The Great Tecumseh!



(This year [2018] is the 250th Anniversary of Tecumseh’s birth.)


I’ve been wanting to write something on the great Native American Leader Tecumseh ever since I read Allan Eckert’s 1000 page “A Sorrow in Our Heart – The Life of Tecumseh”[1] about 15 years ago, but the subject is so big that I just can’t get enough of a handle on it to do it justice in an article. It needs Eckert’s 1000-page book, and still then Tecumseh himself in some aspects is beyond what one can get a “handle” on or understand. I’ll try anyway to get some of the facts down as to who Tecumseh was and what he did and apparently did, and if someone wants to know more he can go to Eckert’s book or some of the 1000 references in his Bibliography.

Tecumseh was born in Ohio and lived from 1768 until dying in battle in Canada in 1814 (he predicted his own death) during the war of 1812. His whole life he had been involved in fighting the Americans in their steady usurping of the Ohio and midwest territory, the Americans as always making and breaking treaties like clockwork with the Indians. He refused to ever make any treaties with American forces (“Do they think we are fools!”) and his constant effort in adulthood was to unify all Indian tribes into one brotherhood and fight as one to drive the Whites from their territory as the only possible solution. From 1801 through 1811 he traveled steadily from New York in the East, Minnesota in the North, the Sioux in West, the Cherokees in the South and a hundred other tribes to try to make a unified front among the Indians.

As a child even he stood out among his fellow Shawnee, taking his frist scalps in battle at 11 yrs., at 12 being given credit for saving a village from starvation in Winter by his hunting abilities, and at 12 and-a-half becoming a full warrior in the tribe heirarchy with a voice at councils. He tried drinking alcohol as an adolescent with other tribe members, until breaking his hip trying a stunt, and thereafter vowed that he’d never again drink anything but water, and didn’t.

Indians were incredibly cruel often in treatment of prisoners as a matter of tradition, as well as sometimes benevolent and adoption into the tribe. They would force prisoners to run the gaunlet between two lines armed with clubs, burning at the stake, and other hardly imaginable deaths. Tecumseh was innately appalled by cruelty and vowed as a teenager to prevent it whenever he was present. This was usually done with reason and oratory, but by using force when necessary. Once he was present as a burning at the stake was commencing and tried to stop it, but the warriors wouldn’t listen. Tecumseh pulled his pistol and shot the prisoner in the head, which ended it. Who is going to argue too far with best warrior in the tribe?

Often battles were won under Tecumseh from military strategy against larger odds. As an example of his abilities he was the inventor or the first “pony express” which became famous for mail delivery many years later in the west. He was fighting more or less on two fronts, one at Cincinatti and Fort Washington on the Ohio River and north about 175 miles on the Maumee River and area where his home village was. To keep tabs on what was happening at each front and warning of developments, he developed a series of posts in between where a messenger could travel at speed and get fresh horses. A message could be passed from Cincinatti to the Maumee River or back in a day. Tecumseh’s camp was hidden on a bluff near Cincinatti, and he would walk the streets of the town in disguise getting information or reading official notices (he could read, speak, and write English as well as several Indian dialects). He also actually went into Fort Washington several times and the guards knew him on sight.

Tecumseh had the ability to make reliable predictions, an ability shared by his father and older brother, who both predicted the time of their own deaths (as Tecumseh did also.) He used this ability by often instructing his one-eyed brother “The Prophet” in predictions that boosted his reputation as a religious leader. “The Prophet” had in his youth been a drunk and generally of ill-repute, but then experienced a vision of some nature, and thereafter swore off alcohol and became a preacher to his people to reject white man’s ways and follow their own. The Prophet’s first big prediction via Tecumseh was that of a full eclipse of the sun about 2 mos. ahead of time, in response to a goad from a US general that he was a fake. Tecumseh apparently used his brother to further his own big plans of Indian unity, but he proved of too weak a character, developed a big head and need of power and ultimately was responsible for ruining Tecumseh’s plan by attacking the whites about a month and half before the date that all the tribes were to wage battle at once. (There was a PBS documentary on Tecumseh some years back that made me ill from its not mentioning points of most importance in Tecumseh’s life, and from making him nearly the equal of his subordinate, and fruity brother.)

Tecumseh had built a town along the Tippecanoe River in Indiana. He followed some white principles of town-building with straight laid-out streets, log cabins, a large wooden meeting place, and huge log hotel that would house up to 300 Natives. This grew to cover 2 miles along the river, and became known as “Prophet’s Town” because his brother was there and Natives traveled to hear and see him. “The Prophet” became bloated and imaginative of his own abilities and told listeners they would become bullet-proof in their eventual battle with the whites (which didn’t work out too well.) Although the town of at least a thousand was peaceful enough and totally within Indian Territory according to treaty, Am. Commander William Henry Harrison showed his real stripes, treaty or not, and mounted a force of 1000 soldiers and camped a half mile from the Town, goading The Prophet to war. Despite Tecumseh’s warnings to never to attack without his direction first, his brother succumbed to Harrison’s trick and attacked – throwing all of Tecumseh’s plans into confusion and starting another Indian war before Tecumseh and the rest of the tribes were ready.

Tecumseh’s unrealized plans were formulated and to take place in the following quite remarkable and uncanny manner:

Tecumseh had been in constant travel and giving speeches in hundreds of villages and councils from 1801 through 1811. His message was always union of all the tribes, and became for the tribes to converge together at one time and make a unified attack to drive the whites out. His final strategy materialized in late 1809 or beginning of 1810. At Tippecanoe he showed his brother a bundle of “sacred slabs”, long pieces of cedar with carvings on them. The carved images were to help remember directions and the unfoldment of a plan of attack nearly 2 years in the future (and using images as a means of remembering has been proven the best way or trick in doing so.) A series of runners were to be sent out at an exact time to reach 50 Indian centers in all directions, with Tecumseh himself handling those to the South. There were also 50 bundles of 21 sticks each. (At least one of these “sacred slabs” still exists at a University.)

