- What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
Greetings! My name is Monica Pege. I was born in the Bronx, New York City, although I lived in Los Angeles for over 7 years, and I am considering moving back there. Although I have never been a formal member of the Theosophical Society, I have been “connected” to the society and a student, off and on since 1973.
- Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
We know there is really no such thing as an accident, but having been in a business that requires much travel, I came back to New York, my birthplace. One day, I was on my way to a work related place and “accidentally” found myself staring through the window of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Manhattan, during closed hours. I vowed to myself I’d go back when opened, where I met and have studied with the people there who have and had been formal members for a very long time, generations, in fact. Since pandemic put a damper on in-person study, I have regularly participated 3, 4, or more days out of the week in zoom classes, and have gratefully volunteered in class and given presentations on different Theosophical subjects. My aim is always, to be a better, clearer student, so that, should the appropriate occasion arise, I will be better able to properly convey the Teachings to others.
- How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
I am a singer, actress, performer, writer, born to two singer/performers, and I have done so pretty much all my life, though not in recent years. In 1973 I was touring with a high-profile pop music star who had many hit songs on the charts, which is definitely a point in time when people in our profession would magnetize to themselves, other hi-profile people in different walks of life, including the Spiritual-Metaphysical. We came to Los Angeles, and backstage was a beautiful person by the name of Shelley von Strunckel, an astrologer. She has gone on to become astrologer for the London Times, Asia, Australia and Middle East, but at that time she was the person who aided Boris de Zirkoff in his work during those times when Dara Eklund was unable to be there. So it was she who introduced me to our beloved Boris de Zirkoff, as well as Dara Eklund, Fran Ziegenmeyer, Leah Lambros, Robert and Leatrice Bannell from the Long Beach Lodge, and a few others who I had the amazing good fortune to meet, learn from and with. It was a privilege receiving the Wisdom Teachings through Boris de Zirkoff. In those beginning years; we got to hear him do a lecture every year for the Winter Solstice. He was remarkably kind, wise, and compassionate, as they all were. Young, clueless, gobsmacked as to how I’d found myself in the midst of such amazing souls, I will never forget Dara Eklund, who sat in front of me as we waited for Boris to give his Winter Solstice talk, how she turned around to me and said, “don’t you worry, our side is going to win!” And I knew, my heart knew, she meant that the Power of Good, and the Ancient Wisdom, will ultimately prevail. They were all people who made me want to be like them.
- What does Theosophy mean to you?
My immediate response inside is that Theosophy active somewhere on this earth means there is hope for the world. We know the Kali Yuga is descending, impacting the world, but even if we are somehow unable to be direct in lifting others up, the essence of our understanding, present in our actions, as well as our classes, studies, interactions with one another, can be of help to mankind. Theosophy means, to my mind, that there is perfect order, a universal love palpable, and the True Wisdom residing within everything and everyone, ready, with our own effort, to be accessed, nurtured, shared, in many ways. To consciously hold to the idea of Universal Brotherhood in the midst of these times of separation and division, seems very important. Some days, a tall order, but we’ve got this!
- What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
I have three favorites, but I will never forget the impact of The Ocean of Theosophy by William Quan Judge. It set my mind afire, and it gave me more than one aha moment. I think many souls - especially those not born into Theosophy - when first reading Theosophical material, have that feeling of “well, at last, longstanding questions, answered”. Many of us have come in contact with the Wisdom after however many instances, episodes, and incarnations of separation, and it felt like a huge sigh of relieve, being “home” again; reunited with Higher Self, to whatever degree, given my particular karma. It was a feeling of complete acceptance and gratitude, reading The Ocean of Theosophy, but also, like the best mystery novel ever! But the other two truly laid foundation for me – Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy and The Four Sacred Seasons, both by G. de Purucker. The first, I truly feel prepared me for studying The Secret Doctrine, gave me grounding in Sanskrit terms, opened a new world of language and also of those mind-blowing time frames, a new expansion of acceptance. The second, gave me such a profound feeling of safety, awe, and love for the Elder Brothers, the Masters, the Adepts and great souls, in what they go through, to become Selfless Workers for Humanity.
- What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
In my opinion, there are two fundamental challenges put before the Theosophical Society, or Theosophy in general, at this time. One, the most important I think, is keeping the Light of Wisdom burning in the midst of increasing darkness, a time when there is such a strong focus on untruth, rather than truth. Truth seems to get a poor, shoddy treatment of focus in these times, and seems so in every walk of life, whether it be religion, business, the arts, or other. How do we permeate the ethers? I suppose by study, service, lovingkindness, keeping the Light on in whatever forms and trends available to us. The second fundamental challenge, I would think, is keeping the Teachings undiluted with confusion, inaccuracy, untruths mixed with the Truths. We know as HPB has stated, everyone is entitled to their own perception of the truth, but this increase in the world of materialism, misconception, and ever increasing darkness, adding even more toxins to beliefs, philosophies, religions, seems at times frightening and discouraging. I suppose it is up to the individual to keep all of these bad possibilities at bay.
- Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
My wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement is that somehow, all the religions, philosophies, belief systems, groups and races, not only recognize the Ancient Wisdom as the Root from which all their beliefs come, that this understanding will melt away the prevailing belief in separation, bigotry, and division, that Universal Brotherhood is not a fad, but a fact, and that not one of the great Reformers, including Jesus the Christ, meant for us to be without the fundamental truth that our Divinity is closer than our breath, completely anchored within each of us, in all things, the proof of our Oneness, and that even in light of this wonderful Truth, this Greatness is still not as great as the Absolute All from which everyone and everything - Existence, Light, Wisdom -springs. Thank you! NAMASTE.
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.