WELCOME TO THE BOURNEMOUTH SOCIETY
OF ART, PHILOSOPHY & THEOSOPHY
The Bournemouth Society explores higher knowledge and individual experience of one’s self, our relations to others, the world in which we live and the Universe. We aim to create awareness, understanding and empowerment in the search for meaning and purpose in life.
The Society also aims to enrich our society through the creation of a forum of people who share similar values and who would like to deepen their knowledge and understanding through research and study of science, religion, philosophy and the arts.
Our core aim is to help individuals fulfil their higher destiny and enhance their life in the most effective and appropriate way.
We also aim to:
- create a friendly, supportive and encouraging environment for people to meet
- provide a forum where ideas can be discussed freely
- expand awareness, higher knowledge and understanding in a general and specific way
- enhance, stimulate and inspire an individual’s creativity and interests
- explore how individuals can begin to experience and express higher states which reflect their personal nature, beliefs and values
- Towards the achievement of these aims the Society organizes lectures, forums, workshops, films and courses in art, religion, science, philosophy and communication
BOURNEMOUTH SOCIETY LODGE COMMITTEE
President: Phillip Cuckston
Vice President -
Secretary - Anne Rogers
Treasurer - Arthur Poulton
Librarian - Michael Haynes
Every year all Bournemouth Society positions will be open to re-election by the members of the Society. Normally members who have held membership for two years can be appointed to any position on the Lodge Committee. In special circumstances it may be possible or necessary to make appointments where the two year membership can be waived.
THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN ENGLAND
National President: Eric McGough
The Bournemouth Society of Art, Philosophy and Theosophy is a Lodge Member of the Theosophical Society.In a text called Freedom of Thought published by the General Council of the Theosophical Society it is written:
“There is no doctrine, no opinion, by whosoever taught or held, that is in any way binding on any member of the Theosophical Society, none which any member is not free to accept or reject.
Membership of the Theosophical Society is available to anyone, 10 years or older, who is in sympathy with the Society’s Objects:
- To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.
- To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science.
- To investigate, unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in human beings.
No teacher or writer in the Theosophical Society from its beginnings to the present time has any authority to impose his or her teachings or opinions on members. Every member has an equal right to attach themselves to any teacher or to any school of thought which they may choose, but has no right to force their choice onto another. Neither a candidate for any office, nor any voter, can be rendered ineligible to stand or vote because of any opinion they may hold, or because of membership in any school of thought to which they may belong. Every member of The Theosophical Society is earnestly requested to maintain, defend and act upon these fundamental principles of the Society, and also fearlessly to exercise his own right of liberty of thought and of expression within the limits of courtesy and consideration for others.”
The Theosophical Society was established at a time when a separation was growing between the progress of the new empirical study of science and technology and the religious faiths of Christianity and Judaism and other world religions. Various people were searching for profound spiritual secrets hidden in monasteries, ashrams, sacred books, documents not previously found. Blavatsky, Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and many others went on this type of search or pilgrimage. Each brought back ideas, experiences from various places around the world.
D T Suzuki’s books on Zen in the 1930’s,The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s visit to the West in the 1950’s bringing Transcendental Meditation to the West were important transitions between the East and West relations. This started the move towards individuals trying to find a guru, master or a spiritual group that suited their particular character and needs. The New Age Movement gained momentum during the 20th Century. The new approaches to psychology and spiritual enlightenment were fostered by Jung, Assagioli and Maslow among others. The use of psychedelic drugs by Aldous Huxley and Leary were also influential on western cultural values and art during the sixties. There was a polarized reaction and a rebirth of fundamental and evangelical movements within the three major religions of the West. The subtle interpenetration of the West by Eastern philosophies and religions echoed the movement of people around the world.
Into this diverse mix a number of esoteric and alternative spiritual pathways opened. Some healthy and some unhealthy. Today there is a continuing and awakening need in some towards self-realisation and self-fulfilment. For those who search for a pathway that suits them theosophy can be one of the pointers to help people find their own direction.
