My magickal name is Volva as in norse witch, but the world knows me as Amanda Torrey. I built this website in homage to the CRAFT and its traditions particularly those that affect Witches here in Chicago and more specifically to Coven Babylon. The Chicago Way is NOT a REAL tradition for a genuine trad grows and solidifies only after many generations of witches who identify with it, nest within its branches and then spawn and grow. Witchcraft isn’t a religion after all, but an organic banding together of a magickally minded group of people who explore their spirituality together. Ultimately, it’s not unusual for people to want to identify with a specific group to call it home. We in Coven Babylon are fortunate that we’ve been given keys to 2 different traditions that briefly came together in the 1970s through a Priestess, Donna Cole (Schultz) and Chicago’s initiating Pagan Priest, Herman Enderle.
This Hybrid of Witchcraft and Paganism was the magickal child of Donna Cole and Herman Enderle who became her magickal partner and consort. Herman Enderle had established a Pagan Way grove here which (from what I can gather) used Ed Fitche’s “Pagan Way” as outer court teachings for Donna’s yet unnamed “eclectic coven with a Gardnerian core.” As Herman has said numerous time, he’s not a witch, so it didn’t take long before they broke to honor their own visions with Donna establishing her coven on the Southside and Herman establishing his Pagan Way Grove in the north. It was during this parting of the ways that they raised Norman Kaesenberg and his partner, Tony at the time up to 3d degree through both their own traditions. Norman was a gypsy-like kind of guy and took all his keys with him to travel the United States, have adventures, initiate into several traditions and return to Chicago 30 years later.
Norman found me on the internet and after some exchanges, decided I was the person to whom he’d pass his keys. I tried to make it clear to him that the witches in Chicago would take great umbrage at him doing this since I was the High Priestess of what they labeled as a sexual magick temple, Terra Incognita. According to Chicago’s Old Guard, we’d not earned Craft privileges through working with regular processes at vetted covens – which for them was unacceptable. Technically this was true, for our temple was not descended from England or Chicago, but was channeled, established and ordained by Sumerian Energetic Beings who defined themselves as First Born. Sexual Magick is not popular in Chicago and in fact, Norman’s Patron, Herman Enderle was morally opposed to my practices.
Unfortunately, Norman had already completed the rites with me and finally connected with Herman after the fact. To be fair, he’d tried desperately to bring Herman to these rites and Herman refused to attend as he was predictably appalled. Herman did eventually try to accept me as Norman’s High Priestess as he lunched with members of Terra Incognita several times. In the end, he completely blew up at me in a restaurant completely rejecting me as anything he would accept. Norman told me that under no uncertain terms was I to EVER speak to Herman again, which to this date I haven’t. Norman moved on from Coven Babylon after a year and Herman sent him a letter that I have in our Book of Shadows.I can’t be sure what he wanted to do, but it sounded like he wanted to drum people that he felt I was a part of out of the Witches Corp…but then again, who knows?
As for magick, I’ve been working several years now establishing a paper trail differentiating the sacred marriage, bonding mortals with gods from sex magick and making it a legitimate and probably necessary component between human-beings living on our planet and Conscious Energy Beings we call gods. As for the coven, while still in Herman’s good graces, I reached out to another Grove that had originated I believe, in New Mexico, but moved to Spokane, Washington. They liked the website I started around Coven Babylon and sent me their materials since they didn’t need them anymore. I have them safely stored in our Book of Shadows. Through ongoing research, I’ve put together a history from what I discovered:
The Pagan Way began in the 1970s as a tradition originally developed by Ed Fitch. Herman Enderle, a Chicago native, began and promoted Pagan Way as a non-initiatory system that sought to honor the ancient rites without oathbound restrictions. For a while he was magickal partners with Donna Cole (Schultz) who eventually broke away to begin her own Chicago based Gardnerian coven. Niles (Norman Kaesenberg) was one of their initiates. He returned and met me through social media and because he was moved by my magickal practices as High Priestess of Terra Incognita.
As I’ve said, in spite of Chicago Witch’s objections, the keys are authentic and have been honored with sincere intent though Enderle and Schultz’s teachings have faded away. As Donna Cole Schultz opened several covens before her final one, (I will honor Gardnerian oathbound tradition and not print it here) but her first used ritual and passed her heritage to some establishing an eclectic coven she named “Coven of the Pagan Way” not to be confused with the Pagan Way Grove Hermann Way established years later.
Ed Fitch disbanded the Official Pagan Way in the 1980s and Herman Enderle is in a retirement community and hasn’t practiced for many years. Norman Kaeseberg (Niles) created Coven Babylon with me in 2014 with the focus being to bring down Sumerian Gods and possibly re-establish the Sacred Marriage, as an ecstatic tradition that has existed since the dawning of western civilization.
Coven Babylon is our coven. As its heritage rises out from a blending of two traditions that happened only here in Chicago, we are calling our tradition The Chicago Way since Chicago has its own unique way of doing just about everything.
17 JUNE 2017