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Periodical: The Oracle (Boston)

  From Pat Deveney's journal database:

Oracle, The.
Herald of a New System of Occult Training / Exponent of the West Gate Philosophy / A Journal of Progress, Dedicated to the People of High Ideals. Heralt of a new system of occult training. The Temple of the Holy Ghost, namely, the human body.
There is but one victory worth the struggle; there is but one world to conquer--the victory over self, the world within
1895--1907? Monthly
Bridgton, ME, and then in September 1895, Boston, MA.
Editor: Charles H. Mackay.
Corporate author: W.G. Brotherhood / West Gate Brotherhood 1/1, July 1895-1907(?)
4-16 pp., $1.00-50 cents a year.

The journal seems to have continued at least intermittently until May 1907 since a quotation exists from the issue for that date. Michael Davis, a director of the Bridgton (Maine) Historical Society has discovered that at least some of the journal was reprinted by Mackay in the 1940s. The circulation of the journal was said to have been 1528 in 1897. Charles H. Mackay (1859-1953) — who is not to be confused with the author and supposed English Rosicrucian adept Charles Mackay — was a postmaster, railroad station manager, poet and printer, and a noted coronet player. He was a disciple of Hiram Erastus Butler (he helped edit and was business manager of The Esoteric), and later promulgated his own related ideas as the West Gate Philosophy. S.C. Gould, "Resume of Arcane Associations," Notes and Queries (October 1896): 276, enigmatically describes his Brotherhood of the West Gate": "Wealth, Fame, Power--ALL that the world can give sink into nothingness in the presence of restored INNER HARMONY." The society's goal, apparently, was to solve the esoteric mysteries of the microcosm, and re-open Eden. Manuscript versions of some of Mackay's teachings are bound with Thomas Henry Burgoyne's Mysteries of Eros at Harvard University, which may imply a connection between the groups (Butler had been a member of the H.B. of L.) or, at least, a communality of goals among those who joined them. Mackay insisted on his independence of other schools: "I stand alone (so far as I am aware) in my treatment and teachings of these things. I am in no way connected with the 'theosophist' as usually accepted. My principal points of difference are: First, there is no need of going to India or any other distant land . . . . Second, I do not advocate to 'kill out' anything, be it weakness, passion or what not, but rather to seek the meaning and use, then turn it into the legitimate channel wherein it will do the greatest good. Three, I accept no 'master' (save god), no 'fetich,' no 'mahatma,' nor aught that is vague or mysterious . . . ." Mackay's practical instructions, like those of the H.B. of L., had a central sexual element, which in Mackay's case consisted in drawing up the sexual energy to the breast and then directing and controlling it, without ejaculation. This was the "Breast Drill," first taught by P.B. Randolph in his "Ansairetic Mystery" and then "borrowed" from Mackay by R.S. Clymer and printed in Divine Alchemy (1907). The advertisement for this journal in The Temple, December 1897, says that it is a "monthly journal of progress, dedicated to people of high ideals," and Notes and Queries 14/8 (August 1896): 209, quotes the following on the purposes of the order: "The Three Mysteries--Wisely studied and harmonized will speedily usher the occult student into the higher and broader spheres of life. By the 'three mysteries' we refer to physical, mental, and spiritual attributes. Our private lessons and our monthly journal The Oracle, furnish methods, drills, concentrations, etc., making a wonderfully clear system for the developing of students and teachers desirous of taking active part in the world's uplifting." Macay also, like many of his peers at the time, also believed in life-prolongation ("physical immortality") as one of the goals of his practices, and combined his teachings with regular doses of astrology. The fundamental practices for developing the "continued consciousness state" were vegetarianism at least in the early stages of practice -- "Roast beef is heating and stimulating and against the development of the higher faculties until they have been trained"-- and "absolute chastity in order to reach the highest pinnacle here in the flesh." As with many such journals, The Oracle's principal aim was the advertisement of Mackay's "private lessons," both published (on controlling dreams, mediumship, Higher Theosophy, vibration, telepathy, crystal gazing and the like) and in manuscript -- on "the fundamental principles of true healing and teaching, [which] may be used not alone for the purpose of re-constructing and re-generating your own temples, but will inspire you to reach Out and show your fellow traveller the same divine way. They teach that here, in present environment, you are to build the foundation for growth into the wisdom and power of the Adept. Simple and easily applied methods, drills, concentrations, etc., (both for class and individual use) are suggested for the achievement of this sublime purpose." Beyond the West Gate brotherhood was another, higher order: The Order of Melchisedec (the name of which, at least, was borrowed from Hiram Butler) in which the members were made "not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life." As with many such orders of Melchisidec, nothing is known of Mackay's group. LOC.

Issues:The Oracle V1 N1 Jun 1895
The Oracle V1 N2 Aug 1895
The Oracle V1 N3 Sep 1895
The Oracle V1 N4 Oct 1895
The Oracle V1 N6 Dec 1895
The Oracle V1 N7 Jan 1896
The Oracle V1 N8 Feb 1896
The Oracle V1 N9 mar 1896
The Oracle V1 N10 Apr 1896
The Oracle V1 N11 May 1896
The Oracle V1 N12 Jun 1896
The Oracle V2 N1 Jul 1896
The Oracle V2 N2 Aug A896
The Oracle V2 N3 Sep 1896
The Oracle V2 N4 Oct 1896
The Oracle V2 N5 Nov 1896
The Oracle V2 N6 Dec 1896
The Oracle V2 N7 Jan 1897
The Oracle V2 N8 Feb 1897
The Oracle V2 N9 Mar 1897
The Oracle V2 N10 Apr 1897
The Oracle V2 N11 May 1897
The Oracle V2 N12 Jun 1897
The Oracle V3 N1 Jul 1897
The Oracle V3 N2 Aug 1897
The Oracle V3 N3 Sep 1897
The Oracle V5 N10 April 1900

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