Friday, 17 April 2015
My presentation on Crowley and Jung, comparing The Book of the Law and Seven Sermons to the Dead is now available to watch on You Tube.
I also discuss the kind of strange things that happen when engaging in such studies.
It's just over an hour long.
I consider it to be one of my very best lectures.
A number of other presentations from the same Visible College conference are likewise available.
Most of the material in the lecture is taken from my Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus.
Thursday, 2 April 2015
I have decided to re-post a long piece, originally uploaded in Nov 2009, that is an appendix in my Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus due to the considerable controversy currently stirred by the recent airing in the USA of Going Clear, the massively publicized Scientology-bashing documentary. For all of it's apparent attention to real facts and data, the portrayal of L Ron Hubbard's involvement with rocket-scientist occultist Jack Parsons and the magick of Aleister Crowley, although brief, is riddled with errors and misrepresentation.
My Crowley book deals at length with the legendary Babalon Working that involved Parsons, Hubbard, and Marjorie Cameron. Hubbard's role has long fascinated me and I believe that my speculations (and I am quite clear at the outset that they are speculations) suggest a possible narrative that balances both sides of the story. Could Hubbard really have been on an intelligence mission and also have been an enthusiastic participant in occult rites at the same time? This topic deserved a separate treatment, hence the lengthy appendix. The difference between me and almost every occultist writer on this subject is that I'm not a rabid Ron hater and I feel that the general portrayal of him as some kind of pantomime villain hasn't helped our understanding of this extraordinary scenario.
I have known a few people over the years who spent a lot of time with Hubbard at close quarters. They were all emphatic that he was an astounding genius of boundless charisma. This coming in one case from a man who had eventually been declared a Suppressive Person and Fair Game and testified in court against Scientology. Film footage on You Tube doesn't really seem to bear this out but however much one might consider Xenu and suchlike to be a crock of shite, this basic fact about Hubbard should not be forgotten.
There are a few references to material earlier in the book but this piece can stand on its own.
Scientology accounts of L Ron Hubbard’s life leave blank the incredible period from 1945-6 when he was involved with Jack Parsons and the legendary magical Babalon Working. An extensive account of this episode has already been given but LRH’s role is so contentious and mysterious it is worth considering separately. I believe I have brought together data that has not been thus arranged before and that it does at least a little to unravel some of the calumny surrounding LRH in this context and suggest that he might be a bit more interesting than his denigrators would contend.
With each passing decade Jack Parsons becomes increasingly well known. He may now be a candidate for the title of coolest man of the twentieth century, being referred to by Richard Metzger as the ‘James Dean of the occult’. Whatever one might feel about the nature of the spiritual forces he invoked, a quick perusal of his writings soon reveals a powerful and passionate advocate for freedom. He was obviously a quite incredible man.
|Ron and Betty in the process of boat buying.|
The general feeling of Hubbard’s role has scarcely developed at all. Occultist lovers of Parsons see Ron as a scoundrel who laid Jack low by cheating him out of a large sum of money and running off with his former partner. We will see how when confronted with the story of the Babalon Working the Church of Scientology portrayed LRH as a man on a covert Intelligence mission to infiltrate and undermine the Parsons scene.
With Peter Moon’s Montauk books the possibility of a wider perspective began to present itself. As we have seen, Moon was able to offer unique insights through having known both L Ron Hubbard and Marjorie Cameron. She recalled how the two men had been like brothers and she herself was not hostile to Ron. She even added a detail missing from other accounts that Hubbard had actually contacted Parsons again, years after their tumultuous parting, when Dianetics had just appeared. He invited Jack to invest in it! This might be seen as colossal nerve on his part but it hints at a bigger picture of their interaction.
Is it possible to create a narrative that in some way allows the different versions to all be essentially true? Beyond Moon’s beginnings I’m not aware that anyone has ever really tried to do so. This is a tentative speculative attempt that may well be an imaginative fiction. I’m not asking anyone to necessarily endorse it. I would hope it might be found interesting and show that when approached in the right spirit this compelling topic still has some open doors.
On October 5th 1969 the London Times published a lengthy article going into considerable detail on L Ron Hubbard’s involvement in the Babalon Working. This information had never been disseminated before and was known only to a few occultists. Given that Scientology was a topic of some controversy at the time it was quite a story. Before long the church responded with a threat of litigation unless the story was withdrawn. The paper eventually agreed to print a statement from Scientology in December which was written by Hubbard himself. All subsequent enquiries to the church concerning the Parsons period in LRH’s life are simply referred back to the original statement.
