Theosophy: So What’s It All About, Anyway?

29 Dec

Now that we’ve covered the history of Theosophy, let’s end our little sojourn with a discussion of what the movement was all about.

Basically, Spiritualism began the idea that ghosts and occultish things could be reasoned out and studied scientifically. However, Spiritualism was ill equipped to do so, for although many people interested in it took this approach, the mediums central to Spiritualism were mostly (if not all) pulling tricks, cons and wishful thinking.

As its most basic, Theosophy carries on this idea to a far greater extant and with far more knowledge. Spiritualism had limited access to esoteric ideas but Blavatksy assembled an immense amount of western AND eastern esotericism before she even began the Society. So Theosophy set out to explore studiously and to the extant it was capable, scientifically these spiritual and occult matters.

Theologically, Theosophy begins with the notions that Everything Is One and  As Above So Is Below. These are also the basic tenants of Western esotericism as a whole.

There is an Ultimate Absolute from which everything manifests. Things like…. you know, Universes manifest, live out their huge, cosmic but ultimately finite cycles and then reintegrate with the Absolute.

Once manifested there are 3 categories: Spirit, Consciousness and Matter, all interconnected and undergoing cycles of evolution. The universe and all within it evolves including souls, which go from a small low state to a high godlike state, free of karma.

The cosmos itself goes through a 7 step evolution and the entire human race also goes through 7 stages of evolution. 7 is the most important and holy number in the universe. Duh.

Human civilization, like everything else in the universe, develops through cycles of seven stages or epochs or “root races”. In the first age, humans were essentially pure spirit;

in the second age, they were known as Hyperboreans (in which humans strayed from their mystical otherworldly homeland in the Far North, becoming more ape-like and evil in the process);

in the third age, they were Lemurians (tall, sexually hermaphroditic, egg-laying beings, mentally undeveloped but spiritually more pure than the following root races);

in the fourth, Atlanteans (the nadir of the cycle, created after the Lemurians were sunk into the ocean for turning to bestiality and other transgressions).

The present fifth age, in which most of humanity belongs to the Aryan root race which originally developed out of the “cream” of the Atlantean civilization, is a time of reawakening of humanity’s psychic gifts. Like the older races before it, the Aryan root race will also eventually die out in time, to be replaced by the more advanced peoples of the sixth root race which is set to develop on the re-emerging Lemurian continent.

Got it?

Easy to read diagram

Blavasky has also asserted a Gnostic view of the world. Gnostics were an ancient Plato based religion that embraced Christianity whole heartedly when it came around. During the first 3 centuries Gnostics and Orthodox Christianity (i.e. the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches back when they were one) were the most influential strains of Christianity and they duked it out fiercely for centuries. Eventually in the 4th century Orthodoxy won and Gnostic texts were systematically destroyed to remove the dreaded heresy from history. Gnosticism survived in small crevices into the 16th century when a revitalization resulted in thousands of Gnostics being burned alive by the Catholic Church. Wiped out again, in the past several decades numerous Gnostic texts have been discovered which have given us more comprehensive glimpses into the movement.

Why do i bring this up? Gnosticism believes that this world was NOT created by the true God, but by a lesser and ultimately flawed god (the offspring of Wisdom, Sophia who had an offspring…. an emanation really, that was out of harmony with the Absolute) and this flawed offspring, desiring to be like the true God, created his own world, which is flawed and full of suffering and ugliness.

This flawed lesser god is at odds with the one true God, and in Gnosticism, Christ is sent from beyond by the one true God to save humanity from the evil world it is stuck in.

So you could indeed say, according to a Gnostic viewpoint that Satan is the actual creator of the world.

As you can imagine this does not go over well with a more classic Christian viewpoint. I’ve gone off on this long tangent because this point has been picked up by many fundamentalist Chistians and as a result will often come up in any general discussion of Blavatsky and it should be explained.

Theosophists practice meditation and the development of their spiritual abilties. Most of these abilities fall into the older definition of clairavoyance, which covered a lot of ground back then and now has various sub definitions like ‘remote viewing’, psychic ability, astral travel, premonition, visions, etc.

But basically, clairovoyance is the ability to gain information about an object, person, location or physical event through means other than the known human senses. Theosophists often try to develop this as much as possible. It is through this that they may contact the Hidden Masters as well as go on visions where they can see other places and times and learn about epochs, the workings of the universe and places like Atlantis.

