Vol. 70 No. 2 Toronto, May-June, 1989
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document.
[[Drawing: HELENA PETROVNA BLAVATSKY August 11, 1831 - May 8, 1891]]
Though swift the days flow from her day,
No one has left her day unnamed:
We know what light broke from her ray
On us, who in the truth proclaimed
Grew brother with the stars and powers
That stretch away - awao light,
And fade within the primal hours,
And in the wondrous First unite.
We lose with her the right to scorn
The voices scornful of her truth:
With her a deeper love was born
For those who filled her days with ruth.
To her they were not sordid things:
In them sometimes - her wisdom said
The Bird of Paradise had wings;
It only dreams, it is not dead.
We cannot for forgetfulness
Forego the reverence due to them,
Who wear at times they do not guess
The sceptre and the diadem.
With wisdom of the olden time
She made the hearts of dust to flame;
And fired us with the hope sublime
Our ancient heritage to claim;
That turning from the visible,
By vastness unappalled nor stayed,
Our wills might rule beside that Will
By which the tribal stars are swayed;
And entering the heroic strife,
Tread in the way their feet have trod
Who move within a vaster life,
Sparks in the Fire - Gods amid God.
- R.(George W. Russell) - The Irish Theosophist, August, 1894
STUDIES IN EARLY AMERICAN THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY
- Michael Gomes
II. INITIAL SPIRITUALIST RESPONSE TO H.P.B.
Toward the end of her life, Madame Blavatsky's aversion to Spiritualism reached the state where the English language failed her in describing "this hideous revival of mediaeval Demonology," finding expression only in the Latin of Virgil: "Monstrum, horrendum, informe, ingens cui lumen ademptum" (A monster awful, shapeless, huge, bereft of sight) for the spirits of seances ("Thoughts on the Elementals": Lucifer, May 1890; B:CW XII, 197). The divergence was not so pronounced at the time of her emergence among the American Spiritualists. H.P.B.'s association with them and her feelings about Spiritualistic phenomena have been well chronicled, but what was the Spiritualist response? How did they initially see her?
When Olcott introduced her to his readers in the Nov. 27,1874 Daily Graphic, it was as "one of the most remarkable mediums in the world... for, instead of being controlled by spirits to do their will, it is she who seems to control them to do her bidding" (POW, 453). When he was later taken to task for his enthusiastic statements, Olcott explained "I called her [H.P.B.] in writing my book, 'one of the most remarkable mediums in the world.' At that very time she denied the possession of mediumship, but, thinking I knew better, I assumed to classify her, without her consent, as I did" (Olcott quoted in D.D. Home's Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism, London 1877, p. 272).
Mme. Blavatsky did not have to wait for the Colonel's introduction: by November 13 she had been interviewed in the Graphic. Her reputation spread in Spiritualist circles when E.D. Babbitt told readers of the Dec. 19, 1874 Religio-Philosophical Journal's "New York Dept." that "This lady whom I lately had the pleasure of meeting, is from a family of high position in the Russian Government, and a person of great experience and culture... She is expecting to give a series of articles to one of our papers under the heading of 'The Wanderer,' which must prove to be full of remarkable experiences." (p. 8)
By the beginning of December she was in Philadelphia where Olcott was to join her in examining the Holmes mediums. On December 3 she attended a sitting at the Holmeses' with Robert Dale Owen. Owen's retraction of confidence in the mediums later that month precipitated a crisis for the Spiritualist Movement. (For background on this incident,
copyright, 1989 by Michael Gomes
see the Dawning, pp. 45-61.) Among the Spiritualists she met during Olcott's informal investigation in January, the most notable was General Francis J. Lippitt (1812-1902).
The sixty-two year old Lippitt, a specialist in International Law, had been a lecturer at Boston University Law School during 1873-74, and became Counsel for the U.S. in the Department of Justice in 1877. It was probably Lippitt in Boston who provided the introduction to Epes Sargent (1813-1880), for H.P.B. had confided to him that after reading Sargent's The Proof Palpable of Immortality (Boston: Colby & Rich, 1875, 238 pp.) where she found her Graphic article quoted on pp. 224-25, she "fell in love with him, he writes so very cleverly and so well. His book has interested me more than any other book on Spiritualism in America. You may tell him so if you see him." (Blavatsky to Lippitt, 9 March 1875, Phila., H.P.B. Speaks, I, p. 58.)
Sargent, a dapper sixty-one year old gentleman, is described by Edgar Allen Poe as "not more than five feet five - but well proportioned." Sargent's contribution to the American stage with successful plays like Velasco, and as a dramatist and writer, made him, according to Poe, "One of the most prominent members" of the American literati of his time. ("The Literati: Epes Sargent," 1846, in The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe, Vol. XV, AMS Press rept. 1965.) Throughout the 1850's, he produced a series of standard school readers, grammars and primers. A long-time Spiritualist, Epes Sargent had written, aside from Proof Palpable, The Planchette, or the Despair of Science (Boston, 1869), and was in correspondence with leading English Spiritualists like Stainton Moses, A.R. Wallace, and William Crookes.
Add the name of Prof. Hiram Corson, a recent convert to Spiritualism, who had come out with an article on the subject in the Dec. 1874 Cornell Review, and the same group emerges that H.P.B. hoped would support her in making the Spiritual Scientist the organ of a reformed movement. Although the Holmes scandal had caused confusion in the ranks, and the breakdown of Robert Dale Owen that summer gave the movement a further blow, most Spiritualists saw this trying time as only a transitional one. Epes Sargent reported in the London Spiritualist, Aug. 6, 1875, p. 72, "Things have been in a very unpromising state here. The insanity of Mr. Owen has brought Spiritualism into still worse disrepute among the uninformed ... Spiritualism is under a cloud at this moment, but I think it must soon emerge from it brighter than ever."
But the chain of disastrous events was to continue. It was Sargent himself who informed H.P.B. that in Paris that May, an American medium named Firman, Buguet, and Mons. Leymarie, editor of the Revue Spirite, had been arrested (Sargent to H.P.B., May 30, 1875, Boston, Adyar Archives). The next year the medium Henry Slade, on
his way to St. Petersburg, was arrested in London and had to flee the country. In March, 1877, the dramatic murder of Steven S. Jones, editor of the Religio-Philosophical Journal, who was shot in the head in his office in Chicago, shook faith in the movement. Why had the spirits not warned him, their true and faithful friend?
