Ronald Reagan and the occultist: The amazing story of the thinker behind his sunny optimism | Salon

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The Gipper's warm "morning in America" worldview was directly shaped by his reading of occult thinker Manly P. Hall

Ronald Reagan often spoke of America’s divine purpose and of a mysterious plan behind the nation’s founding. “You can call it mysticism if you want to,” he told the Conservative Political Action Conference in 1974, “but I have always believed that there was some divine plan that placed this great continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage.” These were remarks to which Reagan often returned. He repeated them almost verbatim as president before a television audience of millions for the Statue of Liberty centenary on July 4, 1986.

When touching on such themes, Reagan echoed the work, and sometimes the phrasing, of occult scholar Manly P. Hall.

From the dawn of Hall’s career in the early 1920s until his death in 1990, the Los Angeles teacher wrote about America’s “secret destiny.” The United States, in Hall’s view, was a society that had been planned and founded by secret esoteric orders to spread enlightenment and liberty to the world.

In 1928, Hall attained underground fame when, at the remarkably young age of twenty-seven, he published “The Secret Teachings of All Ages,” a massive codex to the mystical and esoteric philosophies of antiquity. Exploring subjects from Native American mythology to Pythagorean mathematics to the geometry of ancient Egypt, thisencyclopedia arcana remains the unparalleled guidebook to ancient symbols and esoteric thought. “The Secret Teachings” won the admiration of figures ranging from General John Pershing to Elvis Presley. Novelist Dan Brown cites it as a key source.

After publishing his “Great Book,” Hall spent the rest of his life lecturing and writing within the walls of his Egypto-art deco campus, the Philosophical Research Society, in L.A.’s Griffith Park neighborhood. Hall called the place a “mystery school” in the mold of Pythagoras’s ancient academy.

It was there in 1944 that the occult thinker produced a short work, one little known beyond his immediate circle. This book, “The Secret Destiny of America,” evidently caught the eye of Reagan, then a middling movie actor gravitating toward politics.

 

Written By: Mitch Horowitz
continue to source article at salon.com

22 COMMENTS

  1. “but I have always believed that there was some divine plan that placed this great continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage.”
    Aw,but it was such a pity that we had to kill all those pesky injuns that got in the way…etc etc etc ,and my great great grandmother was destined to be a spaceship with the biggest biceps in d wuurld,but she forgot her mascara and it all went pair shaped,coz I can make up my own history too see…

    • In reply to The Article’s Sub-Heading:

      The Gipper’s warm “morning in America” worldview was directly shaped by his reading of occult thinker Manly P. Hall…

      …And during his second term, his wife’s world view was shaped by Jeane Dixon and Joyce Jillson.

  2. OP:

    “but I have always believed that there was some divine plan that placed this great continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage.”

    Er, no it’s called plate tectonics. No God needed.

    Whether the Japanese felt the same when “Big Boy” dropped on Hiroshima is another question. The “freedom and a special kind of courage” to die by the hundreds of thousands. Some very quickly, some very slowly, but death anyway.

    Some bloody divine will ! The same bloody god who made the Japanese attack Pearl Harbour no doubt ?

  3. “You can call it mysticism if you want to,” he told the Conservative Political Action Conference in 1974, “but I have always believed that there was some divine plan that placed this great continent between two oceans to be sought out by those who were possessed of an abiding love of freedom and a special kind of courage.”

    Of course, he wouldn’t be referring to Native Americans who lived on that continent for thousands of years before the noble, courageous Europeans showed up and perpetrated the worst genocide the world has ever known, would he? But then, I guess if following the example in the Bible where God’s chosen people are ordered to wipe out the Canaanites down to the last newborn infant is an example of nobility, freedom-seeking, and courage, then the Christian European takeover of the Americas was just more of the same.

  4. Ah yes, Ronald Reagan.

    Like his peer Marion Morrison (aka John Wayne), our Ronnie decided that it would be safer to spend WWII killing pretend Native Americans rather than risk being killed himself by real Germans or Japanese. After his movie career went belly up, he spent the 50s as a paid informer for Joe McCarthy, denouncing ‘commies,’ and then disappeared for 15 years or so until he emerged in the late 60s as an early pre-incarnation of Arnie as governor of California, in which capacity his right-wing socio-economic policies and hawkish views on foreign policy earned him the sobriquet Ronnie RAY-GUNS. In 1980, berouged like a circus clown, he became president of the United States, where his chief claim to fame was to serve as a glove-puppet for the likes of Milton Friedman in propounding the famous doctrine of ‘trickle-down’ economics, which was expressed with devastating honesty by his UK co-thinker, Maggot, er, Margaret, Thatcher as “feed the draught-horse enough oats and all the sparrows will enjoy a meal too” — a nice way to describe Exxon, Roche or BHP-Billiton but hardly flattering for the rest of us, cast as sparrows who have to pick through the crap to survive.

