1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
I am Carol Nicholson. I was born in Orange, New Jersey, which, incidentally, is also where Coronel Olcott was born. I live at Krotona in Ojai, California where I am the Quest Bookshop Manager. Separately, both of my parents found the TS when they were 18, so I was born into Theosophy. I became an active member in 1987.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am a former National Board member, President and Treasure of the Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center, President of the Charleston Lodge and President of the Ojai Valley Lodge. I was a National Lecturer in the 90’s and have presented internationally. I am currently Treasurer of the Ojai Valley Lodge and on the board of the Theosophical Order of service in America.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
I was born to two dedicated Theosophists. I was raised as a vegetarian. When I went away to college I ate meat and drank and smoked. When I was 25 I gave all of that up and at 27 I really returned to my Theosophical roots.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Being raised in Theosophy, I believe there are a lot of things I don’t have to “unlearn.” Seeing the beauty and purpose in life allows me to be okay with whatever happens and to know everything can be used to teach me about the Oneness of all Life. Theosophy is an underpinning for how I relate to the world.
5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?
At the Feet of the Master. I was given this book as a teenager and it has inspired me ever since. I sometimes carry it with me so when I am waiting for something I can read it again and again. When I was young, I used it as a check list of my progress. Thinking of it makes me smile because back then I thought I was very close to being enlightened. I no longer try to gauge my progress and I still find the book inspirational.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
I was very encouraged at the International Convention this year to see how fresh and relevant the topics and speakers were. While I love Sanskrit, and studying the rounds and races, hearing about how compassion relates to taking care of the planet and how it is good for our health has more appeal to a wider audience. I think keeping our wording and expression current has been our biggest challenge.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I would like to see the Theosophical Movement to be seen as a resource for understanding why things happen in individual lives and in the effects of our actions. I also think we could be a resource for the growing numbers of people who are developing psychic abilities. I have seen Theosophists be quite judgmental of those who have burgeoning clairvoyance for example. It seems that there are more people with these abilities than there were when the society was founded and we have an opportunity to educate people and encourage them to a spiritually based life versus just amazing people with phenomena.
From the editor:
Opinions and ideas expressed in the mini-interviews are exclusively of those who are being interviewed. They don’t necessarily represent the ideas and opinions of the compilers of Theosophy Forward. The responses of the interviewees are not edited for content. Some contributors give short answers to the questions while others touch upon the subject more elaborately.