A Smash Journal + A Found Religious Text = Babalon (NSFW)

So I found this “Metaphysical Bible Dictionary” discarded on a sidewalk in the West Village, amusingly enough after leaving my friend Tamara’s monthly occult salon. (Something always happens when I leave that salon. At least a discarded book doesn’t involved media, cops, and body bags…) I’m not sure how this tome made it from the Unity School of Christianity in Kansas City, MO to a rainy sidewalk in NYC, but that was no reason not to do something with their definition of “Babylon”.

It’s interesting how in some ways the understanding this book presents of the Whore of Babylon is similar to the Thelemic understanding of Babalon (“The great harlot is the mental phase or psychic condition of the sensuality of sex”) , while in other ways it is divergent. They perceive her as also bringing an “element of confusion” through “lack of understanding of life.” Sometimes the divergence is simply a matter of “You make that sound like a BAD thing!”. And agree or disagree, this column of text reflects but one aspect of the Scarlet Woman and her traits of Binah.

However, this writing attributes scarlet to the Beast, stating:

“The scarlet-colored beast is the beastly nature in man; it also  represents the bodily, or outer, phase of the individual. The woman, or the psychical, mental, feeling plane, must have a base of activity and the body is this base of activity. Thus the woman was sitting upon the beast.”

Well it’s not like these aren’t the very concepts Crowley was subverting. Or maybe bringing back around.

This equation of woman/the body/sensuality is also talked about in the Marcuse book I just read. The Eros/Pleasure Principle, sublimated in the interest of creating a hierarchical civilization where the many are in service of the privileged few, was projected onto the bodies of women. Though intriguingly, in the haste of making projections, little to no thought was given to what may represent Pleasure for these women themselves. Still, this process, this projection of sensuality onto the form of Woman, and then that same pleasure demonized, seems very active in the passages here. Marcuse argued that the repressed instincts towards sexuality/sensuality were then directed in other ways, primarily in work. Though work is necessary to survive, have our needs met, and build community, these goals were soon overshot, and work was done by the bulk of the populace for profit that primarily benefitted those at the top. Pleasure become doled out in controlled measures, and that which was suppressed could also be turned into commodity. Or as any advertiser would tell you, “Sex sells!” Usually products that have nothing to do with sex. Marcuse argued for re-imagining civilization where sensuality (not just sexuality) was no longer taboo, and people’s work, play, and other actions in life went toward self-actualization, and a civilization where all could partake in culture, not spend the bulk of their time working just to make it run.

Ironically, when the folks in Kansas City wrote of “lack of understanding of life” bringing “confusion” to the human race, I think at least in part that’s due to the vilification of the Scarlet Harlot here. If this principle, call it Babalon, Eros, Pleasure, what have you, were approached with reverence as a sacred part of our humanity and the universe as opposed to something taboo or scandalous, I suspect we’d collectively be in a far better paradigm than we currently are.

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2 thoughts on “A Smash Journal + A Found Religious Text = Babalon (NSFW)

  1. I just kind of went with a torch-headed goat, for that Baphomet association (or Pan, or Bou Jeloud…) But here’s a depiction from the Thoth Tarot deck:

    And an older classic image from William Blake:

    Like

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