Mini –interviews July August 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.



Doreen Domb

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

My name is Doreen Domb. Originally, I am from western New York State; I have resided in California for 32 years (about 22 years in Los Angeles area, and currently, nearly 10 years in the Sierra Nevada foothills (Grass Valley) of Northern California.  Initially, I became a member-at-large - relative to the TS Adyar - while I was living in Sedona, Arizona during the mid-1980s. [LOGISTICS NOTE: Prior to first settling in California, I had lived and worked at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Northern Arizona, during spring-summer 1979.  Bypassing a very long story, I found myself living in Los Angeles by late summer 1979. I returned to Arizona in May 1985 - this time, Sedona - and became acquainted with a newly established local TS group in early 1986. I then became a TS Adyar member at the national level. I returned to Los Angeles in Spring 1986.] Back in Los Angeles once more, I set about searching for a locally established group in the area.  I was *fortunate to have discovered Los Angeles Lodge (TS Adyar affiliate) that – if memory correctly serves - William Judge had founded back in 1894. L.A. Lodge was later renamed the Los Angeles Center for Theosophic Studies (LACTS).  By late 1986/early 1987, I had become a local TS member as well as maintaining my national affiliation. I was quite active in LACTS, which encompassed study group participation, teaching some classes, and being an officer (Vice President; Publicity Director) during my 10 years or so with the L.A. group.     

*In hindsight, I realized that a Theosophical group particularly based in the source teachings/ teachers (HPB, the Mahatmas, Judge) was something for which I’d been searching for quite some time.


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

I separated from the LACTS/TS Adyar around late 1997 or 1998 (apologize for my fuzzy memory regarding accurate timing of occurrences!), primarily because I was so tired of the politics – both at the national and local levels, along with the growing staleness of classes and activities I was observing and experiencing for quite some time. I speak totally for myself here. My parting materialized after a number of attempts to work with other members, with the aim of acknowledging/defining serious issues within, and with the wish to inject some much-needed freshness regarding the group energy and creativity. I eventually came to realize, and accept, that a cycle involving myself had run its course. And it was my direct perception that the majority of active members supported the status quo as being just fine as it was. Again, I want to be quite clear that the aforementioned statements are observational and experiential - relative to myself only.  No judgemental attitude of any kind is meant or implied. Thus, suffice it to say that when I was finally able to see the forest for the trees, I could let go of a very strong and deeply-felt obligation toward attempting to stay with something I was forcing upon myself, which was at an ending stage for me. Other individuals had meant a lot to me, and it was extremely difficult to let go regarding folks in the group! Yet, I truly breathed a sigh of relief – finally knowing it was okay for the group to carry on as before, and it was okay for me to move on. Above all, I remain a Theosophist of the independent persuasion.  (I’ve never been much of a joiner – the TS has really been the one exception to this.) I’ve continually resonated with the Theosophical networking movement. Both the TS (all the traditional organizations) and the independents have accomplished many wonderful things! Regarding the more independent side, I have been involved in Theosophical conferences over the years – one of the most memorable now coming to mind was the HPB CENTENARY CONFERENCE in Pasadena, May 1991.To my knowledge, at the time, this was one of the first (if not THE first) Theosophical conferences to feature an artists’ component! Other Theosophical-type entities (during the 1990s) that I’ve helped to support included The Eclectic Theosophist, just a gem of a publication that Emmett Small (Point Loma) had headed up, back in the day. I typed up articles to be published, along with an occasional submitted article or poem by myself. Also, I had served on the board of directors, and composed fundraising appeal letters regarding the Theosophical Book Association for the Blind (TBAB). 

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

In the earlier 1980s, I started visiting Manly Hall’s Philosophical Research Society (PRS) in Los Angeles. I would attend lectures and spend time in their bookstore. Over time, I came to realize that PRS had a basic Theosophical foundation, especially while Manly Hall was still at the forefront of things. I know PRS was a very significant beginning influence for me in discovering the source Theosophical teachings. I also remember, at least once, going to the big United Lodge of Theosophists (ULT) hall near downtown L.A. to hear a lecture on reincarnation. And the first Theosophical book I remember purchasing – at the PRS bookstore – was G. de Purucker’s The Wind of the Spirit.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

There is no religion higher than truth – says it all for me! It speaks so clearly to the connection of everything. And to the contrary regarding the illusion of separateness (seemingly THE reason why we are so deeply engulfed within such a momentous mess ...) When one has studied and basically comprehended comparative religions and belief systems, one realizes mostly shared commonalities among them. The myths and fables – biblical and otherwise – seem to display the same types of stories: there is a creation story, a flood, a saviour… The dual nature of existence on this physical plane… All of this and more Theosophically illustrates (if you will) our day-to-day existence. Virtually, there is nothing new under the sun. Theosophy is the ONLY belief system (a synthesis, or whatever one wishes to call it) that has ever made sense to me.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

