Author Archives: Theosophy Watch

Adepts in America: The Sacred Tribe of Heroes

torch-of-truth

The Torch of Truth

SYNESIUS of Cyrene was a Greek bishop of Ptolemais in ancient Libya. What could that Sage have to do with modern America one might ask?

While still a youth he went with his brother Euoptius to Alexandria, where he became an enthusiastic Neoplatonist and disciple of Hypatia.  (Wikipedia)

He once wrote: “you must not think that the gods are without employment.”

This idea was further developed by the Theosophical Society Co-Founder William Q. Judge in his Article “Cycles,” concerning the voluntary duty of the ancient gods to watch over humanity.

“Men’s minds are only preparing for an alteration into that state which will permit the human race to advance to the point suitable for the Elder Brothers to introduce their actual presence to our sight. They may be truly called the bearers of the torch of truth across the ages.”

– William Q. Judge, The Ocean of Theosophy, Ch. 1

Mind and Nature

“For this providence is divine and most ample, which frequently through one man pays attention to and affects countless multitudes of men. But this happens when they harmonize a kingdom and send to this earth for that purpose souls who are allied to themselves.

“For they descend according to orderly periods of time:

for the purpose of imparting a beneficent impulse in the republics of mankind.

Describing these descending Gods, Synesius continued: “For there is indeed in the terrestrial abode the sacred tribe of heroes who pay attention to mankind, and who are able to give them assistance even in the smallest concerns.”

Olympia Flame

“This heroic tribe is, as it were, a colony from the gods established here in order that this terrene abode may not be left destitute of a better nature.”

But when the harmony adapted in the beginning by the gods to all terrene things becomes old, they descend again to earth

“that they may call the harmony forth, energize and resuscitate it when it is expiring. . . . When, however, the whole order of mundane things, greatest and least, is corrupted, then it is necessary that the gods should descend for the purpose of imparting another orderly distribution of things.”

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Ostara the Goddess of Spring: The Real Story of Easter

“Ostara” by Helena Nelson-Reed

THERE would be no glorious bursting forth of nature at Easter-time without the cyclic journey of the Sun.

The Sun-cycle ushers springtime into the world above the equator, and the ancients regarded this as the reincarnation season of the year.

The celebration of Ēoestre or Ostara is an old pagan festival, and is the origin of the word Easter. She is the goddess who symbolized the dawn, the warm Spring sun, the resurrection of Spirit in Earth, and much more.

“There is a real Easter, a Sun-cycle—the time of Vernal Equinox, on March 21st, which brings spring-time to the world above the equator. The ancients regarded this as the re-incarnation season of the year. In the Northland, the goddess Ostara was worshipped as beautiful Queen of the Spring-time, and from Ostara, our word Easter comes.

“It is said that when Ostara first came to earth, at the very beginning of the world, she wondered what it was that she had been given to do as part of the world’s work. As she wondered, she noticed how dark and cold and dead everything seemed, though she knew, of course, that the Life in all things was only sleeping for awhile till it was time to waken again. Then it suddenly came to her that this was why she was on earth—to wake things up!”

In the legend, when the beautiful Goddess Ēoestre saw all this wonderful work of hers, she said: “Hereafter, every year I will have one day called Easter, after me. That day, all shall celebrate the awakening of Life from its winter sleep.”

Then shall all people be joyous and glad and give each other eggs as gifts, for the Egg shall be my symbol. So it is fitting, for all Life is first within the egg.

“All life in first within the egg.”

“Life laughs in bud and bloom
from out the bough,
‘Tis Easter now.
The Sun his golden journey makes
In circle wide across the sky.
O, Radiance, teach us how
To mirror in our eyes the gleam,
To let shine forth the Light we dream
This Easter now.”

The Eternal Verities,
The Easter Lesson, p. 251

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Occult America: Through The Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass

THE  surreal landscape of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass has Alice wondering what the world is like on the other side of a mirror.

To her surprise, Alice is able to pass into a fantastic astral world and experience an alternate existence.

A puzzled Alice discovers a book with looking-glass poetry called “Jabberwocky,” which she can read only by holding it up to a mirror.

To Theosophical students, Carroll’s imaginative invention is an unambiguous reminder of “the astral light” of occultism, a universal storage drive where original images of all things are seen in reverse of their visible projections on our terrestrial plane.

In 1871, mediumship and table-tipping were all the rage, detailed in Mitch Horowitz’s popular book Occult America. “Understandably, Carroll’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland was wildly popular at the time,” he writes:

Clairvoyance and psychic powers have always fascinated the public. But then, as now, they were considered nonsensical by mainstream scientists.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” the White Queen confides to Alice.

Alice through the looking glass.

