Foundations of Knowledge By William Arthur Dunn



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Cardiff Theosophical Society

Mission Statement


The dominant and core activity of Cardiff Theosophical Society

is to promote and assist the study of Theosophical Teachings

as defined by the writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky,

William Quan Judge, Alfred Percy Sinnett and their lineage.


This Mission Statement does not preclude non Theosophical

activities but these must be of a spiritual nature

and/or compatible with the Objects of the Society.



Cymdeithas Theosoffi Caerdydd

Datganiaid Cenhadaeth


Mae’r gweithgaredd dominyddol a chraid Cymdeithas Theosoffi Caerdydd

yw hyrwyddo a chynorthwyo astudiaeth Dysgeidiaeth Theosoffical

fel y diffinir gan ysgrifau Helena Petrovna Blavatsky,

William Quan Judge, Alfred Percy Sinnett a’u llinach.


Nid yw’r datganiad cenhadaeth yn atal gweithgareddau

ddi-theosoffical ond rhaid iddynt fod o natur ysbrydol

a/neu yn chymharus Amcanion y Cymdeithas.





Foundations of



William Arthur Dunn

Published 1917





THERE is no danger that dauntless courage cannot conquer; there is no trial that Spotless purity cannot pass through; there is no difficulty that strong intellect cannot surmount.


H P Blavatsky



It is a matter of grave importance that a man should examine the foundations (in himself) upon which his knowledge rests. We may 'know ' things or persons in so many ways, that often superficial impressions are mistaken for enduring facts. For instance, we may know others by name or report only ; or by their characteristic qualities, or simply by their 'appearance.' It is obvious that the foundation of knowledge is only arrived at by conscious under-standing of, and identification with, the persons and things known, as opposed to the various aspects from which they are regarded.


In matters of familiar thought and experience, as those pertaining to Art, Industry, or Commerce, the intermediate course of action which passes from an intention to its fulfilment, or from an ideal to its realization, is a course which all men recognise as necessary and obligatory. A young art-student, for instance, is first possessed by an ideal which becomes realized later, after years of study and application.


As finished artist, he has reached his goal : that of having disciplined his brain and hand to execute the conscious ideal of his Soul which had governed his efforts from the beginning. This truth applies to all 'courses of action ' which transform architectural, commercial, and other designs, or ideal plans, into accomplished facts. As applied to human culture or refinement, the expression 'an accomplished man ' conveys the same meaning. Thus in all matters of daily life and thought, the i;z:.mnediall grades of effort

(which consolidate the ideal into the real) are essentially the paths along which the Will executes the conscious purposes first formulated by imagination and thought. In the ordinary affairs of life, there are few who would dissent from these ideas -the dissentients would probably be those who (because of failure to recognise and execute obligations due to themselves and to others) condemn the world for conditions they have become specially involved in by individual conduct. Or as stated by Madame Blavatsky, "Karma gives back to every man the actual consequences of his own actions." "We say that Karma does not act in this or that particular way always ; but that it always does act so as to restore Harmony and preserve the balance of equilibrium, in virtue of which the Universe exists. "


But beyond the horizon of everyday affairs, in regard to the vastly more important matters which relate to the moral and spiritual well-being of man, teachings which define and point out 'ways and means ' whereby to realize the life of the Soul, are all too frequently mistaken for the 'end' they but indicate ideally, despite the fact that failure to execute the intermediate of action (between ideal and real) causes heart and mind to manifest the inertia which attends sloth and semi-starvation. Inspiring as ideal knowledge is, as defining the 'possibilities ' of the Soul, the development of individual capacity to attain the desired state is quite another matter ; growing capacity indicating the Will in action, moving towards the pictured ideal until it attains identity with it -as an accomplished fact. But if ideal knowledge is not recognised as being merely a 'plan for action,' (and not 'ac.ion ' itself) it tends to crystallize into

an 'object of attachment ' to perception alone, the active Will, meanwhile, remaining engaged with acquired habits and tendencies which the ideal would modify or transmute -if it could, or conditions permitted. To disengage the Will from the 'coils of the ancient serpent,' and apply it to the ideal purpose 'in view,' appears to be as necessary and obligatory in realizing a spiritual state of character, as it is necessary to dismiss sloth from ordinary duties, and apply the Will to the art, profession or business a man is engaged in.


The object of this paper is an attempt to indicate the functional energy of thought, as the sole cause upon which all perceptions and ideas depend for the 'associative powers ' which vitalize and unite them into true forms of knowledge; as opposed to 'relative knowledge,' which is formal and distant, untenanted by the conscious Will, yet governing the mind under the form of 'Necessity.' Knowledge, to be true and familiar to heart and mind, necessarily embodies the executive Will as its vital principle.


A Supreme Court of Justice, in pronouncing judgment upon questions of Law, does so only after dll detail evidence relating to the 'action 'proceeding has been sifted, systematized, and summed up ; the resulting

verdict handed down having been abstracted from testimony drawn from both sides to the action, thus effecting a solution of the differences which had arisen between them.


