The Issue of Theosophy, Occultism, and National Socialism in Germany (1880s-1930s): Blavatsky and Theosophical Notions of Race against Hitler, List, & Liebenfels
“To the mentally lazy or obtuse, Theosophy must remain a riddle; for in the world mental as in the world spiritual each man must progress by his own efforts. The writer cannot do the reader’s thinking for him, nor would the latter be any the better off if such vicarious thought were possible.”THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, P. XI.
The foundations of the 17th-19th century ‘Traditional Theosophy’ still developing in the Academies and under scholars, and specifically the exposition of ‘trans-Himalayan esotericism’ propagated by H.P. Blavatsky, her colleagues and teachers did not influence Antisemitism, Adolf Hitler, National Socialism and Fascism. However, there is a relation between Blavatsky’s ‘Theosophy,’ and occult, or spiritualist interests in Austria and Germany, involving the ‘Ariosophy’ of Guido von List and Lanz von Liebenfels. This cannot be construed as to argue, that (1) Theosophical notions are responsible for Hitler’s racial ideology, or Ariosophy, if the teachings and notions of Blavatsky and her sponsors’ writings negate nor compare to Ariosophy and National Socialism even in the use of particular terminology; and (2) neither is there a need for “Traditional Theosophers” to feel the urge to reject Blavatsky in Guénonian fashion! to save their reputation. This reputation derives from the tradition proceeding what some consider “Blavatskian Theosophy” (or rather her ‘trans-Himalayan esoteric system’).
Lanz von Liebenfels wrote in 1932, that Hitler was a pupil of the Ariosophists. Austrian psychologist, Wilfried Daim (1923-2016) writes in Der Mann, der Hitler die Ideen gab: Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels (pp. 20-21 and 120-21) that Liebenfels claims he had direct contact with H.P. Blavatsky at one point, and personal contact with Hitler, when he visited him in 1909 to obtain some back issues of the Ostara (magazine). It is true that a very few German Theosophists were sympathetic to the cause of the National Socialists and Fascists. Theosophy is not a historically defunct idea and cause relegated to the past, as to candidly permit so much unverifiable slander against its movement, nor did H.P. Blavatsky invent ‘Theosophy,’ and ideas concerning the multifold meanings of ancient symbols, such as the sevenfold meaning of the swastika. The swastika therefore holds its rightful value in the History of the MYSTERIES and Fraternities, as well as having been used and known to many nations long before the National Socialists adapted it. The case is no different from the use of the FASCES in American symbolism, as on the wall of the U.S. Senate Chamber, in old American Magazines, and in U.S. Capitol architecture. Scholars often speak of THEOSOPHY as if (1) it all depends on H.P. Blavatsky; (2) is merely an invention or construction of Blavatsky’s hyper-imagination; or (3) as if Theosophists do not even exist to no longer defend it, or her (i.e., ignoring Theosophists when they do). A few, including leading Theosophists of the present-day disregard inarguable defenses involving differences between Blavatsky’s discourse and system of esoteric philosophy from that of Charles W. Leadbeater, Alice Bailey, Annie Besant among others and what H.P.B. herself coined properly, “Pseudo-Theosophy”(e.g., ‘Christo-Theosophical’ offshoots). They hence discount the very idea of a “Pseudo” or “distorted Theosophy” as the discourse of “orthodox,” even “dogmatic Theosophists.” In the aim to seek scholarly legitimacy or play the middle, they are confronted with this dilemma.
Most importantly however, without recognizing the “19th century ‘Theosophical system’” as it was taught and classified – respecting the teachers and school it derives from – versus modified, or distorted systems derived from it, demarcating the difference between Theosophy and Ariosophy here wouldn’t be possible. Being able to do so, prevents false charges that it contributes to its foundations. It is false, for Theosophy negates its thinking. Scholars tend to methodologically revert to overused academic rhetoric familiar in that of deconstructionism and critical theory. The method gives the allusion, that there’s a direct connection between Theosophy and the racial völkisch ideology espoused by Adolf Hitler, other ‘anti-Jewish’ Germans and German occultists of the time. That pattern is not indicative of factual research, but opinionated arguments, hypothesis, conjecture, or sometimes intentional dishonesty and conspiracy under the guise of scholarship. Theosophy and Theosophists still exist, some independently or in disagreement with the operations and choices of the present-day Theosophical Society; and others as due-paying members and board members of one of the four Theosophical branches. Theosophy for Blavatsky aimed to put (1) high ethics; (2) knowledge of nature’s secrets; and (3) “universal brotherhood” into practice. The latter refers to hopes of international peace and the cooperation of nations, and the dependency of life within the human economy and grand ecosystem. This is rooted in the concept of dependent origination or pratītyasamutpāda; and not as some suggest derived from Blavatsky interaction with socialist rhetoric, nor a scheme to propagate socialism. Theosophy concerns (1) Neo-Platonic, Central and South Asian roots; (2) transcendental psychology and divine inspiration; (3) the theory of an ancient ‘Wisdom-Religion’ or ‘secret doctrine’ (ancient universal pan-esotericism); and (4) original ancient occultism (or magic) as the true source of spiritualism.
