- What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Justin David Tanksley, I am from Aurora Illinois in the United States and I have been a member of the TS-Adyar since October of 2017.
- Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I study with the Wheaton Olcott lodge, and the Dharma Study Center. This past year I was invited to the partners program at Krotona, which has provided me the opportunity to start a small group called YATA (Young Adult Theosophists in America). When I have the chance I also participate with my lodge in helping the TOS ( Theosophical Order of Service) in various ways. With other Theosophists the Virtual Centre for Theosophical Studies started in 2020, and there I play the role of event coordinator. Alongside more than 100 young Theosophists from around the globe I am delighted to be a part in the re birth of WFYT (World Federation of Young Theosophists).
- How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
One cloudy, overcast autumn day, my good friend Tommy told me about a book store called Quest. He then proceeded to inform me of an old building on the same property, built in the 1920s that housed what I now have come to know as the Theosophical Society in America. All I knew at the time was that it was a place to learn, share and developed aspects of Spirituality. At hearing this slightly ambiguous description my intuition lit up like a light bulb and we were off to inquire more about Theosophy. Upon entering the main building we were both taken back by the beauty of the high ceilings and wonderful art work on the walls. We were greeted and given permission to see the library. The library was one of those places you imagine only in dreams or movies. We explored a bit more and then left soon after arriving. I don’t think it was more than one or two days before I went back. Alone this time I entered the building and asked to sign up as a member and within a few minutes I signed up with the wonderful Beverly who works at membership. At this point I didn't really know much about Blavatsky, The Masters, any of the teachings, or the history. But what I did know was that it felt right, the energy was peaceful and my limited intuition had been lit up, from the moment my friend brought the idea of visiting to my mind. So there I was, home sweet home.
- What does Theosophy mean to you?
Theosophy to me is the coming together of all parts, a synthesis. It is the substratum and surface of my life, it is the divine wisdom of all. Theosophy offers to me an ageless inner teaching at the same time it is an organization, an outward body; that leads those who may be seeking the path of self-transformation and also serving as a place for the expression of that which is beyond our form.
- What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
My favorite Theosophical book is The Voice of The Silence by HPB. Although typically Annie Besant's and C.W. Leadbeater's writings call to me, there is just something encapsulating about the flow and poetry within The Voice of The Silence. I read this book in the summer of 2019 for the first time and it pulled on my heart strings and spoke to parts of my being I had all but little contact with up until that point. It is a beautiful call to service and a reminder, not for our personality but a reminder for our soul, that it (the soul) has an infinite potential to serve mankind. (Perhaps all life)
- What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
I don't claim to know the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment, but in my limited perspective and opinion I would say new membership and attracting younger people to the society could be a challenge. Although these may be a challenge at this time I think the Society as a whole, is making the proper adjustments and moves to deal with this challenge. Also I would like to say the society is doing rather well in my opinion in regards to meeting the challenges of going Virtual in the past year. So I applaud those who have made it their mission to stay connected in these trying times.
- Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I wish for the world to become better acquainted with the three objects of the Theosophical Society and perhaps sooner than later the first object can be accomplished and that nucleus can grow into a world body.
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.