It is a little-known fact  that there are multiple theosophies in this world.
I suppose that theosophers are aware of the close affinity of Vedanta with Blavatskian theosophy, and, that some relation to Buddhism exists with her eclectic philosophy. But, there is so much more in the world than these systems of thought alone. Have you ever thought that there can be found many theosophies in the West? Yes, there are many such. 
A list of the most important ones:

-Greek theosophy (especially Proclus). Acknowledged by De Purucker.
-Jewish theosophy: Kabbalah. Recognized by Blavatsky.
-Teutonic theosophy (Jakob Boehme). Recognized by Blavatsky and Quan Judge.
-Celtic theosophy as found in the prose and poems of Druidic bards. Acknowledged by De Purucker.
-Gnostic philosophy as formulated by Vitvan. Certainly acknowledged by me as a valuable system, very cognate to Theosophy.

You see, there is a virtual goldmine here to be explored. 
I have personally made all the major works of Jacob Boehme available as texts on my scribd account and the same goes for the great theosopher Proclus. Together more than 5,000 pages of text. 
As to the other systems: Celtic theosophy can be found in the sacred-texts archive and Vitvan on

It will hardly come as a surprise that there are many recurrent themes to be found in these theosophies; themes on which there is much agreement as to how nature operates (which "laws" or principles are at work); agreement as to ethical standards, purification of soul, etc.

What  is slightly surprising, however, is that there has been done relatively little study on these systems, comparing ideas, extracting models of natural process, etc. 
One of the few theosophers who has done this a bit, is G.R.S. Mead.
Other names are James Morgan Pryse (Greek theosophy and Christianity), Alvin Boyd Kuhn (Greek theosophy, Egyptian religion and Christianity), Franz Hartmann (on Boehme and Paracelsus). But these were people born in the 19th century! What happened to the T.S. movement in the first half of the 20th century??? Well, we do know a bit of the desastrous developments that took place there, so, no need to repeat that. One century has been almost lost, hopefully the 21st century will see some new developments.

So, here is a goldmine of information to be explored. Hopefully some dynamic, young, or seasoned guys and girls, will see an opportunity to do some comparitive research as per the second object of the T.S.
It may lead to a revitalized theosophy. My own interest lies with extracting simple models for bio-psychological process. Maybe more about that later.
Anyone interested, and which true theosopher wouldn't be? - have a go at it!

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And of course there is the related material of the Hermetic tradition, alchemy, Jung, Tarot, Western Qabala, and its associated organizations, but this is a mixed bag of ripe and green material, which needs careful sifting.
Not to forget the plethora of all the would-be rosicrucian organizations and the like. There is simply too much of varying and questionable quality in that regard, so I simply skip that in this connection.
There appears to be an overwhelming amount of literature available on the web and it is going to be difficult task to prioritize what each one of us want to study. Is not Internet opening up possibilities no one imagined a decade ago?
Hence the necessity of developing discrimination as to quality of content.
With some this comes easy, others never seem to learn it. Time for a Wiki for the perplexed? :)
Making choices is necessary. Besides all this, I find it highly encouraging that there are multiple theosophies in the West. Gives us something to compare and can be a mighty help to prevent crystallization of thought ("H.P.B. said...", "The Master said..."). We *have* to learn to think for ourselves or we become marionettes.
Elsewhere on this forum I have already mentioned the work of J.G. Bennett, incorporated in his systematics. He can be considered as one of the most creative philosophers of the post-world war two era. Drawing from Sufism (Islamic theosophy), and from Fourth Way philosophy, he formulated a method of enquiry which stimulates observation and reflection of natural order process. It is not a completely developed method, though. There remain tons of things to be researched. His work is quite reminiscent of theosophical notions of reality.

In the area of process philosophy I cannot omit Whitehead, the eminent philosopher and co-worker of Bertrand Russell. His theory of perception reminds me of Platonic concepts. It is quite useful to take notice of it. He also has intimations of involution and evolution, like our beloved Theosophy.

