Introducing a new Tarot project!

by Thea Wirsching

Some of you know me as Thea Wirsching, Evolutionary Astrologer, but I’m also an academic with a research background in American esotericism.  That research is the subject of a forthcoming Tarot deck, The American Renaissance Tarot.  This Tarot celebrates the Transcendentalists and other nineteenth-century American writers who transformed the landscape of American spiritual life.  The careers of many of these writers naturally fit Tarot archetypes. Margaret Fuller, editor of the Transcendentalist magazine The Dial and author of a book called Woman in the Nineteenth Century, could only be the Empress.  Emily Dickinson’s sibylline meditations on nature elect her as the High Priestess.  Walt Whitman’s ecstatic love for America and all its inhabitants – black and white, rich and poor, male and female – made him perfect for the World card.  Ralph Waldo Emerson’s lectures on the power of the mind and the majesty of the individual soul resonate with the Tarot’s Magician archetype.

Hermit Image@2xBut perhaps the most natural fit of all for an American literary Tarot was Henry David Thoreau as the Hermit.  Thoreau made a two-year, two-month, and two-day experiment in simple living. He left American society to live in the woods at Walden Pond, to discover truths that can only be gained in solitude.  We depicted Thoreau on the water in the card image, to emphasize the reflective power of nature; Thoreau described Walden Pond as a “perfect forest mirror.” Importantly, Thoreau returned to society after his sojourn in the wilderness.  The Hermit archetype can also represent someone with highly individual views. For Thoreau, these were his anarchistic ideas that appear in essays like “Civil Disobedience.” Thoreau was also fiercely anti-slavery, and the card illustrates the white water-lily that Thoreau discussed in the lecture, “Slavery in Massachusetts,” which gave him hope that one day “man’s deeds will smell as sweet.”

Keep an eye on and follow @americantarot on Instagram, for updates on when this exciting project will be available for purchase!

The World’s Wisdom of Manly P. Hall

By Tammye McDuff

“Education at any age is a lifelong dedication to the improvement of character, and the enlargement of understanding. We are here to learn and grow and share…
– Manly P. Hall –

It has been called the Alexandria Library for modern times.  Whether you are new to metaphysics or a mage of many years, there is no doubt you have heard of Manly P. Hall and the Philosophical Research Society [PRS] located in Los Angeles.

PRS 01For eight years the library was open only on special occasions and with certain permissions, however due to the generosity of the Virginia S. Warner Foundation, the library has been reopened and all of Halls’ information transferred into a digital catalogue.

Dr. Greg Salyer, President and CEO of the University of Philosophical Research introduced the woman behind the foundation, “Virginia Warner has long been a friend of the Society, because she shares the desire to bring wisdom to all seekers.”  For the past several years, her foundation has supported a significant part of the large undertaking of organizing and creating a digital catalogue of Halls’ unique esoteric library.

In a quote by Hall, upon the original opening of the library, he stated, “There is no reason why PRS should not be remembered like Plato’s Academy, but if it is to continue, the society must make use of the most advanced technology available. I now envision a university of the mind, and think that through proper organization we can bring this message of enlightened living to a much greater audience throughout the world.”

For years, students and seekers would scour through black binders filled with Hall’s writings and notes. The catalogue system was neither dewy decimal nor library of congress, “Rather it was a list of books with its own unique formatting including penciled in notes and corrections,” said Salyer. The library fell behind in technology and organization, not knowing what hidden gems might have lost in stacks of books and bins of notes.

“Many years ago in my practice of meditation,” Says Warner, “A very unusual message came to me. I was told you must meet Obadiah. So I turned to the book of Obadiah in the bible. Coincidently I had purchased a book entitled The Secret Teachings of All Ages. I thought I might find an answer to my message in this book.” Warner goes on to say she was awestruck by the remarkable range of wisdom that Hall had compiled, “Never before had I seen a compilation of the ancient truths offered to this world.” As it turns out later that same year Warner was introduced to PRS President, Dr. Obadiah Harris, thus beginning her mission to create a complete catalogue of Halls works and his vision to make these teachings available to everyone around the world.

Manly Hall was a Canadian-born scholar and philosopher. He is perhaps most famous for his 1928 book The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Hall was the first president for the Philosophical Research Society’s and was a seeker and lover of wisdom. He had the courage and the raw intellectual energy to look for wisdom in places most would have long since forgotten. He lived in an era when most Americans did not look toward other cultures and traditions, without looking down.

