Vol. 69 No. 5 Toronto, Nov.-Dec., 1988
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document.
Without prior intention, this number of The Canadian Theosophist has developed into what amounts to a special issue on biographies of colourful Theosophists. The editors apologize for the imbalanced content, but hope readers will find it not the less interesting.
Longfellow's famous dictum "Lives of great men all remind us / We can make our lives sublime" has a lot of truth in it. A corollary might be that we can learn a great deal about ourselves from the lives of similarly motivated people.
Of those early Theosophists mentioned herein, all had the ability to inspire others, but apart from their inspirational qualities, the way they lived and how they responded to the challenge of Theosophy can surely be instructive to all of us. In them can be spotted the same weaknesses we are ourselves battling; in some may be discerned a level of character we can ourselves reach if so inclined and determined.
It happens that the biographies reviewed or written up in the following pages are for the most part favourable to their subjects. This is no recommendation in itself, but is perhaps worth noting if only because over the years we have become used to seeing most of the early Theosophists vilified by their biographers. If the pendulum is at last swinging the other way, it may be no more than a sign that the market for scurrilous attacks is weakening, rather than that biographers are getting fairer. Regardless, the ultimate ideal must be objectivity. Before the pendulum finally comes to rest, let us hope that the world will be able to read unbiased biographies and histories by which to judge the Theosophical Movement.
To be fair, though - within the Movement itself we need more unbiased readers. It might be thought that the friendly biographies will be welcomed by Theosophists, but this is not necessarily so. Most of the prominent personalities that have been written about still engender strong reactions ranging from admiration to detestation, and their biographies are bound to be judged according to one's slant. For example, The Elder Brother, Gregory Tillett's 1982 biography of C.W. Leadbeater, is arguably a scholarly and dispassionate treatment of one of the Movement's most controversial characters, yet the greater part of the Theosophical Society seems to have bent over backwards to ignore it. What reaction there has been has been mostly negative. Interestingly,
strong views about it are still held by some who may not even have read it. Is this not strange in an organization which at least implicitly encourages members to think for themselves?
How this would have appalled the early Canadian Theosophist, Charles Lazenby, who crusaded passionately for freedom of thought and speech in the Theosophical Society. That quality alone surely justifies his being remembered in this issue on the sixtieth anniversary of his death. For those of us who were not around during his lifetime, and that's most of us, of course, it is difficult to realize what a dynamic performer he was on Theosophical platforms. As a speaker, he was once regarded as Annie Besant's equal - high praise considering her famous oratorical gifts.
In England a few years ago, a member approached me at the end of a meeting and asked if, as a Canadian, the name of Charles Lazenby meant anything to me. Encouraged by my enthusiastic reply, she went on to say that more than sixty years earlier her mother had taken her as a child to hear a lecture by Lazenby in a northern England city. She said the strong impression he had made on her at the time had never diminished, and his message had continued to inspire her throughout her life. This is typical of those who once knew, or even heard, the colourful, controversial Canadian.
When considering those early Theosophists whose lives are the subjects treated on the following pages, it is disappointing to count the number of their co-workers of whom to date no full-length biography has been written. Chief among these is William Q. Judge, but one is expected in the not too distant future to complement his Collected Writings, Echoes of the Orient. Worth noting is that a biography of Daniel N. Dunlop has already been published in German, and an English version, hopefully improved on the original, can be expected.
As for Canadian Theosophists, surely Albert E.S. Smythe and Roy Mitchell, to name but two, deserve to be remembered by a generation which still benefits from their Theosophical efforts.
Certain it is that we shall never properly understand the (sometimes tumultuous) events of the early years of the Movement without knowing something of those who were the leading actors in them. So ... more biographies, please!
KROTONA WINTER - SPRING PROGRAM
The Krotona Winter-Spring Program commences January 15, 1989, and continues through May 12.
Among the courses offered are: "Foundations of Esoteric Philosophy" and "The Perennial Philosophy" - Ianthe Hoskins. "Applying Theosophical Principles to Daily Living" - Nancy Whistler. "The Wisdom of the Essenes" - Stephan Hoeller. "Raja Yoga: A Study of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras" - Will Ross. "Fairy Tales and Symbolism as a Visual Experience" - Michael Miles. "The Seven Faces of Man" - Adam Warcup.
In addition, School Director Joy Mills will offer studies in "The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett" and "The Voice of the Silence"; and her assistant Diana Dunningham will conduct a study circle on "The Key to Theosophy".
Further information from the Director, Krotona Institute School of Theosophy, 46 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023, U.S.A.
CHARLES LAZENBY, F.T.S.
At the turn of this century, if any individual was "ready" in every respect for Theosophy, it was Charles A. Lazenby. And for the following nearly thirty years, few served the cause of Theosophy as devotedly and as effectively as he did.
His fine mind found a natural affinity with both the teaching and with those who like him were struggling along the path leading to spirituality. To help his fellow aspirants, and others yet uncommitted, he gave freely of himself and of his many talents. Literally freely, because nothing would have induced him to gain materially from spiritual teachings.
Certain psychic experiences while yet quite young made him personally aware of "latent powers" and "unexplained laws of nature." He never, as far as is known, abused his natural powers, and his investigations into the unknown appear to have been prompted by the highest of motives.
Being totally incapacitated for a long time during the prime of his youth turned out to be a lasting advantage, because during that time he read voraciously on all manner of serious subjects, and so developed a strong philosophical foundation for his later thinking. The crippled body housed a healthy and expansive mind: intellectually, he was a genius or close to it.
One anecdote has it that although he "breezed" through most of his subjects at University, he always had difficulty with mathematics. In despair of passing in any other way he took what to him was the only way out - he simply memorized the textbooks and lectures! This was the young man to whom the Toronto Theosophical Society was like a second home. At first he attended lectures and classes in a wheelchair, and delighted in the opportunity of intercourse with like minds. Some members were digging as deep as he, and with one in particular, Sam Beckett, was developed a near father-son relationship. Beckett, of whom Albert Smythe wrote that the Toronto Lodge "would not exchange him for several modern Arhats," led The Secret Doctrine class in Toronto for over 25 years, and was reputed to love an argument. And so it was at Beckett's knee, so to speak, that Lazenby learned the importance of questioning every opinion, as well as striving to fathom Blavatsky's magnum opus. At this time he also met another who was to have a lasting influence on the Theosophical Movement in Canada: Roy Mitchell. They were together at the University of Toronto.
In passing it should be mentioned that the early Toronto Theosophists were faithful to the Blavatsky-Judge tradition, refused to put Theosophical leaders on a pedestal (as was unfortunately the norm in those days), and honoured their commitment to the Society while yet maintaining a staunchly independent posture. "Autonomy" and "independence" were twin watchwords both for members and for the Lodge. These qualities and attitudes were also characteristic of Charles Lazenby. Although already active in it for three or four years, he formally joined the Toronto
Theosophical Society in 1904, his diploma bearing H.S. Olcott's signature as President.
He was fiercely independent, and refused to compromise ideals as others tended to do. Any attempt by any level of the Theosophical Society to impose its will on a lower level was strenuously opposed by him. Needless to say, this did not endear him to the hierarchy! His ideal T.S. was also rather more perfect than was considered achievable by most. For example, when in 1906 C.W. Leadbeater chose to resign from the Society rather than face expulsion, Lazenby passionately preached the principle that the organization was of such a nature that no one could, or should, be excluded - even though he deplored, nay despised, Leadbeater's teachings.
