In the first century CE, a beautiful, lustful woman astride a seven-headed beast appeared in the apocalyptic visions of John of Patmos, chronicled in the biblical Book of Revelation. In 1909, the Whore of Babylon, Mother of Abominations, re-appeared in the Algerian desert before the British occultist Aleister Crowley (1875–1947). For Crowley, she was the goddess Babalon — representing passionate union with all of existence and the sacredness of liberated (and especially feminine) sexuality. Join Manon Hedenborg White for an exploration of Babalon and her meaning in modern occultism as a goddess of ego-death, eroticism, and transgressive femininity. We will follow Babalon from Aleister Crowley’s mysticism and sexual magic, via the ”Babalon Working” of American rocket scientist John Whiteside Parsons and his lover, the artist Marjorie Cameron, through the Left-Hand Path Tantra of the enigmatic British occultist Kenneth Grant, up until the present, when radical occultists are reinterpreting Babalon as a goddess of feminine empowerment and queer liberation.
Manon Hedenborg White holds a PhD in the History of Religions from Uppsala University. She is the author of ”The Eloquent Blood: The Goddess Babalon and the Construction of Femininities in Western Esotericism” (Oxford University Press, 2020).