Vol. 72 No. 4 Toronto, Sept.-Oct., 1991
The Theosophical Society is not responsible for any statement in this Magazine, unless made in an official document.
ALGERNON BLACKWOOD'S BRIEF "EPISODE" IN THE T.S.
- Ted G. Davy
Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951), well known writer of occult fiction, wrote a single volume of autobiography. As the title, Episodes Before Thirty, (1) suggests, it deals only with the earlier part of his life. One of the "Episodes" related therein was his brief association with the Toronto Theosophical Society.
Blackwood's reminiscences of this period, although referring to real people and events, are not invariably accurate. Regarding Episodes Before Thirty, Albert E.S. Smythe, who knew Blackwood in Toronto 1890-92, commented: "He has written a book of recollections of his first thirty years which in some respects illustrates the treachery of memory to which he alludes." (2) Also: "...he has anything but clear memories of his Theosophical friends as recorded in that book and appears to have confused different people together." (3) Whether the distortions in the autobiography were unconscious or intentional can only be speculated: he may even have wished to disguise some of his early Theosophical acquaintances to spare them possible embarrassment. Checking this "episode" against known facts, however, gives a reasonably reliable picture.
One pertinent fact is that at age 21 and then living in Toronto, Algernon Blackwood made application to become a Fellow of the Theosophical Society on February 2, 1891. His sponsors were Dr. Emily H. Stowe and Mrs. E. Day MacPherson. The date of his diploma, issued from New York, was February 17, 1891. (4)
Algernon Blackwood was born into a distinguished, well-to-do-English family, and it appears that he enjoyed a conventional "upper class" upbringing. In his 'teen years he was sent to a school in Switzerland run by a Moravian sect. Later, he attended, but did not graduate from Edinburgh University.
In 1890 he set off for Canada. To many young Europeans it was, like America in those years, a "land of promise." Vast areas of central and western Canada were still in an almost wilderness state, and to the nature-loving Blackwood, who with his father had
already visited Canada a few years earlier, this was probably a more attractive feature of the young country than the prospect of riches.
He settled in Toronto, then a city of 180,000 population, a growing business and industrial centre, and a university city. He stayed less than two years, during which time not only did he fail to make his fortune, he lost every penny of his capital. Disastrous ventures included a dairy and - most surprising, considering his background and temperament - a partnership in a tavern. Such experiences are best learned at an early age, so at least he was fortunate in that regard. Clearly, he was not cut out to be an entrepreneur!
While in Toronto, Blackwood supplemented his income by giving private lessons in French, German and shorthand. Among other employment he found a relatively congenial position as assistant to the editor of a Methodist journal. Some of his earliest published writings appeared in that magazine. These were essays, mostly based on his experiences in Switzerland. (5)
It was during this period that he formally associated with the Theosophical Society. (6) The principal local influence was another fairly recent immigrant - from Ireland. His name was Albert E.S. Smythe (1861-1949). Following a transatlantic shipboard meeting with William Q. Judge in 1884, Smythe became a staunch Theosophist from then until his death. While barely making his living in a building supply company and in other occupations hardly indicative of his future career as a newspaper editor, Smythe strove from 1890 to promote Theosophy in Toronto. To this end he mailed pamphlets to professional people in the city, and met with inquirers and other interested persons in his office. Evidently, one of these was Algernon Blackwood, who obviously had Smythe in his mind when he wrote: "...coming into my life just at this time, he came with influence and a good deal of stimulus too." (7)
It is probable, however, that Blackwood had already made contact with the Theosophical Society, or at least one or more of its members, either in England or when he was studying in Edinburgh. Certainly he was already aware of H.P. Blavatsky's magazine Lucifer, in which three of his articles were published, one of them appearing prior to his becoming a member of the Society.
Neither these articles, nor those written in Toronto for the Methodist Monthly, give much hint as to his potential as a much published writer. Nor were they to the literary standard of most of the writings published in Lucifer while Blavatsky was editor. Nevertheless, they do reveal something of his character and temperament. 'Thoughts on Nature," (8) for instance, evokes his strong attachment to the outdoors. "Notes on Theosophy." (9) signed "Du Bois-noir", shows the influence of his Theosophical reading, including Franz Hartmann's Magic Black and White, which is liberally quoted. Lastly, "From a Theosophist's Diary" (10) hints at the soul-searching he must have been undergoing at the time. The "diary" includes entries datelined Niagara Falls and Cobourg, Ontario.
"By 1891," Smythe reported, "...there was enough interest in Toronto to form a Lodge, the Toronto Theosophical Society." (11) Algernon Blackwood is one of the five names on the Charter of this organization. (12) This document, dated February 25, 1891, was one of the last Charters to be signed by H.P.
[[Photo: Blackwood and note]]
Blavatsky before her death. It also bears the signatures of H.S. Olcott, the Society's first President, and of William Q. Judge, the General Secretary of the American Section. (Until 1919, when a separate Canadian Section was formed, Canadian T.S. Lodges and members came under the jurisdiction of the Theosophical Society in America.)
Smythe was elected President, and Blackwood the first Secretary of the Toronto Theosophical Society. His fine handwriting graces the opening pages of the original Minute Book. (13) After the first few weeks, however, his absences from Lodge meetings began to be recorded. It was Spring, and no doubt the beautiful Muskoka country, a hundred miles or so north of Toronto was a strong temptation to the nature-loving Blackwood to flee the city. Years later, several of his short stories were set in that very region.
By the spring of 1892, Blackwood's final business venture in Toronto collapsed, and he spent the summer on an island in Muskoka. Broke, he left for New York in September.
Alexander Fullerton, then assistant to William Q. Judge, wrote to him on November 11, noting "Mr. Bigge handed me your demit from Toronto Branch, and I find that it contains an intimation that you wish to affiliate with the Aryan Branch [in New York]. Most assuredly we shall rejoice to welcome you..." (14) Later correspondence indicated, however, that Blackwood subsequently transferred to member-at-large status.
On December 2, 1892, Judge wrote to Smythe in Toronto:
"I had very much hoped to see not a little of Mr. Blackwood since his removal to New York, but unfortunately he was taken very ill not long after arrival, and has been obliged to move out of town for the winter. He and his friend Mr. Bigge are at a seaside resort of an hour or an hour and a half from here." (15)
The following month, Judge wrote to Blackwood, lamenting the lack of speakers, and asking him to assist in the discussion on December 27. (16) (Although Blackwood later had some limited stage experience, and towards the end of his life gave evidence of being a natural radio and television performer, (17) he recorded in his autobiography that he had made "his first and last speech" during his trip to Canada while still a teenager, (18) so it is not likely he responded positively to this invitation.) Evidently, however, he did attend some Branch meetings in New York. For instance:
"Bronx Park, Shelley, the violin, the free library, organ recitals in churches, my Eastern books, and meetings of the Theosophical Society, provided meanwhile the few beauty hours to which I turned by way of relief and relaxation." (19)
One such meeting might have been on February 2, 1893, when Annie Besant spoke at Chickering Hall. Fullerton had written Blackwood on January 14 advising him of this event and inviting him to dinner before the lecture. (20)
Perhaps the offer of a meal came at the right time. Blackwood's years in New York are vividly described in Episodes Before Thirty. Seriously ill, unemployed, starving, and having to live in close company with a criminal, this phase of his life must have seemed hellish in contrast to the relatively healthy, if financially disastrous months in Toronto. For just how long he retained his
membership in the T.S. while in America is not known. But from his own description of the extremes of poverty he suffered at this time, it would hardly seem possible for him to even afford the modest fees in the first few years after his arrival in New York City.
