Re:Theosophy as a religion
Aug 27, 1995 02:53 AM
Ann: "The Alice Bailey group and the Arcane School has always seemed
separate from the Theosophical Society, as least in my experience at Olcott."
Rich: This is quite true, they are separate organizations, but the
Theosophical Society is not itself "Theosophy." As you no doubt know, there
are many organizations and associations for the study and promulgation of
Theosophy. I include the Alice Bailey students because they include
themselves as Theosophists.
My experience has been primarily on the East Coast. In Boston, the
Theosophical Society experienced one of the most BITTER lawsuits I have ever
experienced, right at the time I was a student intern there. Finally, by
court order, two organizations were formed of the one branch, one of which
was a Bailey organization and which called itself "the Besant Lodge of the
the Boston T.S." It was not officially recognized by Wheaton. The other
branch was the Blavatsky branch of the T.S. in America, and did not accept
the Bailey teachings.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on lawyers and court fees, and
the mutual antipathy was INCREDIBLE. I was out of it, as a student at the
time, but unfortunately I was in the middle of it. The entire New England
region of the T.S. was shaken by the event, and many people had their Wheaton
membership terminated when they chose the Besant-Bailey side.
Later I became secretary of the Besant (Bailey) branch, and it was my job to
record the most amazing rituals and "services" and psychic festivals held
under the banner of Theosophy, as these people called themselves the "Boston
T.S." like I said, without Wheaton's blessing. Full-moon meditations, each
meeting beginning with "the great invocation" asking for the return of Christ
and the restoration of God's plan, Holidays like Easter and Wesak, etc.
Then this group began to argue whether Helena Roerich formed a third part of
the Theosophical "revelation," carrying on the work of Bailey. There was
much argument, but finally the group agreed that there was a holy three-part
dispensation of Theosophy, and that each teaching carried on the work of the
previous ones. All three teachers were seen as equally valid, they saw no
differences between them.
Given my personal experience of Theosophical study as an associate of U.L.T.,
where we stick pretty much to the ORIGINAL material and try to learn it WELL,
I was simply shocked. I could NOT believe that holidays and prayers and
festivals and such were being touted as in line with HPB's and the Master's
teachings, that such things were accepted as "theosophy."
So, Ann, if the Boston branch wasn't forming a "religion" out of Theosophy,
and expecting that each member would go along, what was it doing? Keep in
mind that the vast majority of the Bailey-Theosophists were not members of
the Arcana School (it is experiencing some political trouble right now), they
saw themselves as straight-line card-carrying Theosophists, cursing the
ignorance of Wheaton and others like myself who did not accept their version
of the material.
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