The attitude assumed by a thoughtful mind seeking a solution of the diversified conditions in which it finds itself peculiarly involved, suggests the closest correspondence to judge, jury, opposing attorneys and testifying witnesses, of a 'Court of Justice.' The illustration also suggests, that in seeking the verdict of 'law ' upon any problem with which the individual faculties are exercised, every diversified factor relating to the 'action' proceeding in thought, should be submitted to the Lawgiver residing within the thinking consciousness, in a truthful and systematic way, so that he (the Judge or Ego-Self) may 'hand down ' a verdict of approval such as all men know in their secret voice of conscience. Madame Blavatsky

clearly expresses this idea in The Key to Theosophy, 236 : (Man reaches an elevated status) "By the enlightened application of our precepts to practice; by the use of our higher reason, spiritual intuition and moral sense ; and by following the dictates of what we call 'the still small voice' of our conscience, which is that of our Ego, and speaks louder in us than the earthquakes and the thunders of Jehovah, wherein 'the Lord is not.' "


But it is usually found that opposing energies of thought are unevenly balanced in the same mind --some being intensified because ministering to present interest or desire, others being weakened by dismissal into the so-called 'objective ' because their influence on feeling causes discomfort and self-reproof. (They are not 'dismissed,' in fact, but only banished to a hidden prison within the mind, from which they continue to act as pricks of conscience, and from which they will inevitably be released either by self-redemption, or by Karma which brings all things to fruition.)


We therefore find that the prosecution of material interests all too frequently engrosses the mind's 'attention,' to the exclusion of the feebler defense set up by the spiritual thinker. This neglect of the spiritual faculty to cross-examine its opponent's testimony, and to marshal positive evidence to rebut it, compels the 'Judge ' (conscience) to 'hand down ' a verdict which can only be modified or reversed by an 'appeal ' for another 'trial '-in which testimony from both prosecution and defense will be more truly handled. This illustration is not suggested as corresponding to objective environment, but as a picture of what occurs in every individual soul in studying facts in itself. Or, as stated in The Secret Doctrine, I, 329 :


The pure object apart from consciousness is unknown to us, while living on the plane of our three-dimensional World ; as we know only the mental states it excites in the perceiving Ego. And, so long as the contrast of Subject and Object endures --to wit, as long as we enjoy our five senses and no more, and do not know how to divorce our all-perceiving Ego (the Higher Self) from the thraldom of these senses -so long will it be impossible for the Personal Ego to break through the barrier which separates it from a knowledge of things in themselves.


The 'pairs of opposites ' everywhere co-existent and mutually dependent (as each individual perceives and thinks of them), such as 'life and death,' 'positive and negative,' 'good and evil,' 'inner and outer, ' 'self

and not-self,' etc., are usually not recognised as being polar contrasts of but one 'Thinking Agent,' that, after self-examination, may come to know itself as naturally resident in their hidden synthesis or equilibrium. In this connexion read The Secret Doctrine, II, 103 :


It is only by the attractive force of the contrasts that the two opposites Spirit and Matter -can be cemented on Earth, and, smelted in the fire of self-conscious experience and suffering, find themselves wedded in Eternity. This will reveal the meaning of many hitherto incomprehensible allegories, foolishly called 'fables.'


The sense-reflecting side of the mind -or that which inspects objective images reflected into it -seldom becomes aware of the fact that what it imagines as separate from, or outside of, itself, is in strict truth

involved, or bound up, with its own peculiar constitution or mode of receptivity, the receiving mirror (in which the totality of objects perceived is specially reflected) being in fact, itself. But the Judging-Self, who presides over consciousness as a whole (associated as it is with its total organic keyboard of graded cells, organs, and sense-orifices) cannot be so deluded, seeing that its 'verdicts' (uttered through voice of conscience) include testimony from all other agencies involved in every minute 'action.' (A single 'traitor ' jeopardizes the safety of the army he is a member of) When the sense-reflecting side of the mind acts from impulses of its own, it forgets that it is intrinsically bound up with all other 'principles' of the organized Selfhood, of which it is but one function interblended with many others. This is clearly stated in The Secret Doctrine, I, 604 :


From Gods to men, from Worlds to atoms, from a star to a rush-light, from the Sun to the vital heat of the meanest organic being --the world of Form and Existence is an immense chain, whose links are all connected. The law of Analogy is the first key to the world-problem, and these links have to be studied co-ordinately in their occult relations to each other.


Consequently the 'apparent' separation of the mind from the Soul is a self-willed delusion which will cease when the fraud is discovered, and the released will is reclaimed for service to the creative imagination. It is not possible for the vital energies to leak 'into the air ' (conducted by irrational thought, meaningless speech, and impulses of personal feeling) and at the same time energize and enact the spiritual functions of the soul through its bodily tabernacle. Electricity, being freed by disintegrating substances, and the same energy vitalizing a perfectly organized body, aptly illustrates the idea suggested. Or take the illustration of latent heat (flame) : when under control it animates nature and serves mankind in countless ways -when it passes the bounds of control it devastates everything it touches. The Will of man is conceded to be the highest energy in nature; it is small wonder, therefore, if its association with transient desires and

irrational thought should generate such terrible effects as history records. Or, as stated in The Key to Theosophy, page 199:


We must not lose sight of the fact that every atom is subject to the general law governing the whole body to which it belongs, and here we come upon the wider track of the karmic law. Do you not perceive that the aggregate of individual Karma becomes that of the nation to which those individuals belong, and further, that the sum total of National Karma is that of the World? The evils [falling on the masses] that you speak of are not peculiar to the individual or even to the Nation ; they are more or less universal ; and it is upon this broad line of Human interdependence that the law of Karma finds its legitimate and equable issue.


Shakespeare indicate that some great man must have lived and composed them, although there are many scholars striving their utmost to invest his personality in mythical drapery, wearisome to the soul. The Secret Doctrine, I, 285, states that "All the fundamental truths of nature were universal in antiquity."


