Newsletter of the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) Australasian Section
No: 99 December 2009
The Glasshouse Mountains – Queensland, northern Australia
Ten Basic Rules for Better Living – Manly P. Hall.
The Inner Meaning of Christmas.
The Moon: Queen of the Night – Andrew Rooke.
Cherishing the Earth: how to care for God’s creation, by Martin and Margot Hodson.
Catching the Light: the entwined history of light and mind, by Arthur Zajonc.
God is Back: how the global rise in faith is changing the world, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Woldridge.
Clothed in the Sun – Amanda F. Rooke.
The True Story of a Dog named ‘Faith’ - Sotiria Galanopoulou.
Donations to the Australasian Section.
The Emerald Tablet of Hermes.
TEN BASIC RULES FOR BETTER LIVING
Manly P. Hall
Since our civilization has moved on to an intensive industrial level, our psychology of living has been subjected to a variety of pressures unknown to our ancestors. As a result, we need a basic statement of principles suitable to present day conditions. May we take this opportunity, therefore, to recommend Ten Basic Rules for Better Living. If you will inscribe these suggestions deeply and firmly upon the tablets of your memory, life will be easier and more purposeful:
Stop Worrying. The popular idea that a worrier is a thoughtful and
conscientious citizen is false. The Egyptians realized this when they included worry among the cardinal sins. Do not confuse thoughtfulness and worry. The thoughtful person plans solutions, but the worrier merely dissolves in his own doubt. If you think straight, you will have less cause for worrying. The worrier not only suffers the same disaster many times, but undermines his health and annoys all others with whom he comes into contact. There are many things in this world that require thoughtful consideration, but there is really nothing to fear but fear.
Stop trying to dominate and possess your friends and relatives. Each
of us likes to feel that he is running his own life. The moment we recognize the rights of others to seek life, liberty, and happiness according to their own dreams, hopes, and aspirations, we begin to conserve our own resources. If we save advice for ourselves and those who seek it from us, and who are therefore grateful, all concerned will be the better.
3. Moderate ambition. There is a tendency to overlook natural and simple blessings while we plunge on toward distant goals. Each individual has certain capacities. If he can recognize his own abilities and work with them, he can attain personal security. If however, he is constantly seeking that which is not reasonably attainable, he can never know happiness or contentment. The wise man observes the disastrous results of uncontrollable ambitions, and chooses moderation. It is not necessary to be famous in order to be happy, nor must one be the leading citizen in the community in order to gratify one’s social instinct. The ambitious usually pay too much for what they get, and are the more miserable after they get it.
4. Do not accumulate more than you need. There is no real distinction in being the richest man in the graveyard. Many earnest citizens act as though there were pockets in shrouds. We are supposed to have outgrown the primitive belief that we should bury a man’s goods with him so that his spirit might enjoy them in the afterworld. Here, again, the middle course is the wisest. Let us reserve some of our energy for enjoyment, and not give all of ourselves to the task of accumulation. Many a man who has made a million has not lived to spend it. A rich life can be more practical than a monumental bank account.
5. Learn to relax. Great tension is an abomination. The more tense we become, the more stupidly we are likely to act, and according to the old Buddhists, stupidity is a cardinal sin. Today many so-called efficient people are perpetually on the verge of a nervous breakdown. This is not so likely to be due to overwork as to unreasonable driving impulses from within themselves. Some say that they are overtaking their resources to keep their jobs or to maintain extravagant families. Whether you believe it or not, you are a better producer and a better provider if you do not collapse from psychic exhaustion at some critical moment when you are most in need of good health. If your associates do not realize this, they may be in need of practical counsel.
6. Cultivate a sense of humour. As never before, we must brighten and lighten the corners where we are. The more seriously we take ourselves and our responsibilities, the duller we become. It is a saving grace to realize that, although living is a serious matter, we cannot take it too seriously. Also bear in mind that genuine humour is not bitter, cynical, or critical. It is the ability to laugh with the world and not at the world. If we must laugh at someone, keep it to ourselves. Humour is a spice to living. It adds flavour to work, zest to play, charm to self-improvement, and proves to others that we have a security within ourselves. A sincere, happy laugh, like the joyous rippling of children’s laughter, relieves tension and restores good nature. Incidentally, it makes friends and inspires confidence.
7. Find a reason for your own existence. Unless you believe in something bigger than yourself, have some purpose more vital than accumulating or advancement in business or society, you are only existing, not living. A simple pattern is to realize that the laws of Nature that put you here seem to be primarily concerned with growth. You are a success to the degree that you grow, and you grow to the degree that you become a wiser, more useful, and more secure person. In other words, we live to learn, and by this very process, we learn to live. Broaden your horizon, develop an interest in all that is fine, beautiful and purposeful. Great internal good comes from the love for music, art, great literature, broad philosophy, and simple faith. Strengthen the inside of your nature, and the outside will be better.
8. Never intentionally harm any other person. Never by word or deed return evil for good, or evil for evil. Weed negative and destructive thoughts and emotions out of your personality, or they will ultimately contribute to your misery. Even the selfish man realizes that he cannot afford to keep a grudge, and the unselfish simply will not permit grudges, to accumulate because they know better and they believe better.
