Farewell to a Teacher

Zip Dobyns

Manley Palmer Hall has been teaching in the Los Angeles area since 1920, offering a blend of eastern philosophy and western occultism. The institution which he founded, the Philosophical Research Society, will continue to send his lectures, journals, and books to students around the world, and will continue to offer evening and weekend classes on a variety of subjects by other teachers, but no one can replace Mr. Hall’s unique perspective. Some of his devoted followers were convinced that Hall was a reincarnation of the famous Greek philosopher, Plato. All who heard his Sunday morning talks were impressed by the breadth of his knowledge, his remarkable memory as he spoke without notes and finished precisely on time, and his generosity as he refused to raise the donation for his lecture above his traditional $1.

Hall was born in Petersborough, Ontario, Canada on March 18, 1901 at 5 A.M. EST, 44 N 18, 78 W 18. He was brought to the United States in 1905, and after spending some time on the east coast, he made his permanent home in California. He began his public career by lecturing in Santa Monica in 1920, became pastor of Forum, the Church of the People, in 1922, and he retained an affiliation with the institution all of his life. He was ordained in the Ministry and published his first book “Initiates of the Flame” on the day before his birthday in 1923. Ground was broken for the building which houses PRS (the Philosophical Research Society) on October 17, 1935. It has been extensively remodeled but continues to function on the corner of Los Feliz and Griffith Park Blvd, just below Griffith Park. Hall’s marriage to Marie, now his widow, occurred in 1950. In the summer and fall of 1987, a new man began to take over at PRS. He initially assisted Mr. Hall with some of his health problems, then moved into Hall’s home, was ordained in his church, and gradually replaced the former employees and board members of PRS with his own son and personal associates from other areas, including northern California and New York. Hall died in his sleep in the early morning hours of August 29, 1990. At this point, Hall’s longtime followers are waiting to see whether the institution will continue to function according to Hall’s spiritual principles.

Hall has a fitting chart for a guru with his Aquarius Ascendant and Moon and a stellium in Pisces in the first house. The Sun is there, along with two angles, two planets and two asteroids, emphasizing a mystical and psychic potential along with a love of beauty. The latter is visible in the PRS building which houses numerous art objects from the Orient along with many rare books in a library said to rival the Vatican for its old books about astrology. Mr. Hall’s psychic gift was experienced over the years by many individuals who were helped by his counseling. In addition to the Pisces stellium, the mutable, (mental) emphasis in the horoscope is supported by Pluto and Neptune in Gemini and by Uranus in Sagittarius. Pluto and Uranus oppose each other and form a close T-square to Venus in Pisces while the Sun and Neptune hold an exact square in higher degrees of Pisces and Gemini.

The common forms of the “mutable dilemma” include uncertainty over beliefs, goals and values (definitely not the case with Mr. Hall), and conflict between values or between ideals and the limits of what is possible in this material world. I assume that the latter was the primary issue for Mr. Hall, although he undoubtedly battled the characteristic mutable problem of too many interests and talents and never enough time. Despite his high idealism and mystical tendencies, Hall was practical enough to run his institution as a successful business. His Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Capricorn shows the practical business sense and is also traditionally associated with teaching potential, as Jupiter marks the search for “truth” and Saturn is a key to our role in the society. Hall’s move to Los Angeles put Jupiter in the highest possible focus, conjunct his local Ascendant within one degree. In his last years, Hall knew that he would not be present much longer, and he sought someone who could carry on his spiritual teachings in a practical form. Though there were some serious questions about past activities of the new director, Hall wanted to give him a chance. This is a mutable dilemma issue, at least in part, as Hall tried to integrate the need for someone who could be trusted to stay committed to higher principles with the need for someone with business ability.

In addition to his personal identification with the “Absolute,” shown by the first house Pisces, Hall’s chart supported his spiritual, “new age” career. Uranus in the tenth house of career, Jupiter ruling the tenth house and placed in the eleventh house, Saturn and its sign, Capricorn, in the eleventh house, and Moon ruling the sixth house and placed in Aquarius all pointed to Aquarian work which could involve new knowledge, humanitarian principles, the public, etc. The Sagittarius MC, Jupiter and Chiron (which is like Jupiter) in Capricorn, as well as Jupiter conjunct Saturn connected the career to Sagittarius, which could imply teaching, writing, traveling etc. as possible details stemming from the search for “truth” and the attempt to disseminate it. The Sun is also a key to work since it rules the Leo in the sixth house (the details of the job) and it is placed in Pisces, a key to one’s unconscious search for the “Absolute.”

The association of fire with astrological factors related to work indicates a preference for creative, independent and varied work. The Sun and Moon (rulers of the sixth) are in the first house which is equivalent to being in the sign of Aries. Leo is in the sixth house, Vesta, the Virgo asteroid, is in Leo, and Sagittarius is in the tenth house. These strong fire-earth combinations in Mr. Hall’s chart could point to a “steam-roller” person if they were not softened by the sensitive Pisces, but Hall was always a creative and independent thinker and entrepreneur.

