Friday, 28 December 2018

New Year Message from H. P. Blavatsky

Blavatsky Portrait by James Montgomery Flagg
New Year thoughts from HPB:  In 2019, the perihelion or the Theosophical New Year will occur on January 2nd.  The average date of perihelion, over the centuries, is January 4th. Special thanks to fc (friendly chap) for this post:

Instead of wishing our readers a happy or prosperous New Year, we feel more in the vein to pray them to make it one worthy of its brilliant herald. This can be effected by those who are courageous and resolute. Thoreau pointed out that there are artists in life, persons who can change the colour of a day and make it beautiful to those with whom they come in contact. We claim that there are adepts, masters in life who make it divine, as in all other arts. Is it not the greatest art of all, this which affects the very atmosphere in which we live? 
That it is the most important is seen at once, when we remember that every person who draws the breath of life affects the mental and moral atmosphere of the world, and helps to color the day for those about him. Those who do not help to elevate the thoughts and lives of others must of necessity either paralyze them by indifference, or actively drag them down... Everyone lives, and thinks, and speaks. 
If all our readers who have any sympathy with Lucifer endeavoured to learn the art of making life not only beautiful but divine, and vowed no longer to be hampered by disbelief in the possibility of this miracle, but to commence the Herculean task at once, then however unlucky a year, it would have been fitly ushered in by the gleaming star...The Theosophist who is at all in earnest, sees his responsibilities and endeavors to find knowledge, living, in the meantime, up to the highest standard of which he is aware.  
Man's life is in his own hands, his fate is ordered by himself. Why then should not be a year of greater spiritual development than any we have lived through? It depends on ourselves to make it so. This is an actual fact, not a religious sentiment...  Let no one imagine that it is a mere fancy, the attaching of importance to the birth of the year. The earth passes through its definite phases and man with it; and as a day can be colored, so can a year. The astral life of the earth is young and strong between Christmas and Easter. Those who form their wishes now will have added strength to fulfill them consistently. (CW IX:3-5).
The Gods are many; and every December, according to the Japanese, is the month of the arrival, or descent of the Gods; therefore there must be a considerable number of deities lurking around us mortals in astral space. The 3rd of January, a day which was consecrated to the worship of Isis, was also set apart as the day on which the deities of Olympus visited their worshippers. January the 4th is the day of Mercury (Hermes, Budha), who is credited with adding brains to the heads of those who are civil to him... Shine more on us, O, Helios, Son of Hyperion! Those on whom thou beamest thy greatest radiance must be, as in the legend of Apollo, good and kind men. (CW X:278, 280)
Every man or woman is endowed, more or less, with a magnetic personality, which when helped by a sincere, and especially by an intense and indomitable will - is the most effective of magic levers placed by Nature in human hands - for woe or weal. Let us then, Theosophists, use that will to send a sincere greeting and wish of good luck for the New Year to every living creature under the sun - enemies and relentless traducers included. Let us try and feel especially kindly and forgiving to our foes and persecutors, honest or dishonest, lest some of us should send unconsciously an 'evil eye' greeting instead of a blessing." (CW XII:67).
"To be brief, it is January the 4th which ought to be selected by the Theosophists - the Esotericists especially - as their New Year. January is under the sign of Capricornus, the mysterious Makara of the Hindu mystics - the 'Kumaras,' it being stated, having incarnated in mankind under the 10th sign of the Zodiac. For ages the 4th of January has been sacred to Mercury-Budha, or Thoth-Hermes. Thus everything combines to make of it a festival to be held by those who study ancient Wisdom. (CW XII:76)

Friday, 21 December 2018

Franz Hartmann/Jacob Boehme on the Inner Christ

There is no doubt that, as some will have it, the legend of the descent of the Redeemer is the description of an astrological process; but this theory, far from disproving the incarnation of divine wisdom into a human form, confirms it; because that which takes place in the macrocosm produces corresponding effects in the microcosm. In man is the sun, the moon, the stars, and the whole of the zodiac. In the microcosm is represented every part of the macrocosm in its material a...nd spiritual aspect. When man sees the external sun rise in the outer world, the sun in him arises and gives joy to his heart. Any individual person, or also humanity as a whole, may become either a god or a devil incarnate.(Franz Hartmann, Life and Doctrines of Jacob Boehme, 226:2 )

