The Theosophical Society in America

President's Diary

Septermber - October 2009

Betty BlandThe new membership database went live in late August. This may not sound very exciting, but in fact the new software will greatly enhance member services in our responses and communications, as well as reporting. Dan Noga (Membership) and George Makarov (IT) spent a lot of time working with data conversion and exploring the new capabilities. The improved flexibility of the database allows members to set up automatic quarterly payments for dues in order to reduce the bite out of personal budgets, and also to reduce the chance of lapsed membership.

After Labor Day, the fall programs began in earnest with a most successful TheosoFest. The one-day open house offered continuous programming and vendor booths with food, crafts, divination, healing, environmental, and community services. This year’s TheosoFest drew a record crowd of 1600.

For two Saturday mornings in September, staff volunteered at environmental projects—one for a major community paper shredding effort and the other at DuPage County’s first ever Green Fair , an environmental awareness event. Thirty percent of our staff participated, fulfilling our last requirement for earning our “Earth Flag,” a community award for being environmentally conscious in our operations.




Besant Cleveland Lodge


In late September I traveled to Minneapolis and Cleveland as a part of the board’s Visioning Project. While in Cleveland, I also gave a public talk on “Discovering the Secrets of Akasha.” Cleveland has a very nice facility and dynamic group.

Art Miccio,, Dianna Dusek, Barbara Pierce,
Frank Vedegys, and Betty Bland

In early October, David and I drove the big red truck out to Montana to visit with Warren Schwartz and returned with two distinctive specimens of petrified wood found on his land. Warren has donated these pieces to Olcott, where they have been strategically placed, adding interest to our western entrance and the Quest Book Shop landscape, providing a unique link with the wide open spaces of the northern Great Plains.


Petrified Rock

Although our personnel situation remained stable but tight, we did have one change.  After working as editorial assistant for a year at Olcott, Idarmis Rodriguez moved to Krotona in California to provide much needed work in their offices. We wish her happiness in her new place of service.

Eleven supportive and interested staff and seekers accompanied Dan Noga, who spoke at the Back to the Future exhibit at Loyola University’s Museum of Art in Chicago in September. He highlighted the influence of Theosophy on painter Wassily Kandinsky, as well as on modern artists Alfred Jensen, Charmion von Wiegand, and Simon Gouverneur, whose work was on display.

As the colder October winds began swirling around us, we had a few end of the season outdoor activities. Tree-planting donations provided the funds for an additional ten specimen trees, which our staff rallied around to plant. And one almost Indian summer day brought out a small but hard-working group of volunteers to ready the grounds for the winter months ahead. Thirty barrels of leaves and garden debris collected made a nice layer over the compost site, which lay dormant while our kitchen and dining room were being renovated.

The ShawdowIn late October, staff contributed elbow grease and manpower during the dining room and kitchen demolition in late October. Because of the unavailability of the dining hall, the October Special Spooky Soirée organized by the Friends of Olcott took place in the eerily decorated Olcott Library. The Olcott Drama Troupe, made up of Olcott staff and other volunteers, began practicing for its fall season back in September. This great bonding experience develops latent skills and provides enjoyable community entertainment. The troupe’s premier performance of an episode of the old radio show The Shadow was perfect entertainment for the evening, which was rounded out by musical performances, tales of terror, and trivia fun and games.