Index of Contents
Theosophical History: Vol. V, No. 1
|Witness for the Prosecution||John Patrick Deveney|
|The Eliade Guide to World Religion||Benjamin J. Hubbard|
|Colonel Olcott Meets the Brothers: An Unpublished Letter||Joscelyn Godwin|
|A Short Introduction to Julius Evola||H.T. Hansen|
|Veritas Mystica Maxima (Part III of the OTO)||Peter-Robert König|
|Annie Besant: A Biography (Ann Taylor)||Albert R. Vogeler|
Theosophical History: Vol. V, No. 2
As a follow up to the announcement made in the IV/8 issue regarding the publication of the fifteen unpublished Andover-Harvard letters from H.P. Blavatsky to William Quan Judge and two letters from Bertram Keightley to Judge in forthcoming issues of Theosophical History, I am happy to announce the appearance of the first letter (chronologically) in the series. Dated May 1, 1885 and mailed from Naples, this is the longest letter of the series revealing H.P.B.’s reactions to a number of personalities who were at Adyar shortly following the Coulomb affair and her subsequent resignation as Corresponding Secretary of the T.S. The letter is printed as it is written, without any corrections to the spelling or grammar. This and subsequent letters were transcribed from the microfilm of the letters supplied by the Andover-Harvard Divinity School Library, but due to the difficulty in deciphering some passages because of the ink bleeding through paper (the letters were written on both sides of the sheet), the letters were subsequently checked by Mr. Michael Gomes against the originals at the Andover-Harvard Divinity School Library. Any words that cannot be read with certainty are indicated in brackets. Page numbers are also given in the body of the text in brackets.
Mr. Gomes’ experience in transcribing letters of H.P.B. has been well-established over the last ten years, as is evidenced by “The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to Elliott Coues” appearing in The Canadian Theosophist (Sept.-Oct. 1984–Jan.-Feb. 1986), “H.P. Blavatsky’s Annotations in Madame Coulomb’s Pamphlet in the Archives of the Society for Psychical Research, London” (Theosophical History I/6), and in a series appearing in The Theosophist (May-Nov. 1991) featuring the manuscript of Mme. Blavatsky’s translation of her sister’s article about her.
Readers will find a wealth of information about H.P.B.’s observations on a number of personalities, especially the main villain, Franz Hartmann, but also H.S. Olcott, A.O. Hume, and St. George Lane-Fox (later Fox-Pitt) among others. There are some intriguing passages in the letter that demand careful examination as to their full meaning. For instance, what are we to make out of the seemingly contradictory statements that mention her resignation as Corresponding Secretary of the T.S. in the early part of the letter and her stating in a later portion of the letter that she “was kicked out of the Society,” “I need you for nothing now that I left the Society,” and “[r]emains to be seen what the Occult Doctrine, Society etc. will become without me.” These are curious statements to say the least, especially since the common wisdom is that she simply resigned an office within the governing body of the T.S. Before anyone jumps to any judgment, however, all the available facts about this important period in the Society’s history should be reexamined together with the subsequent actions of H.P.B. in Europe and England.
Mr. Gomes adds the following note on this letter:
The letter that initiates the series is, as far as can be ascertained, the earliest surviving original letter from Blavatsky to Judge. Information on W.Q. Judge, Counsel to the Theosophical Society at its inception in 1875 and later Vice-President, is available from a number of sources, including The Dictionary of National Biography, in Volume I of H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, and in the first volume of Echoes of the Orient, a collection of Judge’s articles compiled by Dara Eklund.
