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Hubbard and The Occult
(Part 1 of 2)

by Jon Atack



Preface


I stand before you having been accused in print by L. Ron Hubbard's followers of having an avid interest in black magic. I would like to put firmly on record that whatever interest I have is related entirely to achieving a better understanding of the creator of Dianetics and Scientology. Hubbard's followers have the right to be made aware that he had not only an avid interest, but that he was also a practitioner of black magic. Today I shall discuss these matters in depth, but I shall not repeat all of the proofs which already exist in my book A Piece of Blue Sky (1). [Click here for the text-ZIP-file of this book (352K)]



Scientology is a twisting together of many threads. Ron Hubbard's first system, Dianetics, which emerged in 1950, owes much to early Freudian ideas (2). For example,

  • Hubbard's "Reactive Mind" obviously derives from Freud's "Unconscious".

  • The notion that this mind thinks in identities comes from Korzybski's General Semantics. Initially, before deciding that he was the sole source of Dianetics and Scientology (3), Hubbard acknowledged his debt to these thinkers (4).

  • Dianetics bears marked similarites to work reported by American psychiatrists Grinker and Speigel (5) and English psychiatrist William Sargant (6).

  • The first edition of Hubbard's 1950 text Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (7) carried an advertisment for a book published a year earlier (8). Psychiatrist Nandor Fodor had been writing about his belief in the residual effects of the birth trauma for some years, following in the footsteps of Otto Rank.

  • In lectures given in 1950, Hubbard also referred to works on hynopsis which had obviously influenced his techniques (9). The very name "Dianetics" probably owes something to the, at the time, highly popular subject of Cybernetics. (10).

By 1952, Hubbard had lost the rights to Dianetics, having bailed out just before the bankruptcy of the original Hubbard Research Foundation. He had also managed to avoid the charges brought against that Foundation by the New Jersey Medical Association for teaching medicine without a license (11).

In a matter of days in the early spring of 1952, Hubbard moved from his purported "science of mental health" into the territory of reincarnation and spirit possession.

He called his new subject Scientology, claiming that the name derived from "scio" and "logos" and meant "knowing how to know". However, Hubbard was notorious for his sly humour and "scio" might also refer to the Greek word for a "shade" or "ghost". Scientology itself had already been used at the turn of the century to mean "pseudo-science" and in something close to Hubbard's meaning in 1934 by one of the proponents of Aryan racial theory (12). Other possible links between Hubbard's thought and that of the Nazis will be made clear later in this paper.

Scientology seems to be a hybrid of science-fiction and magic. Hubbard's reflection on philosophy seem to derive largely from Will Durant's Story of Philosophy (13) and the works of Aleister Crowley.

Aleister Crowley is surely the most famous black magician of the twentieth-century. It is impossible to arrive at an understanding of Scientology without taking into account its creator's extensive involvement with magic. The trail has been so well obscured in the past that even such a scholar as Professor Gordon Melton has been deceived into the opinion that Hubbard was not a practitioner of ritual magic and that Scientology is not related to magical beliefs and practices. In the book A Piece of Blue Sky, I explored these connections in detail. The revealations surrounding Hubbard's private papers in the 1984 Armstrong case in California makes any denial of the connections fatuous. The significances of these connections is of course open to discussion.

The chapter in A Piece of Blue Sky that describes Hubbard's involvement with the ideas of magic is called His Magical Career. I hope I shall be excused for relying upon it. I shall also here describe further research, and comment particularly upon Hubbard's use of magical symbols, and the inescapable view that many of the beliefs and practices of Scientology are a reformation of ritual magic (14).

In 1984, a former close colleague of Hubbard's told me that thirty years before when asked how he had managed to write 'Dianetics, The Modern Science Of Mental Health' in just three weeks, Hubbard had replied that it had been automatic writing. He said that the book had been dictated by "the Empress". At the time, I had no idea who or what "the Empress" might be. Later, I noticed that in an article printed immediately prior to the book Dianetics, Hubbard had openly admitted to his use of "automatic writing, speaking and clairvoyance" (15). However, it took several years to understand this tantalising reference to the Empress.

