Shocktober: Babalon Working
To begin the strange story of one of Pasadena's most beloved sons we must go back a bit, and begin in England on October 12, 1875. That was the birthday of Aleister Crowley, magician and occult thinker who is at the beginning of this tale. Crowley began his life's work upon his introduction into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; following the dissolution of the Golden Dawn, Crowley studied magick, Kabbalah, alchemy, tarot, astrology, and yoga. Ultimately, those studies led to his takeover of the OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis), which he reformed around his Book of the Law with the organizing principle of his Law of Thelema: "Do what thou wilt."
The Great Beast, as Crowley was known later in his life, had many disciples who led chapters of the OTO and performed magickal rites per the holy books of Thelema. Foremost among these disciples in the United States was a young, self-educated scientist named John "Jack" Whiteside Parsons. Born to wealthy parents amongst the lavish mansions of Pasadena's Millionaire Row, Jack Parsons was a rebellious child who harbored contempt for authority and an early interest in the occult. His unique interests did not stop the young Parsons from a lengthy self-education in chemistry; he went on to co-found Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) and invent the solid rocket fuel which made space flight possible. His good looks and charm earned him the nickname "The James Dean of Chemistry."
His amazing scientific achievements aside, Parsons was an avid student of the occult. He joined the OTO's Agape Lodge in 1941 and quickly proved himself to be worthy of Crowley's attention—he was appointed head of the Lodge within a year per a decree from the Great Beast himself. The appointment cemented Parsons' importance to Crowley and the OTO, and his status within the order allowed him to perform advanced magickal rites.
In his Book of the Law, Crowley writes of the coming Age of Horus, a time typified by bloodshed and chaos, which would usher in a new, enlightened age. For his part, Parsons wrote a ritual called the Bablon Working, intended to attract an elemental who would serve as a partner in the sex magick ritual necessary to birth a moonchild, or antichrist. To accomplish this end, Parsons worked with his close associate L. Ron Hubbard (yes, that L. Ron Hubbard) to create the vortex of energy necessary to summon the elemental.
The ritual was successful: the green-eyed, red-haired elemental appeared on his doorstep at 1003 South Orange Grove late one night, ready to perform the rites necessary to create the homunculus—the Thelemic messiah, "a living being in form resembling man, and possessing those qualities of man which distinguish him from beasts, namely intellect and power of speech, but neither begotten and born in the manner of human generation, nor inhabited by a human soul." The birth of this moonchild was the event that would perform the real magick of the Bablon Working: employing Enochian Calls (angelic language) which would open an inter-dimensional doorway, welcoming the goddess Babalon in human form to the Earth.
In simple terms, Parsons was opening a gate to Hell in an attempt to kickstart the Apocalypse.
Keep reading after the jump for in-depth accounts of the twelve-night magickal right of the Babalon Working.