The Rocket Scientist & The Witch

Jack Parsons

 There are few modern love stories as passionate and poignant as the relationship between rocket scientist Jack Parsons and his artist lover, Marjorie Cameron. At once a muse, occult student and primal force of nature – a woman he proclaimed as his ‘elemental’ in a letter to Aleister Crowley – Cameron fascinated, troubled and inspired Parsons.
Songs for the Witch Woman is a project born from this turbulent love story. A series of poems written by Parsons reveal his feelings toward his often absent lover. And beside these words are images from the hand of Cameron, illustrating and echoing the intimate themes.

Songs For The Witch Woman

I have questions here. HEAPS of questions.

Marvel “Jack” Parsons was a Rocket Scientist and aspiring Shaman. He had this mad love affair with a beautiful Witch. He had no formal education but founded the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. He was clearly Hot. He was embezzled by L.Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. He was investigated by the F.B.I. for witchcraft and/or being a spy. He believed in free love.

How come i have never heard of him till now and how come this is not a major movie?

Songs For The Witch Woman

I mean, god. Okay so Marvel (top points also for epic actual first name) was Libra, with Gemini Rising and Moon in Pisces. He had an exact Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in Aquarius.  He died in a “mysterious explosion” that is, of course, the subject of conspiracy theories.

Jack Parsons Marjorie Cameron

Marjorie Cameron – whose sensational work is about to be exhibited in her hometown L.A. – was Taurus and a beauty, with a spectacular Moon-Lilith-Uranus conjunction in Pisces (that clearly blew Parsons mind) and Pluto on her North Node in Kataka. THESE PEOPLE!  Some of her work…thoughts?

Marjorie Cameron art


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57 thoughts on “The Rocket Scientist & The Witch

  1. You are SO right. If only Stanley Kubrick could have gotten his hands on this story, ha!

    I love the picture at the bottom of the post- do you know who is the subject of the painting? Lilith maybe?

    • But he’s ancient, and like, ew.. I think the actor for him would be James Dean, but he’s like, dead. 🙂

      Viggo Mortenson is Libra (but too old?).
      Richard Madden (Robb Stark) is Gem, has the look.

  2. I can certainly see Crowley’s influence in all of this.

    I’m not so sure that anyone interested in the occult, mysticism sub-culture of California circa 60’s would’ve escaped that, though.

    I’d like to decipher the text around the dark angels waist, again at the bottom of the picture.

    My initial explorations of mysticism, apart from that of my mother’s, was Crowley’s work and Watts’ “The Way of Zen”. Sex magic intrigued me. I often put my powers of suggestion to the test aka Crowley’s experiments.

    I became highly efficient in causing people to trip over at will just by projecting it mentally.

    Wow, now I’m really baring my soul.

    • You may find the books by the late Stuart Wilde interesting.
      An interesting man, modern shaman with a sense of humour.
      He wrote of experiments in using mental projection to reach out and ‘touch’ people.

      • I read a lot of the Golden Dawn stuff at one time. It was suggested to me by a wonderful wizard who owned a book store in Elizabeth Bay. Do you know him V ? Early 80s.
        He had discernment.
        Scan the material, leave the dross (most of it) and find the jewels !
        Amongst all the Golden Dawn and theosophical set one man stood out for me.
        Israel Regardie. Crowley’s private secretary.
        His material is like a root cutting compared to cut flowers. Simple organic exercises that make higher levels of reality available to every soul, every being, free of charge and dogma. Plant it, nurture it , and let it grow. The magic of the breath.
        The cut flower style is ‘behold the glory’. Years of esoteric study, years of ascetic practice, intellect reaching. The shaman.
        Most of us don’t need to be shamans to access the realms of bliss. That path is actually a really hard one, the benefits more worldly than spiritual in my view. Any path that values secrecy is interested in worldly power.

        • Have heard of the Golden Dawn, Davidl, but not read any of the material. I would have liked that bookstore for sure! Adyar was a treasure trove.

          That reminds me, I have a copy of the Golden Bough, A Study in Magic and Religion by JG Frazer, but not given it a thorough read yet. Seems fascinating, but also am not in a primo headspace for anything too verbally dense right now as I’m a bit addicted to Instagram and Pinterest 🙂 pictures over words atmo!

          Israel Regardie I only know of cos I use the Crowley Thoth deck, but I like the sound of his approach…Stuart Wilde’s writing is wryly funny, Pegs liked his work too. Didn’t take himself overly serious-like, but an astute observer of different realities.

          I have always thought being an artist has shamanic aspects to it, or being a medium for the zeitgeist.

  3. There is a movie tho only a short but on utube. The wormwood star. Article I found says:
    the vast majority of Marjorie Cameron’s paintings were destroyed by her—burned—in an act of ritualized suicide. There are very few pieces by Cameron that have survived—a few paintings and some sketches—and The Wormwood Star is the only record of most of them.

  4. Why haven’t we heard of this guy ?
    Because the real movers and shakers of the world are always hidden. Usually they have their ideas stolen and are then crucified to hide the evidence.

    • I tell you one thing DL, my uni unit co-ordinators are going to get rheemed a new one.

      My B/a of art’s doesn’t even touch on any of this, yet, by critiquing the work in Charles’ link, I can see how it these examples reek of the French situationists with pastiche tendencies, too.

      Post-modern mysticism art ?

      Fuq me, I’ve just coined an academic phrase!

      Alas, someone’s sure to have beat me to it, like fifty years ago… drat!


  5. Cool, I discovered her like three days ago and was instantly obsessed. Would LOVE to see that exhibition.
    Can’t forget her work in Kenneth Anger films! Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome is all her.

