P. 1
James Webb - The Occult Underground

James Webb - The Occult Underground


|Views: 325|Likes:
Published by saskomanev2547

More info:

Published by: saskomanev2547 on Jan 21, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





'Ih~ OOOUhlfJlld~ligtoilnd Copyrigl!

lt e 1974 'Y' Jalme:s Wtibb

A U fcUg;h'tSfes:~.I'\I'~d. No part of this book mO'ly ,cel n~p.fI\oduced Or transrrnm,ed it'! ,any ~Qrm or by m~i'lIi:S:, ,~leCltil',onic or ~echanicai •. illdll<dil'll!!: photo~op)'.i[lg. r.e>cl.lrdwrlS 01" ~Y any inJormatilllD srom,ge- and ~etr~e\l'al s}"st'e'm .• '~v;itho:ut, pefmi$S~on :in '\vriUrtg from the ,hblbher

Open Court ~u'blishing Co., La Sallie, Ulnuoiis, ,6] SOl

Webb" Jllrne.s. 19>16.

The cecult uodJerg,ol;md.

.A revision of tb~ allithof':S Thee .fli;g~l'l :hom f~aMIrl, .. A Ubrnry Press book:'

~i'i,cl'!Jde~ bjbl'ig,graphi,ea~, r .. d,¢,,I\e'11Jces.

. l... f~~c:h~C';,'Iillresea~h-Hi~to:ity. 2, Ocooll~ :>a~~Histolir" 1. Tltll~.

Bf.l.02S.W.~ ]9'74 lOO',QS"()$4 73.22458

.SB' O.'9n2!(l5~!Ji6.2



PtttJace l-ntroduct~:oN

The Flight From Beascn

Chapter 1

The eaomaru:ers



Chap'ter .2 Bab]


CJ~«pt'er tj

The Ma:si~ers and The Mes:siah


The Leed's Anoillited.

Chtlph~:r 5

Visho.irl:s of He:a ven and Hen

Chapt.er 6

S,elCf€!l Tl'liIid[it~O,l:1ig,

Chapter 7

An. An!liJol,my of Souls

<;napii$t :8

T~\Ii(;! Spwrih.lSJl iWl! f'o~[Ucs

Chapter ;9

The Two [[i:JeaUUes





33'9 3:69



T ptm'e of a. Spirit fM.m~eU Co]tt:C'I;l,!m),

Page :7.: -

.tuJ:d~\li!' JOl~k~fJ~ .O,tll!~ {'R~ilio Times H!J.lh~:!li PichH'~ Libr.:;)jry). Ke:hl! and M arg.-.retf:01i:.

P'age :3

Abdul 13Qh~l (Cambridg'e U!.li .... e·rsi1t}v lPre$sl .. S'l!iI:;'Ul1~ Vi"''ek~Hl~l~.d:l (Ramah!lshnlil Ved!an:~~l SQde~y). Sri lRillna]uis]lna (&HMlkr.is]ma V,ecli<)!H;) Soc-idYl. The f.~dii;;H:n~llIt of Rd.igi.ons.


The Y(lll!.l![[1Ig Annie Be:s:Sint (MtHl~®U eoH!1:iClion). C W, Le a dbeater (Rad,io T~i,mJes Huhon Picture Libl;,ar~i),Ma.dat:l'i:e B~avob~y

{John Symorl(.~s.). A!:lll'ic~e:'iiant ln olclage Witllil Krlshuamurtl (Radio Til'liles HuhQn Pi~~ure :Libliary)\

r~g'lil5 .

The GmUQ at ]...;lUMdJt:S (M~ns-e]~ CoHe>cUon), F.uher ~,gn;.tthl:'; of UardlQIlY {M,lilus;eI]CoUecition), Cartoon o£the Abb~Dmlllan (Trg$t~~s of ~:hf;' B~!itl£,h M~s~l,lm). &I,lge[l~ Vii:ltl"@::5 {Trllst~f':ll' ,of tb~ Bri.tisb M~IS(!~m}.

Page ,6

J o",ephin P&.~a:dan, as Aesthe,t€' and S.:rr, Ada:m. M i!~kiewi(l:::! (Tlll~ Po]~sh. !Lib.r:,iJry). JM. H.()el:u;!~Wmnsld (Thl(! Polish ubrar)·). A:l1);dr~:i TQwianskl (The Po:li:;'hJ Ubr<l!ry).


E!]iph<i:s Levj (1'ru:Ue,~s. of fh~ Brit.i.sh MUSleumJ) .. The P:3tr~;)·rCh S}l:~esi.u8 (l'nJs,te~;!l. ,of the- Bdtw~h. Museum). Saillt-Yw~1ld'Alv('ydre (l'n,J:sroes or~be British Musemn). "r.ince H8imji Scharif frrtl~t,~es of the i!lr,itbh MUIStl'um),


W~Ui;oltm Sh01!!:p (Radio Times H~]I~QIl Fk':h;II:''elJh.razy), W.B. "i,eals (Ma[lsdl CQ]]cd.iQ:I1,),. GeQrge R,m:seU m~.cll](l 1!ime~ H~]~Q''1 PiJch,!I~e Libtary). Thomas [)a:vidsQI1. Karl-Wil~hel.m N3iu~do~£f (R[lJd~oThn~$ Hulton Picl1!ue Li.br<'lff)" Ch~~[e$ Fouriew (lladiI) Times Hul.lorl fi!Citm:.~ L:ibnl,ry}. AilIil.a Kln,gsfoil'd!.

The Ol.ILd~oi! a:rnd puiMishers. would ~i.ke t~) ·thank the {Jwner.:ij (~ff C()PYil'kg]li~ qjuated abeve for l)eli.milssi . on to rep~ody,cC" :mnateri<!ll in Ithi$: volume,

., I T is probable theJ~ the material surveyed En ~his book has been :ignored, because of Us :~nb;!nechlal un res:pech~:bUny'. 'Tile" (Icculf "has not formed pad .of the overt coocems of members of the academie fr,ate:mity .. , Any writer on [he subject from ollltdde' these cloiste'red courts funs the ris'll{ ol:f being branded par-

1- • t' '1 t "t ill. -]d- be "d lth t '. t'f' t" 'Ii!- .

_' na '-no:" JI snou o oe sal. wOE' neu JUS] lea ,~om. ,I~ is my

case that this: q ulte natural stale of aUa.i rs bas. led to' a pla,rt~al v~ew 'of history; t1ut to ignoi~e' the occult revival of the 19th century is to ignore a, large sllee of modern i:L'lt'eUectual


development, and that f~,e proper understandlng of rhe workings of the oeeult mind explains much which has been pu.zzliillg commenrators O~ tffiie' hjstory ofthe ~ast :fifty yea.rs as welt In particular such an understandmg can make easier the journey Into' ~he"mlnd-see' employed by the ~ml'il,anUc revolutionartes of toda.y-~h~ hippies, oommunRy~dwel~ers. the Movement. the Underground. l'hiL€: reader wm dtseover the terms .• Ul1dergmuTIld" a,md "Establishmenf'!Jl$ed ~hroliJg,horl!]k ~his: book to. deserjbe enltnral grol1.pings very much earlier than those of the 2l)t!h century. It seemsto me am a dll1g that no historian has so-far ex~,ended the terminology of the self-proclaimed U nd'e'fground back: in time to discover l':vh,ether a hlstorlcal contlnuUy exists, ,I did not startJn this fashton; but was drawn tQ usin:ll, the ~elirns thr'o'Ugh trywng: h) answer a questiennow discussed ~n Chap~tef Four of the second volume" Th« Oc~ c:uit Establ:i3hme-nL The djcho~omy of Underground and Establishment is nne of the most im!pml~ant conoepes to hav.e 'emerged from r'ecent social changes.

Now, it wo,t[1d beperfectly poss~b~,e to 'liVi!He a. histOl.·Y of .h:illeas t9ik~ng as, the criter~on of nn,at~ im.porf~nce some to~aUy .ignored. standard such as the wearing of ,odd. so¢ks:~d}a,t Is, supposlng the information to beavailable, In thiswaYj. an unknown if eceenrrlc par~sh priest might be made to appear the cente.r ,of an en t] re sehoolof •• odd-socks: wearers," Buta.t any g~ven time there is ®I, measure .of consensus as to what are the more interestlng or admirable a.cUvlties 0:£ mankind. This oij.mpr~sJes a cr~tjca,~ Estab.~ishment. ]be1f an inreresting index to otherwlse largely unlmagjnable .,; climates of opinion:' The occult has be excluded from thElE&~:aMish~ menilt COfllSlmsus of what is HnaJ~y"reJe!\!'~ut~" and relegated t:otlti'e NifUaelm ofodd-seeks wearers, But ilt is the ve.;ry nature ·of the occult that it cannot extst except ~n oppositlon to and] interrelation with that cf~ti"aIEstab~~shment, It hss therewon:: been part of my task to m,a][Itl3i~n dla.~ the occelt is "Important" and "relevant" to the aspiratiJJws of ma.fIlk~nd; f.ur~her~ th.at Jt ,~s 'wOlitb. study' in lts own right

. As~othe question of "s~gnlJicanoo" in the bistory of ideas: a. thinker may be :s:igI1l~£:ica.n,t in a number of ways, He

may bea man Q~ . hts time,. an ex ped r-.ece~ver. and transmitter of a hY[J nthetlcal ZeUgei8t. He may himself be an original th~nkei.·,.~whose ideas are limmediate])' relevant to' currefd problems, He may also exercise an influence over an extended period of time~ejther his ideas stimelate others ~o produce ideas of their own. or themse lves meet a I(litlH)ate t~de in affairs and are borne along; on its crest

There is also another thlnker of sigmficaace, neither a man of h~s time nor an influence on m~nds o:r society. This is the ~ nd ~vid ual whose concerns seem s:udd,en 1 y relevan t to the problems .of 91 later ag.e,ahhQugh rura his own time he may havebeen ignored and subsequentlyjorgotten. The neg:leded g'enjus isa fa,mUiar Hgure .or mythology; but thel'le are .ifli~SO neglected hmalicswno are worthy of. study. Thus. we might now dlscnver-e-had his,~or)l moved ilntha,t d~fecU(lln-that the wearer of odd socks had been praetleing some ,. s~g n] fk~a.nt'· fOriu of. social rebellion. Ev'€ n onthese grounds Ithe occult should nave received better treatment than it has &0 fag; encountered, The Iact that occukisU, are often dieHghHully eccentric should not blindthe enquirer ,~,o ~he existence of the occasional gre.aJ.t man: the dedicalioJlli even of csmp-folhiwers has. never been examined, Thi,s study isanattempt to repair some Gif these emissions.

lowe thanks to the libl'.~r~.ans and staffs of the University l.ibtaJY, Cambddge,; UDJe Bodleian Library" O~fol'd; the BdHsh Museum; the Nationa]Ubrar:y of Seotland, the London Library; fhe Warhurg Institute, University of Lon" don: and, ihl Mr.Wesencraft oif the Harry Prtee Library" the

Senate House, Universlty ,of London. .

1'0 the Master of fit Benet's Hall, Oxford. Mgr. A)fred Gilbey, Prl[loe Tomo~.'DJH(} ·0£ Milasa, JohJn Patten, WHHam and 'David Allen, and. Robert lBaHey'-K~n~ I am ~ndebt~d f·o:r hospitallty, ,erwouragemellt~a,nd suggestions.

The: expert kaowledge of Miss Katb~e,eW1l R.a~ne on matteFs of 'fradUlonal tho'u.gh~ has here belen as lu}.~vOiidably slmpltfled and distorted as it was freelyglven.

To the extraordtnary know~etlgeandgenerous temp~ra,. men t of Francia King E amvery much in debt: his detai ~ed


aeq [W:a:~nt.s!rilcesh~p, w~thma tters QiOCUU was: placed unsUnt~ ~ng~y at flilyse:rvi!ce,

WUh();~t the cnntlnuedeneouragement, hns .. pit.i~ity~ and readiness to part with bard-won mformation shown by Ellie Howe Uru~s book wo~ ld never ha vebeen W r~Uen.;. or wriUen in so pI~ut~a.l a form. ~h<d it Gould make no claim to survey those rileg,~ieo'Cted areas of 19thi~oo[1~u]"y thoughit known so

wen to Mr. Howe. -

It need! ha.rd]y be said that none .of those who. have 510 W1Hil1g1y prorffer,ed help ts responsible for any errors or aberrations of my own .

.Bibllogr:a,phiC(i!t Note

There would be ~mle - . .jn~· in ]i;f}ti.ng 'e'llIe:rybook U5G,dj i~ the writing. ,~.ftli;s~tijldy;. a, _ ~ 'Qi reasons make it dlff~.cult to p:rQivide a S~Q[it dalssifi,ed. bib~iogil'.aphy [QUowlng normal p~acUoo .. The first is Hlat I consider the mOiSt useful ,categories to be already der~ned by [my chapter-headings. and the seco:nd~~ha!t the ,exbreme.:il of bi,a;s:which. awe a eemmon $s~hjJJie oif occult bte~r~~ur€'riI1~ke

eral reeommendations unw!'s@. Tl:u;!:r'efore'tto· print a list o~f oks Or1l ., R~iC'mdan~sm" Oil' ." a~c!b('!n!!.Y" would not only dupUcab".': wfu~t has :ahe~.dy been done-see~ ill :p~.rticular.A. L.

_ Caillet~ WI d1!uel bibJiC\grapkiquedes .sc.~en£)es ·lJ.syohiquelS (faris., 8 vols., ]91:2)-bul fl!,]!Il' ~he risk of seeming to. support erroneous, and sometimes :ll1lJnatic, opini~)I:iIJ.. The ruotes '\'.\ih~,c~ foUow are t:h1l1$ a ,oombina.!tiQ<ll of b]b~ruogr.a(l'.hy and referenee, Bearing in mind the danger.s .~]1herent in deall.f.lg with occult souree .. material, a refer~nce to a book is in no W\1:y meant to endorse Rs opin lens or j ndeed amy p:arH)f the work other tha n tha:t ~pecillfieaJ l:v md leared.

AFTE,ll Hle A.ge of Reason eame t~e Age of the Irratlonal. lit has yet to be trapped,: dissected, and prronounced. upon .. The fact t~at it iswi~:h us here and now is da.Uya~noUl1J!eed! by the pUindits;~ but no one has botheredte ana.tom~7ie the beast histori{)ally .. The label, ~Ik!e all hlstorleal ]abdSi-aDd.~U tags hung round th,€ necks olf apoealyptle Beasts-has only a ~imited use, U it serves to indicate that the pedod. has been ill certain aspects one Q.f r~aclUon against the ]og,ica] consequences of too muon logte,


~l serves its purpose well. U is ofas much me as the Age of Reason which w,e'nt before it; and subject to the same quaUficalt~mlS:. For' the century o:F Enlightenmenrwas also the century of shadows. En the time of the eneyclopaedlsts there flourished alchemists: and dtsetples of laJcob Boe:bme, whilst the belief of astrclogers in lunar Iofluence has survived the physical presence of man on the moon. Indeed there is. no good reason why itshould not'.

The abandonment of Reason has been an ~n€gu.]al: process. SeeU'OIlS of ,tbe populations of Europe and America have been afflicted by varlous forms of anxiety at different t~mes,. However it is not arbitrary to define a period of great uncertainty lex't,endi.FlJg roughly from the' downfall of Napoleon too the outbreak of the First 'Wor~d War. Men's responses have been multiform. The response of those whose chilef edueetien had been foun.·d in the pages of the Fa,mUy Blblewas differ-ent ~romthat of the sophlstlcated upper classes of European capitals; and LOll don dint!feil from Paris as London has always: diff€:red from Paris, There is, nevertheless. evidence that Western man as til wholewas undergoing a severe trial 0'£ his capaclty to. adapt to anenvironment which fer the First time seemed beyond. his

. powers I~O o:rdier. This is irenic, as it is common knm'llledge that the achievements of the Industrial Revokrtion and the development of scientific methods 0,£ "nquiry had at last begun N) put manklnd in some sort of aeommendlng posit~o:n over "the' physical world" But as man adv3rD1ced to' greater mastery of the physical, so his always precarious hoM began to s~ip upon the more intangible aspects o:f his relationship, WU~l the universe. His society" his awareness, his methods of tho~gh~, and most importantly the cond usions he reached) "rete a] ~chang:ing round him. Villu!it is more, they could be seen to be changing; and thws was frlghtsoing.

The chief agents of the' metamQrp,.lltos~$ have all been descrihe,d as "revolurlons." The development of an lndustrlal rechnology; the appllcatlon of analytical method to the natural world; the threatened changes in forms of


go'v€.'rrn.:ment and 't~e rising damar of d,€ poor; even the s'eJf-dr,amatizing attitude known as Romanticism:; COin all be seen as revolutionary changes, Add to these factors the increasing contact of European.s with the peoples of Ashl~ and it ~s dear ~h at WesJern Ina n' s estl m:aUon of hlmsel £ and hIs place in the world required some drastic l"!2vision, The Industrial Revolution reconstructed th Europe81.111 eeonomy, Ma:i1l' s re~~tions with man were altered; th distribution .oif iPopul.aUon changed: comrnunlcations improved so ~hat news became not merely of parochial ~rtltere:st:; and the very geographica~ barriers to speedy travel be,~ao t,n disappear. The seientihc method resulted ~n Darwin' stheory Qif evolution and the appltcatlon oof critical standards to, accepted noflens of history and L~eHgion> 'by people ~]ke Ernest Rf2nar~, and David Strauss. Ever since m789 the threat of social revolution had terri-fied the buHtie'J' consciences of Europe. In the short hut significant upheavals of 1848 over nfty vi(p;~en~ attempts took place to top'p]eeshlblish,ed. governments. The RomanUc attitude placed a we~ght 'Of significance on the individual which not everyone\\las prepared to uceept. What was happening was . til . fln;}~ collapse of the old world-order whrneh ilud n~st be-en rude~y assaulted during the Renaissance and die R.e:forma'-


In the earlier period ideas of duty to God. .and. King, had given way to a reeognitloa of secular standards and the pursuit o'f profwt Dlld~g the lSU1, century there gradually developed an ~tHtude of mind which enabled man it,o pursue wich more success his worldly activities. In its extreme form this became R,a~[o]l.3iUsm> and the Age of Reason wa ' ch9!ractterizecl ~f no~ by a devotion to the Itthings ,of thls workl. at ,any rate by a. negleet of things be~ongjng to another. The Tndusttial, Social, SdentiHc and Romantic revollllUons we re all, in one way oranotber, the outcome of this concentration. But j~st when the Age of Beeson seemed 'lia be bearing fruit ill dle l'9th century, there was an unexpected re,a,ctWon against the ~ery method·":,,bich.had brought suceess.a wild return toarchaic forms o:f belief, and among,

the int:eIUg:en~:s~,a. a sloister coneentratkm on superstitleas 'wb~ch had beee theught b~ri€d. So it m:ru:gb~' haveappeared to a d~shealr:temed RalionaUs~.

If i~ is true that to wrl~ea history proves tha~H1!e subject ofdi~c'Us:sio~ has beecme pre~ty~ife]esSljReasol1 died sometimebefore ~865:. In that year WUUa.ru Leek}' publish" eo his, Histo'Nj ,oj l:latiofi,alism~a com pendlu m of ,e'N] ighte:liled 'ViCEUIfUl,[Ul. tOOFlleenlLed largely w[~:h lJ~eeUminaUOln of ··s~lPers.H~~on" ,and ~he grQw~h of hVl:men~t:!.l.ria:n ideals. Witches: are ~1:'O longer burn:edtthe .da.v~s areemancipated, rej Q~!OOS L~~N';ky > a nd wnvites his readers to ffi,O'In h ~:m ln ,c,'€Jeb.rating the" pr,ogr:es:s'~ . of the: We$~erfl world, AItho:lUgh r,at~o,~aUsm had led to oU1H3r thing:s than file victory of h uman ~tadanp'liindples~~Qe, eertainextent Leckywasa b]'1;l to cUst:~[lguisha mode I)f th.inking fol' what it was. This ergues :a dea.r perception of\vha,~,'¥el]:t he'fore; but alsoa reeognitlon of t:he dangers .of the present. Lacky 'knew all too well file d~~ffict~lties, ,ofperstm,Q;cUng o~hers ¢'O! aocep!t the truths 'i)if sweet reason ..

The' ]mmJ~JlS~ It;ila~oliityeit.her never e\1(:a:miroe the: ,opinIQns Hley have .inherited. or iel(a,.mbiN~ tbem so completely u lIl~er the d:omi n.ating influenoe of the prilmiC:ipI.e: ,ofeducalt.i!olll, that wha~ever may h,av>@ been the deetrlnes they have 'b~Nm taughtt they eenelude ,tba~ dley are so u.i!lJquest~onab]y true, tha:t no,th.ing bu,t a ff'ud.icj.a~ bHrndness can eause ~heir l:oej:e<:twon.. O:f the fl3~~who, ~lave obbt~lled ,il gHm.pse oif hlgner things, a Iaege piloporUon.cannot endueea oo.mmlCth!) lOo:vMch o~d assoeiatlens ancl~ above aU, the old dootrwne, G,f ~he' g!li~t >of error, ]end S!!leb a peeuhar bit~e:r:.n€:ss;, they sHf~e the; voioo Qlfl:\ea:son~ ~hey t~llin awayflliom the paHl0f kll(lwled.ge! ~hey p~reh,~se peace al fhe expense (If truth, This is, ~l!:Udood. i I:li om day ~he most (ata.[ o~

obstacles to ,enq uiry. ~ .

'This sUfUrlIg 'of the vo~{..-e of fe,3S0lW. -OOlWk1J lead to a 8tra]f::htFor\Va~d return to old ways, of [ho!ilgh~' and okl met~o,cb: oil doing tMng~. a.~tsuJcl1€sic'ap~~'iln becarnN' ~n-, cre;a~il1g1 y dHnen] t. In ] 859 Dan" ln's Origin of .sp\e'i(j~\1J:a:s published,and ~~e: grea.t hatt~ebro];:ie out between the evohd.ionj.s:~$an.dth!o5ie"v~~'o, st~n asserted ~he Utera~. truth. of

the aeeount of Creation gJven wn 'G@nesis. Mean:while~ the brust:oria:~s 'were dohlg their best to destroy the notlen of the New Testament as un.c~l,aU.engeable narrative. Benan's L#e. oj Jesus a,plpe:ar~,clJ two _ years before 'Lecl<y's ,H'~tof'Y. No()th~ng priS'viously held as s;a;cr,eda.nd im.mu:nef~'Clm. ta.mper'ln.g cOliJldesicape the erltlclsm Q:£ the s,cientiflc me~h(ld .. rhus~~or th,s more thoughtful a. s~mpl,e return to the comforts of C.hristianity was lm.saUs&actory-a~tho~:gh such a m;~urn was; '\vldespread. For religlon saw the new science as an ene,my .. It was,~l',o' G!hristi.anu.y a,s understood in the early M9th century ehe new theorles shout man and the ~n~ver$e: spelled totaldisas~er if not eontatnedw Hilin 8et Brons .. 'To some doubters sueh ,aonUktbrought _3 darkflllJru~ of itlH;l SI~)U] in\ivllJich~h,e frood.om of man from div~ne orderins see.med. :ah"IiJ,ea:nd very tenible ~;M ng,

It b often staled thet the Infhience of Darwin and irl~i€ JnJe~~l slC'jenUsts had U~de ef.Fect on the :faU'h o:f ordinary peep·~e, In tlme, however, the new ~deas were assi1nw~:ded and d~ffus'ed, A.n:~lwa:y it has been observed that aU the elements neeesseryto theevolutienary theQ~'Y were present before Darwin's nash of intuition thatp,laced. each oomponenl hl H~e r~ght dot. The O~"igin of S1;)e~~e8 was :1 ·oodruficaUon aiflld the foc~s of dis:pll~e:j bul: ~'many had o()b~c'UreJy fe~f' what Darwfn stated openly." And i~ was not only the ef.forts of Darwwn and a. f,e\v in:teUedu$~$ that threatened ~o take awa.y from man hIs f,ew iUl!1sions of 5)ecU!rUy. Muchmore poten~'> because pl',a,eUcaUy ob£enraMe~\Ver.e ~he effeets -e,f the In= dustri 'I 'IR:, c,C ~I·'·,,~~·· c, ' ad · .. ,'1 ,~I . ·g;·t·· ti .' . li'Jt" ifil!..c .£:; .. d, ", (Ii." of

Uhna. .evou.hlOl1l. ane so c~.a.wa, LR,IQIII. JU ~ Wie; ,~.n .If.I~<l ....

the .scie;ntis~:s meant for the thinking classes :th,e destruction of ,~£ljj"te~,~ec't!IJaJ seeurwt~.,es:l' .alte:r.aUom~-in the means of produo-

. ~ . "bl'!l' , .It f·

tton ano cOi.nSII.l.mph(lin were esta ., .. lS:~~.Ulg a. new rorm 0

S!oc.~ety altogether! one in w~lch It-be bases Of\1\fe·s.hh and secu.r.~ty were not known frQm. experience an.d w h ~.ch was therefo[1s threatening, Among the classes d,eprived of the means ,a,f P CiiUticaUy regulatl ng their 0'1;. .... 0 destiny, th.e cam" . u for a :say in the govemmeat of ~be~.r 'OOU]]~II"1.e8 gat:,lI"ed momentum with the demand from the worst-off to' 'r'· "" · ..... ,0· .. "", [ust ,li1~""tr';lb!U'~l'Q''''' ! ... :~ i~·~'i>4\".rh"] ~.,~ (I.o .... ,..J.. Securltv

1,~_- rQI, .InlH.l_.'~,'!!;I', ,_-I.;'IJ,_~ U~.~._~_·~-j',_-,.J;J, ~,W, !;;1,:Jj~ J"'V,~ ,iU ~.o ~y,~~ .~~_~ ,j').



mental, p,11,Ysical. .financial,and spiritual, seemed menaced on every slde. In order to live ,8 tolerable hfe, some form of mental ,adj!IJstmenthad to 'be made. This book is ofteneoncerned w~tb those who faUed, to' mal,e the transltion, ]But it iis as. wen t(~1 note that ~'he forces of soolal "progress" were by no lil,leanS imrn,uneflio.m the w'ides:p1r'E!:ad. anxiety abOlmt 'the fl1.h,ll re iQlf man.

The condltlon was agg,ra:va,lt,ed~particllJlal'~Y for the arrisdc and hterary worlds-s-by the attitudes' lnsnlled by Remantieism. The word ·~RomanU.c:·· bas been so defIned and r,edefined ,that I do not propose to enter into the g,arne, But two characterlstlcs 11::1':£ Roma,nticis,mare important from the point of view O'f t'~is book) Q[iJJe a popular, the o~her s, ,sc,h,ohld,jl d,efifJJiti,o~, .," Bomannc' ln everyda y speechmeans somethmg unreal, p~easant. and dramatle, One C~~a.]"3Cterlstic of ~hem,o've'ffile:nt known by aeademlcs 35, BomanI!-' ,. '. t ,,' ~I!. ~'f TC-,I!.- - - - l ld f' noism IS concentranon on me sen, . ne pOPIiJ ar 1 ea o

somethlng Romantic as all p,le'asu[able form of escapism results fro~m this eoncentratlon oOD the self, By and larg's: the opinion of the Age of Beason was that the universe revolved round man.. At an.yr,ait,e man was the :!per:cepUbleo~n~er of things, and an extremely :im.portant part ()of creatioa. Therefore, aU his acts, Ms passions, h~s minutest doing~ , must be invested wub an awesome s~g.nmcan<:et as the d ra mati c activities of tElelonl of the world, This reasoning was all very well. but it' placed on the inc.U:vmduala.n enormous burden In exchange for his privUeged position at the een er o.f things .. Man was left to hims,eJf. Hie had cm:ty hw~s own kind h),tur:n b,) .. From fhis "'h(nr:nooo~~ric" vision of rthe universe resulted the idI'ca of the RomalfDl'tic as a. dreame'.r~ an unr,eai~ist. T'he overloaded personality .m~ghlt break down .unde'r the strata of Us: O\\'U extstence, pure escapism m~gh~ be' the result atbest a heightened and 'hJys,ter.ka,~ ~nsis:~ence on th,e overwhelming importance of one' s everyaction.

In the middle of the Ul,th century it happened that the consciousness of ,change-s In society combined 'wrnth mnlteHeo'tu~~ andartlstle posltions {;o produce a widespread flight

from reason, whose f~ndings appeared ~ntoleraMe 'to the dilgnity of man, and jnsupportable to his kno\\\'l,edgle of himseU .. TMs I have called the ., crisis of consciousness." The motive 'Was n.otlJebdallOO wilth hllma,nw,~y's perha,:ps wnsignifi,c!2111t 'plaice run the eosmos, but simple ~£e'a.r., It sense of Inseeurlty was: made worse by the need to accept personal n:esponsi,bnity in the society which was €v'ohdng." Under God; oO:r in a hierarchically-structured society, the lndividual bad been spared the necessity of making decisions, in :tb!e frightening, knowledge o~f the nmit~,ess degree of freedom which h.e possessed. of course'! there were ,a~w,ays praetical restrictions on\ilihat could and what could not be done. But the kuOtwledg"e that one is the :a,rb~,h:!![ of one' s own (les~"iny is a:~wa.'y~s a fdg:htening d.~$¢Oivery~ and durIn'g the I9tb, century whole peoples beganto realize the extent 0'£ t~~a[fear, Erich Fromm has, described some of the symptoms of .sucha wUhdra\lval from the prospect of freedom ;,~I but it, 5: ems as though hlstcrians have neglected the theories of the psycho,.ogists as bejng outside U~ei'r _pro,vince.

In eireumstances of anxiety and uncertainty! superstition is: likely to make a :JHrominecfl't showing. This is seen as pem-ha'ps a regeession toO' :infanUle ,a;ttw~udes" or to baUer'S acqui'fed early in ~~fe'andaft,efwa,rdls suppressed; Of pet-haps as ameans of obtaining some sod of Hh.msorjl' conho'~ over ,9, frighten~ng, sltuation.! During, the l'9tli-oenhu:y crisis of consciousness this sort of' situation was the' order OF the day;

d 1'·10' fl' . ill. .Jill T-'I!. - -Ie ,. -., t' e. Ii. r

an supersnnon ~ ounsnee. ,. ne moss mreres ing races 0.'

:the n~ght from reason is the '[evi.va~ o:f the occult Under this. wielel"; misunde~s'tood headingare grouped an astonishing, collection of subjects: hypnottsm, :magi'c~ ,astro~ogy~,,\':at,e:t',dtvlalng; "secret' seeietles, and I. multitude of sim~br toplies of doubtful i.ntelle~tu,al respectability, The discovery ·of the real nature of the occult ma,kJes poss~biea ~ru,ew or

hl ... d soei t h' h 1i ~1.1 II" '. B' Ie I!I!..' ~. -k'

. rstoryan .: SOCle' y w ' u:· ~ loe'w ~eve 1,13 new, . Uhl nus 000 --, IS,

neither a complete history ,of the occult revival nor I,P attempt ito ,comp,~'~e ,aninteUectual h:istory of the last century and a half. Both wouM be superhemen tasks, It is rather an


attempt to show how the occult revival can be used ssa ~ey to a crisis w]dch we :suU have not resolved, andh.ow· the oecult relaees to. the beUer-lit Ii,e,i~'o[a,s of s;ociJety, ..

To understand this, one thing should be no~ed about the expression of Mea:s..[ ~ terms of man's vision o~ h ~ m:se&f and hi.s plsce h\ the world, a real ffie~ thinker is always a very rare bird, In the mid-l'9,th century one was for l1evoluHon. or Re.action) Progress or Order. Likewise, there: was an overHm~ted eoneeptual vocabulary toallew of great sOipbisticatru(m ~n most people's way cflookingat the world, The terms wlthwhich man was most famni.9iJ~;and p'~obab]y the terms \~u'h wMc~ he issull most~t borne-to, describe lns thoughts about 11rus relatruonshlp with the universe were rellgieus or directly a:nH-,rehgruous. Thus .rut ,shouM net be surpri:s~.ng to hear the pr(lfpne't .e,fasocj,aUst paradise e:)(-' press him&e~( in nearly r.eU~io~s fasMon; parUcularly if the boning (If social dlscontents is: borne in mind as a constant background to the crisis and Hs development. On tbe one hand,! the fu.nli300 of the revolution, on the otber~ the "bls:ckness of the vO~1l1 Goel was dying, but Nietzsche had! not yet ofnc~.aUy erected his tto:mb~,torH;:. 1848 was the year (If revolutions in Europe; it abo. represents ~he beginning o[ Spi.ritualism ~n Amedca..W·e shall f~nd that the reHg,~ous and the poHUc~~~ the occult and the revolutlenery run in the same paths, employ each. other':s langu.a,ge.. "vVest,ern society was disoriented and dismayed in tlli'te mkrns~ of Us riches. Co.rpoDF9!tely it behav.eJd rather like' the ~n,esolute RationaHs:t ,descr~bed m Lecky's fulsome pro'sle:

There is a, perlod in the hi.s,tory of the ef.!qu~rer when old oplnlons ha;v'e been shaken or desboyed, and new o'P.in~ons have not yet: beenfofmecl.,a peri.od of doubt ofrerror, and of d3!rk~e$s.when. the voice of the dogm~;tis;t' has not lost: its power, and the phantoms ·of file past: s:tUl hover over the m~ncl.

a period when eve'~y ~arilldmark ~s lost t'C1 ~ightj and every :;btl' is: v.eilecl,. and ehe seul ~@em$ dd~Hng hdpless and rudderless . before d:l.e desboying blast, U ]S ln tM:s season oftl:"a.l'ilisHion that the te;mpla,t[ons i~O s~m.e reasen POiSSe5S a feadu~poi\lver,~


1. W'.E. H.Ledky, Hi:do:ry 01 t;he :Rls€ a'11d In!I~Emci'! ,o1·~he Spitii~ 0:/ Ra~;iO'fla.lmn i1~ E1:I,110pe (London, lli870). vol, Il, 4th editiOID~ pp. 94,,5·.

2. Despite tbe ~ss!e]tiot:l;$ to the contr.ary of somany clerics.

Fora g'OGd. example of the believed dicbotomy see. Andrew D. WItHe,. A [-li$tory of the Wm:}are oj Soiell:ceQnd Th..ri10'tOgy in Chrfst811ldom. (London, 1875, replil.nted ]955,). Time and compromfse have prorved dla~ there is perhaps nothtng i~hmre(!tJy incompat]b]e in Cb~[st:ia~n:ity and, say, evolutlonary theQry~ and it is abo irue that not' every observer ]U the lli91th c~ntmy S~W the oppruiHon. of ~henet'!.i' seleneeand the eld r,eligion in terms of bh~.ck and whit!e-~ee G.. ~. G~.mspie" ~.eneS:iS mut Geciog~ {CaD1hrklg~, Mass .• 1951)-but it cannot be d~Spl~,ted that the chaUerlge po.s~cl by emp~dct!Jl in:ve's1t ~gatiolJ~o revealed h·lJl~h m a~r~Jsinecl. illl dogmattc form W.lS of {he severest kind,

oS. iG~['ti:'(l.cle Himmelfarb, ,Oan.oi'n (~'nd' th,e D(lrWitl:ia~~ li:iIl!voitd1on. (London, ]9,519), p, 37ir;. cf, also Herbe:rt:i3l.ltte]"fie,ld., Ongt~8 oj Moder1t, ScimC(J (London, [M7)~ p. 233..

4. Er:i!c~:iI Fromm, F'ea~' of Free.d()fi~ (London. pap~t"ihack r~p.dnt. 1960, .elf ,~n'i~,i nal HM2 edmon)

s. ·G1!IIstav lahoda" The PS:!H:l~:ology oj SIU1)en~itiQn (London, 196'tl'), Pl. 146.

13. Leeky, RaJ;fonaUsrn, vat Il, PiP, 95.,6,

Chapter 1

The Necrom,an,cers

- .-

T~E godscame down to e'artr~l again on Sl Marc~ 1,84B. Thesite of ~heif' appearance 'was ou'tw\a;rdJy not propltiorUs" but 'qui~e witMn the traditions of pfQ~e~y'tizin\g d~viJ1JJity", It was a 8maH~ wooden oottage at Hyde:s:vme, AflcadIa, near Ne"l¥ York. The oottage consisted ofone story,!, an attlc above, and aeellar below. ~I But, as or!l!,ea,lJ'Iden,~iPn)'tago'mist o[ the Sp'ir~tuaUs~ revelation wrote:




''he'hu~b~e f.r~me dwe1U:ng: :Elt HydesvHle ~ooms: up tnto the pr,oporh(lIiS Oif f), g; tic tempie w~ffiose fOl(lrJdatioi!ls are la[d in the f'£i1ur comers the earth ~ alnd ths lIli)iugh. and rugged patn which the b]eedin;g feet of the Hy,des"!lHlem@d~um;s seemed ~o{il'med to treada.m1dst t,ean~ s.budderIrJ:g:samd aameless ~:o~~~lr, h~s.nowlo(JI~ed (YuHnto t. - _ndid pr,op~rUom~Hhe . 9r~~~e whleh ~rche$ ~'~~r the aw . 'aJsm off the gra ... a, af .. fGl~,~~,g a transit :£or mdhoi1s of a~:pir.img $olds into the g]odoUJ~: reabhes of e~'en1ity " . . ~

Before sueh a ga;~e of famin~ne eenvietion, one Can bUl bow g[a.ce~!!lnlt and investig~,te the grounds forbelief

At' Ule Hme the sp~.rns appeared, the house had been tenanted . for three and a bal,f months by a family nam~d Fox. Du r.i[lg the wboille of the last for1.night in M a.]1cJl, so they aft~rwards; ~>es~inedt~heyhad been troubled bya Inyst!erj~ous rapp[ng wMch shook Itab.~e:s and, chairs. This .~s: the evidence of Mrs. Marga'r,et Fox;

W'e went to ib.edeady,~ because we had been broken ,SQ much .of Qur rest ~hat l was ab,l.1ost sick

My husbsnd h~ld j~~t gone b) bed wben. we first heerd ~he fioi$~s this €"ve,rn~:ng. I .hadjus:t ~Siid dor:w.nwhen i~ commeneedas usua], m knew itfmrn. a~~ theo~her neises I had ever heard in fh.e house, The gb:~s, who :slept ][1 dff.l,e oltherb.f;ld ill ~he room, heard t~H~ .:nolse and tr1ecl ~(:I make a :dmU.n .1lQi.s~ by snappfngthetr fl.n_ge'rs. The }'o:~.tllgest g:iid is about twelv~ years .0[(1 .. She is the oaewho .made her hand! go, A,s: f:a5~ as she made th@ noises wH~ her hands or fingers" the sounds followed up in the room .. H ,d!id not sound different a~ that time. but oo~ .made the same number of raps tile giris did, When she stopped, thesounds would Sirup f~r . a slli.Od :ti:Il]e,. The other gIrt who ~$: if:! her :fifteenth ye'a:r, then spoke 1]11 sport, a:nd said ••. Now do jus~ as m d{)!" Count OlilJe, t,w,Qi, tbl"ee,foul!'~ ete.," atthe same time .strilling o~~ h-alD:d tn the othe!r.

The blews whicnihe made, were repeated as befo~e"U ap~ea~d: t~ al'!L$wl~r her b)frepeaUng !e\le~ blow she made. Sbe on!,y d,~~ ItQ(lC@. S~ t.h~m _ beg~,fi to be start~,ed. and .J said te ~he n{)~se,Count ten. and it madB b:!n sh'{]kes or noi$e$. ThenI aslk~d . the ~geS:(;lf my dH~eren.t ehildren $'l,IDoos:s:iv~[y ~andJ ~t gave,t?e !Ilumb~r of fa.p:!> corcecspOficllin,g tu [he ages (If eaehof myc._hddren."

I then asked .it if it was i'l: human. b.~ili1lg makir.lg the noise, and if 00, to manifest it by t]"H~ same notse, There was DO noise. l then asked It 'if. it was . a spiriit?---if :it: 'was, to manifest i~ by hvo soends.Lheaed ~w.o sounds, as soon as the words weV!!;! sPQik~I!I.~

Such Js the .,' official" narrative of how cemmunication

was established bebweefDJ the spirit worldand the world of living beiog:s. U Ute hom,eruy utterances ,of Mrs. Fox do not seem to. eerry much eonvietien ~oclay. we should not be surprised that du: .moveme[Djtsp[ne~d. Psople wanted to bel~e"e~ and no reHgio.noould. ,g,iV!.:l tb!e eoasolatioe Olf

d~~hn:~/!eb:?~:~ i~h~rH~~~~~~i~:~~oo~e~i~%~~~~ a!~!:~

eatelnng, Shortly .. anerthe _:lnHial ~nciden~> M.aggie. P'Oll( went to stay at Ro!chesb::r. New YOlk. wuh her married sister, and Ka)te Fox went to Auburn. At~oth these p~aces: the ~~pplngs broke out. Tbe m3J~r~~ed 'Fox girl cIDlsoovef1e~ that she too was mediumisti!c~and by 1851 i~ was estimated that there were 100 medii urns in N ew York Cru~y alone. 'I

'fh'e Hr5t phase 0'[ S:pir~.~ua] lsm reached itselimax wHh the presentatlon ittIo Congress .of a. petition requesting the setting up ·oFa selentffleeerannssion to inVie;st~gate the phenomena. AuaehedI were t3fJG s.~g.nalums, inchllding thlilJt of an e;>,:gevernor (}fW~.~ci»)]js~n.and Senator lames :SMddsm~de a. lom:g and ,SJm:big~ous speech .inlerlarded wi~h ref,erences to Comellus Agdpp,a" CagHostw> and nt, D€J€,."TMs speech," say.s the recor-d. "was hstened ~o '\-'Vitlllffiuch attention, but f:!'equent~y tnt~~nupt'ejd by ~,aMghter:'

M:r." WeUe:r: What' does the Senarer propose to d<l' with~he peUtiOOI'Ji P'

M:r, P:ettiit:; Let it be ~r~r!li®dto the three thousand elergymen (Laughter).

Mr., Weller: I suggest that i~lb~ lief~:nfed t,Ci thle IC()mmiUe~ol'il F'on1;ltigUl. Re13tiol1l:'): I( LilJ~,ht'e]'}. ~

Th:8 herd-headed senators shelved the petltlen. There ~ad, :!lI.'~[1eacly been voc]ferous criticism of'tbe fox sisters, ~n

,.pa. f.·tiC. ~l.ar by t.1Th~e. e .. \11. -!It l iV'@.::-l'S.].·ty.,pr.?f~ssors .... f.I!"._om _lB. · .. ~.~.H_a. '10 .. I~ w._.hOo ~'[ad. due. o.V',ere.cl.' .. tbat .~f the g,~r.Ths.· feet lev1e1r,e. f!laoe.-.d so.' th.,a. t they could not move their knele-j.oi:n.ts~ the 'phenomena"

oe,a~ed." As ,e:!3idyas the .wintel· of. 1850" a,ce;rt,~~n ]Jr. Potts, \~hl~e ,l~ctur~_ng ~o ahterary olnh on the stage of [he Connthtan H,aU, Boehester, scene o~ the Spbwtual~s.ts· [irst :t~iumphal meeting, hag, delighted r- ~ is audience ·b,. crack~ng ~~S roes~ to prove that: hetoo could producerappmgs," In April U351, a Mrs. Norman Culver signed a s~~atemen.~, afterwa.rds published in the N,ew York Her:ald'~ dl$Jt the Foxes ha~ admIUed, [0 hell lhatthey had pl'locluoed the noise by crackingtheir jolnts,"

Fin@!]~y~ ill ~888j Maggie br1?ke down and confessed. She ;ga.ve'·sea,noes" on stage before huge audiences, showing .hijf\v the ra~,(lI~ngs had been produced" Her lacredeloua sister wrote, "They made $150,,()OO dear,,"!l MQre) it seemed, could be made m~t o~exposures then out of the seances them:£elv·es. The trj:c.ks of two m lsehievous cM~dr,en ~~~d! got completely out oflliland; and had not Amerieabeen filled w·~th pe:op,le begging for a revelation w~:dc~ was selentific.@Jlly demonstrable, the deception wOllJldh.~we been burled ill Hydesville, where it began, The spirU w~o had orlgir!lia,Uy eontaeted ~!h,egill'ls: was supposed to ~la.VIfjl: been that (If a murderedpeddler whose graV;e· h~,y under the Fox !hou~;.,~·, ExcavaUoI1ls:iI;lrod U!ced. :s.ometeefh arrd bones, dubiously human."

To. at least one of those inthe seeret, the mora~Uy of the proceedings bad become dr-€a:dfuHy mudd].ed, EUsha. Ken ~ Kane, the Amtio m:p]ore:r~ beeame ~n£a.tua~ed wuli Maggrne Fox! whom he married a .. short whHe before his death. Once he wrote [0 her:

'VffiH~1l"I I tlhJnk ,oif you~ dear diarHng.wasting your thne. you~h and ()Oir.JJsc.ienoe ~of'a few p~UrY' dellare, and tbj~k of the~ erewds who come nrngheb~o hear U1ie' wild s~Q:des of the frigid North, I :5!()me~hl'iIi!e$ feel ~ha.t we at~ not $Q' :far re:movedla£~eJ,r all, My 'bra in amid, your bo,dly aee each ~be sources o~a~lt:rac:~i,on. a:~d. I ccnfess that th~f.e [S not so meeh differ'e:nce, I ~

Kane was: not far \vmng, His 'tales of Arcticadventure fj~_leda need £or escapist fan ~as;yj, ln a '!!lay, so did the bogus seances, The far-awayworld of the polar Ice-cap was no nearer the audiences to whom Kane lectured in N,e\1\I' York

than the "Summer-Land' of the splrits. III one aspect, Spiritualism can be, $!e;enas pure Wi5h·~fuUinment,-ror deSipi~e· confesstoes andesposuresthe fan h o:fth,e converts held! secure, The fel'IDa.cUy with whiich the early Sp~_r1tuaHs[s guarded their dream is wel] ]nustr9!~edby the' aUitUlde .a.dQpted by .L~gh~. the LO'ild(:l~ Sphrihla]ist paper, .011 Urs:t receiving tbe news of Hille Fox cenfession. <,' M.rs. Nencken"' (Kate Fox), it wrote, •. has for a long time been victim toa deplorable habi t\vh:lch has a pp~.rendy destroyed her moral censcleusness.end renderedanvthtng she may say or do unworthy of atten tton." ~ 2 Even more incredi ble is the statement by Algernon joy" Secretary O~~ the BrHish National UnlOI1l of Spi.rnl1la~~stsj· coneeraingthe nOit,or~01!ls: expocses. of seance-faking gJven. by the conjurors Maskelyne and Cook at HThleEgypUan HaU ~n London. He declared that ~he performers had developed 1flJJtO the finest medi urn s lnthe world "'fo:r strong physical ma.n~festaNoI1ls.·'·'~

Spirirt[lalis:t phenomeea soon progressed beyond. mere table-rapping, The most famous '0'£ all mediums, Daniel Dunglas Home, who displayed ~ljs ta~!el1ts befcre the Tsar (he was expelled from Rom.,e 0111 t\he orders of the Vatican, but ,ev\€:[DJt~any died a CathoHc) 'was observed by Lor-d Ad.are, the Mader of Lindsay ,and a gentleman IcaJ~'€idj Charles Wynn, to noat 'OU~ ofa third-noor window ,~t5 BUlck]nghamGat!e,.a~d back in thrCiug:~ anotherseven f:eei( a.wa:y, i~ On another cceasion, wrote Lord Acilla.re:

hr:tially OGvc:ringhlimse.lf with the 'I.vind(:V",! eurtasns, but hlJl!cltng the glass with the bra:lt!d!y in ltabeve hls head, be hll'een. usand thee window .$.Q' tha~ WI,e could see it, he was l~fh:j'd ~lff ~he floo:r· about fo~r er Ilve feet, While in tbe air, we sawa bri'6h~ 'HgM in the glass: pre{jeody he came dO'WH and sho,wedu.s: th.a~ Ithe gl3JS5 l<Y.a5,smpty, by ltwrnililg it upside dOI\'\I[iL; hie also rC'Sme tu us, turned it upsi,de down upenour hands;. then g;oing bad~ to the w~ndow he heldthe glass up and we he9!rd. ~he HquLd drop in~o it. HJ~ beg\9.ill ta]ldng 3i.bout thebrandy, and sa~d, ,. U is under cerit:ai~l cjrclIrrJisihlrIDC€:$ a demon, a rea] davll, but, if properly !,Ised~ it ffis most ben . .efiQiaI.'" As hesaid ~hjs ~h.e Hgbi~becQme vis;ibh~ in the gi.ass;" and. he w:as agnln raised in Hieai •. ; .. Bu t, ..



he said" _"if impr,operiy used, ~'t becomes sri' (the light disappeared) "and drags you down, down. ~ower and lower" and ,M hoe spoke h,e s,aok gradlHI.~]Y down dU he touched the Iloor 'wuh the gless, He again ralsed the glass above 11is head. and the ~i,qu,Q!f feJl over and through my. ~llinge:r5 into. the glass" dropprung from the <ll it abo V'!!!' me . . }<:

_ No conjuror would have cHfficulli'Y lF1 reeognlsinga nice nne' in patter- -the slow descent of Home symboUzlng the faU wn~o drunkenness; and under the rlght condltlons, most of these feats could be duplicated, After the spectacular stage performancesef the Davenport Er-others"li" Ghost Shows" became very popu~ar as ,S! branch of cmThjull"ing; and much atteation bas beendevo[,ed to duplica Ung the' phenomena of t1:rieseance-fOo,m. u;: in 1891 a reoentent

.. _ d" ,"' L.'~ h d L -c ~ t'

me '_ mm publlshe ~wisRevel{dio'l'l.s~ which contaln among

other secrets a method for performing, one of Home'sother f,€:ru,ts that o:f handling hot coals and bathing hisface ~.n the

n~· ~

His fair to say that if Home was a conjurer, he was a very good one. Most of his competitors did UUle better than arrange for guitarsand candlesncks to Hy about run a totany darkenedeoom, 'The raps." 'of course) continued to be heard. !From lithe very eady .days: spirits had "materiaHzeld" themselves, forminga. visibie body from the mysterlcus substance.Y'eetoplasm," produced by the medium. The ., direct voice' searllce~ at whtch the medium went imo a trance and perported ItlO speak with the voice of a dead person, was another innovation. But few professional mediums have escaped __ wruthout at :~east one eX.posure _ fOil" cheating. Home himself was convicted in the courts of havhl~ used "spirit voices" to cozen some ~£'24,OO(ll from ,a MIl'S. Lyon. iii 'The argument of the Spiritua.~ws:ts. that one exposure does not Invalidate one bun.dredcasies of evidence - of survtval transmitted through mediums is unanswerable, But the crucial fa!ct is; th]s-thatwU-h an the evidence to the con~rary,\"ilh scoffers on every hand. people be~ievecl implicitly in the Spiritualist revelation.

