The Secret Teachings of All Ages
by Manly P. Hall
A lot of books are labeled ‘esoteric’, but in many cases they only regurgitate isolated, easily digestible chunks of esoteric wisdom. This is certainly not the case with Manly Hall’s The Secret Teachings of All Ages.
This monumental book, published in 1928, provides a rich overview of many esoteric sources. It is outdated is some respects, but since it deals with perennial wisdom in a superb way, it will remain an esoteric classic. Hall dedicated the book to ‘the rational soul of the world’.
In The Secret Teachings Manly Hall brought together wisdom teachings of old, just like Blavatsky did 40 years earlier in her book The Secret Doctrine. But where Blavatsky poured ancient knowledge into a new system, and called it Theosophy, Manly Hall had a more objective approach: he wrote an encyclopedic outline of the material available. Other differences are Blavatsky’s use of wisdom traditions from all over the world and her complicated style of writing, where Hall confines himself to the Western tradition and writes in a compelling, readable style.
The Secret Teachings deals with the mystery tradition, in which esoteric teachings are passed down orally from teacher to pupil, from hierophant to initiate. The language used in the mysteries consists mainly of symbols. Living symbols, because they are meant to have an impact on one’s life.
BTW, this book doesn’t need to be read from a to z. One can read snippets and reflect. Fascinating stuff!