Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thomas Meyer Edmonton Visit - Update with Corrections

- by Rogelle Pelletier

 This is in response to  [Ann Watson's] quick summary of the history of the Theosophical Society...There are a number of errors included there so I have taken the liberty of providing you with a brief outline of my own for your future reference.

The Theosophical Society was formed in New York in 1875. Among those present were HP Blavatsky, Wm Q Judge and Col HS Olcott. These three have become recognized as the three principal founders.

In December 1878 Blavatsky and Olcott moved the headquarters of the TS to India where it was hoped they could revive the respect of the Indians for the ancient wisdom preserved by them for centuries. Blavatsky & Olcott initially joined efforts with Arya Samaj but eventually went their own way, establishing a headquarters first in Bombay and later in Adyar, where it remains to the present day.

When Blavatsky and Olcott left in 1878, Wm Q Judge and General Doubleday were left to look after affairs in America. Things were relatively quiet there for some years. Judge spent time with Blavatsky in Europe where she was visiting in 1884. From there he went to India for some months, returning to New York in November 1884.

Activity picked up in America upon Judge’s return and the American branches of the Theosophical Society became fairly numerous and well established. The American Section was formed in 1887.

Annie Besant became involved with the Theosophical Society after reviewing Blavatsky’s major work: /The Secret Doctrine/ and joined in 1889. Blavatsky died in May 1891. Besant had spent a lot of time touring and did not spend a lot of time with Blavatsky. While she was a good lecturer, Blavatsky herself described her as ‘’not psychic nor spiritual in the least -- all intellect’’, whereas she described Judge as having been a part of her for eons. Shortly after Blavatsky’s death Besant accused Judge of fraudulently producing letters from the Mahatmas. She pursued him relentlessly, and continued to attack his character even after Judge died in 1896.

Judge was named as General Secretary when the American Section was established in 1887. The goings-on described above led to a split in the Society in 1895, with those loyal to Judge and the original program of the Theosophical Society forming the independent TS in America, although at the time all they had requested was to have more independence in the running of their affairs, but under the umbrella of the original Society.

Branches (known as ‘lodges’ here) in Canada were considered part of the American Section. Canada became its own Canadian Section with its own General Secretary in 1919. For many years it remained directly affiliated with The Theosophical Society in Adyar, India.

In 1991 TS in Canada was thrown out of the Adyar organization on a technicality. Adyar very much follows the Besant/Leadbeater brand of Theosophy and TS in Canada has maintained loyalty to the original program; we have been a ‘thorn in the side of Adyar’ for many years. When TS in Canada was forced to make changes to its By-Laws because of demands put upon it by the Government of Canada to comply, Adyar took offense to these changes. On January 1st, 1991 Adyar decided that by our actions we had /withdrawn/ from The Theosophical Society.

In 1995 difficulties within TS in Canada resulted in the then General Secretary throwing Edmonton TS out of its ranks – and that’s how ETS became its own independent unit. We are friends with one and all, but are not officially affiliated with any other theosophical organization... We are looking forward to Thomas and Orsolya's visit.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Telephone Study With Ann Watson - Update

- by Ann Watson

These courses are designed for anyone, but include people who are not able to get to study groups.  We use the books of Rudolf Steiner or other Anthropsophical writers as reading material.  it is a one-to-one meeting of minds over the phone!  Improve your knowledge and articulation through conversation and reading out loud.  Included in the lessons, reading from the New Testament as an opening to the main study material is offered.

Ann Watson has been a member of the Anthroposphical Society for over 30 years and has been offering Telephone Study Courses for more than 5 years.  References available on request.

Donations accepted.

PLEASE CALL ...  250 653 4184  ...  and we can have a talk about it. ( I can call you back if needed, so its at my expense)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I on the Threshold: Beware! Naming a conference theme! It will manifest!

