Magick and Esotericism in the Urban Utopia

Speakers

Dr. Jason Lawton Winslade, conference convenor, teaches in the First Year Program of DePaul University, where he currently offers courses on Occultism in Chicago, the Works of Joss Whedon, and Burning Man and Festival Culture. Dr. Winslade holds his PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University where he focused on occult initiation as a rhetorical and performative practice. He has published work on occulture and popular television, comics, theatre, and on the Pagan festival scene. His most recent publications include chapters on the comic Promethea in Graven Images: Religion in Comics and Graphic Novels, the comic Books of Magic in Supernatural Youth: The Rise of the Teen Hero in Popular Culture, and a chapter on thealogy and witchcraft in Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the forthcoming Joss Whedon and Religion: Searching for the Sacred in the Master of Pop Culture.

Academic Panel

  • David Metcalfe: Moderator and Respondent
    David Metcalfe is an independent scholar whose research focuses on alternative approaches to understanding cognition. His scholarship is based on psychological and philosophic approaches to consciousness, accompanied by attendant studies in theology, literature, history, art, folkloristics, ritual studies and ethnography. His current work is related to how anomalous and transpersonal experiences are codified, cultivated and encultured through narrative, art and popular culture. As an artist his interest includes how mediumship, OBE, past life regression, incubation, lucid dreaming and NDE influence the creative process, and how this in turn affects personal narratives. David is a valued external contributer to Phoenix Rising Academy. He is acting Books Editor for The Revealer, the online journal for NYU’s Center for Religion and Media, a Contributing Editor with Reality Sandwich, and writes regularly for Modern Mythology.net, Evolutionary Landscapes, Alarm Magazine, and The Teeming Brain. He also co-hosts an online study group, The Art of Transformations, for the International Alchemy Guild.
  • David Gordon Wilson (University of Edinburgh): Portobello Spiritualist Church: A Spatial Analysis of an Urban Shamanism

    David Gordon Wilson is a former City of London law partner who was awarded his PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Edinburgh in 2011. David has lectured at Edinburgh in the Sociology of Religion, and the History and Sociology of Spiritualism, and is co-editor of the Bulletin of the British Association for the Study of Religions; his forthcoming book Redefining Shamanisms: Spiritualist Mediums and other Traditional Shamans as Apprenticeship Outcomes will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2013. David is a working medium and Chairman of the Scottish Association of Spiritual Healers.
  • Patricia Boyd (Arizona State University), The Possibilities of Leaky Cities: Sedona’s Vortexes as Sites for Challenging the Ordered City

    Patricia Boyd is an Associate Professor at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. While her primary research focus tends to be on teaching writing in the university, she has always been fascinated with the American Southwest’s many spiritual traditions. She has also studied and presented on the commercialization of national parks such as Yellowstone. Currently, in addition to her projects on teaching writing, she is studying the 31 Points of Pride, both “natural” and built spaces in the Phoenix, AZ area that have been voted by residents to represent what is best about Phoenix.
  • Hayes Hampton (University of South Carolina, Sumter), Liminal Hymns: Zones of Derangement in Coil and Crowley
    Hayes Hampton is Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina Sumter. He earned the Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina, and his research interests include rhetorical strategies in mystical discourse and the intersections between religion, magic, philosophy, and popular culture. He recently had the article “‘Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil’: World and Self as Process in the Music of Coil” accepted to the book collection Up Jumped the Devil: Explorations of Evil in Popular Music, edited by Mark Graybill and Daniel Robinson.
  • Joseph Futerman(Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Who is the god of Chicago: An Archetypal Examination of Urban Fantasy and Today’s CitiesDr. Joseph Futerman has a PhD in clinical psychology with an emphasis in Jungian Depth Psychology, a Masters Degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in Family Therapy, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Criticism. Dr. Futerman is a California licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He is the Associate Chair of the Marriage and Family Therapy Department at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology for the Westwood Campus and holds the academic rank of Assistant Professor. He has a particular interest in the archetypal underpinnings of contemporary life as well as the psychological, anthropological and practical aspects of esotericism in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including the conference papers, “The archetype of the wizard in the 21st century” and “Societies of Secrecy in an Open Source World.”

    Rik Garrett and Ken Melvoin-Berg

    Rik Garrett is primarily a fine art photographer, utilizing concepts and tools inspired by various occult teachings to inform his work. As an artist, he has exhibited work extensively in cities such as Chicago, New York, Seattle, London and Zurich. His independent research into the history of Chicago led to the creation of the Occult Chicago blog, devoted to sharing information related to persons, organizations and locations of esoteric interest. Rik and his wife Jane are co-founders of Occult Guide, an interactive mapping website dedicated to documenting locations of occult interest around the world.

