THE LAMP (JOURNAL)




The Lamp” was the first Theosophical magazine published in Canada. Its first number appeared in August, 1894, three and a half years after the first Canadian branch of the Theosophical Society had been chartered in Toronto.

Although this early journal was the brainchild and effort of Toronto members, it was not an organ of the Toronto Theosophical Society except for the first three issues.

Largely financed by Samuel Beckett, the voluntary Editor/Publisher was Albert E.S. Smythe. Several early contributors were among the pioneers of Theosophy in Canada, but much of the content was from Smythe’s own pen.

Smythe had first come to learn of Theosophy in 1884 when he met William Judge onboard the ship on which he was immigrating to the United States. In 1891 he started the Theosophical branch in Toronto and later he followed William Judge when conflicts split the Theosophy Society into two separate organizations in 1895.

From the beginning, The Lamp had what today seems an incredibly large press run of 5,000 copies. In those years were published a dozen or more Theosophical magazines in various countries, and some were excellent journals. In spite of this competition, however, The Lamp must have had a special appeal, because before long it had an international circulation.

Perhaps this was due not so much to the quality of the articles, but rather because discerning students of Theosophy everywhere could recognize its unique value. That is to say, its columns were open to all views — a Smythe hallmark.

Monthly publication continued until the issue of January 1897. It was suspended when Smythe left to spend a year and a half recuperating (in his native Ireland) from a breakdown.

On his return he was kept busy on lecture tours across America on behalf of the break off Theosophical Society in America then under the leadership of Katharine Tingley.

After his expulsion from that organization in 1899, Smythe returned to Toronto and his former activities.

Publication of The Lamp resumed in September 1899, with no editorial explanation of the break, and even continuing the pagination from the last issue in 1897!

Starting with the November 1899 issue, D.N. Dunlop, a well-known Irish Theosophist also expelled by Mrs Tingley, is named as Associate Editor. However, his participation seems to have been limited by providing occasional short articles.

Starting with Volume IV (March 1900) the magazine was enlarged and appeared in a new format and given a cover. This final volume contains only seven monthly issues: publication ceased in September 1900 with the forty-third issue.

For nearly twenty years thereafter, as far as is known, the only Theosophical publications in Canada were bulletins put out by the branches. Finally, in March 1920 appeared the first issue of The Canadian Theosophist, also edited by Albert E.S. Smythe by then a respected editor of daily newspapers (Toronto, Hamilton).


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  • Four volumes can be downloaded complete here and incomplete here.
  • And the list of authors and article can be read here.


(Note: more information on The Canadian Theosophist in next article.)





THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST (JOURNAL)




The Canadian Theosophist” is the second magazine published by the Theosophical Society in Canada (which is associated with the Theosophical Society in Pasadena).

The first magazine was called “The Lamp” and it was published from 1894 to 1900 (see previous article).

This second magazine began to be published in March 1920 and continues to be published until today. First appeared as a monthly periodical up to (and including) Volume 35. It has been published as a bi-monthly since the March/April 1955 issue, and later become quarterly.

The first editor of The Canadian Theosophist was Albert E.S. Smythe. Dudley W. Barr became Acting Editor in March 1947, Chairman of the Editorial Board in May 1947 and Editor in July 1947. While Mr. Barr remained as Editor, Miss L. Gaunt became Acting Editor at the time of the September/October 1958 issue, then Associate Editor for the November/December 1959 one; Mr. & Mrs. T.G. Davy are listed as Associate Editors in July/August 1961. Doris and Ted Davy became Editors in the September/October 1962 number, a position they maintained for thirty years. Stan Treloar became Editor at the time of the March/April 1992 issue and holds this position currently.

This magazine has been the principal instrument of information in Canada on theosophical topics. First 18 volumes were reprinted by the Edmonton Theosophical Society.


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  • Several of the publications from 1920 to 1940 (volumes 1 to 20) can be downloaded here.
  • Several of the publications from 1926 to 1992 (volumes 7 to 72) can be read here.
  • Several of the most recent publications from 2011 to 2017 can be downloaded here.
  • And the list of authors and articles (up to February 1990, volume 78) can be read here.





FOHAT (JOURNAL)




Fohat was a quarterly magazine published by the Theosophical Society of Edmonton, Canada, from 1997 to 2008, and whose editor was Robert B. MacDonald.

