Five to one, baby
One in five
No one here gets out alive
–The Doors, “Five To One”
The passing of Charles Manson has inevitably led me to revisit the Sinister Forces trilogy by Peter Levenda, with the “Manson Secret” being the “scarlet thread of murder” that runs through all three volumes. Merely dipping a toe within chapter 11 of book two, “Night Of The Long Knives,” is like plunging headlong into a rabbit hole of leviathan proportions—a rabbit hole that not only encompasses Manson and the Sharon Tate murder, but Egyptian Gods, MKUltra, the JFK assassination, The Beach Boys, and even Richard M. Nixon.
For me to even attempt to diagram all the connections, allusions, resonances, and flat-out cosmic coincidences seems a Herculean and ultimately Quixotic task; but I will try a looser sort of stream of consciousness riff below.
“Night Of The Long Knives” starts with Sharon Tate and the etymology (the word history; not to be confused with entomology, the study of insects) of the word “Cielo”—as in 10050 Cielo Drive, Tate’s doomed address (Levenda considered the 1968 Doors song “Five To One” to be “an eldritch prediction of the Manson slaughter”—the lyrics “five to one and one to five” possibly referring to the numbers of Tate’s address).
“Cielo,” author Levenda points out, means “heaven” in Spanish. The Egyptian goddess of the heavens is Nuit—she whose body is literally the stars and sky.
Occultist Aleister Crowley’s channeled Book Of The Law, from 1904, was partially dedicated to Nuit. Nuit was in fact on the Stele Of Revealing, which sort of kicked off the entire Book of The Law enterprise.
Nuit is another form of Babalon, to whom much of the magickal work of Jack Parsons was dedicated. Both Parsons and Crowley were concerned with the creation of a type of magickal child…a “Moonchild.”
This Moonchild could be roughly equated with the Egyptian god Horus; Crowley indicated that we were entering the Aeon of Horus, an entirely new era of humanity filled with both liberation and violence.
This era would have a very ambivalent quality to it…would it be “good” or “bad?” This ambivalence is captured in the Doors song “Five To One”:
The old get old
And the young get stronger
May take a week
And it may take longer
They got the guns
But we got the numbers
Gonna win, yeah
We’re takin’ over
As Crowley wrote about Horus in Part IV of his introduction to The Book Of The Law:
He rules the present period of 2,000 years, beginning in 1904. Everywhere his government is taking root. Observe for yourselves the decay of the sense of sin, the growth of innocence and irresponsibility, the strange modifications of the reproductive instinct with a tendency to become bisexual or epicene, the childlike confidence in progress combined with nightmare fear of catastrophe, against which we are yet half unwilling to take precautions.
Consider the outcrop of dictatorships, only possible when moral growth is in its earliest stages, and the prevalence of infantile cults like Communism, Fascism, Pacifism, Health Crazes, Occultism in nearly all its forms, religions sentimentalised to the point of practical extinction.
Consider the popularity of the cinema, the wireless, the football pools and guessing competitions, all devices for soothing fractious infants, no seed of purpose in them.
Consider sport, the babyish enthusiasms and rages which it excites, whole nations disturbed by disputes between boys.
Consider war, the atrocities which occur daily and leave us unmoved and hardly worried.
We are children.
How this new Aeon of Horus will develop, how the Child will grow up, these are for us to determine, growing up ourselves in the way of the Law of Thelema under the enlightened guidance of the Master Therion.
Apply much of this now to the era of the 1960s: the hippie movement, sexual liberation, psychedelic experimentation, an explosion into “alternate” religious practices.
One could say that the decade was the time period Crowley prophesized in The Book Of The Law—a decade that alternated between light and darkness (and a decade “defined” in part by the space exploration and the moon landing…feats only made possible by the initial work of rocket wizard and occultist Parsons).
Parsons related this new era with the concept of the Antichrist—whom he himself believed he was. (The number associated with the Antichrist is 666—which was also the catalogue number of the Stele of Revealing in the museum in which it was kept, and of course the number Crowley himself identified with as “The Beast”).
The 1968 movie Rosemary’s Baby, directed by Tate’s husband, Roman Polanski, could be seen as a narrative about such a Moonchild/Antichrist—the child of a mortal woman and Satan, who is to usher in the new era.
Roman Polanski, of course, was the husband of actress Sharon Tate. Rosemary’s Baby was released in 1968; Tate got pregnant near the end of that year.
There is a long-standing rumor that Church Of Satan founder Anton Lavey was a technical advisor on Rosemary’s Baby, and/or cameoed as the Devil who impregnated the protagonist. While the part of the Devil is listed in the IMDB as character actor Clay Tanner, many people (such as Levenda) and reputable websites have reported that LaVey was indeed involved with the making of Rosemary’s Baby.
LaVey appeared in Kenneth Anger’s film Lucifer Rising…alongside a baby-faced young man named Bobby Beausoleil. Beausoleil would later be part of the Charles Manson “family,” and get imprisoned for carrying out a murder at Manson’s request.
And then there was the chick who danced topless in a vampire cape during a LaVay strip club show called “Witches’ Sabbath”…Susan Atkins. She was a party to the murder carried out by Beausoleil…and would later plunge a knife into a pregnant Sharon Tate and reportedly taste her blood.
Sharon Tate, wife of Rosemary’s Baby director Roman Polanski; living at Cielo/Heaven Drive, the abode of Nuit. Like the ambivalent Horus, the latter Sixties stood at a precipice for humanity—between unprecedented liberation and violence. By killing Tate and her unborn child, Manson’s followers basically “tipped the scales” on the matter.
But the other big factor of the darkening of the era was the election of Nixon in 1968. It’s what the late Robin Williams referred to as the “Manson Nixon Line.” The interweaving between the President Nixon and Charles Manson timelines—with some Crowley and Beatles improbably thrown in there—will be startling. More on that in Part Two!
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
The Nixon Quantum Hangover
An Alternate History Of Jack Parsons, Part 1: Warrior Lord Of The Forties
Charles Manson Has Left The Building