    • Also I think it’s fabulous that the Scarlet Woman (from parsons and hubbard’s Babalon Working) rises with all this Leo energy! I’m totally transfixed on red these days.

  6. Fascinating!! I had no idea………. and all three of my kids were born in Pasadena while their dad worked as a (Scorpio) scientist at JPL.
    How could I have missed this? We need books *and* a movie!!

    • Actually, there was a totally cheesy book already, i’m using it to illo the daily horoscopes – check them out when posted in about 30 mins

      • Yikes! That *is* cheesy…… now we need an 800+ page well researched super-classy version!

      • Mystic, I was surprised (?) to see that the cheesy book was co-authored by Robert Anton Wilson — atheist mystic, Discordian, and co-author of the influential Illuminatus! books, which I devoured as a young adult. He’s another interesting character!

        • Oh — I see now that Robert Anton Wilson wrote the Introduction to the cheesy “Sex and Rockets” book — not a co-author. I can see how he’d be interested in the topic, and his name could add cred to the book.

  7. my whole life living in LA, i’ve not met one person who knew of this side of jack parsons. they might know of crowley, hubbard or JPL & even someseem to only vaguely know that caltech exists! i’m not surprised you haven’t heard of this sooner if even californians themselves don’t know.

    he had a house where satanic rituals were done & it was on orange grove avenue. if you’ve ever been to orange grove in pasadena you’d never ever believe it! it is like super, super quaint & old school … like, very dainty teatime with roses.

  8. Marvel did not die in that mysterious explosion. He time travelled ahead to be with ME. I am expecting him any minute.

    What a hunk of hotness. He reminds me of Kerouac, my previous top history crush of all time, before i met Marvel.

    LOVE the art too. What a hook up.

  9. Holy fuq!
    This is awesome!!!!
    I want to know MORE!!!

    thanks for posting MM

  10. Talk about synchronicity! i’ve been researching mermaids in art, literature and film and i came across a film called “Night Tide” which i watched last night. It’s by Curtis Harrington (another explorer of the occult) and in it, Marjorie Cameron plays a mysterious character, presumably queen of the mermaids. It’s a 1961 film a la noir – and Dennis Hopper’s first starring role. Curtis Harrington also filmed “The Wormwood Star” a short film about Cameron. But if you really want to gorge on the occult, symbolism, goddesses and myth watch a short film by Kenneth Anger -“Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome” starring Marjorie Cameron ( Anais Nin also makes an appearance as a goddess) fabulous fun…. And all of this on youtube…also fabulous

  11. Yes! I love it, I know about her as an artist but not about him or their relationship, pretty happy this exhibition is happening while I’m in LA.

  12. Pffft….

    bloody amateur.

    good thing my GGGGranddaddy invented the safety fuse..
    otherwise it looked like he wouldn’t have made half his 37 years..

    • Oh hiya Sweets !
      you’re in California too right?

      Marvel does sound like he was great value and his story is all such a classic example of how California has been the centre of contemporary esoterica the last century.
      Sounds like the poor bugger lost his Mojo after hooking up with that LRon.. 🙁

      I don’t intuitively relate to the Western-pagany-Lilithy side of modern astrology (Lilith is totally UNaspected in my natal chart..she’s in the 9th.. but thats it..)
      but this sort of thing fires off my interest of how it all ties in to a Goethean/Steiner perspective to it all.

      Biodynamicists like to use California as an example of how geographic location (thats purely LOCATION..not geographic attributes) figure into that population’s group consciousness ‘n wotnot.
      they say the mountains and tectonic dynamic are another outward display… or indicator of the region’s character..
      generally feisty..

      Astrology plainly has a MAJOR role here..
      I feel it might figure into actually working out how it ALL works..

      I figure Goethe is the keystone

      and I find the similarities and differences between NorCal and SoCal quite fascinating as well.. for Biodynamicists, Cal is like a tarpit of material for Palaeontologists,i reckon.

      …..wasnt it tar that was young Marvel’s major contribution to rocketry? ..
      love how it made those big red shuttle booster recyclable : )

      Take care Sweets and love to that Cali Sunlight : )

  13. Wow, I knew the story about Crowley and Parsons, their story is infamous, but I never heard anything about Cameron after Parsons’ death. But it turns out I had heard of her, but not by name. Wallace Berman got arrested for obscenity for publishing one of Cameron’s erotic drawings in his Semina magazine. The whole story (and the drawing) is here:

  14. “Frater 210 ” was Parsons secret/magic name. I read an article in Mean magazine about him back in the early 2000s. Shortly after that article that magazine went under. In the article it said Parsons was involved in many occult rituals/golden dawn and was once a friend of Ron L Hubbard. And knew a lot of his secrets. The article implied parson/210 death was suspicious. Incidentally the 210 freeway was built after his death and it starts in Pasedena where he accidentally”blew” himself up and ends near the church of Scientology in LA.

    Anyway he was into some weird stuff. I think the article said that Parsons was trying to manifest Lilith or some goddess of destruction.

    • Here is a different article about his occult activities:
      I guess he was trying to manifest a “whore of the stars”.
      He wrote about his rituals in length to Alister Crowely. Ultimately a lister deemed Parsons as being in a hippy love cult because he brought women into the mix . It is implied that there were sexual rituals while Ron l Hubbard watched.

      Besides dabbling in dark occult stuff, it seems like the us government and scientologists weren’t too fond of him.

      His story is fascinating…

    • Oh yeah, and the Wikipedia entry on Parsons says they are working on making his life into some kind of TV show!