Blackwood returned to England in 1899. In May of that year he was admitted to the London Lodge of the T.S. It is not known how long he remained a member. (21)
Although the T.S. obviously held no lasting interest for Blackwood, he remained close to its fringes for several years. For instance, in 1900, he joined the Order of the Golden Dawn, and was still a member of a successor organization at least as late as 1915. (22) Between 1913 and 1919, some of his short stories were published in The Quest, a magazine edited by G.R.S. Mead, and published by the Quest Society, the organization formed by Mead after he left the Theosophical Society. (23) As a matter of interest, except for Blackwood's, little in the way of fiction was ever published in the scholarly Quest magazine. Later, it appears Blackwood was attracted to the teachings of Gurdjieff. (24)
Karma and reincarnation, key concepts in the Theosophical philosophy, continued to interest him. In Episodes Before Thirty he cited karma to account for a number of his youthful experiences. Among his non-fiction writings, "Have I Lived Before?" appeared in the London Weekly Dispatch, April, 1927. (25) Another, "On Reincarnation,"was published in The Aryan Path, a distinguished journal edited and published by Theosophists in Bombay, India. (26)
Blackwood may not have been a member of the Theosophical Society for very long, or very active while a member, but at least it can be said that the Theosophical Movement has benefitted greatly from his stories. Through that medium, Theosophical concepts were presented to a wider public than would otherwise have been reached.
In 1930, a member of the Toronto Theosophical Society wrote to Algernon Blackwood requesting a signed photograph to be hung in the Lodge rooms. Charter member Blackwood complied, and dedicated it: "With happy memories of 1890-1 when the T.S. Lodge was founded." His brief "episode" in the T.S. had not been forgotten, however dim the memory of it might have been in his later years.
Notes and References
This article continues a series relating to the Canadian T.S. Centenary. It is adapted from a paper originally written for presentation at the 1988 Theosophical History Conference, where it was read for the writer by Leslie Price. I gratefully acknowledge the help received from Kirby Van Mater, the archivist of The Theosophical Society International (Pasadena); Mike Ashley, author of Algernon Blackwood: A Bio-Bibliography; John Robert Colombo, author of Blackwood's Books; and Jean-Louis Grillou, with whom I have corresponded about Blackwood for nearly twenty years. Thanks, too, to Darcy Kuntz, a fellow member of the Calgary Lodge, T.S., for helping to track down two references, and drawing my at-
tention to the Ashley article mentioned in Note 17; and to Peter Lakin who provided the copy of Blackwood's autographed picture from the Toronto T.S. archives.
1. Algernon Blackwood, Episodes Before Thirty (EBT). London, etc.: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1923.
2. The Canadian Theosophist (CT), IX, 275 (Nov. 1928).
3. ibid., XI, 207 (Sept. 1930).
4. As recorded in the Official Roster. Archives, Theosophical Society International, Pasadena, CA.
5. The journal was Methodist Monthly, edited by Dr. William Withrow.
6. How the Theosophical Society started up in Toronto in 1891 is briefly described in "A Hundred Years of Service to Theosophy in Canada," CT 71, pp. 122-125 (Jan-Feb 1991).
7. EBT, p. 57.
8. Lucifer, VII, pp. 315-317 (Dec. 1890).
9. ibid., VIII, pp. 390-96 (Mar. 1891).
10. ibid., IX, pp. 390-96 (Jan. 1892).
11. "All Life is a Unity," CT XXV Supplement, p. 23 (Oct. 1944). This supplement was published as a tribute to Smythe's long years of service to Theosophy.
12. A picture of the Charter is reproduced in CT 71, p. 124 (Jan-Feb 1991).
13. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the old Minute Books are missing from the Toronto T.S. archives.
14. Archives, Theosophical Society International (Pasadena).
17. Mike Ashley, "Algernon Blackwood: The Ghostly Tale's Great Visionary," in Twilight Zone magazine, June 1985, pp. 56-63.
18. EBT, p. 5.
19. ibid., p. 107.
20. Archives, Theosophical Society International (Pasadena).
21. The Society's records do not show this information. Thirty or more years ago, the present writer was told by an old member that Blackwood quit the Society at the time of the Leadbeater scandal (see Note 23). She was previously a member of the English T.S., and old enough to remember, but was her memory reliable in this instance?
22. Blackwood was initiated into the Isis Urania Temple on October 30, 1900. See R.A. Gilbert, The Golden Dawn Companion. Wellingborough: The Aquarian Press, 1986, p. 161.
23. George R.S. Mead, a prominent early Theosophist, resigned from the Theosophical Society in 1908, along with hundreds of others, in protest of C.W. Leadbeater's reinstatement. Earlier, Leadbeater had left the Society following an investigation into his paedophiliac activities.
24. James Webb, The Harmonious Circle, pp. 254; 323. Mike Ashley, Algernon Blackwood: A Bio-Bibliography, p. 31.
25. Reprinted: CT IX, pp. 276-278 (Nov. 1928).
26. The Aryan Path, I, p. 155 (Mar. 1930).
I have always taken ideas where I found them ... The theories of Karma and reincarnation were older than any modern movement, and the belief in extension of consciousness to some nth degree, with the correlative of greater powers and new faculties, have not only remained with me, but have justified themselves. - Algernon Blackwood.
HOW RAVEN LOST HIS BILL
The story of how Raven lost his bill is more often shown on West Coast totem poles or in pictures than it is told in words. I thought you might like to hear about it.
Raven sat on a high limb of a cedar tree where he could look down on the sea. He was hungry, as he so often was, and when he saw the old blind fisherman out on his raft, he said to himself, "Ah ha! He is always able to catch something. Maybe it will be a fine halibut, for his line looks to go straight down to the bottom. I'd like a good meal of fresh fish!"
Raven folded his wings tightly against his body and dove off his perch down into the sea. Down, down he went to where he saw the fisherman's line. Yes! There was something dangling on it, something wriggling. Raven opened his big bill and grabbed. But it was not a halibut, merely a baited hook, which snagged itself sharply into Raven's mouth. He started to cry out "Ouch, ow! Let go!" but he couldn't utter a word. He was indeed tied up.