In the 1930's, Hubbard became friendly with fellow adventure writer Arthur J. Burks. Burks described an encounter with "the Redhead" in his book Monitors. The text makes it clear that "the Redhead" is none other than Ron Hubbard. Burk said that when the Redhead had been flying gliders he would be saved from trouble by a "smiling woman" who would appear on the aircraft's wing (16). Burk put forward the view that this was the Redhead's "monitor"or guardian angel.

In 1945, Hubbard became involved with Crowley's acolyte, Jack Parsons. Parsons wrote to Crowley that Hubbard had "described his angel as a beautiful winged women with red hair, whom he calls the Empress, and who had guided him through his life and saved him many times." In the Crowleyite system, adherents seek contact with their "Holy Guardian Angel".

John Whiteside Parsons, usually known as Jack, first met Hubbard at a party in August 1945. When his terminal leave from the US Navy began, on Dec 6th, 1945, Hubbard went straight to Parsons' house in Pasadena, and took up residence in a trailer in the yard. Parsons was a young chemist who had helped set up Jet Propulsion Laboratories and was one of the innovators of solid fuel for rockets. Parsons was besotted with Crowley's Sex Magick, and had recently become head of the Agape Lodge of the Church of Thelema in Los Angeles. The Agape Lodge was an aspect of the Ordo Templi Orientis, the small international group headed by Aleister Crowley.

Parsons' girlfriend soon transferred her affection to Hubbard. With her, Hubbard and Parsons formed a business partnership, as a consequence of which Parsons lost most of his money to Hubbard. However, before Hubbard ran away with the loot, he and Parsons participated in magical rituals which have received great attention among contemporary practitioners.

Parsons and Hubbard together performed their own version of the secret eighth degree ritual (17) of the Ordo Templi Orientiis in January 1946. The ritual is called "concerning the secret marriage of gods with men" or "the magical masturbation" and is usually a homosexual ritual. The purpose of this ritual was to attract a women willing to participate in the next stage of Hubbard and Parsons' Sex Magick.

Hubbard and Parsons were attempting the most daring magical feat imaginable. They were trying to incarnate the Scarlet Woman described in the Book of Revelation as "Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlot and Abominations of the Earth...drunken with the blood of saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus."(18). During the rituals, Parsons described Babalon as "mother of anarchy and abominations". The women who they believed had answered their call, Majorie Cameron, joined in with their sexual rituals in March 1946.

Parsons used a recording machine to keep a record of his ceremonies. He also kept Crowley informed by letter. The correspondence still exists. Crowley wrote to his deputy in New York "I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts".

Crowley was being disingenous. His own novel The Moonchild describes a ritual with a similar purpose. Further, the secret IXth degree ritual of the Ordo Templi Orientis (19) contains "Of the Homunculus" in which the adept seeks to create a human embodiment of one of the energies of nature - a god or goddess. The ritual says "to it thou are Sole God and Lord, and it must serve thee."

In fact, Hubbard and Parsons were committing sacrilege in Crowley's terms. Crowley respelled "Babylon" as he respelled "magic". His magick was entirely dedicated to Babalon, the Scarlet Woman. Crowley believed himself the servant and slave of Babalon, the antichrist, styling himself "The Beast, 666". For anyone to try to incarnate and control the goddess must have been an impossible blasphemy to him. Crowley, after all, called Babalon "Our Lady"(20).

Hubbard and Parsons attempt did not end with the conception of a human child. However, just as Crowley said that "Gods are but names for the forces of Nature themselves" (21), so it might be speculated that Hubbard embodied Babalon not in human form, but through his organization.

Parsons sued Hubbard in Florida in July 1946, managing to regain a little of his money. The record of their rituals was later transcribed and has since been published as The Babalon Working (22). Parsons made a return to Magick, writing The Book of The Antichrist in 1949 (23). Parsons pronounced himself the Antichrist. In a scientology text, Hubbard spoke favourably of Parsons, making no mention of their magical liason (24). A Piece of Blue Sky covers Hubbard's involvement with Parsons in much greater detail than I have given here.

Hubbard's interest in the occult was kindled long before he met Parsons. It dates back at least to his membership of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis or AMORC, in 1940. Hubbard had completed the first two neophyte degrees before his membership lapsed, and later there were private complaints that he had incorporated some of the teaching he had promised to keep secret into Scientology (25).