The custodians of materialistic learning have no need to depart from present time for living examples of their evolutionary scheme. What need to misinterpret antiquity (by denial of its spiritually advanced races) while the forefathers they acclaim are actually resident in the jungles of Africa and in other localities; especially as the data upon which materialists base their deductions are in many respects more unstable than those pertaining to man's involution from the ancient 'Gods '? In support of the

latter, we not only have undoubted evidence in archaeological and literary remains, but also in the possession of atrophied organs in the body which evidence the fact that they once had functional activity.


It would seem that the only logical position to assume is that Gods, men, animals, apes, etc., co-exist at all times and epochs, and that men and nations manifest, through themselves, the special hierarchy they affiliate themselves with, by desired modes of thought and feeling which their prevailing desires and vital functions impel into action, and which they feel called upon to proclaim as universal truth. As the elements of a language may be woven into a sensual romance, a materialistic philosophy, or a Homeric epic, so may either the desires, aspirations, or will-force governing the thinking principle, weave the natural sensations which attend human existence into a base character, a devotee, or into the character of a God. The world of art and music is a living reality to those engaged therein ; it is utterly void of meaning to those lacking capacity to understand or express it. The same fact also applies to all grades of capacity and intelligence which affiliate men with life. Outside of our own capacity, knowledge and experience which others consciously possess do not exist (for us). This fact is brought home when entering on some new occupation

for which our enthusiasm has just awakened; we find that thousands of others have already reaped harvests in the field we have just begun to till. We had not perceived this before our own awakened interest endowed perception with sympathetic appreciation. Or, as stated in The Secret Doctrine, I, 326 :


The evolution of the GOD-IDEA proceeds apace with man's own intellectual evolution. . . . For every thinker there will be a "Thus far shalt thou go and no farther" mapped out by his intellectual capacity.


Spectrum analysis of stellar light has recently revealed the fact that the stars are carried in two great orbits revolving in opposite directions: and that certain classes of stars are known to be growing hotter while other classes of stars on the contrary are as certainly becoming cooler.


This universal tendency of inter blended 'upgoing ' and 'downgoing ' life appears to be simultaneously present in every atom, cell, and organism in Nature -from highest complex body down to simplest atom, and in every expression of human conduct. This is suggested in The Secret Doctrine, I, 247:


Though one and the same thing in their origin, Spirit and Matter, when once they are on the plane of differentiation, begin each of them their evolutionary progress in contrary directions -Spirit falling gradually into matter, and the latter ascending to its original condition, that of a pure spiritual substance. Both are inseparable, yet ever separated.


In confirmation of this assumption -that of two opposite life-streams (involution and evolution) commingling in progressive stages through organizing cells, simple organisms, and bodies of increasing complexity abundant testimony is available. The axioms which define the universality of law governing like and unlike, the correlation of dissimilar forces, action and reaction as equal and opposite, chemical affinities operating between unlike atoms, attraction between positive and negative currents of magnetism and electricity; all these and many similar facts demonstrate the overshadowing presence of unseen intelligences whose modes of manifestation are through polarized 'pairs of opposites,' which have their synthesis in some vital center, or functional power (such as respiration which is the vital function or center regulating the opposite streams. of inspiration and expiration.)


Every movement or effort proceeding from an evolving entity implies the presence of a permitting or reacting agency (generally not seen nor considered) in which the effort takes effect,-the 'permitting ' agency (or medium receiving the effort) reacting on the movement in a specific manner; receiving, modifying, or retarding the moving force according to well known dynamic principles. Hence the presence in the mind of twisted notions or unstable thoughts implies a mental background (consciousness

as a whole) in a passive and non-resisting condition which 'permits ' such instability amidst its thoughts -indicating the absence of original constructive 'thinking,' as a reactive agent to natural impulses. This truth is illustrated by the dependence of vegetation and animal life upon favorable meteorological conditions in the earth and atmosphere ; and also by the spirit uniting an army depending on the presence of commanding officers who intelligently will that unity amongst the rank and file.


The evolution of man, the microcosm, is analogous to that of the Universe, the macrocosm. His evolution stands between that of the latter and that of the animal, for which man, in his turn, is a macrocosm.

The Secret Doctrine, II, 177


It would therefore seem that consciousness, (which receives and permits phenomenal sensations to vibrate through it without change from their elemental states, or on the contrary classifies and reorganizes them

into superior 'regimental groups'), is different in character from its variously graded contents. Hence to strengthen this 'permitting ' background of the mind by thinking in it (as consciousness interpenetrating all its forms of thought) must necessarily change it from a passive to a positive state, reacting, because of acquired elasticity, through which intuitive volition may act, upon all objects of perception and desire, so that harmony between them and the established mental status will be continually operative.


As the element carbon forms the base of all foods which nourish the body yet also forms the diamonds; so are the elements of thought either food to the lower mind, or the material (when transmuted by the interpenetrating essence of pure thought) which become the 'diamond vesture ' of the conscious Soul. Or, as taught in The Key to Theosophy, p. 257:


The purely bodily actions and functions are of far less importance than what a man thinks and feels; what desires he encourages in his mind, and allows to take root and grow there.


Speculative thinkers and enthusiastic emotionalists, who have attached their minds to the outer 'objects ' which so diversify their thoughts and feelings as to cause disregard of the conscious medium (within themselves) they passively permit the 'objects ' to float in -are strangely unconscious of the momentous changes, in quality and density, that mental background may undergo when independent effort to search for truth itself becomes operative. In fact it is this all-permeating field of consciousness which (when aware of its own quality and strength) takes possession of its 'objects of perception,' and arrives at truth by assimilating their essence and dismissing the refuse -thus embodying the conscious Will in the purified

essence upon which all forms of true knowledge are based.


