Hello! I’m Nicholas Chapel. By day, I work as a computer hacker on a cybersecurity red team. In my off hours, I’m a magician, scholar, and researcher in the field of western esotericism.
In college, I majored in Religious Studies with a minor in Philosophy. I completed graduate coursework in Religion at Duke University, specializing in western esotericism from Late Antiquity through fin-de-siècle Britain with a particular interest on the history of the Order of the Golden Dawn, before leaving academia and the prospect of a teaching career in order to pursue work in the Information Technology field instead. My love of the academic field has stayed with me, however, and has been a mainstay in my adult life.
My Golden Dawn academic work was of a historical/critical nature, but also represented an inquiry into my own spiritual path. I have been a student of the Golden Dawn tradition since my early twenties, and an Adept of the system since 2015. Today, no longer affiliated with a temple or order, I share what I know of the system freely so that other students might share in the same love of discovery that I have enjoyed for the past two decades. After publishing blog posts pseudonymously as “Spencer M. Graves” for some years, as well as authoring an article on the Coptic names of god-forms in the Golden Dawn tradition under that name for the 2016 Summer Solstice edition of Nick Farrell’s Hermetic Tablet journal, I decided to rend the proverbial Veil and begin publishing under my own name instead.
I also authored a paper called “The Kybalion’s New Clothes“, published in the Vernal Equinox 2013 edition of the (now sadly defunct) Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition. This paper represented the first truly critical look at a New Thought text masquerading as a work of Hermetic philosophy, and debunked the Kybalion‘s claim to be an authentic inheritor of the Hermetic tradition. As a result, I’ve somehow unintentionally become one of the world’s subject matter experts on the text. I’m still not certain how I feel about this: the Kybalion is the last text I would have chosen to associate my name with, but at least I can provide a perspective that counterbalances the often uncritical lens with which it is received in modern occulture.
For a more current and updated take on the Kybalion, please listen to my interview with Douglas Batchelor on the What Magic Is This? podcast. If you’re interested in my perspective on magic overall, check out my Arnemancy podcast interview with Erik Arneson titled “Anything But the Kybalion with Nicholas Chapel”.
While I link to all of my videos here in my blog posts, you may also find the videos I have recorded–largely over particulars of the Golden Dawn tradition–on the Hermeticulture YouTube page.
You can find me on Discord in my free time, where I am a moderator on the Hermetic House of Life server and greatly enjoy the community of fellow practitioners I have found there. I also maintain a presence on the Qabalah Self-Initiation server, where I provide what guidance and mentorship I can to students of the Golden Dawn tradition who are pursuing a solitary course of self-initiation.
Finally, I am always interested in working collaboratively with others. If you would like to do work or research together, discuss finer points of occult philosophy and esoterica, or ask me any questions–and especially if you live in the greater Minnesota, USA area–please feel free to find me on Discord or contact me via email.