A Message to Friends in Every Country
United Lodge of Theosophists
John Garrigues (left) and Robert Crosbie; two of the founders of the ULT in February 1909
An Editorial Note:
During 80 years, every 25th of
June the ULT sent a message to
its associates and friends around the
world. John Garrigues was the main
editor of these ULT Day letters from
their beginning, in 1931, up to his death
in 1944. The letters went on until 2011.
TO SPREAD BROADCAST THE TEACHINGS OF THEOSOPHY AS
RECORDED IN THE WRITINGS OF H. P. BLAVATSKY AND WM. Q. JUDGE
United Lodge of Theosophists
A VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATION OF STUDENTS OF THEOSOPHY
245 WEST 33RD STREET, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90007, USA
June 25, 2001
Dear Friends and Associates:
Every year at this time, we pause to think about the work of the universal Theosophical Movement, and to rededicate ourselves to the task of promulgating the philosophy. This effort traditionally includes a letter written by independent students who feel the need to share an idea or two with others of like mind. It tries to draw upon the experience of the past year for encouragement and examples of how the work has spread. Upbeat and positive, this letter always seeks to put our best foot forward, modest as it might be.
Somewhere in the midst of every old cycle, a new one takes root and begins to grow. Imperceptible at first, it is masked by the activity of the previous cycle. Mistaken for part of the old form, it is not yet strong enough to survive in the world alone, so as it gradually gains strength, it waits for the opportunity to become the future.
The United Lodge of Theosophists began as a radical idea. It sought to provide a basis for students and inquirers to gather together to study and promulgate Theosophy, without having to worry about organization and structure, or elections and officers – the “personality” of the world. It was an idea both simple and profound, as it left the initiative for work squarely in the hands of the students themselves. The term “member” was dropped, and “associate” substituted to indicate those who shared the vision of what this kind of relationship could mean. The ULT idea had merit, and the number of associates and Lodges gradually grew, several magazines were started and the original Theosophical literature brought back into print. Supplements are issued on an occasional basis when the formal issue exceeds its size limit, and/or some special need arises.
However, the natural growth of ULT slowed at about the mid-point of the Twentieth Century, and while the work and magazines were continued by capable and devoted people, fewer new associates became involved. This pattern was not unique to ULT, and has been reflected in the experience of other Theosophical groups; recognition of it provides an opportunity to re-examine methods of work useful at this time.
Evidence of new seeds of a new cycle for the Movement have begun to sprout. Fairly early in the Twentieth Century, the idea of urging students “back to Blavatsky” and “toward unification” became popular among those seeking to bring members of different Theosophical groups closer to their common purpose. Much later, in the Eighties, “Networking Conferences” were held, where for the first time students from different Theosophical “traditions” found they shared essential ties and basic principles. Joint conferences and workshops marked the centennial anniversaries of the lives and works of H. P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge, and the publication of Madame Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine. Today, one of the best signs of the health of the Movement is that most Theosophical groups get along well with each other, and respect their various roles in the work.
Promising and energetic work now often involves students of different Theosophical backgrounds, sometimes including those with no affiliation but who share an appreciation for the teachings and a desire to share them with others. In cyber space, online discussion groups such as BlavatskyNet and TheosophyTalk continue to grow steadily, well beyond organizational boundaries and controls. A new monthly internet magazine, The Aquarian Theosophist, has subscribers on all continents. Collaboration between ULT associates and students of the Theosophical Society has resulted in a strong Theosophy Center in Long Beach, California. Continuing the energy that produced the annual gatherings at Brookings, Oregon, a similar meeting this year on August 11 and 12 in Cambria, California will consider “Theosophy – Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times.” (Inquiries can be directed to any of the Lodges on the West Coast for further information.)
ULT upholds a shared vision, composed of different perspectives, rather than a single point of view, and it welcomes each and every attempt to study the teachings. We are bound by a similarity, not an identity of “aim, purpose and teaching.” The philosophy itself provides all that is necessary for a common ground among students. ULT could be regarded as a general outline for service to the Theosophical Movement, not a one-size-fits-all form to be protected and maintained for its own sake.
All true Theosophical work is based on the alchemy of the soul: while central authority may be appropriate in some endeavors, the work of studying and promulgating Theosophy is marked by the necessity of freedom which is the hallmark of all spiritual growth. Flexibility and the ability to adapt to change are essential to the development of inner discrimination in fulfilling the work of the Movement.
To mirror this, beginning next year, the “ULT Day Letter” will try a new format. We invite all Lodges, associates, and study groups to write to the Los Angeles Lodge about the work and the challenges, the successes and failures they face in the study and promulgation of Theosophy. These contributions will be shared at this time next year as a “bulletin” about the work of all Lodges and efforts. Submissions should reach Theosophy Hall in Los Angeles by the first of April, 2002, to allow time for collation and distribution. A reminder notice will go out asking for contributions to next year’s circular.
With Fraternal Best Wishes,
United Lodge of Theosophists
The above text is reproduced from “The Aquarian Theosophist”, July 2001 edition, Supplement.
On the role of the esoteric movement in the ethical awakening of mankind during the 21st century, see the book “The Fire and Light of Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline.
Published in 2013 by The Aquarian Theosophist, the volume has 255 pages and can be obtained through Amazon Books.