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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Blavatsky and Modern Occultism/New Age Spirituality

And now for something completely different - This analyses Crowley’s commentary on the Voice of the Silence (among lots of other things… not as bad as the title suggests, I think, or maybe I had too much coffee)
Secrets of the Sex Magic Space Lamas Revealed! Tibetan Buddhist Aliens and Religious Syncretism
October 23, 2015 - Joffre
We know that Crowley regarded Blavatsky not merely as a fraud but as someone with real spiritual realization, so such analogies are about more than just debunking a skilled con-woman. Crowley here implies that historical cultural traditions are a means to an end, a strategic springboard for capturing and articulating a higher more transcendent Gnosis or Truth.

Katy Perry will mess your mind, and it's all Blavatsky`s fault, Miley Cyrus will wreck your mind like a wrecking ball (and it’s all Aleister Crowley’s fault)
Katy Perry SNL Performance Proves Crowley’s Eastern Mysticism has Invaded
By Emily -05/22/2017
The very founder of the new age movement created "the perfect blend of Hinduism and Buddhism." This is vital evidence in proving that the mixture of beliefs and practices we see in people like Katy Perry’s life aren’t incidental, they are following mystic leaders such as Blavatsky.

How St-Germain became a rock star… because of Blavatsky
The Immortal Ones
Posted on February 9, 2017 by Earth Energy Reader
The spiritual stories about him as an immortal didn’t really take off until Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical movement got a hold of it. Between 1880 and 1900 it was admitted among all theosophists, that the Comte de Saint-Germain was still alive, that he was still engaged in the spiritual development of the West, and that those who sincerely took part in this development had the possibility of meeting him.

Sports section: The second biggest boxing match of all time inspired by Blavatsky:
The Secret That Led Conor McGregor to Fame, Fortune and Floyd Mayweather
Jeremy Botter MMA August 25, 2017 The first instance of the "law of attraction" phrase appearing in print came in 1877's Isis Unveiled, a dense two-volume book by Russian occultist and theosophist Helena Blavatsky:

Not terribly accurate, but a positive appreciation:
No Religion Higher Than Truth; or, Why Theosophy Matters
June 30, 2017 by Philip Jenkins

Prayer beyond praying
Dr. Satish K. Kapoor
Prayer awakens the sixth sense-Faculty X-and shows one the path to success in whatever field one wants to operate. Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, wrote (Isis Unveiled, I): Prayer is desire, and desire develops into will.

Where the author got this Blavatsky anecdote, I do not know:
Joy of Sharing
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Stop Studying Success Gurus. Do This Instead.
Michael Schein
Yet Blavatsky is responsible for the popularization of Eastern spirituality in the West, which led to mass interest in activities such as yoga and meditation. Today everyone from professional athletes to Silicon Valley billionaires to neuroscientists vouch for the benefits of these practices.

Blind Faith Has No Place In Witchcraft
May 4, 2017 by Mat Auryn
While I do not blindly believe in many of the things that she taught, Helena Blavatsky once wrote that "I speak ‘with absolute certainty’ only so far as my own personal belief is concerned. Those who have not the same warrant for their belief as I have, would be very credulous and foolish to accept it on blind faith."

Faith Healer insipired by Theosophy

Manly Hall gets a mainstream biography:
"Master of the Mysteries: New Revelations…" Review & Interview with Author Louis Sahagun
Tenebrous Kate June 14, 2016

