by Manly P. Hall

[1928, copyright not renewed]

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For once, a book which really lives up to its title. Hall self-published this massive tome in 1928, consisting of about 200 legal-sized pages in 8 point type; it is literally his magnum opus. Each of the nearly 50 chapters is so dense with information that it is the equivalent of an entire short book. If you read this book in its entirety you will be in a good position to dive into subjects such as the Qabbala, Alchemy, Tarot, Ceremonial Magic, Neo-Platonic Philosophy, Mystery Religions, and the theory of Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry. Although there are some questionable and controversial parts of the book, such as the outdated material on Islam, the portion on the Bacon-Shakespeare hypothesis, and Hall’s conspiracy theory of history as driven by an elite cabal of roving immortals, they are far out-weighed by the comprehensive information here on other subjects.

For many years this book was only available in a large format edition which was hard to obtain and very expensive. However, an affordable paperback version has finally been released.

PRODUCTION NOTES: I worked on this huge project episodically from 2001 to June 2004. This because of the poor OCR quality, which was due to the miniscule type and large blocks of italics; this necessitated retyping many parts of the text manually. To give an idea of how massive this project was, the proof file for this is 2 megabytes, about 8 times the size of a normal 200 page book. The raw graphics files are 63 megabytes, which I’ve processed down to about 11 megabytes. The thumbnails alone are 1 megabyte, which is about my graphics budget for a regular book.

While the book itself is not covered by copyright in the US due to lack of formal renewal, many of the large color illustrations that front each chapter in the paper edition did have registrations and renewals entered for them. So these are omitted from this etext. However, all of the black and white illustrations are included here. Note that many of the graphics had to be quite large because of the amount of detail, so I have thumbnailed every image in the book. In the book all of the illustration captions are in italics; I have reversed this in the etext for legibility.

–John Bruno Hare, June 11, 2004. Preface

Table of  Contents


The Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies Which Have Influenced Modern Masonic Symbolism

The Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies, Part Two

The Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies, Part Three

Atlantis and the Gods of Antiquity

The Life and Teachings of Thoth Hermes Trismegistus

The Initiation of the Pyramid

Isis, the Virgin of the World

The Sun, A Universal Deity

The Zodiac and Its Signs

The Bembine Table of Isis

Wonders of Antiquity

The Life and Philosophy of Pythagoras

Pythagorean Mathematics

The Human Body in Symbolism

The Hiramic Legend

The Pythagorean Theory of Music and Color

Fishes, Insects, Animals, Reptiles and Birds (Part One)

Fishes, Insects, Animals, Reptiles and Birds (Part Two)

Flowers, Plants, Fruits, and Trees

Stones, Metals and Gems

Ceremonial Magic and Sorcery

The Elements and Their Inhabitants

Hermetic Pharmacology, Chemistry, and Therapeutics

The Qabbalah, the Secret Doctrine of Israel

Fundamentals of Qabbalistic Cosmogony

The Tree of the Sephiroth

Qabbalistic Keys to the Creation of Man

An Analysis of Tarot Cards

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness

The Fraternity of the Rose Cross

Rosicrucian Doctrines and Tenets

Fifteen Rosicrucian and Qabbalistic Diagrams

Alchemy and Its Exponents

The Theory and Practice of Alchemy: Part One

The Theory and Practice of Alchemy: Part Two

The Hermetic And Alchemical Figures of Claudius De Dominico Celentano Vallis Novi

The Chemical Marriage

Bacon, Shakespeare, and the Rosicrucians

The Cryptogram as a factor in Symbolic Philosophy

Freemasonic Symbolism

Mystic Christianity

The Cross and the Crucifixion

The Mystery of the Apocalypse

The Faith of Islam

American Indian Symbolism

The Mysteries and Their Emissaries


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