- by Regine Kurek and Dorothy LeBaron

Worldwide Biography Conference - 2013

This bi-annual conference took place at Emerson College in England, from June 25 to June 30, 2013. It was the third, and for now the last time for the event to take place at this location. In order to support a transition time at Emerson, the conference-carrying group decided to commit to this beautiful location for three conferences… Before that it was in Holland, Germany, Switzerland and England.

As people arrived gradually and assembled for a three o’clock opening of the conference, a mood of expectancy and excitement grew and filled the campus and Ruskin Hall to its old glory.

Approximately one hundred and twenty biography counselors and workers gathered from eighteen different countries to exchange and deepen their understanding and respect for this emerging professional field of work that has in recent years found its home in the General Section of the School for Spiritual Science.

Our theme this year was the Foundation Stone Meditation (FSM) and its central relevance to our work. During the three and a half days of the main conference, we broke into smaller groups and found different ways towards new meaning in our relationship to this central meditation. For biographers, what stands out is:
♦  the three fold call to the human soul,
♦  the three twenty-one year cycles of developing body-soul-spirit, and
♦  the fourth part with its awakening to the WE, to our humanity.

Biography work, while deeply personal, is also highly universal, and the respect for our human becoming always rests on continuous self-knowledge.

In one way, the FSM could be called The Human Biography.

In two very deep and far-reaching lectures, Michaela Gloeckler gave us grounding, direction, and aims to work toward as professionals. She began her first talk with the words ‘I love biography’ and inspired our understanding of a day- and night-biography.  Our experiences while asleep (e.g.our work with the third hierarchy and the development of the social will during a journey through the planetary spheres), and our experiences during the intervals between earth-lives - these are all reflections of our biography journey on earth.. A huge amount of waking up from our side is required.  We seem to be just at the beginning of our human becoming, and we are all humbled by the tasks awaiting.

Incredible gifts arose from all the different presentations, meetings, short seminars, master classes and individual encounters during meals and coffee breaks that increasingly built towards our social Saturday evening, when we were led in Brazilian and other dances together. What warmth!

Our theme of the threshold manifested also in challenging ways. The opening ceremony had been planned as a contemplative conversation with the text of the Foundation Stone Meditation. About 15 people engaged in this conversation, backs to the participants, in Ruskin Hall. The rest of the one hundred participants were asked to engage by listening, and thinking the thoughts the small group brought. Very quickly the event was perceived as distant and cut off from the participants in the hall. People started to walk out. A couple of people stood up and spoke for the audience and eventually the realization came that people were leaving, and what had been planned was not working. A threshold opened in front of us, painful and liberating at the same time, awakening for all present.

Also, the key-note speaker had to cancel because of illness and in the last minute one courageous colleague took up the theme of the Wound in all of our lives, in fact, in our human condition. Biography work as an aid to our woundedness was addressed. This again, led to a passionate discussion. Some people could ‘barely stand’ the heaviness and mood in the room, while others suggested the wound is our gift of growth and therefore a blessing. This again, for some was denying the pain and giving the darkness its own meaning and reality.

One thing is for sure: Biography work is alive and well and biography counselors and workers all across the globe are genuinely searching a path, the path of our human becoming.  These conferences are actual fields of practice where one can meet, encounter each other, and develop processes for others to take their life in hand and to regard the encounter as something sacred. To wake up to the other, to ask the age-old question, ‘who am I?,’ has never been asked more emphatically and never been listened to and (sometimes) been answered, more lovingly.

In the end, all the struggles of simultaneous translation, threshold challenges, cold or rain or not, was part of the experience of becoming human. The three of us from Canada, Dorothy LeBaron, Regine Kurek, and Elyse Pomeranz felt honoured and excited to be part of this community of like-minded souls.

Note: The Arscura Life as Art Biography Training is now part of the International Trainers Forum for Biography Work (ITF), a professional group within the General Anthroposophical Section of the School for Spiritual Science, Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland, and we are so happy having found a home within the larger worldwide community.