It Is relatively slmple to' decide what monves ~ nflueneed the f.raudylent m,ediums .. The~]:rnost, u,nanimous reply 'of

the €lady erities was U money." This is pwh~.bly only half the story, Like the Fcxes, the Davenports sprang from hum.ble origins. For ~ho.se whose social posltton was not quite what they could wish; for tlho~e who were unsure of making tbelr way' aocQlid:iJng to ~'he standards of conventicnal society: or (or those who loen in any way insecure, the spiritualist movement f.ormed a closed circle waMn wMch they could demonstrate their essential worthiness .. Any eult performs for Us members the function of status-givmg, or "making them feel importanr. "~I) How much more so Spiritualism. if the devotee .. discovers" Mmself to have mediumistic powers. It ~s simply unrealistte ~,o piay the moralist ~n these matters; 'for the llne betwe1en se~f~decepnon and dellberate fraud is SiO deHca~'e~y drawn as aJm:os.t to seem illVisib]'El.

Sincere 011" frau.d!u~e.nJ,h.oiwev,er. the early mediums f'I)'unCi. dm terrain well prepared. Tbeh success wOlltld never have attained Its remarkable proportlons but for the efforts of. three men: ,1:1/ Swedish engfneer turned prophet an Austrian physlclan branded unaeeeptable by the world of learning, and a young American good-for-no~h~ng who took to seeing vlstons.

The prophet was Emanuel Swedenboeg (l688~1772). lH51 conversations wnh :aulg:,e~;s and spirits led him to pub~~sh the w'eigMy A1'cana Coelesea in London, in lli749.. H had. a discouraging reeepnon: only two copies. were sold in the first two months." l!3,Il_IJ gradually Swedenborg aequlred a reputation which, aUhouglh at Brst llmited, was: ten years ,after his death consohdatcd in a church. ShH"t.~ng from ~ts chapel in East Cheap, the Church .of the New Jenu;,a'iem exitended ruts lnflueeoe into Europe and-most importandy from the; :po~ntof view of Spmrrutul~Ii-slill~.int,o ~~e United States. By 1828" ~he tenth General Convention o[ the Amedcan New Church reported eigbty places where tbe true doctrine was taught, as opposed t'o, the bare Eort:Y-Ilill,e congregatlons claimed next year foQr Britain, where the gospel had (irst seen ehe Bght~:!

Since lli730S Sweden borg b.ad experienced mystical states: supernatural H,asbes of light and other man~fesb.Hons. assaulted his Inner ey,e. Hts bent fo:r[lJlysUe,~,~ ]it:eraturce ina


ellned hlm to attach some' importance to these occurrences; :'i'i.iiiI,d his Slci'el1tinc traintng encouraged him to frame his visions as a system. Cradually he d!fif~ed into an increasing~y "spiritual' fram . of mind, in which he saw the truth in symbolic dreams, whose sign]ficance was hard to interpret 2-1 But soon his relatlons with the heavenly klngdoms grew more direct, and! he held conversationswith angels and spirits, Hie described rhe pIl"OCi:S$ ,8i:S follows: "' .. , when ang ~s speak for 3J man they turn thems lves ~(I him and conjointhemselveswith him; and this ,oonjiuncUoll of angel wlrh man eausesh oU'l, to be in like t 1'IDo1!]g~1 t. ,. The angels appeared to speak in his own language, but' eonversanon wi~h them was a. rarity, because the stare of man had become so changed that "~his commerce is no longer with angels, but with splrlts who are not ~n heaven, ,. Even tills sort .of contact bad become uncommon, however, beceuse ~t 'was da ngetous. 114

N nw here was a man who claimed in the most matter-offact way. Ito have be D ~n daily contact with the 5,~)b'U world, and described the 'types of creature he eneountered, such as those who in Ufe had been' ,entireiy concemed about mensurations"~;j much ~n the mar mer In which the advanced natueal scientists w re heginning ~o dass~fy rocks, animals, and nth r objects of their legitimate interest Mor, ove r, the doctrine peopagated by the Churoh of tho New J erusalem well fitted the contemporary mood of apocalypse, Swedenborg had] taught that there had already been two great. [udgrnentswhich had fallen on mankind, and both had sIgJILaUea the' end of an established Church, Thus. the Flood had meant the end of a hypothetical Most Ancient Church: aJndt1te· Crueifbdon that of the Ancient Representative 'QhUfCh, Swedenbcrg had concluded. :Uta't the "Third Age, that of the Christian Church, was due in Wts turn to be overthrown." This thi.rdjudgme.fl~ had been prophesied by C}U']S~, and foretcld ~n Hevelatlens, It was En thts h·;adWtion that the Church of the New jerusalem sought h) inaugural the. ew Age. Robert Hindmsrsh, one of thelesdtng lights of the early 0< New Church:" wult the hope of the new dis~

pensatlon firmly' upon him, f,€[t~_ in commonwith almost every IiO:ySi~k run. Europ.~~~hat ,tllile Holy AHruance '~o()~ld fulHU every prophecy of the Mmenn~'um. Accordingly, he dispatched letters itt'O the three signatory monarchs, ~gether with parcels ,of books: :f'rQ]n the New ler1lJsdem Temp~€~ SaUord. Manchest,er .. There was consternaticn in Salford when Frederick \?Vmiam of Prussia actually bothered to, re'P~y~ ln ,~n envelope emblaaoned \.,~th it-he: arms of h~s house." The incident, untmportant in ibeH" is symptomatic of rhe tenor of tbought peevaillng among the d. vo~ees Q:F the New' lerl!.rusalem. It was in this man:n,er, tbat the thought of Swedenborg was transmitted outside the studies, of the

tntelligenrsia . .

To the p,rehistmy of Spbi~ruutl~sm. F'ranz Anton Mesm'er (c. 1734~1815) contributed t,'lIO thin.gs) a movement. and the pOiPlIl~adzinJg of the idea of trance .. Freen I:ID:e M,"s,med:c' movement other cults than Spmri'lllalism weW'€: to take their wnspiratiQn. Hut Sphriitllalism alone came 'too. depend on th notion ·of trance; for i~ was in ~ranoetha.~ th _~ s.pir]t:s. spoke Ithrough the medium and ga'v,e messages From the departed. 'The Mgb po~nts, in Mesmer's career are easilv charted. [n 1165 he passed his medical examinations with honors, But the tn1e ef h~s thesis harked back to the medicine of a eentu:ry before: De influxu plafle"t:al'l'Um in. C10rpU8 h'U~m:'l:'f£m, the influence ol the p~anets on the lmman bodly-thi~ betrayed his preoccupation with the theories of Paracelsus and even earlier medic.aiW speculators. It was. wn this dtssertaUon that he firs,t broached his idea that the hlf]u~'lmc'e of the stars on the body might be exercised by means of a .. subtl'e

Huid," a physical means of traflls(el'tinS force. ~ _'

'For some years t,hese ideas ]a.yfaHow, but in I 114:

M esmer was again inspired by the teaching of. Paraeelsus, In that year he heard of the astontshmg success of the [esuit Father Ma)ti~'[I.mian Hell, one .of Marrua Fheresa' s court astrologers, in curing his patients wit~l, magnets. This was a Paracelsian prescription for transferring 'the sU!ppoSiecUy b€neH'cial"s~lbde fluids" ~n.to ~:he patient s badly. Mesmer IlLOW began to improve upon hts master's ~hemies" for ,after:a

[pedod of experimentation be became convinced that the Cures which he 3Jbo was obtalrrlng were ,dfec~,ed. by the means. n~t "o~ his magnets, hut of. his own ~odUy inn~ence. ~ His Ideas. became more ,e~81borat.e. until in Paris ~e drew up a M~or,a1ldum OfDJ his di.scovery of this new force, which be caU,ed"Animal Magnetism:'


I, A responslve i[ijfl~ence exists between the heavenly bodies, the ,eaJrth; ®Jnd :aU ;an~ima.t"eod boodles,,,

2 . .A nuldi vlljvel'sally d~ffused •. so eonU~uous as to .admit no vacuum, incompal~.b]}J subtle, and Rai:turfll~y suscepti.ble of receiv~ng, spreading" an~ communica,'tillTlg aU motor di$hurbanees, is th~ means, of this jfiflu~noe.

_ 3. c This reeiproeal acUon is. S!JJi b~ecl~ te meehanieal ];:UiVS '!I'II'uh which we are not yet fam ihu'.::]o

From these- fdativ-'~y tentative eonclusfons all sorts of strange' gospels were to ar ise,

The .:~OS,~ im.media,t,e~~'Y Qbv~ou~ appli,ea,tion of .• A]llma'~ .~agne'tl~,~. was in medtelne, The initial practitioners of

magnenc cures were sametimes bizan'i!3' in ~hei~' choice of method. In .lli 782a~rench comrnesion, which Ineluded Benjam~,n Fr,ankIDin and ~hat indefatiga~le sni.ffer in unllkely ~:laces, the' astro~omer Ballly, reporb3d on the cure as praetmo~d by Mesnl,e'r s Irlend ~nd ~isc~p~e~, D>Eslon. Th.e h.ap~ess patients stood round ,3, hub. fIUed w~"th bottlesooveredwith water. From Ul~s tub led Iron rods. whichthey could place on 't~,e aff~i?ted 'parts of :their anatomy, Sometim,e's ~they :held hands. to form a. drcle;. somenmes 8wmlgln:g. took place, ~oone'r or later the magnetic "erlsts' gist In, cbaracte:dzecl ,by oonv,u~sl(}ns~. vommng, hys:~eria._ and the spitting of m:.~ood; after which, u~surpdsingly,. ~he paU'enb collapsed, Th~ commlsson could find no. evidence of the magnetic f~!!u(t;!a

Thechje:f ,agent of magnetic cures. however, was the ., mesmeric sleep." In this m ]r,~culnus state the magnetizer c?,uld pers:~a~re hlis subject that his illness was Hlusory .. Ina. ~or.e SIOph:l~bcatred VeFc510:n. the operator merely mesmerized the subj,ed, and while be w.a asleep carried out an


6per~tion 'by orthedox surgical means, S~g,nilwcan~lyf()or the' development '0.£ Sph·itualism.~ it was in the Engrnish~speaking worM that the use of mesmerism In medicine obtained its earliest serloue hearing. In 183,8 John EUiotson was ft'lroe·d to. resign his Professors.hip a,lt Univ,ersUy College Hosplta], London, because of hb use of anima] .m.agne,tis.m .. Five years later he started the Zof:sf to pubUciz;e his views, and the idea (iI,f operations p'~rf,otmed under rnesmerlc influence began to gain ground. A Soot, James Esdaile, carried out It'he f"]rs~ such operation in ]8415,~ at Hooghly, India, and in response to his success aJ. Mesmeric Hospital was set up at Cialcuua. The movement found its £irs.l Iheo,:ret.idan hl James Braid who. In ~843, published his Neurypno,!o'gy,. or 'Th,e R,ationo.;te 0/ Nervous st'eep .. :i!i But ~t never estahn~hed Us,elf "~ldthin the citadel of Estah~~shme:n~ medieine. The reasons for Utis, and the real slgniflcance of ·this. I1ejecUon wil~ be' discussed later. blUrt at the moment ~t is sufficient to observe that Elliotson s unerthodos views did not stop at animal magnetism, hut included the practice of phrenology=-the art of r-eading, eharacter from. the bump's on the head ....... and that in 1824 ,h,e had founded the Phrenologica~ Society of London. ~~ We' should not be surprised to dis/covet" furtber minority movements curnbining in thls fashkm dllLlring, the course of the occult revival.

Elliotson, however, was: the holder of a C~l.air:; this could not be said of the ma] ori~'Y of It~]ose ]n Amenea who affected h) practice mesmeric medicine, phrenology, and general

1'( der h t'tll iii: "D tor' "'n f-· ." TL

cure-ai unaer te J ;U}S Qi!: ! _rOc 00.' or rroressor. _. ne

most primitive superstltloas became elevated to the status of the new sciences, M tbe "magics]" element already inberent in the mesmeric eure was added anether, no less dlsturbing,. WhHe subjects had been in this state of trance, voices had spoken through them, purportlag Ito be tholS€ o:f dead people, Frank Pod more cites 'tW'O interesting cases: the first from as early as 1787, W'ben~he s'pid.ts were questioned in Sw.eden through the mou th of a gardener' s wI:fe,,34 Tbe secondwas brought to tne notice of the public in Jan.uary~ ill 848. when the fur:rllih:n-e'-l'e:stor1er. Alphonse

Ga~~agnet. pubUshed an account of his ~engthy observations o[ Ade'~,e Mag.imot, who, produced ][1 the trancestate visions of dead people very lunch like those that mediums claim to obtain. today. Slmllarly, the German experimenter; JUr!JJg:" SUUmng, had called attention to the apparent eommunicaHorn. ithrQugh those ]i!1 'trance with t~le spirru't \:vQr~d.

T'h1WJs. when ~he rappings at Hydesvme reached a more than. parcchtal public, wh€:n tables beganto turn, ~w~st~ and ~evitat.e from New York State to St. Petersberg, tile material was at hand ~Qr the slcholliali~Y and ~he phjJoSQphic~1 to eonrrive of it a system. Mesmeric thOll,ght was not to be exiled to the domam of "quack medteine" for a long time y,ct The experiments of the Mesmeris~'S were pl!lJir~ (If the [-.evo'~1JJtion in scienUfic ithought wblch was everywhere apparent Man'!Ii k]lOw],~dge.- ~~t seemed, bald long been confined \~~th~~aJ, small, dark box of man"s ewn maldng, It Wa.5 Dot at all unlikelythat Oil breaHn~ eut fromthisecnsttictlon d'DJe K~ngd()m of Heaven might .Sl~SO be ~otlnd on the orher side,

It was therne-srneric movement ill :ii~S form as 'popular superstition ~ha~ gave birth. to. Andrew jackson Davis; the "Seer of Poughkeepsie," who '\'113:5 to. become the first t:he~ eretlcian ofUlie Sp~rUu.ali:s~ mevement. ns Da\!'1s~and wha:t seer or poet does Dol do slOP-describes Ms childhood as. mlsunderstcod and sensitive. For his sort's n~gh~'m~~·,e:s. fath,er Davis prescribed brimstone and treacle: £·or the daydreams .03ind!£a:rd:a:s~.e5 whlch werelater taken as evidence

f tural t" t'L.· ,J.. • ,. "'~lj 'Ii

ora supernarura VOCQ10n,Ue ulagno:su: was worms, m

1843~ vir~leu .Andmw Jackson Davis was seventeen! there appeared ~n Poughkeepsie a Pmf,es~of Grimes who held the C~ah' of Med:ioa~ Ju:rrnsp'fude,nce at Castletown MedkaJ College, and was somerhtng of a theoretician ef

- ..... ". ·H···.· ". ., f"· L .]" .. ' inthe ,,' . b ~I· ("I ';81 .,. mesmensm, rie was iii. • arm IDe 1.e·v€:1I' Ul t •. e sa he :1[. mu~

\'vhiJch he ca~~~d the "Etherlum," and ~e :proposed to, demonstrate his theories to. the gawphllg mhabltants or POttS h.k~ep!S.ie by .m:esmeriziDlg several test sub] ects, among, w.hom was: Ail'ndr,ew Jackson Davis, With Davts, the sttempt at mesmerlsmwasa fatlure; but after the professor' s depar-


" ture, a tailor Darned. 1 ... evlngston deeided ~o try Ms: .own powers:, 3;

Davis went Into trance, he was ~herwail:'ds to II'€JrIi.te., wuh

the greatest reluctance, HA3: :felt as ]f: he was dying.

Horrid! thotlgMs ·of di8l0rg,3,rni.z:ation continned m distre-ss me. Naught but an. eternal midn.tght elcthed myt~:lild€r spidt, and m was fi.Uiild w~fh ten·or. 'The darkness became n1{)<UI: dark and app;aUio;g,. And I:':IOW I was: :\>ejzOO'!ivl~h an unearth]}' shudder, ai:nd~~erdb~e' bo r~la:~>e-m found mysleU !i'~vo]ving ~:n tb:at bla:ck~'rlL~ gloom with an lneoneei va ble ve],oc:ity!]g!3,emeod! ~o be ]\€volving in a spiral path.,\vit~l an orbu, wide at first, a!!ld ev>ery revelution on my descending mgh t contracted my movement, Down, down, I sank, till immersed in that migJlty ocean whero€: confUciting e~ementswle:re $waUowedby a ~_ou[]jta]n wave of darkness, which grasped me within its m.ighty' folds, ~lJld I sank 'to ehe lowest: de'p~hs of forgeH ulness.

Davis's own ,explanations foil' these unplessant Sie~satiolls bear a remaskable resemblance to. the accounts gIven by those who have taken mescaline O~ LSD. They were, he ~horuJght:

ina great measure EliUI'ihutab~e to' tbe gh~omy views of de:aHI. and of pass lble subseqllent: condltions, ,i.o:s~il~€d ~n~o hi~ m!.nd ~h l'OUgllil early th.eo[ogica~ teach iogs. These sensations ,!;?I'Gl'e not experienced om subs,.eqw@:ndy efllterJl1lg tb.€ state."

In other words, h~_s 'bad trip reeulted from. ~he£ear of ~eUfire,

Davis beg,ar~ to give demonstratlons ofhis dai~'ViQya,nce in t.he mesmeric sta.~'e. These seem to have been HU]'8: better t~an simple con.] urlng, For example, he ,\\v,g1idd read a newspaper blindfolded. But, according to bls o~n:Th. account, h~~ powers developed rapidly. and hie soon found hims)e~( bodl~y transport,ed around the OQun.lrysid€. Once he was ~akenfor~y miles. away Into the Gatdd]~ MounJta~ns~ vthere he melt a mysterious stranger wuh a curlous silvereane. TM~s; opened up, and pmv.eid to, contain aU the secrets of medtcine, in the ,sh~pe of small Mocks, with the: name ,of the


disease on the outside, anda drug ~o CIIl"[1{l it within, Davis was not allowed to keep ~'he silver cane I but nonetheless SI€'t about [p1f3,cUcing mesmeric medicine and opened two successful "elafrvoyant nlinlcs," where he diagnosed the iUIlJesso( a JMlUent w'hi]e himself mesmerrzed. Throughout his career he' ©o:ntirm:ed to practice various forms of medkine; but it was not until 1886 that he cbtaineda recognized medical degree, and h is prescriptions strike the reader as be'~onging ~() a much .older world than that. of mesmerism, that of g~Qsts and gobU118 and. the I~~de p~pp~e, FOl' a, poisol1.ed finger" (,FOg'S skin was to be ,a()pH,ed~ for deafness rats,' skins behind the ear, or oil from tbe legs of weasels. His mnst or.thodox cures ,eo,ntai:lledi an elemeat of ~he •• Fo.~'ksy": foil." example, part of ~he remedy for •• Pain In the Neck of Housekeepers" was, to .• Squeeze your throat whenever it is thr'eatened wiHDI soreness, ,and gargle with red- pepper .. Chew aIew chamomile flowers he'fore breakfa5t:'3~

H· is precisely this element of nature-wizardry Inthe early career of Andrew Jackson Davis that: should be emphasizad, because Davis himself 'was ,ahl\fays insistent that he was a man of the people. Of the fact there caa be no, doubt, but the Seer damaged ids; case' with over-much protestlng; He was fond of repeating that he hal~ only read one book in h~s life, and Ihata romantic novel. This statement Is fl.ady conhadicted by the f.amw~iarity shown by Davis with the works of Swed,enborg and the seciallst Charles FOIj;u.·ier~the ~atter originaUy throug,h. a book called T~e Social Dest1ny of Mal~. According to' one of Davis's early supporters, the Rev. George Bush; Professor of Hebrew at the University of ~ew York, Davis was able before ,1845 to quoee passages froOm the: Arca,na Coeiestt« wHh theexact references, The date is quite important~ because it was in 18~5 that Dsvis felt ~'impressed" to begtn dilctating in trance the work that made his reputation, TI~e Prit:l;c£ples of' Nature. A $lt,liJdy of H~i$ compendium or peer ph ilo!SlOphiy and. ecstatic language reveals an acq uain tanea with Swedenborg which. is more than

superficiah and Davls, ,aJ least, was fat from llliterate, OC~ casionally rlslng to a. moving pitch of visionary 'sx..al1tt'ation".:I{j

In tb beginn_]ng,. t~l,e Umivi3l'coehlm was ,o~e~~u:ndless, IJ.,P~ definable and unimagin.able ocean ·Q·,f LlQ~ . .HD puu~.!_ The: most vi:g,O;r(;l!!llS and ambltlous Imagtnation ]5 not ca[p'El.b]e' 0-[ fO-rmjng:an. adequate conception of the ~eight. and depth; and length, and breadth thereof" Therewas one vast expanse of II'quid substance. It was 'without Iorms; fD,I' it was b~l Q~e Perm. It bad no motions; bUI~ it was ~n eternity .o-f Mohon, U was 'wi~boUit par ts: for H was a wb()~e, Particles dld l'iJd exi.:sl~·. but the Who-Ie was as one Particle .. There were [10 suns, but it was one Et€rna~ Sun.41

We are either forced to d~:s.beli,(rve the Seer of Poughkeep§,ne or ~o have recourse to the eoncept of "clairvoyance .of pnnted matter,' which has been put forward by his SU~iporters, As regards the condinons in which .T,~e .~rincip:l~s oj Nature were dletated by the entranced Da:V1S . to h~s mesmerizer, Dr. LyoI1l~alild amanuensis .• the Rev, Wmianl Fishbaugh, there is: lutle to suggest tc~e. ~resence _~o:f_~n organized fraud; and we must suspend judJ_gm.ent. .. · ~1'Ctared by spirits, Davis's conscious Of subconscious mind, :fUtered through edUo:rs. or not, l'hePfind:ples ,~I Nature ~~S,;~ remarkable }Jrr,oducft:ion,. built" by (H' around a village lad Wl.t~ his head, stuffed fu~~ 'of Swedenborgand second-hand 50CH'll ~h,~orjes, who became a prophet because he suited the mOlodJ of the time. The book ~tself is a good index. to Hld

very mood. . ,. . '. '. . '.. .'

The mood was [rankly revolutionaey, HIS Engbsh

publisher, John Chapman, fl~~t it n~cessary to.. introduce Davis with a disd.a.im'Qf which would absolve him from a charge o:f suhversive actlvlties, The y:e.!<l.r~aher ,a~h,~as 1847~ and all kmds of apoealypse were at hand. _ But those readers whoare acquainted with the: genera] character of my publications will not suspect ~e of being swaye~ by such considerations ... '·,.1<1 No. but ~hey m~.ght wen and just-

i.y~~~s:pect Davis. It is the second voIR~'~ wh.~ch is f"l'o~ t.~is. point of view the most Interesting: the fn'st conta.mmg,


Davis's hyperbolic ~F gorgeous cosmology. The sequel rns entH1€ld.A Voice to Mankfr~d", a t~tle placing it squarely within the polemical fashion of the day ~ and is a traet of the most :rabid socialism"

There are three classes of soclet y=

The POOlr', ignorant, enslaved, oppressed, and working classes. Th,e ,$.em~-\:v,e!ltJlthy) le~u:n d, enslavers •. QP'Pr,eSSQlrS, and ,di,ctll.~blg classes.

Tbe :!']c:h~ Intelligent, enslaving, olP'presshlig. and idle classes . . . ~4

Soaiety exp,l,oib tbe poor who, because they are uneducated, a~ moreeasily enslaved by superstltlon and su,ppressed by legal eodes, T~]e' poor are nonetheless the basis of society,

The peorare the .msbl-iner.s, because they a:r€ the i'.ndfJHtTi'ous .. The~ are the producers: of wealth, and of aU the Messings that Ci!r.cU! I.a!ta [through other ,and h tgher soaiet~.es;, and yet ~hey =ilJ''il! the fo:rgotte'n, ~h.e despised, and the unedueatedl"

Soclety is constituted SOo as to preserve the status quo: the professlonal classes are united with this end in view: Brut ,of all p'm:fesslolu'" none Is ahselutely more unenviable and m~::)iI:-,e: cOrfu.pUng than dlat sustained by C['ER,CYMEN. "~G ~he constant rldminations of Davis against the cI,ergy are ~n dtrect ,contrast to his earliest recorded wdUngs, dating from his mesmeric period, the Leci1¥i',eS (lin Clairmn,itvBn€8s. Th~[1e salvation is ta:ugM to ~,~e in Christ alone; here the ,eicdesiasUcs.a,r'e denounced as, keeping the people in subJection, P,~d7mor,e,h~s ~c~!~j,ect.~r-ed that the early work was suppressed;t' and if ~h~s IS so, rt would seem that a case could be made out for Davis changing his views to meet the demands off Ule moment

The human race. thinks the: Seer. Is diseased! .. M,en are all '~rgans of the great human body. In.' t:his, certainly, there is a '~iv~nely-ord~r,ed ,hierarchy of abHHy through \v:Mo(~h lnd]:viduaIs can progress, but tr:he fundamenral ~a,w is the law ef association. l'~lws is drawn dnmc't~y fr-om Fourier .. "There is a. con titutional and mutual affecUo,,n manifested between


every parttele and, ,compound in Being. Th is: is ~'h e ia:w of ossocia::tiO:l1\,'''' Th,e solution ~"O society' s iUs Davis finds in the (ormation of eocperatives, and. an equitable division o( labor . Over the whole derived theory is lawd the gloss of the MiUen:mhlm. He prophesies the Go:lden Age, viS'IJaHzf;!ld before him by David. Isaiah, jeremiah, EZ!ekle1. Daniel, Zeeharlah, M9i~a~hi:l Confuclus, Zoroester, Brahms, [esus, Mohammed, and Fourler. In tbls remarkable tlme-e-" In every eonnnent, nations converse [hrough the medium 0'£ the €lIed-ric 'fire." The Ne'lM Age was immrunellt-w~was oQming-oowl "The tide of lntelligenee is r~sing" and is mowing ~o and over all nations, evenas an ocean of truth find knowledge ... IT EBBS NOT AGiUN!"411

'Ih~s was the man ".V'lto became the leadi.ng, theorist of the Spiritualist movement But it seems jus.t as likely from Th« Principles oj' Natur:e that ~le could have become a political agitator, ,31 Utopian soclshst, or an itmerant mesmerlst .of the backwoods, Hls assoelatien with the Spiritualist cause was probably morea matter of chance than choice, .. The year after his, great work was published saw the poHlHcal up= heavals in Europe, hut a~s() the :s,pintual boulev,t;ttsemetU nearer home. Davis. and the group gathered round hlm and his: paper, the Vnioerco'eium, were acknowledged authorities Ooll the: supernaruralend it was hom, this group, which included Thomas Lake Harris that most or the leaders 0:£ the Sp]rHuaU:Sit movement came." Davis himself went from strength to :stre]llgth, He developed ~hepOl.ve'f :t.o pa.ss~nto the clalrvoyantetafe wwthout the need fora, magnetizer- hewas caned in to exam ine epidemics of rappin,g for the presence of spirits: and the most important, he exercised his new faculty in ploUing the ,geo.,graph y ,of the .,' e . L .:m" f· h' 'I. ,L . . .. . d

,:"Un1me:r .. ane, trom w. ],C'fiIJ hlG spmts OOmmU:l1H:::@J,~e>

with those still on earth .. Chiefly on t:he basis of recent astronomlcal Investigation into the rings of Saturn, he argued the possibllity of the real, physleal existence of dtis area in theMj~ky Wa,y; but spmr~ts ascending, upwards through the six, spheres to the Codhead soon losta][ material basis. $Q This is. not the place to discuss his sources,


for the 8piriblilaUsts fastened on to the Summer-Land, and legions of spirils afterwards made it their own. But the Seer.' of' Pough keepsle never lost his, eharacter as a, social r,eform,ler; and it ls Uln,sur[:H:~sing to nnd that a resolution mov'E!d byhlm and his wife Mary" at: a Sprn,r,~tl!laHst Congress of September ~856. wasconcerned not wHb the problems G~ 'Qther-wodd geograp'ny" bUltwith a, greater degree 'of eman-

""P"."t·on ' - m' a -' ... JlII - -"'m'" - , 501

..... ' ... , 1" 1' :r:', f.r1.;:,u W"" ' ,e,n. '

Andrew J aokson Davis was not :t'he only prominent Spidtualis1t to have a bermtfor. sceialreferm, A.t the age Qf ,eighty-HIJ.floo Robert' Owen was converted by sittings with the Amedcan medium, Mrs. Hayden. In his Rat-iona.l Quo:rte-rly ReDiew he made a 'formal-'pro:fessl,lc;m, or faith~ ,and. the next year H854:) brought out the fW:rstp·a.rt of T:he New' E1.i'S,tence of Man- upon, Ea.rth d.ecllaJr.iing, that the revelation ofthe spirits heralded the Millennium. Owen seems, in fact, only ~o have been interested in the splrlts as heralds of llilis new order, At his SI~aI1li'Ce$ he would ask whether \f,a,rious:

Heads of State were the "proper persons" to inaugurate the:

New Djspensation. At a conventlen on 14 May 1856,. called .. The Flrst MleeUng of the Congress. of ithe Reformers of the Worldl:' there were introduced. under his ,auspi,ces but emanating from amedlumtstte source, detailed, plans for

., - - , f' H' , ,. ,r..,. -, '

Homes ~ ;~ armony, 01, a s ~rang,e new archlteoture, ~ ItIs

HOlt Owen" s inf1.uence on the Sp,irituaIis.t movement which is iIllipod,lUlt. but the mere fact that he oou.ld have seen the s:pw.r~tsas the precursors (If hi.s ~()ing-,aJ,waUle,clJ Mil~ennium. Movements whleh to us SfH3'm farapatt eould to contemporaries: appear' to run parallel: it is: not really surprising, because they responded to the: same condltlons, The same CtwS,[S of consciousness was :for·oed 0:0 SDc]a.~i$t and pr~mmv'e mystican~ke",

The areas in which Spirltualism flrst arose and obtained a real hold were, according to. a recent survey, these 01 the highest edliJcationa~. standards and the lowest rate ef Hlit'eli,ae),. In ,this cennection is noted. "tffi:le Lyceum movement f_or adU!h education ill ~he' United States, which had its hey .. day in. the 1820s~nd H~30.s.By 1834 some three thousand

:LYlCeums existed. under S ~'ate Boar~ls.~' Now it. is, worth. noting that the emphasis. is placed on (lclu.lt education: that is to say, that there is a certain degree of 8el/~educa~ion Envelved, It was not necessarily in the areas ,of the h~ghest standards at the uppe'li' ex~.['\em.e of' the sca:~'e im,wbich Spirltualtsm too!k root, lit is flJoteworthy that Andr,€w Jackson Davis betrays his chagrtn at hls~Jrwn lack of orthodox sobooUn.g aU through A Voi,ceto' M,anlind: the poor :,1l.[l3 Une!c.hlC(l;ted~, sflcjrety is dies lgned to keep them so. His p'l!lb]'~c inslstence on his~ack of skill at feadJtng: can onIDy be reconciled wlth his establishment 01£ a "Chtldren's

L .'. "So] e , I' S d' S h l"'f - yeeum or 'plntua tst eun aytCLOO. J we assume

tlutt the i.mage 'he desifed to prniect was that ofthe deprived chw'ld mol,ling sure that ethers ~!I'(l1lJld, ha'Y·e the be'nefil'ts hie bad lacked. There is unforh.IJnat,ely no ,ev.idem,ce' h) prove the eonneetion between. S.pwrUuaUsm and !fhe man ,anXmOIJJIS "to be:tt,er bimse~r'; 'but U might be 3. peofltable line of enqulry.

In Brn:aln. Sp,iritlilacUsm was almost pure:~y an urban religion, Ag,aim" ~ts appeal was, Illot confi:ned to the worki.rDJg, class .. But it is doubtful whether this, statement holds: outside London, for in 1878 one London Spiritualist 'Was recorded as .saywng tbait the bulk of SpLrnuaHst support in ~he North came fro,m people whom he deseri bed as .... utterly iUiterateto an astoundmg deg;ree."i5~' 'There is n.OT enough evrndence Ito. allow of :anything hut speculation as to ,exjactly what sort Oi~ person joinoo tbe ranks of the new religton An tbat c-an be said is that Spiritualism, gained converts :from €l'ilery section of society ~ that tllle reasons for conversion were most Ukely to be individual and personal; but that there isa aeHnileconnecti'onibet:weerillhe new Millemilum of the-spirits, and dud of the social fe~ormers. made 'chieny in the \¥riU:ng;s of Andrew Jacbli)rt Davis,

At a,n events, the movement spr,ead. In France. Davis's

""eo> Land" Ii: d . III tK ~II • "h t f "'A' 'II

",ummer- alilUl .~(HJI1L 3. nvar t neowogy mrna 0':' '.. an

Kardec.··'~~ Ksrdec had no pretensions to. seership, but had ,..1" d t, dl" h-· t L, '.'. i.t tl- - - L t ~lsCOve:re-, Wlwat seemec '~(DI ~n'DI.' 0 oe a pe:rH~cy eoaeren

picture of the: universe" through the, medlumship of tWQ YOlling gErk This doctrine perhaps owed something to ~he

contemporary interestIn the OriemJt~ for i~he ~yrIlieh-p[n was reineamat ~on. R,eincarna.tion rook place ~n other wodds as well asthis, and at the end ofthe process thetravelling soul became pure spirlt, ~6 This process was not. however, incompatible ~v~.th CJ:DJ·ist]®!n]~y, Here Kardeo foHo\c'Vs Swedenborg; for ~e sa,'''''''' Spir~[uaH,sm as the new revelation complementing and :suppiantlug those of Mosesand Cbrist,3-·' _ ~mperiaJ Courts were not immune to the new concern, I'll Russia ~~e position .of the Tsar w~th regard to 1~~le Ordl0dox Church. and 8.ti~'~ more wIth regard to the eensorshlp regu~at~onSj' dId not perrmt Imperial optnton on the splrlts to be diselosed. lutm··dent Spiritualists f'ond~y supposed that~ given, the Oippolil"ttunHy, the Romanovs would declare for the new dispensanon.Me®ln'i/,vhHe they had to content themselves with the knowledge ~hat a. Captain Perbikov ·of the Imperial N,~vy was permisted ~o lssuea periodruca,~ of Sp]r~tU(.lUst complexion.wbile th.e redou bta ble Count Alexander Aks:Qi,kov-'i,~lho WlS: much too i.lllt,eUe:ctual ever ito have had a wide piu~li(;=was forced to pub]~sh from Leip-

.,. ~fi

:z;~g. •

In Austria, Imperial Archduke Joha~n became alarmed

at thespread of Sp:iri~ualism. .. He noted

that tltis modern superstlnon floiJijl:ris,hesoo~ only amOl~g the wea vel'S ·of ~he ~Bml!ina uereeunrry, (Dr among the workmen and pe~$:1Il11s in Reicbenberg. but it has also fb .. ed Its abode in nurnemus palaces and residences ()if Otl:r nobn~'~y. so that in many cities of the mOlil~u(:;hy, and ,es:peciaHy in ViBnna and B~d:3J~Pe$th )enHrespi:rrul~ ual is~k societies e:l!ist',canying on theb obseure nuisance wirhout any interfere-Ace.,

He approached Baron Hellenbaeh, the most eminent Austrian Spi:ri:tuaHst~ and ainra:ng{~'.cla series of s:imngs i~ th,€ archducal palace with HlIe. Americam mat,eria]b:ing medium, Harry Bastiaa. Three Mgh ly u nsa t~s{y lng demonstratlons followed. c:tl~minaHng in dH;'l ,eaptuf'€ by the Archduke of Bastian disguised aSQ, sp,~dl, "half Boman, half knight, wub hare head, draped ~n whlre, perfect En every WaJ.y" and refulgent. ".~:;

In Bedj.n!tn,eKaiserat tended a seance in dlehom€ of the VOJ1JJ Moltke f.a.mMy" and was greatly diisoo:wfitt,ed when the yloung mediumbegen ~o prophesy great iU-Eor~"[U1e to~he reignhDJg.house, As a I'€S~~t he fow·bade any .~ubh? m~nh0n of 'psychic ma tters, ~o As for Bl'.it:ai~n.~ th,e Spill~l!lahsts . heg~n as early as 1864,~a to claim Queien VictC!ria as a convert Tbe QueelJ]' s seclusion af~e,r the death of Al bert, and her moW'b:ld oaneern witbthe afb.'3:t- ]nlf! Jn general, ga Vie credeneeto the most extravagant of rumors, 9f t~e severalstories lil1k~ng the Queen's name wIth the supernatera], the most ~ena,ci01!l5 is the tbeo;ry ~hat John Brown actle~d as medium in seances III whteh the s:P]:r].~ of Prince A~bert made its appear.ance. It IS the most tenacious because of lack (D,f evidence to clispror""e it; the Spir~tuaUsts clalm 'tffiuat the records of' the seances were destroy,ed l[t the: bOllfh1e organized a~ft€ir the Queen's death by S~r Henry PQ~sonb.y aDd the Deen of Windsor. II1I defa:ulit of. evidence the optnton or Vldoria's biographer must be respected thait ~he

theory ls extremely unlike~y.Il~, . . _

Interesting as is ~h~ evidence of exalted contact with Sp~r~tua~~sm> in showing how the new religlJmcaug,ht the ,a.th~f!lU(m (!If even the most unlikely quarters, the atUt~de of ~he learned wQr]d~ 0'£ the jntel~eduals:>~,nd ()if the new breed of rational seientiflo runv'est~.g:ato[l" Is (Jf far mOire sigm:if~lc~U1C¢. H is of peculiar ][li[erest that tbe raUormHst. approach sometimes tHd not hold up under fire,dlla [ . 'sc]enttf]l~ invesU~at:or5"Found the~llselv,es ca,h~plllhed into f~ruth.f>or the ~.nquislUve t,empe.r of the age could not suffer for long reports of marvels u nexphlined.,. mf Wn. Ameriea the a ttempt ibo set up an blv'esUgilting commission had f.aHed, in London in 1869:) the Dialectical Society appointed a c?:m~iue,e to loot into the phenomena, of SpjrHu31l8m~ wllJldt lneluded ~he reformer ,Cba.r]&s: Br~dlau,gh among lts members. The Society had the temerity to InviteT, H. Hu:dey to taJke Pl~~·~. Theretor~ W8!:S stinging:

In the Ilrst place .• I have no trme fOlt" :5uc:h an e:.I.1quiry.,'li",hkh wo~ld Involve mueh I~.r'oub~e, and (l,lIrn]¢$:S jt '\:l;rer.e unHk,e en-

quir'ies 0:£ that klndI ~ev€ known) meeh aJ,'iI]],oyan~'. In the second p~;ftJ~e,,1 tate ao lnterest in ~bG! .subject The ,on~y case. of "SpirituaJism'" I have had '~he oppOdutdty of eX(l,mil'.liln.g ~or :my.sdf was as S;)lOSS an. ~m post UTe as ever came ii[J nde'i'my notiee. Bu,t suppesing the phenomena to be ge:n~:ime-they do not intere'!it me, ~.~ ;9iI:'.wbocly would e:lld,ow me with the fac;1[dty of Hst€ning_~o the chatter ,©£ old women and crtlI: ares .in the nearest eetbedral town, m should decline the privUege, lHiv~ng better things to do ..

An.d if !th!€: f'O~k in the sptrltua]!;vo:dd do not talk more wi$€ly aad s,en.sibly fI:Htlll~h!eir. friends il\epo:rt them to do, I put them ln thesame categoify,M

It Is a lamenlt:ablefa(~[ that Huxley's description of sp~rn eonversationa eeems apt; and if: other members of his profession had possessed a liule mor-e (]If Huxley's testiness, d18 SptrHuaMst movement in particular-s-and doo€ occult revlvaJ.as a whole-s-wculd h~ve lost much of ~ts initial

wmpuIse,... .. .

In 1882 the Society for Psychical Researeh was founded.

In effect itwas a combination of dlose groupsalready working independendy in the inv,estigaUon of splritualist and other plS}I"c:hr:c pheno'm:ena (~el!epathy, elairvoyance.eto.) .. Of dlese t~e most important was that centered found Henry Sidgwtek, frederic Myers: and :Edmund GlIJme~y.~ all Fellows of TrinUy eone~e~ Cambrici!ge,and d.er~v]i!1.g it') .runsplrnUon from the Camblf~d!ge Un~versHy GhOllt Society, founded by no Iess a. person than Edward WhUe Benson, the future Ardlb~shQP ef C~J~terbury. As A. C. Benson wrote in his biography of Msfa~her~ the Arehbtshopwes always more Jntere:st'ed ~ n psych ~c phenomena. than he cared Ito :admit Two. members of d1e G"host CI~ b became Bi,sbQPs]1 and one a Professor of Divinity. M Of the BenS10n faJ.mi1y more wm be heard Iater; ~t is with S rudgwru!ckj himself a dose relaUon of rt;h.e B,eil1lis,oIIr:;;.a.nd hts: S PR that 'w,e are 1Il()i'l;V concerned ..

The Soeiety was set up 'wHh the' loosest of terms of reference, It was to' examine"thal'~al!e gmup' 'IJ·f debatahle phenomena ,cJ:eslg,ndle,a by sueh terms as mesmeric, psycbica~,.a[]ld spidluaUsUc. "S!; Its mvestigatlons, as heUuedJ a


body of essentially academic origins, wl'lich issued . and stiH issues-a jourl1a£ and f7{)ICee gs bound and pr].nted. as: learned puhlicaJtiOIllS,. were to 'be orf a stric:Uy seientffic character; Among the famous names ,~~icb appear in the record o.f the a.c~ivities of the: Sociei~:y for Psychlcal Researcb, are'Wi~Hal:11l Crookes, Oliver Lodge, Andrew Lang, Conan Doy~e.and Arthur and. Gerald Balfour .. The honor of the Balfoars remains unimpl!lgI1H::,d~ but whether there: ]$81. slgniflcanc$ iwa. the iWIJdus~ol1 in the gran o~r hoaoe 'of ~wo tellers of tales. the reeder must j ~dge f.or 11 imself. . .

FOil' the moment, it 'vldU suffioe to \iV,ei,ght the esse sUght]y agabDls:t the Scelety. Tha~ a large number o~ experlments iuto lb,€: most diverse phenomena 'Were carried ou~ in i~ he best offaHh remeins undoubted. That no eorperate body ean e'V81' be res:ponslble for the vagaries of its several members ]san axlem w h i,eh seareel y needs I~caUifilg., But the origInal members of the SPR could J1I0 .mor~e escape the m9th-oentury preoccupation with the irratlonal than could

aDY ,of ~ heircQntemporades.. .. c_

W:ilU.acm. Crookes, afterwards k~lghted and Pve5~dent .0'£ the H.oya~ Socru'ety, was !Presiden~ o~ the SPR ~n 1896-91• The investigation which tarnished h~s reputatlon wasthe C'ISle of Florence Cook, a. medruum who produced m:aJteda]]'latim:l:5~ ch]eny of a spirU ealled "Katie King." Trevor Halt W!10 seems. to have made it Ms: misslon to exp~ode certain V~.cto;~9iPm balloons of rlghteouanessv has oonv~ndl1g1y SlJg;~ gested that Florence Cook, whom .. Crookes pronounced to be genlllne~,was afr&ul.dtdent medium aswell as sex~ •. ally rapacious; and that Crookes' s Investlgaticn o,E ,1874 ~ecame the cover for an afFaI:r.iI'oti Hiseontemporaries eVld,e~ndy thought Ceookes' s .~ntegr1ity to be in questlon: for desp.Ue hru~ undoubted eminence ln his QW11 Held, Ute photographs which "':lIef€ taken of him arm wnarmlWvith his: maite!rii8Jli~ecl "ange{~'" nearly cost hfm his membership of tlH:l: B.oya] Soelety,

Hall's verdict on the circumstances surrounding the deal~h of Edlmund Gurney ls ,eq1uaUy depressing .. Gunney WSlS; found. dead with a bottle aichkn:of,orm beside lhbn in a


Brighton hotel on .23 J une 1888. There seems to be' little doubt that he dled by his own hand. The diary of Alice James, sister of WilU3I,mand Henry, speaks of Gurney's suicide as a matter of common g05:slp.!.f; The reasons wh~,ch made th~;s speeulatlen UkeJ}f were Gurney's depressive temperament, and the rec nrcollapse of his ~ife' s work. Gurney., from exis:Ung p~easantly on a private income, h:ad f1'rst b~.'ed to' make hts mark on music', then turned to medletne, afterwards to law. No career was successful Eventually he threw himself ~nto psychic research with all the: force of lus undoubted h~~enh.With Myers and Podmore he wrote Pha~~asm8 Githa Li:v-i~~g~ a laboriously deratled work of over 1.300 pages, most o( which he htmself prepared, He then, argues Hall, disoove~edl that much of theevldenee on \;yhid,he relled was false~ based as H was on expertmems with a pair of telepathists w ho seemed to unlnvolved observers to be obvious 'tricksters.611 The case ls that Gurney's inb3grity was such that be could not go on living with the knowledge that be had publlshed false evidence'; and took an overdose. It is only fair. to add that competent rullltho~Uies; have disagreed with this presentation of the evidence, ~ and. that Trevor Hall's, view ,()If the fou:n!tling fathers of psychic research is hot~y dlisp!U~,ed. Certain factors should be bome ~n m~nd when assessing the eentroversy.

The first is the concentration of early SPR research on the problems of SpirituaHsm. and survival after ,death, It 'was not untilthe 1920s that psychic researchers began to turn their attention to the more respectable pursults=-from the point of view of materia ist seienoe-s-of la bora tory measuremen t of phenomem.a, that did. Do,t have so direct a bearing ~n. 1I11,an',s conception of his status in the universe, The concern .of the early researchers wHh ~he pessibiltties of immortali~'y was by no means ,exc11lJls:~ve. and in view of the current fasolnatinn with the claims of Spiritualism was perf.ecdy natural, However. it is dimcu~t to escape the conclusion that in oertainc-asesthe S,PR f11l1fUled the funenon of Sptrttuallstchurch for Intellectuals, Even the Function of piioviding soelal status "vas: part of its appea], Frank Pod ..


mom, who was found drowned in HnO tn a pool near Malvern. seems to hl!ll,ve been p,r ssingly atnbitious to rise in the Soelety, ro and Ada. Goodrich Freer, who hadeharge of the SPR enquiry into second sight in, t~le' Highlands of Sco~~,and. was obviously an ~ncluable social di.mber.'1 These remarks an: made to show that despite Hle admir:ab'~e intenUODS 'Of the Society., it cannot completely da~mexemption from constderatiens which would apply to the study 'Of a r-eligiouscl.d.t proper. The immense quantity of energy and entbu,siasJl1iwjtf1 whieh th . pioneer researchers set out no belabor the unknown. with the bi.g, stick of the M:ientiHc method, is at least partly vitiated by the posttions of several members w no were concerned ,,",\pith Psychical Beseareh because t~ey wanted ~o 'beB,e:ve"

Of none is 'this more hue than of Frederle Myers. Th co aJ.mo!S.~ despairing shout of jloy-H there can be such a ,thing-wMch he gives art the endof his Huma'n P:ej'S01uJlity and j:U S:I!,f'Uival of 80 dily De,ath is most reveal j ng. H believes that' he has proved to . existence of a universal te~epa.thk link connecting aU mankind. We are notalene, he shouts, we need no~ol1g,e~' be afraid o.f the terrors. of the immeasurable universe .• , The true security ~s the telepathie law, ".~

There is ~i'Ule to be gatn,ed by laboring the po~~t that psy~ chieal researchers have boon as gudlib~ieas: the rest of mankind. The Society for Psychical ResJe,€l,rch sprang from Us time, was inspired by the same crlsls as were speeilically religious groups. and earrledwlth it the burden OIf oonternporary s.cientIH,c' dog,ma. En doing so it made at leasrone fata~ error, which is. admirablv categorized by th,€ President 0:1 the Al'tgli,can Fellowship for Psychic Srudles:

No wonder that ill! 1882 the fQ~;II:1id,er:s of the s,PR.l(lQlb~d wHh aldmhraHon on the selentiflc method .. No wonder 'that, quite dghtIy, Ithey sought to tlIpp,ly to trnH~ lnvestlgation of th psyc..li:ic the same methods ;:!,S had been .appU,ed tIC) the materlal. But I sometimes wonder, whether in doing so a factor has not been left QU't ·O!f account. Thematedal sciences are ccneerned with what can be measuredand weighed, P:syc'hic Res, areh is con-


earned with. what C'Bi nnot be mea$urod ofw,ei,ghed... , We should 5ur,e~y recognize that we ofbm need a. to~aUy differ,ent and less d:ir-.ect method 'Olfmeasudng. Electridt)r cannot be measured ~ike beer in a pint pot."

The, S.PR w,~~a._peclJnar hybrid of SpW['itu,aHd C'UI~~t and dedieated r:atiomdism; 8$ such it defl!l!!s dassincaHon.

