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The White Eagle Lodge


The White Eagle Lodge

Neo-Colonial Missionaries, Rebranding British Imperialism, and the

Globalization of White Ownership of Religious Thought



     I was ensconced in the tragic light of an Amazon webpage when it appeared. As if from everywhere, light spilled forth from the screen. Enveloped as I was, I made out the bright blue of the book’s cover with stark, white lettering proudly stating, “The Quiet Mind, Sayings of White Eagle”. I was intrigued. I had spent the night learning about the possibilities of non-binary, queer spirituality and was sufficiently hopped up on hope and inspiration that I bought the little $3.50 book that purported itself to be from “White Eagle” on a whim. I assumed that the author was a Native American spiritualist [1]; I expected to receive a book of phrases similar to other books by spiritual teachers.

     Instead, I received one of the strangest books that I’ve ever run into. On a surface level, The Quiet Mind is a simple book primarily composed of short, paragraph-long guidance statements meant to help the reader better make sense of their world and its many confusing elements. Within the text of the book lie insidious words that seek to harm certain individuals and raise others up. The Quiet Mind is a racist, classist, and colonialist text that provides a model for White people to claim ownership over indigenous spiritualities, maintain the neo-colonialist structures present across much of the Global South, and to extract capital from supporters in the Global North. The White Eagle Lodge is an international organization that has been present since 1936 and has morphed over time as the world has changed.


  1. Historical Analysis

     Before we can talk about the White Eagle Lodge, we must first describe its formation. The Lodge does its best to obscure its origin; however, there is a surprisingly robust history available on Wikipedia [2]. In the 1870s, a Russian, Aristocratic woman living in Britain named Helena Blavatsky claimed that she had been taught great wisdom from a group of mystical Tibetan yogis [3] she had met while traveling to the Himalayas. She called these yogis, “Mahatmas”, and preceded to proselytize her beliefs via the formation of the Theosophical Society.               Adherents believed that the eternal soul of each human moved through a hierarchy of initiations [4] that once understood/accomplished, bring the individual soul closer to becoming an ascended master [5]. The Mahatmas were supposedly spiritual masters [6], leaving the ascended master status to be applied primarily to spiritual historical figures like “Master Jesus”, St. Germain, and Buddha [7] (Wikipedia 2021). These masters are described as perfect beings part of a Great White Brotherhood that spreads ideas through select humans (Wikipedia 2020). There is a notable omission of the Prophet Muhammed within this group.

     Around 1934-36, the Theosophical society experienced a schism. Helena had died in 1891, leaving the society coasting on old ideas. Two sects broke off, one carried the torch of Helena (with some twists) while the other is our subject today, the White Eagle Lodge.

     The Lodge still uses the Theosophical Seal as iconography on their website and book covers, though they have no reference to the society or their own history within their website. Their section on history illuminates their connection to Theosophy, however. “The White Eagle Lodge commenced its work in 1936 and became a charity within the UK in 1953. White Eagle gave teaching until 1976 through the mediumship of Grace Cooke” ( Thus, using Theosophy to decode this section, we learn that White Eagle is an ascended master who is speaking through Grace Cooke, a British woman, to help humanity. But who is White Eagle really? And who is Grace Cooke? [8].

     White Eagle is in fact a half-Algonquin, half-Arapaho man who claims to be a “PohTikaWah”, or “Spirit Walker” ( He has written multiple books on spiritual healing and “is not a publishing trust or a woman” according to his website. White Eagle is also a historical Ponca Chief who lived during the late 1800s (Brown).

     According to the Lodge, White Eagle is “an illumined group of wise teachers known as the Star Brotherhood [9]. Their ‘ashram’ at the inner etheric level is in the Himalayas” (White Eagle Publishing Trust, 6). Using an altered version of Helena’s story of spiritual truth in the Himalayas, the basis of the Lodge is historically obscured. The Lodge also uses occasional imagery of a Native American man in a white headdress (‘Shining Star’). There is a clear connection being made between the Lodge and indigenous peoples of North America via the iconography and the societal perception of the name/image. The Lodge is intentionally multicultural and internationally minded, obscuring their rebranding of missionary-style imperialism in the neo-colonial world as a fresh view of humankind’s relationship to the divine, weaving many cultures into a blended soup of supposedly perfect truths.