9. Beware of anger. When ill-temper controls us, we are no longer able to control ourselves. In a moment of anger, we may create a situation which will require years to remedy. Why should we spend our time trying to recover from our mistakes? If we disapprove, let us state our case simply quietly, and remember that we should never try to correct another when we have already committed faults as great as his.
A quick temper is a serious handicap in business or in the home. It is useless to say that we cannot control anger. This is as much as to admit that we have lost the power to control ourselves. If we resent the unkindness of others and the collective irritability of this generation, let us make sure that we are not one of the irritating factors.
10. And last – in fact, and most important: Never blame others for our own mistakes. It is hardly necessary. Each of us seems to have an incredible capacity to do things badly and select unwisely. Actually, we are in trouble because we have not made constructive use of the power and abilities which we received as a birthright. Others can hurt us only while our own inner life is too weak to sustain using the presence of trial or test. Instead of resenting misfortunes, and seeking to excuse our own limitations, we must face the facts. Either we are stronger than the problem and can solve it intelligently, or the problem is stronger than we are, and the only solution is to increase our own strength. Others are not to blame for our unhappiness. Each man must seek his own peace of mind, and, as the Arabian Nights so well expressed it, happiness must be earned - Printed with kind permission of Philosophical Research Society, Los Angeles (http://www.uprs.edu)
MEETINGS COMING UP JANUARY THROUGH JUNE 2010:
Sat. Jan 23rd, 2.30pm: Liquid Music – Dr Alex Rodda.
Sat. Feb. 6th, 2.30pm: Prophesies for the 21st Century: where do we stand approaching 2012? – Paul Rooke.
Sat. March 6th, 2.30pm: A World without Money – is it Possible? – Roza and Margarita Riaikkenen.
Sat. April 10th, 2.30pm: The Inter-Life – what modern research says happens between lifetimes – Andrew Rooke.
Sat. May 1st, 2.30pm: Mystic Christianity – Rev. Chris Skinner.
Sat. June 5th, 2.30pm: Personality Growth: a Prerequisite of Spiritual Growth – Charles Reither.
UNIVERSITY OF THE THIRD AGE (U3A) CLASSES
U3A classes normally commence in February and run right the way through the year till October. In 2010 it is anticipated that we will commence classes in June through October concentrating on comparative study of the religions and philosophies of India and Asia. Further information is available from Tony Downey on 0400942613.
NEW ON THEOSOPHY DOWNUNDER WEBSITE: newly available on our website at: www.theosophydownunder.org are the following lectures available in the Theosophy Downunder section: Does Beauty and Ugliness actually exist in Nature? – Heathclyff St. James Deville; Nurslings of the Future – George Svenger; What you did not want to know about Metaphysics – William De Vere; The Three Truths: based on ‘The Idyll of the White Lotus’ by Mabel Collins – Jennifer Pignataro.
NEWS FROM THE LIBRARY: several new DVDs has recently been sent to us by kind friends of our work. They include: The Life of the Buddha; The Healing Power of Sacred Art, by Alex Grey; Milarepa: the great Tibetan spiritual teacher; The Shift: Ambition to Meaning; Egypt – BBC Series in 2 disks dramatising the search for Tutankhamun’s tomb.
THE INNER MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
To all those who through their study of comparative religion have come to appreciate that each religion is but one facet of the central truth underlying all religions, the Christmas season is one of special interest.
In our day and age, Christmas is associated with the Christian story of the birth of the Christ-child in the manger of a small inn near Bethlehem. That child was the son of God, and Mary was his physical mother. He was the God-Man, the one in whom God and man was blended. To the simple, yet profoundly symbolic story, as it appears in the Gospels, many legends have been added and along with the religious tradition, many other secular traditions and customs drawn from various sources are now considered to be an essential part of the Christmas legend. Holly and mistletoe came from the Druids of ancient Britain, Santa Claus from the Teutons, and candlelit Christmas trees from the Norse.
It is important to remember that these other traditions and customs did not arise as the result of the spreading of Christianity – they were in existence long before the year 1 A.D. and were merely carried forward and incorporated in the growing body of legend and in the popular methods of celebrating a very ancient rite. Even the religious significance of Christmas is not ‘modern’; it ante-dates Christianity by many thousands of years.
Long before there were printed calendars with Dec. 25th marked in clear red figures, the race of men watched the great clock of the heavens and celebrated a religious festival at the time of the winter solstice. At that time of the year, the Northern races rejoiced that the sun had ceased to decline and was reborn. The long period of ever-shortening days had ended; the sun had turned in its course and soon would come again the season of rich, full sunlit days.
The period was always marked by special ceremonies. To some persons it was a purely physical event; to others the phenomena was symbolic of a deeper, spiritual truth – “From the new sun cometh a new light.” Dr. J. D. Frazer in the Golden Bough says, “If we may trust the evidence of an obscure scholiast the Greeks used to celebrate the birth of the luminary by the midnight service, coming out of the inner shrines and crying, ‘the virgin has brought forth, the Light is waxing.”
