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Feb 06, 1996 01:02 PM
by ti

The Key to Theosophy (KEY02.TXT)

[Text provided by Eldon Tucker, converted to ASCII by
 Alan Bain}

Theosophy and The Theosophical Society

The Meaning of the Name

Q.  Theosophy and its doctrines are often referred to as a
new-fangled religion. Is it a religion?

A.  It is not. Theosophy is Divine Knowledge or Science.

Q.  What is the real meaning of the term?

A.  "Divine Wisdom," (Theosophia) or Wisdom of the gods, as
(theogonia), genealogy of the gods.  The word theos means a god
in Greek, one of the divine beings, certainly not "God" in the
sense attached in our day to the term. Therefore, it is not
"Wisdom of God," as translated by some, but _Divine Wisdom_ such
as that possessed by the gods. The term is many thousand years

Q.  What is the origin of the name?

A.  It 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
disciples, also called Analogeticists, who started the Eclectic
Theosophical system. - {See Wilder, Professor Alexander, F.T.S.,
_The Eclectic Philosophy._} -

As explained by Professor Wilder, they were called so because of
their practice of interpreting all sacred legends and
narratives, myths and mysteries, by a rule or principle of
analogy and correspondence: so that events which were related as
having occurred in the external world were regarded as
expressing operations and experiences of the human soul. They
were also denominated Neo-Platonists. Though Theosophy, or the
Eclectic Theosophical system, is generally attributed to the
third century, yet, if Diogenes Laertius is to be credited, its
origin is much earlier, as he attributed the system to an
Egyptian priest, Pot-Amon, who lived in the early days of the
Ptolemaic dynasty. The same author tells us that the name is
Coptic, and signifies one consecrated to Amon, the God of
Wisdom. Theosophy is the equivalent of Brahma-Vidya, divine

Q. What was the object of this system?

A. First of all to inculcate certain great moral truths upon its
disciples, and all those who were "lovers of the truth." Hence
the motto adopted by the Theosophical Society: "There is no
religion higher than truth."

Eclectic Theosophy was divided under three heads:

1.  Belief in one absolute, incomprehensible and supreme Deity,
or infinite essence, which is the root of all nature, and of all
that is, visible and invisible.

2.  Belief in man's eternal immortal nature, because, being a
radiation of the Universal Soul, it is of an identical essence
with it.

3.  _Theurgy,_ or "divine work," or _producing a work of gods;_
from _theoi,_ "gods," and _ergein,_ "to work."

The term is very old, but, as it belongs to the vocabulary of
the MYSTERIES, was not in popular use. It was a mystic
belief - practically proven by initiated adepts and priests -
that, by making oneself as pure as the incorporeal beings -
i.e., by returning to one's pristine purity of nature - man
could move the gods to impart to him Divine mysteries, and even
cause them to become occasionally visible, either subjectively
or objectively. It was the transcendental aspect of what is now
called Spiritualism; but having been abused and misconceived by
the populace, it had come to be regarded by some as necromancy,
and was generally forbidden. A travestied practice of the
theurgy of Iamblichus lingers still in the ceremonial magic of
some modern Cabalists. Modern Theosophy avoids and rejects both
these kinds of magic and "necromancy" as being very dangerous.
Real _divine_ theurgy requires an almost superhuman purity and
holiness of life; otherwise it degenerates into mediumship or
black magic. The immediate disciples of Ammonius Saccas, who was
called _Theodidaktos,_ "god-taught" - such as Plotinus and his
follower Porphyry - rejected theurgy at first, but were finally
reconciled to it through Iamblichus, who wrote a work to that
effect entitled _De Mysteriis,_ under the name of his own
master, a famous Egyptian priest called Abammon. Ammonius Saccas
was the son of Christian parents, and, having been repelled by
dogmatic Spiritualistic Christianity from his childhood, became
a Neo-Platonist, and like J. Boehme and other great seers and
mystics, is said to have had divine wisdom revealed to him in
dreams and visions. Hence his name of _Theodidaktos._ He
resolved to reconcile every system of religion, and by
demonstrating their identical origin to establish one universal
creed based on ethics. His life was so blameless and pure, his
learning so profound and vast, that several Church Fathers were
his secret disciples. Clemens Alexandrinus speaks very highly of
him. Plotinus, the "St. John" of Ammonius, was also a man
universally respected and esteemed, and of the most profound
learning and integrity. When thirty-nine years of age he
accompanied the Roman Emperor Gordian and his army to the East,
to be instructed by the sages of Bactria and India. He had a
School of Philosophy in Rome. Porphyry, his disciple, whose real
name was Malek (a Hellenized Jew), collected all the writings of
his master. Porphyry was himself a great author, and gave an
allegorical interpretation to some parts of Homer's writings.
The system of meditation the Philaletheians resorted to was
ecstasy, a system akin to Indian Yoga practice. What is known of
the Eclectic School is due to Origen, Longinus, and Plotinus,
the immediate disciples of Ammonius.

The chief aim of the Founders of the Eclectic Theosophical
School was one of the three objects of its modern successor, the
Theosophical Society, namely, to reconcile all religions, sects,
and nations under a common system of ethics, based on eternal

Q. What have you to show that this is not an impossible dream;
and that all the world's religions _are_ based on the one and
the same truth?

A. Their comparative study and analysis. The "Wisdom-Religion"
was one in antiquity; and the sameness of primitive religious
philosophy is proven to us by the identical doctrines taught to
the Initiates during the MYSTERIES, an institution once
universally diffused.

All the old worships indicate the existence of a single
Theosophy anterior to them. The key that is to open one must
open all; otherwise it cannot be the right key. - {Wilder,
Professor Alexander, F.T.S., _The Eclectic Philosophy._}

Ancient Wisdom for a New Age

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