Parsonian Erratae Terminatus
In the interest of responsible journalism,
we have included this
list of bug fixes to the recent Parsons BABALONian meme which,
appears, is still in beta. Many thanks to Brother Bill for his
On Mon, 10 Nov 1997 16:20:39 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill
Heidrick, OTO officer) wrote:
Some small difficulties and amplification.
Jack Parsons: Sorcerous Scientist
by Douglas Chapman
Jack Parsons and his wife Helen bad come into contact with the Agape
lodge of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis international magical
fraternity) in Los Angeles in 1939, and had joined it in 1941.
Jack and Helen (nee Northrup) did join OTO in 1941, already married.
The date was: 15th Feburary, 1941 e.v. Both took Minerval and went
on to Ist degree OTO immediately after.
It was under the leadership of Wilfred Talbot Smith, a Britisher who
had founded this particular lodge about a decade earlier, circa
No, wrong on the date.
W.T. Smith started Agape Lodge in the US on 21st September 1935 e.v.,
according to the minutes of the Lodge.
Achad founded the 1st Agape Lodge, earlier in Canada and under
Crowley's direction. W.T. Smith came down from there (his
initiations were recorded at Achad's Agape Lodge) to southern
California and re-started the then dormant Lodge. Achad took
exception to this, but Crowley over-ruled and kept it open.
Crowley, the world head of the O.T.O., took action that increased
Parsons' stature in the Order. Circa 1943-44, he convinced Smith,
via a paper entitled 'Is Smith a God?' that astrological research
had shown that Smith was not a man, but actually an incarnation of
some deity. Taking the hint that Crowley wanted him out, the "god"
went into private magical practice, eventually with reportedly
rewarding results, remaining head of the lodge in name only.
This is somewhat inaccurate. Crowley called W.T. Smith "The Unknown
God", since Smith apparently had something of that kind going but
had never claimed KandC of the HGA. All went well until the
incorporation of the Church of Thelema by Smith. A gossip campaign
convinced Crowley that Smith was pulling a fast one, and Crowley
wrote Liber Apotheosis as a cover for ordering Smith out. Liber
Apotheosis set forth conditions (including Coventry) for magical
retirement (to Louis Culling's turkey farm, of all places!) Smith
was formally removed as head of Agape Lodge #2, and Helen (now
divorced from Jack and with W.T. Smith) was included in the Coventry
without her knowledge. Ultimately Grant took up Crowley's
sobriquette for W.T. Smith as a book title with no evident relation
to Crowley's usage.
Parsons became acting master of the lodge.
No. Actual and formal master.
(4) Why did Crowley in effect kick Smith upstairs? The ostensible
reason seemed to be the danger that the man was turning the Order
into (as Crowley put it) 'that slimy abomination, a love cult'."
That was part of the gossip, but the straw that did it was language
in the incorporation papers of the Church of Thelema -- mis-read as
seeming to dispose headship of the OTO to Smith's as yet unborn son.
It wasn't a kick up. It was a kick out -- as clearly seen in
Crowley's rather nasty letters to Smith.
(5) Actually, Crowley, who was unable to emigrate to the United
States, was isolated from the only successful O.T.O. lodge in the
world. Because of this frustration, bad blood resulted, despite the
fact that Smith was probably the best field commander Crowley ever
Parsons had lost his wife to Smith, yet remained on good terms with
her. He was kept busy by Order activities, one of the most important
of which was the sending of money to Crowley, for both the old man's
minimal upkeep and the O.T.O. publishing fund. A good percentage
came from Parsons' own pocket." (6)
Crowley was very unhappy about the amounts involved, especially
after learning of the losses Parsons had in business dealings.
After having lost Helen Parsons to Smith in 1944, Parsons soon fell
for her younger sister, Sara Northrup (a.k.a. Betty), who was 18
year old and a student at USC.
Sequence, dates etc. off. Helen came back from visiting a sick
relative, only to learn that Betty and Jack had become a number.
Smith and Helen were later. Betty was younger and Helen once denied
to me that Betty was her blood sister -- going from memory on that
Parsons encouraged her to drop out of school and come live with him
(not exactly thrilling her parents). She joined the O.T.O. and was
not monogamous, since she agreed with Parsons that jealousy was a
base emotion not fit for the illuminated.
Sariah Northrup and Betty Sisk may be confused here -- both were OTO
members. I am not clear on the identity myself.
Because of the O.T.O. disaster, Parsons changed his magical emphases
to "the Witchcraft." (19)
Time relations in question again. Jack's material on "the
Witchcraft" was at least partly circulated during his mastery at