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The latest issue of Theosophical History

Volume XVI, Numbers 3-4
July-October 2012


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The Most Recent Theosophical History Occasional Paper:
Volume XIV

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The Most Recent Theosophical History Occasional Paper:
V
olume XIII

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Theosophical History Occasional Paper (Volume XII):

Agarttha: a Guénonian Manipulation?

By Marco Baistrocchi
Translated from the Italian by Joscelyn Godwin

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Theosophical History Occasional Paper (Volume XI):

Aquarian Evangelist:The Age of Aquarius as It Dawned in the Mind of Levi Dowling
 

By John Benedict Buescher


A biography of Levi H. Dowling (1844-1911), author or channel of The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ (1908). At first a Church of Christ evangelist, he later became a New Thought healer, a spiritualist, and a Theosophist. As a spiritualist, he channeled The Aquarian Gospel , a supplement, in his opinion, of the four Gospels. The work described Jesus as an initiate into an esoteric brotherhood in Egypt, and a traveler to India and Tibet. After its publication, he formed an occult society in Los Angeles, "The Aquarian Commonwealth." The Aquarian Gospel influenced the development of esotericism, being extensively quoted by AMORC founder Spencer Lewis in his Mystical Life of Christ, playing a part in the countercultural "Age of Aquarius" in the 1960s, and in the 1964 founding of the Five Percent Nation by Clarence 13X.

 

PUBLICATION DATE: December 27, 2007
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Theosophical History Occasional Paper (Volume X):

The Coulomb Case
By Michael Gomes

The one event that was to leave a permanent stain upon the reputations of the Theosophical Society and of H.P. Blavatsky was the publication of an exposé in The Madras Christian College Magazine (September and October 1884) claiming fraud of the most serious proportion allegedly perpetrated by Madame Blavatsky. This publication brought into question the very existence of Blavatsky’s Masters and the letters that they supposedly wrote to such individuals as A.P. Sinnett and A.O. Hume. Under the title “The Collapse of Koot Hoomi,” portions of fifteen letters purportedly written by Blavatsky to Emma Coulomb, the former housekeeper at the Adyar estate, were offered as proof that Blavatsky purposefully deceived those who accepted her claim that highly evolved Masters conversant in the Secret Wisdom existed and were involved in the activities of the Society. When these charges were investigated by Richard Hodgson (1855–1905) of the Society of Psychical Research (London), he concluded, in his report of 1885, that: (a) the letters to the Coulombs (both her husband Alexis and Emma) were written by Blavatsky, (b) that the Coulombs were her accomplices in the production of fraudulent phenomena, (c) that the primary witnesses to the existence of an Occult Brotherhood, including Blavatsky, made false statements, (d) that the Masters Koot Hoomi and Morya must be fictitious, since their handwriting resembled Damodar K. Mavalankar’s and Blavatsky’s, (e) that no instance of phenomena was witnessed by Hodgson, and (f) that the true purpose of The Theosophical Society were political and that Blavatsky was a Russian spy.
This episode in the history of the Theosophical Society is but the center-piece of the story. The events surrounding the appearance of the Mahatma letters and the Coulombs involvement in casting doubt on their veracity are discussed in depth by Michael Gomes in this publication. Beginning with Blavatsky’s first meeting with Emma Cutting (Coulomb) in 1871 and progressing to the late 20th century with Vernon Harrison’s conclusion that Hodgson’s methodology was anything but stellar, the events described in this study, accompanied by documentation, make a fascinating study of this most controversial case. Who better to summarize this chapter in the Society’s history than the foremost historian of Theosophical history? Mr. Gomes’ past publications include The Dawning of the Theosophical Movement (Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1987), Theosophy in the Nineteenth Century: An Annotated Bibliography (N.Y. and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1994), and an abridged version of Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled (Wheaton: Quest Books, 1997). He also delivered the Blavatsky Lecture for 2000, “Creating the New Age: Theosophy’s Origins in the British Isles” edited and introduced the first volume of the Theosophical History Occasional Papers series, Witness for the Prosecution: Annie Besant’s Testimony on Behalf of H.P. Blavatsky in the N.Y. Sun/Coues Law Case (1993), and the fourth volume of the series, W.T. Brown’s “Scenes in My Life” (1995).


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