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Manly P. Hall (1901–1990)

Author of The Secret Teachings of All Ages

322+ Works 5,101 Members 49 Reviews 18 Favorited

About the Author

Manly P. Hall (1901-1990) was one of the leading esoteric scholars of the twentieth century. In 1934, he founded the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles
Image credit: Manly Palmer Hall (1901-1990)


Works by Manly P. Hall

The Occult Anatomy of Man (1937) 84 copies
The Initiates of the Flame (1934) 55 copies
Healing: The Divine Art (1950) 48 copies
Astrological Keywords (1959) 44 copies
The Tarot: An Essay (1978) 37 copies
Sages & Seers (1959) 34 copies
Spiritual Centers in Man (1978) 31 copies
Philosophy of Astrology (1943) 27 copies
Astrology and Reincarnation (1936) 27 copies
The guru (1944) 26 copies
Dream Symbolism (1979) 24 copies
The Story of Astrology (1959) 24 copies
Unseen Forces (1978) 24 copies
Buddhism and Psychotherapy (1999) 23 copies
Old Testament Wisdom (1987) 21 copies
The Noble Eightfold Path (1934) 15 copies
Adventures in Understanding (1996) 15 copies
Journey in Truth (1945) 15 copies
The Light of The Vedas (1952) 13 copies
The Mystics of Islam (1975) 13 copies
Death to Rebirth (1979) 13 copies
Research on Reincarnation (1964) 13 copies
The way of Heaven (1946) 12 copies
Pathways of Philosophy (1947) 11 copies
The Arhats of Buddhism (1953) 11 copies
The Culture of the Mind (1949) 11 copies
The Sages of China (1957) 9 copies
Initiation of Plato (1939) 9 copies
The Space-Born (1978) 9 copies
Symbolic Essays (1986) 8 copies
Astrological Essays (1964) 8 copies
Knapp-Hall Tarot Deck (1991) 8 copies
Road to Inner Light (2000) 7 copies
Very Unusual (1976) 6 copies
The story of Christmas (2004) 5 copies
Science and Immortality (1996) 5 copies
The All Seeing Eye 1927 (2010) 3 copies
From Death To Rebirth (1996) 2 copies
Psychic Self-Reproach (1988) 2 copies
FUERZAS INVISIBLES (2010) 2 copies
Os misterios eternos (2020) 2 copies
Comte de St. Germain (1946) 2 copies
The mysteries of Asia (2006) 2 copies
Love Series (1999) 2 copies
The White Bird of Tao (1988) 1 copy
Shadow Forms 1 copy
Think on These Things (1997) 1 copy

Associated Works

Dionysian Artificers (1936) — Introduction, some editions — 26 copies
Blavatsky and the Secret Doctrine (1933) — Introduction, some editions — 17 copies
Astrology and the Ductless Glands (1936) — Introduction — 5 copies


Common Knowledge



This one I acquired with the massive lot I inherited from my late Uncle Joe. I am not a believer in the occult or any mode of religious thought though I like to read such works on occasion. This one is really far-out man. It is a hodge-podge collection of beliefs cobbled from Hinduism, Egyptian myth, Christianity, and medieval European lore on witchcraft including bits from classical literature such as Dante, Milton and even a definite influence from Blavatsky especially found in the repeated references to Atlantis. Of course, I’m assuming more Blavatsky’s version than Plato’s (unfortunately). All of this has some terms ripped from science & astronomy at the time (1920s) thrown into the mix.
There are a (very) few tidbits that I find relevant such as on page 24 item #47 the last sentence which reads:
As of old, so today, the cry is seldom “Save souls,” but is usually “Show us miracles.”
Then other parts of the text can be taken the wrong way (if they weren’t meant in that context already that is) such as Item #59 which refers to the “Brown Man” who was “ordained to labor in the fields” and the “Black Man” described as “the creature born into slavery”. Yikes.
There are other questionable passages in the text such as Item #90 that strikes me as slightly fascistic.
Our natures cannot be allowed to just grow, […] anymore than children can be allowed to run around promiscuously and then be expected to amount to anything; they must be trained, and there must be a thorough understanding as to who is master and who is servant. [pg.37]
Granted this passage is in the section titled The Mechanics of Magic and is referring to the discipline of magic but the metaphor is a bit of a collar tugger but not out of place.