Keywords:Theosophy, Blavatsky, Hitler, National Socialism, Race, Thule, Liebenfels, Guido von List, German Occultism
The regularly cited main sources of influence on Adolf Hitler and German National Socialism refer to Richard Wagner, the philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer, the Viennese politicians George von Schonerer and Karl Lueger, Joseph Arthur Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, nationalism, Social Darwinism, regional occult influences, Blavatsky and Theosophy, and racism. The organization of the Theosophical Society in Germany and the very nature of the German theosophical organization, including the position of Rudolf Steiner around the beginning of the twentieth-century was very complicated.
Cornelius Tabori wrote in his diary about occultism in Germany:
“Germany seems to be gripped by an occult fever. Its victims are like drug-addicts; every new psychic fashion claims thousands of adherents and dozens of victims….Men and women have become exhausted by the sorrows and horrors of reality; they flee to the world of imagination; the maze of everyday life enfolds them and they hope to find a way out through occultism and dreams.” My Occult Diary (London, 1951), p. 53.
The belief of the National Socialist was fundamentally rooted in notions on the nature of the blood, albeit modified in theory to work in tangent with ethnic and racial notions of the time-period, as Edouard Calic details in his Secret Conversations with Hitler (New York, ed. 1971, p. 68). In this 1931 interview with a Leipzig newspaper editor, Adolf Hitler declared with passion on the National Socialist movement, that it judged people by the spiritual force those people were only capable of putting forth. This “historic mission” Hitler said, was a “spiritual cause” requiring unique spiritual fighters to create and maintain a thousand-year Reich. It can be surmised, that the climate of occultism in Hitler’s formative years did have an impact on him.
Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels was certain however:
“One day in August 1909 a young man dropped by the Vienna office of the Austrian occultist, Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels. Pale and shabby in appearance, the man politely introduced himself and asked whether he might order some back issues of Lanz’s self-published periodical, Ostara. Lanz’s Ostara was dedicated to propagating an esoteric doctrine, known as Ariosophy, which prophesied the resurgence of a lost Aryan civilisation peopled by a Nordic ‘God Men.’ Touched by his visitor’s sympathetic appearance and earnest demeanor, Lanz offered the young man some copies of Ostara free of charge and two crowns for the street car home. The visitor, according to Lanz’s 1951 memoir, was Adolf Hitler.” (Eric Kurlander, Hitler’s Obsession with the Occult, June 30, 2017, retrieved from https://yalebooksblog.co.uk/2017/06/30/hitler-obsession-occult-kurlander/)
Lanz von Liebenfels in 1925 wrote, that “already there appear the outlines of a new Ariosophical, Ario-Christian International: Fascism in Italy, Awakening Hungary, the Spanish Fascists, the North American Ku Klux Man and finally the Swastika movement in Germany, directly proceeding from Ariosophy” (Daim, 23).
Ariosophists, with their notions of the purity of the blood, believed that the Aryans (they fancied as themselves) were dying-off. The mightiest counterpart of the Aryan is the Jew, Mein Kampf reads (Hitler, 300). Jews are not a counterpart, foe, or enemy of the Theosophists, nor has any Theosophist ever written such an idea. This paper will prove, that the Theosophists do not hold the same views, and the idea that Theosophists influenced Nazis will become ridiculous, fundamentally contradicting one another. The writings of Theosophists and Blavatsky on the Jewish tradition, the Jewish people, its origins and the Kabbalah are built on both good and critical judgment, involving witnessed observation (e.g., H.P.B.’s article Jews in Russia, in a New York newspaper), and facts of archaeology, as well as comparative and religious studies (e.g., the issue of Asherah, El and Yahweh — a tribal deity; the construction of monotheism; none of the three monotheisms being the “True Religion” with the “One True God”). H.P. Blavatsky and the Theosophists never obsess about the Jews, or advocated a hatred of the Jews as being considered “lower races” and “beasts,” as does Adolf Hitler; nor are the Aryans “Nordic ‘God Men’.”
