Faculty of Humanities
University of Amsterdam

Archives, Libraries, Collections

Find esoteric source material online

Online Collections

The following is a list of websites that provide online access to a variety of esoteric primary source material. Some of the websites are the result of academic initiatives of digitization, archiving, and documentation, while others are run by practitioners. We provide some basic information about each site when available.

The IAPSOP is an American non-profit organization dedicated to digitize and thus preserve Spiritualist and occultist periodicals published before the Second World War. It has a rich and growing archive of such publications, shared under a Creative Commons license that permits free non-commercial use. It is an extraordinary resource for historians of occultist and spiritualist milieus.

Visit the IAPSOP archives here

FOTA (The Friends of Theosophical Archives) is an organization that promotes knowledge of, and support for, Theosophical archives across the world. For this purpose, “Theosophy” is defined in the same way as in the editorial pages of Theosophical History, and is not restricted to any one tradition or country.

Visit the FOTA website here

The Hermetic Library was started in 1996 and is thus probably the oldest repository of esoteric texts online. It was established and run by practitioners of a primarily Thelemic bent, and its collection obviously reflects this. It is a useful resource for certain strands of twentieth century and contemporary esotericism, from recent developments in ritual magic and the Thelemic scene in particular, to the ontological anarchy of Hakim Bay.

Visit the Hermetic Library

The IGPP in Freiburg not only holds an outstanding collection of documents for the history of parapsychology, psychical research, spiritualism, and occultism – they are also taking steps to digitize some of their holdings. The digitized collection so far contains the most important occult, spiritualist, and parapsychological journals and periodicals in Germany. It is an excellent resource for the history of esotericism in the German speaking world from the late nineteenth century to the Second World War.

Go to the IGPP digitization project (content in German)

Levity is an online repository of alchemical texts, images, and commentary organized by independent scholar Adam McLean. It features tens of thousands of pages of text, over 3000 images, over 300 complete alchemical texts, extensive bibliographical material on the printed books and manuscripts, numerous articles, and introductory and general reference material on alchemy. In short, it is a very valuable place to start if you are looking for information on alchemy online.

Search for gold at Levity.

The Internet Sacred Text Archive claims to possess the “largest freely available archive of online books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric on the Internet.” It has collected a large number of “esoteric” source texts, ranging from translations of ancient material to documents that originally written in the digital era for the web.

Browse the Sacred Text Archive

The Twilit Grotto is run by the specialist of ritual magic, Joseph Peterson, and has slowly been building its archive since 1997. It offers a useful collection of primarily early modern and medieval prints and manuscripts (all in digital transcription). There is a strong predominance of magical material, clustering around the Solomonic grimoire tradition and Renaissance magical texts.

Climb into the Twilit Grotto.

A useful resource for anyone interested in Newton’s alchemical manuscripts, plus articles and presentations.

Visit Isaac in his laboratory

A repertory of Ancient Astrological Works

Visit DIAL

A fantastic collection of articles (in French) on all aspects of medieval history, including magic.

Visit Médiévales

Links to offline archives and libraries

The Allard Pierson (museum) hosts the state-owned part of the famed. Ritman Collection

The website of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam needs no further introduction. Make sure to take a virtual tour of the library.

The Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel is a research library specializing in early modern prints and books. Its collection is among the most important in Europe. The library offers fellowships and organizes conferences.

The IGPP is a parapsychology research institute associated with the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany. In addition to running parapsychological experiments, working with clinical psychologists, and in other ways pursuing “the border areas of psychology and mental hygiene” the IGPP also has a strong interest in historical and cultural studies perspectives on parapsychology. It houses a unique collection of (predominantly German) parapsychological and occultist material in its library and archives.

Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene (IGPP).

The Warburg Institute in London was the home of the pioneering “Warburg school” of scholarship on hermeticism and renaissance esotericism, most famously associated with Dame Frances Yates. It houses one of the world’s most important collections of prints and manuscripts related to esotericism.

Warburg Institute Library

The Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library that aims to challenge how we all think and feel about health and the connections between science, medicine, life and art. It is a resource for both history of alchemy and magic, with a useful image library.

Wellcome Collection