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Blavatsky & Annie Besant

Annie Besant: Theosophist who inspired Indian nationalism
And this year, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence, it will be special for another reason too. It brings home memories of the confluence of another centenary of the first Woman President the Indian National Congress saw in Mrs Annie Besant in 1917.
70 Years of Independence: Remembering Annie Besant, a 'Diamond Soul'
A Diamond Soul' who played a crucial role in shaping independent India, Annie Besant was a famous Theosophist, orator, author as well as the supporter of the Irish and Indian self-rule.
Take a walk to reconnect with reformers who changed Mumbai's social landscape
Apr 18, 2017 - Krutika Behrawala
Fondekar says, "We will cover roughly 15 spots, including Blavatsky Lodge that is associated with social activist Dr Annie Besant, along with certain roads named after social reformers." Post its debut this week, the walking experience will be held every Sunday at 8 am.
She’s number one, but only because it’s in alphabetical order:
10 Important Women in Goddess Spirituality
May 21, 2014 by Jason Mankey
Besant is best known as the President of the Theosophical Society, one of the most influential groups ever in the history of the occult and the New Age movements.
English version of Besant biography
Muriel Pécastaing-Boissière – Annie Besant Struggles and Quest

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Blavatsky Biographical

I forgot to include this in my Lachman post, nice article:
Who was Madame Blavatsky?
Gary Lachman - Friday 13th, March 2015
Colin Wilson once remarked about Rasputin, Blavatsky’s countryman, that he seemed “to possess the peculiar quality of inducing shameless inaccuracy in everyone who writes about him.” The same could be said for Madame Blavatsky.
New World Encyclopedia entry (they publish cleaned-up wikipedia articles), not bad, fairly balanced:
Helena Blavatsky
Helena Petrovna Hahn (also Hélène) (July 31, 1831 (O.S.) (August 12, 1831 (N.S.)) - May 8, 1891 London), better known as Helena Blavatsky (Russian: Елена Блаватская) or Madame Blavatsky, born Helena von Hahn, was a founder of the Theosophical Society. Although her role as a medium would prove controversial and the Theosophical Society would split following her death, her writing represents a significant contribution to the development of reformist and universal tendencies within Indian thought. Mahatma Gandhi wrote that her Key to Theosophy was one of the texts that stimulated him to ‘read books on Hinduism’ and ‘disabused [him] of the notion fostered by the missionaries that Hinduism was rife with superstition.’ [1] Perhaps the fact that Blavatsky was not in any way affiliated with the imperial project in India freed her of the obligation to value everything European at the cost of everything Indian.

Nice bio post:

H. P. Blavatsky: Her Extraordinary Life and Influence

May 5, 2017 - Theosophy Watch |
“The portrayal of Blavatsky is neutral, though more sympathetic than works of this kind. The index contains 16 references to her. What Horowitz manages to do, and successfully so, is to show the contribution to the inner life of America by these often disparate figures who were united in their vision of a world made better by better people.”
Although she only placed 9th, she did manage to edge out the Dalai Lama in a hotly contested cage-match showdown, not bad:
10 of the Greatest Religious Leaders in History
August 6, 2017 -  Kelley
9. Helena Blavatsky
The present day New Age Movement owes much to Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society and utilizes many of its tenets and ideas. Blavatsky was also instrumental in the Western revival of Theravada Buddhism, the oldest branch of Buddhism.

So-so posts:
Helena P. Blavatsky - 

Theosophical Society Sue and Michael Treanor

The Mysterious Madame Blavatsky – Psychic or Charlatan?
Paul Andrews  July 23, 2017

The Astral Visions of Madame Blavatsky
April 22, 2017 - Sara Marie Hogg

Someone made an audio version of the Secret Doctrine – wow:

Cool Russian Documentary - English dubbing

H P Blavatsky Biography Part 1.of 5  -  Jan 13, 2010

This powerful and informative Drama Documentary made for Russian Television in 1991 presented Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (The founder of Modern Theosophy) to the Russian public after details of her life and work had been suppressed for decades under Communism. English subtitles and voiceover. This film is recommended as an introduction to H P Blavatsky by Cardiff Theosophical Society, Wales, UK.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Blavatsky's Articulate Feminist Editorial on Sexual Harassment

