The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
March 1998 Vol. 1 Issue 1
You are holding the first issue of the newsletter of The Northwest Branch of The Theosophical Society. It will serve as a venue for sending out information about the Branch and its activities, and as a forum for discussing theosophical ideas. It will be sent monthly to Branch members and to those who have requested to be on our mailing list. If you would like to submit a letter, quotation, or short article for possible inclusion in future newsletters, please submit it to Mjoday@aol.com or to the Branch post office box.
The format for the monthly discussion group will change starting with the March 16 meeting. Instead of a short formal presentation of a topic, a question will be posed (March's question is: How Does Karma Work?), and each participant will provide his or her thoughts. We hope this will stimulate discussion from various viewpoints. Suggestions for upcoming questions are welcome.
The Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society has written several pamplets, which may be obtained free on request. They are:
Several new books have been added to the Theosophical University Press website in the last few weeks, bringing the total to 39 books. New books include:
Theosphical University Press has added some new books to their 1998 catalog. You can obtain a free copy of the lastest catalog by writing to TUP at P.O. Box C, Pasadena, CA 91109-7107 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Two of the new books are:
Monthly Discussion Group
The NW Branch of the Theosphical Society holds a discussion group each month. The public is welcome. It is unsectarian, non-political, and there is no charge.
For centuries mankind has held the solstices and equinoxes -- December 21, March 21, June 21, and September 21 -- as sacred. It is no coincidence that Christmas and Easter are celebrated near these important points on the earth's circuit around the sun -- pagans and Jews have long held important religious festivals at these times.
What makes these particular times of year sacred? The core of the answer lies in the effects that celestial bodies such as the stars, planets, sun and moon, have on the human being. These bodies produce physical, psychological, and spiritual influences to which we are subjected every day as the earth proceeds in its orbit. But at the solstices and equinoxes, the divine currents which flow from the sun are particularly strong, and celestial influences are focused and express themselves outwardly more than at other times of the year.
Additionally, each quarter or quadrant of space, representing the four seasons, has its own distinct powers and forces. The north quadrant, or winter, represents birth. The east quadrant, spring, represents growth and adolescence. The south quadrant, summer, is maturity, and the west quadrant, or autumn, represents our passing. These influences combine to cause a stirring of the divine spirit within us, prompting large changes and growth.
The solstices and equinoxes are sacred also because they are associated with initiations -- trials or tests which evolving human beings willingly undergo in order to purify and perfect themselves in order to be better able to serve mankind. In the initiation which takes place at the spring equinox, the candidate must pass through the underworld or world of beings much less evolved than ourselves. There, he must not only confront the dark side of his own nature and of the inhabitants of those lower realms, but he must leave there a shred of light, hope, and love, just as higher beings have done when they have descended to us here on Earth. Once this is accomplished, the initiant returns a glorified being, at one with his higher self, at least for a while. This is in a very real sense a rebirth, in that he dies as a self-concerned individual and is reborn as one ruled by his inner god and motivated by impersonal love. He has reached an important milestone in his progress toward spiritual maturity.
We may have "initiations" at springtime, too. In these trials we descend into an underworld of our own making, where we are tormented by our thoughts and desires, as well as by the results of our actions. We must confront our lower self, resist the temptations of this underworld, and build impersonal love into our character. If we can do that, if we are able to strengthen the unselfish side of ourselves, the trials have not been in vain. We can then experience in a small way a rebirth of that most spiritual part of our being, taking a further step towards becoming more fully human.
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