In The Secret Doctrine, Blavatsky explains the philosophic doctrine of the “audacious rebel” and personified allegory of the Promethean fable, whereby Prometheus steals in Heaven from the Gods the divine fire (intelligence and consciousness) or flame of conscious intellect, which is described as “the very essence of the Monads” (gods of the ancients classified into three distinct hosts — from the highest planes as 1. “atomic Souls,” “intelligent architects” (the condition before becoming atoms) 2. ELEMENTALS 3. the apperceptive quality of the atoms, or material molecules). Prometheus takes the heavenly fire, and endows formative man with what the Gods forbid — reason and mind; and thereby bestowing mortals with the capability of abstract thought, reflecting man’s starry essence and origins.
However, Blavatsky arouses suspicion and charges of racism and antisemitism when she adds in a footnote to this commentary, that ‘Mankind is evidently divided into god-informed men and lower human creatures.’
In full context, the passage reads:
“The intellectual difference between the Aryan and other civilized nations and such savages as the South Sea Islanders, is inexplicable on any other grounds. No amount of culture, nor generations of training amid civilization, could raise such human specimens as the Bushmen, the Veddhas of Ceylon, and some African tribes, to the same intellectual level as the Aryans, the Semites, and the Turanians so called. The “sacred spark” is missing in them and it is they who are the only inferior races on the globe, now happily — owing to the wise adjustment of nature which ever works in that direction — fast dying out. Verily mankind is “of one blood,” but not of the same essence. We are the hot-house, artificially quickened plants in nature, having in us a spark, which in them is latent.”
She contradicts herself, greatly, when she wrote:
“Verily mankind is “of one blood,” but not of the same essence.”
This lends support to traditional racist ideas.
“We [the ‘Aryan root-race’ or epoch] are the hot-house…”
Who composes the “Aryan root-man?” Blavatsky’s teacher, K.H. in a letter writes that, “the fifth race — ours — began in Asia a million years ago.” He refers to the “white conquerors” as the last sub-race of the fifth, and the highest in physical intellectuality; and the “Aryan-Asiatics,” or Indian civilization, to which he belongs, as being most developed in spirituality. They also explain, that India is sleeping, and the people’s spirituality has declined, or is being suffocated.
The doctrine of cycles is a process in the human economy as well, regarding the rise and decline of civilizations, of “Family Races” and “sub-races” in the vocabulary employed in this system to the describe national and racial cycles. The classification, sub-race does not refer to “inferior races.” Regarding inferior races, as demonstrated, it is Blavatsky herself who writes in that footnote, that a certain portion of humanity are inferior races, dying out, to her detriment. Humanity, she writes is on its descending arc of its cycle, and this fifth root-race dominated by the “white conquerors” is crossing the apex of its evolution, and as it descends, gradually, a new human will begin to come.
Then she adds, that according to an old prophecy, this Fifth Root-Race will actually become gradually darker, and children of certain exceptional disabilities are the first signs, or pioneers of this new man. This is an idea the German National Socialists would abhor:
“Such children regarded in our days by official science as exceptional monstrosities, are simply the pioneers of that race. There is a prophecy in certain Asiatic old books couched in the following terms, the sense of which we may make clearer by adding to it a few words in brackets. “And as the fourth (race) was composed of Red-yellow which faded into Brown-white (bodies), so the fifth will fade out into white-brown (the white races becoming gradually darker).”
There is nothing Nietzschean about that.
What has H.P. Blavatsky written however, that contradicts her charges and herself:
- The Third Fundamental Proposition of The Secret Doctrine, is “the fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul.”
- Blavatsky, of all her writings, in one footnote asserts, that the Turanians (ancestors of the Turkic people), a few African tribes, Bushmen (or San people), and Veddhas, basically certain tribal people, are not capable, or likely, though latent, of raising the whole of their peoples to the current intellectuality of the Fifth Root-Race.
- The Semites and Arabs are Aryans. Africans, Semites, etc., are of the same humanity and of the Fifth Root-Race — a belief in direct contradiction to antisemitism, and the racial theories of Liebenfels, List, Streicher, and Hitler.