Finally, I mention Arthur Young, who was inspired by the Mahatma letters. His fourfold level model of developmental process is useful as a starter for enquiry into natural process. I have slightly reformulated his model in my own work on levels of process. See my ebook and blog.
I am glad to see these varied philosophies/systems being described by the term "theosophies." I have always been in favor of recognizing the broader sense of the term theosophy--less "branded," more inclusive. Thanks Martin!
Joe: I personally like to use the term "integral philosophy" for my writings, because this has no reference to the perhaps tainted term "theosophy". Plus it stresses the point that I like to deal with *philosophy*, contemplating and connecting notions of diverse kind, rather than embracing a *belief*. Not that there is something wrong with belief per se, but the connotation is often that of a blind believer, which I categorically reject to be.
Unfortunately, the term integral itself has become contaminated by the work of Ken Wilber, the associated biases in and with his work, so even this term is a bit suspect.
"Natural theology" sounds a bit too theological. What about natural philosophy?
This, after all, has been the name for the Greek philosophers of old.
I can empathize with what Paul has said. I have to admit that I get a headache every time I'm about to type the word "theosophy." "Do I capitalize it this time? Do I mean the word in the general or specific sense? Should I bother distinguishing the two? If I do, I might only confuse people as to my meaning..."

Still and all, I am very glad every time I see recognition of the fact that the word pre-dated the birth of HPB by a long, long time. The dispensation signified by brand-name Theosophy has a lot to offer, but I think we all agree that the experience of theos-sophia is what's really important. That meaning takes precedence for me.

The biggest problem with the "branding" of the term is that the "brand" labors under a great deal of dogmatic weight, which almost makes "Theosophy" an antonym of "theosophy"--I recognize that, too. For that reason, I think it is all the more important to continually assert that the word has a deeper meaning. I think the best way to broaden thought on the subject is to take advantage of (rather than lament) the word's more recent associations, Trojan-horse style, by refusing to let go of the word's broader meaning-- and by continually and deliberately using it in a non-branded context. For that reason, I feel no need to come up with a new word to replace it. It works for me.
Re [Paul]: "But the conflict between 'our beloved Theosophy' (HPB's) and everyone else who doesn't accept the Mahatma Letters as sacred scripture is so longstanding, it is not worth the hassle to even try to use the term theosophy."

Yes. Yes.

In my view the really only promising use of the word Theosophy may be to signify a particular type of EPISTEMOLOGY (what can be considered valid knowledge). In this connection I try to reproduce these related definitions every chance I get:

Theosophy: "Intuitive knowledge or wisdom resulting from direct experience of one's ('Divine') Transcendent Nature."

Microcosmic Theosophy: "Practical application of intuitive knowledge or wisdom at the human level, especially psychological insights and tools for the transformation of ordinary life into extraordinary life."

Perhaps many 19th and 20th Century individuals thought they were doing a good thing by trying to make the word Theosophy an exclusive synonym for HPB’s formulations of Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis. (Such usage is now at least a second definition in many or most standard dictionaries—and I even remember John Algeo citing this circumstance with great approbation on one occasion.)

Unfortunately, this great success in establishing Theosophy as a “specific, preternaturally dispensated whole-ball-of-wax to believe in” may actually be the thing which will eventually bring the term into most disrepute. (In these scientific times it does seem like the Australopithecines are kicking the Lemurians’ butts more and more every day, doesn’t it? . . .)

[And sports officials won’t even allow the headless Asiras “pudding-bags” and Hyperborean asexual shadow-people out on the playing field nowadays. . . .]

The paradox for me is that I consider much of HPB's work as real Theosophy BECAUSE IT WORKS AS AN ANALOGY" WITH ALL THE POSSIBLE PSYCHOLOGICAL STATES OF "MODIFIED CONSCIOUSNESS" (ego-formations, semi-Self delusions, or whatever one wants to call them).

Yes. Yes.
Richard: I like your definition of theosophy. To Paul: keep in mind that the word "theosophy", and "theosophical" are very old terms. Ammonius Saccas seems to have used it in the second century A.D. Later, it was used to indicate Divinely inspired knowledge, such as Boehme's work (the Teutonic theosopher). This happened long before Blavatsky started to use the term. But it has been monopolized by the Theosophical movement. We certainly need a new term for a reformed theosophy ("Reformed Theosophers", very funny indeed). I think we need terms such as "transformational", "spiritual", "growth", "change", "dynamic", "intuitive", "relational", "whole", "applied", "philosophy", "insight", to express something of the vibrant nature of what we stand for.
Applied philosophy? Spiritual philosophy? Something more playful? Transformer Network?

Richard: if you care to elaborate on the analogy you indicate, please do. Analogy is such a fascinating topic.
Psycho-spiritual transformation network?
Inner Work Mediation network?

Good work.

Just a few days ago we had an example of Theosophy in the broadest sense and another example which may even demonstrate how the principle of “reverse” analogy can be used to help “rediscover” the psychological conditions of consciousness which may have been used as a basis for analogizing Macrocosmic formulations like HPB’s Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis in the first place.