In its content you find articles of nineteenth-century theosophists like Blavatsky, William Judge or Franz Hartmann, but also articles written by contemporary researchers, and are particularly interesting the articles written by David Pratt and Ernest Pelletier.

  • The 48 issues that were published can be downloaded here.
  • And the index list can be read here.




BOOK "THE JUDGE CASE"




"The Judge Case - A Conspiracy That Ruined the Theosophical Cause" is a book written by Ernest E. Pelletier who was president of the Theosophical Society of Edmonton, Canada.

In this book, Mr. Pelletier compiled the information and documentation about the betrayal that Annie Besant and Colonel Olcott did to William Judge and which caused the split of the Theosophical Society into two separate organizations and in great measure ruined the Theosophical Cause because as Ernest Pelletier himself mentioned in an interview:

« One of the important reasons to take Judge’s involvement in the theosophical Cause seriously is made plain by Blavatky herself. In 1886, commenting on Judge’s magazine, “The Path”, she described it as “pure Buddhi”.

In 1889, speaking in the third person about Judge, she stated: “William Judge is part of herself since several eons” and that he was the link between “American thought & the Indian – or rather the trans-Himalayan Esoteric Knowledge”.

This alone makes it clear Judge was an integral part of the plan.

It was acknowledged among those who knew him intimately that he was never known to have ever lied. Influential business people who defended him claimed that Judge could have anything he wanted from them but asked for nothing, and gave selflessly of himself.

In spite of the persecution he suffered over the false accusations against him, the worst he could say after the years of torment was, when speaking of Annie Besant, “I pity her in her next life”»

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Personally, this book seems to me a very enlightening investigation about what happened, although I must specify that it is a specialized book for those who are interested in the history of the Theosophical Movement.

  • You can download the two volumes here.
  • You can read the Ernest Pelletier’s interview here.
  • You can read the Katinka Hesselink's review here.
  • You can read the Daniel H. Caldwell's review here.
  • And you can read the Sarah Belle Dougherty’s review here.




MEETING OF ALFRED SINNETT WITH MASTER KUTHUMI




English journalist Alfred Sinnett is famous for having had a correspondence with Master Kuthumi, but before that epistolary exchange was intensified, Master Kuthumi gave to Mr. Sinnett a proof of his existence, and that is why in the third letter that the Master wrote to Mr. Sinnett, he mentioned the following to him:

« My Good “Brother,”

In dreams and visions at least, when rightly interpreted there can hardly be an "element of doubt." . . . . I hope to prove to you my presence near you last night by something I took away with me. Your lady will receive it back on the hill. I keep no pink paper to write upon, but I trust modest white will do as well for what I have to say»
(Mahatma Letter 3A, p.10)


And Mr. Sinnett wrote the following note:

« I saw Kuthumi in astral form on the night of 19th of October, 1880 — waking up for a moment but immediately afterwards being rendered unconscious again (in the body) and conscious out of the body in the adjacent dressing-room where I saw another of the Brothers afterwards identified with one called "Serapis" by Olcott, — "the youngest of the chohans." [Chiefs]

The note about the vision came the following morning, and during that day, the 20th, we went for a picnic to Prospect Hill, when the "pillow incident" occurred. »
(ML 3A, p.10)

And that “incident” must have surprised him tremendously since after that Mr. Sinnett always showed an enormous conviction that Master Kuthumi was a real being and he was not an invention of Blavatsky as the detractors of the theosophical movement claimed.


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At that time Mr. Sinnett lived in India in the city of Simla, but when his work as editor of the newspaper Pionner finished, he and his wife and son returned back to England in March 1883.

A year later, when William Judge visited London in February 1884, several times he was invited by Sinnett to have dinner with his family and William Judge took the opportunity to talk about that meeting, and about it he later wrote a letter to Jasper Niemand the following:

« I asked him [A.P. Sinnett] about his sight of Kuthumi and he related thus:

He was lying in his bed in India one night [October 19, 1880], when suddenly awakening, he found Kuthumi standing by his bed. He rose half up, when Kuthumi put his hand on his head, causing him to fall at once back on the pillow.

He then, he says, found himself out of the body, and in the next room, talking to another adept whom he describes as an English or European, with light hair, fair, and of great beauty.

This is the one [adept] Olcott described to me in 1876 and called by name xxxxx. Please erase that when read. . . .

Sinnett says he [the European adept] is very high. . . »
(Letters that have helped me, Theosophy Company edition, p.196.)