Blavatsky’s support of Leo Tolstoy is fairly well-known. The autographed copy of The Voice of the Silence still exists in the Tolstoi archives and he even quotes from it in one of his non-fiction works. In Lucifer, Vol. VI, No. 35, July, 1890, pp. 353-364, in an article called “Diagnoses and Palliatives” (Collected Writings, 12, 239-256), she reviewed his controversial Kreutzer Sonata (along with another work, The Girl of the Future by G. Allen), showing that she could be right on top of some the day’s most pressing social questions, with an alternative view to the mostly negative critiques it received and also showing a strong feminist voice in her writings. The work has been the subject of more recent discussion:
Tolstoy & The Kreutzer Sonata: Literature & Music
Dick Strawser  September 22, 2011
Sofiya Tolstoy’s Defense
Sophie Pinkham - October 21, 2014
Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata - Olga Kerziouk 17 October 2017
Some extracts from Diagnoses and Palliatives, July 1890:
Tolstoy, however, “preaches” nothing of the sort; nor does his Pozdnisheff say so, though the critics misunderstand him from A to Z, as they do also the wise statement that “not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth” or a vile man’s heart and imagination. It is not “monasticism” but the law of continence as taught by Jesus (and Occultism) in its esoteric meaning—which most Christians are unable to perceive— that he preaches. Nothing can be more moral or conducive to human happiness and perfectibility than the application of this law. It is one ordained by Nature herself. Animals follow it instinctively, as do also the savage tribes. Once pregnant, to the last day of the nursing of her babe, i.e., for eighteen or twenty months, the savage squaw is sacred to her husband; the civilised and semi-civilized man alone breaking this beneficent law. Therefore, speaking of the immorality of marriage relations as at present practised, and of unions performed on commercial bases, or, what is worse, on mere sensual love, Pozdnisheff elaborates the idea by uttering the greatest and the holiest truth, namely, that:
For morality to exist between men and women in their daily life, they must make perfect chastity their law.* In progressing towards this end, man subdues himself. When he has arrived at the last degree of subjection we shall have moral marriages. But if a man as in our Society advances only towards physical love, even though he surrounds it with deception and with the shallow formality of marriage, he obtains nothing but licensed vice.
A good proof that it is not “monasticism” and utter celibacy which are preached, but only continence, is found on page 84 where the fellow traveller of Pozdnisheff is made to remark that the result of the theory of the latter would be “that a man would have to keep away from hiswife except once every year or two.” Then again there is this sentence:—
I did not at that time understand that the words of the Gospel as to looking upon a woman with the eyes of desire did not refer only to the wives of others, but especially and above all to one’s own wife.
“Monastics” have no wives, nor do they get married if they would remain chaste on the physical plane. Tolstoy, however, seems to have answered in anticipation of British criticism and objections on these lines, by making the hero of his “grimy and revolting book” (Scot’s Observer) say:—
Think what a perversity of ideas there must be, when the happiest, the freest condition of the human being, that of (mental) chastity, is looked upon as something miserable and ridiculous. The highest ideal, the most perfect condition to be attained by woman, that of a pure being, a vestal, a virgin, provokes, in our society, fear and laughter. (245)
We maintain that to call Kreutzer Sonata pointless, and “a vain book,” is to miss most egregiously the noblest as well as the most important points in it. It is nothing less than wilful blindness, or what is still worse—that moral cowardice which will sanction every growing immorality rather than allow its mention, let alone its discussion, in public. It is on such fruitful soil that our moral leprosy thrives and prospers instead of being checked by timely palliatives. It is blindness to one of her greatest social evils of this kind that led France to issue her unrighteous law, prohibiting the so-called “search of paternity.” And is it not again the ferocious selfishness of the male, in which species legislators are of course included, which is responsible for the many iniquitous laws with which the country of old disgraced itself? e.g., the right of every brute of a husband to sell his wife in a market-place with a rope around her neck; the right of every beggar-husband over his rich wife’s fortune, rights now happily abrogated. But does not law protect man to this day, granting him means for legal impunity in almost all his dealings with woman? (CW12, 246)
Has it never occurred to any grave judge or critic either— any more than to Pozdnisheff—“that immorality does not consist in physical acts alone but on the contrary, in liberating one’s self from all moral obligations, which such acts impose”? (Kreutzer Sonata, p. 32.) And as a direct result of such legal “liberation from any moral obligations,” we have the present marriage system in every civilized nation, viz., men “steeped in corruption” seeking “at the same time for a virgin whose purity might be worthy” of them (p. 39); men, out of a thousand of whom “hardly one could be found who has not been married before at least a dozen times” (p. 41)! (CW12, 246)
Aye, gentlemen of the press, and humble slaves to public opinion, too many terrible, vital truths, to be sure, are uttered by Pozdnisheff to make the Kreutzer Sonata ever palatable to you. The male portion of mankind—book reviewers as others—does not like to have a too faithful mirror presented to it. It does not like to see itself as it is, but only as it would like to make itself appear. Had the book been directed against your slave and creature—woman, Tolstoy’s popularity would have, no doubt, increased proportionately. But for almost the first time in literature, a work shows male kind collectively in all the artificial ugliness of the final fruits of civilisation, which make every vicious man believe himself, like Pozdnisheff, “a thoroughly moral man.” And it points out as plainly that female dissimulation, worldliness and vice, are but the handiwork of generations of men, whose brutal sensuality and selfishness have led woman to seek reprisals. Hear the fine and truthful description of most Society men:—
