The Theosophical Society in America

Thursday Lecture Series

National Center Lecture Series

The Theosophical Society in America National Headquarters Join us on Thursday evenings for informative and diverse presentations on a wide range of topics. All programs are open to the public and begin at 7 p.m. at our National Center: 
1926 N. Main St., Wheaton, IL

Admission is $10 for nonmembers and $5 for members (unless otherwise noted). Programs are wheelchair accessible.


Visiting the Inner Temple

Thursday, November 30, 7:00 p.m.

Richard SmoleyTo most people, a temple is a building. But for the esoteric traditions, a temple can be a mental construct—an image in the mind that can be visited any time. This program will explore this tradition. A guided meditation will enable participants to construct an inner temple 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

Live Webcast 

An Integral Approach to Mindfulness Meditation

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

Bill EpperlyLearn key aspects of Ken Wilber’s integral theory and consider new ways of thinking about and practicing mindfulness, including how mindfulness can be practiced across the four quadrants of Wilber’s model, and how this creates a more powerful practice. The application of Wilber’s model of ego development will also be described. Please join us for this stimulating look at mindfulness practice through an integral lens.

Bill Epperly, PhD, is a biochemist and mystic. He has studied contemplative Christianity and Zen Buddhism and is a long-time student of Ken Wilber’s integral approach to spirituality. He works as a spiritual director, presenter on The Method of Centering Prayer, and retreat leader. He teaches mindfulness meditation at DePaul University.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast 

Join Bill for his December 9 workshop Integral Mindfulness: A Path to Whole Body Awakening.

What Does Salvation Mean in a Multi-Religious World?

Thursday, December 14, 7:00 p.m.

dr_jay_mosesThe word “salvation” signals a specifically Christian word, but what does it mean in a world full of religious plurality, when the church does not retain the authority to speak to most people? This is a hard question for those who seek to find their religious longing met, but also the care of their diverse neighbors met, by a God shaped by the love Christianity has professed. Enjoy a lively discussion about what it means to be saved, and who this might actually apply to.

Rev. Dr. Jay Moses is pastor at Hope Presbyterian Church in Wheaton. He studied at Fuller Theological Seminary, Northern Seminary, and the Catholic Union, with a specialization in Interreligious Dialogue. He has worked for the Presbyterian Church in Chicago for interreligious understanding for more than a decade and is a member of the Wheaton Interreligious Council. Jay also teaches at the Marion E. Wade Center in Wheaton and Elmhurst College.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast 

Astrology: The Symbolic Language of the Stars

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

Dave GunningIn this introduction and overview of astrology, learn key astrological terms along with instruction on how to set up and read a birth chart, including the various components of the wheel and what they mean in tandem with each other. You will also learn about some causal vs. non-causal influences and how these might astrologically affect human behavior.

Dave Gunning is an astrological consultant, teacher, and lecturer. His readings, classroom teachings, and lectures have always emphasized the importance of the person’s interconnectedness to the Spiritual Self. Dave is a contributor to Dell Horoscope and The Mountain Astrologer magazines.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Dave’s Stargazing: Astrology Discussion Group the third Tuesday of each month.

Labyrinths as Transformational Healing Tools

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

Like a pebble in a pond, the labyrinth sends out many ripples to each of us, our communities, and the planet! A symbol of hope and renewal, the labyrinth is an interactive tool for experiencing transformation, inner peace, unity, healing, celebration, ritual, recovery, and connecting with the Divine. But how does this happen? We will share stories and experiences that show how labyrinths vibrate and send out waves of healing energy, creating common ground and a transformative matrix for people of all walks of life and paths of faith.

Marty and Debi Kermeen have created hundreds of labyrinths that have helped rebuild, renew and connect communities. Since the installation of their first permanent labyrinth in 1998, the Kermeens have been commissioned to create public and private works of art for museums, hospitals, cathedrals, public parks, corporations and more in the U.S. and abroad.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Debi Kermeen for her Five Element Drumming workshop on January 13.

