Our Centennial

Small TS Cent Logo 3x3Save the dates! Upcoming special “Centennial Sunday” programs in the year-long commemoration of our Centennial include:

  • November 20th, 1-3 pm: Shamanism, with Charles Myers

  • December 4th, 1-3 pm: “1916” Party


There will be a “Centennial Sunday” every month through December 2016. Watch for more information on this website and on Facebook, closer to the date of the program. All programs are free and open to everyone.

Also, we are collecting photos, letters, first-hand accounts, newsletters, program schedules and other historic memorabilia to enhance our Centennial displays. Joan Sckrabulis, L. Marshall Heminway III and Tom Kravitz have already made invaluable donations of photos, books and documents. If you have anything to donate or will let us copy (or know someone who does), please email your name, phone number and information about the item(s) to info@theosophicalsocietyinmaryland.org
Please email to the same address if you have given a talk at our lodge in the past.

We are very grateful for all the work our Centennial Committee members have done, starting in April 2015, to bring these special events, photos, videos, and displays to you: Leonard Jackson Jr., Ann Ford, Mary Brandes, Aj Hyde, Carole Pressnall, Mark Hart, Kimberly Sheridan, George Lopez and Craig Newton. Racquel Abobo and Julian Osorio have also generously helped out whenever they were needed.

The “Lodge Clean-up” event in March made a big difference in our lodge, and we thank all these volunteers who worked very hard that day and days later. The reason our lodge now looks so welcoming and respectful of our traditions, is due in large part to the dedication, extra work and vision of Aj Hyde and Carole Pressnall.



Sunday, October 23rd, 1-4 pm: Religions of the Silk Road, with Maria Drumm

World traveler, writer, award-winning photographer and teacher, Ms Drumm described her own experiences traveling along the ancient trade routes that became known as the Silk Road. She also talked about the cultural influences of the religions she encountered, put into historical context, in areas like Egypt, Uzebekistan, India, Cambodia, Vietnam and China – religions such as Islam, Nestorian Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism.

Her excellent photographs took you to the Buddhist caves of Dunhuang, the Hindu temple at Ellora, the Stepwells of India, Islamic mosques in China, Petra, an ancient temple compound in Egypt that bore the marks of three great religions, and many other sites that Westerners rarely travel to. Her photographs were not just of monuments and landscapes. They also showed the people and the way they live now, in some areas very similar to that of their ancestors.  You can see some of these photographs in her 2014 book, Silk Road Journeys, and on her website.

Ms Drumm stressed that “For over a thousand years, the Silk Road was more than a series of trade routes for silk and other products. Ideas and philosophies were exchanged and molded by local cultures.” Her talk was a unique way to help us understand the religions and cultures along those routes.


Sunday, September 11th, 2-4 pm: The Tarot – An Evolutionary Model with James Mahoney

Mr Mahoney’s presentation dealt with the esoteric meanings of each card in the Major Arcana, showing the interplay of symbolism from one card to another, and drawing on astrology and the Hebrew “Tree of Life” to explain some of the complex symbols. He sees the tarot as a model for conscious evolution.

James Mahoney is a graduate of Harvard University, and has been engaged in the study of the Tarot since his freshman year in college. This study has led him to the practice of astrology and investigations into Hebrew mysticism, along with 19th century occultism which refined – and complicated- the Tarot’s nature and significance.  He is a Washington-based artist, writer and independent curator who is currently an Affiliate Professor of Visual Art at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.


Sunday, August 14th, 1-4 pm: “The Mahatmas”

Ann Ford’s talk gave information about these key figures in the development of Theosophy. Also known as  Adepts or Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, two of them, using the pseudonyms Morya (known as Master M) and Kuthumi (Koot Hoomi or Master K. H.) were instrumental in the founding of the Theosophical Society. Morya was Madame Blavatsky’s teacher. Both M and K. H. also corresponded with early Theosophists A. P. Sinnett and A. O. Hume. Their letters were collected in the publication The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (1923).

Ann showed the very interesting TSA video, “In Their Own Words”, a talk by Ed Abdill given 5/28/2015 in connection with his book of the same title. The video is available on the TSA website for viewing. Ann also summarized Pablo Sender’s excellent article for the Quest magazine, “Mahatmas versus Ascended Masters” (Summer 2011) where he clearly distinguished between Theosophy’s concept of the “Mahatmas” and that of  “Ascended Masters” promoted by Guy Ballard and followers of the I AM Movement. During the program there were open discussions on subjects such as Initiation, the White and Black Brotherhoods, and the powers shown by the Mahatmas.

The Mahatmas have often been a program topic at our lodge, including February 11, 1937 and November 2, 1990.


Sunday, July 31st, 1-4 pm: Science and Spirituality: Three Points of View

Each speaker presented his/her organization’s approach to the topic, with plenty of time for answering questions from the audience. There was a lively exchange of ideas.

