Practical Occultism — William Q. Judge

Letters from July 1888

July 2, 1888

Dear Mrs. McPherson:

I have your letter which I have carefully read, and have sent it to a coworker of ours who is a lady not only of refinement but also of very deep intuition in Theosophical matters, asking her to write you. As she is a woman she can at present help you better than I can and will gladly do it.

I think the class is an opportunity. As you say it is not easy to know when to speak. But right speech comes to us if we are deeply in earnest and feel our own ignorance. No one person can answer all the questions that are asked, nor would a year suffice. Hence you can make general answers and refer to Karma and Reincarnation and above all to the doctrine of the Unity of Spirit. It is all in fact the thing that Jesus taught if we leave out the idea of vicarious atonement and that he alone is God's son. We are all potentially that.

I would advise you to leave lying about various theosophical books and papers. They will excite questions and often also answer them; and I would think of the people also. In that way the sincere will ask you and you can pass them on. I send you for the purpose some printed matter.

I thank you for your kind thoughts and expressions.

Sincerely yours


In helping others you will be helped yourself.

July 4 1888
Dr. J. M. Borglum

Dear Sir and Bro.

Thanks for the little poem. I will lay it aside for future use.

I think while we acquire a distaste for the things of the world we should also endeavor to realize how much help poor humanity needs, struggling as people are in the mire of illusion and false creeds. As humanity needs our help we must therefore work with it. Not in formulating new schemes for temporary good, for all those political, social and labor problems are merely for the moment. They solve nothing since the cause of sorrow remains. But they will be pushed by their different votaries. We as theosophists know that the real remedy lies in true views of man's nature and destiny. As we are here in the world and as there is no one else save Man to be helped, and as we cannot separate ourselves from our fellows because we too helped to make up this mass of bad Karma, we must learn to sympathise with these people and not shrink from them, trying to turn their attention to the mighty truths given out by The Masters. This is what Masters desire us to do above all else. They do not seek for mere occultists and adepts but for men who are willing to work for the sacred cause of Humanity. The laborer truly is downtrodden, the rich are also, but each really treads on himself; and nothing but belief in Karma and good living on a basis of Brotherhood will cure the evil. I shall at any time be glad to hear from you.

Sincerely yours


July 9, 1888

My dear Foulke:

The enclosed are letter and telegram sent on 6th to all Branches West. Responses already from California and Nebraska are: "cordial support to Mme Blavatsky in everything."

This is the 9th month of our 13th year as a Society and the crisis has come. It is in India and really with the Council and not with Col. Olcott. Mme Blavatsky ought to be the head west of Bombay shore and this action is needed to show them that, and to show them that they do not know the needs of the West. Mme Blavatsky has been ordered to take this step and as she is really the life of the T. S. as a whole her request should be acceded to. There exist in certain places psychic currents that if not broken will do harm to parts of the organization at a distance. Hence although the crisis does not show here it is nevertheless existent and important. As she is our real head and represents the Masters we ought to do as she asks, for if she is not such head then we are like any other organization. The sooner this is shown one way or the other, the better. She has months ago warned me of this crisis and I hope you will call a meeting at once and give assent. Good results will follow.

As Ever


July 10 1888

Dear Mrs. Savery

I was so very busy that Mr. Fullerton merely acknowledged yours. There is no very great news theosophically. Things are going forward. The Secret Doctrine will probably be out in the fall.

I have taken an additional room at 117 Nassau St which will be devoted to a Theosophical Headquarters and be open all day. Mr. Fullerton being always here makes this feasible. But I will want some little furniture, as, chairs, rugs, table etc, and if you can spare any articles of that sort and donate them to the room it will greatly help. The room will be useful, as many people call, and more will come when this place is open. I will have Indian pictures and various other things, and a line shields along the wall near the ceiling for the names and date of founding each U. S. Branch. Dont you think the idea good? We will also have theos. and other cranky magazines.

Very sincerely


July 10, 1888
Dr. T. Docking,
San Diego Cal

Dear Sir and Bro:

I have your letter enclosing papers about Dr. Babbitt and will give the matter attention. Just at present I am very busy and cannot for a few days look over the article sent. I shall soon send you something for the P. L. L. [Point Loma Lodge]. But I can say now that one should not confine others to any one method, for when many persons come together there is always diversity of view which is healthy. Some order of procedure should be adopted which will meet best the views of all and all should agree that no one person's views only can prevail. There ought to be some candid discussion of philosophy and comparison of views — not debate, but calm discussion. Accepted Chelas have to learn in that way, by coming together and comparing views and occurrences with the object of deducing from the accumulated experience the laws which govern. In that way they progress. They meditate privately. And each Branch should regularly study such books as Bhagavad Gita and Raj Yoga Philosophy, the views of all being heard, so that the whole Lodge may as a Unit proceed upon the same road. — I was glad to get your telegram so promptly. On 16th I shall report all to Mme B.

