Theosophy and the Society in the Public Eye

Notes By The Way: White Lotus Day

Leslie Price – UK

[The following is by Leslie Price, founder of the Psypioneer, an electronic periodical, and currently Review Editor for the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. Price wrote this study of H.P.B. and the S.P.R. some years ago, but it has just been republished in that electronic periodical (vol. 5, no. 4, April 2009, pp. 114-6) on the occasion of White Lotus Day in 2009.}

Not many psychic pioneers have a day in the calendar to mark to mark their memory - 31 March, Hydesville day for the Fox sisters, comes to mind. Another one is Madame Blavatsky, a founder of the Theosophy Society in 1875, who is remembered on the day of her death, 8 May (1891), known as White Lotus Day.

For me the best of such days was in 1986. For many months I had followed Dr Vernon Harrison’s exposure of the Hodgson report, an exposure which had begun life as a Sunday evening lecture to the (Adyar) Theosophical Society in London (of which he was not a member). Now after numerous obstacles, it was ready for publication in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research of April 1986, which would be slightly late. I was asked by the SPR, for whom I had done some publicity work, to draft a press release about this and a second one about another major paper in their journal.

Read more: Notes By The Way: White Lotus Day

Blavatsky’s Ailment And Others Who Shared It

The Wikipedia article on Bright’s disease, a kidney ailment, lists some “well-known victims” of the disease, including “Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society and author of The Secret Doctrine.” Also in the list are Chester Arthur (21st President of the U.S.), Emily Dickinson (the poet), Antonin Dvozák (the composer), H. P. Lovecraft (the fantasy writer), Rowland Hussey Macy (founder of Macy’s Department Store), Linus Pauling (the Nobel laureate chemist), Al Ringling (of Ringling Brothers Circus), and Richard Warren Sears (founder of Sears Roebuck). Thus in this ailment (only one of several, alas, from which she suffered), HPB had some distinguished company. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bright's_disease, Dec. 2008]

Gorky And Theosophy

Maxim Gorky (1868-1936) has been called the father of Soviet literature and was the founder of the school of socialist realism. However, he had several sides to his personality. From his youth, he combined a love of romantic tales with an intense sympathy for humanity. Of peasant background, he had to be self-educated but eventually became a major supporter of intellectual interests in post-Revolutionary Russia. The culmination of his literary career is his uncompleted four-volume novel, The Life of Klim Samgin. His work combines realism and a strong sense of social justice with a poetic strain of expression.

Read more: Gorky And Theosophy

Theosophy and the Perfect Piano

References to Theosophy often appear in unexpected places. One of those is the following autobiographical account:

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey, by Perri Knize (New York: Scribner, 2008). “In this heartfelt, lyrical memoir, a woman’s unstoppable passion for the piano takes her across continents and oceans in search of the elusive sound of a perfect instrument—and reminds us that following our dreams can transform our lives at any age.” (http://www.grandobsession.com/synopsis/index.html)

From chapter 21, “The Anthroposophist”:

“I have something for you,” Carl says, sounding excited, and he presents me with the shopping bag. Inside are several books. “Keep them for as long as you like.”

Read more: Theosophy and the Perfect Piano

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