‘Hubbard broke up black magic in America: Dr Jack Parsons of Pasadena, California, was America’s Number One solid fuel rocket expert. He was involved with the infamous English black magician Aleister Crowley who called himself “The Beast 666.”Crowley ran an organization called the Order of Templars Orientalis over the world which had savage and bestial rites. Dr Parsons was head of the American branch located at 100 Orange Grove Avenue, Pasadena California. This was a huge old house which had paying guests who were the USA nuclear physicists working at Cal Tech. Certain agencies objected to nuclear physicists being housed under the same roof.
L Ron Hubbard was still an officer of the US Navy because he was well known as a writer and philosopher and had friends among the physicists, he was sent in to handle the situation. He went to live at the house and investigated the black magic rites and the general situation and found them very bad.
Parsons wrote to Crowley in England about Hubbard. Crowley “the Beast 666” evidently detected an enemy and warned Parsons. This was proven by the correspondence unearthed by the Sunday Times. Hubbard's mission was successful far beyond anyone's expectations. The house was torn down. Hubbard rescued a girl they were using. The black magic group was dispersed and destroyed and never recovered. The physicists included many of the sixty-four top US scientists who were later declared insecure and dismissed from government service with so much publicity.’
To begin with, it is important to set the statement in the wider context of the time period it appeared in. Hubbard and his church were already receiving a lot of flack and had black propaganda being flung at them. A year before, in 1968, LRH had commissioned an investigation to try and figure out where it was coming from and decided that a global cabal of big-pharma psychiatrists were heavily involved.
Less than one week after the Times article, on Crowley’s birthday October 12th for those appreciative of such detail, Charles Manson was arrested. It wasn’t long before he became the biggest story in America and all aspects of his past were being investigated. Perhaps the biggest issue was how he was able to “program” his followers? Where might he have learnt mind control techniques? It soon surfaced that he had received fairly extensive Dianetic auditing in prison and used a lot of Scientology terminology. It appeared that he did check out the organisation on his release. One of his followers took a somewhat mysterious journey to England and some unexplained deaths and unsolved murders cluster around it.
Scientology distanced itself from the Manson connection. They weren’t exactly the only ones. Charlie had spent a lot of time at the prestigious Esalen Institute, a place where some of the biggest names in the Human Potential movement put on events. Manson was there very shortly before the Tate murders but people weren’t exactly queuing up to talk about it. The Hollywood set that Charlie and his girls provided a rent-a-drug-orgy service to went a bit quiet too. Of course they did. I consider it to be perfectly straightforward that Scientology would want to play down any Manson connection. His major warp-outs derived from other sources, primarily his own head.
Nonetheless there is material circulating on the internet that states that Charles Manson was a Scientologist in a manner virtually suggesting he was a fully paid up member and that somehow LRH is responsible for his crimes or variants thereof. This is entirely untrue and unreasonable. In fact those that know the Manson story in greater detail will be aware that in the last crazy days of Helter Skelter one man named Paul Crockett persistently stood his ground against Charlie and even helped some of his followers break free from him by effectively de-programming them. He was able to do this because of a strong background in Scientology.
The OTO weren’t looking too good then either. Jean Brayton’s Solar Lodge achieved notoriety through the decidedly unpleasant episode, mentioned earlier in the Strange Days section, of the child chained in a box in the desert. The subsequent trial was widely reported at the end of October 1969. The actions of one lodge were not representative of the organization worldwide but try telling that to the media. The Times article showing some kind of Hubbard involvement with an OTO linked scenario appeared just a few weeks before the Boy in the Box trial was reported. It is again understandable that a damage-limitation exercise would be deemed necessary. The ‘savage and bestial rites’ may be reflective of that peculiar situation.
The kind of cultic milieu that Manson arose from and was later so well portrayed by Ed Sanders in The Family seemed to be very interdependent. One part of the equation was the Process Church which had undoubtedly been founded by two former Scientologists even though the end result was a long way away from its source.
As for Crowley, after his Sgt Pepper appearance, 1969 was the year that he really began to re-emerge with the reissue of the Confessions. We have seen that the legend of infamy hasn’t gone away and isn’t likely to. In many minds Crowley equals black magic equals evil. Is it that much of a surprise that at the end of ’69, an OTO Crowley Manson association was the kind of thing Scientology could do without. The Crowley connection is there though. It does rather seem that the interest continued after his break with Jack Parsons and this will be investigated shortly.
