Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Look, Ohio State, I'm really, really sorry. Somebody was going to use a similar headline and it might as well be me.

The Center [sic] for the Study of Religion's 2007/2008 lecture series is Through a Glass, Darkly: Public Interest in the Occult. Speakers include renowned scholars such as Sabina Magliocco of California State University and Leigh Eric Schmidt of Princeton University.

Sarah Iles Johnston, director of the Center, told The Lantern, "Ohio State has more scholars on the history of magic than any educational institution I'm aware of."

Ohio State Offers Occult Lectures

My friends at Ohio State University have a cool article in the student paper, The Lantern, about how magic and the occult are reaching more and more people. ...

The Lantern
The Student Voice Of Ohio State University

Occult reaches students, staff
Hannah Tyler
Issue date: 1/29/08

For some at Ohio State, the occult is a field of academic interest, but for some students it is a way of life.

Arthur Holmes, an undecided freshman, is a satanist and chaos magician. His experience with the occult has been positive, but he said that the public generally misunderstands satanism.

"We don't worship Satan as a deity. We see him as a representation of the carnal side
of man and as a symbol of indulgence," he said.

A number of OSU students participate in magic as followers of religions such as satanism and wicca. Some OSU professors are also interested in magic, and specialize in fields that concentrate on it as a historical and cultural subject....

General Albert Pike wrote those words in a work called Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, 1871. At the time his title was The Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite in Washington D.C. This book is revered by occult groups across the globe, and most masons have never read it, let alone understood it. It deals with the occult origins of the symbols, initiations, and rituals of Freemasonry. Morals and Dogma is typically only giving to Master Masons. It is estimated that for every hundred Masons, ten will read it, three will finish it and only one will understand it.

Samuel Liddel "MacGregor" Mathers (January 1854 – November 1918) a Freemason, a Rosicrucian and an adept occult magician. Mathers was one of the most influential occultists in modern times. Along with Dr. Wynn Westcott, he founded the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. On the Golden Dawn, Wikipedia has this to say: "The 'Golden Dawn,' as it is commonly referred to, was probably the single greatest influence on 20th century western occultism. While it existed, it was the focal point of the development and redevelopment of magical thinking in Europe. In it, most concepts of magic and ritual that have since become core elements of Wicca, Thelema, western mystery schools and other forms of magical spirituality were first formulated."

Mathers was instrumental in formulating instructions on the occult meanings of the Tarot. From the Golden Dawn website: "Much of what we know of the Tarot comes from Mathers and his wife. Today, we take the Tarot for granted, but without the ground breaking work of Mathers and the Golden Dawn, our Tarot symbolism might be basic and trite."

Aleister Crowley (12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947), the most controversial occultist in modern times, dubbed the "wickedest man alive." There's much dispute as to his official status as a mason. The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, however, admits to his initiation into Craft Freemasonry in Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343. Crowley was also conferred the degrees 33°, 90° and 96° of the Antient and Primitive Rite of Masonry, Disciples of Memphis by John Yarker. Throughout his career, Crowley was as much influenced by Freemasons as he in turn had influence on them.

Crowley has generated an intense following since his death. He has influenced countless disciples and gave birth to Satanism. Proclaiming to be the magus (and great Beast 666) of the "new age of Horus," he saw himself as the usher, or prophet, of a "new Aeon" of illuminism.

Because of his total disregard for imposed social values and his legendary rebellion toward authority, Crowley became a hero for young people - especially rock musicians of the 60s and 70s and through to the Heavy Metal acts of the 80s and 90s.

Manly P. Hall (1901 - 1990) is unequaled, he is the most prolific occult philosopher of all-time. No one in history has even come close to matching his literary output on the subject. "Hall authored over two hundred books on occult subjects ranging from works on astrology, the Bible, Tarot, dreams, mysticism, Eastern and Western philosophy, religion, psychology, symbology, and reincarnation, plus hundreds of essays and a monthly magazine published called the PRS Journal. Over the course of six decades he delivered eight thousand lectures. He spoke for up to two hours extemporaneously, weaving a mesmerizing tapestry of wisdom." 4

Born in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada in 1901, the Hall family moved to the United States in 1904. In 1919, Manly settled in Los Angeles. From an early age he was interested in occult matters and subsequently joined a number of societies: Theosophy, Freemasonry, the Societas Rosecruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, and the American Federation of Astrologers.

After writing his first book, The Initiates of the Flame, in 1922, Hall began collecting rare books on the mystery schools and esoteric philosophy to begin assembling the text for a magnum opus of occult history. During this time he also travelled extensively in Europe, Asia and Egypt. In the search for "ancient wisdom" texts, Manly Hall's favorite place was the British Museum in London:

“The great center of learning in England is the British Museum, with its miles of bookcases, which caused De Quincy to sit and weep because he could not read all the volumes. In order to gain access to the two principal departments of the museum—one of rare books, and the other of manuscripts—it was necessary to be appropriately sponsored. I had the good fortune of becoming acquainted with General Sir Francis Younghusband, the man who led the British expedition into Tibet in 1903-1904, and camped his army at the foot of the Potola at Lhasa. While dining one day at the Officer’s Club, Sir Francis confided to me that he was known as the conqueror of Tibet, but he regarded this as a dubious honor. The real fact, he said, was that Tibetan religion and philosophy had conquered him. A note from Sir Francis immediately gave me admission to the most valuable parts of the British Museum, and I was able to examine the originals of many of the world’s most priceless books and manuscripts.” 5

In 1923, Hall was ordained a minister by the Los Angeles-based Church of the People, an occult/metaphysical congregation. As the leader of the Church of the People, Hall started a magazine titled " The All Seeing Eye."

By 1928, after 6 years of work and raising $100,000 for the first edition, Manly Hall finally published what has become a valuable classic for those who want to learn about the history of the occult and the "Ancient Wisdom" mystery schools: The Secret Teachings of All Ages. A quarter of a century later, the sheer breadth and scope of the work remains impressive: "pythagorean mathematics; alchemical formulae; Hermetic doctrine; the workings of the Kabala; the geometry of Ancient Egypt; the Native American myths; the uses of cryptograms; an analysis of the Tarot; the symbols of Rosacrucianism; the esotericism of the Shakespearean dramas – these are just a few of Hall’s topics." 6

In 1934, Hall founded the Philosophical Research Society, a research institute modeled on the ancient school of Pythagoras. It was here that he made his home, he held weekly lectures and continued to publish an incredible body of work. In the year of his death, Manly P. Hall was bestowed with the honorary 33º of Scottish Rite Masonry.


No comments: