Waited Centuries

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Waited Centuries


Detailed description of unique Theosophical wedding ceremony performed in the TS headquarters in New York. Ceremony conducted by Katherine Tingley, although she is not named. Groom and bride are Claude Falls Wright and Mary Leonard or Boston. Wright was Judge's secretary.


HRVH Historical Newspapers, http://news.hrvh.org/


Rockland County Messenger, NY, Number 2, pg 2




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The Great Unknown Performed the Ceremony—The Marriage In Accordance With Prehistoric Bites —One For Theosophy Now.

A prehistoric courtship resulted yesterday in the marriage of two theosophical leaders, Claude Falls Wright and Miss Mary Katherine Leoline Leonard, in accordance with the rites of the ancient Egyptian mysteries. The adept in occultism, the secret head of the Theosophical society in America, and the occult successor of William Q. Judge performed the ceremony, assisted by Alderman Robinson. It was very gracious, indeed, of the adept to-do so, for Mr. Wright wanted to get married two years ago, and he said: “Better not. You’re so young, you know,” or words to that effect.

Mr. Wright had waited many thousand years, according to his idea, and he thought that in justice to the bride elect he should not postpone the nuptials beyond a reasonable time. Miss Leonard, however, named a day which met the approval of the adept, and Mr. Wright lectured and wrote and was very happy indeed.

Bride and bridegroom do not remember exactly when they first encountered each other. Mr. Wright says that he has seen Miss Leonard’s face in his dreams ever since he was 4 years old. They met for the first time of which they have any definite recollection in Chicago. The exact details of this meeting are not known, as Mr. Wright, with his usual reticence, declined to speak of it.

“I think we have met before,” he is supposed to have said. “It must have been either when we were cave dwellers or when we were traveling down the Yang-tse-Kiang river in a houseboat in the time of the Wish Wash dynasty, in the year 15279 B. C.”

“I think you have the advantage of me,” it is said she archly replied.

They both believe in reincarnation, though, and it seems that she had been dreaming about him occasionally. They felt very bitterly toward the adept, but finally they realized the wisdom of his decrees. They went their ways, Mr. Wright as secretary to Mr. Judge and Miss Leonard as projector of theosophy into Boston by way of Chicago.

There was nothing conventional about this wedding but the black coat and trousers of the bridegroom. It took place in Aryan Hall at 144 Madison avenue, New York, the headquarters of the Theosophical society in America. The ceremony followed the general outline prescribed in the mysteries of antiquity, of which nobody but a theosophist is supposed to know.

The hall was a forest of ferns, which gave a pleasing effect, reminiscent of the carboniferous age and the dawn of time. Back of the platform were yellow curtains, through which the sunlight filtered and gave a peculiarly mysterious and altogether winsome effect Near the ceiling was suspended a glass star, lighted by electricity. The center of it was yellow, and the points were purple. The middle of the platform was occupied by a sphinx of plaster of paris painted green. Near by was an altar upon which rested a censer of hammered brass. On the wall back of the sphinx hung a roll of parchment inscribed with mystical characters, the general import of which was that everything was according to Hoyle. Life size portraits of Mme. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge flanked this document and beamed benignly upon it.

On the platform sat the 14 persons of the inner council of the “Blank.” “Blank” stands for the occult organization within the Theosophical society, the name of which is known only to the few. It is never spoken above a whisper. These persons, resplendent in regalia of purple ornamented with a silver check, were arranged in a semicircle. The front of the stage was held by the adept in occultism, otherwise known as “He Who Must Be Obeyed.”

This adept was on the platform, yet I be was so closely veiled that no one was able to distinguish his features. He wore a long purple robe, which reached to his feet. A full view of him was cut off by a papier mache stump, covered with Grand street artificial leaves. It was symbolical of the tree of life. On the right of He Who Must Be Obeyed sat Ernest T. Hargrove, president of the society, and on the left the impetuous bridegroom. Mr. Wright was becomingly attired in a black suit and a patient smile.

