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Theosophy [Greek: theos = god + sophia = wisdom]
A non-denominational spiritualist movement founded in 1875 at New York City by the Russian born mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, William Q. Judge, and several other high society figures.
Drawing on the doctrine of reincarnation, theosophy repackages the ancient Gnostic-influenced belief that absolute knowledge is gained through direct, purifying mystical experience.
God, according to the Theosophists, emanates to all mankind an immortal essence.
By understanding the hidden wisdom contained in myth and symbol, we may share in the immortality of the divine. This sacred task is called the “theurgy.”
Blavatsky’s most popular work is Isis Unveiled, where she reveals remarkable erudition. But somewhat like C. G. Jung, Joseph Campbell and many others after her, Blavatsky tends to oversimplify apparent similarities among different religious, mystical and mythological traditions at the expense of overlooking their real and important differences.
» Akashic Records, Anthroposophy, Besant (Annie), Buddhism, Hinduism, Peebles (Dr. James Martin)
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The Bhagavad-Gita [Sanskrit: The song of the Lord] is a central scripture holy to Hindus that belongs to book VI of the epic Mahabharata. Believed by many scholars to be a more recent insert within the Mahabharata, the Gita synthesizes different, previously existing forms of yoga.
The main plot line revolves around Krishna urging Arjuna to fulfil the dharma (sacred duty) appropriate to his warrior caste (kshatrya). Taken literally, in the Gita this means Arjuna must slay kith and kin in the battlefield.
Krishna outlines additional dharmas appropriate for other castes, but Arjuna’s sacred task is to kill. Krishna further instructs Arjuna that his relatives will not really perish because the soul (atman) is eternal.
A gentler, psychological interpretation of the Gita sees the ‘killing’ in terms of the destruction of bad karma accumulated over past lives. These attributes manifest as outward aspects of the personality in the present life, not unlike that which Carl Jung terms the persona. Thus the ‘killing’ could be seen as the elimination or, perhaps, redirection of superficial and negative personality components that obscure awareness of the immortal soul (atman)
Because God’s grace is said to be central in overcoming negative past karma, some scholars believe that the Gita was written as late as 2nd-century CE, influenced by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Regardless of the precise date, Arjuna’s dharma seems to lie somewhere between Old Testament ideas concerning the problem of social justice (“an eye for an eye”) and the New Testament emphasis on spiritual salvation (“turn the other cheek”).
While some Christians may argue that the Gita’s message is clearly inferior to the New Testament’s prescription to love one’s enemies, this claim is complicated by the additional teaching of the so-called “Just War,” a teaching which is explicit or, perhaps, implicit to many Christian belief systems.
Having said that, it seems that a valid distinction may be made between what Jesus of the New Testament says we ought to do vs. what will happen.
Jesus of the New Testament says his followers ought not to be violent, nor to even think violently, even though conflict and war will inevitably break out among some members of the population. By way of contrast, the Krishna of the Gita essentially says killing is okay in certain circumstances. And this is something that Christ never advocates in the New Testament.
- Shrimad Bhagavad Gita in Hindi (full) (manishkamat.wordpress.com)
- #Review# : Bhagavad Gita (physicaln3dj6.wordpress.com)
- #Buy# : Jnaneshwari: Bhavartha – Dipika Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (physicaln3dj6.wordpress.com)
- Everyday Bhagavad-Gita. ~ Vrindavan Rao (elephantjournal.com)
- Bhagavad Gita Post #1 – The background (pflead73.wordpress.com)
- #Buy# : The Bhagavad Gita or The Message of the Master (physicaln3dj6.wordpress.com)
- Mahabharata for a Yogi (artoflivingsblog.com)
- Rahul invokes the Gita, Buddha at CII meet (news.in.msn.com)
- Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 7 – Knowledge of Ultimate Truth (Gyan Vigyaan Yoga) (bhuwanchand.wordpress.com)
- Ahimsa: The Way of Nonviolence (thelastteahouse.wordpress.com)
Annie Besant (née Wood, 1847-1933) was born in London. In her early adult life she was a critic of Capitalism and a colleague of Charles Bradlaugh, advocating birth control.
