National Lodge

The National Lodge is a self-study program available to members for an annual fee. Each year, the National Lodge covers a specific topic of study. Lessons are delivered by email on the first week of the month.

The Meaning of History
September 2024 - August 2025
By Richard Smoley

All educated people have studied history. They have a general picture of the development of civilization, the rise and fall of great powers, and the events and battles that have marked major transitions.

Can we find a direction underlying all these developments? Is there a meaning to history?

Until comparatively recently, the answer in the West was progress: the slow, halting, and occasionally reversed advancement of the human race in knowledge, ethics, and technology. But the last century has called this view into question. We have come to wonder if the human race is really more evolved than it was in previous times. We have also begun to doubt that the technological progress of recent centuries has really been of benefit to ourselves and the planet.

Although definitive answers are impossible, in this National Lodge study course, Richard Smoley, editor of Quest and author of several National Lodge courses on the Kabbalah, the Tarot, philosophy, and psychology (among others), will delve into what history might be able to tell us about ourselves. He will also discuss esoteric perspectives on history (including those of Theosophy) and explore how these might fill some gaps in conventional understandings of the subject.

Subjects covered will include history and prehistory; what we can and cannot know about the past; lost civilizations; how ancient Israel, Greece, and Rome have shaped the present Western mindset; what the history of other civilizations, such as India and China, may be able to tell us; and whether (as is sometimes claimed) history proceeds in more or less predictable cycles.


Join the National Lodge

To receive the NL course monthly, you must:

    1.  Be a current member of the Theosophical Society in America. If you are not already a TSA member, become one by clicking here.
    2.  Pay annual National Lodge dues: $10.
    3.  New TSA members receive one year's free membership in the National Lodge, upon request.

To join or renew, please send an email to