Behind the inner circle were 30 persons, who are not so proficient in mysticisms as the inner circle. They were called the outer guard. Besides these there were 150 invited guests sitting on the benches. They were all theosophists.

Mr. Hargrove, at a sign from the veiled figure, arose and. delivered a disquisition upon marriage in general and this union in particular.

“Ceremonies in these days,” he said, “are generally used as shows to draw the multitude and create sensation. Bat this ceremony will have quite another purpose. Let us free our minds once more and face the fact that a ceremony, if carried out scientifically, has a power and a meaning. ”

He then briefly related the trials and tribulations of the young couple and how the opposition to the match was overcome. He asked that everybody should wish to the pair happiness and prosperity.

Mrs. Alice Cleather of London also delivered a long and philosophical treatise on the marriage relations. A fair theosophist who had just a little worldliness nudged her neighbor and remarked that “the bride must be awfully nervous.”

Mrs. Julia Campbell Ver Planck Keightley of London and Pennsylvania read the formal consent of the inner circle to the union, signed by the 14 members.

Music, soft, low and weird, stole out from an inner chamber. “The bride, the bride!” said the giddy theosophist sister, clasping her hands.

Miss Leonard, accompanied by a bridesmaid whose name must not be breathed, entered the room. She was a beautiful young woman. Her face was of classical outline and indicative of intellectual strength as well as of gentle, womanly qualities. She and the bridesmaid were dressed in simple Greek robes of nun’s veiling bound at the waist with cords of white silk.

They were followed by a child 4 years old. Miss Genevieve Mercedes Gwendolyn Kluge of Newark, who, besides her name, carried a basket of white lotus flowers. She is a full fledged member of the Theosophical society. She was clad in a Grecian robe which covered her feet and trailed along the floor.

E. August Neresheimer, a member of the inner council, stepped down from the platform and received the bride. Mr. Wright clutched nervously at his lavender tie and in doing so revealed on his finger a solid gold ring engraved with mystical inscriptions. The bride wore a diamond ring.

The Great Unknown arose. Mr. Wright and Miss Leonard approached each other, touched hands in a kind of an afternoon tea handshake and separated. The child stepped upon the platform, at the risk of stumbling in her long dress and hurting her delicate nose, and proffered the basket of lotus flowers to the Unknown. He took therefrom a papyrus scroll, which was a pledge signed by the contracting parties. He handed it to Mrs. Keightly, who read it to the assemblage. This is what she read:

We pledge ourselves, in renewal of the promise given ages ago, loyally to continue together in the work of the lodge, and since the link and union about to be recognized by the whole world is effected for the doubling of our individual efforts, we pledge ourselves before all henceforth and forever to sink all personal ambitions, bending all our energies to the uplifting of humanity and abiding together in unity and confidence to the end of time.

The adept, with the facility of a magician, took from the basket a ring, supposed to possess occult properties, and put it on the third finger of Miss Leonard’s left hand. He then joined the left hands of the bride and bridegroom. He spoke not a word. The inner circle, the outer guard and the commoners arose to their feet and repeated a mystical Sanskrit word fifteen times in blocks of five.

“Then the Unknown projected his mind and,’’ to quote the words of one who saw it all, “performed a silent ceremony, and by the power of his will strengthened the bond between the two souls upon a spiritual plane.”

Then the band played. It was a string band, consisting of a ’cello and four violins.

The guests came up two by two and shook hands with Mr. and Mrs. Wright, and Dr. Archibald Keightly of London burned some very bad incense on the altar.

The bride, bridegroom and one or two witnesses then went to another room, where Alderman Robinson, who was not veiled, threw away his cigar and performed a civil marriage in a bass voice.—New York Herald.

From Rockland County Messenger, NY, Number 2, 14 May 1896, pg 2.

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Waited Centuries, Rockland County Messenger, NY, Number 2, 14 May 1896, pg 2.pdf


“Waited Centuries,” John L. Crow's Akashic Archive, accessed September 18, 2019, http://archive.johnlcrow.com/items/show/84.


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