Having stolen Parsons' girl and his money, Hubbard carried on with magical practices of his own devising. Scientology attempted to reclaim documents which recorded these practices in its case against former Hubbard archivist Gerald Armstrong. Some $280,000 was paid to publishers Ralston Pilot to prevent publication of Omar Garrison's authorised biography of Hubbard. However, Garrison retained copies of thousands of Hubbard's documents and showed me one which had been referred to in the Armstrong trial. The Blood Ritual is an invokation of the Egyptian goddess Hathor, performed by Hubbard during the late 1940's. As the name suggests, the ritual involved the use of blood. Hubbard mingled his own blood with that of his then wife (the girlfriend he had stolen from Parsons and with whom Hubbard contracted a bigamous marriage.)

In a 1952 Scientology lecture, Hubbard referred to "Aleister Crowley, my very good friend" (26). In fact, the two black magicians never met, and Crowley expressed a very low opinion of the man who he saw had tricked his disciple Jack Parsons. Even so, Hubbard had a very positive regard for Crowley, calling his work "fascinating" (27) and recommending one of his books to Scientologists. Having referred to Crowley as "The Beast 666", Hubbard said that he had "picked a level of religious worship which is very interesting." (28). He also made it clear that he had read the fundamental text of the Crowley teaching, The Book of the Law (29).

In his 1952 lectures, Hubbard also referred to the Tarot cards, saying that they were not simply a system of divination but a "philosophical machine". He gave particular mention to the Fool card, saying "The Fool of course is the wisest of all. The Fool who goes down the road with the alligators at his heels, and the dogs yapping at him, blindfolded on his way, he knows all there is and does nothing about it...nothing could touch him" (30).

The only Tarot pack which has a alligator on the Fool Card is Crowley's (31). When I interviewed Gerald Armstrong, Hubbard's archivist, in 1984, he told me of a Hubbard scale dating from the 1940's. At the base of the scale was the word "animals". It then ascended through "labourers, farmers, financiers, fanatics" and "the Fool" to "God". Hubbard seemed to have seen himself as the Fool and was perhaps trying to create a trampoline of fanatics through whom he could achieve divinity. Indeed, if Scientology could live up to its claims, then Hubbard would be a "godmaker".

Of course, the Tarot pack also contains the Empress card and knowing this it is finally possible to understand what Hubbard believed his Guardian Angel to be.

Crowley examined the Tarot in The Book of Thoth (32). Of the Empress card he said "She combines the highest spiritual with the lowest material qualities" (33). Crowley identifies the Empress as the "Great Mother" and indeed on her robe are bees (34), the traditional symbol of Cybele. Crowley is not alone in the belief that different cultures give different names to the same deities. The worship of Cybele goes back to at least 3,000 B.C. She entered Greek culture as Artemis and to the Romans was Diana, the huntress. Crowley also identified the Empress with the Hindu goddess Shakti (35), and the Egyptian goddess Isis and Hathor. Crowley directly identified Isis with Diana (36). More usually, Crowley called the Empress by the name Babalon (37).

Contemporary New Age groups see the Great Mother in the aspect of Gaia the Earth Mother. This is far from Crowley's view. Diana, the patroness of withcraft (38) was seen by Hubbard rather through the eyes of Crowley than as a benevolent, loving mother. Hubbard made no reference for example to Robert Graves' White Goddess, but only to Crowley and peripherally to Frazer's Golden Bough and Gibbon's Decline and Fall, both or which give reference to the cult of Diana. To Crowley, the Great Mother, Babalon, is, of course, also the antichrist.

While Crowley's path was submission to the Empress, Hubbard seems to have tried to dominate the same force, bringing it into being as a servile homunculus. Hubbard's eldest son, although a questionable witness, was insistent that his father taught him magic and privately referred to the goddess as Hathor. The Blood Ritual confirms this assertion if nothing else.

Publicly, Hubbard was taken with the Roman name of the goddess, Diana, giving it to one of his daughters and also to one of his Scientology Sea Organization boats. Curiously this boat had been renamed The Enchanter and before Scientology he had owned another called The Magician. Hubbard had also used Jack Parsons' money to buy a yacht called Diane (39). "Dianetics" may also be a reference to Diana. Shortly before its inception, another former US Navy Officer and practitioner of the VIIIth degree of the Ordo Templi Orientis had formed a group called Dianism (40).

