KH, Koot Hoomi and Katinka Hesselink

Yes, that’s tongue in cheek headline.

For those not ‘in the know’, Koot Hoomi was one of Blavatsky’s Masters. With his friend Morya he wrote a lot of letters that form some of the earliest theosophical literature. The Masters, or Mahatmas as they are often called, often abbreviated their names. This has become something of a theosophical pattern. So we are as likely to write HPB as H.P. Blavatsky, HSO for Henry Steel Olcott, WQJ for William Quan Judge, K.H. For Koot Hoomi and M. for Moria. The pattern continues in later theosophists: J.K. (or just K) for Jiddu Krishnamurti, A.B. for Annie Besant, G. de P for Gottfried de Purucker and A.A.B. for Alice (Ann) Bailey.

This matter of using abbreviations was taken quite seriously, but of course it only applies to the really serious theosophists. HPB even wrote in her copy of her ‘The Voice of the Silence’ “From HPB to H.P. Blavatsky, with no kind regards”. As I said in my overview of theosophical abbreviations, “This is usually interpreted to mean that the inner HPB – the higher self – didn’t appreciate the troubles her personality – H.P.Blavatsky – got herself into.”

Using the abbreviations for a name is seen as a sort of impersonal way of referring to a person. It’s a sign of respect for their inner wisdom. I’m not sure it works quite like that in practice, but that’s the sense one gets. Perhaps its comparable to people getting a new name when they’re initiated into a monastery for instance. Except that with Theosophists the practice seems to have stopped. Nobody refers to Radha Burnier, the current TS president, as RB for instance.

Fortunately or unfortunately – depending on how you look at it – my parents unknowingly gave me a VERY theosophically sound name, when it comes to the abbreviation. They named me Katinka Hesselink and did not give me a second name to enable me to dodge the bullet.

Online this manifests mainly as an editorial problem. When I put a note in a text I put online that someone else has written, I can’t just close it with ‘K.H.’, because to theosophists that would suggest that Koot Hoomi himself had written it. I usually resort to just using my first name, it’s unique enough after all.

On theosophical forums, and in private references, people do sometimes call me KH. I’m always a bit embarrassed and try to discourage the practice. Still, it’s obviously something of an honor to have such an illustrious abbreviation to my name 🙂

I have used KH7 as a screen name in some online venues but I think it goes too far outside the theosophical pattern to expect people to start using that when referring to me.

What do you all think: should I be shy about this abbreviation business, or wear it proudly like some divine acknowledgment that I’m bound to be of importance to the Theosophical Movement?

13 thoughts on “KH, Koot Hoomi and Katinka Hesselink”

  1. Half the reason (besides as a joke) I called you ‘KH-ji’ once was because you used the nickname ‘kh7’… I do not recall if you ever did for anything Theosophy-related, but I thought other Theosophists might know if you did. I have little answer to your question except ‘do whatever you like,’ but probably do not go by ‘KH’ in Theosophical circles–however you prefer to respond when people call you ‘KH’ publicly there.

  2. If you were thinking of ‘[wearing] it proudly like some divine acknowledgment’ you could go by ‘Ms./Miss KH,’ though the first or both could be about as confusing.

  3. Judge used Jasper Niemand…
    There is a funny surname in Holland: Vanhetzelfde (Likewise),
    I feel K.H. suits you Katinka, especially because Morya made some remarks in the Mahatma Letters to A.P.Sinnett about K.H. becoming to feminine 🙂

    1. Jasper Niemand was the pen-name of Julia Keightley. I don’t recall that comment on KH in the MLs. Katherine Hilliard, who wrote a good deal for “The Path,” Theosophical Quarterly also, I think, and did an abridgement of the SD, sometimes used “KH” in signing articles.

  4. 🙂 thanks all. Miss KH sounds too ‘missy’ to me, actually. Even though I am not a Mrs.

    Jasper Niemand was a Dutch student of Judge, wasn’t she? She wrote down Judges teachings, but was a separate person as I recall. Niemand means ‘nobody’ BTW -for the none-Dutch here.

    I guess I’ll just have to go on struggling with this then. I’m too much the (math) tutor to want to confuse anybody by using KH seriously.

  5. Yep, i understand…i also have a pretty wierd name too…i sign Estrella, ’cause that is what my real name means: Shooting Star”
    Kinda i like it more that way…i know the feeling to getting around life with a pretty weird name, you like it, but in my country was not that appreciated (not even in late 70-s-early 80-s, a bit hippie times still here )

    Still, anyway, Cheers…for us bearers of the wierd name… I think anything goes for a reason, don’t you?
    Even the name tag….

  6. I like Miss KH.
    The “Miss” adds to it a respect duly accorded to women.I use it all the time with women with whom I am not too familiar. When I was managing fast food I had a bunch of teenage employers who were constantly at each other’s throats. There was a complete turnaround in attitude when I required that they address each other as Miss So and So and Mr. This and That.
    As to the KH. I rarely use my full name. When I was managing restaurants I would sign invoices and such with a abbreviated version of my first name and my middle initial. I did it so often that I became known as…Al V.
    Our parents give us names. Sometimes we know why they chose what they did, sometimes we don’t. I love the name Katinka, but we all have a right to call ourselves whatever we like, and to ask others to call us that.
    The name “Estrella” is also beautiful, and while uncommon, heard and not considered “weird” in the American Southwest where I live. Also heard is Estrellita.

  7. Let your heart guide you. It could feel strange at first to “start” using a “new” name. But if you like it, or if it feels right, then use it for a while and see if it fits. I like Katinka as well … or ” K:) ” . Why do we have to limit ourselves to letters or even numerals?


  8. I would wear it proudly. You have the name for a reason and it’s a meaningful reason. Take a look at the link to this new movie on the subject of religion and spirituality. These people have changed their birth names to have names that are more in sync with their lives and their purpose here in earth. It’s called the Nature of Existence and I saw part of it at a film festival. (My daughter was with us and it was way past her bedtime.)
    I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the movie when it comes out this summer. What I saw was incredibly enlightening, although I did not like the way that he portrayed Christians, since they are not ALL that bad.

  9. Since you asked I thought I would look up your name.

    Katinka is a Russian girl name. The meaning of the name is `Blessed, Pure, Holy` Where is it used? The name Katinka is mainly used In Russian.It is an abbreviated form of Katherine, used In English.How do they say it elsewhere? Katerina ( In Czech) See also In Russian and In Bulgarian: Ekaterina (F) In Russian: Jekaterina In Russian: Katya The name Ka

    I personally liked your name before I even looked it up but since one of it’s meanings is Blessed, Pure and Holy, you should stick with it. Besides it carries your life’s vibration with it.

  10. KH are YOUR initials not just Koot Humi’s.
    When you have grown into them, then you will feel comfortable using them.
    Besides then, you will likely have synchronized your vibration more with the original KH.

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