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Making the Ordinary Extraordinary


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Danny Goldberg

Cast of Characters

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

The Big Book

My First Sunday at the Philosophical Research Society

First Lecture

The Inner Circle

Appointment with Destiny

The Japanese Altar

9 Pluto

At Home with the Halls

Jazz Cigarettes

The Alchemy of Baking

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Fabulous Creatures

The Pinch Hitter

Warnings from the Sybils

Book Hunting with the Halls

Midnight Archaeology

The Space Mother

Lost and Found

Two Funerals

A Wedding

The Society of Five Fellows

The Ice Cracks


Among the Hungry Ghosts

The Yellow Sweater Cult

One Very Bad Apple

The Curtain Falls


Don’t Look Back

False Sunrise

To the Strongest

An Olympian Goodbye

The Rest of Art

Applied Metaphysics


“Mad Marie’s” Zucchini Pancake Recipe

About the Author

About the Author

Tamra Lucid is a founding member of the experimental rock band Lucid Nation. She was a writer and editor for Newtopia Magazine and the principal interviewer for the original Reality Sandwich. She has produced documentary films, including Exile Nation: The Plastic People, End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock, and the award-winning Viva Cuba Libre: Rap Is War. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Ronnie Pontiac.


“Beautifully written, touching, historical, fast-paced, and fun. This is a book magical people everywhere will love and learn from.”
*Amanda YaTeS Garcia, author of Initiated: Memoir of a Witch*

“A must-read . . . this MTV-era story vividly recalls the surreal time when Tamra Lucid’s hot mess of a boyfriend became an apprentice to the greatest metaphysical scholar in America, Manly P. Hall. Part witty manifesto, part feminist grimoire, part LA love letter, this book brings to life an unforgettable mystical friendship, and the road to magic it reveals is lined with palm trees, red carpets, and night-blooming jasmine. A very important document for anyone interested in the life and legacy of MPH, especially if they wish for a more intimate portrait of the man and his remarkable relationship with his wife Marie, not to mention the politics and inner workings of the PRS. I’ve yet to read anything else offering such a wonderfully tender inside perspective.”
*Caroline Ryder, coauthor of Dirty Rocker Boys*

“A compellingly written portrait of life with one of the most significant occult voices of the last century--a rare, through-the-looking-glass account of an esoteric circle that quietly impacted the outer world in which we dwell.”
*Mitch Horowitz, PEN Award–winning author of Occult America*

“Lucid provides a keenly observed account of the southern California spiritual milieu, peppered with scam artists, hungry seekers, sycophants, and bright lights. Importantly, Lucid also highlights the often-overlooked and unsung women working in the background, supporting and often funding the male shining stars of the occult scene. This book is a truly unique contribution to the history of esoteric spirituality in California, providing an honest yet touching snapshot of the spiritual milieu of LA in the 1980s.”
*Amy Hale, author of Ithell Colquhoun*

“Tamra Lucid’s warm, engaging, and illuminating account of her years as Hall’s friend brought back memories of a special time and place and reminded me of just how important and eccentric Hall was. Readers coming to Hall for the first time will get an excellent introduction to him from her account. Those, like me, who remember him will enjoy a welcome reunion with one of the twentieth century’s secret teachers.”
*Gary Lachman, author of The Return of Holy Russia and The Secret Teachers of the Western World*

“A lovely, soul-stirring, and heart-wrenching tale, culminating in the curious severing of the student-teacher relationship and subsequent mysterious death of the master. This memoir brought Manly P. Hall and the everyday workings of his society more fully to life than anything else.”
*Mary K. Greer, author of Women of the Golden Dawn*

“Tamra Lucid tells a story about the spiritual culture revolving around one particular teacher, Manly P. Hall, but her narrative will resonate with all women who have been rendered invisible in male-dominated metaphysical scenes. This book is the first of its kind in that it humanizes Hall, as opposed to lionizing him or probing his weaknesses. After reading Tamra’s memoir, my regard for Hall the man superseded my respect for him as a sage. This is a quintessential LA tale, a wacky tour of the New Age wilds, and a gripping exploration of the pitfalls of personal divinity, as told by a wise-cracking rebel who drifted into the temple off the mean streets of film noir.”
*Thea Wirsching, author of The American Renaissance Tarot*

“Tamra Lucid’s prose is playful, poetic, and magical, befitting a novelist. Her subject matter is the stuff of great characters--captivating and ultimately tragic. Yet, it is all true. Manly P. Hall was an enigmatic genius and the genius of Tamra is the ability to capture that world of Manly and Marie, with all its quirks, its vision, and its downfall. This book is beautifully written and the stuff of legend. Tamra lays it out with grace, humor, and empathy. I highly recommend this book.”
*Normandi Ellis, author of Imagining the World into Existence*

“Bitten by the Rosenkreutz bug as much as her subject, Tamra writes amusingly, briskly, and sincerely from experience about her engagement with Hall and his Philosophical Research Society--doubtless a boon to history, but the book’s value exceeds its utility. I greatly enjoyed the breadth of the author’s sympathies, her humor, vitality, and her modest, sensible approach, all making for a highly attractive, original, and entertaining book about a transitional period in American esoteric history.”
*Tobias Churton, author of Aleister Crowley in England*

“Writing with a clear-eyed, intelligent, and often hilarious voice, Tamra Lucid tells the story of the fascinating personalities surrounding Manly P. Hall, a legend from a legendary time in LA history. As a character in the story herself, she takes the reader to the heart of it all. Especially recommended: her portrayal of Marie Hall, Manly Hall’s wife, and her struggles with the sexism of the time. The world is changing now, and Tamra Lucid is one of its best new voices.”
*Tod Davies, author of The History of Arcadia series*

"All in all, Making the Ordinary Extraordinary is a must-read for anyone interested in occult history. Manly P. Hall is one of the most well-known modern occultists of our times, and Lucid’s up close and personal stories of working for Hall and being immersed in the PRS is fascinating insider information. Lucid does a wonderful job of sharing her personal experience with objectivity and genuine insight and reflection about the past. While it focuses on time-passed, it opened so many new doors for me to explore going forward; occult Los Angeles lives on through Lucid and Making the Ordinary Extraordinary."
*Alanna Kali, Musing Mystical*

"This is a lovingly written story of an extraordinary person during a transformative time in America. Lucid's anecdotes illustrate a life of deep knowledge, serene wisdom, and sheer joy in BEING. Two very troubled kids stumble upon the Well of Wisdom and, for once not turning away in anger or violence, are transformed into remarkable humans. Anecdotes of Lucid's time are presented in small chapters, bon mots like bon bons, fresh and vivid. Thematically, the reader easily sees that the stories are about how Mr. Hall spoke the wisdom he knew, without attachment or expectation, the right words being heard by the right people at the right time."
*Lisa McSherry, FacingNorth.net*

“Tamra’s memoir of this improbable but rewarding friendship reveals Hall not only as an inspiring esoteric thinker but also as a genuinely kind human being who wanted to share his quest for inner meaning and rare wisdom with the world.”
*Nancy Bragin, Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America*

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