The letters of H.P.B. to W.Q. Judge that will follow in future issues are listed below:
V/3: November 3, 1886 (Ostende)
V/4: March 19, 1887 (Ostende)
V/5: August 12, 1887 (London) and the letter from B. Keightley to Judge
V/6: September 15, 1887 (Maycot) and September 27, 1887 (London)
V/7: Undated (1887) and undated [June 5, 1888]
V/8: July 7, 1889 (Fontainebleau)
VI/1: August 5, 1889 (Jersey)
VI/2: Undated 
VI/3: Undated [1889–1890] and February 9, 1890 (London)
VI/4: August 1890 (London) and B. Keightley to Judge (August 9)
VI/5: November 19, 1890
|The Transcendental Universe||John Patrick Deveney|
| Aleister Crowley & the Hidden God
Skoob Occult Review
|Scholarly Research||John Oliphant
| The Scope of Theosophical History
Theosophists and Others in Fiction
|The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge: Part I: Letter Dated 1 May 1885||Michael Gomes|
|Besarab Nicolescu’s Science, Meaning & Evolution: The Cosmology of Jacob Boehme||Karen-Claire Voss|
|Islands of the Dawn: The Story of Alternative Spirituality in New Zealand (Robert Ellwood)||Jill Roe|
Theosophical History: Vol. V, No. 3
A long-awaited article by Mr. Kazimierz Tokarski on the life of the Polish Theosophist, poet, and translator and publisher, Wanda Dynowska-Umadevi (1888–1971), is the major research article appearing in this issue. Practically unknown outside of Poland, Miss Dynowska-Umadevi was instrumental in establishing the Polish Theosophical Society and the Order of the Star in the East in Poland (known there as the Aurora Society), for translating Theosophical works and works by J. Krishnamurti into Polish, for being an established Polish poet, and above all for being a seeker of Truth and a humanitarian. Her interest in India and close association with M. Gandhi brought about a cross-fertilization of Indian and Polish cultures through friendship with the Indian poet Harischandra Bhatt (1901–1951): Dynowska-Umadevi establishing the Polish-Indian Library—publishing books in Hindî, Tamil, and English—and producing (under the sponsorship of the Indian Ministry of Education) her greatest work, the six-volume Indian Anthology; and Harischandra Bhatt as translator of works in Polish literature. She later wrote, “That bridge which I build with books between the souls of India and Poland is for the distant future. I do not know what its value and significance are…I will only get to know in the moment of my death, then I will see in a flash the very essence of my life, my Dharma and my mission.” Besides her literary work, Dynowska-Umadevi in her later life displayed an inclination toward altruism that one cannot help but admire. Her work with Tibetan refugees after the Chinese incursion in Tibet in 1960 extended throughout her later years until shortly before her death in 1971. During her lifetime she was greatly admired by her circle of friends and associates. Indeed, it was at the behest of her friends that the author, Kazimierz Tokarski, wrote this biographical essay out of respect and admiration for her. For her service to humanity, she deserves wider recognition. Mr. Tokarski therefore deserves our gratitude for introducing Miss Dynowska-Umadevi to the English-speaking world.
In a past issue (IV/8) Michael Gomes presented his impressions of Theosophical activities at the Chicago Parliament of the World’s Religions held almost a year ago. Since that meeting, a number of Theosophical journals have presented enthusiastic and detailed accounts of Theosophical activities at the Parliament. It was my wish to add a concluding statement on the Parliament of the World’s Religions from a more global perspective. With this in mind, I asked my colleague, Dr. Robert B. McLaren, to write a short impressionistic essay of the Parliament. Like other attendees, he came back very enthusiastic at having experienced such a gathering. Dr. McLaren’s interests are wide-ranging, holding degrees in psychology, religion, and philosophy, having authored numerous books and articles, and serving as Professor of Human Development at California State University, Fullerton for over twenty years.
A recent article by John Cooper, “The Esoteric School Within the Hargrove Theosophical Society,” contained an opinion that The Dream of Ravan is contained in the 12th century Jñânesvarî. This occasioned a response by Dr. Jean-Louis Siémons in Le Lotus Bleu (January 1994: 11-12) suggesting otherwise. Dr. Siémons has offered a slightly revised version of that article for the present issue. The communication accompanies Mr. Cooper’s response to the original French article.