The Secret Doctrine. I feel it is THE definitive source, overall. You know you can read it one hundred times or more. And each time, something new is learned; or really understood for the first time. It has introduced me to many quality jewels. To cite one example that continues to have profound influence on my life: Kabbalah. Jewish Theosophy, if you will. Having been brought up amid a hardcore Orthodox Jewish background (that I rebelled against as a young teenager), when I discovered Kabbalah, I resonated to it like crazy. Then it all began to make much sense!

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

Admittedly – I don’t keep up enough with the current goings-on of the Society to provide any kind of informed answer. I have been out of this loop for many years.

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

To keep on keeping on, I suppose… in all its many forms and incarnations. But most seriously, my wish is that – regardless of the diverse directions this movement has taken, and continues to take – we remain open and willing to listen. TO BE GOOD LISTENERS. To truly hear other points of view without taking things personally, being judgmental, isolationist. To be of a positively forward kind of spirit.Tall order for humans, I am sure.

___________________________________________________________


Sabine van Osta

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

I am Sabine van Osta from Belgium, and I have been a member since 2001.

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

Active member, currently Lodge President of Loge Witte Lotus.

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

In a bookshop.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

The basic pillar of my survival.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

There are so many, but you really want to know one title: Light on the Path.

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

To find the right balance between the TS of yesterday, the TS of today and the TS of tomorrow. To understand that those three might differ at some points without becoming disloyal to our original goals and to our message for the world, which is one of sincere hope and strength.

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

That elements within the Theosophical Movement accept each other’s differences and that we at all times see the underlying unity that links us all to each other as it does all elements and beings in the universe.
__________________________________________________


Richard Hiltner

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

My name is Richard Hiltner. I live in Ojai, California and have been a member of the Theosophical Society since about 1975.

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

I am a member of the TS Lodge in Ojai; but have not been that active. The lodge meeting is at 7PM Tuesday and frequently my duties in the office are not finished until later.

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

My first knowledge of Theosophy was in 1973 when I was a Medical Doctor serving at a Naval Air Base close to Fresno, California.  When at the Library on the base, my attention was drawn to the book Isis Unveiled.  After reading this and finishing my Military Service that summer, I went to Los Angeles. I knew no Theosophists; so simply looked in the phone book and called a number listed. It was Boris de Zirkoff.  He put me in touch with Robert Bonnell, a Chiropractor in Long Beach. We went to Krotona in Ojai shortly afterward for a Seminar with Lina Psaltis.  In 1974 I moved to Ojai.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

There was a major change when Theosophy came into my life.  Being raised as a Roman Catholic, Theosophy answered many questions that were not clear. For instance, reincarnation gave a clearer and more just picture of this universe. It helped me see a person in a more complete way with the seven Principle/ Elements which directed me into more holistic approaches to medicine, eg. Homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, etc.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

My favorite Theosophical book is The Esoteric Tradition by G. de Purucker. He unfolds the fundamental thoughts ofThe Secret Doctrine very effectively.There are a number of advances in Science which were outlined along with relationship to the embryo and human development. A marvelous history of reincarnation in early Christianity and Judaism, etc.

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

In my opinion, the biggest challenge for the TS in Adyar is to unite its efforts with all the other Theosophical Organizations to enlighten this world. There are certainly difference of opinions, but there is much more in common. There is no dogma in Theosophy. Each person must find truth to the best of his/her abilities. This should lead to a more universal and less selfish life.

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

The future of the Theosophical Movement is again to concentrate on what is our common ground. The International Theosophical Conferences are trying now to achieve this. All organizations have merit; we need to work together.

________________________________________________


Joy Mills

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

Joy Mills; resident at Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai, California, U.S.A.; I joined the TS in August 1940, so have been a member just over 70 years!!! 

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

I have been very active, having served as President of the American Section; I attend meetings of the Ojai Valley Lodge, but I cannot say I am active in the Lodge or Section any more. I continue to be active in the Krotona School of Theosophy, giving classes from time to time, and I still serve on the Board of Trustees of the Krotona Institute of Theosophy.  I am also still an Additional Member of the General Council of the Society.

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

When I was a freshman at university, a fellow student introduced me to Theosophy; I then attended the meetings of the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Lodge, and later joined.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

It is the only reasonable and coherent philosophy, a never-ending study, so I can say it means everything to me! 

