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THEOSOPHY WORLD ------------------------------------- April, 1998

An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World

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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are 
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not 
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)


"Globes, Planes, and Principles" by Eldon Tucker
"H.P. Blavatsky and the Rays" by Alan E. Donant
"Regarding Saint Germain" by L. Gordon Plummer
"Online Theosophical Mailing Lists"
"Rules of the Mystical Schools" by G. de Purucker
"Druidism: The Theosophy of Ancient Wales" Part I, 
    by Kenneth Morris
"Questioning Geoffrey Farthing's Manifesto" by Paul Johnson
"Theosophists and Buddhism" by  G. de Purucker
"Awaken!" by Harold Merry
"The Experience of the Spiritual" by Eldon Tucker
"Are the Masters Active Today?" by L. Gordon Plummer
"The Neoplatonic Revival"


> Behind the veil of all the hieratic and mystical allegories of
> ancient doctrines, bedind the shadows and the strange ordeals of
> all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, ... in
> the strange emblems of our old books of alchemy, in the
> ceremonies at reception practised by all mysterious societies,
> traces are found of a doctrine which is everywhere the same, and
> everywhere carefully concealed.



by Eldon Tucker

[based upon a September 8, 1994 posting to]

A discussion of the principles of consciousness -- including the
physical body, senses, feelings, desires, thoughts, and so forth
-- is incomplete unless it proceeds to mention the Monads.

In early theosophical literature, the Monads, or rather Egos or
centers of consciousness, were spoken of in association with the
principles. The spiritual Ego was associated with Buddhi, the
human Ego with Manas, the animal life-nature, nephesh, with
Kama-Prana. There were many more associations.

Yet another type of association made with the principles was with
the planes of consciousness, where our plane was associated with
the physical, the next with the astral, the following with the
mental, and so forth.

A third type of association was made with the Globes or worlds on
which we can exist, where a particular Globe is on such-and-such
a plane, and because of being on that plane is associated with
the corresponding principle of consciousness.

When we talk about principles, planes, and Globes, we are talking
about three quite different things. They are interrelated, but
are not the same thing. Let's try to untangle our understanding
of them a bit.

Regardless of whatever world we may come into existence on, we
have consciousness. That consciousness can be understood as
being composed of certain basic elements, certain essential
parts. The principles represent those parts, those ingredients
that go into making a fully-manifest being. By understanding the
principles, how they work, and how they relate to each other, we
understand the general pattern of the workings of consciousness,
and understand the magical process by which the unseen is made

Apart from the understanding of the workings of consciousness, we
may consider *where* we are coming into being. There are
definite localities where existence may happen. These places are
the "bodies" of great beings. By existing, and having bodies,
they play host to us, they provide the worlds on which we may
come into manifest existence. These worlds, for us, are the
Globes of our planetary chain. (We call it a "chain" because
each it linked to the next in sequence; we pass from the first
one to the second, from that to the third, and continue to the
last one, where we start over again. It is a "planetary" chain
because it is composed of planets in space, although the only
visible planet in our chain is the earth.)

When we come into birth, when we take on manifest existence in
one of these worlds, on one of the Globes of our chain, we clothe
ourselves in the principles of consciousness. If we clothe
ourselves in all the principles, through and including the
physical form, we are fully-manifest. If we but partially clothe
ourselves in the principles, we may not participate in the
activities of life on that world, we stay somewhat out of

The principles are different than these globes. They should not
be pictured as being concrete, tangible, physical objects of the
substance of some other, higher world. A thought, for instance,
is not literally a rock or pencil on some higher world; a thought
is a way of experiencing life. Regardless of how high a world we
may manifest on, the capacity of thought is part of the full
experience of life.

Using a term like "mental body" is misleading, since thought is
not physical substance of some higher world, and our capacity of
thought is not itself but a physical body on that higher world. 
There is both a life and a form side to each of the principles. 
Each principle has its associated element. But this "substance"
is the stuff that Skandhas are made of. To draw an analogy to
quantum physics: we are talking about the wave-like and
particle-like attributes of mind, where the life-side is the
wave-like quality and the form-side is the particle-like quality. 
"Substance" is the tangible nature, the crystallized side of
thought, as contrasted to its fluidic nature.

When we come into existence in a world, we could say that we take
on thought, mental activity, if we sufficiently awaken our
consciousness and go that far into coming into existence; e.g.,
if we clothe ourselves in Atman, Buddhi, and Manas. No "bodies"
are involved, though, until we reach the physical, the
Sthula-Sharira, or some substitute like the Mayavi-Rupa or
Nirmanakaya, depending upon our evolutionary status.

Having now made a distinction between the principles and the
Globes or places of existence, we now need to further distinguish
the planes of consciousness from them. Consciousness is an
experience we have of living life; it is not dependent on
locality. We may have any consciousness throughout a wide
spectrum of possibilities, and yet be in the physical body. We
could be alive and awake and yet range in our experience from the
horror of Avitchi through Kamalokic desire, ordinary waking
consciousness, Devachanic spiritual dream experiences, to
near-Nirvanic beatitude.

A plane of consciousness is measured by the range or extent of
its effects. The "plane" could be compared to a magnetic field. 
Its extent is as far as any object over which it can exert some
force. A plane is not an abstract, mathematical concept -- not
any more so than the Laws of Nature. Each is caused by the
actions of higher beings.

The planes of consciousness that we are able to experience on the
earth could be compared to the "background radiation" of the
great Being whose life enables the earth to exist. The qualities
of consciousness of that Being are organized along the same lines
as ours; e.g. His Atman, Buddhi, Manas, and so forth. We find,
therefore, that the planes we experience, while on the earth
chain, correspond to principles. There are, though, no planes in
an abstract, mathematical sense. (This holds true for anything
that we may consider in life: There are no absolute rules, laws,
structures to life; everything is from the action of living

But when we leave our physical earth behind, our body asleep or
entranced, and go on to other worlds, don't we travel to other
planes? Not really. The qualities of consciousness that those
other planes represent can be experienced just as well in this
world as in the next. We are not going to other planes, but
rather to other globes, other *places of existence.*

The other globes are non-physical in the sense that they are of
different matter than our earth, globe D, is composed of. And
they could be subject to different physical "laws of nature,"
based upon the behavior of the elemental and mineral kingdoms on
those other globes. But when we say that the other globes are on
other planes, we are really referring to the fact that each globe
has its own keynote consciousness, centered in one of the
principles. One globe is centered in Prana, another in Kama, yet
another in Kama-Manas. Because of this association, a particular
principle governs "how nature works" on a globe, and we could
say, in a loose sense, that a globe was "on that plane," that it
was on the plane associated with that particular principle.

How could we describe all this? We are "on a plane" when we
experience the corresponding consciousness, regardless of what
world, what globe we may be on at the time. We find it easiest
to experience a particular plane when on the globe on which that
quality of consciousness predominates. The globes, and not the
planes, are the places that we visit, when "out of the body." The
globes are limited in number, and visited sequentially; we should
not think of a "fourth dimension" with an infinite number of
places to visit in our out-of-the-body experiences. We do not
literally have "bodies" for each quality of consciousness, except
in a metaphorical sense, in reference to the living bundle of
attributes and qualities that we acquire and carry with us;
"bodies" in reference to "physical" forms are created for our use
on any globe we would exist on.

This takes us to where the Monads enter the picture. In our
constitution are various centers of consciousness, somewhat
associated with the various principles, but each with its own
sense of identity. We may focus in one center or the next. We
have the Divine Monad or Ego, then the Spiritual, the Higher
Human, the Human, the Animal, and so on. All these centers of
consciousness within us are entities in their own right, yet
paradoxically they also are all but facets of ourselves. We are
currently centered in the lower Human Ego, but one day, as our
evolution progresses, we will operate out of a higher center
within. These centers in us, these Egos, as the Globes relate to
us in our totality, might be compared to the Globes, as they
relate to the planetary chain in its entirety -- both are the
different centers of consciousness, associated with different
principles, in which the life-energies of a being operate.

The early terminology of Theosophy was tangled, and I'm not sure
that simply using English terms for the Sanskrit would help pull
out the hidden meanings. I've found that Purucker's writings
help considerably in sorting things out. The most important
thing to do is to not crystallize in our thinking, to continually
strive to break the molds of mind, to always think things afresh
and breathe new life into them. There is always something new to
learn, even on the simplest of truths, the most basic of our
doctrines, if we'd just keep looking. The core concepts of
Theosophy are deep Koans offering much to the hungry mind! 


by Alan E. Donant
[Printed with permission from THE THEOSOPHIC LINK, newsletter of
The Theosophical Society, Pasadena, American Section.]

As FTS begin study groups or branches they encounter many schools
of thought. Some of these use theosophic terms and concepts that
too often do not have the same underlying philosophy and vast
cosmogony of theosophy behind them. This can be confusing to
study-group coordinators and participants alike.

Modern theosophy survived its first century largely due to the
writings of HPB, W. Q. Judge, and their teachers. The
willingness of theosophists to keep this literature readily
available and to encourage its public study in an impersonal,
nondogmatic fashion is equally important if this modern
presentation is to remain intact and of benefit to the centuries
to come.

