[Cover photo: George William Russell, known as "AE" - 1867-1935.]
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“Perhaps it is well, or even necessary that there should be uncertainties, because then each of us has to come to his own understanding, which is the only ground on which it is possible to make any real advance ... enquiry into the nature of one’s accepted ideas ... will help to bring about that clarity within oneself in which alone true insight is possible. To keep the mind poised amidst uncertainties, without being agitated, the clarity needed to perceive the truth when it is encountered, and a sense of proportion as to the relative importance of things, are obviously capacities desirable in all and will not only give us the guidance we need, but also. create a channel for the inspiration that springs from within. It is easy to accept an idea that is gratifying to oneself, a doctrine that stimulates one’s personal hopes and ambitions; but that is the way of staying where one is, undisturbed, no moving in a vicious circle, not the way of progress. Man cannot be kept cradled forever in certainties as to all those things, whether in heaven or earth, which he is intended to find not for himself. He has to unfold the means of knowledge which he possesses within himself. His is a nature of knowing which, among other qualities, begins to develop the capacity to be supple, alert and poised when it is faced with what it does not know for itself, fraught with uncertainties. But what it can know, it knows without doubt or argument. As Goethe is reported to have said, man is not intended to answer all questions with regard to Nature and existence; he should contain himself within the limits of his understanding.” - N. Sri Ram, The Theosophist, Vol. 88, June, 1967, p. 145. 
One hundred years ago, on April 10, 1867, a remarkable man was born in Ireland - George William Russell, best known by his pen name “AE”.
He was a convinced Theosophist, a man of vision and integrity, an inspired poet, a moving writer, a painter of mystical pictures, and an Irish patriot with world-wide sympathies, an organizer of rural co-operative societies, an able publicist whose voice was raised against the exploitation of labor and on behalf of justice and understanding.
Significantly, a moral victory marked his entry into adult life when he was taken out of school and began to work. He gave up the promising situation his father had arranged for him in a Dublin brewery, because it outraged his moral sense, and clerked for years in a dry-goods warehouse for small compensation.
His son Diarmuid wrote in The Atlantic Monthly (February, 1943) that his father’s real preoccupation had nothing to do with worldly success. “It was with the completion of his character” which produced “a kind of warm serenity, a saintliness moving and lovable. He possessed an air of spiritual power, an emanation of sweetness and tenderness that was almost as perceptible as the light from a lamp ... His presence was as warming as a fire, and people not only felt better to be with him but were better ...”
Captain P. G. Bowen wrote in The Aryan Path (December, 1935) that none among the followers of H.P.B. was more charitable than AE to others’ weaknesses and few, if any, who had made Theosophy a more living power in their lives.
Another friend, James Stephens, said in his obituary note in The Observer (July 21, 1935.) that AE had told him that “he held that to meditate on the ideas of the Bhagavad-Gita and to practice the psychological discipline systematized by Patanjali must astonishingly energize any person, and that these ideas and this discipline had transformed him from a shy, self-doubting youth to the cheerful, courageous personage he certainly became.”
Even prior to his association with the Theosophical Movement, at the age of 20 or 21, young Russell believed that for every man on earth there was a divinity in the heavens who was his ancestral self. He became one of the earnest band of students who sustained the Irish branch of the Movement, and easily the most prolific contributor, in prose and verse, to The Irish Theosophist, one of the most spiritual and noble journals of the early days. Most of his early poems, published in 1894 as Homeward: Songs by the Way, had first appeared in that magazine.
It is probable that young Russell’s direct contacts with H.P.B. were but few and not intimate; he seems to have been conscious of his immaturity at the time and of her greatness; but her works impressed him profoundly. The month before his death he wrote to his friend Sean O’Faolain:
“The real source of her influence is to be found in The Secret Doctrine, a book on the religions of the world suggesting or disclosing an underlying unity between all great religions.” Having “bathed in” that work and  other writings of H.P.B., he said: “I marvelled what I could have done to merit birth in an age wherein such wisdom was on offer to all who could beg, borrow, or steal a copy of those works.”
