1. Wendy
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  3. Monday, 14 November 2016
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I’ve chosen to speak today about Dion Fortune's book The Cosmic Doctrine because I think it’s a unique piece of writing which deserves to be better known. But before I go any further I have to say that I find the book very challenging in places and there’s much in it that I don’t fully understand. I guess that’s likely to be true for others here, and I know that many people try to read it but find the first few chapters so difficult that they give up on it altogether. However, once you have found a way into the book, it opens up into something quite extraordinary and inspiring.

So what I’m going to do is suggest a number of alternative approaches to reading this text rather than the usual method of starting at the beginning and working through each chapter in turn until you get to the end. I don’t think that method is the best way to get the most out of The Cosmic Doctrine!
References
  1. http://dionfortune.co.uk/articles/a-new-approach-to-dion-fortune-the-cosmic-doctrine
Psyche Accepted Answer
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Dear Wendy
Thanks so much for sharing the transcript of your talk. There is much about it that I find helpful and interesting, but I wanted to ask you a little about the reflection you offer right at the end which is about Socrates approach to learning, which is through questions.

For me this is so interesting. To learn through discovery and the meaningful questions that help one reflect is not just a powerful form of development, but I would be interested in your thoughts as to whether this Is also the most loving form of facilitating development. What I mean is, there is no compulsion, or insistence on imparting any version of the truth, but it allows for freedom of choice and expression, and for free will. The cosmic doctrine is often seen as somewhat cold and detached, and I confess I originally saw it that way, on closer acquaintance I think there is more to it than this.

Anyway, I would be interested In your thoughts.
Psyche.
It is not for me to teach the Psychologists their business, however great the need.
  1. more than a month ago
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Wendy Accepted Answer
Dear Psyche

I'm so glad you found the talk interesting.

I can well understand your initial impression that The Cosmic Doctrine comes across as cold and detached. The text uses terms like ‘mind,’ ‘Atoms,’ ‘Entities,’ ‘action and reaction’ and ‘Planes of manifestation’ which are all very impersonal, while words like ‘God’ and ‘humanity’ are used hardly at all.

I think this is a deliberate ploy on the part of Socrates to avoid using terms that we might make a personal or emotional connection with, which would prevent us from thinking clearly. The problem for instance in using the word ‘God’ is that each reader will have their own concept of God which is likely to be coloured by their religion, their background, their experience and all sorts of emotions and preconceptions, so that one person’s understanding of God will be completely different to the next person’s. By using such abstract language, Socrates helps us to put all that aside and to think dispassionately, which in the end leads to a clearer understanding. Although I think it likely that he was a passionate person.

I absolutely agree with you that his technique of questioning which doesn’t propose or assume any right or wrong answer is a truly loving form of facilitating development because, as you say, it allows complete freedom of choice and is entirely accepting of the other person’s truth. But I don’t think it’s easy to do; I find it quite challenging to formulate questions which aren’t subtly revealing of my own viewpoint. And equally, the effect of knowing that whatever answer you might give is entirely acceptable and accepted can be quite scary! It certainly encourages an awareness of responsibility.

It occurs to me that this is rather like the Buddhist concept of harmlessness although I've not - yet - considered The Cosmic Doctrine as a Buddhist text!

Wendy
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MargaretB Accepted Answer
Wendy
Thank you for such a clear explanation of how to approach the Cosmic Doctrine.
I have read it a number of times, always from front to back, and I have always struggled, though not necessarily with the same parts each time. I will certainly be trying the approaches you suggest.
However, there is another issue that has struck me on each rereading. Every time I reread it I come across parts that feel completely new to me, as though I have never read them before.
I do not think I skimp on the reading (something that I do not think it lends itself to in any event!), so do not think that is an explanation. Occasionally there will be a Eureka moment when something in the Cos Doc strikes a chord with something relevant to me in daily life at that particular time, but I do not think that is the explanation for every rereading throwing up something that I do not recall having read before. Is it perhaps connected to that in a way though, in that the individual mind will link with points in the Cos Doc in different ways at different times, and read different significance into it? I think what I mean is that each reading is at a different time so the reader is at a slightly different place on their path (hopefully, but not necessarily further forward :) ). Perhaps that means that they interpret parts of the Cos Doc in an entirely different way because of a different standpoint. If that is correct, then I suppose there can never be a point at which anyone will have a full grasp of the Cos Doc because its significance to each person will be different tomorrow.
I am not sure that I have explained my thoughts too well there. Do they make any sense? I wonder if others have experienced bits of the Cos Doc seeming completely new, and whether anyone has any ideas of the cause - and whether it is just a part of developing with the help of the Cos Doc - or if I am just approaching it in the wrong way!
  1. more than a month ago
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Wendy Accepted Answer
Dear MargaretB and all Cosmic Doctrine readers everywhere!

I have often had a similar experience to yours, in that I've searched the book for a sentence which I'm positive I have read before, only to find that it has completely disappeared. My explanation has been similar to yours, "...the individual mind will link with points in the Cos Doc in different ways at different times.." What I thought I remembered so clearly has become transformed in my mind over time as I've absorbed it and worked with it, so I'm searching for a sentence which doesn't actually exist.

But there does seem to be a unique and rather strange quality about the text of the Cosmic Doctrine which I can best describe by saying that it only touches the earth very lightly. This might sound a bit fanciful - I know that it's written in words and printed on paper (or a computer screen!) - but it has a sort of shifting, changing, evolving quality about it which means that it never reads quite the same twice. It works so directly on our consciousness that we are changed by it, we are not the same each time we read it.

And I think it could also be suggested that because our perception of the universe is changed as we read the book, so also the universe is changed by our perception?

What's important I think is to keep in mind as we read it, is that it is a MAGICAL book, so expect the unexpected!
  1. more than a month ago
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MargaretB Accepted Answer
Hello Companions All,

I have just been rereading the Cos Doc and, this time, it happened to coincide with me reading Regardie's 'A Garden of Pomegranates' too. I suppose it is almost inevitable, when reading two books at about the same time, that connections will be made between the two that would not otherwise occur. When reading the first part of 'Pomegranates' I became aware of how much the development of DF's Rings, Rays, Planes, Angles, Atoms and so on, through to Universes, appears (to me at least!) to mirror the development of the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. That was something that had never struck me before, yet it seemed so obvious once the thought had arisen. Or perhaps I was just being obtuse on my previous readings of it.
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