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Geoffrey Hodson (12 March 1886 – 23 January 1983) was a British occultist, Theosophist, mystic, Liberal Catholic priest, philosopher and esotericist, and a leading light for over 70 years in the Theosophical Society.
The Brotherhood of Angels and Men] (1927)
- The ideal of this brotherhood is to draw angels and men, two branches of the infinite family of God, into close cooperation. The chief purpose of such cooperation is to uplift the human race. To this end the angels, on their side, are ready to participate as closely as possible in every department of human life and in every human activity that holds cooperation in view. Those members of the human race who will throw open heart and mind to their brethren of the other sphere, will find an immediate response, and a gradually increasing conviction of its reality.
- While the angels make no conditions, and impose no restrictions or limits to the activities and developments resulting from cooperation, they assume that no human brother would invoke them for personal and material gain. They ask for the acceptance of the motto of the Brotherhood and its practical application to human life in every aspect.
- Let this be the motto for you all—THE HIGHEST —and let all who join our ranks pledge themselves to that motto. We, too, will pledge ourselves, and every time this inward pledge is uttered by a man, an angel shall repeat his pledge and bear it like a torch to add to the great reservoir of power apportioned for our work. Let each who would so pledge himself, retire into solitude, the private room, some grassy height, some woodland shade, or, if he needs them not, into the chamber of his heart. There with fixed purpose let him first meditate, seeking to penetrate into the depth and meaning of our great ideal; then, having envisaged it, let him make firm resolve that he will ever strive towards it throughout this and his future lives; remembering that to the great all things are great.
- Thus, perchance, we may remove the blight that threatens your race, the blight of apathy; in which you are sunk so deep that only wars, earthquakes, fires and floods, famines and sudden death can stir your somnolence. Your higher selves —your angel selves—strive continually to awaken you, to send a vision through your dreams, and here and there a sleeper stirs and stretches, all too often to return to sleep; your dreams must be disturbed by the force of things external to your selves.
- Wars come to rouse you, and you pray to God to save you from more wars! Pestilence and famine stride hand in hand across your heedless lives, and only as you see them threatening your repose do you awake, and, for a time, become your greatest selves. Yet from these, you pray unto your Lord, asking Him to deliver you! The deliverer from these is with you all the while, it is your innermost self; but as you will not be aroused by the Self within you, you must be awakened by the Self without. Know that in wars, plagues, cataclysms, you see yourselves, the expressions of your soul, striding torch in hand, through the dormitories in which your bodies lie, to stir you from your sleep, to drive away the dark shadows of self-satisfaction and content.
- In our Brotherhood, we must begin to hold aloft this great idea—THE HIGHEST —and each must pledge himself that nothing else will satisfy his soul. You must preach this gospel—that the cause of all things, good and ill, lies within ourselves, that the good may be made better and the bad disappear, only by action from within. It is the lives of men you must reform, not their laws; lives can only change when they conform to THE HIGHEST, instead of trifling with the lowest.
- Messenger after messenger has come and spread the truth abroad. It is you who have locked up such truths in temple, church, and mosque, and taken refuge in the courts of law, till self-denial is unknown, and is displaced by denial of the Self. Still you laugh contemptuously, when told that love shall save the world—or purity, or truth, or law, or sacrifice. You have hardened your hearts; yet He still comes, the embodiment of love, purity and truth, of law and sacrifice, to teach you once again the ancient truths, lest war—an even greater war—should take His place as Teacher of Angels and of Men.
The Kingdom of the Gods (1952)
- Chapter I, Definition of Terms
- Since in this book certain familiar words are used in a special sense and certain ideas unfamiliar to most. Western readers are presented, this first Chapter consists of a definition of terms and a brief exposition of the philosophic basis upon which the book is founded.
- The Deity, In Occult philosophy, the Deific Power of the universe is not regarded as a personal God. Although imbued with intelligence, It is not an Intellect. Although using the One Life as vehicle, It is not Itself a Life. Deity is an inherent Principle in Nature, having Its extensions beyond the realm of manifested forms, however tenuous.