To William Quan Judge·AE felt powerfully drawn. He wrote at the time of Judge’s passing that it was no surface tie which bound them together. He said: “No one ever tried less than he to gain from men that adherence which comes from impressive manner. I hardly thought what he was while he spoke; but on departing I found my heart, wiser than my brain, had given itself away to him; an inner exaltation lasting for month witnessed his power.” Referring to one of the saddest pages in the story of our Movement, he said: “It was in that memorable convention in London two years ago that I first glimpsed his real greatness. As he sat there quietly, one among many, not speaking a word, I was overcome by a sense of spiritual dilation, of unconquerable will about him, and that one figure with the grey head became all the room to me. Shall I not say the truth I think? Here was a hero out of the remote, antique, giant ages come among us, wearing but on the surface the vesture of our little day. We, too, came out of that past, but in forgetfulness; he with memory and power soon regained. To him and to one other we owe an unspeakable gratitude for faith and hope and knowledge born again.”
Russell was sustained from early manhood by an unwavering loyalty and gratitude to H.P.B. and Judge. In whatever he undertook, he became for the time being a channel through which a beneficent force would flow. He had a high Ideal in regard to the national spirit of a country, above all sectarianism and ordinary politics. In his widely translated work, The National Being: Some Thoughts on an Irish Polity (1916), he wrote: “None of our modern States creates in us an impression of being spiritually over-souled by an ideal as the great States of the ancient world.” In later years, he devoted much time to conselling the builders of Ireland ’s emergent State. “What is a nation,” he said, “but an imagination shared by millions of people?” In his work, The Living Torch, he wrote: “A nation is but a host of men united by some God-begotten mood, some hope of liberty or dream of power or beauty or justice or brotherhood, and until that master-idea is manifested to us, there is no shining star to guide the ship of our destinies.”
Speaking in a prophetic mood in the same work, he said: “... some time in the heroic future, some nation in a crisis will be weighed and will act nobly rather than passionately, and will be prepared to risk national extinction rather than continue existence at the price of killing myriads of other human beings, and it will oppose moral and spiritual forces to material forces, and it will overcome the world by making gentleness its might, as all great spiritual teachers have done. It comes to this, we cannot overcome hatred by hatred or war by war but by the opposites of these. Evil is not overcome by evil but by good.”
Russell deplored all hatred, and pronounced racial hatred the basest of national passions. “Nations,” he wrote, “hate other nations for the evil which  is in themselves ... When humanity looks on its own image and finds it terrible it changes its heart or else it breaks the mirror.”
Even as a boy, AE had a deep realization of the unity of all life. He wrote in The Candle of Vision: “I think of earth as the floor of a cathedral where altar and Presence are everywhere. This reverence crone to me as a boy listening to the voice of birds one colored evening in summer, when suddenly birds and trees and grass and tinted air and myself seemed but one mood or companionship, and I felt a certitude that the same spirit was in all.”
In the Preface to his first book of verse, AE wrote: “I know I am a spirit, and that I went forth in old time from the self-ancestral to labors yet unaccomplished; but filled ever and again with homesickness I made these songs by the way.”
He believed that “to see any being, to perceive any truth, we must, in some part of our nature, be in the same place.” He once wrote: “We have imagined ourselves into littleness, darkness, and ignorance, and we have to imagine ourselves back into light.”
There can be little doubt that AE - poet, mystic, visionary and Theosophist - accepted as his ideal the spirit of the Great Renunciation, as is obvious from these words in his poem “Love” in The Earth Breath (1897):
“Not alone, not alone would I go to my rest in the heart of the
Theosophists of the Dublin Lodge are largely responsible for what became the Irish Literary Renaissance Movement. Apart from Russell himself, they included W. B. Yeats, Charles Johnston, John Eglinton, Charles Weeks, Fred. J. Dick and his wife, and Robert E. Coates and his wife - the latter four becoming later active at the Point Loma Theosophical Center .