- The “white conquerors” (a sub-race within the general Fifth Root-Race) will descend as rapidly as their ascent. Humanity, she asserts, has been decreasing, in general, in physical and moral excellence.
- Predicts a figure, likened to Adolf Hitler, and pleads toward the end of her life, that we ought to practice “universal brotherhood.”
The term sub-race does not refer to the racial concept, nor to inferior, or lower people. To skew the concept of world cycles as prejudiced is to ignore human history. Tribes, nations, and civilizations do indeed fade. Peoples can die-out. Since, it is further mentioned, that the ancestors of the Greeks and Romans (not the modern Greeks and Italians), had an evanescent cycle of fame and glory, then Blavatsky must be racist towards Europeans too?
There is want to portray H.P. Blavatsky’s legacy as merely a racist of the colonial mind, and an antisemite, based on the same two to three quotations used in this paper. There is a difference K.H. reminds, that is drawn between spiritual and material (i.e., technologically) developed civilizations, and that high intellect does not equal high spirituality.
The fate of certain continents of the fifth Root-Race, is destruction through natural cataclysms by volcanoes and water. The degree of physical intellectuality of a civilization runs apace with the amount of evil it produces, according to K.H. [on the destruction of civilizations]. Morya had remarked in another letter this difference, that the intellectual development of a civilization is not the same as its spiritual development. So, they are surely not praising any people, certainly not in the Fascist sense (see The Snub-Nosed Saxons, Borderland Magazine 1894).
Blavatsky and the Ariosophists do use similar terms, like the many offshoots. Hence, if one were to quote Blavatsky when she writes, that the ‘the Semites, especially the Arabs, are later Aryans — degenerate in spirituality and perfected in materiality,’ one is at liberty still to disagree with her. The same can be said, when Blavatsky asserts, that ‘no amount of training could raise the Bushmen, the Veddhas, and some African tribes to the same intellectual level as the Aryans, the Semites (Jews), and the “Turanians.”’ So, Blavatsky speaks of them in a racially biased way. The term used by early anthropologists such as (1) savage, referred to ‘peoples who had not discovered agriculture, and (2) barbarians ‘for agricultural peoples.’
Remember though, that Blavatsky is called an antisemite, and yet Blavatsky states, that the Jews, the Semites and Arabs all belong to the Fifth Root-Race, and that there are is no division between the Semite and the Aryan, negating the charge of antisemitism and fundamentally contradicting the entire racial theories of the National Socialists and antisemitism. “The Aryan and their Semitic Branch are of the Fifth Race [Epoch],” she says in this work. “We must remember in this connection, that the peoples of Southwestern and Western Asia, including the Medes, were all Aryans. It is yet far from being proved who were the original and primitive masters of India” (Isis Unveiled, Vol. 2, p. 361). “The occult doctrine admits of no such divisions as the Aryan and the Semite.” All the peoples of the fifth root-race range from dark-skinned color (“…pre-Vedic India…was a colony of the dark-skinned Aryans…”, see Isis Unveiled, Vol. 2, p. 361) “to the creamiest white.”
Blavatsky writes, “the reason for division of humankind into higher and lower races is obsolete and an erroneous belief” (Blavatsky, Vol. II, Commentary Stanza IX).
Likewise, as in her views on affording education to all and equal rights: “There are really no “inferior races,” or low-grade races for all are one in our common humanity; and as we have all had incarnations in each of these races, we ought to be more brotherly to them” (Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 8).
Two theories are presented in the following passage, that Blavatsky puts forth. The main theory is opposed by “white supremacists” and “ethno-nationalists,” and the other theory here is a geological theory of submerged, rising and falling continents and islands, abandoned by geologists:
“The Africans have never left their continent for several hundred thousands of years. If to-morrow the continent of Europe were to disappear and other lands to re-emerge instead; and if the African tribes were to separate and scatter on the face of the earth, it is they who, in about a hundred thousand years hence, would form the bulk of the civilized nations. And it is the descendants of those of our highly cultured nations,who might have survived on some one island, without any means of crossing the new seas, that would fall back into a state of relative savagery. Thus the reason given for dividing humanity into superior and inferior races falls to the ground and becomes a fallacy…”
In The Secret Doctrine‘s theory of human evolution based on commentaries of the Book of Dzyan, mankind and civilizations have been periodically destroyed through cataclysms. The objects of civilized portions of humanity that inhabited regions in their earlier conditions, K.H. asserts, have been pulverized by moving glaciers, pushing the survivors into a primitive state, and leaving behind “only such rude implements as now found among those savage tribes” geologists and archaeologists come upon. They are not mocking tribal peoples, except merely explaining the cyclical destruction of civilizations, which they surely claim will also become the fate of America and Europe. Also, who would not disagree with the technological and industrial progress made by the “white conquerors” so-called, no matter the cost it took? The Secret Doctrine mentions their “racial karma.”