Over the last century, some students have become interested in
the cosmological forces called rays. A few have gone so far as
to develop entire theories around this theme. I think this is
what was, in part, intended. Each of us must try to understand,
and apply the ideas of the theosophia perennis to the best of our
abilities. However, as we reach forward with new insight we must
also reach back to the source literature that inspired us -- a
reality check so to speak. No matter how beneficial a new
approach may seem to its adherents, when fundamental principles
are altered we must be honest and say, what we now have is no
longer an elucidation but a system of thought different from the

A major contrast between theosophy and many religions and schools
of spiritual cosmological thought is theosophy's incompatibility
with anthropomorphized metaphysical concepts, Deity in

> Theosophy shrinks from brutal materialization; it prefers
> believing that, from eternity retired within itself, the Spirit
> of Deity neither wills nor creates; but that, from the infinite
> effulgency everywhere going forth from the Great Centre, that
> which produces all visible and invisible things is but a Ray
> containing in itself the generative and conceptive power, which,
> in its turn produces that which the Greeks called Macrocosm, the
> Kabalists Tikkun or Adam Kadmon -- the archetypal man, and the
> Aryans Purusha, the manifested Brahm, or the Divine Male. 
> -- "What Is Theosophy?," H. P. BLAVATSKY COLLECTED WRITINGS II, 
>    91.

The subject of the rays is woven through complex metaphysics
that, in its entirety, is too much for a short article. However,
HPB's thoughts on it can be outlined here. Two concepts must be
borne in mind from the beginning. First, the universe is One. 
All the beings, and planes of existence that come into
manifestation are collectively the One while each mirrors the One
individually. Second, and most important, the rays are not
beings nor do they continue in manifestation, but rather perish
after being sunken into matter. The effect of this is that the
monads awakened by the primeval rays have rays of their own, and
so on throughout existence.

As the universe begins anew there is the One Ray that emerges
from the First Logos (the unmanifested.) This One Ray is Divine
Thought containing the future Primordial Seven Rays and the seven
after them. The One Ray creates and fecundates the Second Logos
(the matrix or womb, the partially manifest.) After doing so it
is withdrawn. From this is born the Third Logos (the
manifested). From the Third Logos come the Seven Primordial Rays
-- really fourteen in all, seven spiritual and later seven
material -- and the manifested universe. These rays are the
manifestations of Divine Thought and relate to it in the same way
the rainbow colors relate to white light -- the trinity of logoi
being the prism through which the light is refracted.

The carrier of manifested Divine Thought is Fohat. As the saying
goes: "Fohat is the steed and the thought is the rider." As such,
the rays cannot be referred to as beings but are the impelling
force of Divine Thought. HPB 's example of the sun's rays not
being entities, though the sun is, and the beings affected by the
rays are entities is helpful at this point.

To understand the manifestation of the Primordial Seven Rays and
their relationship to man HPB draws our attention to the
Sephirothal Tree. It is important to remind ourselves that HPB
was not making up a new system of thought. She was elucidating
the universal mystery teachings. Consistent with this she
utilized the Sephiroth to explain the rays, equating the two. It
is a significant landmark for students seriously interested in
the subject. The Sephiroth and the seven principles: atman,
buddhi, manas, kama, prana, astral, and physical relate to the
"rays". The illustration on the front page of this issue depicts
the sephirothal tree found in Issac Myer's Qabbalah.

As Divine Thought manifests -- carried by Fohat -- and the kosmos
materializes, Thought impresses itself upon the entire fabric of
space: the spaces of space. All manifestation takes on the
sevenfold nature of divinity. HPB makes quite clear the major
significance of the sevenfold nature of man and kosmos in THE

> Doctrines such as the planetary chain, or the seven races, at
> once give a clue to the seven-fold nature of man, for each
> principle is correlated to a plane, a planet, and a race; and the
> human principles are, on every plane, correlated to sevenfold
> occult forces.

Break these down, alter the sevenfold nature, and the entire
system of philosophy as given by her teachers is altered.

The hierarchy of beings is this sevenfold nature of Divine
Thought expressed as entities. Thus there are the seven creative
"gods" or dhyanis expressed as seven collectives. Their
influence (rays) transform all. In turn the regents of the sun
and seven sacred planets are part of the hosts of "gods." Man is
built of the combination of effects, or rays of rays of rays of
monads, which were re-awakened into manifestation from the
original impress of the Seven Primordial Rays, both the seven
material and the seven spiritual, now perished as mentioned
above. The fourteen rays are intimately connected by karma as
neither can manifest without the other. So man is built of the
material as well as the spiritual rays manifested through sun,
moon, and sacred planets, each affecting the terrestrial man at
different phases of evolution. The seven spiritual rays or
consciousness-forces set into motion by the primordial seven,
manifest as and through the manasaputras who awaken mankind. 
Human beings reflect these rays as their sevenfold nature and
when awakened to their true self become the bodhisattvas,
buddhas, manus, etc., of human history.

At death our true self returns to its parent star. This star, a
dhyani-buddha -- one of the ones brought into being through the
seven primordial rays -- remains the parent star throughout the
entire manvantara. This star should not be confused with the
zodiac. It is the INDIVIDUALITY, whereas the forces of the
zodiac delineate the personality, the temporary.

While a ray of the monad is affected by the influences of other
emanations, it has its own history of receptive and nonreceptive
responses that we call karma, and is under no special influence
other than its own. For example, in the same way a reincarnating
ego impersonally "picks its parents" in its process of
reimbodiment on earth, it may also, through karmic affinity,
identify with the spiritual-intellectual influences of a greater
being, one of twelve, composing the zodiacal houses. Rather than
being "imposed upon" -- as many may feel, the journey of the
reincarnating ego may be a matter of relative free will and
identity by means of accumulated habits.

Our future is written in the stars, but what a vast range this
is! An affect of the rays of Divine Thought, the universe is of
one light and one life. Our destiny is to emanate from within
ourselves the full array of infinite possibility and memory,
collectively as well as individually. What is that possibility
and that memory? It is the infinite potential for compassion and
love that repeatedly brings the universe into manifestation. 


by L. Gordon Plummer

[From the question-and-answer session ending a talk given on the
Sacred Seasons. The tape recording was circulated in the 1970's,
but did not carry the time and place the talk was given.]

Saint Germain was certainly an Adept. Where he is, or what he is
doing now, I have no idea. I am convinced that those who claim
-- a certain group that you probably know of -- that Saint
Germain is guiding them at the present time do not know what they
are talking about.

I saw a large picture of Saint Germain in a window down in San
Diego not very long ago. And also a picture of Morya, who was
also supposed to be a Master who is once more working -- he was
supposed to be holding a convention in the Middle East.

All that kind of stuff is -- well, in the first place, it is so
confusing to people. It turns many people away in disgust. 
People who are trying to seek find this kind of thing and think:
"Here is the answer, I'm going to get in touch with the Masters."
They are deluded. And the responsibility for deluding serious
human beings is a terrifying one. 

If these people only realized it! They are incurring a karmic
debt that they have got to set right some day. However, they do
it I do not know. But, it is a terrible responsibility to
mislead serious seekers for Truth into a bypath that is going to
lead them nowhere. And they have got to retrace their steps; and
somehow, somewhere along the line, the people that have misled
them have got to help to lead them back to the Path. That is the
only way I can see it.

As I think I said last time I was here, or perhaps it was at the
lodge room, the responsibility of giving Teachings is an awesome
one. No one should ever attempt it without being fully aware of
that responsibility, making not doubly-sure, not three-times
sure, but a hundred-times sure that he is giving the right
Teaching. He dare not do otherwise. 

That is why all Occult Teaching in the Mystery Schools began with
the phrase, the Sanskrit ITI MAYA SHRUTAM, "thus have I heard."
"I am passing it out as it was given to me in the purity of
thought that I received it." That is the only way it can be
passed on, the only safe way. And if you try to vary it, in any
way whatever, you are assuming a responsibility that you are just
not equipped to handle.

And now, people will say "that's dogmatism," but it is not
anything of the sort. There is such a difference between
doctrine and dogma, between Teachings and creed. The difference
is that between light and dark. And to give these Teachings is
no more dogmatic than to teach mathematics. In mathematics, to
give a simple algebraic equation -- that is the way it is -- and
it is not dogmatic to give it, one is simply enunciating a
principle of mathematics. 

You cannot have one school of mathematics teaching the quadratic
equations one way and another school teaching them in another
form -- it just does not happen, it cannot be. You are either
learning it, or you are not, and there is nothing dogmatic about
it, because it is just the way it is. And the principles of
Theosophy, the principles of the Esoteric Wisdom, are just as
fundamental in nature as are the principles of mathematics. You
are no more dogmatic in giving the genuine Teachings than you are
dogmatic in teaching mathematics.

Dogmatism occurs when a set of creeds have been thought out, as
for instance in the Synod, the council of Nicaea, about 500 AD in
fact, I think there were two or three of them, of these councils
-- and their teachings were laid down in that council with no
Spiritual insight, no Spiritual guidance. Certain teachings not
compatible with the aims and the ambitions of those running the
convention were cast out -- primarily the one regarding
reincarnation. Origen taught reincarnation. His teachings were
thrown out. It is stated that "from now onward, this is what is
going to be taught." That is how dogma started. And from then on
you either believed this -- or else! That is dogma.

