- What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Ken Small from San Diego, California. I am a third generation (Point Loma) theosophist, so in this way, I could say that my ‘membership’ in the theosophical world began from birth. I have formally participated in theosophical organizations as well and have maintained membership in the Theosophical Society in America (Adyar)
- Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am active with maintaining the Lomaland Theosophy archive, which I have on long term loan to both the San Diego State University Special Collections Library and art to the San Diego History Center. With a small group of friends, I have also recently (2019) initiated an independent group, the Enso Project, for meditation, perennial wisdom and the practical engagement of these ideas and ethics in daily practice. I have recently written a introduction to the cultural history of Lomaland: Revisiting Visionary Utopia: Katherine Tingley’s Lomaland, 1897-1942; Theosophy in Contemplative Community, Education and the Arts in San Diego, which will be published this year (2022) by James Santucci of the Theosophical History Journal.
- How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
While I was born into theosophy, I, of course had my own avenue of developing theosophical interest, study and practice. I had begun reading and studying theosophy in earnest by my early teens. Gordon Plummer, Boris de Zirkoff, Helen Todd and of course my parents, Emmett and Carmen Small were influential. When I was just out of high school, I also spent a summer volunteering at the Far Horizons Theosophical camp in Kings Canyon, California and met many Adyar TS members there. In my parents’ home, there was always a constant stream of theosophical visitors from all the groups and around the world. So, for example, I can remember my first meeting with Joy Mills in the mid 1950’s when I was 5 or 6 years old, which she remembered very clearly when I visited her at Krotona just a few weeks before her passing. From theosophical groups, there were scores of global visitors; (Adyar) - Seetha Neelakanthan, Bing Escudero, Geoffrey Farthing, Adam Warcup, Diana Dunningham and (Point Loma) Rosemary Vosse (South Africa) , Elsie Benjamin (England), Willy Schmidt (Netherlands)…so throughout the year there was a constant flow of global community and good will amongst theosophists, irrespective of affiliation from my earliest years.
- What does Theosophy mean to you?
I view the essence of Theosophy as compassion in action. Its grand overview of cosmic origins, progressive spiritual evolution and unified field of Spiritual consciousness comes down to how we can manifest this in our daily acts of kindness and compassion to better the world we live in.
- What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
Helena Blavatsky’s The Voice of the Silence has always been my favorite Theosophical book, with its opening of the paramitas and way of compassion.
- What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
Theosophy within all the societies has been great at maintaining the larger universal view. Within this larger view there is then the challenge of its application in daily life and practice and also within the organizations. I see this as the ongoing challenge; where the Theosophical societies can apply more creative energy to engaged Theosophy in life through education, the creative arts, peace, ecology etc.
- Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
A deepening and broadening of outreach of what could be called ‘engaged theosophy’ is what is needed in today’s world.
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.