That symbolic Light was the old returning light of spiritual wisdom brought to mankind by the great messengers, the Saviours. The birth date of the Saviours was always in the dark season of the year in which the physical sun turns and is reborn. Mithra was reported to have been born on the 25th of December; Osiris was said to have been born on the 361st day of the year and Horus on the 362nd. Around each of the Saviours similar legends grew up. They were born of the Virgin; they were sons of the God; their coming was foretold; bright stars gathered at their birth; they were born in lowly places, a stable, a cave or in an underground chamber; sages and wise men were sought and worshipped them. The many stories agree remarkably and the similarity of these with the Christian has been an unpleasant fact which many have refused to face.
In the mystical sense, Christmas, the birth of the Christ Child, the God-Man, occurs when deep in the cave of his heart, a man first becomes aware of his true nature and turns back to his Divine Self. It signifies rising to a new level of consciousness; it is literally being born of the Spirit, the inner God; awakening out of the little dream of separateness and beginning to tread the path that leads to freedom and full realization of the vaster consciousness of the Divine.
All legends, traditions and customs relating to the physical sun and to the Sun-Gods are but symbols of that inner experience, the awakening to the Self. By whatever name it is called, it is that which happens in the heart of a man or a woman when the dark cycle ends and Light, the Inner Light, is born.
From: Theosophy: An Attitude Toward Life and Other Essays (a collection of articles published between 1930-1944) – in The Toronto Theosophical News – kindly sent to us by Heathclyff St. James Deville.
Further detailed information on the deeper significance of the Christmas/New Year/Northern Winter Solstice season is available in Dr G.de Purucker’s books: The Four Sacred Seasons at: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/4sacsea/4sacsea.htm and The Fountain-Source of Occultism available online at: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/fso/fso-hp.htm
THE MOON: QUEEN OF THE NIGHT
This year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of man’s first known landing on the moon. What does Theosophy say about the Moon and its special relationship with our Earth?
What if the moon did not exist? Astrophysicist Neil F, Comins of the University of Maine attempted to answer this question recently by examining the close relationship between the earth and the moon and found that the very conditions for life on our beautiful planet are only possible because of the existence of our moon. For example, if the Earth had no moon, our day would be only eight hours long due to the increased speed of its rotation. The rapid rotation of our planet without the moon to slow it down would continually subject us to hurricane-force winds, and because there would be no appreciable tides mixing the building blocks of life in our oceans, life itself might not exist yet, and when life did arrive it would have a very different biology than what we are familiar with today.* [*Comins, Neil F. What if the moon did not exist! Voyages to earth’s that might have been, New York: Harper Collins, 1993] If we are so dependent on the moon for our physical environment, how much more so must this dynamic relationship be on the inner levels of being?
Theosophy confirms that indeed this is the case, with one theosophical writer stating: “The relationship of the moon and the earth is so close, so far-reaching, that it affects every atom of the entire body of the earth: more, of every globe of the earth planetary chain as well as of the lunar chain.” [G de Purucker The Fountain-Source of Occultism, page 345]. Scientific writers often refer to the earth and moon as ‘companion planets’ as the moon is one quarter the size of the Earth. Most other planets’ moons, with the exception of Pluto’s moon Charon, are only tiny in comparison to their planet. Whereas the contemporary scientific view of the moon’s formation is that it was formed as the result of the earth being hit by a Mars-sized object (called ‘Theia’ by some scientists) early in its history, spewing out molten rock as a result of the collision into space which quickly congealed into what we now know as the Moon.
Theosophy prefers to call the earth/moon system ‘parent and child’ as it teaches that it is rather the earth that is an outgrowth on many planes of being of the energies once manifest on the moon when it was a vibrant, living world – the former incarnation of our planet. Now the moon is a dead world, a planetary corpse, ghostly ‘kama rupa’, or sinister ‘Dweller on the Threshold’, circling around its child, our earth, once every month gradually transferring its energies and lifewaves including humanity to our home planet. According to theosophy, the physical remains of our once parent planet have long since disintegrated into cosmic dust. What we see as the moon in our sky at night is the astral remains of our parent planet, which we can see as a material body because we now exist on the ‘child’ earth, one cosmic sub-plane higher than we did when we lived on the moon chain of globes.
We witness the moon’s immense influence on the physical earth with the regular high tides in our oceans twice each day, the precession of the equinoxes, and the transfer of rotational energy from the earth to the moon meaning that the earth slows down 1.5 milliseconds each century and the moon speeds its rotation and moves 3.8 centimeters further away from the earth each year! A series of spacecraft and manned landings have added immeasurably to our understanding of our moon since the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft gave us our first view of the ‘dark side’ of the moon in 1959, We refer to the ’dark’ side of the Moon only because it was completely unknown until recently. Actually both sides of the moon receive equal amounts of sunlight and darkness, except for the depths of a few craters at the poles which are in permanent darkness. The first manned landing to the moon was 40 years ago on July 20th, 1969 [do you remember what you were doing that historic day?] when US astronaut, Neil Armstrong, guided his tiny ‘Eagle’ lander to the desolate surface of the Sea of Tranquility on the nearside of the moon. The last manned landing was in December 1972. During these manned landings, astronauts collected samples of moon rocks and dust so that the moon is the only extra-terrestrial body from which samples have been successfully collected and returned to the earth. Earthlings now have no less than 382 kilograms of rock and dust samples from the moon dated to 3 to 4.6 billion years old giving invaluable insights into the early history of the earth and the solar system.
