Q: Dear Adriano, …in an article appeared on the Masonic magazine Officinae (n. 4/11) titled ‘Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society’, the author sings the praises of the well known counter-initiatory association…don’t you agree with me in thinking that it goes a bit too far? M
A: Dear M, first of all we must distinguish between what we know directly (thanks to study and research of reliable sources) and hearsay.
You state with confidence: ‘…the author sings the praises of the well known counter-initiatory association…’
I believe that this opinion, quite common in Freemasonry, survives on a pre-judgment, elaborated by other people and then slavishly accepted by many (perhaps only in virtue of the authoritativeness of those who formulated it) without actually verifying its validity.
For your own curiosity I refer you to the Manifesto of the Theosophical Society, also published by us. After reading it, you will be able to verify directly how ‘counter-initiatory’ are the concept you will find there.
In actual fact Theosophy holds together the two aspects of Divine Wisdom (not Wisdom of God, as it is often translated), Mystic and Mysteriosophic, as the name suggests.
For this reason it has also been called ‘Religion-Wisdom’ (despite it not being a religion), and it expresses the synthesis necessary for the understanding and the manifestation of the spiritual being of every man. Theosophy is not a novelty of the late nineteenth century, but it is thousands of years old. The name started being used in the 3rd century A.D. with Ammonius Saccas and his disciples, also called analogeticists, which started the eclectic theosophical system that intended to instill certain moral truths in its disciples and in all those who loved the truth.
The purpose of the Founders of the eclectic theosophical School was to reconcile in a common ethical system, based on eternal truths, all religions, sects and nations.
It is possible to demonstrate that the same truth is at the basis of all religions through the comparative study by analogy (from which the name of analogeticists); indeed the ‘Religion-Wisdom’ was unique in ancient times and the identity of this primitive religious philosophy is also demonstrated to us by the identical doctrine taught the Initiates during the Mysteries, an institution that was once universally spread.
Beyond the name, it is clear that the principles of which Theosophy is the bearer are not in antithesis with those that inspire Freemasonry.
Freemasonry as well works to maintain the truth, which is represented by its progressive ‘increase of light’. Its modernity (1717) is only apparent, because the Ancient Mysteries represent its source of wisdom. On this knowledge is based the representation of the evolutionary journey based on the three-fold aspect Will (Strength), Wisdom and Harmony (Beauty), which occurs in an regular fluid motion (the Ceremonial Order) ruled by rhythms, cadences and cycles; the ritual activity (which veils the greater Ritual of the System with its luminaries) is what gives order to the chaos, promoting the individual and group development of conscience known as Initiation.
Modern Freemasonry is the vehicle that carries the principles of the Ancient Mysteries to Initiation; likewise the Theosophy of which the Theosophical Society became an instrument of expression must be analyzed for what it represents, keeping it separate from the behavior of men who belonged to it.
If it is true that Freemasonry is not what certain Masons today testify with their mean behavior, nobody (who has bothered studying them) thinks that Freemasonry doesn’t preserve the initiatory principles that characterize it; likewise the Theosophical Society, which transmitted the principles described in ‘its manifesto’ and being a ‘philanthropic and scientific organism for the propagation of the idea of brotherhood on practical rather than theoretical lines’, with its founder H. P. Blavatsky still alive, saw followers that demonstrated not to have understood much of that teaching by departing from that noble path.
One of H. P. B.’s merits, among others, was conveying the interest, widespread during her time, for spiritualistic phenomena (which at that positivist era, when science was the true religion, gathered the spiritual yearning inborn in every man), towards the spiritual sphere that today we might call with a modern term ‘higher psychicism’, the world of the soul. She refuted, also thanks to her mediumistic talent (of which she talked about as a misfortune that one is born with – because you can become clairvoyant but you need to be born a medium), the distorted meanings given to spiritualistic phenomena, but she also gave scientific explanations of phenomena that were extraordinary, in the sense of not common, also said ‘miraculous’. This caused her to have many enemies and much of the literature, also recently, that relegates her in the derogatory field of quackery, which doesn’t suspect and often doesn’t know the true value of her refined work of divulgation; only today the latter is being reappraised after over a century from her death.
In conclusion, I can say that the article published on the magazine, although indulging in a few hints to provoke astonishment is substantially correct and for what I have said so far, I don’t think it is in contrast with the principles that Freemasonry ‘should’ champion.