Posted by on March 21, 2024

The Kinship of Humanity

by Guardian in Chief Richard A. London

Given in the Blue Star Memorial Temple

March 17, 2024

In the spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day, I’d like to acknowledge my gratitude for our Celtic heritage. From the likes of William Quan Judge, John Osborne Varian, and Ella Young, the Temple and Halcyon have been nourished by the mythological essence of Saint Patrick. For me personally, a special connection to Celtic wisdom comes through my son, who is tinctured with Irish blood, and through a ring displaying Celtic symbology that proclaims my bond to my beloved.

What is that mythological essence of Saint Patrick? says:

“Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint of Ireland and its national apostle. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick’s death (believed to have been on March 17, 461 A.D.), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture. Perhaps the most well-known legend of St. Patrick is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.

“The shamrock, which was also called the ‘seamroy’ by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.”

The Irish past sounds disturbingly familiar to where the world finds itself today. Despite people, geography, cultures, diet, medicines, and weaponry being identified differently, there is today an even greater potential for the ignorant plundering of each other and this planet. And yet, the option to choose loving stewardship of relationships between us and every other living thing and creature continues to be within our grasp.

This brief acknowledgement of St. Patrick’s Day is a reminder that we continue to exist within ever-evolving forms of identity, which stimulate contentment for some, and acts of protest, apathy, and oppression for others; and perhaps all are growing pains demanded by the Great Unifier. Since St. Patrick’s death 1563 years ago, humankind has never fully accepted the reality of what is absolutely necessary for human beings to truly get along with each other and to respect the sacredness of this planet. While our misguided loyalty to progress seems to wax on, our diminishing loyalty to ethics and principles seems to be waning with the weakening of our cognitive abilities to perceive what is true and authentic.

Imagine a time when everyone may know a Sacred Place where each can acknowledge and be grateful for the kinship of humanity. Imagine a time when there is no need to debate the best religion or the best form of government. Imagine a time when we remember that we are here as “Guests in Trust” of this planet and wake up to being Children, Brothers and Sisters who were brought into existence by our one and only true Mother Nature.

Currently, our political climate seems more focused on who is right than what is right, although both assertions seem deceptively intertwined. After serving this past year as Guardian in Chief, I have become more discerning about the differences between democratic and autocratic governments. Most certainly, at least from my point of view, what’s right needs to take precedent over who’s right if order, fairness, and harmony are to carry the day. Even so, without courage, consideration, and responsibility, the Golden Rule doesn’t stand a chance of being What’s Right.

I mention this as a prelude to the following thoughts concerning the great schism that ensued after the passing of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. William Quan Judge and others found themselves battling “a number of disaffected, treacherous, and inhuman elements” that eventually disrupted the continuation of the Theosophical Society as conducted by H.P.B. Polarizing perspectives in the T.S. prevented acknowledgment and acceptance of her successor; as a result, the Central Point essential for sustaining the original intent of the T.S. was unable to prevail.

The Tuesday study class is currently discussing Mabel Collins’ exquisite treatise entitled Light on the Path, and between that wisdom and recent cyclic challenges the Temple is currently facing, I am inspired to share some history with you. On May 10, 1899 — 125 years ago — the following words were delivered in Syracuse, New York, by Temple co-founder and second Guardian in Chief, Dr. William Henry Dower. As you listen to his words, please keep in mind this Sacred Place and the Kinship of Humanity.


The Temple and the Brotherhood of Man

by William H. Dower


It has often been said that even a small effort consciously put forth for the attainment of occult, secret or spiritual knowledge produces great karmic results. The very first step brings the student to the tree of knowledge, and he has then no alternative, but must eat of its fruit. He cannot retrace the step he has taken, cannot refuse the fruit of the tree, cannot return to his previous state of ignorance and irresponsibility. He cannot turn back. Apparently two paths open before the eyes of the soul; and whether he will or nay he must choose between them. The one leads to selfishness, the other to unselfish attainment. For a short distance the paths run side by side. In either case bodily purity, abstinence, concentration, devotion and indomitable will are absolutely essential. But there is a point where these paths diverge, and he who has chosen the path of ambition, who is dominated by an ever-increasing thirst for selfish power, must eventually be swallowed up in the whirlpool created by those desires and go downward to unconsciousness. For only the Good can endure.

True, the soul has another opportunity, but only after long ages and aeons of time, when the cycles will once more bring about the conditions for its manifestation. The unselfish man, though entering a narrow path filled with the briars and brambles of his lower nature, will find that path gradually enlarging, growing wider as it winds upward, until at last he will see that it is broad enough for all the children of Infinite Love. Many Theosophist students of occultism and others have entered the path that leads to the Great Temple gates, in front of which the Sphinx of Wisdom has stood guard for ages. Some have now reached a point where every effort, however directed, will produce enormous results either for good or for ill. A great danger and a great opportunity now confront these students. If they are guided in their course by mere sentiment or self-interest, their descent on the downward grade of evolution will be rapid. If they are able to see and seize the offered opportunity, there are heights immeasurable before them with help and power to scale those heights.