In the summer of 1994 the moon was extensively mapped by the US Clementine spacecraft that successfully orbited the moon for 71 days. Clementine made a topographical map of the entire moon for the first time, giving us a more complete such map than we have for the earth! Intriguingly, Clementine included an improvised radar experiment which uncovered evidence that perhaps as much as 10 billion tons of water ice exists in the permanently shadowed areas near the lunar South Pole. NASA spacecraft Lunar Prospector went into polar orbit of the moon in 1998 confirming the detection of water ice near the south pole of the moon and additional deposits deep in the craters of the North Pole. Since then a variety of spacecraft have found evidence that there may be as much as 32 ounces per one ton of top layer of the Moon’s surface, though we do not know this for certain. These potential reservoirs of water may be useful to future manned expeditions for drinking water, production of fuel and insulation of living quarters from harmful radiation from the sun.
Though water ice may exist on the moon in isolated pockets at the poles, modern science confirms the moon is a desolate environment from a human perspective – truly a dead world. The moon has no atmosphere and no global magnetic field, and unlike the earth, the moon’s interior is no longer active. The pictures from the Apollo landers show a mostly cold, desert-like grey landscape of heavily cratered highlands and relatively smooth and younger ‘maria’, or plains. These are the dark [basaltic maria] and bright areas [highlands] that you can see making up the face of the ‘Man in the Moon’ when you look up at the moon from your backyard. The maria or plains areas, which comprise about 16% of the moon’s surface, are, from a scientific point of view, actually the remains of huge impact craters where meteors have struck the moon with terrific force. Later these craters were flooded with molten rock created by the force of the explosive impacts. For some reason that is unknown, there are more maria, and the moon’s crust is much thinner on the side of the moon facing the earth, but the largest crater in the entire solar system at 2,600 kms diameter and 12 kms deep, the South Pole Aitken Basin, is on the dark side. Most of the surface of the moon is covered with ‘regolith’, a mixture of fine dust and rocky debris resulting from the continuous meteor and meteorite impacts over billions of years as the moon has no atmosphere to absorb the shock of such ‘shooting stars’ as we call them on the earth.
Theosophy has a different view of the function of these craters which typify our picture of the surface of the moon. We are taught that the moon is the corpse, ‘kama rupa’, or even the earth’s dread ‘Dweller on the Threshold’, once a living planet, the parent of our earth. Being a dead body, similar on a massive scale to any dead animal body we can think of on earth, the moon has been undergoing decay and disintegration for billions of years. Some of the appearances on the surface, particularly the craters, may be due to the gradual disintegration of the body of the moon with internal decay welling up to the surface through craters like pustules on a decaying animal body, but escaping earthward in the case of the moon. We are further taught that the moon will disintegrate into the ‘blue ether’ by the time of the earth’s seventh planetary round [we are currently just over half way through the fourth] millions of years into the future. Interestingly enough, modern science has found the crust of the moon facing the earth is much thinner than on the dark side, and that the moon’s centre of gravity is displaced 2 kms towards the earth indicating the tremendous gravitational and ‘psychomagnetic’ attraction of the child-earth feeding on the remains of its parent world. Also interesting are statements by theosophical teacher G de Purucker in 1934 indicating his speculation that the surface of the moon would prevent easy travel because it is disintegrating into dust. [Fountain-Source of Occultism, page 342] In fact, one of the greatest hazards to past and future manned expeditions to the moon is the ubiquitous finely ground, glassy, sharp-edged moon dust which makes it difficult for astronauts to move around on the surface, penetrates into clothing and habitats, and even has given some astronauts a moon version of hayfever, though apparently according to Gene Cernan, Apollo 17 astronaut, it has a nice taste and a smell not unlike gunpowder!!
What is the nature of this influence which streams forth from the moon to the earth every nanosecond? In religious traditions around the world, the moon is called the Lord and Giver of Life, and paradoxically, also the producer of death. In many cultures it is pictured as a nurturing feminine deity governing both birth and growth – the Queen of the Night in Celtic culture. Selene, Artemis, Diana, Juna, Hecate or Isis in the Mediterranean. Some cultures, such as the Hindu and Scandinavian, view the lunar influence as masculine, however, all lunar deities have two aspects – supernal and infernal, spiritual and maternal, good and evil. The influences flowing from the moon have ever been known and utilized by magicians and sorcerers, from the familiar Disney portrayal of the ‘sorcerers apprentice’ with stars and moons on his pointed hat, to the witchdoctors or ‘nganga’ of central Africa whose very name means ‘the moon’!