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

It is difficult to choose just one title, but I suppose my "favorite" is The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett. However, all of the writings of HPB, particularly The Secret Doctrine and The Voice of the Silence are favorites. 

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

To speak to the times in a contemporary way!  We must avoid being overwhelmed by all the new technologies, while yet using them to spread the ideas of Theosophy in a manner that responds to problems facing humanity today.  

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

There is very much that I wish: a membership that is involved in making Theosophy better known, a membership that exemplifies the first Object in providing an example of working and living together in harmony, a membership that is always growing, not simply in numbers, but in an ever-deepening understanding of Theosophy, so that the Society may be better known.
__________________________________________________


Pablo Sender

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

My name is Pablo Sender. I was born in Argentina, where I joined the TS (Adyar) when I was 21, in 1996. Currently I am a member of the TS in America, with headquarters in Wheaton, Illinois.

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

I was quite active in Argentina. I have been Coordinator of the Youth Group, member of the General Council, lecturer, and my last years there were spent as Public Programs Coordinator of the TS in Rosario, which holds four Lodges. In 2005 I moved to India to live and work at the International Headquarters in Adyar. I worked in the Archives Department and also gave lectures in a few cities in India. In 2007 I moved to the USA to live and work at the National Center of the TS in America. I am currently working in the H.S. Olcott Memorial Library and as a National Lecturer of the TSA.

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

I had been studying books on spirituality since I was 14. They were mainly New Age oriented, which was the reading readily available in the rather small city I was living in. However, after a little while studying a particular author, I felt that the teachings were superficial, and began to look for something deeper. At some point I wanted to learn how to meditate. My mom had been taking classes in yoga for years with a person who had been a TS member, and she had also attended a local TS lodge for a lecture once. When I expressed an interest in meditation, she took me to the TS where they had just started a course on meditation.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

What it means has changed through the years. At first, it meant a very deep philosophy that posed no limits to my intellectual learning. It meant also a community of people who had uncommon views of life, just as I always had in solitude. This gave me an incredible sense of self-confidence and changed my life forever. Gradually, Theosophy turned into a source of inspiration and teachings about how to transform myself. Since Theosophy was so valuable in my life, it turned into the one thing worth offering to the world. Today, the spreading of Theosophy is what I feel is the most worthy way of using my energy and time.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

I couldn't choose only one, because no single book covers all my spiritual needs. I love The Secret Doctrine because it challenges my understanding and leads me to the world of non-form, so to say. The Mahatma Letters, Light on the Path, and The Voice of the Silence are instructive and a source of inspiration. I also like the books by Krishnamurti, because they taught me how to go beyond the thinker and dwell in the silent watcher within myself. And finally I like the books by A. Besant and C. W. Leadbeater that deal with meditation and the unfolding of the higher consciousness, since it is in these books that I have found the most detailed and practical instructions on this topic.

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

I think we have to learn how to cooperate at a deep level, without trying to make everybody think alike. Each one of us can further the ways and methods we think are the best to carry out the work of the TS, without the need to impose them on others. We should be confident that whatever is true will bring its own vitality and flourish in its own time. Then, we can all work harmoniously in the directions we think best, leaving the results of our efforts to karma, which is far wiser than we are.

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

Besides what I mentioned in the previous answer, I hope the Theosophical Movement grows in the direction given by HPB when she wrote that it should "encourage free and fearless inquiry" in the search for truth. This implies that Theosophists should be ready to examine critically and with an open mind any expression of truth, inside and outside the Theosophical tradition. But in this endeavor, we should not fall into the extremes of focusing too much on other traditions, losing touch with the Theosophical identity; or limiting ourselves to the study of our favorite Theosophical authors and declaring that this is the Truth, thus becoming a new form of belief in the world.
__________________________________________________


Radha Muthiah

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

My name is Radha Muthiah. I’m from India. I’ve been a member of the TS since December 1994.

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

I was very active at the Adyar Lodge and at the international Headquarters at Adyar. I was Secretary of the Adyar Lodge for four years. I was the Convention Officer from 1997-2000, and a part of the Convention Committee from 2001-2009. I also held several posts at the Adyar TS, including Accommodation Officer, Superintendent of Housekeeping Department, Superintendent of the Social Welfare Center, and Convenor of the South India Conference.

Since my moving out of the Adyar Campus, I attend meetings of the Lodge as and when I can.

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

I sought work at the Adyar TS in January 1994; this was my introduction to the TS and eventually I enrolled as a member.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

It is a way for me to learn about myself.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

My favourite Theosophical book is At the Feet of the Master because it is easy to read while at the same time deep and practical.