Beyond that, what about the basic story that LRH was sent in as part of an Intelligence operation to infiltrate the Parsonage? It makes sense that considering the circles Parsons moved in he would be thought of as a potential huge security risk. Hubbard, who, regardless of controversies around his biography, definitely did have a military background, would have been absolutely the perfect person to send in on such a mission. It’s also fairly obvious that the chances of finding corroborating information in any government documents are virtually zero. If such a mission ever existed no paper trail would ever lead to it.
One of the biggest realms of contention in Hubbard’s biography concerns his military career during the Second World War. Dedicated Ron haters have spent considerable time going through an enormous number of Scientology publications comparing details given of that period of time. There are undoubtedly inconsistencies. Ron spoke of medals and wounds and some interesting exploits. Russell Miller in Bare Faced Messiah attacked these stories armed with other documents that paint a picture of Ron as incompetent or problematical and leave the impression he was an out and out liar.
In today’s conspiratorial climate it’s rather interesting to find someone who has published extensively on CIA black-ops, the Kennedy assassination, and a whole other bunch of controversial topics coming out with a startling extended defence of Ron and his military career. The man in question was no stranger to controversy himself and has been harangued as an unreliable fantasist but the fact that his take on LRH even exists is notable.
Fletcher Prouty may be best known for being an advisor on Oliver Stone’s JFK movie. The character designated only as X played by Donald Sutherland was based on him.
The man does seem to have had a most intriguing military career. After joining up in 1941, within a month of LRH, he had a distinguished war in the air force and worked in the mid-fifties from US Air force HQ for a decade creating a system of “Military Support of the Clandestine Operations of the CIA”. He moved in the highest circles and retired with quite a collection of medals. His knowledge and experience led to his authoring of a number of contentious works, primarily The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, and JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy. Prouty spoke of a global elite behind international events and believed that the CIA manipulated the notorious Jonestown cult mass suicide/murder.
Considering LRH and Scientology are so often on the receiving end of paranoid conspiracism it’s rather intriguing that Prouty spoke out at length in their defense. Although never a member, he was hired out by the Church to investigate and hit back at what they considered to be black propaganda against themselves and in particular their founder.
When Bare Faced Messiah was published Prouty wrote a long letter to the publisher protesting in the strongest terms about the general tone of the work and what he took to be its selective abuse through omission and distortion of source material. This letter is readily available on a number of internet sites. Inevitably it has in turn likewise been denigrated but its contents are rather intriguing and provide the source for some of Peter Moon’s material on Ron in the Montauk books.
Prouty seizes on Russell Millers playing down of what he considers to be crucial data, mentioning only in passing that in 1941 Hubbard was posted for training as an Intelligence Officer. This is the information that changes ones awareness of all the rest. He further runs through Miller’s data highlighting areas that show to someone with Prouty’s background that,
'Almost all of Hubbard's military record is replete with markings that signify deep intelligence service at the highest levels. Many of his records, copies of official records, revealed that even the originals had been fabricated in the manner peculiar to the intelligence community in a process that we call "Sheep Dip”. I myself have supervised a lot of that function in the offices I managed during 1955-1964.
"Sheep Dip” is a process that provides, customarily, three files. One is the true civilian record of the agent. One is his agency or military true record. The third is his "cover” personality and all that it takes to support it.
Thus when one researches these files, in a routine manner, he may get copies from any one of three...or of various kindred files that are maintained for special reasons. Some of Hubbard's records are kept in from 8 to 18 files as is clearly noted in codes on the records.’
Prouty also noted that a Washington Congressman named Magnuson had written to President Roosevelt urging him to personally ensure Hubbard's request for active duty was processed quickly, a procedure that was ‘most unusual’. ‘Miller failed to note that Hubbard's first Active Duty Orders were signed by none other than Chester Nimitz, later the famous five-star Admiral and hero of Pacific campaigns. A small code number on those same orders identifies Hubbard as being placed on duty with Naval Intelligence’.
Miller mentioned in passing that Hubbard went ‘on a four-month course in 'Military Government' at the Naval Training School, Princeton,’ and was later ‘transferred to the Naval Civil Affairs Staging Area in Monterey, California for further training’. Prouty asserts that these were important high grade establishments.
