Frequent Disinfo.com contributor David B. Metcalfe will be a moderator at a November 16 conference titled “Mapping the Occult City: Exploring Magick and Esotericism in the Urban Utopia”. The conference will be held at Chicago’s Richard M. and Maggy C. Dailey Building, and is a joint effort of DePaul University and Phoenix Rising Academy. If you’re near Chicago and enjoy esoteric topics like Ley Lines, occult practices and alchemy, then this could be a pretty fun Friday. Learn more here.
This conference is the first event organised by the Chicago Consortium under the direction of Dr. Jason Winslade. The focus and objectives of this event, as outlined in the Call for Papers, is as follows:
In his classic essay, “Walking in the City,” ethnologist and historian Michel de Certeau distinguished between the “exaltation of a scopic and gnostic drive” that comes from viewing the city from a high vantage point and the quotidian negotiations of the walker at street level, who creates his or her own map, takes shortcuts and resists the strategies of typical urban planning. One perspective is totalizing and distancing, constructing an illusory, unified view of the metropolis, while the other seeks out hidden avenues of knowledge and intersections of stories, myths, and happenings. The occultist tends to shift between both views, sometimes spinning grand narratives of the city as a New Atlantis, a utopian civilization of knowledge and wonder, other times imagining a secret world of dark mysteries, unknown to most passersby, that lay just beyond the twilight of the streetlamps.
Many esotericists, conspiracy theorists, and urban fantasy authors have speculated on the occult meaning of symbols, monuments, and architecture in major cities, from Cleopatra’s Needle in London to the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. Or they see powerful sigils in the neon signs, building facades and billboards. Some speak of urban ley lines and “energy centers” that bubble with occult power ready to be tapped into by those with the right sense and ability. These energy centers are focused on geometric street patterns or the lines created by the placement of sacred sites in the city, such as churches, temples, and cemeteries. Others speak of haunted places, charged with story and legend, often full of the sense of violence, trauma and the urgency of events that occurred there.