Joe gave this advice to Dominique: “The only other thing that I have to offer is that about half of the time (if you're really lucky) you'll be right about your views and assumptions. The other half, well, they're called learning experiences.”

This seems like “Theosophical counseling” to me for the following reasons: 1) Joe did not base his advice on any strict, scientific empirical studies he had just carried out, and 2) Joe felt some sort of inner probability that his own 50-50 results were not just peculiar to him but that the same ratio applied to others as well.

The important thing is not whether or not I agree with Joe (which I do); rather, it is that epistemologically speaking I am willing to accept or at least consider knowledge that Joe has derived in this intuitive way.

(By the way, I think Joe’s type of Theosophical counseling should be encouraged.)

Using analogy as an “ancillary tool” is quite a bit more difficult to explain. When I mentioned to Dominique that the Desire-Mental "Psychomaturational" Cycle was “roughly ages 17 1/2 to 28,” this was a good example how Microcosmic Theosophical psychology may perfectly analogize with grand Macrocosmic formulations. The actual Desire-Mental Cycle is age 21 to 28. However, just as HPB points out that the features of the next “Round” begin to appear at the mid-point of the current Round, so too do important “psychological developments.”

Unfortunately, Psychomaturation and the Doctrine of Seven-Year Cycles may be the most “hidden” Theosophical knowledge of all. The reason is that the subject is hard to understand unless a person has first become familiar with the different varieties of his or her own consciousness—animating, physical, desire-feeling desire-mental, mental, and Spirit-mental.

This is not Piaget’s and Bruner’s “cognitive maturation”; this is not Kohlberg’s “moral maturation.” The Doctrine of Seven-Year Cycles is an explanation of the systematic way that the different potentials for Self-delusion are added to a person as he or she ages. For example, a ten-year-old may HAVE or articulate a desire-tainted mental construct; however, he or she cannot BE that construct in the same egoic way as a twenty-one-year-old.

All of this may be made even more difficult to approach if one is amber-enclosed by HPB's writings. Bluntly speaking, it is not likely that everything she wrote was the product of Supernatural Dispensation.

Anyway, good work to you and all.
It reminds me the Hujwiri’s saying in Develation of Veiled, he said:
“In ancient times sufism was a reality without name,
today it is a name without Reality...”
or something like that.
I think that it is important not lose sight of that Blavatskyan Theosophy inserts itself in a bigger stream of philosphy, this stream is Neoplatonism. In fact, nearly all the systems of mystical thought and praxis in the mediterranean world are linked with Neoplatonism. Starting with the followers of Plotinos who called the Brahmans “indian theosophers (theosophoi)” and PseudoDyonisos, following with hesychasm, sufism (which name is derived poetically from sophia), kabalah, late christian philosophers (like Nicholas von Kues), to Blavatsky. She made an open reference to the Sacca’s school, and this is not a method of validation but a way to recognize the source. All this are inside the same stream of thought and, perhaps more amazing, practice.
From the begining it was recognized that Theosophy is the highest level of knowledge because inside the aristotelian scheme of sciences theology is the rational knowledge of eternal and divine substances (ousiai). But Theosophy is the direct and experiential knowledge of the same beings, not only a rational speculation, and because of that was regarded as more elevated that Theologia (which was the higher branch of ontology).
I don’t think that the name is branded because even today Theosophy is synonym of inner knowledge which comes from certain kind of ilumination or develation (or kashf in sufism).
Well, enough of this stuff.
I am not opposing to explore others forms of mysticism, but is important be aware of some points:
* the name seems perfect, more perfect than the use we do of it, in fact, the special tool for knowing for a Theosopher is direct knowledge, modern students use comparative study of books.
* if somebody studies, practices and writes in Blavatsky-Mahatma’s framework is right to call what he do as Theosophy (of course, it is needed to aknowledge the pre-HPB meaning, but, it is precisely what HPB and Mahatmas mean in naming his school Theosophy, I think).
* if somebody besides HPB uses another source, well, he can call what he do as he likes, this would not affect the neighbor work.
* HPB's writing and work are under estimated, perhaps because of her style and because are hard to reading, but there are yet many treasures in it, The Secret Doctrine is full of esoteric exercises, scientific tenets and psychologic insights, and, no doubt, was written according to the Ibn Arabi’s statement: “my chief doctrine (wahdat al wuyud, oneness of being) is written throughout in my work, and not in a particular place, it is diffused here and there” or something like that. Then, before put her writings aside it is needed to be aware of the reason for doing that.
And, by the way, perhaps HPB was not in accord with the view that Sotheran proposed that name. More, why was the svastika deleted from the emblem? Legal reasons?


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