Theosophy and Freemasonry

The Legacy of the Theosophical Society

THEOSOPHY AND FREEMASONRY

The Influence of Blavatsky on Universal Co-Masonry

For Many thousands of years the East has been regarded as a place of great learning. Many of the great sages of antiquity traveled in the direction of the rising sun to gain the knowledge that has been so carefully practiced and preserved there. From the ashrams of India and the temples of Tibet to the Zen monasteries of Japan, the Eastern world has created a vast body of esoteric wisdom and religious teaching. However, this wisdom has until recently remained largely obscured from the Western mind and many of its teachings seem incomprehensible to the mind conditioned by industry and logic.

Throughout history a few people have succeeded in bringing the light of the East to reside in the West but one person in particular bears much of the credit for introducing these teachings to the modern Western world. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was a Ukranian aristocrat who traveled extensively throughout the Russian Empire, Europe, America and Asia. It was while in Tibet that she was allegedly introduced to a group of esoteric adepts who had existed for many millennia as custodians of ancient wisdom. Blavatsky travelled to America with this knowledge and instituted the Theosophical society, an organization dedicated to advancing Theosophy, a synthesis of philosophy, science and religion that was responsible for introducing concepts such as reincarnation, yoga and Buddhism to the American mind.

The Theosophical Society proved an incredible success as the teachings it provided captivated its followers with an entirely new perspective on reality that emphasized the mystical, the esoteric and the immaterial. These teachings were incredibly inspirational to its early initiates, many of whom became prolific writers on esoteric subjects and the influence of Theosophy could be felt in science, philosophy, religion and literature for many decades to come. The Theosophist were also adherents of strict personal discipline, believing that control over the passions of the body and the habits of the mind would lead them to a more spiritual existence. One group that they found great harmony with were the early Co-Masons of America, who had received their charter in 1903. Many Theosophists and Co-Masons found that the ideals of the two societies were in alignment and membership in both organizations increased. When Bro. Annie Besant became a member of Co-Masonry she was instrumental in its spread abroad and especially to India, establishing the international heritage that Universal Co-Masonry continues to this day.

Universal Co-Masonry owes a great deal to Theosophy. Its emphasis on discipline and moral principles derived from the unfailing pursuit of Truth as the highest ideal has established a culture of spirituality in America that might not have formed had it not been for the tireless work of the Theosophists. Without their commitment to their ideals it is likely that Universal Co-Masonry would not have flourished as it has today, for many Theosophists became members during World War Two when many Co-Masons were lost to the fight against the Nazis. Their desire to see the Masonic and Theosophical ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity and the understanding of Truth fulfilled sustained Universal Co-Masonry through its darker days and instilled within the organization a zeal for the esoteric that persists to this day. Universal Co-Masonry has carried the light it received from Theosophy into its rituals, practices and philosophies and continues to proclaim the same love of duty, truth and the mysterious that Blavatsky first introduced to the Western world over a century ago.

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