At each Tribe beginning with the “Hunger” moon one stick was to be burned at every full moon. When there was only one stick left, they were to hold watch at night to wait for a meteor sign at night that could not be mistaken. (This Did occur on schedule. During or around the Leonids meteor shower in Nov., 1811 a huge meteor that split into 3 pieces and passed from horizon to horizon was visible across the entire country concerned.) After seeing this “Sign” one was to cut the last stick into 30 pieces, and burn one every night. On the 30th day the earth would rumble with a giant earthquake “with trees falling, pots breaking, rivers leaving their banks, and lakes disappearing and appearing,” and then it was time to converge [2] and attack. This Did occur also. The New Madrid (Missouri) Earthquake did occur just 30 days after the giant meteor. It was the largest earthquake in the history of North America, being or felt for a 1000 miles in every direction and causing the Mississippi to flow backwards, among very much else.

Of all places…… Tecumseh himself was at the very epicenter of this earthquake when it occured! – the small white settlement of New Madrid. He was there seeking his sister Tecumapese. She had left the Shawnees and married a white man in the town. He went to bring her back, and she did come back as the marriage was over. At this time messengers who had been traveling 38 days in search of Tecumseh finally found him and told him of the events of his brother The Prophet having already started a war and ruining his plans.

What can one make of all this? How could Tecumseh make such outrageous predictions of a huge meteor and giant earthquake at particular and specific times, and according to good evidence – they actually came true?!

Eckert explains in his notes [3] that all the many accounts of Tecumseh’s prediction surfaced after they occurred, which might make one believe history was being changed some in order to make a mythology. Some of the accounts were nearly identical in wording, as if repeating a remembered speech. How could people make up such unlikely events if there wasn’t a basis for it? If one hears an outrageous prophecy, it is more human nature to wait and see, and then recount it after the fact if it occured. Who wants to be a fool to endorse something that hasn’t happened yet? The normal attitude would be to wait and see, and then tell the good tale if it proved true.

I’ve got my own theory to explain these predictions, at least Tecumseh’s prediction of the New Madrid Earthquake. Being a Theosophist, and believing there is an occult (hidden) world of cause and effect, and of mind on the physical world, I think the union of men’s minds (the perhaps 100’s of thousands or few millions that Tecumseh’s traveling for 11 years touched and inspired) and the expectation of the specific time of his prediction produced in the last 2 years with the “sacred slabs” and time-sticks – that this working in anticipation of all these minds – produced the earthquake when the expectations culminated at the time predicted and expected. It was perhaps 100s of thousands of minds working in near unison. ‘And then there is the fact that Tecumseh was at the epicenter of the quake. Could Tecumseh have known of such potential Magic – the hidden laws of Nature, and dared and orchestrated it all with knowledge and purpose that he might produce the great effect?

Tecumseh’s whole life seemed overshadowed by the task he had set himself and to the cause of his race. He did not succeed in freeing Am. Indians from the white tsunami gradually engulfing their land of thousands of years, but he did succeed in showing that a Native American was the equal and superior of any white, and thus saved the Spirit of his people.

– M.R.J.


[1] “A Sorrow in Our Heart – The Life of Tecumseh,” Allan W. Eckert, extensive notes and references, Bantam Books, 1993 paperback edition, 1068 pp.
[2] No reliable evidence has ever been found of _where_ this was supposed to be. Perhaps it was Tecumseh’s town of Tippecanoe, but this site was ruined because of the The Prophet’s going to war.
[3] note 569, pp. 933-4


The Silent and Desolate Land


……That desolate land in which thou didst wander, oh Titan! with thy beautiful and mysterious companion, where silent cities strewed the desert, in which no life stirred, and no voice was heard in the streets, but all was death and desolation; where everything lay still or petrified; where gigantic ruins lay around, and the colossal forms of a by-gone life stared out on thee from stone, with an impress of solemn and eternal beauty, uttering a moan to the first beams of the rising sun, offers a true type of this mournful world. For what, in truth, is this earth but one immense ruin, or heap of ruins – a land of death and desolation -a desert strewn with the fragments of an extinct past?

If we contemplate external nature, we find in its stupendous mountain-chains, its gigantic volcanic peaks shooting up aloof into the sky – its abrupt masses of scarped rock and table-lands – scattered, solitary, gigantic stones, far from their parent mountains – its tremendous clefts, and chasms, and valleys, the evidences and traces of immense convulsions in past ages. The whole earth appears a vast assemblage of sublime ruins.

When we consult more closely the materials which form these ruins, we find with astonishment that they too are composed of other ruins; we find everywhere the marks of an extinct world. A gigantic vegetation of consummate beauty in its forms; broken fragments, too, of a creation of living creatures, colossal in size, wonderful in structure, and aweful in power, surround us everywhere. The dead faces of extinct organisations look out on us from stone on every side with their sad, eternal beauty; and, as every fresh sun dawns upon the world of ruins, a mournful plaint is wailed forth from all past creations to greet his rising, which recalls to them their own former being…

If we turned, continued the Rishi, from external nature to what is called the living world, we look in vain for life. Death meets us at every turn. The terrible Yama is everywhere. The whole animal creation appears upon the scene, merely to pass away by some form of violent death. To the peaceful herds grazing on the hillside, Yama comes in the guise of the tiger; to the innocent bleating sheep, as wolf or hyaena. The snake seizes the frog from his moist bed, and drags him into his hole, or his crevice among the stones, crushing his limbs in the traction. The hawk pierces with his cruel beak the poor sparrow; the sparrow, in turn, transfixes or carries off the grub. Bird preys on bird; fish on fish, as it is written in the Mahabharata: –

The stronger fishes, after their kind, prey
on the weaker fish.
This is ever our means of living, appointed
to us eternally.

