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Interview with Hymenaeus Alpha

Subject: Interview with Hymenaeus Alpha

[Originally printed in The OTO Newsletter Vol 2, No 1. Copyright O.T.O.]

Here is the second installment of the autobiographical interview with the late Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha conducted by his close friend Soror Lola DeWolfe.

On the first anniversary of H.A.'s death, July 12, 1986 EV, some thirty-odd O.T.O. members and friends boarded a boat, sailed to the waters off San Francisco, and distributed Grady's ashes at sea--such was his oft-stated will. The event was organized by Sister Lola, Rusty Sporer and GTG Bill Heidrick. By all reports it was a celebratory and emotional affair, fitting for a great Thelemite who lived long and desired death much.

The following day many Bay Area Thelemites gathered at Thelema Lodge for a banana split party in honor of the late Caliph's well- known predisposition for such mood-altering substances. In remembrance, we also reproduce one of Grady's poems (the recitation is also from the interview tape) as a preface to the interview proper.-- H.B.

Hymenaeus Alpha:

Oh sweet adulterous harlot of the skies

I yearn to thee with heart of burning fire
Pray that I might lie between thy thighs
To find one mad all-consuming quire
The passion promised in thy tender eyes.

That I might find, o sweet incestuous one
The flame uniting heart to soul and mind
And having found this love of two and none
Cast off the shell that maketh mankind blind
Unto the glory of the dawning sun.

And having found my rapture in thy kiss
O daughter of the evening's purple charms
To know the beauty, and the carnal bliss
Of total dissolution in thine arms
My Babalon, veiled by the dread abyss.

And then I penned a few sentences, the first two sentences come right out of ``The City Of Dreadful Night'' which Crowley thought was the greatest poem of the nineteenth century... the rest of it I added and he didn't like it, but anyway...

O melancholy brothers
Death is the way of thy birth,
Pain is the curse of thy mirth,
Sweet is the kiss of the earth.

(Continued...) I got acquainted with a bunch of Chicano kids in Selma, and it turned out that they were involved with the Selma High School band. And it also turned out that there was a guy in Pasadena by the name of Aubrey Strong. And he happened to be dean of men at Pasadena Junior College. He also happened to be the bandmaster for the Tournament of Roses band. Which of course was the Pasadena Junior College band during the year. And on New Year's day, it was the Tournament of Roses Band.

Therefore, he had incentive to take certain high schools in California...the ones who had outstanding bands that any band member that wanted to come to Pasadena Junior College would be damned sure that all of their costs would be wasn't exactly a scholarship, it was something like ``National Youth Authority.'' That's right, N.Y.A. There was like so much money available to deserving students to help them in their program of trying to get an education. And so he could guarantee that you would get one because he was the Dean of Men.

So anyway, now I had a problem...and this is one for the record, folks! OK, you do with what you've got. So what happened was this! I found out these kids were going to be going down to Pasadena to go to school. Well, I wanted to go to college, too. But I didn't have a prayer. But I could play the trombone. And they were all in the band.

Now there's a custom, over in places in the agricultural district of California, over in Central Valley, just like in Kansas. They have a gazebo in the central park in the small town and on Friday night, everybody comes in and they space out on the movies or the ice cream cones or whatever, and the band plays in the park, and everybody sits around and lets the air blow across them, because it's hot and you're sweaty and everybody gets off on the band music and then everybody goes home, right?

Now, these three guys, they were all, like I said, Chicano. I can't remember their names...Roy Lopez was one, I can't remember the others...anyway, they were used to playing in the gazebo. So what they said to me was this: ``O.K. Grady, bring your trombone this Friday...and we'll get you in.'' And they did. And I sat there and I played with them. And then, I got up and I left with them.

And so then, like a number of weeks later, came time to report into Pasadena Junior College and the four of us lined up before Aubrey Strong, the Dean of Men, and he said, ``You're from Selma?'' ``Yes, Sir!'' And he accepted us all, and they didn't snitch on me. And that's how I got into college. Because my daddy got busted for being a bank robber and learned to play the trombone.

Did you get along well with your father?

My father was always a puzzle to me. (Silence.) He had the cunning of a streetwise animal. He was a medieval knight in the wrong age. When we ran out of money, and him being a known ex-con, in Oklahoma in the thirties, there was nothing to stop him from running out, but he didn't.