Once of interest only to ghost-hunters, and the derided science of parapsychology, “The Big 5”: Precognition, Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Psychokinesis and Healing (known collectively as “psi”), are now being noticed by the rank-and-file psychological and neuroscience community.

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A Miracle of Miracles —The Great Inscrutable Mystery

Botticelli: Primavera

Botticelli: Primavera

WE were repulsed by a report of a terrorist beheading. David Brooks wrote about it in a NY Times Opinion, “The Body and the Spirit” in which he concludes that “the body has a spiritual essence.”

“The human head and body don’t just live and pass along genes,” Brooks writes: “They paint, make ethical judgments, savor the beauty of a sunset and experience the transcendent.”

Sounding more like a student of Theosophy than a cultural and political commentator Brooks adds: “The body is material but surpasses the material. It’s spiritualized matter.”

This is very close to what H. P. Blavatsky declared in The Secret Doctrine: “Spirit is the first differentiation from That, the causeless cause of both Spirit and Matter. It is, as taught in the esoteric catechism, neither limitless void, nor conditioned fulness, but both. It was and ever will be. . . .

“It is not matter as we know it, but the spiritual essence of matter.”

Spirit-Matter

“Most of us, religious or secular,” Brooks wrote: “have some instinctive sense that there is a ghost infused in the machine. And because the human body is a transcendent temple it is worthy of respect. It is offensive to treat it the way you would treat an inanimate object.”

Even after a person is dead, the body still carries the residue of this presence and deserves dignified handling.

Similarly, H. P. Blavatsky quoted Thomas Carlyle: “‘we touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body!'” … “How does our physical body come to the state of perfection it is found in now?,” she asks, and answers: “Through millions of years of evolution, of course, yet never through, or from, animals, as taught by materialism.”

Further quoting Carlyle: — ‘The essence of our being, the mystery in us that calls itself  ‘I,’ — what words have we for such things? — it is a breath of Heaven, the highest Being reveals himself in man. This body, these faculties, this life of ours, is it not all as a vesture for the unnamed?'”

Botticelli, Birth of Venus

Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus

“The breath of heaven, or rather the breath of life is, as Novalis said, and no one since has said it better, as repeated by Carlyle: —

There is but one temple in the universe, and that is the body of man. Nothing is holier than that high form . . . . We touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body!

‘If well meditated it will turn out to be a scientific fact — the expression of the actual truth of the thing. We are the miracle of miracles — the great inscrutable Mystery.’ 

(Blavatsky adds): “The breath of heaven, or rather the breath of life, called in the bible Nephesh, is in every animal, in every animate speck as in every mineral atom.”

(The Secret Doctrine 1:211-12)

human-anatomy-07

Intelligent Design

Quoting Thomas Carlyle:

“But none of these has, like man, the consciousness of the nature of that highest Being, as none has that divine harmony in its form which man possesses. There is but one temple in the universe, says the devout Novalis, and that is the body of man. Nothing is holier than that high form.”

We touch heaven when we lay our hand on a human body! This sounds like a mere flourish of rhetoric but it is not so.

“If well meditated it will turn out to be a scientific fact; the expression in such words as can be had, of the actual truth of the thing. We are the miracle of miracles,— the great inscrutable Mystery of God. We cannot understand it, we know not how to speak of it; but we may feel and know, if we like, that it is verily so.”

(Thomas Carlyle, Ch. 1, Hero as Divinity)

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We Are All Connected, Bound Together for Good or Ill

© Lois Greenfield

THE uplifting adage ‘attitude is altitude’ pinpoints how the power of positive thinking can improve every aspect of our lives, using a simple but underutilized power we all possess.

“For decades, scientists have tried to test the power of prayer and positive thinking, with mixed results,” writes NPR National Desk religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty about a study on the science of spirituality.

“Now some scientists,” she writes, “are fording new, and controversial territory.” In an area of esoteric inquiry which is sometimes called Mental Alchemy and/or Metaphysics, a lot of thinkers over the ages have stated the idea in various ways.

The conviction that one’s thoughts are the great determiners of the content of one’s life, inspires  many to forge on despite difficult life circumstances.

Ancient wisdom traditions maintain that thoughts are actual things, and that one’s thoughts are the result of an unalterable universal law called “Cause and Effect,” and will manifest themselves at some point in one’s life.

Cause and Effect

“The lower world of effects is the sphere of … distorted Thoughts; of the most sensual conceptions, and pictures; of anthropomorphic deities, the out-creations of their creators, the sensual human minds of people who have never outgrown their brutehood on earth

Remembering thoughts are things — have tenacity, coherence, and life — that they are real entities — the rest will become plain.

