The Society

Mini–interviews Fourth Quarter 2012

 

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.



Monica Maghiar

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

My name is Monica Maghiar. Originally from Romania, I'm now living at Madre Grande Monastery in Dulzura, California. I'm a member of the Paracelsian Order, a Theosophical group. I joined the International Theosophical Conference four years ago in Petaluma.

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

I'm a monk and also Secretary of the Monastery. We emphasize both healing and teaching. I actively assist other monks and friars in maintaining a sacred space conducive to authentic spiritual progress. We find it a common challenging endeavor and we encourage others to join our efforts.

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

I first learned about The Paracelsian Order from the Abbott, John Drais. I listened to him reading The Voice of the Silence on a CD. He communicated a remarkable energy I had rarely encountered before. When I contacted him, I learned this was part of an entire path for altruistic self-development open to everyone. Theosophy! He invited me to review similar works at Madre Grande's library. I followed his advice, and my son and I began full-time residency there in 2006.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy provides wisdom that enables us to live life to the fullest. It accomplishes this by showing us how to utilize every moment in service to others and to our highest aims. Its teachings are extraordinary tools by which we learn how to share our spiritual progress with others while still respecting their unique personalities and opinions. In this way, humanity's brotherhood is not simply acknowledged but concretely supported.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

The Voice of the Silence. It is incredibly comprehensive, unfolding so many subtle and yet powerful insights. For me, it has become a manual for successful living.

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

Without a doubt, its biggest challenge lies in continuing their work toward unifying the Theosophical movement worldwide.

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

I hope it strengthens its determination and thereby acquires the power to create more Theosophical schools.

Read more: Mini–interviews Fourth Quarter 2012

Editorial

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil


Jan Nicolaas Kind

The meeting of International Theosophy Conferences held August 9-12 at Olcott in Wheaton, IL, USA, was an overwhelming success. As with the previous ones, last year’s meeting in Julian was also a striking example, it became indisputably clear that Theosophists from the various traditions are fully capable to meet one another respectfully on a shared platform. Delegates and organizers have good reasons to be energized and inspired, looking out for the 2013 New York meeting with great optimism.

Read more: Editorial

Mini–interviews Third Quarter 2012

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.


Phyllis Ryan

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

My name is Phyllis Ryan. I am from California and currently live in San Diego. I am a member of both the United Lodge of Theosophists and The National Theosophical Society and have been affiliated with a Theosophy group for many years.

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

I am an active volunteer with The San Theosophists, affiliated with the United Lodge of Theosophists or ULT.  We provide a Theosophical library and book store, which is open six days a week. We also hold weekly Theosophical meetings.  From 1994 until 2006 I worked in various capacities on Theosophy, a periodical journal published by Theosophy Company, Los Angeles.

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

My first contact with Theosophy was in 1983.  At the time, I would light heartedly tell friends I was looking for Emerson with metaphysics. The director of my son’s school suggested I might enjoy a local study group she had heard of held at an individual’s home. She was not sure exactly what it was, however.  I soon found myself in Wylda Dade’s living room. Wylda was a long-time member of ULT and held Theosophical meetings in her home. After one meeting I was hooked!  I had discovered Emerson’s Oversoul along with its metaphysical basis. This was in Bellevue Washington in the Seattle area, where I studied until returning to my native California in 1991. During that time, I was an avid visitor of the wonderful Quest Book Shop in Seattle, often spending an entire day perusing its shelves. 

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy completely resonates with my inner self and provides a window for viewing my life and the world around me.  Its philosophical basis allows me to see ideas, people, and cultures via an avenue of synthesis. Theosophy presents the “age-old” method of correspondence and analogy, leading to synthesis and hence Unity. For me it is akin to an Ariadne Thread, through which we weave our individual life tapestries.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

Undoubtedly, my favourite Theosophical book is Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine. The Secret Doctrine provides a metaphysical basis for understanding the cosmos and its relationship to humanity, the Microcosm. In this way, we discover ourselves to all be “Children of the Stars”.  I must also include Mabel Collin’s Light on the Path, as it has offered me invaluable understanding on the transformation of human nature.  

