Not Repeating the Past
Dec 30, 1994 09:55 AM
by K. Paul Johnson
New Year inspires thoughts of the future and the past, and at the
moment I focus these thoughts on the world of Theosophists.
There are two statements that I think are both perfectly true,
but which have usually in the past been regarded as mutually
exclusive. 1) Our history is filled with inspiring examples of
dedicated, unselfish individuals devoting their lives to the
spiritual liberation and enlightenment of humanity; we would do
well to follow their example. 2. Our history is filled with
appalling examples of the same vices that are found in any
religious movement: authoritarianism, credulity, dogmatism,
hatred...; therefore we should be mindful of these and strive to
avoid their pitfalls.
Recent events have evoked a memory from 1978. I had joined the
TS (Adyar) through the mail after reading many books but meeting
no members. That summer I drove to Lake Geneva to the annual
summer school. It was a real hum-dinger. There was a lady who
looked like HPB and claimed to be her reincarnation; she and a
coterie of friends were having revelations about who was the
Countess, etc. in the present. There was a couple from
Connecticut receiving mail from the Space Brothers who apparently
wanted to supplant the Masters in the esteem of Theosophists.
There was a bunch of hippies from Texas disrupting meetings with
shouts and general weirdness; they knew that the Masters were
right there in Lake Geneva and would initiate people if only the
Theosophists recognized their chosen messengers, the hippies.
Although I met many fine people, the atmosphere was so bizarre
that I left early, telling the registrar that I would withdraw
from the TS as I dreaded getting drawn into the group karma,
which appeared to be quite strange.
Well, that resolution faded as soon as I realized there just
wasn't any other subject that interested me as much as Theosophy,
no matter how contentious and chaotic its religious culture.
First joining the ULT, then the Pasadena TS, and finally
rejoining Adyar (all in a few years) I discovered that first
impressions were not always reliable. Most Theosophists are
neither UFO contactees, self-proclaimed reincarnations of
celebrities, or alleged special agents of the Masters. Many of
them have become my good friends. Still, 16 years later I wonder
about there being a group karma that outweighs our good
intentions as individuals at times.
How can Theosophists embody the virtues of their leaders while
avoiding the repetition of mistakes from the past? The simplest,
pat answer is by knowing about history, and this indeed would
help. But something more is required, since even those of us who
know about history can seem doomed to repeat it.
One clue may be found in the natal chart of the TS drawn for the
November 17 date. Uranus in Leo in the second house is opposed
by Mars and Saturn, conjunct in Aquarius in the eighth. This
indicates a complex that seems to keep inspiring problems. The
Uranus position suggests a group in which individual freedom is
paramount; one's personal values are held to be the ultimate
arbiter. This means that every new Theosophist has in some sense
the invitation to "re-vision" the whole and come up with a unique
reinterpretation. But on the other hand, in the eighth house of
collective values and unconscious controls, there is an
unfortunate conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Aquarius.
Mars/Saturn conjoined and opposing Uranus indicates that
unconscious collective forces will try to stifle or attack every
new initiative that appears. Mars/Saturn makes for frustration
in which the urge to action is continually challenged by fear of
failure and security in the status quo. The three planets in
such difficult aspect suggest that there will be constant
struggle between progressive individualism and unconscious group
fears and conflicts. Repeated crises erupt when these planets
are stimulated by transits or progression.
There's a lot more to be seen in the TS natal chart than that,
but as a starting point it seems worthwhile to ask ourselves how
to step outside the circle of repetition. What is our group
karma, positive and negative? How might becoming more conscious
of this help make the movement more united and effective? What
can I do in 1995 toward this goal?
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