Second Cancer Decanate: Thomas Docking

From The First Eighteen Decanates Analyzed:

CANCER—2nd Decanate. HYDRA—the water serpent —commences as the middle decan of Cancer and extends through the sky all the distance from this home constellation to Scorpio, the constellation of death. Representing the Scorpio, or sex, decanate of the domestic sign, those born under it possess much resource and energy, as well as being strongly emotional. The serpent is the symbol of creative energy and the water in which it dwells is the symbol of the strong emotions displayed by these people. So the traditional struggle of Hercules with this monster is not without significance, for it represents the struggle with sensual desires, as well as a struggle to overcome the limitations imposed by death.

Thus we find that those born here have a natural aptitude for communion with those who have passed to the spirit side of life. And if they do not fall into the destructive forms of mediumship, but instead retain at all times full control of their bodies and minds, they are led, impressed, and guided from the spirit side of life in all their worthy undertakings.

W. T. Stead, who established the bureau for spirit communication and did so much for the spread of spiritualism, was born with his Individuality here. Dr. Luke D. Broughton, author of the well known Elements of Astrology, had his Mentality in this decanate. And Sarah M. Grimke, the fine seeress, and author of Esoteric Lessons, who contributed valuable work in behalf of spiritual enlightenment, had her Personality in this section of the sky. It is the decanate of REVELATION.

From Letters to the Sage, Volume One:

Thomas Docking

            Thomas Docking was born on July 12, 1826 in Brigg, Lincolnshire, England. The son of a miller, he spent his own youth in mills and by fourteen was already in charge of a flour windmill. Lacking a formal education, Docking used his own earnings to purchase books, and taught himself enough that, at age eighteen, he was able to obtain a job as a surgeon for immigrants in Australia, where he was introduced to homeopathic medicine by an English captain. In 1860, Docking returned to Britain with his wife and daughter and, he would later assert, formally studied medicine in England and Scotland while continuing to research the science of homeopathy and joining the Swedenborgian Church.

            Information about Docking’s life in America is sparse and sometimes conflicting. In 1900, Docking would claim that he had come to California in the early 1870s to investigate spiritualism[1] and that he studied it closely for ten years, after which he determined he could not agree with the spiritualists about the source of their phenomena. However, a September 1874 Sacramento newspaper article indicates Docking had arrived in California “a few months ago from Australia,” and afterwards moved into his brother’s Sacramento home, where he quickly irritated both his brother and several local residents who accused him of various malicious acts.[2] That same month, in San Francisco Docking was charged with mail fraud, though he was soon acquitted due to lack of evidence. Docking apparently had returned to San Francisco by the end of the year, as it was there where, in December, Randolph formed the San Francisco lodge of his Triplicate Order, and Docking was made its “Supreme Grand Templar.”[3] After spending several years joining and founding various homeopathic organizations and fraternal orders, in August 1886,[4] Docking became a member of the Theosophical Society, joining the Golden Gate lodge, and in the following year he established the Point Loma lodge, which he led for several years. Docking died on September 1, 1902.

            As discussed in the introduction to this volume, Docking’s letters help further establish that Johnson was increasingly hearing about Rosicrucians and Randolph prior to his exposure to the H. B. of L. in 1884.


March 21, 1883

Dear Sir

            Yours of 14th inst came duly to hand yesterday and herewith I beg to acknowledge receipt of enclosed Green back again like a bad going [coin?] wh [with?] it having realized no Play to in return permit me to acknowledge in appropriate language, how beautifully you have done this with all & how keenly I feel it. Perhaps you will permit me to ask for information as to the best english translations of Plato & specially such as will leed me to Pythagoras I wd like to see the latters system of numerals. Do you belong to the Rosy +

With kind regards. Believe me as ever

                                    Sincerely yours

                                    T. Docking

Do you know of no other journal of the same kind in English published T.D.

821 Washington St.

Oakland Cal

December 6, 1883

Dear Sir

            I have enclosed the ½ of a Postal note for $4.00/100 being payment for 2 subscriptions for the “Platonist” 1 for self & 1 for W.E. Dargie Oakland he is Post master here & one of the Proprietors of the Daily & Weekly Tribune, he has been from home but returned a day or so ago I saw him in person & he promised to publish the card you sent & paid me 2.00/100 I lent him my Vol 1 complete & I have not been able to get it returned & as far as you can, I shall be pleased if you will make this good I will mail the other ½ note on receipt of acknowledgement or 1 No of the Platonist. Have you heard anything more of the Rosicrucian’s in Boston or elsewhere?

            Yours truly

            T. Docking

[1] Docking’s 1900 census report has his him immigrating in 1872; in a brief biographical entry (probably written by him) published in 1900 it notes 1860 as the year of his immigration, but this appears to have been an error as other evidence in the biography suggests that he was still in Britain up until at least 1868; see An Illustrated History of Southern California: Embracing the Counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange, and the Peninsula of Lower California, from the Earliest Period of Occupancy to the Present Time; Together with Glimpses of Their Prospects; also, Full-Page Portraits of Some of Their Eminent Men, and Biographical Mention of Many of Their Pioneers and of Prominent Citizens of To-Day (n.p.: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1890), 275.

[2] “Doctor Docking Again,” Sacramento Daily Union, September 26, 1874, 8.

[3] Deveney, PBR, 233-34.

[4] Thomas Docking, member of the Golden Gate TS lodge, entered on August 22, 1886, Theosophical Society General Register Vol. I,