Minds are specialized, not so much because of differences in the subject matter thought upon, as by the quality and strength of the Will consciously operating in their 'states of consciousness,' into which the subject-matter is admitted. As a metallic element may be used for a weapon, a machine, a bridge, or a transmitting medium of finer forces -so may the active Will destroy,. construct, bridge over, or transmute the heterogeneous elements carried by consciousness. This suggests that a man's mental constitution,

in which he is aware of conscious affiliation with a correspondent aspect of natural life, is quite distinct from the transient objects and pursuits which engage his objective perceptions, and that he permits

those 'objects' to assume station in his mind according to the regulating processes inherent in his mode of constructive thought. Should this conscious thinking process be asleep or merely passive, the mind, of course, 'permits ' phenomenal sensations to modify and ruffle it like waves and ripples on the surface of a lake. As the life of a great city ' appears ' chaotic to a new arrival, yet is home to those residing and working in it -so does external nature 'appear ' disjointed to untrained thought, yet progressively

becomes home to those who consciously exercise in themselves energies correlative with those in unseen nature. In this connexion read The Secret Doctrine, I, 274:


Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms is CONSCIOUS :


i. e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of

perception . . . .


The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards .... and man the microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm-is the living witness to this Universal Law and the mode of its action.


Phenomenal conditions of life surround all men in common (as does air and sunlight), hence all 'interpretations' of life by thinking minds are, strictly speaking, more representative of constitutional qualities. of the many minds 'exhaling ' their formulated thought (as they 'exhale ' breath, after inhaling and modifying the atmospheric air common to all) than of the totality of nature as it really is for all men in their deepest life of solidarity and interdependence. We read a citation in The Secret Doctrine, I, 285 :


In the manifold unity of universal life, the innumerable individualities distinguished by their variations are, nevertheless, united in such a manner that the whole is one, and that everything proceeds from Unity.


God is not a mind, but the cause that the mind is; ...


As it would be impossible to deduce the lives of Jesus Christ and Gautama-Buddha from the utterances of materialists or theological dogmatists, so it is erroneous to limit the interpretation of Nature and Humanity to restricted modes of thought and feeling peculiarly our own. The tone of a bell that vibrates through the air is but an acoustical replica of the organized qualities of the bell itself. Modify or improve the bell in any way, and the radiating tone becomes a correspondent replica. So it is with a man's mind. His 'interpretations ' of universal life are 'tonal replicas ' of his individual constitution, acting upon, or responding to, hi. environment. Improve or purify one's own mind, and all Nature' appears' to improve correspondingly.


False ideas of the spiritual life of man appear to have arisen from regarding detached aspects or parts of his nature, as if competent to reveal knowledge which entirely belongs to their 'ensemble'-or vital force

animating the living organism from which the 'parts ' have been arbitrarily separated, so as to correspond with prevailing modes of scientific observation (thereby nullifying the vital ensemble, or state of co-ordinated forces). It is as though the meaning of a poem was sought for by detaching the nouns (denominating things) from their contexts, without regard for the modifying influences of carefully placed verbs (denominating forces), adverbs, adjectives, and conjunctions; or as if one observed the separate movements of surface waves without regard to the water beneath them all, and the causal agencies above of wind and weather ; or as if, one broke a harp into parts in search of the music only possible when

the harp is no longer parts, but a single instrument of perfect construction and in tune. This idea is presented in The Secret Doctrine, I, 281:


Everything is the product of one universal creative effort . . . . Everything is organic and living, and therefore the whole world appears to be a living organism.


The phenomena which attend separated or disintegrating parts of an organism are not compatible with that which attends the same parts in their various modes of correlation or ensemble. Separate objects

and forces possessing special qualities of their own, always undergo a radical transformation when welded together by the unseen 'associative forces ' they are completely subject to. Such an associative energy is

indicated by electricity, which unites thousands of unlike atoms into molecules and compounds exhibiting qualities quite distinct from those displayed by the free atoms. And it seems probable that the 'associative

power' of the conscious will (guided by 'ideas') causes the unlike contents of consciousness to coalesce into the higher forms of self-conscious knowledge which some minds possess as volitional intuition --the sense phenomena they are recipient of appearing to pass at once into the superior condition they consciously embody. The wide differences between several men and women reacting to the same events or

circumstances are suggestive of the enormous distinctions existing as between their established 'states of consciousness ' and the objects of sense which are erroneously though( to be explanatory of their inner strongholds of individual selfhood. As raw material is specially gathered from Nature for the construction

of dwellings -in obedience to architectural and constructive intelligence; so the mind is both the repository (on its observing side) of the raw materials of sensation and objects of perception, and the builder (on its executive side) of the various 'mansions of the Soul ' under the direction of the architectural powers of the thinking Self.


In every living organism. from lowest cell-form up to complex man, we: find a mingling of two opposite processes, 'Viz.: Involution, or intake from Universal Nature and humanity (by special powers of individual selection) of separated elements, such as thought-currents, feeling, food, air, light, heat, sound, odor, etc. ; and Evolution, or output back to Nature of what the indwelling Egos or entities have wrought out of the elements specially involved or imbibed. In so far as these two processes (involution and evolution) neutralize each other in any cell, organ, or body, they appear to pass into a resultant energy known as Vitality, whose function seems to be that of maintaining and perpetuating the organism or species it animates and controls. One or the other of the processes of involution or evolution weakening (such as failure to assimilate thought, feeling, or food) , then the disturbed vital balance opens the door to disintegration, or degeneration, of organic parts. But while the balance is retained as between incoming and outgoing forces, it provides the vital foothold, as it were, of the Conscious Ego who causes and regulates their neutral foci in vital centers of the established material form. In this connexion the following verse from the 'Book of the Dead' is suggestive :


Thou openest up the path of the double Lion-God. thou sett.est the Gods upon their thrones, and the Khus in their abiding-places.


