Torbay Lodge, founded 1914, is a local branch of The Theosophical Society in England, the latter being a National Section of the international Theosophical Society having its headquarters at Adyar, Chennai, India. See the websites of:
The term "Theosophy" comes from the Greek theosophia, which is composed of two words: theos ("god," "gods," or "divine") and sophia ("wisdom").
Theosophia, therefore, may be translated as the "wisdom of the gods," "wisdom in things divine," or "divine wisdom." The word "theosophy" was first used in writing during the 3rd to the 6th century of our era by the Alexandrian Neo-Platonic philosophers. They used this term to denote an experiential knowledge that came through spiritual, not intellectual, means. In the course of time the word "theosophy" has been adopted to denote various significant teachers or spiritual movements. Among such, we can find Meister Eckhart in the 14th century, Jacob Boehme in the 17th century, and Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century, and others. In the last quarter of the 19th century Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–1891), Henry Steel Olcott (1832–1907), William Quan Judge (1851–1896), and a group of like-minded people, founded the Theosophical Society, thus bringing the term back into light again and creating the modern Theosophical Movement.
In the modern Theosophical movement the word "Theosophy" has been used with several different meanings:
a) It is frequently used to describe the body of teachings that were given through Mme. Blavatsky and other Theosophical writers. This body of knowledge is frequently called "modern Theosophy" (with capital T).
b) It is also used to refer to the universal Ancient Wisdom underlying all religions, which can be found at their core when they are stripped of accretions, deletions, and superstitions. This is sometimes referred to as "ancient" or "timeless" theosophy.
These two usages refer to a body of teachings transmitted by different sages, in different parts of the world, and at different times.
c) As we have seen, theosophia refers to a Divine Wisdom, that is, a state of consciousness in which the sage or mystic goes beyond his or her mind and gets a direct, supra-conceptual, perception of Truth. This is the primary meaning of theosophy (theosophia). It is important to notice that the intellectual-contemplative study and daily practice of Theosophy is only a means to reach the real theosophia, or inner enlightenment. As we become more mindful of this, we open the door to a flash of insight which comes from the part of us that is Divine. The process of becoming more and more receptive to these theosophical insights is the spiritual path.
Torbay Lodge as a local branch of The Theosophical Society in England has a very specific aim. Our work is 'to study and disemminate Theosophy and serve as an active centre of Theosophical life' - with special emphasis on the body of writings and teachings of the modern Theosophical Society. The building was left in the 1920's to the Society in England with the intention of providing a venue in which like minded individuals may come together in their study of Theosophy. We warmly welcome those who actively sympathise with our aim and can offer membership of the Lodge alongside membership of the International Theosophical Society. Such members have the freedom to work, outside of the Lodge, on themes of particular individual interest and carry on activities which are to their liking, but the activity of the Lodge itself is necessarily exercised within the framework of the Lodge Aim and the Theosophical Society's own distinctive character and structure. (Membership of the International Society itself is open to any in sympathy with the three objects of the Society - see: Join the Theosophical Society. )
We are not linked to a local Torbay group confusingly naming themselves 'Torbay Theosophy' who misrepresent themselves by purloining the Theosophical Society seal and images including that of the mantra (O Hidden Life ...) as displayed in our meeting room. This bogus group is not recognised by the Theosophical Society and are not members of the Society either locally or nationally. Our work is of serious study and reflection wholly centrered around the recapitualtion of the Ancient Wisdom teachings as given by H.P. Blavatsky, W.Q. Judge, their living Masters, and others. We find such meaning and depth in these teachings as to make unnecessary new-age or pop-culture diversions with their misrepresentations and unfounded extrapolations in contradiction to the Masters teachings.
In 2014 we celebrated 100 years of Theosophy in Torbay. The Charter of Torbay Lodge was signed by Dr Annie Besant on 31st January 1914 .