- The Immanence of God is not personal, neither is the Transcendence. Each is an expression in time, space and motion of an impersonal Principle, which of Itself is eternal, omnipresent and at rest. Finiteness is essential to the manifestation of THAT which is Infinite. Ideas, rhythms and forms are essential for the expression of THAT which is Absolute. God, then, may best be defined as Infinity and Absoluteness made manifest through finite forms. Such manifestation can never be singular or even dual alone; it must always be primarily threefold and secondarily sevenfold. Point, circumference and radii; power, receiver and conveyer; knower, known and knowledge; these must ever constitute the basic triplicity without which Absoluteness can never produce finiteness, at however lofty a level.
- From these concepts of the Deity there emerges inevitably the idea of a divine purpose, a great plan. That plan is assumed throughout this book to be evolution, but not of form alone. The word “evolution” is herein used to connote a process which is dual in its operation, spiritual as well as material, and directed rather than purely natural or “blind”. This process is understood to consist of a continuous development of form accompanied by a complementary and parallel unfolding of consciousness within the form.
Although man cannot completely know the evolutionary plan -from his Superiors, Sages and Spiritual Teachers throughout the ages he learns that the motive is to awaken and bring to fulfilment that which is latent, seedlike, germinal. Divine Will, divine Wisdom, divine Intellect and divine Beauty, these are latent in all seeds, Macrocosmic and microcosmic. The apparent purpose for which the universe comes into existence is to change potentialities into actively manifested powers.
- Chapter II, Science, Ancient, and Modern
- The age old teachings of occult science are founded, not upon speculations but upon the continually repeated, direct observations of highly trained occult investigators. With the inner eye itself fully operative and the technique of its use fully developed as a result of training under their Adept seniors in evolution, these seers perceive direct the phenomena of Nature on all planes of existence and corroborate the findings of their brother seers who have gone before. For this reason, “to the Occultists who believe in the knowledge acquired by countless generations of Seers and Initiates, the data offered in the Secret Books are all sufficient” (The Secret Doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky, Adyar Edition, Vol. IV, p. 269)
- The assertions of occult science are “made on the cumulative testimony of endless series of Seers who have testified to this fact. Their spiritual visions, real explorations by, and through psychical and spiritual sense untrammelled by blind flesh, were systematically checked and compared one with the other, and their nature sifted. All that was not corroborated by unanimous and collective experience was rejected, while that only was recorded as established truth which, in various ages, under different climes, and throughout an untold series of incessant observations, was found to agree and receive constantly further corroboration.
The Hidden Wisdom In The Holy Bible (1963)
- In common, I believe, with the majority of fellow Christians, in my early years I accepted the Bible as the inspired word of God, a direct message from Deity to man. Later, however, a more critical approach to the Scriptures revealed incredibilities, impossibilities, and even obscenities, which both shocked and repelled me. Finding myself unable either to ignore these barriers to belief or to adopt a tolerant, uncritical acceptance of Holy Writ, two alternatives presented themselves to me. One was to discard entirely the orthodox concept of the Bible as an error-free and infallible source of spiritual wisdom and moral counsel, and the other to undertake a detailed study of the whole text. This latter course was chosen, and in this decision I was largely influenced by the discovery that many of the difficulties arising from a literal reading disappeared if much of the Bible was regarded as allegorical. (Author's Preface)
- Thus studying the Bible, I have found that many of the difficulties and discrepancies which had hitherto proved so perplexing no longer exist. May those who are similarly perplexed and similarly seeking find in these Volumes solutions of their problems and the restoration of their faith. (Author's Preface)
- Ch. 1
- The decision taken by orthodox Christianity to concentrate upon the Bible as history rather than as a blend of history and allegory has, it is submitted, been responsible for disastrous results. When, furthermore, despite affronts to the intellect and a sense of propriety, it is insisted that the Bible is divinely inspired from beginning to end, then the adverse results become far-reaching indeed. Many moral evils may not unjustly be regarded as consequences of this choice. Indeed, such continued affronts cause some people to turn away from the Bible, from the religion founded upon it and, unfortunately, from the morality which Christianity inculcates.