This was shown in a 1882 letter, when K.H. states to A.P. Sinnett:
The “sacred spark,” H.P.B. wrote in mentioned footnote, is latent in the Bushmen, the Veddhas, “some African tribes” and aboriginals. However, we find in The Mahatma Letters, K.H. defending “negroes” and condemning any Theosophist as “not a brother,” or fit to learn their philosophy if he holds the views of that time on the “negro.”
The analogy of Blavatsky’s language being related to or an arguable influence on the Ariosophists is brought up by scholars, when Adolf Hitler states, that:
“…the two types [of humans] will rapidly diverse from one another. One will sink to a sub-human race and the other rise far above the man of today. I might call the two varieties the god-man and the mass-animal.”
And the similarity and issue with Blavatsky is when she wrote in the SD, to repeat it again:
‘Mankind is evidently divided into god-informed men and lower human creatures.’
Now, Adolf Hitler espouses the Listian and Rudolf von Sebotendorff’s (founder of the Thule Society) racial dualism of Aryan-German against the Jew, demonstrating that the influence through which the idea reached cannot be H.P.B. Rausching demonstrates, that Adolf Hitler used the Ostara’s Theozoology of Liebenfels conception of the “root-race” to refer to the Jews, whom the latter taught to be the descendants of the apes, through sodomy.
The difference between Blavatsky’s explanations and Adolf Hitler’s racial dualism are further made clear,when Herman Rausching claims that Hitler in conversation said that: “Two worlds face one another—the men of God and the men of Satan. The Jew is the anti-man, the creature of another god. He must have come from another root of the human race. I set the Aryan and the Jew over against each other [directly contradicts Blavatsky]; and if I call one of them a human being I must call the other something else. The two are as widely separated as man and beast. Not that I would call the Jew a beast. He is much further from the beasts than we Aryans. He is a creature outside nature and alien to nature.”
To any person, the root-race concept — which was not invented by Blavatsky but can be shown in the Chinese Shu-King, Japanese and Guatemalan lore, Zoroastrian and Buddhist texts — appears mythical, complicated and absurdly fantastical. However, no Theosophist has ever argued anything Hitler is saying in his supposed interview with Rausching. This view on the Jews isn’t related to Blavatsky’s statements at all, such as (1) Lanz von Liebenfel’s Ario-Christian beliefs of the hell awaiting those who race-mix; and (2) Hitler’s justifications for genocide provided through their ideas on maintaining the “purity of the blood,” which is not a theosophical idea. Books like David Luhrssen’s Hammer of the Gods: The Thule Society and the Birth of Nazism, and others like it dangerously mislead the public.
The references to “Aryan” as a term in Theosophical literature refers to (1) the self-designation of a set of ethnic groups of Iranian, Indic and Nuristani peoples; (2) the Rishi-yogins or arya meaning “noble”; and (3) Āryāvarta, meaning the “abode of the Indo-Aryan or Indic peoples” supporting the theory of a multidirectional migration of a central Asian people,now known as “Indo-Europeans” into much of India and Europe c. 2000 and 1500 B.C.E. Blavatsky specifically states, the epochal reference to the Aryan refers to the historical influence of the Indo-Europeans and their descendants. This is considered within the larger context of the doctrine of cosmic and world cycles.
Ancient India, which included Tibet is described as the “Alma-Mater,” of the Mysteries, not Austria-Hungary and Germany. Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler knew of this lore, since they sent the SS on a diplomatic and quasi-scientific Nazi expedition led by Ernst Schäfer, to search for the last of the original Aryan tribes. Their idea of Tibet, like many Europeans was unrealistic, as Ernst Schäfer claimed many homosexual practices in the population, and between the boys and Lamas:
“In Germany the idea of an Aryan or “master” race found resonance with rabid nationalism, the idea of the German superman distilled from the philosophy of Frederick Nietzsche, and Wagner’s operatic celebrations of Nordic sagas and Teutonic mythology.” (Alex McKay,Hitler and the Himalayas: The SS Mission to Tibet 1938-39,Spring 2001, retrieved from https://tricycle.org/magazine/hitler-and-himalayas-ss-mission-tibet-1938-39/)
The second object of the Theosophical Society used to include “the investigation of Aryan literature, religion, and science” (William Q. Judge, The Path,Feb, 1891), and now the very use of this term, “Aryan,” arouses the idea of a direct connection between Theosophists and the National Socialist movement.
