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The Theosophical Society in Western History

A Study in Cycles

Introduction by the editor

In times of organizational confusion and diminished commitment from its members, it will probably serve an organization well to remind its members of a greater picture, a greater vision, lest the membership will drift away looking for more inspiring doctrines, organizations or personalities. The early 1930's was for the Theosophical Society such a period of confusion and challange. Krishnamurti, as the expected World Teacher had dissolved ther Order of the Star in 1929 and the leadership was not forthcoming with clear explanations, leaving the membership in the believe that K's confusing statements and actions were more or less ok.

In this context comes John Wilkinson's article "The Theosophical Society in Western History," giving a grand panorama of western history with the TS in a pivotal role. The organizing principles are the concepts of 'Cycles' and 'Rays,' two thouroughly theosophical concepts with a wide applicability to create esoteric interpretations of history. For that reason the article is reproduced on Alpheus and is intended to be an introduction to a more detailed handling of the idea of 'Centennial Efforts.' Because the author wrote in 1930 he was prone not to see yet the conflagration to come and relied on the good words of promise coming from an 'Elder Brother' in 1925, which he quotes at the end. Though inspiring, soon it would be clear that its message would not be fulfilled.

Bill Keidan, an acquaintance of the author, send Alpheus a letter by e-mail with some intersting background information regarding John R. Wilkinson.

The article was originally published in The Theosophist, June 1930, No. 9, Vol. 51, pp. 489-497. The title and full text are reproduced below; the footnotes are added comments; between square brackets is the original pagination.

The Theosophical Society In Western History

A Study in Cycles

By John R. Wilkinson (1)


EVEN though the subject of cycles has provoked much interest and discussion since the publication of Isis Unveiled (2), very little light has been shed upon the matter. Owing to the duration of time involved, and the imperfect state of our historical records, little can be done along the line of investigation for evidential facts upon which to base theories. Nevertheless during the last few years a ray of light has come from the only source in truth from which any occult light may come, namely, clairvoyant research. From the information concerning the Seven Rays that has been published (3), small though it be as yet, we have gained an insight into what is probably one group of the innumerable cycles that make up a period of manifestation. In its bearing on the subject of cycles, the knowledge of the Rays may be expressed in four points: 1. Each Ray in its widest sense embraces a department of Life: 2. Whose influence is brought to bear in cyclic periods of duration peculiar to itself. 3. The Rays follow each other in an orderly and unvarying sequence. 4. The cycle of dominance of each Ray is composed of seven sub-cycles of the Rays, following each other in the same sequence, as wheels within wheels.

Two examples of cyclic influence of stated duration have been given in our Theosophical literature, one being the Second-Ray cycle of two thousand years, marked by the incarnation of the World Teacher, whose teaching and influence are poured out that men may adapt themselves to the new Ray influence coming amongst them.(4) These periods again are divided into seven sub-cycles wherein the Rays modify with their influence the characteristic of the Major Cycle.(5)

The second instance, being of the First Ray, we are told by Bishop Leadbeater has been dealt with only from the standpoint of its use by the Occult Hierarchy for the upliftment of western civilization since the fourteenth century, by a cultural impulse in a certain direction once in every hundred years. A careful study of these impulses reveals them to follow the characteristics of the seven Rays beginning with the third Ray in 1375, so that they are in reality the subcycles of a seven-hundred year cycle of the First Ray.(6)

Though the year 1375 stands out in this way from the centuries that came before, it is only because at this point the Hierarchy, desiring to send forth a series of First-Ray impulses, utilized the moment of major influence of these sub-cycles as the most favorable time in which to start their venture. But this set of cycles has been sweeping rhythmically onward throughout the ages, influencing profoundly the outlook of mankind and possibly other kingdoms as well. We will now examine it in detail:

For the purposes of this study, let us begin in the year 3025 B.C., since when seven cycles of seven hundred years each have swept upward on the shores of time, making what we shall call for the sake of definition, a major cycle of 4900 years. (See diagram 1.)

Of the first two cycles we can say nothing. Historical records are few and far between, and such as are available are hardly dependable. Even the [490] third cycle is not clear enough to enable one to sense the dominant note. We must perforce lean upon the views of the occults of the Greek era who invariably regard Asia Minor and Babylon, and Chaldea in particular, as centres of astrological lore, whose priests were deeply versed in the Hidden Wisdom behind the movements of the stars, the science of numbers, and in fact everything that we now regard as belonging to the third Ray.


90degreetxt.gif (4704 bytes)   1st Ray India?   3025

Shri Krishna the Avatar in India.

2nd Ray Persia?   2325


3rd Ray Probably centered
in Asia Minor

Dorians invade Greece.

4th Ray Empire of Greece
Keynote: Beauty
  925 '' Lycurgus and his laws.
825 ''  
725 '' Athens ruled by nine Archons. (683)
625 '' Solon the Lawgiver. (594)
525 '' Pythagoras goes to Krotona. (530)
425 '' Period of Pericles.
325 '' Age of Alexander.

