Friday, August 31, 2018

The word is out

“The Word” was the publication of a small Theosophical group in New York associated with H. W. Percival. The group seems to have used several different designations. In this collection of magazines, they are referred to as “Theosophical Publishing Co. of New York”. The group consisted of people who supported the anti-Besant wing of Theosophy but refused to accept the leadership of Katherine Tingley. Percival later founded his own little group, the Word Foundation, which still exists and hawks Percival's magnum opus “Thinking and Destiny”. I haven't read it.

I did skim about half of this volume, however. It contains issues of “The Word” published in 1917. The magazine strikes me as tedious and immensely boring, unless you are a very theoretically-oriented Theosophist. Thus, it serializes a work by Paul Foster Case on the symbolism of the Tarot. Other extensive surveys deal with the route taken by the Israelites during the Exodus, the notion of immortality in various spiritual traditions, and Percival's own study of “ghosts” or elementals. He claims that elementals can under certain conditions beget offspring with humans! The most curious article I've seen in this volume argues against the metric system since it was invented during the French revolution.

I'm not sure who might be interested in reading “The Word” a century later, but unrepentant fans of Percival or Case might perhaps be tempted to give it a try…

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