The Theosophical Society in America


Olcott Statue Unveiled in New Jersey

By Ed Abdill


On September 10, 2011, a statue of Colonel Henry Steel Olcott was unveiled at a Sri Lankan Buddhist temple near Princeton, New Jersey. The statue is modeled on one in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where Olcott is regarded as a national hero.

In the late 1800s Olcott established Buddhist schools in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and designed a Buddhist flag that was prominently displayed at the celebration. He also wrote a Buddhist catechism (still used world wide) and forced British officials to declare Vesak, the day of the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha, a national holiday. Postage stamps bear Olcott’s image and the date of his death is celebrated yearly. The unveiling was sponsored by Ananda College Old Boys Association, an alumni group from Ananda College. Olcott founded Ananda College and Fritz Kunz was its principal from 1915 to 1917.

Distinguished speakers at the event included the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States and the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United Nations. Many others spoke at the unveiling, including senators and officials from New Jersey and a representative from the Department of State. Ed Abdill, Vice President of the Theosophical Society in America, also spoke at the event. Lyn Trotman, national director from the Eastern district and President of the NYTS, was present along with several members from our two Theosophical groups in northern New Jersey.

Two years ago the largest statue of the Buddha in the Western Hemisphere was unveiled at that same temple (see photo). The Buddha is posed in samadhi, a deep state of consciousness in meditation. It is pure white and is beautifully illuminated at night. The event concluded with a delicious buffet meal for all guests.

Olcott's Mother Mary Shrine

shrineScattered around the 43 acres of the Olcott grounds are a number of special places. Anyone who has been to the national headquarters knows about the Labyrinth. At all times of day it draws people from around the area. Many bring their children with them to make the winding meditative walk to its center. About one hundred yards south of the Labyrinth is the Stone Circle that used to be a gathering place where the Young Theosophists could build bonfires in the days before the city code prohibited them. There are the Sellon Grove, the Garden of Remembrance, the Pierre Garden, the Peace Pole, and other sites.

For the last twenty years there has been a largely unnoticed shrine to Mother Mary about 50 yards beyond the west parking lot. It is situated in a dense grove of trees which with time has become overgrown with buckthorn and wild grape vines. Over the years a few devotees have regularly visited the shrine leaving flowers, prayer requests, and various offerings. Many of them have felt a strong presence of peace and blessing at the spot. During the years Mary has been there some things have changed. The ground had settled and she and her little shrine building were starting to lean to the right, and the undergrowth was closing in.

Read more: Olcott's Mother Mary Shrine

The Passing of Ron Miller

RonMillerIt is with saddness we must announce that Ron Miller passed away on 5/4/2011.  Ron spoke often at Theosophical Society in America and dedicated his life to dialogue and pluralism. Ron was a Professor of Religion at Lake Forest College; Co-Founder of Common Ground; Board member at Hands of Peace; author and frequent lecturer on various theological topics including interreligious dialogue, early Christianity and spirituality. 

A website has been constructed to continue his message and share his various talks, writings and books, several of which were held here at our national headquarters. Visit his website:

He will be missed but never forgotten.

The Golden Link College


The Golden Link College is an evolving educational effort, which since 2002 has been providing a transformational education for less privileged children. Many in the theosophical world regard it as a rare jewel – a model of Theosophy in action. While addressing core academic subjects, the school also focuses on deeper issues of character building, integrity, and self confidence in an effort to develop students who will be agents of social and personal transformation.

Read more: The Golden Link College

World War II Project

Our archivist needs your help in compiling the history of the TS during World War II.  We would love to have photos of the TS members in uniform on the home front or serving abroad. If your family has stories about life during the war, or if your lodge has records of wartime activities, please contact Janet Kerschner at or 630-668-1571, ext. 353.

Betty Bland on Labyrinths, Theosophy, & Prayer

Susan Diamond and Erika Harris talk to Betty Bland, the president of the Theosophical Society, headquartered in Wheaton, IL about their experience walking the Labyrinth and other practices and concepts of Theosophy.