Sunday, August 25, 2013

Esoteric Tradition


In my world I work for Herman Melville, I work for Iamblichus, I work for Plato, Jane Austen, Doris Lessing, Asimov, Tolkien, Richard Dawkins and Nora Roberts. I work for countless authors famed and non. I also work for G. de Purucker, sharing his theosophical perspectives not only thru our open bookshop - Mecosta Book Gallery - and by way of Wizards Bookshelf - but as well in occasional public and private gatherings. We often discuss his work with incarcerated students and others who are voracious readers of G de P.

Please take note -
The Esoteric Tradition By G. de Purucker
New 3rd & Revised Edition 

6 x 9, 708 pages (single volume), bibliography, index
$27.00 paperback  ISBN 9781557002174

Available from Amazon and also direct from Theosophical University Press in paper copy as well as in free Online or PDF eBook version at
http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/ts/et.htm

The Paperback may also be purchased via Wizards Bookshelf or in real time - at the Bookshop in Mecosta, Michigan or from The American Section of The Theosophical Society (Pasadena).

This new one-volume edition will become a very noteworthy reference to keep in any private personal library or e-reader. It is a very well suited book for future public work, allowing theosophists an important and informative tool not only for personal exploration, but also for sharing outwardly with others via discussion. Cheers to the Editors!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

BOOK ROUTE M-20


Anyone who has ever visited large public book collections and experienced a “real-time” book run - that is, has gone elbow to elbow in a crowd of “book heads” gathered in “real-time” exploration, and interfaced - face to face - with book people pouring over printed works: strangers exploring the works of dead and living authors - such an individual will see people of all kinds embracing the gamut of genres: philosophy, history, practicality, entertainment and inspiration; and if such a visitor will take note, they will notice a pool of humanity engaged in an activity of brotherhood, that is - humanity in action, and at times – humanity inspired.

We all tag ourselves as “something” - we are this or that, and we wear our badges concerning distinctions in one way or another. Quite often in a serious book-seeking crowd (a crowd not armed with bar code scanners – oh please!), we find that our various shields and class statuses drop off; sometimes even our personalities fade. We, as a crowd, become overtaken by human spirit. No political, sectarian or partisan or religious exclusiveness exists on the surface inside a public, well-stocked store of books where one is under the spell of the written word: stories or ideas opening to stage right or stage left or down the middle concerning dogmatics, doctrines, secularisms, religious ideas, pantheistic or scientific outlooks. In a real book store we become one group, one humanity. As one Bookseller I know says, everyone is on neutral ground. The idea of a Book Village is simple; the Village can also become neutral ground where inspiration can be found. 

Please note J & J changes in the next paragraph below. 

Truly a new cycle is upon local bibliophiles as Main Street in The Village of Mecosta is now an important midpoint stop on “Book Route M-20” between Big Rapids (Ferris) and Mt. Pleasant (CMU). We have an expanded Public Library (http://morton.michlibrary.org/) housed inside the Village, across from the Post Office, and the recently opened J & J Book Dealers at 196 W. Main (Please note than as of 10/05/14 J & J has not been open for walk-in traffic for over a year - maybe longer... no matter what their Facebook page says about hours - Mecosta Book Gallery is however VERY OPEN for business), as well as the long standing Mecosta Book Gallery at 171 W. Main (mecostabooks.com), imported from Grand Rapids in 1999. We dare to tempt fates now with the idea of a true Book Village.


