Monday, July 30, 2012

readings regarding the Ordo Adeptorum Invisiblum

Since the last post regarding the OAI received so much attention, I thought that I would post a follow-up with some additional readings.

of the
Ordo Adeptorum Invisiblum
Don Karr
(Readable online or download)

The website Digital Brilliance hosts several PDFs of interest, written by Don Karr, 416 and others associated with OAI.
Liber Samekh He, The Process of Initiation and many more.

The Hermetic Library elaborated on my post, filling in many gaps.  Thanks to them I learned that Nema is still around, and her writings are to be found in a number of places.  While not from Chicago, her writings influenced the OAI, and will no doubt be of interest to many readers here.  She authored the book Maat Magic, A Guide to Self Initiation, which was published by Weiser.

Official Transcript of the Incoming of the Aeon of Maat

Beta:  A Comment on Communications From the Aeon of Maat

Interview with Nema

An interview with Nema on the now defunct Thelema Coast to Coast podcast.  I am about to listen to this so can't fully comment, but it appears that her portion is a small bit of a much larger show.

William Walker Atkinson, the Kyballion and the Yogi Publication Society

I've been putting off posting about William Walker Atkinson due to the fact that there is such a wealth of information that I honestly don't know where to begin.  Simply put, Atkinson was a writer, publisher and major player in the New Thought Movement.  The full story is much more complicated than that.

Atkinson (1862 - 1932) worked in a variety of professions, settling into the role of lawyer while in Pennsylvania.  After a variety of ups and downs in his personal life, he disappeared for six weeks around the turn of the century with a renewed passion for life and interest in the occult.  At this point he immediately moved to Chicago and began writing articles under his own name and a variety of pseudonyms, including Theron Q. Dumont and Yogi Ramacharaka.

In Chicago he also founded the Yogi Publication Society, which was located in the  Masonic Temple building - the name sounded great for the publishing company, but there was actually no Masonic affiliation with the Yogi Publication Society.  The Masonic Temple was the city's first skyscraper - the Masons met on the top floors, the rest were rented to a variety of different businesses.

The Yogi Publication Society published the Kyballion, a book of Hermetic teachings which was compiled by "Three Initiates."  Shrouded in mystery, it is now accepted that Atkinson himself wrote this book.

The Chicago Examiner, in 1910, with an article introducing yoga to the general public via Atkinson's pseudonym, Yogi Ramacharaka (here spelled Ramachakra).

The Yogi Publication Society still exists, though their website leaves a bit to be desired. 

Luckily for us, Philip Deslippe has dedicated himself to unraveling the mysteries surround Atkinson's life and abundant literary output.  He has recently released a definitive edition of the Kyballion.

For an excellent interview with Deslippe regarding Atkinson, visit this podcast on Occult of Personality.  After you listen to that interview, listen to all of the remaining on the site, as they are all excellent.

Of note to those paying attention, Atkinson co-authored one book with infamous local L.W. de Laurence entitled Psychomancy and Crystal Gazing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thank you!

Occult Chicago has existed for just over three months now.  I'd like to take a minute to thank everyone for reading.  I've received tons of positive feedback, met some great people and learned a lot from the correspondences of readers. 

In particular I would like to thank some of the wonderful blogs that have repeatedly posted about Occult Chicago.  Each of these is well worth following and reading on a regular basis.

Witch City Chicago Lughnasadh ritual

This weekend is really filling out here in Chicago.  Just take a look at the Occult Chicago calendar.

The newest addition is the Witch City Chicago Lughnasadh ritual on Friday at Alchemy Arts.  In their words:
"Friday, July 27, 2012, 7:00 PM-- Witch City Chicago Lughnasadh ritual. Everyone welcome! This will be a ritual for Lughnasadh. As with all our Sabbats this is potluck and beginner friendly."
A few of the other events this weekend:  two separate events with Gede Parma,  the Curse Tablets lecture at Owen and Engine and the open Gnostic Mass at Aum Ha Lodge.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

the advertisements of L.W. de Laurence

I've held off posting more about Lauren de Laurence, as I assumed that others were probably getting tired of hearing about my personal favorite local dubious historical publisher.  After some positive feedback, I'm giving in and posting a few things that I've come across.

