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Reg. Daniel to Steve.

Dec 15, 2001 11:43 AM
by bri_mue

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 18751876.

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 
earlier mail)

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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