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To Eldon On Confession from the Snake Pit

Sep 02, 1995 11:59 PM
by Arthur Paul Patterson

To Eldon and Others:

I realize that Eldon's post was addressed to Paul Johnson's application of
my comments on Fundamentalism to Theosophical groups and individuals. I am
in no position to speak about the content of the theosophical issues but I
feel the need to connect some of the excellent comments that Eldon makes to
the spiritual attitude that I was advocating in my original post. It is
difficult to speak from the position of a complete novice but one of the
reasons I am on the list is not only to learn about theosophy but to learn
about communication and process, so, bear with me. I am sure much of what I
say is not correct, and for sure not exhaustive, I offer it for discussion
not proclamation.

Eldon: The Theosophical Movement is but a single project of a few of the
Masters, and was considered doubtful to succeed. The work of the Masters
goes on, through whomever is capable of carrying it forward, regardless of
what groups that person belongs to, and regardless of what belief that
person professes.

Art: In keeping with my goal of seeing this post in the context of an
"approach to spirituality", I am reminded of the way in which the exclusive
understanding of YHWH's covenant with Israel's was emphasized in the less
evolved religious consciousness of Israel and was transformed in during the
Exile. The contact with others, the realization of a more than provincial
understanding of God, and spiritual failure and external persecution
resulted in the more open perspective. Universalism and tolerance is moved
forward by these principles. I would wonder if the same historical
preconditions lead to a more tolerant perspective on the part of
Theosophists? I have read a few hundred pages in Cranston's Biography and
saw that HPB was considered a heretic and a flake my many in her 19th
Century. The great imposter so to speak. This could to lead to a defensive
rigidity or toward a stronger position. Acceptance by society at large is
an unlikely partner to expanded consciousness.

Eldon: The aspect of Theosophy intended for public assimilation can change
in whatever way is suitable to the highest good of society. The other
aspect, that of a junior college to the Mysteries, is never claimed to be
exclusive. There are many ways to approach the Mysteries, many possible
doors to knock on, and that offered through Theosophy as we know it is but
one such door.

Paul: >We KNOW that HPB (or whoever) always tells the truth and her
writings are always reliable.

Eldon: We're always required to use our better judgment to sort out the
real from the unreal. We can never take the literal words of some book
given us as holy and spiritually inspired, and take it on face value. And
there is much to the writings that is either hidden behind blinds or veils,
or requires the student to "go beyond the words" to get to the real

Arthur: When there is a movement toward a higher consciousness the "sacred
writings" of any group has to be filtered through a contemporary grid. It
is necessary to develop and apply different interpretive tools make the
necessary adaptation to culture and social change. Once the founding
fathers and mothers are dead and gone, then the disciples tend to band
behind one or another of them and advocate different schools of thought.
Just as the Early Christians had schools such as Pauline Tradition,
Jerusalem Tradition ( Peter and James), Gnostic Tradition(Apollo &
Johannine), so too Theosophy appears to have Traditions: Besant,
Leadbeater, Bailey, Olcott, Judge, HPB, Krishnamurti (?), Steiner, and

In order to avoid utter chaos a movement determines what writings will
consolidate the experience for the continuing group. This is called the
"canon" and is like a yard stick of spiritual experience. Both leadership
and the group itself works together to decide what is authoritative for
themselves. There is in every group I have seen a tendency to believe that
there are supernatural guides to the is process of learning Christian: Holy
Spirit, Judaic: Sophia, etc Theosophy may see the Masters in this way, I am
not sure.

You mentioned that, "there is much to the writings that is either hidden
behind blinds or veils, or requires the student to "go beyond the words" to
get to the real meanings." The method of interpretation you are applying is
very good and stands in the long line of allegorical interpretations that
have been used in many traditions. But it is important to remember that
there are principles of interpretation that we bring to the text and the
discussion of these is essential to mutual understanding.

Eldon: Inflation is a psychological term that is an abnormal condition.
It's quite possible, though, for psychologists that have based their
theories upon the psyche of a typical western person to misread things when
we deal with the Path. The psychology of the common man does not
particularly apply to those who would go beyond the current evolution of
humanity, and seek to hasten their spiritual evolution.

