Institute for Hermetic Studies Fourth Annual Conference

UPDATE: The IHS Conference is available at Teachable using the link provided at the bottom of this page.

Where: Virtual/Zoom Meeting

When: Saturday, 01 May 2021 Times are in US Eastern Standard Time

Admission: $45 if paid before April 15th, $50 thereafter.

Thank you to the Louis Claude de St. Martin Fund of the Luzerne Foundation and other ‘Unknown Superiors” for their generous financial support for this conference.


David Metcalfe – Knowledge is Telling the Past, Wisdom is Predicting the Future – The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a Doorway to Super Natural Living

John White – Adaptation and Inner Alchemy

“Porcupine Pat” McKinney – Pennsylvania Dutch Pow Wow

Steve Kalec – The Transmutation of Metals

Agenda in EST:

09:30 – 10:00 Mark Stavish – Introduction

10:00 – 11:00 David Metacalfe – Knowledge is Telling the Past, Wisdom is Predicting the Future – The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a Doorway to Super Natural Living

11:00 – 11:15 Break

11:15-12:15 John White – Adaptation and Inner Alchemy

12:15-1pm Lunch

1:00-2:00pm Porcupine Pat – Pennsylvania Dutch Pow-Wow

2-2:15 Break

2:15-3:15 Steve Kalec – The Transmutation of Metals

3:15-3:30 Break

3:30-4:00 Mark Stavish-Announcements and Closing Remarks

Knowledge is Telling the Past, Wisdom is Predicting the Future – The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a Doorway to Super Natural Living” by David Metcalfe

According to the publication’s website, “since 1792, The Old Farmer’s Almanac has spoken to all walks of life.” However, many may not realize that in addition to useful tips on gardening, homespun wisdom and delicious recipes, the Old Farmer’s Almanac provides a doorway to exploring the manifold presence of super natural living in the Americas. From advertisements for magical curios and spiritual services, to astrological information leading to the heights of cosmic consciousness – we will explore how this ubiquitous publication presents a powerful tool in accessing realms that are hidden in plain sight.  

David B. Metcalfe is a researcher, writer and multimedia specialist focusing on the areas where creativity, culture, and consciousness collide. In 2011 he established the Liminal Analytics: Applied Research Collaborative to focus on building multidisciplinary lines of communication through applied scholarship, digital media and social network development. Metcalfe is the Editor-in-Chief for the Windbridge Research Center’s Threshold: Journal of Interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies.  In addition, he is currently working on a long-term trans-media project with Dr. R. Andrew Chesnut, Chair of Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, to document the growth of devotional traditions associated with Santa Muerte.

An interview between David Metcalfe and Mark Stavish is available at VOXHERMES:

Adaptation and Inner Alchemy”
by John R. White, Ph.D., Jungian Diplomate, IHS Board of Directors

One of Carl Jung’s more controversial contributions to Western thought is his substantial analysis of alchemy. Jung’s work revolutionized the scholarly study of alchemy, giving it some intellectual respectability at a time when it had little. However, Jung’s approach reduces even laboratory alchemy to a form of psychology and matter to a mere screen for psychological projection. To his credit, Jung intuits that alchemy is primarily a work of the soul. Yet Jung failed to recognize the ways in which alchemy bursts the boundaries of his purely psychological assumptions.

In this presentation, I approach alchemy from the standpoint of a different Jungian notion, that of adaptation. For Jung, human adaptation – or what we could call “evolution” – consists not only in the mastering of environmental conditions but always and simultaneously in the expansion of the individual psyche’s adaptive capacities. Adaptation is therefore an ongoing and cyclical process, in which a new task requires adaptive expansion on the part of the individual and in which the psyche recognizes further adaptive tasks to be possible and worthwhile, based on its continual expansion. Seen in this light, alchemical practices are in fact a work of the soul, as Jung thought, but are reinterpreted in two fundamental respects.

First, this means that alchemy is not an unconscious process consisting in interpreting projections by means of alchemical symbols but is rather the opposite: it is a conscious process at the service of expanding adaptive capacities. Second, as a result, this expansion of adaptive capacities may include latent but qualitatively higher powers of the psyche that could be called “paranormal,” which generally cannot be activated without first expanding the psyche’s adaptive capacities.

John R. White, Ph.D., LPC (Pittsburgh PA) is a Jungian psychoanalyst and mental health counselor and is also Coordinator of the C. G. Jung Institute Analyst Training Program of Pittsburgh. He was a philosophy professor for twenty years, prior to becoming a psychoanalyst. His research interests include many aspects of psychoanalytic practice, Christian mysticism, the history and practices of New Thought, alchemy, and various links among psychology, parapsychology, philosophy, and esotericism. He is an initiate into several esoteric traditions. White currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Hermetic Studies.

Essays by Dr. White have appeared in VOXHERMES and include: The Magic of Philosophy, The Power Complex, and a detailed review of The Game of Saturn – Decoding the Sola-Busca Tarocchi by Peter Mark Adams.

