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Pseudo-Theosophy and Pseudo-Messiahs: Imitations of Theosophy

Helena Blavatsky is sometimes referred to as the “Mother of the New Age” movement. This is not only untrue, it is not the compliment those that argue this to define her legacy seem to think it is. It can be strongly demonstrated, that H.P. Blavatsky would have critiqued the New Age movement more harshly than she did the Spiritualist movement.

“She was a completely cultured woman in the renaissance ideal: She was a scientist, poet, pianist, painter, philosopher, writer, educator and above all a tireless warrior for the Light. In her quest for truth and universal brotherhood, H.P. Blavatsky earned much enmity and many enemies. No one so ruffled the feathers of nineteenth century religious prejudice, spiritualistic charlatanism, and intellectual pomposity as she did.” (Dr. Paul Weinzweig in a 1978 United Nations tribute to “Outstanding Women”)

Blavatsky coined the term Pseudo-Theosophy not as polemic, but because she had discovered certain individuals and groups copying from Theosophy, developing new Angelologies, that included her teachers, thereby even placing themselves within those newly-constructed hierarchies upon pedestals to establish spiritual authority. For example, these persons would claim they were communicating through mediumship with “Kuthumi,” “El Morya,” Jesus, Maitreya, St. Germain, the Four Kumaras, and so on.

While Charles W. Leadbeater and Alice Bailey strongly influenced concepts and terminology commonplace in New Age thinking, the New Thought and Christian Science movement, Swedenborgians, Spiritualism, Allen Kardec, Wiccans, the Golden Dawn and many others were more or less huge role-players within the general burgeoning Western spirituality and culture, than just H.P. Blavatsky. But the target of the quotations provided deal with Spiritualism and Post-Blavatsky Theosophy (or Neo-Theosophy), that have arguably had more influence, than what was originally presented as Theosophy, therefore superseding it.


“(…) A new and rapidly growing danger (…) is threatening (…) the spread of the pure Esoteric Philosophy and knowledge (…) I allude to those charlatanesque imitations of Occultism and Theosophy (…)” (H.P. Blavatsky, Esoteric Instruction, No. 1., 1889.)

“Wherever [genuine] Theosophy spreads, there it is impossible for the deluded to mislead, or the deluded to follow. It opens a new path, a forgotten philosophy which has lived through the ages, a knowledge of the psychic nature of man, which reveals alike the true status of the Catholic saint, and the spiritualistic medium the Church condemns. It gathers reformers together, throws light on their way, and teaches them how to work towards a desirable end with most effect, but forbids any to assume a crown or sceptre, and no less delivers from a futile crown of thorns.” (Blavatsky, Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs, Lucifer (London), July, 1890.)

“Some of these apostles denounce alike Spiritualism and Theosophy; some accept the latter, but weave it anew into a version of their own; and some have apparently arisen, independently of any other cult, through the force of their own or somebody else’s conviction….” (Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy, 1889, pp. 21-22.)

“Great are the desecrations to which the names of two of the Masters [Koot Hoomi and Morya] have been subjected. There is hardly a medium who has not claimed to have seen them.” (Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy, 1889, pg. 301.)

By pandering to the prejudices of people, and especially by adopting the false ideas of a personal God and a personal, carnalized Saviour, as the groundwork of their teaching, the leaders of this ‘swindle’ (for such it is) are endeavoring to draw men to them and in particular to turn Theosophists from the true path.” (H.P. Blavatsky, Esoteric Instruction No. 1., 1889.)

“Theosophy (…) hushes the “Lo here! and lo there!” and declares the Christ, like the kingdom of heaven, to be within. (…) With the advent of Theosophy, the Messiah-craze surely has had its day, and sees its doom.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs)

I write in every letter that a divine Christ (or Christos) has never existed under a human form outside the imagination of blasphemers who have carnalized a universal and entirely impersonal principle.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Reply to the Mistaken Conceptions of the Abbe Roca concerning my Observations on Christian Esotericism)

The true Christians died with the last of the Gnostics, and the Christians of our day are but the usurpers of a name they no longer understand. As long as this is the case, Orientals cannot agree with Occidentals; no blending of religious ideas would be possible between them. (…)” (Helena P. Blavatsky, (Notes on Abbe Roca’s “Esotericism of Christian Dogma”)

“(…) A close examination will assuredly reveal (…) materials largely stolen (…) from Theosophical writings (…) [and] distorted and falsified so as to be palmed off on the unwary as revelations of new and undreamed of truths. But many will neither have the time nor the opportunity for such a thorough investigation; and before they become aware of the imposture they may be led far from the Truth.” (H.P. Blavatsky, Esoteric Instruction, No. 1., 1889.)