‘Unlike MI-5's Peter Wright, Ron Hubbard was of the old school. He never revealed important intelligence sources and methods.’ The inconsistent tales of where he was and when and what he was doing were partly to fulfill old obligations. He nonetheless felt it acceptable to let it be known he had a somewhat colourful war.
Prouty also stated that Ron was very familiar with the dark mind control direction that the newly formed Nazi infiltrated CIA was taking that would lead to MKULTRA. A lot of the source material they would abuse is there in the background of his own research prior to Dianetics. In this version of events he chose to break ranks and use the ideas for good. Of course there are plenty of people who would never endorse this idea but it needs to be stated for the sake of balance and the possibility that it might actually be true.
The official Church statement on breaking up black magic in America might just be Ron being ironic about some of the original intentions of his mission as he was given it. In 1969 it was obviously not true in any literal sense.
LRH has been portrayed as virtually a dribbling deranged nutcase. I’ve already noted that he started taking flack from the Feds round about the same time as Wilhelm Reich and for broadly similar reasons. The difference is that he handled it and not only survived but thrived. Indeed, over a period of decades when assorted governments and intelligence agencies were on his case he managed to create his own departments within Scientology to deal with such hassle. This side of the church has always been controversial and likely to attract bad publicity but it has held its own, fought fire with fire, and generally played the spooks at their own game. The name of the game was set out by LRH in minute detail. Quite clearly it was a subject he knew about. He was in fact bloody good at it. No other self-help guru, mystic or occultist in history comes anywhere near it. Pathological dysfunctionals won’t last very long in such scenarios. Hubbard was together enough to play it whilst formulating all of the Operating Thetan material for which Scientology is now so well-known and misunderstood for: Xenu etc.
Some might look askance at a spiritual movement that involved such activities. The same people might be captivated by the legend of the Knights Templar, a fabulously wealthy organisation that protected and served its esoteric interests through money, espionage and warfare. The devil-worship accusations thrown against them tend to be seen as vulgar and stupid. Those guys are generally considered to be pretty cool. Reich died in prison. Gnostics and heretics down through the ages have been massacred for want of the knowledge of how to survive and protect themselves. It is perhaps useful to look at Scientology activity in that light.
I don’t think it is at all unlikely that Hubbard could have been working on some kind of covert mission when he got to know Jack Parsons. That brings us to the next problem. It is clear that LRH was a full-on participant in the proceedings. In fact his visionary material considerably shaped the details of the magick rites. There must have been something occurring in the scenario that served his own mystical process. Most accounts are hampered by a predisposition on the part of the writer to view Ron with hostility. This is often coupled with a tabloid mentality towards Crowley. Such a combination is unlikely to produce any new insights even when the source material has been used.
Jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron
A good example is Bare-Faced Messiah. The author detests his subject and goes out of his way to portray Ron as liar, madman, etc. There’s a whole chapter dealing with the Babalon Working. Firstly, Crowley is referred to as a ‘sorcerer and Satanist’. Jack Parsons was ‘worshipping the Devil’. His home had become the ‘headquarters of a black magic group which practised deviant sexual rites’. It’s clear that Russell Miller hadn’t got much of a handle on the western mystery tradition. To describe the OTO Gnostic Mass regularly performed at the Parsonage as a deviant sexual rite is to allow one’s critical faculties to descend to the level of a fundamentalist Christian. There are written accounts from other residents who likewise had no real understanding of Thelema and Parsons passionate libertarian mysticism and simply thought in terms of “people in robes chanting equals black magic”. Miller is happy to set his scene with such material. Add to that a number of skewed facts concerning Parsons its clear that the mystery of Hubbard’s involvement will not be solved through Miller.
A pivotal event in Hubbard’s life that may shed some light on his involvement in the Babalon Working was recalled on various occasions by his onetime literary agent and major sci-fi aficionado, Forrest Ackerman. Interviewed by Russell Miller he spoke of an occasion in 1947 when Ron told him how he had died on an operating theatre during the war and “rose in spirit form, and looked back on the body that he had formerly inhabited. Over yonder he saw a fantastic great gate, elaborately carved like something you’d see in Bagdhad or ancient China. As he wafted towards it, the gate opened and just beyond he could see a kind of intellectual smorgasbord on which was outlined everything that had ever puzzled the mind of man. All the questions that had concerned philosophers through the ages -When did the world begin? Was there a God? Whither goest we? – were there answered. All this information came flooding into him and while he was absorbing it, there was a kind of flustering in the air and he felt something like a long umbilical cord pulling him back. He was saying “No, no, not yet!”, but he was pulled back anyway. After the gates had closed he realised he had re-entered his body.”