Then again, he knew the Theosophical Movement was far more than the Society itself, and did not hesitate to ally himself with other organizations deriving from the same inspiration. As early as 1907 he joined Charles Johnston's Theosophical Society in America. Always, he supported sincere workers for the Cause even if the Society condemned them: F.T. Brooks and H.N. Stokes to name two.
In the meantime, he started to travel, and was welcome as a lecturer wherever he went. By 1909 he was sufficiently established as to be the Guest lecturer at the First international Theosophical Summer School in England. He was a great favourite at these functions, as may be judged from a report on the 1911 School in Theosophy in Scotland:
"Mr. Charles Lazenby was, as the Chairman observed, always 'on tap,' and those who know his vigorous style, with its quaint Canadian flavour, and his magnificent clearness of thought, will not be surprised to learn that the particular 'brew,' most often demanded by his hearers, whether members of the Society or otherwise, was a series of readings and commentaries on The Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled and other great writings of H.P.B."
While in Europe, in 1910 Lazenby joined forces with the well-known former Irish Theosophist D.N. Dunlop. Together with Mrs. W.W. Leisenring they founded the Blavatsky Institute, with headquarters at Hale, Cheshire, in England. Borrowing from Walt Whitman, they described it as "The Institution of the dear love of Comrades." Though short-lived, the achievements of the Institute in less than three years were impressive.
The program devised and implemented by the founders consisted of a daily program (seven days a week!) of lectures, study classes, drama, music, arts and crafts. An ambitious venture, truly. In addition, they published two journals, The Path and The Open Door, and several books and booklets.
After returning to Canada in 1913, and right up to his death in 1928, Lazenby had little respite from lecturing. As well as covering the North American continent, he returned to Europe after the first World War, and toured Australia extensively in 1923 and 1924. He was actually present and participated in the inaugural meeting of the Independent Theosophical Society in Sydney.
Although lecturing was his forte, Lazenby also wrote. Of special note were three small books, The Work of the Masters, a collection of articles that had appeared in The Theosophical Quarterly; The Lodge
and The Servant. The first edition of The Lodge was signed Ordion, a pseudonym he used sparingly and only for those of his writings he believed were inspired from his highest spiritual consciousness. Scores of short articles appeared under his name or initials in a wide assortment of Theosophical and other journals, including The Theosophist, The American Messenger, Divine Life, and the famous Bibby's Annual.
His quest for knowledge never ceased, and he sought it in every direction. This wide search led to meeting and exchanging views with such as Edward Carpenter and Havelock Ellis; and later with the Swiss psychoanalysts who were pioneering Jungian techniques. He rejected none. Although she was almost forgotten throughout the Theosophical Movement, he sought out and became friends with Mrs. Laura Holloway-Langford (mentioned in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett).
Charles A. Lazenby's life was relatively short, but richly productive in the cause of Theosophy. He set for himself the highest ideals and refused to compromise his principles even though their practice sometimes shocked conventional minds. In short, he was one of the few individuals of the century who could truly be called Theosophist as well as student of Theosophy.
A brief sketch of the life of Charles Lazenby by his daughter
- P.D. Cosgrove
I was fourteen years old when my father died. Charles Albert Lazenby, "Pulch" as his friends knew him, was a vibrant person. To me he was "Daddy", and I regarded him and my "Mummy" as natural parts of the world. It says much for my upbringing that I saw this world as friendly; and I felt at home in it wherever we moved - as we often did. At the same time, I knew that not all people were good, that many were ignorant and vicious; that in the long march of history there were convolutions, and long periods of pain and corruption; yet that good would eventually triumph; that beyond the horizon of the future, all men and women would find joy and peace. My parents' hope was that my life was dedicated to making this future come sooner rather than later. This attitude from my amazingly happy childhood should be kept in mind in the following brief sketch of Pulch's life.
Charles Lazenby was born on April 23, 1878, in Brussels, a small village in southwestern Ontario, Canada.
His mother, Eleanor, was the daughter of a Primitive Methodist minister, Thomas Adams; his father, Charles Lazenby, was a newly ordained Methodist minister. The child never knew his father, who drowned trying to rescue a child from a river, only six weeks after his wedding.
Shortly after the birth, mother and child moved to Guelph, where she went to work to support them. They stayed with the Ryans, a carpenter and his wife. After three years, Eleanor Lazenby died, leaving her son to be raised by the Ryans; and by her brother and his wife in Toronto, who later harboured him for the holidays.
The Ryans were a poor old couple. All the food they had was tea, bread, apples from a neighbour, grain from the miller, and one pint of milk a day. The boy did the chores around the house and ran errands for the old man.
The boy Charles was known to his Guelph schoolmates as Pat Ryan. School itself was no trouble. A big influence at this time was a master, Mr. Dobbie, who taught English rigorously. Every child was made to read aloud "as though they meant it." Each syllable was gone over and enunciated carefully before the sense was drilled into them. The brilliant lecturer of later life must have owed a lot to this early training.
Holidays in Toronto with the Adams family were looked forward to. His Aunt Jeannette was of the Boston Lamb family, and brought the custom of the French "salon" to her home in Toronto. To it came the local intelligentsia, as well as traveling luminaries.
His uncle Edward was a noted homeopathic doctor. He made his rounds in a gig drawn by a horse called Starlight, and sometimes the boy was allowed to drive. There were three girl cousins, and the strong young Charles did the chores in the sonless household.
Life with the Adams was, however, intellectually stimulating. From when he was seven, his aunt read aloud and discussed Plato's Dialogues with him. Interest was aroused in the latest scientific discoveries, and he was even taken to the Toronto Theosophical Society, which had opened its doors in 1891.
Back in Guelph, he became converted, at 13, to the Methodist faith. On the next holiday, his uncle found him agonizing over the prospect that the kind Adams were bound for hell! "Before you judge, it is well to know something of what you are judging," his kind uncle advised, and handed him a copy of Tom Paine.
The next year he caught typhoid fever, and the Ryans, despairing of him, sent to Toronto for his uncle who found him in a coma. After his recovery, Charles found his interests had changed from "penny dreadfuls" to history, literature, and even comparative religion.
He moved from Guelph to Toronto, where he went to high school. He was fond of acrobatics, and, while practicing a flying somersault, broke his coccyx and struggled to the Adams' home, where he remained on his back for four years. To complicate the situation, he broke out in abscesses all over his body, which his uncle was unable to diagnose or cure.
Dr. Adams would not give him any painkillers: "If you get well, you'll not be a drug addict!" Nor was he put in braces: "If you are going to die, you shall not die in a cage," he told his nephew. Eventually, a fellow-homeopath from Chicago asked Adams if the boy had ever taken Mercury. It turned out that old Mr. Ryan had needed it, and young Charles, when fetching the pink pills for him, tasting and liking them, ate them like candy. Now Mercury is accumulative, and the chemical had remained in his system latent until jogged into activity by the shock of his fall. Armed with this knowledge, the uncle prescribed the antidote, and the abscesses cleared
up. But there still remained the spinal problem, which painfully and only gradually healed, and he had to learn to walk again.
