“In early 1946, 24-year-old illustrator and artist Marjorie Cameron (1922–1995) met the autodidact rocket scientist and occultist John “Jack” Whiteside Parsons (1914–1952), one of the earliest followers of the religion Thelema, founded by the British occultist Aleister Crowley (1875–1947). Parsons, who was magically trying to bring the Thelemic goddess Babalon to earthly incarnation, was struck by Cameron’s flaming red hair and dramatic looks, and the pair became lovers. Playing a key role in Parsons’ “Babalon Working”, Cameron soon began studying occultism under Parsons’ tutelage. Following Parsons’ accidental death in 1952, Cameron delved deeper into Thelema, magic, and visionary states, experimenting with peyote and seeking the guidance of her Holy Guardian Angel. She devoted the rest of her life to occultism as well as her art and poetry, which continuously explored themes of metamorphosis, eroticism, and death. As an icon of the Los Angeles artistic avantgarde, Cameron inspired filmmakers Curtis Harrington and Kenneth Anger, starring as the “Scarlet Woman” in the latter’s Crowley-inspired Inauguration of the Pleasure-Dome (1954). This talk will delve into Cameron’s art, poetry, and occultism, situating her as one of the most enigmatic mystical visionaries of the twentieth century.”
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).