Women know well enough that the most noble, the most poetic love is inspired, not by moral qualities, but by physical intimacy . . . . Ask an experienced coquette . . . . which she would prefer, to be convicted in the presence of the man she wishes to subjugate, of falsehood, perversity, and cruelty, or to appear before him in a dress ill-made. . . . . She would choose the first alternative. She knows very well that we only lie when we speak of our lofty sentiments; that what we are seeking is the woman herself, and that for that we are ready to forgive all her ignominies, while we would not forgive her a costume badly cut . . . . Hence those abominable jerseys, those artificial protrusions behind, those naked arms, shoulders and bosoms. (CW12, 247)
Create no demand and there will be no supply. But such demand being established by men, it . . . .
. . . explains this extraordinary phenomenon: that on the one hand woman is reduced to the lowest degree of humiliation, while on the other she reigns above everything . . . . “Ah, you wish us to be merely objects of pleasure? Very well, by that very means we will bend you beneath our yoke,” say the women [who] like absolute queens, keep as prisoners of war and at hard labor nine-tenths of the human race; and all because they have been humiliated, because they have been deprived of the rights enjoyed by man. They avenge themselves on our voluptuousness, they catch us in their nets . . . . [Why? Because] “the great majority look upon the journey to the church as a necessary condition for the possession of a certain woman. So you may say what you will, we live in such an abyss of falsehood, that unless some event comes down upon our head . . . . we cannot wake up to the truth. . . (CW12, 247)
And would you know why? It is an old truism, a fact pointed out by Ouida, as by twenty other novelists. Because the husbands of the “ladies in good Society”—we speak only of the fashionable majority, of course—would most likely gradually desert their legitimate wives were these to offer them too strong a contrast with the demi-mondaines whom they all adore. For certain men who for long years have constantly enjoyed the intoxicating atmosphere of certain places of amusement, the late suppers in cabinets particuliers in the company of enamelled females artificial from top to foot, the correct demeanor of a lady, presiding over their dinner table, with her cheeks paintless, her hair, complexion and eyes as nature made them—becomes very soon a bore.
 A legitimate wife who imitates in dress, and mimicks the desinvolture of her husband’s mistress has perhaps been driven at the beginning to effect such a change out of sheer despair, as the only means of preserving some of her husband’s affection, once she is unable to have it undivided. Here, again, the abnormal fact of enamelled, straw-haired, painted and almost undressed wives and girls in good Society, are the handiwork of men—of fathers, husbands, brothers. Had the animal demands of the latter never created that class which Baudelaire calls so poetically les fleurs du mal, and who end by destroying every household and family whose male members have once fallen a victim to their hypnotism—no wife and mother, still less a daughter or a sister, would have ever thought of emulating the modern hetaera. But now they have. The act of despair of the first wife abandoned for a demi-mondaine has borne its fruit. Other wives have followed suit, then the transformation has gradually become a fashion, a necessity.( CW12, 248)
 How true then these remarks:
The absence of women’s rights does not consist in being deprived of the right of voting, or of administering law; but in the fact that with regard to matters of affection she is not the equal of man, that she has not the right to choose instead of being chosen. That would be quite abnormal, you think. Then let men also be without their rights. . . . . At bottom her slavery lies in the fact of her being regarded as a source of enjoyment. You excite her, you give her all kinds of rights equal to those of man:* but she is still looked upon as an instrument of pleasure, and she is brought up in that character from her childhood. . . . She is always the slave, humiliated and corrupted and  man remains still her pleasure-seeking master. Yes, to abolish slavery, it is first of all necessary that public opinion should admit that it is shameful to profit by the labor of one’s neighbor; and to emancipate woman it is necessary that public opinion should admit that it is shameful to regard her as an instrument of pleasure.
Such is man, who is shown in all the hideous nakedness of his selfish nature, almost beneath the “animals” which “would seem to know that their descendants continue the species, and they accordingly follow a certain law.” But “man alone does not, and will not, know. . . . . The lord of creation—man; who, in the name of his love, kills one half of the human race! Of woman, who ought to be his help-mate in the movement of Humanity towards freedom, he makes, for the sake of his pleasures, not a helpmate but an enemy. . . .” (CW12 ,249)
And now it is made abundantly clear, why the author of the Kreutzer Sonata has suddenly become in the eyes of all men—“the most conspicuous case out of Bedlam.” Count Tolstoy who alone has dared to speak the truth in proclaiming the whole relation of the sexes to each other as at present “a gross and vile abomination,” and who thus inteferes with “man’s pleasures”—must, of course, expect to be proclaimed a madman. He preaches “Christian virtue,” and what men want now is vice, such as the old Romans themselves have never dreamed of. “Stone him to death” — gentlemen of the press. (CW12249)
* This, only in “semi”-civilised Russia, if you please. In England she has not even the privilege of voting yet.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Blavatsky - The Year in Review - 2017