For the four years he was thus an invalid, his school friends had formed a "circle" who visited for fun and discussions. By twenty-one, he had recovered, and there was a celebration. Asked what he wanted to do most, he confessed it was to go to university. Uncle Edward raised funds for the first year, and he enrolled at the University of Toronto in 1901.
He quickly made up for the lost years. Proceeding to his B.A., his rise was meteoric. By his second year he was lecturing to first-year students. Professor of Psychology A. Kirschmann encouraged him, and employed him as an assistant after he had graduated. Outside the classroom, he and his friends founded two clubs, the Heretics and the Iconoclasts. Evidently, students who joined these clubs were not of orthodox persuasions! Some of their papers were published in Varsity, the University of Toronto magazine, where is also to be found a number of poems and articles signed Charles Lazenby, or, frequently, just C.L.
Like many another student, he worked his way through college by jobs taken during the holidays. One summer Charles was hired by the railways, who needed able-bodied men to put out the fires started by sparks from the steam engines. So he grew to know men who worked under tough conditions, whose beards would run with blood from the blackflies in the swamps and backwoods where they mostly worked.
On four occasions he worked at the Collins Centre,* in Gowanda, N.Y. He sought it to complement his psychology studies, and fitted into the warden's life so well that he was put on his own floor after only a month's training. This was another study that carried him through the years, widening so that when he went to Zurich twenty years later to the Jungian School of Psychoanalysis, Dr. Baines his instructor said Pulch had taught him more than the other way around.
On another occasion, he worked at Elbert Hubbard's Roycroft in East Aurora, Connecticut. There, in Hubbard's famous "School of Ideals" he practiced pottery, book-binding and publishing. It was Hubbard, incidentally, who bestowed a nickname on him. He said Lazenby was the ugliest man in all Roycroft, and called him Pulchritude. Hence Pulch, and it was Pulch that he liked to be called.
The Roycroft enterprise was famous, and many came to visit the workshops. Among these was a beautiful American actress, Czara Aries Johnson. She was an important influence on Pulch, as she immediately recognized his potential as an orator, and told him he was wasting his voice if he did not use it. She challenged him: had he no message to give? Thus was his future as a lecturer broached. (There was a precedent in the family: an ancestor, another Charles Lazenby, was said to have spoken to "an acre of people" at the sack of Nottingham Castle by the Chartists in the early 19th century.)
Their talks also focused on the power and purity of sex. Johnson confirmed what he himself had long since concluded, that sex is a natural phenomenon, not sinful
* An institution known in that era as an insane asylum. - Eds.
and base. His philosophy of sex, expressed in several articles in later years, was exemplified in his joyous, pure and principled life. He was "ahead of his time" in this, as well as in other aspects of spiritual living.
His early exposure to Theosophy began a life-long association. Once, when still a young lad, he wandered into the reading room at the Toronto Theosophical Society, and asked four elderly men he met there to explain questions prompted by his reading of Tom Paine. They told him he must read and search for the answers, and put into his hands that great book, The Secret Doctrine. In its depths he found material for thirty years of lecturing. His interest in Theosophy did not lessen while in University, where he also included it among his many extracurricular activities, but he did not formally join the Society until 1904.
After graduating, he worked his way across the Atlantic on several occasions. In 1908 he took a working passage on an Italian ship to the Mediterranean. In Malta, he obtained a visa to enter Egypt. There, he visited the pyramids, spent a night in the King's Chamber - even read aloud H.P.B.'s The Voice of the Silence to the Sphinx! But he was flat broke, and with but little to eat or drink, it was a time of great hardship.
Here is an anecdote which shows the type of man he was. Undeterred with his hard lot, he set about working his way back to England, but could get nothing. Finally, he boarded an Orient liner just about to sail, and before he could find the Mate, the gangways were withdrawn and the great ship left the quay. Technically, he was a stowaway, and was immediately put to work, which he did cheerfully, and quickly made friends among the crew.
During the passage, one of the passengers went berserk and became dangerous. No one could manage him. Pulch volunteered to look after him, explaining his familiarity with that sort of responsibility. The man went for him with a jack-knife, but was subdued after a tussle with the strong young Canadian. There was no further trouble, but for the rest of the voyage Pulch had a soft job looking after him. When he got off in England the Captain thanked Pulch and said anytime he wanted to travel he would find him a job on his ship. Laughed one of the crew, "Well, this is the first time I have ever heard of a stowaway being asked to come again!"
From then until the end of his life, he was a constant traveler, seldom staying in any one place for long. In 1909 and for the following three years, he taught at a Theosophical Summer School in England, and began an association with D.N. Dunlop, the well-known Irish Theosophist. He was an indefatigable lecturer: the 1912 appointment book read like a gazeteer of England and Scotland, and he also spoke in Holland and France.
In 1912, he married Margaret Clark, a member from Scotland, whom he had first met at one of the summer schools. Together, they travelled the lecture circuit. They usually stayed one or two nights in most places, but in some of the larger cities he would give a series of talks nightly for two or three weeks.
In the summer of 1913 the couple crossed the Atlantic. After camping in Ontario with friends, they moved to Detroit and continued their Theosophical activities there and especially in Wilmington, Delaware. These were happy days for the couple, and in 1914 was born a daughter. She was dedicated by her father to the ser-
[[Photo: Charles A. Lazenby c. 1912]]
vice of humanity, and was named Petrovna, after Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
The family traveled all over the U.S.A., always lecturing for Theosophical groups. In 1917 they went north to Victoria and Vancouver, then settled for a time at Salmon Arm, B.C. Everywhere there were lectures and classes - but some restful periods.
1919 saw them crossing to England and Scotland, renewing friendships and making contact with new audiences the length and breadth of the island. Next year, it was to continental Europe, where in Zurich, as mentioned, Pulch studied with one of Carl Jung's colleagues.
Back in America they criss-crossed the continent, coast to coast and from Canada to Florida, lecturing, conducting summer schools - always active for Theosophy.
In 1923 they took ship for Australia. There, Pulch undertook a demanding series of lectures in Sydney, with shorter tours to Melbourne and Brisbane. He became ill with what was diagnosed as ptomaine poisoning, but struggled on, and was present when T.H. Martyn and others founded the Independent Theosophical Society.
They came back to America and Canada in 1925, always lecturing, always traveling. The child, Petrovna, had been at school in Sydney, Australia; Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Austin, Texas; and now they went to St. Thomas, Ontario, where she went to boarding school.
For the summers of 1926, '27 and '28 the family camped in the Georgian Bay region of Ontario, where friends joined them from time to time. Among these were the Garside family, who lived in St. Thomas, and it was while Pulch and Margaret were visiting there that Pulch died suddenly from an ulcer, December 2, 1928.
Margaret survived him only until 1933. Much of the foregoing is based on her recollections, which alas she never finished writing down.
All his short adult life, for he was only fifty when he died, Pulch lived as though by the rules in the Kasidah as translated by Sir Richard Burton:
Do what thy manhood bids thee do,
from none but self expect applause;
He noblest lives and noblest dies
who makes and keeps
his self-made laws.
The strong moral purpose which drove his Primitive Methodist grandfather and self-sacrificing father - as well as his mother, whose devotion to what she wrote
of as God's "only way" - might have made the boy solemn and the man narrow-minded. But it was far otherwise. He was a laughing, light-hearted person who spoke to each man and woman in his or her own way. Nor did he vaunt his erudition, but responded to questions with answers he believed truthful and understandable. "He was," my mother wrote, "an artist in words, and used them as pigments in the representation of the Truth he was determined to let people see - and they did see."