Of this dual life-giving/death dealing influence of the moon on the earth and its inhabitants, G de Purucker says: “As the giver of both physical and astral life, the moon is also the transmitter of the lower material and psychical vitality. But it is full of the energies of death as well. It is a decaying body. Every atom that leaves the moon rushes earthwards, impregnated with lunar influences. The effect of the moon in these respects is deleterious and even death-dealing…The lunar vitality not only stimulates the grosser forms of our physical existence, but can likewise by that very action cause decay and disease in other parts of the human constitution.”* [ *Fountain Source of Occultism, page 341] The moon is injurious to earthlings because it is the astral dregs of our former home planet which was then at a lower stage of spiritual evolution than we now enjoy. The lunar chain of globes: “…was not a good chain of life; it was a vicious chain, and we humans were amongst those who made it so.” [G de Purucker Fountain Source of Occultism, page 343.] Hence the moon is the ‘Dweller on the Threshold’ of the earth, infilled with the, to us now, evil magnetism which both holds the moon together, but is continually attracted to the earth: “…by reason of its affinity it continues to haunt our globe and its inhabitants.” [G de Purucker Fountain Source of Occultism, page 342]
The moon is therefore the giver/transmitter of life and mind of a lower form to the earth and its inhabitants, whereas the sun is the giver/transmitter of life in general to the solar system and of the higher aspects of mind. In this dual character of the Lord of Life and Death, the moon was/is closely associated with the initiatory cycle, regular occasions when suitable candidates were/are subjected to tests on the inner planes of being to awaken their potentials of mind and spirit. Such initiations were/are only conducted when the moon is waxing or growing in strength. It was/is considered a generally necessary principle only to begin a new major undertaking, journey, marriage, etc. when the moon is waxing as Nature is then expanding, or growing with you, though, of course, there are occasions when this cannot be done and one should act regardless of the phase of the moon. This lunar influence or ‘soma drink’ as it was referred to in India, has a dual influence, one of darkness and decay, and the other of light and life. Of the heady ‘soma drink’ of the genuine initiation ceremonies, HP Blavatsky has to say: “A ‘soma drinker’ attains the power of placing himself in direct rapport with the bright side of the moon, thus deriving inspiration from the concentrated intellectual energy of the blessed ancestors. This ‘concentration’, and the moon being a store-house of the Energy, is the secret, the meaning of which must not be revealed, beyond the mere fact of mentioning the continuous pouring out upon the earth from the bright side of the orb of a certain influence. This which seems to be one stream (to the ignorant) is a dual nature – one giving life and wisdom, the other being lethal. He who can separate the former from the latter, as Kalahamsa separated the milk from the water, which was mixed with it, thus showing great wisdom – will have his reward.” [HP Blavatsky ‘Thoughts on Elementals’ Lucifer, May 1890, page 187]
There are times in the solar universe, when humanity generally outside of the context of the initiatory cycle, is subjected to greater concentrations of the moon’s energies. Eclipses of the moon and the sun are such times when we are subject to the combined effect of the sun and moon, or earth and moon pulling together upon the earth or moon. This gravitational and ‘psychomagnetic’ pull, produces great surges of vital energy between the respective bodies at those times. One theosophical writer said of eclipses: “Eclipses can be quite unhealthy for the human race, because at such times there is often an added stimulus to man’s emotional and passional nature.” [L. Gordon Plummer and Charles J. Ryan Star habits and orbits: astronomy for theosophical students, page 89] Ancient cultures knew of this connection and used to consider eclipses as a bad omen, a sign of catastrophes to come. For example, in Japan they used to cover wells and potteries thinking that the weather would be poisoned. Indians used to shut down their houses in fear of harmful moonlight. Scandinavians thought that diseases would float in the air during the solar eclipse. Babylonians assumed that catastrophes and diseases would come under a solar or lunar eclipse, so they made sure to lie down with their faces to the ground to avoid foul influences if caught out of doors. Each nation faced this phenomenon in its own way. Eskimos used to sacrifice animals to satisfy their gods. Mexican Aztec Indians sacrificed human beings to convince the moon to return and the sun to appear. In Korea, Japan and China, where they thought that dragons eat the moon during eclipses, people used to gather to make loud noises to scare the dragons and stop them from eating their meal! All these bizarre customs are faint remembrances of actual facts of nature to which theosophical writers refer.