Despite his spiritual nature and his independence, (the over-loaded first house often indicates a loner who retreats into himself and the Pisces emphasis is often associated with a preference for solitude and inner focus), Hall’s seventh house Mars shows that he had to work out power issues. Readers will remember that people with this placement tend to experience their personal power as subject to other people, and that there are at least six basic different ways to deal with the issue, each with many possible variations in their details. We can give our power away and look for someone to take care of us. We can try to keep all the power and play Hitler. We can retreat from closeness to feel safe. Or, on the positive side, we can share the power through compromise. We can have healthy competition. (A “game-playing” attitude makes it healthy, able to play by the rules, to both win and lose, and not to take it too seriously). And we can help people, reassuring ourselves of our power by dealing with weak people. I do not know the details, but I know that Mr. Hall had at least one previous marriage and that he tended to attract either very strong or rather weak people. Mars was square the nodes of the Moon and opposite the Moon, further emphasizing the issue of power and dependency. The air-water emphasis in Mr. Hall’s chart would tend to be sensitive and passive, reluctant to argue or resist, while the fire-earth combinations would tend to be strong and reluctant to be dependent. This mixture often ends up playing Atlas, attracting weak, sometimes parasitic people, but there is also the potential for periodically attracting “Hitlers” who will abuse power. I was not close enough to Mr. Hall to know exactly how he resolved this power issue.

Progressed aspects which were present in Mr. Hall’s chart at his death were reinforcing both the mutable dilemma (the need to integrate ideals-values-goals with material reality) and the power issue since the mutable cross was in cardinal houses. Progressed (P) Mars in recent years was forming a grand cross, opposing Venus and squaring Pluto and P Uranus. At the time of Mr. Hall’s death, P Moon had joined the grand cross as it moved to square P Mars and oppose P Uranus, showing the potential for changes in the cardinal house areas; personal action, partnership, career, and home or the end of life in the fourth house. The Moon would only reinforce the grand cross for two to three months, and it is typical for it to show the timing of an event when it comes into a network of aspects already in place for a longer period of time.

Many other progressed aspects also showed the possibility of a departure from the physical world. The quincunx (150 degrees) and the opposition (180 degrees) are the most likely indications of separations. Hall’s P East Point, an alternative Ascendant which symbolizes the life force, was crossing the fourth house cusp, opposite the MC, reinforcing the likelihood of changes of home or career. P Sun had just started a sextile to Mars with both of them quincunx the local (Los Angeles) East Point, and P local MC was conjunct that local East Point. The double quincunx or yod is the strongest indication of a major change in the life, a turning point and move in a new direction. P Sun was also quincunx the north lunar node, so it formed a second yod. P MC from the birthplace was in a quincunx to Vesta, pointing to a possible separation from health or work, the options of Vesta and the sixth house which describe our capacity to function efficiently in a job and in a body. In addition to P Moon’s participation in the mutable cross, it also formed a quincunx to Saturn, while P Ascendant opposed P Chiron and squared the Part of Death. And yet another quincunx was formed by P Mercury to the natal Ascendant which symbolizes the life force in action. Many other aspects could be mentioned, but these are sufficient to show the likelihood of a major separation. Still, detailed predictions remain risky. There were other periods in the past couple of years which could have marked Hall’s passing but they coincided with the separations from former employees, many of whom were real friends who had worked for PRS for years. And a progressed new moon which is scheduled for the spring of 1991 would normally indicate a major new beginning in the life of the individual.

We can only speculate on Mr. Hall’s activity at that time. Horoscopes continue to have appropriate aspects after an individual has left the physical scene. For example, a centennial celebration of the work of an artist or scientist which takes place many years after his death will coincide with appropriate aspects in his chart which fit public attention and recognition. The principles of astrology are always subject to testing by watching the patterns in the sky and comparing them to the events occurring on earth. It is true that a given principle can manifest in any of many different details, but the principle can be clearly stated and tested. But theories involving psychic phenomena are much harder to pin down since they can always be “explained” in more one way. Even when psi is clearly present, it might be communication between two minds (whether or not they are in physical bodies), or it might be clairvoyance, a mind tapping into events that are distant in time or space, or there might be some kind of “universal consciousness” which can be accessed by trained or talented people, or ? So when “channels,” the current term for mediums, or anyone open to inner impressions claims a contact with a disembodied individual, there is really no way to be sure of the accuracy of the information. I am sure that many of Mr. Hall’s devoted followers will feel that they are receiving impressions from him. I will listen, test their impressions against my own knowledge and logic, and reserve judgment. Perhaps at his spring New Moon, there will be major developments in the handling of PRS. Or, perhaps Mr. Hall will be able to release his parental concern for his only “child,” the institution of PRS.

I was curious about the positions of the asteroids Mary and Maria in Mr. Hall’s chart, since his wife was named Marie and they are all variants of the same name. Natal Maria turned up exactly on the fourth house cusp which certainly fits her presence in his home. P Maria at Hall’s death held appropriate separation aspects, opposite Saturn and quincunx Uranus, while P Mary was in the mutable cross, conjunct Pluto and P Moon, opposite P Uranus, square Venus and P Mars; all within one degree orbs. This is an example of the kind of precision in the asteroid names that still astonishes me, no matter how often it happens.

I was also curious about the position of Atlantis since Hall apparently did believe in the mythical lost continent. The asteroid turned up in Pisces in his first house which fits a “true believer.” It was exactly sextile Jupiter, a key to conscious faith, and at the midpoint of Mercury (symbolizing conscious learning and communicating) and the Antivertex, an alternative Ascendant which shows personal action. Hall wrote and lectured (Mercury-Jupiter activities) on both Atlantis and Lemuria, another mythical continent which supposedly sank into the sea thousands of years ago. One form of the mutable dilemma challenges us to learn to discriminate between personal beliefs and the reality of the material world. In a previous issue of the Mutable Dilemma, I discussed my reasons for doubting the physical existence of Atlantis, though I think the psychics have created an astral Atlantis and the asteroid given the name carries the meaning that is the core of the myth; a warning about the abuse of power. In the end, we all inevitably live in our personal belief-system, and we need to stay conscious of how it shapes our lives.

Copyright © 1990 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

back to top