This question, though at first simple, contains wonderful depth. First, here’s a quick definition of the word:
Theosophia (Greek: θεός theos + σοφία sophia), “Divine Wisdom,” or Wisdom of the gods. The word theos means “a god” in Greek, one of the divine beings, not “God” in the sense attached in our day to the term. Therefore, it is not “Wisdom of God,” as translated by some, but Divine Wisdom. Theosophy is the substratum and basis of all the world-religions and philosophies—the common thread that runs through them all. In its practical bearing, Theosophy is purely divine ethics.
Here you’ll find a basic idea of what the word theosophy means. But what is represented by the term Theosophy in the modern theosophical movement is this and much more. To get started exploring this idea, see here:
Much has been written on the subject of Theosophy. See the menu on the right for a few selected articles, including key statements from two of the founders of the modern theosophical movement:
There are several Key Concepts to the Theosophical Philosophy. See the menu on the right to explore a few of these. Further to this, here are three exceedingly important ideas central to Theosophy:
Theosophy is about solidarity. We are all one family, undivided.
It is the doctrine of Unity.
Theosophy is about the immortality of the Soul; living and learning from life to life.
It is the doctrine of Hope.
Theosophy is about the universality of the Law of cause and effect. “As you sow, so shall you reap.”
It is the doctrine of Responsibility.
One of the Masterpieces of modern Theosophy, the Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky, presents Theosophy as “the synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy.” From this idea we have the following. Theosophy is the:
Science of Spirituality
Theosophy postulates an underlying Divine Wisdom to the Cosmos, Nature and Man. This wisdom has been sought, tested and verified by a countless list of sages and seers throughout recorded history.
Philosophy of Perfectibility
Man is the microcosm of the Macrocosm. Human Nature can either soar or sink. Human potential for creativity, benevolence and knowledge is endless.
Religion of Responsibility
Divinity underlies all of life, but each man is responsible for his or her actions. The actions of one have a ripple effect upon all. Man grows through self-devised and self-induced efforts. Men largely reap the consequences of their choices and actions, good or bad, in this and future life times.
It’s important to understand that Theosophy is not restricted to the modern presentation of these ideas; it is as old as humanity. There is a oneness in fundamental teachings underlying the world’s major religious, philosophical and even scientific schools of thought. This “Wisdom of the Ages” points us towards the true nature of Theosophy. The Movements founded all over the world by history’s Great Teachers show us the unity of their insights. The world’s Sacred Texts provide us with visions of this “divine wisdom.” This is the heritage of humanity, and it is ours to explore.
The founding of the modern Theosophical Movement is generally recognized as spearheaded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, with two main associates, William Quan Judge and Henry Steel Olcott. In 1875 they, and others, founded the Theosophical Society. The Society grew and flourished during their time, and since has spawned several distinct organizations, associations and lodges of theosophical students. There is a vast and ever-growing body of literature belonging to this movement, including translations of sacred texts, original works and countless articles (see the menus on the right for links to selections of these).
Some Key Ideas related to the modern Theosophical Movement
The Original Objects of the Theosophical Society
[Note: the following provide the guidance and foundation of our collective work on universaltheosophy.com]
1. Universal Brotherhood;
2. No distinction to be made by the member between races, creeds, or social positions, but every member had to be judged and dealt by on his personal merits;
3. To study the philosophies of the East—those of India chiefly, presenting them gradually to the public in various works that would interpret exoteric religions in the light of esoteric teachings;
4. To oppose materialism and theological dogmatism in every possible way, by demonstrating the existence of occult forces unknown to science, in nature, and the presence of psychic and spiritual powers in man; trying, at the same time to enlarge the views of the Spiritualists by showing them that there are other, many other agencies at work in the production of phenomena besides the “Spirits” of the dead. Superstition had to be exposed and avoided; and occult forces, beneficent and maleficent—ever surrounding us and manifesting their presence in various ways—demonstrated to the best of our ability.” (H.P. Blavatsky, CW VII:145)
In the Key to Theosophy, HPB gives the following three objectives:
(1.) To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, colour, or creed.
(2.) To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World’s religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies.
(3.) To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially. (see Key to Theosophy, “The Working System of the T.S.” by H.P. Blavatsky)
See also: Foundation of the Theosophical Society
These Objectives have passed through several iterations and have often been simplified to the following:
1. To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour.
2. To encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science.
3. To investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man.
Declaration of the United Lodge of Theosophists
Note: the following—the declaration signed by all associates of the United Lodge of Theosophists—was formulated from key quotes by H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge, and provides the spirit in which such associates work.
The policy of this Lodge is independent devotion to the cause of Theosophy, without professing attachment to any Theosophical organization. It is loyal to the great Founders of the Theosophical movement, but does not concern itself with dissensions or differences of individual opinion.
The work it has on hand and the end it keeps in view are too absorbing and too lofty to leave it the time or inclination to take part in side issues. That work and that end is the dissemination of the fundamental principles of the Philosphy of Theosophy, and the exemplification in practice of those principles, through a truer realization of the SELF; a profounder conviction of Universal Brotherhood.
It holds that the unassailable basis for union among Theosophists, wherever and however situated, is “similarity of aim, purpose and teaching,” and therefore has neither Constitution, By-Laws nor Officers, the sole bond between its Associates being that basis. And it aims to disseminate this idea among Theosophists in the furtherance of Unity.
It regards as Theosophists all who are engaged in the true service of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, condition or organization, and
It welcomes to its association all those who are in accord with its declared purposes and who desire to fit themselves, by study and otherwise, to be the better able to help and teach others.
“The true Theosophist belongs to no cult or sect, yet belongs to each and all.”
Declaration of Theosophy Students
First: Devotion to the cause of Masters by studying and applying the Three Fundamental Principles of Theosophy. This means revering the laws of Brotherhood; it means realizing the SELF by acting for and as the SELF of all creatures.
Second: To understand the universal basis of the Theosophical Movement, past and present. This means learning from all the Great Teachers of humanity.
Third: To fit its members to become true citizens of a Republic of Brotherhood in one’s own land and throughout the world. This means becoming true Theosophists.