The main archetypal minds behind Theosophy

  1. The archetypal presence that overshadowed Hoot Koomi, also known as Kuthumi, during his life, and Madam Blavatsky.
  2. The archetypal presence that overshadowed Morya during his life, and Madam Blavatsky.
  3. The archetypal presence that overshadowed Djwal Khul, also known as ‘The Tibetan’, during his life, and Alice Bailey.

Master Kuthumi

Master KuthumiThe Master Kuthumi, also known as K.H, is regarded as one of the Mahatmas or “Masters of the Ancient Wisdom.” who are responsible for lifting the human race on this planet to higher levels of consciousness. Kuthumi was born in the early nineteenth century. He attended Oxford University in 1850. His remaining years were spent at his lamasery in Shigatse, Tibet.

Two of his earlier lives were as Pythagoras and Balthasar, one of the Three Wise Men, said to have been a king of Ethiopia, who gave the gift of frankincense to the baby Jesus. The same archetypal consciousness was channelled through all three of them.

Master Morya

Master MoryaThe Master Morya is said to belong to a group of highly developed humans known as the Great White Brotherhood. Madame Blavatsky claimed to have met him in Hyde Park, London, in the year 1851, when he came over with a number of other Indian Princes to attend the first great International Exhibition. He was a Rajput King by birth, with a dark beard divided into two parts, and with dark, almost black, hair falling to His shoulders. His eyes were also dark and piercing. He stood six feet six inches in height, and bore himself like a soldier, speaking in short terse sentences as if accustomed to being instantly obeyed. In his presence there was a sense of overwhelming power and strength, and he had an imperial dignity that compelled the deepest reverence.

Leadbeater claimed that “Master Morya is the lieutenant and successor of the Lord Vaivasvata Manu, and the future Manu of the sixth root race ”.

Djwal Khul

Djawhl KhulDjwal Khul, the Master D.K. is believed to be a Tibetan disciple in the Ageless Wisdom tradition. He has furthered the spiritual evolution of our planet through the teachings offered in the 24 books by Alice A. Bailey. She said that he telepathically transmitted the esoteric teachings to her, and so is regarded by her followers as the communications director of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, born Helena von Hahn on 12th August 1831, emigrated to New York in 1873 where she Impressed people with her psychic abilities. There she became the channel for the ‘ascended masters’ Kuthumi and Morya.

Blavatsky and OlcottBlavatsky and Olcott in 1888. Theosophical Society.

She is said to have demonstrated physical and mental psychic feats such as levitation, clairvoyance and telepathy, as well as the materialisation of physical objects from thin air. However, her main interest was in teaching the theory rather than in demonstration.

In 1874, she visited the farm of the Eddy Brothers, and met Henry Steel Olcott, a lawyer, agricultural expert, and journalist of the paranormal. Soon they were working together in the “Lamasery” where her book, ‘Isis Unveiled’ was written. Her writings connecting esoteric spiritual knowledge with new science may be considered to be the first instance of what is now called New Age thinking.

She also lived in Philadelphia for part of 1875, at 3420 Sansom Street, where she became ill with an infected leg. In a letter dated June 12 she described her recovery, explaining that she dismissed the doctors and surgeons who threatened amputation. She claimed to have undergone a “transformation” during her illness when she was encouraged not to continue her mediumship in the fast growing spiritualist movement but instead, to found the Theosophical Society.

On July 8, 1878, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States but she left for India later that year and never returned. She landed at Bombay on February 16, 1879 where she first made the acquaintance of A.P.Sinnett and, on May 16 1880, she and Henry Steel Olcott visited Ceylon, where they took ‘five precepts’ at the Wijayananda Viharaya and were formally acknowledged as Buddhists. During their time in Ceylon, Olcott and Blavatsky strove to revive Buddhism within the country.

By 1882 the Theosophical Society became an international organization, and it was then that she moved the headquarters to Adyar near Madras for a time. Blavatsky later went to Germany and, in between, she stayed at Ostend, where she wrote a big part of the Secret Doctrine. Finally, she went to England where a disciple put her up in her own house, and she lived there until the end of her life.

In August, 1890, she formed the “Inner Circle” of 12 disciples and was a close friend of John Watkins, and inspired him to open an estoric bookshop in London, which still exists. Suffering from Bright’s Disease and complications from influenza, Blavatsky died in her home at 19 Avenue Road, St Johns Wood, London, on May 8, 1891. Following Blavatsky’s death, the Theosophical Society split in two, each part claiming her as its “rightful progenitor”. One branch was headed by her protégé, Annie Besant, and the other, the American Section, by her friend W. Q Judge.

Annie Besant

Annie Besant (1847–1933) was a prominent women’s rights activist, writer and supporter of Irish and Indian self rule. In 1877, she and a close friend of Charles Bradlaugh were prosecuted for publishing a book by birth control campaigner Charles Knowlton. The scandal made them famous and Bradlaugh was elected MP for Northampton in 1880.

Olcott, Blavatsky and LeadbeaterAnnie Besant with Henry Olcott (left) and Charles Leadbeater in Adyar, in December 1905

Annie Besant became very involved in the Fabian Society but, in 1890, she met Helena Blavatsky and, over the next few years, her interest in Theosophy grew and her involvement in left wing politics waned. On becoming President of the Theosophical Society, she began to steer the society away from Buddhism and towards Hinduism. She continued to develop the Mahatma concept, as did her successor, Charles W. Leadbeater. She also became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. When war broke out in Europe in 1914, she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within the Empire which culminated in her election as president of the India National Congress in late 1917. After the war she continued to campaign for Indian independence until her death in 1933.