“Disembodied — the creator is attracted naturally to its creation and creatures; sucked in — by the Maelstrom dug out by his own hands. . . . But I must pause, for volumes would hardly suffice to explain all that was said by me in this letter.”

Letter 9, The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett

All Connected

The law of Cause and Effect can also be described as a law that says, “For every action, there is a reaction.”  Since thoughts are actual things, and since thoughts are also actions, it means that the thoughts will invariably cause a reaction that will result in the manifestation of those thoughts.

“No act is performed without a thought at its root either at the time of performance or as leading to it. These thoughts are lodged in that part of man which we have called Manas — the mind — and there remain as subtle but powerful links with magnetic threads that enmesh the solar system.” 

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The Secret Gate of Reality

The Mystery of Water

“THE idea that things can cease to exist and still be, is a fundamental one in Eastern psychology.

“Under this apparent contradiction in terms,” wrote H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine, “there rests a fact of Nature to realize is the important thing.”

“A familiar instance of a similar paradox is afforded by chemical combination,” she pointed out.

“The question whether Hydrogen and Oxygen cease to exist, when they combine to form water, is still a moot one.”

“Some [argue] that since they are found again when the water is decomposed, they must be there all the while—others contending that as they actually turn into something totally different, they must cease to exist as themselves for the time being.”

Neither side is able to form the faintest conception of the real condition of a thing, which has become something else, and yet has not ceased to be itself.

“Existence as water may be said to be, for Oxygen and Hydrogen, a state of Non-being which is ‘more real being’ than their existence as gases. And it may faintly symbolize the condition of the Universe when it goes to sleep, or ceases to be — “to awaken or reappear again, when the dawn of the new [Universe] recalls it to what we call existence.”

Padma – Lotus

This masterful treatise on reality and illusion by Mme. Blavatsky might have been written by one of today’s  quantum physicists or frontier cosmologists.

Instead, they are her words, the ideas of a master Theosophical thought leader, excerpted from the Fundamentals of her magnum opus  The Secret Doctrine [1:54-5] — the  quintessence  of physics, metaphysics and ethics.

The Lotus Symbol

“There are no ancient symbols, without a deep and philosophical meaning attached to them; their importance and significance increasing with their antiquity. Such is the Lotus. It is the flower sacred to nature and her Gods, and represents the abstract and the Concrete Universes, standing as the emblem of the productive powers of both spiritual and physical nature.”

Vishnu and Padma, the lotus.

“The lotus flower, represented as growing out of Vishnu’s navel — that God resting on the waters of space and his Serpent of Infinity — is the most graphic allegory ever made: the Universe evolving from the central Sun, the point, the ever-concealed germ. Lakshmi, who is the female aspect of Vishnu, and who is also called Padma, the lotus, is likewise shown floating at “Creation,” on a lotus flower, and during the “churning of the ocean” of space, springing from the “sea of milk,” like Venus from the froth.”
– H. P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine 1:379

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Eye

New Universe Awakening

THEOSOPHY teaches the progressive development of everything, “worlds as well as atoms,” according to The Secret Doctrine.

This “stupendous development,” say the ancient sages, “has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end.”

To them, our ‘Universe’ is “only one of an infinite number of Universes, all links in the great Cosmic chain of Universes.”

In this view, each individual cosmos, or single human life, is the effect of its predecessor. Under karmic law, “a cause as regards its successor.” 

(The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p. 43)

If lifetimes and universes are analogous to schools, then the classrooms are stages of consciousness, pushing us to ever greater self-awareness and self-development — only if we are wise enough to pursue the path offered.

Thus our lives are complex creations, a series of  ‘progressive awakenings,’ advanced or retarded drop by drop, by our individual, family, racial, national and global karma.

Everyone, in this way, settles into his or her own unique rhythm in which a lifetime meditation empowers a mixture of past karma, and present choices.

We all must be then at slightly differing points on an ascending evolutionary arc, paying off old debts, making new ones — pushing forward or slipping back, and the mind thus ever awakens to newer realities.

Drop by Drop

The choices that shape our character each lifetime, are self-chosen—compounded of physical, sensory, emotional, mental, psychic and spiritual energies.

The ancient Egyptian after death judgement, weighed symbolically a person’s heart against the ‘feather of truth.’

The challenges of life, the occult doctrine notes, are the result of our being grounded in a personal level of consciousness, a limited world view. The Secret Doctrine 1:39-40 teaches that “whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in, both we and the things belonging to that plane are, for the time being, our only realities.”

Progressive Awakenings

Nothing is permanent except the one hidden absolute existence which contains in itself the noumena of all realities.

Weighing the Heart against the Feather of Truth

“Only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from delusions.”

“As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities.

and the upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have reached ‘reality’—

(The Secret Doctrine 1:40)

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