5th Ray Empire of Rome
Keynote: Law.
  225 '' Roman conquest of Greece. (275)
125 '' Reforms of the Gracchi.
25 '' Julius Ceasar.
75 A.D. Vespasian.
175 '' Marcus Aurelius.
275 '' Decline of the Empire.
375 '' Goths invade Italy.

6th Ray Empire of the Church.   475 '' Final overthrow of Rome. (476)
575 '' Domination of the Lombards.
675 '' Gregory the Great makes Pope temporal sovereign
775 '' Beginnings of Empire of Charlemagne
875 ''  
975 '' Rule of the German Emperors.
1075 '' Normans sweeping over Europe (800-1200)

7th Ray Sway of Individualism   1175 '' Birth of Parliaments.
1275 '' Growth of Universities
1375 '' Efforts of Occult Hierarchy begin.
1475 '' The Italian Renaissance.
1575 '' Queen Elizabeth and English Expansion.
1675 ''  
1775 '' British Expansion in America, India and Australia.
    1st Ray British Commonwealth of Nations.
Keynote: Freedom

Emergence of Sixth Sub-race.

2nd Ray Sixth Root Race   2575

Birth of Sixth Root-Race.


[491] Contrast this with the Fourth Ray Cycle that follows. Here is no indefiniteness; no searching for a civilization expressing the keynote of the dawning cycle. Greece stands preëminently as a nation wherein art and culture permeated to a remarkable degree the life of her citizens. The Greek cycle was at its peak point at about the time of Pericles when the influence of the Pythagorean philosophy was entering Athens through the group of Servers in incarnation at the time.(7)

Rome was the centre through which the Fifth-Ray cycle expressed itself, manifesting in the ideal of law. As James T. Shotwell says, "The greatest heritage of Rome was not its literature, nor its philosophy but its law." (Historian's History).(8) It was his love of law and order that moved the Roman to annex the barbarian without, that he too might enjoy the benefits of Roman law. It is significant that in the field of science the same idea of law in nature inspires the scientists of today.

The close of this great empire saw the birth of a unique experiment on the part of the Inner Government. Under the pressure of barbaric hordes from the north, Rome, long fading under the waning cycle, collapsed and with her the remnants of a great empire. While the Goths were pouring into Italy, Gaul was being harassed by the Franks, and waves of Saxons poured into Britain. Here were the beginnings of a new civilization bearing only the rudiments of culture. With the fall of Rome went the old culture, and so it came about that the only institution that had survived the shaking--the virile Christian Church--became the repository of learning.

Once again the curtain falls, for not long after the glory of Charlemagne the forerunners of yet another---shall we say branch-race--burst upon the scene. "The Vikings swept the northern seas and harried Frankland from the Rhine to the Rhone until progress was at a standstill and the only thought of the ninth century was that of defense. Then the Hungarians came raiding up the Danube valley and the Slavs pressed in upon the north. Along the coasts of the Mediterranean the Moorish corsairs were stifling the weak commerce of Italian towns, and landing they attacked such ports as Pisa and even sacked a part of Rome. In such a situation self-defense became a system. Those grim battlemented towers that rise up before us out of the dark ages were the sign of hope for the centuries that followed. Society was saved but it was transformed." --Historian's History.

With the close of the old cycle and the birth of the new, came a new people who could better utilize the coming influence, and the method of their approach created conditions which became the foundations of the structure of this new age. Those battlemented towers, because they offered protection, became the centre of a little community and the price of this protection was the gradual usurpation by the lord of the castle of all the rights of the people.

Might became right and the stronger barons absorbed the weaker until they in turn became absorbed by some greater neighbor. Doubtless it was in its earlier stages largely a reaction from the absolutism of the previous age, but beyond that, one is more inclined to regard it as an expression of the Will-aspect in the Seventh-Ray, the reaction of a rather primitive civilization to the tendency of this Ray to develop the units that the whole may be more perfect.

We could pass onward now to a consideration of the next cycle were it not for a momentous event that happened about this time. It is well-known in Theosophical circles that a great Official of the Occult Hierarchy issued an order that once in every hundred years an effort was to be made by the Brotherhood for the uplifting of the West. And so it happens that with the thought of the Hierarchy directed towards it, the third sub-cycle of this cycle and those that follow it have been vivified to a remarkable degree. The first effort was about the year 1375, at which period of each century



7   1375 3rd. Ray Christian Rosenkreutz The Rosicrucians.
1475 4th.  " Leonardo da Vinci Italian Renaissance.
Discovery of Printing.
1575 5th.  " Francis Bacon English Language reconstituted
    Giordano Bruno  
1675 6th.  "   Period of Religious Foment
1775 7th.  " Comte de St. Germain Fiasco: The French Revolution.
Collapse of Old Regime.

