Blavatsky in Review

Here is a review of my new book, Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality (Tarcher/Penguin 2012).  I should perhaps point out that the reviewer is not a ‘mainstream’ Theosophist – if such a creature exists – and is part of a lively new breed interested in HPB’s life and work, but who are not convinced devotees. Precisely the kind of people, I would think, she would be interested in reaching.

3 thoughts on “Blavatsky in Review

  1. Thanks for the kind words, Gary.

    Blavatsky is always more interesting if viewed from the viewpoint of being an exceptionally creative, interesting and all-too-human creature. There are many explanations as to why she felt her Masters were a necessary part of her message and we will probably never know why. However, with dedicated researchers like K. Paul Johnson out there, continuing to dig up new material I’m sure that in the future we will eventually get a much clearer view.

    The search for for the historical HPB and her fellow travelers is ongoing and I would say, a work still in progress. it is the spirit of discovery and curiosity which binds us to them and moves us forward. It is stated well in the recent movie, Cloud Atlas: “Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” So are our binds with the old lady and all others who seek the truth for its own sake.

  2. Excellent book Gary. Beautifully written. Thank you. My own research is into “spontaneous practices” in the arts – improvisation, automatic writing etc. I believe Blavatsky is a significant precursor. What I can’t work out is what her actual practice of writing consisted of. Was she writing “direct” from her Masters – like channelling. Or was her writing a kind of summary or reworking of what they taught her? Its makes a huge difference.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. As far as I can tell, she didn’t engage in automatic writing or spiritual dictation, but would often ‘see’ passages in ‘the astral’ in the space in front of her as she sat at her desk. Olcott recounts this happening. It seems she often quoted from these astral sources, then had someone check on them at a library. Apparently she was right most of the time. She also read an enormous amount and had a very good memory. All the best, G.

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