1.    What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My name is Eric McGough. I’m from the United Kingdom. I’ve been a member of the TS since   joining in 1969.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?


I have taken on many roles and responsibilities over the years and am currently the President of the English Section.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

I was born into a Theosophical family.


4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Everything.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

My favourite Theosophical book has to be The Secret Doctrine because it is the single most important work on Theosophy available.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

Moving with the times.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical movement?

Worldwide recognition as the core movement of spiritual wisdom in the New Age.

 

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Monica introducing Halldór Haraldsson from Iceland

1.     What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

Monica Ostelius. I am from Stockholm, Sweden. Joined in the fifties as a young Theosophist.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

For some years I was head of the European Young  Theosophists. Now, I am the Vice General Secretary of the Swedish Section. (Housekeeper, translations, mailing, bookshop, programming etc.)

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

Through my mother. Her parents and the whole family were Theosophists.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy is an integrated part of my outlook on life. A cornerstone, a constant challenge. Also frustrating; so evident and so difficult to live up to!

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

Right now The Power of Thought. We have recently translated it into Swedish. It is practical and
down to earth.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

Finding capable and dedicated candidates to eventually succeed the current international President.
Transparency and openness. Improve the Adyar estate and use its potentials. Encourage
International co-operation. Modernize the administration.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical movement?

Stay rooted in the perennial philosophy but move with the times. Less stress on the
intellectual side, more on inner change.

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Terry Hunt

1.    What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

Terry Hunt, Las Vegas, 33 years.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

I was one of the founders of a study group in Las Vegas in 1978, re-established it in 2005 and teach classes for the group.  I am also an international speaker and have lectured extensively throughout the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

In 1975 I was working in a new age bookshop and picked up The Masters and the Path by C.W. Leadbeater.  I knew immediately that Theosophy had the answers I had been looking for a long time.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy is a way of life.  Being a card-carrying member of the Theosophical Society does not make one a Theosophist.  Many true Theosophists have never even heard the word Theosophy but follow its precepts intuitively.  If we are not using Theosophical concepts in a practical manner every day, then we are not Theosophists.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett.  This book is a goldmine of information for would-be chelas.  There are titbits of esoteric wisdom not found in any other book.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

Lack of vision. It seems that the TS long ago (perhaps even as far back as 1891) lost its sense of mission.  Today we are still struggling to find our place in the new age.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical movement?

Yes, modernization.  We seem to be stuck on presenting Theosophical concepts in the same way they were presented in 1882.  We need a fresh new approach that appeals to humans in a modern world.  The fact that memberships continue to decline is proof that we haven’t achieved that goal.


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Patrizia Calvi

1.    What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My name is Patrizia Moschin Calvi. I live in Vicenza (Italy) and I’ve been a TS member since January 1983, since I was 21.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

I work full time as a volunteer in the Italian headquarters. I’m the president of the local TS lodge;   member of the Executive Committee of the Italian Section and of the E.F.T.S. Executive Committee.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

It happened to me “by chance” while listening to people talking about Theosophy in a vegetarian restaurant I used to go to for lunch and they invited me to participate in a TS meeting. I agreed enthusiastically because it sounded like an old well-known melody I was eager to listen to, again and again.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

It means “home” and a wonderful way to be of any help.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

Many are the books I have found useful and inspiring throughout the years, including At the Feet of the Master, The Voice of the Silence and The Light on the Path, The Secret Doctrine, of course, The Masters and the Path, etc, but the little book The Doctrine of the Heart is particularly meaningful to me, with its universal message of love, its bhakti, and the aspect of Service in the name of the Masters, for the benefit of all mankind.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

Outward innovation, in the true spirit of tradition.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical movement?

More brothers/sisters capable of and willing to fight in order to maintain the Adyar estate as the  natural paradise it is now; an increasing mutual cooperation of the Theosophical leaders in order to gather consensus among all parts, beyond all divisions, aiming at re-launching spiritual work, and inspiring the whole movement again. This could in turn help involving youngsters in the activities of the Theosophical Society for the generational turnover; people with the capability of making long-term projects, involving the whole team; a direct connection with universities, to encourage dialogue among philosophers, religious, scientists, etc.

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Martin Leiderman

1.    What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My name is Martin Leiderman. I was born in Venezuela, but now live in Los Angeles, California.  I have been a member of the Society since the 1980s.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

I lead the West Los Angeles Study Group with my wife Susan, meeting weekly in our home. In 2011 we are   taking a closer look at The Mahatma Letters through Joy Mills’s new book Reflections on an Ageless Wisdom.  I also attend and lead two monthly meetings at the Spanish-speaking Centro de Estudios Teosóficos Los Angeles; with them I also facilitate a yearly retreat at the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California.