, . T~l.e Spiri~!!laUst faith .. spread and held its: ground, By 1927. admittedly these figu.l"!.3s are swollen hy the' effects of the First WorldWal"-the _ Internadonal Spiritualists' ,~,ed,eraUo,t.I was to claim branches in almost every developed counltry in the world. ;;·4, Ev,erywhere the bereaved flecked to be comforted, the frightened to obtain direct reassurance of ~he:ir immortality. In darkened rooms" Instruments wouM play. F~()wlers~ and even fish. would land D'D the laps of those' present.and best of all, from a h'auce', the medium would speak with idle voiceof a splrit from the Summer-Land, About Ul€ state Qif mediumlstie trance little is known, although trances have a place in r,eUgi.j)u~ ceremonies all over 'tile world, Stewart \iVa.vell describes a ceremony in M,a~,aya near Batu Pahat wil.ere danoer~ rnou nit,ed on ho bby-hceses ... rtde" for h.ou:rs in an le,cst~,s y ~'Vhich Is s;upposecUy inspired by the ha-ntu. 'Or spirit~s 'of dead hone.si-·tihefe are no bones in Mllay,;!!:, and the men ,. rlde"

.l:em~rkab].y we~~.;:. Wben.,~~ys~iC believes h~, is achieving . UnIon with God! or the Timeless Moment, or w.hate.v,er he likes to' can the fusion of' the One and. the Many, healso may be in trance". The entranced person may thus be the possessed or in a sense the possessor; but the S,p~.rRUJaU:d terms the rnedlum ~:s alway,s supposed to be in the former state,

. Trances ?om,e En seye:r9l~ kinds:, The Japanese distbllg'lllish foQuj['~Muchl!'~ ecst,aJsy or rapture; Shts8hi, K()n8tJ;i~J()'i(Ji.. ~ ~ma; Saimin-J()~'a.i) ,a hypnoUc state; and Mug-,m, no KyO'"

the state of mind ~vhlen the soul leaves the body and roams a bou t in d1.e' world of In ystery .' , Hi AU four sorts of trance have been if!. evidence in the history _of 'tile .spirUuaHst movement. There are certain correspondenees between the

sensations olf medlums and of people who claim. to be able to free th.eir souls from their bodies,

Beoent experiments with an electro-encephalograph have proved illdef]ni~le. 'i1 E a vesUg.a~on have also been concerned to' find out whether tnl€: trance o~ Ith,e .sp~.rU medium rns in Ifea.nty~, sort of se]f-hypnosis;aJnd there is a certain amount of evidence for the: view that the personallties who speak through the mouth of the medium are parts of his own consciousness,

Frederic Myers once quoted an interesting case of what

h ]'111 d" d "'~lIJ A F h . h"'ll

e ca. .Ie- pSJeu o-possess~on; •. .' IJ F,enc . man. Ac. ]e, was

morbid and Umid) but happny man~.ed, On hls return 1[1001 a business: trip in 1890 he became morose and taciturn, said goodbye to his family~ a:ndfor ~wo whole days stretched bimseU out on his bed. Aft,er lying motionless for this considerable perlod, he sat up and burst into a terrible laugh, .. a lugubrious, satanic Iall!)gh which went on for more than two hours," To every question he answered" "There's nothing to be done! Let's have sorm more champagn ~ .. Ev,entuaJIy ~le fancied himself possessed by devils and made several attempts at suicide. Under hypnosis H was dtsenvered that he 'bad been un:fa:ithful to his wif,e. The pressure of g~ih to which he had been subjected had apparently brought about h~:s "p0~;session:'

. The most famous case' of •• pseudo-possession" Is dld of' the Swiss medfum, HeJene· Smidt. \"".11.0 claimed. to hav existed in at least three previous Incarnatiens: one as M,arw'e Antoinette. one as an Indian princess, and another on tb,€ planet Mars, if; '\tVhUe in trance, H.e~lme" whose good faith never seems to have been in doubt, would reveal dletaib of he:r former llves .. It ls possible th,a~ she had 'been Influenced by the theerles o~f AHlin Kardee, The Marti.9r1! ~nc.9rn9tion wasthe most imbig:uting", for not only did the: picture of Mars hold together with remarkable consistency, but the story was buttressed by a llogicillly decipherable M.a.·thul ~~nguage, Thomas Flourney, who msde an exhaustive investigation of the CMe~ concluded of H.elene's Mars: OJ A


wise ~it~le wm,tlIginaUon o:f ten or twelve years old WQ'U,~d have deemed it qulte droll and original to make people up there eat on square plates with a furrow for gravy ... I,. Whoever was: responsible (or HiiiUene's Martian sbJirri.es was not interested wn questions which would ha.ve concerned aduhs iUit'erested Ina Martian civilization, Helene's Ma~'s was consistent, but it was eompletely derived from earthly experienOeS"l.Hl:d over everything bung an aura o£ the sham Oriental, Therefore, eonchided Flournoy, the MarUan episodes were concocted by an ~nf,antile sectton of H'e~,ene' s persouaUty whicb was otherwise rlepresse,d,It!O

These concl usions were confirmed by an analysis of the M,~,]'tW.~n language, AhhoMg:h perfectly ~oglea~! on~y French mots had. been used .. Sample: '·lYldde ke bed 01~,~ charu:lihue Utse mune :ten ti vi" Fkiurnoy's translation: "MenJ~ qu'ils s:ont, ddi~icteux. 008 mom,e:n~s' 'Pres de tot:" As she grew up~ He'~ene h~d had German lessons. and it was unlikely that she would only have used French components if an o~der self had m~lu]ufactured .. M a rtlan." This seemed to elineh the matter. Myer'S wrote: .. For H.i§:lime· s one-jn-a-~l1Jindi·e.d mind substitute the ooe-Ia-a-mllllon mlnd of (Robert) Louis Stevenson: lett him dream-c-not He.l€H'le/ s ~.rnl:s,~pftd tale of 'Essenale' (a MarUan).~ but 'Dr. jekyll and Mr. Hyde; and one seesat once the adyan~ag,e of relegating voluntary ends ~i() automatic exeeution .. ,,":\;.j As we~~ as he]ng an ~n~ teresrlng eommenr on the processes of poetic inspiration, it hli a conven lent summ ary 'Of one po.s:d,ble expl anatlon of some medaimistic trances, But this: does not really enllghten Ihe enquirer as to- why there should s.IJdden~Y have arb/en a large number of traece'medtoms ,at a 'certain p-oint ln Ume.

Two suggestions may be offered, Either the mediums arose to supply the demand, Or a cedain p:rOIt)()rt~on of the ~n.'l1erest~ in Sp]rwt'uaHsf pR~e'nome!l1a was sdmta:lah5:d by an astounding crop OIf mediums. If the first theory is true: n ls simple to fit the rapid access of trance medfums into a view 'of Splrltuallsm as a, response jo the erlsts of Westen) thought. If the second is true. and there really wasan un-

paralleled increase in trance m€d~umship. despite the perpetual a.ttem.ptsoF Spidhla~ists ~o prove that their miracles had an antediluvlen pedigree" enough has ben said abou t the possi b] lities of ., < ~se udo-possession' to suggest t.hat this increase represented to subconscieus recognition of that very crw:sis:,-that "the f arof freedom" 'in fact produced schiaophrenls on a large sc,a~e-,and that i.~ took the rather speciallsed form of mediumshlp because o( the social eireurnstances 'of the day and the partieuler bents o:£' those afnicted, Attr,a,ctive tbough thIs is; we are led regrettably back to the first' conelaslon.

Tille funetion or trance is much clearer. Among the Ak.,:lIlWaio Indians of 'GMyan,a" the ~db~,~ shaman goes into {~ trance a,nd hlm)UOnS both as doctor and law-court. Through him the spirits can examine everyone concerned in a dispute. "A good seance iP,rovi.des an opportunity for bringjng into the open al~ the troubles and problems of the group, the petty disputes and oUelllS!es as weU as the maJor causes of dtsrupdon, $2 '-Wruth Hle advantage of lmpersocality-« t]),e spirits are responsible for ali awkward questions" and the seance ~s eondueted in a darkness which eonceals the factions of those taiki.m.g pa.r't~the sea[loe ]8 ,an admi~able Form of safely regulating soel ty. In an industrial .soclety, such "pnmitive' means can sun work well, in th,at the medium. is: not the ~ awgnver-thougb he may still be a .' psychic healer"-but is able, to use his: privileged position much as the shaman. does, In this way the seance works today, and I hay-,e been present onan @CCa.S~Oll when the medh~O"l!, who was, not in. trance, made little pretense of clalrveyantly aUe!!ld~ng to the spirits, but merely sorted out the y'ery tangled Thi 'Yes of two of the s~U"er.s.

Spiritualism. is at once the most prlmlttve and the most eomprehensible 0-£ responses to theerlsls of consclousness. As the ude of rationalism and the new science rose higher, as the sense of collective insecurlty waxed, men turned to, th.e ultimate consolsnon ,'Of the immOi!ta~Hy of souls. They could shout in the face of the bogey Darw~n that they knew they were: more than the outcome of a biological process,

that they t~:J:O had "s,cientiUc p.roof'-and it~urt theirs was of the reality o[the aftem--lU,e. Death, the shadow at the backs of every generation, had In the .1.9H'DI century to be met by many peoph~' face to face,

Small Mam,e ~f they met hlm wlth prlmltlve methods.

The terror was an ancient terror and wasbanlshed by ancien~ means, 'TheMea, if not the rea.Uty <:If possession, is oM as the hins.But thepr~m~tive reaetirm gathered round HseH a number 00:f alien elements. To a large extent lit gre'l.v QUit of the Mesmer.ic movement, and the motley collecelon of ideas which bad fas~ened themselves to M,esrn.er were drawn along: En ~;he baggsge, It was also connected dose~y 'w~tlru '~he millenarian expectations of the mld-century, both In ~ocial and reHgh:~u.s terms" Tlllis legacy SpirUualism inherited fmm its umeand lhl. p~aoe of oiigil'1l. Like d[IJ€aJmost contemporary American adventlst movements, Splrieualism origina.tled in ~he •. burned-over" district ~ TMs term comprlsea the areas of Ne,;v York State whIch had beenas it were exhausted by the religious revlvals of the ear]y 19th century. It was ab(1 dlJ'ecdy 0'11 ~he .rOIIJJ{e W,est ,of lmmigrents frem Europe; H had Dnfact recently been fronder

. .. '[f I 1'-' ,,,,.~~ . ..lll h dl .. .

~€rrrt(ilIi'Y ttsetr, n the luun'leU!-oV1er~strtC~~ suecessrve

waves of disoriented imm.~g,ra])ts joh)~d thl)Se 'Who had felt the impact of the "Revivalist preachers ~o create a. confusion ofdoubt and be~ief. In this area was a concentratlon of the problemswhich beset [he W'este'~'n wodd. Sp:irHua,HsDl and the other cnltswhiehthrlved ~ere found a. ready public. As Frank Podrnore noted .. Spiirihlal~sm was started by two n.a.l~ghty ehlldren; and Hs appeal is to thechild ill man, who is perpetually \:\fhistliDg in the dark.

An,d!as a pdmiUve reaction to uncertainty, the widespread acceptance of SpirHlILlal~sm helped to prepare minds in Eur'op'ea.nd America for more sophtstlcated revelatlons. From mere amused lruos;pitalru.ty to the miracUlloiJ!js, maIiIIY strange and €:xoUc fruits mighJ grow,

L Fer a description oftheccttage, see k Le<1Jllin<icrhi!L The Mi~~n.g u':'l-k i!':!Mod,err! Spi-rit'tloldf~, {New York, 1885), !P, 47'6,

2;, Emm!.l. Hardinge, M'oden~ Ame1r~ca'u Sph'iih.mli.sl':n (N e'\~1

Y·· 'I-~I 01"") .. _. ,P'" _ or.K, 1!.{,:! Vi.. po, O\t' t .

S" E. VV. Capron, ,M'ode:I'N: Sr)~~1i:~'U:alf$n~!..f,ll f{lets CI-nd Ja-nat'iciS'1NS (!Boll:~cm, lS55~ 'P. 40.

4. Frank Pochn,ore, Modc~"u S7)iT~t~~€lf~~n (,[ ... onden, HJ02.), vol I) PPI' 182·3·, Pedmere's :is the standaf1ct WiO,tk en theg:row~h of Sphi~uallsm.; bUI~ to, i~he n'ii.odern.rcarder th~ 'W;)iJY in whlch he .aSsumes the connection of Mesmerism .and SpkitU~]U5:ro nli:g,I'n·t se~m U!:ru:::~~ali'" Ine'V~tably, "~ have drai'wr1l he~vily on his, aJ!J.~]IY~is.

5. Quoted Capron, Spi.ri,t:u:alism~ pp, 3:6,'7~8. WeBer w.as

Senator for Ca.~iforrda.

6\, Fodmor·e,Mo,dern Spl;~iiunl;~'s:m, voL I, PL;l. 184~5. 7, Capron, Sp:itcft'twf~s"t, p. 8:93.

8. Pood:mol.~, Mode~"i~ .si):irit,!:.t(,j,i'is:m~ vol~. P" 185, Q. Mg.ht (LoBden" l5 December 1888).p. - (H9'.

]0. Podmcre, 1\10(£($1'111 .sp:~1"itu(~t13m. pp, rat-s,

n. fdmtecl inlEt R Davenport, The D,e~ul!·-J1low to Sp'tri~ualism (N.ew Yo~rk, i11888).. p, 21.7,

is. L~gh' (3 N ovembcr 1 8S8), p, 543.

]3. 'The .s:pirUt~a:list 0.5 M:a)" 187S}. quoted !by f N.

Mas~e]yne. ModerN S:p·h"itual.fst.n (London), p, 67.

14,. ViSCOl:l'I)t A(_I~]\e> .Exp&r,f,r;rn:c6's:in Spirii'ilalis:i)~ ttl~.i!h .Mr. D. 1.), Home (Londen, ~B7CH,pp. 82-3. The d:istan(.'e\~faS seven fele~ four ~nche5;, and the date, R'6 December 1868. Trevor H. H.i!lH, New Lig.ltt on Old Cl~o~ts (Lond.on, 1965, pp. 86· iLl. has cast doubt upon almost every aspect ,of Adare's aeeaunt, be·gl.ordng wnh the address at "",hid) the Si~arace took place. liowever, rn cite Adare's nar.r<'lltive,.in order to show the possfbleextenr of belief in S'Pir~tuaUst phenomena.

15" Adar'e" Experiences :it~ Sp~ri:~·ualism" Ill'. 17··!jl

]6. The Davenports, WilUarun and Ira, were born in BU!HaJo Jn ill·8S;9' and 1841. Tbey came to Eng~:~.~d ill 1864, four years before Home's phenemena 'recorded above, 1[1 Liverpo.o:1 the Davenports were exposed by <1! "Herr Dobler, a Gonjuror-"

n. See, e.g .. ~ Th,e :G.nQ.8t,. ],J'l,IIIbl.islmd as late as teS6 hy Dr, .Edl'l'~.rd. McC]yru.1 of N~w York. The §1!il!ly [!lumber of that )flam: eontalned insh'uctions for m.al~el:iU~1i2ing "@ctoplaS:[iJil, '.

18. Harry Price and E. J. Dmngwan [eds.), Aeve,ln;h'ons oj a Speir it Med-~tm~ (London, 1922). Th~ 'book was fjfS~ puMi:5h€-dlin ~~. FauW. Minnesota, in rssi, when lIJlI the coples were bought up by medi.lIIms:it was: .p:r{DbaJb~y '!!:vr:]Uen by a eertaln Donovan. See ,edUoIS' hl'trod'Uct~on. p'p. xi·xv_

19. Mas~Je~Yri!e;; SpirUuaii8'Ul) pp, 52, f£. ,ex. D:anie~ Dunglas Horne, l~cldent~ in, mv Life' (2nd series, London. 1.87'2.), pp, ~97~

374, for Home's version of the ease, - -

_ 20. Cf. 1BlfyaIl Wlb.on, Re-ligiou in €I; 's,e.CtliltlT 's()'cf:ely (London. paperback edition, 1969), p, 2]1···12.

2m. c. Odhmer Si,gS'hi~dt, The Swed,('mb.org Eptc ( _e''&,\\' York, .1952), pp. 232-4.

22., Robert _H~Il,d:marsb.fU8'e and Progress ,of t:he New Jof;JrU$(.I~em ChU'fCh (London,. 1861). pp, ·48.2·8.

__ ,.23. 'For Itthjs process, see Odihmer Sig:s:le<h, SW1e,de'noorg. pp. 11S-s,e, aad 185: JI,

24. !B:manuel SwedenboFg; Hea;oe:n and It.s. Wonders ,and' H,elt (London, 1958,); pp.ll'6,-1.8. SWeJdeuborg, p. ] l7··118.

, .,25. For ,th.ese,. s~~ Emanue] Sweden~org" T,ae SV1',-,ftual' ~;Iary (~r" P: Bus~ and J. H. Smitb:son. Lo_ndon, 1883). vol, I, p. 25: .. HIS, tnteresnng 'lit:; comp,awe Sw.edi!:nbo:rg~ s aUitude to' his splrJtua.l werld with ~bat 00·£ Gilbert WMte to, the n.atu.ral world

261. And while i~} France, had made some ~ppo5i~e and eaustlc notes ,{)I] the ,coil"rupt~onQ'f ~he CaJtho~.i,c clergy. See Swed'€:lnborg., [p .. 24ft

21. Hindmarsb, New jeftl:satem C11urch. PP'. :25]~~!..

28, Margaret 'Gokilsmith, .F~(u'lz A.-litton Me.sme-r (London,

1934)~ pp... 46-8.

2.9. Coldsmitb, Mesmer, lPP'. 55,·,6],

30. Quot.ed, GoMsmith~ ~'.fe$mer~ 'Pp. 109-1.0.

3]. Podrnore, Modem SpirHuo.lism. vol, I. pp. ,5~~.

.. 32. J. M line Brarnwel], Hgprtotism (Londeo, 1921), pp, 4~ 23.

83. Podmoee, Modern Spcb'utla~ism, '1101 I,. p, 12m.

34,. Podmore, .Mo,d'em Spf1'.iiuaff$m, pp, '7'6~ 1. Shiedy :speaik~. ing. Fru Lindquist was a <. somnambule," a natural s:]eep,..w.al!~e!!". 1'11 is state was: thoughtto be ans.lagOiUS, to that of mesmeric trnnc~. 350 .. I am ~nd.ebted to Mill'. Franels Ktng for drawing my oUen-

'lion tothe impo'rtan,oo ,of Andrew Jacks.(lm'l D'·avis as soelal cl"iti£' 3$ wen as Spi:r~tuaHst pl'Opa.g,andlst.

.316.. 'G, Base-den Butt, i'AliIdWMt Jackson Davis,' ln The Occult ne;mew (FebnH~:ry m925), p, 9,2 ..

37. Butt"j Davis:' 'Pp. '93~4. Pedmore, Modem Spif'itualiS'rn.

vol, 1, pp, 154·5. _

38. Andrew [aekson Davis, T,he Gf,e~t Har'U1Qn:ia (Boston and New York. 18(2)~ vol. Il, pp. 31-2 ,and. m)te. Cf. Aldol1s Hax]€'y" .H,eaven, itnd Hell (London, paperback edmon, le65)~ p, 1 moO: ." N eg,at~ve e mo'ttio-n:s-thef:e:3il' 'whlkh ~s the a bsenee of O()if;ll~ f~d~nce, the hatred, anger, 011" maMc-e which ex.c~lll:de lo:v~a['l the' g~ar.an.tee ~h.a:t th v~sionarY' expsri!en,ce,if and when it comes, shall beappalling, ,.

S9.,Buu, "Davis .'. p. 94. Davis (Tile Grell' H.an1.l.otda), vel, II, pp. 5S~8" Butt, "Davis," pp. 95, and 99"" Andr,ew Jackson Davis, The Harbinger 0/ R·ealih (New York, 186,2),. p. 272 .

40. See Butt, ,. Dsvts," p, 96.iP'odWQn,;.', MQd(l'1'1~

Spiriwal'ism. vol. I, p. 11M, Dote 4. _

4L DSiVis. T'I~e Pri"nci-ples of N,rt1;ture, Her .D~vtn.e ne~e.iations

(Londea, U341). vol. I, ~. 12t

4,2. Podmore, Modem Spirituali81nt vel, 1.. p, 159 ..

43. John Chapman, Preface ~() Davts, The' hiudr)le's ,0/

Nature~, p,,5.

44. Davis, Th(J Pfinci:p,les of Na~.ur:e" vel. H,p. 679.

45. Davis,The Pr-i'n,c;'iple8 0/ Nl1.t~;,'re, p .. '680.

46. Davis, TihePf'i.ndples oIN,faure, p. i699,

47. Podmore, MQ.de1"~ .spririf~~alb·m.~ vel, [., 'P .. mS8. note 3,

aJncW p. 167" note 1..

48. Davis, Tl~~ P1indplet oj .Nah~;r,(~\vol n, ~'p. '7S~: I,.,. '778-

En, 7.15.

49..fodmor,e. M,o,JerEl Spf;rUualts,n, vel, II, pp.350~51~ cf ..

vol, I. pp. 370··73. . _

50. See Davis. A Stellar Key to the Su,mme;r-Land, Part One

(New Y,ork. 1868)1. _ _ _

.51. Podmore, Modefl~ Sp;jti~tu:aUsm> vel. n pp, 293-4.

52. Pl:ldmor-e, Modern Sp:'~Itt,tali$1l1. iPP' . .l8~23.

53. G .. :K. Nelson, Spirit'Ua~'istli~ and Society (London. 19(9). p, 64. n is a greatpily that ~bis !b,(iol does not ®:pp,ly the insights uf .:;odo]ogy Ln a more Inspired f.a:~d!lio:n; OWll most PQ~Dts the enquirer mast return to Podreore,

54. ,·e]son • .spintual:itm. p, 265. _

55. Real name L':;on.-Denjz<l;rth~Hippolyt RivQiil.

,516. See, Aman. Kardec, The Spirit$' Book [tr, Anna Blackwell.

Lo:ndo,n. 1875). This is ,a tr~ns~ation of the' revised edition of 18:5-'7' which became ~be standard texlt for :S~pir:jtuaHsts of the Kardee school,


57. A]l~n Kardec, I1n1:tai;iQcJ1. de f Bt.'a1~I,e se!ocni te .tpiilii'isn:Ml',

(faris" 1864)\ -

58. Emma Hsrdinge B~.it'~en. N1:ti:et,fj'ent:h-C~n~t~r:y Mimc,f,es.

(Manchester, l8B4), p:p, 850·51. p" 364. -

59. 'The Imperlal Archd!!.llk'e Johann of AU:5ib~a; h~li'ight '~ntJQ Sl)£rU!taii$Ul (b. f:l"!D'fll 5th German edltlon by N~O, 1885,), pp. '9" 36.

60. A.naccounl of the ,epi.,cs©{h~, is ~o be found 0111 pp .. W9~ WOlf .From lID Ea.st,em EffiJ?,(!~&1y (London, [92,'0), The anonvmeus authoress of 1:1il@.!l@ memoirs w~s married to. ~ F'r.ertl!(::.bm3!n in the' Turkish diplom~,Uc sen ice, who W,:!S sta~i.on.ed. ill Berlin :lit the tjme\:vhen the se"tlil:'i!~ took place. D'espil~e the tot~l ]ac~. of dating it'): the' narrative. {1il~l:e seerus liU1e reasen todcubt H],~t the episode actually occurred, A rev jew of the book ~n the Dailu 1I!1ail o.f 20 March. 1~;20 g,i.v!2s the dille of the seance as "OV'®F tw,enly~ f~ve ye~,~s ag:o,

61. III The SlJi:r~trfali$t }\fagax:ine.,. See Elizabel~h Longford, Vic.~oria. R.. f. (!london" ID!EH'4)~ pp.336-1.

612. Longford, lIic,eori!Cl. R. 1.. pp, 454-5. Sbo:l't work is made of other rumors of Vi0h~).r]a· s deaHID,g;s: 'with rn,ediiums .fiil:ld elajrVQyant,s; see pp. 384·,8.

68. Heport ()f~he C.::nnm!ftie~ on .S:p:iritu:t:d18'm. of d~e LO:iildon

D:fal!'f:ci:iC-cll Soc:!,ety' (London" ~871}. p, .229. .

'Soli,. W.:Hi, S.aJ~er, T.he. Sooh~~'t~ }or PS''lck'ical Rje$!earcl~.an OuiUne oJ it$ Hi$~ory (London, HJ46}. pp, 5-6.

65, Salter, .sodetV jor Psychical Re$ea't'cil, p. 13,

66" Trevor H. Ham, The SrA#tu~:list!!; {LOIldon. 196;2)., prp, 99~I'08.

67, Ha]]!.n John l." Campbe]] and. T~evo'r H. l"la]] , Stra-nge T1!jUg9 (i.ondiQrl, 1968)', p, ]216, note 1,

68. HIa~t The SI.u~lge Cao5i€' oj Ecim:tltla GtnLi~ey (London,

R964). pp. UM-2i4,. -

69. E.g., Alan Ganld, Th,e, .Founders: ,oj P:S'ychfcaJ ,R,esearch

(Lo'fildoI;~. 19(8), P', 82.

70. Hall,The S~,'r~tlge C:a.:S'oof E'dmttnd Gi,t~'tley~ p, 107. 7L Han in S~,m~gi? Thi~~~,. pa-sslm, but esp, p.p.eS.lOI}. 7.2, F[ede:ric~fly~'r:s, H!>l~na1!, ,Pe-rsO'nalny arid :Us S'lt:rQ;i'tla~ .cd

,Bodily Death (London, ]903), Y·o1. II, p, 28l Meyers Oljp:ostro· phized the material ~(H\o!Sp®:tity and selCurity of his tim:e.oon· dl1dlOCIDg, "'., . tbis very security, thIs: very prQspelJ'ity. do bl:i~ br~ng out In stronger n:::i]€'t the 1I,nde'rl)lingWeU~S.ohmen~ th.e dec'Ji.~e of

any real belier ~Jl the digni~y,. the meaning, th:e 'end~e$sne$Solf life;" (p. .2791). n would be hard to flndameee telHrii.g easeef a suppo$ed~y ;, ~cieiO,t~f:k:" :re.se.a:i\C.herpOS$~:S$~ng; pf'¢OQn.0¢p~ion:s lik:e~y ~oinf,l.u€l1Lce ~be Hnding:sof his; ]'·esearch, The b~w~mng of the h~.li[)an. condkHon, allld the ~~~gh~ from Rea,son,<u',e very simUaif to thea Ult~d€! of A[lfhur Symons. The S:~mbolisi .Movement in L:Ue1itttU1ie (London, 1899},. Bntw]li~€ Symofills, consoled h~mself with. the f[f1rystioa1 phUos.ophy he believed 'qJuu,e dg,hUy to be under~y]l]jg S ym boltst poetry" Myefst:ook refuge 1m his <0 te~ep~th~o law." Despite the ,e:itw8ten)tia:~ crisis, there w:~u;: hope,

·'·N.ay., ilflthe ~nf~nit'e Universe ml:\riIi iilI'I,ay now feel, for the Hrst time, at' [hQ:m,e. The worsl: f.ear is oyer, I~he true SiooUJ:!'il~y is won. The worst fear WIlS the fear of Sll]r]~ual e~tin.ot~on [)rr spirltual solitude; the true $ec~rny is In the tcdepatMc law" (p .. 281). V(l~'~hout .fijlf'~he:r justine,alion, Myer8 taikes the hope he sees ~n this link between the d!spa:rabf'!' units ():f humanity and hlf]a:t:es it into ;)I 1'~I.igio[1l. The mas;sive. 1i'Uima,~~ Pew8onalit1y and t,M SUl"Dival oj BadilrJ Dle.atfl: ends with ~. P1'ovi'S-kl'l~,~d S k€,~ch of a Rel'i:g:fo!iS Syn thesis. SJtj,ch a synthesis, Myers belilevoo tcoibe ~ n s~ght Iii! this hope he wasat one: wnh the divine's of ~he mags P:ar'Ha~!en't ,C)f Be' . ns (see Cl\i.ap~e~ 21, below). Eve'nm.ore 5i.g:!JIi~(:anHy,. the mo he p.mpOS'e5 under the name of the l,eHgruon of ~he AiI1c:ien~ Sage dJ]f~e:rs, cnly in. poln ts ,o:f persona] ,p[lefen':!:nc~ from countless oither syrtlQl\etism:s formed from occult Tradttion (Si:l>e Ch:apil:€lt6 ,andfoUo\ving c!hapt:enH Myers:. Htlman. Peroo'l1:allt:~~ :pp..284 81.},

73. E. Guth Moo:re~ Su'rv~:f)al,.a re'Cmlti:d6'ra~o:n, SP~. Myers Mem:OId.~] L~ctl) ... e (LondC}[1J.~ ]96·6).~ [[I. n.

74. W:mj;iu11lI C .. Hartmenn, H(lr~nUl~i1tl:s \Vl10's '\!Vho 'i~il. Occult~ Pl$yc.lti'cand S'pin:~ual ltGalms (N €1i1l' Y,orik!, 1927). Pro:vides the only C<lJnprl!!i1J.ensJve survey ,of the Itell'ritQry.,

75,. -Sl~ward W9!veH in nnnces'.byWI8Y€~], Audr€Y BuU,

and Nina Epton (London. ]9(3!6,), p,,316.

76. EptollJ wn Trances, p,. 236.

77. See C. C . Evans and Edwud Osberne, "·El'l:pe:r~m:en.t iu the electJlo.e:l.l,e.ep!ha,]ography· o~' Medjum'istic ''fr:an.oo,.'' ln Journal' oJ the Socf.ehj Jor Psychical R,e8e-arch. '0@~. XXXVI, no, '6619' (M!\~c;b-Ap:rU 1952). pp. 588;·96·,

""i,') 'F W' U 'M' .' ," n d 'p'.. ... .,. p' .. .~.

U),.. .1 '. ......• ~i ~ i _yers. rseu ,0- OS:5ejS~On, til " foceeU],n,gs

or~he So.cie.tf)/Or P:sgdiiC'€!l ,Re<Si€a,~'~.h. XV-XXX vm (Supplement h p. 390. On possession in genera], see 'F. K. 'Os~e:!'!:'eich.l'osS!e.5S'fOr~i {London, ~9.3(!1). For adesenptien duoughan entr:.u];QOO medi.um


of ho\!!' spirit commu[l~caHo~lIs are obt:ai.r:Ii~d,. see C. Dray tOll ThomSis. The Moiltr.s Ope~;a,nili 0/ n'anc~ CO~}U)ltUI:icat~·on~ae" cording [0 {h~'s(:li'] pH 011 S ft;:lceJ-v·e,d! th [<GU gh M l's.O~h()l"n¢ [.eonard-l:n'rOCC6'r!:inc,'So!lhe Society lor P$'~ch.iC(l.r:Re.;fc(l1'"Ch, vel, XXXVII~. 'paJ!~t ] 07, pop. 491..} 00. FOIl" COirn'l:Spo 1iild.e"n.O~S ib etween out of the body experiences ;~U:l(1 tllile rned lumdstic banee, see Sidney A~rutz,"The Mechal1li;sm. (If ~o-c:lln€id M@diumIsUc Trance, a u in .P'rOoceedJf!8'S of the Sodet'y JOJ' Ptrtchical BeS-B.atch, xxxxrv-xci, pp, 166"80.

79, For H~retl~ Sm.~th> the ;'lJnaJysis of Thomas F]OiU['i['I0Y" From .India to the Pmnet .Mars (br" D. B. Vetmily~, London, and New York, 1900).

80" Flournoy, Frt)1t~ Itldi~, pp, UJO-QS" 8,~. Myers. :Pse~d.o'·POS.'lye8$11on'j p, 4m5, 8.2. Audrey BuU in TranDe'.s, p, HlL

83. Ne~son. Sp{r.t~'tw,li:M1 a-~d Sode~v> p, :25>0" For the "burned-ever dtstrlct," see my Chapter 4"

Chap,ter 2 B,ab,

A T the same Ume211s Spiritualist ideas began to spread throughout the Wesltern 'w(llrM~othe'BiS were seel!d:ng '~~e solution N). ~~fe' s problems in the East. U the nature .of t~eir seeldng was abortive, It is impo~tant to understand why.

We can do no better tn,fln begin with a speech madle by Ch;rilIr~e~s Garron Bonneyon 15 M:ay mS9S .. Bonney's portrait shows him as a man wUh an egg-shaped head and a long s:traggly beard, His style ofaddeess was ponderous and

Hatuient. In this story he plays; the part of chorus, for he stands representative or so many 'q ualkies of h[s age. A minor eecnemist, po]iUcian, and lega1 reformer, he seems to have reached his most prominent posltion as: President off the Congress Au}"]~iary of the WorUeI's Columbien Expos]~ tionat Chicago: .~.Wo'r~d' s Fair which sprawled beside Lake Michig,an like an lmmense fllrn set Outside the hall .of t~e COfDJgres$ there stood the first Ferris ,",'hee], helter-skelters, a captive balloon; Fine Ads exhibits, electrical and shoetrades. halls; Machinery, _Iv_Unii!1g and Manuf~.ctums; and the huge Krupp Cun building, crowned wullla! tower inscribed with the word Detrtschland on, an four f~ces, housing the Biggest Gun En the World. Inside the halt there stood Bonney, orating. He proclaimed:

The nineteenth century, richer in manifo.klwonders tha.l1l. :!u;a.y which has preced~d. it inthe august procession ·of the age;, crowns its greet achievements by es~abUshing ][] theworld 1:1h~ sl!JIbJimeudea. of a Unfversal FratemitJ! orlL€arnil1lg and Vhtue, This idea), bng cherished by the l11umiftaJi of 0'v!.!!ry clime, descends (It Iastfrern the luminons mountains of thougbt to the ferU~e £]~~d;s of action, and en ters upon the eonq nest ,0'( the ",,"odd. I

redraw t~H:l spiritual map of ~he world; and their wellintentioned ,effmt:s we're ,equa][y unavailing.

But it is not to attach a. false importance to 'the Parliament of ReHglon.s to. treat it asa parable of the wider sitnation. The Parliament must be placsd in a proper perspective, The 1893 Celumbfan Exposltkm had been conceived asa memoria] [0 the voyage of 1492. It can}€: a year late, largely b.e,cause of rivalry among various American eities for the prlvilege of plaryiIlg host. U was the latest OF that succession. Clf international ,e~hibm'Qns" begun by the London Exhihitlon of m851andoorruUnued in Pads) V~€rma~ and d1e USA .. The 1851 E:xhib.~ti'on had welcomed over six milllon visitors: at Chicago over half this totel wss achiev,~d Jrfi th€ C01U!I:-:se of thr-€'e October days,,~ Had there been any tangible increase in good wi~Th amQr1I!g nations? The organizers of the Ch.ic:a.g:o ExhibiUQil lugubrlously noted "th~t since ]851 there had been six wars in Europe, one in North America, and aim unstipulated number ~n nH: south of that conrlnent.' It seemed that the s u bllme ide,as spoken ,of by Charles Bonney had. become stuck in the luminous mountains"

It was charaoteristlo of the age toattach to 3. trade fair the series .of Congresseswhich were heldat Chieego. The subiects fo[(' discussion forman index to ~he contemperary conscience .. There were Congresses of Representative Wom.en" of Medicine and Surgery, Congresses on Af~., Ph~los()phy, Commerce, aad Edecation, aTemperanoe Congress, and a. Congress on Evolution. Largest, most successful, afJJd attraetmg by faf the most attention was d'lle Wodd far~Iament of Religi.ons, where Sh~nto priests discoursed to Afri(~~,iJ1 btshops, lI3~ddhis~ monks lectured at Cumberland Baptists, Theosophists, Confucians, and Christian Scientists ,. found their b~,nd.s clasped in o:iil€ unbroken cir,ele."" Hew unbrokeathls eirele was remains to be seen; but ~he HcHon was maintained at least for the pub~ic oril40.000 who attended the Parliament, many remaining eblivious, day after day, to' what one of the organizers called "the prodigious array ·o:f the glor~.e:s of the material world, within easy reach of ~hem.··~ At the dose of the Parliament ticket

Surrounded by martifoldwonders from every part: o.f the earth, the delegates could nor but agree. If they had escaped becoming lost in Old Vienl1a,~ there were v:iUages from Lapland, Ireland, and Cluna to. entrap them; while denying themselves the attractions of Hag,enbeck's Circus, they had sHill to avoid the Eskimos, thediff-dweUers and the mock-up of the Temple of L!J1XOl"". 'Them was nOJ1Letheless a. hope amongst some o,f the delegates present that. they would resolve the problems Oof :thi,s confusion (If culture, It ls £IlJi~y mlldly overstating the ease tooomparethe atmosphere to that of the Congresses of Vienna.' or Versames. At the more ralmnliS coaferences, diplomats and statesmen were coocerned with redJef]n]]lgthe boundaries ofnaticns, "spheres of hlf.~uen.o€,"ancl matters of practical po~it~,C!s" In CMcago. the more optirnisttc, like Charles Bonney, were proposing IrIJ. much t~e seme Iashion to

touts made Fortunes by s,emng seats in the overHow haJ1.6 The interest shown can be explamed ~n part by the exoticism of some of the bellefs €'xpolll,nded, ill part by the general crisis. But the chief reason has to do with the emergence of the Orient in West,em thought.

The encounter of East and West 'was even by 1893 viewed by only a tiny minority of educated persons in the ·\Nest. 3$ much more than the naturalexpansion of Eurepean man. Since the eaJ~y 19th eentury, however, a srnaJ] group of in .. - telleetuals had drawn inspira~ion from the Orient) and later their lnfhience was in its turn to be diffused. To a oerrain extent there existed a recognition that Oriental religion embodied the aspirations 0:£ many more human beings than did Christianity in Europe, and the Romantic :3Jf:fect](m for the mysterious East had taken account of a eenturies-old tradmon (,f Oriental wisdom. It is of interest to compare the react-ions of East and West to their encounter.

The W,ss:t carne as material conquerors and largely for ma"terl~lends,. In the East [her,€ was no developed technology with. which to defend cultures incomparably more ancient than those of the invaders. To the Chinese, to whom all foreigners were barbarians, this impotence rank-

] d A. ~~I. . 11_ 1L. ., '~f' Ie theni ,,'

ieo. n. rneory grew up, KD-OWnaS tne seu -srrengtnenmg

policy> by which i~ was ar-gued that the Chinese Confucian way of life, although undoubtedly superior in every way to that of the barbarlans, would best be protected ]J' the Chinese were to leam from the invaders the West-em means of self~def,ellse. 'The 8ubs·tance of Chinese culture could be preserved by the use of Western methods, Opponents of the .. self -st rengthening" th eory, such . as Wo- jen (died I 871 ) retorted that the use of Wester.n metluu:b would end by the adoption of the 8u.bsianoe of barbarian culture. i'

in the West there was no doubt about the superiority of teehnology=and llttle about the superiority of West em man. Outside the Brttish Ra] thoseWestemers. who had had direct contact ,,\IUti Orientals were relatively few. But as a consequence o~ the Age of R:eason certain people began to look for a stable freme 'of reference in the unchanging East, and this abandonment of rationallsm and espousal of other


categortes of thought is best understood In the context of the Chinese policy of "s,e~f-strengthening." For those who chose this road there was the abandonment of the deUdent substanoe of Western culture in favor of the' 8ub',uance of d]jle East wMch seemed to give spiritual satisfaction to so many.

·O~ the same prmciple, the Japanese response to the West~which was exactly the reverse of that of the"s:e1f~ stre:ngt.henhtg"'~toQk the form. of a widespread reassertion o( the nattonsl su.bsitance. From the re~igiolll:S point of view this meant a resurgence of Shintoism, and. the growth from the beginning of the Metji era (n8GS) of [1;, number 0.£ new reltglons in response to the sense of crists. One sucl~ W~$ Ornata., which dates, its Inceptlon fmm 1 January H39:2 , when Mrs,. Nao Deguehl f'eU herself possessed of a god ~:~d began producing automatic script and effedwng remarkable cures. An. earlier and much more powerful religion=-clafmlng in 1962 over 2,30(]l.f.lOO members and a strong political iParty-,\~a5 founded by Mrs. Miki Mahayama who!lls.o had been possessed by a god. the Heavenly Ceneral. This was TenrikyO'~ whose beliefs are tinged with mtllenarianism: one day the "sweet dew" wm d!es-cen:d hom heav n, and

man will walk ]udg_hteousness,JS .'

This dlreetly supemafurallst Torrn of belief could be found also ~n the VVest; and. ~t was from India rtlilat most Westerners tempted by the Oriental approach were to draw tllueir hlspm:mUoR. Th~s: was. ehiefly because of. the activities olf an extraordinary band of scholars, but also because India had known the ways of the W,est for much longer than any other part oJ the Orient. There had been made some' auemp"ts at a syndle;s,ws of Indian and Western thought whichmade alien modes of thinking more accessible to the white man. The Bra.:hmo Sama4 and the Arya Sarnaj are examples 01£ such efforts. The Brahmo Samaj was founded by R,1,1,jah Hammohun Roy. a fervent Anglophile, who died in Englalllld in 1835" It was seen by uncomprehending mi:s,~ sLona.l!'ies as being ,a, movement away from ido~at:ry toward Theism, hut was more an attempt to reconcile East and West by the fusion of the Christian Gospels and the Hindu



Vedal!lta'9~,~n occupation later to become popular wi~h the Theosophlsts, By one account the idea of the Brahmo Sarna) had actually been suggested to its founder by Protestant missionerles, and embodied an order of service modelled on that of P:rotesta.lJI,t Christianity.,Lo 'The ,Af'ya So;maj had resulted from a spllt in the earlier organization, and under its ~eadler Dayananda Saraswati claimed. to return to the purity of the unadulterated Vedas; but in this doctrine God W,3IS: stm tha:t" of HiJ€' Christian tradith:m~monotheis1t and Protestant .. ,II Ved.an~a known under either of these guises was ~carcely Vedanta, however aoceptable it might appear to' tile West P. Mozoomdar .of CaJclllUa represented the Ij.mhmo' Samuj at the World's Parliament of ReIigJons;3i,nd ,~t 'was t]]e ,attr,aJcUon of the Afya Sama;j that brought ,th~ founders of the Theosoplncal Soch:rty to India, L~

Scholarly interest in. Oriental thought dates from the fo?~datiQ.n in 1784 af the "Asiatic]; Society of Bengal" by WI1lruan1. jones under the patronage of W~t1"e'll Hastings; The next year appeared Charles Wilkins's transladon of the Bhagavad GUa, and under the auspices of the Soeiety a suceesslon of translations fOlll:nd their way to the West. to France and Germany as well as England, The journal of the Society, ASia:ticic Re.:5'earches, was so well received in Londo~ . that a pirated edition was brought out The ROI)'al Asiatte Society of Great Britalnand Ireland was founded in 1823. and five years later the Oriental Translation iFund began to ensure a continued f~o'W of Oriental texts to the West Knowledg'8 of other Orienta] ,iangusgres then Sanskrlt grew: alien Ut.eralures and errigmatic inscript~ons lost something of thelr inscretability, The 1785, translattons from Sanskrit were fo~~owed by those ,of 17'93 from Pehlevt, o.f 1803 from cuneiform, of 18122 from hieroglyphs, and .of ten rears later from 'lend. Witb the work of Hodgson, the East India Company agent in Nepal, and others such as the Hungarian Count Csoma of Koros, .Budd~hism began to, replace the V,edas as (he object of the highest schclarly attention. Other languages began to receive academic re~o$nmon; for example, the College de France appointed Abel R,emusat in :ll814 as the first professor of Chinese,

Creeee and Rome were d lspl aced! as the sole sources of wisdom: Anquetil-Duperren 073].-18(5) the trsnslator of the Ot~pnek·.hat~a very inHuentiJd compilatlon of material from the Vedas and. the Upanlshads-s-made in ]808 the comparison between dl.e discovery of the Onent, and the rediscovery of ~lhe classics in the first Benaissance."

It was lnevitable that tllle phenomenon which anthropologlsts call •• culture shock" shoujd make itself felt as a t,esu~t o[ serlous considerations of the ideas of the "subject races. ,. Wilkins' translation of the Bhagavad Git,a was in parficular able to shock assumptions of racial superierlty. To· make alien ideas more intelllgible, commentators discovered in ~he traditions of the Orient a dozen Westem phtlosophtes-efor exa,mp~e" one French critic found :in the Gita Stoiclsm.Tlhrminism, Spmoea, and Berkeley, g,l, This Is not to say that similar teacJh.ings are not there, It was InevHaMe that Eastern teechlngs s.h()'u~d fUter through ~o the West ~!11 a popularized or romantlc form. Thus Edwin Ar~ nold' s publieation in 1879 of the r-emarkably successful The Ligh.t of Asia~a vs rse translation of a life .0.£ Buddha=-was in the shortterm much more effective than scholarly works in dtreeting the attention of a. large publie to Buddhist: doctrines. And tlla't debased Romantlcism wblch saw in the "primirrve' the noble savage in a sinless, state was by the end of the 19U1 eenturya part of popular mythology. There has been in England, for example, a. direct line ofromantic adventurers who have sought oonso]atlow ~n an ,ifl!~Iel1 soeiety, and who have been idol~:zed Ior it.wm Byron and t~e Greeks, through wUfl~ed Scawen Blunt and the AraJbs>.to T. :E. Lawrence' sown. relationship with Arabia, the kinship is clear, Most people, of course" tD.ad neither the opportunity nor the conviction to become corsairs or sheikhs overnight,

To attempt to trace the innuence of the new currents of thought on philosophers or Utem~i would be a thankless task. A few examples will indicate the situation. Among the German Romantics, th;€ Ori{~:nta] revelattens were hiaHed as confirming their innate premonitions about 'tile narureof ~[fe. t:\siaUck Researches was. well known in the eirele of Navalis; Schelling interpreted Si.r WilHa.m Jones' hansla-


tion of the Gita-Gomnd'a as revealing the secret of human existence ... In the Or~ent." announced Frlederlch Schlegel, "we must look for the pinnacle ,oiRomanHdsm.''''5 Eight years later (808) he pubhshed the Essay ml the l,angmi;ge and wisdom oJ the Hindus" the Hrst attempt at interpreting Indiao ctvllization ona broad canvas. At the age of twenty= £i vie Schopenhauer was in trodnced to d~e Oupne k' hat~ and progressed to Buddhist philosophy, In America as in EtU'·olpe. the: new wlsdom had made ]nHuel1tial converts, The group of New Englanders gathered round the .,' Transcenden tal Club" were powerfully lnfl uencedby Oriental thought. Emerson, though far from acceptmg tb system of the Vedant.a in ih, entirety, believed that ~he Eastern idea. of Maya;~-th.at the material world is an i~luslon-s-was fundamental to any philosophy, and adapted other concepts to suit Ms own premises. Thoreau, who during the years ]845~7 retired to lrve the simple life at Walden Pond, trhol!.lght of htmself as a yogl, A more dlreet link is. provided by the marriage of Fannie Channing ,t he daughter of another member of the "Transoeadensal Club," to Edwln AmoM of The Li:g,ht of Asia.liti Sd'lOlars were no less prone than men of letters to becoming converts to. the doctrines Uley studied. Mi3JX M illller, whose S',(1crea Books ,oj the East started to appear tn U37'9; told Swam] Vivekananda in 18916 that if he returned to India hls friends would have to cremate him there. 1"1

Vlvekananda was one of the greatest successes at the Parliament of Beligion .. The message of the Swami was deri ved from. that 0·£ Sri Ram.Si,krishna, of whom Christopher Isherwood Is ";'at ]e,ast strongly Inclined to believe that hew-as what his disiples declared he was: an inearn t3il ion of God upon earth:"liII Ramakr~shna-born near Calcutta ]U 18310]. d~ed in, samadht' 21 CoS,SiP01'€, in

9 Sa,ma,dh.i is the ecstatic trance of the knower or Brahman-emore strictly speaking, such at trance at death is known. as mahasama.d'hi; when the ,enlightened per-son leaves the final body ]n his series of reincarnations.



1886=was an ecstatic with a remarkable grasp of the realities of Jife.Hws message was that of ~ . miversal brotherhood, ' .. ~ .say that 'love are aU ca],Ung On the same God. jealousy and malice need not be." "Do you know what truth is?" he askedhts d lsesples, ,. God. hi9.'~ made differen t religions to suit diffeflent aspirants times and countries, ' 'I g Ramakrishna's wIfe~ Sri Sar.ada Devi, whom he had married at _t~e ~:p,e of five. is. revered by his. _devotees as "Holy Mo~~er,. and Ramaknshna worshipped her hims/e~f as the Godd'e8s Sarasvatl .. ~ To the enid of' her life in 19120 she was attended by an Eng~ishwom,[lJn, Margaret Noble, who had taken the n~]ne of Srusber' Nlvedita ... It is: significant that the West was becoming so sensitive, not only to ancient wlsdoms, hutto the Hirst stirrings of new religions.

Vru.vekan.anda. ad~p'h:~d his master's te.a,ehing:s for pubbc oonsumptio» in .. ~he, West. In his. mouth the message became, as H.ene Guenon writes, both morahstlc, and consoAingly sentimental." In terms (J'f ind~vidual conversions the Jmpset ,of Vlvekenanda' s movement was probably not very large: hut in his. lif.eUm,e; 81roid enrlrely be/cause of the impression he made on those he met! his roJ,€: in the diffusion of Vedanht-.inspired doctrine was of great hnportance. Anni.e Besant recorded hearmg someone say sfter [istening to the Swami, "That mana heathen. And we send m~s~ £~~:mari,es to. his people] It would be more 'fiUi.ngthat th~y should send rrrissionartes to us!" On this topic Vivekananda was emphatic .• , As regards $pir]tl!l.[lHty~ the Americansare far inferior to US:,. but their society is far superior to' ours .. \OVe wtll teach them our spirituality" and asslrmlate what is, 'best

in their society.' ':g2. .

The reslem_blance to the Chinese "self-strengtheners' is marked; and the counter-argument could alsoweU be employed, that by adopting what was best in Western society, the spirih~a]ity upon which Vivekananda placed s!Uc:bemph,asis might also be contaminated, The Swami had an Ironic introd uctlen to th,€; U nlit,®d States. ,< Hail Columbia!' hecriedat Chicago," Motherland of l~berty! It has been, given ['0 thee, who never dipped her hand in her


TkE! Occult Underground


neighbor's blood) who never found out that· the shortest way of becoming rich was by robbing one's neighbors, it has been gjven to thee to march at the vangu ard of civiltzation with the nag of harmony! " It was quite In the style of oratory favored by the: Parliament, but "it was unfnrtunate thUilit Vivekananda should discovera few weeks later that the manager of his American lect ure tours was cheating him by about $2~300 at each appearance.

Viv·ekanand,a" twice Vis].~,ed Europe. when~~ he' attended the Paris Exhtbltlon of l'90(]l. vislted Max: Muller at Oxford, and traveled to Constantinople in <company wlth Pere Hyacinthe ~Qyson~ the Carmelite monk who had renounced his vows and married, Everywb.ere 'he spread sweetness and 'Hght To Max Muner he went humbly to "pay his, respects." In the Alps be offered flowers to ,I).. statue' of the Virgin in a mountain chapel, "for shealso is rhe Mother:' (With becoming d~mdence he hada Westerner offer them for him, :£o:r fear Christian worshippers would he annoyed.~::l) En America his work more quickly showed practical results. The Vedanta Sodety of America dates its foundation to Vivekanandas work in New York in the y,ear following the Parliament of Bellgions, and by 1904 there were centers in San Francisc« and LO's An;geles. By UHr6 the Calltomfan center had developed s veral su bsidtartes, and further centers had opened at Boston, Ptttsburgh, Wash~ngtol1l" and Connectlcut. At these centers, 0,[' .a81trm1.!,(lc. the Indian swamis were more guests than missionades and ihe organizaUon was run by native Americans who had invited the ho~y men to become their spiritual directors, ~ This is important. because it serves to :iUustrate the point that the missionary traditions. so dear to Western Christendom. areto[aUy alten to the spirit of Hindu thought, Vivekananda. came because he was. invited. Although he may have sugared the pill in accordance with the suseeptibility of his audience, he did! not hImself decide to embark on a missionary program, The Swami cannot altogether be aeq ui tted o:€ the charge of preaching; DU t itt remains trueto stale that he who puts himself under a guru

does so vohJ!ntaw-jly" and that only Islam and Christlanity have been actively missionary religions. in modem times, Thus 'the presence in. theW:est at this time of even. a small Dumber of converts h) Vedanta is much more s'igllif]can~ than would have been. s.a.y~ the mass, conversion to Christianity ofan African tribe. It supports. the assertion that people were actively looking fo.l" solutions to the problems posed by rationahsm: and that those 'who. turned 'to the East for their answers 'Were in earnest,

Vivekananda taught that each and every religj,oD had its own appolnred time and place. There was, however, yet another new faith which expounded more explicitly tbeuni .. ty of all religions. Such assuranees had an ObV_~.0U:S appeal ln Urnes of uncertainty. But the B~h~' i revelation had an addled attractionfor the West, where centuries of Chrlstian predominance had strictly circumscribed the notion of what a religion might he. More than any revelation since the Christian, the eircumstances surrounding the origins of the Baha' ifaith possess thequalnies of poetic myth., The creed boasts countless martyrsand two incarnations of God. Us hlstory begins hl 1844, in the Persian city of Shiraz, where a twenty-five-year-old merchant called Mirza. AU Mohammed proclaimed his misston ,aJS a divine messenger, His origiln.a~and spectacular 5iiIJiCC:e'SS in winning converts has obtained for hnn tile position of John the Bapti.st in the Baha'] faith; ~n whleh he is always known a the Bah, or gate. He is nevertheless-looked on as a true Inearnatien of God sent, as it were, to prepare the way for himself. In the b.,ce of the Bab's disturbing effect upon. the faithful of Islam, and his adoption of titles normany given only to the Prophet himself, the Perslaa and Turkish authorities mounted a f'ew,cio'Us persecutlon. Eventually they captured the Bail who seems, to have realized, just as, Christ perhaps realleed, that there was only one way to end his ministry,

The Grand Vizir of the Shah ordered the Beb to be shot T~e story of ~he executton has the appeal of rhe greatest of r€Jig101iJs myths. When the summons to Ule firing squad came to the Bab, the condemned prophet was having, a last


eonversation with hls amanuensis, Said Husain. 1'0 the insistent oHiclal the Bab replied, "Not until I have said to him aU those things that I have to say can any earthly power silence Me." Neverthe]ess, he was led on to face his. executioners, an entire regiment, under the command of au Armenian Chrlsttan colonel. whom the reports. suggest was half-way to admitting the divlnlty of the man he was about to shoot. To, him the Bah said: "Follow your instructions. and ]J your intention be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relleve YOQlj of your great perpliexity,,'·wuh a young duciple, Ants, wh.o had begged to share his fate, the Bab was suspend, d by a. repeabove the ground, and the regiment opened fire In three ranks, rank £o]~owing rank in the bdu.io,n 'of a Brttish infantry square.

