In early November 2013 I received a friendly message on a social media site from a man named NK [NAME OBSCURED TO PROTECT THE PRIVACY OF HIS PRESENT FAMILY. HIS MAGICKAL NAME WAS NILES. i WILL PUT HIS NAME INTO COVEN BABYLON’S BOOK OF SHADOWS FOR POSTERITY]. Niles later became the father of Coven Babylon (2014) and it’s offshoots (2018). His introduction was as follows:

I was a member of Chicago’s Pagan Way, way, way, way back in 1971, 72, 73. I’m an ancient 3rd degree Gardnerian (Donna Cole Schultz) and went through 2 years of Pagan Way with Herman Enderle (the 8 holy days and the 13 moons, and all that)

“I replied: “Did you attend Donna’s services at Healing Earth in 2004? If so, we may have crossed paths. Do you know Emme Wilson? I helped her get into an assisted living arrangement last October at the Breakers and it turned out that Herman Enderle was also living there. A nice reunion. I was friends with Jack Armstrong near the end. I appreciate your message. I’d be happy to be your friend and chat about any interests/people we may have in common. NK quickly got back to me:

I’m in, Amanda. Thanx so much for the touch. I was extremely close to both Donna and Herman, and chatted with Jack Armstrong at the Weiser bookstore on Howard back in 1971-72, and while standing around in our rayon white hoodies waiting for Bridget to quit talking and start Samhain or whatever at her and Gordon Melton’s Edgewater apartment building (who was that albino guy Bridget kept in her pantry?) So, yeah…we need to find a coffee shop, or a soft couch, and speak to these departed loves of ours.

I’ve spent the last 20 years in other states, other countries, and have basically lost touch with so many. So glad a person I’ve never known until right now has stepped up to be a ‘homey’ with me. I was given my 3rd degree Gardnerian by Donna, and cannot say I have ever been more loved in my life. (oh, my!) Guess I should be passing the 3rd along, but I just sort of fell out of the lifestyle. And then now, with your simple words, you have me thinking about all those old ‘ways’ again. Can I do it? let’s talk. thank you so much for reaching out. the name my parents gave me is NK. If you archive “Occult Digest” you’ll see I was the co-editor of that rag 1971 – 1973. You can also read Herman stuff and Donna stuff there. Goofy, but relevant, given the timeframe.

I’m also everywhere in the Cincinati Journal of Ceremonial Magick, for whatever that’s worth. They tried to make me an icon. I just drank a lot of beer and ranted, like an occultist John cell is blah blah blah

That’s not for publication. I know you know that, or I wouldn’t have given it to you. Thanx Feel free to call me. I live in Uptown, on Wilson by the lake, and can access the Red line to almost anywhere, except to where our friends Donna and Herman went. We need to wait for that train.The fucking Ventra card won’t let us go visit them yet.again……..thanx.

Growing more and more interested I continued our

conversation: “Herman Enderly is alive and well living at the Breakers as of a few months ago. Interesting time Terra Incognita entered into the Chicago magickal community.Donna did NOT know what to make of me as the HPS of a Sexual Magick Temple. We had ONE conversation ever before this ritual and she danced around judging us. lol It was the whole sex magick exploitation thing. We also claimed vampire to alert the community at large that we use human energy to operate. We do not brook with surprises and are totally open with our practices which is why we don’t claim to be occultists. So, yes I did participate in a ritual with her just before she died. I had a terribly deep relationship with Jack Armstrong during his final months on Earth. I think I was the only person at his death bed. Through Jack I have an interesting nod from Henry Anderson at the OTO. I’d be willing to talk about the Gardnerian tradition and accepting the key of authority after a term. I believe we could create a coven here to circle. We have hunger for that from a portion of our community. We have the beginnings of a “dark magick” circle The Sovereign Circle beginning [WENT NOWHERE]. I’ve been asked to join, but I may need a magickal partner since mine is not quite ready yet. I believe you also could be instrumental in helping me get this dude up to par. A lot of potenital and 0 experience. You can email me your full name at my e-mail.This could be a timely opportunity. I’m intrigued.

