Manly Palmer Hall (1901-1990) is regarded as one of the great esotericists of the previous century. He was a Freemason (Scottish rite), founder of the “Philosophical Research Society” and a productive writer. I heard about the man in my ‘Theosophical period’ (10 years ago) and kept running into him. He has a few interesting titles on his name, under which a large book with the secret symbols of the Rosicrucians that I hope to run into some time. I don’t believe that I ever really read anything the man has written. My ‘Theosophical period’ has long passed and I found interest in other currents, but Words To The Wise was a suggested reading. It is in a way similar to Aperçus sur l’Initiation of René Guénon which I am rereading. Both books want to inform students of ‘the esoteric’ so that they become able to tell the real schools and real ‘teachers’ from the frauds, how to recognise them, what is needed if you want to walk the path, etc. The tones differ slightly. Guénon writes quite ‘elitaristically’ his his genuine esoteric schools are very limited, but also Hall uses quite strong terms to describe wannabees and people who call themselves initiated. Hall is much more structured and understandable than Guénon, but the biggest difference is that Hall suggests for example Blavatsky and Heindel for litererature, while to Guénon these two (“Theosophistics” and “Rosicrucianistics”) are the ultimate examples of how bad things can become. In any case, both books make you wonder. There isn’t much news to me really, especially in Hall, but his many examples may give the reader the insight in what people and groups to stay away from and more, not to get things too high in the head when something minor changes (predicting dreams have nothing to do with initiation, just to name an example). A funny read to some, while others may become cross by Hall’s bluntness and straightforwardness. I suppose that is exactly what the book was written for.
Words To The Wise * Manly P. Hall (1936 * 1996 philosophical research society * isbn 0893148148)
- 08 June 2007