IN ANY age, when doctrine becomes dogma, and when fanaticism compels lip service to exclusive group beliefs, the ideas of Theosophy seem buried and forgotten.
We discover, however, that this is never entirely the case.
The insurgencies of dogma and prejudice are like the frozen snows which hide the promise of spring. But seeds survive beneath the snow — and even during the darkest centuries of Western history, there was heat and warmth enough under the surface to allow some of these seeds to germinate.
In a sense, then, the history of the relationship between “heretics” and the “renaissance” is the history of every age.
“We do not mean to take upon ourselves to defend the sects which inundated Europe at the eleventh century,” Helena Blavatsky wrote in Isis Unveiled (p. 326), “and which brought to light the most wonderful creeds. We limit our defense….
“…to those Christian sects whose theories were usually grouped under the generic name of Gnosticism. The Gnostics [who] appeared immediately after the alleged crucifixion, and lasted till they were nearly exterminated under the rigorous execution of the Constantinian law.”
Gnostic Mystery Schools
“Had not the Christians burdened themselves with the Revelations of a little nation, and accepted the Jehovah of Moses, the Gnostic ideas would never have been termed heresies,” Blavatsky wrote.
“Once relieved of their dogmatic exaggerations the world would have had a religious system based on pure Platonic philosophy, and surely something would then have been gained.” – (Isis Unveiled, p. 155.)
The Lost Gnosis
(Prof. Elaine Pagels)
THE days of Constantine were the last turning-point in history, the period of the Supreme struggle that ended in the Western world throttling the old religions in favor of the new one, built on their bodies.
“This period, beginning with Buddha and Pythagoras at the one end and the Neo-Platonists and Gnostics at the other, is the only focus left in History wherein converge for the last time the bright rays of light streaming from the æons of time gone by, unobscured by the hand of bigotry and fanaticism.” (Secret Doctrine I, Introductory)
THE history of the Albigenses may be said to be written in blood. At first the church was content to condemn their errors at various councils (1165, 1176, 1178, 1179), but as their practical opposition to Rome became stronger, more decided measures were taken. Innocent III had scarcely ascended the papal throne when he sent legates to Toulouse (1198) to endeavor to suppress the sect.
Under the Roman Empire
The bloody war of extermination which followed has scarcely a parallel in history. As town after town was taken, the inhabitants were put to the sword ecclesiastics who were in the army especially distinguished themselves by a bloodthirsty ferocity. without distinction of age or sex, and the numerous
The establishment of an Inquisition at Languedoc in 1229 accelerated the exterminating process, and a few years later, according to some historians, the sect was all but extinct. (Britannica, 9th Ed., “Albigenses”)
NOT only were all Christians made to feel that it was their highest duty to aid in the exterminations of heretics, but they were taught that they must denounce them to the authorities, regardless of all consideration, human or divine. No tie of kindred served as an excuse for concealing heresy.
The son must denounce the father, and the husband was guilty if he did not deliver his wife to a frightful death.
Every human bond was severed by the guilt of heresy — children were taught to desert their parents, and even the sacrament of matrimony could not unite an orthodox wife to a misbelieving husband.
No pledge was to remain unbroken. (Britannica, 11th Ed., “Heresy”)
“We can assert, with entire plausibility, that there is not one of all these sects — Kabalism, Judaism, and our present Christianity included,” writes H. P. Blavatsky (Isis Unveiled 2:123):
“— but sprung from the two main branches of that one mother-trunk, the once universal religion, which antedated the Vedic ages — we speak of that prehistoric Buddhism which later merged into Brahmanism.”
Cracking the Gnostic Code
Gnosis means spiritual knowledge while Gnosticism was an ancient pre-Christian form of esoteric wisdom. The speaker, John Algeo, refers to Gnostic texts translated by the 19th century Theosophist G. R. S. Mead, Mme. Blavatsky’s Secretary — and shows how the Gnostics coded their wisdom.
This is an hour-long video lecture. You may wish to make a note of the elapsed minutes, and return to this valuable information several times, by sliding the bottom bar to the right.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky ….
“The world is not prepared yet to understand
… the philosophy of Occult Science – let them assure themselves first of all that there are beings in an invisible world … and that there are hidden powers in man …” (HPB Letters)
“Races of men differ in spiritual ‘gifts‘
… as in color, stature, or any other external quality — among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship.” (Isis Unveiled)
“Psychism, with all its allurements and all its dangers
… is necessarily developing among you, and you must beware lest the Psychic outruns the [mental] and spiritual development. Psychic capacities held perfectly under control, checked and directed by the [mind] principle, are valuable aids in development. But these capacities running riot, controlling instead of being controlled, using instead of being used, lead the student into the most dangerous delusions and the certainty of moral destruction.”
(To the American Conventions)
“The acquisition of the highest knowledge and power
… require not only many years of the severest study …. and an audacity bent by no peril, but also as many years of retreat in comparative solitude, and association with but students pursuing the same object, in a locality where nature itself preserves like the neophyte an absolute and unbroken stillness, if not silence!” – (H. P. Blavatsky)