Theosophy and the Society in the Public Eye

Hilma af Klint revisited. Part I – The Theosophical Society in Sweden

Hilma af Klint revisited. Part I – The Theosophical Society in Sweden

Marty Bax – the Netherlands

[This article is reproduced with kind permission from the author, Dr. Marty Bax. It previously appeared here: The piece is not revised by Theosophy Forward’s editors]

As a researcher, I am inclined to return to subjects which have seen no satisfactory conclusion. These open ends keep nagging me and force me to revise the facts and search for new ones. Such is the case with Hilma af Klint. I wrote about her a couple of years ago, questioning some biographical facts of her life, her position within the group of The Five and her art production. Four of the women of The Five, all members of the Stockholm Lodge of the Theosophical Society, are supposed to have merely served the impressive output on esoteric art which made Hilma af Klint famous.

Public Eye 2

In this article, divided into three parts, I want to present alternative views.

As with most of my research into Theosophical artists around 1900, I start by revisiting the General Register of the Theosophical Society. The raw factual basis. This time I studied the Swedish members more extensively and in a more general sense – not in the narrow context of the five women. New information had made me more interested in the esoteric climate in which the “The Five” operated and in the events leading up to the formation of the group. 

Read more: Hilma af Klint revisited. Part I – The Theosophical Society in Sweden

Aquarelles by Alexey Davidovich Armand

Aquarelles by Armand Alexey Davidovich.

In this issue of Theosophy Forward in the category THE SOCIETY, you’ll find a mini-interview with Armand, who is a Russian Theosophist. His interview might not be the most detailed or longest we’ve published over the past years, but Armand is certainly an interesting friend of ours and a very talented artist.

At times art forms speak louder than words, so it is with pleasure that we can present five of Armand’s wonderful watercolors. Enjoy … !


Public Eye Armand 2

 Alexey Davidovich Armand

Read more: Aquarelles by Alexey Davidovich Armand

A sceptical response

Leslie Price – England

Those who work on the powers latent in man are familiar with sceptics, that well organised community who assail any positive testimony to such powers on principle. They would like to be seen as meticulous and scholarly people in contrast to, well, anyone who does not adhere to orthodox views. Recently I was reminded of a case where this was not so, as I shall explain.

In 2014, I came across a sceptical book in which H.P.B. featured, and I wrote to the author Jason Colavito as below.

Subject: madame blavatsky
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2014

Dear Mr Colavito,

As associate editor of the journal Theosophical History  ( ) I was naturally interested in your anthology Theosophy on Ancient Astronauts. I was surprised to read on p.x that Blavatsky material was channelled by her spirit guide. Truthfully or not, she always claimed that her Mahatmas, Brothers etc. were living men; though Olcott describes in his Old Diary Leaves what were clearly trances.

Read more: A sceptical response

Albert Schweitzer and Theosophy

Introduction compiled by Jan Nicolaas Kind

Wonderful black and white photo of Albert Schweitzer, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952, philosopher, musician, physician & humanitarian, 1875 – 1965

Albert Schweitzer was born on January 14, 1875, in Kaysersberg, a town near Strasbourg in Alsace, Germany (now part of France). Schweitzer has been called the greatest Christian of his time. He based his personal philosophy on a "reverence for life" and on a deep commitment to serve humanity through thought and action. For his many years of humanitarian efforts, Schweitzer was awarded the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize.

Read more: Albert Schweitzer and Theosophy

Albert’s Schweitzer’s Friendship with Rudolph Steiner

These excerpts, translated by Frank Thomas Smith, are from the book Der Andere Rudolf Steiner (The Other Rudolf Steiner); Dornach, Switzerland: Pforte Verlag, 2005).

Albert Schweitzer

From the memoirs of Albert Schweitzer (1875 – 1965):
“My first encounter with Rudolf Steiner took place on the occasion of a Theosophical conference in Strasbourg. If I'm not mistaken, it was in 1902 or 1903. Annie Besant, with whom I was acquainted through Strasbourg friends, introduced us.

Read more: Albert’s Schweitzer’s Friendship with Rudolph Steiner

Lawren Harris and Theosophy – Part two

Kathleen F. Hall – Canada

[Part 1 of this article traced the life and work of the major Canadian artist Lawren Harris from socially conscious urban cityscapes through lyrical landscapes to transcendent, mystical interpretations of the land. This part examines Theosophical influences that led Harris to abstraction in a process that mirrors his own evolution into spiritual realization.]

The influence of the spiritual writings and paintings of Kandinsky can also been seen in Harris’s work. Harris read Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art and understood Kandinsky’s references to Charles Leadbeater and Annie Besant’s book Thought-Forms, which Harris had read as well (Adamson). That book identifies colours with symbolic meanings based on states of consciousness that descend from spirit to matter: yellows, higher intelligence; blue, spirituality; and pale azure, union with the divine. Thought-Forms describes a radiating vibration that people emit when formulating a thought, with which colours combine to create a distinct form visible to clairvoyants. Adamson (p. 133) quotes from Thought-Forms to describe how these forms relate to art:

"In many respects, a work of art was a materialized thought-form of the artist, containing a spiritual significance and adhering to the three principles underlying all thought forms: 1. Quality of thought determines color. 2. Nature of thought determines form. 3. Definiteness of thought determines clearness of outline."

Read more: Lawren Harris and Theosophy – Part two

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