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Friday, 8 September 2017

Blavatsky, Chakras & Astral Bodies

Astral Bodies 
David Pratt – Februar 2017
1. Three astral bodies
William Quan Judge highlights the imprecision of the term ‘astral body’: As we use in English very loose terms, some confusion is inevitable. ‘Astral body’ is made to cover too much ... (Echoes 3:385)
The astral body is a term which must some day be given up. But it stands, for the present, for the whole of the ethereal inner person. (Echoes 3:444) Three main types of astral body are distinguished in theosophical literature. A general description of them is given in the quotations below. ‘Astral’ literally means ‘relating to the stars’. The reason this name was given to the more ethereal level of reality just beyond the physical plane is because the matter of the astral plane (or ‘astral light’) appears self-luminous to sensitives and seers, rather like the luminous nebulae or comets seen in the night sky (Dialogues 3:425-6).

Chakras into the west: Early Theosophical Sources – I
Phil Hine - September 30th 2016  
In the first post in this occasional series I took a brief look at the rather novel mapping of the chakras on to the Book of Revelation as done by Theosophist James Morgan Pryse. Prsyse’s book The Apocalypse Unsealed was first published in 1910 – the same year as C.W. Leadbeater’s The Inner Life within which is Leadbeater’s first treatment of the ‘force-centres’ or ‘chakrams’. I’ll take a closer look at both The Inner Life and Leadbeater’s 1927 book The Chakras another time, but for now I want to highlight two key questions that have been bothering me for some time. Firstly, what were the sources for the Theosophical treatments of the chakras, and secondly, at what point (and by who) did the chakras first become identified with nerve plexuses and so forth?

Book Review: Rainbow Body

Phil Hine - December 23rd 2016 Beginning with a chakra-critical essay by one Bipin Behari Shom in 1849, and ending, more-or-less with Barbara Brennan’s Hands of Light in 1986, Leland has done an amazing job of bringing together the various concepts and personalities which have contributed in various ways, towards contemporary Western representations of the chakras. All the major Theosophical figures are here – from Madame Blavatsky, Annie Besant, Rudolf Steiner, Charles Leadbeater, and less well-known personages such as James Morgan Pryse (see this post).

Karl Baier - Annotations on the Appropriation of the Cakras in Early Theosophy
Karl Baier’s chapter reveals the Theosophical Society to have been a significant influence in the popularization of the cakras from the latenineteenth century onwards. Baier considers the earliest and most intense period in the history of the appropriation of the cakras by the Society. He discusses pre-modern conceptualization of the cakras, demonstrating the differences between these complex and historically contingent Asian systems and the modern, recognizable depiction of the cakras, which derives largely from the Íatcakraniru¯pan³a (Description of the Six Centers) by the sixteenth-century Bengali tantric, Pu¯rna¯nanda, first published in Sanskrit and Bengali in 1858.

Roberto Assagioli: Synthesis of the Kundalini Ascent
Rene Wadlow - 2017-02-27
However, if one knows something about the founding and early period of the Theosophic Society founded by Helena Blavatsky (1831 – 1891) and the important place that teaching about the role of chakras played in the early days of the Society, one can easily see how the mother of Roberto Assagioli passed on to her son the chakra teachings which form the structure of psychosynthesis.  One can also see why, if one wants to be taken seriously within the scientific milieu, one would not stress the chakras and kundalini as the heart of one's approach.  To start with, it is not clear if the chakras are within the physical body or are energy centers outside the body but closely related – an energy body separate but very close to the physical body.

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