What to do? Raven pulled hard. At the same time the fisherman gave a great tug, for he thought he'd caught a halibut. But no - his line came free and he hauled it in. He felt carefully to identify his catch. "It doesn't feel like a fish," he sighed. "It seems more like the noisy end of a large bird." As soon as he had freed his hook, he tossed away the object, which was Raven's bill. The fisherman threw the bill high towards the shore and went back to his fishing.
Meanwhile, Raven had come to realize that his greedy grab had cost him his bill. He hung his head down and flew off into some thick bushes to hide. He had always been proud of his strong bill and his agile tongue. Now he could not utter a sound. Tears of frustration and despair fell from his sad eyes. In a while he thought of all that had happened, and he then realized that he should be ashamed not only for losing his bill but for trying to rob an old blind man of his meal! Then he felt even worse.
As he blinked his eyes and stumbled along he came to the roof of an old log shelter near the sea's edge. All at once, what should he see but his dear black bill lying there. How glad he was as he quickly placed it on his face. Yes, it fitted; it was his. But it would not stay on. Poor Raven - it was no use trying to fly while holding his bill on with one wing. Raven is clever and he found a dried length of seaweed which he used to tie through the bill and around his head. It still wasn't on properly, but hung down under his chin, like a mask ready for use.
The Indian story ends there, and we are not told how or when or even if he finally got his bill to stay on his face. Perhaps the myth-stories do not have time sequence. We do see Raven on totems with his bill, but we have no way of knowing if these depict him before or after the loss. Maybe it doesn't matter: it is the lesson that does.
The bill and voice denote creative power, as does sound, in world wide mythology. Raven - who is mind - was indeed creative, for he brought forth people to the land, found food for them, arranged lakes and rivers, and showed them how to make tools and hooks. He was a most useful creature, although he had his annoying faults. He de-
served to lose his powers. We will too, for are we not constantly using our clever mind to invent, build, construct, destroy, harm, make weapons? And we still do have wars, starvation, deforestation, lack of hospitals and true caring for people.
Much of the world is sad. We certainly "lose face" and our powers will diminish too, if we do not listen. In creativeness there is inner urge to act with sympathy, love and beauty, but all can be lost in selfishness. Let us try to understand Raven's lesson. Caw, caw.
Marius Barbeau, Haida Myths; Martine J. Reid, Myths and Legends of the Haida Indians.
WHAT IS JUSTICE?
- Claude Hughes
And let it be known, that this is the greatest treason, to do the right thing for the wrong reason. - Paraphrased from T.S. Eliot.
When the scales are balanced we think of that as justice, a symbolic restoration of balance. But then there are seven scales on seven planes of Being, and what are we going to do about the Thread running through them all? I would submit to you that justice is not to be found between the victim and the oppressor, but rather between each and the Self.
The Self demands Sacrifice. You have to sacrifice for Form or for Consciousness, but sacrifice to one or the other we cannot escape. "'Great Sifter' is the name of the 'Heart Doctrine'... The wheel of the good Law moves swiftly on. It grinds by night and day." (Voice of the Silence, p. 27.) One might ask, do we want dead justice or living justice; do we want plane surfaces or is it depth we are after? For without Atma Vidya, all magic turns to dust and ashes on its return to prakriti.
What we owe the world is the same thing water owes to it - that is, it must keep up a continual circle of sacrifice or become stagnant. With humans, if they do not keep that circle moving, their state of being, their life inside of consciousness begins to stagnate. It's really to SPACE that we owe it, but in our slavery to the senses, space seems like NOTHING. While it is most decidedly a NO-THING, it is not a nihil, but the Eternal seven-skinned Mother-Father, which can be attuned to gradually, even by us chained in Plato's Cave.
Instead of a pair of scales with a blindfolded woman holding them, we might think of a Bodhisattva or a Nirmanakaya, as the real exemplar of justice; or, as Madame Blavatsky said of real Occultism, "the first step is Sacrifice, the second Renunciation." Why? Because sacrifice always brings in its train an apparently deserved quid pro quo in the great range of the seven planes. After all, both the open Path and the Secret Path unfold before one as a result of MERIT. Neither is reached without sacrifice. One
can sacrifice a lower bliss to a higher more inclusive bliss right on up to Nirvana, that fabled state of "glorious and exalted selfishness."
Why not dump the entire concept of bliss on behalf of duty? Externally, this looks like a bleak choice, and it is in direct proportion to one's slavery to name and form. Not just our own name and form, mind you, but any name and form. The world rides easy at anchor in the hands of him who has a niche in his make-up that loves space or consciousness as something worth living for. Not static consciousness, but growth and expansion; not just for you or me, but everyone. Our Consciousness does not derive its light, warmth or power from intellectual polish:
That peculiar gym-neese,
Those minds with the hoops, the Ph.D's
And a flying trapeze,
The surface solution, the haughty stare,
That awesome collection of barnacles,
The brain fatigue of an unyoked mind.
Sooner or later, "false learning is rejected by the wise and scattered to the winds by the good law," for it will not stand the test of time. To taste the glories of an awakened mind, we must put our heart's blood into the scale, like Jesus, Giordano Bruno, Socrates or Dostoyevsky. Doing so, these mind-children of ours come to life and lighten the way for others. Purifying our mind-life may be, on the moral plane, like giving a cup of cold water to the thirsty wayfarer on this one.
What moves us to turn the wheel of sacrifice is a kind of ad regarding our powers of perception, (1) our depth of value, our sense of Justice. Sister Teresa, Albert Schweitzer, Gandhi, et. al. or not so much Catholic,
Presbyterian or Hindu, as human, for they outgrew their labels and belong to us all. Without devotion to the self there is no justice, and if the Universe has only ONE SELF, not two, it is our growth in that direction which tells the tale. By it the wise know whether a Monad will be circling onto the next Great Wheel of Evolution as a conscious monad, or as a returning Nirvanee laden with the problem of his deep-seated unconsciousness. Unconsciousness to what? - to the woe of others, what else? Many of us now in evolution are those returning Nirvanees.
We are like the man who stopped drinking, then deserted the army of drunks, leaving them to their own devices. With no countervailing example, what is to become of them, are they to suffer and die, never knowing that there were some who had learned how to live a more rewarding and fulfilling, indeed happy life? You see, this whole problem of washing our hands of the "evil man" is the ultimate act of selfishness. To gossip, repeat or parade another person's cancer, moral or otherwise - isn't this a kind of fatal injury in our mission to paralyze the lower tanmatras and awaken to the unity of Life? If there is only one arena for the Soul's Experience in this great drama called the Manvantara, we do ourselves a disservice in that weird feeling of relief we get when evil or weakness pops up in our neighbour's backyard rather than our own.