Pennsylvania Dutch Pow Wow”

by “Porcupine Pat” McKinney

Pow Wow is the traditional folk medicine brought to Colonial Pennsylvania by German immigrants in early 1700’s. It was originally called “brauche” which means “to practice” or “to try” and is pronounced like BROW-kheh. With its later name, Pow Wow some have suggested a connection to the Algonquin word pow wow, although this is dubious. For decades, Pow Wow or Brauche was the primary form of ‘medical treatment’ many of the poor could afford to use making it widely known throughout the Colony and later Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. During this lecture Porcupine Pat will explore the local Pennsylvania history of the Pow Wow practice and its role as spiritual healer, magic maker, and both source of and creator of folklore.

Porcupine Pat” McKinney is environmental education coordinator for the Schuylkill Conservation District and provides programming for people of all ages with a special emphasis on schools, nature center development and public programming.

“Porcupine Pat” is originally from Marion, Ohio and holds a Bachelors of Science degree with Distinction in Natural Resources with an emphasis on Environmental Interpretation from The Ohio State University. He is a recipient of the prestigious Sandy Cochran Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Education from the Pennsylvania Forestry Association in 2005, the 2007 Schuylkill Pride Award, the 2010 Schuylkill Outdoors Personality of the Year and a recipient of the 2013 PA Association of Environmental Educators “Outstanding Environmental Educator Award.”

NOTE: The Institute for Hermetic Studies has published several books and courses on pow-wow, including: Pow-Wow: Traditional Folk and Grimiore Magic, and Pietism, Pow-Wow, and the Magical Revival. Our course can be found at Teachable:

The Transmutation of Metals”

by Steve Kalec

A study into the alchemical properties of the seven traditional metals of the alchemists, leading one to understand a rich symbolism. along with their planetary correspondences revealing a link between Heaven and Earth. This will help us understand what Hermes has meant when he said, “that which is above is as that which is below and that which is below is as that which is above”. This is a statement that is most often not fully understood in its profundity. Heaven and Earth are truly linked together in so many beautiful ways.

This understanding will reveal to us the universality of the alchemical process, and the transmutation of the inner metals and their metaphysical energies. Julius Evola says, “Thus we come to the esoteric doctrine of the seven points through which the higher powers enter into the corporeal context, whereupon they become vital currents and energies specific to man.” In the alchemy opus, the transmutation of the lower energies of the soul and consciousness are allegorized through the symbolism encountered in the philosophic transmutation of the seven metals of the alchemists.

Steve Kalec is a mystic and a practicing alchemist, a Master Mason, a Rosicrucian Grand Councilor, a member of the Traditional Martinist Order, lecturer and a published author in various alchemical journals, digests and magazines. Steve`s Jungian studies led him to understand the alchemical process as being a universal one throughout all aspects of being. This realization has led him to the study and practice of operative laboratory alchemy. He has studied practical alchemy with The Philosophers of Nature (PON) and has followed Manfred Junius through his many European alchemy courses. Steve believes that all aspects of alchemy complement each other in the study and practice of the Great Work.

Videos on the laboratory and philosophical aspects of alchemy by Steve can be found on Vimeo, see: Beautiful Alchemy at

UPDATE: 17 May 2021

The conference is available for viewing at the Institute for Hermetic Studies class listings at Teachable using the following link:


  1. Donnie · · Reply

    Woah! Where to begin!? The way in which David introduced us to hermeticism in plain sight opened my mind to just how closely hermeticism is to us in our daily lives, in fact inseparable. Even at your local Walmart! Then we were gradually introduced by Joh White to a deeper and much more vivid picture of Alchemy through Jungian Psychology, it’s connections to hermeticism and it’s weak as well as strong points. This really helped me understand better the point of Alchemy elevated from a spiritual materialism point of view and into a very imaginative and inspiring transformation of the mind body and soul and how to relate to the life obstacles with ease and adaptivity. We ended with much to contemplate on from Steve Kalec and his explanation of Alchemical processes and spiritual aspects of the metals. I must say, that before this presentation, the signs and correspondences of the metals and planets in alchemy were quite foreign to me. I am ever grateful for all the presenters for deepening the sacred in alchemical and ALL spiritual practices for me. I also of course thank Mark for introducing me to the Institute and inviting me to join in on the conference. I can honestly say the Institute is one of the very few of AUTHENTIC and DEEPLY personal no nonsense brotherhood/sisterhood that if truly following their guides, WILL transform you and thus your life!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Donnie · · Reply

    Porcupine Pat” McKinney was also a thrill to listen to. His many stories of pow wow magic and the roots of much “superstition” today again reiterated the theme that magic is hidden in plain sight. He was so sincere and calming and felt his wisdom in a very personal and compassionate way. Some things will never be the same for me as now these great presenters have made me aware of things that I simply can’t ignore any more.

    Liked by 1 person

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