Tag Archives: Chicago

Graveyards of Chicago

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Graveyards of Chicago : The People, History, Art, and Lore of Cook County Cemeteries by Ursula Bielski and Matt Hucke.

Matt Hucke Ursula Bielski Graveyards of Chicago

As the authors note, this volume, now in an expanded second edition, is both the most comprehensive book to date on the topic of Chicago cemeteries, and a primer that merely scratches the surface. At the same time, it provides not only orientation to the cemeteries of the area, but a wide-ranging anecdotal history as it contextualizes celebrity graves (political leaders, entertainers), religious and ethnic groups, economic developments, and social and political movements represented in the burial sites.

It’s a shame that the many photos in the book are all in black and white. But the book was grown in some measure out of author Matt Hucke’s graveyards.com website, where he has collected much of his photography on the subject, including color versions of many of the images here. These high-tech underpinnings are further leveraged with the promise of “QR codes … leading to additional photos and bonus material.” Not being furnished with the necessary gadgetry, I can’t tell you for sure what’s on the other end of those codes, but I suspect it’s some version of the material at graveyards.com, which along with photos has more descriptions, and maps, among assorted info that would be useful to cemetery visitors armed with this book and a smartphone.

Although it’s designed as a reference book, with articles on individual cemeteries arranged by location, I found the book a pleasure to read from cover to cover. There were many startling facts, not all of them having to do with the graveyards themselves, that I felt compelled to share immediately with my Other Reader.

I appreciated the extensive information on Masonic cemeteries, and I was especially thrilled to learn about Waldheim Cemetery, with its impressive monument for the United Ancient Order of Druids, and more significant Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument with its neighboring “Communist Plot”! I was also gratified to find information on the burial sites of the early leaders of the Moorish Science Temple and Nation of Islam, but neither of these organizations are found in the index or much noted in the text, so readers will need to know for themselves about Noble Drew Ali and his successors.

Reading this book has inspired me to get a better fix on the burial places of my own relatives in the area, and fueled an ambition to tour their graves as well as to visit many of the sights described in the volume. Authors Hucke and Bielski have my gratitude. [via]

Mapping the Occult City includes M Dionysius Rogers, David B Metcalfe and Rik Garrett

I’ve previously mentioned the Mapping the Occult City pre-conference, but now that the speakers list has been finalized I thought I’d mention there’s involvement from a number of people you may be already familiar with from the library including Hermetic Library fellow M Dionysius Rogers, anthology artist David B Metcalfe, and frequent contributor to the visual pool Rik Garrett. So, not only is the conference itself sounding pretty interesting in and of itself, there’s a lot of great people involved as well. If you’re in Chicago or can get there, the pre-conference is Friday, Nov 16th, and does not require AAR membership to attend or participate.

Michael Bertiaux added to Mapping the Occult City

I’ve previously posted about Mapping the Occult City, a pre-conference for the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religions, on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 in Chicago, and just heard that Michael Bertiaux has been added as a speaker.

“Michael Bertiaux is an American occultist and Old Catholic Bishop, known for his book Voudon Gnostic Workbook (1988), a 615-page compendium of various occult lessons and research papers spanning the sub-fields of Voodoo, Neo-Pythagoreanism, Thelema and Gnosticism. He will be sharing memories of his many years in the occult scene of Chicago.” [via]



Occult Guide

Occult Guide is a new web community created by Rik Garrett, who has been a contributor to the Hermetic Library visual pool and is the creator of the blog Occult Chicago, and Jane Garrett.


“Welcome to Occult Guide, an interactive mapping website dedicated to locations of occult interest around the world. Intended as a resource both for travelers and for those exploring their own cities, Occult Guide features locations of historical as well as contemporary significance.

Take a look at the maps. Once you register and create a profile, you can:

submit locations in your own city for the worldwide maps
customize your profile, complete with blog, photo album and more
add friends
join in the discussion forums
create and join groups based on location or common interest
create and edit collaborative documents within groups” [via]


“A fully user-fueled website, Occult Guide shares locations of occult interest as a means of both celebrating historical traditions and advancing current study and practice. We encourage people of all paths to contribute to the site, creating a resource for all seekers of hidden knowledge.

Members can contribute locations to the global map, join discussion forums, or create groups with other users who share a common path or interest. If you have an interest in magick, Wicca, Paganism, Hermeticism, Satanism, Thelema, Theosophy, or other schools of thought — we need your help! Please join in the discussion here and submit locations to add to Occult Guide’s worldwide map.” [via]


“Occult Guide is a project by Rik and Jane Garrett, out of Chicago IL.