Praise be unto thee, 0 Ra. . . . Thou joinest thyself unto the Eye of Horus, and thou hidest thyself within its secret place.


Corne, therefore, 0 Horus, Son of Isis, for thou, 0 Son of Osiris, sittest upon the throne of thy Father Ra to overthrow thine enemies ; for he hath ordained for thee the two lands to their utmost limits.


The reincarnating Ego, therefore, (who consciously contacts material existence through the neutral vital centers of the body, which are the regulators of the graded streams of energy flowing in and out of the natural body) cannot be thought of, much less described, in terms which relate to a few of its detached parts ; for instance, by attempting to define volition in terms of elemental processes such as those expressive of chemical affinity and cellular secretions. As well seek for the idea conveyed in a sentence

by theoretical analysis of its constituent parts of speech.


When the meaning embodied in a sentence dawns on the mind, the idea (of which the thinking mind becomes aware) is known to be independent of the formal words used to invoke it. In a similar way, all mental phenomena, such as sensations, desires, emotions, etc., associated with the lunar or reflecting consciousness, are passed through, or superseded, when the meaning (enshrined in their higher ensemble or correlation) dawns on the mind -as the morning sun dismisses the reflecting shadows of the moon. In speaking of the world of 'ideas' it is stated in The Secret Doctrine, I, 280 :


Man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with Nature . . . . The ever unknowable and incognizable Klirana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart -invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through 'the still, small voice' of our spiritual consciousness.


The various classes of Egos which reincarnate into human existence appear, by reason of their inherent 'powers of selection ' (Karma, or capacity brought over from previous life) to attract and aggregate special

elements of life and Nature into the physical bodies they ensoul, as if they (the Egos) were the powers which determine the neutral points of balance (vital centers) between the incoming and outgoing forces commingling in the inhabited body. All human bodies, from infancy to old age, exhibit this 'in' and 'out ' rhythm in infinite variety, to and from neutral vital centers (functional powers) in which the Ego apparently resides -as Lawgiver. The intake and output of blood to and from the vital center in the heart (in which it is alchemically purified) -the inspiration and expiration to and from the vital center of respiration (in which atmospheric air is transmuted), the intake and output attending the function of digestion (which changes food into bone, sinew, and muscle) , and lastly, the crowning rhythm of the vital pendulum of pure thought between its subjective and objective poles, are clear indications of the threefold nature of every function proceeding from the Spiritual Will (or Ego). In brief, there is but one Lawgiver behind all its correlated activities, despite all opposite testimony from 'appearances.' In The Secret Doctrine, I, 277, Madame Blavatsky states :


The very fact that adaptations do occur, that the fittest do survive in the struggle for existence, shows that what is called 'unconscious Nature ' is in reality an aggregate of forces manipulated by semi-intelligent beings (Elementals) guided by High Planetary Spirits (Dhyan-Chohans), whose collective aggregate forms the manifested verbum of the unmanifested LOGOS,and constitutes at one and the same time the MIND of the Universe and its immutable LAW.


Taking the four functions of thought, respiration, blood-circulation, and digestion (which correspond with the ancient classification of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth) as indicating rhythmic flows of energy to and from the vital centers which govern them, we have a vivid representation of how Nature operates in all parts of her living organism (quite independent of relative notions which lodge in the mind for a brief space, and then die for lack of correspondence to any living thing) . It depicts involution and evolution as co-existing polarities proceeding from unseen conscious Wills (Egos) who inform and regulate all parts of the organisms they inhabit. Hence to gain knowledge of the Souls incarnated in Humanity (as they are behind their multiple • appearances') one must approach them through the synthesis of all separated aspects of one's own consciousness, just as synthetic · adjustment of words and sentences provide 'means '

by which the mind becomes recipient of the ideas language merely 'conveys ' from other Souls. This attitude of mind is strongly emphasized in The Secret Doctrine, I, 276:


It is on the acceptance or rejection of the theory of the Unity of all in Nature, in its ultimate Essence, that mainly rests the belief or unbelief in the existence around us of other conscious beings besides the Spirits of the Dead. It is on the right comprehension of the primeval Evolution of Spirit-Matter and its real essence that the student has to depend for the further elucidation in his mind of the Occult Cosmogony, and for the only sure clue which can guide his subsequent studies.


Madame Blavatsky beautifully expresses the path of this study in the following words :


Universal Unity and Causation; Human Solidarity; the Law of Karma; Reincarnation. These are the four links of the golden chain which should bind humanity into one family, one Universal Brotherhood.


-The Key to Theosophy, 229


No investigation of the 'separate' forces of human life can lead to that knowledge of the Soul which only blazons forth in a fully organized character, with all its principles or aspects in perfect correlation (like the numerous departments of a perfectly organized business). In support of these facts Madame Blavatsky states, in The Key to Theosophy, page 186:


The universe and everything in it, moral, mental, physical, psychic or Spiritual, is built on a perfect law of equilibrium and harmony. . . . the centripetal force could not manifest itself without the centrifugal in the harmonious revolutions of the spheres, and all forms and the progress of such forms are products of this dual force in Nature. . . . the Spirit, or Buddhi, is the centrifugal, and the soul, or Manas, the centripetal spiritual energy ; and to produce one result they have to be in perfect union and harmony.


