Sacred Precinct

"San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality" – Paul Kantner

Category: Western Esotericism

Twilight Mages Pt. 2: The Dark Arts of Persuasion

“The Machiavelli of the mid-20th century will be an advertising man; his Prince, a textbook of the art and science of fooling all the people all the time.”

– Aldous Huxley

The “Twilight Mages” were a group of practical occultists that emerged in the 1890s, who commercialized the occult by making previously esoteric or forbidden knowledge available to the masses – for a price.  The Twilight Mages promised to reveal the secrets to success, and to help develop one’s latent powers and hidden talents.  Using the same business model that Scientology would later perfect, the Mages sold elaborate mail order lesson plans in esoteric subjects as diverse as personal magnetism, telepathy, and hypnosis.  A single topic would typically consist of an average of 30 lessons, and mastering the “complete system of personal influence” required the completion of nearly 200 lessons.

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The Twilight Mage, Pt 1: The Changeling

It seems like once every couple of years someone proposes closing down San Francisco’s most popular tourist attraction: Lombard Street, “The Crookedest Street in the World,” to automotive traffic.  In 1977, one such proposal made the news with the headline “Crookedest Street Facing a Dead End?”  Similar to recent reports on the subject, it suggested that the tourist traffic be redirected instead to Vermont Street, between 20th and 22nd, which, with both a steeper grade and tighter turning radius, is a more rightful claimant to the world’s title.  The article would have otherwise been of little interest to me, except that at the end it quotes one “Xen Neal, Vermont street resident,” and therein lies the real story.

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A Higher Calling: 140 New Montgomery

Commissioned in 1924 in order to consolidate several smaller buildings into one main headquarters for the then newly formed Bell System, (now AT&T) the skyscraper at 140 New Montgomery Street in San Francisco, was designed according to the basic architectural principles of a Buddhist temple-monastery.

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450 Sutter – The Temple of Doom

Specifically designed to house dentist offices, Four-Fifty Sutter is alternately referred to by locals as “The Tower of Terror,” “The House of Pain,” Four-Fifty “Suffer” and “The Temple of Doom.”  Many have pondered the meaning of the building’s mystical Mayan symbolism, but their curiosity was never quite satisfied…until now.

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The Story of a Lost Race

In 1897, San Francisco journalist Frona Wait Colburn, published her first work of fiction, “The Dorado,” in which she imagines that the lost race of Atlantis once inhabited San Francisco 11,000 years ago. In her mythical ancient capital city of “Tlamco,” the seven hills of San Francisco were carefully constructed to precisely mark the orbits and diameters of the planets, as well as map out the seven stars of the Pleiades, and align with the three stars of Orion’s belt.

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Built at the Behest of Spirits

The Hayward Building at 400 Montgomery Street was built at the behest, and some say, with the financial backing, of the Spirit World.

The Hayward Building was commissioned by Alvinza Hayward at the request of the spirits, whose previous advice had led him to the richest gold vein in the country. The medium who communicated this information from the Spirit World was given and estimated $80,000 in finders fees. To repay the spirits for their guidance and support, Hayward was asked to use his winnings to build the largest skyscraper in the City of San Francisco.

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