    When he died he couldn’t remember his own name, dribbled down his bib and fouled his diapers regularly — a better end could I wish on no man!

  5. When he died he couldn’t remember his own name, dribbled down his bib and fouled his diapers regularly — a better end could I wish on no man!” …… you take satisfaction from seeing a man suffering from dementia and the horrors that go along with it do you? Regardless of what you thought of the man there is no excuse for wishing nastiness on a fellow human or any animal for that matter. Shame on you.

  6. From the article:

    Reagan, Norman Vincent Peale, Napolean Hill, Dale Carnegie, and other positive thinkers had so thoroughly, and subtly, convinced the public over the course of decades that what you think is what matters most that by 2010 few objected or even noticed when New York’s Democratic senator Charles Schumer defended a scaled-down jobs creation bill by claiming that it was the very act of passage, rather than the policy particulars themselves, that made the difference: “. . . the longer I am around, I think it’s the market’s psychology that matters dramatically.”

    I’m glad Mitch Horowitz mentions Dale Carnegie, because this is all this is. Positive thinking has invaded the US like no other country. How often do you hear in films the hero say to his child or someone “if you want it bad enough you will get it” or “you just need to go out and take it”. This is, if I may reach for the mot juste, horseshit. And yet in some cases I’m sure positive thinking does work by setting a new mindset in the subject, which changes their attitude and their life. And it probably worked in this way for Ronald Reagan.

    Another author taken up by this idea is Scott Adams of Dilbert fame. Try reading his last chapter in Dilbert Futures sometime. Like religion, it is woo, but effects some people and those effects are real.

    • In reply to #12 by GPWC:

      From the article:

      Reagan, Norman Vincent Peale, Napolean Hill, Dale Carnegie, and other positive thinkers had so thoroughly, and subtly, convinced the public over the course of decades that what you think is what matters most that by 2010 few objected or even noticed when New York’s Democratic sena…

      I find positive thinking and religious belief often give people the impetus to have a go. I rarely find jobs when I don’t need one, even when I need one but am not pressured heavily, I don’t find jobs. When the crunch comes down, I suddenly find more jobs than I can handle. Why? I am actually looking. People who go out there and try to get it, tend to have more opportunities at finding something to actually get. “If you want something bad enough, go out there and try to get it.”

      If I was a bit more simple, I would probably get more jobs because I wouldn’t be ruling myself out before I try. I may actually think I have a chance at jobs I know I shouldn’t get.

  7. I always found this guy and the fact that he could become president of America,scary.But consoled myself that someone like him could only happen once.Then along came Sarah Palin! Whew!!!!

    • In reply to #16 by sunbeamforjeebus:

      I think the caption to the picture should be “they actually elected me as president of America hahahahahahahah!’

      In spite of the way they butchered the idea of time travel Back to the Future was always a favorite movie of mine and my favorite line is when Marty tells Doc in the past that Regan is president and he can’t believe it.

      Although I always thought they could have had a better come back line for the doc. Rather than saying what he said (I think it was something like “who is secretary of state Jane Wyman?” I think a better come back would have been: “And I suppose Shirley Temple is ambassador to the UN?” (under Reagan she was).

      • In reply to #17 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #16 by sunbeamforjeebus:

        I think the caption to the picture should be “they actually elected me as president of America hahahahahahahah!’

        In spite of the way they butchered the idea of time travel Back to the Future was always a favorite movie of mine and my favorite line is when Marty…

        One of my favourite film scenes was at the end of Full Metal Jacket when all the grunts march and sing the Mickey Mouse song! Although the Vietnam war ended before Reagan’s administration I always associate him and America at that time,with that film scene.

      • In reply to #17 by Red Dog:

        …and I suppose Shirley Temple is ambassador to the UN (under Reagan she was)

        Interesting, that’s news to me; I do know that she was u.s. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

  8. Nancy was known to take astrology very seriously. I recall some excuses made that this did not reflect the president’s views, but obviously it did. The words “mystery school” stood out to me since I am familiar with the very pricey “mystery school” held by Jean Houston (debated Sam Harris with Chopra) who has Hollywood ties and political roots to Sam Houston (Texas) and Hilary Clinton. Per wikipedia “During the Clinton presidential years, Houston was invited by Hillary Clinton to work with her in the White House as an advisor while Clinton was writing her own book, It Takes a Village. Houston suggested an imaginary meeting between Clinton and the deceased Eleanor Roosevelt.”

    I now want to see the book “Encyclopedia Arcana.”

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