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Old 12-15-15   #1
BenSt
 
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Default Helena Patrovka Blavatsky

A very interesting figure from the Victorian and Edwardian times, the infamous Madame Blavatsky was one of the cofounders of the Theosophical Movement, a moement based upon Blavatsky's own writings concerning the true nature and histiry of the occult. Theosophy has had a massive impact on the world, despite now being dated and tinged with orientalist notions... you cannot deny that it helped to not only popularize spirituality in the West, but also had a huge impact on the bourgeoning independence movements in several countries and in the redirection of Buddhism.

Blavatasky was born in Russia in 1831, but migrated to the United States where she became active in the Spiritism movement. She, along with an American Colonel, Col. Olcott, then began formulating and allegedly contacting 'Ascended Masters.' They originally saw Egypt as the fountainhead of knowledge, and Blavatsky penned the massive tome Isis Unveiled. It was a trip to India that persuaded Blavatsky and Olcott to shift gears and focus on Hinduism and eventually Buddhism. In the 1880s/90s they began working with the local Buddhist Sinhalese, and opened up Buddhist colleges. In a way they were trying to coopt Buddhism and bring it under the guidance of Theosophy, however their main pupil Anagarika Dhamapala cut ties with the Theosophists and redirected the Buddhist movement and indeed Sinhalese nationalism in the direction o self determination (unfortunately, Dhamapala directed it towards xenophobia and the Sri Lankan civil war of the 1980s and 90s is a direct link to the early movement.)

In 1891 Blavatsky died, but left Theosophy in capable hands. It became a major force within modern Occultism, but sadly has now dwindled. They still have representation across the world but they are a shadow of their former global self.
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Old 12-16-15   #2
petrus4
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Default Re: Helena Patrovka Blavatsky

Theosophy is great fun. The Melbourne TS Bookshop was a favourite destination during my teens, and still would be if I was living down there. The Secret Doctrine is recommended reading, as is Esoteric Astrology. The writing style of both Blavatsky and Bailey is sadly very similar to Crowley's and Dion Fortune's, in terms of an almost impenetrable level of self-importance, pretension, and grandiosity; but there is some genuinely amazing insight to be found in there, if you are willing to wade through the ocean of bullshit to find it.
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Old 12-16-15   #3
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Default Re: Helena Patrovka Blavatsky

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Originally Posted by petrus4 View Post
Theosophy is great fun. The Melbourne TS Bookshop was a favourite destination during my teens, and still would be if I was living down there. The Secret Doctrine is recommended reading, as is Esoteric Astrology. The writing style of both Blavatsky and Bailey is sadly very similar to Crowley's and Dion Fortune's, in terms of an almost impenetrable level of self-importance, pretension, and grandiosity; but there is some genuinely amazing insight to be found in there, if you are willing to wade through the ocean of bullshit to find it.
Blavatsky was a little before Crowley's time, they never met, but he did consider her in high esteem in his own work. It was the way of the times, you look at other Victorian and Edwardian writers of the time and you get the same style.
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