NK then said:

thanks, and what a wise and thoughtful response to all this accumulative garbage can/wisdom/wow/perhaps/ya-think?
ok My full name is NK. I was born here in Chicago a long time ago/ I was the editor of the Occult Digest, circa 1971 to our finale “Calendar” 1973, by which time I had abandoned the Chicago scene. I hung out in Santa Monica with C.F. Russell circa 1972 (he hung with A. Crowley in the early 40’s, and was a supporter of the Great Beast even after the Crow pooped out and passed.) Grady McMurtry initiated me into the 9th degree, in a ceremony attended by 30 initiates at the San Anselmo HQ (near San Francisco .I can’t reveal more without approval. So, I am a pagan and a Thelemite, and, lastly, a Gardnerian 3rd.

Between you and me……I’m somewhat tired of “degrees” [IMPORTANT POINT HERE ABOUT WHICH I’LL WRITE A POST. HE WOULD HAVE SUPPORT FROM MY HIGH PRIEST HERE IN FRANCE AS WELL AS GOMORY AND MY HIGH PRIESTESS] Way back, when donna and I were sitting around at her house at 1125 w. wellington, we’d make up funny ‘titles’ for ourselves; titles like “King WhatdFuk, QueenEatmeNOw, and our favorite, Pastor Masturbator. Hope I didn’t overwhelm you with all my physical life muck-a-luk.”

The wheels began spinning in my head so I wrote back : no, actually NK can somebody in the Gardnerian tradition vouch for you? THAT would be amazing. [IT IS ALSO INTERESTING THAT THE CHALLENGE SENT TO ME IN FRANCE CAME FROM THE GARDNERIAN BRANCH IN CHICAGO. HIS NAME WAS NOT IN THEIR BOOK BECAUSE THEIR BRANCH WAS A DIFFERENT BRANCH FROM NK’S (LINK TO ARTICLE)] If I can get a Gardnerian to vouch for you we can start a coven here with interested parties at T/I looking for a circle. [HIS CONNECTION TURNED OUT TO BE HERMAN ENDERLE WHO THE CHICAGO COVEN RESPECTEDI
so that something you’d be interested in? I think people can get a lot of benefits learning ritual and visualization techniques…You interested?

NK replied: “I’ve vouched for so many in past decades. Now, me? you know what? all the people I loved/worked with/fucked/ they (for the most part) are all dead.I’m old and still sexually active, but the people I meet now are into sex and they don’t get the ‘magick’ in sex/If Toni Meyer ( an amazing astrologer) is still alive and in the circuit, she’ll vouch for me. (we lived together at the Temple at 1212 w. Wrightwood for a year. If Herman Enderle really is still alive, this is a no contest. I always loved Herman, and he always loved me. He was my teacher/ master. If you “need” some proof of my statements (a bit grinding to me, if understandable -” safety only”)…those are probably only the last two living associates I know of. There is also “Reverend” Gordon Melton, author/professor/bla-bla-mybla. Google him, though it’s a snooze at best. I used to conduct pagan rituals in his Uptown Chicago building, long before he became a professor at toney University California, and decided to pretend those rituals never happened. He went out west to that no-named hillside toney campus that almost got burned out 10 years ago…”Oh, my not that one?!?!?! He actually hired me to speak about witchcraft at a “Vampire” event he held in LA near the airport ten years ago. …(what a snoozer that was) I was supposed to get free flight, free room and board and $2000. for speaking and working at the event.I got free room and that was it, outside of my round-trip flight from ORD to LAX That’s enough of me showing my creds. I’m clearly not interested in pretending to being someone other than who I am.

Listen to me: I am not asking for your credit card numbers. I am simply throwing out a basic question: Can we just simply fucking meet somewhere before spending all this time talking about occult verifications, and obtuse clarifications? I’m checking Herman’s “Breakers” digs tomorrow. I (honestly) was told (by June Pasco, 2 years ago) that Herman was dead. Sadly, this (old Melton wicca) bitch not only lied to me; she made my potential re-entry to Herman’s world a frozen mush-up. I am sure we have things to discuss.” 