For some reason or other, of these remarkable men and women, George William Russell, who died in 1935, has received the least recognition. His name is rarely mentioned today, and hardly any of his works are in print any longer. This, of course, is a great pity, as they contain powerful spiritual thoughts, inspiring ideals, and the beauty inherent in all genuine mystical realization. They should be brought out again for the benefit of all of us.* (* In the preparation of this sketch, we have freely used material which appeared on the subject of G. W. Russell in The Theosophical Movement, Bombay, July, 1960.) 
[The Theosophist, Vol. IV, January, 1883, pp. 93-95.]
[Replying to a Hindu correspondent who, while believing in Astrology as a science, was very dubious about some of the superstitious practices prevalent in India in regard to it, H.P.B. wrote:]
Our answer is short and easy, since our views upon the subject are no secret, and have been expressed a number of times in these columns. We believe in astrology as we do in mesmerism and homeopathy. All the three are facts and truths, when regarded as sciences; but the same may not be said of either all the astrologers, all the mesmerists or every homeopathist. We believe, in short, in astrology as a science; but disbelieve in most of its professors, who unless they are trained in it in accordance with the methods known for long ages to adepts and occultists, will, most of them, remain for ever empiricists and often quacks.
The complaint brought forward by our correspondent in reference to the “class of men coming out of schools and colleges,” who, having imbibed Western thought and new ideas, declare that a correct prediction by means of astrology is an impossibility, is just in one sense, and as wrong from another standpoint. It is just in so far as a blank, a priori denial is concerned, and wrong if we attribute the mischief only to “Western thought and new ideas.” Even in the days of remote antiquity when astrology and horoscopic predictions were universally believed in, owing to that same class of quacks and ignorant charlatans - a class which in every age sought but to make money out of the most sacred truths - were found men of the greatest intelligence, but knowing nothing of Hermetic sciences, denouncing the augur and the abnormis sapiens whose only aim was a mean desire of, a real lust for, gain. It is more than lucky that the progress of education should have so far enlightened the minds of the rising generations of India as to hinder many from being imposed upon by the numerous and most pernicious and vulgar superstitions, encouraged by the venal Brahmans, and only to serve a mere selfish end of aura sacra fames or trading in most sacred things. For, if these superstitions held their more modern forefathers in bondage, the same cannot be said of the old Aryas. Everything in this universe - progress and civilization among the rest - moves in regular cycles. Hence, now as well as then, everything with a pretence to science requires a system supported at least by a semblance of argument, if it would entrap the unwary. And this, we must allow, native quackery has produced and supplied freely in astrology and horoscopy. Our native astrologers have made of a sacred science a despicable trade; and their clever baits so well calculated to impose on minds even of a higher calibre than the majority of believers in bazaar horoscopers lying in wait on the maidans, have a far greater right to pretend to have become a regular science than their modem astrology itself. Unequivocal marks of the consanguinity of the latter with quackery being discovered at every step, why  wonder that educated youths coming out of schools and colleges should emphatically declare native modern astrology in India - with some rare exceptions - no better than a humbug? Yet no more Hindus than Europeans have any right to declare astrology and its predictions a fiction. Such a policy was tried with mesmerism, homeopathy and (so-called) spiritual phenomena; and now the men of science are beginning to feel that they may possibly come out of their affray with facts with anything but flying colours and crowns of laurels on their heads.
[From The Irish Theosophist, Vol. II, December, 1893.]
Priest Merodach walked with me at evening along the banks of the great river.
“You feel despondent now,” he said, “but this was inevitable. You looked for a result equal to your inspiration. You must learn to be content with that alone. Finally an inspiration will come for every moment, and in every action a divine fire reveal itself.”
“I feel hopeless now. Why is this? Wish and will are not less strong than before.”
