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an american master



Richard Satriano


It is not my intention to be Vitvan's biographer. He himself dismissed all such proposals. "My life is my work," he declared. "Know my work and you know me." He was right, of course. The man is plainly visible in his work. His character and the profundity of his insight are demonstrated on every page.

But my own deep sense of gratitude to the man and his accomplishments insists I write this slender volume. It is a prologue, only, to that greater biography that a grateful world will one day write.

Richard Satriano
May 31, 1975


From the Preface:

White Pine County borders 8,904 square miles in the North, Northeast corner of Nevada. The population is 1.5 persons per square mile. At the southern most tip of the county, near the boundary between Nevada and Utah, is the township of Baker: population 43.

Six miles west of Baker is a quiet, isolated farm, distinguished only by a weathered sign hanging at the gate:

 Home Farm

School of the Natural Order

Past the farmhouse and beyond the scrubby orchard a rough trail intercepts the road and climbs a sagebrush hill. On the further side of a barren knoll, out of sight of the farm, the trail ends at a small private cemetery. No grass grows here. Only the natural foliage of cactus and sagebrush. The cemetery is chain fenced against marauding wolves and coyotes. The hills slope down to the Snake Valley below. Above, Mounts Wheeler and Moriah silhouette the sky.

In this quiet earth a partial few reside. They lie companion to one whose marker reads:


Ralph Moriarity deBit

December 25th 1883 - June 29th 1964

 Unnoted as a setting star he passed

And sect and party scarcely knew

When from their midst a sage and seer withdrew

To fitter audience where the great live on

In God's republic of the heart and mind.

 Who was this Man?



This book by Richard Satriano represents a sincere and vivid picture of a really genuine Gnostic teacher who has lectured all over this country and written extensively. Paradoxically, Vitvan is little known to the vast mass of contemporary occult readers. Many factors are probably responsible for this anomalous situation. First, some of his writings were privately published. Generally speaking, this does not insure them of an immediate wide distribution. It takes many years for them to percolate down to the general public.

Another factor, perhaps more significant, is that he was a firm disciplinarian in spiritual and psychological matters. This would not endear him to those he customarily referred to as "metafizzlers." One of the most outstanding of his achievements was the coupling of general semantics with the age-old Gnosis. Few other teachers have attempted this - see some of the letters, for example, in Magick Without Tears by Aleister Crowley, or Insights for the Age of Aquarius by Gina Cerminara - but not one of them has been half as successful in this area as has Vitvan. It may well be that this alone will gain him and his teaching about the Light-energy world we live in true immortality.

"Few mystics or occult teachers have taken general semantics to their bosoms. Most of them, I fancy, know nothing about the subject. A few hold it in disdain, perhaps out of fear. With considerable pleasure, I urge every student to read The Problem of Good and Evil or The Christos by Vitvan (School of the Natural Order, Baker Nevada). Both of these books attempts to correlate the ancient wisdom both of the East and the West with the techniques of Count Korzibski who developed general semantics. Reading this literature should considerably broaden the mental and spiritual horizons of the sincere and serious student. It will also help him keep a level head where the occult jungle is concerned, so that he will not fall prey to the vast mass of fantasy and hysteria which has sadly infiltrated this field."

The above paragraph was originally written several years ago. It was included in an introduction to a new edition of an old book of mine. What was written then still strikes me as being valid today - even more so, when the whole field of occultism and mysticism, and all that may be included in these terms, is expanded beyond belief.

I have known of the writings of Vitvan for at least a score of years. Those who first introduced me to his work gave me tantalizing little tidbits of personal data which assuredly did help in making him come alive as a human being. This excellent introduction by Richard Satriano is most illuminating and informative where the fundamental biographical events of his life are concerned. Many of the facts described herein I was not familiar with at all. To mention one example: I experienced a great sense of pleasure in discovering a few details of his relationship with Mozumdar, his teacher. There are references here and there in Vitvan's writings about this teacher, but nothing quite so explicit and detailed as those written about by Satriano.

All in all, this slender volume by Satriano should prove invaluable in introducing the general reader to Vitvan. It is a well-written, thought-provoking, and inspiring little book, presenting a warm and at times a profoundly moving appreciation of a great Teacher. The author has drawn heavily on Vitvan's own words. Satriano hopes thus we will the better appreciate Vitvan's spiritual experiences from which he abstracted his present-day Gnosis. It is most reminiscent of what Mme. Blavatsky wrote decades ago in The Secret Doctrine that the latter is "the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages . . . It is useless to say that the system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. That it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to test and verify the traditions passed orally by one early race to another . . . No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions- so obtained as to stand as independent evidence - of other adepts, and by centuries of experiences."

Vitvan went through the same processes, and checked and verified all the ancient findings. His modern presentation of the ancient teaching, however, is couched in the language of the 20th century - the century when the sciences triumphed to make fantastic excursions into space. The "inner space" which they have neglected became his special province. And all that he wrote and taught over the long years was in elaboration of this, the structure-function-order of the Eternal Wisdom.

Many years ago I used the phrase, "the days of the giants are over." Indeed they are. Vitvan was one of those remarkable giant-men who appear so rarely in world history and of whom there are so few that they become in due course of time milestones along the trail of our evolutionary struggles. Credit is due to Richard Satriano in Vitvan: An American Master to have so clearly depicted and painted a full-size picture of what a giant thought and felt and did. No one previously has quite accomplished what Vitvan did. Most teachers have been partitive: expounding this or that phase of the ancient Wisdom. Vitvan attempted to present an over-all view of the Gnosis couched in current scientific and philosophical language. He makes demands on his readers. His work does not permit a cursory overview from cover to cover.

He stands relatively alone. He was a gigantic figure in a desert inhabited only by a mere handful of human Joshua trees whose arms are uplifted to the Infinite and Eternal.

Israel Regardie

Studio City, California
27 September 1976

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