Pavitt and Leadbeater’s Source on the Occult Use of Jewels

Pavitt book cover

William Thomas Pavitt and Kate Pavitt The Book of Talismans, Amulets, and Zodiacal Gems 1st edition: William Rider and Son, London, 1914; and 2nd revised edition: William Rider and Son, London, 1922, and David McKay Company, Philadelphia, 1922; and 3rd edition William Rider and Son, London, 1929

Digital version available on-line at: https://archive.org/details/bookoftalismansa00paviiala (Rider) and https://archive.org/details/bookoftalismansa1915pavi (McKay)

The contents of this work are:

Preface

Part 1. Amulets and Talismans.

Chapter I The Psychic and Magnetic Influence of Talismans and Gems.

Chapter II Talismans of Primitive Races. The Axe Arrow-head. The Swastika. The Serpent. The Interlaced Triangles.

Chapter III The Tau Cross. Aum Ma Ni Pad Me Hum. Indian Talismans. Ganesa the Elephant-headed. Hanuman the Monkey God. The Eight Glorious Emblems of Buddha. The Wheel of Life. The Conch Shell. The Two Fishes. The Lucky Diagram. The Lotus. The Frog. The Three Gems.

Chapter IV Talisman for Wisdom. Buddha’s Footprints. The Dorje Knots. Chinese Talismans The Trigrams. The Five Bats. The Goose Stork. Pine Tree. Peach Lucky Sentence. The Phoenix. The Dragon Horse Hoof. Siva’s Charm. The Money Sword. Red in Talismans. The Lock Bells. The Tortoise. The Tiger Pigs. The Black Cat.

Chapter V The Pear Charm Show. Fu Jade. The Blue Gown for Longevity. Japanese. The Tiger. Wolf Fox. The Thunder, Fire and Echo. The Fan of Power Hotel, the God of Contentment. The Eagle. The Millet Dumpling. Carp. Sacred Dog. Stork. Tortoise. Crane. Child’s Hand Mitsu-Domoe. Hammer of Dai-koku. The Keys. Anchor. Crystal Ball. Leaf Talisman. Ota-fu-ku Bow. Temple at Ise.

Chapter VI Egyptian Beliefs. Crux Ansata. The Menat. The Two Plumes. The Single Plume. The Nefer. The Cartouche. The Angles and Plummet. The God Bes. Aper. The Tat. The Heart .

Chapter VII The Buckle of the Girdle of Isis. The Scarab. The Eye of Osiris. The Two Fingers. The Collar. The Hawk. The Sma. The Ladder and Steps. The Snake’s Head. The Serpent. The Sun’s Disc. The Frog. The Fish. The Vulture. The Sa, or Tie.

Chapter VIII Gnosticism. Abraxas. Sacred Names. Khnoubis. The Seven Vowels. The Magic Symbols. The Archangels. Lion-headed Serpent. Aum. The Ineffable Name. Horus. Osiris. Isis. Etruscan, Greek, and Roman. The Crescent Symbol. The Horseshoe Tusk, or Horn Stable Keys. Amalthaea’s Horn, or Cornucopia. Serapis Bull’s Head. Diana. Harpokrates. Anubis. Bellerophon. Salus. Ring Hygiea.

Chapter IX The Bulla. The Tusk. Pine Cone. The Frog. Skull of an Ass. Key Talismans. Grylli, or Chimera. Goat. The Ox. Lion. Eagle. The Caduceus. Mercury. Health Rings. Boar’s Head. Clenched Hand. Open Hand. Figured Hands. The Lizard. The Spider. The Fish Snails.

Chapter X The Orient. The Koran. Jochebed. Bead Necklaces. Mashallah. Hassan and Hussein. Hand of the Lady Fatima. Five Principal Commandments. Zufur. Tukiah. Nasiree. Gadiri. Mohammed. Merzoum. The Diamond Cube of Amber. Scorpion-charming. Early Christian and Mediaeval Talismans. Clement of Alexandria. The Fish. Dag Palm Branch. The Ship. Sacred Monogram. Shen. Constantine the Great. Thoth. The Cross. Household Cross. Yucatan. Hand and Cross. Wheel. Cross.