Firstly, Michael Nowicki has posted several images from de Laurence's catalogs, along with an amusing story on

 According to Nowicki, the de Laurence company was still in business in the 1960s (despite the fact that de Laurence himself died in 1936).  Rather than post his story here, I'm just going to suggest that you visit the website to read his anecdote about visiting the de Laurence company.

A Tarot website at includes many images regarding the de Laurence Company's Tarot deck (a blatant copy of the Ryder-Waite deck).  The author goes into great detail regarding different printings of de Laurence's deck and related books.

"The Key to the Tarot: Oracles Behind the Veil, by Dr. L.W. de Laurence. It is, or should be, common knowledge that this book is AE Waite's Pictorial Key to the Tarot word for word!"

A very interesting read for those interested in the history of occult literature.  Start here for several pages of scans and information:

Website Church of Good Luck includes scans of de Laurence's catalogs.  Follow the link to see several advertisements.

"Artist's Conception of de Laurence Wearing a Turban and a Tunic"

"De Laurence wrote a lot of his own material in addition to his habit of "borrowing", and what he wrote best was ad copy.  He managed to fill over 500 pages in his 1931 catalog, and it stands to this day as a monument to bombast."

And so that I am able to contribute something of my own, here is a snapshot of the back page of an issue of Occult Digest from 1933 (three years before de Laurence would pass away).  Included are ads for Practical Lessons in Hypnotism and Magnetism, and The Great Book of Magical Art, Hindu Magic and East Indian Occultism.  The latter, you may recall, was found in a local bookstore (with alternate "Hindoo" spelling).

Chicago Pagan Pride

New event added to the Occult Chicago calendarChicago Pagan Pride.

Chicago Pagan Pride Day 2012 is Sunday, September 09, 2012 at Historic Pleasant Home on Mills Park 217 Home Avenue Oak Park, Illinois 60302
11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

Pleasant Home is a beautiful location.  Visit the Chicago Pagan Pride website for more information.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Curse Tablets: Getting Ahead the Old Fashioned Way -

Another event for the July calendar, via The Owen Society for Hermetic and Spiritual Enlightenment.

July 29th, from noon until 3pm.
Come and discover how the ancient Greco-Roman world used small etched lead sheets to seek not only revenge and retribution, but also love and happiness. In addition to a discussion of the purpose, production, and use of curse tablets, this presentation will show participants how to make their own in case the need ever arises.

Eitel August Wilhelm Adelbert Oskar Joachim Viktoria, Graf von
Pappenheim, is a specialist in ancient evil manuscripts working in the
service of the German Reich.

Jim Kollenbroich has a PhD in History and works in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Due to the space constraints at Owen and Engine, our Society may either have a maximum of 15 people for the parlor room or we may use the entire upstairs, but must purchase $1000 in food and drink as a group (this means a minimum of 40 attendees buying a full brunch and drink, around $25 before tip and tax). So, in order to plan for the event, we ask that you RSVP by emailing the professor at to confirm that you will be attending the lecture.

All RSVPs will be served on a first come, first serve basis. Should we reach 40 confirmed attendees, everyone will be welcome (and welcome to bring guests too). Otherwise, your name will go on our waiting list for one of 15 coveted slots in the parlor room and you'll be notified the week of the event!

As always, neo-Victorian and Steampunk dress is strongly encouraged at all meetings of the Owen Society.

Vienna suggestions?

One month today, I will be leaving on my honeymoon to Vienna.  Pretty exciting.

I was wondering if any of the wonderful readers of Occult Chicago have any suggestions as to where to visit.  We already have a massive list of museums to visit.  However I wonder about other places of interest.