- When faced with the piling of the incredible upon the impossible in the Old Testament, and its portrayal of the Supreme Deity as an arrogant, ruthless and cruel despot, many people fall into atheism, agnosticism, cynicism and indulgence in vice. When, in addition, the Bible is found to contain accounts of frequent indulgence in illicit, and even incestuous, sexual relationships, the Christian Faith can come to be regarded as encouraging such practices, gross immorality being the unfortunate result.
- The existence of the above evils, amongst many others, points to the urgent necessity for a greatly revised reading of the Bible. If, however, many of the anomalies in the Old Testament can be shown to be revelations, under the veil of symbology, of profound spiritual, metaphysical and psychological truths, then the importance of the study of the Scriptures from this point of view at once emerges.
- Ignoring impossibilities and accounts of moral delinquencies, blind faith in the Bible, together with the fear of damnation and the hope of salvation after death, bring large numbers of people to religion. Nevertheless, truly thoughtful minds cannot fail to be repelled by scriptural affronts to reason and propriety. These considerations accentuate the great need for an interpretation of the Bible as a repository of profound wisdom symbolically portrayed. Such an interpretation would meet the objections inevitably aroused by a literal reading with all its consequences, so obviously harmful to mankind.
- Certain portions of the text of the Bible, if taken literally, cannot possibly be regarded as in any way conducive to a high moral standard. In Genesis XII: 10- 20, for example, Abraham passes his wife off as his sister that Pharaoh may possess her. His motive in doing so was that his life might be spared and he be greatly rewarded. Isaac transgresses similarly and for the same reason, as stated in Genesis XXVI: 6-11. In this latter case the Lord God blessed Isaac and he becomes rich and prospers. Genesis XXVII: 1-45, recounts a most deplorable example of deliberate deceit by Jacob, who later becomes a favoured patriarch under the inspiration of the Lord.
- The Old Testament is a collection of thirty-nine books containing poetry and philosophy, ritual law and social legislation, history, symbolism and metaphysics. Its oldest passages are thought to have been written in the days of Moses (about 1200 B.C.), and its latest parts belong to 200 B.C. Though now translated into over 1,000 different dialects and languages its original was written in Hebrew, once again the language of a living people dwelling in the State of Israel. More than a hundred authors wrote it, including priests, prophets and social revolutionaries. Whilst the Bible tells the early history of the Jewish people, then still known as Israelites, it differs from all other historical records. First in importance are the Five Books of Moses, known as the Pentateuch (Gr. “five books”) or by the Hebrew term Torah (Heb. “law”).
- The Torah describes the beginning of the world and the formative history of the Jewish people from Abraham—the first Jew and the creator of the monotheistic Hebrew religion—up to the death of Moses, and contains the Ten Commandments.
- The Bible as a whole is not written systematically, however, but is a collection of books of history, historical metaphor, biography, law and poetry, all leading into one another without an apparent plan. The Books of the Prophets include both historical narrative and an anthology of Divine revelations. Those of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings tell the history of the Jewish people from Joshua’s conquest of the Holy Land to the destruction of the first temple by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 B.C. These Hebrew prophets were the conscience of the people; for in the face of powerful priests and raving multitudes they spoke up with one chief purpose in mind—to teach man “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” (Micah 6: 8). Isaiah writes with dignity and power, condemning social systems which forget the needs of the poor. Amos, a “herdman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit” (Amos, 7: 14), declared God’s judgment upon the nations and upon Israel, also foretelling Israel’s restoration. Jeremiah dedicated himself to God, but was despised and persecuted by the people. He called for peace when nations prepared for war, and demanded an inward religion of sincerity at a time when priests were enforcing their orthodox codes.
