Posts Tagged ‘lodges’

If the TS is going to move forward into the 21st century in a way that is of use to humanity, we’re going to have to face some real issues, instead of getting side tracked into personal complaints.

Real issues we’re facing:

  • how to build community online in a way that is productive and helps people grow spiritually
  • how to build community offline: help our lodges grow and be places of real study and a meeting place for people of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds
  • how to transform our magazines into well… magazines. Quest is an actual magazine in this sense, though it might have a higher percentage of in depth theosophical content. The Theosophist and the Dutch magazine Theosofia (two of the magazines I know) aren’t magazines in any other sense than that they’re published in a magazine format. They don’t have a column for letters sent in, for instance. Theosofia doesn’t even have a column by the editors.

One issue complained about recently on theos-talk is valid though: how important should it be whether people are first, second or third generation theosophists? (I’m first btw)

There’s a grey line here. It’s natural to trust family more than others, but when a family member turns out to not be very good at the job you gave them, they should be replaced.

At Adyar another issue is also pressing: the issue of caste. Can something be done about the prevalence of high caste Indians in positions of power? Or on other words: is enough done to reach out to lower caste (varna, jati whatever you want to call it) members of the TS? Does the Indian section even have such members in positions of influence?

In the West, similarly, are we reaching out to people of color enough? to Muslims? And if we should, how should that be done?

Those are just a few of the issues I think about when I think about where the TS is headed, or should be headed. I do wonder: what do you all think the real challenges of the TS are?


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Hi all,

I’ve just sent a letter to Radha telling her I support some of her recent decisions. While I don’t want to further increase online hostility, I do feel the main points in that e-mail need to be shared more widely.

First of all: Radha has been replacing some of the old hands within her inner circle. Some have suggested that she did this out of a sense of outrage at their insinuations that she is losing it. I can’t look into her mind, but I would like to point out that there is one other excellent reason to do what she is doing. Replacing John Algeo for instance means that someone younger and perhaps qualified to become president of the TS in seven years time will get a chance to learn the ropes at Adyar. The old guard does need to be replaced somewhere in the next 10 years. It is in all of our interests that people under 60 get trained up so that we have enough people ready to replace Radha and John when the time comes. Whenever that may be.

Further. I have no access to Radha’s memory banks, but what I’ve seen of her recent decisions makes me feel sure that she still has the wisdom necessary to run the TS. She also has a competent secretary who is likely to help her keep organized. I may not agree with Radha on all issues of policy, but in the main I feel she is the best person for the job of president at the moment. Even if I did not think that, she was elected and we all need to respect that and get on with our theosophical business of trying to practice brotherhood, live wisdom and research the religions of the world (etc.).

As for those issues of policy…

The results of my poll make it very clear that western members of the TS feel the president of the TS should be elected directly by the members. I think this is also the outcome of the online discussions. I feel that point should be withdrawn from the table by those who supported it originally.

Other parts of the original proposal were however supported by most of the people who voted in the poll. I do think the general council should take these up at the next available moment. However these points are generally of lesser importance in my opinion.

Discussions online bring out two other points of difficulty.

First of all the rules around lodges make them hard to start and maintain and give them little freedom to organize things as they wish. Beyond that it is clear that national theosophical organizations should be made into sections when they have enough members. Whether they have seven lodges or not should not be a consideration.

The essential point about lodges is that they are study groups where people practice the three objects. Whether they give a yearly report and help keep national headquarters busy with bureaucratic formalities should not be seen as essential. I also think it is fair that lodges have the freedom to decide on their own property, even if that means that in some cases the TS does not get access to them when the lodge disbands. Lodges sometimes feel that local interests are best dealt with by keeping the resources local. The decisions of the members of a lodge on such points should, I think, be respected.

The other point is that of transparency. While I don’t think members need to be kept abreast of every little detail the general council discusses, we do want to know the main points. I don’t really enjoy being whistle blower. I’d rather see the TS reinvent itself as an open organization where nobody feels threatened by honest discussion of organizational points. And where members are kept informed about major issues as a matter of course.

This does imply obviously that members take the responsibility of let’s say ‘acting their age’. We each represent the TS. That does mean we should keep our disagreements civil and on the point. It also means we need not repeat our opinions too often. [Yes, this is a response to recent flame wars online]

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A theosophical lodge is a group of people that comes together to discuss theosophy. Usually there are lectures open to the public, a studygroup of some theosophical book, business meetings and a few holiday meetings.

To me the lodges are the center of theosophical work. It’s where we can hatch out our ideas, throw them against each other & learn from each other. As I quit college this year, I finally have time to get back to lodgework myself. I look forward to a year of studying the Secret Doctrine and learning about freemasonry at the local TS Adyar lodge in The Hague.

I urge all of you to find the nearest theosophical lodge. Most national sections have a website these days on which local sections and lodges are listed. For instance the TSA has a map with all the states in the USA. Click on the state you live in and find a listing of local lodges. I’ve put together a list of all local TS Adyar websites I know of. Let me know if I missed any.

I can’t promise you youth. I can promise that if you have the patience to listen to the older people there (and a few young people if you’re lucky) you will learn things about life, spirituality, theosophy that you just couldn’t have thought of yourself.

This online stuff just can’t replace some good smalltalk over herbal tea and cookies (though usually there’s also coffee and normal tea). The discussions here may enliven the lodge you come to as well.

If there isn’t a local lodge, perhaps you could start a studygroup yourself on any theosophical or spiritual book you’re fascinated by. Find a space (could be a large living room), put up notices in the local library, on craigslist and myspace and on the website of your local town. I’ve always found that taking responsibility like this is an enormous learning experience in itself. Can’t promise it will be easy. Can promise it will be worth it from a spiritual point of view.

Some inspiration

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