or was there a more ethereal ‘birth’ – perhaps, on a spiritual level, the true “birth date” of Gardnerian Wicca and its various descendent bodies, and on a more material level, the birth of modern ‘second wave’ feminism.
Surely, the timing of the Babalon Working and the arrival of the Post War Baby Boom is simultaneous in an eerie sort of way. UFO buffs have of late been touting a theory that Hubbard came to Parsons with a purpose more grandiose than “the ordinary confidence game”.
In pulp magazine circles, he had encountered any number of occultists and border occultists (Talbot Mundy, Col. Arthur Burks, Major Donald Keyhoe, Ray Palmer and Richard S. Shaver come to mind 25), and had already formulated the core of the “inner Scientology teaching” outlined above.
23 A powerful magical being.
24 Corydon & Hubbard, op. cit. p. 364
25 Except for Mundy, the present author has met with all of the pulp writers mentioned here.
He wished to bring this other world into Manifestation, but lacked the technical knowledge to do so. So, he came to the innocent sex magician Jack Parsons. In this version, the Babalon Working, guided by Hubbard, had little to do with “Babalon” and more to do with the hideous Old Ones of the H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu Mythos.
“A door opened; something came through” is the essence of this thesis, and the appearance of the first “flying saucer” case the following year is considered, in this outré rumor, not coincidental at all.
The Babalon Working permanently alienated Parsons from Crowley, but the work of the ill-fated rocket scientist has more recently been reevaluated in a more favorable light by present day occultists and UFOlogists alike.
Memorabilia from Jack Parsons’ FBI file.