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Recently I’ve been considering the idea of giving tours of strange places here in Los Angeles. This was partly inspired by a company called Esotouric, which does just that. I consider a tour as a multidimensional experience. It is audio/visual: usually the guide will have a running narrative that weaves together with a real time visual experience of places, scenes, and images. In this sense it is like a movie, with the exception that the visuals are not two-dimensional, as on a movie screen, but three-dimensional. What’s more, is you can walk up to them and engage them in a different way. This adds an emotional/intellective component to the experience.

Sooo…what kind of tour would I like to give?

The first thing that comes to mind is places in Los Angeles with a decidedly spiritual essence to them. I’m not talking churches, mosques, or temples of the ordinary variety either. I mean something more alternative. Here’s a list of potential places I would consider:

1. The Aetherius Society: A center for cosmic consciousness and healing founded by Dr. George King (1955)

2. Hermes Lodge: A Rosicrucian center where the study and practice of mystical techniques takes place, along with ceremonial initiations into Rosicrucian Mysteries

3. The Philosophical Research Society: Located in Los Feliz, I first visited this place in 1999. It now offers alternative Master’s Degrees in Transformational Psychology and Consciousness, and is a repository of Gnostic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic, Rosicrucian, and Mystical teachings.

4. Krotona Apartments: A former Theosophical retreat founded in 1914. Offers the rare opportunity to see the central courtyard and view the Rosicrucian window of this now private residence.

5. Hare Krishna Temple: This place is colorful and a good representative of spirituality in LA. It includes the temple, a gift shop with numerous Indian items and clothing, and a vegan buffet (the food is actually good!)

6. Star Sapphire Lodge for the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.): A fraternal org devoted to the study of Magic, Yoga, and Hermetic Sciences. They accept the Law of Thelema (in Greek,Thelema means ‘Will’) as a gateway to self discipline, self knowledge, and freedom. They also offer a Gnostic Mass

7. The Gnostic Society: this place is run by Stephan Hoeller, which the LA Weekly described as “the counter cardinal of an L. A. nobody knows, and until fire destroyed his chuch, was the bishop of Hollywood Boulevard” (May 19-25, 2005). Gnosticism is sometimes regarded as a mystical current with Christian flavor, but others consider it an offshoot of Egyptian, Hebrew, and Greek mystical traditions, centered around Alexandria in the 2nd century.

8. Theosophical Society (Annie Besant Lodge): center for Theosophical study