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Promoting the application of theosophical principles - funerals

Following its Annual General Meeting in May, the TOS in France organised a seminar on a rather delicate theme:  “Burial, cremation and alternative funeral services”.  The seminar attracted more than 50 participants keen to gain a theosophical perspective on cremation in a predominantly Roman Catholic country where burial is the traditional practice.  Participants were presented with a 60-page file containing items such as:

  • Why cremation?  The writings of Theosophists and other leading thinkers:  H.P. Blavatsky, Annie Besant, C.W. Leadbeater, A.E. Powell, Geoffrey Barborka, Eliphas Lévi, Rudolf Steiner, Alice Bailey, J. Krishnamurti…
  • Col. Olcott’s account of the first cremation organised in the USA
  • Perspectives on burial and cremation in the Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu traditions
  • Perspectives amongst Freemasons, Rosicrucians and Liberal Catholics


The file of material distributed also offered point by point guidance on how to write theosophically-oriented funeral and commemorative services and included a wide choice of suitable quotations and suggestions for music styles.  Model notes of condolence were provided for those who have difficulty in finding the right theosophically-oriented words of comfort for bereaved friends.  Finally, very practical matters like the writing of a living will and dealing with funeral directors were covered.

Participants said that they found the seminar helpful in making choices for themselves and their loved ones and in organising ceremonies reflecting their own spiritual perspective.  They were enthusiastic at seeing Theosophy made directly relevant to essential life choices.

The TOS’s president, Michel Chapotin, led the seminar on an unusual topic that nevertheless attracted great numbers. More than 20 people absent on the day requested a postal copy of the material distributed.

The TOS in France held its Annual General meeting before the afternoon seminar. The TOS currently has 88 officially registered members.  It supports Olcott Education Society projects at Adyar and TOS projects in India, the Philippines, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  It has also long supported the education of Tibetans in Dharamsala.

For the seminar, there were too many participants to fit into the room at the Liberal Catholic Church where TOS meetings in Paris are now held and some had to sit in an adjoining room. 



Christian Shoch, the Regionary Bishop of the LCC in France and recently elected Vice-President of the French TOS, shared his own thoughts regarding burial and cremation.

On the day of the seminar, nearly US$1,300 was received in donations, membership subscriptions and sales of preserves.

A collection of theosophically-oriented funeral and memorial services, poems and quotations in English can be found on the TOS’s international website at:


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