The Christ can never be born or revealed in any impure soul. A soul wherein regeneration is to take place must be an immaculate virgin, having no intercourse with any external god; but executing the will of God dwelling within herself. 229:1

"God lives also in man." (Threefold Life, xi. 106.) Each human being (if he is not godless) carries God and the Christ, the Holy Spirit, the virgin Mary, together with the angel Gabriel and all the rest of the angels and spirits within himself. It is, therefore, of little use to seek for all that in history. We can find it nowhere except within ourselves. 235:2

Whenever I speak of the man Christ, and of what a triune God and man He is, I make a distinction between the human creature, that came from us human beings, and the triune Divinity, the revealed word of the power and omnipotence. Not that they are separated from each other, but the Spirit of God is higher than the being to which that Spirit gives birth in its outbreathed word. I do not say that the sweet and beloved Christ is the man, but it is the holy sunshine in the flame of love in the man; for whenever I see a holy Christian man stand or walk I do not say, "Here stands or walks Christ;" but I say, "Here stands and walks a Christian man in whom shines the sun of Christ." (Jacob Boehme, Stief. 421.) 237:2

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Astrology: Winter Solstice, December 21 2018

Message in a Bottle
Among other things, Jupiter’s passage in Scorpio brought a sort of sexual revolution, with women becoming very assertive about the prevalent problem of sexual harassment. With fiery Jupiter in Sagittarius, of which it is the ruler, a more confident, outgoing attitude begins to emerge. But we still have to wait until spring for the full momentum, because retrogrades have sent Chiron back into watery Pisces and Uranus back into fiery Aries, a position of revolutionary change, which can be seen with the recent Yellow Vest protests in France, for example.
This Solstice has some interesting indications. A Mercury/Jupiter conjunct is exact and is opposite the Moon, forming a T-Square (with Neptune). A Venus/Neptune trine is also exact, forming a minor grand trine with Saturn. Moreover there is a Venus, Saturn, Moon (apex) Yod, which serves to bind the two previous figures together quite neatly. Moreover, it arrives just a day before a full moon and the following new moon on January 5 brings a partial solar eclipse, which has a strong stellium in Capricorn, followed by a total lunar eclipse on January 21, again with a stellium.
With a Venus (in Scorpio), Moon (in Gemini), Neptune (in Pisces) T-square, there may be communication problems. The desire to reach out and communicate is strong, but the mind tends to be in a very intuitive, abstract, idealistic frame and can have a hard time being understood. Delusive, exaggerated, and overly imaginative tendencies tend to hamper the expression of the intuitive visions that need to be expressed.
This figure contains one of 2019's two most important aspects, a Jupiter/Neptune square. This tends to exacerbate Jupiter’s over-zealous, exaggerating tendencies. According to Astrology King: “Jupiter square Neptune transit brings a test of your faith due to an embarrassing loss of face or some disappointment. You may have been too trusting or over idealized a romantic interest. It is important to cut your losses as soon as the reality of the situation shatters your illusion”. The problem of naïve spiritual delusions could come to the fore: ''The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of illusion" (H.P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence, Fragment 1).
According to Matthew Currie: “Even though the square is considered to be a bad aspect, there is much good that can be gained from it if you work with it properly. Jupiter is the ruler of traditional religiosity and spiritual beliefs, and Neptune has a similar spiritual bent to it — but is a little more focused on the feeling than it is on the rules and regulations involved. When these two forces are in conflict, it is possible that (with wisdom), new insights can be made into the nature of your Universe”.
Intellectual Beauty
Fortunately, the minor grand trine provides an excellent balancing counterpoint. Passionate Venus (in Scorpio) trine Neptune (in Pisces) is harmonized by a solid, grounded Saturn in Capricorn, which brings eloquence and balance to the need for deep, creative connections. A Venus/ Mars (in Pisces) trine adds to a very passionate configuration indeed. This figure contains next year’s other main aspect, a Saturn (in Capricorn)/Neptune trine, which can add balance and discipline to one’s spiritual, creative intuitions.
These two complementary figures are nicely encapsulated by a Saturn, Venus, Moon (apex in Gemini) Yod, which indicates difficulties in communicating feeling and visions. This can be resolved by a rational appreciation of traditional feminine values. In Christian Mysticism, a purified communion with the Celestial Virgin is necessary for the powers of the Holy Trinity to manifest.
The Sun is also quite active with a recent exact trine with Uranus (in Aries) which brings a sense of discovery and spontaneity, There is also a Sun/Mars square to watch out for, as it can bring some aggressive, impulsive, argumentative tendencies.