One morning, we were living in this little run down shack down by the railroad yard...the reason this is standing out is that every hour on the hour a passenger or a freight train came charging along...swish kuchuuung. I used to risk my life going over to pick up coals for my mother so she could put them on the stove. So one morning I got up, I was a curious kid, and my family was still in bed. So I go out onto the back porch and there's mother...If you don't shut up I'm going to throw you out {to meowing cat}...I go out onto the back porch and here's several big boxes of groceries, and there is a great, big Hershey's chocolate bar, you know what a sweet tooth I have! Well, Joe, who was sitting in the front room with a couple of loaded German Lugers {tape becomes unintellegible} they had the great big clips on them, you know? I leaned right out the side of the car alongside a delivery truck and popped a few caps over the windshield and he stopped, and I stopped too...

How old were you?

Oh, god, I was born in '18, '28, '38 (unintellegible). In his own way he was a very honest guy. How to get along with him I don't know because I didn't know him that well. For example, he offered to teach me all of the elements of criminal training. One night, we were sitting there in his little room...and Dad says "Come out into the garage, there's something I'd like to show you." So we went out and there's a nice Chevy Chevrolet, I think they called it, nice, and painted black. I started to touch it, you know kids, and Dad said, "No, Buck, never touch it like that, always pull your finger like this" and he showed me. In other words, if I had wanted to be a criminal, I had a perfect teacher. But I didn't want to, I wanted to go to school. Somebody was in Kansas and Dad was driving it to Texas.

You didn't mention that you're a double Libra.

Yes, well, for those, in terms of oral history, for those who would be interested, the double Libra, sun conjunct rising sign in 26 degrees of Libra with Mercury ascendant. I have {a Grand} trine in fire signs and it goes like this: Moon in Aries 40 degrees trine Neptune in Leo at nine degrees and trine Mars {in Sagittarius} twelve degrees. I have Saturn in Leo at 25 degrees in opposition to Uranus and Aquarius 23 degrees (unintellegible).

We left off here, you're in college,

My career in college was shall we say spectacular, but not very. I tried to go out for a career in engineering/physics, but I blew it when I discovered I couldn't understand differential calculus. As a consequence, I didn't quite make that.

However, in the process, because I'd been into science fiction since the mid-thirties, when I was a high school student, I had gotten involved in the local Los Angeles science fiction club. Where I was living back then. Paul Friables' habit and mine. Paul Friables was one of those genius types, he was a student of chemistry at Cal-Tech. He was to take his degree and die young because he had a bad heart. He was putting out a fan mag called Polaris in which some of Ray Bradbury's very earliest stories were printed.

It was his habit and mine on Friday evening, to take the big red car, the big red streetcar over from Pasadena to Los Angeles where we would transfer over to a streetcar and we would wind up at a place called the ``Cliff Cafeteria'' which is about five stories tall, and as in any metropolitan area on Friday night, when everybody goes home, it was empty from the top down, which meant that the top floor was cheap for rent, and it had a room called ``The Little Brown Room'' with a big long conference table in it and outside the diners would sit with all these containers of bug

And so we would line up in there around this table. And there were two chicks in the whole group...Lona and Pogo and they had a particular mission in life, to turn us all on to Esperanto because if we all spoke the same language there wouldn't be any wars. Remember, this was 1938 and War Two was just hanging over our heads...they were sure preaching the doctrine.

In any case, one evening I was sitting there and I saw this idiot running up and down on the other side of the table. Well, there were original paintings by artists for the covers of science fiction magazines on the wall and so, this guy was running up and down with a horrible Halloween rubber mask over his face trying to scare the people, especially the girls and they wondered who the hell that idiot was and he got tired of it and took his mask off and it was Ray Bradbury, he was just getting really hot at the time. It was that kind of an atmosphere.

So anyway, one night we were standing around being happily bombed and this little swirl of people comes moving through the crowd. I might add, in those days, Cory Ackerman had one of the leading collections of science fiction, this was thirty-eight, thirty-nine. Well of course you can imagine what it's like now, but in any case, it happened to be one of our particular little games to say, ``Hey, everybody, let's go over to Cory's place and see his collection,'' and we would.

It was like this great big cavern and that was only upstairs, I don't know what he had downstairs, but we used to go on trips like that. Anyway, so I went to this founding meeting of the California Sci-Fi Society and we're standing around being happily bombed, the rooms were just full of people in and out and this little swirl of people comes moving through the crowd, and this very handsome guy...looked a lot like me in a way and what we talked about most was science fiction, magick and poetry. ``What kind of poetry are you writing?'' And so the next thing I know, it turned out that his name was Jack Parsons. And he said, ``By the way, where do you live?''

