Rocket scientist John Whiteside “Jack” Parsons, the man who did more to unite science and the occult than anyone since the alchemists, was born one hundred years ago today. Naturally this event was invested with magickal significance by the man himself (see verse above) and the stars seemed to agree (see chart reading below, from James Wasserman’s In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989).
ASIDE: The woman who brought him into the world would exit with him too; when Parsons mixed up a fatal brew of chemicals in 1952 his grief-stricken mother Ruth took her own life.
The portrait of Parsons above is included in an exhibition of works by his lover Marjorie Cameron which begins in Los Angeles next week under the title Songs for the Witch Woman. This is also the name of a recent book which unites Cameron’s images with Parsons’ poetry, an example of which is below:
I height* Don Quixote, I live on Peyote,
marihuana, morphine and cocaine.
I never knew sadness but only a madness
that burns at the heart and the brain,
I see each charwoman ecstatic, inhuman,
angelic, demonic, divine,
Each wagon a dragon, each beer mug a flagon
that brims with ambrosial wine
I went to the city and found it a pity
the devil was playing at hell,
And ten million mortals had entered hell’s portals
and thought they were all doing well.
I said: “See, dear people, on every church steeple
an imp of the devil at play,
See ghouls cut their capers in daily newspapers
and fiends in police courts hold sway;
The mountains are palaces, women are chalices
meant to be supped and not sold,
The desert a banquet hall set for a festival,
ripe for the free and the bold;
The wind and the sky are ours, heaven and all its stars,
waken, and do what you will;
Break with this demon spawn’d hel-inspired nightmare
bond—Magick lies over the hill.
They said I was crazy, ambiguous, lazy,
disgusting, fantastic, obscene;
So I hied for my sagebrush and cactus and corn mush,
To see if the air was still clean.
Oh, I height Don Quixote, I live on peyote,
marihuana, morphine and cocaine,
And may I be twice damned for a bank-clerk or store hand
if I visit the city again.
* “I height” presumably meant to be “I hight”, i.e. “I am”/”I am named” (archaic)
Update: Jack Parsons coming to a small screen near you soon.