from The Theosophist May 1968
Some Occult Centres
It would seem fair to summarize the "occult" view of things by saying that all material existence is but a garment worn by an unseen reality, only a phenomenon whose real purpose and direction of development are provided by the values and forced of an unseen world within it. We can study something of this thrust of the inner, in and through the outer, in the psychological constitution of the individual human being; and indeed in our everyday world it is usually people who seem to make things happen. But in ancient tradition there are also certain places on the surface of the earth which play a crucial part in the inner economy of life and provide channels through which inner forces emerge into effective manifestation in the outer world, and through which, also, the outer world can bring itself gradually into closer contact and alignment with the more real inner world.
Sometimes these places are simply the sites of temple or shrine or the dwelling place of some saint or holy person. In the history of the Theosophical Society, however, several deliberate efforts have been made to establish occult centres which could serve to distribute the forces of inner worlds and provide access to those forces living with their attention normally focused on the outer world. There also developed an idea that these centres might serve in some way in the inner economy of the world and be used in connection with such an event as the coming of a World Teacher.
The location of most of these centres appears to have been quite fortuitous. The property at Adyar, surely the most important of these centres, was acquired in 1882 as the result of a property "tip" given to Colonel Olcott. The Manor at Sydney was bought in 1922 simply as a matter of convenience, to facilitate the work undertaken by Bishop Leadbeater there. The Ojai property was acquired about the same time because it appealed strongly to Krishnamurti, and was soon extended. The Ommen estate was offered to Krishnamurti in 1923 by its owner, to provide a head-quarters for his work in Europe. The Wheaton property of the Theosophical Society in the United States of America was acquired as a matter of convenience. These are the centres that come into our present story; but it may be added that Mrs. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater forecast the acquisition by occultists several centuries hence of an extensive property in Lower California as a centre for the establishment of the first nucleus of the sixth Root Race.
There has always been a certain scepticism about these various centres and other similar ones, apart from the use of some of them as administrative headquarters for the Theosophical Society; and, while some have claimed that the "occult" character and purpose of such centres has been a matter of direct experience and knowledge to them, others have seen in their basic intention something of a delusion. The difficulty is that no external evidence can be offered as to the value of an occult centre. The intuition of the individual responds to it or does not respond to it and in this there can be nothing evidential beyond, perhaps, a consensus among a certain type of person.
But forty years ago something strikingly and externally evidential was discovered with regard to some of these centres. It was found that, with several other great historic centres and cities, they formed certain distinct patterns on the surface of the globe which seemed to suggest that they were part of a design and not just the product of chance.
It must here be noted that to trace out these patterns it is necessary to look at a terrestrial globe and not at a flat map in an atlas. All the widely used map projections which represent the whole world on a flat surface distort shapes and areas very much. Mercator's projection makes Greenland nearly as big as North America and extends the polar regions to infinity; and the widely popular Flamsteed's sinusoidal projection, though much more accurate, cannot, for much the same reason, serve in the present connection. That the occult centres make a pattern on the globe was first discovered by Bishop Irving S.Cooper. Rather naive because any three points on a globe can be seen as forming a straight line if looked at from a suitable position. However, he at once began to consider whether Ojai could be on a continuation of the same line, and it was. This was certainly rather remarkable. The four centres were all on the same line of cleavage. That is to say, one could cut a globe through with a straight knife-edge so that all four places would be exactly on the cut.
Points on the surface of a globe, unlike points on a plane surface, can be cut or joined by a variety of straight lines - that is, lines of cleavage. Cooper next noticed that if Adyar and Ojai were joined by the shortest possible line and if Sydney and Ommen were similarly joined, the two lines would intersect in the Gobi Desert.