Then there’s Item#102 pg.41. It begins:
No man who is sick should be healed merely because he has an ailment. He should learn the lesson that accompanies the disease which he has brought upon himself. To affirm health is foolishness; to find out the reason for the ailment, make right the wrong and become healthy again, is wise and proper. To be so moderate, so wise, so thoughtful, as not to become sick, is still better philosophy.
The context is you shouldn’t use magic on people who do not specifically ask per item for it but it also places blame for illness which for the most part is just plain wrong. Then the rest of the passage runs with the contextual not really relating to what it has already put forth with the blame game. This is repeated throughout the book and items don’t necessarily relate to the previous or next item either. Again, this passage can be misconstrued and has been, unfortunately, a refrain from the American right and anti-vaxxers in general.
On the other hand, some of the rich imagery was really cool in my opinion. Also, the illustrations are really neat. I especially liked the image of the "Black Morning” at the beginning of time in the text. It sent my mind off in a million directions, so there’s that.
Overall, I’m not angry or disappointed that I read it, it was a fast read although its formatting diced up any sort of narrative momentum that could have been possible. I would only recommend this if you like reading esoterica such as 19th-century spiritualism & mysticism and belief in Atlantis. Otherwise, I can’t recommend this one.
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Ranjr | 3 other reviews | Jan 3, 2024 |
Manly P. Hall's odd, but interesting prose and assertions about the pineal gland and its supposed occult function as the "third eye" or a mystical organ. Standard interpretation in metaphysics today. This reprint by Martino Fine Books offers a cheap, facsimile of chapter XVI of Man: The Grand Symbol of the Mysteries.
tuckerresearch | Sep 12, 2023 |
This work lists itself as a brochure and so by it's nature, is not very in depth. It touches on a variety of subjects and beliefs from modern and ancient times. The primary purpose is to show the relationship to the human body and to some degree nature. There is also a chapter on the relationship to Masonry. I found some points to be well explained but others are mentioned so quickly they are difficult to understand, even though there is often mention of several different examples from various cultures, if you are not very familiar with those topics already, it is easy to miss the reference. Overall, it presents some interesting topics and ideas, but the reader must do extensive external research to really understand the depth of this book… (more)
Crystal199 | 3 other reviews | Nov 10, 2022 |
Here I go again, putting up a review based on initial impressions. I'm not even 100 pages in.

My first impulse was to crow "hoo-boy, here is a dopey-ass book," but I think I'll half resist that impulse. For now.

This looks like it will be a good compendium of weird sh*t -- which is, really, what I'd hoped for. I didn't pick this up thinking I'd ultimately wind up an initiate into gosh-darn bona fide mystical knowledge. My initial impression of Hall is that he's kind of a latter-day Pliny the Elder. Pliny sorta stuffed everything he could find into his vast Naturalis Historia, appearing (at least) to pretty much credit everything he heard as true. Hall shows a similar tendency to just accept stuff as long as it furthers his mission.

So if you're looking for rigorous scholarship, you won't find it here. Rigorous scholars do not cite the Encyclopedia Britannica (which is not, despite appearances, a knock on the E. B.), nor do they blandly accept that Atlantis was a real thing, at least not without giving good reasons for it. My own belief is that rigorous scholarship would have shown Hall that most of the stuff he was presenting was downright goofy.

Still, as I've already pretty much said, compendia of weird sh*t are not gonna get sneezed at -- not by me. Just know what you're getting into, here.

UPDATE: I'm having qualms about continuing with this book. There's just so much bland averral of outlandish crap as fact I can take. Every time Hall comes out with something really nutty, like a statement that the Great Pyramid is some tens of thousands of years old, my eyes do an uncomfortable dance, and I find myself dreaming of actual coherent argument.

UPDATE UPDATE: yeah, this book is sitting on my head, but I'm close enough to being done with it that I can't feature tossing it aside. A couple of the more egregious things (in my opinion) that Hall does here: 1) he tries to mash everything together, to ... well, have everything connect to everything else, so that all the contributions of different cultures feed into this ... one big overall 'thing'. This is insulting, though not so insulting as, say, Erich Von Daniken's claim that ancient cultures were too stupid to do stuff without the help of 'ancient astronauts.' 2) OMFG he is one of those people who think Shakespeare couldn't have written Shakespeare! If I had known this earlier, I might have thrown this volume against the wall.
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1 vote
tungsten_peerts | 6 other reviews | Mar 24, 2022 |


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