I’m a Director on the Board of the Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai. I also serve as a   national lecturer on Theosophical topics. Every year I try to give at least one international and one national lecture or seminar. In 2010 this included a wonderful weeklong seminar for the Summer School of the TS in Spain on the Stanzas of Dzyan from Cosmogenesis, and a program in Krotona. In March 2011, I’ll present this to the Florida Federation.  For 2012 I received an invitation to present it at the International Theosophical Center in Naarden, the Netherlands.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

As with most people, I have a story. It started in my late teens.  My brother showed me a book titled The Third Eye by Lobsang Rampa.  It took me a few weeks to find a bookstore in Caracas carrying that book. One Saturday I walked in the bookstore asked the manager for it. His answered startled me:  'You don't want to read that. Here you have it, read and study this book.'  What he had picked up was volume one of The Secret Doctrine. I bought it. Curiosity crept into my soul. Needless to say, I did not understand anything in it on the first reading. I went back to challenge the store manager on the meaning and purpose of this book. He suggested that I join a study group. So I did. And that started my Theosophical life. I finally joined the Los Angeles Lodge of the TS in America in the mid to late 1980s.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

It means Divine-Wisdom. To me, on a personal and practical level, it means the study, understanding, meditation, and ultimately apprehension and contemplation of the divine ideas preexisting in the Logos, which in time brings about an illuminated mind and a virtuous life. These “ideas” modeled all beings and things by informing and giving them their purpose, function,  and reason of existence. Then Theosophy becomes a living experience—realizing, beholding, and sharing with others the laws of nature and the occult relations of all beings.

5.    What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?

It is The Secret Doctrine. In this book, the archetypical ideas that I just spoke of are best described. It describes and points out the source, development, and occult mechanisms of all that is. In it one finds the ideas to behold.  Of course, it must be complemented with the writings of Plato, the Bhagavad Gita, and many others.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

The TS-Adyar faces many challenges. On one hand, it must strive to promote the Society's three Objects and to see its membership grow.  On the other hand, it must provide and promote local and international training in leadership, public speaking, and education of its members on Theosophical ideas and ideals. Therefore I see the role of the TS-Adyar as one of spearheading and leadership, making sure that the keynotes of divine wisdom, the ones found in The Key to Theosophy, Isis Unveiled, Voice of the Silence, The Secret Doctrine, and The Mahatma Letters are continuously revitalized in a manner that can be promoted, presented, and understood in the present time.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical movement?

I hope that the Theosophical movement will become the embodiment of the three Objects and that its members will become more outspoken in their support of the first Object.  We should be vocal against discrimination of any kind facing the world today, including gender, sexual orientation, color, age, and caste. We should also publish papers and hold public panels on comparative religions, support investigations into the occult side of nature, and become a role model of virtuous life. We should exalt all that is for the betterment of humanity, all that is excellence in arts and sciences, in religious and philosophical ideas. We should be doing good for goodness sake. We should openly share Theosophical ideas on deity and soul. We should emphasize the need for a Theosophical life rich with study, meditation, and service.


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Pen drawing made by Willy Lammers



1.    What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My name is Willy Lammers; I live in the Netherlands in north-western Europe; my age is 61 and I have been a member of the TS for 17 years. 

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

I am an active member of the lodge in Arnhem (24 members), doing the activities of a secretary and for public relations. For the Dutch Section I perform some small administrative tasks.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

I did read books with the talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti and understood that he had a connection with the TS. So when I saw an announcement of a lecture at the lodge in Arnhem I decided to go there.


4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

For me Theosophy is the foundation of Life. And the teachings of modern Theosophy help me to understand what and how Life is. 

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

I do not have a favourite Theosophical book. Books with the talks of Krishnamurti are important for me.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

You are asking for an opinion, but Life is not about opinions. Too often we are doing much harm to our world by judging and having opinions. But to answer your question: As a simple member of a small lodge I am not in a position to be able to know what is necessary for the TS. People in Adyar will definitely have more insight in these matters than I have.  

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?

That we are able to see Theosophy not only as teachings, but as the living source of the whole Life.

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Anna Valdimarsdóttir

1.    What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

My name is Anna Valdimarsdóttir. I am from Iceland and I have been a member of the TS for about six years but had attended meetings and given lectures at the TS from the year 2000.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

I am the General Secretary of the Icelandic Theosophical Society.