But man himself is the most terrible incarnation of Yama. He plunges with a savage joy into the thicket of bamboo or sugar-cane, to attack and slay the boar. He pursues over the plain the timid and graceful antelope; his arrows outstrip his fleetness; and the exhausted creature, that erst bounded in beauty and freedom, falls sobbing to the earth, and expires in torture. He gathers the dumb and patient sheep, and the helpless lambs, from the pastures where they bleated in joy, and consigns them to the slaughter-house.

Behold yon porters passing even now the court gate with baskets on their heads full of the beautiful plumage of the Cingalese cocks gathered from the villages round Lanka, sitting happy together, all unconscious of their coming doom. They are bearing them to the camp to feed the military followers. The festivity of man is the signal of death to the humbler creatures of the earth; he rejoices, or weds, and they die as the materials of joy, victims immolated to his household gods. Even those creatures, upon whose flesh he has not yet learned to feed, he harasses to death by more protracted and painful means.

The horse, that in his youth bore him in the day of battle or the pompous ceremonial, is, when age advances, and his fire abates, consigned to the merciless Vaisha, who trades in hired chariots, and you behold thousands of those wretched creatures, lean, lacerated, and panting, driven by male Durgas (furies) through the city, without respite from sunrise till midnight, till at last they drop and expire in harness, or are rudely taken out and cast aside into some corner to die unseen and unpitied.

And the dog, the honest friend of man; and the cat, self-adorning, playful, capricious, coy, timid, watchful, secretive, house-loving, but ever affectionate when gently treated, the friend and… the playfellow of children, the household Numen, and hieroglyphic of domestic life, – what becomes of these? Who sees their end? Into what by-way solitudes, what holes and corners do they creep, led by a mournful instinct of nature to conceal their agonies and yield up their breath?

Ah! how many tragedies of animal agony daily take place not far from the dwelling of man, and he knows it not, or knowing, lays it not to heart, or laughs in scorn of sympathy for animal suffering! And yet all creatures, Manu teaches, have their life in that awful Spirit in whom man, too, lives, and in them as in man that Spirit liveth –

Sarvabhuteshu chatmanam, sarvabhutani chatmani
Saman pashyan

In all creatures the SPIRIT, and all creatures
in the SPIRIT,
Alike beholding.

And let us look at man himself. Is life to be found in his dwelling? Alas! from the cradle to the cemetery where his body is laid upon the pyre, is not his course one long cry of suffering, and sorrow, and terror – one long reminiscence and fortaste of death? The householder in the prime of manhood, and his blooming, comely matron, who stand on the mid ridge of life, look down on either side upon two valleys of mourning. In one are the cherished memories of beloved parents; she weeping for the beloved father, he for the poor tender mother. In the other, the idolized forms of children snatched prematurely from their arms, and wept alike by both; by her in loud lamentation, by him in stifled sobs and hidden tears. The mother dies giving birth to her babe, or lives to weep ere long over its corpse. Disease haunts man from his birth.

Go into the mighty city of Lanka. In every street there passes you a funeral procession, with its red powder, its lugubrious flowers, its mournful rolling ulalatus, and in its rear the mourning women stand before the door in a circle, beating their breasts. In every house there is a cry and a grief – an old man expiring; a child struggling; a strong man agonized; a woman weeping; a little girl with frightened and tearful face. And, as if the terrible avenger Yama had not imposed on humanity a sufficient measure of suffering and death, man goes forth himself in gold, and plumes, and gay caparisons, to crush the limbs, and dash out the brains, and pierce the heart and bowels of his fellow-man. And on the battle-field are left horrible sights, terrible cries, and fearful smells of death. And in the city the women weep, and break their bangles, and shave their heads, and put on grey unbleached or russet garments, and are thenceforth held to be of evil omen.

Oh tragic man! whence is all this death in thy life? Alas! it is because an inward moral death reigns throughout all, that it must have this outward manifestation also. Men’s souls are dead when they are born: this life is the autopsy, and the disease is made manifest to all. One died mad of pride: one phrenetic with anger; one leprous with sensuality; one had the fever of ambition; one suffered from the insatiable craving of greed; one from the malignant venom of revenge; one from the jaundice of jealousy; one from the eating cancer of envy; one from a surfeit of self-love; one from the paralysis of apathy. Many were the diseases, but death into this world the common result of all.

Yes, death is triumphant here – death, physical and moral. The dead bring forth the dead; the dead bear the dead to the funeral pyre; the dead walk about the streets and greet each other, and bargain, and buy and sell, and marry, and build – and know not all the time that they are but ghosts and phantasms! That land of silence and shadows; of desolation and ruins, of sorrow and death, in which thy soul walked in the vision, oh Titan! is the WORLD in which thy dead body now walks waking. Renounce and annihilate it, oh king! by asceticism and divine gnosis, and thus return to real life.

[From The Dream of Ravan, Concord Grove Press, – first published in The Dublin University Magazine in 1853-54.)


