Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lion of Light?

Victor Endersby in his 1969 study of Helena Pertrovna Blavatsky, The Hall of Magic Mirrors, saw Blavatsky as functioning as a “labyrinth of mirrors,” reflecting back in more or less distorted form the already existing impressions of those who attempted to explain her. The latest addition to H.P.B. biographies is Gordon Strong’s Lion of Light published by Axis Mundi books. Though the subtitle describes it as “the Spiritual Life of Madame Blavatsky,” not much of her inner life is revealed. Nor much on the sources that might have influenced her. The essay (a 133 pages with erratic footnotes and no index), which depicts Blavatsky in a favourable way, is peopled with much of the already known narrative. Gordon Strong, who has written on a number of New Age subjects, including on Merlin, the Arthurian legends, the Holy Grail, Stone Circles, Tarot, Magic and the Qabalah, has infused his subject with a number of contemporary concepts that were not in Blavatsky’s vocabulary. A litany of the various Masters supposedly associated with Blavatsky includes Sanctus Germanus (Saint Germain) whose incarnations included the biblical prophet Samuel, Plato, Joseph, Merlin, Roger Bacon, Francis Bacon (not the modern painter), and Christopher Columbus. Other tidbits include the revelation that “Blavatsky freely admitted to being addicted to the use of hashish at one time in her life.” In Mr. Strong's view, "Without Blavatsky, we should have no 'New Age'." One is not sure if this is to be considered a compliment. The book ends with four pages of astrological interpretation. Lion of Light sells for £9.99 in the UK, $16.95 in the U.S.

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