When ·tboe~ smoke from 7,50 rHies had cleared the Bab was nowhere to !be found. The young disciple, A:lliS,W::l,S standing on the ground with the rope that had held him severed. Forthwith the Armenian colonel resigned his command. Aftera frantlc search, the Ba'b was found in tffil€ room from which :he had origina.Uy been taken. He was talking to his amanuensis. He allowed himself once more to be led away, rernarkmg only, .''] bave finished my conversatlon with S.a.~!d Husain," This time there W3!5, no mistake, and the bodies of the Bah and Anls were "completely dissected' by buH· ts, Immedlately, according to Baha'i tradition, a violent gale blew over the dty~ and for a day a dust-storm blotted out the sun. ~

The' paraUds with Chris~man legend are obvious. T~1e Armenian colonel corresponds to the centurion with the lance. The miracle of the first execution, the combination of divine lm perlousness and meek acq uieseence ; are all in aecordance with what tlle West knew of divinity. The Baha'] faith derived great impetus [rom these poetic origins, The bodies 0'£ rh '. Bah and Anis wer stolen from under the eyes of the guard placed on them, hidden, and €Ventllany buried om the slopes. or Mount Carmel,

Such correspondence may h.dp to explain the interest eventuaUy taken in the West in the Baha'I :faith. Political

circumstances were also fav(\II~~b~e. The cruel persecutions to which the Iollowersef the Bab were subjected were partly the result of the attempted assassination of the Shah by two fa:!l1.atica.i Babis in U352. There is a ·leUer from an A1llS trta FDI officer ~ who resigned from the . Shah' s service because of the cruelties he witnessed, which describes the horrors most graphically, The heretics were made to ' at their own amputated ears, had thele hea:dsbea.ten ill! with hammers, and- were forced to run wlth llghted wleks placed in holes gouged in their bodies; or with ~helr feet shod wH~ horseshoes." Lord CurZ:OI1 right~y thought that such cruelties in fact spurred, the movement on as nothing else could have done. "E he Tsar instructed hls consulat Tabriz' to report on the Babis, and Frence was Introduced to the suf·· ferings olf the unfortunate heretics by the Comte de Gobineau.R.cn1nanUc sympathy with the persecuted made the Bab a hero. A Russian poete-ss wrote a play about the prophet which pro~o1iJJ:ncl.~y affected Tolstoy: and in Pa.J'is Sarah Bernhardt badgered Catulle MelldE!s fora play of her own."

During the persecutions, one of those C3,St into [all was. the son €If a rnlnlster .of the Shah, In prlson he discovered that he \,V;SIIS the manifestation of God proclaimed by his martyred leader" On his release be spent two year' in the wilde·rness.!ilind in IBM declared h~mselL taklng the name of Baha'ullah-ethe Glory of God. Baha'u/llah is the central .figum of the Baha'I faith~ and most of the adherents ·0£ the Bab ~ransferr,ed their a.~~eg]ance to him, This cannot conceal the fact that the Bab had htms if nominated Baha'u'llah's half-brother, M~~za Yahya, as hls successor: and. thatalmost from its inception the falth which proclaims the unity of an r:eligiops has Itself been beset by s,chis~.f~ ~t was Baha'u'Ilah, however, who gave shape to the doctrines of the Faith. The vicissitudes of hlscareer ended with his imprlsonment by the Turks in Aere;whe:r€: it was hoped that the noxious climate wouldI So.011 make a convenient end. In fact, this merely strengthened the position o~ the Baha'Is, The: Incarnate Lord, iaaceessible in Ms. prison city. bom-



barded the wiQ)'~d. ?tiJth messages, addressed to Napoleon nm.) Alexan(lef of Bussia, 'Queen Vlc~ori,~." and the Pr-esidents of VadOIJ5 South American Hepublies, -!Brotherhood" love, unity. were the burden of' his message. Hewrote:

These <l:ttdbmt~s ?f God are not, a!rld never hav~been. v?uchsafecl spedaUy unto certai:!1 Pwrpbetsand w:iJhheM from ?thers. N:;'I)\aJ~ the Prophets. of God, His ~ve[]~favor,ed. His holy and. ('h:'G~en _ Mess,en:g:ers,ar,e _.without _ exception, the w~are:ts of H]snaruJ!es and! tbe eItlbodimcrnb of H]:!;l aJUributtes. They ()I!l~Y differ ~n the ]l1lltemHy of theIr revelation and.~he' eomparatlve pob\lJ'Iicy of their ltgh t, ~(10

After tb~d.eath of Baha> u'Ilah in 1893, his son, Abbas Ef1l'end~., afterwards knowl1J.as Abdul Balla., becam,e the bearor(Jlf the message. Abdul 'Sana. is looked on as: sometlhing between God and Man: he was nat divine, [but was as much. above ord]-~.ar'y humanity as, 'God wasabove him, Among his W,ecst,em devotees this reverentialattttude wasalso found, For Abdu] Baha, released from his own lnearceraeion in Acre, arrived in Europe. Hie came to London in September 19B .. "He, arrived," wrote LaJ:~yB]oomfield, one. of his mostlerventdisdpl.,e:s:, "and who shan pieture

L' j)" I' '~j)' h

:,,]:m~ JJ!l iJi..;omtonemoeived Bertram Keightly o:f the

The?sop~ioal Society, 'W,. T. Stead, formerly of the Pall M:aUGa,z,ette and ~he ooc'U~t magazine B()r,der.lanlds~ and Mrs, Pankhurst, to whom ~e prophesied! that women would soonachieve their rig,~,tful place in the world, Abdu~ Baha visit,e.?, S~oUand~ I. then~ er,aven~d. dlmughl Europenu:~ i\_;neuca. In JLondon~~us :5~ccess: seems toha:ve surpassed Vwe~,~fJJan~a s-and doubtless the uses 0,( t.he schismaUc Baha i Fi.ut,hw,eB; fllppreci.at_edas of political nnpcetance~.~ol'.bY' the time o£ A]]e:nby'sadvaJno9011 Haifa in. the F']r~t World W,ar, the Baha'i leader had become all object of a,riixmou~ concern tQ the Brjl[s.h a.uHlodUes, towhose natiee powerful fri~dsof t~~ Faith bad brought tffile dhrt1(lrbing faet .that the 1\urks had tb.rea~ewed, if tlhey lost Jerusalem, to crucify Abdu[ Baha ,and his family on Mnnnt Carmel Arthur Balfour cabled AUenby to ensure his safety. Wh~n

the city f,eU, the edraorctlna,ryte]egram was received run London from An~ll by:

"Have toda.y taken Palestine, NotHy the world that Abdul. Baha ]:5 $afe."~

The West had dlscoveeed the !B{lha,'i 'F~ith lOI.ng befote Abdul Saha's VISaS, A Fe]'~ow of Peterhouse, C~mhdd~e~ whose name was JEdwani GlJ'allV]Ue Browne, had contrived a year or two before the prophet' s death to penetrate, t~e prison-sanennn of E-aha'u'U~aha~ Acrealr1ld t,a~k wHhthe In-

_. .-'. .",:. ]f

camannn htmselt.

The f~ce of bi m on whom] gazed I can. never forget, ~hQlI.Igh I ,canno~ describe it Those pieillc:lng eyes seemed tor-.ead. one's very soul; power and ®:utho:rity sat on t~1,llt ample bruw, while the deep ]-]OCleS on the forehead and the face implied an. age which t'he jet-black helr and. beard f~owi.~lg down ]H indlstlngulshable ~'uxl!lri:aJuce almostto the waist seemed 1:0 b~l~.e. No .rJi1;::ed to ask in W~1(l'5e presence ill steed, . , ,(II

Browne plubUshed detaj~s o:f the Bab's career In l89'1~ and by 1897 France, 'German.y,Eng].and~ and the USA had ;518e:n tra nslation s of Baha'i litera tnre. In the U nlted S ta te:s.[~]e Baha'i r~Hg]{)n ~.adJ Hrst been expounded by Dr. Ibrahim Khayrullah, who in February 1B9'4 had begun mts~dona.ry wnrk in Chic~go> whence he expanded. his field OIF' QP-eraUons to include New York, The New rewA: l'imes oir December 1904 reported the Interest taken by unlikely quarters iil'l the cause; there had been present at the meet.rnng attended by their reporter "a. score of men who have business in theWa~~ Street distrldand en horh Broadway and Flfth Avenue." KhayruUah's l][ldo~bted success seems explicable even in terms ·of pure mysU[IcaUon: Elis lectures were moot 'co]]~used, lnelndmg llflfo['mation on the my:st~'c slgniflcauoe of t~e number nine, and the promise to €;I(plalnw l],y the navel opening was ··locked.,"~iil Thls ultimate secret was WlIever revealed, hut the ra shton for such my.stlca~ enigmas wh lchwas being set !by the 'Theosophical Society ev~,d,elltly found. support,


An. unfoetunate schism took place however, between KhaymUah and Abdul Baha, The missionary made the journey to AC[I€ with an intrepid Californ~anl Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, and her 'friend Mrs. Thornburgk-Cropper, the first :B~,ha'i in the British Isles, KhayruUa~ ~S' at Ilrsr made welcomeby Abdu] Baha who called him "Baha'i'» Peter," and seemed! [0 favor him. But jij transpiredthat there were doctrinal diff.elrenoo's, between Peter and his master, These eventuaUy came to a had in a disputeover the nature of the Godhead in which Abdul Baha was not able to, cow Khayrellah into, obedience, Khayruljah began to feel himself badly treated, and soon decided that Abdul Baha was daimill:1lgan unsubstantiated d1ivinHy and tea{:hi~ng ,atga:Lns:t the doctrines of his father. He caugbtout the leader of bis faith ln a. [n~uduJent prophecy. and transferred hi? allegiance to another schismatic grol\1p-t~at. of Abdul Baha's brother, evidently intent on emulating the success of Bahe'u'llah. Nonetheless, the, power of 'the off:idallea.de~ of the f~ith enabled Abdul Baha towin over almost all ()if Khayrullah' s converts. and ., Bah iii.' i's Peter' was compelled to watch his effor:ts in America diverted wnto the service of the Baha' iestabltshmenr. (13

At rthe Wor]·d Parliament of Religions, the Baha'i F8Iuh had.barely been mentioned; but the context in whlch U was noted Is Interesting. Dr. Henry [essupp, a missionary from Beirut, closed his speech with a quotatton from Baha'u'Ilah, of whom he spoke in. the most approving terms, "'Th~se fruitless s~r~Jes, these ruinous wars shall pass away~ and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come. '. So the saint bad! spoken to G~'anvUh~ Browne. "Don't you in EU:rop€ need this also? Let not a manglory In this, ~hat he loves his country. let him rather glory ~n -this. that he loves his ki.nd:·3~_

Inspiring sentiments, Dr. Jessupp:!' But it seems 31,S tbough the: Reverend Doctor hasforgosten the HUe of his address" It is "'The R,eligiou.s Mission of the English-speaking natiens. ' ,', Enpn,:' complained a French observer, analy'Zing the deficiencies of the Parliament of :Reli~ions~ .< an Ang~o~ Saxon Protestant celebrated the superior qualities of his


race and religion in a manner which showed small oon~' sideration fm those whose nationality and bellefs _did not happen to be his own. "30 Everything, it appeared to. ~r. [essupp, had com'~]ned to fit the Ang]o~~~x?'n l'sc,e for l~S Divine Mission. "Was it an accident, he asked his audience in Chicago, '<that .. orth America fell to the lot of the Anglo-Saxon race, that vigorous N orthern people of brain and brawn, of faith and courage, of order and llberty?'" Of course U was not, They, led. by _ th€i:r greatest men=-Ceneeel Gordon is espeeialiy lauded-s-will answer the can 'Of the Divine Voice to lead the world from [paganism.~fo Unfortunately this SP'El ch of Jes:5uPP well represents the tone of the Pa.d~ament, in which benevolence and bigotry, pie~y and pudeur were so shangety in oom-

bmation, and! [0 which we must return, . ,_

The proceedings opened with the best of mtentlons. For seventeen days hdy men of. several nations discoursed learnedly on religious topics. Of theimportance of, the occasian in the eyes of contemporaries there is no doubt. In the official history of the Exposition, the report on the Parliement runs to over one hundred pa.ges~ appreciably m~re than the sbly pages of the educaeionalists, the ~iny of the EvoluHoru.a.ry Congress, even the seventy-five odd devoted to Representative Women" But the whole concept ofa Parliament (:IIi Rel1,gJons was uncertain from th - outset. Despite messages of encouragement from suc~ diverse quarters as. Mr. Clads,tone and Count Matteo Proehet nf the' Evangelical Waldenslan Church, there remained a substantlal body .of Christian opinion-and after all, it. was the Chrtsttans who. had caned and were throughout to dlomina.Je .. the Parltament=-which was opposed to' any dealings whatsoever with the heathen save at the point of a crucifix. Edward White Benson wrote frnm his see of Canterbury:

.I am afraid tlrat I cannot wdte die letter which, In yours of March 2(}~h, you wish me to- write, expressing a sense' of the importanee of tile pmpesed conference. without its .appearlng JIo be an approval of the scheme. The difficulties which I myself


feel are jJ.ot ,questions of' distance o:r convenience, but rest on the rac't that the ChrisHan re-.ligj(ln is th,e one re]~gion-j,

He eould tolerate no exposure of those areas of fanh "which belong to ,I, region too sacred for tf'eat~'ent.~· A e~rcain Iear of the: harm which had already ~eN~,n done bywellmeanwng modemist clergymen is easily d,etectable, The fiercest epposttion to t~e idea of hoJdIIllig the Farnam ent ~\adcome fmm, the missionaries, wlh.osl€ entire rational, would be exploded if any genuine rapprochement of creeds were to take place" One from Hong Kong issued a. stern ·wam~ng; against "play~ng fast and [OIOSe. with the truth. and

•• 0, Ii. fIr-I'" "H .. l . ._

coq uetnng with lase reugrons, - ega ve rus .(:or-

respondents, he said, the credit for the best Intentions, '<but let me warn. YOl[[ that you are unconsclously planniag rtreasone:g,arunst Christ." The Christian position was of COlII"S,e traditionally nx!ed-it was the "one religion," and as such committed to the conversion .of the heathen, But the faclt tha~ the Parliament was cafled at all Illustrates the dichotomy that had developed within the churches, with the extreme conservative opiniol1confrOIlited by those who WQuJd either compromise with the selenttflc approach, or extend the princlple of toleration outside Christendom. Even the traditional policies of the churches m.n defense of their Truth were being questioned. there WllIS no certainty even here where all should have been most certain. Neither would the guardians of Islam depart from their own dogmatto posttton, and the Koran found its only inter-

preters ,among Christian priests, _

Despite this basic diisadv:;Ililitage and despite the fad that the bu~k of the delegates were Chrlstlans of one' or another denomination, the opening session of the P'adiament (011 n September 1893) did i,ts bes:t to present a tru~.y cosmopolitan applearanc~. Tbe most Reverend Dionys~usLatas; Archbishop, of Zante in Greece, introduced P. C. Mozoomdar of Galcuu~, for the Brahmo Samaj; four Shinto priests from japan were spoken for by an hil'terpretet"a,nd the Honorable Pung Kwung Uu, the delegate of the Chinese


Emperor, was not. C01J.1!1t Bernstorff di.~daim~~d .. any authority to speak lor hmsEvangeH?al ~hlJ~ch '?r hlS_ COU~try, and Pdnoe Serge WoI~ol1sky dlcl hke"'VlS€':~~ lit ~a8,ap'·' parent that no ODe had authority to speak f(H' ,anyone, but himself. But negotlation was not really the purpose of the

ass,emb~y.. " .' . . .

The: Parliament drew crowds throUgbJOUjllt~, eXlsten7€.

Most interest wasaroused by rhe Roman Catholicsand the B'llddh]sh. the laeter headed by Dh~rmapala_?f Ceylon. ~f the hldividua~ congresses which took place aft~r th~, P~~["~,l~ment proper, those of the Th,eosophi:sts. a~d t~~. <;hu~tnHl Scientists were the most popular" In the ~Cl~llhhc Sect.l~na Catholic priest from Paris, Father DArby" pro~la~me? rashly: "W,e ~ove science. Th~ ofn~~.Qf sdenc.~m rehg~,~:~ " to prune it of fantastic growths. Wl!bout science, reh~mn would b 'come superstition" '·.lY The Cong!, :ss on Evolut~on~ significantly,. was groupe~ under .the heading of re]~glo:n. and on the last: day of the Parliament _:professor Henry Drummond. author of .Natur:al.Law in. the Spi~t Wor,~d. rose to speak on Evolution and_Christh~nity. The '~hsoo~~nes of Natural History, he said. had swept away the.~ne_~~mt,~~pretation of Genesis; but there was a, great design still visible in the whole 0':£ creation, to which even T. H. Huxley admit·ted, -Ie In the minds 'of thas,€ who assembled for ~he clesing session there was the. ,e,x.p'ecltaUo~ . that so:~,~thwng great would come of tile experiment. Aftler.aU~ there had only been oneawkward moment, whelm some women had vio~!t.l:ntly protested against Mos~€'.m polygamy," . .. .' .

But some of the foreign_delegates were not ~,(" sangUl~e.

They must have realized the equivocal tenor"of the .PadulI,ment, Seventeen days ·of beginning pm,cee~mgs ,~~th the Lord's Prayer would hatve enlightened th~~ if n.oth~ng :ls~ had, Vivekananda must have expressed the. feehlllgs. of several present when he ~s:SilJ.ed his waming during the clos~ng session ..

Much has b~en said of ~h.e eommon ground of religiou,s unity, I am not going justnow to venturemy 0'\11» theory, But ~f anyone


here hopes thalt this unity will come about by the triumph of anyone of those religions a nd the destruction of the others. to him I say, .. Brother, Y(HJ,rs is, a nImposstble hope." Do ]: wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid, Do 1 wish that th.e Hindu or BlI1ddhist would become Christian? God for-

bid" -

The Parliament historlan noted: "Swami Vivekananda ~ras always heard with Interest by the Parllarnent, 'but ve~~y llttle approval was shown to some of the sentiments expressed in his dosing address." Much more to the taste of the orgsnizers was the picturesque farewell given by the Japanese delegation"who hoped that "the eight ~mion deities protecting the cherry-tr,e, country of Japan may protect you and your govemm,ent For ever , , .'>~~; or even the _hearty condemnation of POUUl"'S and politicians volced by Wollonsky .

. . Ma~ny and pi!ou:s were the hopes that a. _new d9iy was d!awrung:. The euphuistic Bonney saw tn,€: Parliamentas tbe fuUinmen t of the biblical prophecy th a t Godwou.ld make a]} things _ new,·~ After an emotions] speech by Prtnca Momolo Mas\equoi of tile Vey Territory. the eholr sang the Hanelujah Chorus, and the crowd wenr wiId. "Three thou:s.and. men and women rose to their feet, waving rheir h~ndkerch~ob and cheering, and not untll the chorushad sung Ju;,~ge. me, 0 God {Mendelssohn}. was quiet restored .. ·1'1 The pmceedi!fD.gs oon1uded with Ihe singing of Lead Kmdly L-ig,ht and America. The most enthusiastic tributes came from those who said H reminded them of the good old revivalist mee't~ngs. The organizers were convinced that they had started an earth-s.haking movement; ~nd the Secretary proposed a. Parliament to. be held .. in 1900 Ul Benares,

_ But noting came 'Of it. Nothing could come of it, The ~oman Catholic Church was the only religious body considered by the organizers of rhe conference to have had offidal representation, but the Papa) I egate to rh United Sta~.es took no part in the proceedlngs, although he deliveredan address to the Cathol:i,c congress, a week later.

Home, wnh her customary diplomacy, 'had anowed minor Amedcane.cclesiastics to org,aniz€ their representation without committing the Ho~y See, ,~~ When It was proposed to 'continue the ParHament at the Paris Exhfbitlon 0'( 1'900. it was f1JIDCI):'\ed that iii: had been papal influence which had turned the propcsal to that of a Conference 0]], the History of Beljglons, whose br~.=-f was not to consider doctrine at all." Y,et ~he Conference of 190() administered a smaU rebuff to the traditionalists when It passed. a resolution directing the attention of scholars to Christian churches which had developed, outside the Influence .of Greece and R"ome,3Ind noted that it wasalmost entirely on 'Greek or Roman documents that knQ, .. ,ledge of Chrtstianiry was founded, d'1 Other traditions were being called an to reinforce the tottering native edifice: sometimes: with thts impUdt Intention, but more often simpruy because they were there. As thelPartial quality of time-honored explanations of the world was becoming obvious in the fidd of the natural sciences, so the discovery of other interpretatlons of tile big questions of philosophy and religion made traditional solutions seem ever more partial. Tille Parltament could not result in any religious rapprochement between East _ and West because of Us very composition, and it wouM be a mistake to see the occasion as anyth]mg more than symbolic of the attitudes adopr d by a far wider public to the

problems posed in Chlcago. _

The occasion could and! did aet as a focus for discussion.

Probably more important than the Parliament ih'~f'was the discuss.ioDand Interest it aroused, partlcularly in the Enghsh-speeking world. The partlcipants were all too ready to be swept up in a thle of warm and! glowlng feeling to see the realities of their position. The bishop who decided that the Idea of holding the Parjiament had been e s a divine one rather than a hu.man'"4,ti \V3S typical of these. An American ecc];esiasbc, writing in the year of 'the Parliament, assessed the effect of the proceedings in these tenns:"It was made evident that enlightened Christendom need ne:ver hereafter imagine that heathendom is, sImp~y <a. mass of degraded and

corrupt supe]'st~Uons', .,' "~g TJhe cards, in fact, had been put on the table, .2JJnd. the prospect of Asiarevealed ~o those w ho were not H rst and foremost menof ideas; Of those kn(Jw~n.gly in search of a f.aUb) or devotees of Eastern f'eUgjon.

Sud]. a prospect might ten~fy as much~s it might enthrall The concept of .. c~htlre'·shock" has already been mentioned; and :if theide.a is considered ~n terms Oof the ~mpact of the East on the West,a. vari.ety of reacttons are seen to be posdble. rhe CMnese reacted 'w~th t:~eir .. self ~ strengthen Ln_g,' > the Japanese byreas;serting national tl"adilt~ol]s. Similarly> the Westerner mightboerew from ~he East to r'e~nfor~e ~hest::rl!J!!cture of his own tr~.ditiOI]j, Such werethe schob~r-conv·erts and some of those responsible for

calling the. P.a. xl. ia~e:n .. t. ~f. Relig.Jons, 0.; .. ~ h.. ·.e mi. gh .. t n;a._. ct ~o.-'. the shock of dlscoverrnngahen. bu t workah~'e methods of li \rmg,

by retreating to an extremely eonservative position, Thls was ~~e .aHitude that the Catholic Ch~rch was ~o adopt, as it was the attitude of most Oif the CmrisH.u"Th churches, The variable here was the degree ofPm~estant]sm. U is nonceable it~at the delegates to the Paru'ament ofR.eUgions. who were most sangaine aboutthe prospects of it dialogue between East andWe:st were.Tlke the bishop who though~ that the hand of God was to be seen in the design) of a dissenUng: temperament Theextremes of missionary opinion d]scerni.Me at the Parllament mightalso owe something to this iI!lsUnct~ve reaotlon, There were other possibilities, Eneounrer withan alien faith might netther produce eonversion nor a precipitate return to the arms of the MQ~her Church, For different reasons tbeexperienC8 might produce reccnverslen, but not through fear; father thn)~J.g:h a form ,of shame. Richard Griffiths traces the, sort of impact w.hicJl t he encouneer with Islam had .on certain French CathoHca~th(lrs" The shoek of meeting a Ialth hoth rea] and strollg turned them from disgust with the tepid religion ,of t.~.eir own heritage ~o a fml]y~eJ\lpelri€nced. Cath olielsm, !)~ U was thus possible to be persuaded, not by alien beliefs, bUl by the very fact ~ha~ f~dth continued in bUDJds where the

ratloaalist attack had not yet penetrated. MOISt dtsturbiagly, the Westemer could ex:pedeno€ culture-shock in the simplest of forms, The discovery of systems. of belief so diHer€nt~o those he had come already to mistrust might merely increase the panic which he Edt at the realities of the greatworld. The possibi.HUes. were too drverse, the view of the vojjd too ,d;e.~:r. Thisreaetfon would only accentuate the Intens ~ty Gf his c~tsis ,of consciousness,

It is str~killg that the mot]f of rdig:iOit).s unity should p]El.y such a large part in the thought of this time. R.ec.~U.rung Lord A~to~>s vtsion of the ultimate unlversa] hish)ry, it appears to have been the: hope (If at least a vocal mirmrlty that some form o:f religtous consensus eonld be achieved" Vlivekananda's insistence on the po~icy of lruve .~nd let live is. leS5S1I.lrprising than the emphasis p].aJced. upon the un ity of all rellgtons by the un-Westernized Baha'le, A~ the Parliament the: only attempt to formulate articles o~ agreement [or ~]~ the creeds was made by an orthodox Hindu, M, N" D'vivedi. who proposed tWQ factors as common toa]~ religions. These w,er·s; (I) beltef in the existence ofan ulteamate.r~a~ prindp].e in nature, and in the unny of the a.]l; and (2) lli:leUef ~!l1 reincarnation and salvatlon by actlon. ~i PatentIy he had }]ule understandmg of Christianity; andrhe 'very oppesltion of hts two basic principles to the fundamental bellefs of Western Christendom shows that even. in the realm of good. intentions such harmony could never be aehiev sa , The desire fo,r it wss the outcome of. misnnderstanding Eastern teachings and of that belief in "progress" which in retrospect seems like an optimism in the face of (n,!'.e.rwh.'ec~mlng odds"

TOo simpUly grOi!ls]y~ one of the basic dHf,e[1ences between the Eastern and Western approaches was and is the attitude to Matter, The West }las aehleved suhstan~]a,~ vlctcry over ltseavlronment: the ethics of eapltallsm and hard work have enabled the growth of teehnolcgy. Thi:s sod of clviliza[ion is produced by ~hec;(mv]eHon fhat MaUer is real and can be made real use of. In the East such a society has not spontaneously developed; and one of the reasons ]s dliBiJ



MaUer is often regarded ZJJS musioll~M'aya i~ t~e Hindu. term. It can th1!1S have no use at all; and the ,ch~,~J task of a man is M freehlmself from its enchantment. The object of being constantly reborn 1J:lJ MaUer is HnaU.y tobe reborn no more, In t~e aehieving of this hberarton from Matter) the sou] is also freed from dle burden of the Individual se~£: the individual Iseither annihilated, 'Or absorbed lin the Divine. Wes:tero dvWzaHon. Qn t~]e' other hand ~ is so strongly indlviduallsttc that t~e Self is glor~f1:ed and paid respect, One OIf th~ ~ith'~cti()ns of Ea.stern dioct:riJ'1Ies for the West ]1:1 the late 19th century was t~e denial o( matterand theabolitton of self, In [i€aet~on from. the world wbich W€,s~'e'r.n vahres hadcreated and maietained-s-in reaction from the oonsequences of b.ci.ngraUonaHy tile posirion of one tiny self against the void~if\vas natural that the Eastern approach would recommend j~5€]f to some' small group!S of people, MaUer became iUu:sio]l .. The persona] ~elf was sloughed, or regarded as ~tse]f Divin,€: and impr€gn.8!~l€.,

Sucih. doctrfnes in their pure aspect were, however, too alien to, command any real popular attention. When AHal1l Kardec on n'w other hand, made reinearnation <ll. part of his Sp].r~tu.aHs~ theones, there was no obstacle t:o Widespread . acceptance of the idea" which had been slmphfied and garnished with the appeal (If the miraculous,

It was not Easterndoctrine which chleny appealed to the \!V.est,. b1U:t Onental exoticism, perfumes, incense, splees, and a hint, of the sort of mysticism which need. not be exp]a~nedl too much, It hasbeen observed that the soeiettes most dominated by reB.g~o1lJs motlvatiens are those which admit many dJffer·erd gods, rites, and mysteries into their conception of the dlviner and tbat Christianity, in destroyillig the~ush variety of pagan s uperstinen, weakened alrogetherthe eenditions for religious belief. ~ To the mOISt popular of the new revelations which spr:ang from the cultivation of the East, exoticism and diversity of belief were 00.[I.1.1nO[l stocks-in-trade.

LRJoss:it,er [ohnson (ed.), A HistOI"y althe W Qr,ld' s Colt~m~

bran .EoqJosH-~on (New "i ork, ] 8'98),. vel, IV~ p, 8.

2" johnsen, World's Col~mhifan ExpQ.$ition~ vol, I, pt,485.

3. jolmson, World's Cohnnb-ialCl Ex:po~t101l', p_p. g-!9.

4. Iohuscn, \Vor.l.d's Coltimbfa1:tE;;tpooiHon~ vol. mv, p, 222,

5. j', H. i13a:rwws (ed.), The Worlcfs .P:arliament of lleligion.s (Chicago, ] SSG), vol, II, p, 1558; vel, I, p. ] 12.

6. Barrows, Pa.rUament of Religions. vol, I, p" ]58.,

7. Ioseph R Levenson, Conjucfa,n China (ma i·tll' Modem F:m,e {London, 1958), vol L For the' sel.f-strengthener$,'" see Pl'. 59·64~ for Wo-jeu, p. 10. Forf f1J.ji:ther mU8ba~k)ol'!J.!> of Chinese a~ti:tudes" $~e SSl.HI.!U ~T,e]],g and John E .. Fairbank (ed;s,.), China"~ Response to ~lze w,e~t (Cambridge. Mass." U>54), pp.46·59.

,EtFor the New ReHg~oras, see- Clark B. Qtffnerand Henry Van Stra!e~en, M.()de~~ Jap,ooes-e Reltgl;ofi;s (Leiden, 1965,). Ihe ltlspO.ns@: of Tendkyo might be, compared with rhat of" !prim iHve"

c.aitg:o.,cults of the South Pacific. .

9. F:r~.Hlk Ui.Ungsto:n, TP~e Bcrahm.o.Sam,aj ltna A1'ya $a'rt!lJj (Leaden, 1901)~ p~$sim. C£, Ril.Yffiond. Schwab, La l'entds-sttnce ori,e:~,i(JJe [Paris, ] 960), p,~e.lli ,

IO.Rene Gl.I.~nocO,. Intcroauctwn to the Study of Hin,(lu: Doct:l'ines Or., Mar;ooP~IH5j London, l845}"p, 823.,

1]. LUlerng:sto.rn., .Bra}tmQ~Sam(J.j, pp .. 108·9'; of, OutiI1lon, .Hin~ du ,Doctrtnes, pp, 323·4·.

] 2;, See my next chapter .

13, '!Raymo:o.d Schwab, La f'e,;na.is$:a:nce orientale., pp.58 t'lL~ 12l~2, 20d21. Scbw8l.b's compendious analy.sis has lfift me glf81llHy In ~JS debt, but it ls weighted! somewhat hel1vHy toward the French h~er\l1ti for comprehenstveness.

l~. S ehwab, La l'ena,1.'lsa'tH:"e oi'Cien~alc > pp, tj3~4! ; but o:f.

Chapter 4 below.

lli5,. Schwab, La l1Mafssance orie~;l,tal:e~ p. 222,. 00.,

1,6, Arthur Chr[s;ty, The, Orient; in Ame~~can Tr:m~scend,Enttalism (New J,ork. 19S2}.p. ]S2.andpp. 86 fL, 199-202, 248. 17, The Life oj Swami V'l:vekifl~llnu~'a., ,by hi:s Easte1<n.cu·:/,d Wt..stem Diisc1ipJe~ (4:~h edihon, AIm-ora. HimaJ.l.ay@!;t;,.194!9), p" 426. 18, GI:u:ls:t>ophe.r m:sherwood,. llal~k'r;i'$h:uaand .His D'kIctpies' (London, 1'965), p, 2.

19, Swami Nj~hnananda, Rama~"iJhna, PWrphet 0/ New In~ dia. (London, 1951), p, 221, Recorded on .. 26 S~ptember 1884,


2,0; For Sri Sarada Devi, see N]khilananda.; Holy MQ;tl~e'r (london, 1963);, Bamakrlshna's attitud€ is evidence of Tantric b . llefs, by which the sexual partners, mayreverence each other as god-principles Ramakrishna Is thus Brahman h) Holy Mother" s Sskt].

21 Gu!~'n(lr!, H~»d:u Doctf;tnes. pp, 326-1 .

. 22,. QUQted in Life ";/ Vivekana-nda,pp. 817, 827. ,23" ,LiJe of V'iveka-nan,da. pp. 8 H. 325" 433.

24" VlendeU Thomas, I-li1ldui8'l't1 Invades Ametiica (New York, 1900), P'P. l03~5.

25. Shogh! Elfendi, God Passes BY' (Wi,~mette. Illinois, 1965), pp. 5" 5]" 52" 54. Shoghi is thegnmt-'grandsoD of Baha' u'Uah.

216. E. G" Browne, M.tlterta,ls /01' the Study' of the Babi Religion (Cam beldge, UnB), pp. 26'9-" L

2'7" Shoghi, God Pi(J$$6f> By, pp. 55-6 and p, 204. Sarah Bernhardt was, o~ course" a great 'ooUector (ilE exoefea, She made a point of twice meeting: Vivekan3:oda, IOn one occasion telling him that the great dream of her Hfe was to visU India. and that the Prince of Wales had promised to arrange everything. (Life of V<ivekananda, pp. 706-7,,)

28. Shoghi. God Passe8 By', pp, 168-4; Mirza Yahyateok the name of Subh-l-Ezelvand was ,~ve[']jtl[JaUy €xi]ed [0 Cyprus. .Edw:ilrd Gra.n.viUe Browne met him in Fam"gl!Jsta, and was unlmpressed, See Browne (ed.) A TraveJler's Na-rnlHv.e. l1JJrUten to i~i~'8~~a~e ~J~e epi.s.ode of the ,B'ab .(Cambridgle, l8:tH), '1',0,], Il, pp. xxi v-xx vi, There are veiled Im pu t®;UOl1:S ef hideous crimes .mad,€: agalnst Mirza. Y:ahy~. by the followers of his baH-brotheil'~ see e.g., Shoghi, Go.d PaS-ttlft!; BUI p. U35 ..

29.. Gleanings from theWr,uings of .Ba:ha':f)'Uah (tr. ShQghi, IEHendE. Wilmette. Ill., lli'949'); P'; 48.

30.. Lady BI(lomfield, Tl~e enos,e'n High,way (1940), pp. l4H, 1.55, 21!il fr. 00 Interest shown by the B,:r~tish government in Abdul Balla., of. Shcgh], GcuIPat/;$6s By~ p. ,~U2, Abdul Baha ln faet reeel ved a lklligh~hood" which title he never used,

3]. BroWIl@,.A T1'tu)elter' s N(f1'f(JJive~ vo], 1m, p" XV].

32.. Browne, M:~lterials lor ,t.he Study of the Babi Befigf.on (Cambridge, mI8), pp. m75 fE. 152~3; pp. 123~30 for reports of Khayrullah's lectures ..

313. Browne, Mllcte:r1'als,pp. '96-1'07; from, Khayrl,llUab's a.utobiQgrapbica] aooo1!Hlt,h:a.nscd,bed by the Bahai histori:il!n., Mirza [a wan. See also p, ]7 L

34. Barrows, .Parl1iame-nt of Re.l,j.gio'n. vol, Il, p. Il26.

35. G. d.e Chasseloup-Lsubat (ed.), Expos-Hian Inter'natiofwle de 190.0 a Pam.-Rtfppott genera~'e sur loeB cO~{,1f~sde r exposHfon (faris, 1906·), p .. 686. Contains a detaned comparison with the Chlcago E:I!:hlbmon.

36. Barrows" ,Pa-rl1!t!m,&illt; oJ R,el~giofiiS', V(l~. II.

37. ]lohnson" Worl4 s Cot'~mbrio:n E",'po-3i~on,. vol, IV. p .. 225. 88. Johnson, World" s Col'u,rn.man Exposition, vol, IV. pp,


89. Barrows, .Pa1'lfa1l'Umt: oj .R.,eli:gion:s-, vol. II; p.. 1:558.

40. Johnson, World's Colun'l.bi(!11: Ex-position, vet IV,. p. 3.1].

41. Chasseloup-Laubst, E"posUiOJl l:n,tst'na,t:i(1)ale, p. [687.

42. Barrows, Par'liatfM~ni oj Religions. vO'L I, pp. ill 7IO-7m , 168.

43. Jolmson, werld·s Golu;mbioo E;t;P08itiOtl,. v~J. IV,. pt" 336,

44. Barrows, ,Pacrlia,me:nt 0./ Religions, '1,"0]" I, p. 113.

45. Chas$e]oup~Lil1ilha~. E;l!ipGIS1Uioll, Inf.ernatiO:it!ale, p. 1686.

46. Life of V'iveka'1il~rMfa. p. 698.

47. Chasselcup-Lauhat, EjI,'P.oIS1Uioll Iniel'natiofiale, 1;) .. 1680.

48. Bishop B. W. Arnett 'Of the Africfln M,ethodist Episcopal Church. Barrows, P;arliatne-nt of Religio-ns. vel. 1" p. l80.

49. Dr, Simeon Gilbert in. the Review of the Churche's. ( .1 ew Yor.k, November 189i3); quoted [ehnson, Wori(fs Colu\mbl!an E~1C' 7)o:siUon. VQ~., IV, p. aBa,

50. Rkhard GriHldl"slThe Reaotiona'ry Revolnt1on {London, 1966}, pp, 244~55,.

.51. Barrows, Plfrliam.tn~'~ oj rteligiom, vo~. 1, p, 24,:1 5:Z. Bryan 'iV]]soInij Religion in a Secular Society, p, 44.

Chapter 3

The, Masters and the IM,ess!iah

T 0 challenge Darwin in the ]~sts appeared rhe most unlikely of ants .. gonists, Som,udl has been written about H, P. Blav3its.ly that it is unnecessary to more than sketch the outlines of her career, Theosophy (DIvine knowledge). the creed, 'whJich she founded, has hadJa remarkable influence on the least :mspeetable zones of European mind; and QUi!" attention must 'be focused on what it became rather thaD its foundress, The nat, Mongoloid face with the hypnotic eyes which lm-


pressed their power on everyone who noticed them-and. everyone who met Mada:me Blavatsky did notice them-e-is an impressive i~ not beautiful mask for one of the most interesrlng evangelists ()~f t~le age,

Helena, Petrovana von Hahn was born rnn 1831 at Ekaterjnoslav ED the Ukraine" Her father, Captain von Hahn. was an oUioelr of horse artillery, and hell' mothera popular novelist of considerable reputation. So far allare agreed, After this point the biographers, mostly with axes to grind, begin to differ ferocinusly.' The story told by her distant relative, Count ~ritte, is as acceptable as any. At the age of eighteen. the girl married the un[odunatelikifor Blav,~1:sky" Vlce-Oevernor of the province of Ertvan, whose short role In the ~wfe 0:£ his new bride consisted ingiving his name to the Termer Helena von Hahn. Helena left Blavatsky soon after her marriage, returned to her gli"aJndfather's house, and was shipped off to join her father from the port of Poti, At the seaport, Madame Blavatsky ., struck up anacquainta.noe'· with the captain of an English steamer, and was whisked off to Conetantmcple, where she joined a circus as an equestrienne. before being picked up by the Hungarian opera-stnger, MItrovHch, and disappearing into limbo, She seems: to have married MHr1:)vitch armd subsequently all! unknown, Engllshman. In Paris she appeared, so the story goes, as assistant to Daniel Dunglas Home; and her later activities included the directing of the Serbian Roya] Choir. A. return home was frustrated by her further acquelntanceshtp with Mitrovitch: and their stay in Kiev where Mih-ovitch was singing in ~he Opera ended ahrupt~y ~viHl. ·MadallJ<eB]avatsky· s publicly ~,am,pool1!ing the Covernce-Ceneral. 1'0 malntain her!H~:Jf and her agIng companion the _ resoureeful Helena established in quick succession an ink factory andwholesale bll!J.5:wness, and an artificial Hower shop, These commercial undertekings were total failures, and Mitrovitchaecepted an engagement to sing in Cairo. On tbe way to Africa the ship in which they were tr,avelling sank, and Mitrovitch saved Helenaat the expense of !his own life. H.P.B.,-as she was tater to be known-was. ab.andorlled~n Caim, ". in a wet skirt and

without a penny to her name."! After;a career between the years 1871 and 1814 which is even mor-e shadowy than her previous existence, Madame lB]a.vatsky is discovered _in America at ,the Vermont farm which was the home of the ~am(]us spirit mediums, Ute' Eddys, Here she meta fellowenthusiast EIOI oeeulr phenomena, a. Colonel Olcott" His miht'~.ry rank proved, when examined, to be rather less impressive than his imposing beard: but he gave a ~e\V dsrecnon to her hltherto purposeless wanderings.

Whatever view we take of the biograp,b:i.ca~ evidence, H is c-ertain that H.P'.B. had l,ed ~n intriguing and perhaps scandalous Ufe. Tbe:r'e were rumors that at one time she had had a clI.etormedc;hi1dby MRrovitch~but then ag,ain evidenee has been. discevered to, .s~,ow that t·he father of this, c~Hd was an EstonianBaron M eyendorf, a keen Spiri tualist, and aJ, friend! of Daniel Dunglas Horne.' •• Advenhlress" wOiIldd be too strong a word for the evidence to bear, but ,. experienoed," particularly in the climate o.,f the mid-century, seems timid and off the mark She was, BIshop Leadbeater WaS to remark, "without exception the finest conversationalist that I have: evermet.Ytand it iscertain that she had p~enty to t3Jl slbout.

1'0 Colonel Oloo:t.t she traJked a great deal, It soon became apparent that MaI:dame Blavatsky had oceult powers. This fascinated the Colonel, whose reason for being at the Eddy farmhouse \ as to write reports on the "phenomena" produced there, Her cousin record, that in Russia Helena. had €1(€r,cised her powers as a spirlt medium in defiance of her family.;5 and it is undoubtedly true that, despite her later concern tOI repudiate Spidtua1ism. in her ea,~'ly days in America. she was a heU€Ver.~ Together she and the Colonel

., ",', ..11 ., m.: .. .. ,]11 ~ 1_ . 1] ,. II::

~n\l"es:t:rnga[,€u pnenornena sno srruee up' an aiuance GI~

h,!7(!< Seekers after Truth. The' well-understeod SpirituaJis.t i'echniq!!JI€ of the apport soon brought Colonel Oloott a letter from a mysterious personage signing himse f "TuiUt Bey" of th;€ "Bretherhood of Luxor," a body of which H" P. B. claimed Intimate knowledge, if not membership.' The Colonel. an eager seeker after occult truth, fell eagerly UPI):ll this "precipitated" Jetter, became lmmersed in occult

S[UdYl and with Madame Blavatsky and the lawyer.Wllliarn Quan Judge, fOUJiJJj,OO, the Theosophleal Society on 13 September-1875 ..

T~e word <·fheosophy"~li,tt:en~.Uy~ Cod-knowledge-c-had been in ~Sie for several centuries before H .. P. B. and. the Colonel [pounced upon i~ as di.escdbi.mg their occult quest, Usedgenerally, it signifies any mystical philosophy or practice which has as its objed the knowledg:e of God, Used witli. a ca pltal letter it means the brand of occul tlsm manufactured by H. P, B.and her Society. As originally eonstituted, this rather aneiquarian and litera!'), body seemed harmless enough, though c~·.anky~~hey sponsoredthe Hrs~ cremation 10 America-but t]]e~orm~daMe He[en Pet-

lrOVl1JJ.[lJ began to write: a book.. .

It was a. big book, over thirteen hundred pages long.

Considering the appallmg style, the magpie-like aecumulanon OF mysticism, tall stories and archaeology, and. the vicious antt-Chrlstian blas, it is not surprlsfng that such reviewers as strugg~.ed. through 1:;'(8 Unveiled were mo:sdy densgeatory, or at best puzzled, Equally unsurprising 1S, the popularity which Madame Blavatsky's compendIum of mystification afterward brought its author, whowas offer~ ir!Ji~ her. contempcraries HIe sort of espirH1!J:a[ porridge-for which they craved .. Spirituallsm oHered no theology to speak of and precious ]UUe gb.mor, In M.adame Blavatsky's reltgion, ]t soon became apparent, the New Thought was very much the o]d,

U Olodel'fi masters are SiO much more in advance of th~ O~(~ ones, why do they not res:t:OI'e to us theklst arts oftheirpost··df[u'V]<lu forefathers? ¥lhydo they not give us the 1l1l'lfacllng colors of Luxor=-the Tyrian purple; the bright vemlil~.QflaDd dacZ,_'!Jing bluew 11 tch d!eco~.~te the walls of this p]a,c'e and are as bright as on the first clay of their appllcatlon? The lndestructible cement of the il?ynunidsand of ancient <lJque;d!tlct'5; the Damascus blade, which can be tumed ]ikJe a corkscrew ll!!! H:s scabbard wit}l.m,.lt breakmg, . . ?

There was an anctenr and secret wisdom which could only be comnsunlcaaed to the chosen few~

.. " and ma:n:y are those, who ]ni€cteclby the mortaleptdemte or ourcentury-c-hepeless mat.eria~isffi__:'wtn remain i~ dO~.lbl and] mortal agony asto whetherwhenman dies,be,,,4U liv~ ~g,ain, although the q uestion 1,<'1:5 been ,<;0]\,00 by ]'ong>gooe generatlens of sages. The answers are jhese. 'They :m~y be found on the time .. worn granite pages of cave-temples 0]1 sphfl1!xe~. pmpyl0115 a.l1iidobeU~b ... except the lnltlates no one has understood the mystic \vriHng. ~

I t may be doubted wbetherany but the initiates knew what

a. propylon was. .

l'~e sources of Isis' Unveiled have provided those who delight in textual analysis with a marvellous opportunity to burrow, The version given by Olcott of how the book was written ls seareely convineing,

Her pen weuld b'efly]ng over the pag!!;'l,\"",he['l :\;fulelw{)uJd suddenJy stop, look ~nto space with the vacant eye of the clairvoyant seer. shorten hervisionas though to. lock at somethlng h~ld j 11 vlsi b~y in the all'. before her. a nd beglIi! cOPyu.[iJ.g on her paper what she saw. The' quotanon finished. her eyes would resume thek naeur ... al expression. . " . ~

H,P,B, (he wrote) was looking up her references "from the astra] ~.rnght." Through her clairvoyant vision she could S€H:t fhe books to which. she wantedtorefer without the tiresome necessity of v~siting 9. library. Once, to check aquotation, she apported a couple volumes for Olcott, 1I3:y ,~hese supernatural means she was, able to compile the forbidding IfJ'i's withal reference library of just overa. hundred titles. u) Modern sc~ohll:l'shlP has formulated other theor].e~, One Interesting speculation Is that insplred by dlle- discoverY' of t~e correspondence between the doctrines of J87,S Unveiled and the novels of the English politician and occultist Bulwer LyU1)}]. Inaddthon to direct plagiarism, "Madame Blavatsky '[)tiys further tribute to Lytton" praising him ~ n extra vagan l: terms. It has even been argued." that Jljyuon was the "master of my dreams' to whom she referred ~n a diary shown In an unglll.ardeJcl moment to iii. d¢v,o·teci frj·en.d, ~ ~

The idea of .. Masters"-who are superhuman beings concerned with gu~.d]Jng ~umanity onthe dght path-e-was


to playa large part in the dlOUgM of the Theosophical Society, M.adame Blavatskywas to claim that this eruoial d~ary entry referred to hell meetin as a young gh'l ]!11 London - for rhe Creat Exhjbltlon, tlte occult Master who was to ~d~ her (0 [QII!lI'Ji,d the Theosophical Society. But ther-e are so many implausiMUHes in her story, ][ri[du.dling the necessity of reading •. Bamsgate' as "London," that the enquirer is automatically prevented! from. believing her, The speculation bas been made that the dreamy young Helena Hahn, daughter of a novelist, herself' passionately fond of th,e romences of Lytton and, Fenimore Cooper, was overwhelmed in Raro.sgate by the 8~ght o:f ber idol" the great Engllshmaa, H,~ was beyondher reach, In search of tile ~ea~ity behind her eluslve Tantasies sherus~ed! on to Canada to look for Fenimore Cooper's R,eClJ Indians, This excursion certainly seems to have occurred, but resulted ]U disappointment, as the only Indians she found made off wHh her luggage. HI

Whether or not the «master of my dreams" was Bulwer LyUon,SJi!1 dement o~ f'anl~sy pervades the lit,erary work of. H, P. Blavatsky, Later on she ""vas t>C1 embroider her adventUI"eS in India Ina series of articles for a Bussian newspaper, nothwithstandtng her admission in the preface.these storfes ha ve been used es ~j,stor[i(;al evidence by her more partial blographers She wrote: "Broadly speaking, the facts and inetdents am true. but I have fun.y availed myself of 8!W1Ii au tho r' s prtvilege b) group, color and dramatize them, whenever this seemed !1fWes.sary to full arttstle ef'fact. " .. " ~$ Such dramaHc coloring Is never absent from H. P. n:s prodacdons. It might be wondered ~f her indulgence iJil hashish-which she seems to have discovered when stranded In Cairo,u-added further Intoxicatkm to an ]ID:aginationaJread.y "'\V()rrk~ng more potently thanmost. HI .. f. 'B,' s Theosophy was a compounded of romantic l1o~~a'~~ga for a more ," splrltual" and less taxing past, ~he determmat~on to answer ,aU~rm ati vel y for her audience the question of IHe nftre!! death, and ~he materials h) hand for fnundtng a. religion. From Bu~wer Lytton, o.r Ids sources, she drew ;8'1.

garMed version of the oeeultist's traditlons. From contemporary religious movements she extracted €!x:oHc Ortentalism and Spiritualistic "phenomel1.9J .. " It was total]y in character wH~ tIlI!S spir.a of Iris U'lli"veiled that the Theesephica] Society should s1Udd.enl.y transferthe sCe))€: ()f its operations :fmm New York to the East

Through an Indian acqu,ai:r.rutanc8, Colonel Olcott came to hear of Dayananda Saraswati and ~he A1'ya Sam;(J;J. This appeared to him to be a sod of Indian l'~'e!()srOp~dcal Soolety; and he wrote rfrio Dayananda sugg~€sNng an aff~Ha~~,on, Some form Q1f association took p~.aec; but not content with thls, H.lP . B. and Olcott set sai] for India. H was a nervous ttme for H, P .. Blavatsky, for th€~[' shrup was delayed hom sailing, And. there was the prospect that they might be prevented from ~'e~lJ.Vingthe: eountry, Olcott's wif!e~w~w seems; to have been completely aharld,oned~'mlg:~tat ally minute have the' ship stopped. Another member o:f the S eeiety, tr.a,veling wi~ h them. h ad a 1& w-seit pending, They Gventua]~y Reft America behind for goodiand via London made their way to dl€ East.