The 1888 confession of Margaret Fox, one of the sisters who inaugurated the movement, that the rappings were caused by cracking their toe-joints, is usually cited as "The Death-Blow to Spiritualism," but Spiritualists were so used to mediums being exposed or confessing and retracting that this no longer cast doubt on the mass of evidence for Spiritualism. Much more harmful was the negative report of the Seybert Commission of the University of Pennsylvania in 1887. In order to receive a bequest, an investigation of the phenomena was undertaken by a committee appointed by the University. Their report, sponsored by an institute of learning, was held up as a refutation of Spiritualism. The arrival of Richard Hodgson also in 1887 to take up the work of the American Society for Psychical Research did not help this negative image.
No doubt among the Spiritualists of 1875, H.P.B. was regarded as a sincere if unconventional member of the movement. According to Epes Sargent's analysis of her character that he sent Hiram Corson, "She seems full of energy and persistency, and as I cannot imagine any motive except a sincere and worthy one that impels her to do what she is doing for Spiritualism, I have been disposed to render all the help I could (Sargent to Corson May 19, 1875, Boston, H.P.B. Library).
Because of its loosely-knit structure the Spiritualist movement allowed a great deal of freedom of interpretation, but Mme. Blavatsky's explanation of the phenomena by agencies other than departed spirits proved to be too much. Andrew Jackson Davis, who supplied the movement its "Harmonial Philosophy," had postulated the existence of "Diakka," who sometimes impersonated the great and famous at seances, but they were still former men and women "who tell big stories... just to see persons stand and stare and wonder." (The Diakka, N.Y., 1873, Quoted in "Notes on Spiritualism and Spiritual Evolution" (Michael Gomes), The Canadian Theosophist, Sept-Oct 1983, p. 87.) She had read J. Peebles' 1874 study The Gadarene, which advocated a similar theory for the bad things done by the spirits.
Olcott says that when she first told him her views about the causes of the phenomena he witnessed, their "disputes" became "quite warm" on occasion; and it was only through the agency which his "previous experience would make comprehensible," an "over-shadowing spirit," that he was led to accept the occult solution which started him on his journey Eastward. Olcott soon discovered that the spirit "John King"
was a messenger of the Lodge, the Brotherhood of Luxor. There is an excited note by Olcott pinned in his Diary for 1878, marked by him as important, stating H.P.B. revealed Luxor to be a "section of the Grand Lodge of which she is a member" (Olcott's 1878 Diary, entry of June 21, Adyar Archives). He later declared that he was transferred to the Indian Section of the Brotherhood before leaving America.
Beatrice Hastings has commented on this Luxor to India shift in a note in her copy of Letters From the Masters of Wisdom Second Series, p. 15, that is worth quoting. "This looks as if the previous efforts had been John King & Co., apparition show, & now the Indian company had finally got control. No one ever saw T.B. & Serapis & J.K. any more, although Olcott clings on to Serapis as a name. Perhaps he never could be told the truth. And the others did make her do that silly marriage & a lot of other crazy work. But even after July" (Hastings Collection, H.P.B. Library.) Olcott later came to resent what he regarded as these "tricks" played on him by H.P.B.
As the correspondence with her Spiritualist friends shows, they never got past the John King stage. Even though General Lippitt had been presented with a portrait of John done on satin cloth, and though their letters are full of John's doings - "Did you hear the trick John has played with Olcott? He actually wrote him a long letter, posted it himself it appears, and told him in it some wonderful secrets" (H.P.B. to Lippitt, received March 24, 1875, H.P.B. Speaks I, p. 63) - they did not take the step toward the Lodge that he offered.
However enthusiastic Col. Olcott was about his new friend, he was hardly the mouthpiece her critics make of him. The different ways they saw the Holmes mediums is an example. Col. Olcott upheld Mrs. Holmes's mediumship in the account of "The Katie King Affair" in People From the Other World, while Mme. Blavatsky declared them as frauds. "I told so to Olcott before, but he would not believe," she notes in Scrapbook I; and a fragment in her handwriting survives in Manly P. Hall's collection at the Philosophical Research Society, Los Angeles, where she describes how the medium manufactured the fake materializations.
She went ahead and gathered affidavits from those in Philadelphia to support her statements. An unpublished note in her handwriting among Prof. Corson's papers reports that "The witnesses that were present besides Lippitt at the delivery to me of the statement now in your possession were Dr. Felger, Mr. W. Westcott, leader of the choir at the Spirit: Hall, Mr. Betanelly and the two Holmeses besides myself, which in all are seven witnesses. I have written to Colby and told him what I have to say, giving him a bit of wholesome, sound advice." (H.P.B. Library.)
Mme. Blavatsky appeared readily accessible at the time to anyone interested in her views. Mrs. Louisa Andrews, a devoted Spiritualist who occasionally wrote leaders for the Springfield Republican, reported to Hiram Corson in a letter of Feb. 26, 1875, that "feeling real genuine admiration for Mdme. B.," she wrote to her and had received "a characteristic & to me, delightful" reply. "Do you know that she fought under Garibaldi - slept for weeks in the Pontine marshes with the common soldiers & has now six bullet wounds in her body?"
Mrs. Andrews had mentioned the Professor in her letter, and H.P.B. had replied: "I am glad you know Prof. Corson with whom I am now corresponding. I am glad of it, for - judging you by him, & him by you, I can follow, this once, the first impression of my soul & admit both of you through the iron clad bolted doors of my heart, right into its centre, if it is not quite dried up and mummified by this time. Pascal, I think, said that the style of writing was the person, Le style c'est l'homme (a dangerous quotation by the way for myself!) - his first letter, Prof. C's I mean - and your first letter recalled these words to my memory, and settled the matter at once. I scarcely ever answer letters, for in my way I am an Epicurian in all things, and, besides, not unlike 'pur sang' painters, I possess a nose, and my scent is sure never to lead me wrong in the appreciation of human beings, if I trust my instinct, only pushing unceremoniously aside all reasoning or intellectual labor" (Quoted by Andrews to Corson, Feb. 26, 1875, H. Corson Papers, Dept. of Mss., Cornell University Library.)
"I have answered her letter," Mrs. Andrews told Prof. Corson, "and mean to keep up the correspondence unless she drops it. She is like a breath of invigorating mountain air, [even] if it be a little flavored by the scent of cigarettes" (Feb. 26, 1875). Writing him a month later she quoted from another letter just received from H.P.B. "What a woman she is! Alluding to a man of whom I expressed some dread she [H. P.B.] says 'Fiddle dee stick! Milady darling - I defy spirit or mortal, God or demon to become dangerous to me. I was never controlled & never will be. I don't know a will on earth that would not break like glass in contact or conflict with mine"' (Quoted in Andrews to Corson, Mar. 23, 1875. Cornell).
