The Hermetic Wild West
New York Hermetic Societal Academy at Montauk
The Hermetic Societal Academy at Montauk is a Jerbiton institution of learning. The Academy promises classical education, magical training, and insight into universal wisdom. (According to the school’s founding tenants, the three parts of the wisdom of the universe are found in original Hermeticism, in the arts of alchemy, astrology, and theurgy.) Despite its focus on mystical instruction, the Academy’s reputation is mostly a product of its political influence; the school’s connections let it further bolster its reputation by drawing the best and brightest students and professors from around the country.
Between 1665 and 1672, an alliance of Jerbiton investors acquired the majority of the Montauk region on behalf of the Royal Society. The lands were acquired through a series of purchases from the Montaukett Tribe and from earlier English and Dutch buyers. The school opened in 1672 in a collection of low stone buildings between Fort Pond and Montauk Lake.
During the Revolutionary War, the Academy became an underground society. It severed ties to the Royal Society and its guiding members, including such luminary Englishmen as Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle. Although plagued by funding problems at the time, the Royal Society made several attempts to strengthen its hold over the Academy. Only by melting into the high-society populace of New York were the school’s professors able to maintain their influence and avoid their creditors.
The Academy returned to Montauk in 1792 when Congress authorized civilian reconstruction on the island, including the erection of the famous Montauk Lighthouse. By 1796, construction concluded on the ring of ivy-clad manor houses that make up the school’s current facilities.
The Hermetic Societal Academy at Montauk functions as a Hermetic covenant. Its true members constitute the school’s small core of tenured professors. But the majority of members are associate professors. Associate professors enjoy most of the benefits of a true covenant in exchange for providing seasons of instruction to students and research collaboration with other professors.
Because they are not true members of the covenant, most associate professors maintain membership in their own covenants in other parts of the country. They are drawn to the school as an environment that fosters collaborative learning, particularly pushing the boundaries of Hermetic theory. In addition, association with the school opens a lot of doors in academia, politics, and high society. Most associate professors spend several years with the school before moving on, working full time in exchange for these benefits to reputation and the chance to be involved in cutting-edge research.