I somehow missed the study of the letters had already begun, so I will comment the first two letters with one post.
Letter No. 1
Regarding proofs and miracles. I was left thinking to which extent I believe in miracles. For example, do I believe that somebody concretely (at spot) could turn water into wine or divide a sea in half? Probably no. However, I do believe that certain people have a fairly magical ability to turn their personal history – even when they are still alive – into some sort of a legend. In a sense, it’s twisting the reality with practically equal power. Perhaps a modern, practical version of this, more visible in American culture, is the official company stories of their founders and CEOs, which the employees strongly believe in, and find and source some sort of power from. For some employees, these stories and working in that particular company make them – in a sense - part of a living legend. For example, Apple and Steve Jobs – or wearing a uniform. The previous is kind of related to my personal (and one general) interpretation for giants so prevalent in many cultures. They are mythical forefathers, that may be based on actual historical person(s) (or stories of), but have so much legend attached to them that they have become beyond (ordinary) human beings. I would categorize, for example, Väinämöinen a giant of this sort.
Then again, perhaps moving a bit more towards mysteries. At the same time, I believe that mysteries, legends and even stories containing miracles are important. For me personally, it’s kind of like thinking through them makes you extract some sort of glue or essence for thinking that has made me continue my path this far – something essential to transform and progress personally. However, what is a seeker that rushes into seeing proofs and constant miracles? Thinking this brings a vague picture of televangelism or charismatic Christian mass, where participants enjoy various testimonies and speaking with tongues etc. There’s probably a lot of faux in it, but even though there could be one or two real miracles in between, I would still find the whole idea unappealing. Also, perhaps what has distanced me from Lutheran church is the stripping down of anything mystical. In a sense, I tend to think a bit similarly as frater Obnoxion writes beautifully here:
The world is such a subtle place, and our everyday experience is made of, I claim, millions of delicate nuances and interactions, most of which we have never isolated and named, but which have a tremendous combined influence on our lives. There might be something ahead of me, but running might make one stumble.
Then about the “World is not ready yet” message in the letter. A bit from similar point of view as fratres RaktaZoci and Sothoth, I started to think of the difference of just being awakened or just experiencing something – even supernatural, and the difference of following a kind of (perhaps more structured or otherwise) path or progress. As the terms I used suggest, I assume the key takeaway here is the direction and building on something existing. Actually, that’s why the quote Roma ante Romulum fuit
is good in the letter. In my opinion it suggests at the same time that nothing comes out of nothing, and emphasizes the importance of tradition and continuity. As a side note, I actually just recently learned a new term called kundalini crisis, which is a “syndrome” that happens when a practitioner has been able to awaken his kundalini energy, but is unprepared for it, and the experience is mostly unpleasant and possibly very confusing.
I tried to think of more mundane but recent examples of lack of direction with (also good) intentions and thoughts derived from a certain awakening. (No need to go always to Nazis, but I admit I thought about them too while reading the letter.) One interesting case that occurs to me is the Occupy Wallstreet movement. In a sense, all the participants had many rightful realizations and conclusions, but they totally lacked any proper answer. I mean that even though they very well recognized many things that are not working in the current system, they were unable to come up with any solution or direction for their movement. Also, when it comes to masses, sometimes even when the majority is united, the sudden change might generate a power vacuum, and even a good cause can turn against the majority. For example, what happened in Egypt during Arab Spring.
I hope I didn’t steer away too much. Since so much – and very good and precise points - about the main ideas was already mentioned by previous commentators, I let two ideas fly a bit further.
Letter No. 2.
I have read only through the first two hundred pages of Secret Doctrine, but I remember it having also some sort of strong opposition of science, at least against some aspects of it. Here again, occult science and physical science are said to be each other’s antithesis. I recently skimmed through the Finnish SoA forum and found a thread where there was quite a long debate about science and scientific world-views. I guess that the topic was there almost discussed to death, but I must admit I don’t personally see such a juxtaposition either. More like studying religion, esoteric thoughts and occultism is like taking deep dives to a surrounding, unknown sea and science is like building a pier on the shore of it. Well, perhaps there are also some historical and personal background to this, and the idea is to just provoke certain kind of thinking. I admit – as the beginning of the letter also claims – that some thought processes might prevent the seeker going further. Perhaps here in the first section of the letter the need for structure (or rules or dicta) is emphasized again in occult work.
The last part of the letter left me a bit confused about the background of events at the time of writing:
And supposing you were thus to come — as two of your own countrymen have already — as Mad. B. did, and Mr. O. will
So, did I understand correctly – Blavatsky is already a member of this central lodge / K.H.’s organization – or is she an outsider member or just in contact? How about Olcott? Or is this just a reference that they have entered the occult world?
I’m also a bit confused of this mentioned “new society” - is Sinnet’s intention to build a separate lodge or are we talking about just the beginnings of Theosophical Society in general?