Mme. Blavatsky's July visit to Boston, at the invitation of Olcott who was testing the medium Mrs. Thayer there, marks a change in her relations with the Spiritualists. While Epes Sargent wrote to Mrs. Corson of his guest in pleasant terms - "We had an evening visit last Friday from Mme. Blavatsky. My wife and myself were much entertained. She gave us music and the raps, and made known to us some of her peculiar views in regard to the seven spheres etc. She left Saturday
last, I believe, for New York" (Sargent to Mrs. Corson, Aug. 12, 1875. H.P.B. Library).
Mrs. Andrews was more critical:
"Mme. B. appears to me as unhappy as any one I ever saw. Unhappy in disposition & in her rebellion against things as they are. She told me that she never could keep a friend & that excepting Olcott she knew intimately no one whom she could trust... There is a great distrust of her among Spiritualists & her association with Olcott (who I hear is separated from his wife) injures her." As for Olcott, Mrs. Andrews thought him "a selfish, domineering, coarse-minded man... He really believes that the 'Lodge' can do anything," and that there was "something of value to be gained by a devotion to Occultism & the mystical 'Seven"' (Andrews to Corson, Aug. 12, 1875. Cornell.)
As proof of her assertions, Mrs. Andrews enclosed a letter she had just received from J.M. Roberts of Burlington, New Jersey, a friend of the Holmes mediums, saying "I have reason to believe that both Col. O. and Madam B. have the best reasons for discrediting Mrs. Holmes. Mrs. H[olmes] has assured me that if she was to disclose what she knew of the proceedings of Col. O. and Madam B. they would be glad to step down and out as authorities in spiritual matters. I regard Col. Olcott as the worst enemy spiritualism ever had." (Roberts to Andrews, Aug. 9, 1875, Cornell.)
Olcott and Blavatsky were steadily laying the base for what would become the Theosophical movement. H.P.B.'s "Hiraf" article had already appeared in July, and Olcott's two startling pieces in the N.Y. Tribune further stating the occult theme were published Aug. 30 and Sept. 17. During her visit to Prof. Corson in Ithaca that September (see the Dawning, pp. 110-15), H.P.B. tactlessly left behind a letter from Olcott reporting on the Cause while she was away. He had lectured on Sept. 24, and had "pitched into the spirits and elementaries. I mounted the highest hill I could find - so to speak - and waved the sacred banner of the Lodge in their faces. I felt the Brethren there several times. A nice lady friend of [Andrew] Jackson Davis's came up to me after the lecture and mournfully said: 'Colonel, you have given spiritualism its death-blow to-night'... Things are red-hot here, I tell you. Thank God I have lived long enough to sound the trumpet once for the holy Lodge" (Olcott to H.P.B., Sept. 25, 1875, Some Unpublished Letters of H.P. Blavatsky, p. 50).
The publication of Olcott's "Inaugural Address" before the Theosophical Society, "Printed and Electrotyped by Order of the Society," gave Spiritualists an indication of the way things were headed. Mrs. Andrews wrote Corson on Dec. 26, 1875, "Mr. Sargent tells me that he has just received Olcott's Inaugural Address before the Theosoph. Soc.
(President Olcott's Address!) but scarcely likes to send it to me during the holidays because he knows it will make me 'mad clear through' as the boys say. Mr. S. Adds, 'The crazy contempt with which he speaks of us poor spiritualists will make you indignant"' (Cornell).
Corson had already received a copy of the Inaugural Address from Olcott himself (now in the collection of Walter Carrithers), and had sent a sarcastic review to the Boston Banner of Light, saying that he first thought it a hoax. Luther Colby, the editor, thought it a "capital production," and promised to put it in the Jan. 8 paper (Colby to Corson, Jan. 2, 1876, Cornell). Corson took issue with Olcott's plan of work on the grounds that it would encourage "authority" and organization, two areas that were anathema to the Spiritualist movement.
Mme. Blavatsky saw it more as a question of identification - a problem which still plagues the Theosophical and Spiritualist movements - how do we know these communications are what they claim? She told Corson, "if we speak of elementaries it is not because we want to prove that all the spirits are such, but to warn people to discern between those and immortal spirits, because for us occultists, spiritualism is the most sacred belief that can be given to humanity, and that we consider the communication between disembodied spirits and ourselves such a mysterious, sacred affair as not to contaminate it through such channels as most mediums are" (Blavatsky to Corson, Jan. 8, 1876, Some Unpublished Letters, pp. 177-78).
Corson's criticism had caused her to read Olcott's Address, and she confessed "that you are partially right. I never read it before, and when he delivered it I was so preoccupied with my own thoughts that I only heard the 'spirit' of it and not the dead letter." It was Olcott's enthusiasm "counting the price of the bear's skin before the beast is slain," as she annotated the Address in her Scrapbook, and she asked the Professor to excuse the Colonel's "fanaticism" - "for this man does nothing by halves" (Jan. 8, 1876).
The Jan. 22 Banner of Light gave space to a long reply by Olcott where he proceeded into a discussion of his new beliefs, adding that "I am quite sure that no unprejudiced person who has read those documents will say they warrant Professor Corson's rudeness." Corson, commenting on this, informed Mme. Blavatsky that "It surprised me that Col. Olcott took it as he did" (Corson to H.P.B., Mar. 15, 1876, Adyar Archives).
The Professor's critique was a mild prelude to what was to follow. When the medium D.D. Home added his voice to their critics, H.P.B. complained to Epes Sargent, "it is next to a disgrace to be known as a Spiritualist... They will not believe me, the poor deluded fools!... When Home will have pulled down the whole edifice of Spiritualism, and they
will have but the ruins left - ruins which everyone will avoid with disgust - then will their eyes be opened." Quoting these words back to her, Sargent chided, "Now, my dear impulsive friend, do you in your sober senses, believe that it is in the power of Home or of all the infernal hosts to pull down Spiritualism? For if you do, you are no Spiritualist... You know better and must be chastised" (Sargent to Blavatsky, Mar. 21, 1876, Adyar Archives).
Mme. Blavatsky's correspondence with these American Spiritualists tapers off by the Spring of 1876. Of the 1875 group of Lippitt, Corson, Andrews, Brown, only Sargent continued writing to her, at least till 1877, giving advice and direction on her new book. Some months before he died in December, 1880, he presented the Theosophical School at Galle, Ceylon, with his grammars and readers (The Theosophist, March, 1881, p.139). Although the Theosophical Society, "was ushered into the world with the distinct intention of becoming an ally to, a supplement and helper of, the Spiritualistic movement" (Blavatsky, "The Cycle Moveth," Lucifer, Mar. 1890, B:CW XII, p. 127), it was not so received by the leading Spiritualists. They took only a cautionary interest in it, and played no part in its development.