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

My first memory of the Theosophical Society is of reading as a young girl that a very famous and handsome Icelandic writer had first seen and fallen in love with his young wife (his tenth wife actually!) at a meeting in the TS. My next memory is from a lonely vacation in Sweden at the age of 21 when I came across Gangleri, the journal of the Icelandic TS at a friend´s house and the articles “spoke to me.” Then, 30 years later a friend introduced me to the society, lent me Theosophical books and asked me to give a lecture at the society.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

I would say permission to wonder, ponder, and dwell on the deeper meaning of life and the big questions that have no easy answers. I am a psychologist and Victor Frankl´s book Man´s Search for Meaning came as a revelation to me more than twenty years ago when I really needed it. I am concerned with the meaning of this life I am living right now. I don´t know or believe (or not believe) anything about other lives. I sometimes say—half-jokingly and seriously at the same time—that this life is complicated enough without me worrying about what comes next!

5.    What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?

I want to name the one that I am reading right now: New Horizons in Buddhist Psychology: Relational Buddhism for Collaborative Practitioners, edited by Maurits G. T. Kwee. Maybe it’s not a Theosophical book in the traditional sense, and then again maybe it is. Why is it my favorite? I want to quote a few sentences from the first chapter of the book, on “The Social Construction of a New Buddhist Psychology”: “The Buddha did not expound an other-worldliness, he expounded a this-worldliness.” “Thus, the Dharma is neither Gnostic [god can be known], nor agnostic [god cannot be proven]: ‘god is none of our business’. ” “Instead the Dharma brings the liberating experience of emptiness to the fore.” “In Buddhist psychology emptiness is not a goal in itself but a reset-point for meaningful action derived from compassion and care (through kindness and joy) for harmonious relationships.”

According to the Buddha, entertaining metaphysical questions would lead to speculation and generate religious and metaphysical debates which are not conducive to liberation from existential suffering, which was his goal. That is why Buddha is sometimes called the first psychologist in history and maybe that is why this is my favorite book—at least right now.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

To be honest I don´t feel qualified to answer “big” questions about the TS Adyar as an organization.  But one of our big challenges certainly is being heard—getting our message across so that it reaches people´s hearts. The Buddha´s pivotal insight that psychological suffering is rooted in the irrational relational stances of greed and hatred due to ignorance on human interconnectedness (I am yet again quoting New Horizons in Buddhist Psychology) is more valid than ever today when we are facing a credit crisis due to greed and a threat of terrorism due to hatred. How do we get across the message that being is interbeing? That mind is not self-contained but operates in-between people? That we are all dependent on one another? The language of our time is the language of science. Is that something for us to consider? Maurits G. T. Kwee writes in his preface that: “the Dharma can be taught in any language as long as the message of Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha reaches the people´s hearts.” And he proposes the language of social constructionist psychology. New Buddhist psychology implies a social constructivist social-clinical-neuro-psychology that moves away from religion and philosophy, ever changing, going forward. Negative emotions are to be eradicated by not clinging-grasping-craving to I-me-mine or self but instead by experiencing emptiness,  which is not a goal in itself but a set-point for meaningful action and the promotion of positive emotions.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical movement?

I would like to see it grow and bloom. Become a living force in the world fostering a tolerant, nurturing, and compassionate orientation toward others.

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1.    What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?

Diane B. Eisenberg. I first joined the New York TS in 1980.

2.    Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?

After leaving NYC I was accepted as an Honorary member. Left NY to accept a position as National secretary in 1991 (of the TSA) and have held a number of positions (currently in Personnel and as Registrar).

3.    How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?

I learned about Theosophy through Ed Abdill and Dora Kunz. After being referred to a Therapeutic Touch group that Dora recommended, I became a TS member in 1980. The turning point in my life was when Dora stated that Therapeutic Touch is one of the services of the Theosophical Society.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy means to me a life of service and Theosophical study.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

There is more than one book -- The Secret Gateway by Ed Abdill, he gives excellent and clear examples of the foundation of Theosophy. This is a good book not only for beginners. Life's Deeper Aspects by N. Sri Ram, he shares very practical views on how to live life simply with non-attachments. And how in our daily lives be open to change. This has helped me to learn to live outside of the box. Reflections by Joy Mills. I'm so glad she has written this book. I found it not so easy to read The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett and through Joy's contributions, it helps to unfold the meanings and insights behind these Letters.

6.    What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS Adyar (as an organization) is facing at the moment?

Life pushes us to make changes and this does affect the whole, and even Adyar.

7.    Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?

I don't believe in the word "wish". I want to continue making contributions for the wellbeing of Theosophy and to be of service wherever I can, working with others of like mind. It is difficult to predict a future of events. I know I can be more helpful and get more insights through the practice of daily meditations (not just meditating for a half hour each day), but living every day as a meditation.








 

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