“(…) Nothing is more dangerous to Esoteric Truth than the garbled and distorted versions disfigured to suit the prejudices and tastes of men in general.” (H.P. Blavatsky, Esoteric Instruction, No. 1., 1889.)

“(…) save us from the impudent distortion of our theosophical teachings (…)” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Year Is Dead, Long Live The Year!, Lucifer (London), January, 1889.)

” (…) deliver us (…) from (…) the ‘Solar Adepts’ as they dub themselves, and their sun-struck followers (…).” (Blavatsky, The Year Is Dead, Long Live The Year!, Lucifer (London), January, 1889.)

“These are the ‘Solar adepts’ (…) No event could vindicate the policy of our journal [Lucifer] better than the timely exposure of these pseudo-adepts, those ‘Sages of the Ages’ who bethought themselves of trading upon the public hunger for the marvellous ad absurdum.” (On Pseudo-Theosophy, Lucifer (London), March, 1889.)

“(…) One (…) such [bogus Esoteric and Occult Society] just sprung up (…) is now being nipped in the bud and exposed by our own Theosophists.” (Blavatsky, On Pseudo-TheosophyLucifer (London), March, 1889.)

“There is an avowed re-incarnation of Buddha in the United States, and an avowed re-incarnation of Christ. Both have followers; both have been interviewed and said their best. They and others like unto them have had signs, illuminations, knowledge not common to men, and events pointing in a marked way to this their final destiny. There has even been a whisper here and there of supernatural births (…) And the result is sorry to behold, for each seems to be putting the crown upon his own head.”  (Blavatsky, Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs, Lucifer (London), July, 1890.)

“(…) Before the appearance of modern Theosophical literature it was ‘Spirits’ and ‘Controls’ that were ever in the mouths of these folk; now the living ‘adepts’ are served up with every sauce. It is ever and always Adepts here, Hierophants there (…)” (Blavatsky, “The Year Is Dead, Long Live The Year!,” Lucifer (London), January, 1889.)

“The angels from the ‘Summer Land’ are going out of fashion just now, for Spiritualists begin to know better and to discriminate. But because the ‘adept’ idea, or rather their philosophy, begins to gain ground, this is no reason why pretenders of every description should travesty in their (…) productions the teachings, phraseology, and Sanskrit terms out of theosophical books; or why, again, they should turn round and make people believe that these were given them by other ‘Hierophants,’ in their opinion, far higher, nobler and grander than our teachers.” (Blavatsky, The Year Is Dead, Long Live The Year!, Lucifer (London), January, 1889.)

“The great evil of the whole thing is, not that the truths of Theosophy are adopted by these blind teachers, for we should gladly welcome any spread, by whatever means, of ideals so powerful to wean the world from its dire materialism – but that they are so interwoven with mis-statements and absurdities that the wheat cannot be winnowed from the chaff, and ridicule, if not worse, is brought to bear upon. . . [the Theosophical] movement (…)” (Blavatsky, “The Year Is Dead, Long Live The Year!,” Lucifer (London), January, 1889.)

“(…) However it may be, let rather our ranks be made thinner, than the Theosophical Society go on being made a spectacle to the world through the exaggerations of some fanatics, and the attempts of various charlatans to profit by a ready-made programme. These, by disfiguring and adapting Occultism to their own filthy and immoral ends, bring disgrace upon the whole movement (…)” (Blavatsky, On Pseudo-TheosophyLucifer, London, March, 1889.)

“To enumerate the various ‘Messiahs’ and their beliefs and works would fill volumes. It is needless. When claims conflict, all, on the face of it, cannot be true. Some have taught less error than others. It is almost the only distinction. And some have had fine powers imperilled and paralyzed by leadings they did not understand.” (Blavatsky, Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs, Lucifer, London, July, 1890.)

“(…) For we have averted thereby a great and new danger to the Society–namely that of unscrupulous charlatans being taken for Theosophists. Misled by their lies and their publications filled with terms from Eastern philosophy and with ideas they had bodily stolen from us only to disfigure and misapply them–the American press has already referred to them as Theosophists (…)” (On Pseudo-TheosophyLucifer, London, March, 1889.)

“She lived in great truth, yet was called a liar; in great generosity, and was called a fraud; in a detestation of all shams, and yet – was crowned the Queen of Humbugs.” (Edmund Russell, American Artist; see Praise for H.P. Blavatsky and Theosophy)

“modern seers” and prophets

“’Ceremonial Magic’ according to the rules mockingly laid down by Eliphas Levi, is another imagined alter-ego of the philosophy of the Arhats of old. In short, the prisms through which Occultism appears, to those innocent of the philosophy, are as multicolored and varied as human fancy can make them.