"W.Q.J." POEM WAS BY AE
It can now be stated fairly confidently that the poem "W.Q.J." (C.T. Mar-Apr 1989, p. 1) was from the pen of AE (Irish poet George W. Russell).
In his Printed Writings by George W. Russell (AE), p.127, Bibliographer Alan Denson lists "W.Q.J." as "probably by AE." However, the following information raises the probability to near certainty.
Two lines in verse 3 of "W.Q.J.": "The crucifixion is the sign/ The meed of all the kingly line" are also to be found in the penultimate verse of AE's poem, "The Iron Age." The latter title also surely owes its origin to the opening lines of "W.Q.J.": "O hero of the iron age."
"The Iron Age" is included in AE's Collected Poems (1922), pp. 267-9.
"H.P.B. (In Memoriam)", which appears in the present issue, is also by Russell. It is signed merely with the letter R, although most of his poetry published in The Irish Theosophist at that time later appeared over the pseudonym AE.
CHANGING YOUR ADDRESS?
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NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I am pleased to welcome into the fellowship of the Society the following new members: Mrs. Elizabeth Schenk and Mrs. Jeanne Sheppard, both in Victoria Lodge; Mrs. Mehroo Wadia, Calgary Lodge.
A reminder: the dues are due, and this year to date I have processed one. I know you would hate to have me idle. The fee is $14.00, and $5.00 for the second in the same household to which one magazine only is to be sent.
Lodge members may be paying an amount above the Section fee, as Lodge dues. Lodge members pay through their Lodges, and Members-at-Large send their dues directly to my address, as shown on the masthead.
Another session of The School of the Wisdom is to be held at Adyar from October 1 to December 15, 1989. Adyar's annual convention will be held shortly thereafter, probably the usual December 25 - January 1, although not confirmed yet.
Anyone wishing to attend can get a copy of the syllabus from me, or from Adyar, but mine will arrive faster. Anyone who considers attending is reminded that if they want to stay in the Adyar estate they must get prior permission by writing to the International Secretary; and get a letter of recommendation from their Lodge President, or from me.
The Board of Directors of the Canadian Section is up for election this year. There was only one name put forth as a candidate for the office of President/ General Secretary, namely myself. So, acclamations being acclamations in this Section, unlike somewhere else, the General Secretary for the next three years will be Stan Treloar. There being no deaths of members to report in this issue, condolences can be sent to me instead.
Due to the time it takes to get into print, there is no point in announcing the nine candidates we have for the office of Director. There are seven Directors to be elected, and the ballots with the candidates' names will have been sent out to members and the Election itself will be over by the time you get this issue of the magazine.
(The vagaries of fate in getting an issue out are many. Before you read what follows you should get a box of facial tissues for the tears that will surely flow. The Jan-Feb issue was greatly delayed, first for reasons not under our control, then, when the issue was finally in transit to Calgary, the courier's truck caught fire, and much of its cargo burned. The copies of our C.T. that were not burned '... stunk to high heaven," so the entire issue had to be reprinted.)
The successful candidates' names will be printed in the next (Jul-Aug) issue. The candidates themselves, win or lose, and all Lodges will have been notified immediately after the ballot counting.
The T.S. in Northern Ireland is holding its annual convention on June 4, at Gateway House, 242 Antrim Road, Belfast. Any of our members wishing to attend have been extended a cordial welcome in a letter I received from the Regional Secretary the other day. I wish our Belfast colleagues every success on behalf of all Canadian members of the T.S.
And now, on animal rights and animal wrongs. I noticed in Outrage, the magazine
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of the Toronto based animal rights group, "Action Volunteers for Animals" a notice printed in the March/April issue and in a previous issue, that they "... had thought that the European Community's ban on the import of pelts had put an end to the seal 'hunt' but under cover of a media blackout and government secrecy, it is going on, with more corpses... than last year (estimated 160,000 to 240,000)." I trust that this magazine will not be subjected (or induced) to a blackout on this matter. I did hear a brief radio report the other day concerning the current shooting of seals. Lest anyone think that I am not being politically impartial, I would hasten to point out that every government in Canada of whatever party back to Confederation or earlier permitted/ condoned/ ignored an annual seal hunt, at best limiting as to when and how many, and perhaps occasionally suggesting as to age of victim.
The Lord Buddha gave us a formula for escaping from this vale of tears and horrors in the Four Noble Truths, one of which indicated an Eightfold Path, one of the Paths being "Right Occupation". I cannot conceive that a "Right Occupation" could ever be that of a politician, of any party in any country (to date); nor a seal shooter or baby seal basher.
Those of you who care for animals and their plight, and who might also like to have a laugh, should write to their Member of Parliament on the seal hunt matter, and see what kind of a reply, if any, comes forth, depending on the party of the Member. Only by the actions of those who care to do something, like writing to an M.P., are any beneficial results likely to come about. In one of the rituals of the Buddhist religion is the affirmation: "I strive for the enlightenment of all sentient beings." I do, do you? - S.T.
LETTERS TO THE EDITORS
The articles on Charles "Pulch" Lazenby (C.T. Nov-Dec 1988) were delightful. They revived a host of memories of the first time I saw and heard him. It was a long time ago - over seventy years ago - and I was young.
You said you would like to hear about it. I'll do my best, but remind me to keep a diary in my next life! It would have been very useful in this one! First, a bit of background is necessary.
My parents and I lived in the outskirts of Victoria, B.C. - over four miles out. Few people had cars in 1916-17, and we had to walk two miles to the nearest streetcar stop.
Ours was a "dual parish". The Anglican minister conducted the Sunday morning service in Royal Oak, and in the afternoon he would mount his bicycle and come over to Strawberry Vale for the evening service, usually having supper with us. He was an intense, earnest young man in his late 30's.
One Sunday afternoon he arrived, visibly rather agitated. He had a book which had been lent to him, and of which he could make neither head nor tail. He wanted my parents' opinion on it. It was Heindel's Cosmo Conception. Of course, though only 16, I had to read it too. Don't know what I would think of it today, but I was fascinated by the chapter on reincarnation! Of course, that was the answer! It was as though I had come across something which I had temporarily forgotten.
A few weeks later, the Victoria paper carried an ad announcing a series of lectures under the auspices of the Theosophical Society. One of the subjects was Reincarnation. I said to my parents, "Let's go!" And we did. I think it was L.W. Rogers. Anyway, he was a fluent speaker, and we went to the whole series. The ultimate result was that we joined the Victoria Lodge.
One of the members took me under her wing. She sang lusty praises of Annie Besant, Leadbeater, and the coming "Messiah", Krishnamurti. She wanted me to join the Order of the Star, etc., and held a carrot in front of me, that I would be eligible to join the E.S. in two years. I was little impressed!