We never say that in giving the Teachings. We say: "Here are the
Teachings, if they seem right to you then take them. Take them
to your heart. Take them to your lives. If you are not sure,
meet them with an open mind. Take them for further study. Think
over them. If there is anything in them that does not appeal to
the best in you, cast it out." And it does not matter who tells
it to you. If it does not appeal to you as being true, then you
are not true to yourself if you try to accept it. No genuine
Teacher will ever ask you to do anything that goes against your
conscience or against your moral sense.

So there is the difference. But so many people cannot understand
and they say Theosophists are as dogmatic as anybody. 


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[Speaking of the mystical schools of former eras, G. de Purucker 
mentions their basic rules on pages 32 and 33 of FOUNTAIN-SOURCE 
The rules are simple in themselves, so simple that the novice, 
unversed in the occult code, is often disappointed at not finding 
something more difficult to achieve, forgetting that the grandest 
truths are always the simplest. One such rule is never to strike 
back, never to retaliate; better to suffer injustice in silence. 
Another is never to justify oneself, to have patience, and leave 
the karma to the higher law to adjust. And still another, and 
perhaps the greatest rule of this discipline, is to learn to 
forgive and to love. Then all else will come naturally, stealing 
into the consciousness silently, and one will know the rules 
intuitively, will be long suffering in patience, compassionate, 
and great of heart.

Can't we see the beauty of no retaliation, no attempt at 
self-justification, of forgiveness of injuries, of silence? One 
cannot take these rules too much to heart; but even so they should 
be followed impersonally in order that here be no possibility of 
brooding over real or imaginary hurts. Any rankling sense of 
injustice would be fatal and would in itself be a doing the very 
thing, in a passive way, that should be avoided -- either 
passively or actively.

The reason for the prohibition of any effort at self-defense in 
cases of attack or accusation is training: training in 
self-control, training in love. For there is no discipline so 
effective as self-initiated effort. Moreover, the attitude of 
defense not only hardens the periphery of the auric egg, but also 
coarsens it throughout; it emphasizes the lower personal self 
every time, which is a training in the inverse direction, tending 
towards disintegration, unrest, and hatred. Let the karmic law 
pursue its course. One exercises judgement and discrimination of an 
exceedingly high type when the consciousness of the effectiveness 
of this practice is gained. The more a man feels that he, in the 
light of his conscience, has acted well, the sense of injury, the 
wish to retaliate, the feverish need of self-justification, 
become small and unnecessary. Consciousness of right brings 
forgiveness, and the desire to live in compassion and 

But let us not confuse the rule regarding self-justification with 
those responsibilities that as honest men and women we may be 
called upon to fulfill. It may be a clear duty actively to stand 
up for a principle that is at stake, or to spring to the side of 
one unjustly attacked. There is a kindness in being rigidly firm, 
in refusing to participate in evil doing. The sentimental crime 
of allowing evil to take place before our eyes, and thus 
participating in it for fear of hurting someone's feelings, is a 
moral weakness which leads to spiritual degradation. However, when 
we ourselves are attacked, preferable it is to suffer in silence. 
Only rarely do we need to justify our own acts.

Overcoming the eager itch of the lower part to prove that 'we are 
right' may seem a negative exercise, but we shall find that it 
requires very positive inner action. It is a definite spiritual 
and intellectual exercise that teaches self-control and brings 
equanimity. By practicing it. little by little, instinctively one 
begins to see the viewpoint of the other. Yet here again, there is 
a subtle danger, for this very practice may become so attractive 
after one has followed it faithfully for some time, that there is 
an actual risk of generating and cultivating a spiritual pride in 
the success thus far achieved. This is something that one must 
watch for and wrench out of one's soul.


by Kenneth Morris

[from THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM, September 1950, pages 535-548.]

This subject is a vast one; it is difficult to know how to tackle
it intelligibly. Books and books have been written on it; hardly
any two agreeing about anything. If you want to establish any
conclusion you may draw, you have to bring forward pages and
pages of evidence, from Greek literature, from Latin literature,
from Welsh literature; and argue and argue and argue. That is
the correct scientific way of doing things. I shall have to ask
you to take all that for granted, and say that what I am going to
give you are the conclusions my own mind has formed after
considerable study, considerable pondering of all the evidence
that remains to us; and that I could not prove any of these
conclusions to anyone who did not want to believe in them.

You see, there are two types of mind, or two sides to the mind. 
One says, I'm from Missouri; show me; I won't accept anything
unless it is proved; you've got no business to believe anything
unless you can prove it in a chemical laboratory; measure it,
weigh it, tie it up neatly into little packages, and stick a
label on each. For that type of mind, or that side of the mind,
there is nothing to say about Druidism; it dismisses the subject
as something we know practically nothing about. But the other
type is alert to catch suggestions of unknown greatness. When it
hears of something, it does not ask for that something to be
proved, but asks: Can I use that? Is that of value to me? Can I
enlarge my soul, so to speak, by contemplation of it? To this
second type of mind the subject of Druidism is one that must
appeal very greatly.

The Druids were the priests of certain Celtic peoples in
antiquity. They and their religion preceded Christianity in Gaul
(France), in Britain and in Ireland; their headquarters was in
Britain, where the religion started, and where the training
colleges for the priesthood were situated. In the literature of
Greece and Rome we find references to them from about 200 B.C. 
to 200 or 300 A.D.

The first is from an Alexandrian Greek writer named Sotion, about
200 B.C. He speaks of it as a common belief in Greece that
philosophy came to the Greek world from certain foreign peoples:
from the Brahmins, the Magi of Persia, the Egyptian priesthood,
and the Druids. All that is proved by this is, that the highly
civilized Greeks regarded the Druids not as the medicine men of a
savage tribe, but as the possessors of a highly developed
philosophy, capable of teaching the Greeks. Then we get
references to them from the century before Christ as students and
teachers of a very sublime philosophy. Then comes the time when
Rome was at war with the peoples whose religion was Druidism. 
First there was Caesar's attack on and conquest of Gaul. It was
quite unprovoked; its cause was Caesar's personal ambition; be is
said to have caused the death of some three to five million Gauls
in the course of the war. It is on his account of the Druids
that the popular view of them is based: their supposed human
sacrifices, etc. Now whatever Caesar was, there is no doubt that
be was thoroughly unscrupulous. We know that he deliberately
misrepresented and understated the civilization of the Celtic
peoples, his enemies. We know that their civilization was in
some ways more advanced than that of the Romans who conquered
them: e.g., they used sailing ships, while the Roman ships were
propelled by oars; and they manufactured better textiles, made
and wore better clothes than the Romans, or even the Greeks. We
know, too, that to lie about your enemies in war-time is a common
practice with erring humanity; and Caesar did it liberally; as is
proved by this fact: In giving his account of the Druids, he
speaks of them as not only the priests, but as also in charge of
the legal system of Gaul: which is correct. In this latter
capacity, he says that the severest punishment they inflicted was
excommunication: a criminal was forbidden to attend the religious
services; but then two pages later be goes on to tell horrible
tales about their punishing criminals by erecting huge wicker
cages, filling them with criminals and burning them to death. 
Now if his first statement that the worst punishment they
inflicted was excommunication was true, this second statement,
made with a view to war-time propaganda, could not also have been
true; nor does it jibe with what be says further about their
being students and teachers of philosophy and science: in which
connection he, like every other classical writer, speaks of them
with high respect.

From Caesar's time, who conquered Gaul and twice invaded Britain
unsuccessfully, for about 150 years until the Roman conquest of
southern Britain was accomplished, we get a good many Roman
writers referring to the Druids. They all copy Caesar in
speaking of the human sacrifices; during this period the Druids
were still actively or potentially the enemies of Rome. Then,
when Britain was conquered and the war was finished with, we find
that supposed dark side of Druidism forgotten; no writer seems to
know about it any more; side and we get references once more
classing the Druids with the Brahmins, the Magi and the Egyptian
priesthood as possessors of a high wisdom, as the teachers of the
Greeks in philosophy; as a class that knew the wisdom of the
gods, the secret laws of the universe. Even in that period
during which it may be supposed war-time propaganda would have
influenced the Roman mind, every reference made to the Druids
speaks of them as possessors of an occult knowledge, something
not in possession of the Romans themselves. Sometimes it is in
the way of poking a bit of fun at them -- they alone knew or they
alone were ignorant of the secrets of the gods; sometimes it is
very respectful indeed; but always it is there. I do not think
an absolutely unprejudiced student could examine all the evidence
from the literature of Greece and Rome without coming to the
certain conclusion that the classical world held strongly to the
belief that the Druids were philosophers, possessors of an
esoteric wisdom, a deeper knowledge of the secrets of life and
death than their neighbors and contemporaries. That undoubtedly
was their reputation. Caesar with all his efforts could not
shake that; indeed he does not attempt to; he accepts it. What
he did was to add to it the statement that they were cruel and
barbarous; which statement was believed while the Romans were at
war with the Druidic peoples. When that war was over, and
civilized Romans had the opportunity of mixing with civilized
Celts and knowing their minds, the belief in Druidic barbarism
seems to have died away.

Naturally, the Romans forbade the practice of Druidism during
their occupation of Gaul from B.C. 50 say to A.D. 450, or about
500 years, and during their occupation of south Britain from
about A.D. 70 to 410, say 340 years. But they never went to
Ireland, which was also Druidic by religion, nor to northern
Scotland; and even their occupation of Wales was very partial. 
There was nothing to prevent British, or to give them the modem
name, Welsh, Druids from taking refuge in Ireland -- which
country all along must have had a good deal of intercourse with
Britain; there was very little to prevent Druidism being carried
on in the quiet in Wales throughout the Roman occupation.

