Theosophy and the Society in the Public Eye

Hilma af Klint revisited. Part III: Anna Cassel, Hilma’s ‘other half’

Marty Bax – the Netherlands 

Public Eye 1 B Marty Bax

The author

[This article is reproduced with kind permission from the author, Dr. Marty Bax.(see photo above)  It previously appeared here: piece is notrevised by Theosophy Forward’s editors] 

This time I want to draw Anna Cassel into the limelight. Anna has frequently been mentioned only as as Hilma’s life-long friend and artist-colleague, but again, only fleetingly. From 1882-1887 they attended the Stockholm academy Anna from 1880, Hilma from 1882 onwards. One of their teachers was Count Georg von Rosen (1843-1923). Members of his larger family became members of the Edelweissförbundet. 

Public Eye 2 Anna Cassel 1897

Anna Cassel in 1897

Anna, as said, grew up in extreme wealth. Anna, fragile-looking with light reddish hair and always youthful in appearance, had a strong and generous personality. She had both a strong sense of ethics and a passion for art. But she also had a weak health. She suffered from severe asthma and had to retreat to sanatoriums or to the West-coast to recover from bouts.

Before 1908, while recovering from an asthma attack, she met Karl-Erik Öhman, son of a wealthy trader, who also suffered from severe lung problems and had already visited many sanatoriums in Europe. Öhman later became member of the board of the mine Surahammars Bruk.

Read more: Hilma af Klint revisited. Part III: Anna Cassel, Hilma’s ‘other half’

David Grossman’s Psychometry Series

Public Eye David Grossman 2

David Grossman (photo) who loves a cup of Dutch coffee, is a good friend of ours and a gifted photographer. He is a life-time student of Theosophy and active in the board of International Theosophy Conferences. On Theosophy Forward we have used many of his images, and also this time, just as we did in the 4th quarter issue 2017 of this magazine, we publish some, at times provocative photos, which will arouse your fantasy and curiosity. 

He introduces the series with a quotation by William Q. Judge: 

“Theosophists and occultists from the earliest times have held that every object in the world receives and keeps all impressions, not only of all objects that stand before it, but also of all that happens before it; that these impressions are indelible and can at any time be taken off by man's nervous system and from that reported to the mind; and, therefore, that if we possess a piece of stone from the Roman Forum, we can reproduce to the mind, as clearly as a picture, all that happened in the Forum.”

Psychometery by W.Q. Judge, The Platonist, Jan.1884

Read more: David Grossman’s Psychometry Series

A note from Joma Sipe in Portugal

Public Eye Joma Sipe 2

Joma, the artist

I am more than happy to inform readers of Theosophy Forward about what I have been doing recently. Still working on the “Lumine Stellarum”, which are small projects that can be seen on my website, and my personal Facebook page. Check it out here:

Website, click here         

Facebook, click here        

Am also redoing my studio, adding a small place to privately exhibit my work, allowing me to show visitors to see the original pieces I am working on, instead of referring to the photographs published online.

Am adding more items to my Theosophical Memorabilia and have finished the document regarding the summary of Isis Unveiled, covering editions from 1877 until 1920. 

Have acquired two volumes of HPB’s Lucifer, volume VI, from March to August 1890 and volume VIII, from March to August 1891. You can see a photo underneath. These are very interesting volumes because HPB was alive when these were published, and especially because of the second half of volume VIII, filled with Memorial Reflections on HPB, with original articles describing her last days, her cremation and outlining her mission.

Read more: A note from Joma Sipe in Portugal

Aquarelles by Armand Alexey Davidovich

Public Eye Armand 2

The artist

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

For the interview click here          

Read more: Aquarelles by Armand Alexey Davidovich

Hilma af Klint revisited. Part 2 – The Edelweissförbundet and The Five

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]

The Five was not, by any means, a product of five women after they joined forces in the Stockholm Lodge of the TS. The history of The Five starts solidly, and about 10 years earlier, within a completely different group, the Edelweissförbundet (Edelweiss Society). This society has been mentioned in Af Klint’s biography, but only fleetingly, in a sort of names-dropping way. But this society and its aims have shaped course and contents of the later activities of The Five in the most essential manner.

Public Eye 2 Chapel of Edelweissförbundet Stockholm

Chapel of Edelweissfōrbundet Stockholm

The Edelweissförbundet was founded in December 1888. This is, in fact, parallel to the founding of the branch of the TS in Stockholm. And this must be the date which has mistakenly be identified as the date in which Hilma af Klint joined the Theosophical Society.

The prime actors in the Edelweissförbundet were upper class or prominent members of society, just as within the Theosophical Society: Count Carl Fredric Berndt von Bergen (1838-1897), the Irish-born countess Hulda Elizabeth Constance Mosander-Beamish (1836-1892); and the painter and female photographer (quite a novelty at that time) Bertha Valerius (1824-1895), who made business cards with photo-portraits for the royal family and later returned to portrait painting. After Hulda Mosander-Beamish' death in 1892 her daughter Huldine von Fock-Beamish (1859-1931) and her daughter Fanny Malin Huldine von Fock (1882-1958) continued the work.

Towards the end of the 1870’s Carl von Bergen became a critic of stifled Christianity – Sweden was and is almost exclusively staunchly Protestant – and promoted more liberal religious views, while at the same time opposing materialism and agnosticism. In the early 1880’s he struck upon modern theosophy through Helena Blavatsky’s writings and then moved into spiritualism, which he combined with meditation and a focus on esoteric Christianity. Von Bergen was the person who introduced August Strindberg to theosophy in 1884. In 1891 he founded a Swedish version of the English Society for Psychical Research. 

Read more: Hilma af Klint revisited. Part 2 – The Edelweissförbundet and The Five

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