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

The biggest challenge for all Theosophical groups, I think, within the Movement is to make relevant the timeless ancient doctrines in the contemporary world.  Developing “language” (not exclusively Theosophical), which assists us in illustrating Theosophical concepts as they manifest in today’s world. Ways that show how humanity has the inherent ability to evolve throughout the cycles. Understanding the world from a larger perspective is critical to overcoming the destructive emotions of fear, anger and hatred among our diverse cultures.  Theosophy is an “idea language” and requires skilful application. As Theosophical students, learning to do this seems to me a priority for our times. When we truly develop this skill, we become able to hear “the other” in their language be it verbal or not.  It is then we can respond compassionately having listened with the heart.

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

An increase, in very real ways, to see human solidarity surpassing human selfishness.

 

Read more: Mini–interviews Third Quarter 2012

Mini–interviews Second Quarter 2012

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.

 


Gaspar Torres

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

Gaspar Torres, originally from Cuba, living at the Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai, California since May 2011. March 11, 2012, was the 55th anniversary of my TS membership.

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

I have been active in the TS since my early youth. In my original Lodge and Section, the Dharma Lodge of the Cuban Section, in Matanzas, I have helped in every way and held all their Board posts. In the Cuban Section I was National President and National Treasurer for several terms. I have made presentations at Adyar, in the Caribbean Basin, for the Inter-American Theosophical Federation and Krotona, and have contributed to the work of other TS Sections, Centers, and Lodges internationally. Since last November I have also been actively participating twice monthly in the Logia España, the Spanish-speaking branch in North Hollywood, giving talks as requested.

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

I was born into a Theosophical family, so I have heard about Theosophy since my childhood.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy is the Divine Wisdom transmitted to Humanity through the symbols and allegories that the human mind is capable of understanding.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

The Secret Doctrine by H.P.B., because it is the best and most practical synthesis of Theosophy, if we accept Master K.H.’s words about the writing of this book in one of his letters to A.P. Sinnett.

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

I believe that the biggest challenge, not only of The T. S. Adyar, but of all the organized forms of spiritual help to Humanity, is to maintain the purity of the original purposes of the Founders without any kind of bias or mixture of these purposes with worldly interests.

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

Understanding between all branches of the Theosophical Movement and their reunification in the original purpose of disseminating Theosophy without criticism of or resentment toward any form or opinion of participating individuals or branches.

Read more: Mini–interviews Second Quarter 2012

Editorial

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

Unity in Compassion

Ever since Theosophy Forward appeared on the Internet three years ago now, its call for unity has been evident. When it began in March 2009, there was urgent need for another and more positive outlook on Theosophical affairs since the Adyar organization was facing great challenges at the time. The TS Adyar, like many other Theosophical or spiritual organizations, is still facing challenges and Theosophy Forward’s pointer function has hopefully led to a growing awareness for the need of a shared platform where all of us can meet.


Mandala of Compassion

H. P. Blavatsky’s presentation of Theosophy and our understanding of it is the ground on which we come together. Although there may be differences in our elucidation of Theosophy, those differences should never drive us apart but instead challenge us to truly perform the art of listening, while setting aside worn-out prejudices.

Read more: Editorial

A Thousand Flowers Blossoming

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

Theosophy Forward (www.theosophyforward.com ) is an independent, unaligned Web site dedicated to the presentation of Theosophy on a basis that is acceptable to all branches of the worldwide Theosophical movement and to the general public.

Theosophy Forward is not an official organ belonging to any organization; hence it solely expresses unofficially the opinions of its contributors.

This Web site, which is supported and produced by private individuals, does not compete with any of the other excellent Theosophical publications, either in print or online and certainly does not seek to replace them. It respects all such outlets and freely acknowledges that every Theosophical organization has a right (indeed, a duty) to sponsor publications that embody that organization’s unique view of Theosophy, which is a valuable contribution to the worldwide movement.

 

Theosophy Forward follows the modern version of a Chinese motto: “Let a thousand flowers blossom.”

Mini–interviews First Quarter 2012

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.

 


Robert Ellwood

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

My name is Robert S. Ellwood.  Although originally from the Midwest, I have lived in southern California for over forty years.  I have been a member of the Theosophical Society since 1976.

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

I am active in the Ojai Valley lodge of the T.S.   At various times I have been president both of this lodge and earlier the Los Angeles Lodge, and have served a term as vice president of the T.S. in America.

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

I first learned about the Theosophical Society, although I had heard of it vaguely before, in surveying religious and spiritual movements in the Los Angeles area in the late 1960s. At that time I visited meetings, and gradually my interest deepened until I joined.

