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Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Blavatsky - Essential Articles

Gary Lachman has stated that Blavatsky was one of the great revolutionary thinkers of her time: ''
She’s as important in the shaping of the modern world as Darwin, Marx or Freud, but the myths and half-truths that have been repeated over and over prevent us from seeing this.'' And their is much validity to that statement. Certainly the scope and volume of her writings can match many a great thinker, but much more study needs to be done. Outside of her major works, there is a body of work that is comparatively little known. She has an important quantity of travel writings for instance, and a considerable body of correspondence as well as some fiction writing. Reading some of the more exotic and skeptical biographies, you would never guess that she edited and wrote for serious magazines for the better part of ten years as well as writing for other periodicals. Her magazine articles form a major part of her oeuvre and  contain many a substantial piece that has considerable originality, insight, erudition that expands on topics in her main works or explores new subject matter. 
Below is a broad introductory listing chosen among roughly one hundred of the more elaborate, ambitious, and focused ones. For facility's sake, one could break these more elaborate ones down into six broad categories: 1- Philosophical questions; 2- Psychology; 3- Esoteric Christianity; 4-The Theosophical movement; 5- Spiritual traditions; 6-Occult topics. In the future, we'll try to include an introduction to the more diversified, shorter texts, which are no less interesting (I have not included 'A Letter to Hiraf','What is Theosophy?' and 'Practical Occultism' because I feel that they are over-used, but they should be included.)

1- Civilization, the death of art and beauty One of her more eloquent social critique pieces, commenting on the burgeoning modernization and industrialization processes with an elegiac paean to dying romanticism. [Lucifer, Vol. VIII, No. 45, May, 1891, pp. 177-186] Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 13, p. 177

2- What is Matter and What is Force? Blavatsky's writings on science, or rather philosophy of science are quite well-informed and perceptive and since philosophy of science is currently in a rut, remain of interest. This address the question whether electricity is matter or force, and gives a kind of hylozoic view. [The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 12, September, 1882, pp. 319-324] Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Volume 4, p. 208

 3- The Bugbears of Science A kind of alternative science piece that discusses Hypnotism, Mesmerism, and Homeopathy and the differences between materialism and skepticism. [The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 5, February, 1883, pp. 105-108] Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 4, p. 307

4- The Dual aspect of wisdom The next three form an inter-related trio of fundamental aspects of spiritual psychology in relation to the scientific notions of her time. [Lucifer, Vol. VII, No. 37, September, 1890, pp. 1-9] Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Volume 12, p. 309

5- Kosmic Mind [Lucifer, Vol. VI, No. 32, April, 1890, pp. 89-100] Blavatsky, Collected Writings,Vol. 12, p. 133

6- Psychic and Noëtic Action [Lucifer, Vol. VII, No. 38, October, 1890, pp. 89-98] Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol.12, p. 350

7- Have Animals Souls? One of her more popular articles, an eloquent plea for animal rights with stunning and original erudition. [The Theosophist, Vol. VII, No. 76, January, 1886, pp. 243-249] Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 7, p. 12

8- The Esoteric Character of the Gospels  Began as an ambitious series of articles that was not completed. Like Jacob Boehme, she criticizes mainstream Christianity in favor of mystical Christianity, and thus favors a symbolic understand of scriptures and emphasizes how the life of Christ exemplifies an inner process of self-transformation related to symbols of spiritual initiation, and she emphasizes the universal aspect of these symbols, following mainly Gerald Massey. This texts deals largely with an erudite exegesis of the word, Christ, ''Christos''. Certain aspects have influenced modern New Age Christianity. [Lucifer, Vol. I, No. 3, November, 1887, pp. 173-180] H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 8, p. 172

9- Commentary on the Pistis-Sophia A lengthy, fragmentary commentary on Gnostic mysticism that remarkably original and insightful. [Lucifer April, 1890, to April, 1891] H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 13, p. 1

10- The Beacon of the Unknown One of the major pieces that examine the evolution of the Theosophical movement and defends Theosophy from a position of esoteric traditionalism. [La Revue Théosophique, Paris, Vol. I, Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6; May 21, 1889 Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Volume 11, p. 248

11- Philosophers and Philosophocules Another piece on the Theosophical movement that focuses on rational and philosophical technicalities. [Lucifer, Vol. V, No. 26, October, 1889, pp. 85-91] Blavatsky Collected Writings, Volume 11, p.  431

12- A  Land of Mystery A lengthy piece on esoteric knowledge in South America. [The Theosophist, Vol. I, No. 6, March, 1880, pp. 159-161] Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 2 , p. 303

13- Lamas and Druses An original study on the Druses and their apocalyptic views, with comparisons to Tibetan Buddhism. [The Theosophist, Vol. II, No. 9, June, 1881, pp. 193-196] H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings Vol. 3, p. 175

14- Zoroastrianism in the light of occult philosophy One of several substantial pieces on the mystical aspects of the Zoroastrian religion. [The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 9, June, 1883, pp. 224-26] Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 4, p. 513

15- Alchemy in the XIXth Century An introduction to alchemy compared with eastern concepts including Chinese alchemy. [La Revue Théosophique, Paris, Vol. II, Nos. 8, 9, 10, October, November and December, 1889] Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. 11,  p. 528

16- The Kabalah and the Kabalists at the close of the XIXth Century One of several erudite critical pieces on the origins of the Kaballah. [Lucifer, Vol. X, No. 57, May, 1892, pp. 185-196Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vo. 7, p. 250

 17- The 6 and 5-pointed Stars An insightful piece on esoteric symbolism. [The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 2, November, 1881, pp. 31-33] H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 3, p. 312

18- Theosophy and Spiritism One of the more basic critical articles on the spiritualist movement in response to a Spiritualist writer. [Bulletin Mensuel de la Société Scientifique d’Études Psychologiques, Paris, July 15, 1883, pp. 129-151.] Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol, 4, p. 36

19- The Babel of Modern Thought A basic presentation of a cyclical view of history and the relation between modern scientific discoveries and ancient science, with a introduction to the Secret Doctrine. [Lucifer, Vol. VII, No. 41, January 1891, pp. 353-360] H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 13, p. 83

20- Devachan: Western stricture and eastern version An article that elaborates on the the life-after death topic in response to three questions. [The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 11(47), August, 1883, pp. 266-272] Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 4, pp. 70-94

21- Elementals An explanation of nature spirits that elaborates on material from Isis Unveiled. [Lucifer, Vol. XII, No. 72, August, September and October, 1893] Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. 6, p. 184

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