Hastily yours


July 11, 1888
New York

Dear Mrs. Brainard:

I received yours in reply to my question about Isis and the five-pointed star pointed star and have looked at the reference given. I do not think that the statement made on p. 448 is an allusion which supports in any way the position taken by you.

At p. 448 the author is speaking of the star of Lucifer in his aspect of "Devil," and then it is always made with the point down; and the context shows that this is so, for it distinctly shows the 5 pointed star to be "the murderer's" star. When the same star is written with the point up it then is the star of good, white-magic as shown in E Levi and elsewhere. What Hartmann says on the subject is not of much consequence as he merely copies others.

Inasmuch as the star may be written in either way, and that one way means life and the other death, it does not appear that there is any error or confusion in "Isis."

Fraternally yours,


July 11th, 1888

My dear Page,

You are altogether right in supposing that the request in the telegram comes from Madame Blavatsky herself, for the Lodge called after her name has no authority over us and would instantly disclaim any.

No, there is no falling out between the Founders, and, I am confident, never will be any. Indeed, a letter just received by me from Col. Olcott shows the contrary.

Briefly, the facts are these. Col. O. has in Adyar an Executive Committee of 7. Of these, 4 have for some time lost interest in him and faith in Madame. It has been found that some of them have been circulating belittling tales against her, arousing distrust and ill-feeling, and imperiling the whole work of the T. S. A crisis has been approaching, and it was precipitated by the official request from a large number of Branches for a distinct statement from Headquarters as to the loyalty or otherwise of this Executive Committee. The last "Theosophist" announces the resignations of Subba Row and Dr. Cooke.

Experience, and the existence of certain complications too long now to detail, show the need of having all the Western Branches under the more immediate supervision of Madame B, the whole Theosophical Society remaining, of course, under the presidency of Col. O, the President-Founder. Under instructions, as I have reason to believe, of the Higher Powers behind the T. S., Madame has determined to assume this subordinate and localized leadership, i.e. of all Branches in Europe and America, — all, in short, west of India. Fortified by their request and assurance of support, she can say to the President, "You see the response called forth by the disloyalty and the slanders of those whom you and I trusted in the Executive Committee. They are no more true to you than to me. If, as is probable, they oppose your consent to my taking this subordinate leadership in the West, you can exhibit to them my Western endorsement as proof that their hostility is combated and will be overborne by the West. This will enable you to resist their opposition to my course, a course inspired by Those higher than either of us, strengthen your hands against these unfaithful ones, and pave the way for a reconstruction of the Committee from sincere and trustworthy Councillors."

Col. O. has no better friend than Madame B, and she sees, even more clearly than any of us here, how essential it is to his interests and to those of the whole T. S. that the Council should be purged of secret enemies and their places filled by friends. In his isolated position he needs support, and she, instigated by the Wise Ones, asks us to give it. My confidence in her and in Them is intense, and I at once sent the telegrams as she desired.

Ever yours faithfully,


July 12 1888

Dear Coues:

I have yours and I take it in the spirit in which it was written, but you have misunderstood. Please observe that neither as Aryan Pres't nor as Gen. Sec. have I asked any Branch to do anything whatever hence the major part of yours relating to the impropriety of my attempting to do so does not apply. And my letter in blue printing had no heading and is signed as an individual and expressly states that representing H. P. B. I ask them to consider what she proposes. The same was sent to every Branch and none have the slightest proof that I acted otherwise than as an individual agent for H. P. B.

I would not make the request as Sec. nor propose it to the Ex Com nor as CCC for the simple and easy reason that H. P. B. on Friday by telegraph ordered me to do what I did. And when she orders me I do as she says without reasons. At some expense I telegraphed you fully the very first person, and as yet you give no reply for Gnostic that is official. Have you cabled H P B yourself that Gnostic is in the affirmative? If you have that is all I care. The T. S. is H. P. B. and hence what she wishes done should be; so you have not come up to the measure laid down by yourself. This matter is wholly and solely H. P. B. and no one else and the outcome is hers. I had no information. The cable came Friday bald and bare, and my request was wired Saturday to every Branch. Had I had information I would have consulted you. Since then I have a letter notifying me that a circular letter from H. P. B. will come here. When it does we may and will act officially upon it, and when I telegraph you about it I hope you will early reply. There is a crisis which no one but H. P. B. can use and avert and pass. It will be for the best. But its details I do not yet know. I send you herein my cable from her which please return.

