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The Early Lodge
The White Eagle Lodge came into being on 22 February 1936, when its first premises were dedicated in Kensington, London. A small centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, was also established. Prior to this, Grace Cooke, White Eagles medium, was a well-known speaker on the Spiritualist platform and, indeed, one of the finest mediums of her day. Activities such as healing retreats had been carried on at a centre in the country, Burstow Manor.
The complex story of the founding of the Lodge includes a remarkable series of messages believed to be from the writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and a group in Paris, the Fraternité des Polaires.
The combination of the quality of White Eagles teaching and the new understanding of the life beyond that came from the Conan Doyle source meant that a level of teaching was being offered at the Lodge which was unrivalled elsewhere. In particular, White Eagle directed his medium to train people in making the spiritual connection for themselves (for instance in meditation).
The first White Eagle book appeared in 1937; it was called 'Illumination.' In September 1940 the London premises were bombed and the Lodge reopened in its present London premises the following March, the work being carried on from Edinburgh in the mean time. In 1945 the location for a new country centre was found and it opened in September that year; this is New Lands, the headquarters of the Lodge to this day and the location of the first temple. It is set not far from the South Downs, close to a village called Liss in Hampshire.
The 1950s and 1960s saw the consolidation of the work, with its focus shifting somewhat from London to the country. During this time the first Lodges outside the UK were founded, although there were little groups of White Eagles followers meeting in various countries from an early stage. A Daughter Lodge was founded in New Jersey, USA, as early as 1947; Australia waited until 1969, and the first European Lodge outside the UK was at Den Haag, Netherlands, from 1965. Other UK Daughter Lodges were also founded during this time: Glasgow (1942), Bournemouth (1952), Plymouth (1954), Worthing (1959), Ascot (1961), and Reading (1962).
White Eagle had hinted as early as 1930 that one day a Temple, a place of special peace and quiet, would be opened in the country; a prophecy long forgotten when, in 1967, he gave precise instructions that such a building should be created at New Lands. After a long period of fundraising (virtually all the funding came in small donations from members and supporters) the Temple was finally opened on 9 June 1974. Since then a Triangle of temples has been established, with the second one being at the Lodge's Australasian Centre at Maleny in Queensland (opened 2 September 1990), and the third shortly after at the Center for the Americas, near Montgomery, Texas (25 October 1992).
Minesta is the name which White Eagle gave his medium, Grace Cooke, and by which she was and is affectionately known by friends of the Lodge throughout the world. Her public career lasted fully forty years from the opening of the Lodge, as well as the twenty or so years of work in spiritualist churches beforehand. She died in 1979 and her husband Ivan died in 1981; both of them are still very active in encouraging the work from the spirit. After Grace Cookes passing, the role of Mother of the Lodge passed jointly to her daughters Joan Hodgson and Ylana Hayward. Joan passed on in October 1995.
Spiritual healing has been a feature of the work from the very beginning. Much of the delineation of the colours used in healing comes from White Eagle's own teaching, systematised by Grace Cookes husband and co-founder of the Lodge, Ivan Cooke. Further work to develop the healing side of the Lodge was done by Grace Cookes daughter Joan Hodgson.
Joan Hodgson is also responsible for the creation of a school of astrology within the Lodge, the basis of it being her book 'Wisdom in the Stars,' first published in 1943 and still in print today. She developed courses in astrology in the 1940s. The White Eagle School of astrology was actually constituted much later; its current Principal is Simon Bentley.
The practice of meditation, like spiritual healing, goes back to the early days of the Lodge, but was included as part of courses in spiritual unfoldment generally. Grace Cooke learnt meditation not only directly from White Eagle but also from an Indian master of the subject, who was able to be more specific about meditation practice. Her wisdom on meditation from these two sources is central to her own book on the subject, called simply 'Meditation' and first published in 1955. A third edition was published in 1999.
The little book 'The Quiet Mind,' which has sold close to half a million copies, is a symbol of the onward progress of the work; also indicative of its growth is the fact that the White Eagle teaching has been translated widely and is published in fourteen languages besides English. New Daughter Lodges have been established in Europe in the last few years, where growth of the work is particularly evident: in Bern, Gotheburg, Munich, Copenhagen, and The Hague (reopened). In the Americas, there are now four Daughter Lodges, and in Australasia three ; there is a Center in South Africa. The Temples in Australia and in the United States now have purpose-built retreat centres attached to them, and new retreat homes are open or under construction in Sweden and Denmark.
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