The Key of the Abyss : Jack Parsons, the Babalon Working and the Witchcraft Decoded
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The Magick of today is the religion of tomorrow.
Probably the most important spiritual movement of the last century has been the return of the Goddess to the consciousness of the Western World. At the forefront of that movement has been neo-pagan witchcraft, or Wicca, and it has grown steadily since Gerald Gardner went public in the 1950s. Wicca, however, grew out of the magical lodges of the 19th and early 20th centuries and while historians like Ronald Hutton have shown that Wicca probably wasn't a survival from the Middle Ages, it didn't spring fully formed from the brow of Zeus either.
Among the cast of characters that Gardner associated with while he was developing his ideas for his witchcraft “revival” were Aleister Crowley, a young Kenneth Grant and the head of the legendary Agape Lodge OTO, Jack Parsons. Parsons was devoted to several ideals; personal attainment by completing the "Great Work" culmination in the crossing of the Abyss, Crowley’s Thelema and to what he saw as the revival of “the Old Religion”, witchcraft. Jack was writing about witchcraft, with a Goddess as its primary deity no less, years before Gardner published High Magic’s Aide, a novel that was his first public annunciation of the ideas that would become Gardnerian Wicca.
The idea of magickal currents is integral to Kenneth Grant’s work. These currents, such as the Typhonian seem to bestow initiations of their own and indeed can manifest unbidden in the course of a magickal working or as in Graves’ case, as creative inspiration. However we may judge Parsons, there can be little doubt that the Witchcraft movement was something larger than simply an idea whose time had come. I believe it is the manifestation of a current that we have only just begun to explore.
apocalyptic pronouncements and imagery. Again and again the angels warn of the coming destruction of the world by the wrath of God and the advent of the Antichrist. This apocalyptic imagery is also found throughout the Keys themselves.50 Tyson is surly on solid ground to this point, insofar as he is supported by Dee’s diaries and notes. As mentioned above, the watchtowers are described as barriers by which the Death Dragon Himself, Choronzon, and his host are held back from invading and, one
This again, seems an odd conclusion to make, as it would make little sense for the God’s will59 to rely on the good behavior of men and, anyway, the Enochian system would lie in obscurity for centuries until the Golden Dawn took it up. Tyson continues: Dee evidently never received the signal to conduct the Apocalypse Working in his lifetime. It was to be reserved for another century and another man60. While Tyson certainly makes some useful observations concerning the Enochian system, we must, I
connection: Although Crowley often wrote that Babalon and the Scarlet Woman are one, there are also many instances where the Scarlet Woman is seen more as a representative or physical manifestation of the universal feminine principle. In a footnote to Liber Reguli, Crowley mentions that of the “Gods of the Aeon,” the Scarlet Woman and the Beast are “the earthly emissaries of those Gods.” He then writes in Commentaries: It is necessary to say here that The Beast appears to be a definite
his independent delvings had gone so far. What kept him from going with her and Brown Jenkin and the other to the throne of Chaos where the thin flutes pipe mindlessly was the fact that he had seen the name "Azathoth" in the Necronomicon, and knew it stood for a primal evil too horrible for description238. If we wish to add Babalon to the rolls of Great Old Ones, the preceding is problematic but this is not what is intended here. Rather, I would suggest that the force that came to Parsons in the
destruction of the ego and ascending through the Abyss (i.e. beyond phenomenal reality) to the regions known to the Gnostics as the Pleroma, Christians as Heaven and to Crowley as the Kabalistic Sephiroth of the supernal triad, Binah, Hokma and Kether. It is in the skrying of the Aethyrs that he encounters the personification of the beings found in the Revelation of John, the Great Beast – which Crowley identified with – and the Great Harlot, Babylon the Great (later spelled BABALON for