“Because you looked for a result beyond yourself, and, attached to external things, your mind drew to itself subtle essences of earth which clouded it. But there is more in it than that. Nature has a rhythm, and that part of us which·is compounded of her elements shares in it. You were taught that nature is for ever becoming: the first emanation in the great deep is wisdom: wisdom changes into desire, and an unutterable yearning to go outward darkens the primeval beauty. Lastly, the elements arise, blind, dark, troubled. Nature in them imagines herself into forgetfulness. This rhythm repeats itself in man: a moment of inspiration - wise and clear, we determine; then we are seized with a great desire which impels us to action; the hero, the poet, the lover, all alike listen to the music of life, and then endeavour to express its meaning in word or deed; coming in contact with nature, its lethal influence drowses them; so baffled and forgetful, they wonder where the God is. To these in some moment the old inspiration returns, the universe is as magical and sweet as ever, a new impulse is given, and so they revolve, perverting and using, each one in his own way, the cosmic rhythm.”
“Merodach, what you say seems truth, and leaving aside the cosmic rhythm, which I do not comprehend, define again for me the three states.”
“You cannot really understand the little apart from the great; but,  applying this to your own case, you remember you had a strange experience, a God seemed to awaken within you. This passed away; you halted a little while, full of strange longing, eager for the great; yet you looked without on the hither side of that first moment, and in this second period, which is interchange and transition, your longing drew to you those subtle material essences I spoke of, which, like vapour surrounding, dull and bewilder the mind with strange phantasies of form and sensation. Every time we think with longing of any object, these essences flow to us out of the invisible spheres and steep us with the dew of matter: then we forget the great, we sleep, we are dead or despondent as you are despondent.”
I sighed as I listened. A watchfulness over momentary desires was the first step; I had thought of the tasks of the hero as leading upwards to the Gods, but this sleepless intensity of will working within itself demanded a still greater endurance. I neared my destination; I paused and looked round; a sudden temptation assailed me; the world was fair enough to live in. Why should I toil after the far-off glory? Babylon seemed full of mystery, its temples and palaces steeped in the jewel glow and gloom of evening. In far-up heights of misty magnificence the plates of gold on the temples rayed back the dying light: in the deepening vault a starry sparkle began: an immense hum arose from leagues of populous streets: the scents of many gardens by the river came over me: I was lulled by the plash of fountains. Closer I heard voices and a voice I loved: I listened as a song came
“Tell me, youthful lover, whether
A voice answered back
“Radiant as a sunlit feather,
My sadness departed; I would be among them shortly, and would walk and whisper amid those rich gardens where beautiful idleness was always dreaming. Merodach looked at me.
“You will find these thoughts will hinder you much,” he said.
“You mean -” I hesitated, half-bewildered, half-amazed. “I say that a thought such as that which flamed about you just now, driving your sadness away, will recur again when next you are despondent, and so you will accustom yourself to find relief on the great quest by returning to an old habit of the heart, renewing what should be laid aside. This desire of men and women for each other is the strongest tie among the many which bind us: it is the most difficult of all to overcome. The great ones of the earth have passed that way themselves with tears.” 
“But surely, Merodach, you cannot condemn what I may say is so much a part of our nature - of all nature.”
“I did not condemn it, when I said it is the strongest tie that binds us here: it is sin only for those who seek for freedom.”
“Merodach, must we then give up love?”
“There are two kinds of love men know of. There is one which begins with a sudden sharp delight - it dies away into infinite tones of sorrow. There is a love which wakes up amid dead things: it is chill at first, but it takes root, it warms, it expands, it lays hold of universal joys. So the man loves: so the God loves. Those who know this divine love are wise indeed. They love not one or another: they are love itself. Think well over this: power alone is not the attribute of the Gods; there are no such fearful spectres in that great companionship. And now, farewell, we shall meet again.”
I watched his departing figure, and then I went on my own way. I longed for that wisdom, which they only acquire who toil, and strive, and suffer; but I was full of a rich life which longed for excitement and fulfillment, and in that great Babylon sin did not declare itself in its true nature, but was still clouded over by the mantle of primeval beauty.
In 1877 many things happened, but since this is a small magazine I shall speak of only two. The first event, important to the world, was the publication of Isis Unveiled; the second (important to me) was my birth on the ides of March.
