Thinking Theosophically

Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon: A History of the Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America, by Peter Washington – This book examines the history of Theosophy, the spiritual movement founded by Helena Blavatsky. I said a bit about her and her beliefs in this post, having somewhat of an interest in them due to L. Frank Baum’s membership in the Theosophical Society. Washington’s book actually doesn’t mention Baum, who after all was not a major player in the development of Theosophy. Anyway, I read about half of this book a year or so ago, and checked it out again recently to finish it, so I don’t remember all of the details. Overall, though, it seems to be pretty standard for what happens in such groups, with a succession of different leaders changing things to suit themselves, and ending up with a pale shadow of what Blavatsky originally taught. Not that her teachings were entirely clear either, mind you. The title refers to how Blavatsky displayed a stuffed baboon holding a copy of The Origin of Species as a parody of Darwin, as she didn’t believe in evolution. No, scratch that. She DID believe in evolution, but a weird spiritual kind, rather than the Darwinian variety. Anyway, it was an interesting read. I’ve been interested as of late in finding out more details about occult groups, and this book definitely fills part of that niche.

This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Religion, Theosophy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Thinking Theosophically

  1. Pingback: Krishnamurti’s Corner | VoVatia

  2. Will says:

    This is a great book, read it so many times in the 90s., think I’ll re-read it again.

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