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TH conference and post modern conference

Aug 28, 1995 00:36 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

 Paul Johnson suggested that I share the details of our
(April and myself) July trip to Europe and our theosophical
activities in London, Paris and in Washington (USA). My first
response to Paul was that no one would be interested, but on
later reflection I realized that there were a few on the theos-l
list who would be interested:

 We left for London in mid July to attend the Theosophical
History conference held at London Lodge at 50 Gloucester Place.
We arrived in the middle of a heat wave and checked in to our
hotel. As pre-arranged, we met with Leslie Price (founder of the
Theosophical History Journal) for lunch at the British Museum.
Following lunch, we spent the rest of the day in the rare mss
reading room going over the original Mahatma Letters written to
A.P. Sinnett.

 Saturday we registered for the History conference. Here, we
made new acquaintances as well as renewed old ones. Lillian
Storey and Leslie Price chaired the weekend. Dr. Santucci gave
papers on the origin of the Theosophical Society and on George
Felt, whose talk on the "Divine Proportion..." apparently
inspired the formation of the T.S. Patrick Deveney spoke on
Paschal Beverly Randolph, founder of a Rosicrucian Order that
predates the Theosophical Society. Alan Donant of the T.S.
Pasadena spoke on H.P.B. and her teachers. Sunday, Nicholas
Campion spoke on the relationship of the Theosophical Society to
the revival of astrology in the 20th century, and Jean Overton
Fuller spoke on the Judge Case. Robert A. Gilbert spoke on the
Golden Dawn and its influence. I gave the final paper on Yeats
and his relationship to Theosophy as well as a slide show on the
various Theosophists and magicians who were among Yeats circle of

 After the conference we spent the next three days exploring
London and the bookstores. Since we were staying in a hotel
situated behind the British Museum, the Bloomsbury district was
only a short walk away. We spent two days hitting the bookstores
there, before hiking up to the Charing Cross road district and
finally found the famous Watkins bookstore. Over all, we found
that the selection of metaphysical books available in London are
not as good as on the West Coast of the U.S., but we did find a
couple of very scarce items to add to our 12,000 volume
collection. We celebrated our final night in London by seeing
~Les Miserables~ at the Palace theatre. By mid week we went to
Paris to visit friends and picked up some sets of hard-to-find
French theosophical journals. By mid week, we visited the French
headquarters (I had previously stayed there for a week in 1991)
to renew acquaintances. I greeted one woman whom I had met on my
previous voyage. Though we has shared several meals together
back in 1991, she had never spoken a word of English to me. When
I greeted her this time, she blurted out in very broken English:
"I remember you from three years ago, and your French is no
Better!" I didn't know whether to be shocked that she could
speak English all the time or hurt that she insulted my French.

 While we were in Paris, the city had a thirty year record
heat wave and the worst terrorist bombing in ten years. The
morning before the bombing, I had a very disturbing dream: I
dreamed of seeing the bodiless head of my (deceased) father
looming over a hill like a sky god in a B movie. My father was
wearing a full beard, but there were only empty eye sockets
flowing with blood where his eyes should have been. April and I
were starting up the hill when my father said: "I will do away
with the both of you (i.e. kill you both) if you come over this
hill." The dream deeply disturbed me, and I did not speak of it,
while trying to resolve its meaning. That morning April and I
went into Paris where I took her around to my favorite haunts.
Our last stop was at St. Severin (It is in the Latin quarter, and
is my favorite eglise). As we were about to return to the St.
Michel station, we decided to stop for a cappacino. Within a few
minutes, we were surrounded by police and firemen. the terrorist
bomb had gone off while we were almost on top of it. Our last
minute decision to slow down for a coffee may have saved our

 The next day, we left for Charles deGalle to catch our plane
back to London, but it was grounded "for security reasons." We
were held up for two hours, thus missing all of our connections
back to the U.S. and arriving in San Francisco a day late. From
San Francisco, A friend picked us up and we drove straight to
Portland Oregon for the third Post-Modern theosophical
conference. I had hoped that others on the net who had attended
would have reported on this conference by now. Perhaps someone
will later.

 The Post-Modern conference was a two day event held at
Tamara Gerard's beautiful estate overlooking the Columbia River.
The theme was "transition." As is our custom, the program
creates itself when we meet (as opposed to creating a program in
advance). There was a variety of presentations and activities
from morning hikes to evening jamming. Participants worked in
shifts cooking meals and cleaning up. The program contained a
great deal of variety. Some of the presentations were
provocative such as Morry Secrest's presentation on the bi-
cambrial mind. David Kestin gave us a doctrinal presentation on
the globes and rounds. On the lighter side, Vivian led us in
free play exercises used in drama, and April broke us into
discussion groups. Dennis, a Portland Lodge member, shared some
thought provoking material on relationships. My own contribution
for the weekend was a discussion on some critical issues that
define how we look at theosophy today.

 All in all, our extended travels were most fruitful. We
made new friends, renewed old ones, made significant additions to
the library, and participated in two different but very well done

Jerry Hejka-Ekins
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