Some twenty-five years ago H.P.B. first came into notice as a teacher. She belonged to the advance guard of those to whom, through karmic opportunity, had been delegated the power of imparting the new rate of vibration to humanity in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. She brought a priceless gift to bestow on all who would accept it; and she would have been the last person in the world to think of placing in the exclusive possession of a chosen few that gift which was meant for all. Her sole purpose in organizing the Theosophical Society was to use it as an instrument for keeping before the people the principles she advocated. She expressed a hope that the organization might be maintained until the last quarter of the coming century so that the Master’s agent then to appear would find an instrument ready to his hand. But the name Theosophical was no more to her than numerous other names; she had adopted it upon the suggestion of one of the members, a scholar well known to many.

She knew that any form of organization would be only transitional, giving way to and becoming part of a greater one when the universal truths she taught became more generally recognized so that the plans for work might be broadened and the movement be given a wider scope. The essential thing is not to preserve a mere name and form of organization, but to maintain the basic principles of occult philosophy, and to provide a body of intelligent, capable students and workers who will be able to recognize the agent of the Masters when he shall come in the last quarter of the twentieth century; for, under the law of the iron age, only the last twenty-five years of each century are available for such work.

This means that the torch must be kept aflame for the coming seventy-five years; but so long as the flame is kept alight it matters little by what name the torch is called. And an extinguished torch, a few charred splinters cherished under the name of the “T.S.” will be worthless in the sight of the new messenger, the bearer of the flame. Those who are striving to keep life in the moribund body of the T.S. under the vague notion that it must be made to survive “into the next century” are wasting time and energy by their purposeless and futile efforts.

Various organizations, each of which seems to regard itself as the original body, looking upon itself as orthodox and the others as heretical offshoots, are in danger today of becoming as creed-bound as the Christian churches and other religious sects. And while they are thus torn apart and antagonistic, the real work of the movement, more far-reaching than the interest of any petty organization, remains unaccomplished. Conditions are such that this work can now be done only by the united efforts of all who appreciate the fact that the fundamental truths of all religions are identical, and that creeds, dogmas and forms must vanish before the greatness of the whole. For the time has now come when The Temple of our common Humanity must be objectivized on the material plane, must have its literal counterpart in the physical world and contain within itself all that can aid in our evolution during the twentieth century — physically, mentally, morally and spiritually. It is the work of the Masters to restore to mankind its lost spiritual heritage that has been misunderstood and travestied by some. THE REAL TEMPLE IS HUMANITY ITSELF, whereof each unit is a living stone, each Initiate a Master Builder.

The New Movement, as inaugurated by the Master, is designed to unite all true students of occultism, no matter what their present affiliations may be. The organization comprises three departments, spiritual, ethical, and economic. Membership in the first of these, which is known as “The Temple” is confined to those who are seeking spiritual knowledge; the instructions given out through it are largely supplementary to those furnished by H.P.B., and are especially designed to enable the esotericists to resume their interrupted studies. The Lodges of The Temple are known as “Squares,” each composed of four or more members.

The second, the Brotherhood of Man, is largely educational in scope. It again might be divided into three aspects; the first to enlighten and prepare members for admittance to the inner or Temple degrees; the second, to enlarge the ideas of the people in general in regard to philosophy, ethics, and right government; and the third, to bring them to a realization of the fact that no separation exists between Right Ethics, Right Philosophy, and Right Politics. In reality, all true advancement on the physical plane is dependent on right political action, and without a correct understanding of the vital issues underlying such political action, the whole scheme of life in the material world is chaotic to the average mind. In order to arrive at a correct solution of the problem, it must be carefully studied. If appearances are to be believed, there is something wrong with our present civilization; and we have first to find out what it is, who or what is the cause of it, and whether or not there is a remedy for it.

A model government should be organized as a great Choral Society, where each singer consents to be taught, governed and controlled for the sake of the rendition of a great oratorio that should express to all listeners the spirit of a masterpiece. There is a great unrest in the hearts of the people. Vast changes are imminent. Governments, thrones, are tottering like card-houses. Here in America the seething fires, hidden only by smouldering underbrush, are almost ready to burst into flame. The word has gone forth for reform. You cannot stand still. In the great work now inaugurated, you must either take your place with the advance guard, or fall back into the position of camp followers, for you have plucked the fruit from the tree of knowledge, and have eaten of it; you have reached the state of responsibility through growth, and you may not recede from it.

The organization is under the direction and supervision of the Master Hilarion. But he is not alone in the world; no member of the White Brotherhood acts independently of the others, for the Lodge is a unit and its members always work in accordance with cyclic law.

