Creating your own new account is currently disabled due to intense spamming and vandalism. New accounts must be manually created by the admin. To request a new account, please fill out this short Google form. Without an account you cannot edit the wiki. However, you ARE able to search titles and access PDFs, though, regardless of account. While it is our goal to reinstate the ability to create your own account, I don't know when the wiki will be back up and running at full speed, but in the meantime, please connect with us via Instagram or Substack.
Welcome to the Esoteric Archive! This project was conceived of and largely built by two people, but it can't function that way! A wiki is fundamentally a community endeavor, and if you're reading this, you're part of the community. While I would personally appreciate it if you helped to build the archive (more info below), you are under no obligation to do so. Feel free to read and learn :)
If you'd like to help build the archive, I have some jobs for you! These tasks are not in order of importance. Jump in wherever you feel drawn to. If you feel like you've identified a project to be added to this page, go ahead at add it to the discussion page and we'll chat about it :)
A note on terminology: The term esoteric was picked for the title of this website because of it's general meaning of inner knowledge. It is not meant to imply other similar categories (the occult, witchcraft, magic(k), etc.) are not welcome. If the content falls somewhere between pure religion and pure philosophy, it'll probably be welcome. Right now, because of the objects collected thus far, we have particular major themes in the Archive. These themes are based on the current collection. They are not meant to suggest a master plan. For more information about the master plan, check out Earoc:About.
Why Rochester? Excellent question. I (The Archivist) have lived in or around Rochester, NY for my whole life and I am obsessed with the spiritual, religious, and social movements that sprung out of the burned over district. The collection does not currently have much in the way of Rochester information, but the plan is to collect way more information on locally started groups (Spiritualists, Mormons, etc.) and to have a greater focus on writers and thinkers from the area. A couple books by Claude Bragdon, Rochester architect and Theosophist, may give you an idea of what I'm looking for.
Furthermore, I do have a dream of opening a book store/library in an old masonic lodge in Rochester. While that is very much a pipe dream in this moment, rest assured that this project, this website, will always always always always be free for everyone, with no other requirements than making an account with a valid email address if you'd like to edit. If someday the content of this website is moved to another website for whatever reason, it will always be free.
Learning the Code
We are using a bunch of software called MediaWiki to build this website. MediaWiki is the same stuff Wikipedia runs on, which is why this may look very familiar. MediaWiki uses a mix of programming languages (the code you use to make words look different) to edit their software. The languages include (but are not limited to) HTML, CSS, and Markup. You don't need to take the hours of tutorials I've linked here to get familiar with MediaWiki. The best way to do it, I think, is to dive in.
- Navigate to the webpage for The Kybalion.
- Click "edit" in the top right corner. (It looks like a tab to the left of the search bar)
- You'll see a bunch of weird looking text in a box with a scroll bar.
- Select ALL the text and copy it (ctr+c).
- Then, navigate to your user page. You can find this at the very top of the screen to the right. Click on your username.
- This is your personal sandbox. Click "edit" on this page, and then paste all the text (ctrl+v).
- Now, if you click save, you'll see exactly the same stuff that is on the actual Kybalion page.
From here, play around. Use the visual editor to change things and note their effect. Try out some code for yourself and see what happens!
Adding photos to book pages
- For objects in our Digital Collection, we want to use the full-page image of the title page of the work. See Essays in Occultism, Spiritism, and Demonology for an example.
- Here's my process:
- Download the PDF and note what page of the PDF the title page is on
- Use the website I Love PDF to Split the PDF. You want to only download the individual title page.
- Use the above website to then convert the PDF title page into a JPG (Convert PDF to JPG).
- Upload the JPG file to this website using the Special:Upload page.
- Finally, copy the file URL and add it the object page in question. Use the Template:Book to figure out how to add it.
Adding a Summary to book page
- When you click "edit" on a book page, you can start adding content right under the info box code.
- Use The Kybalion page as a reference for how to format the page.
- Do not feel obligated to fill in stuff! Jump into a book because it's interesting to you and add information as you learn it. It's not a race!
- The table of contents is automatically generated. Play with the different headings (found under "advanced" in the page editor).
- You may need to add the code __FORCETOC__ if the table of contents doesn't show up automatically.
- The purpose of this wiki is community research, so if you add any info to the page that you did not learn directly from the file itself, please cite your sources!
- Formatting help from MediaWiki: Formatting Help
- Wikipedia tries to always use a neutral tone in its articles. Because of the nature of this archive, I'm not sure that's entirely possible here.
