The world, though, was not ready for Jack Parsons.
–Peter Levenda, “Sinister Forces Book One”
And so here we have John Whiteside “Jack” Parsons, who essentially fulfilled the Horus mission by giving humanity the building blocks they needed to go to the stars. He was like Prometheus, like Enki…like Lucifer, bringing the fire of enlightenment to humanity.
Reading his texts, I think he had only a partial understanding of what role he was to play. He called himself the Antichrist, but…what does that even mean? If his “channeled” poem “The Birth Of Babalon,” from his Book Of Babalon, is any judge (there was also mentioned “a prophecy which I shall not write here”)…it seems rather bleak. It seems like war and an orgy and shit.
I have lain my my love and smashed my heart
and filled her cup with blood,
That blood might flow from the lions of woe
to the cup of brotherhood.
The cities reel in the shout of steel
where the sword of war is drawn.
Sing ye saints for the day is come
in the birth of BABALON.
Like…what was hoped to be accomplished, here? In his Freedom Is A Two-Edged Sword, which he wrote several years later, Parsons had these really powerful concepts concerning freedom, and liberty, and equality for all. It’s such a ground-breaking document for its time (admittedly with some seriously eyebrow-raising bits, though that’s to be expected), and its overall vision of a benevolent New Age led by this archetypal Feminine feels triumphant.
But the “damage” was done with the Babalon Working, wasn’t it? And that…wasn’t a working that was really going to do anything constructive or peaceful for humanity. It might have opened “doors” for all sorts of new “notions” and ideas to flood into the Zeitgeist…but these were notions that could liberate us, doom us, or most likely both at the same time in a grand flood of chaos. And The Book Of Babalon/The Book Of The Antichrist, like Aleister Crowley’s own The Book Of The Law…it’s the same feeling I get, reading all of them.
I can read these books, and get something out of them esoterically, and learn a lot, and stuff…but these were not books dictated in order to lift up Humanity. They certainly give some info that I think is true. They certainly show the way to acquire some level of personal self-empowerment. But these books seem to me to be ultimately dictated by some non-human (well, I mean obviously), “superior” (in a sense) entity/entities that are not interested in lifting up humanity as we know it. Rather, they look towards another age—a “post-human” age.
And some might say: “Well it is inevitable that we eventually become post-human. It’s just evolution.”
But then why do I feel so bad about it? Like…”sad” about it?
Why should it bother me?
And how did Parsons get to this point (I mean, in my speculative “alternate” history)?
I think it was, in part, that because he felt utterly betrayed and fucked-over by so many people (including being defrauded by his former friend & magick partner L. Ron Hubbard); and that subconsciously, that chipped away at his connection to humanity.
As Peter Levenda comments in Sinister Forces Book One:
…it certainly seems as if Parsons was victimized by most people in his life. He expected people to behave with honor, reasonably, to the extent that he, himself, treated them nobly. From what evidence we can find, Parsons was treated well and honorably only by those who respected and admired his intelligence, his seriousness, and his brilliance; his fellow rocketeers. Yet, when involved in the one aspect of American life virtually guaranteed to disappoint the idealist—the occult underground, with its petty jealousies, inflamed egos and unstable emotions—he was ripped apart.
And as Parsons himself writes in The Book Of The Antichrist,
…I was stripped of my fortune (the sum of $50,000) and my house, and all I Possessed.
Then for a period of two years I worked in the world, recouping my fortune somewhat. But that was also taken from me, and my reputation, and my good name in my worldly work, that was in science.
And on the 31st of October, 1948, BABALON called on me again, and I began the last work, that was the work of the wand.
Among other things, Parsons had lost his career as a rocket scientist, blacklisted from the industry. And so he shifted most of his attention from that to the occult—along with some work for Israel (that put him firmly on the radar of the American investigative authorities) and as a pyrotechnics expert for Hollywood special effects.
On June 17, 1952, a day before leaving on a planned trip to Mexico (he hoped to restart his rocket research there) with his wife Marjorie Cameron, Parsons died in an explosion in his California lab. It has been popularly speculated that “Babalon” herself came back to give Parsons his “due” (though I don’t know why she would have been so shitty to him after how he carried out all her instructions). But author Peter Levenda speculates that the might also have met foul play, as he was up to his ears at that point in possible foreign intrigue (and domestic suspicion).
And that’s it then, I guess. That was the life of Jack Parsons, both the “official” and a bit of my embroidering. Nowadays he is a bit of a “cult” figure; some sort of TV miniseries or whatnot is even planned to dramatize his story. And people so inclined can even look up his Book Of Babalon and try to “ape” some of his rituals. How many self-styled Parsons are there in the world right now? Probably loads. And why not? He was cool, right?
If Parsons was alive right now, in our world—what would he think, given all his past experiences? What would he do? Would he regard our fast-approaching Singularity with excitement, recognizing it as the fulfillment of all he worked towards with Babalon? Would he have a change of heart, seeing things differently now with the aid of hindsight; being horrified not only for the deals he made with “Babalon,” but to see his rocket technology put to such violent uses?
And would he consider his work “finished?”
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
An Alternate History Of Jack Parsons, Part 1: Warrior Lord Of The Forties
An Alternate History Of Jack Parsons, Part 2: The Beast And The Geek
An Alternate History Of Jack Parsons, Part 3: Finding Babalon