1   1875 1st.  " H.P. Blavatsky Theosophical Society.
Emergence of 6th Sub-race.
1975 2nd.  " Julius Ceasar, Akbar, etc. Federation of European Nations.
(See Man: W. H. W.)

2   2575     Foundation of Sixth Root-Race.


[492] the sub-cycle attains its major influence. (See diagram 2)

Great secrecy marked the initial effort when Christian Rosenkreutz in the first of a remarkable series of incarnations, nearly all of which were closely connected with these cyclic efforts, founded the Rosicrucian Society. Little is known of the true history of this movement and in fact so well was the secret kept that only after two hundred years had elapsed from the death of the founder was any hint vouchsafed to the world that such a body existed.(9) This century is accepted also as the beginning of philosophy and science.

The Fourth-Ray sub-cycle of 1475 is probably the most romantic period of western history. The period of the renaissance of art and learning which began in Italy received great impetus by the influx of scholars after the fall of Constantinople. (10) Though no known member of the Brotherhood is to be discerned behind the movement, the period abounds with men of high attainment, any one of whom might bear that happy burden.(11)

The next effort was led by Francis Bacon in the sixteenth century towards the foundation of modern science, culminating in the founding of the Royal Society in 1662. He was also responsible for the reconstituting of the English language, chiefly by the editing of the Bible and the writing of the Shakespearean plays to what good purpose we who now recognize the presence of the Lord in our midst, using this language as the especial vehicle of His thought, may well appreciate.(12) On the continent also Giordano Bruno was busy shaking men's minds from the bondage of theological beliefs and proclaiming the glory of the Universe.(13)

[493] Nothing can be discerned in the next sub-cycle in the way of a religions movement. Possibly I have missed it.(14) Nevertheless the time is full of a religious tension which embraces the political field, particularly in France and England. In France, Louis XIV was endeavoring to unite the Protestants to the Roman Church, which was to be "the noble work and special feature of his reign," and his soldiery carried out his commands with such thoroughness that thousands fled from France after the most brutal atrocities. In England the glove was on the other hand, and no Catholic could be painted black enough. This was the period of the "Popish Plot" when the most absurd rumors were eagerly believed without question.(15)

The eighteenth century saw the Seventh-Ray sub-cycle and the unknown work of the Comte de St. Germain and Père Joseph (16), which ended in the French Revolution.

A great secrecy seems to surround this effort. The Count was apparently the inner and recognized Head of a number of secret societies throughout Europe. Freemasonry was reorganized and had great vogue during this century. An interesting point is the number of sevens that are connected with this effort and the life of the Count. The Grand Lodge of England was formed in 1717. As Ferdinand de Hompesch, the Count was elected the seventieth Grand Master of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem on June the 17th, 1797. He left Malta after its surrender to Napoleon on June 17 of the following year, and resigned his office a year later in the seventh month.(17[sic]) Ceremonial splendor probably attained its highest point in the national life at this period.

It is significant that after his many incarnations furthering the progress of this Seventh-Ray cycle, this great soul assumed the office of Chohan of the Seventh-Ray in the Occult Hierarchy.(18)

Thus ended at the close of this subcycle, not only the Seventh-Ray 700 year cycle, but a great major cycle of 4900 years, and with it died forever the old imperialistic idea that the governed existed for the benefit of the governors; an idea killed by the tragedy of the French Revolution and the loss of America to England--struggling feebly perhaps in India today, but doomed to an early death.

A new volume of history now opens before us to close only after 4900 years have rolled by, a period that will be as different from its predecessor as the 700-year cycles have differed from each other. To speculate upon so remote a period would be unprofitable. Let us then examine its first cycle, beginning in 1875 am ending in 2475, a cycle of the First Ray and having as its keynote up to the present the ideal of freedom, freedom of the individual, however feebly realized as yet, an ideal to be developed during the coming centuries until it permeates every phase of national life.

The ruling power of this cycle will be the British Commonwealth of Nations, purified of the old imperialism, in harmony with the new idea of freedom, and invigorated with the fresh blood of the Sixth Sub-race.

Already become past history is the First-Ray sub-cycle of this period rising to its zenith in 1875. As this effort is treated later, I will not comment upon it here.

The Second-Ray sub-cycle is just dawning, to rise to its crest in 1975 when the Hierarchy will again utilize its influence to send a further beneficent impulse to mankind--a movement towards practical brotherhood in national affairs. One cannot dogmatize on this point, but I will go so far as to say that this movement might well be identified with the work of Julius Caesar and his associates, mentioned in Man: Whence, How and Whither (p. 373 Adyar Ed.).(19)

Some distance into the future, too far off to interest us except for the fact that it has an auspicious opening, hovers the Second-Ray cycle. A its inception about the year 2575 the Masters M. and K.H., then the Manu and the Bodhisattva officially, lay the foundations of the Sixth Root Race, [494] later to rise to a splendor unequalled in the history of the world.