I was fourteen years old when Madame Blavatsky’s work was finished in 1891. With five brothers I recall many lively discussions of current events (I was one of nine children). Guests were a stimulant. For example, Augustus le Plongeon, the writer on ancient Mexico , stayed with his wife in our home for a number of months. Later my older brother, Durbin Van Vleck, worked on the important newspaper, The Brooklyn Eagle. When Madame Blavatsky’s name rose in the conversation he would not let anything uncomplimentary pass without protest. I remember my feeling of relief, though I knew nothing about her. While my older sister believed the slanders of the day against H.P.B., it was enough for my devout mother that Madame Blavatsky was not a “good Christian.” My father, a New York attorney, praised William Quan Judge as “a very fine lawyer.”
Thirty-four years after H.P.B.’s death my brother Durbin took me to my first lecture on Theosophy; I was much impressed by the logic and reasonableness of what was said. I finally felt this was something I could understand, as I had searched for years among various cults for “truth.” Fellow art students had laughed at my  collection of 14 tracts and pamphlets of various religions. I began to study avidly, first borrowing, then buying the writings of H.P.B. and W. Q. Judge as well as the Oriental classics known to all Theosophists. At this time Mrs. Judge was still alive and I met her at a Judge anniversary meeting.
Now in my 90th year I have thoughts of what can be done to spread Theosophy. I recall how Col. Olcott travelled all through the East to obtain the endorsement of his fourteen points from the various authorities in the many sects of Buddhism. He accomplished the well-nigh impossible in getting these exclusive sectarians to approve fourteen basic tenets of the Buddha’s teaching. I wonder if the students of the many theosophical groups today would feel it possible to agree on some common principles of theosophical teachings?
As an old-fashioned Theosophist I sometimes wonder whether modern Theosophists feel that H.P.B. might have brought a more complete message from her teachers? Else why the outflow of more and more literature? Do students since 1891 feel they must add to H.P.B.’s presentation? True, she herself said that she brought a fragment only, but it is doubtful if she expected us to complete her work. On the contrary she said that this is all that is to be given out for a long time. She stated that the Wisdom-Religion is not new; ergo, new material is not needed. To attempt to perfect her message is to criticise her as a messenger, which is one remove from criticising Masters and their plan. In this field we are all amateurs, the veriest children. Note that H.P.B. in working with many different Masters considered herself but a humble scribe. She did not call herself a teacher. Students who continually pre-digest the teachings, then regurgitate them for the benefit of their weaker-minded sisters, assume an arrogance that H.P.B. did not. In her great books she often took direct dictation from the Masters. We have the curious phenomenon of modern writers who are far more difficult (for me at least) to read than H.P.B. or W.Q.J. It is a truism that great writing and teaching lies in the ability to simplify. I am not speaking as a spiritual authority but as a trained teacher (in New York City private schools since 1900). The ideas of the great sages of all ages, the Orientals, the Neo-Platonists, Hermeticists, and others, are all easier to grasp and more important authorities for me than contemporary students.
Why so much quotation of the living authorities as opposed to the wisdom of the ancients? It seems to reflect a desire for a leader or theosophical Pope. Anyone standing between me and the one I wish to serve is a priest rather than an educator. Priestcraft and education are two fields that are diametrically opposed. The deterioration of every religion has been due to the domination of priestly interpreters at the expense of the educators. A priest tells you what to do, what is right and what is wrong. An educator tries to help you to discover this for yourself, to develop the necessary judgment to distinguish good from evil by means of principles. If children do not develop this discrimination, they will remain immature all their lives. 
What then is the proper function of the Companions? “To rediscover and promulgate” the teaching, to bring it forth “for wider currency and propagation.” H.P.B. told what she wanted us to do. She wanted us to be brothers. Gluttons talk all the time about food; they are discussing their next meal before they have digested the last one. Endless talk about more knowledge is intellectual and psychological gluttony. Surely no one feels Theosophy has been sufficiently digested by students, or sufficiently distributed to the public at large. The development of mass communication highlights the failure of modern students to disseminate the teaching. What is wrong? Is it possible that students are eager to get rather than to give?