On Brotherhood


(In response to a Letter)

Mr. Kunz’s references to Brotherhood, brief as they are, prove that he has as yet failed to grasp the very first implication of the ideal of Universal Brotherhood as it is understood and taught in Theosophy . . . .”brotherhood (which means love and trust and good will)” he says. But he is really thinking of friendship – a much lesser and easier concept than that of Universal Brotherhood. It was not this sort of “Brotherhood” which I learned from Blavatsky’s Theosophy. This was not the Brotherhood taught by Jesus.

To all my brothers I will give the utmost love and good will of which my nature is capable; but trust? Ah, my poor Fritz! how profound is your incomprehension! Uncounted thousands of my brothers are men without decency, or honor, or courage, or comeliness. Many of them are traitors, and liars, and pimps; some are renegade priests, forsworn lovers, prostituted politicians, hypocritical teachers of religion.

A very few of my brothers, by the sheer power and grace of their lordly natures have raised the intractable, rebellious stuff of human life to a plane of such universal comprehension and all-embracing compassion as to leave me with bowed head, lost in humility and wonder. But the vast majority of my brothers are deeply soiled with the stain of Earth; they are mostly very irresolute, these brothers of mine, and inconceivably stupid: but one and all they are my brothers, and never (O, Humanity!) shall I repudiate the relationship. For deep in the soul of the race there slumbers the great, the unappeasable Ideal.

Engulfed in the hells of matter, deep in Nature’s hypnotic trance, mankind cannot all forget its stupendous, its tragic, its glorious task. It was written that this strange creature, man, should commingle his subtle spiritual powers with the grosser energies of Nature, and thus learn to know himself in incarnate form, and in this form conquer, organize and direct Nature’s blind energies and become her priest. Let no man fear that his life is fated to be without significance on this planet. This is a matter which is entirely in his own hands. By intelligent effort, the subtle can overpower and organize the gross; the hypnotized sleeper can awake and assist his long-buried spiritual and intellectual powers, and be free.

It was to hasten this process that the 19th century Theosophical Movement was launched: it was for this that H.P. Blavatsky devoted her large gifts and her immense energies….

– Wm. C. Clark.
Canadian Theosophist, Feb 15, 1940


Ben Franklin’s Spiritual Discipline

Ben Franklin


(Taken from “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”)


It was about this time [in his mid-twenties] I conceived the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wish’d to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I had imagined. While my care was employ’d in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason. I concluded, at length, that the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping; and that the contrary habits must be broken, and good ones acquired and established, before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of conduct. For this purpose I therefore contrived the following method.

In the various enumerations of the moral virtues I had met with in my reading, I found the catalogue more or less numerous, as different writers included more or fewer ideas under the same name. Temperance, for example, was by some confined to eating and drinking, while by others it was extended to mean the moderating every other pleasure, appetite, inclination, or passion, bodily or mental, even to our avarice and ambition. I propos’d to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annex’d to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurr’d to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which fully express’d the extent I gave to its meaning.

These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:

1. Temperance – Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. Silence – Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3. Order – Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4. Resolution – Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality – Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6. Industry – Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity – Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice – Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. Moderation – Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness – Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

11. Tranquillity – Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

12. Chastity.

13. Humility – Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


My intention being to acquire the _habitude_ of all these virtues, I judg’d it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone thro’ the thirteen; and, as the previous acquisition of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arrang’d them with that view, as they stand above. Temperance first, as it tends to procure that coolness and clearness of head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up, and guard maintained against the unremitting attraction of ancient habits, and the force of perpetual temptations. This being acquir’d and establish’d, Silence would be more easy; and my desire being to gain knowledge at the same time that I improv’d in virtue, and considering that in conversation it was obtain’d rather by the use of the ears than of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break a habit I was getting into of prattling, punning, and joking, which only made me acceptable to trifling company, I gave _Silence_ the second place. This and the next, _Order_, I expected would allow me more time for attending to my project and my studies. _Resolution_, once become habitual, would keep me firm in my endeavours to obtain all the subsequent virtues; _Frugality_ and Industry freeing me from my remaining debt, and producing affluence and independence, would make more easy the practice of Sincerity and Justice, etc., etc. Conceiving then, that, agreeably to the advice of Pythagoras in his Golden Verses, daily examination would be necessary, I contrived the following method for conducting that examination.

I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each of the virtues. I rul’d each page with red ink, so as to have seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking each column with a letter for the day. I cross’d these columns with thirteen red lines, marking the beginning of each line with the first letter of one of the virtues, on which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed respecting that virtue upon that day…..

I determined to give a week’s strict attention to each of the virtues successively. Thus, in the first week, my great guard was to avoid every the least offense against _Temperance_, leaving the other virtues to their ordinary chance, only marking every evening the faults of the day. Thus, if in the first week I could keep my first line, marked T, clear of spots, I suppos’d the habit of that virtue so much strengthen’d, and its opposite weaken’d, that I might venture extending my attention to include the next, and for the following week keep both lines clear of spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I could go thro’ a course complete in thirteen weeks, and four courses in a year. And like him who, having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his reach and his strength, but works on one of the beds at a time, and, having accomplish’d the first, proceeds to a second, so I should have, I hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress I made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots, till in the end, by a number of courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean book, after a thirteen weeks’ daily examination…..

And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right and necessary to solicit his assistance for obtaining it; to this end I formed the following little prayer, which was prefix’d to my tables of examination, for daily use.

“O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy continual favours to me.”

I used also sometimes a little prayer which I took from Thomson’s Poems, viz.:

“Father of light and life, thou Good Supreme!
O teach me what is good; teach me Thyself!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From every low pursuit; and fill my soul
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!”