Such is the story of western history in the light of the cyclic law, and as one watches the trend of events over the centuries an ancient tradition is recalled. By referring to diagram 1, it will be seen that the Major Cycle of 4900 years begins shortly before the death of Shri Krishna, the Avatar, which was said to mark the beginning of the crucifixion of India for 5000 years.

Now, though we have no evidence for the locality of the first two cycles, the steady westward sweep of the Major Cycle with each succeeding cycle, would seem to imply that India and Persia were the centers of the First and Second-Ray cycles respectively. Such being the case, one can follow the sweep of power away from India until the westernmost point is reached at the end of the Major Cycle in the 18th century, at which moment she suffers the bitterest period of her history in the hands of the East India Company. Soon after the dawn of the new Major Cycle the cloud lifts, when India, having lost the "Mutiny," is embraced by the British Crown with the noble, though as yet unfulfilled, words of Queen Victoria, and is soon to enter into her rightful place as a self-governing member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.


Now let us return to the First-Ray effort of 1875 which resulted in the foundation of the Theosophical Society. It, too, has its cycles and subcycles, though, being related to the national cycles only by its inception therefrom, they are of different duration.

If one studies the history of our Society closely, one of the points that forces itself upon our notice is the constant recurrence of the crises that have shaken the smooth waters of our progress. These, when investigated, are found to maintain, with but slight variation, and with one omission, a seven-year interval between each crisis. (See article by Fritz Kunz, Theosophist, Aug., 1922).(20) Such a fact immediately suggests a definite cyclic progress. Further study strengthens this theory and reveals a succession of sub-cycles through the Seven Rays, making cycles of 50 years which also follow the same ordered progress.

The crises which occur between the sub-cycles mark the pauses in the inflowing life, when the forces of reaction find an opportunity to undermine the progress of the cycle. In every instance the contention is found to centre round the achievements of the closing cycle, and to find expression through those of our members whose cup of Truth is full for this incarnation. When some abstract conception receives practical expression, they feel that they have been betrayed. Hence arise such cries as "Back to Blavatsky," and much nonsense about the infringement of the neutrality of the Society.

Though 1875 marks the foundation of the Theosophical Society, this point is really the crest of the first sub-cycle (see diagram 3). To begin at the beginning of the cycle, one must go back to 1871-72 when Madame Blavatsky made an effort to form a society in Egypt along spiritualistic lines. When this failed she went to stay with a brother (21) in Paris until ordered to go to America in 1874 and find someone who would supply what she lacked. Her departure from America with Colonel Olcott in 1879 marks the close of the first sub-cycle.

The outstanding fact of the next cycle is the intimate presence of the Masters in the affairs of the Society, a condition which ended abruptly on the emergence of the Coulomb conspiracy.(22) Members became afraid of the very word "Occultism," and the Masters retired somewhat, saying, "The Society has liberated itself from Our grasp and We have let it go. We make no unwilling slaves."

With the dawn of the Third-Ray sub-cycle all changed and the Society became merely a body of students of philosophy and comparative religion. "Out of the three objects, the second alone is attended to," a condition



Date Ray Achievement of Cycle Inter-Cyclic Crisis Date
1871-8 1st. H.P.B. meets H.S.Olcott.
Theosophical Society founded. Isis Unveiled written.
H.P.B.'s effort in Egypt fail. 1871-2
1879-85 2nd. The Masters in India.  E.S. founded.  H.S.O. revives Buddhism. Adyar purchased. Healings by H.S.O. Philantropic activities started by members. H.P.B. and H.S.O. leave for India 1878-9
1886-93 3rd Secret Doctrine completed. Adyar Library founded. E.S. announced. Mrs. Besant joins. S.P.R. report on phenomena. Coulomb conspiracy emerges. The Masters retire. Trouble in London Lodge. 1885-6
1893-9 4th Educational movements.
First researches into past lives
H.P.B. dies. The Judge split 1892-3
1900-6 5th Mr. Leadbeater in the U.S.A. Investigations in Occult Chemistry 1899-1900
1907-13 6th Establishing the Order of the Star in the East: Notable meeting on Jan. 11, 1911. At the Feet of the Masters written. H.S.O. dies. Attack on C.W.L. First election. 1906-7
1914-20 7th Mrs.Besant's political work begun. Goal of Home Rule accepted 1917. L.C.C. re-organized. Several notables receive prominence in co-masonry. Investigations into fairy photographs. Naraniah case proceeding. Steiner division. Second election. 1913-14
1921-27 1st First Ray 50-year Major Cycle Closes. Star Amphitheatre built. Jubilee Convention 1925. Presence of World Teacher. Message of Elder Brother. Masters and the Path. "happy Valley" foundation. Order of the Star in the East re-organized. L.C.C. attacks. Sydney Lodge secession. third election. 1921-2
1928-34 2nd Work of the World Teacher and of the World Mother. Re-opening of the T.S. Establishing of The Theosophist in America. Temporary closing of the E.S. Order of the Star ends. Fourth election. 1927-8


[495] that existed until 1907. This sub-cycle is characterized by the publication of The Secret Doctrine and the announcing of the E.S.(23), and closed with an equally striking conflagration coupled with the death of H.P.B. From then until the beginning of the sixth-Ray cycle in 1907, little happened to mark off one sub-cycle from another.

