We are almost three quarters through the year of 2010 and it is time once again to give an update of events which have taken place over the last 18 months.
It is 100 years ago that the founder of the Blavatsky Trust Geoffrey Farthing was born (biography). Regrettably Geoffrey is no longer with us, he left us 6yrs ago to start his journey to Devachan, but because of Geoffrey’s contribution to Theosophy he will always be around. He studied Theosophy for 70 years and he generously shared his knowledge by writing many books on the subject. He made Theosophy approachable for many of us, particularly through his book ‘ Deity, Cosmos & Man ‘. The book was originally published at Point Loma, but tragically the publishing house and warehouse burnt down during the forest fires in California in 2008 and with it all the books, hence there were only a few copies left in the world. A great loss for present and future students of Theosophy. The good news however is that the trustees of the Blavatsky Trust have decided to take the opportunity of the 100th anniversary of Geoffrey Farthing, to republish ‘ Deity, Cosmos & Man ‘ as an anniversary edition and anyone who wishes to purchase a copy at a subsidised price will only need to contact the Trust. (more about Deity, Cosmos & Man)
The Blavatsky Trust is an Educational Trust and as in previous years it has continued to support the programme of Western Esotericism at Exeter University (EXESESO) , and the European School of Theosophy (EST). Prof Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (more) the Chair of EXESESO has been able to enrol even more students than in the previous year and a considerable number of the students who have completed the MA programme have since embarked on a PhD. There are presently 35 students on the MA programme and 10 PhD students. Some have already submitted their PhD dissertations and new ones have been accepted. Western Esotericism and thereby Theosophy is finally finding a foothold in academe. The Blavatsky Trust has been awarded membership of the University of Exeter’s College of Benefactors which will be presented to the Trust in January 2011. The trustees are delighted that the Trust has been recognised for the part it has played in establishing the Chair of Western Esotericism, especially as it was established through the initiative of Geoffrey Farthing and thereby his dream has been fulfilled. It is also a most appropriate moment as we are celebrating his 100th anniversary. We all have much to thank Geoffrey for.
The Trust has also encouraged and supported students by giving grants to enrol on the MA programme at Exeter University, and to attend the European School of Theosophy and the School of the Wisdom (more) at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, (more) India.
The European School of Theosophy had a very successful 6 days in Budapest in October 2009. About 50 students attended. Three of the directors of the school, i.e. Harold Tarn, Colin Price and Michael Gomes, and the guest speakers Dr David Roef (ULT) and Dr Stephan Hoeller all gave most informative, interesting and fascinating talks. Our Hungarian hosts excelled themselves. The entertainment of Hungarian dancing they provided was second to none; it was of the highest quality and we were immensely grateful. There will be no EST this year. The next School will take place in 2011 in London in early October. The programme will not be completed until January. Anyone wishing to be put on the mailing list please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org . I am also pleased to announce that the European School has another director as Dr David Roef has agreed to accept a directorship, and it has an additional Secretary in Linda Seale. Both will be a great asset to the School, and Linda will be able to relieve Ingrid Eberhard-Evans of some of the heavy workload she has carried for years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ingrid for the tremendous work she has carried out over many years to enable many students to study Theosophy, seconded by my fellow trustees of the Blavatsky Trust and the directors of the School. Had it not been for her organisational skills, diligence and commitment many people throughout Europe and even further afield would not have had the opportunity to learn and enjoy the study of Theosophy at such a high level.
The European School will have a sabbatical this year because of the 10th World Congress of the Theosophical Society (Adyar). The World Congress takes place every 8 to 10 years and this year it was held in Rome, in July. The Italian Section hosted an excellent event. Around 700 members internationally attended and all the talks given on the theme of ‘ Universal Brotherhood without Distinction: A Road to Awareness ‘ were well constructed and presented, and if one takes into consideration that for most of the speakers English is not their first language one has to marvel at their eloquence. One of our trustees, Colin Price was also invited to speak and as usually his talk was well received. We also had the pleasure of listening to interesting talks by Mrs Radha Burnier, International President, Linda Olivera, International Vice-President, Dr Edi Bilimoria, Prof P Krishna, Mary Anderson, Dr Dara Tatray, Tran-Thi-Kim-Dieu and Betty Bland, amongst others, lack of space does not permit to list them all. There were also workshops and symposiums. One has to compliment Antonio Girardi, the General Secretary of the Italian Section, for the evening entertainment programme as it was of exceptional high standard. One evening we were entertained by no less than the ‘ Banda della Polizia Municipale di Roma ‘ and on another evening we had the delight of listening to arias by Bellini, Rossini, Puccini and Verdi sang by the soprano Carmen Masola a descendant of Gaetano Donizetti, and a talented tenor and a baritone. I have to mention one person in particular who stood out at the Congress, not because she gave a memorable talk, she did not speak at all, but because of her personality and her work for Theosophy. It is Katinka Hesselink! (more) Katinka is a bundle of energy with a great sense of humour who seemed to pop up everywhere out of nowhere. She is totally dedicated to Theosophy and has, I am glad to say, a critical mind.
I must mention one more thing. To my great pleasure I noticed that Esotericism (and not new-age claptrap) appears in the most unlikely places. I was offered a consumer/fashion magazine at the check-out in a supermarket in Austria. I bought it at the princely sum of E1,00 because on the cover it said, ‘ Karma: The Way to Redemption ‘ (in German). My thoughts were lets see what nonsense has been written this time. Well, to my great surprise the article was excellent. It was insightful and even dared to mention Theosophy and Anthroposophy. The writer a young Austrian woman (I looked her up on the web) by the name of Claudia Fabrizy is a journalist and researched her subject well. The article will reach thousands of people in all German speaking countries as this particular magazine called ‘ Maxima is sold at such a small price in three of the main supermarket chains and a chain of drugstores throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Would it not be wonderful if the same could be accomplished in the English speaking world. But one must not grumble, at least it is a step in the right direction.
Warmest fraternal greetings &
till the next time
Cornelia Crowther, September 2010
Trustees: H.S. Tarn (Chairman), C.F. Price, C. Crowther, R.J. Kitto