The cardinal doctrine of the Druids, according to the classical,
i.e. Greek and Roman authors who refer to them, was
Reincarnation. Almost every Latin author who speaks of the
Druids emphasizes their belief in that natural law or fact. The
idea was familiar enough in the Roman world; since it was a
cardinal teaching of Pythagoras. But the way the Celts held to
this doctrine or knowledge struck the Romans with surprise. To
the Roman, as to us, death was rather an important event; it was
the end of the book: you might speculate as to what lay beyond
it; but you weren't quite certain at the best of times. Tuum
semel occideris, et de te splendida Minos Fecerit arbitria, Non,
Torquate genus, non te facundia, non te restituet pietas, says
Horace, expressing the feeling of the Roman man in the street:
When you die, and Minos, the judge of the dead, has passed
judgment on you, neither genius nor piety nor wit will restore
you; therefore spend what you have, enjoy your wealth now. But
the Celt, the Welshman of those days, felt very differently; the
Roman was both amused and amazed at the way he felt. To him,
death was not much more than going to bed nightly; it was not any
interruption in the long course of his life. At the appropriate
time a new body would be born for him; he knew perfectly well
that he would live again, here on earth. You could always even
borrow money from him, to be repaid next life, or in the next but
one, or in some future life, as the borrower and lender might
agree. You could bank on the fact of reincarnation, just as you
could bank on the sun's rising tomorrow.

Now thrice in my lifetime I have come on families in Wales
wherein that knowledge had been handed down even to our own day. 
They were all pious Christians; but they knew that Reincarnation
was a fact. Who then shall pretend to say that Druidism died out
under the Roman proscription?

Soon after the Romans went in 410, Welsh literature began to be
created. One of the first of the poets was Taliesin. 
Seventy-seven poems attributed to him come down. Scholars have
fought over the question as to whether there ever was such a
person, when he lived, who wrote his poems, and so forth. But
according to the tradition -- and the most advanced scholarship
these days believes that tradition is the best possible
historical evidence, although the scholarship characteristic of
last century was chiefly interested in picking it to pieces and
pouring scorn on it -- according to tradition Taliesin made those
poems in the sixth century, when Wales was freed from Roman rule. 
And if there is one idea they reek with, it is Reincarnation. "I
have been in many a shape before I attained my congenial form; I
have borne a banner before Alexander; I was in Canaan when
Absalom was slain; My original country is the Region of the
Summer Stars; I was formerly little Gwion. Now I am Taliesin."

So we see that when the classical writers contacted the Druids,
they found them believers in Reincarnation as their first and
most characteristic doctrine, and we find that same doctrine
blazing up in Wales as soon as the Roman proscription was lifted. 
I think we are bound to believe that the Welsh remembered and
held to their Druidism through the period of the Roman

Now I am going to speak of something rather intangible, but
within the rights of a literary critic. If you take two
literatures, the Welsh on the one hand, and the English, French,
German or Italian, any modem literature on the other, you will
notice one thing in particular. The great literatures are
concerned with life as we know it. They sort and examine human
experience; explore human thought. The best part of them is the
work of great minds reaching out for something, trying to
announce new truths concerning life; reaching out from here, from
this present life in the world into the unknown. Welsh
literature on the other hand, small and unimportant as it is
compared to those others I have mentioned, does nothing of that
kind. But -- and the farther you go back in it the more you feel
it -- is haunted by something, a feeling of something vast,
mysterious, in the past. Go back to the Triads, to the Mabinogi
and romances, to the sixth century poetry, and you are drenched
in this atmosphere. It issues from a grand mystery; it is
haunted by a great unrecoverable memory. If I said that it was
haunted with the memory of a real knowledge as to the inside of
the universe, the secrets of life and death, once possessed in
great fullness, now to be mentioned only with bated breath, to be
only hinted at -- I think I should explain just the feeling that
one gets.

Put that side by side with what the classical authors say about
the wisdom possessed by the Druids, and I think we have the
strongest kind of suggestion of the truth. Matthew Arnold, one
of the very greatest of English literary critics, felt it
strongly; he said that in studying the oldest Welsh literature he
felt as if he were in a village of peasants huts built of the
ruins of Ephesus. Ephesus can be taken as implying a grand,
beautiful and forgotten city of the ancients, of which every
stone had been curiously carved by a master artist. The
literatures of the modem great nations: stones quarried out of
the mountains of thought by each great writer, and built by him
into the architecture of his imagining; the old Welsh literature
-- stones quarried by giants and demigods of old, and by them
fashioned into heaven knows what heaven-touching towers and
pinnacles long since fallen into ruin; and of the broken ruins,
peasants' cabins built. In those, the human spirit, blinded it
is true, working its way from everyday human experience towards
greatness, and achieving a high measure of greatness; in this one
half understood reminiscence of an even greater greatness
foregone. The very greatest poetry is that which most exalts the
human spirit, most reveals its divinity. You MIGHT find in
Shakespeare, in Dante, in Goethe -- to name the three grandest
figures in European literature -- lines which assert that
divinity and lofty origin as strikingly, as daringly, as those I
quoted of Taliesin's -- "My original country is the Region of the
Summer Stars"; but I have failed to find them; and I doubt
whether they are to be found.

Now to every people come alternately centuries of waking, active
dynamically creative life; and centuries of sleep and inactivity. 
Great literatures, like all other great works, are only produced
by peoples in their waking or active periods; never otherwise. 
All great thought comes from waking peoples; all great art; all
great building. Now consider that from about the thirteenth
century the peoples of western continental Europe and England
have been in their waking state; consequently all great
literature, European and not ancient, has been produced by each
of the European nations. Before the thirteenth century there was
nothing of importance from any of these peoples. Of books
written in this island before the thirteenth century, three make
interesting reading today. They are, THE MABINOGION, which was
written in Welsh; and two that were written in Latin, A HISTORY
OF THE KINGS OF THE BRITONS, by a Welshman named Gruffydd ab
Arthur, and AN ITINERARY OF WALES by one Geraldus Cambrensis or
Gerald the Welshman. Which means, to put it shortly, that while
England, France, Germany and the other countries of western
Europe, have been in the waking state, Wales, and for that matter
Ireland, have been sound asleep; but that between 400 A.D. or
earlier and 1200 or so, the Welsh (and Irish) were to some extent
awake. We may say that the period 400-1200 was night for the
Europeans, and the period 1200 to the 1900's has been day for
them; but that for the Celts, 400 to perhaps 1480 was twilight,
and 1480 to now has been night. Now you will find this rule
applying all through history wherever you may look; there are no

by Paul Johnson

[based upon an March 13, 1998 posting to]

The "manifesto" published by Mr. Farthing reflects an opinion
shared by a fair number of Theosophists that a "back to
Blavatsky" movement is necessary to save the TS. But I find that
his recommendations are often quite out of kilter with
Blavatsky's own views of the Society.

In the early days of the Theosophical Society, a great effort was
made to include people of widely varying religious views, and to
avoid any official discrimination between belief systems. But in
the Besant/Leadbeater era, increasingly anyone who didn't buy the
official party line was ostracized. I've never seen even the
subtle imposition of obligatory beliefs at the local level of TS
activity, but it's getting more and more evident at the national
and international levels. What do we mean by "obligatory?"
Nothing is obligatory for TS *membership*. But to be treated
with respect and inclusiveness by the leadership, a whole range
of dogmatic beliefs are required, without which one is regarded
as a "fringe Theosophist." Mr. Farthing's recommendations would,
if carried out, add more pressure for doctrinal conformity among

People who claim that their statements are not speculation,
opinion or theory, but pure fact, are a dime a dozen. Mr. 
Farthing asserts this on behalf of HPB and her Masters, but her
own assessment of her work and their knowledge was more modest. 
The genuine original programme of the TS was absolutely opposed
to treating *any* pronouncements from anyone as authoritative. 
There is abundant documentation of this truth.

It is said that all beliefs concerning Theosophy and the T.S. 
should be checked against the original, and THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY
is a good starting point. But beliefs also ought to be
questioned seriously against all other knowledge prior or
subsequent to HPB and the Mahatma letters, if the TS is to be
true to its mission. The core literature of modern Theosophy was
intended to be a cornerstone for the future religions of
humanity, not a rigid canon against which every other book should
be evaluated for "consonance" with orthodoxy. Although I
personally find the writings of Leadbeater without merit, I don't
want the TS leadership to officially label anything as
"theosophically defective and misleading" as proposed by Mr. 
Farthing. It is not the Society's business to determine any such
thing, but to provide freethinking members with information on
which to base their evaluations. Mr. Farthing calls for a house
cleaning, with all literature not "wholly consonant" with the
original teachings to no longer be promoted. But he does not
explain how the Society should select authority figures who get
to decide for the rest of us what is and is not wholly consonant,
or what gives them the right to dictate to the membership.

Mr. Farthing further proposes that non "consonant" material be
physically segregated and/or labeled in Theosophical libraries. 
As a librarian, I point out that the segregation and labeling of
"accepted" and "suspect" literature is a profound violation of
intellectual freedom. As to not selling "non-theosophical
books," remember HPB who advertised non-theosophical books in her
magazines, and reviewed them favorably.