How different the Sixth-Ray sub-cycle of 1907-13 when the election of Mrs. Besant brought with it the re-establishment of the two Masters as the Inner Rulers of the society. If any evidence is required as to the power of the Masters it is here, for henceforward the progress of the movement is marked by a virility and a power beyond all previous experience.

During this period the "Order of the Star in the East" was founded, and Mr. Krishnamurti was hailed as [496] one who was to prepare his body for the coming of the Lord. At the apex of this cycle occurred the memorable meeting on January 11th, 1911, all contributing to bring into the Society a devotion, unique in a body that had hitherto been severely intellectual.(24)

After a further stormy period in which the work of the cycle was laid bare in the Courts of Justice, the new Seventh-Ray cycle asserted itself in its political aspect by the work of Mrs. Besant for Indian Home Rule, begun in 1914. Later came the re-organization of the Liberal Catholic Church and the forward move in Co-Masonry, which were both further stimulated by the statement by the Occult Hierarchy regarding the three World-movements.(25) It was during this cycle that the remarkable series of fairy photographs were investigated by Mr. Gardner and later published by Sir Conan Doyle in his book The Coming of the Fairies.(26)
A great work was done at this time on the astral plane by the band of invisible helpers for the assistance of men who had passed over on the battlefields. All these achievements met their reaction in 1921-2 in the secession of the Sydney Lodge and the non-coöperation movement in India.

Thus closed the first major cycle in the history Of the Society; a First-Ray Cycle of pioneering effort towards the foundation of new ideas and new outlooks, and the building up of a magnificent philosophy of life.

In the light of its cyclic progress, history becomes illuminating in a new way. Our growth has been, with all its surges of achievement and its moments of anxiety, wrought by the wisdom of a magnificent purpose. Its achievements have been brilliant, and their realization has created years of intense activity, allowing a corresponding hastening in the spiritual growth of the members. But in between have come pauses when the inspiration was withdrawn, when the outer expressions of reality were covered with a veil of uncertainty.

Those were the periods which showed whether the members had reacted beneficially to their spiritual forcing; whether they had struggled strenuously forward on the crest of the wave, or had been merely carried by it.

If in the hour of outer darkness when there were no forces to bear us onward, our vision of Truth remained undimmed, we were ready for our next forcing-house test with its resultant growth; if not, we lost ourselves amid the confusion. Having no inner purpose our progress stops with the wave, and we are borne into the backwaters to await another opportunity in some future age.

We stand now in such a crisis. After a cycle of great achievement, the first of the new Major Cycle, we have come again to a pause which, if we are wise, we will use to see that our foundations are sound. To many it has meant confusion. But if we have vision, there can be no confusion. If we can see things in their true perspective, if we know that there is only one Truth, however divergent its expressions may be, if we can realize that Brotherhood is greater than belief, if we can see in the present situation a natural stage in the growth of our Society and can remain serene whatever the outer circumstances may be, then for us there is no confusion no matter what those about us may feel.

What of the next seven-year cycle now opening? A cycle of the Second Ray in the Second-Ray Major Cycle--truly a cycle of Brotherhood. Looking back to the corresponding cycle in the last Major Cycle, the outstanding fact is the presence of the Masters in the affairs of the Society. They took part to a surprising degree in the actual work of the Society even to the proof-reading of The Theosophist, and in many ways personally guided the new craft in its great adventure.

Whether we shall have Their presence amongst us again in the outer world, remains to be seen. Certain is it that fresh peaks await to be conquered and other fields shall feel the touch of a new life which Theosophy can give.

Onward then into, the new Major [497] Cycle so gloriously opened, and for our inspiration can there be anything more encouraging than the words of the Elder Brother spoken in 1925? Hear them.(27)

"A second half-century of fine promise lies before you. We say to you: you have the power to do more in the immediate future than any body of men and women has ever achieved before. We say to you: within this next half-century you can make Brotherhood a living reality in the world. You can cause the warring classes, castes, and nations to cease their quarrellings, the warring faiths to live once more in Brotherhood, respect, and understanding. Make Theosophy a living force in your lives, and through your example those class and caste distinctions, which for so long have bred hatred and misery, shall at no distant time come to be but distinctions of function in the common service of the nation-family and of the World Brotherhood."