- The 'point' here is to supply an object or work (a book), give a summary of that object, link to other objects and concepts that will aid research, and, most importantly, to be a space to collect current research.
- A "Research" section should be included at the bottom of each page (but that is above any citations, again, see The Kybalion for examples.
- These sections should be formatted such that your contributions are grouped together (by date) and cited appropriately.
- These sections can include first-person language (because it's you doing the research!). Just remember the difference between a fact you've discovered and cited and an opinion you've shared.
What Constitutes "Research"?
Great question! It's literally whatever you learn about the object. If the object doesn't have copyright information, what are you able to google about it? Can you find any other sources for the content? Who was the author? What was that person like? Did they use their real name? Can you find out how the book was received when it was published? Who tends to use this content today?
It's also appropriate to add points of interest to investigate later. Categorize these under "future research points" or something to that effect.
Organize each research section in a way that makes sense to you. Perhaps it makes sense to create subject headings for different concepts; perhaps it makes sense to list events by date.
Pretty up the category pages
- Subjects on MediaWiki are called "Categories." Click here to see all the categories currently available: Special:Categories
- Here is a list of categories that have not yet been created, but are used on the wiki: Special:WantedCategories
- The goal is to add an appropriate photo to the page, and any interesting information you come upon. This page about Spiritualism gives you an idea of what it should look like. A cool photo, important dates, historical context... whatever works.
- If the category in question is a year, what was going on in the world that year? Historical context is really important for understanding why and when esoteric movements begin and end.
Investigate Unknown Copyright
- If we aren't sure of the copyright status of an item, we put the word "Unknown" in the "copyright" section of the infobox. This is so we can later find a list of these files.
- Category:CopyrightUnknown <-- Click that bad boi
- Get to searching! See if you can find compelling evidence of the item's copyright and mark it according to our code system.
- Have you found that an item is actually still under copyright and should not be on our website? Please reach out via email: EsotericArchiveofRoc at Proton.me and we will remove the object asap.
Point out broken stuff
- I've found broken PDFs a few times in the archive. You'll open a file and halfway through the pages wont load regardless of what you do.
- This is sometimes a quirk of Google's PDF reader built into the Chrome browser as well as Google Drive (both of which were initially used to create this wiki). If you find something isn't loading fully, try downloading the file and using a non-Google program to open it. If it still appears to be broken, continue on:
- To mark stuff like this that we need to replace, please add the code [[Category:Replace]] anywhere on the page in question.
- Doing this will add all of those objects to a category page that we can reference and search out new files to replace the broken ones with.
Replace said broken stuff
- Navigate over to Category:Replace
- Look for non-broken versions of this file on the internet. To start your search, head over to Links and scroll down to "other sources for free books"
When you've found a suitable replacement, either follow the instructions for "Add New Object" below, or contact me and I'll swap the files.
- If you've found a suitable replacement for a collection object, please reach out via email: EsotericArchiveofRoc at Proton.me
- Visit the Links page and add anything you feel is appropriate.
- Please do not remove anything, and if you want to change the organization, let's discuss it first. Use the Talk:Links page.
Add Mobile Editing Instructions
- I wrote this whole page with desktop instructions in mind. We really should have mobile-friendly instructions to help out folks new to mobile wiki editing.
Add New Objects
- We are currently cataloging the existing collection into our database in addition to transitioning the home of the actual files from Google Drive to Proton Drive. Therefore, it's not quick or easy to add new objects if you aren't the admin. If you have objects you'd like to add to the collection, please reach out via email: EsotericArchiveofRoc at Proton.me
- In the future we plan to have a way to add items to this wiki as a registered user, which will add them to a list alerting the admin that they need to be catalogued in our database. This is not going to happen any time soon, though.
Lastly, be nice!
- As a rule, don't redo/undo something someone else has done without talking to them about it first. Use the 'Discussion' section of the page to voice your feelings (politely!).
- While we are most concerned with facts that we can verify about each object, don't forget that a lot of esotericism can't be understood intellectually. That is to say, if you feel like someone wrote something that is wrong, consider if it isn't just a different way of understanding.
- To make sure your intent is always understood, make sure to fill out the "summary" field when you make an edit. Just a quick descriptor of what you're up to is perfect.
- THANK YOU so much for you help! If there is anything I can do to make anything more clear or easier, please let me know. ♥ The Archivist