- The Hidden Wisdom and Why It is Concealed
- The greatest degree of power which occult science can bestow is to be derived from knowledge of the unity and interaction between the Macrocosm and the microcosm, the Universe and man. “The mystery of the earthly and mortal man is after the mystery of the supernal and immortal One”, wrote Eliphas Levi. Lao Tzu also expresses this truth in his words: “The Universe is a man on a large scale.”
- The whole Universe with all its parts, from the highest plane down to physical Nature, is regarded as being interlocked, interwoven to make a single whole—one body, one organism, one power, one life, one consciousness, all cyclically evolving under one law. The “organs” or parts of the Macrocosm, though apparently separated in space and plane of manifestation, are in fact harmoniously interrelated, intercommunicative and continually interactive.
- According to this revelation of occult philosophy the Zodiac, the Galaxies and their component Systems, and the planets with their kingdoms and planes of Nature, elements, Orders of Beings, radiating forces, colours and notes, are not only parts of a coordinated whole and in “correspondence” or mutual resonance with each other, but also—which is of profound significance—have their representations within man himself. This system of correspondences is in operation throughout the whole of the microcosm, from the Monad to the mortal flesh, including the parts of the mechanism of consciousness, or vehicles and their chakras, by means of which the Spirit of man is manifested throughout his whole nature, varying in degree according to the stage of evolutionary development.
- The seeker for wisdom must... be prepared to delve deeply, to discover, and to interpret according to the classical keys, the numberless treasures of spiritual and occult wisdom and law which lie beneath the surface of all allegorical writings, littered with debris though that surface may appear to be.
- ...the great Book of Genesis—a marvellous cup filled with the “wine” of the esoteric knowledge of the Sanctuaries of ancient days. Temples of the Ageless Wisdom exist to-day, even if less easily discoverable, and in them are to be found the selfsame teachings, laws, successions, Initiations and radiations of the light of Truth. World changes are not reflected in the Mysteries, which are repositories and conveyors of eternal and unchanging Ideas. A sack of corn containing a silver cup awaits every Benjamin who finds himself called by a Hierophant (Joseph) from the “famine-stricken” outer world to the “storehouse” from which an elder brother (a Master) Who has already attained will, in prodigal abundance, supply a gift of the golden grain of eternal verities.
An Appreciation of C.W. Leadbeater (1965)
- The reliability of the seership of C. W. Leadbeater has been challenged by E. L. Gardner, who has described the former’s occult experiences as being mere unconscious “thought-creations.” Since some members of the Theosophical Society have become very disturbed by this charge, I have decided, in response to many requests, to relate certain personal experiences which demonstrate to me that E. L.Gardner is in error.
One of the accusations made by Mr. Gardner is that C. W. Leadbeater’s supposed contacts with the Masters of the Wisdom were largely imaginery, being the result of the unconscious projections of his own thoughts.
- C. W. Leadbeater received two letters from one of the Masters, both being in solid, objective form and transmitted occultly from beyond the Himalayas. This being the case, neither Mr. Gardner nor anyone else can truthfully say that C. W. Leadbeater’s first contacts with the Masters were imaginary. The two letters were, and still are, physical objects now preserved in the archives of the Theosophical Society.
Although a very great deal of what C. W. Leadbeater said and described is beyond my own limited experience, I am able to offer the testimony that I have independently become assured of the truth of certain of his teachings. The existence of the human aura, for example, and of the changes and conditions produced in it by both temporary and habitual feelings and thoughts, are undeniable facts for me.