Overall, we have a very interesting chart that sets the tone for most of 2019. Neptune is a central focus, as it relates to the strongly situated planets of Jupiter and Saturn, two fundamentally opposite planets, but also complementary. The dynamic fire/stable earth combination of these two planets situated in adjacent signs can make for a productive synergy. According to Dana Gerhardt: “An optimistic Jupiter can loosen the grip of an inadequate or fearful Saturn, just as a responsible Saturn can realize the here-today-gone-tomorrow enthusiasms of a restless Jupiter. Jupiter dangles the carrot while Saturn wields the stick. Jupiter points us to the future and Saturn grounds us with the past. The philosopher in Jupiter ponders life's meanings, the monk contemplates god's truths, the explorer braves new territories, while the builder, executive and statesman in Saturn ensure that we have universities, churches and roads for our journeys. Jupiter is the eternal child, Saturn the wise elder. Together this fool and fuddy duddy bring the antagonistic and complementary pulls of expansion and contraction, faith and skepticism, luck and diligence, adventure and practicality-or as Caroline Casey calls them, "Haagen-Dazs" and "brown rice."
In the Spring, when Chiron moves back into Aries, and Uranus back into Taurus, the new celestial configuration should consolidate into quite a productive, active, progressive mode. Before then, we have a final opportunity to address the past social injustices, inequities and corruption, as well as past personal impediments, as we struggle to give voice and form to our visions of a better world and projects for idealistic reforms. It is a good time to work on harmonizing one’s inner life with the outer world, or orienting one's actions in reference to essential values.
Astrology King
Dana Gerhardt

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Sheikh Ghassan Manasra - Abrahamic Reunion

Sheikh Ghassan Manasra was one of the Abrahamic Reunion’s Co-Coordinators in the Holy Land until moving to the US in 2015, and has been an active contributing Peacemaker with the AR for more than a decade. He is an ordained Sheikh in the Qadiri Sufi Order in the Holy Land, and son of Sheikh Abdel Salaam Manasra head of the Qadiriyya Sufi Order in the Holy Land. He is the founder of Anwar-Il-Salaam, the Lights of Peace Center in Nazareth, and is Director, Islamic Cultural Center in Nazareth. Ghassan is an expert and lectures in Islam, Islamic history, Sufism, and contemporary Muslim issues in the Middle East, Europe, and the USA.
Rough Transcript from Connection Beyond Conflict: Interfaith Solidarity and Peacemaking in the Holy Land at Dawson Peace Centre October 30 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
What is the situation? What can we do? It is important to ask, who am I? We can be part of it all. My daughter asked me, she knows me as a father, after an event, she asked me, who are you? I could not answer. We need to ask this question. It is a big question. How many people go to meet themselves? Meeting yourself if you succeed in meeting yourself, you will succeed in meeting everyone in the world. We are not separate. I once went to see my Shaykh and said, I cannot connect with people, theyre so aggressive. My Shaykh replied, there are no aggressive people, each person has a drop of light. First you need to find a drop of light, not the aggression.

We, Muslims, Jews, Christians, all have the same father, Abraham. If you need to know your god, you need to know yourself. I began to work one year later. Its not so easy, hegave me a very hard mission. Rabbi told me, look at the eyes of another, and you can know yourself because she is your mirror. I look at the eyes of all of you and Im so happy, I can know myself. We are all essentially the same. We dont need to ask a lot, if you ask too much you lose your image. You dont need to speak, your heart will talk. Teach children how to connect with people. I take my children to events of others such as Christmas celebrations.

One day I received an invitation to a circumcision from a Rabbi from an ultra orthodox neighbourhood in Jerusalem. I took my seven year old daughter with me. The Rabbi informed me that no girls were allowed. So my daughter was left to play with a Jewish girl. She told me later, we spoke. I asked, did she know Arabic? No. Do you know Hebrew? No. She began to explain what they spoke of, she spoke in Hebrew my daughter spoke in Arabic. When they related they spoke of, both related the same thing. You dont need to talk, just to feel, be together, do not judge, understand the other person.

