PLNU's Secret Past

Not that they make a big secret of the fact that their campus used to belong to the Point Loma Theosophical Society, but it’d sound more mysterious if they did.
I’ve begun researching historical oddities of San Diego as source material for a novel. This is the first field trip I’ve taken along these lines.
The Theosophical Society was a predecessor to modern “New Agers”. They subscribed to a mish-mash of ancient Occidental and Oriental beliefs. In 1896 the Society purchased a parcel of land in Point Loma and set up a school…

…called the Raja Yoga School … for the primary grades, but was later expanded to reach graduate levels. Living quarters for 500 were constructed as well as “a refectory, bakery, stables, carpenter shop, smithy, machine shop, and facilities for the production of textiles and the tailoring of clothing.”

The Theosophists on Point Loma or “Lomaland” as it was often called, flourished until the late 1920s. With the death of Madame Tingley
[their leader] in 1929, and the fall of the stock market the same year, the Lomaland community began to decline.

Eventually, the property fell into the hands of Pasadena Collage for thier new operations.
I was surprised how open the Point Loma Nazarene University (a Catholic school) was about the origins of their campus. Theosophy being a competing belief system and all, but then again Theosophy is a failed (and slightly wacky) belief system…

Most of the campus is new. And most of the older building are just older buildings. With one exception; Mieras Hall.

Built in 1901 it is an octagon shaped building with a rotunda room in the center. Each of the eight walls contains three amethyst-colored windows and skylights at the base of the dome.

The Egg shaped window at the top and the odd spiral staircase on the outside that leads to the roof give me ideas for how this building might have been used for ritual purposes in a Theosophical attempt to commune with the Elder Gods.
Or maybe something more original…

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Comments: (11)

11 Comments »

  1. Dude, it’s by no means a Catholic institution.

    Comment by hober — October 5, 2004 @ 9:20 am

  2. You’re right. I don’t know where I got that impression from but I’ve had it a long time.
    It’s hard to keep track of all these forms of Christianity, all crosses look the same to me.

    Comment by tone_milazzo — October 5, 2004 @ 9:31 am

  3. haha

    Comment by animaetrix00 — October 5, 2004 @ 10:33 am

  4. I got your San Diego historical oddities right here, and unlike the Theo-losers, these fab freaks are still rockin’ the free world. Or at least Ramona, my old scratch patch.

    Comment by sewyrn — October 5, 2004 @ 1:15 pm

  5. Theosophy vs. Anthroposophy…which is what I was yakking your ear off about at Lestat’s on Monday. *sighs at herself* So s/Theo/Anthropo/g if you’d be so kind. 馃檪

    Wow! You’ve helped me crack a search I’ve been trying to run for approximately 3 years. (Never said I wasn’t persistent. O:-) In college I had a Jungian therapist who I did a lot of breakthrough and dream work with. She met with me out of the LA Gnostic Society’s offices which I think may have been co-located with the Theosophical Society because I distinctly recall a seal on the door. I was stymied because I have been making the above transformation mistakenly.

    Huh! -crooked grin-

    I’m going to bed now.

    Comment by aliteraryaffair — October 5, 2004 @ 7:10 pm

  6. Bam, here it is! Judith Richardson! I can’t believe it. I have been actively looking for her for 3 years but seeking her out since 1996.

    Thanks! 馃檪
    Linda

    Comment by aliteraryaffair — October 5, 2004 @ 7:14 pm

  7. There’s another UFO cult in SD that isn’t so open. They’re more of the “chase you off their property with a shotgun” variety.
    Forgot their name but I ain’t goin’ there.

    Comment by tone_milazzo — October 6, 2004 @ 6:00 am

  8. If you want an authoritative source on Theosophy and its modern offshoots, you couldn’t find a better source than my friend Harold:

    http://members.aol.com/amanitae/ces/bios/harold.html

    He’s an authority on the subject, as well as on ritual tattoos. I bet you he could tell you exactly how they rang up the Elder gods (heck, he’s still doing it).

    Lemme know if you want to chat him up, I’ll give him a jingle.

    Comment by modemx — October 6, 2004 @ 8:04 am

  9. The Unarians. I can tell you all that you want to know about the Unarians. They go through converts quicker than you can say “the twelve flying saucers of the interstellar welcoming committe shall come to earth to form the tower that shall form the universal power conduit that will make Earth part of the universal alliance.” 馃槈

    Comment by modemx — October 6, 2004 @ 8:08 am

  10. I used to love their public access tv program.

    Comment by tone_milazzo — October 6, 2004 @ 8:31 am

  11. I’ll keep him in mind.
    I’m mostly researching San Diego weirdness.

    Comment by tone_milazzo — October 6, 2004 @ 8:59 am

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