One of the most important figures in the history of occultism is Madam Helena Blavatsky, whose influence is still felt today. Let’s take a look at what she is known for.
Helena Blavatsky wrote several influential books on occultism, and cofounded the Theosophical Society. Born a Russian Aristocrat, she possessed psychic abilities, and was trained in Tibet by Ascended Masters. Influenced by Hinduism, she introduced eastern concepts such as reincarnation and karma to the West.
She lived an extraordinary live, travelling throughout the world in her pursuit of the advanced spiritual knowledge she would eventually give the world. Here are eleven things Helena Blavatsky is known for:
1) Cofounded the Theosophical Society
In 1875, Blavatsky cofounded the spiritual organization, which is dedicated to the philosophy of Theosophy. The group blends Hermeticism, Hinduism, Qabalah, and Sufism, in order to create a universal religion based on a deeper truth.
Some of the core ideas that Blavatsky brought to the group include the Intelligent Evolution of All Existence, which describes how our world is part of larger universe that includes many other levels or dimensions, and advanced spiritual beings.
The name Theosophy is based on the Greek word “theosophia” which is made up of two word “theos” (God or divine) and “sophia” (wisdom). There the full name means something like “divine wisdom”.
In 1873 Blavatsky moved to New York, where she met Colonel Henry Steel Olcott. He was a military officer and lawyer, who dedicated much of his life to reviving Buddhism. Together they co-founded the Theosophical Society. Shortly after the founding, they relocated to India, and the organization saw rapid growth.
After Blavatsky’s death the society experienced a schism, and broke into two different groups in India and the United States. One of the groups eventually ceased to exist, while the other eventually further splintered, leading to another group called the Anthroposophical Society, led by another well-known mystic named Rudolph Steiner.
2) Possessed Remarkable Psychic Abilities
As a child growing up in it an aristocratic family in the Russian Empire, it became apparent from a young age that Blavatsky possessed unusual psychic abilities. These abilities became much more heightened later in her life when she began studying with Ascended Masters in Tibet.
According to Blavatsky, she practiced the psychic methods of the ancient Rishis of Tibet and India. Her abilities included clairvoyance and telepathy. She was also to read thoughts, communicate with the deceased, and could answer a question someone only had in their head. She was also able to use her psychic abilities to prescribe medication for disease, and allegedly could even move objects with just her mind. A big part of her psychic process involved having a command of the elementals, which are aspects of nature.
3) She was Trained in Tibet by Ascended Masters
As a child Blavatsky was repeatedly visited in her dreams by an Indian Mahatma, and then on her twentieth birthday she met him in London. Following his guidance she travelled to Tibet, where she received training from a group of Ascended Masters in Ashrams in the Himalayan mountains. The Ascended Masters are advanced spiritual beings who have already resolved their karma, but chose to incarnate again in this world in order to help humanity.
This group that taught Blavatsky included Morya (the man she met on her twentieth birthday) and Koot Hoomi, whom she studied with in the Himalayans. They continued to guide her throughout her life, and were instrumental in the founding of the Theosophical Society. Read more about her trips to Tibet here.
4) Wrote the Book called The Secret Doctrine
Published in 1888, the Secret Doctrine is considered her masterpiece, and most important book, and outlines the major concepts of Theosophy. She describes the origins of the universe and of humanity, as well as discusses mythology and ancient scriptures.
Her concept of the universe and human evolutions involves cycles of time lasting millions of years, similar to Hindu cosmology. She described her work as being a synthesis of religions, philosophy, and science, and a revival of “Ancient Wisdom”. The book was instrumental in introducing eastern concepts to the western world, which had previously been unknown.