At age 26 she married the Anglican evangelical Reverend Frank Besant. In 1873 they were separated, and she became Vice-President for the National Secular Society in 1874. After meeting Madame Blavatsky in 1889 Besant, became fascinated with and an expert on the teachings of Theosophy. Following Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, Besant became the head of the International Theosophy Movement.
Later, she supported Indian nationalism and a grass roots educational movement in the sub-continent. And from 1917-23 she sat as President of the Indian National Congress. She was also active in promoting women’s rights, birth control, a non-revolutionary type of socialism (Fabianism) and worker’s rights.
- Charles Webster Leadbeater (divinelightblog.wordpress.com)
- “A thousand kisses darling”: Sex, scandal and spirituality in the life of Charles Webster Leadbeater – III (enfolding.org)
- Views on Theosophy (drmyronevans.wordpress.com)
- Let’s do away with the noose (thehindu.com)
- Annie shakes a leg to assert her right (thehindu.com)
- The Sex Wars (Part 1 of 4) (drvitelli.typepad.com)
Extrasensory perception (ESP) is a type of alleged psi phenomena. ESP is sometimes used as an umbrella term for many types of alleged paranormal phenomena but it properly refers to the ideas of telepathy (reading another’s thoughts) and clairvoyance (‘seeing’ without the eyes).
Some Fundamentalist, Protestant and Catholic Christians have a knee-jerk reaction to this idea, saying ESP is the workings of Satan, a delusion or evidence of mental illness. However, in Catholicism some of the more advanced saints claim to have been given similar gifts, usually called the reading of hearts. Indeed, some Catholic mystics claim to know another’s thoughts and/or feel their emotions near or at a distance with no observable cues.
Reading of Hearts. The knowledge of the secret thoughts of others or of their internal state without communication is known as reading of hearts. The certain knowledge of the secret thoughts of others is truly super-natural, since the devil has no access to the spiritual faculties of men and no human being can know the mind of another unless it is in some way communicated. But knowledge of the secrets of another’s heart may be conjectured by the devil and transmitted to a person, or they may be surmised by a deluded individual who takes his conjectures to be supernatural illuminations.¹
From the above it should be clear that Catholics – or, at least, sane Catholics – are cautious when it comes to mysticism. Central to Catholic mysticism is the idea of discernment or “the discernment of spirits.” Discernment is said to be a gift and acquired ability that enables one to differentiate supernatural experiences and abilities that come from God from those that do not.
¹ AUMANN, J. “Mystical Phenomena.” New Catholic Encyclopedia. 2nd ed. Vol. 10. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 105-109. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 Apr. 2012.
- Empath (earthpages.wordpress.com)
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- Politics & NWO – Re: THE ESP OF ESPIONAGE: REMOTE MIND-CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES (disclose.tv)
- Play Dr. Peter Venkman (On Your iPhone) [IPhone] (kotaku.com)
The word ‘mystic’ refers to one who engages in mysticism, and is often used pejoratively or as a caricature (e.g. wooly-headed mystic). This usage arguably arises, in part, from the worldly bias of contemporary consumer-oriented culture.
Many individuals, religious and secular, seem to value only that which they can buy, sell, and most of all, see. Subtle religious feelings may not be accessible to them, so naturally they’d think the whole idea of mysticism is hogwash.
Fortunately, this almost animalistic perspective of reality is not all pervasive–although it does seem to be dominant in the scientific, legal and political aspects of 21C culture.
There always have been and continues to be mystics who suggest there’s more, much more to life than meets the eye.
By the same token, some mystics seem to make grandiose claims and have allowed their sense of reason to be eclipsed by personal biases.
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Dr. James Martin Peebles (1822-1922) was an American spiritualist and Universalist minister who believed that he received inspiration and spiritual guidance from a ‘band of angels,’ as he put it.
Some of these alleged guides were famous characters, such as Mozart, the sister of Louis XVI of France and Chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas.
Other guides were less famous, such as John W. Leonard, a deceased Scottish clergyman.
Peebles traveled to India several times with Col. Henry Steel Olcott, the co-founder of Theosophy.
Today, Linda Pendleton and others claim to channel messages from Dr. Peebles.
His alleged message to humanity is consistent with much New Age channeling–that is, universal love, cooperation, and the need to overcome the illusion of separation among individuals and nations.