And again: "Much more shall We be among you in the coming years, for We, too, are of that Universal Brotherhood from which sometimes We are sought to be excluded. Brotherhood does not stop short at humanity at either end, whatever some may think, and We hope that, as time passes, a place may be found for Us in your midst. We are content to wait your pleasure, for We can serve the world whether Out existence is recognized or not. Yet it is, perhaps, not too much to hope that the Theosophical Society, Our Society as well as yours, may some day recognize Us as facts, and not merely as plausible and logical theories."





This article was published in The Theosophist 51\9 (June 1930): 489-497.

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H.P. Blavatsky wrote in Isis Unveiled:

"As our planet revolves once every year around the sun and at the same time turns once in every twenty-four hours upon its own axis, thus traversing minor circles within a larger one, so is the work of the smaller cyclic periods accomplished and recommenced, within the Great Saros .

The revolution of the physical world, according to the ancient doctrine, is attended by a like revolution in the world of intellect -- the spiritual evolution of the world proceeding in cycles, like the physical one.

Thus we see in history a regular alternation of ebb and flow in the tide of human progress. The great kingdoms and empires of the world, after reaching the culmination of their greatness, descend again, in accordance with the same law by which they ascended; till, having reached the lowest point, humanity reasserts itself and mounts up once more, the height of its attainment being, by this law of ascending progression by cycles, somewhat higher than the point from which it had before descended.

The division of the history of mankind into Golden, Silver, Copper and Iron Ages, is not a fiction. We see the same thing in the literature of peoples. An age of great inspiration and unconscious productiveness is invariably followed by an age of criticism and consciousness. The one affords material for the analyzing and critical intellect of the other."

H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled (Pasadena CA: Theosophical University Press, 1976), II, p. 34.

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See for example: C.W. Leadbeater The Masters and the Path (Adyar, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1965, first edition published 1925), Chapter XII 'The Chohans and the Rays' and Chapter XIII 'the Trinity and the Triangle,'  pp. 256-290. And also: Ernst Wood The Seven Rays (Adyar, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1925).

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Prof. James Santucci wrote on the Theosophical concept of the World Teacher:

"The doctrine, as explained by Mrs. Besant is as follows: that the World Teacher appears in various embodiments to various peoples teaching a Truth identical in essence but different in language and exposition. In the context of the Hindu teaching of reincarnation, the World Teacher appears again and again in the world to initiate successive religions. Two signs indicate his imminent arrival: the emergence of a new type of humanity--in the Theosophical context and in relation to the imminent coming, a sub-race of the Root Race--and, secondly, a time of dislocation and cataclysm such as earthquakes and wars. From this transition period comes the World Teacher. Precursors to the current Teacher who would usher in the new religion and civilization of the American or sixth sub-race, were, for instance, the Teacher of the Aryan or fifth Root Race and first sub-race, Vyâsa; the Teacher of the Egyptian or second sub-race, Thoth or Hermes; and the Teacher of the Persian or third sub-race, Zoroaster. All taught the same doctrine but expressed in different ways--Vyâsa teaching that the Sun was the Lord of the Universe and the life in every human, Thoth teaching that the Light dwelt in all humans and in the whole world, and Zoroaster teaching that Fire was the sign of purity. Mrs. Besant then focuses on India, the home of the Root or "Mother" Race. Following the appearances of the World Teacher to the sub-races, he returns to the homeland and manifests as the Lord Buddha to become the founder of Buddhism. His successor, the Christ, gave to the world and to the fifth sub-race (the Teutonic) Christianity."

Santucci, James A. Foreword to Krishnamurti and the World Teacher Project: Some Theosophical Perceptions (Fullerton, CA: Theosophical History, 1997), p. vi.

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If applied to the last 2000 year cycle of Christianity, the idea of seven sub-cycles of 285 years each within this cycle would result in the following periods:

1st Ray: 0-285 A.D.: Live of Jesus the Christ.   Age of the Underground Church and its Martyrs. Flowering of the Gnostics.

2nd Ray: 286-570 A.D.: Conversion of Constatine I. Christianity as State Religion. Establishment of Roman Catholic Orthodoxy at Ecumenical Councils. Work of the Church Fathers Jerome, Ambrose and Augustine. Spread of Monasticism. Suppression of heretics like the Gnostics. Conversion of Clovis.

3rd Ray: 571-856 A.D.: Conversion of Western Europe. Start of a Judeo-Christian civilization culminating in the Carolingian Empire and a Carolingian Renaissance.

4th Ray: 857-1141 A.D.: Fragmentation of the Carolingian Empire. Development of Feudalism. Norman raids on Europe. Conversion of the Normans. Revitalization of Europe culminating in the first crusade to reclaim Jerusalem for Christianity.

5th Ray: 1142-1427 A.D.: Rise of the Christian Orders of Cistercians (Bernard of Clairvaux), Franciscans (Franciscus of Assisi), Dominicans  and Carmelites. High Scholasticism of Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. Creation of the Inquisition. First Crusade against a Christian Sect, the Cathars.