Then, not long after, Lazenby appeared on the scene. He was not a breath, but a gust of fresh air. Inexperienced and young as I was, I sensed the difference, and camped on his doorstep for as much of the three weeks he was in Victoria as I could. (I had a job at the time.)
By the way, the photo you showed is not the real "Pulch"! It is a studio portrait, dressed in his best for a lecture or something. His normal attire was very casual (to say the least) and his hair went every which way!
His platform manner was easy and relaxed, and he sure had a way with words. And his voice! I shall never, ever forget his declamation of the opening Stanzas of The Secret Doctrine at a small private meeting that was held. Magnificent!
Lazenby's views on sex raised a few eyebrows, but don't forget we were not long out of the 19th century, and I doubt if much notice of them would be taken today.
Margaret Lazenby was a quiet woman, who remained largely in the background. Of course, she had Petie to look after, who was then three. But she was quite remarkable in her way and I think was the right one for Pulch. They all lived, ate and traveled like gypsies.
One item in the articles that amazed me was his age. Apparently, he can't have been more than 39 when he first arrived in Victoria. Never thought of him in terms of age, but with his casual life style, his heavily pocked
face, and his unruly, prematurely grey hair, he sure looked older than that.
"Pulch" was a complex creature, and I haven't the wisdom to adequately gauge him. But he was a remarkable man, very vital, and he made the teaching come alive. He was warm, approachable and full of life. What a man!
- Margaret Nicholas
I was much interested, though rather sad, to read Jim Forsyth's reminiscences of Bill and Penel' Comfort. (C.T. Jan-Feb., 1989, p. 130.)
I remember that when we last saw them, in 1931, there was some concern about the possibility of the "black dog" getting on W.L.C.'s back again. But my mother and father did not share with us any further details about that unhappy problem (if they knew). Actually, the next word we had from the Comforts, so far as I can now remember, was the wire from Penel' telling us of his death, in a way she knew we would understand: "Bill's Pilot Has Come Aboard." (The Pilot Comes Aboard is the title of his last novel, published in 1931, and dedicated "To E.A. Lucas, of Vancouver, B.C.")
Penel' was indeed a lovely, warm, laughing woman. She and my mother were close friends, but both having many responsibilities - at that time all five of us children were still in the family home! - they did not keep up a correspondence. And we didn't go south again while Penel' was alive.
But I, too, "knew W.L.C." and would like to share with you a quotation from his writing in The Glass Hive. As a 'teen-ager, I started a note book of quotations from my reading that
I wanted to keep. This was one of the earliest entries, on page 12 of Volume I:
"You must build your body by the practice of selflessness, by kindness, by honesty in small things, by childlike eagerness of obedience for the whispers of the Soul, by honour and fidelity in your ways, sincerity and good humour, integrity and patience and laughing warmth of heart. Just where you are, without announcements or explanations, be the finest thing you know, and be it so tomorrow. Such is the safe preparation of the body to be trusted with Light."
Bill had a way with words that made his fine philosophy clear.
- Frances Lucas Mussallem
Early American Theosophical History
I have read with keen interest Michael Gomes' Studies in Early American Theosophical History in your Jan-Feb '89 issue. I am sorry to learn from it that the original of Letter 6, in Letters From the Masters of Wisdom Series 2, was not found by him in the Adyar E.S. files, but I do not see that the authority of the reference to H.P.B., Olcott, and Elbridge Gerry Brown is thereby undermined.
Mr. Gomes is presumably not suggesting Jinarajadasa made this up? That he (Jinarajadasa) copied it before it went a-missing is fortunate for our understanding of what happened. That neither Olcott nor H.P.B. have much to say about Brown seems sufficiently explained that he fell out and had to be replaced - as it appears to me by Judge.
I am very much aware that H.P.B. and
Olcott thought of themselves as "Theosophical twins" and 'two chums" - and I made that clear in my book, Blavatsky and Her Teachers. I have inclined to feel there was a spiritual marriage between them. Two is the number of marriage and romance. It is not, however, the number of Lodge foundations, or foundations of Esoteric orders, which require the trinity of the divine downpouring to be represented. I feel that Michael Gomes is confusing their personal relationship, in which they were a pair, with the foundation of the T.S., for which a third person's cooperation was needed. There very soon came to be three foci, in India, Europe and America.
- Jean Overton Fuller
Blavatsky and Her Teachers was reviewed in the Nov-Dec '88 issue. A review of Miss Overton Fuller's latest published work, Le Compte de Saint Germain will appear in a later issue. - Eds.
The Lodge continues with its regular Wednesday evening meetings.
Our monthly presentation at the end of March was given by Laetitia van Hees and her subject was "Time and Time Again" which was a look at the U.F.O. phenomena from various directions. There was a good attendance of members and friends at this meeting.
In April we were happy to welcome into the fellowship of the Lodge, Mehroo J. Wadia. Mehroo has been attending our end-of-the-month presentations for some time and until she came to Canada in 1986 was a member of the New Delhi Lodge. She is an artist and has had some of her paintings shown in Calgary.
We have missed our member Hank van Hees at our recent meetings. Hank is presently in the hospital but we hope he will soon be home and able to join us again.
- Doris Davy, Secretary
Our study of The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, now in its fourth year, continues at our regular Wednesday evening meetings.
In Letter 48, K.H. named two articles in the March, 1882 issue of The Theosophist which Sinnett "must read." Photocopies of these two articles, "Philosophy of Spirit" and "The Elixir of Life" were distributed to the members, who agreed to digress in order that "The Elixir..." could be examined and discussed at subsequent meetings over a number of weeks. Its study provided us with a better understanding of who the Masters are and how they came to be Mahatmas.
Copies of "Fragments of Occult Truth" and a review of The Perfect Way have also been made use of in recent meetings. (All the above appear in Vol. III of The Theosophist.)
Members of the Edmonton Lodge have been graced in the past few months with visits by a number of distinguished guests.
In December, Ted Davy gave a talk entitled "Uphill All the Way." It was based on the theme of the poem "Up-Hill" by Christina Rossetti, but from an expanded Theosophical perspective ... that the Path may be a difficult one but we must persist, and there is reward for those who TRY! It was a truly inspirational talk, one much appreciated by all.
In early April, we were privileged to welcome Dorothy Armstrong and Mollie Yorke of the Victoria Lodge. While here, Dorothy gave two talks. On the first evening she spoke on "Zen Art and Theosophy," using some of her own sketches by way of illustration, and reading quotations from various sources, both Zen and Theosophical. As well, she related short anecdotes applicable to the subject. Her presentation has enthused a number of us, previously not too familiar with Zen Buddhism, to look into it more deeply.