The Masters have been but little understood because of the erroneous conception of those who should be better informed, owing to long instruction and suffering, have once more brought the concept of the Great Lodge before the Western world. To be a Master is to have gained Mastery; first, of one’s individual self; second, of the forces that rule the Cosmos; third, of all art, science, and philosophy. Having won such Mastery, having once become identified with the whole, is it reasonable that such a one engage with the fate of the world, or of a system of worlds, could find time and opportunity to prove his existence and power to those who, with pre-conceived opinions to the contrary, were simply trying to prove his non-existence or incapacity? As one of the absolute necessities for the recognition of a Master lies in one’s ability first to recognize that Master interiorly; every effort of the latter would be in vain as far as the doubter himself was concerned. The true disciple would not require exterior evidence, however much his desires would be gratified by such proof. But here, as elsewhere, our desires are granted when they no longer control us, but are controlled by us.

In considering the present disrupted condition of all Theosophical organizations, whether called by one name or another, and the rapid disintegration going on in each of them, the true student is apt to be bewildered and lose his sure footing, unless he takes into consideration the possibility of the failure of Leaders — of those who have been given a great karmic opportunity and who have ignominiously failed to be true to their high duty for up to the last rung of the ladder of life a fall is possible. Unless a leader is perfectly impersonal and unselfish and has killed out the snake of ambition, he or she is even more liable to failure than an ordinary member because the temptations are intensified.

When failure does occur with one at the head of an occult body which has been under the direction of the Great Lodge, certain effects inevitably occur. First, there is a great unrest among the cells or members that compose that body; then a general stagnation takes place because the inspirational force, the currents of life and love from the Great Lodge, has been shut off. It has ceased to be a true occult center, and it must either break up entirely, or stagnate on some sandbank of purely material effort. When members feel impelled to resign from, or leave such a body, it does not mean failure to keep any pledge made to the Great Lodge or to the Higher Self. It means the reverse, for the Higher Self knows, and It is simply endeavoring to make the personality keep the true pledge, to follow the Light of the Higher Self, the Masters which is not the light (or shadow) of any personality on earth. A great test is in truth, before all true students now, a test of whether they will exercise the divine faculties of the soul, be true to themselves and to the Great White Lodge, and go on to conscious union with it. Or if they will stifle the soul’s intuition and conscience, and follow blindly in the darkness of ignorance, those who have turned aside from the true path to wander in the jungles of their own insatiable ambition.

At this time several organizations are putting forth the claim that they are in communication with, and working under the orders of Hilarion and other Masters. Everything that need be said is that such organizations may easily be known by their fruits, and as the time of fruitage has already come, the fruit must appear now or not at all. The karmic forces that have been let loose in the world will cause the rapid deterioration, overthrow and disintegration of all organizations, institutions, and possibly nations not in line with true evolutionary progress. If members cannot discern intuitively where the real Lodge force is working, they have but to watch the course of events, soon to be precipitated on the outer plane, in order to perceive from what center the force of the Master is radiating.

There is no royal road to conscious union with the Great Lodge of Universal Life; for every soul, atom and planet in the cosmos must win its own crown. The present is, however, a period of special cyclic opportunity for advancing the evolution of worlds and races, and all whose hearts are rightly attuned can do an enormous good in helping to usher in the new order of things on this earth. The results of the action you will take in regard to The Temple movement will be far reaching. The Great Lodge offers you this opportunity for conscious action with it, in evolving the new Humanity, and WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? Will you crucify the new Savior afresh, and cry out, “Not this man but Barabbas?” Or will you put time, strength and means at the disposal of the Master and go on toward the accomplishment of the great purpose partially indicated herein?

— Dr. William H. Dower, Syracuse, N.Y. May 10, 1899

As I continue coming to terms with being Guardian in Chief, following in the footsteps if not standing on the shoulders of my predecessors, I find it appropriate to close with this poem, published in The Temple Artisan ofApril-May 1938. It was written by our consummate Temple Irishman, John Osborne Varian.

Healing Meditation, The Healing of the Stones

It is the Guardian Wall we are healing now —

Each several stone to be true to its place —

Let each of us be healing inwardly,

Let us be changing hypocrisy into Truthfulness,

Diffidence into Courage,

Aggressiveness into Confidence,

Harshness into Kindliness,

Exclusiveness into Friendship,

Bigotry into Toleration,

Inconsequence into Persistence,

Darkness, gloom, and doubt into Radiant Truthfulness,

The deadness of hate to become Beautiful Love,

The Light of Love to be in our Hearts a warm Fire,

To be radiating out through our hands and our faces and our eyes —

To be joining the stones together in everlasting bonds,

So that the Guardian Wall of the Holy Center

may become Unconquerable and Eternal.

J. O. V.

In the name of this Sacred Place and in the Kinship of Humanity, let the Inner meaning for honoring St. Patrick this day bring us closer together.

Guardian in Chief Richard A. London

March 17, 2024

Posted in: Temple Talks