From Pat Deveney's journal database:
This was an organ of the Mayan Order started by Mr. and Mrs. William P. Taylor in Del Rio, Texas in the 1930s. The journal, or such as survives, is a fairly standard mixture of the uplift, encouragement and success literature of normative New Thought, and the Mayan Order itself is illustrative of the baroque paths taken by the mail-order lesson side of New Thought in its later days. As John B. Buescher has laboriously discovered, William Perry Taylor (November 5, 1897-August 14, 1953) was born in Dayton, Ohio, and turned without notable success to acting and then conjuring and mind-reading by a crystal ball (under the name "Prince Rajbar Mahendra") until in the mid-1930s he moved to Del Rio, Texas, to perform as a mentalist under the name "Koran the Mystic" on John R. Brinkley's Radio XER/XERA ("the world's most powerful broadcasting station") in Mexico, across from Del Rio. On Brinkley, the goat gland transplantation specialist, see the notes on Sydney B. Flower under Hypnotic Magazine, New Thought (Chicago), and Rejuvenation. In Texas he encountered Isabelle Madge Coutant [Kruschke Mullens/Mullins] (February 12, 1897-August 21, 1964), an Indiana-born singer and Hollywood showgirl with a notable resemblance to Mae West, who as "Rose Dawn, the Star Girl" had an amazingly successful program on XER/XERA (measured by the volume of incoming mail) giving psychic readings, astrological advice and prayers to listeners and offering "instructions in fortunetelling -- as well as books to make one's personality blossom like a flower and magic vials of exotic perfume," as Fowler and Crawford relate in Bor der Radio (1987). She also offered a "Rose Dawn Giant Daily Astrological Guide," complete with a "Good Luck Affirmation" for the year, and had a nationally syndicated astrology newspaper column. Rose Dawn was rumored to have been Brinkley's personal astrologer (and mistress) but soon took up with Taylor, for whom she had acted as agent and whom she apparently married in 1935, and they began promoting the Mayan Order as the vehicle for their mail-order lesson business. Although they proclaimed that William had encountered a secret Mayan occult group in Mexico in his search for occult wisdom, no details of which are provided, the Mayan background was perhaps based on nothing more than the couple's geographical location and a desire for something mysterious and unknown to their audience to anchor the business. There were other Mayan-inspired occult ventures at the time, notably Harold Davis Emerson's Mayan Temple (see the note under the Mayans), founded in New York the late 1920s, but there is no known connection between the two ventures.
The Mayan Order was "a secret brotherhood which bases its teachings on the traditional wisdom of that mysterious race of astrologers and temple builders, the ancient Mayans of Mexico and Central Mexico. They deal with the problems of making Prayers work; how to use your subconscious mind, and thousands of other practical, helpful suggestions." Rose Dawn was the Official Scribe (and sometimes "Patroness") of the Order. After William's death she became the "Supreme Leader, the Mayan Order." Although originally there seems to have been some attempt to call the movement "Koran-ology," Rose Dawn was always its public face. When Brinkley's radio station was closed down by the government in 1941, the Taylors moved to San Antonio and continued their work through nationwide, frequently full-page advertisements: "Would you Gamble 3 cents to win Happiness?" These unashamedly appealed to the fears and perceived inadequacies of the target demographic that the Taylors had come to know well from their radio audience: "If you are discontented, unhappy, not getting ahead . . . if you are worried about rising living costs . . . if you want to feel equal to other people mentally and financially . . . then you will want to know something about the easy to use principles of self-improvement taught by the Mayan Order." A reply to the advertisements got the interested person a "FREE" copy of the pamphlet Mayan Mysteries (or, in the 1930s, The Revelation Secret, sent for $1.00) and an invitation to join the Order ($2.00 for membership and $2.50 a month thereafter). Readers were promised the secrets of "Getting What You Want," and "Fulfilling Your Wishes," and the "Method for Obtaining Your Desires" (make a list of your desires and mentally photograph it and think often of it, building "expectation," and then "Simply believe"). Success was assured by a "GUARANTEE . . . a Certificate of Guarantee, backed by Universal Wisdom, assuring you of a constantly Increasing Income." Members received on a monthly basis the Order's "special, private" lesson series of what eventually became more than 300 lessons, arranged in at least 10 degrees. These instructed students on matters like "Personal Magnetism," "Super-Sensory or Extra-Sensory Perception," "moving in the astral body while the physical body remained behind," the mysteries of numbers and cosmic cycles, and other secrets, not only of the Mayans but also of the Indians, Egyptians and the mysterious Orient generally. All led students to realization of "Maximum Living." The lessons were lent, not sold, and members swore that they would "delivered up to the Order on demand." Members received a Mayan Order membership card and signs and passwords by which they could identify themselves to fellow members. Mayanry, as the Order described itself, was strongly Masonic in its organization, with members advancing through various degrees of "Companion of the Order" and becoming "Mayan Lectors," "Centurions," etc.