In her second letter to the American Theosophists (1889), Madame Blavatsky had this to say:
"My words may and will pass and be forgotten, but certain sentences from letters written by the Masters will never pass, because they are the embodi-
ment of the highest practical Theosophy. I must translate them for you:
"Let not the fruit of good Karma be your motive; for your Karma, good or bad, being one and the common property of all mankind, nothing good or bad can happen to you that is not shared by many others. Hence your motive, being selfish, can only generate a double effect, good and bad, and will either nullify your good action, or turn it to another man's profit ... There is no happiness for one who is ever thinking of Self and forgetting all other Selves."
"The universe groans under the weight of such action (Karma) and none other than self-sacrificial Karma relieves it. How many of you have helped humanity to carry its smallest burden, that you should all regard yourselves as Theosophists. Oh, men of the West, who would play at being the Saviors of mankind before they even spare the life of a mosquito whose sting threatens them! Would you be partakers of Divine Wisdom or true Theosophists? Then do as the gods when incarnated do. Feel yourselves the vehicles of the whole humanity, mankind as part of yourselves, and act accordingly."
If the entire universe were no more than its surface, if we were no more than our body, then the eye-for-an-eye doctrine seems to make some sense. Let everything be equalized, everything balanced. But if we are speaking of a living Justice that moves from one plane to another, then the hungry snake entering our house has to get milk not death, for real knowledge is the child of renunciation, and without it justice remains a surface science, having length and breadth but no magnitude.
(1) Real Intuition is a projection of our Perceptive Consciousness, not our mentality or acquisitive intellect. It is a "projection which acts from the subjective to the objective, and not vice versa, awakens the spiritual senses in us and the power to act; these senses assimilate to themselves the essence of the object or of the action under examination, and represent them to us as they really are, not as they appear to our physical senses and to our cold reason." (H.P. Blavatsky, "Le Phare de I'Inconnu," La Revue Theosophique, May 1889. In H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, XI, 253.
I never see a fountain toss
Its jewelry to the sky
But that I tell my sorry self,
There, while I breathe, stand I.
Ten thousand times in every man
The shining spirit springs
From secret depths into the world
Of galaxies and wings.
Conceived in cloud, the fountain sinks
To earth from shimmering air,
As spirit falls in showers of light
From its beginning - where?
- Frances Mussallem
NOTES AND COMMENTS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY
I am pleased to welcome into the Theosophical Society in Canada the following new members:
Mrs. Margaret Johnson, Victoria Lodge; Mrs. Danielle LaBranch, Hamilton Lodge; Mr. Patrick Carbone, Toronto Lodge; Miss Maila Oksanen, Kalevala Study Centre; and as members-at-large, Mr. John W. Robbins, Niagara Falls, Ontario; Miss Melanie Sinclair, Edmonton, Alberta; Miss Marcella Carson, Windsor, Ontario; Dr. David Wilson, Shelburne, Nova Scotia; Mrs. Sandra Mathias, Corbeil, Ontario.
The Florida Federation of the Theosophical Society in America announces that they are celebrating "The International Year of Blavatsky" on November 22, 23, 24, 1991, in Miami, Florida. Among the guest speakers will be Joy Mills, John Algeo and Brian Weiss. Planned events include: lectures, workshops, metaphysical book fair, group discussions, art, and vegetarian meals. For those who are interested in attending this celebration, perhaps as an adjunct to an early escape from our winter, write to: Florida Federation, T.S. Box 1156, Miami Beach, FL 33139 U.S.A.
Several times in the past little while I see in various Theosophical journals discussions and comparisons on the creation of the Universe, dealing with the Big Bang of our materialist scientists and the Creation as per H.P.B.'s version in The Secret Doctrine. Certain things in this matter just do not seem to sit right.
Firstly, as a purist, there was no "bang" as this implies a sound and a pre-existing medium in which to have the sound wave travel, and someone to hear it. The major bone of contention is that the Big Bang was a physical plane event, since scientists do not acknowledge that any other planes exist. The creation or cosmogenesis of The Secret Doctrine involves planes considerably higher than our lowly physical; and if I read my S.D. correctly, even unto the top of the manifested system, the Cosmic Adi plane, for starters, and the plane of Adi of the Cosmic physical plane for our local universe or planetary system. Therefore, any attempt at comparison of our materialist scientists' theories and the S.D. version is a futile attempt to compare apples with oranges.
I admit I was never enthused with the Big Bang theory, having read H.P.B. first. What I have seen of the Big Bang theory - and one must keep in mind that it is so far just a theory - did not answer enough questions for this person, and there are variations and versions depending which scientist one reads and what he has put in his computer for chewing up of figures and the spitting out of models. The Bang theory is not compatible at the moment with The Secret Doctrine for reasons of the difference in planes, as mentioned, if nothing else; and I have not seen anything worthwhile to date to allow for discounting the S.D. version. Therefore, it was with great delight in August that I spotted an ad, in a prestigious scientific magazine, for a book entitled The Big Bang Never Happened, by Eric Lerner.
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The 100th Anniversary of Madame Blavatsky's death was celebrated on May 8 (White Lotus Day) with the other Vancouver Lodges and Victoria Lodge joining together at Hermes. The program began at 10:15 a.m. and continued through the afternoon. It was a huge success: interesting, informative and varied, the singing being especially beautiful. This Centenary event was well planned by Doreen Chatwin, and went off like clockwork.
We had a break at noon for a lovely luncheon, then continued into the afternoon, with another break. Finally, at 4:20, Fiona Odgren gave the closing meditation, and followed it by playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. We all joined in repeating the Gayatri, and Ralph Chatwin gave the closing remarks. All in all it was a memorable day, spiritually rewarding and filled with real brotherhood. There was a great assortment of food lovely flowers and a beautifully decorated cake, all of which was enjoyed by everyone.
On the weekend of June 8-9, we were privileged to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Adam Warcup. On Saturday, Adam spoke to members on "The Occult World" and on Sunday, at a public lecture, he spoke on "The Powers Latent in Man"; Rosemary spoke on "Healing". The lectures were very much enjoyed and both the Warcups endeared themselves to the members who will certainly welcome them should they be able to return.
We held our Annual Meeting and Election of Officers on June 22. All those on the Executive were re-elected:
President - Lance Mcraine
Vice-President - Larry Gray
Treasurer - Laara Mcraine
Secretary - Eva Sharp
Librarian - Diana Cooper
We are sorry to report that our Past President, Larry Gray, has suffered a heart attack. However, he is now on the mend, as we expect that he will be back with us in September.
Eva Sharp, Secretary
MICHAEL FREEMAN AND THE H.P.B. LIBRARY
The esoteric line of H.P.B.'s teachings lost a powerful and dedicated worker in Michael Freeman's passing on July 14, 1991. Since 1969 he was the custodian of the H.P.B. Library, which was established in 1917 by Alice Leighton Cleather as an independent centre, distinct from the Theosophical Society and other organized Theosophical groups. The background tone of the Library was based on Mrs. Cleather's experience as a personal pupil of H.P.B. since 1887, then a member of her Esoteric Section, and later the Inner Group. After the withdrawal of H.P.B. and the consequential split in the Society, followed by the death of William Q. Judge, she became disillusioned with the new leaders and their personal biases which were being presented as Theosophy. In those days, being before the publication of the Mahatma Letters, there was much confusion and many students were unclear as to what the Masters had really taught. So, having ended her association with all formal Theosophical bodies, she founded the Library as a centre for making available the Ancient Wisdom as taught and approved by H.P.B. and the Adepts.