The beautiful but desolate landscapes transmitted to earth by spacecraft sweeping over the surface of the moon, bring to mind the teachings of the ancient wisdom regarding the seven or twelve sacred planets. Theosophical writers affirm that the solar system is alive with many more planets, moons and suns than are visible currently to science. The seven planets with which the destiny of our earth is most closely connected are called the seven sacred planets. [See G de Purucker Fountain Source of Occultism ‘The twelve sacred planets’ pages 317 to 325 for more information on the sacred planets] One of these ‘planets’ was said to be the moon symbolically representing an invisible planet standing close to the physical moon we can see. This invisible sacred planet is sometimes called in theosophical literature, the ‘Eighth Sphere’, or ‘Planet of Death’. Orbiting close to the moon, this planet is too dense materially for us to see, it is currently in retrograde motion compared to most of the other bodies in the solar system, and it is in its seventh or final round of planetary life. Its function in the universal economy of the solar system is to serve as a receptacle of negative influences or, in the case of humanity, irretrievably evil individuals from earth who are there given the environment for a new beginning in their spiritual evolutionary journey. Theosophical writers indicate that this world operates for the solar system something like a sewerage or drainage system does for our great cities, removing poisonous influences from the proximity of the general population. [See G de Purucker Fountain Source of Occultism, ‘The Planet of Death’ pages 346 to 349 for more information on this subject]
The sacred planets, including this, to us, terrible place, are ‘sacred’ to us because they, as conscious entities, cooperate in the building and subsequent evolutionary history of the earth. Curiously enough, theosophical teachers tell us that, although the dread plant of death is more grossly material than the earth, as a conscious entity it oversees the building of Globe ‘G’, or the most spiritually advanced of the seven ‘rupa’ globes of the earth chain of globes, we at present being on Globe D, our beautiful earth. [See G de Purucker Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, page 548] In the far distant future when Globe G is our home, the moon and its influences will have disintegrated into atomic stellar dust, and this secret planet will then become the satellite of the earth in place of the moon, but that planet will not be a true moon, but a mere satellite. [G de Purucker Fountain Source of Occultism, page 526] For theosophy confirms that each planet in our solar system has but only one true moon in the inner sense, and those planets with many moons, such as Jupiter with 63 known moons and Saturn with 34, have gravitationally captured the others from the greater environment of the solar system.
Walk out into the backyard tonight and stare up in wonder at the great and timeless works of universal nature circling above you. Bathing in the starlight, ponder upon the inner significance of the great orbs shining in the tapestry of the living universe which is the night sky. We can then appreciate what HP Blavatsky says of the brightest of these orbs – the Moon, Queen of the Night: “…the cold chaste moon…stands in closer relations to the Earth than any other sidereal orb. The Sun is the giver of life to the whole planetary system; the moon is the giver of life to our globe; and the early races understood and knew it, even in their infancy. She is the Queen and she is the King, and was King Soma before she became transformed into Phoebe and the chaste Diana.” [HP Blavatsky The Secret Doctrine 1, page 386.]
Cherishing the Earth: How to care for God’s Creation, by Martin J. Hodson and Margot R. Hodson, Monarch Books UK, 2008 254 pp.
Having read other books on how best we may deal with, and relate to, the Creation as portrayed in the Christian Bible, I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Usually, I have read how we are somehow “Above” or are a “Separate” creation to that of the Creation in toto. However, this husband and wife team – Martin is a scientist and Margot is a theologian – have written a book that does not devalue us as humans but rather, at least to me, have elevated the rest of the Created world, including the animals, to a level where we are on the same level. The book is written from each author’s own field of expertise so we learn what are the Scientific and Scriptural arguments to each issue discussed. This style of writing is a truly remarkable one as we learn that the two schools can, and do, compliment one another. This book looks at Scripture, how it has been interpreted down through history and, by extension, what this means for the Creation today, in terms of environmental impact by humans. There are many useful facts here and a lot of quotes from past teachers, to help us reflect deeper on our personal beliefs in relation to the Natural World. For instance, there is a citation by the Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) from his THE GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED (1190), where he wrote that “The universe does not exist for man’s sake but each being exists for its own sake, and not because of some other thing.” This view is very similar to that taught under the philosophy of Panpsychism. There are many Notes at the rear of the book itself. I was so taken in by the facts and the biblical references that I found myself constantly having to refer to these Notes. Personally, I felt these may have been better served as page footnotes, this being my only criticism of an otherwise fascinating and spiritually uplifting book – reviewed by Heathclyff St. James Deville.
Catching the Light: the entwined history of light and mind, by Arthur Zajonc, Oxford University Press, 1995.
Arthur Zanonc discusses light, in its physical and spiritual aspects, and the history our attempts to perceive it and to understand what light is, through the approaches of physics and psychology, mathematics and intuition, of science and art. To perceive light we first need to learn to “see”, and he uses the parallel of an eight year old boy given an operation to restore his physical visual apparatus, yet the inner map of the world, the inner eye, had not been trained, and he was not sure he had seen everything, only by cross-referencing to feeling the hand waved before his face, did he comprehend that his eyes had perceived this hand. Likewise we learn to see inner things, and the book like this process it outlines, is a great marriage of science and spirituality – reviewed by Amanda F. Rooke
God is Back: how the global rise of faith is changing the world, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Woldridge, Pengiun Books, 2009.
In the introduction of this 400 page book, the reader is told that it was written by an American Roman Catholic and an Atheist. The authors state “no doubt some of the holy warriors on both sides will uncover examples of bias. Our hope, however, is that whatever biases we bring have cancelled each other out.” At least there is acknowledgement of bias in this book!