Chapter XI The Agnus Dei. The Coventry Ring. Ananizapta. Tau Cross. Cross of St. Benedict. Byzantine Ring. Simsum Ring. Abracadabra. Pentalpha, Pentacle, Pentagram, or Five-pointed Star. The Kabala. The Table of Jupiter. The Ten Divine Names. The Planetary Angels. The Agla. Dr. Dee.

Chapter XII Tetragrammaton. Phylactery. Talismans against all mischiefs, the Magus Venus Talisman. Totaphoth. Abraxas. Eye of a Cock. Bells. Gargoyles. Cramp Rings. Blessing of Rings. Musseltaub. Posie Rings. Gemmel Rings. Zodiacal Rings. The Signs of the Zodiac in Rhyme. General Talismans. The Lee Penny Crystal. The Moon Talismans. Peacock. Juno. Fire Talismans. Gold Nugget. Corns. Card Talismans. Badger’s Tooth. Four-leaved Clover.

Part 2. The Gems of the Zodiac

Chapter 1 Aries—The Ram

Chapter 2 Taurus—The Bull

Chapter 3 Gemini—The House Of The Twins

Chapter 4 Cancer—The House Of The Crab

Chapter 5 Leo—The House Of The Lion

Chapter 6 Virgo—The House Of The Virgin

Chapter 7 Libra—The House Of The Balance

Chapter 8 Scorpio—The House Of The Scorpion

Chapter 9 Sagittarius—The House Of The Archer

Chapter 10 Capricorn—The House Of The Goat

Chapter 11 Aquarius—The House Of The Water-Bearer

Chapter 12 Pisces—The House Of The Fishes

Real And Artificial Gems And How To Test And Select Them

Bibliography

Pavitt advertised his work for gems used for occult purposes in a number of Theosophical journals, including The Vahan and The Co-Mason:

Scan_20170427 (2)

Even in recent years a number of his works of jewellery for occult purposes has been on the market:

Leadbeater and Jewels

Leadbeater developed a complex system of correspondence between jewels and Rays, seen especially in the use of jewels in the Liberal Catholic Church. There is a long tradition in Western occultism of the use of gems, and elaborate systems of correspondences between gems, planets, plants and other things. A good, basic introduction to this subject is: W.B. Crow Precious Stones. Their Occult Power and Hidden Significance The Aquarian Press, London, 1968.

A correspondent has asked me if Leadbeater’s source(s) for his system of correspondence between jewels and Rays has been identified. He drew my attention to one possible source: William Thomas Pavitt and Kate Pavitt The Book of Talismans, Amulets, and Zodiacal Gems.

Pavitt

William Thomas Pavitt and Kate Pavitt The Book of Talismans, Amulets, and Zodiacal Gems 1st edition: William Rider and Son, London, 1914; and 2nd revised edition: William Rider and Son, London, 1922, and David McKay Company, Philadelphia, 1922; and 3rd edition William Rider and Son, London, 1929

Digital version available on-line at: https://archive.org/details/bookoftalismansa00paviiala (Rider) and https://archive.org/details/bookoftalismansa1915pavi (McKay)

This work is particularly interesting, given the following reference to two noted Theosophists [note that Wedgwood’s name is mis-spelled]:

Evidence of undoubted authenticity of wonderful occult powers and experiences has within recent years become readily accessible to all. Psychometry [the art of sensing past happenings to individuals from the handling of something belonging to them, such as a glove or jewel] may be said to be established as a fact; and that this power is not confined to human affairs but permeates also the lower kingdoms is aptly illustrated by a personal experience which occurred during the summer of 1912. Mr. J. Wedgewood of the Theosophical Society, who is much interested in sensing colours from the touch of Precious Stones, and with whom I have frequently experimented in this direction, called one day at my office with a lady friend, Mrs. Russak, also of the Theosophical Society, and a well-known occultist. In the course of conversation Mr. Wedgewood said, “If you want to know anything about any of your stones, this lady can tell you,” and, being desirous of getting a real test, I selected two new stones that I knew had never been used, as will be seen by what follows: I handed one to Mrs. Russak which she held in the palm of her hand for a moment or so, and then gave me what was, as far as I could judge, a description of the processes of its formation; then, holding it out to me, went on to say, “I am sorry I cannot give you any events connected with this stone, but within the last month you have changed its centre of gravity.” The stone was a Jargoon that I had only just received back from the lapidary with whom I had left it in the rough to be cut; it was a very decided oval in shape whilst in its rough state, and the lapidary had advised me to have practically half of it cutaway, leaving the stone quite circular and only about half its original size, although much more valuable and finer in colour than it would have been had it been cut as an oval twice the size. (pp. 7-8)

William Thomas Pavitt was an English Arts and Crafts jeweller who worked between c.1900-c.1915.