- Finally, I think it would be a great tragedy if, because of E. L. Gardner’s attack upon C. W. Leadbeater, less notice were taken of the latter’s valuable writings, especially those which expound basic Theosophy, for he always wrote with rare lucidity. His unique contributions to the literature upon the spiritual life, the Path of Discipleship, the Masters of the Wisdom and the Great White Brotherhood of Adepts upon Earth, are not likely to be equaled in their power to transform people’s lives in this period of world history. With so many other revealers of spiritual and occult wisdom to mankind, he has been—and by E. L. Gardner is now—decried and assailed. For me, however, C. W. Leadbeater was a giant amongst men, a great teacher and light-bringer to mankind, and I am indeed grateful for this opportunity of adding my testimony to that of others who knew him far more intimately than ever was my own privilege.
Reincarnation & Christianity (1967)
- Members of the Christian faith sometimes object to the doctrine of reincarnation on the grounds that to accept it would be a violation of Christian doctrine. While it is true that a Council of Constantinople in the sixth century A. D. pronounced belief in the pre-existence of the soul to be heretical, an examination of the Scriptures strongly suggests that the doctrine of rebirth was generally accepted in those days and that Our Lord himself believed it. Whether this be the case or not, the student of the Christian doctrine may well ask whether a decision made by a group of men in the sixth century should be regarded as binding today.
- This objection to reincarnation by Christians, on grounds of doctrinal fidelity, is sufficiently important to merit a somewhat detailed examination. From this it is found that reincarnation has neither been proclaimed nor condemned by any general council of the Church or by any creed accepted by a general council. The Council of Constantinople held in 543 A.D., which proclaimed heretical Origen’s teaching of the preexistence of the soul and affirmed the doctrine of special creation, was not a general council, and so not universally authoritative.
- Origen taught that all souls were created at the beginning of creation as angelic spirits. In this condition they sinned and for their apostasy were transferred into material bodies. It was this view of preexistence which was proclaimed heretical. In any case, heresy thus condemned so long ago need not be regarded today as of major importance. Truth matters a great deal more and a condemned heresy may turn out to be a truth, as happened, for example, when a local church of Rome condemned Galileo’s heliocentric doctrine and forced him to recant. Galileo was right and the church in question was wrong. It is therefore quite legitimate for both clergy and laity of the Christian faith to preach and believe in both preexistence and reincarnation.
- It should also be remembered that the Bible is written in the language of symbols, a special category of literature designed both to conceal and to reveal spiritual truths. Blindness is a symbol for temporary unawareness of spiritual light. The Christ partly represents spiritual intuitiveness. When one who is spiritually blind becomes intuitively awakened and active or, symbolically, enters the presence of the Christ and is healed by him, the scales are said to have fallen from his eyes. This I believe to be the true symbolical interpretation; for I look upon the story as one of the many beautiful miniature mystery dramas to be found in the Bible, portraying in allegory and symbol the soul’s awakening from darkness to light. Nevertheless, symbolism apart, the answer given by the Lord was, as stated above, doctrinally and technically correct.
- The disciples... asked the Master why it had been written that Elijah should appear first, and received a remarkable reply. St. Matthew records the incident thus: And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. (Matt. 17:10–13)
- Reference has already been made to the command given by Christ to his followers: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). If man is granted but one life in which to accomplish this perfection, such attainment would be an impossibility for almost every human being; and Our Lord would have presented to mankind an ideal which is impossible of fulfillment. Since his wisdom was perfect, it is extremely unlikely that he would have taken this course. If, however, each man is granted almost unlimited time and every needed opportunity throughout successive lives in which to reach the goal which is set for him, then Our Lord’s words are less an injunction than a description of the destiny of every man. Indeed, in the original Greek and in the Revised Version, the behest becomes a simple statement of fact: “Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
- Geoffrey Hodson, a theosophical writer, in his book The Hidden Wisdom in the Holy Bible, Vol. I, gives us excellent clues to the symbolic meanings of the Bible. One of his suggestions is that we look at many biblical passages not for historical information, but that we consider them as happenings within our lives...
- Howard Ray Carey, The Joy of Christ's Coming, Chapter 4. Hidden esotericism in the Bible, (1988)