Manly P. Hall began his public career in the related fields of philosophy and comparative religion at the age of nineteen, was ordained to the ministry at 22 and devoted his life to teaching, writing, and lecturing without interruption for over half a century. Hall gave nearly seven thousand lectures and talks, appearing on numerous radio and television stations throughout the Unites States.

Hall traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Central America, and assembled a magnificent library which he presented to the Society. On October 17, 1935, nearly one hundred people assembled on the site for the purpose of breaking ground for the headquarters, which included a front office, print shop, bindery, and library. Prior to the construction of the library, Hall attracted the attention of wisdom seekers from across the world. Donations from philanthropists and supporters enabled him to visit great auction houses of Europe, purchasing rare manuscripts that pre date the 1800’s.  His collection was so impressive that during World War II, The Library of Congress requested permission to make microfilm copies of unique items for permanent record, in case the Library should be damaged by bombardment.

The Library collection grew book by book, building on the great truths of illuminated thinkers such as Pythagoras, Plato, Buddha, Confucius, Hermes, Aristotle, Jesus and Mohammed; along with other prophets and sages.

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In 1998, the Society’s many educational offerings became an accredited formal University.  In July of 2000, the State of California approved the University of Philosophical Research to issue a Master of Arts Degree in Consciousness Studies.  Since that time the Philosophical Research Society has been doing business as The University of Philosophical Research. In January 2003, the State of California approved the UPR’s second Master of Arts Degree Program, in Transformational Psychology.

The University of Philosophical Research is now open Tuesday to Fridays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is located at 3910 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, California. For more information call 323.663.2167 or visit

Celebrating Your Role: Leader, Hermit or Soldier

by Jeanne McLaughlin

What’s your role in our Pagan community? Or in any other?

Are you a Leader?  One who leads a coven or group?  One who initiates gatherings or projects?  One who inspires others? Wonderful!  Thank you!  A group without direction can’t achieve much.

Without Leaders, no changes are likely to happen.  The Collective would likely sit and continue as is indefinitely.  Leaders are the ones who see the big picture, long term goals for the better, and how to achieve them.  Without Leaders, the Collective doesn’t have a focus.  It takes tremendous courage to be a Leader; to believe you have the right solution for many and have the courage to execute your plans.

Are you more the Hermit, preferring to work as a solitary?  Doing good for the Collective from behind the front lines, often unseen or unknown.  Great!  Thank you!  Good energies and positive change helps, no matter the source.  Imagine for a moment, how many solitary lightworkers exist right now in the world… and if all of them keep working for a common goal of greater good, how much positive energy that provides!

Being a Hermit you have the luxury of doing your spiritual work at will; when and where you wish.  Yet it can also be challenging because you’re always on your own; no other energies to support yours.  It takes great courage to be a Hermit – to have the strength to work alone, and know that’s what you do best.

Or are you a Soldier, preferring to be the strength of the group, yet neither leading nor being solitary?  Lovely!  Thank you!  After all, what good are leaders without someone to lead?

Without Soldiers (the Collective) the Leaders have no one to lead, and the Hermits have no one to help.  You who are Soldiers are the strength of us all – the heartbeat, the soul… the reason the Leaders and Hermits exist at all.  It takes courage to be a Soldier, to have the confidence of knowing yourself and understanding you simply want to be part of the group.  To belong. To be part of something much greater than yourself.

How about a combination?  (Oh, do we dare?  Yes!)  Perhaps you act as each of those roles in different aspects of your life.  Perfect!  Maybe you enjoy leading a ritual but prefer to do healing work alone?  Do you like to participate sometimes as part of the crowd and other times leading them?  Awesome!  Sometimes do you just want to be alone?  Nothing whatsoever wrong with that.  Personally, I live all three roles at different times; I teach workshops at Pagan gatherings for hundreds of people, I’m part of big groups doing energy work, and I do much work alone.

No matter which role suits you best, celebrate it!  Own it!  See all the good points therein and savor them. See any drawbacks and handle them as best you can.

The point is ALL are needed, Leader, Hermit and Soldier.  Whichever one(s) you are, you are an important part of the collective.  Please don’t ever doubt that.  You are here for a reason, exactly as you are… perfect and beautiful.