Jane has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and a Masters of Library Science degree. Rik is a fine art photographer who also runs the Occult Chicago blog.

One day in June 2012, we were walking through town and discussing our upcoming honeymoon in Vienna. Jane said, “Wouldn’t it be great if there were an international site like the Occult Chicago blog, but with maps? That way you could find interesting places to visit no matter where you traveled.” We looked at each other and knew that we had to make this happen.” [via]

Ordo Adeptorum Invisiblum

Ordo Adeptorum Invisiblum” is a post over at the Occult Chicago blog (which is a blog by Hermetic Library visual pool contributor Rik Garrett), and the name of a specifically feminist Thelemic order founded in England in 1979 with headquarters for the US in Chicago in 1981. According to the article “Western Esoteric Family III: Magick” in Melton’s Encyclopedia of American Religions, the OAI was inspired by the “proclamation of the magical Aeon of Ma (or Maat) [made] in 1948 by Frater Achad (Charles Stansfeld Jones)” [via, also]. Occult Chicago also discusses how the OAI was influenced by the works of Aleister Crowley, Jack Parsons [also] and Nema, author of Maat Magick: A Guide to Self-Initiation and co-founder of Horus Maat Lodge. If you were a member of or know more about that order, you may consider getting in contact with the Occult Chicago blog and sharing your story. [HT Sarah Veale]

“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.” [via]

As an aside, Nema’s Liber Pennae Praenumbra, and a number of other works by Horus Maat Lodge members appear in the Received Wisdom section of the library and in the archives of Beast Bay.

Liber Resh vel Helios Dawn


A video for Liber Resh vel Helios at dawn from Aum Ha, which includes an appearance by Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus as the Imam.


“This is the first of a four part video series created by Aum Ha Oasis O.T.O. in the valley of Chicago. The purpose of these videos, aside from displaying the beautiful sites of the “Windy City”, is to promulgate the law of Thelema by demonstrating the Solar adorations to the Sun found in Liber Resh vel Helios.”

Earth Magic solo show Chicago

Earth Magic solo show Chicago
Earth Magic solo show Chicago, originally uploaded by Rik Garrett.


“One night solo exhibition of my Earth Magic series in Chicago, June 21st. Show up and see how these prints from wet plate collodion negatives look in person!”



The Hermetic Library visual pool is a visual scavenger hunt for images of a living Western Esoteric Tradition. Images of your ritual or ritual space, images of sigils or tools, showing off your own library or special volume from the restricted stacks, sacred spaces and places, esoteric artefacts and installations, inspired paintings and people — these and much more are part of the culture and practice of magick. If you would like to submit your work for consideration as part of the visual pool, head over to the Hermetic Library visual pool or contact the librarian.

Grand Guignol II: HÄXAN – Satan + The Women who love Him

There’s a project you might be interested in called “Grand Guignol II: HÄXAN – Satan + The Women who love Him” [also] which is for an art catalogue of symbolist and macabre art from and inspired by the Grand Guignol featuring “artworks of WITCHES and SATAN from 1870-2011.”

This is a project of Century Guild, founded by Thomas Negovan. So, if you’re in the Chicago, IL area, you could actually sign up to check out this invitation-only exhibition, schedule for Oct 22, 2011.


Article about a Burroughs portrait of Crowley on display in Chicago

Article about a Burroughs portrait of Crowley on display in Chicago at “Eye Exam: Perverted Tactics

William S. Burroughs, ‘Portrait of Aleister Crowley,’ 1988.

“William S. Burroughs, beat poet and author of Naked Lunch, picked up on Crowley’s philosophy with zeal, distorting its lessons to accommodate his own blatant drug use and sexuality demonized by mid-century American morality. In a 1978 interview, Burroughs misquoted Crowley, effectively reversing the dictum: ‘What you want to do is, of course, eventually what you will do anyway. Sooner or Later.’ His interviewer accused him of being ‘amoral.’

Burroughs’ ‘Portrait of Aleister Crowley,’ a painting on paper from 1988, is now on view at Th!nkArt Salon, in Wicker Park, along with a dozen or so of his other works. Burroughs’ palette tends toward the visceral tones: dried-blood crimson, shocks of red, vomitus green. The acrylic paint was applied energetically with a painter’s knife, sometimes accumulating into a crusty mass and sometimes taking on an ethereal air behind swaths of frenzied spray paint. No human face emerges from the portrait of Crowley, but a portal to some grim ghost-land sits front and center.” [via]