If the guidebooks of foreign travel are too complicated, the traveller becomes lost. Why not do the obvious thing first? If you are not doing what you should be doing, you are doing something else, something that had better be left undone. The following ideas seem to me to be the obvious first steps in promulgating Theosophy. I don’t know why they have not been attempted but I am sure it is not lack of time or money, because many other things have been done and are being done. I should like to hear comments from readers on these suggestions, either for or against. Those who feel neutral, I’m sure won’t have the energy to lift pen to paper!
1) Translation of the theosophical classics into major languages: French, German, Italian, Russian, etc. Only a pitiful beginning has been made and many translations have been allowed to go out of print.
2) Reprints of the scholarly articles from Lucifer, The Path, and Theosophist magazines. Since these were published by our teachers, they were tacitly approved (or corrected by editorial notations).
3) An archaeological Theosophical guide - picture-book illustrating the ruins, archaeological treasures, cave temples, cyclopean structures throughout the world, many of them described by H.P.B., and with her explanations as captions. She would have illustrated Isis Unveiled had there been sufficient funds.
4) “In order to awaken brotherly feeling among nations we have to assist in the international exchange of useful arts and products, by advice, information, and co-operation with all worthy individuals and associations.” (Key to Theosophy, p. 33.) Cultural exchange between East and West.
5) A Quarterly of Theosophical material for children: art, stories, plays, natural history, poetry, science, great teachers, mythology, etc. The greatest minds have been concerned with the development of the young. While many Theosophists are also parents, all Theosophists should be teachers. Young Theosophists would naturally incline to be readers. As the century draws towards 1975, where is the Theosophical literature for children? Are Theosophists as individuals doing what they can? Perhaps then the groups would be able to function more effectively as constructive forces in society. We are not expected to rework the message, but we are expected to work out applications. Perhaps the immediate future of the Theosophical Movement rests in the hands of the dissatisfied Theosophists! 
To replace age-old error in the hearts and minds of humanity with a forgotten and abandoned Truth is an heroic undertaking. They who dedicate themselves to this task are inviting inevitable martyrdom, whether of the flesh, the mind, the heart, or the character.
H. P. Blavatsky, in enrolling herself under the banner of the Truth-Bringers, and remaining unswervingly obedient to their direction, experienced such martyrdom. Fully conscious of the dimensions of the task allotted to her, she was perfectly aware that its completion involved centuries of time, and could show small signs of even bare acceptance during her lifetime. All she could do, as she clearly perceived, was to proclaim positively the Ancient Truth, and gather such a nucleus of grateful recipients as might lay a foundation for Established Truth in ages to come.
Since the responsibility of that nucleus went beyond merely accepting the Truth, involving, as it did, their “bearing witness” to it in Theosophically patterned living as a first responsibility, the only way in which they could constitute a permanent nucleus of Theosophic Truth was by making themselves living revelations of the honesty and validity of H.P.B.’s declaration. To accomplish this vital result, it became necessary that in each life Theosophy and Theosophic living be accepted as the sole meaning and purpose of life on this earth. Only a nucleus of such Theosophically-attuned consciousnesses could cause the Truth to “incarnate” on this earth; it had to have a body; that body had to have life!
“Being a Theosophist” means clearly perceiving Theosophy to be an indispensable Truth that has been in obscuration for hundreds of years. It involves an unshakable conviction that that Truth can and must be restored to life, first in the minds, then in the hearts of humanity. Equally requisite is a clear realization that a complete change in motivation and point of view of the mass of humanity must be brought about. The first enunciation of the teachings by H. P. Blavatsky foreshadowed a turning upside down of all those orthodox religious doctrines that “organized religion” had labored so long and so ingeniously, for so many generations, to foist upon society as “Revealed Truth.”
Does any Theosophist today need a reminder of the titanic opposition he faces in an effort to replace “organized religion” with the ancient Truth of Theosophy? If so, let these words of H. P. Blavatsky be his reminder:
“... no blow is strong enough to kill out the viper of blind faith, cowardly reverence for established beliefs and custom, and that selfish, conceited element in civilized man which makes him prefer a lie that is his own to a universal truth, the common property of all … the inferior races of the ‘heathen’ included.” (Collected Writings, Vol. IX, p. 273.)