In India, the Theesophicel S'ociety established ItseU at Adyar, near Madras .• took rootsnd grew. From their rearly assrOciaUon with Dayananda and his; revived Hlnduism, the Founders of the Society turned to Buddh~sm.ln. 1880" O~COiU and H. P.B. became Buddhists dnring their trip to Ceylon." Among Indians the Society gamed converts and ~eta.in:ed considerable popula.rUyas the first body oil organized Western, opinion to accept Eastern doctrines O~ their ,own merits. These, writes: a modern historian, were encased ] II a pseudo-mtellectual terminology which m~ly 11'1.creased the TheosiopbicmJ appeal. llffi But the Society added to those elements of Eastern devotfon whieh it accumulated doctrines peculiar M i~se]l

Prom rasdna[ionwiththe East, MadameB1avatsky proceeded to impose her own deflnjtlons on the Orient Naturally, these were couched in terms which madea parti:cu.la.!I" appeal to the Western :spMtuil'll~[ malaise, We bear l1'0 more of the mysterious Brotherhood of l.W:li:or.91rild a g.I."€!3J.t


The Occult: Umiergr'ound

dea~ of the Hindu doctrines of kama, and reincarnation. Theosophlsts, it appeared, were specially chosen to hear the light to the newly-evolving global society ... <I, Those who had chosen it were known as uMasters,"-men made perfect. HYing for the mos1t part inTibet, who had the d:i.:r€ct]on of humanity as Hleir task, This was ~chieved through a species of evolutlon-c-a spiritual evolutlon whlch par.aJ~le].ed the physical, The creed patched together by H.P.s.. and extended ]!Il several directions by boer successors is worth some examination 13.$, like the Society UseH, it was a compound of the most hopeful expectations of those who sought to fin the void opening before them,

First, H.P.B. made use of the practically "mlracnlous' appeal of Spiritualism, A notable early convert to Tllileosophy was A" P. Sinnett, the editor of the lnfluentlal Anglo-Indian paper, The Pioneer, whose ~'oob-Esotetic Budd.hlsm and The Occul~ Warld-in~rodn.lcedl Theosophy to Europe for dIe first time, Madame Blavstsky, hie wrote, produced "phenomena"," At a plcnie she provided a missing teacupand saucer by selecting a spot on the' ground and dwr,e-cring one of the participants to dig.

The placechosen was the edge of ill UU[e slope ccvered with thiek weeds and grass and. shrubby undergrowth, " . cutting then into the matted roots and earthwjth the knife'. and pulling ,~n'l'ay the debris with his hands, h came at last on the edge of something: white, which turned out, as lt W<lS completely excBlva.ted, to be, the required CU.]), A corresponding saUCEH' 'was aha Found dter a: Htt]e more dlgglng. Both objects were in among the roots whidl spread everywherethrough the grQund. so it s-eems as if ahe roots were growing round th.em ..

At the elose of this: magioal j@te d1!amp&'tre more tea was called f,ot.; but the party h aiel run out of wa ter, H, P. B, picked up an empty bottle" went a little way aw,ay-"and came' back to us holding U under the fold of her dress. Laughingly produdllg H~ U was found to be f»U of water, [ust like a con-

H.. P.B. did not call it dUd; but his is what it amounts to.


juring trick, wiJ~ someone say, Just like, except for the concIlitions,"'17 Madame Blavatsky apported a brooch which had left the owner' So possession some time before-an In ~ v€s"tigat-or£rom the" Society f.or Psy>chica] Research was unkind enough to suggest that it had then passed through Colonel Olcotts, Wherever H; f. B. went, the air

b d t, d f '"''''d''' I.]

reverberate ,- to the soun or spmt rappmgs anc asrrai

b u » e~~s.

The Masters-a-whom later theorists were to define more thoroughly than H.!P .. B.-were, o:f course, responsible. Madame Blavatsky had f,e1t the need of some more than ordmary supernatural justification for her proceedings, and s;he lnvoked the aid 'Of two of these Adepts ~n particular. The Masters Morya and Kut Humi bad taken the Society under their special protection. Madame Blavatsky bad been initiated by them in Tibet) and was their chela. or pupil, These Iather-Bgures, who have their erlglns rather in the gar b~ed traditions of later European occultism th an in the East," started to "precipitate" letters t,o Adyar; whtch supernatural method" remained their means o[ communicatlon.

Once. to satisfy the curiosity of their devor ies, they precipitated intc Adya.r apicture of the valley inwhlch they ~iv€d, OCt shows a steep ravine whose sides are covered ][1 trees, from which proieet the roofs of temples, pagodas, and other build~:ngs presumably Tibetan" On the left is a mounted man-s-the Master Morya. In the: lake which occupies the eenter .of the picture stands the Master Djwal KuJ, who" shows us purposely His buck} as He considered that His 'Mongolian features were not worth putting on record, "'tl Beneath the valley (Theosophists were told) was a vast network of subterranean balls, oeneaining an occult museum under the charge of Kut Humivwhlch held the models for every significant literary or architectural work of !U'~ which main produced. It was heee. bellevers were given to understand, [hat the books were kept which H. P.B. read in the astral light, Here also lay the Book of Dy-zan-sup-


posed to be the oMest manuscript in the world-s- frculII which .H. P. R took ~he~ccount of the Creation to be 'found! ~n her SecTI'(!t Doctrine. 20

'Because the Master.s were supposed. to be physically present on the earth i1 was" heweven fheoretieally pcssibleto see them, Once, fn the early days, a particularly devoted chela~ S.R.a.ro.as.wamier, set oH~fter H. P. B.f'or ~he Himalayas, M,~:daro.e 'Blavatsky succeeded in giving him the sUp., butthe dauntless cnela. was not defeated. "In despair, J aeter'm$1:l.ed come wha.t might, to -cross the fron tier. " . and find the M ahahlla.s ,o:r-.[).fE.' >

Bamaswamter pressed on lnt{) Sikklm, carrying oll1~Y an umbrella, On the road be met a leopard and a wildeat, but these dld not deter him. 0111 the second day's journey he achieved the object of h]s quest, He tens the story w]'th all the verve of his meneors.

It W<1!,s, [ think, between S. <1!.[J!d 9 a.rn, mW'.;lS foUowing the I:o~d to, the town of SikMm, whence, I was assured by the people I IIl'ili0t on it he road, I could crossover to '1 lbet easily in my piHgrim's, g:arb~wheo sllJdde:rn~y m S~W a :50i~Huy hOlsem.!3Jn.gaUoping: towards [l(l!~ frc(lm the opposit@ direcdon, From his, t~.n :stS!~IJ1:ro and sktll in ~ors~mansMp, I thou;gM he WfI,S some rnilitery ofiiOf;'lro;f Hl!e Sikkim R::;tjah. No'w, I thought" 1 am. c~ught!1 H~wm a:s:k for :!1W p.aSSj and what business I hay~ in tbeindependent terdtoory of Si.kki:n~, and perhapiS have me .al"rest,ed and sent bae.k. if nOil worse. But SiS he approached me. he reined up. I looked at and re~o'g.n]ze-d .bim in$tQnt~y , . . I was in the awful presence of him, of the same Mahatma, my own, revered guru, whom I had seen b~f.[I!re in his Sistr.a~ body 0111 the balcony (If the Theosophical h(;ladquarh!!l's ' .. I knew not what to say: joy Sind reverence tied my tengue, :21.

t\realliv,e Mahatma-and p'~leruoriO.'etll.a as welll U is [l"wt surprising tha.t a var~e~y of interested reaction spirSiug from Europeens at t~is tale of the Himalayan Adeptsand their Society. To the topiealappeal of the Tbeesephdoal gospel wssadded the hosti~ity of the Ch['~sUan missionaries in India,~nd the lnevltableconeern of the Society '[or Psychical Besearch.

The story of the 'f~leosoplhical Society must be shortened semebew, 3![[d it is klnder to' pass qu~cHy over nncomfartable f:~.et.s, Wh He Mada me iBlavatsky and the Colonel were gathermgconverts in Ell]. rope, a Madame Coulomb, who hadbeen in somesort or partnership with H,P.B. when she had been stranded j~l Cairo and was now employed wirh ll€r h l!.lsband~t A:dyar, showed some damaging: letters from H.f'.B. to-the edUor of the Mailr,(1,S ChriBNa:n CoUege lief·ald. The m.atter. asa good missicnary of the SeottishFree KirK! re,joicedB!t the opportunityt» strike out at the new reHgjon which was ~eSi:ding his Hock~ack Into the dark places ef [paganIsm. In Se:premberand. October 1884, twa ad]cles were plJbHshe,d ill which M9Jdame Coulomb claimed that the vaunted'·phel!1omena.'· were fr:audu1ent, and that she and her husband hadassisted in the deception. The Society {1QI' Psychical Researclr, wh~(:h h~;d<9!~r,€ady decided on-the besis Q[fj!l:Thexamln.a.tion in London of A.P. Sinnett, Colonel O~.cou,and others" that tbere was: a pri;"U~ facie case farfu rther investig91tio,n of Tb,eoo'QpM~l ., phe-nomena~"sent out as their representative Richard Hodgson, a young proteg:e of Henry Sldgwlek, possessed of a :suUatbly sceptical cast' of mind. He made short work of th.€ Theesoph ~cal pretensions, The climax of ~is exposure came when Hod.gson was being shown the: Shriml.'=-a wooden box, in which messages from Tibet •. apports of nowers:~ ete., were known mysterlOUs]Y ~o appear. His guMe~a devoted Theosophist, claimed that the Shrin€ was entirely soHd. To prove hts asserticn, he struck the baek of: theeonstractton with his hand-c-and releesed iii. secret trap-door," ]Ex.po!SuOO' followed exposure, M.adame Blavatsky eoufessed, retracted, aecused the Coulom bs o~ p~o'tting wUtili the m~.:s;s]onaries to destroy her. She had! her moments of paranoia ..

But the days o~ phenomena were over; Madiame'retl:rrecli to' Europe, mershalledher h·oOPS:, and wrote ar1JJO~heF vast book, The Secret Dodrine, bef.ore her death in. 189LFrom ~he grave The S eenr/; DQctrin,e tau nted its readers wit~l pirom:i:se.s:~orthr.ea~:s-o~ a further two volumes 'w~ich would o(lmp~.e~e the work. The first two were only "the


work of a pioneer who had forced his way into the well-nigh impenetrable jungl of the Virgin forests of the land of tlle Occult.?" The trail blazed by H.P.B, must be followed part

of the way. .

, 1!..... II.. h "]1. '" M I ··1 L

Together w['h~ I er p ienomena, .. aaarne Blavatsky

combined a theology which had a p,9!rtiCllJilal: appeal t09! generation threatenedby the theory of evolution. wh,en the phenomena were exposed, it was the general approach and the theoretical hast of Theosophy which provided its chief [ustiflcation .. , It was the genius of H.P.B. to apply Darwin's theory to. produce a .hopeful resolution of the human conditlon, Whereas others saw only the destrucnon of dH~ sustainlng myth of man's divine origlns, H. P. B. discovered

IL.. ~1 ..• ~ld ~ 1 t tb ,., .. t ]" ~.Ii:

that evoua tiun couxi appi y a so ilJ rne spm In): " a:sP€C'~S OF

existence. Man had evolved from apes-s-perhaps; but he had a noble destmy, justas homo sa'piens had evolved from a lower form of animal life, and that form in its tum from a, [ower-s-a vegetable, protoplasmic, or unic slhilar €J(a istenee=-man asat present constituted \'VCl.S on his way to higher and better thlngs" Evolution continued ana cosmic scale, with each ~(]jdi'llidual born and reborn thousands of times until he had achieved earthly perfectlon, A.t the ttme of publication of The: S,ecr,e'j'i D'Olctri'ne~ for instance, "The Ahats of the 'Hre-mlst' of the seventh rung are but one remove from the Bcot-Baseof their Hierarehy=-the highest 0.11 Earth, and our Terrestrial chajn.·'~ This Hlerarchywas, of course. the body of unseen Masters, who mtght voluntarily delay their progress to assist humanity, The rules of the game were determined by the doctrines of karma and reincarnarion, which H.f. B. discovered In the East and 'h".runs:formed to suit her own purposes

The idea of reinoamation needs no explanation, but the governing factor of karma as interpr-eted by H.P,'B, and her successors should be elarifled. In theirsimpllstlc version. ka.rrrl..(l is the sum of one's accumulated debts. in past lives, 1£ by evil actions one merits punishment one's progress is delayed in the next ex lstence. This can be accomplished either by suffering oneself oQ:r~p\~radmdcaI~y-hy being

forced to commit actions which are really repugnant If, on the other hand, one merits advancement, progress ]s assured. Thus C.W. Leadbeaterand AnnIe Besant, who controlled the Society ,~her the death of H. P. B. > recorded in

hei ",.~. I."'. l". tl ... I- th . Ii- 1" I:

~ .. elr cmrvoyam mvesnga ions wmo .. · e past .rves 01

members of the Society how A!Ilnie Besant herself had first become human .. The evolutlonary leap was taken when Mrs. Bessnt was incarnated in a large, monkey-like body, in which. form she was partlcularly attached to an entity already human, who. was later to beeom the Buddha, One night the Buddha and his lamiJy were attacked by savages ... During rhe ensutog fight the Besant-rnonkey saved the Buddha art the' cost of ns own life, Tn"' aspirations of this relatively humble creature provoked a stream of COSnl]'C reactions so that •. ln the very moment of dying the monkey individualizes. and thus he dies-a m.an."2(l

This romancing would probably not have been endorsed by H.P,R whose thought, although far from clear, had a certain power which that of her successors ~ack,ed. But it does, however, show the Impltcattons of the tlheory of splritual evolutlon that was ouUined inT.he S,eCi'e'tDoctrine, H. P. B, 's occultism was an avowed attempt ito reconctle Science and ReUg;~,()n. She maintained: "Occult Sciences claimless andgive more, at a~l events, than either Darwinian Anthropology or B:~b~iCatl Theology, "2~ Neither was the theory of spiritual revolution her unique discovery. It has been made since Madame Blavatsky' s flme by Teilhard de' Chard in and. in her own century, was expressed in different forms by beth Bergson and Nietzsche." Asa solution determinedly optlmistlc, -a valiant aUemp,t to bend reason to the demands of fairh, the creed o:f' Theosophy W.aJS rn mme,diat,e~yaUracti ve,

It was not for some time branded intellectually unrespeetable, because the sclentiflc disciplines it was traducing were young and their methods unfamiliar to the general pub He. Thecsopblcal speculation about the nature of the world and man partook of many of the scholarly delusions of the day .. One such was the racial theory of history .. For



evolution took place, ehoughtH .. P,B,,~ not only in personal terms and in terms of the whole species of man, but also in terms of .t~'e "race" to which the individual belonged. There had. been four races on earth before the present race of mankind. The Hrsthad ltv·ed on an unnameable eontinerd designated "The Imperishable Sacred Land.' The seeond race inhabited a .... Hyperborean" connnent near the North Pole. The homes of the third and fourth races had been .Atlan~is and Lemurla, the fiHh race had orlglnated in Amerlca .. Those unfortunates who belonged to the remains of previous races were now dying out:

a phenomenon largely due to an extraordinary stertl ily setting in among the women, Irom the t~m,e that they were first approached by Europeans. A process, ·of dieGlmationis ta]dn:g plaee all over the globe, among those races, whose "tim is up' '=:8mong just those races, be it remarked, which eseteric phtlosophy regards as the senile representatives of lost archaic natiollis.r.'i

Fou nders of the Society; rhetr stated objects begs nto take on mor ora "soolally-consctous" coloring. By .~881 the first article to which Theosophists were pledged was not the pursuit of the Codhead, but t~e formation of «the nucleus of the U niversal Brotherhood of Humardty .• ,. This: has ever slnce remained the first of the Society's advertised aims,

It is scarcely surprising if <the dominating figur,e in the second phase of the Theosophical story came from the arena of soclal reform rather than the jungjes of Hmdustan. For on the d€i:lth of H. P.B,,~ the foundling Sncietywas not l!eft without a foste <parent. As a figurehead there remained Colonel Olcott, whose energies were mainly confined tothe East, He had, moreover, two remarkable colleagues 'whose direction changed the whole tenor of the movement, De-spite frequent reversals, Theosophical apologistswere even more Ingenious than the Spiritualists in finding ways out of their difficulties, Between the death of Madame Blavatsky in 1891 and m9S5~ some forty-Bye branches of 'the Societywere established in different countries." Under the leadershtp of Annie Besant, Theosophy became more powerful tban. ever before, Its ihbtory increases ~n stgn~ncance because .wt represents so many of the confused aspirations of those who espoused the came of the

lrratlonal. -

TMs doctrine of the occult destinies of races has continued to. pervade Theosophical thought until comparatively recent times. It may well account for th.e ~nf1uence which Theosophy has exercised on several nationalist movements."

In the last analysis the achlevement of H.P.B" was to make o:f what seems today a markedly eccentric society a part of the "progressive" thought ()f the late 19th century, Old standards were crumbling and, beyond a consciousness that a fresh start might have to be made, there was little unanlmity among the ~n:td~eduat socially conscious, or politicaUy active classes as to what the new order should be. The origmal objects of the Theosophlsts in New York were stated to be "to obtain knowledge of the natureand attribut es of the Supreme Power, and of the higher spirits by the aid qf physical processes," We have .aJ.~.~eady seen how in the writings (If Andrew Jackson Davis r~e Splritualist movement identjfled itself with simllarly apocalyptic strivings for soctal reform. Such a self-ldentificatlon took place among the Theosophists. Soon ,af~er the arrival in India of the two

The initial success of H.P. Blavatsky had created a climate oif opinion in which miracles of a more ambltiaus sod t~a~l'l those of the Splritualists could Hourish. For many Europeans life took on a 1l€\.V dimension, The possibility of the supernatural had re-entered the com monpl ace , G~lr1M were fe~,ed in London as they beat the traditional path to Max M ti Her's door wn Oxford. One hero of the moment, Srl Agamya Guru Pramahansa, had been an Indlan High Court Judge before donning the robe of the $,anny,ast,:'IU I:m'\op tl!!'l.

. t I ·b· ided ith " .., f II . bl d

capi a s a DUr.1I: ea WI' mystics o at eonceiva ue an-

many almost lneoncetvable sorts, The Mas~eFS were seen throughout Europe .. Franz Hertmenn=a '1 heosophistr who had been present ,at Adyer during the Society for Psychical

R€se'i31.rc~, investigation, and possessed a Poe-like obsession with premature bl!1ria]::}2-wmte in a series of articles in the London Occttlt Rcvi~w of mysterious happenings ama:ng, thecosmopolna:n, ,soc:ietr of Europe, healings by dle sign of th~ pentacle, tJa~itlofl:aJ b€wi~ichings of cattle; the teleportatlon .,of an Italian prince .. , " "~ A Mrs. J. D. reported a ghO's~ly sen,r~ce in the ehapelof a Florentine paJa.zzo.(l~· A ,re,rtanlL Godfrey Anderson w]d of an unpleasant experience witha horse and brougham on the corner of Pnnee' s Street

ami Hanover Sheet ill Eclinburgh: _ _ __

.sud.d1~nly, from the g.uUer, whe[~ it f:;ilUs into the dlr~:in, rose a v:ague bhl·ck sh.apea.bo'l1.t :four feet long and. two anda half fed high,. wHho,ut ]egs., It w~s shaped ]:i'ke ~:n lrl·v·erted. bou.r~glass ~lId moved ltke a huge cate~p'iU~u: or ~he. body oF. a g~UOpU[lg hQrse tQw:a.rd:s the horse about Bite-en feet off The movement ~~S ve.ry mp~d ., Itsprang .tothe fhroat of the animal, d~Illg ~he]'le hke a hmpe ~ Foran l[lSt~l.1it, and drns:app,ea red. ~~

Immedlstely, the horse reared up; and a requ ired the €f~ ~dS of Andersnnand another passer-by to quiet it again. Ihe coming of electric ~i:ght had not m3!d~~ Imposslblea p~easantfris:50n ef ~C!H:lic tenor: even in staid Ed].nburgh on 2.3 November 19O5.

I]'1JJ thi~ atmosphere Theosophy as recreated by Annie Besant and G W, Leadbeaterattmcted OJ substantial followin,g. M rs, Besa nr s ext raordtnary transfcrmations from A,~gHC'an n~iu]ster' s wife through birth-control propagan~]S.t .. and ~.abm leader to, Theosophist and President of the Indian N,a.t~olllia;l Congress are too well known to need any ela bor:al:iora,_A r~h u~r N ethereot, her bi;ogr:ap~Jer > suggests an element of the lesbian in. the rapid dorntnatlon of Mrs, Bes~,~tby, H, . p, Blayat,s~y,~1) But the well-known hypnotic effect of the Old L~l!C.IY':S presence does not seem to make such speculation necessary, Her mentor snd partner in the running of dle Theosophieal Soolety was: in any case Charles Leadbeater, a "clairvoyant" and romanttc, who l?oled. (as Arthur Nether'co~. has remarked) astto]l]ishing'~y

llkea fo:rm'€!f gtlfti of M.~·s. Besant, Beenard Shaw, ~,~ .

Charles WebsterLe~dbeate'rbelonged.~o that type of mildly homoeexual elergyman who is as familiar now as: he was then. He had be,s:l1 won over by Madame Blavatsky, but he a~ways utlli.in~'at]ned that his f~rst contact with Theosophy had been in the year 54() !Be when ha had visited Pythagoras em, Samos. Since that period he had spent his time in Dev:ad1JJa:n-tb.€ heaven-wor[d~becall.lSe of his e:xd~5iv_e devotion, to hIgher thought." Leadbeater was ml mourable romaneer, and published a book C~0JHed The Berfume of E· t and Othe.i·Wei1u .stm·,~es which lneluded a high.ly melo amatie account enbt]ed "Saved by a Ghosf' of an incident during his ehildhcod in Brazil when appa~eftltly his father had been kiUed by rebels, yet discarnate]y had saved t~le child, from. a similar f~,t·e. ~~ Ernest WQod, who was for years his private secretary, notes his fondness for H.. G, W.€US~ Jules V,eme:!8ind R~Jler Haggard, ~ij But Lady Emily Lutyens maintains that hls favorite stories were Drcu:uUt and T'h,e Beeile.;lil Lady Emily's daughter, M~HY. remembers C,\~, 1.. reading BU!~wer Lytton" s The ,H·aunt,m'$ and the Hauntedal(J!lJ]d to th.e young people he taught." His imagination certainly ran on lines which would have been fa.mHiar to Madame Blavatsky,

His dairvoy:ance carne from s]mj~ar]y imaginative sources. Woodt'dls us that his recommended method was to ~now ~be lmagtnatten to play on "Impressions' ~1J.e received, ~1 This technique was used by Leadbeater and Besant to. expand the Theosophical theology of M~da'[ne Blavatsky in amazing~y Thit:€:raJ directions, For example, in their book "Thought Forms they propound the theory that every human tIDIought becomes C~Qthed in an "elemental es~ sence' whioh surrounds mankind and is fora short time a ~Ivl.ug form perceptible to clairvoyants," These forms appear ina. variety of colors, all of wb:ic~ are s:ymboHc. .. Pure reUg1ollJ.8 ~e€1:ing" is: sky-blue, "Selfish religious Feeling" is shot thrOlrlgh wlrh hrown.," Je3JJouS:)/" 1;5 brown with orange streaks. whereas "High Spiritualjty' ls a pale vlo~etr. A,esthetif:aUy the most pleasft~g is perhaps "selfish


affection' which ms a cloudy square of purplish-red, lIke a Victoria plum." Colors and forms combine in a selection of ~at't~r~s; of which theehotcest specimen is the thought altri.but,ed to a. Theosoph~s~ ate funeral, represented by a cone stnped violet, blue and pink. up-ended in the center of' a green pneumatic tire, eI~WithslJj;ch discoveries the blvo oecultists regaled their Society.

Early in their partnership Annie Besa.nta.nd. C. W,.

Le,ad~,eater had to fight battles. The first was, strictly s!leaklI1g.~!.s" ~esant s h8JU1~: and it lasted throughout the SIX years. following the death of Madame Blavatsky, Th,e

ca~wl ~ell~ ... ~as t,he v_~cant Secr~t~rysh:ip' of the Society, for wluc._h both AFI.l1JJle Besant and W. Q. J udg,e contended that they had received the nomination of the Masters. This skirrnish ]:8. typieal of the countless quarrels which break- out among occultists . For when there is no precisely defined channel of heavenly inspiration in such a movement> it irs open to anyone who pleases to claim divine support One Can imagine poor judge, s~tt]ng in Arnerlca-e-he made only one v lslt to I nella-envying the other m em hers th et r notoriety and supematural luck. 'file Masters, however. 'round the Pacific Ocean the most minor of obstacles to the process of preclpitatlon, The complex and l.WIltermina.Me wrangle was thus ].a.mpoonedl:

But flrst I would remark that there must needs b paloful


Wh,en, T>h,~osop.h[c g nts begin h) gIve each other beans And tho M.ahatma mjssiv,es do pan out ,8, Uttle queer

We should avold dis!: u rbanee inthe M:a h:atmosph,e~e.

~orw not:h&n,g could be nicer .• nor morefull of harmony Than the first few months thatfoUow,ed ~he deeeass '(l:f H, P. B.;, TiU Judge of Calaveeas produced a curious set

Of missives ]n red pend] what he said came from Tibet

From these he feconstruch}d a Mahatma: {very rare) A nest of that peeuliar kin.d pertaining to ail mare


But Mrs .. Besant found a rival message on the shelf

And said shefancied Mr. Judge had writt m his himself

For in less Hm.e than l wrtte it all the meeting got upset W~t'h iP:recipHa~ing mlssfves which dld HOT come from Tibet. And the thln,~s they called each 'o:~:ber im theiranger were a


TUl the public got disgusted and the temple rooF caved in. ~~

By the end of 189'5 judge bad led the majority of the Ameriean Lodges of the Society into secession from the main body, together with a proportion of the European Lodges. Mrs. Besant was left to dominate the European and AsIan branches of the Society, In 1:907, not "'VU~o~:rr fur:tther cantroversy=dnvolvtng the appearance oE the Masters ,!il.t the death-bed of Colonel Olcott=-she at last succeeded to the po,slitio:ll of titular as well as effective head of the main body of Theosophists,

By this time, 5111,13' h~d become involved ~n a further battle.

This concerned Leadbeater' s proclivities. From his early Clays as: a 'Hampshir-e curate until the dose Of his life In Sydney he seems to have had an incurable taste for young men.·1,ti That he kept his. tastes eo the end is shown by the picture painted] by Emily and. Mary Lutyens of the strange lif,s led by the inmates of "The Mano]'~" the educational establishment-cum-occult center maintained latterly by Leadbearer in Sydney. On their arrival in Australia Leadbeater met the Lutyens on the quay in a purple cassock, supported on the arm of his golden-haired fa.vo·dte. 'Lg In the Manor itself, Leadbeaters acolyte slept in the prmclpal's copper-lined rooru=-the copper was very suitable for oocult purposes." How active a pederast Leadbeater was i.~ is .~lu;wd ~o say: but at the time of the origtnal trouble in 1'906, he c~rbinly appeared culpable .. Until recently n was commonly believed that Leadbeater had in fact merely been guilty Q,f advooatlng masturbation to hls paplls as a release from h:l'llsion; a practice which would scarcely be condemned by many present-day PiSYohelogists or medical men. But the biographer of Annie Be-


sant bas discoveredenahnost certainly damnfng note which \!;"9iS produced lfl evidence against Leadbeater, It was in. ,31, rudimentary cipher, which read ],n, tra:Ds~atj,Qll1.: '''G]ad sensationwas so pleasant Love andkisses darling." 1'0 be fair to Leadbeater, it should be said that the note was unsigned, undated, and written on unid.enuHab~.e' paper-blJlt then Leadbesterhlmself admitted to recognleing lit.5! The point WOIJl}d, be of no nnportance, except insofar as it helps to describe the l"1I;ahJire of ~U1 int:eresUng man, But the charges of 1906 were '[0 hang round Leadbeater' s neck for several years, and were to be resurrected ~n a matter or more consequence, When asked to r,es~g,n,L€adlbeah;'ii meekly acquiesced. For two. years he lived 'On the Continent ill seltnnposed ex]Je, experlmenting i.1!iI ., Occult Chemistry>'~cg-u clairvoyantesaminstion {if the structure of matter carried out by the same methods that had produced Thought forms, TwO' years elapsed before Annie Besant could maneuver him back into the 'fokL

Under ~he direction of Mrs .. Besant and her friend, the character of the Society began slowly to change .. At fb:st this change was gradual, and consisted ill an amplification of the teachmgs of Mada.m.e Bla.vatslky-but: once more ina Uter,@.IfY or romancillLg frame of mind, with the emphasis placed. on the clairvoyant aspect of the informatmn obtained, All aspirantafter spirltual glory could .apply to (line of the Mast,en to be accepted as a. pupil In ~heory U was then a matter of his own ·efforts to rise through a series of " ] ni~iatio~s'" each i fliU:aUon being th~ :g,®:t€!wa y to $:.hlgh.er• or more extensive :s~ate ·of oonseiousness, As the Masters were visited ln llhe astral body while the physteal body of the chela ~,a y as~eep!, it in. fact depended on a clairvoyant au(horli~y such as Leadbeaeer to' ~ntimat'e that progress had been m~lde, Thiswas perhaps; as wen;. for there had been one notable tragedy asa result' ofexcessive devoHmru ~o the M.i,8~ler,~"

Just aft,er the investigation carried out by R],cha[1d HodJg,son In'to Madame Blavatsky' s phenomena, Damodar K. Mavalankar left Adyar without h~~UJlgany one, bound ]ik€ Rameswamter 0]'1[ a. quest for the Mahatmas .. It had ]lr!

fact' been to Damodar t~at Bamaswatmer had add ressed the account of his fiIlli.aUy disccvering his guru which has already been discussed. Damodar had been most disconcerted dunng the ~nvest]gation by Hodgson's aJ.~egation Ulat Madame B]~v.atsky bad arranged to have Bamaswamter's Master imperso]]J,atea by a. Mr, Cassava Pillal, W~10 was known to. have been in the Nort~ at the time. 1"he basis of thi:sa~us~tio:n was the faJct that H. P','B. had chaffed Cassava. pmal on the loss of his beard, Tine c]"uciu] poin twas ~ha.the 11 9i!d 110 beard-« ·bu tr R,S!II11.as:,",vam ler' s M9!s~eit" had, ~a

D$modar' sfaith obviously suffered a severe shock, and he was ~pp.arendy determined to test the.truth of lRa.manswam:i.er's experiences for himself. Frnm Darjecllng he travelled north ~n~iO Tibet, and a frozen body believed h.}, be his was recovered some time later, As the Theosophists te]l the story, Damodar did infaet reach tihe a8hfOm~ (sanet~~;u'Y) of Ms Master after severe testing, and rhe taJe is made one of exemplary devotion," Such a be]i~freqJu]ll"es an ad of fait 11 asgreat as that in the reali :~y of rhe Masters ehemsel ves,

Th.e substitution ofclairvevnnt Vi5~O:n for normal pereepUon.fli.rold. .as~ra] travellingfor physical locomotion, removed the poss:U)Ui.~y of further tragedies suchas tb[ll of' Damodar. But It resulted hi the tu.rn~ng or the Theosophical SOCiety from Us most individual pathway toward a more OOl1VeIl~ tional form. @f seetarlamsm, Hero-worship of the ]'Mders. as clair~oy~nt channels of grace, tI~~rpedt~~le position of ex ~ elusive devotion to the M as ters, Annie Besan [ wrote ~

Oken. with S9int Catherine of Siena, baVlC;: I feh thatintense love for someoue even but ill. JUde higher th~m ourselves is one of the b~st methcdsof training 01il rselvesm that ~of1y~()Ve of the Supreme S,clfwhich burns up :aU i:m.perf'ectiol1s aswithfire, Hero-worship m<1.y have ~b dangers, b1l.~t th~y are less perilous, ]essobshudi.ve of the spidtual Hfe tha n the cold cri.tidsm of the sl€]f.r.i.gh.t€ous. . .. ~5

Mrs., Besant herself inspired devottonas spe{~tacu~a["~y apparentas could be wished. Once, when she and Lcadbeater were pursuing their investigations Into occult chemlstry in a


~ores:t near Dresden, the Theosophist Esther Br~ght sat near the g.l:1e,al A,iIlwUh herjlngers touching her dr-ess, pouring, For~h feelings of love and submission. When the occult chemists adjourned for tea, Annie Besant described, greatly to Esther Bright's s:adsfactioll. how a. beautiful. clear blue Hght had run along the hem of her dress and remained ~lo\v~ng around her,<:i~

Such puerllitles might seem not \'V{ll'Hl considering, were it netthat they formed part of the ethos 0:£ the Society rnn its trans:i.lfrioIl[IJ]"Y phase between the Theosophy or Madame Blavatsky and that of MiI"S" Besant's Messiah. The devotion of such asEsther E;l'igh~-who seems to have been given to herc-worshipvand ln her early years h.a.d worshipped fmm afar the vielinist Joachim under whom shoe had studied mnsic;'''-,vva.s; to be inspired in a far greater number of hearts by the advent of a symbol moreeasily accessible than the Tibetan Masters. Mrs, Besant found fl. Messiah, and Leadbeeter became a. Bishop. The Theosophical Society, which had started Ufe as a phnosophy of roman ti C' syncretlsm, became the vehicle :fQf a message of the Second Coming, On to' a creed derived from every reHgLon under the sun W3,'l, gr.a.fted a traditional serni-Chrtstian [prophecy of the return of Christ,

The new Savior was. caned lidJdu Krlisbnamuru. Leadbeater had! dtseovered him on the seashore near Ad yar, Krlshnamurtlwasthe SO]1 of one of thestaff at Theosophical Headquarters: and when Leadbeater nSl!d ,oHered [0 take in hand. t~e education of the boy and his brother, the suggestlon had been welcomed. In. the course of his clairvoyant investfgatlons tnto the pas~ llves of members of the Society, Leadbeater surveyed those of Krishnamurti, and "vas astonished by what he found, He: wrote to Mrs, Besant that

the boy was- surely "not here by aocident"~~ .

From this time on Krlshnarnurti was brought up "at the fe~t of the Master' '-to borrow the title or the book which was passed off as written by him." Gradua.Uy it became common knowledge that Krish.namurtl's body was to


become the vehicle Q:f the'"l.o:rd Maitrey.a,,·' the ccming "Wo:rld~ Teacher" o:f the new age. For Theosophical rtieac:hing s.aw em.erging a fiIJ€W "root-race," a new development .of the ,evo]u~ioUHry spiral. whose blrth ]ndic1;JJled another step forW8i11dfor ·h.uma:oity. A,ccordi:ngJy the new race was to have a new T eaeher ~ preacbing the Theesophical message ,of love, brotherhood, and the unity of all religjons .. This Teacher wasta be that Master who had ]]1- h~hited the body o:f N'i9SUS In ancient P.l~,estWl1e. and who WQukl taJ!::e possession o~ die body of Krishnamurtl in. the

same fashion, .

Annie Besant prophesied the Commgwfth enthusiasm:

"Come in the might of Thy Love, Come in the splendor of T~y Power, And save dl€ world which is pe.rishlug for Rack .of Thee; 0 ThQU who are the Teacher of Angels and of Men.'·'oo TMs stands, in sharp contrast ~o~bs .. Besant's €larUeiii' .aHIha.d.e,wh~.ch had stronglyerlticieed some overenthuslastie followers .of Abdul Baha for claiming their leader as the Christ." Precisely why Mrs. Besant felt the, ne;ed to adeptthe classical MiHe[M'i!,r~,a,n buffer $ .. g~:inst d~sturbed Urnes is diffic~lt to determine. Nonetheless, in ]91 M" the Y@3.r of the f,oundai~ion of the Order of the Stat in the East~tJ)e' erganization which supported KdshIilartiQ,]x-, U~:s<h·e was drawmgaudiences of over four~housand. for a single ~ectum at tile Sorbonne." It ls beU,er to suspend ,anytMng wh]ch smacks of a personal verdiet, and to COJileentrate on the Theosophical Messianic cult as one o:f. the symptoms of the Hight -from reason.

Theriew Order of the Star was launched amtdst scenes of' intense emo:i'ruorlJJ, On .28 December r91]" Krishnamurti was ceremonially b:~essing the membershtpeerttficates of the Order, vi/hen a certam Star member flung himself on his face in front of the y()Ung man who m]ght become the Messiah. There foUowed an outburst of tears and prosrrstlons, which was brought tea climax by KrlshnamueU's brother, Nityananda, who carne fr{)-m. his position behlnd Krishnamurti to [oin the fervor of the other Star members, Th,e ]'leHef from anxiety 'wM.ch Messianic


The Occult Underground

aspirations must bring scarcely needs to be d1, scribed, The release of tension in the commitment of the Star members to Krishnamurtl Is sufficient mdicatton,

Befere rbe new Messlah could be introduced to the world, a. development ~'Ook place which nearly upset 'the whole movement. Krlshnamurti' s fatheill', Narayaniab, demanded the return of his son, and he accused Leadbeater of being a corrupting Influence. There seems Uttl~~ doubt that Nat,i:ii.yan~ahwas put up to makmng the charge by Mrs. Besant's opponents, and that the fees of his. counsel were paid by the newspaper, T'he Hindu.,. But there was also small doubt that Leadheater had been up to his tricks again 13i), Prosecuting coansel, however, had a fu~rth.er string to hi!! bow than the immoralitles of the Theosophical clergyman. The boys' father, he maintained, had made a contract with M.rs. Besant so that his two sons should be educated at an English university, In the words of the very confused court reporter ,of the Mad1;~ 'Tim,es;'· Itwas one thing to give English education in an English university, and it was another to give such an education as to convert the body into a vehicle of Lord] Maitreya.' Learned counsel did not tMfJJL~ this was h€althy,~ The case om both sides was 91. sordid one, with the prosecution harping on Leadbeater' s humosesuallty: he had been observed i.n suspicious circumstenceewith Krishnamurtl, One the side of the defense, It was argued that Narayaniah had kept his children In a filthy condition. and that therefore-by tmplication-vany existence was preferable to that they had previously enjoyed, Mrs, Besant herself cross-cxamtnod Krishnamurti's [athe'I", rnn an attempt to prove that he also had. subscribed to the theories of his SOrD,' s psyehic powers. The: situation ]8: best epitomized by an extract from this, dia~ogue:

Mi.'S. Beil.ant-"You ha.ViEl stated clearly that you never prostrated yourself he:iO'l"€ y>ou.r :soo'?" Nar,ayani~h-"Certa]n[y. ,.

Mrs, Besl:mt~"U other persons swear that you did. It, what would! you say?"

Narayanlab="! don'tcare what they say. They are under your

ir.lfh.l!ence Bind m9JY say' anything. I hav . never touch d my son's feet with my hands or hea:d..'·"~

What with the €.vasive speech of Narayaniahand the parUaJ [ustiee o[ his aecusatlons, the tas,lk of the judge must have been unenvtable, The judgment he delivered was that of Solomon, The Messia11 and his brother we-lie made Wards of Court. But no [urther steps were taken against the Theosophical Society: an omission which cannot fai1 to have disappointed the instigators of the prosecution. However" on appeal to the Privy Council, the two boys were restored to the protecting arms of Mrs. Besant, and the: cult of the W'oddl- Teacher could advance, Leadbeater MmseH became more and more widu:1lmwn ahel' hls period (If tot(lr'sMp was over. He betook himself to Australia, where he wasquite happy extending, his doctrine of thought-forms to include the monumental constructions generated at church services .. Visions of the blsncmange-textured mosques ereaf d by the vibrations of the Holy Eucharist were sufficiently complex to occupy the foreground of his tho1!jg~ts,~m En una he accepted a. Bishopric; in the Liberal Catholic Church, AHhough this was originally done to flUlr~hel' the coming of the Lord M.aiUreya.rut seems gradually to have become more important to him than tlle cause of Krishna-mufti.

That cause prospered and grew, Badges, Orders, and newspapers: helped to propagate the faith, Krishnamurti travelled the world speaking at camps in India. in California. and at Ommen in Holland, where, the Order oj[ the Star in the East bad been presented with a castle bya noble supporter. WUhht the Society troubles arose, and led to the secession o:f large numbers of the German Section under the Ieadershlp of the imposing Dr, 'Rudo~ph. Steiner, ~l! From the Antipodes, Leadbeater took a doubtful view of Annie Besant's enthuslastle championship o:f ller cam/e. "I hope she will not wreck the S oeiety ~ .. he eontided to Ernest Wood. 'Ilia

Eventually, on 28 December m925,.the Wor~d-Teacher came. Krishnamurtl was speaking to a gatherlng of the


faithful, !temind~ng them how th,ey were all expecting the arrival of the Great: Teacher. He would come to those: who had so ~on.g desired Him. Suddenly be gave a start, halted, and resumed his speech in a differ·ent volce, usi~g the ·first person singular: "I come to thoaewho want sympathy, who want happiness, who are! longing to be released ... :"'{I!l' The:

Messiah had! arrived.

He was a doubting Messiah at best The Order of the Star in the East lasted until 19291,. when H: was dissolved by Krlshnamurti himself, who reaouneedsll da.~ms to be orber Hlan hlmsel], and repudiated all religious sects. and erganizations. Truth, he maintained, was "a pathless land," Help in leading one's life came only from within, The whale struchrre which had been bunt up for him, the pretensions fo]sted upon him came to' noth]ng.'l'O From that date until the present day Krishnamurtl has taught his persoaal philosophy, and while eritles :may disagree as to its meaning or i ts value, it hi certainly unli~e any creed. prefessed by the Theosophleal Society. By ]'932 (~,e Theosophleal Societyhad shrunk to 3S.00() members. The next year Mrs. Besant died, and at about this time KrlshnamurU lost all memory of events before 1'929.\il As fOili.ces to move men, the Masters and the Messleh were buried together.

The Theosephlcal Society is significa.nJ for many reasons ...

As .a prototype occult society it presentsan example of un:famiUar patterns of thought. In Its origins and development are _,C?hvious several fa.cets of the flight from Beason, Of itself it was in Us heyday extraordmarlly extensive, with branches throughout Europe, Ameriea, Asia. and Australasla .. The mode of thought which ean properly be caned Theosophical has had remarkable repercusslens-c-lor it Is the epitome of the pseudo-Jntellectual, Without further '~V'C[', tepping the chronologlcal lirmts of this volume, it can be said that Heinrich Hirnmler, for example, was thoro~,ghly imbued with Theosophic tenets, and th~.~ these naturally made a substantia] difference to his patterns of thought." In terms of the history of' occultism and the 19th-


century revival i[l p~'~UC1Jllar. Theosophy was _ the dbseminator and distorter of countless non-rational theories of the universe-c-for as U combined Hinduism, Buddhism, ChdsH.anHy •. and diverse manufactured notions Into one eoeentrie wbole~ none of Unese doctrines was: ever bin(Hng QiR 8. single member, who m~ght fed free to make his per=

sonal synthesis as he chose. _

·What sort 0:( person joined the Theosophists'? Those generally concerned by the crisis of consciousness: hOiSts of women, t~10se on whose hands Ume hung heavy, a.nd to whom every tick of their dJra.\ving-room clock spelled boredom and fmprisonment, It is .siglOJif~ca:nt that the movement for Women" s Suffra:g,e and the Theosopbieal Move .. ment ran i[1l :En.glandshn·u~~:i%:neous eourses.

Lady :Emily Lutyens, the wife of the architect, is interesting; In this context. Before joining the Tbeosophical Society she had interested herself in state-regulated pro$tw:tution~ and toyed with the notion '0:£ Women' s Suf·fnag:e. Her sister, Constance, went the whole way, w~s jalled and fercibly fed, Converted by Mrs. Besant, Emily became for ten years thedevoted •. foster-mother" and adherent of Kris.hnamurti.TII·The point is not that Emtly Lutyees' was a t;rpi!Q:l:aru Hfe=her famllY\llIas scandalized when Constance began to' write for the papers-i-bat that even among the highest reaches of society the crisls of consclousness made itself felt. ·The supernatural wasno stranger to' the famUy of Emily Lutyens .. :She herseU had been born Emlly Lytton" the graaddeughter of the occultist Bulwer Lytton~B!:nd was the sister-in-law of Gerald Balfour, who with his brother A:rthu:r became President of th~ Sodety for Psychical Beseareh, The Balfours' sister, Nora; married Henry Sidg:w[clk~ whose own sister, Mary~ became the wife of Edward White Benson, and the mother of Robert Hugh. WitMn thisb.mily eonnection, it.iis quite natural to find at least one devoted Theosophist.

But there was nothing arlsteeratie about Theosophy. Partlcularly in its ],ater phases as a. mmenarian movement. it attracted the same sort' Oif recruit which such movements ha.ve

.a~w.~ys attracted, Norman Cohn tens us th@!t ~n the MicldJe Ages- ~he prophets of the Millennium came mainly"f~om the ~{lwe[ strata of,the, int:eUigents:ia.,l'hey included ma[ly members of the [ower d.ergy, priests who h~d lost dleir parishes, monks wbo had f.~ed from their monasteries, clerks in mlnor orders < ' :'''1.01 OfthOcse~.mmed]ately surrounding, Krishnamurti, Leadbeeter, and his feHow~Bishop $i,]1d. :sUJp'erliQf ~n the Liberal CalhoUc ChJ]Jl'dl~ lames Wedgweod, were frustrated elergymen. George Arlmdale, tutoe .after Leadbearer to Knshnamurti, aW!iJd. subsequently President of tIle Society, was an ex-schoolmaster. Even :s~ch peripheral Hgures. as Belllle W'ea.ver~ a. reHred ],a.,\vyer who mad,€: a half~ hearted bidfor the favor of the new Messiah, fit tl:1le pattern w1ell.';':l;

From. the M asters to the Messiah was a considerable journey. Madame Blava,[sly's Theosophy was after all to prove the more lasting, Her inthn~Uon.s ofoceule S!OCTet~ might have had even more effect if she had not become eoncerned wlth Masters and "phenomena,' Mrs. Besant, on the other hand" abandoned the most original part of the Thecsophic credo in ravmorr the M menrdum proclaimed ~y her World~ Teacher, In this ~he merely FoHowed an €:K8!.rnp],e which by the hun of t~le 19~h and 20th centuries was wenestablished,

L . 'fhe :m,~;).f~ recent lif·e of .Mad~.me B[ayatsky~s t!hat oOoh~n Symonds (l.ondon" 1959), It resumes most" ,of the f:'\f]dencft,

2. 1'h~ .Men1,oir:s of Count Wit~e (tr, and ed. A ¥armo]~slk:y.

London, 192,]), pp, 4~9.

3. Symonds, Mme. EUav~usky, p, 22,8,

_ ' .4, C,W. Leadbeater, How rhwsopJ't1) Came ~o M~ {Adyar,

1960}, p. 5L .' .

5. Memoir,soj Count 'Witte~ p, 1"

Co (i .. See K R., Canon (ed,.). a :P, .R, S'oJfl'~e Unpublished

LeUe1CS (Louden, 1:9291).

7, Symonds, Mme. Bla1lJatsiry. p. 66,

S,. H. P; Blavatsky, lsI's Unveiled {New York, lSi?}, vol .. I, pp. .239. 51,3-


9', Henry Steele Olcott, Oldrua,fY Lel'~ves (New York and London, Hli95), vol, I, pp, 208='9, SuhseqiLI,ent volumes published

ill Ailyar, HJ35, .

W. Oleott, Old Dit'M'Y L.ea'I)@8', '!I(),I. 1, p, 201, The offic.ual hj,st01ry of tb€ Theesophlcal Society shows that a certa if! Charles SQ~~leran was, very helpEul to, H, P. R in "finding ql]ot~~io.J'lS and bor:rQiw~[lg books for her during the w!'Hitlg of JS~8 Utweiled," See Josephine Ransom, ;\ Sh:Oft .History of Mte Theo,sophioal SO,"liety (Adyar, 1938). p, ll<t

U, S. B. Li]jegr~;m, Bt~lwe:r-Lyuon"3 Novels o!nd Isis VnV(dl~ ed [Uppsala, 19S7}

is. Liljegre 11,. ,. Que1ques remans anglais, :S10 urce partielle d'une religion mode rna," in M,rfia~:tge& offe~'t1!i it Fer~rumd 13a.M'enspefger (fari:s, 1930),\101. I,. pp, 76·1-

13, H,P. Bl;;l,v.~t~ky~ F~Qm, ,fhe Cave.s: clnd jun:gl:f!(/$ 01 JUndO.ttm~, (: London, m 892), p, iii,

14,- Symonds" M1ne, Bl.;tmttsk:y, p, 8,5" it seems that H,P.B. fill'st smoked hashish in Cairo, ;;IindJl.ater-ILmcter medical supervis]on=hl New York" 15.R(l]]som, Theosophical' Soclet!1. pp- US ]f., 109', 143 . 16, Miohael cEdw:;J!fds, BfN'l.sh Inelia, (London, Uli6:1). p, 215.