We have the Public Library and two Bookshops; there are also two private libraries, one housed at the Russell Kirk Center and another buried in The Annex on Main Street. As with any worthwhile endeavor we need the blood of brave souls; we need daring hearts to risk public service, to open more shops as booksellers or other forms of cultural service. Empty buildings are available, so bring out the brave, bring out the books: initiate change. When we came to Mecosta in 1999, we were told the only business rules here are “no livestock in the Village Limits”. So, in a literary sense - Chop Chop.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wizards Bookshelf is NOT “destroyed”

Rumors and reports of our “destruction” (as Wizards Bookshelf) having been aired (or webbed), I find the need to write the following words. Some of us, as I suppose do so many folks who work online as well as others who are hard at work offline; some of us put our money where our mouth is. Sacrifice. Richard Robb sacrificed greatly to create Wizards Bookshelf over several decades. Today, concerning Wizards Bookshelf, (as small an operation as it might be) - two of us (my wife Alex and I), we every business day face the public in the name of bookselling as Wizards Bookshelf via our  open bookshop (Mecosta Book Gallery). We sell not only over the Internet, but also through an open shop arena, chest to chest, eye to eye, face to face - over the counter. Even before we took on Wizards in 2006 it was obvious to any thinker that we were promoting the cause of theosophy and universal brotherhood through our bookstore by way of selling great literature. Our theosophy and “ism” sections (religious and philosophical) are stacked high, as are our history and fiction and other practical books. We are not “destroyed”. We sell Wizards Bookshelf publications every week. Wizards Bookshelf sells theosophical material online and offline - and we plan to be growing online.

The use of a word such as “destroyed” applied to any operation by name (but in this case – us), and stated such on-line by a writer about a theosophical business operation that sells not only retail but also wholesale to more than one theosophical and distribution supply house nationally and internationally, is to add detriment by way of apparent knowledge; knowledge that is actually not possessed. It all becomes folly. We have reprinted books in hard copy since buying Wizards Bookshelf in 2006. We intend to reprint more. Money and time is key and Wizards, let me be clear, is NOT destroyed, not yet. Possibly someday Shiva wielding Maxwell’s Silver Hammer will wipe us clean. But we still have plans, and we are still sending out books with the Wizards imprint alongside good books from other theosophical publishers as well – worldwide  -to “the few”. 

Wizards is indeed impacted, as is every publisher facing – as was said - pirates. “Pirate” is indeed a word I use often in conversation concerning this new age of book selling. But I would say too that the industry is impacted also by others, who not being pirates per se (sometimes they are not even book people), yet they serve also by selling books on-line, sometimes helping, sometimes throwing mud on the windshield. International postage rates from the USA are a major impact too, more so than any pirate or  book profiteer.  Wizards is alive and well – in Mecosta.  Have a nice day!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

William Quan Judge - ECHOES OF the ORIENT, 2nd Revised Edition from Theosophical University Press

Just in 8/2011. All four Volumes (index is the 4th volume) of W.Q.J.'s ECHOES (see original blog text below for more info) now on-line in free PDF ebook format. Link HERE

Every student of serious quest has a story. A tale of how personally one came to discover a Path of exploration. The writing of William Quan Judge is a part of my story. Before the Internet became an obvious and sometimes useful tool for search, those of us in quest sought out book stores and libraries in real time. Bookshops were sometimes stashed in glamorous malls, but quite often the quest led to side street shops tucked in here and there, urban and rural. In those days you could find everything one needed to cast an astrological chart by hand in most any local metaphysical book shop; hard tools to find today offline. Times are indeed changed.

I remember reading somewhere that the Emperor Julian, centuries ago sought out scroll and book booths in Greece - pre-printing press. Books printed on good paper will last many generations.

My theosophical quest started as a teenager even as I do have a strange but strong memory from circa 6th grade discussing "The Amazing Kreskin and The Master M who writes in red ink" with some kid in a Chicago suburb area park. As a youth I read books in public libraries, bought books in drug stores and train stations and even the occasional book store when I could get to one. I had a weekend and summer night job in the railroad yards of North Jersey and I can tell you that fiction and philosophy, existentialism and poetry took the edge off of many of us engaged in railroad and trucking in the 1960's. Of course some of the fellows did indeed prefer adult magazines. No cell phones or other gadgets to stare at in those days.