Laughter and Spirituality: Good for the Body, Good for the Soul

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

Barbara HebertSpirituality is a very serious subject…isn’t it? Many think that in order to be spiritual, we must study, meditate and pray in a serious manner, so where in that equation could humor possibly fit? Everywhere! Laughter is good for the body and soul, and it’s an essential component to spiritual practice. It is said that young children laugh as much as 200 times a day, compared to most adults who get zero to just a few daily laughs. Prepare to join in laughter as we explore this humorous topic!

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

Live Webcast

The Way of the Mystic: St. Teresa of Avila’s Life and Teaching

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

Juli CesanoOne of Christianity’s most inspiring saints, Teresa of Avila, brought the experience of having ecstatic love for God to the world in a most unique way. This passionate mystic’s journey within conveys the path of surrendering the lower to the Higher with clarity and depth. Ahead of her time in the 16th century, neither illness nor the persecution of the Inquisition were able to extinguish the inner fire of this courageous woman.

Juliana Cesano is a second generation Theosophist and has been actively involved with the Society’s work for over twenty years. She volunteered 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

Live Webcast

Join Juliana on Saturday, January 27 for her workshop St. Teresa of Avila’s Path of Contemplative Prayer. 

The Heart of Mindfulness: Simply Experiencing

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

SantikarroThe Buddha offers this advice: "In seeing, simply see; in hearing, simply hear; in experiencing, simply experience; and in knowing, simply know." Resting in this core of mindfulness, we neither reject our sensory experience nor get lost in it, we stop making up distracting narratives and reacting egoistically, we end the fantasy of Me and Mine, and our suffering ends.

Santikaro is the founder of Liberation Park, a Buddhist retreat center in Wisconsin, where he teaches Buddhism and meditation with an emphasis on the early Pali sources. He was a Buddhist monk for 19 years and a disciple of the renowned Thai meditation master Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Santikaro for a meditation retreat on Being Alive, Embodied, and Aware in the Present Moment February 2 – 4.

Encounters with an Unconventional Mystic

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

Ray GrasseThroughout the late 1970s and 1980s, astrologer Ray Grasse had a series of interactions with a teacher in the Kriya Yoga tradition named Shelly Trimmer, a one-time student of Paramahansa Yogananda. As chronicled in his book An Infinity of Gods, their discussions covered God, astrology, the afterlife, relationships, meditation, magic, the chakras, and more. Ray will share some highlights from those conversations and their surprising implications.

Ray Grasse, astrologer, writer, and photographer, is the author of several books including The Waking Dream and Signs of the Times. Associate editor of The Mountain Astrologer, Ray lectures internationally on astrology, synchronicity, meditation, and hypnosis. He also maintains an active astrological practice. For more, visit

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

A book signing will follow the lecture.

Vibrational Medicine: Energy Healing for Reversing Health Disorders

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

MarilynMitchell_f.jpgThis presentation offers a discussion of the use of energy healing in serious medical situations and other conditions, including an explanation of how energy healing works. Actual cases where energy healing has been used as primary or adjunct therapy will be presented to show how people with physical diseases, as well as mental and emotional difficulties, have benefited from this healing modality. Whatever the dysfunction or ailment, energy healing opens you to a deeper sense of ease, well-being and purpose, and brings you back to your true self.

Dr. Marilyn Mitchell received her medical degree from Rush Medical College and completed her residency at the University of Chicago. She is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology and the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. She is an educator, speaker and health visionary and is a leader in the field of integrative medicine. Dr. Mitchell is also the founder of HealingSpace.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Dr. Mitchell on Saturday, February 17 for her workshop Accessing Inner Vitality

The Dharma Karma Nexus

Thursday, February 22, 7:00 p.m.

Minor LileTheosophical teachings provide a wealth of information about the workings of karma in our lives. Often less emphasized, but just as relevant, is the role dharma plays in shaping our plans and perceptions. These two elements of natural law are inextricably woven into the pattern of our lives, both collectively and as individuals. Explore the important role these dynamic factors play in shaping our individual and collective destiny as human beings.