I know that Mesmer, von Reichenbach and Wilhelm Reich were all in Vienna at some point.  So clearly there is something regarding subtle energies in the air in Vienna.  Both Carl Kellner and Rudolph Steiner lived there.  There have been plenty of organizations (some decidedly dubious) originating in Vienna over the years. 

Any suggestions regarding archives, displays, places of historical interest and etc. would be highly appreciated. 

Thank you again for reading Occult Chicago!

Gede Parma ceremonies and workshops this month

I've been contacted regarding these upcoming events.  Both have been added to the calendar.

Gede Parma will be returning to Chicago this July! Gede’s new book “Ecstatic Witchcraft: Magick, Philosophy, and Trance in the Shamanic Craft” was just released through Llewellyn publications. The Brotherhood of the Phoenix is proud to present two opportunities to meet and learn from Gede. Both these events are open to the general public.

Friday, July 27th at 7:30pm: Gede will present a ceremony of Ecstatic Witchcraft, which embodies the principles of his newest book.
Cost: Sliding scale $10-$30
Location: 2nd Unitarian Church, 656 Barry Avenue.

Saturday, July 28th from 10-4pm: Gede will present his day long intensive workshop “Initiation and the Path of the Shamanic Witch.”
Cost: $90 for the day
Location: Life Force Arts Center, 1609 W. Belmont Avenue.
In order to attend this workshop you must RVSP to Keith Green at Detailed information about the event will be sent to you with your confirmation e-mail.

More information about the workshop:
Initiation and the Path of the Shamanic Witch (Full-day Intensive)
This workshop explores the etymological origins of the word ‘Witch’ and how, through history, sociology and cultural anthropology we can understand the European phenomenon of Witchcraft to be equivalent to the tribal ‘shamanism’ of many of the world’s indigenous societies.

Since the Pagan renaissance and revival (from the mid-1800s onwards) a high degree of ceremonial magick has been integrated with what once was pure and simple shamanism. Many of the Wiccan traditions tend towards the ceremonial; however Gede Parma (author and initiated Witch) will introduce a practice of Witchcraft that is informed by the definition – ‘ecstasy-driven, Earth-based, mystery tradition’. The Craft, seen and lived through this lens, is also a system for and of personal and communal empowerment, deep paradigm and consciousness shifts (altering consciousness), transformation, healing and initiation.

This full-day intensive will work through the three-tiered shamanic cosmology generally accepted as – the Upperworld, the Middleworld and the Underworld. These realms correspond with our Superconscious Selves, our Conscious Selves, and our Unconscious Selves, respectively. To bring wholeness to all, and to accept and integrate the Shadow/the Unconscious (the Veil separating us from realising our true divinity) we activate the World Tree within, which affirms our eternal connection to all realms, to all times; in the Forever Here and the Eternal Now.

Facebook event Page:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ordo Adeptorum Invisiblum

While the Ordo Adeptorum Invisiblum was originally founded in England in 1979, their United States headquarters were established in Chicago in 1981.

From what I can determine, the OAI practiced a form of feminist Thelema.

The OAI also adopts feminist principles and practices—not the anti-male separatist variety—but in its non-sexist androgynous philosophy. Women are not the vehicle of a male seed, a male High Priest. They are magickal people in their own right. The history of female magickal energy is far older than that of the male, but it has been overshadowed by the masculine principle. The OAI seeks to rectify this by balancing the imbalance through women seeking to rediscover and reassert themselves, while male members minimize as far as possible their aggressiveness and dominance. In turn, this will lead to a more directly  visible equality and non-hierarchical structure within the group and in rituals.

The OAI teachings followed Aleister Crowley, Jack Parsons and an Ohio woman known as Nema, following a Maatian Current. 