In the contentious work of Herman Rauschning, Hitler in conversation mentions his knowledge of a Munich occultist who had written about the “Cyclopean eye.” George Mosse first identified the “Munich savant” as Edgar Dacque. In Theosophical circles, the Cyclopean eye in Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine (p. 307), asserts that an earlier form of mankind was once physically endowed with a “third eye,” possessing psychic functions, that existed in the back of the head (not the front), but became atrophied into the pineal gland. This is known as the “Eye of Shiva” in Vedic esotericism, Theosophy, and in Tibetan Buddhism as the “Eye of Dangma” or Dangma’s opened eye in the trans-Himalayan system’s phraseology known to Blavatsky.
“As our London opponent truly remarks: these subjects (metaphysical) are only partly for understanding. A higher faculty belonging to the higher life must see, — and it is truly impossible to force it upon one’s understanding — merely in words. One must see with his spiritual eye, hear with his Dharmakayic ear, feel with the sensations of his Ashta-vijnyana (spiritual ‘I’) before he can comprehend this doctrine fully; otherwise it may but increase one’s‘discomfort,’ and add to his knowledge very little.” (The Mahatma Letters, no. 25)
The Thule and Ariosophists can be understood to be adopting ideas circling around the time, whereas Blavatsky — having nothing personally to do with the Thule and Ariosophists, nor a connection to their mission — has her own objective (as an emissary) at the order of the clandestine occult fraternity of which her teachers were apart, which is counter to the agendas of the Thule, Edda Society, SS, and Ariosophists.
Rauschning writes on the Cyclopean eye in reference to the savant and Hitler, that:
“The pursuit of the “random path of the intelligence,” we learned, was the real defection of man from his divine mission. To have “magic insight” was apparently Hitler’s idea of the goal of human progress. He himself felt that he already had the rudiments of this gift. He attributed to it his success and his future eminence. A savant of Munich…had also written some curious stuff about the prehistoric world…about forms of perception and supernatural powers. There was the eye of Cyclops, or median eye, the organ of magic perception of the Infinite, now reduced to a rudimentary pineal gland. Speculations of this sort fascinated Hitler, and he would sometimes be entirely wrapped up in them. He saw his own remarkable career as a confirmation of hidden powers. He saw himself as chosen for superhuman tasks, as the prophet of the rebirth of man in a new form.” Hitler Speaks (London, 1939), p. 240
According to Mosse in The Crisis of German Ideology (p. 76) and Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner’s Zwischen Rilke und Hitler-Alfred Schuler (p. 338, 343, 1967), Hitler frequently visited the home of Hugo (a Munich publisher of the writings of Houston Stewart Chamberlain) and Elsa Bruckmann (born Princess Cantacuzene of Romania) in 1922 and 1923, where Alfred Schuler, a disciple of Guido von List lectured.
The Thule founder and members were versed in esoteric philosophy and lore of the time, and in Bevor Hitler Kam (Before Hitler Came, 1933), Thule founder Rudolf von Sebottendorf speaks of his Society’s importance to the founding of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party:
“It was Thule people to whom Hitler first came and it was Thule people who first united themselves with Hitler. The armament of the coming Führer consisted, besides the Thule itself, of the German Workers’ Society,founded in the Thule Society by brother Karl Harrer and the German-Socialist Party led by Hans Georg Grassinger, whose organ was the Munchener Beobachter, later the Volkische Beobachter. From these three sources Hitler created the National Socialist German Worker’s Party.” (see Rudolf von Sebottendorf, Before Hitler Came, Munich 1933:33-43;and George Franz, “Munich: Birthplace and Center of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party,” The Journal of Modern History 29 Dec. 1957: 325-29.