The mentality that decides Bailey and Steiner are "fringe" while
their own favorite post-HPB authors are "mainstream" is
responsible for driving many people away from the Society. 
Baileyites and Steinerites are often dogmatic about their own
literature being authoritative. The TS is called upon to be
open, eclectic, and non dogmatic, in marked contrast to most
religious and esoteric movements. Mr. Farthing limits his
definition of "Initiate-inspired literature" to the works of
Blavatsky and associates, but HPB and Olcott certainly had a much
vaster view of what that includes than many purporting to speak
on their behalf.
Decrying efforts to "popularize" Theosophy, Mr. Farthing calls
for concentration on the original literature to the near-
exclusion of any other emphasis. But I see such efforts to keep
Theosophy "pure" as a sure recipe for shrinking the TS to a tenth
its current size and making it the "carcass stranded on a
sandbank" that HPB warned about in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY as the
inevitable result of dogmatism. 


by G. de Purucker


[Buddhism is] the most spiritual of all religions ... There is
no exoteric doctrine belonging to the great ANCIENT
world-religions which is intrinsically false. The fact is that
the exoteric teaching IS the truth, but it needs a key in order
to explain it; and without the key it actually can be, and
usually is, misunderstood and misinterpreted, and degraded ...

Are we BUDDHISTS? No. Not more so than we are CHRISTIANS, except
perhaps in this sense, that the religious philosophy of the
Buddha-Sakyamuni is incomparably nearer to the Ancient Wisdom,
The Esoteric Philosophy. Its main fault today is that its later
teachers carried its doctrines too far along merely formal or
exoteric lines; and yet with all that, and to this day, it
remains the purest and holiest of the exoteric religions on
earth, and its teachings even exoterically are true. They need
but the esoteric key in interpretation of them. As a matter of
fact, the same may be said of all the great ancient
World-religions. Christianity, Brahmanism, and others, all have
the same exoteric Wisdom behind the outward veil of the exoteric
formal faith. (p. 190)

[There are] three grades of member of the Theosophical Movement. 
First, the members of the Theosophical Society, who are neither
Theosophists nor Occultists necessarily, but who are those who so
greatly admire our broad and universal platform, who are so much
in sympathy with the ideal which Theosophy sets forth, that they
have thrown in their low with us, and work with us. The second
class comprises the Theosophists, that is to say, those who are
more than mere members of the Theosophical Society; they are
those who study the particular and certain doctrines which in our
time have ben called Theosophical, and which represent the 'Eye-
Doctrine,' ... the publication for the public weal of certain
chosen and specified doctrines of Occultism, fit for public
dissemination in our age. Lastly, the third class is ourselves,
those who belong to our own hold Order, who have given themselves
in a larger, in a deeper, and in a more heartful degree than the
other two classes of us have done, to that sublime Wisdom. (p. 

We are the outmost rank or ring of that Buddhist Hierarchy of
Compassion ... we may become faithful transmitters and
manifestors of the divine streams from that supernal source. 
When we can transmit these in their native crystalline purity,
when our minds become transmitters so limpid and clear, so high
in their aspirations and so unadulterate in their natures that we
can consciously receive and pass on these life-giving streams,
the streams of understanding from the fountain of the Universal
Life, then indeed we are saviors of men. (p. 536)

Occultism is the exposition of the essence of life, of the
essence of being, and of the essence of living. Let us never
confuse it with the so-called 'occult arts,' arts which are
strictly forbidden to us as students of this School. The
Brothers of the Shadow lead on their helpless victims with the
occult arts, enticing them thereby, and their end is non- entity. 
But our Masters, our Teachers, have told us plainly: first learn
discipline, first learn the Law. Then the powers which you may
crave, you will crave only as spiritual powers, and only to give
yourself and them to others. In the Path, our Path, the
so-called 'occult arts' drop away even from the imagination,
because their deluding enticements and their allurements are
clearly seen. (p. 326)

As said to us so many times, the two paths lie always at our
feet; at every step they diverge, one to the right and one to the
left; and one single act may induce a habit, which will make a
character, in time, by repetition; and that character is you or
I, for it is the exercise of knowledge (or half- knowledge) and
will. (p. 432)

It is for these reasons that our beloved Teacher [Katherine
Tingley] has instructed me time and again to refer to the
necessity of understanding clearly what we mean by morals, and
that there is the utmost need for their practice by each one of
us, by you and by me, every moment of our lives. (p. 432) 


by Harold Merry

Humanity today is on the brink of disaster for it is unable to
fathom, and deal with the present-day complexities of our
society. It is incapable of determining the direction we must
take and what is to be done about it. All successful functioning
organisms, apart from human society share one quality; the
ability to function together in harmony as a whole. This so far
we seem unable to achieve.

In order to overcome our difficulties we will have to change and
evolve inwardly as much as we have outwardly. If evolution is
indeed to achieve higher levels of integration, the most crucial
changes must take place in the realm of the human mind. Our real
problem lies not in the physical constraints imposed by the
external world, but in the constraints imposed by our own minds. 
We have succeeded in effectively using the rational
characteristics of our left forebrain (our conscious mind) but we
must also learn how to make effective use of our right forebrain
(our intuitive mind).

Our previous evolutionary leap of self reflective consciousness
not only allowed us to become aware of ourselves as conscious
thinking beings, it also gave us the capacity to develop
Philosophy and Science. They contributed to the growing increase
of our knowledge and the enormous material progress we have made
in recent times. Despite this progress we are painfully aware of
our inability to tackle many of our pressing moral and social
problems, which repeatedly bring about so much misery and
suffering to many people on earth.

When we explore our inner selves we find that we are mainly
working with the rational powers of our conscious brain because
the conscious brain dominates and restricts the function of our
right intuitive brain. Meditation training releases the right
intuitive mind from the said domination it also opens the way for
moral training aided by the four faculties of the intuitive mind. 
By extending the use of such training and its simplification we
can raise the level of. moral decision making of increasing
numbers of individuals, and elevate the level of moral conduct. 
This in turn will help solve pressing moral problems which have
plagued us in the past.

With the development of the rational powers of our conscious mind
and the invaluable knowledge derived from Philosophy and Science
we were in the past disinclined to draw on the non-logical and
untapped resources of our intuitive mind. We little realized
that the intuitive faculties of our unconscious mind had also
developed and could if called upon, provide the support and
guidance which we so desperately need, and which cannot be
supplied by our conscious mind alone.

At this phase in human evolution that we on earth are currently
passing through, there exists an urgent need to bring about the
aforesaid expansion in human consciousness. Without this change
our moral and social problems can only increase. The
manifestation of this new type of consciousness now shows every
likelihood of providing the foundation for a new era of moral. 
and social harmony on earth.óWe must now focus on achieving these
aims thereby making the aforesaid objectives a reality. 


by Eldon Tucker

[based upon a September 19, 1994 posting to]

It is said that it is much easier to begin training in the
Mysteries as a youth. One advantage of an early start is that
there is considerable energy for growth and exploration of life
in the early years, while the quota of life, of prana, is full,
before becoming exhausted in the excesses of later life. A
greater advantage, though, is that there is much that does not
need to be unlearned. The knowledge of our western,
materialistic civilization is both a blessing and a curse. It
informs us; it gives us power over material things; it has a
great deal of truth to it. Yet with regard to things of the
spiritual side of life, it has huge blind spots, huge gaps that
it won't recognize.

When we study a subject, we try to tie in what we already know
with what we are studying. This is a helpful approach as long as
what we know is true, and the connections that we are making with
the new learning expand our knowledge. It is much harder to
study a subject when we are required to give up what we think
that we know! This is the case with much we may have picked up in
popular thought, as well as perhaps some of our ideas finding
their origin in the popular New Age literature.

Consider the spiritual consciousness. What is it? Where does it
appear in our lives? Is it something real, permanent, lasting, or
something delusional, a product of self-deception? Does it just
come from a happy feeling, or is there something more
substantive, more real and lasting to it?

Like any form of consciousness, it can be experienced as
transitory, as something that comes in flashes, or lasts for a
period of time, then is gone. This experience of it is the
precursor, though, to its permanence. There is a real, solid,
permanent nature to the spiritual-intellectual that can become a
continuous experience throughout life, in much the same way as
thinking and feeling and sense perception are continuous
experiences of life in the world.

Although it can become a permanent faculty of consciousness, when
the appropriate principles of conscious take an active role in
our life, it is not guaranteed, and could be lost at some future
time. Especially in the early stages of spiritual progress, the
connection is tenuous, and can be broken at times.

It is possible to lost one's higher faculties. Once lost, they
might leave us feeling that our previous state of awareness was
unreal, as a beautiful or bad dream, but unreal. We might look
at legitimate cases of self-delusion in others, and wonder if we
too had not been deluded. Since we need to view things as moving
forward, always for the better, we might not want to think of the
situation as having lost a great treasure. But it is true, there
are spiritual treasures that can be both won and lost. There are
grand prizes awaiting us. And we cannot take for granted an
automatic right to what we have already attained; we can lost
what we have if we do not use it rightly.

