Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Challenge of Madame Blavatsky

“December 2010 was a good month for Madame Blavatsky (1831-1891) who co-founded the Theosophical Society (TS) in New York in 1875,” writes Leslie Price at the new independent Spiritualist newspaper Spirit of PN. “A website devoted to her influence, Blavatsky News, celebrated its first anniversary. And not one but two of the journals she started and edited were placed online.”

The accessibly of these early theosophical journals, he notes, brings alive Blavatsky’s shifting position on spiritualism, from her earlier involvement in America and then later refudiating of its theories. “Madame Blavatsky challenged the spirit communication view of mediumship. Apart from the powers latent in man, she attributed the phenomena either to elementals (non-human entities) or to astral shells, bits of the mind left over at death.” Price argues that continued investigations with mediums since her time seem to indicate “that in some communications, knowledge and purpose are shown that go beyond what might be preserved in the lifetime memories of the communicator, and offered by ‘shells’.”

The rest of his piece can be seen here.

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