Theosophy came up with the idea of Hidden Masters, highly spiritually evolved people who try to influence human events to help the species evolve.  This group of Masters is called The Great White Lodge. At first these  Masters were actually alive, but Guy Ballard and Alice Bailey later ran with the idea to create the Ascended Masters paradigm, which includes people both dead and evolved beyond mere matter.  Evolve your clairavoyant abilities enough and supposedly they may contact you to teach you.

This idea has led to the later channeling phenomenon where people channel “evolved” beings like Seth or Ramtha who blather on patronizingly at length.

The Lodge of The Great White Lodge

I would also point out that the “Hidden Masters guiding human events” idea did indeed mutate into the New World Order. The woman who put together the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Juliana Glinka, directly took Theosophy’s The Great White Lodge and turned it into an evil body (of Jewy type people) ruling the world nefariously. The stupid fucking Protocols eventually led to a non antisemitic but equally hysterical John Birch Society who coined the term New World Order and today we all know the idea that there’s a secret bunch of dastardly hand wringing Mr. Burns out there (in some cases still kind of Jewy) pulling the world’s strings.

I could sit here all day and list the number of Theosophical ideas that mutated throughout the 20th century.

Theosophy would explore any esoteric idea and try it out. It used Blavatsky’s material as a template to explore their own visions and insights. We’ve been over the World Teacher thing at length yesterday, but i’ll retouch on the concept as New Age uses the World Teacher at length. Blavatsky predicted the coming of a World Teacher, on par with Buddha or Jesus who would help the Aryan root race evolve.

(if all this talk of Aryan evolution over lesser races makes you uncomfortable, this entire concept has indeed been used ENORMOUSLY by both Nazi and neo-Nazi organizations. It was not what Blavatsky meant at all as far as i can discern. Ayran root race talk got picked up and thrown into Nazi occultism in the 1930s and 40s. Later in the 70s Nazi occultism got revitalized by the Temple Of Set, a highly influential satanic occult group and from there disseminated out to neo nazis occult groups by The White Order of Thule amongst others.)

Blavastky can indeed be connected with almost every occult movement in the 20th century until the Druid movement and Wicca finally started a new paradigm. (although Wicca can trace back to Crowley’s sex magic and the Golden Dawn. Seriously, I really could draw these lines around this all day)

However, what she really did was this: she collected western and eastern occultism, put it in one library so to speak and assembled a group to study and practice it. She then went on to develop an intricate cosmology, the cosmology pulling from interesting and creative crosses between Qabbalic and Hindu ideas. How power hungry she was or wasn’t, how deceitful she was or wasn’t i honestly don’t know. How much of it is great wisdom and how much utter horseshit? I’m sure you all have your own opinions. Theosophy’s influence over 20th century spiritual and esoteric thought is enormous, truly, more enormous than i can get across unless i dedicated an entire blog posts to following all the ideas from Theosophy to where they ended up.

Not bad for a Russian princess.


Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “Theosophy: So What’s It All About, Anyway?

  1. Cherries Jubilee

    December 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I read Isis Unveiled years ago while studying the roots of American Wicca. I have always been fascinated by Blavatsky, for no other reason than that she did so many things (travel etc) that were deemed impossible or at least unseemly. I think she got away with most of it because she billed it as a spiritual quest. American society has a great deal of trouble applying critical thinking to the actions of anyone who applies an Rev. in front of a sir name.

    Theosophical ideas are convoluted and dense – in the style of Cambridge scholarship of the day. It is for this reason that I don’t trust them. Blavatsky claims to reveal ancient hidden truths and then cloaks the ideas in so much academic circumlocution that it is hard to tease out a reasonable argument. My default is always, what proof do you offer? As with all religions the answer never satisfies.

    What I do appreciate about Theosophy is that there is a great mine of story lines and worlds to set them in. Mix them up with Darwinist ideas and some great stories come out. (Conan the Barbarian?) The whole is an elaborate fiction rich in metaphor.

  2. Keith Mcilwain

    December 30, 2011 at 2:51 am

    I’ve enjoyed this series. I’ve done research in the past on theosophy and, while I have serious theological disagreements with
    Madame Blavatsky and her cohorts, I have found their ideas ripe with ideas for creative fiction & storytelling, from fantasy to comic books to Atlantean theory (all hobbies of mine). I hope that doesn’t sound offensive or belittling; I don’t mean it to be. It’s not stuff I take into account for my faith but there are lots of fascinating ideas to play with.


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