Conversations at work, in late night restaurants and in basement gatherings places often concerned spiritual and occult topics alongside other issues - protest marches, poetry, the hip scene or social engagements. I took to the road hitchhiking across our wide country more than once. In those days you could hitchhike and expect to get rides, some of the rides were quite noteworthy. Somewhere along the line in my travels I read a book by William Quan Judge. Probably the book was OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY, but I am not certain of the title. I met many Americans, young and old, and I noticed Judge on bookshelves several times alongside Blavatsky in various store stock and also in homes or in metaphysical church libraries. I kept moving. I kept reading.

A recent posting online concerning Judge quickly states that even as he may be considered theosophically “mainstream”, he did not make “a mark on the world”. I beg to differ with any brothers who may feel that way. As I see it, Judge left his stamp across spiritual circles worldwide; and in the USA and other parts of America, his work - that embraced Blavatsky - is a firm foundation on which a great deal of modern 21st century theosophy now stands. Openhanded work for theosophy is often done behind the scenes, underground,  sometimes unnoticed by those who are looking. “To be as nothing in the eyes of the world”. (More on theosophy underground in some future blog.)     

I learned early on from WQJ certain truths we all know in our hearts. Selflessness is key. No expectations is the trial. Brotherhood is universal, sexless and all inclusive. I have also learned that promulgation of key elements of truth needs to continue as we follow in his footsteps to impact the buddhi and manas of future humanity - the Spiritual and Mental natures. We are seed planters. Books are seeds.

Some years ago, a set of books compiled by Dara Eklund  was published by Point Loma Publications; – ECHOES OF the ORIENT: The Writings of William Quan Judge. That set is now out of print (although I know a bookseller in Mecosta who still has one or two of the older editions left). I devoured those books some years ago. I still refer to them with pleasure. If I ever go back to living with a box or two of books in my car trunk as my library, almost certainly this 3 volume set will be there. Over the past couple of years, Dara, Theosophical University Press, and a band of volunteers have been working hard. Once again, delivered to students now and also to students in the future, these valuable books are again available - in 2nd and revised editions.

From the publisher we read that

Volume I comprises about 170 articles from The Path magazine, founded and edited by Judge. These are chronologically arranged and supplemented by his popular “Occult Tales.” Also included are a well-documented 50-page biography, numerous illustrations, photographs, and facsimiles.

Volume II comprises Judge’s “Hidden Hints in The Secret Doctrine,” his lectures at the World’s Parliament of Religions, articles and replies to questions in other magazines, and “Faces of Friends” who were actively helping the Theosophical Society in Judge’s time.

Volume III contains tracts and pamphlets, newspaper and journal articles, miscellaneous articles and extracts, and “Suggestions and Aids” to fellow travelers on the Path. Second and Revised Edition 6 x 9, each volume includes a bibliography and index.

These books are available from Theosophical University Press. Information at

These hardcover books are also available from Wizards Bookshelf. For further information concerning each volume, please follow the links to Wizards web page below. Should you choose to buy, you will have a choice to order on-line from Wizards, or you may also select to order from Amazon. See also williamquanjudge.net Books taken care of, live longer than personalities.



Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wanderers in Time 1


These days I seldom read periodicals or books making reference to used and out of print bookselling. I mean really, I have been, alongside other duties, bookselling with my wife and business partner - day in and day out - thus far for 26 revolutions of the sun. It is how we make our money. I live it. Why would I want to take the time to read about it too? I’d rather do, or read - something else. Because I have not kept up with the trade journals I suppose that much of what I say concerning bookselling below and in upcoming blogs has been stated elsewhere by some other knower and observer of the field. At least I hope so.