Alice Bailey

Alice BaileyAlice A. Bailey (1880-1949): Alice Bailey was born to a wealthy aristocratic British family, and as a member of the Anglican Church, received a thorough Christian education. She had a lonely and “over-sheltered” childhood and was unhappy despite the luxury of her physical circumstances. In her early life, she was appalled at the influences of the Victorian era, especially the wide gulf between the comforts of the upper classes and the struggles of the laboring classes. She felt that those problems were caused at least in part by the unfairness of the “theology of the past.”

At age 15, on June 30, 1895, Bailey was visited by a stranger, “…a tall man, dressed in European clothes and wearing a turban” who told her she needed to develop self-control to prepare for certain work planned for her to do. She supposed this individual was Jesus, but later she identified him as Master Koot Hoomi.

When she was 22, Bailey did evangelical work in connection with the YMCA and the British Army. This took her to India where, in 1907, she met her future husband, Walter Evans. Together they moved to America where Evans became an Episcepalian priest. However, this marriage did not last. She stated that her husband mistreated her and, in one of his fits of temper, threw her down the stairs. Bailey pushed for and received a divorce. Then followed a difficult period in which she worked as a factory hand to support herself and her three children.

From her conservative British background, Alice Bailey’s life continued to lead her in many directions, and the synthesis of outlook and understanding that she managed stood her in good stead. She believed, with an absolute conviction, that one divine life pervades and animates the one humanity; that the Plan for humanity requires the cooperation and service of trained and dedicated human beings intelligently informed about world affairs, in collaboration with those who form the spiritual Hierarchy, the inner government of the planet. Her life work became an integral part of this synthesis and this realization.

Bailey’s break was not only with her Christian husband, but with Christianity in general and, in 1915, she discovered the Theosophical Society, becoming a member of the Esoteric Section of the society in 1918. She quickly rose to a position of influence in the American Section of the Adya society, moving to its headquarters at Krotona in Hollywood. She became editor of its magazine, The Messenger.

Bailey claimed to recognize Koot Hoomi, the master who had visited her in her childhood, from a portrait she saw in the Shrine Room there. She wrote much about those she called the “Masters of the Wisdom”, which she believed to be a brotherhood of enlightened sages working under the guidance of the Christ.

In 1919, she was contacted by a Master known as The Tibetan (later associated with the initials D.K., and eventually the name Djwhal Khul). After initial resistance, she was eventually persuaded to write down the communications from this source. She wrote 24 books, from 1919 to 1949, on ancient wisdom, philosophy, religion, contemporary events, science, psychology, nations, astrology, and healing. These books presented the next phase in the continuity of the Ageless Wisdom teaching. Also in 1919, 32nd degree Freemason Foster Bailey (1888–1977), became National Secretary of the Theosophical Society. They married in 1921.

The Theosophist published the first few chapters of her first work, Initiation, Human and Solar, but then stopped for reasons Bailey called “theosophical jealousy and reactionary attitude.” Bailey “objected to the ‘neo-Theosophy’ of Annie Besant” and worked with Foster Bailey to gain more power in the American Section where she outlined her vision for the Esoteric Wing of the Theosophical Society and announced ideals of tolerance and brotherhood. However, her efforts to influence them failed.

Bailey’s early writings of communications with the Tibetan were well received within the society, but society president Annie Besant questioned Bailey’s claims of communication with “the Tibetan” and allowed the Baileys to be expelled from the organization. According to Bailey, she had come to see the society as authoritarian and involved with “lower psychic phenomena.” In her writings, however, she continued to acknowledge the importance of Madame Blavatsky’s works, and saw her own task as the continuation and further development of Blavatsky’s teachings.

Over the decades, numerous individuals have claimed to be in contact with her Adept Teachers and have stated that they were new “messengers” of the Masters conveying various esoteric teachings. And there are many today. However, their claims should be very carefully looked at, because it is likely that many of them are based in ego.

The Arcane School and the Lucis Trust

The Arcane School and the Lucis Trust The Baileys founded a quarterly magazine of esoteric philosophy entitled The Beacon in 1922 and Alice also founded the Arcane School as part of Lucis Trust, which gave (and still gives) a series of correspondence courses based on her heterodox version of Theosophy, which accepted the basic Theosophical views on karma, reincarnation, masters, a divine plan, and humanity’s achievement of their original divine status.

Together with Foster Bailey, she created the “World Goodwill” organization to promote what she called “Love in Action”. The stated purposes of World Goodwill, according to its sponsoring organization, the Lucis Trust, are: “To help mobilise the energy of goodwill; To co-operate in the work of preparation for the reappearance of the Christ; To educate public opinion on the causes of the major world problems and To help create the thought-form of solution.”

Bailey continued to work up to the time of her death in 1949. Foster Bailey took over as head of Lucis Trust] until his death in 1977, while his second wife Mary Bailey ran the Arcane School and after his death became president of the Lucis Trust.

Theosophy today

Today, the Theosophical Society is clearly in crisis. Membership has fallen dramatically, and the kind of slow, dedicated approach to spiritual understanding favoured by them is not being responded to by younger people caught up in the transient attractions of our technological age. As with orthodox religion, caught up in the rituals and beliefs of the past, has the traditional Theosophical approach had its day? The same reactionary forces are well entrenched there, that caused Alice Bailey to set up her own version in order that new teachings could come through and be accepted.

One thing is certain, new approaches to spirituality are required today, to take us forward into the imminent Aquarian Age. The Lucis Trust works on the principle of focused and dedicated individuals linking up with others in a concerted effort to bring higher approaches to global harmony to bear on the turbulent world scene. It is politically active in its involvement with the United Nations and may well be the only way that the spirit of Theosophy can prosper, while the main organization becomes increasingly irrelevant. We will have to see how things unfold over the next few years.