When The Blood Ritual was mentioned during the Armstrong trial in 1984, Scientology's lawyer asserted that it was an invokation of an Egyptian goddess of love (41). Hathor is indeed popularly seen as a winged and spotted cow which feeds humanity. However, there is an important lesson about Scientology in the practice of magicians. The teachings of magic are considered by many practitioners to be powerful and potentially dangerous and therefore have to be kept secret.

One of the easiest ways toconceal the true meaning of a teaching is to reverse it. By magicians Hathor is also seen as an aspect of Sekmet, the avenging lioness. One authority on ritual magic has revealed the identity of Hathor as "the destroyer of man" (42).

The important lesson is that Scientology has both a public and a hidden agenda. Publicly it is a Church, privately as the record of convictions shows, it is an Intelligence Agency.

Many public Hubbard works speak of helping people. In his largely secret Fair Game teachings, however, Hubbard is outspoken in his attack upon either critics of himself or his works. For example, in What is Greatness? Hubbard says:
"The hardest task one can have is to continue to love one's fellows despite all reasons he should not. And the true sign of sanity and greatness is so to continue."
In one statement of the Fair Game Law, however, Hubbard said that opponents:
"May be tricked, sued or lied or destroyed" (43).

Of practitioners unlicensed by him Hubbard said:
"Harass these persons in any possible way" (44).
Nor did he exclude the possibility of murder against those who opposed him (45).

The harassment of critics, may explain the dearth of academic research into Scientology. Hubbard's use of contradiction to captivate and redirect his followers is worthy of a separate study (46), but it has its roots in his study of magic. Perhaps he related his "Dianetics" also to Janus, the two-faced god whose name is sometimes called "Dianus".

While Hubbard was supposedly researching his Dianetics in the late 1940s, he was in fact engaging in magical rituals, and trying out hypnosis both on himself and others. During the 1984 Armstrong trial, extracts from Hubbard's voluminous self-hypnotic affirmations were read into the record. The statements, hundreds of pages of them, are written in red ink and Hubbard frequently drew pictures of the male genitalia alongside the text (47). Amongst his suggestions to himself we find:

"Men are my slaves",
"Elemental Spirits are my slaves"
and
"You can be merciless whenever your will is crossed and you have every right to be merciless" (48).

[Continued in Part 2]



References:

(1) Atack, Jon, Lyle Stuart Books, New Jersey 1990

(2) Sigmund Freud, Clarke Lectures 1-3, in Two Short Accounts of Psycho-Analysis, Penguin Books, London, 1962, Cf Hubbard "Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health" and "The Dianetic Auditors Course"

(3) Hubbard HCO Policy letter "Keeping Scientology Working", 7 February 1965

(4) e.g. acknowledgements lists in Hubbard's "Science of Survival", 1951, and "Scientology 8-8008, 1952, Phoenix Lectures, p. 264

(5) Grinker and Speigel, "Men Under Stress", McGraw-Hill, New York, 1945

(6) Sargant, "Battle for the Mind", Heinemann, London, 1957. Hubbard had a copy of this book on his library shelf in Washington, D.C. in 1958. It also has relevance to other aspects of Scientology.

(7) Hermitage House, 1950

(8) Fodor, "The Search for the Beloved - a clinical investigation of birth and the trauma of prenatal conditioning", Hermitage House, 1949

(9) Wolfe & Rosenthal, Hypnotism COmes of Age, Blue Ribbon, NY, 1949, Young Twenty-Five Lessons in Hypnotism, Padell, NY, 1944. Both recommended by Hubbard in Research & Discovery, volume 2, p. 12, 1st edition.

(10) Jeff Jacobsen has written two interesting papers relevant to any discussion of the origins of Scientology. Dianetics: From Out of the Blue, the Skeptic, UK, March/April 1992, which discusses the origins of Dianetics and The Hubbard is Bare, 1992, a more general discussion including comments about Crowley and gnosticism. I have worked for some time on a set of papers which discuss Hubbard's plagiarism, as yet these are unavailable.

(11) A Piece of Blue Sky, pp. 119 & 125-126.

(12) A Piece of Blue Sky, pg. 128

(13) See particularly the chapters on Bergson and Spencer.