Outer society tends to punish dissent. Those who go against the
established order are opposed, suppressed, and sometimes
expelled. This is true of all organized bodies. A church may
use the threat of damnation to scare its followers into keeping
in line (keeping their eyes down and their minds closed). An
established body of psychologists may use the threat of mental
illness or insanity to restrict our thoughts and behavior, lest
we dare leave normalcy behind. Scientific bodies may use the
threat of banishment, the cutting off of research funds, refusal
to publish papers, and other forms of shunning to expel heretics. 
Political groups can use prisons, oppression, and the imposition
of economic hardship to keep citizens in line.

Why should we feel in danger of banishment, in danger of arousing
the opposition of the established order of things? We shouldn't,
unless undertaking a certain lifestyle of active opposition to
the status quo. It is possible to become holy, wise, and
spiritual, and to improve our lives and the lives of those about
us without taking on the outer world head-on. It really depends
upon our particular goal in live. Sometimes we may feel the need
to step into the public spotlight and say "this is wrong!" and
take an active opposition to things in the world. Othertimes we
may keep a lower profile, and quietly help people in a
unrecognized, almost-unnoticed manner.

When we are in love, life is different. Everything is seen and
experienced in a new, different way. In a black depression, the
world darkens, and our lives are again turned around. There are
many qualities of consciousness. Some are dark, negative, and
destructive in nature. Others are ennobling, uplifting, and
worthy of being sought after.

In order to experience a quality of consciousness, we first have
to have it within ourselves. We need to have the seeds of a
black depression, and an inner life that nurtures them, in order
for them to sprout forth when outer circumstances push us in the
right way. The outer, though, is an expression of what is
within, and not the cause.

To approach the spiritual, we look within. We change ourselves
and the outer circumstances will adjust themselves of their own
accord, as past karmic responsibilities are worked out and we are
freed to outwardly change in ways true to our new inner natures. 
Inner changes do not automatically come by doing the reverse, by
piously adopting an outer lifestyle that is untrue to what we
feel in our hearts and minds. We accomplish little when we grow
our hair long, give up material possessions, and try to become
wandering holy men. We still must effect changes to our inner
natures, changes that never required us to leave behind our
former homes and families. It is not necessary to visit Tibet,
to live in a beautiful desert retreat-center, to fine-tune the
purity of our physical bodies with an exacting diet, nor to
faithfully meditate from 3 to 7 am for the balance of our lives!
All these things are nice, and helpful in their own way, but do
not represent our taking significant steps in the direction of
the spiritual.

What, then, is the spiritual consciousness? How would we describe
it? Granted, it cannot be conveyed by merely talking about it,
but we certainly can say something. There is a feeling of being
rooted in the spiritual, in a loving embrace by the totality of
life. This feeling could be compared to the secure, firm grip of
the parachute straps that hold, envelop, and raise us high above
all, and that otherwise save us from guaranteed death. This
"holding up" is done by our higher natures, on a continual basis,
with or without our awareness and recognition.

The biggest change in our lives is a new, firm grasp of an inner
reality, an inner change rather than any particular outer event. 
We appreciate and experience life differently, and we just wake
up, one morning, and notice that things in life are different. 
This change in our lives comes quietly, gently, and it is rare
for it to come with violent, traumatic, explosive outer
circumstances. It is more akin to the gentle process of waking
up in the morning, rather than the painful process of childbirth. 
We open our eyes to live in a different way, and the world is a
different place.

It is possible, depending upon how we present ourselves to
others, that we might be mistaken for fanatics, zealots,
cultists. They might believe we need to be deprogrammed, brought
back to normal, and taken out of our "delusional" state. Were
that to happen, we would find our previous state as odd. Having
lost something, unable to recreate it within our consciousness,
we may picture it is unworthy in some way. But this is "sour
grapes," and we would have lost something of incredible value.

Someone else, outside the experience, might describe it in
psychological terms, and use such words as "inflation," from
Jungian psychology. The state might be described as one of being
possessed by an archetype, a form of psychological intoxication,
a drunkenness on the numinosity of archetypal materials that
never belonged in the personal consciousness. This is
psychological materialism, where nothing is real unless it is
interpreted in terms of the human personality, and is yet another
thing to unlearn, before getting at the reality of the spiritual

It is true that the personality can become deformed in various
ways if we try to do things from it that are inappropriate for
the personality. It is not true that we must limit ourselves to
only do things that are appropriate activities for the
personality. Rather, we are learning to shift our center of
consciousness to the individuality, above the personality, a
higher center of consciousness. The personality, looking
upwards, experiences a sense of magic, of numinosity. Looking
downward, the personality experiences a sense of temptation, of
being drawn into corruption and self-destruction.

The personality can grow in one direction or the other. But when
we seek the spiritual, we're not talking about staying in the
personality, and growing it. Instead, we're talking about
leaving the personality, and not having it as the seat of our
consciousness anymore. It functions, it exists as an form of our
self-expression, but we have become something deeper within.

When we have become rooted in the spiritual, and awakened our
spiritual-intellectual natures, we don't take public opinion
serious anymore. We are not dependent on external validation,
nor need a guru or Theosophical Society or admiring peers to feel
that we have something real. (This is not to say that we don't
need Teachers, but that is an entirely different topic!) We know
with certainty that there is a spiritual reality behind life,
because we have a firm sense of its presence and participation in
our lives.

How do we experience this presence? It is as an undertone, a
background quality to everything that happens, to everything that
we experience. It starts when we open our eyes in the morning,
and lasts until they shut at night. There are no dark, depressed
moments where we question it, because it is not a delusion, a
pretense, a facade that we have built up. This presence is a
real, a solid quality of our lives, not something that we "are
trying to do."

Consider an angry, explosive person. Little things that happen
during the day can tap into his reservoir of anger and bring him
to erupt in rage. This anger is a content of his personality, a
background quality that he carries with him, thought it may not
find itself expressed in everything that he does. It colors his
consciousness and makes the world seem to him to be a certain
kind of place.

The spiritual is likewise a possible content of consciousness. 
It can be alive and active, a quality that readily rises to
express itself in the actions of our day-to-day lives.

Now consider a devotional person, someone with considerable
Bhakti energy. In his foreground consciousness there may come
periods of intense feeling with incredible energy. But these
waves of devotion are expensive; they drain his life energies,
and he finds himself exhausted. He is left tired; the feelings
quiet down and go away; their effects can even disappear from the
activities of daily life until the next time for devotions.

This energy of love that he carries with himself can remain,
slightly-submerged, but still coloring his life. We may be able
to tell, to *feel* his devotional energy when we meet him. As he
carries this quality with him, it is continually experienced as
"background consciousness," as compared to the "foreground
consciousness" of what he is doing at this particular moment in

The background consciousness is the higher side, and consists of
the active talents, capabilities, types of awareness that we have
acquired and built up in this lifetime. This is the results of
our emanation of innate abilities from previous lives, from our
karmic treasury. We go through life with this as a form of
experience, of awareness, of enjoyment of life, in addition to
that experience of the ephemeral, moment-to-moment activities of
the foreground consciousness.

The foreground consciousness is the more ephemeral. It relates
to the mayavic changes of physical life, the extremely tiny
portion of ourselves that finds expression in the very lowest
realm, the physical. The background consciousness is a deeper
part of ourselves, that part of our natures that includes the
totality of ourselves in this lifetime. The background
consciousness is the "unmanifest" portion of the personality,
that part of it that watches in the silence and out of which our
activities spontaneously arise.

When our spiritual-intellectual natures are awakened, there is a
presence that hovers about us, deep in the silence, acting almost
as a "background deity." There is a sense of anticipation,
excitement, unfulfilled promise to it. (Picture a child's
feeling the night before Christmas!) This feeling comes from our
being in touch with, from our having awakened a type of
consciousness in ourselves that goes beyond what is possible to
express. We have awakened in ourselves something too grand to
come out in Fifth Race Humanity, on Globe D Earth, at this time
in our evolution. Outer circumstances do not permit its
expression in the moment-to-moment experience of life. It cannot
yet reach physical plane expression. But it can still be
experienced in the background consciousness; it still can be
richly enjoyed in the silence.

There is a sense of anticipation to this spiritual faculty. We
will enjoy it in its own place, on its own terms, in the
after-death experiences. There are some experiences that are
simply too high, too grand -- simply meant to be waited for, to
be experienced in their own realms.

The spiritual nature comes out in life as a living presence in
life. We know and feel it. It surrounds us. It enfills us. It
makes the world an entirely different place for us. We do not
need to periodically long for it, to send out waves of desire, of
Bhakti, of aspiration to attain it. It is here. It is part of
us. We have it as a rock-solid part of our experience of life. 
Our higher principles are awake and active, and provide us with
an enriched personal life.

When the highest in our constitution is active, it does not come
out in passion, in intensity of thought, feeling, or action, but
rather is felt for what it is, *in its own right.* It is
appreciated as an additional quality behind all the rest, a
quality that adds its own unique contribution to our total

It is not the clearest of psychical sight, the sweetest of
feelings, the holiest of aspiration or desires, nor the highest
of reason and intellectual thought. It is just different, but
important and enriching in its own right. What is it? It's
there, part of our natures. Embrace it and just know.


by L. Gordon Plummer

[From a tape recording from the 1970's of a private talk on

> I would like to ask something about HPB's Teachers, Koot Hoomi
> and Morya. Are they active today? 

