An Appreciation

Michael Staley

MARJORIE CAMERON PARSONS died on the 24th July 1995. Since Starfire Vol.1 No.3 was given over to an essay upon Jack Parsons and an edition of The Babalon Working, we would not like this event to pass unremarked. Little is known publicly about the early life of Marjorie Cameron, although we hope that paucity of information will be rectified by a forthcoming biographical study of Jack Parsons. However, it is known that she came from Iowa. She first entered Parsons' life in response, as he considered, to an 'elemental summons' which he had issued in January 1946. He described it thus:

The feeling of tension and unease continued for four days. Then on January 18 at sunset, whilst the Scribe and I were on the Mojave Desert, the feeling of tension suddenly stopped. I turned to him and said 'it is done', in absolute certainty that the Operation was accomplished. I returned home, and found a young woman answering the requirements waiting for me. She is describable as an air of fire type with bronze red hair, fiery and subtle, determined and obstinate, sincere and perverse, with extraordinary personality, talent and intelligence.
It seems that Parsons had met Marjorie Cameron some time prior, and that she had turned up to visit him at the time of culmination of his Operation. Soon after, they married. The relationship was never a calm one, however, and after a short time they separated. During this period of separation they remained in correspondence, and Parsons penned her a series of letters in which he took it upon himself to act as her magical instructor. This is an extremely interesting and at times beautiful series, and will shortly be published.
At the time of Parsons' death in 1952 they were once more living together as man and wife. After the death, Cameron lived a very precarious existence, convinced that she was the avatar of Babalon which Parsons had spent the last few years of his life awaiting. A patchy account of this period is given by Kenneth Grant in the chapter 'Parsons In Mauve' in his Hecate's Fountain; patchy, because it is a glimpse of Cameron's life through her letters to Jane Wolfe. It was during this period, in 1956, that she s tarred in Kenneth Anger's film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.
Cameron lived as an artist and poet in her own right, and was active almost until the last on the lecture circuit. She will be remembered by occultists for her association with Jack Parsons, however, and I should like to close this brief appreciation with an extract from one of his letters to her. It was written whilst they were estranged, and gives an insight into both Parsons' regard for Cameron and his own sense of mission:

My dear, do not think that you are alone. The legions are with you that tried and hoped, those now trying and hoping - the unborn to come, dreaming of a world to be - all, all are with you. The gods themselves bend and whisper at your doorway, and your windows are portentous with the possible hour. I have heard Aldebaran speak of you to Rigel, and the Pleiades whispering your name that is to be.
All that I have and all that I am flared up in the birth fires that time, and left me just three tasks: to guide in infancy, to counsel in adolescence, to renounce in maturity to go outwards whence I came.
If I was the one you could love, yet it was needful for you to learn contempt and hatred, and to equilibrate these again with Love. You have done it, and passed that fire. You have needed to know loneliness and terror and despair. You burn there, and it is passing. And now you come to the last unspeakable barrier, the ultimate thule, that you may labour long and painfully to kindle a small spark that will consume all you have - that will burn down the heavens as a torch, until even the black stars burn with furious joy.
If you only knew the ache to dissolve, to pass away, to go, to be one; to drink utterly of the cup men call death or madness; to be away, at rest, at peace. But I will endure. I will do what must be done, to the last moment of putrefying flesh, to the last pulsation of a dying brain. Not for myself, not for you, but for the vision that I saw once - that is forever.
One day my hands will fall away, and you will go alone into regions I cannot follow - take the sky in wings I have only known in dream.
God knows, it is not my body that now speaks to you; that is a tedious thing of days, of dim awareness in the half-shadow. It is my spirit that spoke to you in the beginning, that speaks to you again now, that will always be with you, until we meet and fuse in the darkness of which all light is a shadow.

© Michael Staley

with permission:
STARFIRE  II,1, 1992
BCM Starfire
London WC1N 3XX
Starfire - Magazine of the Typhonian Order - 2-1

Further reading:

Start of the "New Caliphate" and transformation of all previous "provisional IXth degrees" into "full Ninths". The transformation of McMurtry's "Caliphate" into a firm by its self-styled "OHO", William Breeze, through an election of 'Caliphate'IX°s becoming provisional X°s electing a 'Caliph' who is provisionally a X° and suddenly turning into a "OHO" is documented via All we want is a 'Caliph': Minutes of the Special Ninth Degree Caliphate Election Held September 20/21, 1985.

Who possesses and executes the Crowley-copyrights? National Grandmasters and OHOs of the O.T.O.
The Gnostic Catholic Church Boast or How William Breeze lost his Apostolic Succession.
History of the O.T.O. in the USA, aka the 'Caliphate'.
Material on and from the Typhonian O.T.O. (Kenneth Grant, Michael Staley), e.g.:
    The Babalon Working of Jack Parsons.
    An Appreciation of Marjorie Cameron .
Karl Germer's correspondence with Friedrich Mellinger about Hermann Joseph Metzger, Felix Lazerus Pinkus, Eugen Grosche and Heinrich Traenker.
Karl Germer to Carl Heinz Petersen. Keywords: Hermann Joseph Metzger, Henry Heinrich Birven, Theodor Reuss and Succession, Nazis, Martha Kuentzel, Friedrich Lekve, Heinrich Traenker. Gabriel Montenegro's correspondence with European Thelemites in the 1960s.
A section called "Collections of Re-Collections" where 36 thelemites recall 'how they became member' or remember other experiences with HOOR, the Society O.T.O., the 'Caliphate', the OTOF, Steve Englehart etc.

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