4.   What does Theosophy mean to you?

I first felt spiritual kinship with Theosophy because, as a professor of world religions at the time with many questions about religious diversity, I felt the Theosophical understanding of the religions, as each an expression of the Ancient Wisdom presented by a master of the wisdom for a particular time and place, seemed more right to me than that of any other perspective of which I knew. Later I found the idea of world spiritual evolution very meaningful as a counter to often-depressing world news, and still later that the concept of the inner planes was very valuable in understanding myself.

5.  What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

My favorite Theosophical book is The Masters and the Path by C.W. Leadbeater. When I first read it, as my first full-length Theosophical book, I was struck by its clear, vivid writing and how its dramatic perspective contrasted with the usual sort of academic, philosophical, and religious books. That feeling has remained with me.   

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

I think the challenge to Adyar (and all other) Theosophy is to update our life, image, and organization to resonate with the 21st century, especially the mindset of young people who increasingly think of themselves as spiritual but not religious. We have an opening here, since Theosophy sees itself in the same way, but often our massive buildings, institutional structures, and emphasis on meetings, lectures and old books give an impression of being no different from what seems outdated in religious institutions as well. We need to separate the message from the structures sufficiently the recover the vitality and immediacy of early Theosophy, by using many media and being as democratic and informal as possible while maintaining the core message about the Ancient Wisdom, spiritual evolution, and the inner planes, under the guidance of the Great Souls.   

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

The transition alluded to above is what I wish for the future of the Theosophical movement.

Read more: Mini–interviews First Quarter 2012

Adyar, Where Do We Go from Here?

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

"Theosophy has to fight intolerance, prejudice, ignorance and selfishness, hidden under the mantle of hypocrisy. It has to throw all the light it can from the torch of Truth, with which its servants are entrusted. It must do this without fear or hesitation, dreading neither reproof nor condemnation. Theosophy, through its mouthpiece, the Society, has to tell the TRUTH to the very face of LIE; to beard the tiger in its den, without thought or fear of evil consequences, and to set at defiance calumny and threats. As an Association, it has not only the right, but the duty to uncloak vice and do its best to redress wrongs, whether through the voice of its chosen lecturers or the printed word of its journals and publications—making its accusations, however, as impersonal as possible.  But its Fellows, or Members, have individually no such right. Its followers have, first of all, to set the example of a firmly outlined and as firmly applied morality, before they obtain the right to point out, even in a spirit of kindness, the absence of a like ethic unity and singleness of purpose in other associations or individuals. No Theosophist should blame a brother, whether within or outside of the association; neither may he throw a slur upon another’s actions or denounce him, lest he himself lose the right to be considered as a Theosophist.” (H. P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings 7:174-5)

[Last year I published an open letter on a good friend’s web-site in both English and Spanish. The developments within the Adyar group, especially after the most recent International Convention, where no European members were invited to speak, and the General Council meeting held prior to that Convention made me decide to rewrite the letter as a short article. I love India. In spite of its serious environmental and infrastructural problems, with the city of Chennai rapidly moving up and strangling the compound, I love the Headquarters of the TS at Adyar, have dear Indian friends, and respect the Indian Section and all its members].


Luxury apartment-buildings right across the Adyar River are moving up and can be seen from Leadbeater Chambers on the estate of the TS

Read more: Adyar, Where Do We Go from Here?

Helping our Neighbor and Promoting Theosophy – Part five

An experiment of the Theosophical Society in Israel in offering some Theosophical principles to the public in simplified and practical form.

Lesson 5 (out of 5 lessons)

Believe in Yourself – Finding Self-Esteem and Inner Power

At our fourth meeting we investigated the topic of mindfulness in depth and engaged in additional, related life skills: We practiced concentration which is a skill that assists our being attentive and mindful. We experienced situations of listening to another and to ourselves, in a way that only our attention can enable. You are invited to share your experience from these exercises and any insights you may have acquired during the week related to these topics.

Today we will further delve into the topic of listening to ourselves – as a way to regain our belief in ourselves; inner observation as a tool to find a sense of worth and power within us... To believe in ourselves is to trust ourselves and to live with a sense of Self-Worth.