    Ken Melvoin-Berg is a Chicago area psychic detective, ghost hunter, historian, author, lecturer and co-owner of Weird Chicago Tours whichhosts tours including Devil & the White City, Public Enemies, John Dillinger, Serial Killer, and the Red Light District Sex Tours, the last two being the first and only of their kind in the U.S.  Along with co-owner, author Troy Taylor, he also hosts various pub crawls including Chicago’s first Zombie themed pub crawl. Ken is frequently consulted by the media and has appeared on numerous local and international TV shows about the supernatural, paranormal, occult and serial killers including Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab, The Travel Channel’s World’s Most Terrifying Places, The Biography Channel’s HH Holmes and the Murder Castle, among others. Ken is currently the Great Lakes Regional Director and the Illinois Director of State Operations for Everyday Paranormal and the President of Everyday Paranormal Investigations Chicago (EPIC). He is the official psychic and an officer for the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago in the American Ghost Society. Among Ken’s published works are Lost Temple of the Incan Blood God and Weird Chicago which was co-authored with Troy Taylor and Adam Selzer.  In addition to touring, media appearances, private readings, police work, writing/researching, university lectures and teaching various classes, Ken is also a medium who regularly performs seances.

    Evening Session:

    Michael Bertiaux, author of the famed Voudon Gnostic Workbook and Hierophant of the Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua is a rare visionary in modern occult studies. After studying philosophy in New Orleans and having been ordained as a Deacon in the Anglican Church, Bertiaux traveled to Haiti in 1963 where he taught philosophy and was in charge of the local Anglican museum.  It was on “the magic island” that Bertiaux was initiated into the secrets of the Voudon Gnosis.  Returning from Haiti, Bertiaux accepted an offer from the Theosophical Society to work and lecture at their Headquarters at Wheaton, Illinois. Settling in Chicago, Bertiaux formed (among other bodies) the Neo-Pythagorean Gnostic Church. Bertiaux’s interpretation of Vodou has been strongly influenced by Martinism, a Francophone version of esoteric Christianity and Masonry which became established in Haiti in the 18th century. As well, Bertiaux has also long been associated with the Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua, an initiatic gnostic-magical order founded in 1921 in Haiti by the gnostic patriarch and voudon high-priest Lucien-Francois Jean-Maine.  His close collaboration with his Haitian mentor continued in Chicago due to Dr. Jean-Maine’s exile from Haiti during the reign of President Duvalier.   The O.T.O.A. tradition comes from gnostic voudon, practiced as a synthesis of European gnostic-hermetic currents, being the heritage of the ancient western initiatic tradition with Haitian metaphysics. Inside the O.T.O.A. works the Monastery of the Seven Rays.  Both of these organizations cooperate with the gnostic church Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis.  La Couleuvre Noire (Cult of the Black Snake) is an independent order founded in 1922, closely cooperating with the O.T.O.A.. It is dedicated to the practice of advanced techniques of gnostic voudon. Michael Bertiaux (Tau Ogdoade-Orfeo IV) is the Grand Conservateur of the L.C.N. and the Hierophant of the O.T.O.A.  In addition, Bertiaux has produced many “evocative” works of art, including paintings that have been used as magical instruments and gateways to the spirit world.

    Bertiaux’s life and occult system are examined in Kenneth Grant’s books, Cults of the Shadow (1975), Nightside of Eden (1977), Outside the Circles of Time (1980), and Hecate’s Fountain (1993). Grant devotes two entire chapters of Cults of the Shadow to a discussion and analysis of Bertiaux’s work in La Couleuvre Noir, as well as a portion of the chapter “Afro-Tantric Tarot of the Kalas.”

    Bertiaux was also featured in the 1985 book and documentary by Nevill Drury, The Occult Experience.

    • The Voudon Gnostic Workbook (1988). Reissued by Weiser 2007.
    • Cosmic Meditation. Fulgur Limited, 2007.
    • Vudu Cartography. Fulgur Limited, 2010.
    • Ontological Graffiti. Fulgur Limited, forthcoming

    Roundtable panel : Re-examining Psychic City: A Panel of Local Practitioners and Community Leaders Discuss Chicago’s Esoteric Scene

    Angie Buchanan is the Founder and Director of Earth Traditions, a Pagan church, and of Gaia’s Womb, an interfaith spirituality group that has been producing women’s spiritual retreats for 14 years. In 2002 she was the first Pagan ever to have been elected to the Board of Trustees of The Council for the Parliament of World’s Religions and held the Office of Secretary on the Executive Committee, 2007-2009. In addition to CPWR, Angie has been involved with a number of organizations that encourage interfaith dialogue and promote peace among the world’s religions, including the Lady Liberty League, for which she served as the Public Relations Director for 10 years, Women For International Peace & Arbitration, and the Our Freedom Coalition. She has an education in Criminal Justice, Political Science, and Religious Studies from UCLA, with a career background in politics and law enforcement. She has been a religious freedom activist and an advocate for the protection and safeguarding of First Amendment since the 1970’s. Angie can be reached at Angie@EarthTraditions.org.