Strong people can create peace, weak people create war. All people are ethical, we all search the way. We need the search to be fruitful. We are born clean and clear, many elements influence us. We develop a kind of blindness, not real but imagined. With the help from others we all have a part to create peace. Some say, I want to be a peace builder but I don't have time. Come with me, we will do a little bit.

I dont think there is a civilisation clash. Each civilisation builds from the other. In 2004 we needed to do something to heal the Holy Land. We went to the politicians, we want to see the educators and they began to be a part of us. We began peace projects, we faced lots of challenges, dangers. I began to work, lots of projects, Israel, Palestine, England, Germany, USA, during the wars, this was the time to work. We invited Jews, Muslims in Nazareth, some attacked Jesus, some approved us.

The Abrahamic Reunion has four main groups:
1- Families forum - They read poems together, make food together, build values of peace and love, children raised in this path.
2- Womens peace group we recognize that women are half of our life - women influence their neighbours
3- Youth project our future they will be wiser many groups do not nurture new generation in Jericho
4- Text Study group Samaritans, Christians, Muslims, Jesus, 50 80 people-

People may say, what is your success? We still have wars. It is better to have peacemakers, than not. There are thousands now, tomorrow maybe a 100 000. We will be optimistic. The Holy Land belongs to all people. Our hands are open, you are the leaders of tomorrow, your facilities will be bigger to continue the work. Many times I almost lost my life. Dont wait go to the other, make the first step, knock on the door. In America we have Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs. Come to change yourself, dont try to change the other.
85% of people from both sides want to create peace. The problem is not with the people, but with the leadership. Jesus visited Hebron, Nablus, etc.. and was peaceful. Spread peace by overcoming ignorance. To know yourself, you need to learn about other human beings. By knowing your circle of people you can gradually reduce your ignorance, understand the unknown, be aware. Barriers will come down, disappear. Then I can see clearly, then I can see myself.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The Septenary Principle in Sufism

Although Hindu, Greek, Taoist, Egyptian and Zoroastrian examples of the septenary constitution were presented in early Theosophical literature, Sufi examples were relatively scarce, even though the Sufi schools are a notable esoteric tradition that make prominent use of the sevenfold structure, as subsequent studies have shown, a pioneering work being Henri Corbin’s The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism (1971).

The table below adapted from a Naqshbandi model (, with additions from the Kubrawiya school.

Nafs al-Kamila
The Pure /Perfect Self
tawbah (repentance)
waraʿ                    (fear of the Lord)
zuhd (renunciation, or detachment)
faqr  (poverty)
abr       (patience)
tawakkul (trust, or surrender)
riā  (satisfaction)
Ruh Madeni
Mineral soul
Ruh Nabati
Vegetable soul
Ruh Haywani
Animal soul
Ruh Nafsani
Personal Soul
Ruh Insani
Human Soul
Ruh Sirr
Secret Soul
Sirr Al Asar-
The Secret of Secrets
The Breast/Chest
Al- Qalb
The heart
The Spirit
The Innermost being
The Consciences
Inner or Spiritual heart.
The Hidden
Innermost Spiritual Heart.
Al-Khafa  Secrecy
Innermost Spiritual Heart of Hearts
Alam-ihahut  Divine Essence
Alam-i-iahut    Divine Nature
Alam-i-jabarut     World Beyond Form
Alam-i-malakut World of Imagination
Alam-i-mana World of Spiritual Perception
Alam-i-surat  World of Forms
Alam-i-tabiat World of Nature, Man