The precept of _Order_ requiring that every part of my business should have its allotted time, one page in my little book contain’d the following scheme of employment for the twenty-four hours of a natural day….

[Franklin had here a chart for the hours of his day: He rose at about 4:30 and the Question he pondered was “What good shall I do this day?” Hours 4:30 until 7:30 consisted of “Rise, wash, and address Powerful Goodness! Contrive day’s business, and take the resolution of the day; prosecute the present study and breakfast.” He worked 7:30 until 12:00 and from 12 until 1:00 he would “Read, or look over my accounts and dine.” He worked again from 1:00 until 5:30, and from 5:30 until 9:30 he would “Put things in their places (at work), Supper, Music or diversion, or conversation, Examination of the day with the Question “What good have I done today?” From 9:30 until 4:30 he would sleep.]

I enter’d upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and continu’d it with occasional intermissions for some time. I was surpris’d to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish. To avoid the trouble of renewing now and then my little book, which, by scraping out the marks on the paper of old faults to make room for new ones in a new course, became full of holes, I transferr’d my tables and precepts to the ivory leaves of a memorandum book, on which the lines were drawn with red ink, that made a durable stain, and on those lines I mark’d my faults with a black-lead pencil, which marks I could easily wipe out with a wet sponge. After a while I went thro’ one course only in a year, and afterward only one in several years, till at length I omitted them entirely, being employ’d in voyages and business abroad, with a multiplicity of affairs that interfered; but I always carried my little book with me.

My scheme of Order gave me the most trouble; and I found that, tho’ it might be practicable where a man’s business was such as to leave him the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman printer, for instance, it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at their own hours. _Order_, too, with regard to places for things, papers, etc., I found extremely difficult to acquire. I had not been early accustomed to it, and, having an exceeding good memory, I was not so sensible of the inconvenience attending want of method. This article, therefore, cost me so much painful attention, and my faults in it vexed me so much, and I made so little progress in amendment, and had such frequent relapses, that I was almost ready to give up the attempt, and content myself with a faulty character in that respect….

In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect to Order; and now I am grown old, and my memory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of it. But, on the whole, tho’ I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect writing by imitating the engraved copies, tho’ they never reach the wish’d-for excellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavour, and is tolerable while it continues fair and legible.

It may be well my posterity should be informed that to this little artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor ow’d the constant felicity of his life, down to his 79th year, in which this is written. What reverses may attend the remainder is in the hand of Providence; but, if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness enjoy’d ought to help his bearing them with more resignation. To Temperance he ascribes his long-continued health, and what is still left to him of a good constitution; to Industry and Frugality, the early easiness of his circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him some degree of reputation among the learned; to Sincerity and Justice, the confidence of his country, and the honorable employs it conferred upon him; and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness of temper, and that cheerfulness in conversation, which makes his company still sought for, and agreeable even to his younger acquaintance. I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.

It will be remark’d that, tho’ my scheme was not wholly without religion, there was in it no mark of any of the distinguishing tenets of any particular sect. I had purposely avoided them; for, being fully persuaded of the utility and excellency of my method, and that it might be serviceable to people in all religions, and intending some time or other to publish it, I would not have anything in it that should prejudice anyone, of any sect, against it. I purposed writing a little comment on each virtue, in which I would have shown the advantages of possessing it, and the mischiefs attending its opposite vice; and I should have called my book The Art of Virtue, because it would have shown the means and manner of obtaining virtue, which would have distinguished it from the mere exhortation to be good, that does not instruct and indicate the means, but is like the apostle’s man of verbal charity, who only without showing to the naked and hungry how or where they might get clothes or victuals, exhorted them to be fed and clothed…. But it so happened that my intention of writing and publishing this comment was never fulfilled….

My list of virtues contain’d at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my pride show’d itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and rather insolent, of which he convinc’d me by mentioning several instances; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, if I could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added _Humility_ to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word.

I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the _reality_ of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the _appearance_ of it. I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fix’d opinion, such as _certainly, undoubtedly_, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, _I conceive, I apprehend_, or _I imagine_ a thing to be so or so; or it _so appears to me at present_. When another asserted something that I thought an error, I deny’d myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there _appear’d_ or _seem’d_ to me some difference, etc. I soon found the advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engag’d in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in which I propos’d my opinions procur’d them a readier reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevail’d with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the right….

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as _pride_. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Ambition vs. Attainment


– G. G. LeGros

“Oh, not the men of pomp and guile,
The crafty and the bold,
The haughty men who never smile,
And men who live for gold;
But broken men with hands that bleed
And souls by anguish rent . . . . ”

On the first page of Light on the Path we read the number one rule for disciples – “Kill out ambition.” The Adept-author explains that “Ambition is the first curse: the great tempter of the man who is rising above his fellows. It is the simplest form of looking for reward. Men of intelligence and power are led away from their higher possibilities by it continually. Yet it is a necessary teacher. Its results turn to dust and ashes in the mouth; like death and estrangement it shows the man at last that to work for self is to work for disappointment.”

Ambition may even persist in the life of the occultist “…who fancies he has removed his interest from self, but who has in reality only enlarged the limits of experience and desire, and transferred his interest to the things which concern his larger span of life.” We see this everywhere – “astral projection,” “psychic powers,” “third-eye clairvoyance,” “hypnotic control over others, ” etc. Ambition is a hydra-headed thing.