     In recent years, the Lodge has further diversified their beliefs in coincidence with the relatively large boom of self-styled spiritual gurus and new age cults present in many colonizing nations today. Their Theosophical ideas about eternal souls and a hierarchy of souls blended nicely with modern beliefs about aliens and extraterrestrial visits trying to raise humanity to their level of consciousness. Ergo, the Lodge’s website is your typical spirit-based blog, filled to the brim with horoscopes, inspirational quotes, galaxy-brain imagery, and even some legitimate spiritual discourse (albeit surrounding only the beliefs of the Lodge). They have locations on every continent except South America and Antarctica, with most lodges being present in Europe. They also claim to have published their books in numerous languages [10] ( [11]

2. Literature Analysis

      I could effectively write forever about the history of the White Eagle Lodge, but what do they say? What are the implications of their teachings and who materially benefits from them? The Quiet Mind is one of the Lodge’s best-selling titles and is printed in Sri Lanka with cheap materials to cut costs. At first, this may seem like a good thing. A cheaper book means that it is more accessible, right? However, it is the Global North’s exploitation of the Global South that makes this unequal exchange possible. [12] It is this unequal exchange that is at the heart of The Quiet Mind. An unspoken binary is developed that privileges one group over the other. Who benefits from a “quiet mind”? Perhaps White Eagle can enlighten us with their description of the law, “The Law is Just, Perfect and True. You do not need to attempt to stand up for your ‘rights’. Realize that God adjusts things with exact law, and peace will return to your heart. Don’t get fussed when things are difficult—--be still” (79).

     This passage is the one crack in the façade, the one scale pulled off the dragon that let’s us see its faded ochre offal underneath. This text speaks to two people: the dominant-hegemony and the subaltern simultaneously (Parker 236, 237). Let’s look at the derogatory use of the quotes around the word “‘rights’”. This use of quotes devalues the humanity of those reading, suggesting that they shouldn’t have rights at all. According to the Lodge, God has everything figured out: you needn’t do anything. Wait… Did you hear that? Do I hear some false consciousness rummaging around? (Parker 247).

     Most of the passages of the book read similarly, but in some other less extreme facet of life than law. About half of the guidance statements tell you to calm your mind, wait, experience the light of God, and everything will be fine. It is the most intensely privileged, uneducated, and dangerous rhetoric that seeks to complete three objectives. One, to spiritually colonize those within Colonized countries to stifle revolt, ensuring the continued production of capital and acquisition-based resource growth within Colonizing countries. Two, to create apathy in subaltern populations minoritized within Colonizing countries, preventing civil unrest. Three, to obfuscate the intentional withholding of human rights by the dominant-hegemony [13], ensuring that they continue to support the status quo they materially benefit from. This makes the Lodge the modern day equivalent of a British Imperialist missionary group, albeit with more varied work within their home-nation.

     These neo-colonialist missionary groups continue the work of infamous men like William Ellis, who stated that the goal of missionary work was to, “remake...the ‘ancient native state’ into a modern European one” (Werner, 71). This is accomplished via a number of means, but first is to devalue the culture, religion, and experiences had within indigeneity. The most important step is to make a person feel as though they do not deserve the same privileges (and ultimately rights) as a white, cis-, heteronormative European man. The indigenous person is told to discipline themselves in order to achieve a state of “betterness”, of bliss. “Assert command over body and mind” (62). They are told that their beliefs are not sufficient and that a higher power, almost always God or Jesus [14], is the objective truth from which they must see. “See them [your problems] from the highest point, from the plane of spirit…” (62, 63). This statement devalues people’s emotions, telling them that they may not weep about their problems. They are told instead that you should “think only of godly things”, which ignores the material reality of their world (63). Finally, they are given an ultimatum of accepting God or being condemned eternally. They are told to accept and love the yoke of suffering. “…thank God for the trials and heartaches, which are disciplining your soul until it becomes able to comprehend and absorb the beauty of the heavenly life” (85). Those that are spiritually colonized are the most difficult to decolonize due to the deep beliefs constructed by years of repeated, insidious rhetoric. The spiritually colonized essentially relegate themselves to a liminal space between reality and an imagined transcendent, spiritual plane; awaiting judgement with a quiet mind.


