The Theosophical Society in America

Thursday Lecture Series

presented at the National Center

The Theosophical Society in America National Headquarters These weekly lectures are offered at our National Center, 1926 N. Main St., Wheaton, IL.

 For more information phone: 630-668-1571, ext. 315; or by e-mail

Poetry, Metamorphosis and the Evolution of Consciousness

Thursday, September 13, 7:00 p.m.

Luke FischerWe invite you to join poet and philosopher Luke Fischer for a discussion about how the poetry and thought of Goethe, Rilke, Barfield, and Steiner can contribute to our understanding of the evolution of consciousness and the philosophical significance of the poetic imagination. He will also share how his own poetry addresses these topics.

Luke Fischer is a prize-winning poet, philosopher, and writer. His books include the poetry collections A Personal History of Vision and Paths of Flight, the monograph The Poet as Phenomenologist: Rilke and the New Poem, and the children’s book The Blue Forest. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, has taught at universities in Australia, Germany, and the USA, and is an honorary associate of the University of Sydney. For more information visit

A book signing will follow the program.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Buddha-Dharma: The Marriage of Wisdom and Compassion

Thursday, September 20, 7:00 p.m.

John Cianciosi\In our Western culture, we often associate feelings such as compassion and love as coming from the heart and relegate intellect and knowledge to the brain or mind. Thus, we set up a disconnect between emotions and intellect. However, in Buddhism, wisdom and compassion are qualities that mutually support each other. The Buddha did not suggest that we choose one over the other, but wanted us to cultivate the Eightfold Path that leads to the perfection of both. A mind that is freed from ignorance is the same thing as a heart that is filled with compassion.

John Cianciosi, a student of the late Venerable Ajahn Chah, was ordained a Buddhist monk in 1972 and served as spiritual director of monasteries in Thailand and Australia. He is author of The Meditative Path and is currently the director of public programs at the Theosophical Society.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

The Art of Pausing: Reclaiming a Sense of Balance in Our Lives

Thursday, September 27, 7:00 p.m.

Judith ValenteIn our intensely active, mobile, and socially-connected society, we seem to have lost the simple pleasure of pausing. For all who feel overworked and overwhelmed, there are ways to pause periodically and still be productive. Our lives today plead for greater balance. Balance as a goal dates back to the ancient contemplative tradition in the Christian church. Looking to ancient monastic contemplative practices, and some modern-day ones as well, we will explore practical ways to slow down and seek greater balance to give the mind a chance to reboot and recharge.

Judith Valente is an award-winning journalist, poet, and essayist and has won two Edward R. Murrow Awards for her broadcast work. She has also been a finalist twice for the Pulitzer Prize in journalism. Judith is the senior correspondent at WGLT Radio, a National Public Radio station, and is author of How to Live, The Art of Pausing, Twenty Poems to Nourish Your Soul, and Atchinson Blue.

A book signing will follow the lecture.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Social Justice and Spirituality

Thursday, October 4, 7:00 p.m.

Barbara HerbertWhat does social justice mean and how does it apply to living a spiritual life? Where does our individual responsibility lie in relation to helping others? How do we balance our compassion and desire to help those who are suffering while also honoring a greater universal perspective of karma and dharma? Sifting through the complex concepts of karma, dharma, and service to humanity provide the foundation for this discussion.

Barbara B. Hebert, Ph.D., currently serves as president of the Theosophical Society in America. A third-generation Theosophist, Barbara has been involved in local, regional, and national offices throughout her years of membership. In addition to her years of service with the Theosophical Society, she has been a mental health practitioner and educator for many years.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Inner Life Safari: The Tour

Thursday, October 11, 7:00 p.m.

Kurt LelandDuring his 50 years of membership in the Theosophical Society, Charles Webster Leadbeater (1854–1934) produced dozens of books, pamphlets, and articles on our inner spiritual life as he perceived it by means of clairvoyance. He examined everything from higher planes to physical planets, great angels to tiny atoms, and the high mass to the lowly handshake to determine their effects on various levels of our being. How do we assess this information? Is it still relevant to us today? How can we understand or adapt it to our daily lives? On this light-hearted journey through Leadbeater’s writings, Kurt Leland will show us how to map our own inner life safari.