Will these candidates to Wisdom and Power feel very indignant if told the plain truth? It is not only useful, but it has now become necessary to disabuse most of them and before it is too late. This truth may be said in a few words: There are not in the West half-a-dozen among the fervent hundreds who call themselves “Occultists,” who have even an approximately correct idea of the nature of the Science they seek to master. With a few exceptions, they are all on the highway to Sorcery. Let them restore some order in the chaos that reigns in their minds, before they protest against this statement.” (Helena Blavatsky, Studies in Occultism, Occultism versus the Occult Arts)

Vainly do your modern seers and their prophetesses, creep into every cleft and crevice without outlet or continuity they chance to see; and still more vainly, when once within do they lift up their voices and loudly cry: ‘Eureka! We have gotten a Revelation from the Lord!’ — for verily have they nothing of the kind. They have disturbed but bats, less blind than their intruders; who, feeling them flying about, mistake them as often for angels — as they too, have wings! Doubt not, my friend: it is but from the very top of those ‘adamantine rocks’ of ours, not at their foot, that one is ever enabled to perceive the whole Truth, by embracing the whole limitless horizon (…)” (K.H., The Mahatma Letters, 2nd ed., Letter 48, Allahabad, 1882).

“Remember that with our physical senses alone at our command none of us can hope to see beyond gross matter. We can do so only through one or another of our seven spiritual senses, if these are trained, or if one is a born seer. Even with this capacity and when seeing in the astral light, unless one is an Adept, ignorance of the whole truth can only lead the most honest and sincere clairvoyant (…) to mistake the denizens of such spheres, of which he may occasionally get a glimpse, for God or Angels (…)” (Helena P. Blavatsky, E.S. Instruction No. 1, 1890 ed., pg. 17)

“From Swedenborg onwards there have been many seers who profess to gather their knowledge of other worlds from actual observation, but such persons are isolated, and subject to the delusions of isolation. Any intelligent man will have an intuitive perception of this, expressing itself in a reluctance on his part to surrender himself entirely to the assurances of any such clairvoyants. But in the case of regularly initiated seers it must be remembered that we are dealing with a long — an extraordinarily long — series of persons who, warned of the confusing circumstances into which they pass when their spiritual perceptions are trained to range beyond material limits, are so enabled to penetrate to the actual realities of things, and who constitute a vast organized body of seers, who check each other’s conclusions, test each other’s discoveries and formulate their visions into a science of spirit as precise and entirely trustworthy as, in their humble way, are the conclusions, as far as they go, of any branch of physical science. Such initiates are in the position, as regards spiritual knowledge, that the regularly taught professor of a great university is in, as regards literary knowledge, and anyone can appreciate the superior claims of instruction which might be received from him, as compared with the crude and imperfect instruction which might be offered by the merely self- taught man. The initiate’s speculations, in fact, are not spun at all; they are laid out before him by the accumulated wisdom of ages, and he has merely followed, verified and assimilated them (…)” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Spiritualism And Occult Truth, The Theosophist, Vol. III. February, 1882.)

“Faith in the Gods and God, and other superstitions attracts millions of foreign influences, living entities and powerful agents around [the devotees of various religions] (…) The unprogressed Planetaries (…) delight in personating gods and sometimes well known characters who have lived on earth.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Mahatma Letters, Letter no. 134, Dehra Dun, 1882; ends the letter with “Yours with the love of Jesus”)

“Unless one obtains exact information and the right method, one’s visions, however correct and true in Soul-life, will ever fail to get photographed in our human memory, and certain cells of the brain are sure to play havoc with our remembrances.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 14., Doctrine of the Eye)

“In reference to your wonder that the views of the three mystics ‘are far from being identical,’ what does the fact prove? Were they instructed by disembodied, pure, and wise Spirits — even by those of one remove from our earth on the higher plane — would not the teachings be identical? The question arising: ‘May not Spirits as well as men differ in ideas?’ Well, then their teaching — aye, of the highest of them since they are the ‘guides’ of the three great London Seers — will not be more authoritative than those of mortal men. ‘But, they may belong to different spheres?’ Well; if in the different spheres contradictory doctrines are propounded, these doctrines cannot contain the Truth, for Truth is One, and cannot admit of diametrically opposite views; and pure Spirits who see it as it is, with the veil of matter entirely withdrawn from it — cannot err….” (K.H., The Mahatma Letters, 2nd. ed., Letter 9. or see Psychic versus Initiate Vision) 

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