I would say -- first of all to the first part of the question
"are they active today?" -- yes, because they are always active. 
There is not a thought in my mind that they would become
inactive. They have dedicated themselves so far to service of
mankind that idleness would be unthinkable. But "are they active
in the bodies that they inhabited in HPB's time" is a totally
different question. And whereas I have no more factual
information on this matter than you or anyone else, my own
thinking would lead me to believe that they long ago discarded
the bodies they had at the time when HPB spoke of them and when
their portraits were painted under her guidance. More than
likely, they have assumed new bodies.

Someone may wonder about particular modern-day groups. I think
the only thing you can do is to observe and see for yourself:
What is the nature of their work? Are they primarily after money?
Are they charging for their teachings? Are they offering a course
of "Initiation" for a price? If they are, I would not give a
second thought to the idea of the Masters working through them.

Now it is perfectly true, of course, that the Theosophical
Society has to charge for the books it sells. It means an outlay
of materials. It means time. You are paying for the time, you
are paying for the materials, you are not paying for the
Teachings. They have to pay rent for a hall, so they have to
take collections. This is not paying for the Teachings. But if
I were to go out and say, "I will give you certain secrets of
Initiation for a price," I would immediately stamp myself as a
person who knows nothing about it.

I am not saying that the Theosophical Society today has any
monopoly on the Masters. Nobody has a monopoly on them. 
Wherever there is the possibility for them to work, they will

It takes a colossal nerve, I think, to start something pretending
backing by the Masters and take people in. And of course it
shows two things. It shows the gullibility of people, and it
also shows that there are many serious people that believe, at
least at first, that they are finding the Truth.

> Yes, that is true. Someone asked recently why K.H. would use
> someone like Sinnett. Well, he was warned later on to get rid of
> that atmosphere because it was difficult to work through, but was
> not the important thing that at that particular time he had the
> -- I hate to use the word CONNECTIONS -- that he reached certain
> European people through his publication, and he had the energy
> and interest in it to get things moving? They had to use what
> openings they could, did not they?

They had to use the best available. You are right.

> They must have seen something in his nature that was receptive to
> them.

Yes. Am I right in thinking that Sinnett sort of turned against
it toward the end?

> Yes, well, not exactly in terms of denying.

> He began going to a medium, he felt he could communicate with the
> Master through the medium.

> And then when he started saying that HPB was not getting messages
> anymore, that is when I think he took the left-hand path, because
> he began denying her genuineness and would not stand by her.
> But I think that before that time, when he was in India, I
> remember a letter warning him that the atmosphere was so thick
> with alcohol -- these people he was entertaining. And I think
> that even he would drink. I will go back and check that, but I
> am pretty sure.
> And so someone said "so why would they choose someone who drank,"
> you know? And it seemed to me that the important thing was that
> it was not so much his personal habits in the matter of their
> choice, but his potential use.

> Yes, but it would not be possible, would it Gordon, for the
> Masters to work with anyone that karmically did not deserve it?

That of course, is true. But, I doubt that they ever arranged a
tulku with him as they did with HPB.

> No, I do not think that was ever implied in the Letters. No. 
> They were just going to be -- wasn't it -- prepared for
> Chelaship? They wanted to be taken as Chelas. In fact, I am not
> even sure that K.H. had the backing of Morya on it, he tried to
> get them accepted, but I am not sure.

> Yes, that is what I mean. He was a beginner, but K.H. did not
> have much success in getting him to be taken for anything else,
> so -- as I recall it -- Morya expressed doubts -- not over K.H.'s
> judgement, because he was allowed to give anybody a chance -- 
> over Sinnett's real outcome. Maybe it is because he had the
> insight to see the future -- what was going to happen?


> He was a lay-Chela, an accepted lay-Chela as were many others.


[reprinted with premission from Theosophy Magazine, Volume 26,
Page 146 et seq.]

In the year 527, when the Emperor Justinian closed the
Neoplatonic School in Athens and banished the last seven great
Neoplatonists, the teachings of Plato and the Neoplatonists
disappeared from Christian Europe for almost a thousand years. 
In the fifteenth century a revival of Neoplatonism arose through
the efforts of Nicolas de Cusa, a Catholic Cardinal of German
birth. Directly opposing the personal God of the Church, Cusa
defined Deity as "the Absolute Maximum and also the absolute
minimum, who comprehends all that is or can be." This laid him
open to the charge of pantheism, which he did not deny. He also
declared that Deity can be apprehended only through INTUITION, an
exalted state of consciousness in which all limitations
disappear. Cusa's efforts to revive Neoplatonism were continued
in Germany by Reuchlin, Trithemius and Cornelius Agrippa, and in
France by Bovillus. The chief stronghold of the Neoplatonic
revival, however, was the city of Florence, where Theosophical
principles reappeared under the protection of the powerful house
of Medici.

In 1438 Cosmo de Medici made the acquaintance of Gemisthus
Pletho, an ardent Platonist, who inspired him with the idea of
founding a Platonic Academy in Florence. With this end in view,
Cosmo selected Marsilio Ficino, the son of his chief physician,
and provided for his education in Greek philosophy. Ficino's
natural aptitude was so great that he was able to complete his
first work on the Platonic Institutions when he was only
twenty-three years old. At the age of thirty, after translating
the Theogony of Hesiod, the Hymns of Proclus, Orpheus and Homer,
and all of the works of Hermes Trismegistus that could be found,
Ficino began his translations of Plato. When that was finished,
he turned to the Neoplatonic writers, and left behind him
excellent translations of Plotinus, Iamblicus, Proclus, and
Synesius as his contribution to the work of the Theosophical

When Cosmo de Medici's grandson Lorenzo was eight years old,
Ficino became his tutor, and embued him with a deep reverence for
the Greeks. After Lorenzo became the head of the house of Medici
he brought his grandfather's plans to completion. He founded a
great University in Pisa, established public libraries for his
people, and made many valuable additions to the Lorentian Library
which by this time contained a collection of ancient manuscripts
second to none in Europe. He raised the Platonic Academy to a
high standard of excellence and founded an Academy in the gardens
of San Marco where the finest examples of ancient art were
displayed for the benefit of students. Here Lorenzo spent many
happy afternoons, watching the work of Botticelli and
Michaelangelo, and listening to the words of Leonardo da Vinci,
whose ideas about flying machines interested him as much as his
discussions on art.

On the hills of Fiesole, just outside of Florence, Lorenzo had a
beautiful villa which was surrounded by a colony of writers and
scholars. One day a visitor arrived, a handsome young man of
twenty-one who was already a prominent figure in the world of
thought. He was Giovanni Pico, a younger son of the Prince of
Mirandola. Although, to quote his nephew, Pico was "still a
child and beardless," he had already acquired proficiency in
twenty-two languages, had been initiated into the Chaldean,
Hebrew, and Arabian Mysteries, and had come under the notice of
the "Brothers of the Snowy Range" in far-off Tibet. On the day
of his arrival in Fiesole, the whole colony gathered around him
to hear why he had left Rome so precipitously. He told them that
he had become thoroughly disgusted with the ignorance displayed
by the heads of the Church. He had published a series of 900
questions addressed to the Church and had invited scholars from
all over Europe to be present at the debate. The intellectual
leaders of the Church, after carefully examining these questions,
decided that thirteen of them contained heretical statements. 
These were sent to the Pope, who immediately issued a bull
against the young nobleman. Pico left for the more congenial
atmosphere of Florence.

Lorenzo and Ficino decided that Pico would be a valuable addition
to their Academy. Through the united efforts of these three the
revival of Neoplatonism made rapid headway. Mirandola, who was a
devoted student of Plotinus, persuaded Ficino to translate THE
ENNEADS, the influence of which appears in Mirandola's own
description of God:

> God is not Being; rather is He the CAUSE of Being. As the one
> primal Fountain of Being. He is properly described as the ONE. 
> God is all things, the abstract Universal Unity of all things in
> their perfection. To even think or speak of God is profanity.
> -- DE AURO, Sir Thomas More's Translation

Pico della Mirandola died in his thirty-first year, and Marsilio
Ficino followed him six years later. After the death of Lorenzo
the Magnificent the Platonic Academy went out of existence. In
its place arose a mystical Fraternity, the FRATRES LUCIS, or
BROTHERS OF LIGHT, which was founded in Florence in 1498. In
spite of the persecution of the Inquisition, this Order was still
alive in the eighteenth century, numbering among its members such
men as Paschalis, Cagliostro, Swedenborg and St. Germain.

One afternoon in the latter part of the fifteenth century the
monk Savonarola sat in his gloomy cell in the monastery of San
Marco, grieving over the corruption of the world. He thought of
the unspeakable moral crimes of Pope Alexandria VI and his son
Caesar Borgia and shuddered. He thought of the "pagan heresies"
which Lorenzo had introduced to Florence. He thought of the
godless painters who tempted holy monks with their vivid
portrayals of human flesh. Savonarola arose from his meditation
and swore to rid Florence of these abominations. His fervidly
ascetic genius soon gained him a large following, and when the
French invaders departed from the city he attempted to turn the
newly formed republic into a Christian commonwealth. But when
Savonarola attacked the corruption of the Holy City, sparing not
even the pope himself, he was cited as a heretic. Indignantly
refusing the bribe of a cardinal's hat to change his style of
preaching, he continued his denunciations, which led to his
excommunication and execution at the stake in 1498. This was
merely the prelude to another conflagration which was started by
Torquemada, the pitiless Inquisitor-General and confessor to
Queen Isabella of Spain. The Spanish bonfire was fed with the
bodies of 10,000 Jews, with all the Hebrew Bibles that could be
found, and with 6,000 volumes of Oriental literature. Thus, by
the end of the fifteenth century, Italy and Spain were once more
thoroughly "Christian."