17, A.P. Sinnett, The OOCt,~lt: World (London, lliS.8r)" pp, 67,


18, See Cba.pte:r €let seq.

lli'9. Leadbeater, The 1'4ast;ers ICl1ld' ,the .Path (Ady~l[. 1925).

Caption to frontispi~Ic:e.

2(t Leadb~8t'€:r, Mas:t€1'~ a.nd tiu) P(~ih, pp.2J'6~]8,

21. S. 'Rama:sw.aml~[ to Domedar K, .. Nh~.v.aJ.o\!i.l.lkar, "Bow a chela found his gll,m,l., "reprinted. Irom l'he l'he(JSophis.t in Five Yeoeee] TheO$ophy (Lendon, 188S), pp. 414>6" ·45~l} .. 51,

22, See Symonds., M1!ne, Biavat':sky, p, 22:4; cf IRatliSi~)B1., The(}~op'hi(;al So(.~ie~y> pp, 209 If, H!Qdg:son's )::.ep01"~ is to 1)13 found in Pro.ceea:l:rig75 oJt1te Socidy fOT .Psychical .Besearch,. Viol II I, part IX,. ]885, pp. soi it,

23. Blavats:!lk:y. Th» Sec~"e'~~ Doct1'in.e (h~ edn, London, ]888), I ln fact used thefoint Lorna edltion (H309)" which has the same p~g~n:;i;Hon as the od:g_inal The enqujrerwho intends to make a study (n:f the Secret Doctrine would be we]]. ~dvised tOc;lquip hiITMlieH witb the Concordance {Adya:r, 1'940},which m~.y make someprehminary sense of the intractable bulk of thebook,


24, B~a.va.tsky. The Secret Dvctrine. vol, 1, p,2(Y7,

25. Annie Besantand C.W. Leadbeater, Man. Whence" Howa~.d \cvh~.~:her (Londion, ]913'1; pp, 84-6,

26, E~~.v<l!.ts'ky., The Sec-ret D~ct'rine~ vel, U, p. 9:.

27. Henri Bergson's 1.:E1:,l'olu:timl anra:f1'ice app~llI!n~d. in 19()7.

Six years later the phik~$(lIpher became Poc'es~dent ofthe Society for Psychical Re:s:e;ll!'l;ch. His $ruste~:' married M~cGregor Mathers: of dl~' Go:lden Dawn-s-see Chapter 1 below, and noh;::s. Nietzsche is: perennl .• dly daJimed @isan oocul~ hero. For tbi~claim [m,m a ]?1,U''ely Thecsophical viewpoint, see AnuieBes:ant, "On the Watcht'Cfwer," h1 ·rheo'Sop.h~:ca.ll Rc~ie~v~ xxvn~ no. 158 (15 October 190(11), where she declares th.aJt by virtue of bish.ope for the advent of the Superman, N~etzsche "belongs distinctly to us,' But because 0'£ his lad; of development, he .fall.s vleti m to' the ]OW!3f brute energy" anddreams of Frederick the Gr€:Qt as the €!JtiL bod imeat of this Superman. ,Asfol' Teilhard, he applies the concept to odhodQ;';'Y, (Far ~his'seH~streng~h~n~n~" ~.H.ihld~, se,e Cha!pte:r 4 below and cr,.attitude or uti iphas Levitto the Cabala in. Cha pte]" 7 below.)

:21!.. 'E1avats,ky, The Secret Doctrine., vol II,. pp, 779-BIJ.

:29. Foe Am[]l.l@ Besail1t's rol€ in the Indian NiIltrnona~ Cengress, see ArthmN.eth.,e:root,. TI'te La0:t Four L;ives of A~tnie ,B'e.sa\ll:~ (London, 19(3);. for the Irish Nationalists and! Tlle!IJ50pby. see' Chapter 8 below: cf .. also L. M osse, :rh~ CrisiS {)f !Cannan Ideology (Lorlch)rJI, 1966),' ·r \'!J t he calls Theosophy, which sometimes is, sometimes is not, Theosophy with a capital letter, For the possible influence of such thought in pmt~)-Na:d movements and Nazism itself, see my fOl!"thclIlming The Oc"Cull Efitabli;sh1rN~,fl,t.

It is i[n:~e,resting that the Comte de !Gob~neall.> who has been noted as; one of the first observersef the Bahal ]F.ai~h> has acb]e'ved notoriety ;)I.s:~he authee .of $cw" l' inegalita d,~s r:aC(]$ hu,m(!,ines and th.e father of radst ideology. This is to make par" tk:ulM' th@ patenhlg$ of an idea whO.$$'c::Qn!ceJ),tiQl~ Wa!~ much rnQ]'\~ g~en€:ri:'!i.I.! and In Fact w[de]y diffused. th.r-01!lg:EJ!out earl.}' hustm:ic;aJ1 scholns:hjp. But the coincldence of gnterest In non-European ldeas and the raclal theory 0CCUfS a15loin the Theosorpn icai Society.

,&0 .. 81 .. B:Z.

Ransnm, ThaosophicaJ Society, Pl? Sl, 155. 554. See The Oct:wit .11svfetO For ,Janl[J!a.ry 190t7. pp. ]0 ff ..

Tl~e o.cctdt Remew (November UI(6). -

53. The Oocttlt nevi~w (190'6-7),

34. ''The ,occult fievi:elo Olme1906,), p, 315.

35. 'rhe Occu~~t fi:o'Ol:ew,pp. 315 ft

36. See Arthur H. Nethercot. The First F1ve Lives ol.Anlq.~e Beswu (London] 196())j pp. 32l~8. Thist~gether wJ~h the Last .Fou'rLi~ves. ~l[iecady 'Cited, is: th~ r€o1lHy ~uHlOritaHv'€ sO!Jr~ f<;ir both Besa:nt and the later Theosophleal mO\i'e~e'nt It is diIfIcUilt ~OCQnc(li 'lie of l.'tsbeing: replaced.

37. Nethem(Yt:, Firs:~ .five Hves,. p.S41.

88,. Leadbeater, flow Th;eosophy Came to M,e., pp. ]·4. 39,. Nethercot, f11'S'~ .Fi:ve l/i:Oe@. p. SS9.

40. Ernest Wood, Is Thfs 'f.heo30phyr (Londoill. leG6), p, 146.

4]1. EmUy Lutyens, Ca,ndles in the Sun (London. U151,. p.

2<6 ..

42. M.ary Lutyens, To Be Yo'U'ng (London, 1959), p, 165.

43. Wood" Is- Th~ Theo30plhyr, 'P- 14L

44. A nnle 13 esa nt and C, W _ Lead beater, TfU)cught, F om18 (London and Benar-es, 1905)" p, 25.

. 45, Besant and Leadbearer, rhou:ght-Form~. f~'O[lHspie(e. 46.. Ees,ant and Leadbeater, Thougkt~P:ornM.p .. 60.

4,7, FmmEdmu['iJ:dG':H:r,eU, ls~s tl1ery mud~ u~niQ€il(ld {Lon-

den • n.d.), ..

48. For €lady ]~fe, see Net}1,eroCot, Fii'S't .Fine Li:v(!8. pp. 391 ff. 49, ,[n)ily Letyens, Candlesih the .sun,p. 1 Hi

5(}, Mary Lutyens, To Be YQtmg', p. H37.

51. Nethercot, La8·~Fo'1.~1' Li\vet, pp, 96-'1,

,52, Ransom! Th.eosophical SQc~e'tY.p:. 3lol.

5:fl Hodgscn, R@po'ft, PiP. 36S~4 ..

.54" See Symonds, j;'\:hne. Blavat:.ky, p .. 217.

55. Anni,e B€csant." D]sc:ip.[~sh:ip.:· in TheO$oph:loai Ji.evtew, XXXVEll,. :no.21l7 (FuIy, lli9(6).p' ... 398.

56. Esthe(Br~ght,. 'Old M.e~)10ne3 and Lett~'r8' (if Annie .B'e-

,.r(lifit.t (Lomd!on. ]'ElS6), p. ]10.

51 S!e~ nrjght, Th:e Ilncfent .ont' (London, 1927) ..

58. Ran8(Dm~ Theosophical Society. 1'.58,8,.

59. AI.c)!'one,. At th,e Feet oj the Ma~ter (London. U;l27; first publlcation, 19i1l~)i), For :som~ p.arUcu.l.~rly fin.e specimens of Leadb@aJ!e{ s skill <'IS a rcmsncer; see Besant and Leadbeater, McUl. Whence, How witd W/1;ulwr (London, 1913), p, l27, in whlch alii oirgy in sorne pf>O ba bly SOlldl A~mer:ican temple is


described, This meludes the presumed ravishment by "Alcyone" {Kds:llfiaillurf) of another member of the Society g:oi.ng under the name o£ "Cygnus.' At the close QK the orgy, werewolves arise from the stupHied bodies of thecdr!l:nants,,-to r turn with their jaws dripping b]ood.,

60. ,. Inveeatloa to the Master of the Great Wh~t'e l.odge" in Annie Besant, The Coming of the. Wodrl,· Teaehe: (London. 19.2:-5 t p, 23. This Invecation was genel'any used ill Krlshnamurri's Order of "the S tar in the East.

61. See "On the Wat.ch··t.!)w·et" in Theoso:phical Review" ""0].

XX II, no, 160 (15 December 1900). "It scarcely seems ceedlble that these otherwise intelllgent people should have subscribed to the extreme form of faith above described." Abdud Beha, on the other handwelcomed the Theosophical S(lCLe·ty as flIIU.€s. S~f:;j!l]S .add.ress to. t~le T. S. in Budapest (12 Ap:l.illli'9'J3t prhll~~dby David I~Mofma:n (@d.), Seiec~iQn$lr()m Bahai .:Si'c!lvh;~re (London" 1941.), pp, 2991 ff.

62. Ransom, ~rheo$ophic.aJ .sodety, p, 89,2 .. Fo", traditional IS·tll-century M.iUen~ria!f1js.m. see next chapter.

168. Nethercot, Last Four Lives.. pp. 17.0·71, 187 end 193·. 164. This unreported case is to be found in the Madnu Time~ (2] Ma:rch-ll3; April 1918). Th dif£]cl[llty experienced 'by [he reporter in the transerlption of European names is a handlcapto understanding him; for example, the case of . 'Olcott v, Skinner" frequently ]1ek~I':red to does; not exi:st-U is Al.{cm;d v, Skfn.nei'. printed 36 Chancery Divis.ion [·45. At the same hme as the main case 'was: being: beard, tlhe T. S .. _was invo]ved in hllO other ]a'Wsuits:

B.es(tnt Y .. Ram.a' Rao and T. M'. Nair; aOC1!d Schwar~ v .. The Hind~~. Reports of both cases rau in the April and Miay Madras Time3. Rama. R,~l.O was the publisher, and Dr, Nair the editor of The An·· tfiseptic,. in which. he (February 1911) had published ail arbde· entitled ., Psychopathia Sexualis ~n .:<1 Mahatma," calling Leadbeater

h "'h" 1 . t ·f·O· . . '.

t '~Jg 1 pnes 0' '. nanism.

,65. Mad·r(J;~ T:tme8, 29 M arch UH.a.

,66. See ew . Leadb eeter, The S';;<lenc,€' () J~he SoiU'f'(l,m,ent·s (Loll'!LdQ;rll; 1'9(20), See Emi~y and Mall"y Lutyens, 01". cit, for aoC01.HlI.b of Ufe at· his colony in Sydney,

67. For S·~ lner, see my remarks and references in my T.~~e .occult &tabli81mut'l~;t (forthcoming).

68. WQold, 18 thi3 Th.eosophy?, p, 294.

as). 'Quoted Annie Besant, How ,a W O'tld'- Teacher c.ome&. (London, l'!~26), ppr. 22·8.

70.. Kirshnamurti' sown reasnns for di.ssolvEng the Order of the Star are print' d in Lin>, H ber, K~i's/tnamurti. the M(~,rl a~nd l~i~ Message (London. 1951).

71. Ne~h.ercot. Last .Fou.r Lives, pp, 449 If.

72. On Nazism. and the occult 51e€ The Occ:uJ;f E$hl;blfsl1,~ ment.

'7-3. See Emily Lueyens, Ctmdl€s ~in the SU"n.

14. Co ~o<rmfln Cohn, The P·tlf;suit of the. Millennium (paperback edition, revised, London, 19170), p. 85.

15. FoOD: Vr."'.eav'er; see Ji.mily Lutyens, C,mdtes in the Sun.,. pp .. 76·7",

Clha.p,ter 4

The Lord'sAnointed

THERE was almost an 61l'l.OOr:ras de .Messies in the 19th century. Both o~d. and new worlds were peopled with prophets of varying descriptions. For within the very ranks of the Christian tradition the crlsls of eonseiousness had. made itself profoi .. mdly Felt. It was no more than natural that t.~.e anxieties of a proportion of mankind would fmd expression in the ~a~guage of their religious Inherltance. n was natural, too; [or existing blanches of the Christian church to meet the challenge of advanci ng ra t]OI1,aJ Hsm in trad ltion al fashion.


Tbe manner of tbis. reaetion was predictable, because the situation had oecurred before. Historlcaleomparisons are alw.Q,Ys dangerous, but with the obvious proviso that hJstory never quite repeats. Us!e]f,; H is poss]b~e to say that the sltualion in 1850 bore a remarkable resemblance to that of 300 years earjler, It is almost as. dangerous to make statements about the Renatssance and the Reform.ation as it ~s to make historical comparlscns, but it is part of the thesis of this book that the 19th~century crisis was similar to, or more CO!l'~ reetly, a belated cent ~nua.tion of the intellectual and spiritual upheavals ()'f the 15th and 16th centuries.

From one point of Vi'8W" what had occurred dunng the Renaissance/Befotmatton was roughly thls: what might be caned the Establishment culture of Western Europe) based entirely upon Christian values as deHtrlediby Rome. had at last yielded IUp lts monopoly of jur:isd~ction~never in theory. of C(I't.u:'Se" but certainly in practice. Ther, had been earlier attempts to shatter this cultural. dictatorship .. Sporadically heretics had attempted to establish their right to believe as they please; and from wuh~n the C~t][ich Dtself had come challenges to Papal supremacy. In the 12th century A. D. the West had again come into contact withalien modes of tbinking~ but untU then European thought had for centuries been sealed within a tightly-stoppered bottle of prescribed speculation, The Benaissance represents the cultural release from the papal strait-jacket: the Reformation> t~l.e same rel ase expressed in religious terms. That some of the rebellious prophets ended by establishing tyrennies more grotesque than any from which they had escap ed, merely requires somecommenplace about human nature,

In response to repeated proclamations. that every man was his own pri.est, 3:od that worldly values could indeed be separated from spiritual ones" the Ch.m-eh had been forced to reassert its: 'traditional position. This was. done by accentuating the spirjtual element ofreligioo, buildlng ever more gorgeous churches. encouraging (sometimes wUh. a whiffof paganism) the adoration of t~e Virgin., multiplying gilt,

marble, and jewels. I A~ the same time"th,e polley of the Counrter~ReformatIon re-emphasized dogma. placed heavy accents on obedience, pf\od~imied from the mof-,jtt'Ops: that the Pope was Christ's vicar upon earth, and that: only thro1ll!g~l ~im could salvation 'be attained,

. The poUcy had no t been s ueeessfu I ] rD. recove ri ng te rrttory Iost, but In ,tile c.il'icumstanceswas probably ~he best that couI,d have been devised. Us initial hold on Europe slackened during the next 300 years. u ntll in the middle of the 19rthc-en'tury ,the now disparate churches had ~<CI face a threat to their very eXistence-something that had earner never been in question .. For during the 17th and 18th centudestbe churches had been forced to, reach some modus vivendi with the new secularist elements in society. 'And this uneasy marriage had been enecuraged by the monarchs ofth,e day, who b,ard :found that in traditional notions of powers transmitted by God to- his deputies in church and state there lay a most attractive' defense of personal and authontarian government [0 be used against 'the ever-

iI\lr~e,ash:i1g clamcr ofpopulisr thcught. .

_ This over~~dmpHfj.ed sketch is drawn to demonstrate that, although the medieval corked bottle could never be resealed, acynical union ofthe Powers that Were had con= triVl8id in effect to reconstitote an "'!Establishment'" pattern. of thought, an orthodoxy convenient to maintain their mutually precarious situations, It was intb.iscHmate of ,t~hought. that}he ,En~Ush church could _aUeet to -d~spise

enthusiasm, and religion continued ~o be used. wen into the lli9th century as an overt means ,of maintaining the socla] status quo. When both social protest and Intellectual doubt threatened this ?ompromiseEstab~:ishrnel1rt, the challenge was m t withil1 the Christian frame oJ refereno ; by exactly tpe: 8ame me,chani8m~which had b.ee'n ,adopted 300' years be/ore.

To take first what might be called the "Protestant mentabty" and its automatic reaction .. This is a tendency to fragment, to create ever more sects, as. ever more points of view' raise ~he]r seductive heads. Thus in the Reo.


The Oc-cu·lt Untiergw!J;tl£i

nalssance/nefoil'maUon crisis) Lutherans had bred Calvlnists, Anabaptists bad attempted toestabllsh the Kingdom of God 011 earth; in England the Fifth MonardlY M,en awaited the Second Coming. In the 191th century, tbe sects mU!IUpUed as before, HID,ewr particular beliefs naturally eonditioned by the intellectual or emotional requirements of the time, and the revelations of each new prophe t. There were two broad paths along which new sec~scould travel-' -the road to some sort 0:£ new compromise w'ith seientiflc ra.tionaJism; or the track which wound 'back in. time towarda fresh assertion of the fundameatal truths of the C~)ristian faith. \;Vh,at these were, of course, was always

matter for dispute.,. , '

Tbe ,cMef storehouse of the Protestant mind lay in Amer~ca, where the:runherHed trJ.dit~ons (Jf. immigrant schismatics cembined whth [he necessitles of a frontier nation to create exactly those conditions in whtch mew revelations, b aring a superficial relation to the old, could nourish. As elsewhere, the Age of Heason had resulted io a decline in establlshed religion: the clergy deplored the loss of f.~Jth, In 17£l'8 the Presbyterian General Assembly talked ina pastoral letter of a "general ddedionfrom Cod" but by the next year they saw signs of a revlva], and by 18.00 they were sure. ~ The initial religious revival wtth itsattendanl phenomena of ccnvulsions, trainees" "if ~S~iOn.s:~ and men barking like dogs, had] by 181GB nearly covered the territory of the Union. ~ In that year declining mterest set In, and by 1805 the movementwas quiescent. But during the whole of the unhcentury there were sporadic outbreaks of revivalist feeling, and a series of cults sprang up which proved more than transitoryPartlcularly was this so in the "burned-over district;" the' area mOSI( heavily worked by the revivalist preachers wherecas has been said, Spirituallsm was born.

In the late 1830s and early 1..8405 Cht~s.fs Coming was oonfldently expected among large sections of the populaNon" These hopes of the Millennfum seem to have been Inspired by the economic panic of 1837 which caused widespread distress in the ruralareas, ~ 'the leading prophet


of the Second Coming was wilnam Miller, a. farmer In New Y:ork Statewkh all. interest in Scnptural lnterpretatton, In 183] he was unexpectedly called on, in nile absence of til' local Baptist preacher, to preach a sermon on the second advent Coj,Jt1J!cidentaUy, Mmer had [ust taken a private vow to serve God if He cared to can lnm, After a hard struggle with his incli:naUons to run away and hide, he agreed to preach the sermon, was; an instant s:uocess,and found hims,-e]f without, ifltenciil1lg it at the h.ead O[ a religtous tevivaL"

. Once committed, Mi~[~i· threw himself wholeheartedly into his new role. His detailed knowledge of Blbllcal prophecy was broug~t into play. and by 1834 he was not only. ]e;cturingoonstantly on the Second Advent. but ',moda,~med tna.t n was imminent, and announced the year of the Comtng to 'be 1843. Immense initerest\vas shown in MilIer"s prediction, His followers pointed to a briU:ian'l' comet seen in the sky and. to other strange portents, The MiUerU,e community in 'Boston hurriedly erected! a Tabernaele with a one-vear fire msurancs poHcy,1I The period iw 'which the M:inenniu.m, would take place was stretched to incl~de. the first three months of 1,84·4 but by the end of March Miller admdtred his error and reformulated his calcu'ia..tio,ns to Q, precise date: 22, October 1844, ..

The dlsappol ntmen t experienced by 'the M iUerites was unimaginable. "'SUn in the cold world!" wrote one MUlerUe l,echl!r,ei, "NQ dehverance ~the Lord not come!" A short time .after the date flxed for the Coming, one Adventist wrote that on being: told to. prepare foranorher cold winter he .. left thepla,c~ of meetlng and \'I1·ep,t like a chHd,"iII Another wrote that his •. advent experience' h,@J,d been the "dch:.estand bri,ghtesf' of all his Christian experience, and asked "U this had proved a failure, what was the rest of my C~~is'tian 'experience 'Worth?' Has the Bible proved a Failure? Is there no Goct no heaven, no golden home cRy. no pa~adise?"!1 Wah the failure of their hopes of heaven. the Adventists had to return Ito face the crisis of their eentury, Some met the sltuatlon by an even more mystical inrerpretatlon of Scripture, and the largest body of ,these-the


"Seventh Day AdvenHsts"~daimed for the United. States and. Canada. a membership of over 200,00"0 in 1943. The original Mlllentea had never claimed more than .50 to 100~OOO"'{)

There were other Adveatist groups. owing allegiance to other leaders. Of these the - Jehovah's WUnes,s€sar" probably the best known. This seet originated in the Bj~]e Societies of Charles Taze Russe~Th (1852,.1916), a wealthy and! acute chain-store draper. Bussell' S inspiration was drawn almost entirely from Adventist thought In 1870 his wavering, faith was revived by a ,ch.ance encounter wlthaJ. gJ:lQUP of Second Adventists: and his first predictions of Christ s Coming in the year 1818 were framed in conjuncNon with n" H. Barbour> an Advent]st who believed that Christ had come lnsensibly In ]874.10 Barbour's fauh did not survive ~he disappointment, But Ru.sS!eUdeve]oped y: t another Scriptural interpretation, and despite bkUonw~th other millenarfan groups succeeded In the short period 1879-80 in building up ,thIrty congregations ln seven states. I~ That this success was achieved virtually singlehanded says much for the tenacity of AdvenUst hopes in Amadea ..

H was not until the lSS{I:s. ~hat H.us&eU began again, us:~ng the usual mlllenartan methods of Interpreting the prophetic books of the Old Testement, [>'l to formulate the year of Chrtse's Coming. Thls time he' chose 1914. He prepared for the Minenn~um by making an eight-hour-long entertainment called. "The Photo Drama of Creation" comprtsing color film; stereoscopic slides and a synchronised sound,tr,a,ek on gramophone records, which was shown on the eve of the New Dispensation to Ilhistrate the true story of the worM as told in fheBible. 14 Two yearsafter UH~ failure of this prophecy, Bussell d~,€d:; and U is in a schismatlc and splintered form tha~' the jehovah's Witnesses survive tod!.a.y ..

- N orman Cohn has shown ~o'W millenadanlsm draws: Ets support from those who have no recognized place in soeiety;. the rootless, the unsuccessful, the disoriented. '15 It might be tholJJght that A meriean hopes of the Second Coming.


constituted a purely American phenomenon, were these hopes not ~Lnked ,dose:~y to other hopes of a new dispensation, polftlcel, moral intellectual, which were in the air at the same time. 1879 was a very late elate ,at 'which to start prophesying the MiHennium in fU:l].d~,menta~ist terms UJ1'· less there was some most compelling reason. Russell Vilas able to expand his movement overseas: in 1900 he opened an office in London; in 1900 In Germany, and the following year in Australia. The expectations of the S. cond Adventists merely expressed in a tradttlonal form the anxieties f,e[t tbroMg.hOl!t the Western wOfld..

It was in a similar situation of insecurity that' Mormonism arose. Joseph Smith, the founder; was born in Palmyra. in the very center of the "burned-over" district If; One of the main preoccupations in that area of mortgaged farms and wandering mesmerists was treasure-hunting. The favorHe sites f'Or H.nding the cache 'of gold 'that would save a property were Indian burial mounds. In Palmyra a dowser named Walters, who used stuffed toads and crystals to .. SC1'j/ ill -the pdn(ip]'e' is that of the fortune-teller's ,. crystal ban'>~as wen as hb dowsing-rods; made a great stir by claiming to have found an Indian record telling where tN~:aS1.1re was buriedWhen Walters left 'the town" ~he local peper noted that his mantle had faHen upon 1 oseph Smith. The latter appears to have tried to emuleteWalters by US~ blg •. , magical rites' , il!lJ\!"o~vi.ng rRu~'[ swords and a saerificed black sheep .. But Smith's career as a treasure-hunter seem to have begun in earnest with the dlsccvery of his own •. seer-stone," a blacklsh stOll1€ he claimed to have found twenty feet underground. At the same tim, _'. he was affected to some extent bythe religious revival, and ]S supposed to have h ad a vision, n

Smith's: seer-stone first caused him trouble in 1826 when he was found guilty of being ,3 .' drusord,erly person and an imposter." HI The Eo]lowkngyear the story was first heard thst Smith had discovered a set of gold plates which had been revealed to him by a spirit," joseph Smith did not write hts offic~al versiontill 1838. The details of the story


are unimportant; but orthodoxy has it that: he had for f(l'li,u" years been visited by an angel who revealed the bursalplace of the go~dlell plates to him._but' would not allow bim to take them, till 1827', He also discovered the two miraculous stones, Urim and Thumrndm, which he used as serying-stones 'to decipher the insc'r:ipUons on the plates, Tlie results were published in New York run 18S0 as the Book of MOf1non. In the same year the Church of Christ. ~ater to be the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, was founded with six members,

The Book of M mmon's fint edition was signed, rather unfor~unalte~y. hy"'Jo~,eph Smith, Authorand Propr~etor,,"~m But in its later editions this w,asexdsed. The ofnciaI description of the Book follows:

The period covered by the 8'001.. of .Mormon annals extends from. B.C. 600tto A,D'. 42.1. In orabout the latter year, Moroni, the last of the Nephite historians, sealed the sacred r' cord, ~nd hid it up, unto the Lord, to be brought forth hil the ]atb~r d~ys, as predicted by the voice ,olf God through his ancient pri:lpheb. In A,D. l821, -th]s same MO:i"'@ni, then 8, resurrected !l?ers-otoage, dehvered the en.gr:aved plates to JosJep,h Smith. ~'I

The story told ]s of tkoJe.f,amUy of Nephi, who had left jerusalem in 600 Be and salledto America, where for eerta~n misdeeds, the Lordcursed two of the group with red skins. Fawn Br'odi!€ has djs'c,overe·d remarkable correspondences between t'ne Book. of M O1'1:1'lou and a. book called A New View .of the H,eb1"ew8, or the T,en Trib,e8' of Isr-a,el in Ametica~ published In 1823 by Ethan Smith, ,a, V'ermont pastor, which W.:1)J,S a compendium of various. romantic theories about the builders .of the buria~ mounds." Joseph Smuh improved on this theory, WhlCh his namesake Ethan was by no means the only one to hoM;~3 and be: Introduced a. mlnlstry of lesus Christ to the peop'~e of!ephi In America in which Christ was made to choose twelve Nephite disdples.~.<! Joseph Smith was unfortunate In his own first eonverts, Of the three .. witnesses" who swore that they had seen the inscripeions en the golden plates, all apostatized, ahhough two were later received back into the Church,u.

This ea,dy defecUon did not materially affect the rapid

growth of the new rehgien. .

It ~s ~:nl.portan't to r,eanze that what was to become a large and important body of organized opinion took root in the same atmosphere of supersUUonas: nurtured Andrew la,ck~o:!l Davi~) and that Mormonism is not' so unique a creature as might appear" Periodicedly, too, the cult has undergoee mH~enar]a]1 phases.2.fI Smith. was not content merely to wait for the S, eond Coming: he actively organized communitjes to' bring heaven on earth according to his p~ans. In 183.1 the first colonj'eswere started in Missouri and Kirtland, O~hio; whence began theIoog saga of fUght and settlement which did nOE end until the' Mormons reached Salt LakJ~: _]n Utah." The ultimate triumph of Mermonlsm was that the church became .,' a perfected expression of the: needs of a pioneering co-operative community, a mighty instrument for farmingthedesert."~~ But ]t shared many elements of its appeal wuh other revelations,

_ ~bris.tiall Science arose in something of the same milieu: although whereas the Adventist cults were fundamentallst in tone!... t~e movement associated wi.tr~ the name of Ma:try Bakel Eddy represents something of an attempt to compromise wiUI. the: new currents of thought. Despite the[,~.ct that Christian Science claims to recover the lost emphasis '0£ prlmitive Christianity.,2ii the compromise was notwifh rationalist science, but with mesmerism. The attribute of ,. Science" 'with 'which the cult invested itsdf had, Indeed, much mcommon with the tides, of ,. Professor" or "Doctor' used so freely by travelling mesmerists,

It was from a Frenchman, Charles Poyan, that Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-'66) first heard of Mesmerism ata lecture in Belfast, Maine, Qu:imby was the son of a, blacksmtth.with little formal education hut an aptitude for mechanics, His imagination was caught by the mesmeric theories, and he started his own experiment, He found a subject, a young man called Lucius Burkmer, whoin trance COU ld _ diagnose illness, During the years 1858-42 they travelled about, to~ether and •• gave exhibitions." Gr,adually

Quimby grew away from the mesmeric th€;ories which had

.. Htst attracted him: he had. discovered, he sald, thathe couM cure merely by talking, 3~ Quimby himsel] had been sufferlUg from severe kidney trouble, and (me clay had. Hll1el courage to turn his own. ]~lness over to fhe clairvoyant powers (If Lucius.

The absurdity of his re~11ed]€s, made me doubt the faJc:t~ha.t my kidnEYs were diseased, fm' he s3ii.d i:n two claY:5 they were aswell ssever .. , his. e%pla.naUon and remedlesalways convinced me tha:l: I had uo sueh disease, and tbat my ~l1()ubh~s were of my o'ii'!l'nlDakG.~'

From th is dlssatlsfactten wllththe cures he had been practicing. Qtdmby deduced his guiding prluciple that ,< the

doctor makes the disease." -

- - - --- -

Quhnbyhad been practicing faUh-healing for twenty years before M my :BakerlEd.dy came to him to be cu [led. She was bem in mS21;. ber first husbandhad died and her second, a. travelling dentist and h.olno€QPacthic doctor, deserted ~le~o.\iVha't ]:5 described as <ian early spinal trouble" kept llerwn almost ecnstant pain. She was apparently cured by QuimbY'~ah~ougll the pain waa letei to ['e~ll:r:n-al1d became a. convert to hisfu~~y~dev€loped bel~efthat he had rediscovered the secret O[ healing as PIact~cedby Christ.!}~ Commentators are right ito stress the extent Q·f ~1ary Baker lEddy's. debt to Quimby's system; bu~ what they seem to have Cfv€r~ooled is exactly what that system might have been,

"ill th,e'w became a medium myself .. ." wrote QUim.by some time between. ill 852 and 1855. He w as able to retai n his own conscloasness, discovermg t~a[ the ~d.eas of his p.~tients~ecame visible in the forni of a vapor surrounding ~h~ir bodies, "Nowwh.e~ I sit down by 3! diseased person 1 see the spiritual form, in thi~ cloud, like a person driven out

·f ~,' Il - . n A ~ ,fi,1l' •• t- hi ,..... I- d to " .,.

(Ie ms neuse. . .. y rms pomr .' IS: :SPU']., starte to govern

Ul.e~rs> and Induced the patient 1:0 te~l him ofwher€ the trouble began.-the refel'ence being t09J. geographical Ioeatlon, because In Quimby's thought there had to be some ccnerete ]ll1cldent to cause the ]lb:1I8SS. Later mental healers

mi.~ht talk of "a traumatic experience .. " The cure consisaed ~n bringing t~e spirit of his patient away from fhep']a.'~e where the cause 0.£ the illness occurred. .' Some call ] ~ ~es~~rism]sQrne~pirituaJ~sm,'> ,There was, as. he saw it, lirt~e difference; and he olalmed that mesmerists as well as spirH mediums could be in eontacrwith the dead, 3J

.. roh"] ~h~$ eontext U is worth noting the Utle of Mary Baler E~~.~ S . firs~ . public lecture ', u. was on "p" P. Quim·by· s spltr']rnal Science ~le.aHng disease as oppo .. sed. to Deism or RJoch.este['"R~pping Spiri~nalism,'·3.1 In the minds of h~~' hearers ~.her€ w~s obv lousl y some eonfuslon, E,ut in J an u~:ry 18166~~1I~l1by dled,and. [h~waywasopen for his. disciple to adapt ~ns ideas to her own UHrig. There is no pobnt in detalling HU.:l preciseextent of Mrs. lEddy' s debt W Quimby or W other sources: the polnt Isthat n was Irnm the Iborclerland between . IV~! ... esmerlsm and Spirltualism th at Christian Science dedved Its lnspisation .. ·What Mary Baker Eddy seems to have done is to add glosses from whatever phj~,osQP,hies}he o()uM findto support dIe idefl. of "mind over matter. and empbasize heavily Quimby's notion~H it ha.d been QUimby's i~ the first plaoe-s-that he had redi~oove[1ed the SCri?tur~l. method of h,ead~ng,~' It is also possible that shehadlmbibed some of the Orientalist ideas in the New E:ng~;;!mlJ air. Of the Transcendentallsts she knew .Alcon and Emerson personally; but only the former took any reciprocal interest in her own teachings, 36 And like many another cult founder, Mary Baker Eddy WaJS unable to resist the temptations of Scriptural interpretetton, She even discovered in :th.e tenth chapter ef'Hevelaticns an angel (lom~ng: down fmrn Heaven, who prefigtlres"divine science. ' · ~.,

. Mrs. Eddy' s last years saw a renewal ofHlness,a.ndi the in~.~pt~on of trh.(}.s€ doetrlnal squabbles whtcb beset €verycu]t. She had .. to ~v.ear spectaeles •.. visit denttsts, and suffer kidney stones, Ag:.aulst dIe principles of" mind over matter' she was forced to take morphine to ease her pain, Her Inc:re'a:s]ftIg. debility she blamed on psychic attacks: and when her beloved third husband, Gj~bertE-ddy> dIed h11882 from


organic heart disease she announced In the press dlut he had been killed byarsenic which had been "mentally administered" by enemies in Boston. Similar aberrations within her Iollowtng were severelychecked, for example, one Josephine Woodbl!UY was expelled from the faith for claiming tha~ a child born to her was ilmmacu~,::lItely OODcelved .. Mrs. Eddy remained in control of the cult until her

death in l'910.,il'5 .

The career of Thomas Lake Harris provides an excellent example of how the diversity of revelation could ad upon one man. Harrls' s life may have appeared to himself to follow 91. coherent pattern. Indeed it does so, from the point of view ,of an. 'honest but dtreetlenless seeker setttng out to find his way in the wilderness. But the bewildering, thicket through which he thread ~d hisway is no less remarkable th an the coherent, if unappealing theology with which he emerged,

'fhomasLake Harris was born in England, but his parent's emigrated to America ~n ]828 when the child was five years old, His religious career began in 1845.wben be became a Universalist minister: an episode that lasted about 'twenty months. In 1847, ;Ea!S has belen mentioned, he became one of the group around Andrew N ackson Davis, But Harris broke with him over a scandal which concerned Davis' preaching of free love; and ended 'with the Seer of Poughkeepsie marrying Ithe middle-aged lady who had fj.~an.c'€Nj the publication of TheP'firtdpie,s oj N.atw'e.'~f~,S, B, 1BdUan, another member of the Davis group, contrived to persuade Harris that the poetic reveries which he frequently experieneed 'were inspired by splrits: and at the same time Ranis organized ,3" branch of~ the Swedenborgian Churcb of' the New Je'rusa.~em ]n New Yod~,. TheSwedJen~ borglans were at this time undergoing fission. Of t.he two major groups. one sect wa composed of philosophlcal radicals inspired by the dectrlnes of Robert Owen and Charles Fourier, and the other of Spirituallst elements, ]:0- clined to accept the t'€'91ch~ng of Swedenborg as revelation." Neither of these pleesed Harris, whose nest venture w:aS a

The: Lord's Anoiu~ed


sort of compromise between the two. From 1850 to 185{3 fue became one of the two directors of the Mountain Cove commumty of Spiritualists in Virgmnia, where he and his colleague acted as the medlums through whom the spirits transmitted directions for the colonists, "\i\'~th the fa:iJure .of Mountaln Cove; Harris returned to misslonary work for his own small schismatic body of Swedenborglans .. On a tour of England and Scotland he first announced his peoject of Iormtng a. societycafled the' ,., Brotherhood of ~he New Life" which ~a's' toconoern itself with thl€ Second Commg of the Lord, This was to take the form of the "reorganization of the industria] werld."!'

The ,ex.~raJ.ord.~na..:ry community of '<the Use" which Harris establlshed first run New York, subsequently on dle shores of Lake En > finaUy in California, was the result of thDs deetsion. Her' life was led in accordance with Harris' personal theology, gathered in part from Swedenborg, in part from Andrew lackso:rJJ Davts, with addinons of his own, such as his doctrine of th e f.~ir]es. or · 'fays' r.:» such ~nf~nlite.s:ima l germs of the human race as are not yet received into the (human) auras and procreated in natural-human forms.":" The members; o[ the Use were disciplined by various disagreeable tasks. For example, Hanis's most famousdisciple, Laurence Oliphant, the son of rich and titled parents, and himself Member of Parliament for Stirling boroughs, was made to' look alter cart-horses, and '~O peddle food on trains which stopped at- the local station." Attention has often been directed to the supposed sexua! irregularltles preached by both Harris and Oliphant. Beyond saying that the theory derived from the Swedenborgian idea of every :man_ or woman havi[[lg a divine ., counterpart" or predestined male, and had also been peeaehed by Andrew Jackson Davis, there is little point in entering the controversy. '11, There [5 more relevance in asking why the accusations were made,

In 1875 Harris moved to Califumla, and shortly afterwards Oliphant seceded, as did all the members of the colony on Lake Erie. This was the signal for' a new depar-


lure in Harris" thought The prophet now became interestedjn Orientalla, in Freemasonry, and in .• esoteric wisdom." A certain Adept Andonai of the Seer t Brothers of the' New Life· brought' hi.ma. fresh revelation: and by Ncvember 18B4~e hed written a book called TluJ' Wi~dom oj the ~dep;ts:Es'Oterl(; Science in Human HutOfY, with the avowed aim of oombattjng Theosophy."

. Thomas Lake Harris is wmportant In suggesting to what lengths syncretism could go:: his theology wasculled from dtverse sources and was his personal answer to the problem of faith. U was far from being the most exotic. "

Fro:m the extremes of the Protestant assertion of tile right to bebev,€); whatever he ehocses to' those of the' Cathollc reaetion is perhaps toO' great ,a step. The contrast can be made more comprehensible by a brief survey of what wasafcot ][1 Christian England .. Here there had been a. bd,ef outbreak of MiU~naria_nism inspired by Edward Irving. But aftet' the death of the: notable preacher in l884 the fire wentout of hlsmevement, and no more' were heard the prophesyings sud the speaking with tongees which had charactenzed ]t 'in its heyday, H~s followers drifted nearerand nearer the do<C'~:!~.nes ,of that High A.ng]ieanismodSwhieh was the most notable response of the Chtist~an mind in England to the crisis"

The beginnings of th - Tractadan 0[' Oxford Mov~m€nt ar~ usually dated to' the famous sermon preached in 1833 by John Keble before the Judges of Assize in Oxford], and enUt~ed "Natlonal Apostas.y,," In part a reaction against the enormities of the 18th-century Angheen Church, in part an attempt [0 stabllize fhe threatened position of [hal very Church. t~e: Movement given its impetus by Keble's sermOD ~s a. g(ji(ld example o:f how reHg~ous attitudes were determined by events .. In one aspect U was an overt reaction against Liberalism, a word as yet scarcely used" and a sentiment viewed with dark suspicion by those who bad €n~ countered i r.


m~ was aJO attack on Christianity its. If.ltt believed th<fl,t rational intelligence, education, and cfvlllzationwould cure all the evils iilnd~ sorrows of mankind. Its stflndar,d was "theordinary expenence (;)if the man in the strnet"[t had no use for reverence awe, my_:stid~m, Its sph'it had burst out in infkle:l fury at th~' ~]"encb ReVloiutioon, b~d it WSiS at work more quietly at tbis time HI lecture rooms of Getman universities, unknown as vet' to Englishmen, s~ve to two sbange]y well-lnformed scholars"Ml'" H. J. Rose and Ml'" E. 11 Pusey."

.,_ Ioanotb.e~ ,a:s.pedjt~e. Oxford Movement was the product of Bomanticism, the ubiquitous creature which can equally well be associated with the Liberal challenge: With the ,:ratctar~rDis t,he rom_a~Uc appeal was chiefly that ()f escape intoan u:I~~]"l'Zedl Mid.dIe Ages when ehe fai~h had reigned supreme. Mmg]ed with this escape there was present an element of Bomanticlsm in its homocentric form:: a reemph~is on personal mysticism deriving on the one hand from France (Boaald and de Maistre), and on the other hand from the Co H~gh Romantic poetry of Colerldge."

. The curio:usly _ w~lJ - informed scholar, Pusey> togeth er with two other Fellows of Ode], R. H. Froude, and the famous John Henry Newman, began to lssuaa series of Tracts jor the !j'me's to air their point of view, The Movement gathered support and ~ndefatigable workers like Charlotte Mary Yonge.who issued 160 separate books designed. to convey the attitude of the reformers to the youthful and the uneducated .. 4!l The 15m" th of ritualism a-nd practices ~,~socja~ed wlth the Roman Church gave rise to fe,ar~ that th.e Oxford Movement was leadmg a large section of the Anglican Communlon back into the arms. of Rome, ~h€' oonvlerS]'?D of N~,~manto C~tl1o]ic]sm d~d nothmg to lessen dlesefears,,~{" Neither did that of Robert Hugh Benson, sonof the A.rchbishop of Canterbury .. Prosecution and p~rsecuti.on 'foUo'w,e~; and numbers of the Anglo-Catholic hut~fu~ left the Anglican Ch~rch for 'RoOml€ 001' the Irvingites or the Plymouth Breth ren ,.",1 Others somehow remained within it, de spite almost Incredible eccentricities of beli~f.

Of. those; who trod warily between Romesnd Canterbury, perhaps the most intriguing are those w]],(1 attempted to found monasteries. From 1837 onwards there were various attempts ~,oestablis.h monastic life in the Church, of England. and n Is interesting that the Pre-Baphaelite Brot11edl0ocl Itself had at H~·sta. rdigiom: complexion. Edward. Berne- J oneswas ]mp,~essed eal~~Y in his Bfe by a, vlslt to [I. community of Clstercians in Leioestershire: and it Is possible ~hat the idea of the Brotherhoodgrew out of fasdnaH.on with ·91. eommanity of religious artists established in 'Rome by ithe German painters, Ccrneliusand Overbeck But re~igious asplraUon.s became a,€stheUc-ln the 19thcenbury tb~y were never far apa!!'t-rundthe Pre-Rapl!!£l,;elHes made a different sort or escapefrom the world of Victorlan rationalism to that of the cloister."

In .lli863. J os~ph Lynne founded his monastery" Better known as , " Father I grl:ati us of Llanthony," dl.i.s sel fappointed 'BeI1ied],cU:oe has to his . credit t~e possib]y m~['acu~Qij!s cure of a dying horse and an i~f1e:dble beUef that the world was fIat W His last survlvlng monk, Father Asaph, believed in the Flat-Earth theory truU the d~.y orhl~ death in 1 959. ~'1 In lliag6 Aelred Carlyle formed another commu nUy of Benedietines which in 190 I moved to Csldey Island off the Pembrokeshire coast. In ll9]3 he and. most G,f b]s community were converted to Roman Cathelleisrn, Carlyle was throughout his Mfa interested i:11 occultism; the p1lJblica~iol):S of the Society for Psychical Research ]nter·es.ted him keenly> and 'he was convinced that at the funeral ()if his slater h,e had seen her astral body detach. itself gradually from the eoffin and no~d away."!> Sud} beliefs demoi[js~i':ate that the oocult revival could 'Often go hand in hand wuh Ch rlstlan con '(fictions! althoughadmittedl y both Aetred and llignatius ·are extreme 'examples .. Mote. Qrdu)dox _ were the "Cowley Fathers"-th,e Society of Saint Jo~~n the Evangelist (founded in 18J65 in Oxford], or its offshoot, the comm urn Hy of the ReSlllrrecU(!t~a!t M ir:BeM in Y mks hi re (1892), But having said thts, it should be noted that It W. Felkln, a practieing magiclanand chief of the magical order

ofthe S~ena MahJ.u~a-~n offshmJt of dle Golden Dawn =-went to New Ze9t~and, ][1 or shortly after Hn2~ probably at the instigatlon of a Mirfield Father, a member of 11Jis Order" who had co~nbh)ed missionarywork in the Anttipodes, with

propaganda for ritual magic, $G .

Another orga.n]'zaUon which }lad more than till, .nodding aequaintanee with Roman Catholicism was Dr. Frederick Lee's Order of Corporate Reunion, In t~e summer of 1877, Lee-s-who was rector of All Saints, Lambeth-s-wasrebaptized. wull two other priests,lhe WSI.S received into the episcopate by a mysterfous triumvirate ofbishop:s somewhere near V,€nice,5, The Archbishop of Mil3lJ1 was aotl vely in V[) I ved and Pius nx was Pe'fS uaded to tu rn a b]~nd eye to. these proceedings, The object seems to have been to establish a number of AngU,c:an clergymen with orders valid aJ.t Rome .. At any rats, in the same year as his: eonsecrstien, Lee proclaimed the Order formally and! "theatrically" on the steps of St, Paul's .. Theappeararme. Iater that year. of the Ret~nion M,ag,azi:ne raiseda storm about the heads, of Lee and his colleagues-c-one o.f whom, aneeclesiastlcal adventurer named Mossman, had rucb,llaHy once written a tract to prove Hurt the primiti;ve mgan~zat]on of the Church had. been Presbyterlan. The Ol-der survived for SOn1€ six y~a.rs. whereupon most of its members submltredte Rome. Lee was himself reeel 'lied! into the Roman Church by Cardinl~ Manning. 'who travelled! to, Lincolnshee [.0 be present a~ 11]s death-bed."

Th·· . f"'· ·f 'L' . ,." "..1 . 'L •... hd i R" .,.

ne quesnon a. . ~e S omers nemg vauc at nome

raises the problem of the crop of wanderfng bishops and clerical mavericks wh:iJch arose at this period, Some slgrDJ.ifica.nce must be attached to theirproHferaUol1 at preeisel y this point ~.1I1 time, There was a frie nd of Lee, for example, Bicherd C. J acksQu, who ~~.s desoribed as being at one time the Prior of "a somewhat amateur monastery" in tffite OM Kent Ro~d~ a friend ofWGlher fa~er-~nd.eed Ja:ekSQWl claimed to have been the inspiration fer Mariu$ the Ep'l'cu-rean-and w~o styled hJwse]:f "Richard, Archprelate of ~be Old Catholic Religlon,"511' From. Lee to j'a.ckslon ~S9t



short step. What r]g,~t dUd such :g,en~ry havet0 call themselves pr~Je;sts? The short answer is that some of i~hem had every ri~ht ; for in. t~].e Boman Cburch it is held that a bishop cannet be deprived of his eplscopal powers even if he is exeommenieated for siome m:a.joi.f ofllf'8!l]JSe. It ~Ii)]lows that b€ can gtm eensecrateothee b~shops. whose orderswill be ~ech[lJicaHy valid; hence thaJ he can indeed s~art up his private branches of the Chureh atwm. ~Q Tim resulthas been the emergence cf a .SG.!'t o:r "Catholie Protestantism" in which. scMsmaUcs can make noasense of eanon law.

In thts way, when In l7M.8 HIe majority {If the Dutch clergyrefused to acknowledge a papsl bull ccndemnlng [ansenism and consequently len ehe Catholic Church, their orders remained valid .. 61 'they formed the ., Old Cadw.~i,c Church," and U was 'G€irardJ Gu~, the old Catholic Ardlb~;S.~op of Uh,ecnt, who, in .[908 consecrated Anlo~d M.athew.6;f Mathew was an enrertainlag character w 110 had once been a Dominican; but he renounced Rome in favor of the moreattraetive s~a:ndi:ng of '" Count Provo led d~ V~Qell1~ za, De J ure Ear] of Llandaff,' which Ude he coupled to the Old CatholicBishcpric of El'Thgland. Among his explnitswas an aHemI?~ to set up :a zo.)~t Br~gh~on, It "V®lS through Mathew that Leadbeater of the 1'~l.eofSophi.caJ. Society obtained his Bishoprle, FO!l" Mathew's tiny church soon secededfrom the Dutch Old CathoUcs.and by tll!e beg~nn]ng of the lFlr"St Wor~d 'War had become seriously infected. with Theo/sophy. T~·e responslbillty for this state o:faffaks was

that of J ames:W wo,od.who had In hts 'youth been a

dlevout Anglo-en ic, smd f·or some time had stayed WiUl

Aelred Carlyle's community of Benedictlnes. From ill9H-1S he had acted as Genem~. Secretary (If the Theosephica] Soc]e~y ~n England. 'But ill the latter year the longing for ithe pdesth!Dod~ overcame him, .rtnd Mathew was persuaded to ordain him, By 1!9]0 Wedgw'()od was a. Bi.shOip~91ncl he set sail :for Sydney that summer.wl!1ere he o[~dJaj:ned. Leadbe~rter:~ The control. of the Hule ehu.rdl ~henoeC" forward rested securely in dIe ~an~s or the Theosophists;. for ~n lli915 Mathew ~lad denounced the blasphemous doc-

trines of the Order of the Star III the East, d]ssolved his episcopalchapter, and submitted him~H3U M !Rome .. &!