The second letter from H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge (November 3, 1886), housed in the Harvard-Andover library, appears in this issue. Not nearly as long as the first letter, there is still that Blavatskyan vituperation that was so evident in the first letter, this time directed at the son of her hosts at Elberfeld, Germany, Arthur Gebhard (1855–1944). The letter also contains some negative remarks about Elliot Coues, an important figure in the early history of the Theosophical Society and some words of concern for Mrs. Emily Bates’ sympathy for Coues. H.P.B.’s admonishing Judge to save her from the wiles of Coues came to naught, however, for Mrs.. Bates married him almost a year later.
Finally, two book reviews appear: one by Professor Ellwood of Mac L. Ricketts, Mircea Eliade: The Romanian Roots, 1907–1945, the other by me of Michael Gomes’ just released Theosophy in the Nineteenth Century: An Annotated Bibliography. Professor Ellwood himself studied under this preeminent historian of religion at the University of Chicago. Now, for the first time, Eliade’s earlier years in Romania and India are unveiled, and the story of these years will hold some surprise for those who have only a passing acquaintance with Eliade. The second review is of the long-anticipated annotated bibliography by Michael Gomes. Theosophical historians will no doubt find this book to be one of the most valuable research tools to come into print in many a year.
|Beyond Diversity|| Robert B. McLaren
|A Note on the Dream of Ravan: Is It a Portion of the Jñâneçvarî||Jean-Louis Siémons|
|The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge: Part II: Letter Dated 3 November 1885||Michael Gomes|
|Wanda Dynowska-Umadevi: A Biographical Essay||Kazimierz Tokarski|
|Mircea Eliade: The Romanian Roots, 1907-1945||Robert Ellwood|
|Theosophy in the Nineteenth Century: An Annotated Bibliography||James Santucci|
Theosophical History: Vol. V, No. 4
Over the last two years, a series of articles have appeared in Theosophical History that have turned the spotlight on Eastern Europe: D. Spivak’s “Russian Ways to Theosophy” (IV/1), A.V. Gnezdilov’s “The Destiny of Russian Theosophists in the Beginning of the Twentieth Century” (IV/2), and K. Tokarski’s “Wanda Dynowska-Umadevi: A Biographical Essay” (V/3). In the present issue appears still another contribution that highlights this region, “Background and History of the Theosophical Society in Bohemia” by Mr. Ivan M. Kozlovsky.1 Information about this region of Europe is sparse; indeed, perhaps the most accessible information about the T.S. in the former Czechoslovakia comes from The Theosophical Year Book, 1937 (73) and The T.Y.B., 1938 (81), both giving only perfunctory information for those years. To paraphrase their contents, as of 1936, General Secretaries included Jan Bedrnicek-Chlumsky (1909–1925), Oscar Beer (1925–27), Josef Parchansky (1929–31), and Vaclav Cimr (1927–29, 1931-date of publication of The T.Y.B.). At the time of the Section charter of 7 February 1909, seven Lodges existed, each concentrating on a distinctive type of Theosophical study and activity as the names suggest: Lodges Occultism, Mysticism, Philosophy and Science, Religion, Ethics, Esthetics, Psychic Studies. As Mr. Kozlovsky notes, Theosophical works in Czech—both original and in translation—exist mainly through the efforts of writers such as Drs. Bezdek, Samalík, and Mrs. Moudrá. Judging from studies that have recently appeared in this journal as well as such important books as Maria Carlson’s No Religion Higher Than Truth, not to mention the material published in South Asian languages, Theosophical literature boasts, despite the relatively small membership of the various Theosophical societies, a disproportionately large number of books, journals, and other written material. Michael Gomes’ Theosophy in the Nineteenth Century gives us a titillating glimpse into this literature. There can be no doubt that further global cataloguing of Theosophical publications will assuredly contribute to a greater understanding of the Theosophical Movement.
