Sacred Texts  Esoteric 

Circe, by John William Waterhouse [1911], public domain image


by Manly P. Hall

[1928, copyright not renewed]

Contents    Start Reading

Copyright Status of the Secret Teachings of All Ages

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 Although there are some questionable and controversial parts of the book, such as the outdated material on Islam, the portion on the Bacon-Shakespeare hypothesis, and Hall's conspiracy theory of history as driven by an elite cabal of roving immortals,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 (see sidebar).

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.

Title Page
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, Shakspere, 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