Franz Hartmann was a notable German Theosophist (and founder of a German Theosophical Society), who once worked under Helena Blavatsky in Adyar. Known for his esoteric studies and biographies on Jakob Böhme and Paracelsus (a Secret Doctrine Reference Series book), Hartmann supported the Guido von List Society (Guido-von-List-Gesellschaft). Franz Hartmann, as detailed in Johannes Baltzli’s “Guido von List” (Vienna, pp. 45-46, 1917), and Mosse’s “The Mystical Origins of National Socialism” (pp. 85-87) believed, that the racial doctrine of Guido von List remarkably resembled Blavatsky’s. Johannes Baltzli (the biographer of List), a Theosophist himself, was secretary of the Guido von List Society and edited the German Occult Monthly, PRANA, which was published by the Theosophical Publishing House (TPH). The journal represented the power of the Sun, as the visible symbol of Deity, and contributors to PRANA included the Theosophists Franz Hartmann, C.W. Leadbeater, and Guido von List himself. but having gone over the differences, this is as similar to likening and equating C.W. Leadbeater, Jinarajadasa, Steiner, and Annie Besant’s reconfigured notions and classification with the original Theosophical system. We have proven above however, the incompatibility and fundamental differences of List’s notions and Blavatsky’s.
A researcher, Rex Curry, suspicious that even Blavatsky’s Key of Theosophy was readied to be translated into the German language, wrote a ridiculous morass of lies, such as this:
“The Bellamys and Blavatsky saw in their movements a practical means to further their “ideal of universal brotherhood.” (…)The political product was socialism and self-sacrifice to government by calling it the “greater good.”
There was a white supremacist ideology in it, with talk of root races, claiming that the fifth of which, the Aryans, were vastly more “evolved” than the lower races. Blavatsky openly referred to negros and Indians and “half-human mongrels,” though her followers excuse this by claiming that she believed white people were also once black skinned, and because of their personal drive to advance spiritually they were reincarnated as white people.” (Rex Curry, Madame Blavatsky and Edward Bellamy, retrieved from http://rexcurry.net/theosophy-madame-blavatsky-theosophical-society.html)1
1 Claims assessed: a. The Bellamys and Blavatsky saw in their movements a practical means to further their “ideal of universal brotherhood.” So what?The concept of universal sister-brotherhood is based on an occult fact in nature, and a doctrine central to the fundamentals of Theoretical Occultism and Eastern Esotericism (in general), namely in this context Vedic and Buddhist tradition; b. “The political product was socialism.” False, although Edward Bellamy was a socialist. c. “There was a white supremacist ideology in it.” False. d. Lastly, she never claimed white people were once black-skinned. That is the most bastardized distortion of the “Black with Sin” allegory discussing the fable of Prometheus, which is not a reference to physical “black skin.” e. Blavatsky does not propagate a racial doctrine of “Aryan (Ario-German) superiority.”
Lanz von Liebenfels, the author of Theozoologie (1904) propagated a mystical racial dualism, concerning the origin of the Jew and Aryan, whose ideas crossed over into the Ostara magazine. Liebenfels wrote of the Jews, that the “Aryan hero is on this planet the most complete incarnation of God and of the Spirit.” Jews were considered “lower, inferior races,” characterized as “animal-men” and beasts who must someday be eliminated by genetic selection, sterilization, deportations, forced labor, and “direct liquidation.” The elimination of the “animal-man” — sharing sentiment with Hitler’s later Mein Kampf — for Liebenfels made possible the need for the coming of the “higher new man.” This is not an idea in agreement with Theosophy. Liebenfel’s Ariosophy was based on the concept of “Ario-Germans,” and the presumption of their superiority. In 1907 on the Danube, he established his first New Templars castle in the Burg Werfenstein, proudly flying a swastika flag over it. Wilfried Daim in Der Mann, der Hitler die Ideen gab recounts, that Liebenfels, by 1920 had established three more castles for his Templar movement, and served as board of directors of the Guido von List Society. Michael Robert Marrus in Origins of the Holocaust quotes respectable Scottish historian James Webb in The Occult Establishment,
Liebenfels honoring the work of Blavatsky amid the booming scientific era; and like the uncorroborated hearsay, that Hitler kept a copy of The Secret Doctrine by his bedside, a friend of Liebenfels claimed Liebenfels said he had direct contact with H.P. Blavatsky. This is used by some to develop a hypothesis, that Blavatsky was plotting to establish these movements, even though her own writings speak against Ariosophy, not just in the ethical sense, but as to the doctrines in detail. Researchers not keen on Blavatsky’s writings forget the instances in letters she remarks of many so-called friends and acquaintances who tried to use and abuse her, as close associates say she was known to trust those around her she should not have. This same woman, Blavatsky, a friend of Liebenfels claimed he told him he was in league with, predicted a malicious and terrible figure who would arise in Germany one couldn’t figure fits no other than Adolf Hitler (Karmic Visions: Helena Blavatsky Predicts Europe Catastrophe, World War and Adolf Hitler). Like Liebenfels, Blavatsky had also met C.W. Leadbeater, who used his early interactions to buttress his authority; but (1) whom inevitably disrespected the woman by constructing new ideas about her sponsors, and (2) by flatly lying about the conditions of her contact with the adepts. C.W. Leadbeater claimed, H.P.B. communicated with the clandestine chiefs through the means of ‘Spiritualist mediumship’ and passive possession. Practices, which these same masters not only refute, but discourage, and explain other means and phenomena their communication.