Kurt Leland is a national lecturer for the Theosophical Society in America. He is also an award-winning composer and the author of eight books dealing with subjects such as astral projection, near-death experiences, and mystical experiences associated with music. His latest books are a revised and expanded edition of Otherwhere: A Field Guide to Nonphysical Reality for the Out-of-Body Traveler (2018) and Rainbow Body: A History of the Western Chakra System from Blavatsky to Brennan (2016). An internationally known expert on the life and writings of Theosophical leaders and clairvoyants Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater, Mr. Leland has also compiled and annotated Invisible Worlds: Annie Besant on Psychic and Spiritual Development (2013) and an authoritative edition of Leadbeater's classic, The Chakras (2013).

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

A Buddhist Approach to Handling Difficult Thoughts and Emotions

Thursday, October 18, 7:00 p.m.

Bhante SujathaWe have all been told to “just let it go," at times, but while this is a simple task, it is not an easy one. The untrained, unobserved mind is more dangerous than a weapon. The stories we create, the drama we fall into, and the decisions and choices we make when we're not centered and calm can create mental and emotional damage that feels insurmountable. Bhante Sujatha will share his personal experience dealing with anger as a young man – a character trait not suitable for a Buddhist monk! – and teach us how to observe the mind and emotions and use the data from that inner observation to transform our thought patterns. The result is a life in which crazy thoughts and emotional highs and lows aren't gone, but are understood and used as guideposts to help us find our center again . . . which leads to a life of joy.

Bhante Sujatha, a Buddhist monk for over 35 years, is singularly focused on adding more love in the world. Bhante teaches loving-kindness meditation to people around the globe for all those seeking the art of happiness and contentment. His approach to meditation is deep and simple, bringing core Buddhist teachings to everyone in a way that is practical and easy to understand. A joyful, radiant, funny, and wildly energetic monk, Bhante will help you obtain peace that can only be found in deep silence. Originally from Sri Lanka, he is the head monk/abbot of the Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple and Meditation Center in Woodstock, Ill.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

The Power of Forgiveness

Thursday, October 25, 7:00 p.m.

Leslie SannForgiveness is a powerful tool. It releases us from the prison of negativity and self-created suffering and allows us to lead happier, more peaceful lives. Discover how the art of forgiveness begins with forgiving ourselves, and learn practical tools to achieve it so you can realize your greatest well-being. Forgiveness sets us free.

Leslie Sann, MA, LCPC, is the author of the award-winning book Life Happens: What Are YOU Going to Do About It? She is also a mentor, coach and founder of The Living by Design School. For over 30 years Leslie has been helping people create a joyful life, personally, professionally and in their relationships, guiding them to live by design rather than by default. For more visit

A book signing will follow the program.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

The Shamanic Vision

Thursday, November 1, 7:00 p.m.

Richard-SmoleyShamanism is the most universal religion in the world, and possibly the oldest. Shamans provide healing and insight to their communities by journeying to other realms and contacting the spirits and forces there. They encounter animal powers, deities, and the spirits of ancestors as a way of gaining wisdom. Over the past few decades, Westerners have been discovering the way of the shaman and practicing it themselves. Is shamanism possible for us today? Does it work, and what promises does it hold out? In this engaging presentation, Richard Smoley will address these questions and will lead participants on a guided meditation to gain a taste of this tradition for themselves.

Richard Smoley, editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America, is the author of nine books on spirituality and mysticism. His latest is How God Became God: What Scholars Are Really Saying about God and the Bible.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

The Miracle Club: Exploring Methods of Mind Power

Thursday, November 8, 7:00 p.m.

Mitch HorowitzMitch Horowitz will give the historical background of creative-mind metaphysics and discusses how he—a critically acclaimed historian and spiritual thinker who is supposed to be interested in “serious” esoteric traditions—grew dedicated to exploring mind power, or New Thought. He explores where the field of positive-mind metaphysics came from; where it succeeds and fails; its most promising figures and icons (past and recent); and how contemporary science validates the premise that thoughts make things happen. Finally, Mitch will consider whether mind metaphysics can serve as a path for serious people—a theme he deepens in his workshop. 