The book is written in 4 parts. Part 1: why Europe and America have evolved in such different ways over the past 20 or 30 years. Part 2: examines the way religion is thriving in today’s America as an economic force, an intellectual catalyst and a political influence. Part 3: how America is exporting its version of religion. Part 4: looks at the spread of wars of religion from the battles for people’s souls to cultural wars, terrorism, and religiously-fuelled violence of all kinds. In conclusion the authors look at the best formulae for avoiding future conflict.
A brief note recommending the book on its cover from G.Hodgson, independent observer claims: “an immensely knowledgeable description of the history and beliefs of modern American conservatism”. Whilst agreeing with this evaluation, I feel that the contents of this book, which devotes 75% of its pages to the development of religious thought in America and its export overseas, does not come to terms with the title of the book. ‘God is Back’ is an interesting and informative read, particularly the concluding section (Part 4) - even if the reader is not an American Roman Catholic or Athiest! – reviewed by Tony Downey.
CLOTHED IN THE SUN
Amanda F. Rooke
One day a member of the parish was in the opportunity shop attached to the church, the House of God. The parishioners liked to think of the shop as the final washing-up place for the flotsam and jetsam of the known universe. It being nearly closing time the guardians of the check-out were getting restless, so the parishioner quickly grabbed two pieces of fabric, bought them and dashed home, thereupon examining the pieces with pride and wondering what to make of them. One piece was bright yellow, a huge rectangle, but spoiled by a big round hole in its very centre; it needed to be cut up, if it was to be used for a quilt for the poor.
Earlier, the parishioner had been watching some Peruvian musicians who wore ponchos, like rectangular tabards with a head-hole in the middle; the parishioner thought the fabric might have been a dress-up made by a mother for a young parishioner, and tried on the yellow, Peruvian, garment. The inside of the fabric was plain yellow, the outer surface was painted with glowing, interpenetrating patches toning from bright orange to gold to pale lemon, like the surface of the Sun, and the parishioner thought of Louis the Sun King, and that the Peruvians once worshipped the Sun, and that the Inca had been the Sun’s personification upon this earth. The garment of the Sun of the Sun, in an Op Shop! How very like life itself, when at the beginning of time, seeds of life from the central sun of the sun, sent forth into manifestation, descended into matter, and brought forth this inner fire through successive incarnations in the crucible of life, to re-become that which it had once owned, but now in full self-conscious godhood. Evolving, initiating, through the centre of itself, to its full potential.
But the parishioner was not yet ready to own this great glory, and made the fabric into a blanket for a homeless person, believing the life-atoms enclosed in its form would likewise go through the cycle of descent and re-ascent and ‘orphaned humanity’ could indeed come to find a home to its former home in the House of God, the vistas it viewed at the beginning of time, re-discovered. Then, as in the 10th of the Zen Buddhist Ox-herding Pictures, the man has become at one with his tamed godhood, and returns to live among men, clad in rags, and hiding his true nature except for those who know.
[For those interested in more information on the Ten Ox-Herding Pictures of Zen Buddhism please see ‘Roadmaps for Spiritual Paths’ at: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/sunrise/55-05-6/as-rook2.htm]
From the USA:
SKYWALKING 101: a friend of our work in the USA, Californian artist Wynne Wolfe, has recently produced a video of his lecture on the nexus of art, astronomy, and theosophy entitled ‘Skywalking 101’ which is available on the internet at:
2012 EXPLAINED: a new video by Carl Calleman gives a lucid explanation of the Mayan Calender and the approach of 2012 particularly in relation to changes in cycles of the world’s life and how this is reflected in economic cycles and changes in the ways we consider money. It is available at:
SOME SOBERING STATISTICS ON THE WORLD DRUG TRADE: an interesting reflection on this ‘Kali Yuga’ [Black Age] period in which we live are these recent statistics on the world trade in illegal drugs: the annual global value of organised crime is estimated at $US1.1 trillion of which the drug trade accounts for $US400 billion. The trade in illegal drugs is therefore worth more than the oil and arms industries together! Money laundering from the illegal drug trade accounts for 2% of the world GDP and some countries are supported wholly or partly on the illicit drug trade such as Bolivia, Columbia, and Afghanistan. Clearly there is plenty of work for theosophists and people of good will to do to combat such evils retarding the spiritual progress of humanity in our time.
NEW PLAY ON THE FOUNDERS OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY: a new play about the three founders of the Theosophical Society, HP Blavatsky, Col. Henry Steele Olcott, and William Quan Judge, has just been published as a supplement to The Aquarian Theosophist online theosophical magazine. The play is written by Allan Hughes of the Adyar TS in London and is an even-handed view of the Founders. Check it out at: http://aquariantheosophist.wordpress.com/2009/07/17/may-june-supplement-old-diary-leaves-%e2%80%93-full-text-of-the-play/
In the play William Quan Judge delivers the following speech which certainly is a wake-up call for our work now:
“Brothers and Sisters… this Society must not fail. It will not fail. As you’ve just heard, we are entering a New Cycle with all the opportunities that it offers! Humanity has a choice; it can either move further down that road to where its goals are wealth, possessions and selfish gratification, or up towards a Golden Age of compassionate love and the true joy that comes from an awareness that none of us are separate but integral parts of the whole of Nature… So, though many attempts will be made to break our resolve through slander, malice and deliberate distortions of what we are attempting to teach – and, more importantly, to show by the way we live – it is only indifference that can seriously weaken our cause. To study what The Masters have given us is a privilege. What individually you do with that privilege is up to you. Remember, when we have gone on, you will be the Society’s advocates; you will be its emissaries. And remember too that wonderful phrase – our “Inner Abiding Presence”. Draw comfort from the thought of its existence, or – dare I say – from its realisation.”