Arthur: I am not sure that inflation is to be seen as a pathological
condition. I think it is quite common. Jung, because he was still
influenced by reductionist 19th Century thought, used the language of
pathology. I am not sure that is helpful. Inflation happens when the
boundaries collapse and the differentiation of consciousness between an
archetypal entity and a human being are not acknowledged. In the extreme
cases this takes on such an abnormal state that it is deemed "insanity"
like when David Koresh said he was the Messiah. He was likely caught up in
the Messianic archetype to such an extend that Vernon ( his original name)
lost himself. In some cultures this condition is admirable and considered
"special shamanic status.

Eldon, I think that your desire to distance from the term "inflation" is
because of its pathological implications. I would imagine the idea is not
to participate in the archetypes of transformation, (the occult world) but
that the way this experience is held and brought back to living history is
the central point... If I have ecstatic experience and encounter
extraterrestrials or inter-dimensional, or elements and angels but have not
love it is like a clanging symbol.

What happened to Daniel, in my estimate, is that he so identified with The
Evangelical Polemicist that he was no longer Daniel. Some identify with the
Holy Spirit of Christ to such an extent that they too lose themselves. The
same happens for people who identify with labels of psychology or roles in
life. I am sure that it is possible and that you have probably met
individuals that have merged with Masters, devas, elementals, et's etc. I
don't think that they are pathological when they do I think they merely
haven't been trained in spiritual life or haven't had mentoring or are not
confident enough on the ego level to be dealing with such things.

Art:>>There is a theory in evangelical circles, I call it the domino
effect, that once you let one of the fundamentals loose, you will
eventually have your whole faith castle collapse.

Paul: >Once you start applying objective historical criteria to HPB's
claims about her sources, you lose your right to be considered a real

Eldon: I think that this is too extreme a statement. Some people may be
judgemental and blast you when your statements are threatening, regardless
of any serious consideration of the facts. But this is true of any strong
position that we may publicly make; we will have those that disagree in
disagreeable ways!

Arthur: I am not sure how central the understanding of the Masters is to
Theosophists. I am starting to think that they are essential in some way
given the amount of energy expended on "defending" them. Whenever the
essentials are brought into question by a new method the blood begins to be
spilled in any movement. I think it is an example of the law of cycles that
things periodically get upset. But woe be to the one who does the turning
of the cart. Their motives are questioned, their name is maligned and there
competence challenged. I have studied the church's reaction to those who
started using critical methods on the Scriptures. They were driven out of
the church, and by the way out of the context of those who could help
refine and apply their thoughts, into the universities, where they tended
to get more and more radicalized but in reaction and anger to their
critics. I think revisionist views ought to be welcomed . Harder said than
done though:) I feel it requires a different consciousness, one that lets
go of knowing and enters the field of trusting and clarifying and trying to

Art":>>objectivity based on logical rationality 3. The full plenary verbal
inspiration of an infallible and inerrant revelation in the Holy Scriptures
(no extra canonical revelation)

Paul:>ABSOLUTELY-- and if you dare question the literal inspiration of
HPB's writings, you'll be treated as a heretic-- even if you are Olcott,
who was obliged to publish Old Diary Leaves outside the TS because it was
insufficiently respectful.

Eldon: The other consideration though is that for those of us that do
consider the Masters as both real and as much more advanced than the people
that you depict in your books, there's a sense of dignified respect for the
lives of sacrifice that they have undertaken for the benefit of the world,
for which we are grateful.

Arthur: I don't think there is a dispute about the value of the Masters
only the basis of their "reality". What's real? I may not be understanding
right but I am not sure that Paul's idea of the disjuncture between the
historical as opposed to the symbolic is as great as what first appears.
Kether (Spirit) is connected to Malkuth (Matter) if I read it rightly? It
makes things a bit more paradoxical and harder to explain if spirit and
matter completely co-exist. Honouring both seem the way forward. I am
biased in the favor of disembodiment, but there are many reasons for

Eldon: The "scriptures" are only a beginner's training manual. The
self-genesis, partly through a Gnostic knowing of spiritual truths and
realities, and partly through a strong emphasis upon making a creative
contribution to the world, is where the Heart of Theosophy is to be found.

Arthur: I resonate with that! I was in class one day and I started a great
argument because I speculated that their would be no Bible's in Heaven.
They are the rungs on a ladder but when you are at the top you honourably
leave the rungs behind.

Under the Mercy.

Arthur Paul Patterson

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