 

Further research into system of correspondence between jewels and Rays is continuing. Any information or suggestions of sources will be greatly appreciated.

Leadbeater on Christian Doctrine

Orthodox doctrine, as it is generally put before us today, is really repugnant to reason and common sense, and furthermore much of it is obviously untrue. It is blindly accepted by a certain number of people who have never really ventured to face facts for themselves, but as was said before, often the more intelligent and educated sections of society are repelled by its crudities. They either gloss it over and smooth away its corners – that is to say, they do not really accept it as it is offered at all – or else they think as little about it as they can, and many of them make the mistake of turning their backs upon religion altogether, thinking that there is no good to be gained from it at all. Many Christians are themselves often shocked and horrified if the real crudity is that their religion are put before them, but it is nevertheless true that any orthodox Church or body to which they may be long has never definitely disavowed these crudity. Individual preachers may and do, but the churches as a whole do not.

Let us consider exactly what the fundamental teaching is in its barest and crudest form, as we get it in the Salvation Army and in some of the less advanced sects. Baldly, the idea is that an omnipotent and all-powerful Deity, who could have done quite differently if He had so willed, chooses to bring us here under a horrible curse which is called “original sin”, and furthermore that He has prepared an endless future of purposeless torture for nearly everybody. Awful as it sounds, that is stated to be God’s intention towards men. Moved by very natural horror at such a perfectly appalling piece of senseless cruelty as that would be, the Son of the Deity is alleged to come forward and offer Himself as a sacrifice instead of the world. He apparently offers Himself on condition (I am putting it just as baldly and as crudely as I can) that a minute fraction of mankind – at best only a very minute fraction – may escape that awful fate by believing a story for which there is no historical support whatsoever – believing in the face of evidence and reason. All the rest, all the countless millions who lived before this little arrangement was made, and all the other people who never heard of it, or if they have heard of it do not see their way to believing in the story – all of these are allowed to drift to perdition at their own sweet will; and – most amazing feature of the whole astounding concept – the Father accepts that heroic offer, and allows the guiltless Son to suffer.

Is that a rational theory to be put before any reasonable human being? Obviously it is not. It is a nightmare of inconsequence and horror. Any God Who could be guilty of such action as that is not a God that anyone would want to worship. If we heard of a savage king in central Africa behaving like that we would say he ought to be instantly exterminated. We would consider that such savagery marked him off from humanity. It will be said, perhaps, that no one ever really believe that. It has certainly been the custom to slur over many of these points and to surround them with a mist of verbiage, but nevertheless the faith held by numbers of people depends upon that theory, and it is absolute nonsense – it is nonsense anyway – without that theory.

An extract from Chapter 1 of Leadbeater’s unpublished manuscript on Christian doctrine. I am currently working on editing and annotating that work for publication. The manuscript that I am using dates from the early 1930s. I have now been given access to a copy of an earlier, and variant, manuscript of the work, which seems to be that which was given to Bishop Frank Pigott when he visited Sydney in 1924, and which, on the basis of Pigott’s opinion that the work was “not theology”, was never published.

An account of the subsequent publication of what purports to be most of that manuscript can be found at https://cwleadbeater.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/christian-gnosis/

“The Elder Brother” Reprinted

I was very pleased to receive this afternoon my author’s copies of the recent reprint of my book, “The Elder Brother. A Biography of C.W. Leadbeater” (originally published by Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1982), and even more pleased to read that it had been reprinted as part of the “Routledge Revivals” series described as “restoring to print books of some of the most influential academics of the last 120 years”. I have already received the e-book version, and will receive my author’s copies of the paperback edition when it is released next month.