I am, as some of my comrades’ say – old school. My wife and I maintain a 100,000 volume book inventory in our shop of used books (none of them by the way are posted – yet - to the Internet); 100,000 volumes of living words, living ideas. Most of our titles are classics of a sort, important enough to be deemed worthy of shelving for perusal and projected to be of use by some future browser to find. By “browser” I mean of course a browser with two feet, a heartbeat, usually wearing shoes and wandering the stacks in real time, sometimes with a friend; thus, then, two browsers, four feet, no cord or batteries required; they are Wanderers in Time. Someday I suppose I or someone else will put a great deal of our stock up online and cash out. The bookshop is always for sale but when folks find out how much work it is, they go do something else. Taking the time to post all of our stock on-line is at this time a negative, as we prefer to make a living as booksellers, not simply as sellers of books. People and their bodies need a place to wander.

True, we do offer a few hundred used books on Amazon. Someday this might be a few thousand. These are in boxes in a warehouse. Amazon listing, for us, is advertising that pays for itself. That’s all. Also, we do offer in various locations on-line a selection of new books published by Wizards Bookshelf (Google it) or Theosophical University Press or some other quality source for hermetica / theosophia / natural science. This is duty.

Like most everyone, I do however buy books on-line. I use the new wave of book supply to acquire that which I need and have not already purchased in real time and cannot locate elsewhere. The elsewheres, the offline networks are mostly gone, most of them blown away by the foul and sweet wind of Internet connections. I locate via the net and buy for customer, or for myself, or sometimes just for the Dust Jacket to complete a unit and therefore respect and serve – the book, the idea, the genre, the dead or living author. Yes, the elsewheres are mostly gone. The Internet killed out very quickly many other forms of network acquisition not unlike great white hunters who kill out herds or alpha leaders and other wonderful beasts, wonderful beasts. Gone here and gone there and now become rare are the once many real mail lists and gatherings and meetings of dealing dealers trying their best to be civil to each other in order to serve not only themselves and the trade, but also their clients who seek out authors and ideas and adventure and sometimes knowledge that sometimes leads to understanding that is sometimes found in dusty old tomes; in hardcover and/or wraps.

Booksellers work for the books and the authors, dead or alive who after all intended their words as living testimonies - to be read.

But on-line today we see that the industry has indeed become also simply another supply and demand industry guided oftentimes by computer programs. We see a seventy two dollar book for seventy two cents, an eighteen dollar reprint, seven years old, is one hundred and twenty five dollars and offered by dozens of dealers, thus, not really scarce. Hey, that one hundred dollar textbook will not enter its third edition for another year or more, and the second edition is out of print, thus seven hundred dollars. Antiquarian circa 1950’s printing, 32 pages, wraps, 20 percent off for Christmas, serving literacy for decades, only $27.50. Never mind that you can buy the same book new for four or five dollars from the publisher. I picked up on these listed gems today, without really looking. When I take the extra time to look deeply online, the piracy and silliness is simply astounding. Booksellers are now truly rare, as the wood is now filled with sellers of books.

- more later …..

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wizardswatch 4.22 - Theosophy in Fiction

A while ago I had decided to read all, or at least most of the work by Arthur C. Clarke . I am happy to say that not only am I learning  and being reminded of good space science while enjoying escape into story, but I also find, not surprisingly, high ethics and philosophical food for thought. As an aside, tonight I came across this small and interesting portion that I now quote from RAMA 2 (co authored with Gentry Lee) thus - "Five days later Anawi had been cremated as a Senoufo queen. Nichole had wept while Omeh chanted her mother's soul through the nether world and into the Land of Preparation, where beings rested while waiting to be selected for another life on Earth" - (pg 125, Bantam 1st print hardcover). A fine reminder of Devachan for the reader with a theosophical eye.

Below, I reprint some text I had written as an AFTERWORD for a THEOSOPHY IN FICTION issue of KALI YUGA RAG in February of 2006.

Face the facts. Then act on them. It’s the only mantra I know, the only doctrine I have to offer you, and it’s harder than you’d think, because I swear humans seem hardwired to do anything but. Face the facts. Don’t pray, don’t wish, don’t buy into centuries-old dogma and dead rhetoric. Don’t give in to your conditioning or your visions or your #*%>”$! sense of...whatever. Face the facts. Then act.