Since I’m always eager for coffee and meaningful conversation I responded affirmatively: “I’m fascinated with the gardnerian aspects of your bio… and naturally they need creds…that’s gardnerian.
The rest of it? truly I don’t care. I just don’t want to get overly excited about the gardnerian connection if I can’t pass it through Chicago BS. Been through that door before, not going again. Certainly I’ll call you…and you bet we can sit and have a coffee and chat. what’s your schedule like?

I sent NK the address for Herman Enderle and he wrote back very enthusiastically the next day:”Good morning! Wow, I know that building! Rode by it many times on my bike. And just down the street from Big Chicks. Have you ever been there? Nice open bar, with free buffet from 4 to 6 pm. Think it’s 5024 Sheridan. I’m going to Breakers cold. No pre-call – no invite. I want to surprise him. We haven’t spoken one-on-one since I left the coven and pagan way in 73 for a commune in Allen, Michigan. (Gosh – those were the days!) That’s 40 years ago.
Sobering. So, yeah, I’ll head over around noon, when they are serving lunch. Herman always loved food, so I’m sure he’ll be down to chow.

Do you know Herman? Have you two met? I know Donna must have talked to you about him – she adored him, and couldn’t have him because he was a closeted gay. But he loved her just as fiercely. They were quite a team, and so were Toni M and me (she changed her name to Scordo, so you might find T. Scordo in my “vetting’. Toni and I were initiated the same night by Herman and Donna at Donna’s house, 1st floor @ 1125 w. Wellington. Toni and I were living at 1225 w. Wrightwood, and we had many, many rituals there with the Pagan Wayers, our small coven and others. Del Close, famous SNL/ImprovOlympic comedian was a Gardnerian – he and I used to hang back through the 80’s.Toni was an astrologer. She taught me astrology. (I’m a July 31, 1947, so a Leo, Aquarius rising, Capricorn (dark) moon.) Her best friend was Doris Hebel, who was a very well respected German astrologer who also was a Pagan Way initiate/member.

The PW had 3 degrees, and normally took 3 years to attain them all, unless you knew someone. Wink. You can find both of these ladies inside the pages of the Occult Digest, which we published at the old Metaphysical Bookstore on the northeast corner of Dearborn and Randolph, 3rd floor. Back then, the building was basically empty, and I still recall looking out across the street at the huge “Cabaret” poster from the movie playing inside what I think might have been the Oriental at the time. Dan Jordan was my co-editor and Marsha Faust was my girlfriend. Dan went on to become a Circuit Court Judge and Marsha ended up marrying me for about 6 years of bliss, before we went our separate ways. Neither of them were into magick, or paganism to any great degree, but they were always asking me witchy questions. Being a Leo, I ate up the attention.

By the by…I initially met Jack Armstrong at the Weiser Bookstore because he was always there and Dan and I were always dropping off the latest issue of the OD. He was a book geek, like me, and we got along great. He also always attended the witchy, sort of Pagan way offshoot vanilla stuff in Melton’s basement. (Might have been Kenmore??)

Enough. So, you can certainly vet all this stuff through Herman Enderle. I’ll tell him about meeting you here when I see him later today. Hopefully, I can get his cell phone #. Maybe he’d talk to you? This is just soooo weird, having understood him to have left the planet years ago.
ok. me later, after I’ve met Herman. I’ll give you the scoop! We could meet later if you want. Or not.“..

Herman Enderle was a pagan celebrity for a long time, but as of 2014 had become a true senior citizen. Temple Terra Incognita’s nefarious reputation as sex magick practitioners put his already disagreeable person into a worse state. But Herman’s attitude toward me and my community did not prevent NK from initiating me and raising me through all 3 degrees in (thanks to Donna) became an Ecclectic not quite Gardnerian tradition.