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

William Q Judge - Talk on Karma

1891 was a watershed year for Judge with his writing on Karma and Reincarnation. A half a dozen articles appeared, including lecture transcripts. The passages below are from a nice, basic presentation on reincarnation which shows off Judge's skills as a public speaker and his pioneering efforts in promoting reincarnation in Christianity. His ideas that everyone is seeking happiness and we are all connected are themes that have become quite important today with the Dalai Lama, which shows that his message remains relevant today.
All men and women, I take it, are in the pursuit of happiness. If they do not find happiness here they seek it after death. They think that if they are not happy now they may be happy when they shall have died; and so, I suppose, the poor people who live in your East End -- which is a blot on your civilization, brought about by the wrong philosophy which those living in the other end believe and practice -- they, I suppose, in the degradation in which they are compelled to exist, are also in the pursuit of happiness. They cannot get it now in London, but they expect it sometime; and the other circles of your society, those who are not condemned by nature or by God to have been born in the East End without their consent, even they are full of disappointment, unable to secure the ends they have in view, compelled to work hard for the living which they cannot secure -- they also are in the pursuit of happiness. Is it not so? And is it not also so that in both places the individuals of each class demand justice? And "Karma," about which I am to speak, is justice and nothing else.

Now the doctrine of Karma which we talk about means that as this being passes from life to life, he is under the government of law, and not of injustice. Is the world governed by law, or is it governed by favor? The religious systems of the day in the West show that their teachers believe the Universe to be governed by favor, by prayer, by partiality, by the absence of law. The theologians say, "If the Lord made law, he can also refuse to obey the law"; but the Theosophist says, "If the Lord made law to govern the Universe, he must obey the law." And the great law governing man in his progress through life, in all the relations of life and of the Universe, is Justice, and that law of justice says that as you sow, so shall you reap, and that was enunciated by Jesus of Nazareth, just as all the teachers before him and since have enunciated it in all places and times. Now if that law enunciated by Jesus is true, that as you sow, so shall you reap, and as ye judge so shall ye be judged, where is the justice of having a human being born in degradation without his consent, unless you adopt our doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma? Karma means Justice, compensation for every act good or bad which you do in your life. Seventy years is not enough time in this life to reap by experience and to receive justice for all your deeds. Do you know that although this saying of Jesus is believed, "As you sow, so shall you reap," yet hundreds of men now live sixty or seventy years of wicked life and do not get apparently what they have sown? When will they get it, if there is no justice? Similarly, you see good men living sixty and seventy years of life; where do they get what they have sown? You may say, some of you, one reaps up in Heaven and the other in Hell; but if you say that, at the same time there is another doctrine which you admit, that the wicked man merely by believing at the last moment may reap yet his just reward. For what? For being wicked all his life, and at the end simply saying, "I believe in something that is not justice"?

If there is justice in the Universe it must govern us always, and we believe in Reincarnation, that you and I have been here before, that I have been here before and will be here again, and so have you. If this be true, and I think it is, and also the other principle of justice, the principle of perfect compensation and balance in nature, then the whole Universe is vindicated; but if you look at it in any other way, God becomes unjust -- and no one believes that he is so. The Universe becomes something governed by caprice, for do not the theologians and the churches, all churches in this country and in every other country which are dogmatic, say that you can alter the course of nature by prayer, that when the mother prays for the child who is on a journey, that child is saved from a horrible wreck, while forty other children are killed because their mothers did not pray? Is that justice? No. Justice means that for every act you perform, every thought you think, every thing you do, you will receive an exact equivalent some time; and seventy years of life, as I told you, is not long enough. It is not long enough to reap by experience, to account for the savages being savages, to account for your poor people being poor and degraded. Nothing will account for these things but our doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation -- that these people have come over from other lives where they did those acts which condemn them now to suffer the compensation.

The Christian must believe in this, because St. Matthew says, "For every act, word and thought, you must give account." Giving account does not mean saying, "I did it," and then getting no reward and no compensation. It means to give account, to render and give up, to receive the fine or the punishment. In St. John's Revelation it also says, "I saw the Book of Life Open, and men were judged for their acts"; so that in the Christian Bible, we find that this doctrine of Karma -- that perfect justice must rule, that you must receive the compensation for every act and thought -- was taught, and this compensation can only be accomplished by Reincarnation.
That is what the law of Karma means. Karma means action, the result of action, the cause and the effect. Human beings are always setting in motion causes, and those causes must reap effects, must bring about effects here or hereafter, and hereafter does not mean in a mythical place which no man can find, but here on this earth. You must come again and again to reap the results of your acts, good or bad, to progress from life to life on this earth, to continue civilization higher and higher, so that at last those pinnacles may be reached to which the earlier speakers referred. Then the whole world will admit that it is one family going on to perfection, not that other parts in it are in the favor of some Almighty presence, which, by reason of their supplication, gives them benefits which it will not give to anyone else just as worthy.
The Theosophist says that justice rules the world, and justice is the English equivalent of the word Karma, or of the old, most ancient doctrine that man is ruled by law and must give account, must suffer or enjoy in various, several lives on earth, for every act, word and deed which he may have performed.
Talk on Karma [Given to the general public during the First Annual European Convention of the T.S., on July 10, 1891; Theosophical Sitftings, Vol. IV., pp. 24-26.]