At that time the name of that mysterious Adept was kept very secret, but we know now that he was Serapis.

And it is interesting to note that Mr. Sinnett's description of Chohan Serapis is the same as Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott made of him, which leads me to consider that indeed Mr. Sinnett probably had an encounter with that great Adept.






ENCOUNTERS OF LAURA HOLLOWAY WITH THE MASTERS



Laura Carter Holloway was a medium, a gifted clairvoyant and a member of the Theosophical Society.



THE FIRST MEETING KNOWN THAT
SHE HAD WITH THE MASTERS

This was on July 19, 1884 when she was present in the studio of the German portraitist Herman Schmiechen while he painted the faces of the Masters Kuthumi and Morya.

And about this event she wrote an article where she narrated the following:


« Mr. Schmiechen, a young German artist, was residing in London and a number of Theosophists gathered at his studio. Chief among Mr. Schmiechen’s guests was Madame Blavatsky, who occupied a seat facing a platform on which was [Schmiechen’s] easel.

Near him on the platform sat several persons, all of them women, with one exception. About the room were grouped a number of well-known people, all equally interested in the attempt to be made by Mr. Schmiechen.

Strange to relate that though the amateur smoker considered herself an onlooker it was her voice which uttered the words "begin it," and the artist quickly began to outline a head.

(Note: the amateur smoker is Mrs. Holloway.)

Soon the eyes of every one present were upon him as he worked with extreme rapidity. While quiet reigned in the studio and all were eagerly interested in Mr. Schmiechen's work, the amateur smoker on the platform saw the figure of a man outline itself beside the easel and, while the artist with head bent over his work continued his outlining, it stood by him without a sign or motion.

She leaned over to her friend and whispered:

-      "It is the Master Kuthumi; he is being sketched. He is standing near Mr. Schmiechen."

-      "Describe his looks and dress," called out HPB.

And while those in the room were wondering over Madame Blavatsky's exclamation, the woman addressed said:

-      "He is about Mohini's height; slight of build, wonderful face full of light and animation; flowing curly black hair, over which is worn a soft cap. He is a symphony in greys and blues. His dress is that of a Hindu—though it is far finer and richer than any I have ever seen before—and there is fur trimming about his costume. It is his picture that is being made."

Blavatsky’s heavy voice arose to admonish the artist, one of her remarks remaining distinctly in memory. It was this:

-      "Be careful, Schmiechen; do not make the face too round; lengthen the outline, and take note of the long distance between the nose and the ears."

But she sat where she could not see the easel nor know what was on it!


How many of the number of those in the studio on that first occasion recognized the Master’s presence was not known. There were psychics in the room, several of them, and the artist, Mr. Schmiechen, was a psychic, or he could not have worked out so successfully the picture that was outlined by him on that eventful day.

The painting of the portrait of the Master Morya followed the completion of the picture; both were approved by Madame Blavatsky, and the two paintings became celebrated among Theosophists the world over. They are a source of inspiration to those who have had opportunity to study the wonderful power and expression depicted in them by Mr. Schmiechen. »
("The Mahatmas and Their Instruments," The Word magazine (New York) July 15, 1912, p.204-206.)







THE SECOND MEETING KNOWN THAT
SHE HAD WITH THE MASTERS

This occurred during her trip back to the United States in October 1884, and about which she narrated the following:


« I left Madame Blavatky in London [for my trip back to New York].

Going on board the steamer in the afternoon I retired at once to my stateroom and, later on, while reading quietly the room was filled with a blazing light that came like a flood upon me.

Two Masters stood in the midst of this light and conversed with me.  It was the most transcendent Vision I had ever seen, or shall hope to see again, and while these enlightened Beings were with me they instructed me regarding my future.

One of the glorious Beings I saw on that never-to-be-forgotten evening at sea, was H.P.B., and then and there my vision was strengthened, and I was carefully instructed regarding my one gift — the power to pass easily from the physical to the astral plane, and the tasks I was to perform on that plane, while living in the body and doing my duty according to my ability. »
(Excerpt from letter written by Mrs. Holloway and dated September 11, 1923. This letter is preserved in the H.P.B. Library, Toronto, Canada.)


The reason the Masters presented themselves is because they were very interested in the faculties that Mrs. Holloway possessed, and she even became a disciple of Master Kuthumi, but unfortunately she failed in her period of approbation.

And for those who want to know more about her, I recommend you read this article (link).