Notable Books

Notable Books 27

Something New

Invisible Worlds: Annie Besant on Psychic and Spiritual Development, Essays compiled by Kurt Leland, Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, 2013, Pages xii + 411. 

Simply stated: This is a terrific book! How I wish this well-organized book had been available when I first began reading the works of Annie Besant. Starting over forty years ago I read Besant somewhat arbitrarily without any plan. Frequently, I felt her books and articles were, to some extent, random. Kurt Leland has taken the randomness out of the picture and arranged selected talks such that the power and coherency of thoughts are front and center.   

The subtitle of this book is: Annie Besant on Psychic and Spiritual Development.  Besant already thought she had accomplished this goal for herself and wanted to share this with others. Leland stresses, “…the goal of occult training, as taught by Besant, was to develop the bodies as vehicles of consciousness so that student could rise to the spiritual plane, where they might be further educated by the Masters.”

Read more: Notable Books 27

Notable Books 26

Something New


Sorry, don`t want to play today … want to read

A Most Unusual Life, Kirsten van Gelder and Frank Chesley, Wheaton, IL. Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, 2015, Pages xiii + 358.

This is a book that belongs on every Theosophist book shelf; not just here in America, but worldwide because Dora was someone who belonged to everyone.

When people ask me about Dora, I would normally say: “She was a very complex person.”  However, I like the title of the book better. She was indeed “A most unusual person.” There are many theosophist who knew Dora longer and better that I did; however, I spent a little over twelve years working closely with her, and I think the authors did a very good job in bringing out those salient characteristics and nuance’s that made Dora … well ‘one of a kind’ Dora.  

Read more: Notable Books 26

Notable Books 25


A book and a rose …quite a combination

Something New…

Ravi Ravindra, The Pilgrim Soul, Wheaton, IL:  Quest Books, 2014.  Paperback, $15.95, 140 pages.

Dr. Ravi Ravindra is Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Back in the late 1970s and most of the 80s, Ravi serves on several Theosophical committees that I also was on. These were very exciting years when Dora Kunz was the president of the TSA and science was becoming very important in lending support to many of the claims that Theosophy had been making for years.

Ravi was in the perfect position to help us connect the various areas since he held positions at Dalhousie in physics, comparative religion, and philosophy departments. I was amazed at Ravi’s breadth of knowledge not only in religion and physics, but he was widely diverse in other spiritual traditions.  Since those early days, I have always stayed up with the latest books he has been producing since I know that I always will learn something new. This book is no exception.   

Read more: Notable Books 25

Notable Books 24


Let us help you with your choice

Review of The Process of Self-Transformation, by Vicente Hao Chin, Jr.

Chin, Vicente Hao, Jr. The Process of Self-Transformation: Exploring Our Higher Potential for Effective Living. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, © 2015. Pages xvi + 343. Revised edition of The Process of Self-Transformation: Mastery of the Self and awakening of Our Higher Potentials, 2003.

This book is Theosophical in the generic sense of “teaching about God and the world based on mystical insight” but only remotely Theosophical in the specific sense of “the teachings of a modern movement originating in the United States in 1875 and following chiefly Buddhist and Brahmanic theories especially of pantheistic evolution and reincarnation.”

Review: John Algeo

Read more: Notable Books 24

Notable Books 23

Brennan, J. H(erbie). Whisperers: The Secret History of the Spirit World. New York: Overlook Duckworth, © 2013. Pp. 414.

The book’s dust jacket has a blurb on its front flap that describes the work’s theme as follows: “In Whisperers, bestselling novelist and expert on the occult J. H. Brennan explores how the ‘spirit world’ — whether we believe in it or not — has influenced our own since the dawn of civilization.”

The book’s subject is spiritualism, in the sense of “a belief that spirits of the dead communicate with the living usually through a medium” and when capitalized “a movement comprising religious organizations emphasizing spiritualism” (Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary). Although neither of those definitions are appropriate for Theosophy, it and H. P. Blavatsky are favored with several references, as on pages 199, 203-204, 238-244, and 255. None of those references are sufficiently insightful to warrant quotation here. The book is readable, but the author might be well-advised to stick to his calling as a novelist.

Read more: Notable Books 23

Notable Books 22


A good book: anytime, anyplace

Lachman, Gary. Revolutionaries of the Soul: Reflections on Magicians, Philosophers, and Occultists. Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, 2014. Pages x + 222.

 

This book is an overview of more or less recent esotericists, such as Swedenborg, Éliphas Lévi, Rudolf Steiner, Manly Palmer Hall, Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, C. G. Jung, P. D. Ouspensky, and — especially for us — H. P. Blavatsky, who is treated in chapter 6 on “The Inimitable Madame B.” (pp. 63-74). That chapter begins: “New York’s East Side isn’t somewhere that we’d usually associate with the start of a new spiritual movement, but on September 13, 1875, that’s exactly what it was.” And the chapter ends: “Blavatsky . . . died on May 8, 1891, a day celebrated in Theosophical communities as White Lotus Day. She was sixty and had taken the world by storm, and her last words are characteristically blunt:, ‘Don’t let my last incarnation be a failure.’ Chances are we will not see her like again, but with her help, anyone today can remove the veil from Isis and discover where the secret wisdom can be found.

Read more: Notable Books 22

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