After establishing with a worried nurse that he had effectively died he jumped up from the operating theatre and dashed home to get “ two reams of paper and a gallon of scalding black coffee” and within two days produced a manuscript he was calling Excalibur or The Dark Sword. This legendary work is the cornerstone of the official Hubbard biographies. It is said to contain the very foundations of everything that came afterwards. It is a legend because it was never published. Ron liked to tell how those he showed it to were immediately overwhelmed with suicides and madness resulting.
Ackerman has a date and context for this episode that is at variance with the usual timeline. A modest preface from Excalibur has been published and bears a date of New Years Day 1938. The near-death experience happened under the influence of gas anaesthetic at Dr Elbert E Cone’s dental office in Bremerton, Washington. There is no mention of the gate and the great download of knowledge but in this version he returns agitated with the feeling of still being in contact with something that if he could remember would give him the secret of life. This state endured for days until one morning he awoke with enough recall to start on the great manuscript. We shall return to the gate and Babalon after noting another tale from Ron’s early days.
The young Hubbard was a daredevil glider pilot. Nobody doubts this. He told a rather interesting story in the thirties to fellow writer Arthur J Burks. On occasions when he ran into trouble a red-haired smiling woman would appear on a wing and all would be well. Burks speculated on her as a possible guardian angel. Hubbard would name this being the Empress by the time he met Jack Parsons who mentioned in a letter to Crowley that he believed Ron to possibly be in contact with a higher intelligence of some kind that may have been his guardian angel. There is an incredibly evocative fragment concerning the early days of Dianetics when he was asked by an associate how he had managed to write the work so quickly and he hinted that it was in certain respects a kind of automatic writing dictated by the Empress.
In The Montauk Book of the Dead Peter Moon discusses the LRH 1938 “Gate” experience and notes how Babalon is taken to mean gate and therefore the two things hang together. I believe the links can be established in some detail through the Qabalistic framework of Crowley and Parsons’ magick.
Tree of Life from Kenneth Grant's Magical Revival.
The Qabalistic Tree of Life is depicted with three vertical columns linked by twenty two paths. The middle pillar is taller, connecting upwards to the point of white light (known as Kether) whence the formless breaks through into the realms where it will become form. The tops of the left and right hand pillars are joined by a path that passes between them beneath the level of Kether. This path lies just above the veil of the abyss which we have given so much attention to.
The abyss contains the controversial zone named Daath where Crowley encountered Choronzon. It is known as Knowledge. Spheres called Understanding and Wisdom top the left and right hand pillars.
The assorted paths have attributions with the tarot trumps and Hebrew letters which are ideograms, meaning they are taken to broadly resemble artefacts in the world such as a hook, house, or camel. The letter associated with the path just above the abyss that runs between the two pillars is Daleth. It means door. In the Golden Dawn/Crowley tradition, its tarot card is the Empress with a planetary association of Venus.
Empress from Haindl tarot.One of the better depictions of the daleth doorway.
Whether or not he knew this before entering the Parsonage, LRH would more than likely have become aware of this magical data during the initial brainstorming before the Babalon Working. It doesn’t seem unlikely that he might have recalled his experience with the great gate and his ongoing connection with the Empress and found a lot of things starting to make sense. Babalon, residing across the abyss, primarily in the sphere of Binah partook of many of the qualities of Hubbard’s red-haired Empress.
It would be easy enough to interpret the near-death experience in magical Qabalistic terms. LRH was briefly catapulted across the abyss to the Daleth doorway where Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom were downloaded. The Daath side of it is covered by the fact that he had to virtually die to get there and faced the struggle of bringing back what he had found. Being a writer already who was famous for his prodigious fast output was a major bonus here. The experience fits the framework very well and the level of energy, power, and influence he went on to wield were entirely uncommon.
So Hubbard may have gone in to undermine the scene but would soon have experienced a conflict of interest. The forces invoked were extremely powerful. We have noted the resonance with the saga of Dee and Kelly. Ron took action that did indeed detonate the scene when he went off with a large sum of Parsons’ money and his former partner, the girl ‘rescued’ in the 1969 statement.
There are indications that Hubbard’s interest in a Crowley-flavoured magick continued. This means that the official Scientology line only covers some of the story. It does not address whether LRH actually found any interesting lines of enquiry when he came into contact with Crowley’s work and is therefore incomplete but also worded in such a way that it cannot be said to be untrue.
