Manly Palmer Hall wrote this book at a very young age and self-published it later in his mid twenties. The book is pure conceptual truth without bogging ourselves down with the details. Great read for anyone who likes Joseph Campbell and wishes to follow up on the Power of Myth and get into the right-hand occult.
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Mystical speculations about God, the world, and man occupied the minds of many medieval scholars and theologians. They conceived creation itself to be a symbol or figure through which the Divine Will manifested its purposes and intentions-thus by analogy, the world revealed God, and man revealed the world. The human being himself was a microcosm-a miniature of the cosmos. After the collapse of the pagan cultural institutions, it was unlawful to teach classical learning or to advance scientific knowledge contrary to the prevailing scholasticism. To avoid persecution and at the same time perpetuate for the benefit of qualified disciples the more advanced formulas of the ancient wisdom, the sacred truths were presented symbolically through the beautiful engraved devices of the emblem writers.
The seventeenth century restoration of learning gradually brought about a Universal Reformation as proclaimed in the Fama of the Rosicrucians. A careful study of the emblem books of that period reveals that most of the figures and designs were based upon Egyptian or Greek mythology, and like the alchemical symbols, perpetuated the secret teachings of esoteric fraternities. Today, those well informed in the Orphic Mysteries and the mystical speculations of the Neoplatonists can interpret the design with little difficulty. It appears that the emblem books were, in many cases, actual extensions of Pythagorean and Platonic metaphysics. Paracelsus said that the first hieroglyphic book is nature, published in folio, and the second hieroglyphic book is man, published in duodecimo.
To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books. It has always seemed to me that symbolism should be restored to the structure of world education. The young are no longer invited to seek the hidden truths, dynamic and eternal, locked within the shapes and behavior of living beings.
The present volume is itself a symbol made up of many symbols gathered from rare sources. It invites the thoughtful reader to explore the meanings of these emblems and devices with his own insight. Because spiritual growth is the goal of all human aspiration, symbols that help us to grow are precious things for they open the doors to life everlasting.
I wish to express my deep indebtedness to those faithful artists and engravers whose remarkable meditation pictures have guided my labors for so many years. This book is dedicated to the truths they served and the wonderful designs which they have bestowed as a priceless heritage upon the truth seekers of the future. It is my sincere hope that this memorial may continue to serve and inspire new generations of kindly and dedicated people.
Manly P. Hall Los Angeles, California October 1, 1975. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.From the Back Cover:
Secret Teachings of All Ages Manly P. Hall (1901 -1990), born in Peterborough, Ontario was raised in United States by his maternal grandmother. He began his studies in esoteric knowledge at a very young age and by 20 was giving lectures in California. In 1934 he founded the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles, dedicating it to the "ensoulment of all arts, sciences, and crafts, and devoted to the one basic purpose of advancing the brotherhood of all that lives, to meet all lovers of wisdom on a common ground." In over seventy-five years of dynamic public activity, he delivered more than 8,000 lectures in the United States and abroad, and authored countless books, essays, and articles. In his lectures and writings, Manly Hall always emphasized the practical aspects of philosophy and religion as they applied to daily living. He restated for modern man those spiritual and ethical doctrines which have given humanity its noblest ideals and most adequate codes of conduct. Believing that philosophy is a working tool to help the individual in building a solid foundation for his dreams and purposes, Manly Hall steadfastly sought recognition of the belief that world civilization can be perfected only when human beings meet on a common ground of intelligence, cooperation, and worthy purpose.
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