What Theosophy Is ... And Where It Is Going
- Published: Monday, 17 June 2019 14:29
Joy Mills – USA
Joy speaking at a summer convention, probably around 1954
As is well known to all students, the word “Theosophy” has never been defined in any official document of the Theosophical Society, but this does not mean that Theosophy itself is simply an amorphous “something” nor is it a “catch-all” term for anything one wishes to believe. Rather, then, than saying what Theosophy IS, I prefer to suggest certain distinguishing characteristics of the term.
First, Theosophy as a word which can be explored either in terms of its roots or in terms of whatever has usually been understood as its content. Second, as a “doctrine” or “teaching,” a philosophy or a metaphysic embracing a specific worldview. And third, as a way of life, a mode of being in the world. Each of these characteristics may be examined separately or seen as interdependent, one leading to and including the others.
As a word, then, Theosophy is usually defined in terms of its Greek origins, THEOS and SOPHIA. Theos we consider as the basis for such words as god, the gods, divine, sacred, but when examined more deeply, we may note that its verbal root has the essential meaning of that which grows or expands from within, a creative energy or force. Sophia as wisdom or discriminative intelligence is then inherent in the creative process, and one may recall the Scriptural text that “By wisdom God created all things,” which by implication tells us that not only did intelligence or wisdom come first but that it inheres in all that exists in a manifested universe; hence all things are sacred. This has always been, for me, the fundamental premise of Theosophy: the universe and all that it contains is not only one substance, one “thing,” however diverse may be the forms through which that one-ness exhibits itself, but in its manifoldness is everywhere sacred, participating in the divine.