A controversial court case in 1984, the details of which do not concern us here, made visible some documentation relating to the period after the Babalon Working. The details were covered in the anti-scientology work A Piece of Blue Sky by Jon Atack. Similar problems are faced to dealing with Russell Miller’s Babalon chapter.
The waters have also been considerably muddied by the fact that L Ron Hubbard Jr, generally known by his childhood nickname “Nibs” spectacularly fell out with his father and has sounded forth for decades, most notably with a Penthouse interview in June 1983, with the most outlandish accounts imaginable of his experience of dad as a drug crazed, woman beating, baby aborting, megalomaniac, sexual tyrannosaurus, black magician. Those temperamentally predisposed to be Ron haters have completely accepted this material and rehash it uncritically. Blue Sky is no exception.
In Penthouse Nibs told how when Crowley died dad ‘decided that he should wear the cloak of the beast and become the most powerful being in the universe.’ ‘I believed in Satanism. There was no other religion in the house! Scientology and black magic. What a lot of people don't realize is that Scientology is black magic that is just spread out over a long time period. To perform black magic generally takes a few hours or, at most, a few weeks. But in Scientology it's stretched out over a lifetime, and so you don't see it. Black magic is the inner core of Scientology --and it is probably the only part of Scientology that really works. Also, you've got to realize that my father did not worship Satan. He thought he was Satan. He was one with Satan. He had a direct pipeline of communication and power with him. My father wouldn't have worshiped anything. I mean, when you think you're the most powerful being in the universe, you have no respect for anything, let alone worship.’
‘Hitler was involved in the same black magic and the same occult practices that my father was. The identical ones. Which, as I have said, stem clear back to before Egyptian times. It's a very secret thing. Very powerful and very workable and very dangerous. Brainwashing is nothing compared to it. The proper term would be “soul cracking.” It's like cracking open the soul, which then opens various doors to the power that exists, the satanic and demonic powers.’
In a 1984 taped interview Nibs went on to say that “the same individual that transmitted the various Magick tech to Adolf Hitler as a young man also transmitted them to Dad. And like Dad, Hitler, when he came to power, promptly had his teachers and the occult field in general wiped out”. This is classic material that will run forever in cyberspace getting more and more distorted as dark forces paranoid types with progressively less knowledge make use of it.
The Empress called in the Archangel Michael in guardian capacity at one point in the Babalon Working. Bearing in mind his role in the Revelation War in Heaven as God’s bouncer when it comes to rebel angels it seems a tad odd that the supposed Satan worshipping badass portrayed by Ron Jr would want his help.
Some kind of extensive Hubbard diary full of “affirmations” came to light and had brief quotations aired in the court case referred to in Blue Sky where it is stated that ‘Hubbard hypnotized himself to believe that all of humanity and all discarnate beings were bound to him in slavery.’ This detail has been pumped-up to giant proportions in the Ron as black magician mythology.
The fabled document is not available for inspection but I am inclined to feel it may be part of an experiment by Ron to follow or create his own version of Crowley’s Holy Guardian Angel ritual Liber Samekh, presented in Magick as the distillation of his experience with the Abramelin procedure. The ritual is intended to be performed daily by anyone engaging in a serious HGA intensive. The four elements and Spirit are invoked with assorted visualisations that we have already noted with Jung. At the end of each section this “affirmation” is recited: ‘Hear me, and make all Spirits subject unto Me; so that every Spirit of the Firmament and of the Ether: upon the Earth and under the Earth, on dry land and in the water; of Whirling Air, and of rushing Fire, and every Spell and Scourge of God may be obedient unto Me.’ It may appear a tad full-on to a tabloid mentality but it’s really about profound balance as much as power and the one can’t happen without the other. It’s not proof of a Ming the Merciless mentality.
Another document that got a brief court airing was described by LRH himself as “The Blood Ritual”. Those with their minds conditioned by Dennis Wheatley novels, horror movies, and Fundamentalist Christian fulminations will start twitching at the mere sight of the words. Only a few details were revealed. Ron and his “rescued” woman mingled some of their blood together to become one in the context of an invocation to Hathor, an Egyptian goddess of love quite similar to Isis. Nibs mentioned that dad also knew his Empress as Hathor. Maybe we can actually go along with him there. Blue Sky manages to find a way to make this seem like more malevolent sorcery.