Several ]e-ssons can be learned from this esplaaatkm o[ Leadbeater' s Brushopric. Flrst, that among the Clergy of the C}~lJrch of E~gIand proper, there 'Was in the early years; of tMs century a measurable ]nterecst in Theosophy and. matters OCCA;]Jt. There was therefore shock among :tv'~f1lh€'w's small scbismatic body when. their archbishep condemned such beUds:. Peter Anson notes several examples (yf Theosophy in the pu~pH:. For example, the Bev .. W. F. GeHde- Cobb of St. Ethelburga's, . B~shop~gate~ com bined Tl1eosophicQ:~ teachings with •. the richest Qf A:ng~o~Cat~lOHc ceremonial." 'fhe Rev. L. W. Fearn attrad0d~.~rge audlences at St. John" slWestminster, with his exposition ,of reincamatienist doddne.~ Further, i~ can be said tha:tt a des~re fOil' st!:litu5~comb]:n,ed with a propensity to issue bogus tit]es-is; s. common feature In this type . of eQdes~~s~ica.l adve:i:1!ttJiring,~" This manifest insecurity is a~S!o typica~ of Qocu~Usb .. Aga~~n~ that the most weathercock-llke transf~gur.8ilions can overtake the inhabitants of ehese r-egions, Thus Joseph Vilatte, ordained in l885, by t~e Old C~tlm~~c Bishop o~ Switzerland, twice becemea Methodist~ once s. C()!Ilgreg.atj.onaJ~s;t M]nis~·€.r. twice ,I plain Presbyterlan, and was f·QfuJ Urnes: reeelved b:acl int~lihe Cltholic Church.5.j

One general mora]: t~3.t although these clerical twistiags and tw~nlings may seemtheeavorting of a few eccentrics, they slJOW the lmpHcit tendencies ofa romantic apcpn).a:dl to r,e~~g.ion, Such. developments ere so lnextrlcably mingled wl"~h those o[ the occult :rev~:val that :it is not possible to tell the two .apart

.. It ls fo:~bidlde]] to/ read t.hls prefaee, llJ.[ldler penalty of exoommunteatien." This rubric stands at the head of the preface eo the second edition of Alexandre Erdan' s La France My.~t'iq:tu];.!3fo; The first edition had been rather strangely condemned ~J\ October 18:5'0 fog: affronting the

Catrh~~ic religion. It is not dear whether this was because of Erdan's lmpljeit agnosticism, or because of bts temerity jn cataloguing ~he numerces sc&'lls,matic occult and religicus bodies of 'Pads, For there was a growth of exotic belief ]0 1119th-cent~.ry Francs that far outweighs in mterest and ulitimate signifkanoe any man~festatio.!lls 0:( the crisIs ill.

Ame:riilca. Of Brtta) n. .

The Age of Beasen b.ald wEl].g:hed! more and moreheavily 0,[\ the Roman Catholic C:bJmch, wh],ch looked back (as did the AllgJo-Catho]ic) to an id!ea~ pre-Befermatton past, The d~nerenoe was. tha~ for the Anglicans t~is: was a false Ro[}],~nnci;Sm, a y,eamingfQra p~st non-exlstent in their t.radUion which was best met by union wlth Rome. FOf the Reman Churc~. the days before the fending of the seamless robe of Christ were it llea1Uy;[mdi the fathers of tJ:H~: Church saw only too clearlythat they were bcing In a. more fuUydeve[oped form the challenges which had met them during the days ,~)f the Reformation., This ]s bow the situat].on was seen by the Vatica.n Cannel] of 1870-the first Council regarded by the Church as ecumenical sino€: the C01!DJndl of Trent':

No Or1Le~5; ignoran t th.a,( the heresies proscribed b:y the Fathers; of Trent, by whieh the divine maglsterium of the Ch.UIC~. was re] ected .• and an m atters rega rd lng lfe~lgion we!:'€: SU rrendered to : he j u dgm. en t ,of. each: ifl:cl:i~ i.d u~.t :g. lad ually be. ("fl. ,m. e d .... i.ss.oh;ed mre many Sleets, which disagreed and contended with one ~Ul!Olt1~el'> untllat len,gth IiI,Of 11 few lost aU faith in Christ Even the E'[.oly Scriptures, whteh had previously been declared the sole source and judge OI Christian doetrina, begen to be. held no ionger 01,5 dlv j ne, but to be' ranked among the fiOUW1S of

mythology, .

Then. there arose, andtoo widely overspread theworld, that dnctr]l.1f; of [,:llti0nn~j~m,or namrallsm, whicboppos'8S its:eU Jn eVBry w~y to the Chr~st~~n relig]om :aJS a supernatural insfltutical, and works with the utmost zeal in order dl<i!t'. ahe!:' Christ, OUI: sole Lord and S~viour'. bas been. e~dud.ed. from the minds of IDIi;lI1, :!!Inc;] from file []:fea.nd moral acts of 11l:il!tion:s, the r~jg[l of what they call pure l1E:iflSO'.I.1i or nature may be eshl.bl.~sheit .And after for$a~dng: and rejecting the Ch[]stialn rellgicn, ~md de!lY~

ingthe true God ll]]d hLs Gh.ri.st, the mjnd,,; of Il".!aoy have sun~ mto the abyss of Pantheism, Md~I.'i~lism, and Ath~isl'lIl. unti], clenyifl:g fill, tiona] ]:I:fl[U re Ib;:eU, and every sound ful.€) [if I~'.~g:ht. they labor to desnoy the deepest foundatlcns ·of hu:mamsociety.

Unhappily, it has yet further come to pass that, whw]e this impiety prevstledon ecV'ery s]de>manye'lle~ of the cJdldr€n olf the Cadlo1~c church. have strayed from the path of true p~et)', and 'by the gradual dhninuUon of the truths they held, the Catholic sense became wea.kened! in. them. I>Ij

The Pope and his advisers were r~ght The same problems faced them as at Trent-the n;l,deHnition or the one holy and unalterable truth,

T~e Ch UJ~!h could not ad mit any 'CQmpt10m i~e ~ ~f she h~d been wrong once, everyatom of her teaching might as well bef'alse" Her ploH.cies were '~r8!:diUonal: for the same problems, the same remedies, She would :D .. ecentuate the spl ri tua~ elemen ts in rellglon jan-d reafH nn the rock of dogma. There was one God> and Peterwas b]s vicar 'On e~:r-1t'h.,. When the Pope spoke ",ex clat.hedra~ that is.when In discharge . of the of:fice of pastor and. doctor of an Christians~"''''~ he was tnf,aRib~e. Six years before, Pius MX in his rD.ofroriou:s S:Vllabu:s .oj En-:ors had s~[gmatized the pr]n~ cip~,~ errors of the day. By categorjes, Haese were faJlthei$m~ N.ahlr:aJism" and Absolute RaUonalism; Modem R9!~io:na]tsm: E ndifferen tisman.d La ttl ttldinar~ansim; Socialism, Communism, Secret Sceieties, Biblical S,oci~t~~.s, ClenecLibera] 8oc~eUes j and errors eoncerning the Churdl. S ociety, and Moral and Et'hica[ Standards.'! In this manner) Rome ranged herself squarelysgatnstsny trends in so-cie~y which could be labelled «' rationallst, , , < <' scie]].tjfjc/' or

"progressive.' She had no choice, Nevertheless the situat~OI1l created by Pius nc s proncuncemant Icaused such consternation tha.t the: Bishop ,of Orleans was forced to expla]n~with quaUf~ed papal appH}yal~t1)at Pius had been talking of the perfect sod,ety, not of what m~gltt be peactical Of!' even just to heal' in mind In ~he exercise Olf: God's ministry ... For th~rus charitable offioe) the 1IEUs]}op received the written t~anks of 630 fenow-b]shops.,'7~'

l'hie offloial proclamation in 1870 of the doctrine of Papa] infallibilityeame as one shli;ge in a process, lD the Sy.llabu8 ,of Errm'8 n had been anathematized as error ,~hat ,. the Roman POllNff can 31[!1d O!llglTht to reconcile himself to, and agree w~th, progress, liberalern, and! clvilizatlon as late- 1y tnrreduced."> And wen before that date the Papacy had set about promoting a rebirth of popular piety that m~ght ·[9Ilke men> s minds off: socialism and material progress, The Agent of the revival. wasto be the Blessed Virgin, whose popula.rity had already been use!ful In d1J.e d~H'k days after

the French Revolutlcn, when h~r f€suv~J began to be celebrated throughout Europe In May~"Mary's month" -in opposition to the spring festival commemcrattng the overthrow of the Bourbons." The cult o,f t~e V~rg].fDJ received :f.r€sh pap.~,~ encouragement during the pormtHicate of Gregory xvm (1,fml~46). who promised Indulgenoesto those who wore medals in honor of the Immaculate Conception, gave the Dominicans permlssion to U,8lS the word "Immaculate' In the preface ~o the Mass of the Blessed Vbg~n: and the Pope hunself, wmth.~ cholera epidemic at Us .he~gh[ ~n R,{)we" led ;lj; .p:r:oceSS1QD tbroughthe streets cauying a por~r.aH of the Madonna ath:ihuted to St Luke, ~~ Under Plus IX ("tllile Romantic on the papal Hlwne",5} the dogma of the IIlH'nJ~cul~~e Coacepnon was finally proclaimed, The vast ~a]orHy of bishops to whom the qtle:stio:l]! was put approved of the steprand on 8 December .lli854. the f~rst Feast of th.e Immaculate GCH;'J!C€!pUon was emotionally celebsared in St. Peter's with ~he Dean of the College of Cardinals fHng.~,ng hJmseH at the Pope' s fe.et.~' Against dM3; bac~gl~ound of eontinuing Mari.olatry~wUh lPl,US X (1900,- 14) Mal1'y~the .' corredemtrlx," was held! up as the best ~)e~ns of knowing Christ-the popular and instinctive f] ~ght from reason found expression in a new age ,of the

miracalous, .

Exactly what ~mportanoe to g i vie to the superna tnralm the Christian religion has always been a thorny question. It is notortous tbat the Catholic Ch IJ] [l,'ch. has always [0 tread ca.f1efuJly in authentleatlng miracles. The process of

canonlzaticn may take centuries, This digp~a.ys a proper caation, and ]$ ~n a sense more ]ogic~d than theattitude orf those Gh~]s[~ans who claim thattheir GOld hadwithdrawa himself and ]].0 longer interferes directly with the ,"vorkings of his creation. But even this sceptical acceptance o:f the ml!l"aculQlus brings. problems, It mwght surprlse no one ito hear that :[ie~igious ecstatics have, 1[1 the distant past often been reported to have been. ]~hed abov,€: the ground in tbel_li' transports of joy; but it is i3i.1UUe startling ~o discover a ~a.rge number of such ]evUatiQns reported illl the 19th century, In 18S16., Joseph Benedset Cottelolsngc olf Bra was: observed raised above the ground while ghring thanks for his d€l~verance from an attack in the street, He was bead Bed in un 7. Mary 'Mag:dalenPoste] died ~:n 1846 and was eanonized in, 1925" Levitation was also replotted-she ~ad also been b::]epo:rted to visit her oonfessor ,du.ri.ng the !French Bevoluticn, To choose among other examples: Saint John M.ary Bapeist V~anney,. the 'Cure of Ars, M.}r€ cl!~ 'BO<I!1.rg, the founder of the Sisters of the Saviour o~ the Blessed Vll'giIDl., and Sister Mary of J eS!J:S Crudfied~a.!i"e all said to ~:ru~~W€~ experlenced ecstatic levitation, Mere du Bourg's humilltywas such tll.at she herself was embarrassed by these occurrences. and would gra b at her p1'ie~.Dieu tiO prevent her elevation, Sjs~er M.ary·expedemced her nrs~ levitarion in fiS1S. Whilst in a convent at Pau she would "Instantaneousjy" climb trees, and perch in the: top "Hke a bird.' Once she was Sellen passing from one tree-hlp to another. Her Prioress was undlerstandably armoyedand would order her to come down, There is no reason to doubt t:h,at d'lese levitations were S'e,en to take plac-e; but it is also possible that occasions of G)Il.~ tremestresscan well produce reports Q'f such phenomena" For exampleva French. Dominican was seen levitated by one of th€ survIvors of the wreck of the N.ewJouncUa1itd minutes before the ship sank ~n 18918.':11

The problem is not to dedlW€ some theory to account for [,€v]t.fI~iQ:ns> but merely to indicate that miracles, if not necessarily expected, were in the. ill 9t h cen tury ve ry mueh a. living p®Jd of the Roman Carholie tra:diUon, W'.haf could

be more natural thaIDI tbat a popular reassertlon of tradiUonal[le~igious beH,€(ms should mat[}jfestrutse~:f rnn conneetocng the supematural with dlt;: papally sponsored cult ()f the VirgIn Mary,?' The fIrst_ of ,iEJ series of visitatlons tool place in fads in lliS30, with the apparition of the VirgIn [0 Catherine Labnure in the Rue: dn Hac. In 1842 a Jew, A~phonse-l'obie Ratisbonne, was visHed by the V]r~in in Rome, with the result that he founded an Order for the conversion of memhers of his former fa[th. In l84J3j M,~arnne Cal vat r~eeived a visitation al La Salette where t~e Vh~g]n revealed an cmlnous secret to d~e young shepherd,ess,,1 n 185gj the most f.aJn10I!1S of the apparitlons took place at Lourdes, VIi' here Bernadette SQiJ!.l h~IOl!JS: was seen by large audiences to carryon conversations 'with someone ~nvisib,]e to t~em. The series wascontinued in 1871 with the apparmon or the Virgi.n 'hJ three chilclrreuat Pontmaln, in the diocese of Laval aI'JJd ,<9igairu large numbers ·of people watched the visioneriesas they described 'what they saw. unfold in the sky above them. It may or may not be s]g,nlnca.n~ that tbe Prussian armies; were appreaelung atthettrne; and that H1Je next day the conquering Germans in fact reached the .," .hh rrh ·dl .11

ne],g .. [JOr. .. 00 "

However, apparitlensdld not llmit themselves to those given offici9lJ recognition or ~adUy approved, by the Catholic Chu['ch.Wa~es ill August and September ill880 wltnessed apparitions of the Virgin III dle cornmunjty of Father Ignatius at Llanthony, There is some possibiHty~a slight one-that one, but not .aHof tbe apparitions, could have been produced by a m9!g~c lantern,. This ex.pla.Jr],at~.on. was that pr,ef,ened by the Catholio elm reh " alternattngwtth that of simple halluctnsttoa. Father illgnaUus unintentional].y ef:fec~,ed a miraculous cure by sending to t~le nuns of a sister foundation at Slapton a rhubarb leaf from the site of CH1€' of the apparltiens, A crippled member OF th!€l sisterhood was made we]]}iID Once more in France, in 189!6, various apparltions OF the Virgfn occurred ~n ,~he Calvades; for example" that of l8 Ma.rchwllilen M,~l!:rY appeared. on apale pink


cloud beside a tall elm tree. Now these were apparently undeniable and wldely-wltnessed apparitions; but, as one writ'Elr put it, "fhey seem to have escaped. from the holy" catholic and apostolic church .. '>~1 Despiee .[jj 'miraculous cure attributed ~!Q the holiness of the JEhu Tree, a.!Dld. ithe setting up of a. statue of the Immaculate Conception by a grateful :fa'lTIj]y~ the Chur-ch as a whole locked askanceat these ar-· fairs ..

There was good reason for this. The :a.ppa,rit~ons were stwngR~t assoctated in the elerical rmnd with the he~~Uca~ ,eurut of the "pl'1ophet oif Tilly;" Eug:e~e V~:ntra5 (ill807-7!5). The Calvados was riddled w~[h this helreg.y, Alth.ough by las's, the days of the celt's greatest popularity W€'[",€' over, the memory oif widespread aposta!:sy W~! tOi(l fresh lin the der](~al mind to enable It to accept as authentic evenen app~dNon seen by ]10 ~e8s than sh: v~Ua,ges., Thisattit ude had ear~ie~ been decided by the, affair of Rosette Tamisier, ., Her'Imtracles ~lad. had no ~eferenc-e to the Virgin M:ary~ the chief :5U!pernatUlJaJ occurrence was the miraculeus st~eam 0:£ b]oocl which ~$suedfmm the picture of 'Christ above fhe .a:~tar when Rosette was present jn ber local church. But at ~hi'5 timeany report of the sort from Vin~ra;SJ~ tainted N ormandy was highly suspect. Despite the local p:Hs:dmage!s and the great ]uter·est: or the Paris press, Rosette's reward WaJS an ,effecH ve rnmpdsonm.en t of fi~teen mon tbs and the refusal of Communion for the rest of her Hfe" Before.her t,wial in 185.1 rhe g,n~a[ preoccupation had been to H,[fruk Rosett.€ and Vintras, The t rlal i tself sa VI' aleoture by an Abhe Anclna: on t~le Vintras cult which was, very ]~tde to the point, The Vintrasian Abbe Charvos wrote HuH between. Bosetteand dIe prophet of Tiny there was anny the conneettonwlnoh allworks of God have wUh O]'!JJ€, another." Besides showing tb:€ tradUiOWlal caution of the Catho]~c Church, the incident demonstrates ~ba:t a revival of popular plety was takin:~. place which had. no necessary conneetien with·the Church oiE Rome at a~~, although it mi.gl'JJt manlfest n.seli tlliIrollJlgh the same imagery,. This development .might


The, Octi:al~ Undergrmmd

owe somedling to the Counter-Ratloneltst po~~cy of Ro:mej but more Hke~y was.an Independent response to the crisis of consciousness experienced by so many,

Eugene V~ntraJ.s~ t~en~ wasda]]lgerous, W~a,[ did he representf For the moment a. full discussion must be postponed, but rn.t can be said s~ rai,ghta,way that his church, ~he Oeuvre de fa MiS:6ricOfde~theW,ork of Compassion=was associated with other man lfesta ttons of insecurity, both .- -;t'-'-'l- and oracti _c'!1 whiehw r- '1·- l'k"n . th mselves ,i;c·l,t emo .. mna an .. _ p~aC'~lc.<l\~, .... ue " . e.€: ma~J __ g_AW€m:s€o, es 1€! .

as part of the general Cll'ls].s..S.~ 1111 the context of the Chrlstian response w this crisis, it is convenient here to treat Vintras sim.p'~Y as aheresiarch, wllicll l.S: 1I1.0''\\' 111l:5 enemies saw him. His {DWn narrative (If the beginnings of his feU,glous career starts wUh the banal and rises to ~he apocalyptlc. One evening he was hurryIng to fDnj,sh hiswork-· he was the foreman of the cardboard-box fac~ory~.t Ttlly-sur-Selne-> ill order to go to M..ass. An. oM ma.[[ knocked ath]s door, erlnged s!J]!it,ably! and made begging noises ... Vintras gave him some money, but did no~ 8eeh·i'm. leoo>e the home, and failed to find hlrn hiding outside, The ten SOlIS he had given the old man he found ~yru[!g on Dl.S wrRi,ng-taMe. A further P1!.lJzzH.[ag f.ad was that ~he old man had a:dd[lcssed hnnas "PierreMichet"ahhough. his mal name was Eugene. It was as Pierre-Mlchel that he Vilas to be known during his: mh:iJJistry. unttl 18fa, w'~e,~ ~le took the 'title "Strathanie]," meflln:ing "herald of God,"

His friends advisecll him to vislt a wise woman of some reputation, a Mme ... Bouche, wlro l~ved in Paris, Vintrss travelled ~iQ Parls, and on his way to Mme. Bouehe's address in the P]ac€ St. Sulplce again met the old marl. During his interview with the sibyl, 'I:'~e sf ranger appeared fora '~hird tlme his b odv glowing with a strange light. a· ... ~I """"" ]ji~li",e··~

Il." :~ ,'" .. - .. _ -J __ "' .... 1_:: ,_,,!!., .~_ !i) .. ,. _ J ,~' ~:_", "']'l ._J..I,U l'!I'~,.;:co ,"'~~jll,.;,u,

above dw ground. He revealed himself as the archangel Micha·el S·eV'€r8.!~ other visitations were made to V]otra:s ineluding, eveneually, Christ, Mary:, and SL Joseph" It seemed that terrible things were prophesied, before the Colden Age would dawn, ,On one occasion. M..ichae~ appeared to

Vintras outside Parls, dubbed the town the "new N.ineveh," and told him ~o behold: "1 saw great number o'f flames surrounding r.aJJis, and heard an innumerable multitude of cries, of which somewem'To arms!' others 'Fire,

f"'l-J' ."'!:H

He .. ".

N ow there is a remarkable simllarity between the prophecies made to Vlntras and those more OFthodoxly 'CO]l~ neeted, Among the revelations ,c(ln~'ailled in the Secret of

M···'·l·-', . IC.'-~V:.I.\:v' ·-t)· - !-·-t .~~ ···t .'. TIIOC:AI T -·.r:.. ',d' I .-

L e. alne ' .. a~, _ e ~ . as : 1Ie ]"a:c ~ua., ] n Jl·OV'::l: ..... uc~~e[ all.. ~

great number .of demons would leave Hell to destroy the faith of human beings on earth. l'~le Virgin had told the dlnd~hak the WDC-.l'ea:s·e of impiety and the nen-observence of the Sabbath had so angered her Son Chri;s,t that she would not be a ble to .stray h is: ~a nd much longer, ~('. Six years previously Vintraswas lnfonlled that Raphael had a~rea:dy left Heaven to administer chasttsement, that Paris-Njneveh would he punished wnh London-Babylon. He was also told that the Virgi:n had never ceased to. pray for humanity, and the truth or the Immaculate Coneeptton-c-sttll not proclaimed as dogma-was revealed. ~IO Widesprceacl am::i.ety seems 'to have existed. about changes in menand society, and no d!oubt orthodox Catholic and. Vlntrasian aHkee;,:·· p€rCted. the "rerrible exploslen' which Vintras predicted as "th . ] f IT 1]"

t ·.8 signa '0'. rie s

The Icomp~e); theology evolved by "Pierre-Michel" depended to a large extent on the redeeming power of the V]Igtn, His Sacrljtce Promctimal cie Marie was a rite designed to cleanse maw of his: haJ.rmful contamination by the material world, The Sacri:fi'ce de la.Gloiu: de Melchuedech wasa. preparation. for the' New Age to come, when the members of :the "Carmel," the e~lect followers of Vintras, should reap the bene/fit of their laboring to expiaJe the sins of the world. ~'I! But his most sensational feat was the produetion of qua.ntaies of bleed iug hosts upon. his altar-RIchard GwHfith.:s, records ta;~kiil]g wnh a g.entlem:a.n who had been shown a chest full of ~h€s'€ relics preserved run a Vin~rashln chapel until just before the Seeond World War .. 1i~ H has.


The ODcult Und'e1'ground

been suggested that the doctors who examined Vmtrasian hosts and pronounced the stains to be real blood were decei ved by ~ rest-eolcred mold ,,'bieh u nder certain eondltions wm form on wheaten wafers. ~ But whether or not thls is the case. the miracle fits directly Into the pattern of contemporary piety. Mira:des notwithstanding. the Bishop of Bayeux condemned the Oculvre de la, Mi$ericorde in 1841; and the following year Vintras was imprisoned on a trumped-up charge O'ffra:ud .. On hils re~e9J:se from prison he spent some time jn England befor,e returning to France, where he made hls base InLyon.a city hospitable to many stra.WI!ie religJons.



Miracles were tlU1-S: no monopoly of Rome" and the new Cathollc Counter-Beformatton must be seen in Us proper setting .. It is signiflcant that the return of the miraculous to r,engious life ln Europe occurs at the same time as the Spiritualistf\eve]atio:ns began to spread .. The latter cult has already been ,eharact,er]'Zed ,as a primUtv~e development, a return to ancient necromancy. The evidences of popular piety nn the 1'9th century 'were no ]ess. primttwe, On rhe one band" there was a Christian doctrine; 0111 the other, a blatant seeking, for a sign. N owhere isthis more true than ~n ~'ile sequence of apparitions of the Virgkl1. Of these Lourdes, with Us cult of healing, is most ·0£ all concerned with the

1-- .', l si l1IS.

malena_, _lg, . . _

The most important fad about Lourdes is tb.iIli.t the visions Q·f Bernadette led to the d~:Sicovel'Y of a spring of water with supposed~'Y healing properties .. It is the I?-ature of Lourdes that it ls Eli place of pilgrimage for the sick, rather than a shrine commemorating ;9. single miracle. The Grotto wher~ the apparltions had occurred had in f,act been ba:rrie~ded .off ~n response to local opinicn.when the Prince Imperialof France-His Imperial Highness Eugene-Louis-jean-joseph Napoleon, born two years before the Virgin appeared to Bemadette-swas taken ill nearby with sunstroke .. One of his governesses came post-haste to Lourdes for holy water, the

The Lord's Anoinied


Prince was cured, and the Emperor telegraphed ·"A baB les b,('lfl'ic.ade8r~fJ The heaHng virtues ofLcurdes water were

conflrmed. -

In America the powers ofheaUng claimed for the mesmeric .synem were a. large source of its .suecess, The growth of Christie n Science represents another resu l_t _ of faith in the "rnlreculous." Itwas by curing himself of his. own illness that P; O. Quimby dlscovered the principles _of his doctrine." A "miraculous' cure" ahet all" ean on~y be cbl;ssed as miraculous in m',e~8!Uon ~o established medical practice; and! during the 19th century an Increasingly e s sdemHfi..c" speeialis t a nd tmpersonal attitude to med ic~ ne had natur.any set in as pad of the increasing knowledge, But H seems that there may well be a need to be treated as a whole person, perhaps in a' magical" manner, 'which expresses itself in recourse to "the primitive nature doctor. "'n The pnnctples of faith-healing are undoubtedly e:FfecHve 1]] certain circumstances, but arecourse to these methods ona

1 'l '" fll' ILt f' . ,., II: ji,lL ~ di . - t

targe sea € arguesa : ~~g[l-mm reason o~ 'Ute mosr rree -

~y comprehenssbls sort, an opting de~[berately for the magical alternative.

'This concern with the material expressions ·of the religious attitude isalso found in the increasing emphasis placed on the use of the rosary as an aid, to devotion, par,· ticularly in conjunction with the cult of the Virgin.~ it Is no mere theological conceit to see in the actions of the Papacy at this time the expression of the wlll of Chr~sfs Church, Just as the final. proclamation of the doctrine ,of tihe Immaculate CO:nOOpUOD had made offidal popularly <coneelved benef',Pro1bab~y the advocacy of the rosary merely gave approval toan ever-lncreastng practice, The very attitude of Counter-Ilanonalism its€~f~ the condemnation of a long Uat of apparently in-assorted attimdes, can too a certatn extent be seen as embodying the reaction oftarge sections or Ule community. It was not mere~y the' best strategy. In the uncertatnry of what had been so certain, Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors aehleved the diffIcult f,eat of polnting ouij

exaetly whatappeared to the Chureh to be wr-ong. It lsa neat comeidence that 1864 was the ye.a,r revealed to Melan~!e Calvetas that 0:£ the assault by the Prince of He,n. For what the S~flabus had done was ,effective~y to redefine Satan.

ThiEl: prob~em of lE;y.~1 has ,~lw~.ys been a thorn in the side of the Chrisfian Church" It wlll always trouble-any religion which ho]ds that Cod is good, that the established cosmic, order is based O[l[ some sapemal justice, H:ili1li,[ each soul wm meet his proper deserts. To provide an explanaticnforthe troubles and patns .. which rack m,81I:11i1:i]]Jd. ~he Christian church developed the Je\\lishf:igure of Sa~an l~lto tb,es:ph'it of EvU, God's Great Adversary who had been granted license (in 'one version) to torment mankind In order to test them.or (in anot~ler) had. been east mIt ofheeven to lead a rebel existence elsewhere. 'fne nature of Satan is implicit in his OIrig~.n:s., The term "satan" or1g]naHy meant simply .any "adversary" j, but for acomplex of reasons. among which the ehtef was the desire ~o dissoctate .~U ev]~ from God" du:= character of Satan became personalized and hls ro~~ determined."

Belieftn a personal Evil waa ccnvenient became the adversary was made ccmprehenslble: a concrete tf Invisible force who could be fought with the requisite weapons of hope. fa.ith, charity,Q.nd the occasional exorcism. But if the very complicated t~eo~ogicfJ!~ problem was thus: made intelligible, the solution ,eal'lfl,ed with it tt:]:u.€ danger of further simpliflearlcn, God might dispense the [ustice of Heaven and Hell, but in the here-and-now it mjght be concluded that tbe Devil was depressingly po:werfu~. 0)'11 a hjgJIel' level there ~xjst.ed! t~e da~g,er of duahsm, the (](IGtt'Fj[l)je wHh a long, and sophlsttcated pedjgree wMch holds rhat two Powers ar-e in conmc:t over the unlverse. This is a que:s~l0n conalderably older than Christ]anity;but weare here (''O:IJIeerned with Satanlsm as defined by ~, tradittenel, fundamentalist Ca tholleism,

Saraaism in this sense. 1$ simpmy Devil-worshipiwanton propitiation of the Power of lEV]m in the ~ope ,that it wiU

grant favors In this world, It is often argued that there is: some~h:i!1ig ,of the perverted in the true Satanlst, For what is the object of reciting in the BRack Mass a grotesque parody of dae: sacred ritual if one does not believe that the service is both holy and effectlve when performed! ~n, t~,e correct manner?' Seen from the o:rt~odax viewpoint, Satanism always implies a com:plet,(i; reoessa! oj values. «It is offa~th that Satan isa fallen angel, ":1)(>

In fact them is very little evidence that this form of Satenism has often been practtced. It is diHic'Uh: to imagine a behevlng Christian deliberately setting out [0 spit upon Ms reUg,imH but a true believer he would have to be if his Satanisrn were real, The element oJ earieature ln the orthodox 'picture is fl.~ once apparent. O~ examjn~ng, any given ease of "Satanism" it is rarethat it does not prove ultimateruy to be another form of reHg]on altogether; or, at the worst from the ChrjsUan!po~rrt of view, l?~ain heresy, For heresy ]S seen as being the Devif s work, and any haJ.PP€l'l]ng whloll Mo~'~er Church has at ,any lime disliked Is open to a s]m~Lat charge. It is all quite logleal, He who. Is not for us is against us and, by extension, in the pay of the Great Adver-

Barry, .

Thus the Great Adversary has fathered on him a multltude of'uJnhanDoit.!]Q1JJS chHdr,en. The S'yllabus of :E~YO'f,s condemned panthelsrn and other ~€:.retic8!] dcctrines, but abo scclallsm, communism, secret sooietles, and other "pests of this deseriptien." Thus d~d the Establishment denounce her opponents, and not her opponents merely in the field, of religJo1!ls doctrine, It is no. eoincidence that the forces of anti-ecclesiastlcism have, ever since the: French nevollU! tion, formed all lance with the forces: of soda] revolt" The Church 0 f Rome has always been associated not only by eraditlons, butalsoby implicit and explictt doctrtne, with @iulhQri,ta.riaElJia.nd paternalistle regimes, In the ear~y years of the 191~h century the Holy AUiance had come to use renglrOus teachings with the express pu.rpose .of quelling the EQt-<:es of social unrest, A]though the target of the I 9th~ century revolutionarles was a soclal complex of which the

Church had become all Increa8:~ngly smaller part, it is most r13v,ea,ling toexamine bdefly one speefflc case in. which the Church declared In so many weedsthat it was face to face wH~ ~he Devil E.ncar.nate,

The dark conspfracy Imagined by the Anglo-Catholics to upset the established order h a dl, fORnd some sanction ]n the 1864. SyUahUJ 0/ Error;s, Pius IX's condemnaelon of soclalism and secret seoietles in the same breath was largely the result of. his personal obs,ervatiO!ll of t~e actual UaHan pijliHca~ situation, the confusion of wMc~ he saw as the product Q~ the agitat]on of these Satanie Iorces II.lj Scapegoats were needed; and unscrupulous supporters [madi€ sure that they were found,. An example is the notorious campalgn against the Freemasonic Orders, set em root_by c,abll':i,e'~ J ogand-·P.ages, better known as • < Leo Taxtl.'

The Papacy had very ear~y become alarmed at whait n knew of the Freemesons. The Grand! Lodge of London was formed min lli'717. Despjt€ the s~.owg,mwth of the movement, du;): Holy Se!€: had issued its Hrst condemnation ]I!l 1738.!Jj p~U$ IX had repeated the f~lmil!lJ!atruxlllJi:S 'Of his predecessor title y€ar after his Sy~labU8 was issued; and Leo Xnill's eneydical~ Humanum g,entt$~ ,e:xpUcidy denounced! the Masons __ as aU!e~mpHng to overthrew ChristiaTIlHYaJnd reestabllsh p8(gan~sm. The myth or H1C Sa~~nic Gh1!l[1cn grew ra,pidly under clerlca] snpervlslon; for example, tI},at of Father joseph Muller of Vienna, or 0·£ the Jes~i:t' Archbishop, Meurtn, whcseLe Jfdlna~maqonnerlG~ synagogue de 8Ilta:n,~ declared tha~ in the eomfng kmgdom of AnN~Chdst> ChaiIJ.e5~(ln. im the United States was k,i supplant Rorne; and tha~ the Grand Master of the lodge of Chaeleston woui~d, be the Salanic Pope, the: VroJcar-General of the Devil on Earth.~

To, whip up mass emotion agahlst t~e QrdeID"s was the work of Leo Taxll, His earl y career would not ~,ead am impartia]" €xaminer to place great trust i.n his word. Taxil had distinguished himselfasao. unsceupelous polemical ji<HJ]l"" ~alistj whose works had atfraeted a series of prosecutions. He had, for example, been fifJJed '65,000 francs for a book

enUHed Le« .amOUfB secretes de Pie nr..~nd ed~teda newspaper ea~ed L' anti-dencal, Suddenly, during the year.s lliS:8S-,e,). TaKil seemed. to change sid.es. '\tVlth several eollaboratars he issueda conecUo~ 0-£ exposes of Masonry. ptlrpor:thl~~0Sh(liw that t~e Lodg€8: practiced a revived for~ o,f. t~e Albi~_"en$~~~ heresy 'of the- M~dcUe Ages, The marke~t fa.r such r:eve:b:Uons was cons~derable..F"or Hle Ger~ ·~an. transl~ti:on ri~h ts of one such anti - M~.son lc pub] ~.(:a UOll It was pos:Slb~,€ to ask 50,000 francs. g~

·T'ax~r~ triumph was the creaUon of "Dlana V9jughan." 'rbIs .. ~,lmS~€r .. flgu118 was the. High Priestess .of. a peculiarly Satanic branch olf Freemasonry called ~he Pa~~a,d]um, The present D'l.;lna, i twas sarudt was the descendant of a union betwee~ Thomas Vaughan, the 1'7th~cent[lryEngUsh alchemist, and the goddess Astarte. She 'was rivaHed in her evil ,i]]~enN!Qns: . only by Sophla Walden. a. da1Jjgh~€r of Lucifer himself ~ destined to . be the .grBSJt-great-,~mndm?~her (If. A~ti~Chr~st. . T~xin operated his ~.raud with g:f1ea,t ~~l1.p:u bh~hU'~g perwdl~ab: supposedly em anating rmm Hle PaHa.cbum; and h,eevent~a.ny claimed Diana V.augha~n as a ceuvertfrom her bldeous mlig~ml to the Roman faith. This coup was the signal for Taxil to publtsh "Diana' s" memoirs. These were received wnh great rejoicing. Such a eonversion was nothing, short of miraculous, The Pope hims,e:H r-ead. the Me1JW'trs; and Diana, emboldenedby this evidence, a[ her weleome Into the bosom of the Church, sent His Holiness a sma,n . devotional work which .sbe had composed, Her reward _was a papal benediction, transmUted via. Cardinal Parrocchl.

Taxil's success was to. heMsUlndo]og .. An AnU~M,a:son~;c Confe~€nc~ was .convoked at .Trent- .. where ~t received the p&,paL~ ble~simg by telegram-and 18~OOOpeop'~e took pad in a precession. Taxi] W',aJS the hero of the hour, The inevitable request fon~w.ed: could Tax~~ produce Mwss Vau~~lan" said to . b€ hidden ina convent from the wrath of her fa~~8J.dian]s~s.? TaxJI could not: but despi~"€ the thinness of hts excuses, the Pope's domestic ,cn.aplahl wrote, it-o Diana, fequt:!sti}]J.g that titbe continue to write her praiseworthy


works, H was to popular. and not to eeclestastlcal, pressure that laxH eventually gave in. It was announced that Diana Vaughan would emerge froID her retreat on Easter Monday, 18'97, to giv'e a Iecture to dl€ press in Paris. Taxi!, with a coolness which commands respect, appeared instead, To the assembled press be announced that the whole affair had been a (ill'eli bera te fraud- th at his 0 bj ect had been to see how far he could go in duping the Church of Rome .. He maintained that the Pope had commanded silence (J~ the Bishop of Charleston, who had written to him defending his episcopal seat against charges of being in reality Pandemomum; tha,t the Bishop of Gihraltar hadbeell similarly silenced when he, too. had written to Rom. denying the existence of those underground caves on the: 'R(D!ck where the Palladinists were said ito celebrate their 1':[ tes, 0 one likes being, fooled-and Taxi]' s deception. has lasted for a decade. The author of the scandal escaped from the fury

of the pressunder police protection, iiI@ _ ,

The fact that Taxll's apparently ridiculous. deception could d~Sioover somany wilUng believers is an lridlcatlon of the prevailing insecurlty. Mass hysteria. on such a seale lmplies a cause, To discover that Satan VI'aS believed Iiterally to walk the earth under gas-lighting is to appreciate some measure of the panic felt at Impending change. Masonry was a common scapegoat America had seen the AntiMasonic forces as a power in politics .. Echoes of the pre[udieeaee to be found in Noseph Smith's Boo]: of Mo~wll; ,altbough~this did not prevent the Mormonprophet from lat,sr turning to Masonry when he needed ceremonies for his church. IOU But if Satan did not walk ~iterany wlthin the walls of the Lodges, he ",""anted metaphorically elsewhere, Even the clerkly suspicion o~ the Masons was grounded OJ] the tr,adUiona.Uy Hberal and anti-clerlcal role of some of the Orders. The success of LeO' TaxH should be seen as misIocation of the ream threats=-politicai and sociel=-to the esta blished order. The reaction in certain quarters was not to think out some plan for padfyhlg the poor, the anarchists" or the areas far from the c~.IP:it~l which demanded ill-

dependence, U was rather to retreat to a dliE(€mmt sort of ~ogic altogether, and one which .mlght wen have been thought buried. in the womb of the Middle Ages" _ .

The disappearance of Satan has deprived us of a blanketword to cover an. manifestanons elf which we disappeeve, Given the existence of an Bstablishment culture, or of any sbic~Ry regulated soelety, such a term is exceedingly useful Therewas aft the end of the laslt century a conglomerate body of dis.affection. which might wen be seen as put of the same almost personal entity as the Princ€' of Darkness, The state could discover S'ed:ition, and the church Satan.end indivlduals, if so inclined, EvH. The essentiaiof this creature was not a tleking time-bomb. or the number 666, oran unlovely disposltion, lt was one quality which may well have been entirely in the mind of the beholder, That quality wag, Oppositton:

One of Us dwe~Hn,g-places was Bohemia,

L It is Interesting to compare the architecture 0'£ the Cou nter- Reformation '!!IV lth the Goth lc Bevi v a~ in 1'9 t b-een tu ry Europe. TMs eomparlson prQb3!b~y shows more clearly tha.n ~ny detailedanajysls the points 'of divergence between the two flights of the Irrational, prempted though they 'were 'by such slrnllar motives.

2. G. Ado]:fKoch, n&publ:tcan .Reli.giO'n {New York, 1935}, pp. 277 ff.

S. Catharine A. Clev land, The Great Revit').a1 in the West (1799-1805) (Chicago" 19H1), pp, 85·,13<.

4. W. Vil. Sweet, Religion "in the Devel'QlJn1£nt oj Americ(l,n Cult'!.H~. 176:5"··1840 (New York, 1952), p. 306.

5. 'Francis D. Nichol. The Micl'nfg.h:t Cry (Washington"

lli944), pp,. ,41~S.

tl Niehol, 1.v:ndnigkt Cry, PIP. 135-8. .

7, 'i lchol, Micltlight Cry.p. 24:8, quoting. Luther Bouteille. 8,. Nichol, Mtdrdgh.t G~'Y, quoting Washh:u.gtou Mo'rs,e.

9. Nichol, M!dnighi Cry,. quoting Hiram Edson,

Hl NicllOJ, Midnlgh,t Cry. pp .. 464 and 518.

1 L AlaID!R.ogerSI(ln~ Mllttou.snow Umng Will necer ,ale (Lon-

don. 1969). pp, 6~9. _

12, RJog,el~soI'il., Milltons ... M~i nev,er die. p, 12.


13" C[ NQrm~n Cohn, ThfJP«;I~~,dt 01 the l\Ilillentdum, pp. 201..23. The book. of Daniel was a favorite of wmiam Miner,

14, R£lg:er.'lOn. MiUi.Q~ , . ,. will neve?, d~'e, p. .28,

15.. :E. G. Cohn'sooncht;,sions, Ptt't$cuit 0/ the Mfllennlum. p, 2B2.

16. Fawn M. Brodie, NO' Man, Kftdnl,~ My Hts'to!f'!J (London,

1'96S), PiP' 16-210 .. Invaluable detaU€ld account ()f [oseph Smith. 1'7, , A¢OOlLIn~ tilke:n from Brodie, NQ M(ln .Krl.O'u)':s:il!,fy HisWfY.

pp, 16"21(:1.. .' .

18, BJlodie, No Man, .Know~ My Hi:stOfY', iP, ,s,(iI.

UtiBwd'ie; No .Man Knows My Hf:story, PP" 3:8-9.

20. Brodie,. NO' Man K~o~ My HtSt011!J, p, 19.

21. From the Briel Ana.l!jlst:5' prefix.ed to the Book, oj Mormon (1951 prtntin of 1920 edition., S~J~ 'L:!I.k~ City, Utah) ..

. 2.2,E No M(t»L .KfIOWS My History. pp.. 45-'7.

2$, Spe,coJ:atio:n abolU~ the fa:teoJ the Ten Lost l':rilb~ ]8 .... d~ve:r£i.on with a h{ltary pedigree .. For some remarks on British Iseael, see Chapt~r 'llana. note "to it 1.24bel(Yw, The. :particu]a,r trsdltion o~ cQtlsicle.rh"lg ~h:e Red. Indians the 5'UrviVQIS ·o,f ~be Tribes seems to havtl start,ed with, Sp.anlsh siet~ler.$ ~n Am~dcaan,d was mtrodueed to th€ Eng] i;sh~s[Jeaking, ,n]hHc in ] 650 by 'Thomas 'Thol'owgood. one of the Assembly of Divines, T~e thelolY claimed oee notable 'VicUm cOliltemporary with .Jos,eph Smith. Vlscoent Kingsberoogh (1795,a18S7) was set on the trail of the Amet~.oa,n hraelu.es by :a M~:xica:i::IMS" in t:'be :Bod.~e]an Ubr'BI'I"y.and. Issued the results of hls researches in MiS An.Uqu1Ne.Si .of Me:rioo (9p]us volumes), He died. in pds!I)OClJ: ",v here he ~ad been tihrO'tiVllLat the suit of a paper manufacturer: his nine-vio]ume work cost the Vlscount ov,er.£32.0~O, See A, M .. Hya.mson, Tille Lost 'Tribes (London, WOS)" pp, IS-2m. Neifher was Smith's the only r€]igious m,Gv'e-' ment of I:be eady 19th oentury to' appr.opriat€: thj~~rain 'OK ~h()ugh.t R:k:ha,rd, Baxtel"~am.ember 'Cyf the ll1'v[mgne'cirde g:i\i',~n to proph~y. onee Ielt ]111$phed to declare the truth of the $~~!u~a~ tlon. Ignatius of:Lla.nthooy (~or whom see below, tbiscbaph~:lf) adopted th~ tbeiorytogefhetwHh 11 is otherecoe:ntr~c; reHgious and

eosmographlca] ideas. . . . .

2,4, Boo.k of Monwon, a, Nephi. 19" verses 4 ff. 'J'lds mccrporates whole ~'traet5hom the New Tes:blil'lll!.ent. See S; Nephi, U<26.

25 Brodie,. l'la ,Man, i<1WW8' My fHdor:r; •. pp" 77~S,

26. Thomas F. O'OM., The MO'fmons (Ch~()a.go, 19I5,7)i, pp, 1860-7,

27, For th~s S~OIY, see WiliLUaloo Stegner, T'he iIf;at.hering of Zion (Londen, 1'9(4), and Nds Anderso.n, Deser: Saln,t.'l [Chicago, ]94:2),

2-8. O'Dea" Mormo'n3, p, 259.

2:~t Chad-as S. Braden, Ch:ri8tiar:t. SdJ1il1We To~U ,(Londo'fl" 1959 }.p,9.For ehe s~gnifi,ci!linoe of homo eOlpa.thy., see Chapt~r ,6 below:

30, Hot:±'ltioW. Dresser, He.al~}i and the inner LiJe (New

Ycrkand Louden, 1'906},p"p, iM··Q'. 13 L Dresser, H,ealth, p. 87,

32.. Braden, C.hfi.stian Scier~ce~ pp. HJ.·18,

83.,. Dresser (ed, )'. The "):Uirn.b:~ Ma11tul'Ctip~s (London), pp,.


34, Braden, Chri8tia'l'~ Science, p,. 19 .

35,. Braden, Cl~rfMla.11 S.ciC1:i.C,e, pp. 21-.31.

36.. !Braden, CkVii,srfitln. Scienoe~ p. 36" For neracqua]ntanC€ with Bronson Alcott, see Robert Pee], Ch:ti$~:i(Zn S,oif~'C?, its encoM'ute:nW:ith A.1lHtil'$ctl'Il. C~ltCU1.(, (N~w Y,orl, ]959),pp. 58-9 etseq,

8,". Mary Baker Eddy, Scil'!!Mce £lfi.d .Health t't1ld a Key to tlvJ

SC1iiph~r,e~ (Bo\}~oru. 191'7), p. ,558.,

38. B'r~delfl, Clir;{sti:a~n Sc~el'ilce., pp, 37 If, "An ~nemy hath don~ fbis'" is theconstant .ery ,of cultlsts and occultists in mlsfortU,I];e, See, e.g.~, the s~Qry of the Abbe Boullan told in Chapter 5 belQw~ol" the use of the Coulombs as: seapegeats by M.adame BlaJvat:sky m~ntiGn!ed hi. Ch.a pter 3abo\ii~. Lih~'ramy dosens more eX:)Impl,e5- could! ibecn~cl.

39, H. W,. Schneider and Ge-or1;:eLa;wton, .A Propne.ta.na a Hlarn·m (New ¥ork, 194,2J!, pp .. S~8; and f·Q[ the scandal, see Podmore, Modem ,spifiltu{!:liSm, vol, I, pp, 110-71, who says tba;t U is [lot clear that Daviswas at fault

~O. S ehnetder and Lawton, Pro'ph:ej a,nd Pilgrim, pp. 21-40., Among the radical Sw,ede:nbo,rgians may be ran ked the elder

W·~]·· ". ']'. .' f· '~. '.' £ W']l" ..iI n-

...... U iarnjames, .: ather 0:1: ' ... '~ lam ana rieDry.

411. Sehneiderand Lawton,Pror.het a'1~,d I1lgrim. pp, il1 ~nd 52"

42. Thomas Lake Iia.r.ris,. An;'ana oj Chri$~iafl,it:y; p. 19l1i,

43. Schn!€ider and. Lawton, ProW' he t ,a'lld C ~ m. pp, lS(J·81,

For the early hfe of Laurence O:i]pha:nt. see lip Hendersoo,

The. Life oj Laurence OltlJhaut {London, 1956}. w hieh, however, deesnotadd m ueh eo our knQw]edg~ of the Use, Q:i o[ OHphanf.s: ~:ater ~He a.nd relattenswith Ha~ris.

44. See R<'IY Sfrachey, GtQil~P 1lVIQv~:rr~ertM Qft'he .'Past {Lon-

The Occult :Und~rg:routild

don, 2nd ~dlil:]O]l, 1.934), and. cf, the comments of Sebneider and Lawton, Ptophet· and Pilgrim. pp, 2H}IIFor: Oliphaut's doctrine. see hws S.ympneumata (Edinburgh., 1885),

4.5. Schneicllli!r snd Lawteo, Prop,he~t and Pilgrim, pp, 423-91. 46. And rew Landale Drummond. Edw(;I,rd lr:!.iing and his Circle (London. 19(8), pp, 283-5.

47. S, L.. QUaid .A. Shon Iifgt,()'J"ij oj t;he Ox/O'fd'l\Iio'{lement (London, UH5), pp. 9~1O.

48. H" A" i,,, Steward, A. Century oj Angto·CaJ.h:olicunn. (London, 1929". pp. ,54-72.

. 4 g, K.. S.. Latourette" ChriStianity in a Revo·lutfonary Age (London, 1959). vol, Il, p, 26o ..

50. F,or a Mghl)'-.co~ored. account of Newman's converslcn, see l Lewis MaJ.).',. The Oxford Movement (London, 1933), pp. m·~(H52.

5l. OHal'd,. O'xj(7(4 Movement, pp .. 1291.80, The Brethren, another gJiClUP dissatlsfled ':Jt'ithoonditimls in til Anglican Church, had begun meeting annually in the early ]8305 at Powerseourt Home, Co.Wicklow, They were convinced that they W@l'€: not sohlsmatic: [llere]y "separated from Apostasy." See H. H, Rowden, T.he Origffl.s a/the' Brethren. (London, 19(7).

5i2. Peter F. Anson. The CalJ 0/ the Clo1'.s'te-1" (London, U)I64), p, ,49,

_ 58. Arthur Ga1d.er-MarshaU, The .En·thu.ffmt (London, 1962)" p, 195']"'0'[ the horse, see p. 249.

54. CaMe'I- M.arshall" Enthusiast. p, 282;.

5_5. Peter F., Anson. Abbot Extraorainar:v (London, 195B}, pp, ,84 and ,29'2-3.

56. · .InquireWit"hin" {Miss C. M. Sh)d.dart), LighH~-e.a1'en9 of D(ff'k1lesf} {Londo:n, ]930), p. 82. This paint was b~'01JJ,ght to mv notice by Mr .. Ellie Howe. For Felkin's magical actlvitles, see Howe's stud)' (If the Golden Dawn, T,fte 1\1',agida'1I.$ 0'/ th,e Golden. Dl1Wn, (1877,.1_9.28) (london, 197.2); alse Francis 'Killg,~ RUtU1l Ma,gic tn- Engla,nd (London" ~970).

51. H.R T. Brandreth, Dr, Le.eof Lambe.th (London, 19:~),1), P'P. 124] ff.

58. Br,and1'etih, Dr. Lee. pp, 128~S'9.

59. Br.ambeth, Epi.scop1. v:agantes and the A-iIgUcan Churdi' (2nd 'edition, London, 1961), p .. 107.

60. Brandreth, B'Pli~oopj '(Ja_g,a1ltes,p. ;8 ..

The Lord's An O-inted


~n. Pet.e;r F. A nson, Bf,shop'8 at La~'ge' (Lo:ndon. 19(4), p, 29. 6,2. For Mathew's consecration, see Brandreth, Epfscoj'!

IDagm'ite's, pp, 2:9 ff.; for Ma,thew himself, see Anson, 131s.1wp.8 at Large', PP', 156 ff.

6$. Anson, !Hsh01ClS a:t Large, pp. S45~7, 64. A nson , B1~hcl"p{)i a~ Large, 1'1'. 2001-0'$, 65, A.I1wn" Bishop'S' at Larg.e,. pp. 342·8,.