Originally over 1400 pages, it consists of two volumes, with each volume having three parts. Despite her books being full of references, those who observed her writing claim that all of her writing was done without any notes or references materials. The outline of the book is as follows:
Volume 1: Cosmogenesis
Part 1: Cosmic Evolution
Part II. The Evolution of Symbolism in its Approximate Order
Part III. Science and The Secret Doctrine Contrasted
Volume 2: Anthropogenesis
Part I. Anthropogenesis
Part II. The Archaic Symbolism of the World-Religions
Part III. Addenda. Science and The Secret Doctrine Contrasted
5) Amongst the First People from United States to Become Buddhist
In 1880 Blavatsky and Olcott, her fellow co-founder of the Theosophical Society moved to India. They travelled throughout the country, visiting various people and organizations allied with their ideas. At this time, they were invited to Sri Lanka by Buddhist monks. During this trip they became the first people from the United States to officially convert to Buddhism. The conversion involved a ceremony where they took the Five Precepts, which means to abide by the Buddhist system of morality.
Olcott in particular felt a strong connection with Buddhism, as he went on to found the Buddhist Education Fund, whose aim was to encourage the locals to reconnect with their Buddhist traditions, rather than converting to Christianity, as was occurring.
6) Came from an Aristocratic Russian Family
Helena Blavatsky was born in 1831 in what is now the fourth largest city in Ukraine. Her family was Russian-German royalty, as her maternal grandmother was a Russian princess, and her father was a descendent of the von Hahn family, a recognized German royal lineage since at least the 700s AD. Her great-great grandfather was a French Huguenot noblemen, who had joined the court of Catherine the Great in order to escape persecution.
Blavatsky came from a family of highly successful women, as her mother was a writer who published novels, and her grandmother was botanist who devoted a wing of her palace to a collection of flora, which included their Latin names. Blavatsky was baptized in the Russian Orthodox church, was taught several languages, and excelled in her piano lessons and painting.
Blavatsky travelled throughout Russia as a child, accompanied by servants. Her family moved often because her father was a military officer. When they moved to the city of Saratov, Blavatsky gained access the personal library of her maternal great-grandfather, Prince Pavel Vasilevich Dolorukov. The library contained books on esoteric and occult subjects, which encouraged and accelerated her growth in that direction. As she got older, she travelled throughout the world, with money provided to her by her father.
7) Used Hindu Cosmology in Her Philosophy
Blavatsky’s work aimed to create a “grand religious synthesis” in which the deeper truth of all religions would be included, and in this pursuit, she drew extensively from Hinduism. The Upanishads, the Vedic Sanskrit texts of Hinduism, describe many of the concepts that are also part of Blavatsky’s view of the universe, such as:
Cycles of Time
According to Hinduism the Universe has repeating cycles of time that last millions of years, with each cycle having its own characteristics. We are currently in the Kali Yuga cycle, which is the shortest of the cycles at 432 000 years, and is also the worst of the cycles, when humanity’s most negative traits are most prevalent. Read more about Kali Yuga here.
The idea that are souls are reborn into another lifetime after we die is shared between Theosophy and Hinduism, as well as many other belief systems of the East, including Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Blavatsky described it as the ego being born on this earth innumerable times, and also interpreted the Christian concept of resurrection to mean the rebirth of the ego in another form.
Another concept from Hinduism that was unknown in the West until Blavatsky introduced it is Karma, which is a Sanskrit word that means “action” or “deed”. It is the idea that our actions are constantly setting in motion cause and effect, which create the experiences we have in life, as the universe seeks balance. Blavatsky described karma as “the ultimate Law of the Universe”. You can read more about Hinduism here.
8) Developed the Idea of Causeless Cause
According to Blavatsky, the Causeless Cause is the absolute that is beyond all conditioned state. It is an “omnipresent, eternal, boundless, and immutable principle” in Theosophy. It is the concept of God, and the control point from which all emerges, and to which all gravitates. It is also described as “pure awareness”, or “consciousness at rest”.