The above words from a fictional legendary lady philosopher Quellcrist Falconer, whose haunting idealism is found throughout a series of modern cyberpunk and VERY violent (rated by this reviewer as “Martian Adult”) hard-boiled futuristic novels by Richard K. Morgan, is one example of anti-dogmatic non-materialistic thought blended into modern cross-genre literature and given voice through “anti-heroes”; heroes who are imperfect, flawed, even unlikable, but with their own sense of ethics. These harsh characters of modern fiction and Hollywood movies are nothing new. Even in the ancient classic myths, there have been warrior heroes who were not always scrupulous in their dealings with others. Their faults were obvious and their actions often unacceptable by our modern “civilized” standards. Flawed and striving, like people in our so-called “real world” (my self included) – striving to face facts and duty. 21st century theosophical thinkers will recognize the ideals of duty, universal truth, doctrines of brotherhood, the fallacy of separateness, the divinity of nature and the striving along a karmic path for divine and scientific knowledge or wisdom reflected not only in the world around us, but in its fiction. The world, it seems, is on fire for truth and justice. And in many cases it is our modern fictional authors who carry the torch of these ideas. In our bookshop we keep a sign that reads - “Caution - books are a Mind Altering Substance"

Our editor expressed a desire that this issue of  KALI YUGA RAG be a series of “REVIEW QUOTES” of a theosophical nature taken from imaginative literature and movies. I thought it might be a good idea to mention that even in creative fictional expression that some might find unpalatable, even “unreadable” or “unwatchable”, ideas concerning truth, growth and brotherhood can be found. Read AZTEC by Gary Jennings and one will learn much about the Aztec empire, religion, language and the history of the Spanish conquest via a character on “a path” of sorts. But be prepared for lots of sex and violence. A classic novel indeed, but, not for everybody. Sour vinegar has its uses as does sweet wine. Taste varies with the “type”.
Oh, and concerning Hollywood’s fiction, I just recently finished reading a booklet compiled by the editors of the periodical FREE INQUIRY in which there is an interview with feminist iconoclast scholar Camille Paglia. She claims that after the fall of the Roman Empire, Judeo-Christianity only succeeded in driving Paganism underground (most students of theosophy would agree), and that it erupted again in three separate stages: (1) Renaissance humanism, (2) Romanticism, and (3) - The “glamorous” eruption of the 20th century “Age of Hollywood”. Old myths, old pagan stories and values. Human drama expressed in new creative plots. An interesting viewpoint from academia. 
 

Magic and power in theosophy

An individual can of course feel however they must about their own particular  and personal path of so-called "occultism" or “faith” or “religion”; or "scientific outlook" . There are a very many avenues in the quest for understanding . However, as far as I can see, in any teaching of "theosophy' presented by Blavatsky, Judge, Katherine Tingley and G. de Purucker as viewed in any of their published works; and also if one takes the time to read THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A. P. SINNETT - one will see an unfolding picture of a core theosophical presentation that aims at the "non-development" of powers except those that come to a person naturally, over possibly many lives, or, on rare occasions, under the guidance of a true teacher.  And in today's world, anyone who claims to be a true teacher, or to be in contact with one, almost certainly is not. I am led to believe from Blavatsky and Company - as well as my own experiences, that the seeking of "powers" can be, and often are - selfish actions, and thereby, backward steps. Even dangerous steps. Selflessness is, apparently, the occult path from a core theosophical point of view. I feel it is also real Christianity for those who need to embrace that religion. An interesting article - THE ASTRAL LIGHT by a fellow (H. T. Edge) who worked with W. Q. Judge, K. Tingley and G. de Purucker, and was also a personal student of H. P. Blavatsky is posted in a link below. There are indeed true powers, I feel however, that those powers  so earned by way of selfless acts, are never, as we learn from Blavatsky's teachers , are never used for personal gain. Intent is everything. Of course we all fail at this practice, I do every day. Each to their own devices.