Manly P. Hall was a titan of esoteric thought in the 20th century. Here’s ten illuminating talks to initiate yourself into the ancient mysteries!
If you are unfamiliar with Manly P. Hall, then prepare to have everything you thought you knew about the life, existence and the universe to be completely upturned and undone.
And if you are familiar with Hall, but have desired to know more about his astonishing body of work and scope of vision, then you are for a treat: there are literally 100’s of hours of Manly P. Hall talks available on YouTube.
If you’ve spent hours listening to Alan Watts or Terence McKenna, then Manly P. Hall is sure to be right up your alley.
Topics range from philosophy East and West, to alchemy and Hermeticism, to astrology and psychology, to the Kabbalah and the Merkaba; his scope ranges from macrocosmic to microcosmic, from the esoteric to the exoteric, from the divine to the mundane.
Hall was a titan of 20th Century esoteric study. He published his magnum opus, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, at the impressively young age of 28—an age when most millennials are just beginning to consider moving out of their parents’ house. Secret Teachings has yet to be surpassed in scope and grandeur in the field of esoteric studies in the nearly 90 years since it was first published. As Mitch Horowitz writes:
While working as a clerk at a Wall Street banking firm – the “outstanding event” of which involved “witnessing a man depressed over investment losses take his life” – the 28-year-old Hall self-published one of the most complex and thoroughgoing works ever to catalogue the esoteric wisdom of antiquity, The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Hall’s Secret Teachings is almost impossible to classify. Written and compiled on an Alexandrian scale, its hundreds of entries shine a rare light on some of the most fascinating and little-understood aspects of myth, religion, and philosophy.
Today, more than seventy-five years after its initial publication, the book’s range of material astonishes: Pythagorean mathematics; alchemical formulae; Hermetic doctrine; the workings of Kabala; the geometry of Ancient Egypt; the Native American myths; the uses of cryptograms; an analysis of the Tarot; the symbols of Rosicrucianism; the esotericism of the Shakespearean dramas – these are just a few of Hall’s topics.
Like his masterpiece, Hall was difficult to classify. He was not a prophet of the New Aeon, nor did he claim his knowledge came channeled from a Great Master from distant lands, and he eschewed the skeptical academic stance that classifies the occult and esoteric as quaint superstitions at best and a dangerous mental illness at worst. Hall engaged his subject matter with vibrant passion, and the esoteric wisdom teachings had a practical application in daily life. As Horowitz writes:
An occult scholar born at the cusp of the twentieth century, Manly P. Hall signalled a different kind of ideal. Hall told of “a personal philosophy with which to handle immediate situations.” After Hall’s death, a reporter in the Los Angeles Times noted, “Followers say he believed in reincarnation and in a mixture of the Golden Rule and living in moderation.”
For Hall, the very act of writing The Secret Teachings of All Ages was an attempt at formulating an ethical response to the age he lived in. While the book is at times speculative and some of its sources are limited by the constraints of their era, it is the only codex to esoteric ideas that treats its subject with total seriousness. Contemporaneous works, such as The Golden Bough, regarded indigenous religious traditions as superstition – interesting museum pieces worthy of anthropological study but of no direct relevance to our current lives. Hall, on the other hand, felt himself on a mission to re-establish a connection to the mystery traditions at a time when America, as he saw it, had given itself over to the Jazz-Age materialism he witnessed at his banking job.
“After I thought the matter over,” he wrote a few years before his death, “it seemed necessary to establish some kind of firm ground upon which personal idealism could mingle its hopes and aspirations with the wisdom of the ages.”
Hall’s passionate yet practical approach to his subject matter will be clear as you listen to the lectures below. His clear, lucid and erudite speech has a nearly hypnotic effect on the listener that will grip you in the first few seconds. Each talk is about five hours long(!) and packed with information. In fact, your mind will be blown by the sheer amount of information contained in these talks contain, let alone the knowledge within their content. These talks are the perfect catalyst to transmute a long commute or boring desk job into an illuminating experience.
Below are ten great talks by Manly P. Hall.
1. The Doctrines of Hermes Trismegistus
This talk covers the authenticity of the historical Hermes Trismegistus; the rise of Hermetic philosophy alongside Gnosticism and Neoplatonism; the influence of Hermetic philosophy on later esoteric thought; and the Corpus Hermeticum.
The Precession of the Equinox, the Great Platonic Year, astrological cosmology, and the influence of astrology on the development in human religion are amongst the topics covered in this talk.
3. Mystery of the Kabbalah
The Kabbalah, the Tree of Life, the Four Worlds, the Archangels, and Merkaba mysticism are covered in this talk.
4. Landmarks of Esoteric Literature
This talk covers the works of Francis Bacon, Knorr von Rosenroth, Arthur Edward Waite, Mary Ann Atwood, and H. P. Blavatsky.
5. The Mystery & Meaning of Ancient Rituals
The initiatory rites of ancient Egypt, the mysteries of Greece and Rome, the esoteric rituals of early America, and the secret ceremonies of China and Japan.
6. Pythagorean Theory of Number
The philosophies of Pythagoras are discussed in this talk.
7. Studies in Comparative Mythology
Babylonian creation myths, Greek philosophical mythology, Teutonic hero myths, Buddhist regeneration myths, and Egyptian afterlife myths are discussed in this talk.
8. Practical Mysticism in Modern Living
In this talk, Hall provides advice for practical enlightenment, so that you can apply mystical principles to daily life.
Hall covers the alchemical tradition in this talk.
10. Man, Great Symbol of the Mysteries
In this talk, Hall discusses the esoteric functions of the body, covering the chakras, kundalini, the spinal column, the pineal gland, and the heart.