The second evening, Dorothy presented "Flower Symbols" - employing slides showing flowers of variously-numbered petals, which she described in terms of Theosophical symbols and principles. The program closed with quotations from The Light of Asia, scenes from which, as described in the poem, were featured pictorially as she spoke. It was an excellent presentation, one which all members thoroughly enjoyed.
Ted's talk is available on audio cassette; Dorothy's on videotape.
- Rogelle Pelletier, Secretary
We are now sufficiently organized and arranged in our new quarters at 109 Dupont Street, that the Lending Library is functioning from 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Thursdays, and under the auspices of Barbara Treloar on Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. This arrangement is until the end of June.
The Travelling Library (mail service within Canada) did function from Barbara's residence while we were in transition. Now it has its own room again. The Library Technician who is cataloguing old and new books will also tend to the business of the Travelling Library.
The Reference Library also has a separate room, and we are in the final stage of organizing the material into cabinets and onto shelving. Another Saturday or two of work, and users of this service will be able to sit and study the reference literature.
Our new quarters have a seating capacity of 36. There was a full house on September 22, 1988, when we held our official opening. On that occasion English lecturer Ianthe Hoskins spoke on "Occultism".
Public lectures are held on Thursday evenings. Les Dadswell, who celebrated his 86th birthday in February, and Carl Emmanuel have planned the program with a variety of interesting speakers and topics. The last Thursday of each month was devoted to an "Open Forum" with Les leading the discussion.
The local "New Age" paper, Dimensions carries our program under its Calendar of Events. This monthly paper brought new faces to our lectures. This is one of the ways in which we hope to attract new people. We also want to rekindle the interest of former adherents who could volunteer time to assist with the Library and other programs.
Toronto Lodge will be hosting the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Section in September. Please begin now to program your creative processes to visit us then.
During July and August there is no formal program. In those months we are essentially closed.
- Wilf Olin, Secretary
Our Annual General meeting was held in the Vancouver Lodge Rooms on Wednesday, March 15. Our President, Marian Thompson, reported we had held 40 meetings in 1988, including the A.G.M., White
Lotus Day, which is always held on May 8, and the Xmas Party. In 1988, for the first time ever, Vancouver Lodge closed for July and August, and some devoted members, led by Librarian Kevin Smith, took on the job of reorganizing our Library, which now includes books bequeathed to us by Judy Myrtle. Also during the Summer was the annual social get-together on Mayne Island at the Chatwins on August 3, including 34 members from Victoria, Vancouver, Orpheus and Hermes Lodges.
Our main study, as ever, was The Secret Doctrine, with the Upanishads as our devotional reading. We came to the end of the S.D. on February 17, and returned to the beginning once again on the 24th. It always seems like "a new adventure" each time we start again, no matter how many times we have done it.
We now listen to taped lectures for the last 30 minutes of our two-hour classes. The Lodge is now richer by a collection of 27 audio tapes of Joy Mills on Cosmology. Anne Whalen discovered Joy's tapes while attending the Krotona School of Theosophy last January to March. She also presented the Lodge with 11 audio tapes of John Algeo on the Bhagavad-Gita, which he delivered while she was at Krotona, so Anne was able to add comments from her own notes.
Our member Nina Freeman suffered a fall which broke her hip. Adeline Ayoub, also, was in hospital from a similar mishap. We are sorry to report Adeline died on January 6. She had been a member of Vancouver Lodge for many years, serving at various times as Secretary and Librarian. Prior to coming to Vancouver, she had been a member in Eastern Canada, and before that in Auckland, New Zealand.
On May 8, we honoured H.P.B. with flowers and readings and deep gratitude for her voluminous writings on the Ancient Wisdom. In March, Dorita Gilmour, a member of the Victoria Lodge, came from Victoria to help us better understand Rex Dutta's Concentric Key method of studying The Secret Doctrine.
Several Vancouver Lodge members attended the Canadian Section A.G.M. in Victoria on September 17. It was the first A.G.M. in Western Canada with Stan Treloar in the Chair. The meeting was followed by "Intimations" - an exquisite concert of music and Theosophical readings performed by members of Victoria Lodge. Ernie and Rogelle Pelletier visited Vancouver Lodge en route back to Edmonton after attending the meeting.
The visit of Ianthe Hoskins in September was enjoyed by the various local Lodges. At this time she also gave a public lecture at Hermes Lodge on "Occultism". On October 22, we joined with the other Lodges to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the publication of The Secret Doctrine. Hermes Lodge invited us to their Xmas Party on December 14. Ours was held early on December 7.
Although there are not many of us, we are a happy group who deeply enjoy our programs. We are unendingly thankful for H.P.B. and her teachings in our lives.
Our present slate of Officers were reelected for a further year:
President - Marian Thompson,
Vice-President - Pearl Mussell
Secretary-Treasurer - Anne Whalen
Corresponding Secretary - Doreen Chatwin
Librarian - Kevin Smith
- Doreen Chatwin, Corresponding Secretary
The big event of our 1988-89 year was the Section Annual General Meeting held last September. It was a pleasure and a privilege for our members to meet with so many friends, both from nearby Vancouver, and from more distant places. Please all come to visit us again.
Once off to such a good start, we have kept up the pace, with our regular program of Monday evening meetings and a Wednesday afternoon study group. This arrangement accommodates those of our members who find it inconvenient to drive and to be out late in the evening, especially in the dark of Winter.
In the evening meetings, we have enjoyed a series of readings and discussions on the many myths of the "Bringer of Fire." These sessions, partially inspired by the writings and television appearances of the late Joseph Campbell, were organized by Dorothy Armstrong. Subsequently, we held further single or series meetings on Prometheus (Dorita Gilmour), Hercules (Fiona Odgren), and Fairies (Melissa Dixon). Numerous members participated by reading aloud myths selected by the speakers. A further and enlightening series of meetings have been based on the "Little Lamp" writings of Ecknath Easwaran. This brings everyone into the act as members take it in turn to read one of the "talks" and then lead a discussion on the subject.
In the Fall we enjoyed a visit from Miss Ianthe Hoskins at the Western limit from her cross-Canada trip. A more recent visitor has been Dr. Christopher Hodgkinson of the University of Victoria, who gave an intriguing talk on Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and the Fourth Way.
Our Wednesday afternoon group alternate between Secret Doctrine studies, guided by Dorothy Armstrong, and Question and Answer sessions. These are rewarding meetings to attend as many of the participants have rich memories and a depth of reading, study, and Theosophical knowledge.
Our Christmas season party, very kindly hosted at their apartment by Pearl and Alf Maver, was a happy and convivial affair, with vigorous carol singing led by Fiona Odgren on the Mavers' organ.