Hathor was an Egyptian goddess of Love and Beauty whose myth cycle links her with lion-headed Sekhmet who on one occasion, which started as a mission of justice, went on a destructive blood-drinking rampage that threatened to destroy the human race. We have here a definite sense of Babalon and that ancient unity of the divine feminine that was fragmented by Christianity whereby seemingly contradictory aspects can exist together.
Jon Atack focuses on Sekhmet as “destroyer of man” and produces an interpretation of the Blood Ritual that is surely transparent in its desperate desire to paint as black a picture as possible. ‘To Crowley, Babalon was a manifestation of the Hindu goddess Shakti, who in one of her aspects is also called the 'destroyer of man'. It seems that to Hubbard, Babalon, Hathor, and the Empress were synonymous, and he was trying to conjure his 'Guardian Angel' in the form of a servile homunculus so he could control the “destroyer of man”.’ “Guardian Angel” and “servile homunculus” don’t really blend together that easily. They are somewhat disparate concepts. Homunculus relates back to the moonchild idea in the Babalon Working whereby a conception is manipulated to embody a non-human force. And there’s no indication that Hathor was intended to bring forth Sekhmet. If that was what he wanted then Hubbard would have mentioned her by name. A group of other deities including Nuit, Re, and Osiris got a mention as well but no Sekhmet. Perhaps the best clue comes from the inclusion of Mammon in the forces invoked. This is a Biblical concept for extravagant wealth, sometimes considered to be a demon by those who needed to control people through selective poverty consciousness. In modern terms it sounds like Ron was using the Secret to put in a cosmic order for mega-bucks. He’s not alone in such activities. If you want to bring abundance and money into your life you don’t stir up the destroyer of man!
In his epic 1952 Philadelphia Doctorate Course lectures, one of the most important foundations of Scientology, Ron did have a few things to say about Crowley. “The magic cults of the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th centuries in the Middle East were fascinating. The only work that has anything to do with them is a trifle wild in spots, but it's fascinating work... written by Aleister Crowley, the late Aleister Crowley, my very good friend .... It's very interesting reading to get hold of a copy of a book, quite rare, but it can be obtained, The Master Therion . . . by Aleister Crowley.” And also, “One fellow, Aleister Crowley, picked up a level of religious worship which is very interesting - oh boy! The Press played hockey with his head for his whole life-time. The Great Beast - 666. He just had another level of religious worship. Yes, sir, you're free to worship everything under the Constitution so long as it's Christian.” The “good friend” designation is certainly interesting as the two never met. The book referred to as The Master Therion is Magick, where Liber Samekh can be found.
Whilst it was only moderately controversial and potentially problematical to mention Crowley in 1952, by 1969 things had got a lot worse and this was before Nibs got involved. The Philadelphia Doctorate Crowley quotes, taken from original recordings, can be found all over the internet in video exposes by Christians, cult bashers and suchlike in the usual manner. In the Nibs mythology dad was going home every night during the lecture series and reading Magick to get ideas for the next day.
There are always going to be people who warp-out on Crowley and Hubbard. Put the two together and there is very little chance of any rational discussion. We can begin to see why the 1969 statement was made and why it has remained as essentially the only Scientology statement on the subject. It really wouldn’t matter what else they might ever say, occult gossip will have its way.
Just supposing Hubbard had come out and admitted to a big interest in Crowley and significant experimentation with his work on the basis of the Beast’s remarkable knowledge and experience of the world’s magical and mystical traditions and how nobody interested in such topics could afford to ignore him, that checking him out constituted an essential part of a general education in the mysteries of consciousness. Would the results have been any more inspiring? Of course not. The same level of negativity would still circulate.
A lot of comparisons between Scientology material and bits of Crowley and the Golden Dawn have been made with the implication being that this reveals the secret core of the Church. I’m not going to examine that here. It’s possible to find all kinds of other big influences as well such as Freud and Korzybski. Hubbard was always looking for what worked and he wouldn’t necessarily keep it in its original context.
A student of comparative religion could probably place Scientology in with the Gnostic revival. There are many common themes. We are immortal beings trapped in a prison world by a lapse in our awareness often caused by external agencies whose purpose is served by keeping us that way. It is possible to awaken, become free, and regain the full power of our divine potential. In this Ron possibly absorbed some Thelemic Gnostic nuances via Parsons but was maybe also affected by what Jung experienced with Abraxas and what Phillip K Dick experienced as the Nag Hammadi plasmate generally in the airwaves. Nonetheless, coming to birth in the UFO Cold War fifties, his creation was unique.