THE TRUE STORY OF A DOG NAMED ‘FAITH’
Kindly sent to us by Sotiria Galanopoulou
dog was born on Christmas Eve in the year 2002. He was born
with two legs -
He of course could not walk when he was born. Even his mother did not want him.
His first owner also did not think that he could survive and he was thinking of 'putting him to sleep'. But then, his present owner, Jude Stringfellow, met him and wanted to take care of him. She became determined to teach and train this little dog to walk by himself. She named him 'Faith'.
the beginning, she put Faith on a surfboard to let him feel the
movement. Later she used peanut butter on a spoon as a lure and
reward for him for standing up and jumping around.
Even the other dog at home encouraged him to walk. Amazingly, only after 6 months, like a miracle, Faith learned to balance on his hind legs and to jump to move forward. After further training in the snow, he could now walk like a human being.
loves to walk around now. No matter where he goes, he attracts people
He is fast becoming famous on the international scene and has appeared on various newspapers and TV shows. There is now a book entitled 'With a Little Faith' being published about him. He was even considered to appear in one of Harry Potter movies.
His present owner, Jude Stringfellow, has given up her teaching post and plans to take him around the world to preach that even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect soul'.
In life there are always undesirable things, so in order to feel better you just need to look at life from another direction.
I hope this message will bring fresh new ways of thinking to everyone and that everyone will appreciate and be thankful for each beautiful day. Faith is the continual demonstration of the strength and wonder of life.
We wish to extend our thanks and appreciation to friends from around the world who send us their newsletters. We encourage you all to read them as they are kept in our library in Melbourne, or photocopies can be sent. They include: Impuls (Netherlands), Contact (South Africa), The 21st Century Path (USA), Theosophy North-West View (USA), Kali Yuga Rag (USA), Compass (England). Theosophy Downunder is issued three times per year in April, August, and November and is edited by Andrew Rooke. We can be contacted at the Theosophical Society (Pasadena), Australasian Section, 664 Glenhuntly Rd., South Caulfield, Melbourne, Victoria 3162, AUSTRALIA. Tel : 0400942613 Email : email@example.com World Wide Web homepage at: http://theosophydownunder.org/ Many of the illustrations included in this newsletter were kindly supplied with permission from the Theosophy Watch website at: http://theosophywatch.com/
The version below is taken from the book, THE EMERALD TABLET : Alchemy for Personal Transformation by Dennis William Hauck, Penguin Compass 1999 p.45, as shown here.
There are many versions of the Emerald Tablet (including one found in ISIS UNVEILED: Science). Some of these versions can be found at www.sacred-texts.com/alc/emerald.htm
Our International Leader is Randell C. Grubb.
Donations: our Society is a voluntary organization that operates purely on the generosity of our members and friends. We would like to acknowledge the donation of a fridge for our rooms from Mr William Reid, Proprietor of Chum Creek General Store in Healesville and the ongoing donation of library books by JR Medical Books of Bundoora. Please contact our Treasurer, Paul Rooke, at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or at our address given at the end of this newsletter if you can help, and many thanks to all those friends who have contributed already to the work of our Society.
THE EMERALD TABLET OF HERMES
The Smaragdine or Emerald Tablet was discovered in the tomb of Hermes, in a cave near Hebron, according to Albertus Magnus (1193-1280), by Alexander the Great, being “put on display” in Heliopolis, Egypt in 330 BC. It was written in Phoenician and translated into Greek by a panel of priests and scholars under the direction of Alexander.
In truth, without deceit, certain and most veritable.
That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing. And just as all things have come from this One Thing, through the meditation of One Mind, so do all created things originate from this One Thing, through Transformation.
Its father is the Sun; its mother the Moon. The Wind carries it in its Belly; its nurse is the Earth. It is the origin of All, the consecration of the Universe; its inherent Strength is perfected, if it is turned into Earth.
Separate the Earth from Fire, the Subtle from the Gross, gently and with great Ingenuity. It rises from the Earth to heaven and descends again to Earth, thereby combining with Itself the powers of both the Above and the Below.
Thus will you obtain the Glory of the Whole Universe. All Obscurity will be clear to you. This is the greatest Force of all powers, because it overcomes every Subtle thing and penetrates every Solid thing.
In this way was the Universe created. From this comes many wondrous Applications, because this is the Pattern.
Therefore am I called Thrice Greatest Hermes, having all three parts of the wisdom of the Whole Universe. Herein have I completely explained the Operation of the Sun.