Minor Lile, MBA, MSD, is the director of programs and development for the Orcas Island Foundation. From 1995-2017, Minor was the executive director of the Foundation, which oversees the operation of Indralaya, a Theosophical center located in the Pacific Northwest. He is currently a board member of the Theosophical Society in America.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast

Join Minor on Saturday, February 24 for his workshop Cultivating a Virtuous Life

The Metaphysics of Light

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

Richard-Smoley_F.jpgLight is probably the most universal symbol for spiritual awakening. So what is it about light that’s so important? Is it light in the physical sense, or another kind entirely? Join Richard Smoley in an exploration about why light is such a powerful and widely used image, and how spiritual light may relate to physical light.

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

Live Webcast

Rumi's Poetic Theology of Love

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

Franklin LewisRumi used his poetry to describe the relationship between the worshiper and the divine beloved. In these poems, the worshiper succumbs to the suprarational experience of love, usually as romantic love (eros), but also as unconditional, self-sacrificing love (agape). This talk explores Rumi's theology of love not only as a feeling, but an attitude and orientation that defines the very essence of righteousness and true religion.

Franklin Lewis, PhD, is associate professor of Persian Literature and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on Persian and Arabic literature and philology, Sufism and Islamic thought, and Baha’i studies. Franklin has written profusely on these topics and has done numerous translations. His translations of Rumi’s poetry appeared in 2008 as Rumi: Swallowing the Sun.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast 

Spiritual Adventures in Bhutan: A Travelogue with Glenn Mullin

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

Glenn MullinThe tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan caught the attention of the world when it announced its commitment to "Gross National Happiness" over its gross domestic product. It has become something of a Shangri-La to the international community, bringing the gentleness of timeless Buddhist wisdom into a modern context. Lama Glenn will present a lecture and slide show of this magnificent Buddhist land.

Lama Glenn Mullin trained in Tibetan Buddhism in the Himalayas for 15 years, and has published some 30 books on Tibetan Buddhism. He has taught Buddhist meditation for the past 30 years, often touring for six months of the year through North America, Asia, and Europe. He also leads pilgrimages through the sacred sites of Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan each year. For more visit

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast 

Join Lama Glenn for Lojong: The Living Tradition of the Universal Hero/Heroine, a weekend retreat March 16 – 18. 

Master Your Energy: What Happens in 5th Dimensional Consciousness?

Thursday, March 22, 7:00 p.m.

lydia Vanden BroeckAscension can be disorienting, like being thrust into the unknown without a road map. It can make life appear empty and flat, as if there should be more. Learn how to master your energy and create space for transformation by grounding through the lower chakras to help loosen up age-old emotions so they no longer affect you. This will help in the transformative process.

Lydia Van den Broeck, Ph.D., brings a lifetime of dedication, education, and experience to her work as a skilled and intuitive spiritual teacher and compassionate healer. With a doctorate in holistic health sciences and psychotherapy, and through her Energy Mastery™ process, Lydia offers guidance to help master spiritual consciousness in everyday living.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast 

Join Lydia for Master Your Energy, Master Your Life, a workshop on March 24.

Easter: A Threshold to Freedom

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

Danelys VarcarcelUsing Theosophical insights into the subject of Esoteric Christianity, this presentation explores the hidden meaning of some aspects of the Lesser Mysteries such as the Atonement, Resurrection, and Ascension, a symbolic journey to rediscovering a deeper communion with the inner Christ and the Holy Season.

Danelys Valcarcel Cuellar, a Cuban-born artist, is a student of Theosophy, Anthroposophy, and Hindu philosophy who has dedicated the past thirteen 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.

$10 nonmembers   $5 members

Live Webcast 

Esoteric Christianity by Annie Besant will be available for sale after the lecture.

Join Danelys for her workshop Working with Angels on March 31.

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Programs Calendar

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