Dr. Peebles, himself, lived three days short of 100 years.
On the Web:
- Linda Pendleton’s web site: http://www.todancewithangels.com/peebles.html
- Answers.com: http://www.answers.com/topic/james-martin-peebles
Also known as metempsychosis and transmigration, reincarnation is a manmade theory based on beliefs found in different philosophical systems and religions, including ancient Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Jain, African and New Age perspectives.
Reincarnation usually involves ideas of karma and grace. It’s believed that after the death of the physical body, the soul (or in some schools, temporary personality attributes) returns for another birth.
In most traditions the self is on an evolutionary path from unconsciousness to consciousness–that is, from lower to higher, or gross to subtle forms of consciousness.
In some branches of contemplative Hinduism, the soul is said to begin in the mineral world and then move upward to the vegetable and animal kingdoms. Eventually it takes birth as a human being. After learning about and practicing good ethics from innumerable human incarnations, the soul may reincarnate in astral and heavenly realms before reaching ultimate liberation, awareness and bliss.
But bad ethical choices send the evolutionary process into reverse. If a human being abuses their freedom, they may reincarnate backwards into the animal kingdom or possibly further down into one of various temporary hells.
According to popular wisdom it’s often said that God provides perfect punishments and rewards for one’s deeds. So generally speaking, if one makes good ethical choices in an embodied life, one gains merit and reincarnates into a more auspicious life the next time around.
However, if one makes bad ethical choices, one returns to a less auspicious life. Again, the alleged purpose of reincarnation is to instruct the soul, preparing it for an ultimately perfect, eternal existence. The exact nature of this perfection is described differently among various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Taoism.
Once complete liberation is achieved, the soul (or temporary personality attributes) no longer returns to a body, gross or subtle. This idea is expressed in an old Taoist tale, paraphrased as follows:
A man had led a dissolute life and reincarnates as a horse. After a few years the horse grows weary of being whipped by his masters, refuses to eat and dies. He then returns as a dog. Despising this incarnation the dog bites his master’s leg who has him destroyed. He returns as a snake. By now he’s finally learned his lesson. One must play out the hand one is dealt, patiently seeing it through to learn how to be virtuous. As a reformed soul, the snake avoids doing harm to other animals by eating berries and tries to keep itself out of danger. But one day the snake mistakenly dies under the wheel of a cart. Pleading his case before the King of Purgatory, he finds himself reborn a man—a reward for his good intentions (Raymond Van Over, ed. Taoist Tales, New York: Meridian Classic, 1973, pp. 52-53).
According to this view, suicide is like ‘skipping school’ (in the cosmic sense) and causes regression to a less desirable birth.
But not all believers in reincarnation would take this attitude. Some believe that the very same kind of life situation would arise again, as if the suicide is forced to repeat the same cosmic classroom he or she didn’t pass the first time around.
Meanwhile some New Age thinkers say that every life is consciously chosen prior to birth.
In most Asian religions God’s grace can mitigate or even erase the effects of bad karma, a fact often overlooked in specious critiques of reincarnation.
African pre-colonial tribal beliefs about reincarnation differ from Asian variants. African ancestors are believed to reincarnate into one or several descendents to give a particular family more power. Somewhat similar to the Asian idea, however, the African Ibo believe that one chooses between two bundles before birth – one bundle holds auspicious fortune, the other inauspicious. While the spirit tries its best to choose a favorable incarnation, a formerly evil person undergoes a difficult incarnation as a human or animal.
In contrast to the belief in reincarnation, the Old Testament says that evil actions are repaid with evil, but not through reincarnation. Evil begets evil through one’s offspring:
The Lord…a God merciful and gracious…forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation (Exodus 34:7).
For when they were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil…not of works, but of Him that calleth, it was said to her: The elder shall serve the younger.
The Christian New Testament view of the body and its relation to the afterlife is expressed in I Corinthians 15; 51-52; 2 Corinthians 5:1; I Thessalonians 4:14; John 3: 4-7.
Some suggest that the Catholic notion of purgatory was created as a Christian counterpart to the temporary process of punishment and purification as found in non-Christian theories of reincarnation.