I intended to call the Hdqrs Aryan but they shall be devoted by Aryan to general use and benefit of T. S., and I followed your request in notifying you so that if you wanted more buncombe in it you might have it.

Your remarks that I might by consultation have even little whims carried out by Com and CCC are noted and my old reply is repeated that I shall never ask either body for authority or countenance for anything like whim nor for aught but regular routine matter.

There is no split with H. S. O. but I believe the whole affair of H. P. B.'s telegram is to work on the asinine Council H. S. O. has about him in India.

Do not forget photo soon as I am collecting and arranging everything now.

As Ever


P.S. I have received telegraphic and written replies from All T. S. Branches but 3 that they have passed the resolution nem con. Among the 3 I do not count Gn. Rochester is nix of course, and by Sunday I will have all. Monday shall cable full report to H. P. B.

July 13 1888

Dear H. P. B.

As before said I notified all Branches of your resolution for vote. Replies as follows: I telegraph'd you on 16th. Cost so far is $30. or £ 6. the telegram of 16th additional at 12 cents a word.

Affirmative on resolution:

Chicago two branches;
New York
Grand Island, Nebraska
St. Louis (one) "Pranava"
Bridgeport, Conn.
Pt. Loma, California
Santa Cruz, California

(12 in all)

Lotus, Mich. conditional, if within the rules.
Gnostic, D. C., not official: in letter from C.

No reports yet
San Francisco
Los Angeles
Rochester nor ever

No report
Boston, and Malden, Mass
Iswara, Minn.
Omaha, Neb.
Arjuna, St. L.

(8 in all)


Esh Maaun, St. Louis, because "in the dark" and dont know why or what is about.

Effect all over U. S. Branches.

So far, bad.

Reason for effect.

No Branch knows of any difficulty with Olcott or any one else; some know about Paris racket. They hence are filled with, (a) idea that there is a split with Olcott, (b) idea that it is now at a head and must be dreadful, (c) distrust because of want of information as to why all the bother.

The Paris, India, and London rows may make trouble in those several places but they are not heard of, nor cared for over here. Even I do not know much either and have to guess at a good deal by intuition. The Isis Bulletin makes a fair show, but of course is only one side and there is a maxim: Audi alterum partem. As Corresponding Sec. out of Council you had no official right to annul the Charter. If done by petition to Council it would have weight. Gaboriau is an ass anyhow and conceited. But what you do with T. S. even if it be to burst it up must be OK. If it is not fit to go on, the sooner I know it the better for me. So whatever you do although my sense of diplomacy and of regularity is against it — is acceptable.

Fullerton sends his homages to you and begs you to consider him your servant.

Wouldn't it be well to give me some light on this crisis?

As Ever the same


P.S. Coues berates me like a pickpocket for sending those telegrams, but I dont care.

14 July 1888

Dear H. P. B.

One of your many devotees has put in my hands $23.00 for your private expenses. Don't ask any questions but simply put it in your privy purse.



July 16, 1888

Dear Bro Bennet,

I received your long letter and you must excuse a short reply as I am so busy.

If you carefully observe my communications by mail and telegraph regarding the "crisis" you will see that I carefully wrote as a private person and not as Gen. Sec., and as representing H. P. Blavatsky the individual. You will also see that a distinction was made between Olcott as President and Olcott as an individual. The President (H. S. O.) might have, under orders of Council to do what, as Col. Olcott, he would not like to do. So the resolution may be a slap in the face of the President and yet not in the face of Col. O. an individual. H. P. B. is the T. S. and without her it is absolutely nothing. She requested me to ask this and I did so. At present I have no more information, but she cannot do what will harm the T. S.; on the contrary I believe the result will be for general good.

When she writes me, as no doubt she will, I shall at once inform you.

Fraternally yours


New York, July 21 1888

Dear Keightley

I got your nice long letter. I also, so busy and rushed, have not had time to write you, but I still love you and think of you. Mrs. Judge has been sick for 3 weeks but is better and now as she gets well the old man Smith is again sick. The stones, doors and windows of decaying houses flap, fall out and yawn before the final determination of the house's period.

