ITC Newsletter Autumn 2016

Dear reader,
This first “Bee” after the ITC conference cannot be a short one. There is so much to share! Do take some extra time to absorb the exciting items and most importantly, let yourself be inspired. Do you want to get involved in the work of the ITC platform? Let us know by sending an email to the ITC secretary:

ITC 2016 Santa Barbara: Discovering Unity at the ITC Conference

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Organizers in Santa Barbara

One way to describe the 2016 Conference in Santa Barbara, held from August 11-14, is as an experience of discovery. Many participants commented on the thrill of discovering, and engaging with so many students of Theosophy from all over world. They discovered their shared commitment to the teachings of H. P. Blavatsky, as expressed at the conference through a diversity of speakers and methods. They learned that the organizational history of the Theosophical Movement since 1875 didn’t matter as much, compared to the opportunity of studying together here and now. They discovered that a seemingly abstract teaching rooted in challenging metaphysics, offered important ideas on the subjects of social responsibility in contemporary life. In the much praised study circles, it was noted that each participant had something valuable to contribute. Readings that stimulated insightful thinking and conversation were revealed. Yet, it was discovered also that however much they strove to express in words the nature of reality, their minds were dramatically expanded by colorful visualizations of the universe, based on astronomical research. Perhaps, and most notably, participants came to see the spirit of fellowship and friendship that swept through the gathering in a joyful and natural setting.

All these discoveries evoked an experience of unity. What united us, what we shared, was the dynamic spirit of Theosophy. This spirit can inspire our parallel efforts to spread broadcast the teachings, contributing to the service of others with countless applications of Theosophy. The inspirations of the Ancient Source and of the generations of spiritual teachers and exemplars were alive and potent at the conference and added to a sense of common purpose. This unity can be nurtured and extended into the future, as living current of wisdom, more than the mechanics of organization. Thus, the conference was a great success, offering lavishly food for thought and strong memories of friendship. May there be many more of these gatherings, offering similar discoveries.

Participants on ITC 2016

A first time participant:
“In summary I am left with wonder, with hope, and with presence. No longer confined, I am filled with gratitude and courage. I am less afraid to reach out to my fellow human beings when I see struggle.

“We have a lot of work to do my Byzantine brothers and sisters, no longer a picture…we have been brought off the wall and into the action. We will do it as we begin, again. The path is through service, and we will not miss our mark.”

A live-stream visitor

“…thanks all the same for those wonderful video share. Sitting here in Mumbai [we] could feel the pulse of the depth in participation, rich with experience and dynamism.”

Locations for future ITC conferences

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The Board received several offers to host an ITC conference but a final decision for the location of ITC 2017 has not been made yet. The choice involves aspects like alternation of continents and organizations and capacity on location. The Board will further communicate with prospective hosts, aiming at taking a final decision in the coming months.

Anyone who would like to host an ITC conference in the future and wants to cooperate closely with the Board is hereby kindly requested to make this known.
Email to:

Call to propose themes for ITC 2017

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The Board calls on the membership to send in ideas for an inspiring theme for 2017. The theme should be in line with the ITC purposes, and suitable for intercommunication and connecting theosophists during three to four days.

All offers and ideas can be forwarded to the ITC Secretary:

Ideas to shape ITC’s future

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During the annual membership meeting, the president shared with the members the ideas that are being discussed by the Board that are important in furthering the life of ITC in the light of our Purposes. One of the subjects is to further involve the membership in an active way in contributing to cross-pollination.

The idea of delegates is being explored. Delegates would visit Theosophists to explain what ITC stands for; not a Theosophical society but a platform that facilitates honesty, integrity, exchange, and trust between Theosophists. Also the Board is figuring out how to make mini-pockets of ITC endeavor, in order to further dissolve boundaries in light of sharing and service.

Ideas and suggestions from the members

Members who were present at the annual membership meeting handed in ideas and suggestions on several subjects. There were request to allow for a little more digestion time during the ITC conference; there was an exchange of ideas how to make sure that also Theosophists who cannot afford the costs can participate in an ITC conference. ITC is not rich and cannot grant substantial scholarships. It was suggested that Individuals possibly could pay for a ticket for someone in their group, and on the registration form one could be asked if they would be willing to anonymously sponsor a student. It was confirmed that it is important to think of ways for members to be more involved, thus building up a long lasting interest and a sense of unity. The Board is working on this, the Newsletter being one of the initiatives, while more initiatives will be developed.

All members are invited to share their suggestions and ideas with the Board and in the Bee.

During the meeting already one individual volunteered to take on whatever assignment the Board would pass on. The Board will be in touch with him.

Volunteers for the ITC website needed

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ITC is growing and expanding its activities on a global level. It is clear that for our work a good website is of the utmost importance. The website should also be accessible through mobile phones and tablets. It will need a team to realize this! At the moment the web team only consists of Erwin Bomas and Bouke van den Noort, both from the Netherlands. They are in need of your help.
The Board is calling for volunteers who are willing to join the team. Technical skills are welcome, though the willingness to learn is more important!

If you want to participate in the website team, please send an email to the secretary:

Results Board Elections 2016

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During the Membership Meeting on Sunday, August 14 the Board Members Marijn Gijsbers, Jos Peeters and Bianca Peeters were unanimously re-elected by the membership to serve for another three-year term.

A total number of 83 members (61% of membership) cast their vote, either per e-mail or in person at the meeting.

The Board is very pleased with the confidence shown by the membership by re-electing three of its members with such an overwhelming majority, which it considers a strong encouragement, for continuing the work for ITC, realizing its goals.

