President of the Theosophical Society?

There used to be this rule that there was one president of the The Theosophical Society (Adyar): currently Radha Burnier, resident Adyar, Chennai / Madras, India.

The national sections were headed not by presidents, but by ‘general secretaries’.

However, perhaps because of something the General Council decided this winter, both the English and the American section now have ‘president’ in their official email addresses.

Further more, Eric McGough, ‘president’ of the English section, also calls himself ‘Spiritual Head’ and ‘a conscious explorer of the inner planes’ (in Insight Magazine). All this is suggestive of the TS with headquarters in Passadena: their leaders have been calling themselves spiritual heads for ages. But in the TS Adyar, we had till recently, a tradition of humility in this regard.

We are, or were, spiritual only in the sense of bringing together people interested in theosophy, the world religions, brotherhood and metaphysics. There was an agnostic air to the way the organisation was formulated. Perhaps this agnosticism was never very real, but it did bring and keep me into the TS. If it goes out the window, the last attempt at a spiritual organisation that is also democratic goes with it. Perhaps not quite literally yet, but it’s a definite step in that direction.

And if the attempt at democracy goes, then all that’s left is what Blavatsky called (in quite another context), ‘a suggestive wreck’. And for the English section to take the lead in this too. I would not have expected it.

This is truly a new day. Theosophical officials stepping beyond the ranks of simply being elected as administrative officials into those of spiritual leaders. Perhaps it was to be expected, but it’s definitely not a development that I can personally smile upon.

[edit] I’m told the English section decided to give their general secretary the title of ‘president’ before Eric McGough became one, that is, under Colin Price’s presidency (apparently that is the correct word). However that may be, it’s still a controversial decision.[/edit]

[edit] Eric McGough has protested against the above acount as a bunch of lies. Here’s the references:

  1. Eric has informed the entire membership – Editorial, Insight Winter 09/10, p. 3 – that besides being “President” he is not only the “administrative head‟ but also the “spiritual head‟ and that he “accept[s] that responsibility unreservedly‟.
  2. Esoterica Autumn 2010 Vol 1 No 3 for “conscious explorer of the inner planes”. (Insight has been renamed to ‘Esoterica’ in the interim.) I’ve seen a screenshot of the claim which is in an advert for his lecture on the 21st November 2010.


14 thoughts on “President of the Theosophical Society?”

  1. The Theosophical Society in England is not taking a lead. They have just been shafted by … and the senior officials are ashamed to admit that they have been too weak to do anything about it.

  2. “conscious explorer of the inner planes” sounds like a euphemism for “sectioned under the mental health act”

  3. The only lead the Theosophical Society in England is taking is to lose two thirds of membership under its current president while the weaklings on the (Ruling?) National Council just cover up what is really happening.

  4. Some guy sets himself up as “Spiritual Head” in an organisation that says it isn’t a religion?
    Any self respecting organisation would have sent … packing amid hoots of derision with advice to seek professional help.

  5. With the liquidation of the assets, the Theosophical Society in England is to be dissolved and the money used to establish a new organisation headed by … with its headquarters in Bangor, Wales.

  6. Here is the notice on the TS England website that informs members that the Gloucester Place headquarters is not just closed for the whole of August but is out of bounds.

    The Headquarters Building, including the library & bookshop, will be closed to visitors during the whole of August. The Office will be open for telephone enquiries only. To avoid disappointment please do not call in person. If the matter is urgent it may be possible to see a member of staff but arrangements will need to be made in advance and will be entirely at their discretion. Headquarters will re-open on 1st September.”


    Bookshop & Library closed for a month!

    Don’t call in person! – This instruction sets alarm bells ringing

    Why has … taken this unprecedented action?

    The failure to sell Tekels Park quickly plus the accompanying wasted legal fees and the massive losses made by the Foundation for Theosophical Studies means that there is a shortfall in the money available for …’s projects.

    Closing 50 Gloucester Place for a month and warning members to stay away will provide the opportunity for potential buyers to view the property without the membership being aware that it is being sold.

    Inventories and valuations can also be made for the fixtures and fittings and also the stock.

  7. Has anybody on the National Council asked … why he is so desperate to liquidate all the Theosophical Society in England’s assets?

    Has he already committed resources to the purchase of a building in Bangor, Wales in the anticipation of receiving the Tekels Park money?

    There are thousands of pounds worth of audio visual equipment, purchased by the Foundation for Theosophical Stusies, at Gloucester Place. Is this going to be removed and where will it go?

  8. Nobody knows what happened to the Camberley Theosophical Society sound equipment (Worth over £2000) after Eric McGough seized it for his own use in 2009. It won’t be surprising if equipment is currently being removed from 50 Gloucester Place.

  9. The Gloucester Place building is being stripped to facilitate a quick sale so Eric McGough may already have a prospective buyer.

    The purchase of Eric McGough’s Bangor building depends on the funds from the disposal of a major TS England asset. If … has already committed to a building in Bangor then he will have to move quickly and as usual the National Council is not keeping up with the situation. Members of the National Council should be making regular visits to 50 Gloucester Place to see that everything is in order. Once the fixtures, fittings and equipment are removed to storage, it will be very difficult to get them back.

    The Camberley Lodge sound equipment is a good example of how stuff disappears in the Theosophical Society in England.

  10. The best example of disappearance in the Theosophical Society in England is the membership. Down from about 650 when … took over to about 180 now.

    The number is dwindling further as the remaining members realise what their Spiritual Head is really like. This collapse makes it easier for … to dispose of the assets of a virtually non-existent organisation. The National Council could have stopped … from doing this damage two years ago but failed to act and now they have lost their organisation.

  11. The National Council of the Theosophical Society in England members have hardly been worthy custodians of their organization

    They allowed somebody about whom they knew little to take complete control of their finances and then to proclaim himself spiritual head of their organization with some sort of authority from the Ascended Masters.

    They have stood back and watched this self proclaimed spiritual head trash their organization to a point where he is now in a position to dissolve it and start his own with the proceeds.

    Members of the National Council have suffered further humiliation as their spiritual head has demanded affirmations of loyalty to him. They are too ashamed to talk about this.

  12. Recording equipment… An outrageous situation! My husband, Mike Kempster, meticulously researched and purchased equipment that would have cost around £3,500 had it been bespoke purchase. It was state of the art and would have delivered top-quality recordings for years to come and Mike would have produced all the recordings FREE OF CHARGE.

    At a Camberley Lodge AGM in January 2009 when, as former president of Camberley Lodge I was too ill with cancer to attend, both Eric McGough and Colin Price attended the Lodge AGM and had my husband, Mike, removed from doing any recordings and from me removed from giving any further talks. I had my name taken off Summer School 2009 in Nottingham and Colin Price LIED that I was leaving the Society. I have never heard from him again. I wrote to Eric McGough to protest. He ignored my correspondence. McGough had already had me removed from giving talks with Bournemouth Society because, as a former business manager with years of financial experience, I had asked searching and pertinent questions regarding the finances of the Society and the expenses and salaries that were being drawn. I could go on…

    Mike and I returned all of the recording equipment, in person, to Gloucester Place and at our own expense. Apparently no-one there could operate it as it was “too complicated.” What happened to thousands of pounds worth of recording and editing equipment – including the lap top computer is not known.

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