Elder Brother

Leadbeater’s Last Great Unpublished Work

C.W. Leadbeater’s last great unpublished work was his study of Christian theology, intended to complete a trilogy of which The Science of the Sacraments (1920) and The Hidden Side of Christian Festivals (1920) had been published during his lifetime. It exists in manuscript form, under the title “An Enquiry Into The Failure of Christianity”, in the Theosophical Society Library at Adyar: L*091 Lea AF. His earliest work on the subject, The Christian Creed. Its Origin and Signification (1904) has been continually in print.

 For my posts on this topic, see: https://cwleadbeater.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/christian-gnosis-again/ , https://cwleadbeater.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/christian-gnosis/ , https://cwleadbeater.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/leadbeaters-final-work-on-christianity/ and https://cwleadbeater.wordpress.com/2016/12/28/an-enquiry-into-the-failure-of-christianity/

I now have copies of two, slightly varying, copies of the original manuscript of the work, both with slightly varying handwritten annotations, together with the two published works which purport to represent at least most of the original work: A Christian Gnosis (1983) and Christian Gnosis (2011).

It is indeed curious, to say the least, that neither the Theosophical Society nor the Liberal Catholic Church has been prepared to publish the full, un-redacted manuscript of the only unpublished book written by Leadbeater. Virtually all of Leadbeater’s books, even the most obscure, are currently in print in various forms, especially since the copyright on those works has expired. Many of them are in current editions of the Theosophical Publishing House. Many of them are available on-line.

Much to my surprise, following my postings on this site, a number of people have contacted me expressing enthusiasm for an annotated version of Leadbeater’s final work on Christianity (now with the advantage of several manuscripts for comparison, and the whole, as opposed to the “Christian Gnosis” redactions).

While I regard preparing an accurate, un-redacted, annotated version of Leadbeater’s final work on Christianity with something only slightly less than unmitigated horror, I think that it is a project that should be undertaken.

I am eager for responses to this proposal. Please offer responses directly to me – gregory1@pacific.net.au – rather than via this site.

“Christian Gnosis” – again

One of the benefits to me of publishing this blog has been the generosity of those who offer me (often rare and unpublished) material, sometimes anonymously, often with a request that their identities not be made public.

I have now received another copy of the manuscript of Leadbeater’s final work on Christianity, somewhat different from the version I had previously received, and with additional and different annotations. It will be interesting to compare the two manuscripts, and to compare them with what are claimed to be, more or less, the published versions.

Scan_20170408 (2)

The question of the title of the manuscript remains unresolved. The copy I consulted in the Adyar Library had the title “An Enquiry into the Failure of Christianity”, and that is the title under which it is catalogued in the library.

Pigott and Theosophical Schools

I am very grateful to David Cursons for offering the following corrections to my comments on Frank Waters Pigott and Theosophical schools in England: https://cwleadbeater.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/frank-waters-pigott/  Mr Cursons is a former member of staff at St Christopher’s School, now in retirement and looking after its Old Scholars’ Club [www.oldscholars.info] and cataloguing and delving into its archive material.

Please allow me to point out an error which you might at some point wish to correct. It relates to the paragraph:  “From 1919-1923 [Pigott] was residing at The Home School, Grindleford, Derbyshire, and without any clerical appointment. The Home School, a fee-paying secondary school, was operated by the Theosophical Society; it became Grindleford College and closed after World War II. It later became St Christopher’s School at Letchworth, Hertfordshire, with a vegetarian rather than theosophical ethos.”

The Theosophical Educational Trust (in Great Britain and Ireland) Ltd. did indeed take over the Home School, Grindleford in the summer of 1919 from Mr William Platt and his wife, who had previously run it, and Frank Pigott became the headmaster from September 1919.

There were also Theosophical Educational Trusts in other countries, and there is often
confusion and the belief that they were all one organisation, run from Adyar.

