TheTheosophical Society in Detroit
Chartered in 1916 as a Branch of the Theosophical Society of America

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Theosophy a religion?

No, Theosophy is the universal spiritual heritage of all humanity – past, present and future. It is the core teaching at the heart of all religious traditions and philosophical systems of the world. It is referred to as Ancient Wisdom, Perennial Philosophy, Wisdom-Tradition, Esoteric Philosophy or Wisdom-Religion.
Theosophy is the basis of the inner or mystical side of many philosophies and cultures.  Modern theosophy is a contemporary statement of that tradition as set forth through the Theosophical Society.

Is there a spiritual authority in the TS?

No. The Society encourages a free and fearless search for Truth and for this reason freedom of thought is one of the central principles in its work. There is no opinion, no doctrine, no teaching which is binding on any member. The Society has an international President, who is elected by the membership worldwide and who shares his or her views with the members as a fellow-student of Theosophy. The Society encourages its members to enquire for themselves into the deeper aspects of life.

Is the work of the TS of an intellectual nature?

Theosophy is Divine Wisdom, and wisdom is different from knowledge. One of the core principles in Theosophy is the undivided oneness of all life. It means that deep down, beyond appearances and opinions, all life is one. When such a principle is meditated upon with attentive awareness, its understanding expresses itself as compassion, selflessness, service and reverence for all expressions of life. The same is true of every other theosophical principle, like karma, reincarnation, evolution, the multidimensional levels in the human consciousness, and others.

Does the TS encourage activism among its members?

The Society as such doesn’t because it has a neutral platform and doesn’t affiliate with any other organization, group, or cause, save its own Objects.
The members are entirely free to engage in any individual activity – humanitarian, social or political – that they may choose. Many members work through the Theosophical Order of Service (TOS), founded in 1908 by Annie Besant. Its motto is "The union of all who love, in the service of all that suffers." The TOS does very commendable practical work in many countries in the areas of social work, education, promotion of world peace, animal welfare and healing, among others.

Is the TS a New Age organization?

The Society is not a New Age organization because it doesn’t encourage any sort of psychic practices so common in New Age circles and doesn’t make its members rely on so-called ‘seers’ or on past-life therapies, to mention only a few. The Society was founded to 'help seekers to move towards theosophy by studying and assimilating its eternal verities.
Madame Blavatsky was way ahead of others of during her times.  It was through her books and articles, ideas which are now so popular, like karma and spiritual evolution, were first introduced to a skeptical and materialistic world. The founding of the TS in 1875 was indeed the ushering of a new era in which the Ancient Wisdom became widely available to all seekers all over the world.

What practices do Theosophists follow?

 All members of the Theosophical Society decide what practices and manner of living are appropriate for them, but many theosophists follow a certain regimen of life conducive to spiritual realization.  They meditate regularly to gain insight into themselves as a service to humanity.  Some choose to be vegetarians and avoid animal products.  They support the rights of all human beings for fair and just treatment.  They respect differences of culture and support intellectual freedom.  Theosophists are not asked to accept any opinion or adopt any practice that does not appeal to their inner sense of reason and morality.

 What theosophists do in their meetings?

 Meetings typically consist of a talk followed by discussion or the study of a topic.  Theosophy has no developed rituals, although meetings may be opened and closed by brief meditations or the recitation of short texts, and some groups use a simple ceremony for welcoming new members.  There are no privileged symbols or icons in the theosophy, but various symbols from the religious traditions of the world are honored.  There are no clergy or leaders, other than democratically chosen officers.

 How do theosophists regard churches and religions?

 Theosophy holds that all religions are expressions of humanity’s effort to relate to one another, to the universe around us, and to the ultimate ground of being.  Particular religions differ from one another because they are expressions of that effort adapted to particular times, places, cultures, and needs.  Theosophy is not itself a religion, although it is religious in being concerned with humanity’s effort to relate to ultimate values.

 What is the message of theosophy today?

 Theosophists believe that we are a part and parcel of the totality of existence stretching from the planet Earth to the farthest reaches of the cosmos in every conceivable dimension.  When we realize our integral connection with all other human beings, with all other life forms, with the most distant reaches of space, we will realize that we cannot either harm or help another without harming or helping ourselves. 
Despite the superficial cultural and genetic differences that divide humanity, we are remarkably homogeneous physically, psychologically, intellectually, and spiritually. 
The problems we face today – war, exploitation, prejudice, oppression, hate, etc. – are just the symptoms of a disease.  We need to treat the symptoms, but eliminate the cause.  The cause of these problems is ignorance of the truth that we are not merely unconnected, independent beings whose particular welfare can be achieved at the expense of the general good.  The cure is the recognition that we are all one with each other and with all life in the universe. 

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The Theosophical Society in Detroit
27745 Woodward Avenue
Berkley, Michigan 48072-0906
(248) 545-1961

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