Jim Colbert steps down, Jonathan Colbert fills in

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After the ITC conference in Santa Barbara director Jim Colbert decides to resign from the board due to health reasons. The board askes Jonathan Colbert to serve until the elections in 2017.

The words that follow will not capture the essence of, nor the sincere degrees of thanks from all appreciative sources, seen and unseen amongst beings of Theosophy for the efforts put forth by Jim Colbert, (and Sally) in the ITC endeavor. The primary wish and goal of all Theosophy is simply a universal brother – sisterhood of humanity, if not fully, then simply as a nucleus, that is all. As said in the Great Master’s Letter, “How - since the main objects of the Theosophical Society are misinterpreted by those who are most willing to serve us personally – are we to deal with the rest of mankind?” It is just such a recognition that prompted both Jim and Sally to consciously try, once again, to open lines of real concentrated and purposeful communication amongst the different streams of Theosophical thought, as well as “Independents”. Together they worked to try to reintegrate a body that perhaps is fragmented, when looked at from its intent and purpose as a “whole”.

To such a one, it is with that paradoxical feeling of happiness, mixed with sadness that we are saying so long to Jim Colbert as a Pillar of ITC, and as a long-standing member of the board. It was both He and Sally Colbert, who consolidated the roots of ITC, with the help of others, as the body it is understood to be today. (For those that remember history explicitly, forgive me if I err in details.) Slowly evolving, ITC is moving forward in time, although its effect, are already noted in Eternity. Although there have been many others trying to bring theosophists of different traditions together throughout Theosophical history, Jim and Sally Colbert, where the early initiators of this specific ITC effort, having persevered, for at least ten years, if not longer, to keep it alive.

As far back as 2006, when we shared in the Julian California conference, Jim and Sally were working for a greater Theosophical “unity”, through verbal exchange and sharing. It was not then, and is not now, a desire for sameness of actual beliefs or Theosophical approach, but simply of meaningful Theosophical communication, respect, and sharing. A knowing that we are all alive, and bodies working in some way for humanity, no matter the tradition. As an aside, of course, prior to Jim and Sally, there was Willie Dade, the original source and well of inspiration for a gathering of students and sharing. But this so long is for Jim.

We are thankful for his efforts and persistence, thankful for his vision, motivation and inspirational demonstration of willingness to engage with others, regardless of race, creed, sex, caste, condition, or theosophical tradition. We are thankful for the constant critiques, bold and honest statements without emotional bias, for his openness and service in this humble effort towards transparent communication amongst all, without a request or looking for rewards, recognition, or egoic praise. We are thankful for his imperfections, and occasional verbal slaps. But most of all, we are thankful for his, Sally’s (and others), stubborn push and persistence, because of an inner nagging, belief and conviction, shared perhaps amongst the few silently, yet brought to life on an international scale, that theosophist should talk, share, and live in the ocean of Theosophy together, no matter how different our efforts, focus and beliefs.

Thank you Jim for helping to keep ITC alive today.

Although we are saying so long, we are not saying goodbye. For one, we have a second generation Colbert on the board as a temporary replacement until our next membership meeting. He is Jonathan Colbert. Welcome Jonathan! For the other, we still expect to hear from Jim now and again, since he is a part of this effort, and will always be present in its Theosophical karma throughout all Theosophical time.

Namaste and may all swim comfortably in the Ocean of Theosophy
Eugene Jennings

Cross-pollination in Brazil

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Barend Voorham in Brazil

From July 20 until July 24 the 22nd the International School of Theosophy took place at the Theosophical Institute near Brasilia, Brazil.

Speakers:
Fernando de Torrijos (TS-Adyar), originally from Spain but now living in the USA.
Barend Voorham (TS-Point Loma, The Hague) from the Netherlands.
Theme title: "Be a Lamp upon Yourself".

Fernando de Torrijos has years of experience with psychiatric patients whom he helps by teaching meditation. He inspired the attendees to meditate with him.

The lectures of Barend Voorham were based on the Seven Jewels of Wisdom. After each lecture he asked three questions, which were enthusiastically discussed in small groups.

It was a unique occasion with presenters from two Theosophical mainstreams. On the photo, taken after the closure of the sessions, from left to the right: Marcos de Resende, president of the Sociedade Teosofica do Brasil (Adyar), Barend Voorham and Fernando de Torrijos.

Cross-pollination on the Agenda

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Call to all members to share their initiatives of cross-pollination

Is a theosophist from another organization giving a lecture in your lodge? Are you organizing a study group with theosophists of different branches? Is there a webinar in the making? This is the place to announce your initiative!

ITC is a platform that facilitates initiatives of theosophist to learn from and support each other in our efforts to help the world by bringing theosophy. Inspire others, share your initiative and let us know. We publish it in The Bee.
Email to:

On the agenda in November

On Tuesday, November 29th from 7 to 8 pm Gerry Kiffe from the ULT Los Angeles will give a talk for the weekly meeting of the TS in the Ojai Valley. Everyone is welcome.

The subject of Gerry’s talk is:
Emerson on the Over-soul and the Secret Doctrine
HP Blavatsky praises Ralph Waldo Emerson's conception of the Over-Soul as a fitting representation of several crucial theosophical ideas. We shall explore Emerson's Essay on The Over-Soul, its relation to the theosophical concept of Alaya (The World Soul) and its meaning and relevance to the living a spiritual life.

The meeting is free and takes place at Krotona School building, 46 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023-3901. For information you can contact Olga Omlin at