Originally published on July 9, 2008
Writer and reporter Louis Sahagun joins us to discuss his amazing new book, Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly Palmer Hall published by Process Media. Louis’ book is a well-researched and revealing biography of Manly Hall that contains many previously little-known facts and stories that it is astonishing. This book is a must read for anyone that considers themselves a student of Hall and his work, or is simply interested in how a man came from almost nothing and made himself into one of the greatest teachers of his generation. The book focuses primarily on a narrative of Hall and the city of Los Angeles coming of age simultaneously. The author is not, however, an admirer of Hall’s writings or lectures for their content. If you’re looking for a biography that approaches Hall’s work with the same appreciation that you or I may have, this is not it.
Our conversation begins by discussing how Louis came to know Hall and his work and describes his approach to writing the book as a history of Hall and the city of Los Angeles growing up together. Next, we talk about Manly Hall’s early life and how he began his career as a teacher and seer. In the early years, Hall was identified with Rosicrucianism, as were some of his contemporaries, including Max Heindel’s widow, Augusta, and H. Spencer Lewis. We get into Hall’s history as a Freemason and how this affected the subject matter of his writings and lectures. We trace the progression from writings on Magic, Tarot, Alchemy, and Freemasonry to his later works on mysticism, meditation, Eastern philosophy, and comparative religion. We also discuss the later years and Hall’s very mysterious death at the hands of the man who was supposed to be his friend and aide. Hall’s accomplishments are legion, including the hundreds of books he wrote and published, the thousands of lectures he delivered, and the Philosophical Research Society that still stands as a living monument to the Wisdom of the Ages compiled by Hall during his lifetime.
This book does reveal aspects of the real man behind the mysteries, telling details of Hall’s life that, apparently, not even very close friends knew. The result is a portrait of a genius who was driven to achieve great things, as well as a human being. By doing this, Sahagun brings us closer to the man and his works.
“The 21st century has an extreme reminiscence to the 21st year of a person’s life. It is a year of coming of age … when a person becomes an adult… Mankind has not the right to take a beautiful world with all its privileges and opportunities and turn it into a purgatory. This situation should remind Freemasons that they have something to live for. We have the power to build worlds, the wisdom to govern them, and the divine right to inherit the earth and preserve it in good condition in order to pass it on to our descendents as a place of happiness, usefulness and security for thousands of years to come. We’re not asking for treason. We’re not asking for disobedience. We’re only asking … that in every way possible, when they have the choice, stand for truth and, if necessary, take a little punishment for it.”
– Manly Palmer Hall, 33°, 26 May 1990, Scottish Rite Temple, Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California (pp. 1-2 of Sahagun’s Master of the Mysteries)
Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly Palmer Hall by Louis Sahagun (also available from Amazon.com)
Master of the Mysteries – Louis Sahagun’s web site
“The Mysterious Career of Manly P. Hall” by Mitch Horowitz in episode 6 of Sub Rosa magazine
The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall
Lectures on Ancient Philosophy by Manly P. Hall
The Secret Destiny of America by Manly P. Hall
The Lost Keys of Freemasonry (Also Includes: Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians / Masonic Orders of Fraternity) by Manly P. Hall
Road to Inner Light by Manly P. Hall
intro music by HipGnosis