bITS 'N CHUNKS
Manly P Hall is an…interesting dude. You've probably heard of him even if you don't recognize his name as The Secret Teachings of All Ages is a pretty popular book in esoteric circles. Recently, it made news for being found on Osama Bin Laden's bookshelf. What does it mean? Probably nothing, it's not like we can ask.
There's not a ton of information out there about Hall except what he tells us himself, because his uhh "followers" *coughcult* meticulously scrub information about him to leave only the most glowing praise. So what you find on the internet is apologetics and his own prose. Surprisingly, one of the few negative thing present about him online are his kooky racial views. Probably because they're easily dismissed as products of his time (and I am not saying that we should). His relationships didn't seem too happy either, but those couldn't be his fault right? Right?
Anyway, other than being a St Germain-ish type figure, Mr. Hall was an educator first and foremost and a lot of his lectures are available online in audio format. I really love listening to the Wisdom series. There is a surprisingly good amount of practical business advice in there too, especially for those of you that work in a corporate office like I do. I don't care for/about spirituality but good advice is good advice.
The Secret Teachings is actually a very high level overview. And what exactly are all of the things? Literally everything that would pique a young mystic's interest. Hermeticism, Kabbalah, alchemy…all things. All ages.
It does feel like a sampler plate. In fact, the biggest drawback is that it is A LOT. But Manly takes a practical approach to it, too. It's not as condescending as some people we could mention right now nor is it terribly out there. In fact, it's very normal. If I were caught reading this book in public I'd be accused of something at worst, absolutely nothing at best.
Yes, an occult self-help book is exactly what you needed! It sounds gimmicky but Hall writes in a really accessible and objective manner. I prefer listening to specific lectures as his text is a bit dry and pushes the needle to purple, but I still recommend The Secret Teachings to people who think they want to get into certain secret practices but maybe have the wrong idea or no idea at all.
Ia! If you've come this far, you're either looking for weird or you know you've found it...