Jack Parsons stands in a quarry where early rocket experiments were executed

The Occultist behind NASA’s moon rockets

Believe it or not, one of the early pioneers of NASA’s rocket program was a dedicated occultists who credited that aspect of his life with much some of his success. In the early days of science, it was natural for intellectual explorers to look at multiple paths of thought. Sir Isaac Newton was an alchemist. Galileo practiced astrology. There are many others.

Normally we pass that off as an idiosyncrasy of the olden times. Ancient peoples were just not very bright. (Try navigating by the stars rather than your GPS next time you’re heading somewhere.) So, it’s interesting to find someone who is a significant figure in what we think of as futuristic technology who also views occult studies as valuable.

Jack Parsons has a moon crater named after him, but not much other recognition

Just as the church of old would punish heretics, who did not go along with the teachings, the scientific community rejected Parsons because of his practices. You’ll find very little mention of him in the official history of rocketry. The did name a moon crater after him, though it is, naturally, on the dark side of the moon.

It really is possible to have a scientific and a mystical perspective simultaneously. Parsons was a devotée to the work of Aleister Crowley, who honestly looked at many mystical entities as constructs to focus the will more than actual people in the sky.

Will society overcome the sort of prejudice that ended Parsons’ scientific career? One would like to think so.

You can read more about Parsons’ life in this article from WIRED  UK.

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