Over two years ago, Paul Johnson contributed an article in TH IV/1 entitled “Theosophical Influence in Bahá’í History.” As Robert Stockman observes in his “Bahá’í Faith and Theosophy: A Response,” it “represents a valuable initiation of research on the relationship between the two traditions” despite some caveats that question some of Mr. Johnson’s conclusions. One of Dr. Stockman’s observations is especially important when treating historical influences on an individual or a movement, and it strikes at the heart of historical methodology:
Proving the existence of influence of one person or movement on another is a complicated scholarly task unless the influenced part acknowledges it. It is not adequate simply to show that one person met someone else or encountered another movement to prove an influence. Sometimes the movements’ contact with each other stems from preexisting commonalities and disproves influence, rather than indicating it. Detailed examination of other possible sources of influence is also necessary to isolate which ideas came from which sources.
This cautionary statement is especially true in theosophical and esoteric studies and therefore deserves careful consideration.
The H.P. Blavatsky – W.Q. Judge letters from the Andover-Harvard Library continues with a short letter of March 19, 1887. The name of Elliot Coues comes up again as well as that of a particularly gifted Theosophical writer, C.H.A. Bjerregaard, a librarian at the New York Public Library, and author of many articles. Of special interest is H.P.B.’s suggestion on how to join “a secret group,” a topic that was most likely raised in a previous letter of Judge. It is around this time (May 1887) that Judge raised the idea of an Esoteric Section. Indeed, the mention of a “secret group” in this letter appears to be the first inkling of the later E.S. On this fact alone, the letter proves most valuable.
|The Buddhist and the Theosophical Movements and Buddhist Themes in Modern Indian Literature||James Santucci|
|Yesterday’s Children||Jean Overton Fuller|
W. Dallas TenBroeck
|The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge: Part III: Letter Dated 19 March 1887||Michael Gomes|
|Background and History of the Theosophical Society in Bohemia||I.M. Kozlovsky|
|Paul Johnson’s “Theosophical Influence in Baha’i History: Some Comments”||Robert H. Stockman|
Theosophical History: Vol. V, No. 5
This issue presents a mixed bag of offerings. First, a note on Mr. Laudahn’s communication. One of the purposes of this journal is to offer oral history or first person accounts of organizations, societies, groups, or individuals that are related to Theosophy. One example of an oral history of an organization is Mr. Bernardino del Boca’s description of the “Green Village” (“The First Practical Expression of Theosophy in Italy: The “Villaggio Verde”) in the III/5 (Jan 1991) issue of Theosophical History. The present communication is Mr. Laudahn’s memoir on the Pansophic Fellowship. Very little is known about this group, so whatever Mr. Laudahn could remember about it and its founder, Joseph Ramsperger, is supplemented by material housed in the archives of Associate Editor Jerry Hejka-Ekins. It is hoped that this communication might generate more information on Mr. Ramsperger, either here in the U.S. or in his native country, Switzerland.
This is the first appearance of Mr. Laudahn in the journal although he has had several articles published in Theosophical magazines. Retired since 1976 and currently a resident of the Theosophical community of Taormina adjacent to the Krotona Institute in Ojai, California, Mr. Laudahn joined the T.S. (Adyar) in 1972 after having been associated with the United Lodge of Theosophists and the Theosophical Society (Pasadena). He is married to Gertrude Mann, herself a member of the T.S. (Adyar) since 1924.
Also appearing in this issue is Mr. P.R. König’s fourth contribution on the O.T.O., “Stranded Bishops,” his previous articles appearing in IV/3 (“The OTO Phenomenon”), IV/6-7 (“Theodor Reuss as Founder of Esoteric Orders”), and V/1 (“Veritas Mystica Maxima”). In the present article, Mr. König discusses the Gnostic Church of Jules Doinel, Reuss’s involvement with the “Gnostic Neo-Christians” [the O.T.O.], and notables such as William Bernard Crow, E.C.H. Peithmann, E.T. Kurtzahn, Herbert Fritsche, and M.P. Bertiaux.