StC class

However, there were difficulties with the situation in England, and the Theosophical
Educational Trust (in Great Britain and Ireland) Ltd. sold the school to Mr E. W. Phibbs, who took it over in time for the autumn term of 1922.  Rev Pigott was therefore head there for only three years.  He (and some of his former Grindleford pupils) moved to Letchworth, where he was put in charge of Arundale House, the boarding part of St Christopher School.  (He is generally referred to as Mr Pigott in the school records of this time, not as Rev.).
However, he handed in his resignation in the summer of 1923, as he had been offered an appointment as Regionary Bishop for the Liberal Catholic Church in England, and he left the school to take up his new duties in December 1923.
Pigott bishop

It is not the case, as your paragraph states, that Grindleford became St Christopher.  The original UK theosophical school, at first known as The Garden City Theosophical School, but which soon changed its name to The Arundale School, started in Letchworth in January 1915, and the Theosophical Educational Trust (in Great Britain and Ireland) Ltd. was originally formed to run it.  In autumn 1920 the teaching moved into newly built classroom buildings about a mile from the original site of the Arundale School.  When laying the foundation stone for these buildings Annie Besant gave it the name St Christopher.  From autumn 1920 the former site still housed the boarders and the playing fields, and was still known for a while as Arundale School, but a little later, more accurately, as Arundale House.  This was the House of which Rev Pigott became head.

StC library

One might also add that the vegetarian diet was there from the start of the Letchworth schools, but Grindleford was also largely vegetarian. The Grindleford prospectus says: “vegetarian diet is recommended by the Directors, who have found it eminently satisfactory in their other schools, and given it to all their scholars.  But it is not compulsory, and if parents object to it they have only to inform the Principal of the fact.” The original head of the Letchworth School stated that there would be tolerance if too great an insistence on a vegetarian diet meant they had to turn away promising pupils, although there is little evidence about whether this possibility was ever exercised.  So there is probably little difference between the various schools run by the Theosophical Educational Trust in the matter of diet.

 StC dining

St Christopher moved back to its original Arundale site in 1928, and became independent of the Theosophical Society in 1930.  The Theosophical Educational Trust in Great Britain and Ireland, which had run St Christopher, Grindleford and other establishments was put into voluntary liquidation in 1932.

I am always grateful for corrections, additions or comments regarding anything that I publish.

The history of Theosophical schools is a subject worthy of considerably more attention than it has received. Mr Cursons commented in a later communication:

It would indeed be interesting for more to be known about Theosophical Schools, and I hope I may be able to contribute a little in due course in respect of the English ones.  They were created with great optimism, adopting progressive ideas which were not unique to the Theosophical schools.  However the theosophists considered that they could provide a theoretical underpinning to the idea of a child-centred education by considering that the child already came with the experience of previous lives and could not therefore be thought
of as a ‘blank slate’ on which to write new understanding.  Unfortunately the English schools, at least, fell foul of the troubles in the TS as a whole – an overhasty expansion when generous donors were available was followed by financial problems stemming from the tensions in the TS in the latter part of the 1920s.  It was partly the loss of support from Mrs Douglas-Hamilton which resulted in St Christopher abandoning its new buildings after only eight years and reforming as a somewhat smaller school on the old Arundale site.  As far as
I can gather, somewhat similar fates happened to the schools in Australia and New Zealand, as the wider troubles in the TS created problems for them. It seems to have been different in Sri Lanka, where there were many Buddhist schools founded by the TS which continued to thrive, I believe, up to independence.

 Our Relation to Children (2)

Leadbeater’s major work on education was Our Relation to Children Theosophical Publishing Society, London, 1898. An abridged text of that work is available on-line at: http://www.anandgholap.net/Our_Relation_To_Children-CWL.htm

It will help us much in our dealings with children if we remember that they also are egos, that their small and feeble physical bodies are after all but the accident of the moment, and that in reality we are all about the same age. Our business in training them is to develop only that in their lower nature which will co-operate with the ego — which will make it a better channel for the ego to work through. Long ago, in the golden age of the old Atlantean civilization, the importance of the office of the teacher of the children was so fully recognized that none was permitted to hold it except a trained clairvoyant, who could see all the latent qualities and capabilities of his charges, and could, therefore, work intelligently with each so as to develop what was good in him, and to amend what was evil.

 In the distant future it may be that that will be so once more; but that time is as yet far away, and we have to do our best under less favourable conditions. Yet unselfish affection is a wonderful quickener of the intuition, and those who really love their children will rarely be at a loss to comprehend their needs; and keen and persistent observation will give them, though at the cost of much more trouble, some approach to the clearer insight of their Atlantean predecessors. At any rate, it is well worth the trying, for when once we realize our true responsibility in relation to children, we shall assuredly think no labour too great which enables us to discharge it better.