WHAT IS THEOSOPHY
The word comes from the Greek and means DIVINE WISDOM or WISDOM OF GOD. It is a system of thought that is concerned with the relationship between the Divine, Mankind and the Universe. Theosophy itself involves a quest for the truth as it relates to the major areas of human experience and discovery. This quest helps people achieve a direct experience of Truth or Divinity or whatever name an individual gives to the Ultimate.
Currently the word THEOSOPHY has two distinct meanings – the CLASSICAL THEOSOPHY where it refers to the body of knowledge and understanding that stems from over two thousand years. Theosophy may be said to have originated in Greece at the time of Pythagoras. Other Greek philosophers also used the term including Plato, Iamblichus, Plotinus and others. The term as used related to the search for truth, meaning and purpose of human existence in the Universe. It was elaborated and defined by figures such as Plato and Plotinus. It was further used by the Neo Platonic schools in Alexandria and later Florence. Later figures associated with Theosophy were Eckhart, Fludd, Bruno, and Jacob Boehme.
The second use of the term was adopted by Helena Blavatsky in the late 1800’s to describe her particular vision and meaning of life. She drew heavily on various Eastern religions, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism, and linked it together with some strands of the western esoteric tradition.
It was informed by her contact with those HPB described as Masters. She wrote a number of books that became classics in the genre of esoteric and mystical literature. Two of her most important works were THE SECRET DOCTRINE and KEY TO THEOSOPHY.
Colonel Henry Olcutt and William Judge joined HPB and they gave her ideas a structured organization which was then called The Theosophical Society. It was formally started in 1875 in New York. After much debate the centre of the Theosophical Society was established in Adyar in India. Blavatsky herself established herself in London. William Judge separated and created his own Society in the USA.
There was further debate on how the TS should develop. Blavatsky then focused most of her attention on her own core group which she called the Esoteric Section but later changed the name to the Eastern Section. This Section still exists today in the TS.
The other most important esoteric groups at the time were the HERMETIC ORDER OF THE GOLDEN DAWN and certain Masonic groups such as the SOCIETAS ROSICRUCIANA IN ANGLIA. The Golden Dawn focused on theurgic and ritual practices and attracted a small but committed group of individuals. The Theosophical Society grew in numbers and popularity during the early years of the 20th Century and soon had branches in many countries throughout the world. There are other schools of theosophy but the Theosophical Society (TS) is probably the most famous and best known.
During the first half of the twentieth century there was much debate on how the Theosophical Society should progress. It was reasonably open and conceptually tolerant towards the general public and other religions and philosophies and its ideas found fertile ground among European and American intellectuals and artists of the period.
Some important members of the Society were Rudolf Steiner, who split and started his own groups in Germany under the title – Anthroposophy. P. D. Ouspensky, who then followed Gurdjieff for some years before basing himself in England to develop his own school. Artists, such as Jean Delville, Paul Klee, and Kandinsky were members of the Theosophical Society. Kandinsky is credited with the creation of abstract art in the twentieth century. Also involved with the Theosophical Society, in the first quarter of the twentieth century, were Mondrian (De Stijl) and Malevich (Suprematism) who created powerful artistic languages that tried to express aspects of Universal Truth. Mondrian’s work was instrumental in the whole growth of Modernism in art, design and architecture.
As the twentieth century progressed many groups were established to follow the ’sacred’ path towards various aspects of the higher spiritual life. The Theosophical Society became another group that offered ’higher knowledge’ and an acceptable form of studying the more esoteric aspects of art, philosophy, religion and science.
FOUNDATION FOR THEOSOPHICAL STUDIES
The Foundation supports the work of the Bournemouth Society. It also sponsors meetings and lectures presented by recognized teachers of the Theosophical Society in England.
The Foundation is an educational charity formed to promote the study of religion, philosophy and science; to undertake and promote research in the fields of the laws of nature and the powers latent in man; and to advance the recognition of the fundamental unity of all people through knowledge of the theosophical principles of unity, evolution and perfectibility.