The human soul, whether considered from the physical or metaphysical side, necessarily embodies an established existence, in itself, before any mode of investigation of its organic aspects or details can be taken up. It is obvious that the ensouling energies which govern all forms of vegetation, or of animals and men, are in command of the full resources of knowledge bound up with their existence. The utter lack of and correspondence between the vital life which causes a vegetable form to develop, and the scientific knowledge gained by analysis of its 'parts,' does not appear to be incongruous or absurd to the materialistic investigator.


Yet in everyday affairs we recognise the distinction between superficially observing (outer-standing) the activities of a large business concern, and the under-standing possessed by those who originate and control those activities. Thus observing Nature from the 'outside ' is quite distinct from becoming acquainted with the 'intelligences ' operating within Nature;which the mind may approach from within itself -seeing that the mind (in its origin) is not separate from the 'causes ' it seeks, but is deeply bound up with them. The manner in which a business or professional man works his way to higher positions of responsibility and efficiency is approximately the same as that of the human soul working its way to posts of capacity and efficiency in the unseen commonwealth of Nature. As within, so without.


This truth, applied to philosophic thinking, is of momentous import. Philosophy, in its essence, is conscious effort of the mind to unload itself of illusion, and become aware of its essential identity with the reality of pure thought from which it had departed into objective illusion. When the deceit of sense-perception is discovered, 'relative ' notions which attend misdirected faculties, disappear of themselves. Consequently, any system of philosophy which, after proper examination, fails to so release and discipline the mind that it becomes freely responsive to the living truth at the soul of things, is either restricted as a system of thought discipline, or inappropriate to the needs of the student.


'Thinking '-or consciousness knowing itself as cause and 'permitting ' agent in all its perceptions and conceptions -therefore progressively frees the mind from attachment to mere sense-reports of phenomena -by exercising it (the mind) with that from which all modes of perception proceed.


The 'appearance ' of Nature to man is somewhat like that of a communication, the words of which, being in cipher, first engage the mind with their broken meanings; until, by seeking for the connexion between them (should thought discover its own key) the message itself is arrived at and the mind, having adjusted the detail words, becomes recipient of an idea -the symbolic means used to convey it being dismissed.


Pure thought cannot be swamped or disturbed by currents of sensation and impulse, without thinking (as a function of the conscious will) ceasing. It is a mechanical law that motor power cannot operate the machinery of a factory which, because of inferior construction, permits the power to escape through broken crevices or ill-fitting joints. In a similar way, it would appear that the conscious action of the Spiritual Will depends on the subjugation of 'subjective ' and 'objective ' tendencies of disarranged

thought, to the end that they become centralized in the pure Ego-Self. Thus the functional power of thinking is the fundamental cause from which both inner and outer perceptions (which are always correlative as inner 'image ' related to outer 'object') receive the meaning attributed to them -just as inspiration and expiration of the breath are ingoing and outgoing indications of the central function of respiration.


The functional power of the Spiritual Will, therefore, being the fundamental cause of the subjective and objective perceptions peculiar to each


The organism of man is admittedly the apex, or epitome, of all gradated forms in extended nature. The modern tendency to define evolution in terms of sight-perception alone -which looks out, on forms of every shape and degree, from simple cells aggregating in bodies of varied and increasing complexity, up to that of man (who epitomizes the whole) -all this has obscured the opposite truth enunciated by Theosophy: that of the descent (through cast-off parts) of the perfect man-form into separated species of descending grades. The so-called inorganic processes proceeding from unit organisms into multiple molecular and atomic classes of substances testified to by the senses of feeling, taste and smell -also suggest this distribution.


If it is true, as evolutionists claim, that man evolved physically from primitive races, it is equally true to assert that the civilized races of early historic and prehistoric times (whose relics and literature we attribute to 'Divine intervention ' in order to sustain our assumption of possessing human knowledge superior to that possessed by antique races), also resided on earth at a time approximate to that allotted to primitive origins. And it is but logical to assume that, if physical man evolved from primitive natural conditions, spiritual man simultaneously involved from an original objective state of established knowledge and power; these two poles bearing suggestive correspondence to present developed functions of desire, as opposed to the atrophied functions of intuition and conscience ; of which only the 'voice' remains on earth, linked with some dwarfed cerebral organs whose function is a mystery to science (like their archaeological correspondents dotting the earth at many points). These matters would become

clearer if 'Supernaturalism' and 'Divine intervention' were eradicated from thought, and the really common-sense view taken that all secular and Divine relics of the past proceeded from men and races who actually lived, thought and wrote their history -. remnants of which we possess, and piece together according to arbitrary preconceptions. The only reason why we do not think of our spiritual progenitors as 'men and women ' of the past, is because our own standard is regarded exclusively as on an ascending

scale, and not, on the spiritual side, on a descending one. Itapparently would be too great a blow to modern self-esteem, to regard present spiritual conditions as a degeneration from prehistoric civilization.