This is a deeply rooted, widely prevalent state of mind which can be taken to be firmly established, constituting a powerful challenge to any  crusade for broader concepts. To be sure, there is one fact that favors the Theosophist. More and more fearless thinkers are questioning the validity of many claims of organized religion. “Holy Writ” is being slowly undermined by the discoveries of science - discoveries that make the foundations of Biblical traditions less convincing every day. Even in the church itself agreement grows less and less unanimous, with the result that more and more inquiring minds are turning elsewhere for wider and less dogmatic perspectives.
But so profound and challengingly vast is the Theosophic perspective that only the most fearless thinkers will have the courage to forsake their dogmatic refuge for the wide open spaces of Truth Universal. Those who are unequal to such personal exposure are going to depend on the proof positive of living truth in living embodiments, that reveal to them the beauty and health of Life without Fear. That revelation can only be offered in lives whose very psychic tonality is pure and undistorted. Such tonalities, built on a fearless discipline of Ancient Truth, can only express a “peace that passeth understanding,” the fruit of perfect reconciliation with the laws of spiritual living - complete surrender to THE ONE.
No Theosophist can afford to shy away from the indestructibility of human thoughts and actions. In her early days, when psychic phenomena of every description were being demanded of her, H. P. Blavatsky reminded her students again and again that, “inasmuch as the images of all objects and incidents are stored in the Astral Light ... she had only to be put on the trace and could find and see them for herself and then objectivate them.” “ E’en wasted smoke remains not traceless.” Each one of us is steeped in an astral world replete with the thoughts and deeds of millions of entities, that are being added to by ourselves and others. Our Theosophy has to be so fundamental that we stand guard over our very psychic vibrations, lest we add more passion, more terror, more death to the psychic whirlpool in which mankind struggles. It is not enough to be merely pure, one must render himself uncontaminable. That which goes forth from him must be live spiritual healing! This he owes to “the great orphan, humanity.”
Such a capacity for spiritual healing is the fruit of a perfect understanding of that supreme mystery, the nature of man - so much older, so much more mysterious and profound than our distorted and superficial psychological science has yet begun to imagine. The Duality of human nature, Angel and Demon manifesting on as yet undiscovered planes of consciousness, an innate Divinity of the Inmost Self empowered to release and glorify the Angel through Self-Knowledge - these are some of the keys Theosophy brings to the opening of the Gates of Gold. An Immortal Self finding manifestation in repeated incarnations, triumphant over many deaths; Karma, the inviolable law of Cause and Effect; the beneficent Law of Growth in obedience to which the Spiritual Self lifts earthly mortality consistently upward to Its own heights of illumination and kingliness; these are the basic teachings having the power to replace those man-made  dogmas that limit a blind and ever-weakening worship today.
With regard to the doctrine of Reincarnation (many lives on earth): this is more than a felicitous provision for ultimate Spiritual Realization. It raises the Curtain of Time for man and his universe. Too many of us “enjoy” the stunted growth of Time-bound mortals, exulting in those moderate achievements and objectives of as many years of time as are vouchsafed in a single life on earth. This is the thinking and dreaming of the man who remains a stranger to Life Everlasting - to the limitless perspective of a deathless Self.
So remaining, he too often rejects any consideration beyond the accepted preoccupations of earth-life - food, drink, reproduction, coining money, seeking “status,” a rejection hardly to be surprised at since so much “religion” tacitly accepts the exclusive importance of these earthly preoccupations. “Heaven” is sufficiently vague and remote to offer at all times a minimum of competition to complete worldliness. “Life” (indulging and profiteering) offers sufficient immediate and understandably appealing “hobbies” to persuade society that religion is, after all, merely an added luxury! Something must close religion’s “credibility gap”! Who shall say that Reincarnation, intelligently understood and sincerely applied, may not be a vital element linking the fragmentary incidents of Time into a meaningful, spiritual Whole, revealing in each smallest happening an Eternal Significance?