While these events were taking place in Italy and Spain, another
fire of revolt omouldered in Germany. Groups of Theosophists
were now scattered throughout the country, studying and assisting
one another in their common struggle for esoteric knowledge. 
Germany was destined to be the scene of a great moral struggle
during the sixteenth century, and the opposing forces were
assembling. On the side of freedom were numerous agents of the
Theosophical Movement, some of whom must have worked with
knowledge of the great Plan, while others served an ideal
arising from an unknown source in their hearts.

In 1414 a young monk named Basil Valentinus was acting as the
Prior of the Benedictine Monastery in Erfurt. According to his
own story, Basil determined to devote himself to the occult
sciences at an early age. "I resolved to make wings for
myself," he wrote, "so that I might ascend on high." His first
flights into the ether must have been unsuccessful, as he
relates the "my feathers were consumed and I fell headlong into
the sea." But just at the moment when all hope had disappeared,

> one hastened to my assistance who commanded the waters to be
> still; and instantly a HIGH MOUNTAIN appeared upon which I
> ascended, that I might examine whether there could be any
> friendship between inferiors and SUPERIORS, and whether indeed
> these Superiors had produced Themselves upon earth.

Now thoroughly convinced that Masters DID exist, Basil determined

> whatever the ancient Masters had so many ages ago committed
> to writing and delivered to Their disciples was as true as truth
> itself.

The first truth he discovered was that man's knowledge must
commence within himself.

> Only those who have obtained this passport can attain to the
> Magistery of Life; since they only can enter into the narrow gate
> (of initiation) as in the Mysteries we have just described.

The work of Basil Valentinus was continued by Trithemius, Abbot
of the Benedictine Monastery of Spanheim, who was an Adept in the
Secret Sciences and is said to have been initiated into the
misteries of the Kabala by a pupil of Pico della Mirandola. He
taught the seven stages of evolution, mentioned several secret
cycles and made some important prophecies. His definition of
Magic was purely Theosophical:

> The art of Magic consists in the ability to perceive the essence
> of things in the light of Nature, and by using the soul-powers to
> produce things from the unseen Universe. In such operations the
> Microcosm and Macrocosm must be brought together and made to act
> harmoniously. 
> -- written in 1506

His pupils inquired what he meant by Nature. "Nature,"
Trithemius replied, "is a Unity, creating and forming
everything. Such processes take place according to LAW. You

The fame of Trithemius was perpetuated by his two distinguished
pupils, Paracelsus and Cornelius Agrippa. Agrippa was a
statesman and linguist, physician and chemist, philosopher,
Kabalist and Neoplatonist. He passed through life alternately
patronized and persecuted, courted by the nobility and hunted
down as a heretic by the Church. Although knighted by Margaret,
Regent of the Netherlands, and honored by the Queen of France, he
spent much of his life in dire poverty. Agrippa formed a secret
association for the study of the occult sciences and wrote an
esoteric interpretation of the New Testament. He taught the
three-fold nature of the Universe, the identity of the Macrocosm
and the Microcosm, and traced out the lines of correspondence
between them. Space, he said, is threaded with invisible lines
of magnetic force which unite men's principles with the occult
forces of Nature. Hence:

> The human being possesses, from the fact of its being of the same
> essence as all creation, a wonderful power. Truth can be made
> ever present to the eye of the soul. Time and space vanish
> before the eagle eye of the immortal soul. Her power is
> boundless.

All of these ideas, so contrary to the teachings of the Church,
were gradually preparing the minds of the people for the coming
battle. In the middle of the fifteenth century John Reuchlin
appeared, the Imperial Councillor of Emperor Frederick III. In
spite of his diplomatic duties, Reuchlin found time to study
Neoplatonism, to perfect himself in several Oriental languages,
and to write an interpretation of the Kabala in which he
described the sevenfold constitution of the universe in detail. 
When he denounced the burning of the Hebrew Bibles he was
expelled from Germany and his works were burned. But later,
when Melacthon, Erasmus and Martin Luther came to him for
instruction, Reuchlin lit the torch which set fire to the
Christian world and became in fact the "Father of the

The immediate cause of the Reformation was the revolt in Germany
against the enforced sale of indulgences, which promised the
shortening of the time spent in purgatory upon the payment of a
certain sum to a priest. In the year 1517 Pope Leo X, desiring
to rebuild St. Peter's Cathedral, ordered a special sale of
indulgences in Germany in order to collect the needed money. 
When the Augustinian monk Martin Luther heard the news his soul
rose in rebellion. "Why," he indignantly demanded, "if the Pope
releases souls from purgatory for money, does he not do it for
charity? Since the Pope is as rich as Croesus, why does he not
rebuild St. Peter's with his own money, instead of extorting it
from poor men?" Walking boldly to the Church of Wittenberg,
Luther nailed his ninety-seven THESES to the door. The people
gasped at his audacity. Some trembled with fear, others rallied
to Luther's support. Erasmus of Rotterdam, then considered to be
the most brilliant man in Europe, refused to take sides in the
controversy. Although he had already openly declared that "the
monarchy of the Roman high priest was the pest of Christendom,"
he did not believe that a DIRECT and aggressive attack upon the
Church would accomplish the desired result. Erasmus had already
voiced his own protest against the sale of indulgences, had
already declared that there was no difference between Jesus'
teachings and those of the pagan creeds, and had already tried to
unite the world in a league of brotherhood. What, then, could
this raw, uncouth monk hope to accomplish? Erasmus expressed his
admiration of Luther's courage, but disapproved of his extreme
methods of reform.

Luther raged when Erasmus' views were brought to him. Origen,
Synesius, and Clement of Alexandria had all used moderation, and
were simply excommunicated from the Church as a result. And the
Albigenses, Waldenses, and Knights Templar -- they had used
moderation and were burned at the stake. Luther felt that
something more drastic than moderation was needed in this crisis. 
He wrote:

> We punish thieves with the gallows, bandits with the sword,
> heretics with fire. Why should not we, with far greater
> propriety, attack with every kind of weapon these very masters of
> perdition, the Cardinals and Popes?

The reply to this outburst was a papal bull condemning Martin
Luther as a heretic. As soon as the paper arrived, Luther
called all his friends together, made a bonfire outside the city
walls and cast into it the document itself, a copy of the Church
Canon and a volume of scholastic theology which he particularly

Up to that time the Church had not taken Martin Luther
seriously. She thought of him only as a vulgar, quarrelsome monk
who could be quickly silenced by the Inquisition. But one
morning Pope Leo received a most disturbing communication from
his German representative:

> These mad dogs are now well-equipped with KNOWLEDGE AND POWER. 
> They boast that they are no longer ignorant brutes like their
> predecessors. Nine-tenths of the Germans are shouting "Luther!"
> and the other tenth goes as far at least as "Death to the Roman
> Curia!"

The pontiff was badly upset by this news. The matter was not as
trivial as he had thought. This stupid monk must be given a
lesson which he would not forget. The Edict of Worms was
published, in which Luther was condemned as an outlaw and every
one warned against giving him food or shelter. It also decreed
that "no one shall dare to buy, sell, read or cause to be read
any books of the aforesaid Martin Luther, since they are foul,
noxious, and written by a notorious and stiff-necked heretic."

As Luther neared Eisenach on his way home from Worms, he was
kidnapped by his friends and taken to the Castle of Wartburg,
where he spent his time making a German translation of the New
Testament. During his retirement, his friends and students tore
down the images of the Saints in the Churches and openly opposed
the celebration of the Mass. Many celibate monks and nuns,
remembering Luther's story of the 6,000 infant skulls which had
been found under a convent in Rome, left their cloisters and went
out into the world. 'When Luther married an ex-nun, they
followed his example and started their household lives. Finally
the whole of Germany was split up into two opposing factions,
southern Germany remaining loyal to the Pope, northern Germany
becoming Protestant. In 1555 the Peace of Augsburg was ratified,
after which time every ruling Prince was given the opportunity to
choose his own brand of Christianity.

It cannot be denied that the Reformation led to conflicts as
bloody as the "Holy Wars" of the Catholic Church. Luther was
extremely intolerant of anyone who disagreed with his own
interpretation of the scripture; Calvin did not scruple to betray
Servetus to the Inquisition, which burned him as a heretic. Even
the mild Melancthon regarded the latter event with "gratitude."
Why, then, should the Reformation be described as part of the
Theosophical Movement?

Whatever may be said of Martin Luther, of his colleagues and
successors in reform, the fact remains that these men were
animated by the fervor of sincerity, by a hatred of corruption
and a longing for freedom from the selfish rule and brazen
hypocrisy of Rome. Whatever were Luther's faults, he THOUGHT FOR
HIMSELF, elected his own beliefs. This was an example to the
world. What he had done, other men could do -- and did. Since
his day religious thought has grown increasingly free, and in the
present, no man need answer to an external authority for his
beliefs unless he so choose. 

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application