3. Critical Analysis 

     According to Claire Louise McLisky, the implications of Christian missionary work in a critical historical context has not been properly accomplished yet (458). We have failed to deconstruct the complicated interconnections present within the many variations of missionary work across time and regionality. The White Eagle Lodge is a primary example of a missionary group that exists both as and beyond this definition; it has gone unnoticed by academics or spiritual thinkers due to its niche beliefs and obscure history. This suggests that the arm of spiritual colonization within the larger colonizing machine is now being primarily run by individuals, not systemic institutions. The Catholic Church represents an obvious counterpoint to this, as its missionary efforts are some of the largest in the world. However, the number of proverbial small businesses that promote spiritual salvation floods the market with the same product [15] as the larger Church. They both serve the same function; to initiate a gradual devaluation of indigeneity, or Paganism, in colonized peoples and to maintain belief in the status quo for colonizers.

      One source of McLisky’s describes this constructed binary well, demonstrating the physical play of these ideas. The Igbo people of current-day Nigeria first gave missionaries areas they called “‘Evil Forests’”, as they believed them to be unable to be destroyed without spiritual repercussions. When the missionaries leveled the forests and placed churches and schools, the Igbo people were more likely to relinquish to the missionary agenda. They were surprised by the lack of consequences that the missionaries experienced; this begins not only the slow walk away from indigeneity/Paganism, but also the establishment of a constructed superiority to the white missionaries’ God (459, 460).

     In the Lodge and in the Theosophical society, the recitation of the word “white” along with ideas of good, or white magic, reinforce the binary of white/black and good/evil. This racist depiction of race relations and magic maintains white people as a superior race via this continued repetition, adding yet more devaluation of indigenous cultures, including the internal indigeneity intrinsic in European individuals. Europeans were colonized by Rome before they colonized others.   

     I have hinted that these binaries of nature and civilization, reality and spirit, or Paganism and Christendom are constructed. They are. A forest is no more civilized than a city street, one is built by the trees and the other by human hands. How can we define our world spiritually while assuming that there is a world beyond containing spirit, waiting to be entered upon death? My position is that of many Native American tribes, who tend [16] to believe that spirit is invested within the self, within the body. Thus, spirit is present in our bodily form and in everything. This is a belief that is disruptive to the status quo. If our spirit is here on Earth, intrinsically invested in a soul/body that will die, then we not only have internal agency, but we are actively engaging with our material existence; this is the true “mystery” that so many spiritual gurus/followers alike flock to.

     The concept is essential for understanding how spiritual colonization interacts with false consciousness. Within the context of White Eagle’s teachings [17], spirit and flesh are not linked. We are called on by spirits to aid us, but we are not worthy spirits ourselves. The Lodge tells you that your soul is wretched and must be cleansed by light, blinding light. Some religion junkies might hear this and say, “That’s the goal! Our purpose is to join with the light of the creator”.


4. Beyond Analysis: The Indigenization and Re-Spiritualization of Kabbalah

   and its Shackling to White European Hegemony


     Full disclosure, I’m a Jew, polytheist, polyreligious, and atheist. (SPIRITUALITY) Many of the ideas found within the Lodge’s sayings stem directly from spiritual discourse had in The Zohar, a twenty-two volume dialogue concerning the Tanakh [18]. The concept of the “ascended master” stems from the concept of the Tzaddikim, a pillar of ancestry for Jews that is meditated upon like one might a saint. The Tzaddikim are a quintessentially Jewish tradition that all can tap into. We all have the ability to become Tzaddikim through our present action, allowing others to now walk our path. The concept is also present in Buddhism via the Bodhisattva, a human who has reached enlightenment, but chooses to forgo leaving Samsara [19] in order to help others to reach the same state of knowledge. The concept reappears in Sufism as a Wali, or prophet/friend. In these systems of spirituality, helpers may be meditated on or called on in need. They are not magical beings that can talk to us.