Was he already famous at that time?

No, he wasn't famous. Well, in the scientific community he was very well known. And in the science of rocketry he was very well known. But as far as the general public was concerned I doubt if the general public even knew he existed. True they named a crater on the Moon after him, but the people in the general public didn't know who Jack Parsons was.

But, so, I said ``Pasadena'' and he said he had a private home, so that's how I wound up on Terrace Drive. And I became a part of the menage on Terrace Drive. And I discovered beautiful things like Wagner, and Debussy and music and fantastic illustrated books by Poe and Aleister Crowley and fantastically wonderful times...I always knew I'd been there.

And did Jack Parsons know Crowley?

He never did know him. He wrote letters. He never did meet him in person. When Jack Parsons died, we were all rather shocked because we looked at him as our coming genius. We expected him to do great things. After all, he was the only member of the Order of the Temple whose name had been perpetuated by having a crater on the moon named for him. However, he did die, and the question rose as to why? Why would he have chosen to have exited this world at that particular time and that particular manner--and there was considerable speculation.

One line of speculation was that it was an accident. Another line of speculation was that it was suicide at the psychic level. Personally, I hold to the second point of view. That is to say, my personal opinion is that Jack Parsons came down, did his trip and went home. And as far as I'm concerned, it's as simple as that. So that when it comes to psychic suicide, or something like that, in other words, had he fulfilled his mission, there wasn't any point in sticking around.

Now, what was the next point?
It seems like, in a way, he was the Antichrist?

Well, there's one way of looking at it, that Christ committed suicide. Being the son of god, he didn't have to die, but he did. Well, apparently, Jack Parsons saw something that the rest of us didn't see, and that was this: that if we were going to put an end to the reign of Christianity, you would have to have an antichrist to counterbalance the effect of Christ. Like the Star Trek episode I was mentioning earlier. In which these two guys, the only way to keep them from tearing the universe apart was to lock them in a tunnel where they will be in eternal least they won't tear this universe apart. And that's what Parsons did if I'm correct. The point is, if you didn't seal it off, it wouldn't do any good.

And how was it he created Magical children?

Oh, through his Babalon working.

In what year did he do that?

(answer unintellegible.) So, anyway, the other night at Solartron's tarot reading...we had, by the way, by count, ten Thoth decks there and I was part of a very beautiful...I had this very beautiful communication. Each person did a different reading laying out cards in their own pattern...whatever they wanted to do.

But me, I had this little treasure chest with these very unique reading cards. Thoth deck and the way I did, I took the reading from zero right on up through until I came to the Universe card and it wasn't there. And then I realized that when I had gone through picking out the major arcana that I had somehow or other mixed them. So I wondered what to do, but I needed a card to fill it, so I reached over to the deck...I wasn't playing any games or anything...I just reached over and pulled a card and it turned out to be the Prince of Cups.

Now, my birthday happens to be October 18th, which if you check your Tarot, you'll discover is the Prince of Cups. In other words, a Libra going over into Scorpio, which, in the I Ching, is known as ``Kung Fu'' or ``Inner Truth'' as it says in the I Ching it is so powerful that it moves even pigs and fishes.

And so then you drew three more cards after that?

Oh yes, then I drew three more cards just to see what was happening, and what I found was the Eight of Wands which is like lightning invocation and in the middle there was the Universe ard where it should have been in the major Atu and on the other side of that, there was the Ace of Disks which is called in the Thoth deck Aleister Crowley's 666 and it says that right in the middle. It seemed like somebody was trying to tell me something. It is on public record, printed in a couple of places that Aleister Crowley wrote the letter...he wrote several in fact, one was to me. The substance of it was that having discovered that Jack Parsons was up to creating a Moonchild and (unintelligible) those were the facts of these (unintelligible) bondages or whatever, my apologies to (unintelligible). I have no idea what they're talking about yet he {Crowley} had published Moonchild (unintelligible) and all Jack Parsons was trying to do as far as I can tell was someplace put into effect was what the masters...and what you have here is a Babalon operation. This was dated 22 February, 1946.

One thing, I seem to have my elementals...{Grady here quotes from Parsons}: ``She turned up on night after the conclusion of the operation...before she goes back to New York next week. She has red hair and green eyes as specified.''


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