Sort of 

The first full year of Blavatsky News 2.0 has passed and so it is now time for our first annual review (coincidently, this is also our 50th post). However, we actually haven't covered much of 2017, the reason being that we decided to clean up and organize the rather sloppy, random, and very long posts that we were doing and this process took six months. Although still quite long, I think the shorter posts look better and there was no problem fitting them into specific topics, I`ve never found myself lacking material to fill out a post.

We could have moved on to material from 2017 sooner, it`s just that 2015 and 2016 were pretty big years, with many esoteric historians releasing books, the Enchanted Modernities project with various Museum expositions that brought Blavatsky to whole wider range of people, many events around Dharmapala's 150th anniversary, and so the Blavatsky revival showed no signs of slowing down and I thought it would be useful to record those years, for the family honor. I'm rather amazed at the diversity of topics that have come together, indicative of the wide range and depth of Blavatsky`s influence.

Perhaps we will catch up with 2017 quickly or we might not pursue the rather tight bi-weekly format we've been keeping, but rather adopt a more occasional, diversified approach, with more original written material since it is a little difficult keeping up with everything that is going on out there, hopefully we`ve managed to provide enough coverage to keep people interested, informed and entertained.

Despite last year's limited coverage so far, I'd like to also propose the news story of the year. Honorable mention would go to the indefatigable Daniel Caldwell, who released a book on the Coulomb-Hodgson affair, with the top story (which I haven't covered until now) being the return of Theosophical History, which had not appeared since 2014. 2017 saw the rapid-fire release of two double-size issues dated 2016 and a new issue for 2017.

