A Storm in Babalon
Back in England, Crowley wrote to Karl Germer about Parsons and his activities at the Fleming Mansion in Pasadena. ‘‘Apparently he, or Hubbard or somebody is producing a Moonchild I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these goats.’’
It should be explained that, in Thelemic terms, a moonchild is not actually a physical infant. It is an intelligence created through sex magic which emerges, and develops, on another plane. Whatever Cameron, Hubbard and JWP were intent on they were certainly opening up a can of magical whoop-ass which would have some very strange repercussions.
Many years after Parson’s violent death Cameron said that ‘‘I carry within me something black and dreadful – it writhes in my womb like a monster of Hell.’’
Beginning another sustained period of ritual so shortly after the first was always going to be a risky proposition. The atmosphere at the Lodge had become tense. There were incidents and accidents among the acolytes. Undeterred, the two men and Cameron began work on March 2nd 1946. Fashion wise: Jack wore a black hooded robe and held a cup and dagger while Ron wore white and carried a lamp. Cameron’s garments, or lack of them, are not recorded. They utilised ‘Isle of the Dead’ Op 29 by Sergei Rachmaninov as a soundtrack, playing it over and over again on a needle gramophone.
By this point Parson’s was showing distinct signs of both mental and physical strain, but the physically robust Hubbard was still as fresh as a daisy. He had spent a few days away from the Mansion and on the evening of his return he recounted a splendid vision which would set the tone for the entire second phase of the proceedings. He had seen, on the astral plane ‘‘a savage and beautiful woman riding naked on a great cat-like beast’’.
For the sake of both modesty, and brevity we will now draw a discreet veil over the further practicalities of the rites. Curious seekers can find details in Sex and Rockets by John Carter, Hecate’s Fountain by Kenneth Grant, Strange Angel by George Pendel or JWP’s text of the Babalon workings: Liber 49, still unpublished but freely available on the net.
If the current management of the Church of Scientology were not so keen to airbrush all aspects of its founder’s life and work we would have a much clearer idea of his motives for infiltrating himself so deeply into the world of the occult. After all why shouldn’t a man, who was on the verge of creating, ‘‘both the means and the tech to save mankind’’ seek to discover the depth and heights to which the human condition aspires? And where better to find these extremities than in the intense psychodrama of ritual magic?
Maybe he was just looking for source material for his next fantastic novel. Whatever his motives, after 2 solid months of Babalon working, L. Ron Hubbard turned his attentions to matters mundane.
He proposed to Jack a new business partnership with himself and Jack’s ex, Betty, as equal partners: any and all profits from their various works – specifically Hubbard’s writing and JWP’s explosives company should go to what they called Allied Enterprises. It took a little persuasion but in the end Jack contributed over 20 thousand dollars, almost his entire life savings. L. Ron donated his business skills and just over one thousand dollars to the venture.
As soon as the money was banked the magical Scribe unveiled his first get-rich-quick scheme: he and Betty would travel to Florida, purchase three yachts and sail them back to the West Coast through the Panama Canal to be sold at a profit. Everybody at the Mansion and Jack’s fellow OTO members thought this was clearly a bad idea but Jack’s deep confidence in Ron’s character had only been strengthened by their magical work together. He sanctioned the scheme.
Within weeks Hubbard and Betty left for Florida never to return.
Months went by. JWP held on for as long as he could to the increasingly slender belief that Hubbard would return. It was only when he received word, via Karl Gelmer, of Crowley’s displeasure at the whole embarrassing incident that he finally roused himself to act. He spent his remaining money on an airline ticket to Florida.
Hubbard got news of his arrival and swiftly hired a crew to sail Allied Enterprise’s double-masted yacht, the Harpoon, out of harbour. This wouldn’t be the last time L. Ron would flee from sovereign territory into the freedom of international waters.
But earthly authorities are one thing and wind elementals are quite another. Jack hired a tiny motel room, drew a magic circle on the floor, and set to work.