6th Ray: 1428-1712 A.D.:  Humanism (Erasmus, Thomas More), Renaissance (Da Vinci, Michelangelo) and Reformation (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli). Age of Religious Discord.

7th Ray: 1713-1999 A.D.: Introduction of disestablishment of the Church, toleration and religious liberty. Secularization of society. Critical historical investigations of the Bible and Church history. Missionary work in the Third World. Further fragmentation of Protestantism and in Catholicism. Ecumenical movement.

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Blavatsky wrote:

"But I must tell you that during the last quarter of every hundred years an attempt is made by those 'Masters', of whom I have spoken, to help on the spiritual progress of Humanity in a marked and definite way. Towards the close of each century you will invariably find that an outpouring or upheaval of spirituality - or call it mysticism if you prefer - has taken place. Some one or more persons have appeared in the world as their agents, and a greater or less amount of occult knowledge and teaching has been given out. If you care to do so, you can trace these movements back, century by century, as far as our detailed historical records extend."

H.P. Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy (London: Theosophical Publishing Co., 1889), p. 306.


"Among the commandments of Tsong-kha-pa there is one that enjoins the Rahats (Arhats) to make an attempt to enlighten the world, including the "white barbarians," every century, at a certain specified period of the cycle. Up to the present day none of these attempts has been very successful. Failure has followed failure."

H.P.Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine (Adyar, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1938) Adyar Edition, Vol. V, p. 396. Or: Idem., Collected Writings (Wheaton IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1985) Vol. XIV, p. 431. Or: Idem., The Esoteric Writings, p. 330.

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"Groups of Servers" are groups of souls, or mandala's, who regularly incarnate in a same generation and in close proximity, even in one and the same family, to implement a certain plan. Leadbeater introduced the concept with his researches into the Akashic record to find out about past-life connections of Theosophists,  especially Krishnamurti. These researches culminated in the publication of The Lives of Alcyone (Adyar: Theosophical Publishing House, 1925) which vividly describes the last 48 incarnations of Krishnamurti, named Alcyone in the study, and his friends and co-workers, all of whom also received names from Greek mythology.

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James T. Shotwell Historian's History (No publishing data)

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The existence of a secret Fraternity founded by a Christian Rosencreutz was made known to the world in two manifesto's titled Fama Fraternitatis and Confessio Fraternitatis, the first published in 1614 and the second in 1615. The Confessio states that Rosencreutz was born a German in 1378 and died at the age of 106, which computes to 1484. The manifesto's called for a 'General Reformation' of all arts, i.e. all philosophy and sciences, and created great excitement throughout Europe with many prominent men of learning writing open letters to the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross requesting more information and even admittance. For a thourough study of the manifesto's and their context see: Frances A.Yates The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972). See also Charles W. Leadbeater Ancient Mystic Rites (Wheaton IL: Theosophical Publ. House, 1986 [1926]), original title: Glimpses of Masonic History.

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More influential than the scholars coming from Constantinople after its sacking, were the complete works of Plato and the Corpus Hermeticum, the writings of the Egyptian sage and magus Hermes Trismegistus. For an interesting study of the influence of Hermetic thought on some Renaissance thinkers see: Frances A.Yates Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964).

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Best contender for that spot would be indeed, as Wilkinson does in his second Diagram, Leonardo da Vinci. According to Yates the genius was an early Rosicrucian and he showed up on a list of Grand Masters of the enigmatic Priory of Sion. Michael Baigent et al. Holy Blood, Holy Grail (London: Jonathan Cape, 1982) pp. 104 & 396-7. According to Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince in their The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ  (New York: Touchstone, 1998) there is enough unorthodox symbology in Leonardo's paintings to see him as a part of an esoteric underground.

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Reference to Krishnamurti, who was believed by many to be the vehicle of Lord Maitreya, the Christ.

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Annie Besant was regarded as an incarnation of Bruno.

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Major creative efforts of this period were in the fields of science (Newton and Boyle) and political thought (Locke). Working from the hypothesis that both Boyle and Newton might have been Grand Masters of the Prioré de Sion and were close friends of Locke, the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail gathered many revealing clues to the esoteric interests of these three great minds. Michael Baigent et al. Holy Blood, Holy Grail (London: Jonathan Cape, 1982) pp. 400-405. See also B.J.T. Dobbs, The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1975).

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The "Popish Plot" was an alleged plan, 'revealed' in 1678, to kill the Protestant British King Charles II, put his Catholic brother on the throne and make Catholicism the religion of the country again.

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The only Père Joseph found in works of reference is Francois Leclerc du Tremblay (1577-1638), who was Cardinal Richelieu's foreign minister. Unless the author has another Joseph in mind, there seems to be no direct relation between Père Joseph and the Comte de Saint Germain, nor is it clear what relation he would have had to the French Revolution.