I might add here that Mr. König has published a considerable amount on the O.T.O. in 1993 and 1994. Three of his books were announced in the July 1994 issue: Der Kleine Theodor–Reuss–Reader (1993), Das OTO–Phänomen: 100 Jahre Magische Geheimbünde und ihre Protagonisten von 1895–1994 (1994), and Materialien zum OTO (1994). A fourth book has just arrived, Der OTOA–Reader (München: ARW, 1994): the O.T.O.A. referring to the Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua.
Turning now to the Blavatsky letters from the Andover-Harvard Divinity School Library that first appeared in the April 1994 issue [background information on the letters appears in the Oct.–Jan. 1992-1993 double issue], the present installment includes a letter dated August 12, 1887 from H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge and an accompanying letter from Bertram Keightley to Judge. Further intrigues against H.P. Blavatsky and doctrinal disagreements involving T. Subha Row and his fellow cohorts, Alfred Cooper-Oakley and Nield Cook, are raised.
The rest of the issue covers short and extended reviews of books, including a second review of Michael Gomes’ Theosophy In The Nineteenth Century: An Annotated Bibliography by Robert S. Ellwood. The importance of this bibliography as a research tool cannot be overstated and so deserves a second notice. The second full-length review is of Christopher McIntosh’s The Rose Cross and the Age of Reason. Eighteenth-Century Rosicrucianism in Central Europe and Its Relationship to the Enlightenment. The reviewer, Joscelyn Godwin, describes it as a “priceless contribution to our knowledge of eighteenth-century esoteric movements,” one of a number of significant works that have been published over the past few years.
Dr. Godwin was also kind enough to write a report of the “Theosophy and Theosophic Thought” Seminar held at the American Academy of Religion last November. The Seminar will continue for another four years and there will be periodic updates on the activities of its participants.
|Journal Inedit de Ricardo Vines||Robert Boyd|
|The Mystic Life of Alfred Deakin
A History for a Nation
Australia’s First Fabians
Hands Full of Life
The Forgotten Christians of Hangzhou
|Theosophy and Theosophic Thought Seminar||Joscelyn Godwin|
|Pansophy as an Alternative to Theosophy||W.R. Laudahn|
|The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge: Part IV: Letter Dated Aug. 12, 1887, and Part IVa: Letter from Bertram Keightley to W. Q. Judge||Michael Gomes|
|Stranded Bishops (Part IV of the OTO)||Peter-Robert König|
|The Rose Cross and the Age Reason||Joscelyn Godwin|
|Theosophy in the Nineteenth Century||Robert S. Ellwood|
Theosophical History: Vol. V, No. 6
Theosophical History IV/4-5 contained an unsigned document detailing an alleged psychic attack instigated by H.P. Blavatsky’s on E. Gerry Brown, the editor of The Spiritual Scientist, for his decision to marry against her wishes. Its contents generated a number of negative letters to the editor—of which one such example appeared in the IV/8 (Oct. 1993) issue. Although the source of the document was provided in a later issue, it remains to be seen whether the allegations were indeed made by Gerry Brown himself, or whether they were all made up by Brown or some other writer. A communication by Mr. Deveney in this issue indicates that the document is in keeping with opinions held in occult circles during the 1870s and 1880s. A passage quoted from the introduction to Gustav Meyrink’s translation of Paschal Beverly Randolph’s Dhoula Bel in 1922 alleging a psychic dual between H.P.B. and Paschal Beverly Randolph indicates that the perception of a dual was very possible according to occultists. The introduction of the name of P.B. Randolph introduces us to an individual of whom very little is known, especially regarding his relations with H.P. Blavatsky. Within the next year, however, we expect to hear much more about this enigmatic figure with the anticipated publication of Mr. Deveney’s bibliography.