Two gifts of their own work by artist members were greatly appreciated. A painting by Judit Fisi, and the Theosophical Society seal in enamel on copper by Trudi Ranfit, now grace our meeting rooms.
We are pleased to report that we have two new members, Mrs. Elizabeth Schenk and Mrs. Jeanne Sheppard, both valuable additions to our strength. Three cheers for new blood!
- Eunice Ball, Secretary
TORONTO THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY TRAVELLING LIBRARY
The Travelling Library of the Toronto Theosophical Society is operating and offering books on loan by mail to Society members only in Canada. Inquiries to: Toronto Theosophical Society Travelling Library, 109 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1V4
New data supports a Blavatsky assertion over a century old.
"Modern science is our best ally," wrote Mahatma K.H. in 1882. But he was quick to add, "Yet it is generally that same science which is made the weapon to break our heads with." (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, p. 63.)
Friend or foe? Or friend and foe? The anomaly remains to this day. Science knows little of Theosophy, and on principle would not recognize it as an acceptable source of knowledge. On the other hand, Theosophical study includes science as one of its main components. The index to The Secret Doctrine confirms this, if confirmation is called for; and of course the Theosophical Society's second object explicitly encourages the study of Science.
Surveying the past hundred years, a case could be made that these two schools of thought are closer now than ever before. Closer, yes, but not that close. There is still a wide gap between the two, and there is a fundamental reason why.
In general, it has to be acknowledged that the majority of the differences between Theosophy and Science will never be resolved while their objects and methods are so basically different. Science depends exclusively on the inductive course of reasoning, i.e., proceeding from particulars to universals. Theosophy also employs this system, but complements it with the deductive mode, siding with Plato in his insistence on proceeding from universals to particulars. Then again, Science limits its field of observation to the physical plane only; Theosophy takes in all planes from matter to spirit. Until Science is liberalized, the two will remain distant from each other.
Modern scientists have this advantage over students of Theosophy: that within the relatively narrow limits of their field of study they are able, and indeed required and expected, to check and recheck experiments that provide data from which theories are developed. Most present Theosophical aspirants, however, have at their command only imperfect or still latent faculties with which to investigate "meta-scientific" postulates, let alone universals. Certain ideas - especially those pertinent to the sciences - that were promulgated in early Theosophical literature, have therefore either to be taken on trust, or held in abeyance until the means of testing them are individually perfected.
Occasionally, unexpected temporary bridges are put up, when new scientific data supports Theosophical ideas. But the latter have been on record for over a century, and surely it is of no little significance that the Theosophical position has remained unchanged over that period, and science has taken that long to reach a similar one in certain specific cases.
Under the "meta-scientific" heading could be classified certain statements made a hundred or more years ago by Madame Blavatsky or her teachers. A recent example should give both schools something to think about.
The relative proximity of Halley's Comet to planet Earth early in 1986 prompted astronomers and astrophysicists to mount a special research effort before, during and after the event. The data thus obtained is now being studied, resulting in no few surprises. One chemical analysis in particular revealed "that the ratio between Carbon 12 and Carbon 13 in Halley differs from all other solar system objects examined, including terrestrial and lunar rocks, meteorites and the
atmospheres of the large planets." (This statement by astronomer Dr. Susan Wyckoff of the Arizona State University, explaining the results of her research, is from a report in the Calgary Herald, March 31, 1989.)
The strong implication here is that Halley's chemical content includes material unknown in the solar system. This has an interesting correlation with an assertion made by H.P. Blavatsky in 1883. An English member of the Society (Frederick W.H. Myers) had submitted to her as Editor of The Theosophist a number of technical questions prompted by his reading of Esoteric Buddhism. In content these ranged from scientific to historical. Obviously much effort went in to the replies, some of which were written by T. Subba Row.
Included in some general remarks which preceded the answers, Blavatsky made some comments on the astronomy of her day, and observed that "So far, it has been unable to discover with any approach to certainty the physical constitution of either Sun, stars, or even cometary matter." Several lines later she went on:
"The essence of cometary matter must be - and the 'Adepts' say is - totally different from any of the chemical or physical characteristics with which the greatest chemists and physicists of the Earth are familiar - all recent hypotheses to the contrary not-withstanding."
"Occultists have asserted and go on asserting daily the fallacy of judging the essence by its outward manifestations.... the physical constitution of Sun, stars and comets by our terrestrial chemistry and the matter of our own planet." - H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, V, 147-8. (Author's italics.)
In The Key to Theosophy, p. 85, she also suggested external nature in other Solar systems differs from our own.
Citing "The essence of cometary matter..." statement in The Secret Doctrine, H.P.B. went on to say, "And even that matter, during rapid passage through our atmosphere, undergoes a certain change in its nature. Thus not alone the elements of our planets, but even those of all its sisters in the Solar System differ as widely from each other in their combinations, as from the Cosmic elements beyond our Solar limits." (S.D.I,142.)
To a student of occultism, far more important than the fact itself will be the answer to the question: how did Blavatsky (or perhaps her mentors) know cometary matter is of a different chemical composition from that in other bodies in our solar system?
A supplementary question is why did she choose to make such a statement in 1883? At that time, astronomers had no means to check it. By publishing it, she ran the risk of ridicule, and even of being accused of bluffing.
The "cometary matter" statement was quoted in "The Comet Cometh" (The Canadian Theosophist, Nov-Dec 1985, p. 98) The writers of that article commented: "This is one of the questions for which there should be more conclusive answers before this time next year." Their timing was out, but at least they spotted a potential item of exciting interest which might emerge from the Halley research.
Dr. Wyckoff's team will be looking at other comets as they approach close enough to the earth for detailed study. Their findings may or may not give added confirmation to Blavatsky's assertion about cometary matter.
Certainly, there are many statements scattered through the early Theosophical writings that would have been incredible, nay, inconceivable to scientifically minded readers a hundred years ago. But as modern science gathers more and more facts, and is - usually reluctantly - forced to reject or modify old theories, the less fantastic some of the statements by H.P. Blavatsky and her teachers appear to modern readers. Curiously, several of them pertain to astronomy in one way or another.
Until relatively recently, the average intelligent though sceptical reader would have felt justified in describing some of those statements as nonsensical. Consider, for example, how such a reader might have reacted in 1923 when The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett was first published. They contain a remarkable passage, written in 1882, stated in the following matter-of-fact terms:
"Science will hear sounds from certain planets before she sees them. This is a prophecy." (p. 170.)
It was a prophecy indeed - remarkably fulfilled seventy or more years later with the development of radio astronomy. But to the 1923 reader (to say nothing of the original recipient of the letter in 1882) the statement would have been next to meaningless. Radio was then in its infancy, and the electronic techniques necessary to design and construct radio "telescopes" were still nearly thirty years and a world war away.