Charles W. Leadbeater asserted:
“Sometimes the Masters themselves used her (H.P.B.’s) body, and wrote or spoke directly through her. At other times when her ego was elsewhere engaged, one or other of two pupils, of lower degree than herself,would take the body, and there were even certain occasions when another woman would be in charge.” (C.W. Leadbeater, The Inner Life,Vol. II: 382)
Like Annie Besant, who ceased authority of the Theosophical Society, but whom Blavatsky did not advise to become her successor (which was to be William Q. Judge) — even saying that Besant was not “spiritual” — many people used Blavatsky opportunistically to buttress newfound spiritualist authority. Just because Liebenfels claimed direct contact, like Leadbeater means nothing in light of the study of the vast differences in doctrinal detail.The case of Prana (Magazine) published by the Theosophical Publishing House relates to the case of the London Theosophical group of A.P. Sinnett, that became a spiritualist circle and attracted other Theosophists, one of which was C.W. Leadbeater. It was opposed to the Theosophical objective and idea, and was condemned by these masters in their letters to A.P. Sinnett and A.O. Hume, who much like the Ariosophists and other German theosophical groups were rogue and independent. Hence, this tactic among researchers is a highly poor and fallacious argument to stand on. H.P. Blavatsky was well-aware of the egos of persons within and outside the Theosophical movement, and elsewhere, when she pleaded:
“(…) 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.)
Therefore, when scholars deny H.P. Blavatsky and Theosophists, that there is a correct fundamental exposition of the Theosophical system of esoteric philosophy versus particular other persons and movements, they are complicit. They are complicit in the act of “impudent distortions” of a philosophy its principle exponents wanted to be protected. Blavatsky’s teachers obviously became frustrated and regretful, and declared they would “subside out of public view” (see How the Theosophical Movement Died: Adepts Break Ties, The Judge Case, and Olcott’s Decision).
Adolf Hitler’s views would seem to only superficially match to that of statements made in The Mahatma Letters, for example:
K.H. in context speaks of the theories of Biblical anthropology and chronologies at the time, which they are in disagreement with, saying:
The racial and Jewish question of the National Socialists is a totally different conversation from the one K.H. is having, concerning the significance of ethnology to their study and beliefs about the origins of mankind. The doctrines, ethics, and theories between Blavatsky and Hitler prove to be entirely dissimilar, and counter to each other’s ideals and underlying motives.
“Historians and journalists today increasingly speak of occultist and pagan influences on Adolf Hitler. The subject is a favorite of cable-television documentaries. It has even spawned a subgenre of historical literature, ranging from speculative to serious, that casts the Third Reich as an occult empire.
To consider this contentious issue requires taking a road that briefly leads us away from America before returning to it. Europe in the early twentieth century was a hothouse of ideologies and doctrines – spiritual, scientific, and political – and these ideas often crisscrossed among themselves. Occult ideas sometimes spilled into social movements, both fascistic and democratic.”MITCH HOROWITZ, FASCISM AND THE OCCULT: IS THERE A CONNECTION?
“Another Look…” critically focuses on what H.P.B. said in this current article on Indigenous People in more detail. The aim is to lead to a just narrative of H.P.B.’s legacy problematized by certain writers on the racial notions in the Theosophical system.
What makes the persistent attempt of writers to portray H.P. Blavatsky’s legacyas one of Racism and an influence to the foundation of “Nazi Racial Theory” wrongful and ignorant. H.P. Blavatsky […]