Michael Freeman first came in contact with the H.P.B. Library in 1932 at a young age, and studied for many years under Mrs. Hildegard Henderson, then the operator of this spiritual centre. Because Mrs. Cleather had received esoteric instructions and philosophy from H.P.B. as a pledged pupil, the attitude of the Library was serious, always emphasizing occult responsibility rather than intellectual satisfactions. The teaching via Mrs. Henderson was rigorous, demanding a lifetime's allegiance, its study and practice bringing in their wake trials and tribulations. Early on, Michael recognized this as an inevitable reaction to the privilege of stepping, however slightly, within the pale of cosmic forces: and no matter what the outer man must undergo it is the Inner Disciple who can and does come through the test. Undeviatingly, he followed this path right to the end.
While still a young man he made a special study of Damodar, collecting together everything written by him, and all information, known and obscure, pertaining to him. This study was prepared in book form and published by the H.P.B. Library under the title Concerning Damodar. At the time this was a new venture and an important task as Damodar was named by H.P.B. as the one successful chela.
Nowadays there is an abundance of gurus, and so-called mystical societies flourish. However, the outlook of the H.P.B. Library is based on the recognition of the uniqueness of the effort made by the Mahatmas through H.P.B. It occurred at a particular point in the sidereal cycle, 2,500 years after Buddha,
and 5,000 years after Krishna. It had the great and esoteric purpose, not to be repeated until another special cyclic point, of actually opening up to humanity at large the age old secret path to the Masters. The way to initiation was made available to whomever could attain it through the living practice of universal brotherhood.
It was this spirit of the Library that Michael devoted his whole life to preserving. Occultly the Library takes the perspective that, in spite of the failure of the T.S. to live up to its original high purpose, the path to the Masters is always open to the determined and one-pointed individual. Anyone can become a chela at any time in one's inner self. It means establishing one's own inner commitment, setting one's own standards and tests, and most importantly the constant redirection of the will. The key words are in one's inner self, for this has nothing to do with the personal self, which must be risen above. This is the hardest task, the work of lifetimes, but the inescapable rule. In this connection Michael stressed the necessity of making the concept of brotherhood a practical reality, for in his inmost essence the neophyte is one with all other beings. Having sprung from the One Life, the Whole is contained within him as he is in the Whole. Where one's life is motivated by compassion for all souls, the personal desires and passions lose their vitality; conversely when detachment is attained one can become a helper of humanity.
Michael Freeman always refused recognition as a teacher, as "the finger pointing to the moon is not the moon." Yet to many students he was a tremendous inspiring force and a real spiritual guide. To the earnest seeker there were no lengths of trouble he would not take in giving help and encouragement; and most of all he passed on the teachings by his own practical example. The importance of setting up one's own inner centre was something he insisted upon, for unless the spiritual fire within is firmly established, when the teacher has gone the pupil will flounder hopelessly by every passing wave of Maya. Therefore, in all Library contacts he always addressed the Inner Man, and his message was based on the injunction: "Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself."
Exoterically, from the historical angle, the Library houses complete collections of original bound volumes of old Theosophical magazines, such as The Theosophist, Lucifer, The Path, and many lesser known publications. It is also a depository for much interesting and informative correspondence between members of differing standpoints during earlier and critical periods in the Movement. As such it has been a valuable source for research students in the past, and Michael was always helpful in assisting and making this material available.
Those who have made a pilgrimage to the H.P.B. Library, whether in search of history or metaphysics, all alike have been struck by the beauty of the surroundings, the peacefulness amidst gardens and fruit trees, the warm family welcome. Yet, through Michael's care and attitude the library has retained its occult atmosphere, impersonal and pure.
During the last five years of his life, Michael encountered much suffering. It seems to have been the suffering of all great souls taking on an extra load of karma, hopefully to free the eternal Ego for a good start in the next cycle.
To Mrs. Jean Freeman and the family, all Theosophists will send their kind thoughts. Jean, herself a searcher into the philosophy, was a true Theosophical companion, always ready to sacrifice personal feelings for the cause. Every visitor will attest to her firm background support to the Library.
- Joan Sutcliffe
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.
16. THE NIDANAS
Question: Please explain the use of the word Nidana in The Secret Doctrine; it seems to be used in two different ways.
Answer. The word Nidana is first used in connection with the premanifestation stages relative to cosmogenesis. Then later in connection with man's activities. Therefore, it is simply a matter of making the proper relationship.
The word is first used in Stanza I, sloka 4: "The seven ways to bliss were not. The great causes of misery were not, for there was no one to produce and get ensnared by them."
H.P. Blavatsky explains that the great causes, in Tibetan, are Tenbrel chug-nyi, "the chief causes of existence, effects generated by a concatenation of causes produced." (S.D. I, 38; I,112 6 vol. ed.; I, 70 3rd ed.) The Tibetan term is equivalent to the Sanskrit Nidana. The latter is derived from the verbal root ni-da, to bind, to fasten. In Buddhism it is rendered a cause of existence. In Stanza I, sloka 7, Nidana is referred to in this manner: "The causes of existence had been done away with; the visible that was, and the invisible that is, rested in eternal non-being, the one being."
Further in regard to the Nidanas, H.P. Blavatsky has written:
"The Nidanas have a dual meaning. They are: 1. The twelve causes of sentient existence, through the twelve links of subjective with objective Nature, or between the subjective and objective Natures. 2. A concatenation of causes and effects. Every cause produces an effect, and this effect becomes in its turn a cause. Each of these has as Upadhi (basis), one of the subdivisions of one of the Nidanas,
and also an effect or consequence." (S.D. V, 558, 6 vol. ed., The Inner Group Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky, pp. 104-105.)
- Vol. 49, No. 5
Question. In this passage from The Secret Doctrine: "the teachings of esoteric philosophy in relation to the Nidanas and the Four Truths become of the greatest importance; but they are secret." (I, 45) Please explain the meaning of the Nidanas and the Four Truths, and the significance of the statement "but they are secret."
Answer. First as to the significance of the Four Truths. It was in his first sermon that the Buddha enunciated the Four Noble Truths in Sanskrit Chatvari arya-satyani. They are described in this manner:
The First Noble Truth is Duhkha - Pain or Suffering: for birth is pain, old age is pain, sickness is pain, death is pain. Union with the unpleasant is pain, separation from the pleasant is pain, not obtaining what one wishes is pain. In short, the five groups of clinging to existence is pain.
