Traditional Theosophy and Practices
The Characteristics of Esotericism:
1 Correspondence: Everything in Nature is a sign. The signs of Nature can be read. The microcosm and macrocosm interplay. Synchronicity exists, and can be found as signs from Nature and may lead to the understanding of the divine.
2 Nature is Alive: It is not just correlations between pieces of matter. It is a living entity that will, and does, surge and evolves through its expanding self, replete with dynamic flows of energy and light.
3 Imagination and mediations: Complimentary correspondences of Imagination as mediator between the perceptible and the invisible datum.
4 Experience of Transmutation: The Gnosis and illumination of self and mind performing a transmutation of consciousness. The birth of awareness, a second new life is born.
In addition there are two characteristics that may be present, but not absolutely essential:
5 Practice of Concordance: Primordial Tradition. Studying traditions, religions etc. seeking the common single Root from which all esoteric knowledge grows.
6 Transmission: Master-Disciple, Master-Initiate, initiation into the Occult.
Note: The fundamental concept in Esotericism is that it requires all items 1 though 4, with items 5 and/or 6 as only sometimes present, but never necessary.
The Three Characteristics of Theosophy:
1) Divine/Human/Nature Triangle: The inspired analysis which circles through these three angles. The intradivine within; the origin, death and placement of the human relating to Divinity and Nature; Nature as alive, the external, intellectual and material. All three complex correlations synthesize via the intellect and imaginative processes of Mind.
2) Primacy of the Mythic: The creative imagination, an external world of symbols, glyphs, myths, synchronicities and the myriad, along with image, all as a universal reality for the interplay conjoined by creative mind.
3) Access to Supreme Worlds: The awakening within, inherently possessing the faculty to directly connect to the Divine world(s). The existence of a special human ability to create this connection. The ability to connect and explore all levels of reality; co-penetrate the human with the divine; to bond to all reality and experience a unique inner awakening.
Note: For the Theosophist, the image signifies accomplishment. However the Mystic would abolish the image. The Mystic finds the divine, and chooses to remain. The Theosophist finds the higher, the lower, connections, synchronicities, metaphor, natural phenomena and all hieroglyphs within the triangle of existence (i.e. Nature/Man/Divine). The Theosophist continues to explore and live within the world which brings an added dimension and purpose into esotericism.
What is "Imagination" ?
In defining Esotericism and the three characteristics of Theosophy, we see the usage of "imaginative processes of mind", "creative imagination", "special human ability to create" and in the definition of esotericism we also see "Imagination and mediations" connecting the realms of higher and lower existence. The usage of this term "Imagination" threads throughout the concepts and is critical to understanding the meanings. The term defined (here) to include the range of ideas that are connected as in Imagination <=> Imaginal <=> Image <=> Mage <=> Magical <=> Maginal/Imaginal <=> Magination <=> Imagination.
Theosophy, having Greek etymology, is a term from the Western world. The practice of Theosophy is found in all cultures. The term “Imagination” is not necessarily a Western-only concept. However, the term “Creative/Active Imagination”, along with its variations of expression, is primarily of a Western origin. In essence, Theosophy is inclusive of the various types of experience expressed within various cultures, people and religions throughout history. Also, it is useful to consider the mind as a mirror, reflecting an image as well as interacting with the object it reflects. Some basic examples are:
Recently brought to my attention, this quote is worth passing on to all.
from: Dalai Lama, Advice on Dying. Rider. 2002.
"In Tantra practice, imagination is used to accelerate spiritual development.Deity yoga requires you (1) to imagine that your mind ... is a mind of pure wisdom motivated by compassion; (2) to substitute the appearance of your ordinary body ... with a body risen out of compassionately motivated wisdom; and (3) to develop a sense of a pure self based on a purely appearing mind and body in an ideal environment, fully involved in helping others. In these ways you visualize yourself as having a Buddha's body, activities, resources, and surroundings. Imagination is the key." (p.175)