“Five to one, baby
One in five
No one here gets out alive”
–The Doors, “Five To One”
The passing of Charles Manson last year 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 (every meaning of the word) 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.
I. Cielo And Nuit
“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 the Tate residence).
“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 (I’m always gonna work that dude into things somehow) was dedicated. Both Parsons and Crowley were concerned with the creation of a type of magickal child…a “Moonchild.”
II. The 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”).
III. “The Links”
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 LaVey 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. The interweaving between the President Nixon and Charles Manson timelines—with some Crowley and Beatles improbably thrown in there—will be startling.
IV. “The Manson-Nixon Line”
I started to touch upon the Nixon/Manson connection in this post, in which I wrote of what Sinister Forces author Peter Levenda (and late comedian Robin Williams before him) referred to as the “Manson-Nixon Line.”
“The ‘Manson-Nixon line’ is a term coined by Robin Williams, the actor and comedian, as a pun on the Mason-Dixon Line, which separated the Northern and Southern states in nineteenth century America, with the newer version separating two different states of mind. Yet I sense something more profound in Williams’ turn of the phrase: Manson and Nixon as the Alpha and Omega of a scarlet thread running through the American soul, a Great Divide separating Americans from each other, and from the rest of the world, and what they know to be good, honest, and virtuous.”
That’s pretty heavy stuff—and one could very well make the argument that Nixon wasn’t nearly as heinous a person as Manson (though if we taken into account all the dead in the Vietnam War that the president purposely prolonged, the compared body counts might be interesting).
But there was something in the…energy of Nixon that made him almost the counterpart to Manson at that time period…or we could say, Manson was like the shadow-side of Nixon writ large.
And that chaotic, negative energy seemed to encompass more than just those two. You could feel it in the Beatles’ White Album, which was released on November 22, 1968…the anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
When JFK was assassinated, it was as if much of the idealism and hope of the Sixties died with him—Nixon being the embodiment of the exact opposite of that positive energy. If we look at where the release of The White Album—which Manson treated almost as a prophetic aural document in relation to himself and his “mission,” in songs like “Helter Skelter”—falls on the timeline of 1968, some interesting resonances appear.
Only a couple of weeks before The White Album, on November 5, Nixon was elected president of the United States. Several months before that, at the beginning of the summer, the person who was seen to continue JFK’s dynasty, Robert Kennedy, was assassinated. Another couple of months before that, and Martin Luther King was assassinated.
V. Number Nine
These foreboding lyrics from “Revolution 9” really sets the mood for the time:
“There was not really enough light to get down,
They may stop the funding
Place your bets
Afraid she’ll die
Great colours for the season
Number nine, number nine
Who’s to know?
Who was to know?”
Of course, it was on August 9, 1969 that members of Manson’s “family” killed actress Sharon Tate and her friends…it will later be revealed that “Helter Skelter”—the name of one of the songs on “The White Album”—was the defacto “trigger word” for the killings.
Number 9, number 9…
On August 9, 1970 Nixon makes the highly unusual move of publicly announcing that Manson was “guilty”—something that, because of his position as President of the United States, could have led to a mistrial.
Number 9, number 9…
And when did Richard Nixon resign the presidency???
AUGUST 9, 1974…four years to the day of his proclamation concerning Manson, and 5 years to the day of the Tate murder.
Number 9, number 9…
Nixon saw the Manson trials and sentencing phase as a way to get the heat and attention off of him—first, to distract the public from the growing clusterfuck in Vietnam, and then to distract them from what would become Watergate.
Writes Levenda in this stunning passage from Sinister Forces:
“Power, to people like Manson and Nixon, is the only reality, the only absolute. Nixon had to proclaim Manson guilty to the press; he had to address the one other man in the country who understood power, and truth, and evil, and murder the way he did. On the plane of the real world as understood by the media and the public at large, Manson was an insignificant crook compared to Nixon, the President of the United States, undeserving of the President’s attention or comment; but on another plane, Manson and Nixon were warring black magicians, fighting over airtime and the fifteen-second sound bite.”
I need to pause here and note what a DARK dark energy wrapped around the United States and indeed the world during the late Sixties and early Seventies. If we also consider the Aeon of Horus and Aleister Crowley connections to Manson…the 1960s were supposed to be this new era of enlightenment, but the Hope (symbolized by Tate’s slain unborn baby, but also by the slain RFK) was “aborted”–
–instead, we all got The Nixon Years.
Is it any wonder that Manson was publicly connected to the Tate murders for the first time on December 1—the death-date of Aleister Crowley? For way before the Beatles, this occultist was the uncanny predictor of the exact tone the Sixties ended up embodying—the “New Age” gone dark.
During this epic battle between “black magicians,” Nixon himself got tripped up in Manson’s Web…within the Nines, the emblematic number of that crucial grimoire The White Album.
Now that I’ve finished this little meditation on the Manson Web, I would like to offer the following: that we are presently playing out a very similar energy in 2018. Instead of the Manson killings we have…the continuing and unprecedented Hollywood scandals. There was a lot of scandalous stuff happening in the entertainment industry in the Sixties, but it never came out…it was all sort of blamed on the hippies-gone-bad…But NOW it is coming out.
It’s all coming out, and our current president hopes it will continue, to distract from everything else (including his own impending “Watergate.”).
It’s ALL Manson: the crazed alleged rapist movie moguls and Oscar-winning actors; the Nazi rallies; the crazed shooters, the cults, the talking heads, the tweets; all of it. So much so that even Manson himself saw it fit to check himself out of planet Earth once and for all before it got really ugly.
But history—despite the inevitable synchronicities, re-cycles, and uncanny resonances—won’t quite happen that same way again.