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

A lack of committed workers. The situation at Adyar workforce wise has deteriorated over the years so as to become a problem.

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

Members must be more committed and serious about their responsibilities to the TS.
______________________________________________________



Kathleen Hall

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

My Name is Kathleen Frances Hall. I am from Vancouver Island, Canada (Victoria and Qualicum Beach). I have been a member of the Canadian Theosophical Association since 2000. 

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

I am an active member of the Victoria Theosophical Society, and attend meetings when I am able, but do not have a specific role within the group. I am also a member of the Theosophical Order of Service in Canada.

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

I first learned of Theosophy around 1985 when I began to hear about the “New Age” movement, David Spangler, and Findhorn. I began to read and research into this area and came across Madame Blavatsky. My father had known about HPB and we talked about her and the Theosophical Society. It was not until the late 90’s when I began to pursue my master’s degree that I began to seriously study Theosophy. In formulating ideas for my thesis I was investigating the influences that brought about the emergence of modern abstraction. I discovered that Theosophy had greatly influenced the work of Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and others. Research in this area led me to read several books such as The Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled, Esoteric Buddhism, The Mahatma Letters, and many other important Theosophical works. I also began to research contemporary artists to find out about the spiritual influences in their work and contacted The Theosophical Society in America. Dr. John Algeo, the president at the time, was immensely helpful in putting me in contact with Theosophical artists and encouraging my work. His great kindness, knowledge, and support helped to influence my decision to join the Theosophical Society, and in 2000, I became a member of the Canadian Theosophical Association.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Theosophy to me means striving to live by spiritual principles under the guidance of constant study. To me there is a veil between the physical world that we live in, and the spiritual world that exists within and beyond us. Studying the writings of Theosophists, as well as engaging with the work of Theosophical inspired artists, helps me to gain a greater understanding of the higher principles and ancient wisdom teachings that are there for us to help lift and see behind the veil. These teachings also guide me on a practical level to be mindful of right thought and action in my daily life.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

This is a difficult question to answer, as I love all the Theosophical books I read. The ones that stand out for me are: The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnet; Sylvia Cranston’s, H. P. B.: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky; The Power of Thought, John Algeo and Shirley Nicholson; Reflections on an Ancient Wisdom, Joy Mills; The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly P. Hall, and of course all books by HPB. Two books by Dr. Judith Cornell that have been very useful in my work as a teacher are: Mandala: Luminous Symbols for Healing, and Drawing the Light from Within: Keys to Awaken Your Creative Power. I am now starting to read and research on Nicholas and Helena Roerich.

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


Adyar seems to be stuck between two worlds and somewhat unable to move forward into the 21st century. While historically it has been a great center of learning for Theosophists, I feel that now it is not evolving with the current needs of a changing world. It would be wonderful to see the International Headquarters of Theosophy embrace and reach out to its members with an open heart and a sincere desire to advance the spiritual knowledge of its members in a changing world that is in great need of unblocked spiritual guidance and leaders.

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

I would wish that the Theosophical Movement would become more accessible to young people, and also focus on connecting current world issues with ancient wisdom teachings. There is so much going on in the world; helping to define what is taking place through spiritual sight helps with understanding and perspective.
_________________________________________________________________


Odin Townley

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

Odin Townley and I’m not a member of anything. I’ve been a student of original Theosophy a la Mme. Blavatsky and her colleague W. Q. Judge for 73 years.

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

Give lectures, facilitate classes at New York ULT, and attend Theosophical conferences in the U.S. and Europe.

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

Was introduced to Theosophy through hearing lectures, attending classes, etc. For 9 months in the womb. Thereafter in person, albeit diapered.

4.    What does Theosophy mean to you?

Altruism and impersonal service to others.

5.    What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?

The Secret Doctrine, original ed., because it carries the soul of the author (s), HPB and her Masters. And because there are new revelations continually in every sentence year after year.

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

They have always been facing the same ogre – poisonality.

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

That it would adhere to the original lines of work outlined by the Mahatmas, eschewing dissensions and differences of option, in favour of universal truth. Basically all the points made in the Blavatsky article “What is Truth.”

Text Size

Paypal Donate Button Image

Subscribe to our newsletter

Email address
Confirm your email address

Who's Online

We have 72 guests and no members online

TS-Adyar website banner 150

EUROPEAN SCHOOL OF THEOSOPHY 2021 Logo

Facebook

itc-tf-default

Vidya Magazine

TheosophyWikiLogoRightPixels