He was a fighter of the Jeffersonian tradition for freedom of speech and thought. As he saw it, the Theosophical platform was open to any question regarding race, creed, sex, caste or colour, and he came in conflict with some in the Society who disagreed with his views on sex. As he said in a paper on Aesculapius, "The creative power must be held in reverence and honour, must be used in the expanding life of the soul with purity and cleanness of outlook, must not be made to minister to any unworthy ideal or low conception of life."
Taking the long view of the individual's innumerable incarnations, and the functioning of the Law of Karma, he considered ultimate perfectability as a practical idea in each case. This view was far from what is seen as rosy-visioned optimism by self-styled realists. He considered himself a realist rather than an idealist, seeing suffering, hatred, malice and fear, even despair, present in most of humanity. He aimed at making these conditions more intelligible, and more bearable. He loved humanity. In my mother's words, "there was never anyone with such a spring of grateful love as Pulch."
AND LAZENBY COULD LAUGH!
Lazenby is a Regular. I was shipmates with him on and off for twenty-five years - some outlandish voyages. I will say this for him: he was never more than a point off his course, and his day's work went down in the log and on the chart exactly as it was run.
Those who knew him will appreciate why I cannot speak of him as "the dear departed," and "what a loss" and so on. He would laugh - laugh the way he does, like a good eagle, suddenly shot full of tickly electricity. The Lazenby I knew is here now. When he left his rickety flivver of a body in the ditch at last, after driving it up and down all the roads of the world, it was only to lie-in for a time until his shiny blue Twelve was delivered. And I am not sighing about any of that. That old bus of his was a proper nuisance.
He was a crusader for talking the way you live - no use bluffing about occult knowledge and mystical experience, if you are not living up to what you know. No use giving out heavenly messages if you are oblivious to what's going on here below - gang wars, unemployment the prison situation. No use talking about Love, if you speak furtively and annoyedly about "all this sex stuff." Lazenby fought false pretenses wherever he found them, even in the admiration and adulation of people who wanted a free ride to some spiritually illuminated country on his running board. He was certainly a life-long pest to those who liked best to live in the warm marshes of inertia.
Lazenby crusaded through a world which, in spite of war and struggle, was still
(Continued on page 117)
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I am pleased to welcome into the fellowship of the Theosophical Society the following new members:
Miss Deborah Ferdinand, Beaconsfield Study Centre.
Miss Lisa Madetoja, Kalevala Study Centre.
Mrs. Eva Gungl and Mr. Russ Shurig, Toronto Lodge.
Mr. Joseph Balint, Hermes Lodge.
Mrs. Sylvia Ehrler, Member-at-large, Ottawa.
I regret to announce the death in October of member-at-large Harry Leonard. He was 94. I send my condolences on behalf of the Canadian Section of the T.S. to his surviving family.
I am happy to report that our Annual Members' Meeting held this past September, was a great success. For which success, I can thank the hardworking members of Victoria Lodge, our hosts this year. They looked after the arrangements for the auditorium, catering and entertainment, leaving me only to oversee business affairs. (Last year, my first Annual Meeting since becoming General Secretary, I had the great experience - read between the lines - of doing everything.)
The entertainment section was the highlight of the day. Victoria Lodge again presented their program entitled "Intimations". This is a series of readings, mostly poetry, on theosophical and philosophical lines, alternated with classical music performed by a pianist and a flautist. The performers were excellent - professional, and it showed. The acoustics of the church, where the program was presented, were marvelous, very reverberant, which is what I like, and surprising in both the clarity of sound and the amount of reverberation considering the carpet on the floor.
The speakers, all members of Victoria Lodge, elocuted as professionals, some with delightful British accents. I admit being somewhat biased at the outset of "Intimations" because I am music-starved - a frustrated music lover whose hi-fi and records are in storage. Where I live, one radio station only is received, and I cannot describe the noise it broadcasts as music.
If you did not attend the Annual Meeting, you missed a great show. Again, many thanks, Victoria Lodge.
I would also extend my thanks to Mrs. Fiona Odgren, President of the Victoria Lodge, for her time and effort in looking after my wife and me - from picking us up at the airport, to lunch and dinner, and tours of Victoria, being in general a personal taxi driver and tour guide.
I must remark that the general appearance and scenery in the suburb of Victoria where our meeting was held is very similar to the Burk's Falls area, where I live, with rock outcroppings and blasted rock cuts where the roads pass through, and lots of trees and rocky hills, the only difference being the greater amount of houses and buildings in the Victoria suburb.
I was pleased to meet many friends again, whom I met in my previous trip to British Columbia. I made a couple of gaffs due to my inability to remember faces.
At the end of the business portion of the meeting, the President of Toronto Lodge, Mrs. Barbara Treloar, got up and invited the members to hold the 1989 Annual Meeting at the Lodge's new headquarters, an invitation which I gratefully accepted.
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Rannie Publications Limited, Beamsville, Ontario
Next year, 1989, is Election year for the Board of Directors of the Theosophical Society in Canada. To be elected are: one General Secretary and seven Directors. A would be General Secretary or Director nominates him/herself, in writing. One may not nominate another person. To be eligible for nomination, the candidate must be a member in good standing for three years prior to the Election date (May).
As for practical considerations, the candidate should be willing and able to travel to attend Board meetings. These are usually held on the same day and place as the Annual Meeting, and alternate between eastern (Ontario) and western Canada, specifically Alberta or British Columbia, those three provinces being the only ones with enough members to guarantee a quorum.
The Chairman of the Nominating Committee is Ted Davy (Co-Editor of this magazine) and it is to him that you should send your nominations. Closing date for nominations is March 31, 1989. Last election year we had an acclamation, which is a desirable thing for a General Secretary who is not looking for any added workload. Last time, as Nominating Committee Chairman, I had to write some letters, make telephone calls, and bend a few arms, not always successfully, to get the bare minimum for an acclamation.
Since there are eight on the Board, it is nice, if possible, to have four in the west and four in the east, to balance the representation and to guarantee a quorum (four), as some, understandably, cannot afford to travel across the country to attend a meeting. There is a hint here.
For anyone wanting the General Secretary's job, the candidate, to avoid suffering too much if elected, should be able to type
at a commercial typist's speed, own a good typewriter, and be prepared to send up to 30 letters a week. The ownership of a computer with word processor and printer is not an absolute necessity, but a great labour saver in this unpaid and unsung job. It is also important to have the time (being retired is handy) to do the office work, and to be familiar with office routines, including being able to organize and implement new office routines, the methods used now not necessarily being the best, or suitable to someone else. The computer, typewriter, desk, filing cabinets, calculators and adding machines used by me now in this exalted office of General Secretary, are my personal property and do not go with the job when I go. I just want to let you know what you are in for, as any qualified member is welcome to the job, if he/she gets enough votes.