The Blavatsky-Judge letters continue, this time with two related letters dated September 15 and 27, 1887. In the earlier letter, H.P.B. informs Judge and Elliot Coues to be “prepared to be elected for life.” She also declares in no uncertain terms that she will not return to India because of the animosity of the English and their efforts to imprison her as a Russian spy, a reference also in her earlier letter of 12 August 1887 (TH V/5). Again, animosity towards other unnamed figures are mentioned, when she refers to the presence of “Judases everywhere,” with Alfred Cooper-Oakley mentioned in this letter but with Franz Hartmann mentioned in her letter of 1 May 1885 (TH V/2), T. Subba Row and Jonathan Nield Cook in her letter dated 12 August 1887 (TH V/5) and her ambiguous feelings towards Elliot Coues both in this letter and a previous letter dated 3 November 1886 (TH V/3). The second letter, dated 27 September 1887, appoints Elliot Coues, President of the Gnostic Theosophical Society, to be the “President of the American Theosophical Council until the next regular convention” on orders of the Secret Council. Can this Secret Council of the Holy Brotherhood (appearing in the Sept. 27, 1887 letter) be the prototype for the later Esoteric Section already mentioned in a prior letter dated 19 March 1887, perhaps as an equivalent to a group of her Masters or the later Great White Brotherhood? Or even an esoteric society that is hinted at in C.G. Harrison’s The Transcendental Universe? [On the latter see J.P. Deveney’s review in TH V/2:40–41.
One last item of interest occurs in the Sept. 15 letter, and that is the mention of the term nirmåñakåya. As far as I am aware, the term appears in print for the first time in a letter from H.P.B. to W.Q. Judge dated October 3, 1886 (Blavatsky: Collected Writings VII: 138), which in turn in connected to her article, “Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits” (Blavatsky: Collected Writings VII: 176–99, also dated October 1886 at the end of the article), which first appeared in volume I of The Path (Nov., 1886): 232–45. In a footnote given on pages 188–89, H.P.B. defines the term as “the name given to the astral forms (in their completeness) of adepts, who have progressed too high on the path of knowledge and absolute truth, to go into the state of Devachan; and have on the other hand, deliberately refused the bliss of nirvana, in order to help Humanity by invisibly guiding and helping on the same path of progress elect men. . . .” The passage also is quoted in The Buddhism of H.P. Blavatsky, compiled and annotated by J.J. Spierenburg (Point Loma, CA: Point Loma Publications, Inc., 1991), 184.
The one article contained herein is Peter-Robert König’s “Illuminati and Templars,” a continuation of his series on the OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis). The current article provides valuable information on The Order of Illuminati [OI], founded by Adam Weishaupt, and related groups. Though some do not see any association between groups such as the OTO and OI, one must keep in mind that Theodor Reuss (see TH IV/6-7: 187f. for information on Reuss), the “Anglo-German Freemason who . .. imported the ‘fringe-masonic” organization of French origin [Memphis-Misraim] via England to Germany in 1902” (TH IV/3: 92-93), Leopold Engel, first mentioned in “The OTO Phenomenon” (TH IV/3: 95), together with Franz Hartmann became co-founders of the Theosophical Society in Germany. The information in the present article focuses on Engel’s work as founder of the World League of Illuminati in Berlin and the history of the group down to its forcible closing by the Gestapo in 1934, its revival after World War II, and the activities of the regional groups from the inception of Engel’s Austrian Federal Group in 1896.
A communication from Associate Editor John Cooper also appears in this issue, who has taken time out editing his projected Collected Letters of H.P. Blavatsky, to list and describe the contents of Countess Constance Wachtmeister’s six notebooks. These notebooks were compiled during her time with H.P. Blavatsky from the 1880s. Many entries appear elsewhere, but there are some titles that have never been published and so should be of great interest to Theosophists. One article that appears in this list, H.P.B.’s “The True Explanation of Genuine Slate Writing,” will be published in an upcoming issue of The Eclectic Theosophist.
