Friday, June 4, 2010

Rare Jack Parsons Manuscripts.

While the story of Jack Parsons is well known the details are obscure. Seen as both a fallen angel and an idiot under the spell of L. Ron Hubbard he is certainly one of the most intriguing and enigmatic Americans who has ever lived.
On one hand a man who much of the U.S. Space program owes a great debt to and on the other an unwitting muse to the modern scourge of Scientology. A man who helped bring to our modern age the Jet Engine, the Vapor Trail, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and the idea that masturbating in the Mojave desert for several days can open the gateway to other planes of existence. This is the kind of shit that gets a crater on the moon named after you.

Several popular biographies exist and books have been published dealing with Parsons' life and work. However as is the case with many enigmatic personalities real insight is left to the direct experience of the work of the artist and their creation. A few years ago Weiser Antiquarian Books had a catalog sale which included many of Parsons writings in the form of handwritten diaries and composition book entries. Many of these have not been published before. I decided it would be a good idea mostly for myself but hopefully others if I cataloged some of these in another place so that they may be appreciated perhaps to a further audience and become more firmly entrenched on the internet. I will add that the feeling of taking off in a plane equipped with Jet Propulsion is another way to directly experience the artistry of Jack Parsons.

A Single Untitled Holograph Manuscript Leaf - Part of a Larger Unpublished Work. ND circa 1940s. ...Appears to be the first page of an Introduction for a projected book: "This book contains a truth, and therefore those who conceive of truth in terms other than those of ecstasy, terror, or indifference should read no further ..... The truth to be discussed is the truth of evil, and [fragment ends]." A tantalizing fragment of a work unfinished or lost."

An unpublished one page holograph manuscript fragment, entitled, "Church of Thelema Service for the Dead." ND circa 1940s. The text - essentially one long paragraph - is obviously Parson's unfinished notes towards a funeral service for use within the Church of Thelema. It starts with the observation "The Thelemic concept of death in the new Aeon is vastly different than the Christian concept in the old [A]eon" and continues on for another 70 or so words. There are a few crude pencil doodles - either of a spider or a leaf..."

Two 2 page holograph manuscript headed respectively "The Gnostic Creed" and "The Gnostic Doctrine" with a fifth unpublished manuscript page headed "The Lost Gospel." ND circa 1940s. Three short pieces, written in ink on the rectos only of five sheets of 11 x 8 1/2 inch cream colored loose-leaf notepaper (the type used in a ring-binder). The first two pieces - "The Gnostic Creed" and "The Gnostic Doctrine" - were published on pages 67 & 68 respectively of Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword. The fifth page, "The Lost Gospel" is unpublished. Like "The Gnostic Doctrine" it is in point form, and is divided into eight points, three of which have sub-points. Thus the first point reads: 1) The Religious Basis of the Modern Dilemma. A. The nature of the problem - pretense & hypocrisy - a double standard, B. The sexual Root. C. The moral root."

A nine page Holograph Manuscript Headed "Manifesto of the Witchcraft" with Unpublished Appendices of a Course Outline and Registration and Membership Form. ND circa 1940s. A holograph essay, written in ink (with a few pencil corrections) on the rectos only of eight sheets of 11 x 8 1/2 inch sheet cream colored loose-leaf notepaper (the type used in a ring-binder). The first six pages of the piece - the actual "Manifesto" - was published in Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword, pp. 69-70, under the title, " Manifesto of the Witchcraft." The seventh - ninth pages are all unpublished. The seventh page is a short course outline for Parson's intended Witchcraft group, it begins "Course P-1 Basic Magick [the word Witchcraft is struck through] Fourteen Sections, with assignments $10.00 [the price $21.00 is struck through] A paragraph follows, outlining what is taught, below which is "For registration in class instruction or extension courses write The Witchcraft P.O. Box." The eight and ninth pages are "Registration for Course P-1, and application for probationary membership in the Witchcraft." This is basically the text of a document outlining the responsibilities of "The Witchcraft" to the candidate, and vice-versa, that he or she would have to sign before joining and starting the course. In part it reads: "I further understand that the Witchcraft is a religious, benevolent, and fraternal organization pledged to the ideals of love, of liberty, and universal brotherhood .... " The candidate would then have been required to sign the document, giving his or her name, age, sex, occupation, religious affiliation, organizations, and reason for application. The manuscript clearly dates from the same time as several others also published in Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword: "Wormwood Star," that published as "The Witchcraft" and the untitled mss. starting: "If the knowledge of Lucifer is the knowledge of hell ...," and "In dealing with the public from an initiated viewpoint ...."

For the most inquisitive you can continue to read these and other pages from the journals of Jack Parsons here. Out of the entire offering, which must have fetched near to $10,000 in total I found this to be the most interesting of all of the items listed.

Original hand drawn and lettered Natal Charts of Marjorie Cameron and Robert Cameron, prepared by Jack Parsons. Circa. 1946. Drawn and lettered in pencil on both sides of a single sheet of paper with the printed letterhead of "The Parsons Chemical Manufacturing Company," on the recto. The Natal chart of Parsons’s second wife Marjorie E. Cameron (1922–1995) is on the recto, and Parson's brother-in-law Robert E. Cameron (1929–1988) on the verso. Although not mentioned, both were born at Belle Plaine, Iowa, USA. Both nativities are curiously titled “Horoscope of Toth by Fra\ 210 [Jack Parsons]” Truly an extraordinary association item. "

Note that the letterhead reads "The Parsons Chemical Manufacturing Company" now wouldn't this look so fine framed in the hall of the temple next to this, the very pants worn by a monkey sent into space by the Soviets? I can't stand the beauty.

No comments:

Post a Comment