For Theosophical schools generally, see:

“The Educational Work of Theosophists” in C. Jinarajadasa (ed) The Golden Book of the Theosophical Society. A Brief History of The Society’s Growth from 1875-1925 Theosophical Publish House, Adyar, 1925:295-303:

  1. Olcott Panchama Free Schools: 295-297
  2. Education in India: 297-29
  3. Education in Ceylon: 299-300
  4. Education in England: 300-301
  5. Education in Java: 301-302
  6. Education in America: 302
  7. Education in Australia: 302
  8. Education in New Zealand: 302
  9. Brahmavidya Ashrama: 302-303

http://theosophy.ph/encyclo/index.php?title=Education_and_Theosophy

A. C. Stewart and W. P. McCann The Educational Innovators: Volume II: Progressive Schools 1881–1967 Springer, 1968: 55-64

A. C. Stewart Progressives and Radicals in English Education 1750–1970 Springer, 1972: 193-201

For the Theosophical Educational Trust, see:

Kevin J. Brehony “To Letchworth via India: The Transformation of the Theosophical Educational Trust” Paper available on-line at: https://www.academia.edu/2697965/To_Letchworth_via_India_The_Transformation_of_the_Theosophical_Educational_Trust

Jinarajadasa (ed) The Golden Book of the Theosophical Society. A Brief History of The Society’s Growth from 1875-1925 Theosophical Publish House, Adyar, 1925:300-301

For the Theosophical Fraternity in Education, see:

Jinarajadasa (ed) The Golden Book of the Theosophical Society. A Brief History of The Society’s Growth from 1875-1925 Theosophical Publish House, Adyar, 1925:301

For the New Education Fellowship (later World Education Fellowship), see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Ensor

Kevin J. Brehony  “A new education for a new era: the contribution of the conferences of the New Education Fellowship to the disciplinary field of education 1921–1938” Paedagogica Historica. International Journal of the History of Education Volume 40, 2004 – Issue 5-6: 733-755 – text available on-line at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0030923042000293742

For the Olcott Panchama Free Schools in India, see:

http://theosophy.ph/encyclo/index.php?title=Olcott_Panchama_Free_Schools

For Theosophical Education in England, see:

Kevin Tingay “The Ancient Wisdom and the Modern Child – Theosophy and Progressive Education in England” Paper delivered at Theosophical History Conference, London, 1988. Available on-line at: https://www.academia.edu/28649383/The_Ancient_Wisdom_and_the_Modern_Child_Theosophy_and_Progressive_Education_in_England

For Grindleford College, see:

hpps://places.wishful-thinking.org.uk/DBY/Grindleford/School.html

The Home School, known later as Grindleford College was a fee paying school, day and boarding. In 1911 its Schoolmaster was William PLATT. He was aged 44, born in St Pancras, London, and described himself as “Head-master, own day & boarding school”. He was living at the school. Also resident were his wife Susan, aged 48, born Loughall, Armagh, two children, Gladys E. CLARKE, single, aged 23, Art Mistress, born Chatteris, Isle of Ely, Clara YOUNGMAN, Cook-Housekeeper, aged 38, single, born Aldeby, Norfolk, and a servant, Lucy Dane, aged 15, born Eyam. As ‘Grindleford College’, it was still accepting pupils during WWII, but was closed probably very soon after. The building is sited to the north of St Helen’s Church, and is now Pinegrove, a Residential Home for the elderly.

For The Garden City Theosophical School, see

G.E. Rogers “The Garden City Theosophical School” The Theosophist, Vol XXXVIII. No 3 December, 1915.