The Second Noble Truth of the Cause of Pain is Duhkham-samudaya (sam-ud-aya means rise-up together) - and is described as the craving that leads to rebirth, accompanied by delight and passion, rejoicing at finding delight here and there, namely, the craving for lust, for existence, for nonexistence.
The Third Noble Truth of the Causation of Pain is Duhkha-nirodha (ni-rodha means broken down): the complete cessation of that craving, its forsaking, relinquishment, release and detachment from it.
The Fourth Noble Truth of the Path is Duhkha-nirodha-marga (marga means path) - the path that leads to the cessation of pain and suffering.
So the First Truth teaches that all that is born of attachment is Pain.
The Second Truth teaches that the twelve Nidanas (Dvadasa-Nidanas) are the links in the chain of Karmic causation: they form the twelve spokes in the Wheel of Existence or Rebirth.
The Third Truth teaches in regard to Nirvana - the attainment of Moksha or Liberation.
The Fourth Noble Truth teaches in regard to the Arya-Ashtanga-Marga - meaning the Noble Eightfold Path, signifying the Path to Liberation by means of the eight steps, which are: Right view; Right speech; Right resolve; Right conduct; Right livelihood; Right effort; Right recollection; Right contemplation.
In regard to the Nidanas - the Causes of Existence in Buddhism. The passage quoted by the questioner from The Secret Doctrine is the final sentence in the exposition of Stanza I, sloka 7, the first phrase of which reads:
"The Causes of Existence had been done away with": upon which H.P. Blavatsky commented:
"'The Causes of Existence' mean not only the physical causes known to science, but the metaphysical causes, the chief of which is the desire to exist, an outcome of Nidana and Maya. This desire for a sentient life shows itself in everything, from an atom to a sun, and is a reflection of the Divine Thought propelled into objective existence, into a law that the Universe should exist." (S.D. I, 44; I, 117 6-vol. ed.; I, 75-6 3rd ed.)
Explaining the outcome of Nidana and Maya, H.P. Blavatsky wrote:
"Nidana means the concatenation of cause and effect; the twelve Nidanas are the enumeration of the chief causes which produce the severest reaction or effects under the Karmic law. Although there is no connection between the terms Nidana and Maya in themselves, Maya being simply illusion, yet if we consider the universe as Maya or illusion, then certainly the Nidanas, as being moral agents in the universe, are included in Maya. It is Maya, illusion or ignorance, which awakens Nidanas; and the cause or causes having been produced, the effects follow according to Karmic law." (H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. X, 326).
The Sanskrit word Nidana is derived from the verbal root nida, meaning to bind on, to fasten. The twelve Nidanas, as previously stated are described as forming the spokes of a wheel which bring about birth after birth. The twelve Causes of Existence are thus enumerated:
1. Avidya, literally non-knowledge; usually rendered ignorance, which thus is the fundamental root of evil. 2. Samskara (samkri, to fashion together) karmic formations. 3. Vijnana (vi-jna, to discern) discernment: cognition of causes set in motion. 4. Namarupa (nama, name; rupa, form) giving rise to the personality - a form with a name to it. 5. Shadayatana (shad, six; aya-tana, organs) the six sense organs. 6. Sparsa (sparsa, touch) touch; contact with objects. 7. Vedana (vid, to know) sensation; sense-perception. 8. Trishna (thirst; Tanha in Pali) longing or attachments. 9. Upadana (upada, to acquire) clinging or grasping for life. 10. Bhava (bhu, to become) becoming (in the sense of causing to be born). 11. Jati (jan, to be born) birth (on earth). 12. Jaramarana (jri, to grow old; mri, to die) old age and death.
Referring now to the questioner's query as to the significance of the statement that the Four Truths are secret, the explanation was provided by H.P. Blavatsky when she was asked the following question:
"Are the Four Truths of the Hinayana school the same as those mentioned by Sir Edwin Arnold in The Light of Asia; the first of which is the Path of Sorrow; the second of Sorrow's cause; the third of Sorrow's ceasing; and the fourth is the Way?" Here is H.P. Blavatsky's response:
"All this is theological and exoteric, and to be found in all the Buddhist scriptures; and the above seems to be taken from Singhalese or Southern Buddhism. The subject, however, is far more fully treated of in the Aryasangha School. Still even there the four truths have one meaning for the regular priest of the Yellow Robe, and quite another for the real Mystics." (H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. X, 326).
- Vol. 57, No. 4
One hears constantly that Theosophy is too highly intellectual, as though stupidity were a saintly virtue. Theosophy is neither of the head nor of the heart as some people insist, but includes all that is comprehended in consciousness.
- Albert E.S. Smythe
The Perennial Wisdom: Fundamental Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky. A study guide to the Videotape of the same title. By April and Jerry Hejka-Ekins, and Brett Forray. xiv + 146 pp. Published 1990 by the Los Angeles Center for Theosophic Studies.
The Study Guide originally intended to complement the video, The Perennial Wisdom (reviewed CT 71, p. 91) is finally available. The publication of this paperback booklet certainly justifies a second look at the now complete introductory course.
Considered in conjunction with the guide, the video presentation of the core concepts of Theosophy could be compared to the sword-tipped bud of a multi-petalled flower. The Study Guide provides the direction for the natural growth and unfolding of these concepts; but as the authors contend in their introduction, the final flowering of intuition must be energized by the student's personal responsibility and commitment towards the study.
The Guide follows closely the three sections presented in the video and as these concepts successively build one upon the other, an overall view of the fundamental teachings is created. The intense focus of the video on each section and its respective sub-section is briefly commented on throughout the Guide. However, the limited nature of these commentaries must be expanded through the student's reading and close study of specific chapters in The Key to Theosophy and The Ocean of Theosophy. The suggested readings give rise to a series of detailed questions, along with page prompts to both texts. It is suggested that individual students compose written answers to these, while group study and discussion is facilitated by the more open-ended questions that follow.
Finally, "Further Reading" is listed from various source and secondary literature which deals with the issues that have been raised. It is assumed that, along with the completed work of each sub-section, this additional study together with a careful consideration of our human experience in relation to these issues will broaden and deepen the student's perception.
Going back to the original metaphor, the progression of the work in each sub-section is the unfolding of petals, in series, towards the final flowering of an overall and yet deep, intuitive understanding of the fundamental teachings. As the student expands basic concepts through more complex readings and critically applies these concepts against the backdrop of personal experience, an organic learning process ensues which awakens intuition and encourages a holistic employment of the mind.
The authors of this project ought to be commended for their straightforward and non-sectarian approach toward some puzzling realities which confront the student of modern Theosophy. The first of these realities is expressed in their fourth Assumption: "the emergence of several traditions of theosophic thought... since the inception of the Theosophical Society." The student is warned that those organizations which call themselves Theosophical do not ALL promote the fundamental teachings of H.P. Blavatsky. Obviously it is their hope, as they state in the dedication, "that her original works will prevail over alterations and imitations." The student is reminded that "After the authors' deaths, some editions of
Theosophical works were altered by the publishers," and "the reader is not always notified of the alterations." Therefore, students interested in accuracy and fairness are advised to obtain verbatim or unabridged editions of these works.