This tendency of the personal nature to applaud itself is well known in types who asset with pride that they are 'plain practical people,' meaning thereby, that all refining qualities outside their perceptions and capacity are superfluous and unpractical. It is much the same in regard to the attitude of the modern mind towards antiquity. The presence amongst us of the Upanishads of India, or the Pyramids of Egypt, are as indicative of great prehistoric civilizations higher than our own, as the plays of


individual, can only be known by recognising that all 'extremes meet,' and disappear, when their neutral functional cause becomes known and self-active in consciousness. Pure flame (to which consciousness has been compared) is both its own subjective heat and its own objective radiation. In The Key to Theosophy, page 180, Madame Blavatsky writes :


This individualized 'Thought ' is what we Theosophists call the real human Ego, the thinking Entity imprisoned in a case of flesh and bones. This is surely a Spiritual Entity, not Matter, and such Entities are the incarnating Egos ... whose names are manasa or 'Minds.'


When the function of disentangled thought is, by discipline, exalted to a state of health and strength, this comes not by continuing to observe and fondle its familiar objects of perception, but by free exercise of its

own etheric principle in which 'objects of attachment ' (pyschological notions) are grasped and questioned as to their relation to the truth which the thinking principle carries in itself --as cause of its awareness. This engenders a thought capacity which soon discovers itself to be independent (because causal agent) of the transient images vibrating over its surface, and upon which it (the thinker) depended when in a passive state. And further, it is found that 'subjective ' and 'objective ' modes of feeling and perception change radically as the Thinking Power acquires capacity to will its association with causal energies of life previously concealed by deceptive 'appearances.' In short, consciousness comes to will and know itself (through channels of trained thought and feeling) along the universal 'level ' of its own capacity or awareness just as the muscular system acts by acquired co-ordinating movements -through the outer occupations and modes of conduct it has been trained for. This thought is forcibly presented in The Secret Doctrine, II, 110-111:


. . . it is the Higher Ego, or incarnating principle, the nous or Mind, which reigns over the animal Ego, and rules it whenever it is not carried down by the latter . . . .


. . . the Zohar teaches that in the 'Soul' is the real man, i. e., the Ego and the conscious I AM : 'Manas.'


Thinking, as a functional power, appears to be to consciousness what digestion and respiration are to the body -"As above, so below." Should the phenomena which attend physical functions be paraphrased into their psychological equivalents, the results would probably give a correct description of the mental conditions of the person considered -indicating whether the thinking principle is merely reflective to inferior sensations and desires of the lower functions (like the passive surface of a mirror) or actively awake in its own etheric element, infinitely elastic, because coherent, to all vibrations of manifesting Nature, yet possessing a quality of solid cohesion which reacts upon the elements received from extended

Nature -embodying them into forms of the creative imagination, or self-expression of the Soul.


We read in The Key to Theosophy, page 99, that


The 'Principles ' . . . are simply aspects and states of consciousness. There is but one real man, enduring through the cycle of life and immortal in essence, if not in form, and this is Manas, the Mind-man or embodied Consciousness.


In the Egyptian 'Book of the Dead' we find the same truth :


I have gained the mastery over my heart. I understand with my heart. I have gained the mastery over my two hands. I have gained the mastery over my two legs. I have gained the power to do whatsoever my Ka pleaseth. My Soul shall not be fettered to my body at the gates of the underworld ; but I shall enter in peace and I shall come forth in peace.


Madame Blavatsky teaches that the disciple must become 'all thought' and William Q. Judge also affirms "not speech, but thought, really rules the world." Or to paraphrase in scientific parlance : "Not phenomenal sound, light, heat, and electrical vibrations rule Nature, but the all pervading etheric energy, of which all these are but fragmentary 'appearances.'" The totality of manifesting life, viewed as from the etheric energy of space, cannot appear but as co-ordinating expressions of one Supreme Will and Intelligence. In this connexion, the following words of The Secret Doctrine, I, 278, are conclusive :


During the great mystery and drama of life ... real Kosmos is like the object placed behind the white screen upon which are thrown the Chinese shadows, called forth by the magic lantern. The actual figures and things remain invisible, while the wires of evolution are pulled by the unseen hands ; ... This was taught in every philosophy, in every religion, ante as well as post diluvian, in India and Chaldaea, by the Chinese as by the Grecian Sages.


The present state of scientific knowledge, which presents voluminous records of analytical research, as contrasted with but scant information of synthetical knowledge of conscious life (of which the observed phenomena are but broken fragments), presents a picture of immense disproportion as between the two related poles of Conscious Spiritual Will, and the diverse 'objects ' of intelligence. It is obvious that in so far as diversity of thought is divorced from unity of consciousness, the living truth becomes hidden, and the Will is divided into opposed opposites of 'Free Will ' and 'Necessity ' -the latter being the unrecognised side of the will locked up in objective 'appearances ' wrongly dismissed from their place of birth in the individual consciousness under the delusion that the 'paper currency ' of 'appearances ' was backed up by actual gold in the bank. The Will acting as 'necessity ' necessarily becomes free when objective perceptions, (which polarize the will to a supposed not-self) are recognised as dismissed

self-creations, and are reclaimed, purified, and reset in their original 'home.' That the Ancient Egyptians recognised sense-delusions is evidenced by the following verse taken from the 'Book of the Dead':


Turn thou back, O messenger of every God! Is it that thou art come to carry away this my heart which liveth? But my heart which liveth shall not be given unto thee. As I advance, the Gods hearken unto my offerings, and they all fall down upon their faces in their own places.


