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Re: Esoteric Astrology Signs of Nations Global International

Dec 31, 1995 10:13 PM
by John R Crocker

>> From "The Key To Theosophy":
>>HPB says "the origin of the name ... ... comes to us from the
>>Alexandrian philosophers called lovers of truth Philaletheians from
>>`phil' loving and `aletheia' "truth". The name Theosophy dates from
>>the third century of our era and began with Ammonius Saccas and his

> Eldon:
> That's fine for a definition of the term "Theosophy". But HPB could have
> chosen many different terms to label her new society and the philosophy
> which she was about to teach in the west. What she was going to teach
> did not I think come from Saccas and his disciples. "Theosophy" happened
> to be a handy term to use for the future T.S.
Er yes but my post was a direct answer to the question of
whether or not HPB herself coined the term "Theosophy". And this
paragraph seems to imply that calling it "Theosophy" was a choice lightly
made. She could have also called it "Esoteric Hinduism" or used any
number of Eastern terms. But she didn't. While what she was going to
teach may not have *come* from Saccus she clearly does by the choice of
this name Theosophy and in other writings acknowledge such
philosophical traditions as being *part* of the tradition of the "Ancient
I only mention this because having come first to Theosophy from
the tradition of neo-Platonism I was delighted by the fact that HPB
not only acknowledged this tradition but praised it highly and took time
to tie many of its terms into her presentation of the Ancient Wisdom ...
and dismayed by the fact that this has been almost completely ignored
since her death. Theosophy has come to be seen as an *Eastern* tradition
but its hard to make it through the Secret Doctrine without concluding
that this "Ancient Wisdom" and its proponents have existed in alomst
every nation every philosophical tradition of any depth ... east *and*
Could it be perhaps that HPB choose "Theosophy" for reasons
slightly stronger than simply that it was "handy" in fact it was
anything *but* handy - it was a term coined by an obscure branch of a
philosophical tradition ... a fraction of whose teachings had been
translated and that was almost unknown even among the intelligentsia of
the time. Think its possible that the choice of the term "Theosophy" was
a delibrate attempt in introducing the philosophy to the *west* to make
it clear that this philosophy existed in the roots as part of the
foundation of the *western* philosophical tradition as well as the
The term was most definately *not* in common usage and to find
it she must have either hunted through some really obscure ancient Greek
writings a bit odd to think of ... she wasn't exactly a careful
studious scholar or one of the Masters must have showed her the term
as in the way the SD was written. Put yourself in her position ... 03
years hidden away studying and perhaps being initiated into an ancient
order whose philosophy you consider to be the most elevated thought
possible to come into contact with whose Masters you honor with all the
awe and respect possible in your devotional nature - you are released
with a connection intact and vows being taken and have shouldered the
responsibility of introducing this philosophy to the whole western world
for the first time in well in a *very* long time and you are trying to
come up with the *name* for what if you are successful will be a
current that will last decades even centuries - would you really choose a
term because it was *handy*?

> The various doctrines in our basic theosophical books contain many
> borrowed terms including "Theosophy" itself. We can I think read
> about the philosophies and religious that they come from. It's important
> though to keep in mind that the borrowed terms sometimes may have their
> meanings changed.
Well I suppose I think that there is a difference between the
choice of a term to use to describe in english some obscure nuance of
the spiritual realm that only exists in the Pali language and the choice
of the term to be used to *name the philosophy and the organization
itself*. While HPB may have used the word in a way different from the way
Saccus & friends used it though according to her account of what they
meant by it it seems she was using it to mean almost precisely what they
meant by it ... still she chose *it* not an eastern term to name her
Society and the philosophy behind it.

> So when RI gives us two good dictionary definitions of "Theosophy" it's
> fine for purposes of understanding how Theosophy is popularly thought of
> but does not help us when we want to understand it in the theosophical
> context in the context that it is thought of in our theosophical textbooks.
Oh but it *does*. Why is it that pretty much the only place
Theosophy is mentioned in academia is as part of "Eastern studies" or
"Eastern religions" classes? Why is it that far more Theosophists have
read the Bagavad Gita than the Enneads of Plotinus? Read the Secret
Doctrine without any of the *assumptions* of whether its eastern or
western and it suddenly appears to be intended as a truly *universal*
doctrine purposely named *Theosophy* in the west to emphasize the fact
that it is far more than simply westernized eastern religion. The
so-called "popular" meaning in dictionaries is not so much flawed as it
is clear feedback about how Theosophists have presented Theosophy to the
western world: My dictionary says " ... the teachings of a modern
movement originating in the US in 1875 and following chiefly Buddhist and
Brahmanic theories esp. of pantheistic evolution and reincarnation..."
It is because the eastern aspects of the teachings were seized
upon by early Theosophists from the west who seemed to consider them
exciting and exotic - its always easier to notice things that are new
and unknown and because the two masters involved in the beginning were
eastern that the whole current Theosophical tradition seems to have
become far *less* universal than it was intended to be. Much as
Theosophists don't like current dictionary definitions of Theosophy they
are actually extremely accurate descriptions of the Theosophy that
*Theosophists themselves have shown to western world*. They are not to be
dismissed as the inaccurate opinions of the masses but should be
recognized in organizational self-reflection as a partial failure to
present Theosophy as a universal philosophy whose initiates have
appeared in all nations and at all times and whose truths are at the
root of every major exoteric religious and philosophical tradition east
*and* west.

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