Anxious to make sure about this, Cooper submitted his discovery to another member, Hervey Gulick, who was with him at Ojai. Gulick located the point in the Gobi Desert, at which the line making the shortest surface distance on the globe between Adyar and Ojai and the line similarly joining Sydney and Ommen cut one another, at N.38 and E.92 . This is obviously very close to an area about which many occult statements have been made. It was not possible to learn the exact position of the "Sacred Island" in the ancient Gobi Sea; but very rough maps were available in the Vade Mecum to "Man: Whence, How and Whither"compiled by Albert Schwartz. One of these maps, obviously very rough, inaccurately drawn and on a small scale, based upon data provided by Bishop Leadbeater, had represented the location of he "Sacred Island" as being about N.40 and E.94 . But Gulick made a further discovery about cleavage lines cutting through the four occult centres and other centres. He traced two parallel circles, one cutting through Adyar and Ojai and the other through Sydney and Ommen. The centre of the two circles is at a position N. 45 30' and E.150 30' in the neighborhood of the Kurile Islands lying in the North Pacific.
The inner or Adyar-Ojai circle runs through the following places. After leaving Adyar it cuts through Quetta, crosses Afghanistan and south-western Siberia and cuts through the cities of Moscow and Helsinki, passing the outskirts of Leningrad, crosses Sweden and Norway, the North Atlantic, Greenland, Hudson Bay and central Canada, exactly cutting Salt Lake city and Ojai, and passes on across the Pacific and the Fiji and Loyalty Islands and across Australia and the Indian Ocean.
The second or Sydney-Ommen circle, cuts through a much greater number of well-known places. It runs from Sydney across the Indian Ocean, across Iraq and Syria, cuts through Ankara in Turkey, Bucharest in Rumania, Budapest in Hungary, Prague in Czechoslovakia, Weimar and Munster in Germany, Ommen in the Netherlands, Newcastle-on-Tyne in England, Glasgow in Scotland. After crossing the Atlantic and a portion of Canada, it cuts exactly through Wheaton, Illinois, the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in the United States of America, through Kansas City, Oklahoma City and then across Mexico and Lower California, where it cuts across the desolate area which is said to be the place where a colony will be established to form the initial nucleus of the sixth Root Race some centuries hence, and so over the Pacific Ocean to Australia again.
The broad band of territories between the two circles is about 800 miles wide or 11 on the surface of the globe. The distance in degrees from the centre of the two circles in the neighborhood of the Kurile Islands to the first of the circles, the Adyar-Ojai one, is the same as the distance from the North Pole to the tropic of Cancer. The major cities which the lines cut have all very distinctive qualities and histories. Naturally most of the places cut the lines are quite obscure or are uninhabited areas. All the occult centres involved in the patterns are still functioning as such, with the exception of Ommen, which ceased to be used by Krishnamurti as a centre for his work after it had served as a concentration camp in the Second World War.
It requires some careful examination of the factors involved, and perhaps some knowledge of terrestrial geography, to appreciate what an extraordinary discovery this global pattern or complex of patterns was. It is almost impossible to discover any cleavage line on the globe which cuts through places of any common or shared significance. That it should be possible to find a group of centres or locations, having quite a distinctive common significance and forming such a pattern of cleavage lines, lies right outside the mathematics of chance.
If such a remarkable set of geographical relationships had been observed in the history of some religious cult, it would be treated as something miraculous, a kind of endorsement "from on high," and it would be very much publicized by the members of that cult. The Theosophical Society, however, is not a cult, and the kind of motives that are found in a religious cult are not present in it. Another reason why little further attention was paid to the discovery after Cooper made it known in The Theosophist of March, 1929, is probably that nobody had the combination of interest and mathematical capacity to explore the matter further. It seems very likely that if suitable interest and talent were brought to bear upon the subject there could be further discoveries of a similar nature or at least some elaboration or extension of the discoveries then made. For example, it might be found that there is some further global pattern in which St. Michael's Centre in Huizen has a distinctive place.
But the main reason why little attention has been given to a discovery of this factual nature is probably that there is a fairly wide diffusion within the Theosophical Society of some measure of direct experience of the occult, rendering external indications of this kind unnecessary or unimportant. Those who feel sure that they are working on right lines do not need to have it demonstrated to them on the map. Nevertheless there is some use in taking note of these evidences of occult planning behind the outer activities of people in the world. These evidences indicate the significant participation of the Theosophical Society and several other associated movements in this planned activity and convey a strong impression that Colonel Olcott, Mrs. Besant, Bishop Leadbeater, Mr. J. Krishnamurti, and others who made the effective choices in the establishment of these centres, were by no means our of touch with certain underlying realities.
More Hugh Shearman