These two, the hidden Will, and the outer diversity reflected into the mental mirror, appear to be but opposite sides of the same shield -the thinking principle per se -likewise the key to the mystery attending

duality is to be found in the cohesive unity of power and substance in the shield itself. The thinking power is at once the home of the Ego and the resisting armor to all vibratory 'attacks ' ringing upon its surface. The story of Perseus, who cut off the Gorgon's head by means of its reflexion in the shield given him by Athena (Wisdom), being instructed by the goddess not to look direct at the Gorgon under penalty of being turned to stone (illusionary perception or attachment), is a suggestive allegory of a mind becoming aware of the fact that its so-called 'Outer World,' to which it has been attached, is in reality but a reflexion in the mind itself, quite different from the world as it truly exists -hidden from sight by the very 'appearances

' the mind had regarded as true and final reports. The fallacy of this is disclosed when it is remembered that not only do minds differ in their powers of receptivity, but that a single mind sees a 'new world '

with every radical change in its development. For when we approach Nature with preconceived states of mind, the multiple details witnessed 'appear ' exactly as they do because of conditions assumed by and in the observer himself. It seems impossible to escape this conclusion.


That Nature, in herself, is not separated into the 'parts ' attributed to her, all sincere thinkers admit. Yet the same observers often hesitate to allow that the intelligent Power governing Nature from within has

necessarily a conscious throne in the hidden resources of their own minds, on the reverse side of the reflecting surfaces of their mental shields. If this is not admitted, then whence proceeds the single searchlight of intelligence which inspects millions of details, yet remains unchanged -as searchlight? Or whence proceeds the Will, which, though outwardly distributed along many lines traced by desire, yet remains but one energy at its source, in the individual?


These considerations bring to mind the words of an ancient philosopher who stated that people who exercised their brains exclusively with external objects of thought reminded him of "men who discussed the laws and institutions of a distant city of which they had heard no more than the name .


. . . The true philosopher," he said, "should turn his glance within, should study himself and his notions of right and wrong ; only thence could he derive real profit." In another form, this idea is also conveyed by the biblical phrase :


Dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.


The insistent keynote which dominates Theosophical teachings is that of the momentous distinction between Man (as an established Ego or Thinker) and the multitudinous experiences in which that thinker becomes involved and obscured. The 'Thinking and Willing Self ' is obviously as distinct from the diverse events and circumstances it oversees and manipulates as a general manager of a railway is distinct (when in his 'home') from the organized system he has established by his will and capacity.


Theosophy states that the Egos who incarnate as 'Thinking Entities' in the human race are pure Intelligences who are what they are because of having passed through long ages of universal expe!'ience. In the incarnated state these 'Intelligences ' are said to take on a dual manifestation -one as independent Knower of itself, as "indestructible throughout the life-cycle-indestructible as a thinking Entity, and even as an ethereal form" (The Key to Theosophy, 174) -the other as a reflected ray associated with the immediate interests of the prevailing personality. This is illustrated by an artist possessing capacity to execute advanced art-work, but unconscious of his essential ability because engaged in drawing cartoons.



When a man finds himself, or discovers himself in an 'act of thinking,' as being a Self-acting agent quite distinct from the subject-matter of his thought and perception, a superb thrill vibrates through consciousness to its uttermost limits. It is then felt that Truth is somehow within the thinking energy itself, and not relative to it. Before this awakening in conciousness of what it embodies, the mind is active in a twofold way : a special mode of intellection (in consciousness) polarized to an external creed, philosophy,

profession. or to some form of self-indulgence. But as shown, truth itself cannot be discovered in this duality of modal thought acting upon its correspondent environment. Truth resides within the 'Thinking

Ego ' who is infinitely adaptable to all modal forms of action, upon all planes of phenomenal Nature -and yet remains separate, as Thinking Agent -just as the Sun reflects his light upon all forms of vegetation,

yet remains Sun.


When Truth awakens in the Thinking Self, consciousness becomes aware of itself in· all things which it 'thinks ' or 'wills.' Awareness is that

feeling of trust and certainty which leaps to the spiritual touch of another, and feels a kinship with the Sun deep down with the visible disc that focuses all radiation. Awareness, when it proceeds from the 'Knower ' in the heart, passes through all forms used in thought-imagery, as a beam of light passes through forms of air and water. It may observe the multitudinous lives residing in such forms, yet never lose its own feeling of awareness, or of being the one radiation from divinity upon which all knowledge and experience depend.


The Spiritual Self is eternally aware of itself in time, space, humanity, nature, all of which are but its modal or manifesting forms. When it thinks of itself as 'eternal duration ' it gathers to itself its distributed

thoughts of past and future, and stands on the threshold of a great beyond in which past and future are not, but an ever-recurring Present which embodies all things. The eternal Present, therefore, cannot be regarded as an external object to thought, feeling, or will, but as the characteristic ensemble (or synthesis) of all possible aspects of human consciousness.


IBN KIIALLIKAN in his celebrated Bio[!,raphies (translation of Baron MacGuckin de Slane, vol. ii, pp. 205-206) thus speaks of him [the veiled Prophet of Khurasan) :


"Al-Muqanna' al-Khurasani, whose real name was 'Ata, but whose father's name is unknown to me (though it is said to have been Hakim), began his life as a fuller at Merv. Having acquired some knowledge of Magic and Incantations, he pretended to be an Incarnation of the Deity, which had passed into him by Metempsychosis, and he said to his partisans and followers : 'Almighty God entered into the figure of Adam ; for which reason He bade the angels adore Adam, "and they adored Him, except Iblis, who proudly refused,"* whereby he justly merited the Divine Wrath. Then from Adam He passed into the form of Noah, and from Noah into the forms of each of the prophets and sages successively, until He appeared in the form of Ab(1 Muslim alKhurasani (already mentioned), from whom He passed into me.' "


-Browne's A Literary History of Persia, Vol. 1, p. 320


*Qur 'an, ii, 31




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