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Festive Gatherings

Sep 21, 1994 05:04 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker

This is by Eldon Tucker

---- Festive Gatherings

       It was encouraging to read about the recent post-
modern theosophical retreat. With Zen drumming, esoteric
astrology, pagan ceremonies, psychological discussion
groups, and full-moon meditations, it covers a broad
spectrum of New Age interests. Missing, fortunately,
were channeling, hypnotic past-life regression, and
psychic readings. It was the best of New Age interests,
in a peaceful setting, packaged for the enjoyment of
       Such activities are good. They rekindle an
enthusiasm for life. It is possible for someone to come
away with a renewed dedication to enrich his life and
the lives of others. Dormant religious feelings can be
       Other than the sponsorship--under the banner of
Theosophical Anarchists: No Theosophical Society Shalt
Rule Me!--the mix of activities is similar to other
gatherings. Look at the program at Far Horizons
Theosophical Camp. How about the Annual Convention and
Program at Wheaton, for the American Section of the
Adyar T.S.? Consider the mix of programs at the
theosophical center that John Drais has in the Southern
California desert.
       While the type of the program is the same, the
people running them are different. The sponsors may
vary from a controlling membership organization, to a
group of friends. Regardless of who is in charge, and
how the decisions are made, the programs end up
resembling each other.
       In our modern society, we lack real social
festivals, ones with religious overtones. Something is
missing from our lives that these festivals fulfill.
They are enjoyable, personally-enriching, and fill a
certain psychological need we have to feel ourselves as
part of a loving tribe. (There's a sense of
participation in a National Subrace, but only a weak
sense of participating in lesser subraces, like the
Tribal, and we miss those more family-like groups to
belong to.)
       One thing missing from the description of the Post-
Modern Retreat, was any talk of the theosophical
Teachings, either in direct study, discussion, or
dramatic enactment. Most theosophical gatherings give
some time to higher things, rather than just social
activities with spiritual overtones. Was there anything
at the retreat that gave it a distinctive character,
something that made it stand above any New Age Retreat?
The fact that the people participating were Theosophists
is not enough--not anymore than were Theosophists to
hold a church service and say that it was something more
than other church services because *they* were doing it.
       Do we to believe that there was nothing to the
Philosophy, that the Teachings are an useless appendage,
and are no longer of value? I hope not!
       In ancient times, during the Sacred Seasons, I
suspect that while great things where happening behind
closed temple doors, there were public celebrations of
life, festivals celebrating the spiritual nature of
things and the wonders of the human psyche. Behind
closed doors, there may be trails going on, where life-
or-death struggles were undergone. People died. Others
went mad. Outside, in the parks and gathering grounds,
people celebrated. Life is wonderful! There was a
feeling of brotherhood, of love, a renewed sense of the
excitement for life that we find in very-young children.
       Feeling a lack of such celebrations in our western
society, we naturally want to bring them back, and enjoy
them again. Something is missing from our lives, and we
want it again. But we have something more. The core
concepts of Theosophy are the seed thoughts about which
the Mystery Teachings grow. For those of us willing to
take additional steps at this time, we may find that the
Temple Doors are ajar--and not locked--and we may take
our first steps inside. There is something more than the
festive celebration of life and we can have it.

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