The journal, as it survives, gave scant attention to the Mayan side of the revelations and instead concentrated on the permutations of the standard New Thought theme of man as a Spirit: "Can you not see the simple truth that this world is of Mind's own creating? You can put into it, or get from it, pretty much what you wish. The same applies to your Soul and your Spirit which, with your mind, is the real part of you." It was principally devoted to "One Minute Meditation Lessons" for each day of the month ("To know that we are a part of the abundant life of God helps us to come into a greater consciousness of life," etc.), but contained selections from Rose Dawn's articles and material by what appear to be disciples and by freelance writers of uplifting material ("How to Walk with Joy," "Let the Tree Teach You," "The Magic of Believing," etc.), along with "News and Notes" on the activities of the Mayan Order's "Companions" around the United States and testimonial letters on the powerful effects of the Mayan Teachings. Even after Rose Dawn's death in 1964 the journal continued to carry "Rose Dawn Publisher" on its masthead and gave considerable space to advertising her books (TNT: The Power Within You; The Miracle Power; In Search for Happiness; etc.) and items like "Rose Dawn's Exclusive Design ‘Gift of Life' Pendant" ("illustration of the ancient Maya depicting the spiritual journey of man," $57.95).
The Mayan Order was only one of the money-making ventures of the indefatigable Rose Dawn in the early days in Del Rio. In 1935 she and Perry Taylor started Modern Astrology (the June 1937 issue of which carried a glamorous photograph of her), and she wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper astrology column. She also promoted on XERA her "Giant Daily Astrological Guide," a 30-page forecast for each astrological sign for each year, which listed a variety of her lessons: "Ten Lessons in the Art of Being Successful," "Course of Ten lessons in the Art of Hypnotism," "The Art of Prophecy," "A Guide to Love, Romance and Marriage," etc. The piece de resistance of her lessons was "Selfology" ($25.00, or $30.00 if paid over time) arranged in 12 lessons on "Natural Laws," "The Psychic Department of Mind," "The Five Principles of Successful Attainment," "The Higher Psychic or Spiritual Intelligence," etc., all of which almost certainly eventually found their way into the Mayan Order lessons. Additionally, the Taylors promoted a healing service in their radio programs. They offered (for 50 cents a year) The Good Companion, "a little printed publication containing Extra Instruction each month and News from the Prayer Room, Stories of the healings and the victories and many other helpful items of interest." This was the organ of the Society of the Guiding Light, seems to have been a "pool" from which radio listeners could be drawn to the Mayan Order. The Society practiced thrice-daily prayers of healing and invited its members to join in prayer at the same times. ‘Upon entering the lovely little Prayer-Room maintained by the Society of THE GUIDING LIGHT, one finds at his right side, a stained-glass window reaching up to the ceiling, and picturing the ascended Christ. Directly before him is a prayer-altar where daily prayer is observed by certain of The Meditators, trained members of the higher degrees of Mayanry, the student Order of Mystics who sponsor The Society of The Guiding Light." Microfilm in Non-Traditional American Religions, LOC; University of California, Santa Barbara.
|Issues:||Daily Meditation V53 N1 Feb-Mar 1966|
|Daily Meditation V55 N1 Jan-Feb 1968|
|Daily Meditation V78 N1 Spring 1991|