I have received a couple of letters from an American member who has expressed the desire to correspond on Theosophical subjects with members in Ontario. So, if there are any Ontario members who care to write, his address is as follows: Mr. Dale Freeman, 17707 Kimball Road, Pierson, Michigan 49339 U.S.A.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN CANADA ANNUAL REPORT 1987-88
I am pleased to report that for the year July 1, 1987 to June 30, 1988 - the period covered by this report - the Canadian Section had a net gain in membership of three. This may seem modest, but one must compare it with the net loss of 27 last year. We have not caught up, but we moved in the right direction. The previous year we had ten deaths, whereas this past year there were but three losses due to the passing of a member. Departing us were Mr. Arthur Cooper, Hermes Lodge, who was the Section's Auditor at one time; then we lost Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, of Sooke, B.C., and Mrs. Doris Matsell, a member for over 40 years.
Our Lodges have continued with their activities of lectures and classes. As they are autonomous, their proceedings are not governed by the Section Board, and therefore not to be reported here, except to note certain highlights. I would remark here that we still have the greatest strength in Alberta and British Columbia. Last Fall, Miss Joy Mills, Director of the Krotona Institute School of Theosophy, came to lecture in the west. Then she went to Toronto as guest of the Canadian Section, and was our speaker following the 1987 Annual Meeting. In this capacity she was able to address our Toronto and vicinity membership. Then, also last Fall, Rex Dutta and Jean Coulsting from England lectured at some of the western Lodges.
I am especially pleased to report that Toronto Lodge has finally purchased a new (for them) headquarters, at 109 Dupont Street in Toronto. This, I hope, will go a long way to solving their immediate problems and get them back on their feet, especially with the re-opening of their large library. I am hoping also that certain administration problems of a clerical nature can now be resolved and brought to a smoother running. I am particularly grateful to certain persons at that Lodge who have managed to keep meetings going despite
many difficulties arising out of the lack of proper facilities during their homeless state. I hear that there are still a few rough places at their new location due to ongoing alterations which affect appearance temporarily, but not the new spirit.
Having dealt with Lodges, I shall now say some things about our largest group of members, the members-at-large. Whereas it may be nice and very desirable to have members attached to Lodges in which they are able to actively participate, this is not only not always possible, but is actually the exception available in Canada, due to some inherent conditions of this country itself. Canada has the second largest land mass in the world, and a very small population spread out far and widely. Only three provinces have Lodges, out of ten provinces and three territories, yet members-at-large are found in most provinces and one territory. (Some of this may sound familiar, as appearing in an editorial comment in the July-August issue of our magazine.) But I wrote these notes in July, quite without knowledge of the co-editor's thoughts, which goes to show that great minds think alike.
There are world "saviors" now and then, none of whom have saved the world, as you may have noted, and Messiahs appear from time to time, real and self-imagined. Of these latter, I suppose this Society gets a few. But the important thing, messianic nonsense aside, is the placement of knowledgable persons all over the country - mostly our members-at-large class - who can speak to the curious and the inquirers who want to hear an explanation of reincarnation and/or karma, to name the most common inquiry. Thus we can be the little "savior" by our little extra knowledge from T.S. studies, and hopefully by example of the way we live to bring a little more light and thus polish our small corner of the world. The general public in large numbers ARE interested in what are Theosophical basics. We as individuals can answer them and reinforce their interest. Very few will ever become members - that is not important. By our reinforcement of these ideas that are already spreading among the general public, we are strengthening the thought forms that are paving the way for the public appearance of a Master in about the year 2020, and the introduction of the world religion. Thus I would praise and uplift the importance of members-at-large in our country.
The T.S. in Canada's headquarters (de facto) were moved to a little cottage a few miles outside the town of Burk's Falls, Ontario, this last May. The appearance of the Section's name on a rural mailbox has aroused some local curiosity. I was asked by a bank teller in the local credit union about the Society. To my surprise she was familiar with karma and reincarnation, and stated that she is a Buddhist. When I remarked that now there were two Buddhists in the Burk's Falls area, she replied that there were more than that, and invited me to attend a regularly-held Buddhist meeting in Huntsville. The ground is fertile, we have but to plant the seeds. In 1978 I thought of putting an ad in the local (Georgetown) paper, to form a study group for esoteric religious subjects. Someone else beat me to it. A non-T.S. member, at that. We formed a group that started at 7 members, went as high as 11. Then the originator, who in the meantime had joined the Toronto Lodge T.S., moved out of town, so I continued the study group. It lasted until I moved away this Spring, being just three members by then, but very
serious and dedicated members. We never attached to the T.S., but that does not matter. I would hope that others in the member-at-large category would do the same - put an ad in the local paper and see what happens. We need more Lodges and study groups, or should I say the country needs these, and only local initiative can start them. That is how Lodges start. Let us get at least Study Centres, if not Lodges in those provinces where there are no Lodges now, and get the same in larger cities that have no such groups now, but which logic says could support them, and this in the provinces that may already have Lodges.
- S. Treloar,
Victoria, British Columbia,
September 17, 1988
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN CANADA TRIENNIAL ELECTION 1989 CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
Nominations for the office of General Secretary (President) and seven Directors of The Theosophical Society in Canada for a three-year term commencing at the 1989 Annual Meeting are now being received.
By-Law 5.A(ii) reads: "To be eligible for election, a member shall: first express his or her willingness to stand; have been a member in good standing of the Theosophical Society, Canadian Section, for at least three consecutive years prior to the election date; and have paid all dues to date before nomination."
By-Law 5.B.(iv) reads: "Not more than one member of the same family shall be a Director at any given time. Family shall mean related by blood or marriage in any degree."
Eligible and willing members should submit their names in writing - specifying for which office they are prepared to stand - to the Chairman of the Nominating Committee: Ted G. Davy,
2307 Sovereign Cres. S.W., Calgary, Alberta
Closing date for receiving nominations is March 31, 1989.
- S.L. Treloar, General Secretary
BEACONSFIELD STUDY CENTRE
Another September has begun, and again we are studying The Secret Doctrine. This year, we will also be reading the Viveka-Chudamani - no small task we have laid ahead for ourselves.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. T. Phan, head of the French Lodge in Montreal, for advising us of the arrival of Ianthe Hoskins from England. Luckily for us, lanthe was able to give us two days of her time. We found her to be a warm and dedicated person, and a marvelous teacher. Thank you, Ianthe!
- Pat Lemieux
Lodge meetings recommenced on September 7 following the summer break. We are continuing with our regular Secret Doctrine study every Wednesday evening except the last of the month, which is given over to a student presentation or an audio or video cassette.
On September 28 we viewed the video series "The Unity of Man and the Universe," a four-part series produced by the
Department of Education of The Theosophical Society in America.
On October 26 our member, Darcy Kuntz, spoke on "The Theosophical Society and the Golden Dawn." In addition to the members, a number of visitors attended this meeting, and some lively discussion followed.
Our elderly member, Stan Elliott, who for many years kept the light of Theosophy shining in Calgary, has been in hospital for several weeks. Although Stan has not been able to attend meetings for some time, he is always in our thoughts and we wish him well.
- Doris Davy, Secretary
THE TEACHING, THE TEACHER AND THE TAUGHT
There are several important concepts involved in our Theosophical teachings, which I believe every student and aspiring teacher should consider.
1. The source of the Master's information. Every teacher should know well the following quotation:
"Believe me, there comes a moment in the life of an adept, when the hardships he has passed through are a thousandfold rewarded. In order to acquire further knowledge he has no more to go through a minute and slow process of investigation and comparison of various objects, but is accorded an instantaneous, implicit insight into every First truth... The adept sees and feels and lives in the very source of fundamental truths - the Universal spiritual essence of nature..." -The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, (M.L.) Letter XXXI.