|Deity, Cosmos and Man
Adepts, Masters and Mahatmas
|Jean Overton Fuller|
The Uncommon Medium
The Books of Edith May and Harry Lewis Custard
|James A. Santucci|
|A Note on Psychic Attacks||John Patrick Deveney|
|The Unpublished Occult Notebooks of Constance Wachtmeister
Professor Gilles Quispel
|The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge: Part V: Letter Dated Sept. 15, 1887, and Part VI: Letter Dated Sept. 27, 1887||Michael Gomes|
|Illuminati and Templars (Part V of the O.T.O.)||Peter-Robert König|
|The Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO): Four Books by Peter-R. Konig||Joscelyn Godwin|
|The Great Year: Astrology, Millenarianism and History in the Western Tradition||Robert S. Ellwood|
Theosophical History: Vol. V, No. 7
In the January 1991 issue of TH, I remarked that Paul Johnson’s 1990 book, In Search of the Masters, was “bound to generate considerable discussion” among Theosophists. That it did over the ensuing years. Now, with the publication of what amounts to be a second, revised edition of the book in 1994, retitled The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the Myth of the Great White Lodge, the issue of just who the Masters were is again brought to the fore. In the review of the earlier work, Gregory Tillett explains Mr. Johnson’s thesis as the following:
. . . The Mahatmas to whom Blavatsky referred were historical human beings, men of flesh and blood rather than the ascended spirit being of later neo-Theosophy, and they, and Blavatsky, were involved in what amounted to a network of political-cum-religious conspiracies. For example, Johnson identifies the Master KH with Sirdar Thakar Singh Sandhanwalla. The Masters were not Tibetan, but rather Indian or Persian.
But what does Mr. Johnson mean by ‘identity’? This is the question that is taken up by John Algeo, the President of The Theosophical Society in America, in his review essay of The Masters Revealed. Does it refer to the equation of historical personage and Master, or does it refer to fictional Master based on historical prototype? This and the validity of Mr. Johnson’s logic and methodology are discussed in great detail by Dr. Algeo. Dr. Tillett was of the opinion that In Search of the Masters was a “difficult book” for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it challenges accepted views of “doctrinaire Theosophists” — to use Joscelyn Godwin’s expression in his Foreword to the book—and challenges accepted methodologies of historians. No matter how one views the book, the significance of the topic demands that it be read, but with one’s critical faculties fine-tuned and in tact.
If Mr. Johnson’s book has caused considerable conversation and controversy, then what is one to make of the ‘Russian Spy Letter’ supposedly written by Madame Blavatsky on 26 December 1872? I say “supposedly” because the translation is based on the text found in Literaturneo obozrenie (Literary Revue), with no verification of the handwritten text by either the scholar who found the letter, B.L. Bessonov, or the writer of the introduction, V.I. Mil’don. Dr. Maria Carlson, who translated portions of the letter in her ground-breaking book, No Religion Higher Than Truth: A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia: 1875–1922 (fn 6 on p. 214), suggests that it could have been written by the “secret police (or some other agency) long after 1872 to discredit Mme. Blavatsky….” This is indeed possible when we know with a fair degree of certainty that the “Protocols of Zion,” long thought by some to be a genuine document, was in fact a forgery of the Okhranka, the secret police of Czar Nicholas, instigated around 1903. It is therefore not impossible that this letter is also a product of a similar agency. But logic would demand a reason for such a forgery, especially at a time when she was not a significant threat to the Russian government. Even if the letter were produced some years after the formation of the Theosophical Society, what threat was the Society to Russian security to warrant such a detailed letter? A far better assessment of the letter can be made if it is read in its entirety. We are grateful to Dr. Carlson for translating the complete text of the letter, together with selected revisions of that portion previously translated in her book. I believe that the full text provides more powerful evidence of its being authentic.
Also appearing in the “From the Archives” section is Michael Gomes’ presentation of the Blavatsky-Judge letters taken from the Andover-Harvard Library. The two letters appearing herein, although undated, probably were written in 1887 and 1888. The first letter assures W.Q. Judge that H.P.B.’s new periodical, Lucifer, will in no way threaten Judge’s Path. Elliott Coues is again mentioned, this time as “Theosophy militant & the General in chief thereon in the U.S.” Alfred Cooper-Oakley is again brought up, along with Subba Row (see V/5:165), as intriguers against H.P.B.’s returning to Adyar. The second letter mentions the resignation of Subba Row, Cooper-Oakley, and N. Cook from the T.S. and H.P.B.’s request to Judge not to include any announcement in the Path. The bad blood between Subba Row and H.P.B. is exacerbated by Row’s claiming to have received a letter from H.P.B.’s Master with the claim that he “had to reform the Society” since she “had been given up by the Masters!!”