9) Described the Root Races of Humanity
Blavatsky described the origins of humanity as coming from a group of root races, which lived on now non-existent continents. The idea which had also described by others before her, describes the continents of Atlantis and Lemuria which were destroyed by earthquakes and divided into the continents we now have today. Blavatsky described the root races, of which there are seven, however so far only five have appeared so far, as migrating to new lands as the continents broke apart. She predicted the sixth will appear in the 28th century. She described the five root races as the following:
The first root race, they were ethereal beings, who reproduced by dividing like amoebas.
Golden yellow beings who lived in Hyperborea, a northern land described in Greek mythology, in what is now Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia, and Northern Asia. At the time the climate was tropical, as the Earth had not yet tilted on its axis.
The third race lived in Lemuria, a continent in what is now the Indian Ocean, who remnants include Australia and Madagascar. The Lemurians came into existence 34.5 million years ago and existed at the same time as dinosaurs. They were much larger than modern humans, and as their continent was slowly destroyed by volcanoes they moved to Africa, southern India, and the East Indies, where their descendants continue to live.
The inhabitants of the continent of Atlantis, which existed in what is now the Atlantic Ocean, the Atlanteans came into existence 4.5 million years ago. They were the descendants of the Lemurians, and they created an advanced civilization that reached its peak around one million years ago. They possessed advanced aircraft technology, extensive aqueducts, and organized a socialist economic system.
The Atlanteans were the first to develop organized warfare, including weaponry and organized tactics, and even human-animal hybrids called chimeras with human bodies and the heads of lions and tigers, which would eat enemies on the battlefield. The Atlanteans eventually split into two groups, as some of them became more materialistic and selfish, practicing black magic.
One of the Ascended Masters who guided Blavatsky, named Morya, incarnated as the Emperor of Atlantis in 220 000 BC to lead the side of white magic, and to oppose the black magic. Wars occurred between the two factions, and the white magicians were able to escape Atlantis before the final cataclysm, which destroyed Atlantis.
The Aryans are descendants of the Atlanteans, whose origins can be traced to 100 000 years ago. They began as migrants leaving Atlantis and moved to the Sahara, which at the time was a lush jungle, where they created the “City of the Sun”. Some of them continued the migration, going to a place called the “white island”, an island that was located where the Gobi Desert currently is. This group built the City of the Bridge, which has connections to the etheric city of Shamballa. Blavatsky described the Aryans as being more intellectually advanced, and as possessing a “sacred spark” within them.
The Sixth and Seventh Races
These groups will appear on Earth in the future. The sixth will be established by the Theosophists in California in the 28th century, and it will be a selective eugenic breeding. The world will be nuclear powered, and there will be a one world government, led by the reincarnation of Julius Caesar.
The Seventh race will arise out of the sixth race, and will be androgenous. Conception and birth will be entirely spiritual, and humanity will go through a lot of karmic changes during this time, experiencing destruction in a cleansing process.
10) Was Accused of Being Jack the Ripper by Alistair Crowley
Although probably not true, it is an intriguing bit of trivia in the history of the occult, that Blavatsky was accused of being the infamous serial killer, by fellow occultist Alistair Crowley. In an unpublished article, Crowley named her as the person behind the killings of a series of prostitutes in London in 1888, claiming that Blavatsky did it as part of a magical ritual. Blavatsky did spend her later years in London, and was there during the time of the murders. You can read more about this here.
11) Suffered from Health Problems Throughout Her Life
Throughout Blavatsky’s life she experienced many health problems, and was diagnosed as having Bright’s Disease, which effects the kidneys and heart.
She was born in the middle of a cholera epidemic, which her mother caught shortly after giving birth, although both mother and baby were able to survive the pandemic. Her mother also suffered poor health throughout her life, dying at the age of twenty-eight of tuberculous.
In 1864, Blavatsky fell from a horse. She spent several months in a coma, and fractured her spine. It was also around this time, between 1860 and 1865, that she experienced severe psychic crisis, during which her psychic abilities were activated.
In 1885, her health took a turn for the worse, and she relocated to London, partially for the milder weather. She spent the remainder of her life there in a wheel chair before eventually dying of influenza in 1891 at the age of fifty-nine.
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