For corroborative evidence of the existence of such a source, see Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda, especially the last four sutras in Book 4.
2. "He who approaches our precincts, even in thought, is drawn into the vortex of probation." (M.L. Letter LXVI) Interpretation: "In a very real sense, the Master knows his student and can watch his progress from afar, giving help where needed and deserved." If this be true, and some senior students can vouch for its verity, this can become a vital factor in the student's progress.
3. Every normal human being is "made of the same stuff" as the Master, a major difference being that the Master has succeeded in bringing his higher consciousness into a physical body and can function on the physical plane when and where necessary. What I am saying is that the higher self of the student is exactly the same as that of the Master. That is the bond between Master and student - a matter of major importance to successful teaching.
A properly trained teacher is aware of his position as a go-between between Master and student, forming a "channel" as it were, between the higher and the lower. With these concepts thoroughly in mind, teaching can become a highly spiritual activity. Thus the teacher becomes of major importance.
Teaching Theosophy can and should be very different from the standard classroom procedures in a secular school. The student must be made aware of the concepts as outlined above. To be able to recognize Truth one must first be able to recognize and deal with one's own inner motives. This writer asserts that in a certain sense, "Who" can be more important than "What" in Theosophical teaching.
- James Whitcraft Forsyth
THREE EARLY THEOSOPHISTS IN REVIEW
- Ted G. Davy
Three prominent early Theosophists are the subjects of the following book reviews. They were three very different personalities, and in these books their lives are written up in three very different biographical styles.
All were exceptionally strong in character and purpose. Another major common factor was the very special and key role each was to play in the formation and subsequent direction of the Theosophical Society.
The three have been dead a long time. Their lives, their (relative) successes and failures, are all part of the history of the Movement. There is much to learn from them, if we consciously try to view them dispassionately.
Annie Besant is a biographer's dream. She was controversial; she was always ahead of her time; she was "star quality". On top of which, her life is well documented. On the whole, she has been rather sympathetically treated by her biographers, if begrudgingly by some, which is quite remarkable for one who spent so much of her life in the public limelight.
In addition to her own autobiography (1893) which told of her early years, Annie Besant's life has been recorded in a number of general biographies. Those by Geoffrey West (1928), Gertrude Marvin Williams (1931), Theodore Besterman (1934), and Arthur Nethercot (1960, 1963), are especially to be mentioned. Nethercot's two-volume work, The First Five... and The Last Four Lives of Annie Besant, is the best researched and most complete of them all. Some may not like its focus on Annie's apparent life-long need to lean on other strong personalities, usually male, but it could not be criticized for lack of objectivity. It will probably remain the definitive biography of Mrs. Besant in the foreseeable future. For all practical purposes, therefore, the field is limited to special studies, dealing with particular aspects of her character and career.
The latest to appear in this category is Catharine Wessinger's study, Annie Besant and Progressive Messianism. The author's definition of progressive messianism is that "it entails a progresive and evolutionary view of history with the hope for a terrestrial salvation that will be accomplished imminently by a messiah who will enter the historical process to effect a radical but non-catastrophic change." (p. 27.)
One might suspect that this definition is a coat cut to fit the cloth. Nevertheless, it is a tempting thesis. Starting with the equation Krishnamurti = Messiah, and looking at Besant's life in retrospect, it is possible to relate her career in such a way that she can be shown striving towards a utopian goal of which the emergence of the "World Teacher" would be the penultimate event.
Possible but, I suggest, not very probable. Mrs. Besant's energetic drive for social reforms, and on behalf of any number of causes before she entered the Theosophical Movement can be explained in other, more plausible ways. Her courageous fight on behalf of the match girls, for example,
was surely prompted more by humanitarianism and socialistic ideals than by a millenarianism which she, at least, never acknowledged at that time. Incidentally, Dr. Wessinger is of the opinion that monism was the philosophical basis of Besant's millenarianism (pp.126, 142); which might be valid, but I can think of nothing that Annie Besant ever wrote that could sustain this view.
What emerges from this study is a view of Annie Besant's unremitting optimism in humanity's eventual salvation. I can go along with this, but not with Dr. Wessinger's qualification, i.e., a salvation which would be achieved with the encouragement if not the direct intervention of a super-human agency. This would necessarily be a developing conviction, and moreover, I suggest, an unconscious one for the most part. For different reasons, Besant the Atheist, like Besant the Theosophist - compassionate as she was to the human condition in whichever role - would have been appalled by the very suggestion that a messiah in any form would be involved in ameliorating the lot of humanity. As for Besant the Neo-Theosophist, granted, there can be little argument that in this phase of her life, she fully expected a messiah-like individual to save the world. Her recorded utterances at least as far back as 1909 point to this indisputably.
An epilogue discusses "Progressive Messianism and Post-Millennialism in the New Age." Now here there is all kinds of relevant material to work on, and this chapter could easily have been expanded into a full-length study.
Dr. Wessinger's book is flawed by an inadequate understanding of Theosophy, which after all was very much part of Annie Besant's philosophy for over forty years. It is a scholarly work which was never intended nor is it suitable for general reading, certainly not without a glossary of the jargon vocabulary. Its virtue lies in its disciplined approach, and the honest (though I believe mistaken) presentation of evidence to support the theme.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
In Jean-Paul Guignette's Bibliography of Biographical Studies on Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, most of the full-length biographies of Blavatsky listed therein are described by the compiler as "hostile" or "irresponsible". Those not so identified, the more or less sympathetic ones, are not very detailed. The publication of Jean Overton Fuller's Blavatsky and Her Teachers is thus the first that is both friendly and researched in some depth.
It is also the first that makes a serious attempt to bring Madame Blavatsky's gurus into a clearer focus. This dual thrust is suggested by the title. However, there is an inherent difficulty in dealing with this subject, and however sincere the effort, it is almost bound to fail. Those "teachers" - who number several more than the two principally associated with the Theosophical Movement - evidently went to great lengths to conceal their true identities and the nature of much of their work. As a result, any amount of investigation into extant documentation a century later is hardly likely to result in any significant new information about them.
In any case, this part of Miss Fuller's work is, I think, the weakest. For instance, in discussing the Mahatma Letters, the authorship of which is one of the main planks of the hostile biographies, there is not even a mention of Geoffrey Barborka's
The Mahatmas and Their Letters, which is surely indispensable for this topic. Nor is Charles Marshall's syntactical analysis of the Letters discussed. If valid, and it has not been shown to the contrary, it is an important nail in the coffin of the "forgery" claim.
Then again, in a chapter devoted to Solovyoff, Beatrice Hastings' demolition of his A Modern Priestess of Isis, is not referred to. But I should be emphasizing what is in this book, rather than what is omitted.
Fuller is at her best when dealing with matters that previous biographers researched inadequately and uncritically. (And then pronounced Blavatsky guilty of any number of wrongdoings!) In the past, Blavatsky defenders such as Victor Endersby and Walter Carrithers have proved false some of the allegations of her detractors. As detectives, however, they must give pride of place to Miss Overton Fuller. One can only admire how she puts her finger on weak or false points in the accusatory "evidence" of Blavatsky's fraudulence. In general, her analysis of all statements, pro or con, is very keen. For instance, she draws attention to two careless but obviously not deliberate errors by C. Jinarajadasa, in books on the Masters of Wisdom that he edited.