     The formation of the universe in Judaism defines everything else. It is such an important concept in modern culture that I am defining it in English, as we do not have good words for this thing, even from the modern translations of Genesis. At the beginning of time, there was nothing. The creator first made light; and seeing that there was nowhere to put the light, he made a vessel. The vessel was fragile, and when the light was placed within the vessel, it shattered. Thus was Tzimtzum, the moment of contraction when the world was made (Berg 26, 27).

     We can glean three things from this limited telling of the Jewish creation myth. One, the creator is separate from light or vessel and is seemingly present and absent in world, vessel, and light. Ergo, the light is not the creator. The creator can be defined as Kabbalah’s construction of the Shechinah, a force present in all things [20]. Two, pain and suffering are intrinsic to the world; we and the world will always be as shards of glass. Three, the vessel cannot hold the light properly.

     The goal of spiritual life in almost every religion after the formation of this idea is to reunify with the light by mending the vessel. To become whole. To unify the man-woman dichotomy. To transcend binaries momentarily. This is the promise of organized religion, a promise that you are loved because you can unify yourself. It's not a bad idea, at first.

     What happens if somebody disregards their vessel? What happens when they become obsessed with the light alone? This is the fate of most religious seekers: they fail to see that their voyage is over. People don’t realize that spirituality is extremely boring. The language is constantly changed to ensure theological function, but organized religions (and most cults) are all espousing the same thing. They’re selling you light. They’re selling you bright flashy bulbs that blind your eyes so that you can’t see history. They install these bulbs, once you're blind, and you see with them. When you speak, a torrent of Ultraviolet Radiation spills from your orifices. You smile unnaturally and espouse that none should die while smiling at the death of those you do not see as yourself. Light is like wine. The apple of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, was not so. The apple, was grapes. This is suppressed knowledge of Kabbalah that threatens to rip apart our societal understanding of sin. The apple is nonsensical, it has no meaning. Eve is punished for eating from a tree. But the grapes… The grapes are wine; they represent (and have represented) a lack of moderation (Berg 99, 100). All spiritualism must be read intrinsically in relation to anthropocentric perception, meaning that most spiritualism is metaphor.

     Back to the Lodge. There is an obsession with light in the White Eagle Lodge. “…the full glory of the Sun, the Almighty One…seek the presence of the Golden One…Love is Light, and Light is Life…“(16, 18, 19). This obsession with light demonstrates the twisting of these Jewish concepts, as it completely disregards the human experience in favor of a directly divine one. Kabbalah tells us that spiritual insight is concealed, suggesting that we must observe and work to understand our world through consistent critique, reflection, and meditation (mixed with a healthy dose of trust [21]). The Lodge only has the trust, having to explain patience and the virtue of waiting through direct speech rather than the far more complex variety of suggestions promoted by Kabbalah listed above. This strips the meaning from waiting and promotes apathy rather than engagement in the spiritual world [22].

     So how do they get away with it? Why do people buy into this when there are better systems present? In the case of colonized peoples, they are not often permitted much choice in the matter; however, colonizers are fooled by a glossy coat of Indigenous Over-Mystification and aliens, assuming it to be completely new. The cultural appropriation of indigenous culture for white spiritualities is ongoing currently and there are ever-growing numbers of white people drawn to these white cults focused on an indigenous experience relayed through white voices, which is literally what the White Eagle Lodge is.


