Reg. Daniel to Steve.
Dec 15, 2001 11:43 AM
Daniel,in the early stages the T.S. envisioned itself primarily as a
vehicle of practical occult work centered on the projection of the
astral double using drugs as has been done in such contexts before.
So why then is it so difficult to accept that Steve's description,
wich is rather obvious in this link;
is correct ?
Although in later years she might also have said things to
the contrary, ( she also said she was a virgin in spite of having
been maried before.) most historical researchers that have done
extensive research on this will agree that there is a connection
between drugs, HPB, and the TS that time.
In Theosophical History Occasional Papers VOLUME IX (EDITOR:Dr. JAMES
A. SANTUCCI),Dr. Robert Mathiesen who also did research on this
subject (Daniel asked for more researchers) writes;
" the Orphic Circle admitted women as well as men to membership.
During its lodge meetings the members practiced astral traveling as
well as the invocation of spirits into mirrors and crystals, carrying
out both activities within a ritual practice that owed something to
Renaissance high magic, and entailed the use of both hymns and
specially prepared fumigations. However, it was not the members
themselves who traveled in spirit on the astral plane, or who saw and
heard spirits in the mirrors and crystals; that was the work of young
clairvoyants (also called somnambules or lucides, as in France) who
had been thrown into trance by currents of animal magnetism that were
produced and directed by members of the Orphic Circle, and also by
the specially prepared fumigations.
This particular combination of practices taken from Freemasonry, from
Mesmerism (or animal magnetism) and from ritual magic, as we now
know, first arose in France in the late eigh- teenth century among
identifiable groups of free-thinking aristocrats and gentlemen who
were fascinated by Mesmerism, but also by occultism, and most of whom
were also Freemasons "
He further continues:" The unedifying conflict between these two
women, each of whom by herself might have come to dominate the
affairs of the Earlier Theosophical Society, was undoubtedly one of
the causes of its eventual collapse. Although Blavatsky clearly
achieved a measure of ascendency over two of the founding members,
namely, Olcott and Judge, none of the scant evidence from any of the
other founding members states or even implies that Blavatsky's was
the sole dominant voice in setting the agenda of the Early
Theosophical Society, taken as a whole.
In other words, although the Later Theosophical Society was indeed
very much Blavatsky's and Olcott's creation, and could not have come
into existence without them, the Earlier Theosophical Society in New
York might well have been created and survived for a year or two even
if Blavatsky had never come to the United States."
It also appears that the Earlier Theosophical Society offered its
members a system of degrees at about the same time; here is what W.
J. Colville had to report (at second hand) in 1884:
"Some years since, when a Theosophical Society was started in New
York, it was declared that it was necessary to take nine degrees to
qualify a member to enter into the full mysteries and powers of the
order; that only three degrees could be taken in Europe or America,
the remaining six could only be taken in the East. Since that time
you have heard much of Koot Hoomi and the Himalayan Brothers,
while "Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist," also, "Ghost Land"
and "Art Magic" have familiarized the reading public with some of the
mysteries of Occult Science and Brotherhoods" (Colville (1884), 62.
Cf. Blavatsky CW I, 375-378, for nine degrees in late 1878. Cf.
Olcott (1895), 126-131, quoting a letter by George F. Felt which
states that a system of degrees was instituted at about the same time
as the pledge of secrecy, that is, early in 1876. Deveney (1997), 59,
states that Felt's letter was first published in the Spiritualist
13/4 (26 July 1878), 44-45 )
Dr. Mathiesen writes about this in the above study: "There should be
little doubt that this system of degrees was connected with a
specific program of step-by-step training in occult or magical
practices. In offering such a program during 1875–1876.
Who, then, were these members of high degree, and what was the
program of occult training that they provided? Whenever this question
has been raised in the past, it has been tacitly assumed that there
could have been only one such member in the Early Theosophical
Society, namely, H. P. Blavatsky herself, and also that the
Society's program of training would necessarily have been under her
sole direction. Undoubtedly she could have provided such training and
direction, and that she actually provided it to H. S. Olcott and W.
Q. Judge seems clear from the evidence as cited by Deveney.(See my
Also H. P. Blavatsky was not the only member of the Early
Theosophical Society who needs to be considered as a possible occult
trainer of high degree. Even from the little we know about them, it
appears that George H. Felt, Dr. Seth Pancoast, Charles Sotheran and
Albert Leighton Rawson were also qualified, each in his own way, to
give instruction in one or another occult or esoteric practice. In
addition to these four men, Emma Hardinge Britten also must be taken
into consideration. Not only was she the sixth member to sign the
Society's Pledge of Secrecy (after Felt, but before the other three
members mentioned above)
A quarter of the founding members were Spiritualists, and some of
them were mediums as well.) Yet she was much more than a medium; in
addition to the practical skills that she had acquired as a seer for
the Orphic Brotherhood in the 1830s (which employed crystals and
mirrors, music, and specially prepared fumigations as aids to
clairvoyance), she had also received instruction in its doctrines and
practices from Louis de B— as early as 1850."(DR.Mathiesen presents
his research on this relationship between Emma and Louis de B. on
hand of original documentation, for that pls. read the above
publication) Moreover, she was a trusted friend of Frederick Hockley,
a "successful Adept of the present generation," expert in the arts of
crystal-gazing and mirror-gazing, and may have served as one of his
seers from time to time." ."(DR.Mathiesen presents his research on
this relationship between Emma and Louis de B. on hand of original
documentation, for that pls. read the above publication, also
regarding Fredrick Hockley a friend of Sotheran)
In the "World" interview (I presume Daniel has it ?) Blavatsky
states that she first was projected out of the body (to a friend's
house in Berlin) when the chief of gurus made her a drink a
potion "the ingredients of which I know but will not tell."
Blavatsky writes; "The women of Thessaly and Epirus, the female
heirophants of the rites of Sabazius, did not carry their secrets
away with the downfall of their sanctuaries. They are still
preserved, and those who are aware of the nature of soma (a plant
whose juices induce a hypnotic trance-like state) know the properties
of other plants as well." ( Isis Unveiled)
In "Erroneous Ideas Concerning the Doctrines of the
Theosophists,"published in 1879, she declared that proof of doctrine
of conditional immortality was only given the neophyte "durring the
Great Mysteries, when a sacred beverage enabled him to leave his body
and, soaring in the infinity of worlds, observe and look for
Related to this in Blavatsky's schema was the sacred "Sleep of *** "
an obvious reference to the Sleep of Sialam, a term used by
P.B.Randolph in his Rosicrucian novel Ravalette (1863) for the
highest, drug induced vision state. It was taken up in Isis Unveiled
where it relates to a drug- induced, prophetic "sublime lethargy" in
wich the uncounscious subject is made the "temporary receptacle of
the brightness of the immortal Augoeides."
P.Deveney in "Astral Projection or Liberating of the Double and the
Work of the Theosophical Society"( wites: Later the "Sleep of
Sialam" came to mean the soma-induced trance during wich the new
initiate- both in the Orient and in the ancient Mysteries-comprhends
the ultimate mysteries after undergoing the tests of Initiation.
("The Esoteric Character of the Gospels, "Lucifer, November 1887)
The use of drugs during practical occultism appear to be related to
the degree structure or sections adopted by the Society as I have
shown by means of the quotes from researchers.
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