Mitch Horowitz is the PEN Award-winning author of books including Occult America, One Simple Idea, Mind as Builder, and The Miracle Club. Mitch has discussed alternative spirituality on Dateline NBC, CBS Sunday Morning, and NPR’s All Things Considered, and written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and many other national publications. The Washington Post says Mitch “treats esoteric ideas and movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness that is too often lost in today’s raised-voice discussions.” David Lynch says, “Mitch is solid gold.” The Chinese government has censored his work.

A book signing will follow the program.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

There Is No Religion Higher than Truth

Thursday, November 15, 7:00 p.m.

Danelys VarcarcelSince its founding in 1875, the Theosophical Society’s motto, “There Is No Religion Higher than Truth,” has attracted countless earnest seekers to study the enlightening doctrine of this worldwide movement. This presentation will explore some of the core universal values found in these perennial teachings and their spiritual applications, which can lead to the attainment of Self-Knowledge and the realization of Truth in every moment of our daily living. Join us in celebrating 143 years of Theosophy!

Danelys Valcarcel Cuellar, a Cuban-born artist, is a student of Theosophy, Anthroposophy, and Hindu philosophy who has dedicated the past 13 years of her life researching the field of spiritual education. Currently working at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in America, Danelys is also a Montessori, Waldorf, and Krishnamurti teacher.

Enjoy refreshments and piano music afterwards!

$10 nonmembers, $5 members


The Thunder of Silence

Thursday, November 29, 7:00 p.m.

Juli CesanoThose who experience Divinity speak a common language. Colored by their own unique perception, they point out the way for all who seek as ardently as they did. This talk will present a common thread found in H. P. Blavatsky’s translation of fragments of The Book of the Golden Precepts, called The Voice of the Silence, and the wisdom of modern-day mystic Joel S. Goldsmith. At times one and the same, these teachings reveal essential elements for the contemporary spiritual practitioner.   

Juliana Cesano is a second generation Theosophist and has been actively involved with the Society’s work for over twenty years. She volunteered for two years at the international headquarters in Chennai, India, and has been part of the staff at the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in America for the last ten years. She is a certified yoga teacher, 200 CYT, and is currently the manager of the Quest Book Shop.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

The Benefits of Subconscious Healing

Thursday, December 6, 7:00 p.m.

Ryan Elliott

Our minds are constantly bombarded with negative suggestions that operate behind the veil of consciousness. Many of these thoughts, by no fault of our own, are accepted as truth by our subconscious mind. Negative programming can be very difficult to change and may cause anxiety, depression, guilt, fear, low self-esteem, and negative behavior. Fortunately, there are highly effective ways to overcome these obstacles and start living more fully and joyfully. Join us for a powerful lecture where you will learn how EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and neurofeedback analysis can help dissolve negative subconscious programming for a happier life.

Ryan Elliott, MSW, is co-director and founder of the Lightheart Center. Ryan has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show demonstrating past life therapy and has appeared in many other radio and TV shows for his expertise in subconscious analysis. He is a social worker, board-certified medical hypnoanalyst, and a long-time member of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association. Ryan specializes in healing people by redirecting their subconscious minds towards greater prosperity, performance, and success by changing consciousness from victim to victor. Ryan is the author of The Secrets from Your Subconscious Mind.

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

Astrology and the Great Ages

Thursday, December 13, 7:00 p.m. 

Ray GrasseWhen does a "Great Age" truly begin, and how can we best unlock the meaning of the different Ages? Drawing on 30 years of research, astrologer Ray Grasse will explore these and other questions, while considering how the unfolding transition between Pisces and Aquarius can help to illuminate the profound changes taking place throughout our world, as well as in our own lives. 

Ray Grasse worked on the editorial staffs of Quest Books and Quest magazine for 10 years, and is author of several books including The Waking Dream, Under a Sacred Sky, Signs of the Times, and An Infinity of Gods. He is also a practicing astrologer and is currently associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer magazine. His website is

$10 nonmembers, $5 members

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Programs Calendar

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