In another book – Fragments of Life and Thought – the same Adept points out that “…not until the man has triumphed again and again in one incarnation after another, not until success has become tedious to him, and the high places of the earth all seem low and poor to him, is he beginning to be ready to go beyond it. And only so can it be killed out. “Man must go on struggling for earthly prizes until he reaches the point “…where the excelling of his fellows becomes suddenly and forever contemptible in his eyes, beneath the dignity and greatness of his soul, and then he will kill out ambition and cast it from him as a weed of earth. He will perceive that the strength which he has developed must be used, not in order to excel, but in the endeavor to attain.”

Attainment is different from Ambition because the latter fires one with a passion to out-distance all others striving for the same goal. The ambitious man is by necessity personal, jealous, envious, and ruthless – in other words, a menace to the world because he sows discord. To realize his aims he will stop at nothing save that which imperils his own preservation. And sometimes he will risk even that, like Shakespeare’s soldier “… seeking the bubble reputation even in the cannon’s mouth.”

Attainment, on the other hand, is a reaching out from self to SELF, from the finite to the Infinite, from the conditioned to the Unconditioned. The man who attains finds no rivals at his side, no single prize waiting at the end of the race. He moves in Eternity, where there is room for all.

Ambition is the effort of man to add to himself some coveted fragment of Earth, hoping thereby to exalt and increase his stature before others; but Attainment is the giving of oneself to the Whole.

A good example is the poet who wins first prize in an important contest. At the reception which follows, he receives honor and praise, and for a little hour feels as a god among men. But he also looks upon the faces of other poets who had competed and lost. They regard him as a thief, a usurper of the prize they sought, and which, in their opinion, they deserve.

He also thinks of next year’s contest, and wonders if he will win again, or only receive honorable mention, or no mention at all. Instead of rejoicing in his triumph, he finds himself under a cloud of apprehension. Victory is not the splendid thing he had envisioned.

Looking back, he sees that writing the poem was Attainment; but competing and winning the prize was Ambition. In the joy of creating something beautiful, he reached out of himself into the starry spaces where the Gods of Glory sing, and where, for a moment, he was one with their song.

But winning the prize and humbling his rivals, was an earthly thing that compressed his soul, and imprisoned him in a little world made by the littleness of men, where Ambition is king, demanding its terrible price.

The poet should sing as a bird sings – not for reward, but to Attain, to reach out from self to Infinity. The poet can be taken as a symbol of all men because everyone strives to express what he is – what is in him – either to win something from the world that may be added unto himself, or to give something of himself to the world. Each man is, by nature, either a taker or a giver.

The taker, following the path of Ambition, loses with every step because he violates the Supreme Order of the Universe, which is Duty, Service, and Cooperation. The giver, following the path of Attainment, wins with every step because he acts in keeping with the Harmony of the Whole, thereby enriching himself, because he is the Universe.

Attainment is the foundation of the Ultimate Discipline of Life. “Work as those work who are ambitious.” Make the utmost of the life that is yours; but seek no personal victories which, once realized, crush those around you. Regard men not as rivals, but as fellow pilgrims walking beside you on the Eternal Highway. Help them to attain with you, to become whole with you, and all the treasures of the Universe will be yours!

(from “Messiah”)


More Jung and Theosophy



“Higher Spirituality in Jung”


Editor, The Canadian Theosophist:


In your number of May 15th, 1935, there is an arrticle called “The Psychology of The New Age,” signed W.F.S., and in it a passing mention of Jung’s psychology. It seems to me that the author cannot have studied Jung’s latest works, or he would never have concluded his paragraph with such a depreciatory statement. Not only has the existence of “higher spiritual and mental realms” occurred to Jung but his psychology actually leads to parallels with the highest Chinese Yoga, as shown in his commentary on “The Secret of The Golden Flower.” His concept of the “unconscious” seems to me parallel with the “anima mundi” spoken of by H.P.B. in “The Secret Doctrine” as follows, –


She says, (S.D. II, 511), “Akasa – the astral light, – can be defined in a few words; it is the universal Soul, the Matrix of the universe, the Mysterium Magnum, from which all that exists is born by seperation or differentiation . . . . as the finite, in the Infinite, as regards manifestation, this light must have its shadowy side… which its actions draw upon humanity and which men attract and force to activity. Hence, while it is the universal Cause in its unmanifested, unity and infinity, the Astral Light becomes with regard to Mankind, simply the effects of the causes produced by men . . . that determines the unavoidable action and reaction of the great magic agent. It is mankind which has become the ‘Serpent of Genesis’ and thus causes daily and hourly the Fall and sin of the ‘Celestial Virgin’ – which thus becomes the Mother of gods and devils at one and the same time: for she is the ever-loving beneficent deity to all those who stir her Soul and heart, instead of attracting to themselves her shadowy manifested essence . . . .which kills and destroys . . . . .The Astral Light may be God and Devil at once – ‘Demon est Deus inverses’. . . . . the `Holy Ghost’ and `Satan’ at one and the same time …The manifested effects of the two who are one, guided and attracted by ourselves is the Karma of humanity.”


“The Astral Light stands in the same relation to Akasa and Anima Mundi as Satan stands to the Deity – they are one and the same thing seen from two aspects.” – (S.D., I, 197)


She says again: – “Alaya is literally the ‘Soul of the World’ or Anima Mundi, the ‘Over Soul’ of Emerson . . . . not only the Dhyani-Buddhas are one with Alaya in Soul and Essence, but even the man strong in the Yoga (mystic meditation), is able to merge his soul with it.” (S.D., I, 48)


On page 59 she speaks, of “the prototypes impressed in the Astral Light – the lowest plane and world of Anima Mundi” which is dual and bisexual. (I, 196)


The Logoi of all countries and religions are correlative. . . with the female Soul of the World, or the “Great Deep”; the deity, from which these two in one have their being, is ever concealed and called the “Hidden One”. . . it can act only through the Dual Force emanating from the Eternal Essence. (S.D., I, 353)


Svabhavat is the mystic essence, the plastic root of physical Nature – “Numbers” when manifested; the Number, in its unity of Substance, on the highest plane. The name is of Buddhist use and a synonym for the four-fold Anima Mundi, the Kabalistic “Archetypal world.” (S.D., I, 98)


Now the above is what Jung means by his concept of the “unconscious.”