I am sure I do not know what is to do with T. S. If it still is the visible agent of ⸫ then no harm can come for at the last moment They will save it — so They said to me two years ago. H P B is mysterious you know for good reasons of her own. You may bet that the rows and talks on the surface never mean much and only are a cover for real work underneath for she always has something to do. So now when something important is on we cannot find out anything. Therefore we all stick to her. It looks from the outside bad, because H S O will not agree to her demand. If she does the ridiculous thing Harte tells me in a recent letter then it will be worse. But I never found her doing a ridiculous thing where the real interests of the T. S. lay. I was directed to work with Coues on condition that he trusted me and reciprocated. But he is false and has lately tried to get a paper from H S O without telling me, in which he failed. Hence there can be no trust or confidence. If he is given any office he will make it supremely ridiculous and keep it for his private use. Still They know who to use and how: and I do not. So I will plunge ahead and follow H P B even to a total burst up of T. S. For me the T. S. is H P B and ⸫ and so if they say "disintegrate" I say the same. H S O will blow me to Hades for the crisis telegrams but I am sure I dont care. He has a big Socy and a library and a fund that no one gets any good out of and I think he rather leans to keeping the T. S. as it is. Still he is devoted and will do what he ought at the last moment for he like us is 0 without H. P. B. and he knows it too.

I have taken the next room to Path and fitted it up sparsely — as a T. S. hdqrs — as a beginning. I will fill it with idols and barbarian smells so as to strike awe to the visiting beholder. Hope to see it result in something bigger and better. Call and see it.

You must have a fine time over there. But I dont pity you much as you can stand it. Still, dont get strained. I pity Harte, he is such a moaner.

All send regards

As Ever


July 24, 1888

My dear Olcott

I have yours in which you ask for a certificate of your admission to the bar. I enclose the desired certificate, cost $1.00. You can add it to what you owe for the speaking tubes or you can call it quits. If you have already remitted for the mouthpieces you need not bother about this, as it is too small.

I am glad you are at last going to take some proper notice of the Convention. If notice had been taken before of U. S. affairs it would perhaps have been better. There is no doubt that American T. S. affairs are looking up; and I — perhaps alone — regard the U. S. as the centre of the movement, for I believe that it is here the next race will appear. It is significant that the T. S. was started here. India is necessary to it, as I said in Path, and it to India. But India cannot claim to be it all. Indeed it is getting to be secondary I think, even if the Adepts still reside there. I am fully in accord with you as to the importance of the Library and all the rest, but I want to suggest that the T. S. if it is what it claims, a thing of ⸫ creation, cannot remain where it was when it was started or where it got to in 1884. It must press on, and it must change or — it must die. Hence a change is expected in its 14th year which is heralded and felt to begin in its 13th. This is the 13th year and this will witness a change. I do not know if you are ready to meet it. It has seemed to me that you have of late got a fondness for forms; and I have always thought that you gave away your power to Boards and committees too much. Your idea that the T. S. must be put into such a shape that it might live on after your death is based upon the assumption that you are the only man who could carry it on and that at your death it would die unless its rules and constitution were fixed. This I do not concur in. If you died, some others would be provided. The T. S. is getting stuck and it has to be got out of the rut. Of course these are only my opinions.

What are the slang phrases that you notice in the Report and the Path? I know of none but if pointed out would be glad. It may happen that some expressions called slang by the Anglo Indian are not so regarded here.

I telegraphed you about Coues. All the same, as I have for 2 years kept you well informed about him, it seemed as if you could have decided yourself. Besides, such an act would be against your own forms.

As Ever


Am glad S. R. et al are out. They are N. G.

24 July 1888
To W. S. Wing F. T. S. Esq

Dear Wing

. . . . I think you are in a good position. When a man gets where he can say that he knows his own unfitness or that he knows nothing, he is in a good position. Generally men assume that they are fitted for anything and good enough. This is because they do not — generally will not — understand the requisites demanded by the great Law and the Lodge, and then after a while they are disappointed and say they are deceived. Therefore you have got beyond this possibility.

Still I fear you have perhaps a wrong view in another matter. You say you want the truth, and that you will do anything to get it. Now the Truth is always with us, and no one holds us back from it but ourselves.

Hence if one wants the truth, his first step must be taken, not outside but inside of himself. And no act or deed of either suffering or heroism will give us the truth nor the right to it, until one has himself become porous so to speak to truth — open to it — so that we ourselves know.

Obviously therefore one has to change his entire nature, and that has to be accomplished gradually. The first step is to get into your attitude: the truth is not got at once. If therefore a man is determined to seek truth, the first step taken holds the possibility of the very last. I will write you again — write me.



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