Correction: Annie Besant claims that it was revealed to her by Saint Germain that in the latter half of the 18th century HPB was incarnated as a Transylvanian by the name Zimski, who was also known as Père or Frère Joseph. Annie Besant, "The Theosophical Society and its Work" The Adyar Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 11 (November 1913): 445.

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Though the Count used many aliases in his life and was at home in many orders and societies, it stretches the imagination that he was, or impersonated, Ferdinand de Hompesch, a real historical person.
It is also a little puzling what his interest would have been in this thouroughly Catholic Order, which was according to author and mason John J. Robinson one of the three 'assassins' of the Knights Templar besides the French King Philip le Bel and Pope Clement V, and was the order which received all properties from the suppressed Knights Templar. (This based on his interpretation of the founding myth of Freemasonry, the legend of Hiram Abiff. See: Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry [New York: Evans, 1989]).
One possibility to be explored is that Hompesch, as an infiltrated agent, sold out the Order to Napoleon, who himself had alegedly the backing of the Comte de Saint Germain for a while.

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In esoteric philosophy there are seven main virtues into which the pure consciousness of God refracts, which has its parallel in the refraction of white light into the six colors of the rainbow. Together with the original white light or Fourth Ray the total adds to seven and each Ray or virtue is administered for earth by a Master or Chohan of that Ray. Seventh Ray virtues are freedom, forgiveness and unity through ritual. ( For more on the Ascended Master Saint Germain from The Summit Lighthouse) See also endnote 3.

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According to Leadbeater 'Ceasar' would, "in connection with the coming of the Christ," effect a very drastic reorganization of international political life. (See p. 471 of the slightly abridged fifth reprint.)

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 Fritz Kunz, "Evidence of a Sustained Conspiracy against the Theosophical Society: With some Notes on the Cyclic Law"  The Theosophist 43/11 (August 1922): 505-520.

"It is the study of this cycle of opposition of the Light and dark powers in the history of our Society which gives a key to the periodical turmoil which upsets the judgment and even the very lives of its members.  If they could but once thoroughly seize upon the principle involved, they would watch the drama of our society with greater joy and serenity, knowing that, when at stated intervals there is a sudden attack upon us, it means only the irruption of that wave which has again again broken unavailingly against the foot of the Mount." (508)

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She actually lived with her cousin Nikolay von Hahn. (Cranston: 107)

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Mr. and Mrs. Coulomb worked at Adyar and made allegations that HPB was using trickery in producing her phenomena, especially the 'Mahatma Letters.' In conjunction with the Hodgson Report the whole affair became a PR nightmare for the TS. HPB left India for it and never returned. (Cranston: 265-277)

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E.S. stands for Esoteric School or Esoteric Section. HPB founded this section in order for her to give some advanced esoteric teachings to the best of her students.

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The author is probably confusing December 28, 1911 with January 11 of the same year, when the founding of the OSE actually occured, which only from a formal point of view could be seen as a "memorable event." The December 28 event fits much better his description of "contributing to bring into the Society a devotion...." On that day, during a simple ceremony where K gave out membership papers to new members of the Order of the Star in the East, many people experienced, and some even saw clairvoyantly, a tremendous spiritual force rushing through K. This force was so overwhelming that many went spontaneously on their knees. AB thought this event to be the consecration of K's body as the future vehicle for the Lord Maitreya. Subsequently the date would be refered to as Star Day.

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The three World-movements: the World Teacher, the World Mother and the World University, and World Religion.

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Arthur Conan Doyle The Coming of the Fearies (New York: Doron Co., 1922)  For more on Conan Doyle's spiritual interests and the slightly embarrassing story of the faked photographs see: Massimo Introvigne and Michael W. Homer: "The Recoming of the Fairies," Theosophical History 6/2 (April 1996): 58-76.  The story was made into a movie titled Fairy Tale: A True Story. See also: The Case of the Cottingley Fairies. The famous photopgraphs can be found at: Arthur Conan Doyle, Spiritualism, and Fairies. Bill Keidan wrote about Hodson's involvement {Soon available again]

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The two paragraphs above were taken from a text read at the Jubilee Convention of the TS in 1925 and originated allegedly from a Mahatma. "A Message to the Members of the theosophical Society from an Elder Brother" The Theosophist 47\4 (January 1926), supplement, pp. 1-7. Go here for full text.

Unfortunately the beautiful promises expressed by the Elder Brother did not become reality. I maintain that because of the failure of the World Teacher Project with Krishnamurti the world did not experience a time of peace and understanding and that we instead went through a most conflictuous period of fascism, militarism, imperialism, class warfare and another World War. I also maintain that Krishnamurti's teaching has done more than any other to close the doors between the realms of the deva's, angels and Masters on one side and mankind on the other.

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Copyright © 2001 - G.W. Schüller