In “Psychological Types,” p. 271, he says: “The great problems of life. . . are always related to the primordial images of the collective unconscious. These images are really balancing or compensating factors which correspond with the problems life presents in actuality ….. Every great experience in life, every profound conflict, evokes the treasured wealth of these images, and brings them to inner perception; as such, they become accessible to consciousness only in the presence of that degree of self-awareness and power of understanding which enables a man also to think what he experiences instead of just living it blindly. In the latter case he actually lives the myth and the symbol without knowing it.”


With regard to mythological associations Jung says . . . “Those motives and images . . . can spring anew in every age and clime, without historical tradition or migration. I term these contents the collective unconscious, just as conscious contents are engaged in a definite activity, the unconscious contents – so experience teaches us – are similarly active.” (p. 616) “I am myself so profoundly convinced of this homogeneity of the human psyche that I have actually embraced it in the concept of the collective unconscious as a universal and homogeneous subtratum whose homogeneity extends even into a world-wide identity or similarity of myths and fairy tales, so that a negro of the southern states of America dreams in the motives of Grecian mytholoy, and a Swiss grocer’s apprentice repeats in his psychosis the vistion of an Egyptian Gnostic.” (p. 264)


Speaking of popular myth and legend, H.P.B. says, in the Secret Doctrine (II, 293): “The imagination of the masses . . . could never have conceived and fabricated ex nihilo so many monstrous figures, such a wealth of extraordinary tales, had it not had to serve it as a central nucleus, those floating reminiscences, obscure and vague, which unite the broken links of the chain of time to form with them the mysterious dream foundation of our collective consciousness.”


Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious is bound up with the problem of the pairs of opposites. In “Two Essays” (page 115) he says: “Through tension beween the opposites, the collective unconscious brings forth images which as symbols make possible an irrational union of the opposites”, (meaning that it cannot be done by brain reasoning). Our immediate life is only a world of images. All conscious imagination and action have grown out of these unconscious prototypes, and remain bound up with them.”


In “Psychological Types”, p. 577, Jung says: – Active phantasy, which brings the symbol to birth, “belongs to the highest form of psychic activity. For here, in a converging stream, flow the conscious and unconsciouss personality of the subject into a common and reconciling product. A phantasy thus framed may be the supreme expression of the unity of an individual; it may even create the individual by the consummate expression of its unity.”


(p. 144): Under normal conditions…. energy must be artificially added to the unconscious symbol, in order to. . .bring it to consciousness – this occurs. . . through a differentiation of the Self from the opposites… “this points to the separability of an individual nucleus”. This detachment causes the energy to sink into the unconscious, where it automatically takes possession of the waiting phantasy material, which it activaltes and urges towards consciousness.” The expression for the symbol “living form” is happily chosen, “because the phantasy material thus animated contains images of the psychological development of the individual in its successive states, thus providing a sort of model or representative of the further way between the opposites….. this function of mediation between the opposites I have termed the transcendent function. (p. 149). The positive something which results is the “symbolic determinant of the Will” …..


“The primordial image to which I refer is revealed in that growth of oriental thought which centres around the Brahman-Atman teaching in India, and in China found its philosophical representative in Lao Tze. (p. 151) …… Tao is….. a middle road between the opposites, freed from them and yet uniting them in itself. The purpose of life is to travel this middle path and never to deviate towards the opposites.” Such a wisdom presents what is the highest attainable to spiritual superiority. (p. 153): “For its achievement the highest moral effort, the greatest self-denial and sacrifice, the most intense religious earnestness and saintliness, are needed.” (p. 244): “The East has for thousands of years been familiar with this process, and has founded thereon a psychological doctrine of salvation which brings the way of deliverance within the compass of human intention – thus both the Indian and the Chinese religions, as also Buddhism which combines the spheres of both, possess the idea of a redeeming middle path of magical efficacy which is attainable through a conscious attitude.”


Jung quotes the Kaushitaki Upanishad, 1-4, “like one who faring fast in a chariot looketh down upon the chariot wheels, so upon day and night, upon good and evil deeds and upon all the opposites doth he look down; but he, freed from good and evil deeds, as knower of Brahman, entereth into Brahman.”


On p. 266 Jung says of Tao: “Tao is an irrational union of the opposites, therefore a symbol which is and is not”…. “The spirit of the valley is immortal; it is called the deep feminine. The gateway of the deep feminine is called root of heaven and earth”…. – “Too withdraw oneself is the celestial way”…. (quoting Lao Tze): “Therefore is he (the complete one) inaccessible to intimacy, inaccessible to estrangement, inaccessible to profit, inaccessible to injury, inaccessible to honor, inaccessible to disgrace.” Being one with Tao resembles the spiritual condition of a child. This is the psychological attitude which is an esesntial condition of the inheritance of the Christian Kingdom of Heaven – …. The basic image and symbol whence proceeds the redeeming effect. (p 267): “Hence as a microcosm, uniting in himself the world opposites, man corresponds with the irrational symbol which reconciles psychological antithesis – . This root-image of man – accords with the symbol `living forms’.” The opposites are two mutually contending tendencies, both striving to drag man into extreme attitudes and entangle him in the world.