5. Conclusion

     Unfortunately, religious groups are some of the most difficult to pass judgement on. They often act as communities that can be supportive and positive, even when the teachings may be sour. I’ve never been to a White Eagle Lodge, and it might be a great experience. I don’t know. However, this essay is not to “cancel” the Lodge but rather to bring attention to the ways in which white people are re-enacting colonialism and imperialism through missionary work, proselytization, and the export of spiritual texts to the Global South that devalue the indigenous experience. I tend to like to end my essays with a call to praxis, something to do. But, there’s nothing here. These people will have their harmful beliefs. They’ll export them, harm people, and ultimately die. The Lodge will likely fizzle out of existence within the next 100 years and yet more missionary groups will appear. So, let’s stop it. If we’re going to stop these light-filled drunkards running the world [23], we have to go back to the old covenant. We must mend our vessels, meditate on the world, and talk back to it. There is a reason that The Zohar is a series of dialogues. We must speak to God as equitable equal, not as submissive servant. We must fight for our ‘rights’ in reality because this is OUR spiritual world. With spirit, our praxis is always gravely internal. So quiet your mind for a bit, then snap out of it and look around, really see. You’ll notice shadow and light, let both bring you joy.   



Works Cited

     Berg, Rav P. S. The Essential Zohar: The Source of Kabbalistic Wisdom. Bell Tower, 2002.

     Brown, Thomas. “In Pursuit of Justice: The Ponca Indians in Indian Territory”. Edited by Smith, Robert E. in Oklahoma’s Forgotten Indians. Oklahoma Historical Society, 1971.

     McLisky, Claire Louise. “Introduction to Colonial Christian Missions: Social and Cultural Impacts and Ongoing Legacies”. Journal of Social History, vol. 50(3), pp. 457-465. Oxford University Press, 2017.  

     Parker, Robert Dale. How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies. 4th ed., Oxford University Press, 2020. 

     Shining Star. “Know the laws of God and co operate with them! [sic]”. Shining Star, 2013.

     Werner, Winter Jade. “William Ellis, John Williams, and the Role of History in Missionary Nation-Making”. Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, vol. 46(1), 2013.

     White Eagle. A Spiritwalker. “An introduction”. Accessed 5/14/2021.

     White Eagle Lodge. Website Homepage. White Eagle Lodge, 2021. 

     White Eagle Publishing Trust. The Quiet Mind: Sayings of White Eagle. The White Eagle Publishing Trust, 1972.

     Wikipedia. “Ascended master”. Wikipedia, 05/14/2021.

     Wikipedia. “Great White Brotherhood”. Wikipedia, 12/25/2020.  



[1] I was both extremely wrong and extremely correct in this assumption.

[2] To my knowledge there has been no discourse surrounding the history, cultural implications, or philosophy of the White Eagle Lodge by any academic or historian to date.

[3] Yes, we’re already this far off the deep end.

[4] We might call these past lives or reincarnations.

[5] Who can rather arbitrarily exist in the sixth dimension (and below).

[6] One dimension below the ascended masters (i.e.: the fifth dimension).

[7] They also believe that these ascended masters can speak through certain gifted people (e.g.: St. Germain apparently spoke through Francis Bacon).

[8] Turns out Grace Cooke is rather unimportant to this story; nonetheless, she became a medium in 1913 and formed a church in Middlesex before founding the White Eagle Lodge.

[9] Effectively the same as the “Great White Brotherhood”.

[10] Which I personally don’t doubt.

[11] I also found an affiliated Youtube channel that has a few videos describing White Eagle’s teachings, as well as a beautifully titled video called, Ancient Wisdom from Venus. Not the Goddess, I might add, but the planet…

[12] This would be the same as Nike stating that they want to make their shoes accessible, which is why they use sweatshops to produce their goods.

[13] To the dominant-hegemony. They are attempting to prove this to themselves as humanitarian practices are not especially correlated with Imperialism.

[14] But sometimes aliens.

[15] Imagine walking into a supermarket, then a small “mom & pop” grocery store. Both have food you can buy and eat/prepare, but they do so with varying diversity, availability, tone, and efficiency.

[16] I do not speak for all indigenous people, obviously.

[17] And most Christian teachings as well.

[18] What Christians mistakenly refer to as the Old Testament, though that is actually only the Torah, not the entire Tanakh.

[19] The cycle of eternal life.

[20] A central oneness.

[21] Or a lack of doubt.

[22] Which is our real world.

[23] *Cough*, billionaires and multi-millionaires. *Cough*, intergenerational wealth.

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