    Joan Forest Mage is proud to serve as a shamanic artist, teacher and healer in her hometown of Chicago. She is the founder and Executive Director of Life Force Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization that advances the field of spiritually based visual, literary and performing art. She is an ordained priestess with the Fellowship of Isis, and a district leader with the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist organization. Joan received a Master of Arts Degree from the School for New Learning, De Paul University, Chicago, with the focus area “Creating Healing Ritual Through the Arts,” and has served as Professional Advisor for undergraduate and graduate students at the School for New Learning. Joan studied shamanism, energy work and healing ritual with numerous teachers, has been doing shamanic healing since 1995, during which she has performed more than seven hundred Soul Retrieval healing sessions. In 2001, Joan created the Shamanic Training Program, which teaches shamanic practice from the beginning to professional level. Joan has had a career of over 40 years performing and teaching dance and movement, including ballet, modern dance, aerobics, fitness and yoga to students of all ages. She is certified as a Laban Movement Analyst through the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, and is the co-author of Healing with Art and Soul, a book on Expressive Arts Therapy.

    Lisa Gruber is co-owner of The Occult Bookstore, Chicago’s spiritual resource center since 1918 and the world’s oldest spirit shop. She has been teaching esoteric and metaphysical studies since 1998. A
    certified pranic healer and ordained Haitian Vodou priestess, Lisa has presented public rituals based on the spiritual practices of Sumer, the African Diaspora, and the Egyptian and Greek pantheons. She has sought out the expression of many world religions through her spiritual practice, and finds metaphysical experiences in a variety of organic and ritualized manifestations. Some of her specialized areas of study and initiatory experience include Hermetic Qabala, Ceremonial Magic and Sabbatic Witchcraft. A seasoned inductive diviner and prophetic dreamer, she also provides public oracle quarterly on the Equinoxes and Solstices at The Occult Bookstore. She has dedicated herself to the development of well-rounded spiritual existence and to the service of others on the path.

    Preston Klik, along with his wife Emily, have produced spiritual celebrations in Chicago for 8 years and counting. They organize and facilitate conscious dance events such as Give Peace A Dance, Synphoria an event celebrating “creative spirituality in action” and held in their home, Temple Synphorium, where they also hold a weekly “contemplation-meditation,” called Synthesis. Preston has been a musician in numerous bands and has released 12 cds. Musically, he now DJs “1-world life-positive body-temple dance-music”, and his musical focus is now twofold: Ocean Of Devotion Gong Wash Healing-Meditation, and DreamCatcher Shamanic Journeying, with Emily often sharing simultaneous hands-on CranioSacral Therapy. Their events can be found at www.Synphorium.com

    Ken Melvoin-Berg is a Chicago area psychic detective, ghost hunter, historian, author, lecturer and co-owner of Weird Chicago Tours which hosts tours including Devil & the White City, Public Enemies, John Dillinger, Serial Killer, and the Red Light District Sex Tours, the last two being the first and only of their kind in the U.S.  Along with co-owner, author Troy Taylor, he also hosts various pub crawls including Chicago’s first Zombie themed pub crawl. Ken is frequently consulted by the media and has appeared on numerous local and international TV shows about the supernatural, paranormal, occult and serial killers including Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab, The Travel Channel’s World’s Most Terrifying Places, The Biography Channel’s HH Holmes and the Murder Castle, among others. Ken is currently the Great Lakes Regional Director and the Illinois Director of State Operations for Everyday Paranormal and the President of Everyday Paranormal Investigations Chicago (EPIC). He is the official psychic and an officer for the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago in the American Ghost Society. Among Ken’s published works are Lost Temple of the Incan Blood God and Weird Chicago which was co-authored with Troy Taylor and Adam Selzer.  In addition to touring, media appearances, private readings, police work, writing/researching, university lectures and teaching various classes, Ken is also a medium who regularly performs seances.

    M. Dionysius Rogers is a scholar and practitioner of occultism. He has graduate degrees from the University of Amsterdam (Religious Studies) and Northwestern University (Religion), and has had research published in the journals Aries and Theosophical History, as well as the recent collection Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism from Oxford University Press. He has been a member of Ordo Templi Orientis for over twenty years, having first joined through Collegium 93 Camp in Chicago. He is a Past Master of Scarlet Woman Lodge in Austin, Texas, and a current member of Aum. Ha. Lodge in Chicago. He also serves as a bishop of the Gnostic Catholic Church in O.T.O.

     

    Terra Mysterium

     Terra Mysterium is a Chicago-based collective of musicians, actors, dancers, poets, magicians and performers; creating, producing, and performing experiential works of music, theatre and performance art that are rooted in the Earth Mysteries. For more information, visit www.terramysterium.com.

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