Tag Archives: h p blavatsky

Commentaries on the Holy Books and Other Papers

Commentaries on the Holy Books and Other Papers (Equinox), containing commentaries on the Class A libri by Aleister Crowley and other papers, including work by H P Blavatsky, J F C fuller and Charles Stansfeld Jones (Frater Achad), is part of the collection at the Reading Room. This is both a paperback and hardcover published as Equinox IV 1 by Weiser.

Aleister Crowley and others in Commentaries on the Holy Books also called Equinox IV 1 from Weiser

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Inside the Occult

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Inside the occult: The true story of Madame H. P. Blavatsky by Henry Steel Olcott:

Henry Steel Olcott's Inside the Occult

 

Inside the Occult is a 1975 reprint of the first of six volumes from Henry Steel Olcott’s Old Diary Leaves, in which he provides a memoir of the Theosophical Society, for which he was a founder and the first president. Although Daniel Grotta-Kurska (better known as a Tolkien biographer) provides a new introduction for this reprint, Olcott’s original foreword is omitted. This volume covers the period of 1874-1879, and might have been titled “H.P.B. and Me: Origins of the Theosophical Society.”

Old Diary Leaves was written after the death of H.P. Blavatsky, the famous sybil who had been Olcott’s chief collaborator in the creation of the Theosophical Society, as well as their most conspicuous link to the Masters, Adepts, or to use the later-standard Theosophical jargon, Mahatmas. Olcott and Blavatsky had had some disagreements in the period between the events described in this volume and her later death, but his memories of her here are highly complimentary. She is presented as noble in intention, if flawed in character, and certainly in possession of supernatural powers, although these are employed in strange mixtures with trickery for purposes that are inscrutable often even to herself. Olcott suggests that he and Blavatsky’s other close associates at the time may have had their perceptions routinely altered by post-hypnotic suggestions of her devising.

Olcott discusses the manner in which H.P.B. served as a vehicle for a variety of adepts who were understood to have guided the creation of the Theosophical Society and the authoring of Isis Unveiled, that erratic compendium of lore that was such a touchstone for the occultism of its era. It is important to note that Blavatsky did not profess herself, nor was she viewed by Olcott as, a passive trance medium for spirits of the dead after the fashion of the Spiritualism of the time. Spiritualism had provided the setting for these two to encounter each other initially, but their own later Theosophical occultist reading of Spiritualist phenomena held such operations to be misunderstood and misrepresented by their advocates. The “spirit controls” were actually “elemental and elementary” spirits being given undeserved free rein among human dupes. Blavatsky’s possession by her Masters was in contrast a conscious collaboration with still-living humans of supernatural puissance.

In a somewhat tentative passage, that is still one of the most striking in the book, Olcott goes so far as to hypothesize that the woman Helena Blavatsky may have actually died a violent death in Europe before he met her, and that during the entire period of their association, she was animated by the combined efforts of a group of adepts who were using her as their worldly instrument.

Not all of the book is about H.P.B., however. The essential narrative is that of the creation of the Theosophical Society, from its initial combinations of Spiritualist and occultist milieux and eventual addition of Eastern (i.e. south Asian) philosophies, up until the establishment of the British branch of the Society and the departure of Olcott and H.P.B. from New York to found the new headquarters in India. A full chapter gives an accounting of the “first cremation in America,” as engineered by the founding Theosophists. And there is a great deal of anecdote and description regarding the New York apartment “Lamasery” where H.P.B. wrote Isis Unveiled, and where Olcott presided over their “little Bohemia” of Victorian esotericism. Also, Olcott discusses his own experiences of astral projection, encounters with adepts, and other phenomena from which he exempts H.P.B. as an actor.

There is just no getting around the Theosophical Society in the history of modern esoteric movements, and this firsthand account of its origins is both entertaining and revealing. [via]

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices and Spiritual Heresies

Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices and Spiritual Heresies by Stephen E Flowers, from Inner Traditions, was published back in June, recently went into reprint, but I haven’t mentioned it previously. The book covers quite a few topics that may be of interest and are related to the subject matter in the library.

 

“From black magic and Satanism to Gnostic sects and Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way, the left-hand path has been linked to many practices, cults, and individuals across the ages. Stephen Flowers, Ph.D., examines the methods, teachings, and historical role of the left-hand path, from its origins in Indian tantric philosophy to its underlying influence in current world affairs, and reveals which philosophers, magicians, and occult figures throughout history can truly be called “Lords of the Left-Hand Path.”

Flowers explains that while the right-hand path seeks union with and thus dependence on God, the left-hand path seeks a “higher law” based on knowledge and power. Following a carefully crafted definition of a true adherent of the left-hand path based on two main principles—self-deification and challenge to the conventions of “good” and “evil”—the author analyzes many famous and infamous personalities, including H. P. Blavatsky, Faust, the Marquis de Sade, Austin Osman Spare, Aleister Crowley, Gerald Gardner, Anton LaVey, and Michael Aquino, and reveals which occult masters were Lords of the Left-Hand Path.

Flowers shows that the left-hand path is not inherently evil but part of our heritage and our deep-seated desire to be free, independent, and in control of our destinies.”

 

Violet Tweedale’s first edition of The Secret Doctrine

Violet Tweedale, who was, among other things, a member of the Isis-Urania Temple in Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, once owned a first edition of H.P. Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine which is now on auction online at “The Secret Doctrine – First Edition 1888 Volumes I & II with Volume III & Index“.

“A unique autographed association copy belonging to Violet Tweedale with copious fascinating and erudite marginalia in pencil (see sample images below).

Tweedale, a British author, was a close associate of H.P.B., an initiate of the Order of the Golden Dawn, and a respected psychic. Tweedale herself published over 30 books on spiritualist subjects. Her comments should be of great interest to scholars in the field of esoterica generally and Theosophy in particular.”

 

Violet Tweedale was the author of a number of books, including The Cosmic Christ about which Weiser Antiquarian writes:

“In the present work Tweedale argues that Christ was not simply a figure that appeared for a short period of time on earth two millennia ago, but a universal figure whose creative and inspirational influence spread across the Universe.” [via]

See more about Violet Tweedale at Wikipedia and Google books