From Western Esoteric Family III: Magick:

The Ordo Adeptorum Invisiblum (OAI) is a British-based thelemicist order aligned
to the Maatian magical “current.” It grew out of the proclamation of the magical
Aeon of Ma (or Maat) proclaimed in 1948 by Frater Achad (Charles Stansfeld
Jones). Maat is the ancient Egyptian goddess of Truth and Justice. The order looks
toward a planetary manifestation of the presence of Maat, whose coming has been
heralded by three twentieth-century trends: the great liberation movements lead-
ing to the recognition of human rights; the attempts to balance male-dominated
Western magic; and the nonelitist androgynous approach to magic practiced by
Maatian groups. In recognition of their acceptance of feminist liberation concerns
and the nonsexist nature of their magical workings, members of the OAI have
dropped the use of common designations of male and female members as frater
and soror in favor of the single designation persona.

The OAI began in England in 1979 in the informal workings of three Thelemic
magicians (two women and one man). In 1980 they made a formal alignment to
the Aeon of Maat and thus the OAI came into existence. At the end of the year, the
three original members separated. One went to Fez, Morocco, and the following
year, one came to Chicago, where the first members of the OAI were received.

The order has developed as a very loose confederation of otherwise independ-
ent magicians pursuing their own magical experiments in alignment to the
Maatian Aeon. Periodically, members will gather for group rituals. New initiates are
received after their successful performance of Liber Samekh He, a revised version of
Liber Samekh, a Thelemic ritual designed to promote conversation with one’s Holy
Guardian Angel (higher self). The order is nonhierarchical. Leadership can be exer-
cised by any member and teaching is a matter of sharing the results of individual
ritual workings with the larger membership. All members have access to all mate-
rials possessed by the order.

Membership: In 1985 members of the order, reported to number less than 100,
could be found in England, the Chicago metropolitan area, and California.

While their history and manifesto is easily found online as a PDF, their many other writings are much more difficult to find.  I've yet to find a listing for their Chicago headquarters, or any other information for that matter.  As always, those with information are encouraged to make contact.

Occult Digest covers

Lucky for us, Tumblr user onanhero has scanned many of those early, hard to find painted Occult Digest covers.

Many more on the original post here:

Thank you for sharing these, onanhero!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Quest Bookstore and the Theosophical Society in Wheaton, IL

It wasn't until I buried myself in this blog that I learned that the Theosophical Society's national headquarters are just outside of Chicago in Wheaton, IL.

The grounds are beautiful and include a Labyrinth walk.  A wonderful day trip to escape the city.  Apparently I was too distracted by the greenery to photograph any of the buildings.

Also on the grounds is Quest Bookshop.  While one wall is dedicated to Theosophical texts, the store itself caters to all paths.  There is a great collection of new books (and a small collection of used), along with crystals and gemstones, statuary incense and more.  If you don't mind a bit of a drive, the grounds and the bookstore definitely warrant a visit.

This photograph of the bookshop courtesy the store's website.

Of potential interest:  
July 20-24th

Also, the Theosophical Society is now seeking vendors for the yearly TheosoFest, to take place on September 8th.  Visit their website for more details.

1926 N Main St
Wheaton, IL 60187

Squaring the circle with local fundraisers

I noticed this neon sign while going for a walk the other day on Wabansia.  Besides the Philosopher's Stone, they also had two signs advertising "Free Hugs."  

A bit of research reveals that this is the headquarters of Give Forward.  I hadn't even realized they were located in Chicago.  On a personal note, I'm glad that Give Forward exists, as it provides a way for those in need to raise money. 

On top of this, they are apparently Alchemists.  And generous huggers.

Edit: Give Forward informs us that the sign is actually courtesy design-savvy friend Morlen Sinoway Atelier.  The Free Hugs offer still stands, however.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July events

Somehow it's July already.  The calendar is already packed with plenty of the standard weekly and monthly events, but if you know of other events that should be listed, please get in touch!

Eye of Providence street art in Wicker Park

Found on Milwaukee Ave., near Wolcott.