Vera Stanley Alder was a successful portrait painter who began to explore into the meaning of life and researched into what is known as ‘The Ancient Wisdom.’ This she defined as ‘the vast body of information dealing with the meaning and purpose of man himself and the constitution and evolution of the whole universe.’ She saw her task as one of simplifying and summarising this information in order for it to be more accessible.
Her first book ‘The Finding of the Third Eye’ was published in 1938 when she was 40 years old. Later she wrote that ‘I was still dazed and unbelieving that I had really written a book.’ Yet in the Preface Alice A.Bailey writes:
‘There is a need for such books as this in the world today. The field of esoteric truth is so large and its departments so varied that the neophyte is apt to be confused and bewildered by the extent of the horizon which opens up before him and the many types of knowledge which presumably he is expected to master. Mysticism, occultism, esoteric psychology, astrology, numerology, theosophical doctrines, Kabbalistic lore, Rosicrucian truth, comparative religion, symbolism and the conflicts between creeds all clamour for his attention. We need simple synthetic presentations which eliminate the non-essentials and give a clear picture in clear outline and clear language. Such a book is this, and, as a forerunner of many more, I wish it Godspeed and a wide field of service.’
When the Second World War began Vera was forced to leave her painter’s studio in London and move to the country to run her family’s newly acquired estate ‘as her war job.’ This is where she first encountered her guide, known as Raphael, who was to instruct her about the mysteries – a process she would write about later in ‘From the Mundane to the Magnificent – Memories and Reflections’ first published in 1979 and later re-published by the Lucis Trust.
‘The Finding of the Third Eye’ was followed by ‘The Initiation of the World’ in 1939 and ‘The Fifth Dimension’ in 1940. The latter, with its subtitle of ‘The Future of Mankind’ attempted to explain the link between science and the fourth dimension and then the possible nature of the fifth dimension. The second part of the book ‘The Future’ postulates on government, faith, science, health and education and looks at the condition of our minds in the year 2040. The third part examines ‘The Mystery of the Group’, ‘Sex and Marriage’ and ‘Power’. Vera realised that civilisation was at a crossroads and difficult choices lay ahead.
Her ultimatum, issued in 1940, was to GIVE THE WORLD A MIND! Eleven years after the War she refined her vision with ‘When Humanity Comes of Age’ (Rider 1956) looking at global developments during that period and what she called ‘the rising of youth.’ She mapped out the idea of One World (though she never called it that) and the need for unity and clear thinking with action and joy. She now realised that self-training would be of the utmost importance if the progressive work on this planet was to succeed.
By 1968 Samuel Weiser in New York re-published her first six books and it is said that Elvis Presley was one of her dedicated readers. She then settled down to write her 1979 memoir warning the quester ‘only through the resonance of his own integrity can he follow the golden thread of Truth to its ultimate fulfilment – and this is a hard but glorious pilgrimage.’