Of particular note is Jeffrey Lavoie's work in presenting an important Blavatsky letter to Ralston Skinner from the Oxford archives. It is a very long 36-page comparative study of Hinduism and the Kabbalah. This type of erudite, original, strange, deep and surprising material is just the thing that makes Blavatsky such an interesting writer 125 years after her passing. Here's the contents for the Skinner issue:
For $2.50 one can buy a PDF (with password) of that issue. Write the editor and he will explain how to do it:

special thanks to Theosophy World News for thinking enough of our humble efforts to include some links in their coverage:

ps - As mentioned, I'm not sure where to go with Blavatsky News - but I do have a disorganized backlog of blog drafts - and from that I would venture to say that 2017 was a pretty good year, with a goodly sum of interesting material, of which the following is a sneak preview of future post topics (what is apparent is that we still have an abundant flow of Blavatsky material, so we have the luxury of being selective about what we cover, so the following list will probably get pruned and refined somewhat): 1-modernism, 2-Gnosticism, 3-Nazism, 4-annie besant anniversary, 5-Hinduism & Buddhism, 6-art, 7-science,8- new age-alternative spirituality, 9-general & 10-various other stuff such as book reviews...

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Blavatsky and Isis Unveiled 2

It is all Isis all the time at Blavatsky News as we celebrate the 140th anniversary of that epoch-making classic that is Isis Unveiled.

Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled 2, Part 1
Unveiling Isis 2, part 2
Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled 2, Part 3
Unveiling Isis 2, part 4
Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled 2 – Recap 1-4
Unveiling Isis 2, part 5
Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled 2, part 6
Unveiling Isis 2, part 7
Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled 2, part 8
Unveiling Isis 2 – recap Chapters 5-8
Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled 2, part 9
Unveiling Isis 2, part 10
Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled 2, part 11
Unveiling Isis 2, part 12
Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis 2 – recap chaps. 9-12
Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled 2, recap 1-12
Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled – Conclusion

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Blavatsky and Isis Unveiled I

Last year was the 125th anniversary of hpb’s passing and sadly, Blavasky News did nothing to mark the event. In order to karmically compensate for this omission, let us celebrate the 140th anniversary of the publication of Isis Unveiled in grand style with a collection of 24 articles analyzing volume one.
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Quest Books is having a 50 % off sale and Isis Unveiled is the pick for December (sale valid through December 31, 2017)
Decoding Isis part 1: Do flying guitars unconsciously cerebrate?
Decoding Isis part 2 – I, who am about to be sacrificed on the altar of public opinion, salute you!
Decoding Isis, part 3:”Our voice is raised for spiritual freedom, and our plea made for enfranchisement from all tyranny, whether of SCIENCE or THEOLOGY.”
Decoding Isis, part 4: Chap. 1a: Magic, Sacred Mathematics and the Doctrine of Cycles
Decoding Isis, Part 5: Cycles and the Yugas
Decoding Isis, part six – Chapter 2 – Spiritualistic phenomena, scientific investigation and occult explanations
Decoding Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled Part 7 : Chapter 3 -History of the reception of scientific discoveries and investigation of spiritual phenomena
Decoding Isis part 8: Chapter 4 – Theories Respecting Psychic Phenomena
Decoding Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled 9: Recap Chaps. 0-4
Decrypting Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled part 10 – Chapter 5
Decoding Isis part 11 – Chapter 6 – Paracelsian explanations of supernatural and psychic phenomena
Exploring Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled, part 12 – Chapter 7
Decoding Isis, part 13 – chapter 8
Understanding Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled, part 14, Chapter 9
Decoding Isis part 15 – Chapter 10
Decoding Isis part 16 – Recap – Chapters 5-10
Investigating Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled, part 17 – Chapter 11
Decoding Isis part 18, Chapter 12
Excavating Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled part 19, Chapter 13
Decoding Isis part 20, Chapter 14
Revisiting Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled, part 21, Chapter 15
Decoding Isis, part 22, recap chaps. 11-15
Revisiting Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled v. I, p. 23 – Conclusion
Decoding Isis part 24, Finale