Well hello again. This time gonna be
coming to you from the United States, from the Olcott National Headquarters for the Theosophical Society in America. Although I’m here right now, this
particular video blog will take you to three countries. We’re going to begin in
France, which is sort of where I left off at the last one, and then we’re going
from there to the Netherlands and then back here to the United States where we
had a bunch of different very very high-level events that took place. Got a good chance to spend some time
with some of the members of the French section. Although it was a low-key time for me we had a couple of good meetings together and did some good work all in
all. Of course it was on to the Netherlands for the second Dutch day.
They hesitated to call it double dutch because as I find out double dutch
actually has a sort of meaning that’s not quite that good. It talks about
someone who’s not talking straight. I didn’t really even realize that so whenever
we do it again we can go triple dutch but double dutch was out. But it is a very
very good meeting well attended by the members of the Dutch section and also a
very good chance to get a chance to talk to people about the questions that they
all have on their mind. One of the things that you’re going to be seeing
that came up as one of those questions is about our website for the
Theosophical Society Adyar, which has been a little bit moribund for the last
little while now, but we’ve been working on it behind the scenes so by the time most of
you are seeing this video we will have a new website for the Theosophical Society
Adyar, completely redesigned, top to bottom, and middle to end. It’s something that
hopefully it’ll be something that will be very usable to our members worldwide. In any
event, I want you to go to it. The address is below here on the screen. Take a look at it and then let me know
your thoughts, particularly ways that we can better use it to suit your needs and
the needs of our membership. At the end of the month I found myself back here at
Ollcott, once again for our 15th Theosofest, which is an event that is
like an open house that we have, we had about 44 different lectures and
vendors. It was a record-breaking event for us. We had more people attend, more
vendors who came of all different sorts. We ended up actually having to turn
vendors away this year. Over 2,000 people came for that one day, Saturday September 12. Always it’s the Saturday following Labor Day here in the U.S., so anyway
gonna show you a whole bunch of scenes from all of that busy, busy time and I do
hope that you enjoy it, but one thing if you don’t get anything else out of this
video check out the new TSA website and give me your feedback. Ok here it is. Enjoy. After leaving Helsinki
we came to Paris to the headquarters of the French section. Kim Deu, the previous
president, was there with us and greeted us with the feast, not least of
which was the pastries. The next day was off to Giverney for the
meeting with the group at Claude Monet’s Garden. This is the inspiration of his
water lilly paintings and many of the things that he was quite famous for.
Absolutely beautiful place and you can see the source of his inspiration. While
we were there we had a picnic together, which then developed into a meeting
which we had related to a variety of subjects about the TS and Theosophy. From there it was on to Amsterdam and then to Narden for Dutch day and a stay at St.
Michael’s House at the International Theosophical Centre in Narden. We were there last year right around the same time where they held the Dutch Day.
During the time there there are a number of meetings that ended up having, obviously just the normal meetings with just the folks who were there, but there was also
the meeting of the ITC Council, which you see here. Dinner time meals were always a big deal.
In the meals the group just kept growing and growing and growing as we got closer to Dutch Day. Even though they called it Dutch Day, really it’s quite an international gathering, with people from Belgium,
Italy, England; you see Jenny Baker and Janet Lee from England, and Jan Kind from Brazil. The area around the ITC is just a beautiful, beautiful
area. Some shots from there you can see. Very pastoral, but also very high level
residences. On the same campus is the St. Michael’s Chapel for the Liberal
Catholic Church, which was built, I think, in 1972. Its a beautiful chapel we had a chance to attend one of the services there. Percival is the the priest, he’s also
the one who did all the cooking for us while we were there, so here you see
Percival. Also, as I have asked all the groups, I
want to have a meeting with the younger people, younger members whenever I visit a section, so here in the Netherlands we had a meeting of that sort, on one of the evenings that I was there.
Then it was time for the actual Dutch Day gathering, which took the entire day.
It was not just me, but Ingmar Debor, who was one of the members of the council, presented,
and there was also a toast to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the ITC there in Narden, quite an important occasion. Patricia Calvi spoke about the work
being done by TOS in Italy, which was quite impressive and then I have my
opportunity a couple of times during the day to also address the folks who had
gathered. It was a wonderful gathering many friends that I’ve met for the first
time last year got a chance to renew some of those friendships this year, so
that’s something to look forward to in the days and years to come. When it did finally become time to leave
I was told that there’s a tradition and we kept the tradition, the circle drive.
You go around not once, but twice to say your goodbyes. It is lovely lovely little
ritual that I hope to do many times in the future. Then it was off to Amsterdam and the plane back home to the U.S. of A where the very first thing that greeted me was a prayer breakfast that’s held every year for leaders of various sorts in the Wheaton area, political leaders and a variety of leaders, so we traditionally get a table at that and have members of our staff come and attend. In
addition to the normal sorts of Theosophical things, Mark Remich was deep in the process of replacing our two boilers, an extensive project just in
time for the heating season. Every year the biggest event for us is Theosofest.
This year it was bigger than ever. We were a little bit concerned when the day
before ,we got a nice dose of rain, but the next day turned out to be beautiful. One of the things that has happened is that we’ve allowed people to set up their tents, that is to say vendors, the day before. Normally not too many people did it, but this year there were more than 50 people that took us up on that. The next day, 6:00 am, a number of us were out there getting ready to park the cars. More than
1,000 cars were parked over the course of the day. More than 2,000 people actually attended
and we rely heavily on volunteers during the course of that day. Not just our staff, but volunteers. We
had volunteers from high schools, who are local, members came and volunteered, and it’s a lovely, lovely day. We had vendors of all different types: healing, sound, jewelry, all sorts of things that go into
making the day work. We also have healers of all different types who were there.
Many many people get a chance to see them: massage therapists, Reiki, all sorts. Educational institutes joined us, yoga people; we have all sorts of
opportunities for people to get their henna and beauty products, and we have food vendors. Everything’s vegetarian. Mexican food was represented, always the Indian food is
there and they always attract a line of people. This year we also had pizza, which also
sold out, it’s a popular food of course, and ice cream. From year to year many people look
forward to the event to meet with old friends and then new ones. This gentleman came all the way from Mexico just for this event, but there are many people who come, bring their puppies; this particular little puppy was blind, he’s an old fellow, and to see the grounds and to see the building, which were in just
wonderful shape. A number of people walked the labyrinth, people came to our Buddha shrine, the Mary shrine, the library, almost 800 people passed through there during the
course of the day. Also there were books for sale, but it’s one of those
times many people come for different things. Some people come to go to our bookstore, which also had the busiest, most successful day it ever had. Always Theosofest is the biggest sales day, but this year it more than almost
doubled previous years, so it was a success for us in every respect. Every
year, for the last five, my wife has done the Kid’s Korner. A group of volunteers get together and it’s also a very popular thing for parents with their kids. There are
programs of all different sorts. Generally it’s enjoyed and it’s a
opportunity for parents to bring their kids.The kids learn different things and
generally just have a lot of fun. With all of this, the real focus of the
event is the talks that we give, an opportunity to share some of the
teachings of Theosophy and again this year we had more than a 1,000 people
attend the various talks that went on throughout the day. About more than 40 of them during the course of the day, from 20 minutes to 1 hour long. Each time it ends with a drum circle and
we also had a gong bath by our own Marian Kraus. So it was an opportunity for
people to have a variety of experiences. The end of the day I had a chance to
watch the last car go off into the setting sun.