Mike Margolies spoke for Psymposia and Psychedelic Seminars – first telling of his own experiences with native shamins and psychedelic compounds and how that changed his life. He then traveled to India and the Far East, returning to Baltimore to found Psymposia and work with academic researchers at Johns Hopkins and other institutions during the current resurgence in experimentation with psychedelics. Mike advocates for a more mature attitude towards psychedelics.  His website, Psychedelic Seminars, has a wealth of information about the topic from people all over the world. It is a platform for honest stories and honest conversations. He showed the trailer for a video documentary on the “Good Friday” experiment. Discussions with the audience covered many issues, including psychedelics and meditation, native traditions vs scientific protocols.

Carole Pressnall, MFA, introduced the audience to the Institute of Noetic Sciences – IONS.  IONS was founded by astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell, after a samadhi experience during the Apollo 14 return from the moon. He said “I was overwhelmed with the sensation of physically and mentally extending out into the cosmos.” He founded IONS to increase our scientific understanding of the nature of consciousness. Carole showed the video “The Science of Interconnectedness” by Cassandra Vieten, PhD, President and CEO of IONS and former Executive Director of Research. Carole also talked about the activities of the local IONS group, and her personal experiences with extended consciousness.

Ann Ford outlined the ideas of Theosophists Helena P. Blavatsky, Col. Henry Olcott and Annie Besant about the relationship between theosophical beliefs and scientific theories of the time, including evolution and the powers of the human mind. She talked about more recent TS speakers – Dr Rupert Sheldrake, Dr Eben Alexander, Drs Bhaskar and Rajni Vyas at the Adyar School of Wisdom, Lydia Van Den Broeck and Philip Mereton. Ann also spoke about the neuroscientific studies of Buddhist monks (experienced meditators) by Dr Richard Davidson and Dr Zoran Josipovic. These researchers, working with the the support of the Dalai Lama, are learning more about the human brain and the effects of meditation. Ann listed some of the free webinars available on the TSA website that relate to various aspects of science and spirituality. TS is a partner with IONS and has close associations with the Dalai Lama.

The topic for this Centennial Sunday came from November 17, 1989, when the lodge welcomed Mr S. Krishnamurthy, founder of the Meditation & Study Circle in Bangalore, India.


Sunday, June 12th, 2-4 pm – Two Views of Adyar (Southern India): 1938 and 2015

The unique 257-acre compound called Adyar, in Chennai (formerly Madras), India, is the international headquarters of the Theosophical Society. The first part of the program began with a short history of the area, and how TS has influenced India both socially and politically.  Then we heard excerpts from letters written in 1938 by TS member Anita Henkel about her months at Adyar, her reactions to life in India, and the true respect she developed for its people, and the Hindu religion and culture. Copies of her letters were found in our Lodge’s archives. In the second half of the program, Ms Caty Green, an American TS member, now living in Paris, described her experiences living in residence in Adyar from November 2015 through January 2016. Caty expressed surprise at how similar her experiences were to Anita’s – 77 years apart!

Adyar was a popular topic at our lodge, particularly in the 1930’s, thanks to the interest of the President of our Board, Mr Thomas Pond. Adyar Day was celebrated annually in February on the anniversary of Col. Olcott’s death. (Col. Olcott was a co-founder of the Society.) Dr. George W. DeHoff gave an illustrated talk, February 1937,”Memories of Adyar”. For photos and more information about Adyar with its surrounding villages, visit its website.

Major renovation and preservation efforts are going on now at Adyar, under the impetus of Tim Boyd, the current President of the International Theosophical Society and President of the Theosophical Society in America (TSA).

Adyar with visitors

Visitors at Adyar



Tim Boyd Signing May 1st Poster

Tim Boyd Signing May 1st Poster

Sunday, May 1st, 1-4 pm – Centennial Celebration

Tim Boyd is currently President  of the International Theosophical Society, and President of the Theosophical Society in America (TSA). He gave a talk, The Next Step Forward:

“For the past few hundred years human progress has been extending its influence on all life forms on the planet. We are too familiar with some of  its negative consequences. There is a promising aspect to these changes. Contemporary media, the internet, ecology, global economics are all agents of a dawning awareness of the profound interconnection we all share. The Ageless Wisdom tradition gives perspective to this time of change and speaks of the unfoldment of consciousness that is our next step.”

In addition, Janet Kerschner, Archivist of the Theosophical Society in America for the past ten years, created a presentation on the Baltimore Lodge’s 100+ year history, using archival photos and documents.

“How did the Maryland Lodge form? Who were the active members who made it grow? What has been unique about this group? We will take an excursion through time to see how the lodge fits into Theosophical Society history.”

We thank Tim and Janet for joining us in our celebration. We also thank all our current and past lodge members, and friends of the lodge who come that day to make it such a joyful event.


Sunday, April 10th, 2-5:30 pm: Rose Project Programrose1

featured a talk by Dr. Frankie Hutton, author of Rose Lore: Essays in Cultural History and Semiotics, founder of the Rose Project, and an expert on the metaphysical symbolism of the rose. The afternoon began with an open “mic”, reciting poems about the rose  from Rumi as well as British and American poets.

Dr. Hutton describes the mission of the international Rose Project: “Our goal is no different than many other right thinking spiritually aware groups. We continually promote “Living the Rose,” which means essentially discipleship living and we seek to work toward global connectivity and human understanding. We are inspired to promote kindness, and to do our part, thru the message of the Rose, to make the world a better place for all.”