It is also noted that presently, various spiritual groups and individuals claim to be in direct contact with the Mahatmas who were introduced to us by the founders. Those who desire a clear understanding of the Mahatmas and their work, in order to assess these claims, ought first to study the Mahatmas' Letters and the original writings.
The Study Guide offers valuable information which is not presented in the videotape. It contains three additional sections which cover: 1) a learning approach to Theosophy; 2) a further reading list at the end of each sub-section pertaining to specific Theosophical issues; and 3) a bibliography of source literature. All of these provide useful references for the student.
This now complete introductory course in the fundamental teachings of H.P. Blavatsky will provide a useful service, not only to those members involved in a long term, in-depth study of the literature, and who consequently might have lost sight of the forest for the trees, but it will also prove invaluable to those new members who have studied just a few strange beauteous growths, and consequently have not yet envisioned the whole forest.
- Gay Gering
In Search of The Masters: Behind the Occult Myth, by Paul Johnson. 305 pp. including bibliography. Privately published 1990. Available from the author at 1408 Fenton St., South Boston, Virginia 24592, U.S.A. Price $11.95 plus $2.00 shipping, (in U.S. funds).
The word "myth" in the title should serve as a warning and an indicator. This book is an endeavour to show that the Masters of H.P. Blavatsky were real and historical people, known to the world by other names, and with a more worldly lifestyle than is usually attributed to Masters. The author finds certain personages that H.P.B. knew, the link is shown, albeit some would almost fit in the category of casual acquaintances; and with great research and quotes, the author gives us details of these persons' lives. A fault this review could find is that too much detail is given of these persons and not enough to prove that they were or were not H.P.B.'s "Masters": only that she knew them in varying degrees is the nexus, which does not make a person a Master.
Mr. Johnson early states that not all theosophists will be pleased with this book. This may be the understatement of the year. He begins with the early and "veiled" years of H.P.B., about which more is now becoming known as researchers dig in the right places. He links H.P.B. with some historically known people, some of whom were also, later, founding members of the T.S., such as Rawson and Sotheran. H.P.B. in her early years traveled much with a few of those mentioned in the book, visiting, joining and working with secret organizations - Masonic, Rosicrucian - whose underlying purposes were to change the political set-ups of the day. The author suggests that H.P.B. and one such party she traveled with were lovers, perhaps a child ensued, which died: this child is mentioned in most biographies. This is the first instance of why the book may not prove popular with theosophists. Hero
and heroine figures are not allowed to have normal biological traits (for psychological reasons on the part of the personality worshipers), certainly not physical love and the results thereof. However, there is another way to treat this suggestion: if one is traveling about, working with secret organizations for the overthrow of certain existing governments (remember H.P.B. with Mazzini and Garibaldi, and the Carbonari conspiracy in Italy?) what better cover to put authorities off than to appear as naughty (in a Victorian prude age) unwed lovers traveling together, even if the apparent relationships may have really been platonic.
The common denominator of most of the personages linked to H.P.B. by the author, as candidates for H.P.B.'s Masters, is that they worked for the overthrow of colonial governments in the Middle East and in India. None of these people so dealt with, including Jamal ad Din al Afghani and Thakur Singh, ever succeeded in any change of government, with one exception in Egypt. These "identified Masters" had ordinary human traits, and children, advocated uprisings that would involve bloodshed if they occurred. Most died before H.P.B. They did not appear to qualify as "Masters," or 5th Initiates as I have been led to understand the qualifications for that title and the definition of the term.
H.P.B.'s publisher Katkov (of From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan) is identified as the Master Morya, and a political agitator, Sirdar Thakar Singh Sandhanwalia, eventually poisoned by a British policeman, is the Master Koot Humi. That these people died does not undo Johnson's argument in general theosophical theories, because in those days a "death" could be easily faked, covered up, to suit a Master (as I would define the appellation) who wanted to disappear and assume another personality for outer work elsewhere.
The book is not a work of pathography, as some might see it, but an honest opinion from researches done. The author concludes, to less endear himself to most theosophists, with the statement that H.P.B.'s "Masters" were a fraud, an invention by herself to cover the subversive political nature of these people from the authorities of the day. The implication is that H.P.B. too was a radical political reformer - failed, if so - since it was for Besant to successfully sow the seeds of India's independence from British colonial rule. Implied also, if the Masters were a fraud, the "Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett", beloved of so many theosophists, is also a fraud: these letters serving, in Johnson's theory, as a failed attempt to get an Indian newspaper going with Sinnett as editor, for the use of the political ends of the plotters.
Paul Johnson deals at great length, to the extent of boredom, on the character and history of those he has found as "Masters" whereas more time should have been spent, if only to expound a theory, as to why H.P.B. would create this "Masters Fraud". Only that she would hide her - and their - link to conspiracies from governmental authorities is given brief mention as a reason. Why would H.P.B. create a "Masters Fraud"? She never made a penny on her T.S., and died a pauper. Why invent "Masters" to promulgate a religious and philosophical system (Theosophy) when the usual tendency is to claim all glory for one's self, or leave it that she was just resurrecting the Ancient Wisdom? Why have others been in
contact with personages who qualify as being Masters, including the Master R (le compte de St. Germain) who was reported in writings before H.P.B. was born, (ignoring a few obviously faked Master contacts and letters from same)? An example suggesting real contact with real Masters by H.P.B. is the amount of what is scientific prophecy in The Secret Doctrine that has proved to be true, and which book H.P.B. claimed was largely dictated by her Masters.
Mr. Johnson's research is monumental, well done, but not conclusive in the issues he raises, which he himself admits. Lacking, to better make his point, are answers to some of the questions this reviewer has made as constructive criticism, which he should have dealt with, instead of the plethora of irrelevant history. Indeed, the "Why did H.P.B. invent Masters" should have been developed at greater length if Johnson was to successfully develop and promulgate his thesis.
- S. Treloar
A READER'S NOTES
It is a pleasure to report another publication commemorating the Blavatsky Centenary. Compiled and edited by Daniel Caldwell, it is a collection of articles on H.P. Blavatsky's life, work and teachings by William Q. Judge. An excellent selection, it bears the title of the lead article, The Esoteric She, a well known piece which was first published in the New York Sun.
Having this material between two covers gives a clear understanding of how Blavatsky was viewed by one who knew her well. Indeed, apart from her teachers, probably the one who knew her best. It also says much about Judge's dedication to her and to the cause.
Among the articles are two letters of particular interest. One is from Judge to H.P.B. herself immediately following the release of the S.P.R. Report. At a time when others were keeping their distance from her, this strong show of support must have cheered the much vilified "Old Lady" greatly. The other is to the Boston Index, also on the subject of the infamous Report.