Of matters that might be considered obvious from a conventional viewpoint, Miss Fuller takes little for granted, and her investigations frequently include seeking advice from a wide range of outside experts. She also draws on her own practical skills with European languages with admirable effect.
In passing, it is good that an appendix is devoted to a discussion of the "Dondoukoff-Korsakoff" letters, which C. Jinarajadasa published in H.P.B. Speaks, Vol. II.
Personally, I have always believed these to be spurious, and am glad that Miss Fuller's expert analysis supports this view.
Not important, but I was pleased to see a reference to the mysterious Major Cross. (He spoke on the Toronto Lodge platform in the early 1920s, claiming special knowledge of H.P.B.'s travels in Tibet.) I am inclined to be sceptical of his bona fides, but wish there were some way of making sure of this because his evidence if valid could be a useful addition to what little is known of Blavatsky's travels in Asia. Now that his statement has been made more widely known, perhaps we shall find out more about him.
On reaching the end of this book, my subjective overall assessment was that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, a view not diminished after subsequent reflection. But some of the parts (no pun intended) could be improved, for example, the chapters mentioned above. Others could have been left out altogether, for example the two chapters in which an effort is made to convey the essence of The Secret Doctrine. Some of the chapters are exceptionally short (several cover less than a page) and could have been combined. But certainly, this book is not without merit. There is much original research condensed between its covers, which alone make its publication worthwhile. (Speaking of which, I see the Blavatsky Trust helped make it possible. Thanks to all those concerned.)
My criticisms are not intended to deter potential readers of this book. It covers some new ground, but also covers old ground in a new way. Over the years I have read most of the titles listed in Guignette's bibliography, and now with rare
pleasure - considering the nature of the majority of its predecessors - pencil in Blavatsky and Her Teachers, and indicate it as "friendly".
Henry Steel Olcott
WARNING! Those who possess a copy of Hammer on the Mountain by Howard Murphet should be aware that Yankee Beacon of Buddhist Light is one and the same book. It is identical with the original edition with the exception of an index. Hammer on the Mountain, Life of Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1907) was reviewed in The Canadian Theosophist, Vol. 53, No. 6 (Jan-Feb 1973). Following is a verbatim reprint of the review.
A biography of Colonel H.S. Olcott, one of the three founders of the modern Theosophical Movement, was long overdue. An extraordinary person, whose accomplishments were many and considerable, his career was far more colourful than many of his contemporaries whose lives have already been recorded in biographical form. Over and above his achievements on behalf of Theosophy, his contributions to other fields were of such significance that it is surprising his personal history has been neglected for so long.
Howard Murphet's attempt to remedy this situation is good, but falls short of what is needed. On the credit side, to a large extent he has managed to capture both the character of the man as well as the spirit of the age. Olcott's youth and early career, and even his collaboration with his "chum", H.P. Blavatsky, are treated skillfully and for the most part sensitively. But when the declining years are reached, the narrative takes on a saccharine quality and credibility is stretched. Unfortunately, it is this period, the years between Blavatsky's death in 1891 and Olcott's in 1907, that is of particular interest to Theosophists; it was then that the Society's character and direction became fixed for most of the twentieth century.
What a pity this promising biography has let us down! And why did it fail? In a footnote referring to a controversial affair the author frankly states the story is "... as seen through the eyes of Colonel Olcott." Therein probably lies the answer. Such is not the function of biography. Olcott was quite capable of writing his own history, and did, almost to the end. What was - and still is - needed is an objective reappraisal of his participation in those long ago events.
The President-Founder of the Theosophical Society has been dead these sixty-five years. (Written in 1972.) No one living would be hurt if an impartial study of his last decade were published. True, some members would like to see him and others who followed him, put on a pedestal, but what is served by this? On the other hand, a fresh examination of his failures would not only meet the requirements of biography, but would also be instructional. Members of the Society, especially those who accept organizational responsibilities, might see their own difficulties in better perspective by learning how he coped with, or fell short of meeting his monumental problems.
After noting his weaknesses, Olcott's accomplishments seem all the more impressive. The manifestation of his talents in such different fields as agricultural science, journalism, the military and the law, is indicative of his brilliance. He was an organizer par excellence, and needed to be when faced with the challenge of putting the Theosophical Society on its feet, to say nothing of his ecumenical
endeavours on behalf of Buddhism.
Over and above these attainments, however, stood a strong character. He was compassionate, but just; indefatigable; in some things, stubborn. If anything, he was too good-natured, and in his tired old age some took advantage of this - to our present cost.
In spite of its disappointing concluding chapters, Hammer on the Mountain makes for interesting reading and is to be welcomed for the information it contains. No Theosophical library should be without it.
Details of the books reviewed above
Catherine Lowman Wessinger, Annie Besant and Progressive Messianism (1847 - 1933). Studies in Women and Religion Volume 26. Lewiston/Queenston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1988. vii + 380 pp. (Hardcover. Price $59.95 U.S.
Jean Overton Fuller, Blavatsky and Her Teachers. An Investigative Biography. London and The Hague: East-West Publications (in association with The Theosophical Publishing House Ltd., London), 1988 v + 270 pp. Hardcover. Price in pounds sterling 14.95.
Howard Murphet, Yankee Beacon of Buddhist Light. Life of Col. Henry S. Olcott. Originally published as Hammer on the Mountain, 1972. xii + 345 pp. Paperback. Price $8.75 U.S. (This edition published 1988.)
S.D.G & A HELD OVER
Lack of space necessitates holding over the Secret Doctrine Question and Answer Section. The series will resume in the next issue. - Eds.
AND LAZENBY COULD LAUGH! (Continued from page 106)
getting by and which went to hear his lectures of an evening and went back to its own immediate affairs the next day indifferent and unaffected. He was not concerned with the result of his work, only with doing it day in and day out.
When he could no longer lift the tools of his business he laid them down and his personal connection with the work closed for the time being. A number of people mourned about it. I did not. He had a lot of fun doing it because he felt that mankind and the world and the stars were all spinning along the right road and that there could be no such thing as failure in any aspect of the big job.
- E.A. Lucas
A long ago night in Detroit; folding doors flung open between the front and back "parlors"; a crowd of people packed in, even sitting on the piano and on the stairs. In the midst, a bushy-haired pockmarked man began to talk. He talked of gods and men, myths and manikins, love here, love there. Gradually he worked himself loose; his skylight flung open, the earth parted at his feet. He was a living conduit between Spirit and matter. Up-rush and downpour met in his body and the crowd basked in the fused radiance... That was the first time I ever saw a man come to life. Leaning over the bannister, I saw what a man should be; that anything else was a walking dead man; that, other than that, nothing under heaven was worth going after. I snatched the seeds of the mystery - not of a serpent on the rock, but of a serpent risen from the rock. Man Alive ...I chased him for weeks afterward, but it
didn't happen again. He would give me the laugh - and Lazenby could laugh - but he knew what had taken place.
(These tributes to Lazenby were published in an unidentified journal, probably in early 1929. E.A. Lucas, a prominent Vancouver lawyer, met Pulch at the University of Toronto and they were thereafter close friends. So far we have not been able to put a name to W.L.C. - Eds.)
