Rediscovering Madame Blavatsky
Madame Blavatsky (1831-1891) is one of the few Victorians still read today, with warm admirers but also fierce critics. How can we find out about her? Three steps are suggested. To read what she wrote. To consider the verdicts of those who knew her well. To note the latest research about her. And what about the Theosophical Society of which she was a founder in New York in 1875?
The Powers Latent in Man.
The Third Object of the Theosophical Society, founded in 1875, is to investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man. How does that differ from the work of the Society for Psychical Research, founded in 1882, or the practice of magic , or of psychism? The history of Third Object work by Theosophists illustrates the distinctive Theosophical approach- and some pitfalls to be avoided.
From its foundation in 1875, the Theosophical Society has explored the inner (or esoteric) side of religion, including Christianity. How does that differ from the outer (or exoteric) religious teaching and practice? The esoteric Christian tradition will be discussed as expressed in some leading Theosophical teachers up to the present day.
Annie Besant’s Achievement
Although Annie Besant was a towering figure in her time, she has been gradually forgotten even by the causes she championed, including Theosophy. But a new biography, and an international conference devoted to her in 2017, has reminded us of her wide accomplishments, including her role in the development of Krishnamurti.
The Historical Path to Theosophy
Madame Blavatsky’s first “occult shot” ( a newspaper article in 1875 ) was followed by numerous contributions to a revised history of humanity, especially in her great work “The Secret Doctrine”. And as the first T.S. president Col. Olcott immediately realised, the Theosophical Society itself was of historical significance, far more than he first suspected.
The study of history is both inspiring, and disillusioning, and we can learn on the spiritual path from the successes and the failures of those who have gone before us.
Reincarnation- where are we now?
Theosophists were among the first modern exponents of reincarnation. Recently new evidence has been reported from hypnotic regression, and from children who apparently recall previous lives. How strong is this evidence, and what are the implications for Theosophical teachings?