» Anatman, Anthroposophy, Avatar, Cayce (Edgar), Chinmoy (Sri), Deva, Fenris, Free-John (Da), Gawain (Shakti), Hell, Hermes Trismegistus, Karma, Meno, Origen, Ram Dass, Parvati, Plato, Ramacharaka (Swami), Republic, Roberts (Jane), Samsara, Skandhas, Theosophy, Transmigration, Werewolf, Pythagoras
The term ‘Remote Viewing’ (RV) was coined by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff.
RV is the alleged ability to internally perceive objects and events at a distance beyond the range of the normal senses.
Remote Viewers (RVers) usually say they perceive objects and events in the past, present and probable future. But RVers don’t believe they psychologically time travel when seeing the past. Instead, they say they access a holographic cosmic memory bank that records all of the events that ever took place, somewhat like the Akashic Records of Theosophy and Anthroposophy.
With regard to the future, RVers apparently see possible outcomes but don’t claim to predict the future with any certainty.
One difficulty with RV is a margin of error that researcher Dale Graff calls “white noise.” RVers strive to scientifically verify their distance visions and apparently are developing new methods to increase accuracy.
On this point RVers differ from some psychics who remain convinced that their distance visions are accurate without ever attempting to verify them.
Interestingly, RV researcher Russell Targ says his team got better scientific results when they kept the research environment “fun” and relaxed.
Although Targ admits to making money from RVing future probabilities, he reports that human greed came to interfere with the success of his experiments.¹
Targ later introduced the term Remote Sensing because RV may also be accompanied by an inner sense of hearing, smell and touch.
The paranormal writer Rosemary Ellen Guiley says that Remote Sensing is a well-documented phenomenon, both in ancient and contemporary times.
According to Anthony C. LoBaido at WorldNetDaily.com and Steve Hammons at AmericanChronicle.com, the CIA has used RV for intelligence gathering. LoBaido also claims that the FBI has adopted RV for the same purposes.
» Akashic Records, Clairvoyance, Doors, ESP, New Age, Psychic Spies, Seer, “The New Age and Remote Viewing,” Third Eye
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M. H. Abrams says that at the most fundamental level a symbol is anything that signifies something else.
Abrams also notes that a distinction is often made between the public and private symbol. The public symbol, such as the cross, is apparently understood by everyone in a given culture whereas the private symbol, such as an obscure poetic allusion, isn’t.
This distinction, however, seems open to debate: Surely not everyone in a given culture interprets the cross in the same way.
In literature a symbol is
a word or phrase that signifies an object or event which in turn signifies something, or suggests a range of reference, beyond itself (A Glossary of Literary Terms, 2005, p. 320).
In depth psychology, Carl Jung says the symbol is a meaningful image that mediates healing or destructive forces from the collective unconscious to ego consciousness–for example, the symbol of the Cross or Serpent.
Jung says symbols arise from the unknowable archetypes but are recognized as archetypal images. Archetypes interpenetrate among themselves; likewise, archetypal images are discrete but exhibit similarities. For Jung the flow of psychic energy between the collective unconscious and the symbol is a two-way process.
Jungian Erich Neumann says that the symbol acts as both as an “energy transformer” and as a “moulder of consciousness.” As an energy transformer the symbol facilitates the ego’s experience of the numinous, arising from the collective unconscious. As a moulder of consciousness, the symbol operates on the level of collective consciousness by contributing to the ideology of a given culture.
Jung says the interconnected conscious and unconscious aspects of humanity cannot be severed. He’s widely quoted as saying in The Undiscovered Self (1958):
You can take away a man’s gods, but only to give him others in return.
Likewise, political leaders of the mass state cannot avoid being glorified or demonized. This occurs through brute force, clever calculation and also through public fascination and projection.
Jung believes, for example, that a mass-produced placard image of Joseph Stalin expresses an archetypal force articulated on the conscious level that both sways and oppresses individuals.
A more contemporary example would be the disempowering psychological effect that massive bank towers (symbolizing ‘Big Business’) have on the poor and disenfranchised. And in ancient cultures such as Greece, Rome and Egypt, impressive architecture apparently had a similar effect on slaves, the exploited, the underprivileged and on less powerful visitors from foreign cultures.
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