For St Christopher School, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Christopher_School,_Letchworth http://www.oldscholars.info/firstclass.htm

Reginald Snell St Christopher School 1915-1975 Letchworth, Aldine Press, 1975

For The St Christopher Club see: www.oldscholars.info

For Theosophical schools in Sydney, see:

https://cwleadbeater.wordpress.com/2016/08/26/theosophical-schools-in-sydney/ R.C. Petersen “Australian Progressive Schools. 1. Theosophical Schools” The Australian Journal of Education Vol 13 No 3 October 1969:241-250

Jill Roe Beyond Belief: Theosophy in Australia 1879-1939 (The Modern History Series), University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 1986: 240-243

Morven garden school

Morven Garden School, North Sydney, NSW, Australia

For Theosophical Schools in New Zealand, see: http://vasantagardenschool.weebly.com/a-new-era.html

Vasanta Garden School

Vasanta Garden School, Auckland, New Zealand

For the (Adyar) approach to Theosophical education, see:

Kevin Tingay “Theosophy and the Education and Children” in FOTA Newsletter No 5 October 2015:14-17 – available on-line at: http://hypatia.gr/fota/images/newsletter/Fota_Newsletter_05.pdf

Annie Besant Education in the Light of Theosophy Adyar Pamphlet No. 16, “The Theosophist” Office, Adyar, 1912 – text available on-line at: http://www.theosophical.ca/adyar_pamphlets/AdyarPamphlet_No16.pdf

 Besant education

The fundamental teachings of Theosophy so alter our views of the child, that a very revolution is wrought by them in the relations of the child and his elders. Formerly we regarded him either as a soul fresh from the hands of God, clad in a body furnished by his parents; or as an intelligence dependent on the brain and nervous organisation built up by the laws of heredity working through countless generations in the past. Some thought that the child’s mind was a blank page on which his environment wrote his character, so that everything depended on the influences brought to bear on him from outside; others, that he

brought his mental and emotional qualities with him through heredity, and could only be slightly modified from outside, since “nature was stronger than nurture”. From every point of view, he was practically a new being, a new consciousness, to be trained, disciplined, guided, ordered, by his elders, a creature without experience, living in a world new to him, which he entered for the first time.

Theosophy has placed before us a conception of the child as an immortal Individual, taking birth amongst us after many hundreds of such births upon our earth, with experiences gathered through many lives and wrought into him as faculties and powers, with a character which is the incarnate memory of his past, with a receptivity which is limited and conditioned by that past, and which determines his response to impressions from outside. He is no longer a plastic soul, ductile in the hands of his elders, but a being to be studied, to be understood, before he can be effectively helped. His body, truly, is young and not yet well under his control, a scarce-broken animal; but he himself may be older than his parents and his teachers, may be wiser than his elders. To the Theosophist each child is a study, and instead of imposing his own will on him and supposing that age and size of body give a right to order and to dominate, he tries to discover through the young body the features of the indwelling owner, and to understand what the Ruler Immortal is seeking to achieve in his new kingdom of the flesh. He endeavours to aid the indwelling Ruler, not to usurp his throne, to be an advisor, a councillor, not a master. He ever remembers that each Ego has his own path, his own method, and he treats him with a tender reverence — tender, because of the youth and weakness of the body; reverence, because of the sacredness of the Individual, on whose empire none should encroach.

Further the Theosophist knows that the new bodies which clothe the ancient and eternal Spirit, while representing the results of his embodied past, may be immensely modified by the influences which play upon them in the present. The astral body contains germs of good and evil emotions, the seeds sown by the experiences of previous lives; these are germs, not fully developed qualities, and they may be nourished or atrophied by the influences which play upon them; an Ego who possesses an astral body with germs of violent temper or of deceit, may be helped by the peacefulness and honesty of his parents, and these germs, played upon by their opposites, may be nearly starved out of existence; one who has an astral body in which are germs of generosity and benevolence, may have these fostered into strength by the play upon them of similar virtues in his elders. So also the mental body possesses the germs of mental faculties, and these may be similarly nurtured or stunted. In the Ego are the qualities or the deficiencies, and in his permanent atoms the material potentialities for the bodies; the building-up, the modifying, of the astral and mental bodies during childhood and youth is — save in most exceptional cases — largely dependent on the influences which surround him; here comes in the powerful karma of environment generated in his past, and the heavy responsibilities of his elders; his whole future in this birth being largely determined by the influences which play upon him during his early years.

George Arundale also wrote on Theosophy and education: see, for example, his books:

The Bedrock of Education (1924)

Education for Happiness (1938)

Theosophical Education (1940)

Real Education (1941).

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The book attributed to Krishnamurti, Education as Service (1912), was probably written by, or under the influence of, Arundale – text available on-line at: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/11345/11345-h/11345-h.htm