Theosophical Encyclopedia

James Ingall Wedgwood

(1883-1951). Founder of the LIBERAL CATHOLIC CHURCH and a prominent member of the Theosophical Society – Adyar.

He was born in London, England, into well-known pottery manufacturing family. After leaving school, the young Wedgwood entered University College, Nottingham, to prepare for life as an analytical chemist, but on completing this course he transferred his energies to the learning of the church organ at York Minster. Four years later he decided to prepare for Holy Orders in this Anglo-Catholic diocese of the Anglican Church. Instead he found himself suddenly converted to Theosophy. Having once before been reluctantly impressed on hearing an address by Annie BESANT, he went to hear her when she visited York. Notwithstanding his resolve to resist, he was entirely won over, resulting in his instant dismissal from York Minster.

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James Ingall Wedgwood

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Gnosticism

theosophy gnosticism

Gnosticism was an esoteric religious movement, which flourished primarily during the second and third centuries CE, and for a time posed a major challenge to mainstream Christianity. Its adherents claimed to possess a secret knowledge of the divine realms and its inhabitants, and utilized a complex mythology to describe this system. This myth began with the One Unknowable God, then went on to tell of intermediary emanations. One of these emanations, Sophia (Wisdom), desired to know the Unknowable God, but since this desire was illegitimate, what came forth from this desire was an aborted deformity, a being that went forth and created the physical universe. This Creator (or Demiurge) in turn, used the newly created universe to enslave the divine sparks of God into human bodies, where they could only be redeemed by the grace of Gnosis.

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Fritz Kunz

(1888-1972). Prolific Theosophical writer and lecturer for the Theosophical Society (TS) in America.

fritz kunz
Fritz Kunz

Kunz was born on May 16, 1888, in Freeport, Illinois, USA. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, he was appointed Principal of Ananda College in Sri Lanka, occupying that post from 1914 to 1918. In 1918, Kunz went to Adyar and became manager of the Theosophical Publishing House.

In 1925, Kunz returned to the US and became a lecturer for the TS and other organizations. On May 16, 1927, he married Dora van Gelder. In 1940 he founded The Foundation for Integrative Education and edited its magazine Main Currents in Modern Thought which was published from 1940 to 1975. Interest in this work became widespread and conferences were organized in the US and Europe. He lectured in India under the sponsorship of the Indian Government. He was co-author of Integrative Principles of Modern Thought. Kunz died in 1972.

Publications include:

Men Beyond Mankind, Sex Concepts for the New Age, To Those Who Rejoice.

Ernest Wood

(1883-1965). Prominent Theosophist and author.


Ernest Wood

He was born in Manchester, England, in 1883. He attended the Manchester College of Technology, gaining Firsts in Physics, Chemistry and Geology. Wood joined the Theosophical Society (TS) in 1902. A worker for Theosophy in education, administration, lecturing and writing, he was a founder of the Theosophical College at Madanapalle, India, and also Founder and Principal of the Sind National College at Hyderabad. Wood worked as Secretary to Charles W. LEADBEATER for some years. He was awarded the SUBBA ROW MEDAL in 1924. Wood held office as the Recording Secretary of the TS at Adyar 1929-33. He was an unsuccessful candidate for President in 1934, losing to George ARUNDALE. He moved to the US and took the post of President and Dean of the American Academy of Asian Studies, a graduate school in San Francisco. Wood became literate in Sanskrit and studied texts on yoga in their original language.

Wood brought a severely practical attitude to his theosophical work, constantly looking for opportunities to apply the theories. He was not easily fooled and he exposed as a fraud an Indian woman who claimed to be holy because she could go without food for long periods. Wood simply locked her into an isolated room with a guard on her and she soon cried for food and confessed to her fraudulent activities.

Publications include:

A Guide to Theosophy; Reincarnation; Concentration; Memory Training; Character Building; Destiny; Intuition of the Will; The Seven Rays; Rāja Yoga; An Englishman Defends Mother India; A “Secret Doctrine” Digest. His book entitled Yoga was published as a Penguin paperback in 1959.

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Theosophical approaches to Christianity

[Introduction: Theosophy, far from being inconsistent or incompatible with the Christian Way, is in fact its other side. Theosophy merits consideration by all who wish to make their Christian faith both more intelligible to their minds and more alive in their hearts. It agrees with St. Paul that Christ is within us. It teaches people not to leave the religion in which they have heard God speak but, rather, to live it more fully and perceive it more clearly.

The emphasis in Christ’s teachings on the love of God and of one’s neighbor is also echoed by Theosophy. That love is not an emotion or a sentimental affection. It is rather what is called in Greek “agape,” a recognition of a greater Reality in human experience and a concern for the welfare of others. In Theosophy it is called “altruism,” a recognition that, as we and others are ultimately one, their good is also ultimately ours.

Those who take their stand in the eternal verities, on the inner or hidden aspect of Christianity, are like the man in the parable who “had the sense to build his house on rock” (Matthew 7:24). Such people can view without alarm the shifting sands of criticism and doubt that arise in each new age. Storms may come, winds may blow, but the house stands, for its occupants are no longer in bondage to the letter of the law. They hold to that hidden spiritual foundation of which external facts are but the sign and symbol. In possession of the Divine Wisdom, they know the truth that makes us free.]

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Alfred Trevor Barker

(1893-1941). A Theosophist who is particularly noted for compiling and publishing The MAHATMA LETTERS TO A. P. SINNETT in December 1923.


Alfred Trevor Barker

Barker was born October 10, 1893, at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. There are no records extant regarding his education, but his work for the Theosophical Society (TS) was of such a standard that he obviously had a good general education. Several references accord him the title “Doctor,” but it is not clear when and where he gained this degree. In 1926 he published H. P. Blavatsky’s Letters to A. P. Sinnett.

He originally joined the Theosophical Society (Adyar), but resigned in 1925; he joined the Point Loma Theosophical Society in July 30, 1930. Barker was for a number of years the President of the English Section of the Point Loma Theosophical Society. He died at Torquay, Devon, England on July 17, 1941.

Bahmanji Pestonji Wadia

(1881-1958). A Theosophist who was one of the pioneers for the cause of the common laborer, and for independence for India. He established the first labor union in India, and worked in the Home Rule Movement of India, leaving perceptible theosophical traces on all he supported; this was in the teens and the twenties of the 20th century. Wadia joined the Theosophical Society (TS) in 1903. During the thirty-five years after his resignation in 1922 from the TS he lived and labored anonymously through the UNITED LODGE OF THEOSOPHISTS (1922-1958) for the cause of Those whom Theosophists call the Masters of Wisdom.

Wadia was born on October 8, 1881, in Bombay, India. He was a direct descendant of the philanthropic brothers Bahmanji Pestonji and Ardeshir Harmosji Wadia, the founders of the Wadia Parsi (i.e., Zoroastrian) Fire temple in Bombay.


B. P. Wadia

Wadia’s studies took him up to the “matriculation examination” (1899). Thereafter, for a short time he worked for an English firm, but resigned when he found that service in its business house meant at times a deliberate departure from truth, on occasions, when business interest demanded it.

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