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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. January Theme: "Within" Volume 1 Issue 2 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Cherishing the Earth
with Toria Betson

Perhaps just for this issue, this column should be renamed "Cherishing the Earth and All of Her Children", because I feel the need to discuss the prejudice 'within'. How many times have you heard someone say, "I'm not a racist, I had a black friend…" or "Of course she's smart, she's Chinese." Most of the time the person issuing these words has no idea they are spreading stereotypes, or revealing they have deeply ingrained racist beliefs. Racism is not simply outright oppression against others; it is also any bias in terms of race - even those terms intended to be complimentary.

I was recently involved in a discussion involving a contemporary author's books about earth angels. One of the participants was a very dear young man who has made his life's purpose one of helping others. This young man saw himself as an incarnated angel, even though, as he said, 'I have all the qualifications of being an earth angel, except I am neither blond, nor pale.'

I was stunned to think he was made to feel he had to question who he was because of his colouring. I became even more bewildered when others became angry with me, for questioning the opinions of this much-loved author. I believe it is morally wrong to be silent in the face of prejudice!

So began my quest. I borrowed 24 books by this same author, and started examining other spiritual heroes as well for deeply buried beliefs. The author described incarnated aliens, or 'star people', as having almond or crescent-shaped eyes. They have wallflower looks; and may be odd in behaviour or appearance. They do not have a specific life-purpose, but are there to help when needed. They frequently lack coping skills with common earth problems, and are often labelled as having psychiatric disorders.

Elementals, fairies, elves, and leprechauns physically look like their namesakes. Often they have reddish hair, a ruddy complexion, and freckles - a Celtic appearance. (This one is not even historically accurate; the Celts were most likely to have had dark hair.) She says they can't stand rules and are practical jokers. And elementals often have addictions - (sounds like some old familiar stereotypes to me.)

'Incarnated Angels' are described as having sweet heart-shaped faces; they are exquisitely beautiful and look like angels. They have Cupid-bow lips, large doe-like eyes; and are often overweight. High percentages bleach or highlight their hair blonde; they seem to glow. They are often co-dependent because they are trying to rescue others, and are born to help and heal.

Blondes look more childlike and angelic? In my worldview all races are of equal value. Yes, blonde children can look angelic, but so can black-haired children. I refuse to believe such ideas are enlightened. I refuse to believe any loving being channelled these divisions. I refuse to believe the Universe values one people over another.

Yes, deeply hidden prejudices lie 'within' most of us, but we must recognize them for the ignorance they are. We must not excuse racial stereotyping because we like the rest of what an author has said. We must not ignore these opinions because we don't like the way they make us feel. We must look them straight in the eye and rise above them.

So often when we like the majority of a message, we begin to assume everything said or taught by this person must be correct. After all, they must be enlightened. Most of what they say makes us feel warm and fuzzy; surely they are coming from a place of love, so it must all be true. But humans have failings; they can get 'messages' wrong. I believe we are on this earth because we have things to learn, all of us. We must keep our eyes and ears open, in both senses of the word.

Sometimes these deeply buried beliefs show up in the most unexpected places. For many years I felt very proud my grandmother, (who had died before I was born), had been a Theosophist. The word "Theosophy" means "Divine Wisdom". It is a philosophy, which presents a world-view emphasizing the unity and interconnectedness of all life, the basic oneness of all species on earth and of all peoples.

I was proud because she held these beliefs in a time and place when it was dangerous to believe anything out of the mainstream. I felt connected to her because I thought it meant we had similar spiritual values; that we were both searching for self-growth and enlightenment.

Not long ago, in an Internet forum I help moderate, someone raised a question about 'root races'. Suspicious of the term and curious as to why someone would ask about this, I decided to "google" it. Link after link loaded… all about Theosophy and its founder, Madame Elena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891). Another name kept appearing in the descriptions of these links and my stomach began to sicken... Adolph Hitler.

Blavatsky taught the life cycle of humans on earth is divided into seven root-races, the first two being more astral than physical. Each race is then divided into seven sub-races, and each of those into seven more branches. The 'current' race is the fifth race. The real danger in this philosophy, (as I see it), is its linear (with race overlaps) nature, with each race and sub-race being more advanced than the last.

While Blavatsky taught of a Universal Brotherhood, there are still racist beliefs at the core of her root-race theories. This quote is just one example. It is from "The Secret Doctrine. THE SYNTHESIS OF SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND PHILOSOPHY", her classic book covering the basic tenets of theosophy;

"The crossing as it is called, of Europeans with Tasmanian women - i.e., the representatives of a race, whose progenitors were a "soulless" and mindless monster and a real human, though still as mindless a man - brought on sterility. This, not alone as a consequence of a physiological law, but also as a decree of Karmic evolution in the question of further survival of the abnormal race. In no one point of the above is Science prepared to believe as yet - but it will have to in the long run. Esoteric philosophy, let us remember, only fills the gaps made by science and corrects her false premises."
[[Vol. 2, Page 196]] THE SECRET DOCTRINE.

The root-race teachings do not seem to me to follow the basic tenets of Theosophy, yet they are still expounded in a shocking number of New Age sources.

Did Madame Blavatsky have any notion her ideas would be so grossly twisted by the Nazis? I seriously doubt it. She taught all religions and beliefs should be examined. She taught no people have the only true religion or the one true God. She taught that we are all one. What she must not have realized is how dangerous her racial theories were… and what they could lead to. She could not have expected Hitler to become one of her biggest fans.

Do I believe Theosophists are evil? Of course not! Do I feel there is nothing of value to be gained from Theosophy? NO! I was very pleased to learn there is some debate among Theosophists because many denounce the 'root-race' theory.

My entire search has led me to many more questions than answers. Do we call Rudolf Steiner, who once said "Brown and dark-haired people drive nourishment into their eyes and hair which the fair people retain in their brains." (Translated from the German) a racist, if he also felt the cross-mixing of the gene pool would herald a new age with greater tolerance and understanding? Should we ignore racism when we do find it in our spiritual heroes; should we excuse it?

Should we assume if one teaches 'love and light' then everything else they teach is equally pure and to be believed? Perhaps too much has been lost in translation to make such a judgement. Perhaps there is something I do not understand about these teachings, but if that is the case, then I must not be the only one. Are others taking these ideas at face value? Is this not dangerous?

I feel certain we should not be afraid to look deep 'within'. We must be careful to not become so blinded by one's spiritual teachings that we assume everything they teach is channelled 'from above'. If they are on this earth plane then they are indeed human, are not perfect, and are here to learn - as we all are.

Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama: angels of this earth come in all colors, with all eye shapes.

Toria lives and learns in the woods with her children and husband of fifteen years. She loves to garden and cook the organic vegetables and herbs she grows. Toria is a Spiritual Counselor, Intuitive, Empath, and Reiki II practitioner. She assists clients through tarot readings and shamanic journeys at her website, Toria's Tarot or you may contact her by email.

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