Wu Wei, another Chinese concept, means “not doing and not doing nothing.” In this connection Jung quotes a Japanese philosopher, NakaeToju – “Ri is the world soul, Ki the world matter, which are two aspects of the same thing. The individual also embraces the opposites.” There is a universal Self and an individual Self which is a divine essence which Toju calls Ryochi. It is the universal Self in use (as Jung also says elsewhere: “The individual Self is a …. representative of something universally present in all living are creatures.”) Ryochi is the True Self – not the false self which is an “acquired personality arising from perverted beliefs.” Ryochi is called “alone being,” or “alone knowing.” It is the self regulating function, this mediator of the pairs of opposites Ri and Ki; it is the “ancient Wise One
who dwelleth in thy heart” – “in every heart there dwelIeth a Sage; only man will not steadfastly believe it; therefore hath the whole remained buried.”


In the “Secret of the Golden Flower” (p. 83) Jung says, “My professional experiences have shown me that in my technique I had been unconsciously led along the secret way which for centuries has been the preoccupation of the best minds of the East.” The Chinese text shows striking parallels with the course of psychic development in European people. With them it is also a question of the way in which one may become what the Hindu terms Nirdvandva, free of the opposites – but the way is narrow as a knife’s edge. He says: “This detachment is the therapeutic effect par excellence for which I labor with my students and patients.” But he points out that this technique is only appropriate at a certain stage of development, and in the second half of life it must not be entered upon too soon. The instruction is only intended for him whose “light of consciousness is capable of freeing him from the powers of life, in order to enter into the ultimate undivided unity, into the ‘centre of emptiness’ where ‘dwells the god of utmost emptiness and life,’ as the Chinese text says. This ‘centre’ reminds one of what was said by a (Theosophical) Master: “Desire only in your efforts to reach nearest the centre of life. (which is the same in the universe and in yourself). It is your divinity, it is the divinity we all share, which has within it, in its heart, a supreme and awful power.”


Jung says: “This something, though strange to us, is yet so near it is altogether ourselves and yet unrecognizable, a virtual middle point. I have called this middle point the Self.” In another place he says: “The psyche may be regarded as a mathematical point, and at the same time as a universe of fixed stars.”


He says: “Obviously the veil of Maya cannot be lifted by a mere decision of reason, but demands the most thorough-going and wearisome preparation consisting in the right payment of all debts to life… till then, there are real and relatively real figures of the unconscious.”


Of Westerners Jung says: “We would like to climb the heights of a philosophical religion, but are, in fact, incapable of it. The best we can do is to grow up to it.”


I think that the parallels given above prove that the “existence of higher spiritual and mental realms” has occurred to Jung!


– Maude Bernard

(From Canadian Theosophist, Aug., 15, 1935)


The Unity of Life


The function of Theosophy is to provide a true sense of direction for human life. The student of Theosophy therefore must realize the extreme need for becoming clear regarding this doctrine of Unity for it is the only unshakable basis for wise human living.

Expressed in the life of the individual it has two aspects – the positive or stern side and the negative or tender sympathetic side. Until an individual fully grasps both phases of the Law of Unity he will not be able to communicate the spirit of the teaching to another.

True self-abnegation is of itself exactly half of what is required. Alone, it makes a man a sort of saint but not by any means a Master of Life; the power of self-assertion is equally necessary. This is a hard thing for Western minds, nurtured in a Christian atmosphere, to realize. Meekness, humbleness, pityfulness, and self-abasement are regarded as the spiritual virtues. They are, but so are their opposites, and impersonality demands the balanced ability to assert positively and to endure unresistingly, to be diamond hard as well as to be tenderly sympathetic.

Individuals are not rare who have developed one aspect of this dual power, but when we find a man who is equally at home in both phases, we shall have discovered someone who has conquered the instinctive nature, and in whom the love of self can be completely set aside at will. Nothing less than this is Spiritual power, is Selflessness.

Some of us find it only too easy to be over tolerant of the faults of others, minimizing mistakes and weaknesses and, “Looking always for the best in people”. And we often take credit for this not realizing that we are giving way to an instinct of self-protection by seeking to disarm possible criticism of ourselves. Others, just as insitinctively, bolster up their sense of superiority by being hyper-critical at all times, making a point of telling people what they think of them.

Everyone in his early life unconscionsly builds up the attitude, through which he or she most easily faces life and maintains his sense of self-importance – the deepest, most far-reaching of all human instincts, often stronger even than the deisire for life itself. This attitude he wears as a cloak, behind which he hides and protects himself, and without consideration and almost without thought it reacts instinctively in all life’s circumstances, and the individual does and says what it dictates unless he checks this instinctive reaction and considers and acts as his intelligence directs. In all such uncontrolled instinctive actions whether the instinct be good or bad, fine or ignoble, we are not really living at all; Nature is living in us.

The Unity of Life can never be more than an intellectual idea, and Brotherhood nothing more than a sentimental ideal, until we become Self-possessed, until we incarnate our Real Self into this centre of instinctive life we think of as ourself, and control and rule it.

Selflessness is the power of the spiritually enlightened mind to hold up, control and direct Nature’s energies within us. No matter what our type, or temperament may be, the fundamental practical problem of all students is to bring the individual’s own life under the rule of intelligence. If we neglect this it will not much matter what we do. (Notes from an Orpheus Lodge Discussion)

– From The Canadian Theosophist, June 15, 1935