(14) See also Jacobsen's The Hubbard is Bare and Bent Corydon's L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman? Corydon relied upon excellent research by Brian Ambry but also upon L. Ron Hubbard jnr, whose credibility is questionable. See also L. Ron Hubbard, jnr, A Look Into Scientology or 1/10 of 1% of Scientology, manuscript, 1972.

(15) Hubbard, "Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science" originally printed in Astounding Science Fiction, May 1950. Republished by AOSH DK Publications Department, 1972, quotation from p. 56, see also p. 59.

(16) Burks, "Monitors" CSA Press, Lakemount, Georgia, 1967.

(17) King, Francis, The Secret Rituals of the OTO, C.W. Daniel, London, 1973.

(18) Revelation, chapter 17.

(19) Secret Rituals of the OTO

(20) Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice, Castle Books, New York, p. 88

(21) Magick in Theory and Practice, p. 120

(22) There is contention between the various OTO groups about the Book of Babalon. Its existence is sometimes denied, and the OTO New York have claimed that only a fragment exists (published in Parsons, Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword, Falcon, Las Vegas, 1989) I have read three versions of the manuscript, one is the Yorke transcript, another is un-named. The third was published in vol.1, issue 3 of Starfire, London, 1989.

(23) Published by Isis Research, Edmonton, Alberta, 1980, ed Plawiuk

(24) Professional Auditors Bulletin, no. 110, 15 April 1957.

(25) Author's interview with 15th degree Rosicrucian, 1984.

(26) Hubbard, Philadelphia Doctorate Course, lecture 18 "Conditions of Space-Time-Energy".

(27) Philadelphia Doctorate Course, lecture 18

(28) Philadelphia Doctorate Course, lecture 35

(29) Philadelphia Doctorate Course, lecture 40

(30) Hubbard, Philadelphia Doctorate Course, lecture 1, "Opening, What is to be done in the Course".

(31) Thoth Tarot Deck, US Games Systems, NY, ISBN 0-913866-15-6.

(32) Crowley, The Book of Thoth, Samuel Weiser, Maine, 1984. First edition 1944.

(33) Book of Thoth, p. 75

(34) Book of Thoth, p. 76

(35) Francis King, The Magical World of Aleister Crowley, Arrow Books, p. 56

(36) Crowley, Confessions, Bantam, New York, 1971, p. 693.

(37) e.g, Book of Thoth, pp. 136

(38) Cavendish, The Magical Arts, Arkana, London, 1984, p. 304

(39) A Piece of Blue Sky, p. 99

(40) Francis King, Ritual Magic in England, Spearman, London, 1970, p. 161

(41) Litt, in Church of Scientology v Armstrong, vol. 26, p. 4607

(42) Hope, Practical Egyptian Magic, Aquaarian, Northants, 1984, pp. 39 & 47.

(43) HCO Policy letter, Penalities for Lower Conditions, 18 October 1967, Issue IV.

(44) HCO Executive letter, Amprinistics, 27 September 1965.

(45) e.g. HCO Policy Letter, Ethics, Suppressive Acts, Suppression of Scientologists, the Fair Game Law, 1 March 1965. The offending part of the text was read into an English court judgement (Hubbard v Vosper, November, 1971, Court of Appeal). In USA v Jame Kember and Morris Budlong, in 1980, Scientology lawyers admitted that despite public representations Fair Game has never truly been "abrogated" (sentencing memorandum, District Court, Washington, D.C. criminal no. 78.401 (2) & (3), p. 16, footnote). The Policy Letter which did eventually cancel it, off 22 July 1980, was itself withdrawn on 8 September 1983. Unknown to MOST of its adherents, Fair game is still a scripture, and according to Hubbard's Standard Tech principle binding upon Scientologists.

Hubbard issued a murder order in 1978 under the name "R2-45" (The Auditor issue 35). Thankfully, this order was not complied with.

(46) See for example the technique called False Data Stripping and Hubbard's comments on controllling people through contradictory instructions.

(47) Interview with Robert Vaughan Young, former Hubbard archivist, Corona Del Mar, April 1993.

(48) Affirmations, exhibits 500-4D, E, F & G, See Church of Scientology v Armstrong, transcript volume 11, p. 1886


[Continued in Part 2]

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