1.What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Bethan Vaughan, but most people call me Beth. My soul name – or rather the collective name for the beings who make up the human writing her answers in this interview – is Avina.
I was originally born in Cardiff in Wales, UK. I have lived in a number of different locations around the UK since then, including Pembrokeshire in West Wales, Surrey in South-East England, Ystradgynlais in Mid Wales, and Shropshire in Mid-West England, and at the time of writing this I will soon be setting off on my travels around the rest of the UK and Europe in my self-built campervan, with my soul mate, Peter. I have a BSc in Genetics, and I left my secure role of five and a half years as a Research Manager at the beginning of 2023 to pursue a career of service through energetic and spiritual healing. I want to inspire as many people as I can to follow their hearts and live their soul or life purpose.
I have been a member of the TS of England and Wales since 2020.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am currently the representative of England and Wales for the World Federation of Young Theosophists, and the facilitator of a small group of young theosophists living in England and Wales. I act as a link between the TSEW, the WFYT and the youth group.
As a facilitator of the youth group, I am passionate about connecting other young theosophists together, and in inspiring others to find and live their soul purpose and to heal as they expand their awareness and connect more deeply with their inner worlds through living a theosophically-led life.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
I was brought up in an open-minded atheist household. Growing up, it was easy to feel alone – no one I would find myself around seemed remotely interested in the creation of the universe, otherworldly beings, energy or other planes of existence, and I soon learned that talking about these things out loud was not acceptable. I would spend lots of time on my own, connecting with my deeper self through what I now know to be meditation, asking the questions I had, and finding the answers within myself and from ‘friends in need’ whom I could not physically see. I first learnt of the TS in 2020, after a particularly difficult few years, after which I could no longer ignore the pull in my heart space along a path – the destination of which I still cannot see clearly, but that I know I must trust. The three objectives of the TS strongly resonate with me, and the basic principles constitute the truths I have felt deep in my being for as long as I can remember, somewhat suppressed after years of physical living but still there. Before learning of the TS, I became aware of the work of Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy after finding a symbol I had compulsively drawn all over my schoolbooks as a child, on the front of RS’s Karmic Relationships series.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Theosophy is a human’s way of giving structure to the paradoxically complex yet at the same time wonderfully simple wisdom which underlies all of existence. I personally use the Theosophical teachings as a guide, a structured way to help me to navigate the sometimes complex nature of the higher realms and the information and guidance I receive there. It also gives me an explanation for some of the experiences I have had and continue to have on my personal spiritual healing journey. Finding the Theosophical Society was a huge turning point for me – after growing up not knowing anyone else with similar truths, it was both comforting and exciting to become aware of others living in this way.
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
I am particularly interested in astral projection and shamanic journeying at the moment, and I have found Eric McGough’s book Astral Awareness and Kurt Leland’s books – Otherwhere and The Multidimensional Human: Practices for Psychic Development and Astral Projection to be excellent reads.
I can sometimes get really bogged down in the very intellectual nature of Theosophy, and the language of many books does not hold my attention for very long. A book that I really enjoyed reading recently was The Other Side of Darkness – the teachings of an English occultist’ by Jason Campbell – I found it really captivating and it’s always nice to read something a little different!
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
As I have briefly mentioned, I personally find the language and terms used in many theosophical books to be outdated and a little complex at times. Part of my previous role as a Research Manager was to translate complex scientific material into something more ‘lay friendly’ so I would like to explore a similar role in a theosophical sense.
Another language-related theme that comes up for me time and time again when speaking about Theosophy and the movement in various women’s groups and spiritual circles, is the masculine connotation that society may appear to embody, at least from an outside perspective. ‘Brotherhood’, ‘His’ and ‘Man’ are words frequently used throughout the literature. I personally feel the TS needs to cater to our evolving society, and adopt more inclusive or universal terms. ‘Brotherhood’ – ‘Siblinghood’; ‘Man’ – ‘Human’; ‘His’ – ‘Their’. Language and how we communicate to others verbally is so important, and I feel making these little changes or even just a more public acknowledgement of the sometimes archaic nature of the language, will encourage a broader audience to engage with the movement.
“Change is inevitable, and resistance to change causes suffering. We must welcome change with open arms, for it presents countless opportunities for growth.” -Avina
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
As Rudolf Steiner once said, “For every one step that you take in the pursuit of higher knowledge, take three steps in the perfection of your own character.”
My wish for the future of the movement is the same as my wish for all spiritual movements. To embrace our shadow as well as our light. Whilst we strive to expand our knowledge and to live a life of service for all of humanity, we must also acknowledge the unconscious role we collectively play in the suffering of our planet, and work to heal these lesser explored dimensions of the self.
“The beauty of the healing journey is it’s highly contagious nature, or butterfly effect. By healing ourselves, we are healing others. By healing others, we are healing communities. By healing communities, we are healing nations. And by healing nations, we are healing the world.” -Avina
Thank you for the opportunity to share my voice on this platform.
From the editor:
Opinions and ideas expressed in the mini-interviews are exclusively of those who are being interviewed. They don’t necessarily represent the ideas and opinions of the compilers of Theosophy Forward. The responses of the interviewees are not edited for content. Some contributors give short answers to the questions while others touch upon the subject more elaborately.