Monday, 26 January 2015
July 2015 sees the 25th anniversary of the Glastonbury Symposium (perhaps still better known as the Crop Circle Conference although the subject matter considerably diversified a long time ago).
I'm very pleased to be giving a presentation there with a retrospective theme.
Earth Mysteries UFOlogy and the Glastonbury Zodiac: the Untold Story.
Anthony Roberts, editor of the mid-seventies anthology, Glastonbury: Ancient Avalon, New Jerusalem, had a profound UFO experience in 1969. He went on to write a huge unpublished manuscript, provisionally entitled Giants in the Earth, dealing with ancient astronauts, Lemuria, Atlantis, and his belief that the Glastonbury Zodiac was twelve thousand years old and created by Atlanteans with probable help from aliens. Paul has been the first person to read the work outside of the Roberts household in forty years. Some of his sources will be investigated on a journey where we will meet Dion Fortune, Desmond Leslie, Brinsley Le Poer Trench, Tony Wedd, and John Michell as a forgotten strand of Glastonbury studies is uncovered that provides a fresh perspective on the later anthology. It makes plain the huge influence of what could be termed Earth Mysteries UFOlogy on beliefs about the place during the sixties and seventies.
The material is drawn from a long introduction I have written for a new edition of the anthology which hopefully will be available at the time of the conference.
Check out the Symposium site for more details and ticket booking.
Thursday, 15 January 2015
Another great Glastonbury occult conference is imminent.
I will be giving a presentation on the legendary Babalon Working with material from my Aleister Crowley and the Aeon of Horus.
Once again, I will be in very good company.
There are a number of ticket options.
If you are somewhere half-way across the world, you can still watch the lectures online.
I invite you to avail yourself of this sumptuous event.
Get your tickets here.
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
I have created a video inspired by The Grail Epoch section of Mysterium Artorius.
Here we have the music and visions of Hildegard of Bingen combined with images of Abbot Suger's Gothic Cathedral prototype at St Denis in Paris, King Arthur, Troubadours, and the Grail Romances. Arthur became a European superstar during the twelfth century. Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain had appeared around 1135 and been a huge success. The text generally accepted as the earliest Grail Romance, the Perceval of Chretien de Troyes arrived circa 1180.
I featured this subject, with an extensive extract from Mysterium Artorius, back in 2009. It could be profitably approached again in combination with the new video.
Sunday, 19 October 2014
Most of the recent Visible College Glastonbury conference is now online and tickets can be purchased for you to watch at your leisure. There are some decent extras, for example the slideshow for my lecture is included as a pdf.
I consider it to be a rather fine programme of entertainment for the discerning viewer.
Check out the link.
Tuesday, 14 October 2014
I have created a 10 minute video that combines images drawn from Glastonbury's history and mythology with the music of Thomas Tallis.
The snow photos were taken by me and I was listening to the Tallis music on headphones at the time. All of the rest have been drawn from Google images so I hope none of the photographers get upset about copyright issues.
I'm not necessarily a believer in the historical reality of the Glastonbury myths concerning Joseph of Arimathea and Arthur but I do feel that, in combination with the genius loci, they are a thing of great beauty, of soul poetry at the very least, and to enter into their mood can lead to profound exaltation.
Spem in Alium is one of the truly great treasures of British Music. It was composed around 1570 for performance by 40 voices.
- Spem in alium nunquam habui
- Praeter in te, Deus Israel
- I have never put my hope in any other
- but in You, O God of Israel
'One piece of music has established itself for me as an ultimate soundtrack for a Glastonbury Abbey dream, in the process activating further my mysterious affinity for the idea of perpetual choir. It was Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis (who had provided Vaughan Williams with such magnificent inspiration), a composition for forty voices. Tallis was writing during the aftermath of the dissolution of the monasteries and his work seems full of a poignant nostalgia for a lost paradise. I have cultivated the feeling that an eternal form of Glastonbury Abbey exists on some other realm of perception. There, the monks continue their daily services. A celestial choir perpetually intones sacred prayers amidst this magnificent scene, as Grail light shines through the stained glass windows, infusing the place with supernal blessings. Spem in Alium completely catches the feeling of how I believe such a choir would sound. It was like the chanting of angels. I know that the liturgical recitations of the medieval monks would not have sounded the same. It doesn’t matter. Tallis takes me into a realm of unbearable beauty.'