Friday, 2 November 2018

Through the Gates of Gold - Ch.5, pt. 2a The Secret of Strength

The first half of this chapter uses the images of death and the battlefield, the second part uses the images of nature and gardening. The chapter begins with an interesting reflection on the exoteric nature of religion, with its tendency towards rigid dogmatism. With the simple experience of living with in a different religious tradition, one can relativize this narrow outlook and appreciate the esoteric perspective better:

Religion holds a man back from the path, prevents his stepping forward, for various very plain reasons. First, it makes the vital mistake of distinguishing between good and evil. Nature knows no such distinction; and the moral and social laws set us by our religions are as temporary, as much a thing of our own special mode and form of existence, as are the moral and social laws of the ants or the bees. We pass out of that state in which these things appear to be final, and we forget them forever.

This is easily shown, because a man of broad habits of thought and of intelligence must modify his code of life when he dwells among another people. These people among whom he is an alien have their own deep-rooted religions and hereditary convictions, against which he cannot offend. Unless his is an abjectly narrow and unthinking mind, he sees that their form of law and order is as good as his own. What then can he do but reconcile his conduct gradually to their rules? And then if he dwells among them many years the sharp edge of difference is worn away, and he forgets at last where their faith ends and his commences. Yet is it for his own people to say he has done wrong, if he has injured no man and remained just?

As in many wisdom traditions, observation of the dying process has great philosophical value:

When a man's soul passes away from its brief dwelling-place, thoughts of law and order do not accompany it. If it is strong, it is the ecstasy of true being and real life which it becomes possessed of, as all know who have watched by the dying. If the soul is weak, it faints and fades away, overcome by the first flush of the new life.

Why? Because he is no longer held back and made to quiver by hesitation. In the strange moment of death he has had release given him; and with a sudden passion of delight he recognizes that it is release. Had he been sure of this before, he would have been a great sage, a man to rule the world, for he would have had the power to rule himself and his own body. That release from the chains of ordinary life can be obtained as easily during life as by death.

The experience of being on a battlefield, opens some interesting reflections of the nature of suffering and empathy; by focusing on everyone’s suffering, one’s own suffering loses its importance:

It only needs a sufficiently profound conviction to enable the man to look on his body with the same emotions as he would look on the body of another man, or on the bodies of a thousand men. In contemplating a battlefield it is impossible to realize the agony of every sufferer; why, then, realize your own pain more keenly than another's? Mass the whole together, and look at it all from a wider standpoint than that of the individual life. That you actually feel your own physical wound is a weakness of your limitation. The man who is developed psychically feels the wound of another as keenly as his own, and does not feel his own at all if he is strong enough to will it so.

Next is a reflection on the stark reality of the instinctive nature of the struggle for existence – we are born alone, we die alone, and we have to fight our own battles. And like a breath of fresh air, a new possibility is proposed – instead of struggling and resisting the forces of life, why not join in with nature and work along with her; and this goes hand in hand with the idea that it is better to  conquer yourself than a thousand men in battle.

The great life of the world rushes by, and we are in danger each instant that it will overwhelm us or even utterly destroy us. There is no defence to be offered to it; no opposition army can be set up, because in this life every man fights his own battle against every other man, and no two can be united under the same banner. There is only one way of escape from this terrible danger which we battle against every hour. Turn round, and instead of standing against the forces, join them; become one with Nature, and go easily upon her path. Do not resist or resent the circumstances of life any more than the plants resent the rain and the wind. Then suddenly, to your own amazement, you find you have time and strength to spare, to use in the great battle which it is inevitable every man must fight, — that in himself, that which leads to his own conquest.