Thursday, July 5, 2012

Easy Listening

* The Hermetic Hour for Thursday June 14, 2012, is given over to host Poke Runyon on the impact of Helena Blavatsky and Theosophy on western occultism and magick.

This a broad subject because Blavatsky’s impact on all areas of western esoteric theory and practiced is vast and pervasive…Her Egyptian connection with The Brotherhood of Luxor, and French Masonry, her mid-19th century connection with American Spiritualism, her first opus Isis Unveiled, which was essentially Hermetic, the meeting in England with her future Eastern Master “Mahatma Morya” (Ranbir Singh), the moving her Theosophical Society to India under the secret sponsorship of her “Mahatmas,” her professed Buddhist philosophy and the development of her universal religion featuring spiritual Darwinism and Aryan Solarism, “The Secret Doctrine” and “The Stanzas of Dyzan,” her anti-Biblical, anti-Christian bias, the German offshoots of Theosophy: Rudolph Steiner’s Christian Anthroposophy, and the proto-Nazi Ariosophy, the American cults: the Ballard’s “I AM,” Elizabeth Claire Prophet, the “New Age Movement,” and Richard Shaver’s “Mystery,” the Hermetic reaction to her successes which resulted in Anna Kingsford’s Hermetic Society, and The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, are just some of the areas touched upon by Poke Runyon during the 59 min. and 20 sec. he holds forth.

Runyon, a leading American hermeticist, describes Blavatsky as an influential player in the occult revival of the 1880s, noting her stature among later occultists, such as Israel Regardie. He accepts Paul Johnson’s theory that one of the Mahatmas was based on a real life figure, Ranbir Singh, and works his facts to fit this view. Unfortunately he never tells what he thinks Blavatsky’s occultism contained or how it differed from what went before. Perhaps this will be done in a future episode.

* A number of talks from the recent Conference on Esoteric Traditions in the Ancient and Modern World in Athens are available online. Readers will be interested in “The Early Theosophical Society and the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor” by Paul Johnson, Marc Demarest’s study of Godfrey Higgins, “The Armchair Occultist: Godfrey Higgins, Anacalypsis and Modern Occultism,” and Brett Forray’s “Thorns and Roses: Approaching Difficult Theosophical History,” which looks at the controversy about W. Q. Judge. Some of these talks appear to have be given in absentia.

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