|Scholarly Research||Jesper Sorensen
|The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge: Part VII: Undated Letter , and Part VIII: Undated Letter ||Michael Gomes|
|“To Spy or Not to Spy: “The Letter” of Mme. Blavatsky to the Third Section||Maria Carlson|
|K. Paul Johnson’s The Masters Revealed||John Algeo|
|The Jung Cult: origins of a Charismatic Movement
A Confusion of Prophets: Victorian And Edwardian Astrology
|Robert S. Ellwood|
|Insights of a Himalayan Pilgrim||Robert Boyd|
Theosophical History: Vol. V, No. 8
A larger than usual Theosophical History contains major studies on assorted subjects, including archival material presented by Michael Gomes and Marco Novarino, articles on the ill-fated International Order of Chivalry Solar Tradition by Massimo Introvigne and Arnold Krumm-Heller’s Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua by P.R. König, and a response from Paul Johnson to John Algeo’s review of Mr. Johnson’s book, The Masters Revealed.
In the last issue (V/7: 232–47), John Algeo, the President of The Theosophical Society in America, wrote a thoughtful and detailed review of Mr. Johnson’s book, balancing the book’s considerable contributions to this area of research with, in Dr. Algeo’s assessment, its overall failure to establish the thesis as proven. Rather than simply restating the arguments made in the book, Dr. Algeo went to some length to demonstrate that the logic, analysis, and the data in his opinion leave something to be desired. It is understandable, therefore, that Mr. Johnson would wish to respond to many of the statements and conclusions in the review. As with Dr. Algeo’s review, the response is presented without any abridgment.
The next installment of the H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge letters continues with a letter dated July 7, 1889. In it, Elliott Coues’ mischief-making toward the T.S. and H.P.B. are much on her mind. Among the other personalities who appear in this letter is the wife of a member of Congress, Mrs. Ida Garrison Candler, an avid supporter of H.P.B. until Mrs. Candler’s death two years later.
“Theosophical Reviews Preserved in the National Historic Archive of Spain.” is an important contribution since it introduces us to “one of the main centers of documentation of the history of Freemasonry and esoteric societies” in Europe, the Archivo Historico Nacional of Salamanca. The collection arises from Francisco Franco’s fear of such groups as being a threat against Spain, which soon led to a law passed in 1940 suppressing such groups. It was only in 1979 that the material collected by the government was incorporated in the Archivo Historico Nacional, in the Sección Guerra Civil, and afforded public access.
The final part of the OTO series, “Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua,” by Mr. P.R. König, discusses the life and efforts of Arnold Krumm-Heller and his successors to establish the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua to spread the organization throughout South America and elsewhere. As in previous articles, the history of those organizations associated with the OTO is extremely convoluted. Mr. König deserves our gratitude for shedding so much light on this little-known subject.
The reader will notice that of the three book reviews one appears in French by the noted expert on nineteenth and twentieth century esotericism, Jean-Pierre Laurant. Since Theosophical History has a wide distribution in Europe and Canada, occasional reviews in French will be printed therein.
|Response to John Algeo’s Review of The Masters Revealed||Paul Johnson|
|The Letters of H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge: Part IX: Letter Dated July 7, 1889||Michael Gomes|
|Preserved in the National Historic Archive of Spain||Marco Novarino|
|Armageddon in Switzerland: The Solar Temple Remembered||Massimo Introvigne|
|Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua (Part VI of the OTO)||P.R. König|
|La Vie Astrologique il y a Cent Ans, d’Alan Leo à F. Ch. Barlet||Paul Johnson|
|Il Ritorno Delle Fate||Jean-Pierre Laurant|
|L’Ésotérisme chrétien au xixe siècle