Thursday, January 20, 2011

Natacha Rambova

The blog French Sampler reminds us of the spiritual interests of Natacha Rambova (1897-1966) in their post of January 18. Born Winifred Shaughnessy she changed her name to Natacha Rambova at the age of seventeen and began a career in ballet, involved with a number of leading Russian performers at the time. Her interest in design led her to Hollywood where she met Rudolph Valentino, whom she married in 1922.

Both Rambova and Valentino were Spiritualists. She had been interested in ancient religions since her teen years. She believed in reincarnation and psychic powers. Later in life she became an Egyptologist, an author on astrology, and a follower of Madame Blavatsky and George Gurdjieff.

Rambova's interest in the metaphysical grew during the 1940s, with her supporting the Bollingen Foundation, which she believed help her see a past life in Egypt. She published various articles on healing and astrology during this time. Eventually she helped decipher ancient scarabs and tomb inscriptions which led her to edit a series of publications titled, "Egyptian Texts and Religious Representations". She also conducted classes in her apartment about myths, symbolism, and comparative religion.

Her collection of Egyptian antiquities were donated to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. She willed a huge collection of Nepali and Lamaistic art to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Rambova's ashes were scattered in Arizona.

The text, taken from Wikipedia, and augmented with an interesting selection of photographs, can be read here.

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