Another example is the statement that the true colour of the sun is blue (H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings XII, 548fn.) - confirmed by the early astronauts. (And unconfirmable until space exploration began.)
Yet another: that the moon is older than the earth (S.D. II, 64), supported by rock samples brought back from the moon.
Not to belabour the point, but these examples should be sufficient to alert intelligent readers to the fact that over a hundred years ago a few individuals possessed information unknown to science at the time. Then too, there is every indication they knew much more than they told, and gave out hints only.
The modern Theosophical teaching was new to the world of a hundred years ago yet it has a timeless quality. New students rightly want to know how dependable it is. Today, they can be referred to the old saying, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Secret, Doctrine reads exactly the same in 1989 as it did in 1889. It requires no apology, no commentary, and remarkably little correction. The exciting ideas, the awe-inspiring theories, have weathered the remarkable scientific discoveries of this century, and in many instances are comparatively more credible to the scientific establishment today than when written.
Little by little, Science and Theosophy move closer together. Perhaps in not too many centuries hence, a leading scientist will have to admit that "Modern Theosophy is our best ally." - T.G.D.
Mrs. Ida Frances Stephen died February 13, 1989 in her 96th year.
Although Ida suffered great personal loss and sadness in her life, she served the Theosophical Society well for 51 years. She joined the Hermes Lodge in January 1938. Over the years was on the Lodge Executive in many capacities, and gave fine lectures.
For many years she served as the Canadian Federation Secretary, and was Editor of the Federation Quarterly. She studied under Geoffrey Hodson at Krotona, and attended the Theosophical Society Centenary Congress in New York City in 1975. (Continued on page 47)
SECRET DOCTRINE QUESTION AND ANSWER SECTION
From 1964 to 1980, Geoffrey Barborka's "Secret Doctrine Question and Answer Section" was a regular and popular feature of this magazine, and there was widespread disappointment among the readers when he was no longer able to conduct it. There have been several suggestions that the series be published in book form, and many more requests than could be filled for back issues containing early instalments. To partially respond to this interest, we shall be reprinting selections from the "Q and A Section". To make the re-issue even more useful, the material has been compiled under subject headings. The originals are identified by Volume and number at the end of each answer. - Eds.
10. FOHAT - PART IV
Question. Is there any mention made in The Secret Doctrine to a force or energy comparable to nuclear energy?
Answer. There is of course Fohat, which is termed the divine energy. (H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, XIV, 211 fn.) and also described as "the universal propelling Vital Force, at once the propeller and the resultant." (Theosophical Glossary, p. 121) Then in The Secret Doctrine:
"Fohat, in its various manifestations, is the mysterious link between Mind and Matter, the animating principle electrifying every atom into life." (I, 16; I, 81 6-vol. ed.; I, 44 3rd ed.)
"Fohat is thus the dynamic energy of Cosmic Ideation; or, regarded from the other side, it is the intelligent medium, the guiding power of all manifestation, the 'Thought Divine' transmitted and made manifest through the Dhyan Chohans, the Architects of the visible World." (Ibid.)
Thus Fohat may be regarded as a cosmic energy or power, whereas nuclear energy may be said to be a "man-made power" produced by human ingenuity. However, reference may now be made to a power or a force which was utilized by human beings. It was referred to in the first Mahatma Letter received by A.P. Sinnett in this manner:
"The vril of the 'Coming Race' was the common property of races now extinct." (p.2)
Here is the explanation of Vril and "The Coming Race." Vril is a term which was created by the novelist Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) and used by him in his novel published in 1871 entitled The Coming Race. One wonders how the idea of this remarkable force which he describes so vividly came to him. The Mahatma's statement that vril "Was the common property of races now extinct," signifies that once there were races who were able to use such a force. Here is Bulwer-Lytton's description of vril:
"Philosophers assert that by one operation of vril ... they can influence the variations of temperature - in plain words, the weather; that by other operations, akin to those ascribed to mesmerism, electrobiology, odic force, etc., but applied scientifically through vril conductors, they can exercise influence over minds, and bodies animal and vegetable, to an extent not surpassed in the romances of our mystics.
To all such agencies they give the common name of vril.
"...this fluid is capable of being raised and disciplined into the mightiest agency over all forms of matter, animate or inanimate. It can destroy like the flash of lightning; yet, differently applied, it can replenish or invigorate life, heal, and preserve; and on it they chiefly rely for the cure of disease, or rather for enabling the physical organization to re-establish the due equilibrium of its natural powers, and thereby to cure itself. By this agency they rend way through the most solid substances, and open valleys for culture ... From it they extract the light which supplies their lamps.
"...they brought the art of destruction to such perfection as to annul all superiority in numbers, discipline, or military skill. The fire lodged in the hollow of a rod directed by the hand of a child could shatter the strongest fortress, or cleave its burning way from the van to the rear of an embattled host. If army met army, and both had command of this agency, it could be but to the annihilation of each. The age of war was therefore gone." (The Coming Race, ch. ix)
Then there is a force described by H.P. Blavatsky under the name of Mash-Mak: "By tradition an Atlantean word of the fourth Race, to denote a mysterious Cosmic fire, or rather Force, which was said to be able to pulverize in a second whole cities and disintegrate the world." (The Theosophical Glossary, p. 208.)
- Vol. 58, No. 3
A READER'S NOTES
Protogonos is now in a new format. The Spring, 1989 issue appears in booklet form, 36 pages. It is largely given over to reprinting the H.P.B. Library pamphlet, The Pseudo-Occultism of Mrs. A. Bailey.
Issued four times a year, the subscription rate for Protogonos is $3.50 U.S. ($5.00 outside North America.) Write: P.O. Box 121, Waterville, Ohio, U.S.A. 43566.
The Bulletin of the Theosophy Science Study Group is now being published quarterly under the title Holistic Science and Human Values.
A subscription costs $8.00 U.S., payable to the Theosophy Science Study Group, and sent to Dr. A. Kannan, The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras 600 020, India.
"Universal Education Series" is the title of another new program of the Institute of World Culture.
The first booklet to be issued in this series is a reprint of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essay, Worship. These thoughts from one of the finest minds of the nineteenth century deserve a new readership. As in most of his work, Emerson's prose is inspiring, his ideas timeless. It is a happy choice with which to start the Series. Worship, 25pp. is published by Concord Grove Press, 1407 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, U.S.A. Price $3.75 U.S.
IDA STEPHEN (Continued from page 45)
Ida loved nature, especially birds and animals. Throughout her life she manifested a wonderful simplicity of outlook and a delightful sense of fun. Her optimism and wisdom cheered, comforted and touched many.
- Gladys Cooper
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