This passing Today reflects the magic and splendor of an infinitude of Yesterdays. I have been here before - many, many times before; Today I am shaping an infinite of Tomorrows, each with its increasing significance of added spiritual maturity. Insofar as I insist upon a limitless perspective, my thinking and acting take on the divine spaciousness appropriate to an immortal entity. This is but one of the facets of the jewel of Self-Knowledge, each of which is inviting the blossoming splendor of a spiritually conscious, timeless entity. Intelligently applied, Theosophical living is a truly Celestial Adventure!
For the teachings of Theosophy effectively to heal the ills of humanity, they must become a living power in the lives of those who place Humanity first, and self last. “To live to benefit mankind is the first step.” But those benefits can only flow from an incarnated Spiritual life-pattern. The Law must stand revealed, radiating strength and splendor from human lives that are one with IT. Mere observance and performance are not enough; these must be revelations of a State of Consciousness identified with THE ONE. Talking may have its place. BEING alone can heal, with the healing of the consecrated Oil from the Altar of Truth. He alone who is Truth can dispense Truth. The New Heaven will find realization in New Lives. “LET THY LIGHT SHINE!”
As the sun does not wait for prayers and incantations that he may rise, but shines at once and is greeted by all; so neither wait thou for applause, and shouts and eulogies, that thou mayest do well; but be a spontaneous benefactor, and thou shall be beloved like the sun.” 
Who among us has never felt the sting of loneliness, even though we may be surrounded by friends and family? I believe it happens because there is something which makes each individual wholly apart from every other one, each a separate and complete-in-itself person who must journey the road of life by self-propulsion. Yet man by nature is gregarious, feeling instinctively the mutual need of encouragement, stimulation and aid. Therefore, there exists this paradox: individuality is apartness, and no one can possibly think or see or react for another. We cannot achieve actual identity with anyone else, no matter how strong our desire for comfort and support. We have to become self-reliant, for only then can we succeed in utilizing what others offer as experience for us. Someone may tell you about a tasty new dish he has enjoyed, but you cannot appreciate it without tasting it yourself. You may read about an act of kindness, but you cannot understand the nature of the experience unless you have done the same. A friend may try for a week to teach you the art of scaling a smooth stone over the surface of a lake, but he cannot teach you unless you submit to learning. Nothing is ever done for us, in the sense that we receive without some part of our consciousness reaching out to assist the intake. A child is not “taught” to walk. His innate knowledge of the skill is induced by his instinctive trust in the ability to walk erect, the inherent right of humanhood.
It is the very human aspect of us, our personality, that feels loneliness - a shadowy sadness that results from a too small understanding of the real inner man. Loneliness is a product of insecurity; insecurity arises from a self-denial of the true place of the inner man in the pattern of living and growing. It is a feeling of outsideness, of non-belonging, and this is delusion. For running through every human being is the golden thread of divinity, giving each man the identical spiritual background. Mankind is thereby rendered an inseparable whole. At the core we are all one. Hence we are individually responsible for the whole, and mutual assistance becomes a law of Nature.
Loneliness is a wasteful thing, for it is unrealistic. Aloneness can become a constructive thing, for it gives each fellow freedom to utilize his energies according to his own rate and weight of aspiration. Thus can he attempt to fulfill his responsibility to the whole.
“... the continual contact with streams of people and their sore problems and their heavy burdens is indeed the cutting edge; one longs and reaches out for strong, stirring, compassionate, healing sources of heart-warmth of the spirit - the thing that brings strength and joy in the midst of tears … Let all the jaded things fall away before the great music from the heart! - From a private letter. 
With the approach of winter, Christmas will soon follow. Here is a booklet with a special message for the season:
The Christmas Story
Chapter 1 - The Celebration of Christmas
From a correspondent:
Where there is lack of discrimination on any level, there is likely to be lack of valid purpose also. It is therefore important that we have some judgment of the degree to which our goals are in line with the spiritual Plan of the Universe.”