While friendship was his watchword, and dharma, in its fullest sense, the substance of his teaching, his gospel was the joyousness of life. Laughter! Rapture! The ecstacy of rippling blue water and pine-perfumed wind in the warm sunlight - these were the things to which Charles Lazenby pointed those who came to him seeking for light on the path. All the philosophies and religions of the world were so clearly coordinated in his mind as to be literally at the tip of his tongue, but at the end of a lecture, or a class, which might have ranged all the way from Thales to Bergson, he would suddenly throw all the music of his voice into the recitation of a poem. One of his best-loved and most often quoted was that exquisite lyric of Noyes: "Come down to Kew in lilac-time, in lilac-time, in lilac-time."
And it seems, to those who knew him best, that he so loved humanity that to him it was always lilac-time.
- Muriel Bruce, in Toronto Theosophical News, January, 1929.
Do not be afraid to break down whatever you consider wrong or false; the lie has no place in the world of truth.
- Charles A. Lazenby
IMPRESSIONS OF THE ANNUAL MEETING
The Annual Meeting of the Theosophical Society in Canada was held in Victoria, B.C., on September 17, 1988, in the Cordova Bay United Church. It was hosted by the members of Victoria Lodge and quite well attended.
The business meeting took place in the early afternoon. Following an intermission of socializing, the remainder of the afternoon, everyone gathered to enjoy the Victoria Lodge presentation of "Intimations".
The program consisted of beautiful selections of classical music and poetry, and as the title suggests, each selection gave hints of the composer's realization of an inner awakening in themselves. The music was performed on the piano, and on flute with piano accompaniment by two very talented musicians. The poetry was read by members of Victoria Lodge. It can be freely said that the program was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone present.
A delicious vegetarian dinner, with a wide variety of dishes to choose from was then served.
Out-of-province members were invited to Fiona and George Odgren's home in the evening. This gave those present more opportunity to mingle.
I met many wonderful people throughout the day, and being a fairly new member of the T.S., I found it a most enjoyable and learning experience. It is nice to put real people behind the names found throughout the magazine. More importantly, to put the experiences of exchanging ideas with others into our learning and growing. I look forward to more such get-togethers in the future.
A special thanks to the members of Victoria Lodge who did a super job of hosting this event.
- Laurier Auger, Edmonton Lodge
FOURTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY CALL FOR PAPERS
An International Conference on Theosophical History will be held July 14-16, 1989, Friday evening to Sunday, at 50 Gloucester Place, London the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in England. It is sponsored by the Theosophical History Centre, whence registration forms and other information can be obtained after January 1, 1989.
Any person may submit a paper for possible presentation at the Conference. Papers may be on any aspect of Theosophical History. Summaries of proposed papers should reach the Program Committee by February 28, 1989. They should be double-spaced, typed in black or blue-black, and should not exceed 200 words. Decisions on summaries accepted will be sent to authors in late March. Full papers will be presented in not more than 30 minutes, with discussion to follow.
Conference participants will be expected to make their own arrangements for accommodation in London and for meals, though light refreshments will be available between sessions.
All correspondence to Theosophical History Centre, c/o 12 Bury Place, London WC1A 2LE, England.
REPRINTS OF OLD THEOSOPHICAL LITERATURE
Edmonton Lodge is pleased to announce its program to produce a number of rare Theosophical books and journals in a quality reprint format.
Some of the titles already available are:
An Introduction to the Study of the Kabalah, by William Wynn Wescott (1926).
The Bhagavat Geeta. (1849 Trilingual edition in Sanskrit, English and Canarese. English translation by Charles Wilkins.)
Dawn, An Independent Australian Theosophical Journal (1921-1924).
Psychic Notes, A Record of Spiritual and Occult Research. A Journal published in India January to April, 1882. (Mentioned in The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett. )
Theosophical Notes. Written and published by Victor Endersby from 1950 to 1978. Ten large volumes.
All the above are in good quality bindings. Write for complete list to: Edmonton Lodge, Theosophical Society P.O. Box 4804
Edmonton, AB Canada T6E 2A0
BEACONSFIELD STUDY CENTRE: Secretary, Mrs. Suzanne Hassanein, 81 Heritage Rd., Beaconsfield, P.Q., H9W 3V2. (Phone 695-2618 or 697-8198).
CALGARY LODGE: President, Mr. Ted G. Davy, Secretary, Mrs. Doris Davy, 2307 Sovereign Cres. S.W. Calgary, Alta. T3C 2M3
DHARMA STUDY CENTRE: Secretary, Mrs. Diane Mottus, Box 145 Glendon, Alta., T0A 1P0
EDMONTON LODGE: President, Mr. Ernest E. Pelletier; Secretary, Mrs. Rogelle Pelletier, South Side Edmonton Post Office Box 4804, Edmonton, Alta. T6E 2A0. (Phone 434-9326).
HAMILTON LODGE: President, Sharon L. Taylor; Secretary, Laura Baldwin, 304 Emerson St., Hamilton, Ont. L8S 2Y7
MONTREAL STUDY CENTRE: Leader, Mrs. Phoebe Stone; Secretary, Mr. Fred Wilkes, 3679 Ste. Famille, No. 22, Montreal, P.Q. H2X 2L5
TORONTO LODGE: President, Mrs. Barbara Treloar, Secretary, Mr. Wilf Olin. Lodge Rooms: 109 Dupont St., Toronto, Ont. M5R 1V4 (Phone 922-5571)
VANCOUVER LODGE: President, Mrs. Marian Thompson; Sec.-Treas. Mrs. Anne Whalen, Lodge Rooms, Room 413, Dominion Building, 207 West Hastings St., Vancouver, V6B 1H7.
HERMES LODGE, VANCOUVER: President, Mr. Larry Gray; Secretary, Mrs. Eva V. Sharp. Lodge Rooms: 2 - 2807 West 16th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6K 3C5. (Phone 733-5684 or 266-7340.)
KALEVALA STUDY CENTRE, VANCOUVER: Secretary; Mrs. Hellin Savolainen, 2282 Gravely St., Vancouver, B.C. V5L 3C2.
ORPHEUS LODGE, VANCOUVER: President, Mr. Eric Hooper, Sec. Treas. Mrs. Lillian Hooper. (Phone 589-4902 or 731-7491.)
VICTORIA LODGE: President, Mrs. Fiona Odgren; Secretary, Mrs. Eunice Ball. (Phone 592-7935).
ATMA VIDYA LODGE: Secretary, Mrs. H. Tidberry. Enquiries c/o General Secretary.
BLAVATSKY INSTITUTE PUBLICATIONS
2307 Sovereign Crescent S.W., Calgary, Alberta T3C 2M3
- Modern Theosophy, by Claude Falls Wright Cloth $1.75
- The Exile of the Soul, by Roy Mitchell - a key to the understanding of occult psychology. Cloth $2.75
- Theosophic Study, by Roy Mitchell, a book of practical guidance in methods of study. Paper $1.00
- Course in Public Speaking, by Roy Mitchell. Especially written for Theosophical students. $3.00
- The Use of the Secret Doctrine, by Roy Mitchell. 10c
- Theosophy, An Attitude Toward Life, by Dudley Barr. 50c
- The Wisdom of Confucius, by Iverson L. Harris. 25c
Postage extra on all titles