Read more: Helping our Neighbor and Promoting Theosophy – Part five

Editorial

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

The call for Theosophical unity is getting stronger every day. It seems, however, that some Theosophists have difficulties in understanding what exactly is meant by “Theosophical unity.” Those who haven’t had the opportunity to really get to know Theosophical organizations other than their own, often think that "their" Society is the only valid one, and that others are simply surrogates or worse even. But progress is made: instead of turning away from each other, Theosophists from various traditions are actually in dialogue. Although, in the past, previous attempts to come together failed, now, in the twenty-first century, there is mutual respect, and awareness of common responsibility is dawning. The Theosophical movement is one, and the various traditions are its representatives; the Theosophical house is big enough for all of them.

Some time ago, Dorothy Bell, an Australian member of the TS-Adyar, presented an important document entitled “Roots and Shoots.”


Dorothy Bell

Dorothy Bell completed degrees in arts and education at the University of Melbourne and at the University of New England in Australia, and first visited America in 1990 as a Fulbright scholar. Since joining the Theosophical Society in 1999, she has lectured at TS conferences in the United States, New Zealand, India, and Australia. She is also a Reiki master.

Read more: Editorial

Mini–interviews November – December 2011

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.



Antonio Girardi


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

My name is Antonio Girardi. I came into contact with the Theosophical Society in 1978 when I was 26. I became a member of the Italian Section in 1980.

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

Since I joined the T.S., I have always been an active member of the Theosophical lodge in my town, Vicenza and then a member of the Executive Committee of the Italian Section. I became General Secretary in 1995.

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

I came into contact with the T.S. after reading a book on Theosophy and the Theosophical Society (La Dimensione Umana by prof. Bernardino del Boca). I immediately contacted the writer, who was a Theosophist, and since then we had a large number of meetings in which we shared mutual knowledge and friends in the spirit of Universal Brotherhood without distinction.

4.   What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy has been the only real revolution of my life because it linked some inner feelings I had since I was a child to the dimension of knowledge and insight.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

I have a special fondness for The Voice of the Silence, which contains three fragments transcribed by H.P. Blavatsky. It’s an esoteric text of highly symbolic value that helps us better understand other Theosophical books, such as The Secret Doctrine.

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

I am convinced that the Theosophical Society still has a considerable task to fulfil. After influencing the evolution of human consciousness throughout the 19th and 20th centuries by introducing the concepts of: Universal Brotherhood without distinction; the Unity of Life and Service; and inspiring cultural and scientific approaches of a systemic and holistic nature, the T.S. is now called to demonstrate some “good practices” with regards to its Three Aims. The role of Adyar is fundamental to make this happen increasingly better. Indeed, Adyar not only represents the history of the T.S. but also its unity and paradoxically even its future. Adyar is the place of fraternal experimentation in an intercultural international atmosphere. It’s a bridge connecting tradition both to present action and the Theosophical dream for the future. For such reasons Theosophists from all over the world should repeatedly return to Adyar in order to support its work, acknowledging its fundamental value on the plane of unity.

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

For the above-mentioned reasons I am convinced that the Theosophical Society will have a great future. This will be possible if each one of us keeps in mind that “the future of the Theosophical Society is also in our hands”. It will depend on our work and enthusiasm as well as on our fraternal positive actions; the work of service with the Theosophical Order of Service; the interaction with the world of science (in particular regarding neurosciences); the world of culture; and on the circulation of the Theosophical literature. Finally, we should never forget that the seed of Brotherhood able to germinate the fruits of the Platonic ideals of Beauty, Good and Truth lies in the evolution of the individual consciousness.

Read more: Mini–interviews November – December 2011

Helping our Neighbor and Promoting Theosophy – Part four

An experiment of the Theosophical Society in Israel in offering some Theosophical principles to the public in simplified and practical form.

Lesson 4 (out of 5 Lessons)

Practicing Attentiveness, Concentration and Mindful Listening toward Ourselves and Others

In the earlier sessions we learned how to be attentive to a situation we are in, to let go of tension and to release negative thoughts and emotions. We saw that when we are aware of our bodies, emotions and beliefs and observe them empathically, we can bring calm to ourselves and improve the quality of our lives. In the last session we especially concentrated on controlling our thoughts.

We learned how to transform our negative thoughts and habits to positive ones. You were asked to begin such a process during the past week. You are invited to share your experiences.  The objective of our session today is to deepen our understanding and experience of being attentive, focused and mindfully listening to ourselves and others.

Read more: Helping our Neighbor and Promoting Theosophy – Part four

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