The Esoteric She runs to 108 pages, and bears the imprint of Point Loma Publications, P.O. Box 6507, San Diego, CA 92166. Price $5.00 U.S.
And yet another! A handsome new edition of La Voix du Silence has been published for the Blavatsky Centenary by Textes Theosophiques. The cover is laid out similarly to the original edition of The Voice of the Silence. The text is followed by a brief note on Madame Blavatsky, and an index is included, the whole running to 182 pages. Price: 40 francs.
The same publisher has also put out a 28 page biographical sketch entitled H.P. Blavatsky (1831-1891): apercus biographiques. Fittingly, it was registered on May 8, 1991. Price: 20 francs.
Further information may be obtained from: Textes Theosophiques, 11 bis, rue Keppler, 75116 Paris, France.
Another new Theosophical journal to report. Well, not so new: it has been published since January 1987, but we found out about it only recently. It is The High Country The-
osophist, and is put out monthly by the High Country Theosophical Study Center, 140 S. 3rd St., Boulder, Colorado 80303.
Recent numbers have dealt with such topics as "The Persian Gulf War", "The Mystery of G. de Purucker" and "An Esoteric Look at William Q. Judge". Much is covered in the 8-page issues, and it is evident that a lot of research goes into each one.
The High Country Theosophists are obviously 1990's people. They can provide their entire past output on computer disk for those who prefer this medium, but will probably be able to find a sample printed copy for those who don't. For further information, drop a line to Dick Slusser at the above address.
The spring of 1991 marked the 30th anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. T.G. Davy's editorship of The Canadian Theosophist. Thirty years of fervent devotion to this often frustrating labour of love is definitely a noteworthy event.
On behalf of all the members of the T.S. in Canada, the members of Edmonton T.S. arranged for a small (surprise!) gathering at Doris' and Ted's home on the afternoon of July 9. They were presented with a large card, handcrafted by a member of Edmonton T.S. and her daughters, upon which were the signatures and greetings of everyone who had gathered in Vancouver in May for the H.P.B. Centenary, as well as of local members and friends. A bouquet of pink sweetheart roses, arranged in a basket by another Edmonton member, was also presented. A Calgary Lodge member read a poem which she had written for this occasion, and which light-heartedly described the innumerable perturbances encountered by Doris and Ted in their efforts to "meet the deadline".
But what is a special gathering without a special cake? Keeping in mind both Doris' and Ted's fondness for frozen desserts, an ice cream cake, complete with congratulatory message, topped off a delightful afternoon.
In the annals of the history of the Canadian Theosophical movement, appreciative mention will be recorded of Doris and Ted Davy's generous contribution to Theosophy in Canada. A major part of their lives has been devoted to this Cause, for which we, the members of the T.S. in Canada, thank them!
- Rogelle Pelletier
THE SCHOOL OF THE WISDOM
The 1992 session of the School of the Wisdom will be held at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, India, from January 6 to February 28.
Courses included in this session are: "The Wisdom of the Adepts" (Radha Burnier and Surendra Narayan); "Esoteric Buddhism" (Muriel Daw); "The Buddhist View of Sadhana" (Achyut Patwardhan); "Core Teachings of the Ages" (Radha Burnier); "The Theosophy of the Platonists" (Hugh Gray).
Those wishing information on registration, etc., should contact the Canadian General Secretary without delay.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY
An International Conference on Theosophical History will be held in San Diego, California, June 12-14, 1992. The actual location will be the Point Loma Nazarene College, which stands on the grounds of the famous Point Loma Theosophical Community, founded in 1897.
For information on registration, accommodation, meals, etc., write: Dr. James A. Santucci, Department of Religious Studies, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA 92634-9480 U.S.A.
CHANGING YOUR ADDRESS?
If you are a subscriber or a member-at-large and are planning to change your address, please send us a change of address notice as soon as possible. If you are a member of a Lodge, please advise your Lodge Secretary, so that the information may be passed to us. For second class mail the postal authorities return only the label from your magazine envelope marked "Moved". We have to pay return postage on this item and we also lose one magazine. - Eds.
TAPE LENDING LIBRARY
Audio and video cassette tapes of lectures, etc., are available on loan from the T.S. in Canada tape lending library. (This service is for residents of Canada only.) Write for list to: Doris Davy, 2307 Sovereign Cres. S.W., Calgary, Alberta. T3C 2M3.
Lodges and members-at-large are reminded that membership dues were payable before June 30, 1991. The individual fee is $14.00.
If a "family membership" is desired, only an additional $5.00 is required for each other member in the same household where only one magazine is sent.
Please note: Members attached to Lodges should pay through their Lodge. (Some Lodges charge a fee per member and this is payable in addition to the Section dues shown above). Members at large should send their cheques or money orders payable to: The Theosophical Society In Canada, R.R. #3, Burk's Falls, Ontario. P0A 1C0
This is the only notice of dues, no individual invoicing is done.
HOME STUDY COURSE
A Theosophical correspondence course is now available to Canadian readers. It is offered to new students of Theosophy, especially those who are unable to participate in local study groups.
Further information may be obtained by writing The Theosophical Society in Canada, R.R. No. 3, Burk's Falls, Ont. P0A 1CO.
CALGARY LODGE: President, Ms. Phyllis Olin, 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/Treasurer, Ms. Dolores A. Brissom, South Side Edmonton Post Office Box 4804, Edmonton, Alta. T6E 2A0.
HAMILTON LODGE: President, Sharon L. Taylor; Secretary, Laura Baldwin, 304 Emerson St., Hamilton, Ont. L8S 2Y7
MONTREAL STUDY CENTRE: Secretary, Mr. Fred Wilkes, 3679 Ste. Famille, No. 22, Montreal, P.Q. H2X 2L5
TORONTO LODGE: President, Mr. Peter Lakin, Secretary, Miss Catherine O'May; 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. Lance Mcraine; Secretary, Mrs. Eva V. Sharp. Lodge Rooms: 2 - 2807 West 16th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6K 3C5. (Phone 733-5684)
KALEVALA STUDY CENTRE, VANCOUVER: Secretary; Mrs. Hellin Savolainen, 1604 - 6055 Nelson Ave., B.C. V5H 4L4.
ORPHEUS LODGE, VANCOUVER: President, Mr. Eric Hooper, Sec. Treas. Mrs. Lillian Hooper. (Phone 463-7908 or 731-7491.)
VICTORIA LODGE: President, Mrs. Fiona Odgren, 923 Foul Bay Road, Victoria, B.C. V8S 4H9; (Phone 592-4256) Secretary, Mr. Ron Ramsay
ATMA VIDYA LODGE: Secretary, Mrs. H. Tidberry. Enquiries c/o "Bird Sanctuary," R.R. No. 2, Cobble Hill, B.C. V0R 1L0
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