16(3), Cf Brandreth. Epl1800pi' Vllganites, p. 3. '57, Brandreth, EpcitJco,pi 1tJ'ag.a.nte8, p, 47,

,68" 2 vols .. (Amsterdam, l858). Despite th.€ a,ppaJ]i.ng quality of the prlnt, theenquirer is advised towed the second or third ,ed~tjc)ns; the first is wrltten entirely in. a revised spelling invented bY' Erdsn himself.

69. From The V'ogma#c Decree,s of th.e VaUcan Council CQ:n.cer-ni:n,gi:he CatlwUc P.ai:t1~ a'n.d the Ciw;r,ch of ehrl$'~, ,A,. D, 18-7'0. Translartecl by Phillp SchaU, The Creeds ,0/ Chrldendom. vol. IE (London, l871}. pp, 236·:7',

70. Schaff. Dogml_l.ttc Decrees, p, .. 270 ..

7 L Schaff. Dognw.tf:c Decrees. pp. :2J.S ff,

72. E, E. Y. Hales, Pfo Nona ~Loodon, UI64), pp, 26lli·2" 73; Schaff, DogmatiC' D'ecre€'s. p. 233,

74, "-'a]te:r Delius, Gesohichte .del' Marienvere:.hnmg (M'lJllich/BaseI, 1968), p .. 263.

75. Latourette, Christianity in Q, RelJolut-1onary Age. VIOl, I,


76. Delil,lls,.MarienVf.wel:trung; p,. 258.

77. Dellus, Mm'ienven:!hnmg; pp. 258"6:0.

78. Ex:amples from Oliver Ler'GY. L.rt,mtatio:n (tr .. , Louden, 19,28), pp. 118~34, This colleetton gives a good idea ofhow ODe series or "mlracujeus occurrences' h~s been re ported ait flue' most unexpected times"

191• AUan eame, The Happenlng at Lou:rcl'e8 (London,

1968). pp, 187-9 .. For Mebmi 's accountof the incident, and her secret, s;e.e Rk:h.lltd GrHn·th:!l, Reacti01laic!J Revolttt'ion:, Appendix, pp. 363 ff. See elsa Cha,pter 8. See also Jean HeU~. Mtn'tcies (tr, L-

C. Sheppard., Landon. 1953), p, 117.

80. C~dd~raMa(-sha]1. E"rlthus~ast, pp. 227-.89,

8LL. Grange, Le P:1~op.~le'fe de Tilly (Paris, 18'97), pp. 1-2. 82, Maudnce c.a~:n, RO'8ett~ Tamf03ier (Paris, 192:9), 'PP' 86

and 9,5, 991 ..

83" See Chapter S.

84" Gral1!g!e~.L.e Pwph'e.f€ ,de T~Uy, pp. 32-5. QuotaJtiOiIlL {room


85, Griffiths" ,aeactionarlJR,euo,l'l~tiQn, prp . .:3630"5,. 86,., G ra rnge, L~ P'fGp hiJ t~ de; 'fill y. !It. 39.

87., Griffiths" li:el'!Ct:i,onaf,y Revo,l'utlon, pp. t2'7~tL Tb@ Vintrfi.si~n beHe:f in the New Age as, the Thib'diilileign, tbat of [h~ Ho']y 'GhliJst. fonow~.ng thos~ of Fath~!I" and SOI1!" is very :S:im]lar to tbe tenets !I)~~he Swedenboirgi,ans. See Chapter 1, For some p{l,liti,ca~ aippl lcations 'Of the gospel Q!f the New Age., see Ch.:ilp~er 8.

88. Grifnths:, React~otta:iyRgv,o.ltltion, p, [A5~ OO~~ 3.,

891. H, T. F. Rhodes. 'Th~ Satanic Mats (London, 3rd edltim1!, 19S5), p, 245. E. C. Brewe~:', A .iJiotfonart}oJ Mimcles (Londen, lli8B4},pp.4g9.:Qi©>" netes f.ourst'Ori,~Si ofb].-®@d]ng hosH. Thre€ ,of th,EiSIi': ,arne assioc1a,hl!!d wHhanti-Semttic sj[jp~IStiHo,.l'iLS ,o·f th,e'M.kldle Age-s~ Jews we're StI,PPOSOO to ha¥,€stl:libbecl the hoots, A.ll ~OUil stories, however, come from Ftench seurces,

90. Neame, Lo[tr.des, pp, lOS-f.

SL Dresser, Health. .a,nd the l<nnef'Life,. p. 13 •. and see text above,

92. Ste:f,an ZW€'i,g,. Mental Healers (tr, E. and C. P'<'l.'u], London. ]937), pp. x'Vl-xv.i~,

93. Delius, U,arienV1erehrun,g. pp, 268-4.. When the Virgin later appeared a:t Fatima one or her requests was fer funds to. celebr~tie the feats of Our Lady of :the Bosary (Helll, .M'~mcleS', p'. 1~7),

94,. Ed.wa:rd!Langton, .E8~ell,t:ial~ 0/ D'emonolog~i' (London,

194.9). pp, 58-:9. -

95. W~lte'r Farrell, 0" P., "The DevU Himself:" in S£doo. intro, Charles MoeUer (London, 1951), p. 30.

9:6" til ales, .P~o Nono,[p, 25ft

97, H. C. Lea, Leo Ta.xil. D~ana Vaughan e'~ f Egii.se r,omaine (PaJris, ison p. .8,

98.. Lea, Leo T(tt~l! pp, lO-~2, 9S1 Lea, LeQ Tari,l, p. lA.

1 OCt Le3!. Le.o TaX"il., P'P, ] 6-.26,

101. B:rodje, NQ Ma1! Knows Mg H.istory" p. 65 and pp, 27t) [f,~ O'D~a! Mormons,. p.35 and pp,. 57 ft, .At the time when Jos~ph Smith dlscovered his golden plates there was a celebrated CO!,ut" case in whicb M1iIScOTIS had been made the ~c~pegQa!t~ foil;" murder ..

ChI8,p!te!lr 5

Visio,ns lot: Heaven and HleU

BOHEMIA isa land wit~(}ut a geography; hu~ its capttalls Pads, Its inhabibmts are now.ad.a.ys spread among, many nations; but in It~le 19th century Paris was the illte;nec~ual espital of the world, and the debt of Western man to [he sueeessive BohenllQS of tllilat city can no more be, a,voided than the influence o:f ~he Italian Rer9Ja,is~ance" Two Mghperiods of ]Boh'Efm.wan cre!il:Uvi~y were just before the 18418 levolrullonandl dudng tbe r.hhty-year pen.od which Boger Shattuck has ca~~ed


~'The Banquet Years··-,1885-HH.4, The influeoo~. 'Of Bohemia has not only beenfelt in the arts, dthough Ithas cMe£~y been experienced t~e!re; but also in polmo9il and socialquestions, inwhole methode of lo,ok~ng at the world and IH.estyles. For w~th1n its b,ontiers Bohem ~a contained aot on~y artists, sculptors. men of letters, but .aU elements of vceal oP'Po.sUion to, ~;he JE8tah~:~$bed Powers, It is ironical that, althoughthe forees of Opposltion were most obvious to the 19th = century EstablishmefDl in social and political forms" t~e$e moeeor less bhndand ad hoc movemen ts were themselves welaUvely~:narttc;ub,l,te" Crowns might tumble, :f'O!ltuDes be made and lost; but ever since 1'789' sociaTh HP= heaval had been a [ac~ ()if modern Hfe. Almost as dtsq 1Jie~~ng to tbe civillzed soclety of Westem Eu.rope-yet greeted with the glee w~lich attends . a new sensat~on~wa~ the progressive outrageousness of the p>o:well']!es8~ but vocal, opp(n~iU(m Q:f !Boheml3..

Bohemia was n(]thllllg if not artleulate. In ad, in Ufe, Us inbabi~[:Ints contrived more personal expression than was possible in ithe~Qur~eois seciety of the latecentury end they trumpeted forth their freedo'm[rom the rooftops" They were different, fri.ghten]ng~ and yet appeared mO[1€ and mQregla moreus as the years drew on. The u nCOIDprehending dassed them as pOSettf8-=-.81nd m ueh of the time they were right However .. Bohemia was vocal not w]tll the eloquenee Q:f need!~ but withthat !o~w~n., 'The soda[ revo~uUonarie;s were to ada pr h) their own purposes some of the' Bohemian crltrnque of society: but the ]'ebeJ~ioin 'of this part]cul~.r underground was more a rejection o·f' Ute world which reason had bul~t than a p:rotifl'S[ agains:t in~us:~'ice, The

most in.~lelie5t]mg and. l.ill. the run, some or the most In-

ftuenu'aJ rebellions weretl 0;518 progenitors burrowed

in Ulle rubble of Western civwUzaUon ,and discovered glLddes in the ph]~osophies wl1idl have been bundled together and nerned the ., occult." In the fl€'Xtr chapter we shall discuss just what this term implies, 'The concern of what fellows is to show that the • 'Occult Revival" of 19th-'century Parls was c~oselybo~nd up witb the more ~utisH.c or Hh~rary levels of


Bohemfa TlLds is chiefly a topegraphteal description of the

ground. - ,

At this st~ge n is enough to have the dimmest idea of what the occult was. U could comprehend Madame Blava~8!ky's Thelosophy. Eastern religion, astrology, geomaney, the Tarot cards. magic, secret societies, and a hundredandone .a.:PPH.r'enHy dissimilar be~~ds. The clerical eccentrics over whom we have cast an eye might also be Ineluded. Any strange, unorthodox, but serrsl-religious belief Carl [orm pl;)!r~ of the occult complex, III order to H~u$lr.~te the lengths to which occult belieFs can be carried, as well as to introduce some of the ]'eadIl1g Parisian occultists, we can do no beUo€~ dlOilJl to stu.dly n~¢ .;lifair of the Abbe'!i3ouUan" the self-proclalmed successor to the Norman prophet V~ntras,

BOI.],]Ja,n, a Catholic priest with a, deckled bent£o!~' mysticism and the most sensational aspeetscf religion, real~y began his, career of heresy in H356,. In tMs year he met S~st~r Adel,e Chevalier at La. Salette (a place of pilgrimage since t~e apparition of t~e Virgin to M,£lallie Calvet ten years before) Adele, w~o clauned to' receive beqoent messages from a mysterious voice, had!. co-me tto La Sa~eUe on heaven])' ~nsb~diQns .. Here t~e Fathers were so impressed that they obtainedpermi:ss:iorlJ to eonfldeher to the care ot[ the Abbe "BouUan)whDse experience was we]~known ill mys UCaJTh matters, Theassociatlon pro-spered .hi 1859, Boullan and Ad~le[ounded VIP'ruth the approval 0':£ the Bishop of Versatlles the O~um',e de la RepatatiQn d€8~e8. But strange rumors began "to! escape {r,om the convent !of the new ol~de'r. Boellan was clluilin s' < di.ahoUcal" Illnesses by spitting in the mouths of the afmcted~ ap.ply~ng pou.Hioos of ,e~creta~ or compe~'~ing, ~;he nuns to drink: their urine.,. ~ He seems: else to have: begun to practice the sexeel rites: which were the' chief cause Oof later scandal, In 1860 be murdereda ehtld born to Adele Chevalier. ~

Bcullan was successively suspended and reinstated, He and Adfl]e were condemned by the civil courts to three yean;' Imprisonment for fraud. The Abbe eon tlnued !Ilis

miraculous cures; and he was, 0'111. one oceaslon, summoned by the Archb~shop of Paris tiOsxplain dae ease of an. eptleptic \'Vhomhe claimed to' have otsred with pad of the seamless robe of Christ At Rome his case WOi$ investigated from m 864\ 'to 1l869. In the latter yea,r he was imprlsoned by the Holy Office, durirrg wh~ch period hie drew up a eonfesS~OfJI of faith inapink notdJook to wbkh it iscustoenary to r·efer ~:n shocked ·'w~lispers.,'lI He was noaethelessabsolved and returned to Paris. where he edit'e,d a paper caned Les muutles de la 8a'in~'et'e~ which exerelsed some influence over the religious dl.oug,ht of the time." But hID 1,875 he was flnally defrocked; and in December, on the d:ead'f (If Eugene Vintras,~e l}[-oela~m,ed him$leU hb successor, _

For some Ume the two ha:d been in eorresponden ce; and B,ou.~bn had diseovered mal'lly poru:nb: of snmfladty between his personal heresies ,and! those o:f the Oeuvre d,e la M1sfJrlcor,d'e. The m:a:jorHy cd the membees of t~e Work ftilH~ ed toaccept B(:I~H~~ as their chief. Neverthe~ess~ the Abbe established himself in Lyon as the head of a small band of the f~1i.~thful. 5- He continued to work miracuieuseures: rm e-x"jMJlple~ by p],alclRg eoaseerated hosts OV'€~f tbe ovaries Gf afflicted women-or by the magical use o:f peecious stones, Ia Lyon he '~hi'ejd with anarchlteet who was occupied in trying to discover the elbdr of nre" together w]th ~:wo seeresses of Ms ctdt~ one of whom lived enHmly Oil!. breadand mtlk." It was at this point w'Uh Boullan established as the head of hts own schismatle branch of the Vintrasian sect, th~t the novelist J. K. Huysmans appeared 00 the scene. lBy.189S H1[!Iysma.ns was aecusing the Ma.rquis Stanislas de' Guaita and a group' of Paris ol(~cUlIHs~s of having caused the death (Jf BouUan by- black magie, This cafl~e celebre can bear retellbJlJg~becau;Sie it reveals by degrees the existence of an occult, undergrouad in Parlsw hose acUv]tiesmust be investigated further. HOiW could Hm.ysmans have ,come to believe In

maJgicali murder]' .. ,. . . . .

H~ysmans bad diseoY,ereO! ~he Abbe B!OU~~;aJn while

researehing material on Satanlsm for Ms novel La~bQlS. In Hle summer of 1891 Urue novelist had gone to stay wWth.


Boullan In Lyon. He sttended ceremonies in the Abbe·s sanctuary, at which hishost had used ~he rUes o,~ Vlntras to combat the machinations of ibis enemies In P:aris" Bmges., .~nd. Rome" Among these enemies we:!:e Stanislas de GuaitSl., his future secretary, Oswald W1rt~~ a[DJ£.lafeHow-.(}i()Cu~ti,s~, JosepMn peladan.'1 1'0 thIs ,enmity there am two sides. To take~ firs~ the story 'Of the occultists.

lin 1879 Oswald Wirt~ had met BOI!lHan at CJ::dUonsrsur~ Marne, where W~rtb enjoyed some n::~putaHo.na5 ;~, magnetiser, Bo~H,a.n had appeared in the town aI1JJd performsd a. rniraeeloes cure. WirHl and he then entered Into correspondenoevWlth the connivance of the Abbe Boca, another priest defrocked for heresy, WirUlI! began to worm from Bonllan his most secret ,doctrInes. Soon the two "'prospective converts' had 'COlJtrj,vedi to made t~le Abbe admit b~:s theory of ,>, mystlcal unions" by which the sexual act could be co.nsec!l"atted~8a rHe of sp.~ritu.aJ. regenerarlon, Boca investigated fluther, and found. that Boullan claimed abo to be 'OO'lJp~ing with hwmanimaux~ beings half-ani:m<l,~ and half-human, ~o whom he be~[eyed he could in this manner give a purely hmna:n. :foli.m .. l':I In 1886 WirH1. informed Boullan by letter of his true intentions. Wi~h Boca he laid the evidence before a. trlbunal of eceultists, headed bytheir mutual fr~,end, Stanislas d.e CuaHs.. W~r~ll claimed tbat ~he tribunal cQI!ldemned,]3ollAllan ,mer.e]y to public denunclation." On the other hand, Huysmans was ~n Lyon shortlyefter the death of Boullan when theliE! arrived a letter signed by de Guaita eondemning 'th,e Abbe to ·'d!€ath by t~,€ f] ukls, , '10 TMs is part of the evidence for the other side.

Now de Guaita had, independently ofWh"i:h or Boca, made his own overtures to Boullan. He was pl!1ohaJ.1hJy intwdl(DJced W the Abbe by another occultist" the Marqtds de Saint-Yves D' Ahfeycbe,in lS:85.,In an atteruplt to I!eanl the secrets of :BauUaf:l' s power, de Gua~.ta went himself to stay with B(m~~an. He left after a. fortlThi~ht ha.ving. pocketed the rnanuscrlp! of the Vlnteaslan Sacr:gj1.ce da ttl Gloin& de M elch"i$edech~ which the Abbe r,egaro.ed. as the supreme


magical texit. De Cuaita had scarcely gone, wrote Boullan to Huysrnans, when he felt hlmself in the grips, of a heartattack, He turned to Mme. Thlbault=-the seeress of the bread and milk+who used her supernatural powers to tell him it was the doing of de Cuaita, He staggered to h]s altar, and managed to protect himself boy ting the ritual of the Sacrfftceof .M elchii$6dech whlc counteracted de G1!laita's attack. It is a.~ii,V'ays e:Ntrao'.rd]nari~y difHcult· to account for the quarrels of oocu]tists~and Boullan' s OO]1lV~C~ tlon that he WaS being, attacked 'by de Guaita mmg.ht have nothing more behind it 'than the word oJ the "seeress" M. me. Thi ba ult, who had snmehow taken a d is~ ike to the Marquis, It is usual among those whohave studied this episode ito mistrust everythmg which Boullan told Huysmans about de C!I.J!3.ita. But a quarrel there must have been, because the Marquis and the Abh6 were at one time very dose, Ja,anl1lY Brieaud records his possession of a first edition of de Guait.1l/ s earliest book on magic with an inscription by the author to BouUan.1I

At any rate, the rupture took place c. U386, And at the time of Huysmans' s vIsit ~'O Boullan H was against de Cuaita and other Paris occultists that the Abbe believed he must protect hImsle~[ I~ The rites which he directed against P~ladan and de Guaita must have been impressive if <only as an indication 0,1 Boullan's convictions: :foralterthe pu~lii.leaUo'll Gf .La-ba'$~ Huysmans believed that he himselt bad been the vletim .of de Guaita's attacits".ar.IDd that em]y the intervention of Boullan-ewho performed rites for him

...11 h f'V"'" 1 'h" - h d

ang g:ave r nn some o:~ .' intras .s m~.racu orus . osts=- - 8i - sa,v-

ad him, After the Abb6; s death. Huysmens was more haunted than €i\'sr. and he WHS on~y rescued from his neurotic state 'wUh the help of the seeress Julie Thibault, who contlnued, as Husymens's hnusekeeper, to celebrate

the rites of V intras ~n Paris, 13 .

Huysrnans, in the words of one of his eontemporaries, b,~d a terri Me tendency "to believe what hie read," II-a ,and' his suggestibility was to lead to further ramifications" The novelist's friend Jules Bats) a joun.'i:a'U,st'j who shared his in-


terest in occult metters, possessed the samecredulity. He was later to pdnt .docume,nts gi.·ven by Boullan to Huysmans oof]t.~:ining the infor,maUon t~at at every court of EUrope magical evocations were practiced, and that Pn.l.5S~a, crushed France at Sedan because of her superior evocatory powers," Bo~.s. learned Oof Huysrnans' opinion ,of d,e GuaU~,~ and he p'Ilhlished an article formaUy accusing th_€ M arqu].'j,. o~' magical murder. The alleged method recalls Mary Baker Eddy's aeeusations against her own hypothet_mlcal enemies" De Gua~.t3J,> said. Bois, v·o}atiHzedi. poisons and directed them into space". What was equally sinister) b€ kept a. familiar spirit sbut up in a eupbnard, Next day Huysmans confirmed t-L .. .. . .j;,' . "-. - e . t· '. 1'9--' h -,'. ,J. L· "" Fiearo 1.6 D', ... ·

rne aeeusanons man uu erv ew ,e gave ro . O' .•• ~ '...... ..,..

GuaU:a responded with the challenge to a duel, _ .' .

The two seconds chosen by de Caaita were his frilend Maurice Ean,es, and dle poet Victo~-Emne M~ch€let They met Huysmans in his ofHce at the Ministry of the Interior. and M lchelet delivered de GuaUs's letter: «I intend to demand satIsfacUCilIil. not with ~he nceult weapons, which you pretend to' fear. and which I do not, employ. but honorably, and sword ln hend."" Huyamans was sensible enongh ito retract, and to pubJ~s~. a form of apology, Jules Bois" (Ill the other hand, renewed his attacks, Meanwhile, thef'€! was so much skirmishing among the seconds that Michelet bad to resign to figh t a due] ofMs own" and two new seconds were ,appohlted-one of whom. Laurent 1'ailhad,e, through his anarchist opinions contrived to become involved in twentythree, duelaone with M,au:rice Barres, in which Tallhade lost a finger. IS Affairs were eventually set tledso that Bois. who persisted ~n his accusations, was to fight two duels, ?ne with - de Cu aita, ~he other with a colleagu e of that nobleman, Gerard Enc.iluss.e" who wrote undl,eli the name Qf .. Papus, ,. On 12 May 1891 t.he first duet with pistols, took place at Meudon. Bois set out expecting eonjueations 'against him: these of course m.a:teriaUzed. On the w~y to the

duelling ground., one of t~e horses drawing, the journalist and his seconds 5 topped dead ill Us hacks, and remained shivering for twenty minutes before it could bepersuaded


The Occult Unti'ergfOlm:d


Names, names, names!' A. marquls, assorted poets, novelists, renegadeolergymen, oeeultists proper" a journaltsn Paris of the 1880s and 1890~s:was ey]d.ent~y prodectfve ,of a widespread interest ~n the occult. Of the occultlsts, de Guaita and pelaldal1J. are the most important But what is. J.. K.. Huysmans, at no"e::~ist or conslderable standing, doing in this curious imbroglio? There ]s much to he gathered from Huysmans' mere ability to believe what he was told by Boullan, Y'e~' the situation, comprehending poets" artists" and intellectuals" was con sider,ably more complicated than a simple readiness to hemleve in the miraculous. It W'RS more complicated because these people, indiv~dua~~stic and thoughtful by calling-s-or, if netthat, atleast ~ndinedl to theorize-s-were prone to thinking about the miraculous, ratber than responding according to more or less eonventional patterns, Some of the more daring spirits were even inclined to apply wbat t'hey had learned. Others were baff~€d by the mushroom growth of the occult

I~ 1889' Ado~:phe :Re~M' and his: feJ]ow-SymboUs:rs, were at a loss fOl" a printer. A friend who worked in the Fast Omce and read Swedenborg recommended one, a. certain "Arcturus,' wbos,€ office Reule fO'lI:ul:don inspection to be surrounded with "vaguely Tibetan" inscriptions cut out of gikled cardboard. sun poets must have printers, anrdRetti' handed over his letter of introduction 'til Arcturus, He read It, and enquired U Are you adepts]" ReUe; who tells this

story in a sp~:rlt of ridicule, was informed enough to make a passable showing. "1 said that 1 had read some books 'on Hermensm, dl.atl had seen M, Peladan cever himself hi a serap of red Turkish carpet that served him as vestments, , ... J He them .craftily asked for instruenon. Arcturus begaa to b,tk: theastral, kaffll{i~ de Gl!laita. Papas, Occult terms .3!!I1di the namea of oceultlsrs poured from him. After ba~fan hour ReU([ was able to stop the tlrade and tact£uUy enquire whether he and his friends would be' printed. Arcturus replied. that he would have to consult hws familiar spirit. The next day, however, the oracle proved favorable, and fwO'm tbi:SSQur,ceJ the second Vogue appeared" with eontrihutlons from Paul Adam, Henri de R,egn~er:; and Gu,stave Kahn. ~i. The last-named, ~n his aecount of~hevariOlus literary movements o~ the e.ra,,[ound it neeesssry to d~s~ sociate himself and the Sym bQ~.is:ts f.("\om the occultmovement, They wer-e mystics, of a. sod, he admisted, but not occultists "-,a'l least not M .. ,e'an More,a:$. and C'2-2 The "at least" is telling, Some Symbolists were certainly occultists, and rhe temper of Bohemia was such that tlae two camps might easily be confused. As the incident of Reth~and his pdnter shows", the literary and the oceuh worlds might have tOI share .91. bed.

Ju1es Bois noted in Ids; jou rnalisUc travels WIIJ nd Paris that the supernatural had penetrared both the fashionable world and artistic society .. ~ There was Oamille Flammarlon the astronomer who was a. oonfirmed Spirltuallst. The musician AU,gusta· HoImes received messages fromlbeyoodL. Pa1U!l Adam was visit,oo by an evil spirit.. Painters and writers without Dum her owed some Inspiratton to the cult of the irrational.

Jnthe Place Sorbonne the classicsl and Odenta] schelar Louis M~nard told 180];8 of his enthuslasm for the Greek gods. but dlsclaimed aay inrentlon of making diseiples .. He had, he: said, had a single disciple" who bad unfortunately gone mad. One d,a,y the poor .f,eUoVli' had eometo .Menard and told him th.atilftel" a nlght of prayer Brahma had revealed to him that M:!ena~d was the Holy Spirit. Shortly

to continue .. The shots were exchangedwithout injury. But the armorer who had charge of the pistoIs later discovered ~hat the bullet of_one had not fired, By that stage there ''I',~ no dlscoverlng who51e plstol it '\!'~$~alth.ough Bois had little doubt. On his wa.y to the second encounter the horse Iell between the shahs. He took a second carriage, with the same result. This time the carriage overturned> and Bois arrived on the ground much the worse for wear." The genial Papus, who besides being an oecultistwas a. skilled swordsman, wounded him slightly i11 the forearm; and they walked off the field the best of friends. 211

afterwards the disclp~e bad ~u.mp€d. out of the window; shouting that be was as ~a:ppiy as the gods. M

Amou~st thee.xplooion o·f artistic ai~:[i v~ty ~the zany tempo of nf€~ ~rie adVi€{nt of satirical cabarets m~e the Chaf .No~r. the groflWth of the 'Occult was .a~ integral p,art QfBohemrna.En the ~cabatets tbemselves the pesturlng poets adopted the mysUfiealhon of the oceultists. Hieratic prose and incantation were recognizable ~.a[gets of' parody .. ~· The mosrsucoessfr -I -'--'·'1-·,:· .. -.' -f' --. '~~.-.,-:,.-, France 'p. ,-. MS .(.·C,'erard cess n [lJQPU anzer 0 .. OOCu.JldSm m il'L ... __ , ap__ .. _~~_

El1cal!J!sse),- was a. great' b(m~,eva:rdjer amid .bon im\Ve~rj who from the inception of the Chat Noir was a lileguJar attender, ~G From t:he T!heoso:ph~:sts of Psrls, gro!!lped round F,eUlt-K~ishna Ga.horiau.' 5 Lotus' bl@u~ Pap~s moved ~Q a~chemical and magica~ topics, foundIng with Lucien C11amuel the Libraide du M.erveiUeux and its review L'lnitiation ln maSS" Chamuel ma.yp0,s,s:~.bly have been the ... i\rctur1L!:s" ofR.eU~· s story; forMs pu'blis.hing business CODtinued to prln t novels is well as occult H tem tnre, Mor-e occult reviews appea.redi,tl1ie Il1JH}St lmportent being La, 'V;oil,e a'Isis (found,ed 1890), The popularizing genius of Papus=-much frowned ~po.n. by I'ds more stu:ffy colleagues=-impressed U on his w.rndening audience that "eocul~ science" WaS9!EOrOO to be reckoned with. Its presence WaJ.5 taken forg;r9inte,di±'u5;iul~ntenectualfa:5hiioill which w,ouM euh,e~ b€ absorbed into. established knowledge, or In tlme rejected .

Because this is not a chap~e!l!" kn the history of mitel"atuI'e" <or even of' the .[890s~ them is no room for an extended discussian of the aesthetic theories of the, time B[IJ[ several points must be made ]m d1E: sDg,nificance of the occult IS to be appredated. There W.M tho!Jg,~t by Cf]tics to he a "Satanic" school of Ht!€rature, whose h~gh priest was Baudelaire. It was (l]sUngu~shed bya certain perversUy,1ltrD. Insistence on plum bing the depths of human experience not only ~'O the extreme-s ofpleasure, but also to those .of degradatlon. Pad and parcel or :~h]s; movement, althoug~ apparently far divorced! from it, was the school of :[houg~t wMdl. when it arri 'il,€!d ~ n England ~ was known. as the" Aesthetic" move-

1 I'

I ~


ment. But. indeed, Satanlsm and Aestheticismwere equ,ally confounded with od1Jer crielcal definitions-c-Decadence and Symbcltsm. The: important :po'~nt is not tbe djJferenoe which might be found to exist be~weena. "Symbolist" and a "Decadent," but the uniform reaction professed by mem hers of all ~hese schools ag~.inst w~at had. gone before

As in general terms the reactionagainst ratlonallsm had set in. i'l1~le5thetFicte:rms dlJe reaction was againrs:t naturalism. What w~s" reesonsble' and what was "natural' ran hand ruon ~land a~d. were the outcome o[ a certain way of looking at the world. A dded to thls was 3. form of S10C]"8!~ protest, £iOC~;$,io.nany political, but more often direeted agalnst moral stenderds, and always against the bourgeoisie .. As Vlctor-Emile Michelet said. referring to Baudelaire: in the land of Bohemia. a poet or a gentleman could do wha~' they would, while a bourgeois would be thrown. out on hls ,eail'.~" An artistlc rebellion was hrewlng, impatient with what was. Soddy! considered to be ~D the age of R.lea SQ.iIl and Science, implied naturalism, ratlonalism, and a fh::.ed code of behavior, The conditions in which the bourgeois: mede Ms mOI1>€'Y and sold his SO\JI~ througba virtuous cynicism. were simply ·ll.maccephl.b]e,Wwth a seriousness which is diff~;cu~t~or the 20th century to realize, the Bohemians~ In the midseof their posing and thelr legeadary debauch, set outto find dlJ;:ir own solufions,

They set out, therefore" wH:h assumptions which were antl-retionalist and anti~~mat,€riaHstj~o produce antinaturalist art. Because this apprcechwas based ona total reiectlon of the world it rna y he ]e:gH.im;,'l.i~'€' to call it

.,,, ., t ]". W·· L "'h '" 1 d f. "c iii- .• .' , the cu] t f ~ Il.

sprrr 1JJJa .·_neil ell' l'~ e eo OJ:a,~.~,n];s:m> or tne cun ottne

BeauUfu~, the fsce th~5. rsaetion presented il.'o the public was unifonnly rebellious.

At the- same time dl€: Age of'iRessoml had ,co['Urmoted the poets \v]th the problems which every thinking man had to face, They were introspective either by temperament or as the result or a ~ong sojourn w:idl. Romant~{';ism~ and! the horrible reali~ty of the human eonditlon impressed UseH on th.eir 'CQmS'CiQU;5IleSS with ~.[!eat fQrce .. "0, Satan," cried


BS!ude~ailie;; "take :pity on my lon;g misery!" Hymns to Satan" v~:rse'S on prostitutes, the vileness of human nature formed the subject-matter of the tortured poet The fact that Baudelaire and, ethers hoped to {lome through the flr'e, and emerge on the other' side was largely ignored by observers, who, read his verse, h'831r,d of his Club des HasohiS'chin$.~ a.nd saw Satai!1J poefically ~,ncam.ate, l~

F orthe moment we shall .mgrD.!.Jlt'le the more esoterie side of these doetnnes, and concentrate upon wha~ was seen by the world at Iarge. The book which was seen as Hrue <. Mb]e" of the movement: was J. K. Huysmans' .A. .ReboiH'.s-wllllclli't 08JcarWilde admitted. was the mysterious and corrupting book. g~~ven to the hero oiThe Picture of Dorian C.'j';ay. Des Esseintes, the hero of Huysrnans' novel, is perversity ~tseJf He encourages a friend to marry-e-only when. he b sure that as a married man he will live in aflat with. circular rooms requlring unusually shaped furnihl,re, The acqulsltion of such furn]ture wiU be a. costly precess, reasons Des Esseintes, The couple wHI be forced to move toanother and cheaper nail, ini'o which their exp,€nsive f'nnU:ture wiU not !Uj. and the ma.Hia,g:ewil~ consequently break up. So it turns out. On ttte same prlneiples, Des Esseintes pw.eks up a boy in the streets, and introduces him to the~ux[try of Parisian brothels, The Mad,ame']5 puzzled by what she seesas a new fofb],e of ber customer. His alm, Des Esseintes assures her, ]1$. in fad to make the boy a murderer. By accustoming hhn to. pleasures whic~ he cannot' afford. the boy may be dr~ve:ll to a Hfe oferlme and vice.

One more €xarop:lernay be given of the face thathis attitude presented to the P1ilb]:wc~ The biUer.ness with whioh lHe ]s. described in Lee .rJhant'8 de Ma~dorm' mede the work

- -- - - - _. . -- ...

something OF a "black" book. IrD. a. second 'edition in m890 it caught the at:~"eimti(!ln of theavent-garde, Maldotor was at nrstvirhlOl]!S and happy: "Iater he became aware Hlat~e was horn evtl.' The warning ~e issues to his readess wiUibe €lrTholl!lgh:"Yoll!l who are nowgazing upon me: stand back, for my breath exhales polsen, NO' ODe has yet seen tileg[!1eeil!l furrows in my forehead, nor tlte pr:CItruding bones of my

emaciated face, resembling the bones of som.€: great

t". ~ "~ll

USu, , . '.'

Ne'llerth€aess'j to the Ad:~st-- t~€ term was now befng spelled with a capit:all~~ter-who mjghtr fJJ~d hisaod s In the world' s gl!1USF, such misery W,3S only tobe exploit .' He:nc~' [.0 S'€ie '\vhether~e oould transcend misery. Baude:lairehad, smoked ba:shi~~, Others, in :Eng~·and and France, tu rned to the p~rsl]it of vice and degradaUonj, in the brothel. in the tavern, ill]: thepoorest quarters of ~o\Vn, For this species of A.rUst, who was intentin PUS!h.jllg mere physica~ sensation to the utmost, Verlaine coined a name: PQ!et,e ntau.aU, accursed poet And Indeed.. there did seem to be something, mildly Satanic in an obsessloa with drugs and d,r~nk. But the core 01£ ~he theory \V,aS an QPcuU doctrine which. attaehed value to suHering·and rejected t~e world asa_ll ,elld. in itsdf,.

'The other side .of the picture W'aS the s.o-caned" Aesthetic mo:v'e,mentj'Th~s ,dlief~y Engl~sh phenomenon W~5a. debased form of the Frenchresponse, The outward forms (If this attitude were' a eoncentration on Uw value of personal e~pe:ri.ence~~.nd the cult of the Beau tiful for .~.ts 'Own sake: U wars essentially a. pursuit of the Beautiful having denied the Good. The excesses of this seho ol are familiar through the ~C'thdties o;fWUde and the parodies af W. S, Gilbert:

Though the Phillstlnes may jostle. youwiU raul as an apoiSd.e ]:0 the ~ighaestbeticband

mE yQiIl walk d,ownPioc~diny with a POPPIY or a lily in your

medleval hand. -

This postur~ng-for ~510' itappeared--was "aesthetic,' witha sneer; or "decadent' without one. In. England, this eould mean "unmanly" or effete. In France, where the term was coined, H was more spsciilc. Among the poetes maudits there was a coneentratlon 0]] so-called '''d!e,cUning'' periods. Baudelaire had beenfof1ffVIe'r talklng ahouta tra:ns~aUQl1I iji~ PetrO[iJ.LU;S which ~le never eXJecu.~!ed> whUe Laurent 'fa.Uhade-he .of the twenty-three d~els~a,duany did one. There was also the heavy shadow of the defeat by f:russ.i,a.~.t Sedan: the Prussians couldbe seen as h~ll'barians,


and faris as Rome or ByZl,l.nt~um) the last outpost of culture and clvllizatlon." This resulted in a consciousness of being at the end of an era which added conviction to, the pose.

To those to whom the attitude was more "than a pose. we are indebted for anexhaord:inary outburst of creative abillty, The. id ea ofthe • < aes therlc movement" was essentially a. eorruption of the doctrine of the French Symbolists. The idea, ?f the symbol ls acomplicated one. A simpliflcation would be to say that whi~e the debased aesthetician would go into vapors over the beauties of his poppy or his lily, the true Symbolist W01!dd see in that beauty merely the reflectkm of something most purely beautiful beyond (as a ChrisNan might talk of a tl~orious day as bemg somehow thel'eHe,cUon 'Of God). This doctrine has man}' direct ]inks with occult h"ad!~tion; and .~.f correctly understood, it represents as much as "Satanism' a rejection of the world,

Thus" for the artist who made his escape from society; two main roads lay open: [he path 'to Heaven and the path ~o Hen, These directions proved to be \J!1eU sign-posted by the occult Cenerally speaking,-it may be something more than a question of the Insplred following th,e inspirers-poets took the d!o'l,vi!1ward path. while artists looked UpW31id. TMs twin response ]s exaetly duplicated by the oecultists. To simplify what seems a complicated, development, we shall pair two couples of A.r'Ust-occulti.sts W point the sjm~~a,I!'Uy. On the fringes of the ~nferna] regionswe fi~d Baudelaire in tiheoomp,a:ny of Stanlslas de GtwaUa,. En route to the Absolute are discovered at least one manifestation of Oscar Wilde (though he also had his moments of vertigo by

'the Abyss) preceded by Jos6phin. P,eladan" -

ttUii"n 0'£ the century. This W3.S Jru,~phin p,slada.n's .Le vice supl'€me~ the first of a sequence of novels wbleh its author caned La deCradence latiine" Like many others, Ihe Marquls Stanislas de Guaita, of whom we have already made the aequalntance, was overwhelmed by this compendlum of perversity and occun intlmations. He therefore entered ~nt,o rel.aUons with P,e~adan; who introduced him to the tedbooks ,of his particular brand of occultism." Thus two of the most significant figures in the eceult revival were brought together, Mt is, worth noUng that although both have become known9i.s oeculnses, theyodg:inaUy made their name as men Qf letters.

Stantslas de Guaita (1860-S8) arrived in Paris at the age of twenty with h~s closest friend. Maurice Barres, Barras was. to achieve greater literary distinction than the Ma .. rquls, hut de Guaita made his. debut with verse very much in the approved fashion of the poete maudit. There was La. muse nOi1'6,. fo:!: example, of ll882. But by maS5, his collection .R0811 my'sti,ca bad ex:pUcitlyoombined his more strictly literary heritage wlth a predellction for the occu]t .. Shortly alter reading Peladan' s Le vice 8u,p'Teme~ de Cuaita had his fellcw-oceulrlst to stay, The arrangement was only of the most tampon'll.:!")!, nature, owing to the ]mpossible temperamentof pe~adan ... ·n But die' Cuaita h~mseH was selected by a contemporary ~o Illustrate the arrogance typical of the young poets of the day. After listing an the modern poets with whom he was personally acquainted, the future Magus admitted grudgingly that there might be others, but ~hey did not, he sald, come to his eafe, ~Jj It is as a poet that he is mentioned, not as an oeculttst.

I os~pbin Peladan (1858-19 18) carne from a mystical background. His Iather W'!lI,s8! school-master who edited a fan.aticaUy Catholtcand royalist paper called I.e chaHment,. was ceaselessly re-interpreting tile Apocalypse, and issued every year his Annales .du surnat~tr,dj a compendium 0'£ miracles and IPwlPn,ec:ies, At one point he proposed a new cl!]Jlt-tha~ of the sbth WOUlJ,cl of Christ. caused (he said) by the blow of the' Cross on the shoulder of jesus when he

The occult revival in Paris had begun much eaelier thalli the e~ghties. and thenmetles o~f the century, But from the point of view of mater developments, the first slgntflcaut dete is probably 1884=the first Symbolist publications came out two yearsIater. Now 1884 not only saw the pabliestion of A. reboun~ but also of another novel, whieh ~n Its day attained a similar notoriety. achieving some twenty editions by the



slipped and feU on the way to Calvary. This wound be claimed as much the most severe, because the Cross was heavy with the sins of !the world. P€~adan senior was actually allowed to carry em .SI, trade In plous objects connected w~th this wound (and P¢~adan' smother continued the business ahe:r her hllt1sh.and';:s deatb).34

The greatest infl~ence on Josephh:u was his elder brother Ad rjen~a homoecpathic physician and studen~ of the Cabals; who lntroduced Josephin to mystfcal literature. Adrlen had learned Chinese at the age of sixteen, in order an.€: dJ9J.y to become eliglble for the newly created Chair in that ~anguage at Lyon. He was befriended by a circle of romantic Orientallsts, becoming a founder-member of the Soc],ele A.siaUque-. In this august body his v~ews remained suspect. Small v .... onder that this was SO~ :Im his ,chi:e'l mentor was one de Paravey, author of a ttt-r-eatiS!s on .. Hieroglyphic documents on Noah's Flood" breught from Assyria and

preserv ed in C· ·h· ina and A· m ".",c'i'~'''''' ",S,!; TI hrough A·· ·d' ri ·... de

,'\.riO ., -, . ,£I, '.' ,_. """'"' '¥~~~iR.! . I!! " __ ,'" .'. ' l.ll! ' ....

Paravev's obsession with Assyria and! Chaldea was to be transmitted to the younger P~]adan; who always heldhis brother in the highestesteem, attributing Adrlen' s d.eath in 1885 not totbe: short-slghtedness of the homoeopath when compcundtng a medioine, but, in true high CadwoU!c fash ton, h) die malice of a Protestant chemist in Letpsig. ~~

Peladan's Catholic eonviceions brought him twuMe with the ~avV' in ]880. when he was arrested for protesting against decrees. against unauthorized rehglous congregations, In court the young man began to expound his theory that Catholicism was the only source of Art. Hewas flned only fifb:,en francs on the grounds that he was an eeeentrte." U ndererred, the you Ulfnl zealot nourtshed his aestbetic faculties on a tour o-f .I~a~y. IIiI 1883, he' arrived in faris wlli'IDere he quickly penetrated Literary circles, creating an in:iHal sensation with hts criticism of the Salon of 1883~ ~~. with its texb=-" I believe in the Idee], Tradition, and Hierarchy." His critleism of the actual p,ainting;s b; relatively banal. but the thing to notice Is that Peladanarrived in the world of the aesthetes w~th Ms own ideas cut-and-dried. These ldeas

were similar to those of t'he Pre-Raphaelites in England, but set in the context ,of the time and-place. •• Bew)li1€ of color

photography!" he seornfullyadvlsed theartists of lS8S" and he prefaoed, his cr~:ticisrns with two declarations.

L AU artist~() rnast~rp~eo~s. a~reUgicrus> even amongst un-

~ elievers, -

2;, For nineteen centuries, artlstie materpleces have a~ways

been Catho]ic; even among.st Protestants,"

Thus the critic ranged himself squarely on the extreme of the Catholic reaction, an atUtude which he was to rnaintain even in hills, occult dealings, "He also made much of the decadence of 'the: Latin races-etlrey were in • "metaphysical perH" thanks to ~he: eHods; of Rentiln and his band 0'[ mater]aHsts.40 The next year was to see the publlcatloa of feladan's Le vice .supreme.

The book whieh brought de Gu.a.Jta and lPeIadan 'together was a production of its time, but also very much of the man. There is about it much of the perverse, and an insistence on merely physical sensation. As early as page three the reader ls lnfrodueed to a. princess "'del~cioos~y savoring brutish ecstasy." But the hero of the narrative, M.e['lodla.c:k-,aU P~lad.a~·~ name's are taken from Assyrian myt~oh)'gy-,is a magician, in tlhe author's very special sense cf the term: someone who. is 'totally in control .of himself M,erodalc:k~ supposedly a portrait of the unfortunate Adrien Peladan, "a poet inconsolable that he was not a g:enw.~s,a mystic overw helmed not to be 3. saint," 4]. might also stand for Nosephin himself. He has had apious childhood. Ahho1llgh he has learned! something of !th.e Ca bala and occultism be remains s,tdct~y orthodox. His vocatlen asa magleian 00m~ pels him to conquer an natural vlcea But such is his commitment tOI this course ofaetion that he must summon up' temptations deliberately, For example, he flirts with a g:irl until she allows him in tllroogh her bedroom window) but .. L h b h····· .. ··th...... monstrous "'0· ntlnenee ',.z

H~,en. .1. 'e"e I .• a,ves Wl· .~ ~_~"~ ~,~ .!,a.o;i 'L.·. . ". "':>

magnetizes her, and watches. over her uU dawn. As pad of his self-discipHne~ p·elada.n a.dds, he even giv,ei; up smek ..


ing, His occult Master. the Gah~list Rabbi Sichem, has adopted another way of beeomlng a superman, and MeF.odackadmits .. a third: this is the way of Father A~ta> a. dissipated arlstocrat turned Dornmicen. Toward the end of the novel M'~roda,ck and Alta are face to faee: "the two miracle-workers, the Prodigy or GraQe~ and the Prodl\gy of wm, the Monk and the Magician ... , "~3 1'0 the tortured sou] of the poeJ',e ffMl'udu, this seemed very Ilke' saying that there was a, way out of the trap after all, De Gatdta and Pel3i!dan are important because they typify the response of the Decedentera to' the crisis of consciousness. In purely literary terms, de G1!J9Jita was: indeed the Ba.tlde]aJ.~re' of the movement, and feJadan~it does not take much lmaginaHem to see the hrall]JsfonnaHon-,a, high Catholic Osear WUde.

De' Cuaitaand P~~,arlan. the aesthetic and the accursed magicians, took Wi upon themselves to revive the Rosicrudan Brotherhood, a society which ever since the 17th centurry had been traditionally credited with being the f'€!p()sUory of ancient secrets, In September 1885, P@larlan had declared himself Grand-Master- of the Rose-ero·t,. on the de,91th (]f his brother Adri€fI!~ who had been initiated into ,9;, by this time moribund branehof Freemasonry claiming succession from the ~€g'endary Hosicruclans." In 1888 P&ladaOCiiand de Cuaita revived the Ordse J{abbalisHqUfj de laRose-Croix. and in vlew of the subsequent rumpus H is possibly as well to bear mmind that P~ladan. was the 'first to proclaim himself a "Bosioruclan." The Rose·,Cro'ix consisted of three d,egr,e,es-"Bio]ogy,"""Theory," and "Prae-

t· ... " 11110. . J" tedbv : C' . ,,] C' T· 1·' c .. ~ .... .'

Ice" II,~. was airectenoy a '_"OUlilCI. or . "we ve, or wnom SlX.

were known and s~x remained unknown to carry on the Order if it were broken up. In 1890 de Guai~,~ claimed OV€'f a hundred adherents for his Order, IJ,~ That this figm'e was ever reached seems extremely unlikely .. The six n Hidden Chtefs' never existed, Besides de Cuaira, p.eiadan, and Pap-us; Paul Adamand M9!rc Haven (the latter a dtselple of Pap-us who replaced p·etadan on the Council) are the only names worth mentioning among the six maio participants.


These were mostly young. Two older members, respected. in occult circles, were Alfred Faucheux {alias "Barler" )"a disciple of that Saint-Yves 0' Alveydre who had introduced de Guaita and the Abbe, Ec'OuHan; and a Dr. Charles MeHmge W~1l0 was pseudonymed '" Alta" after the character wn pe;Ladan's navel, I~1J. this .l:1:ose·-Cro1x there was, says, one contemporary, a great deal of fooHshness.<lj] Its €x]steu:ce is: lmportant insofar as it was pan of Bohemia, a. Bohemia which sometimes grew annoyedwith subtleties u could not understand .. One evening Emile Cordeau, o'f the Chat Not",

~t ·R- .".. 4>' "]. II ~~

was preS€l.!lhi\1I., a nosicrucian meellmgat W uen me

magicians we-r,€' dlscussing the Parabrehm-vthe Perfect God w ho, according to certain theories, d ruvided his being throughout Creatlon. Goudeau ~~5teJ1led in mounting lmpatlenee to the metaphysics. bandied mound the room, and eventually exploded. He did not understand, he cried, why ce coohoo de Paf'ahnilim. who enjoyed perfection! had to split himself up atalll 41 It is easy to sympaehize wjth the cabaretier.

In 1890 took place' what the occultists were toO call the "War of the Two Boses," An seem to be agreed that the main. cause was the incurable se]~-importance of P~]a:da[l, in whom a real sense of mission W,aJ;5. ming~ed 'with an exhibitionism worthy of several Oscar 'wiJdes. It ~s, only fair to him to state that iF eccentricity was not necessarfly expected of an Artist, it was to a cer~ain extent approved. He adopted the tide of "Sar," or King, in Assyrian. He took to calling himse~f by the name of the Assyrian god M,erodack which he had given to. his character in Le 1')"i'ce sup'y€me., His dress was always eoeentrlc, varying from the med~eval,w]th rufUes and ~,a!ce> to the Oriental robes whleh attraotedaeeusations of transvestism, These 'would alternate with more Of Iess ~cdesw,a.sUcalvesl:meI1lib:; and the tradttional garb of Bohemia. The hair and the beard of Sal' Merodack were luxuriant and remarkable. Some of this exoticism in d ress h had absorbed from his friend and early encourager in Paris, J. .,A. Barbey d' A1!1reviUy~ whose own gorgeous ruffsend silks; were complemented by his habit of prod'ILI.dnga,


powder-eompaet li!l trams and making up his face,~~' It is easy to see where Wilde derived ids ideas on aesthetic costume. P,eladan h~ms{~;~f was an obvious t.a;rge~ of raillery; and J ules Bois' satirical observa tions are typieal of many:

When. f~(isi3!n c~~isirie bored him, he would be ,o·ff h) w:Ii@a:k h!illVQC !iliJil]Ot1g ~he he:;ld's 'elf senti~'emilMI prQvhll.ci~.!. g~rhj:, H@ weuld be seen i [J, Ill. medieval dQuMet pass:rnng;: through Ma.'rs,eWHes cafe's, and. 'he used to hide under :ao opsra-eape his w~]killg"$tick"wh.kh beneath tb.e~o]ds, hepiillssed off as a

.·..ll ~Uo

.sw,or"U!, ... ,

!But with Sax Merodack ,these foibles usuallyassumed ehe character of the occult, the hi'eratic. theclerleal, And it was fn May 1 agO that the Sar issued three ar bitraxy mandates., s:Ign:ing~hem with his assumed title and!. his persona l Rosicmci.an motto, Ad Crucmn pe~r H'~Miam~ ad Fi.o511'm per Crucem, ~'n ea.> in eis gemma.tus ft?surg.eam, To. bis fellowBcsierueians, alr€'aiCly disposed to OlInnoyance at the anties of the Sar, thes€ productions were the last straw.

The fIDrst of Meroclack's Ac:ta S"ynceUi was directed "'1'0 aUthos€ of the graphic arts, Creetings In Plato and Leonardo and Blessings in Jesus Christ," This called, UPOrl ana.t~ tists ~o submtt to the S ar's di:re,ettiorL in aesthetic metters, The' second wasaddressed to the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, andanncuneed ~tsau ther as th.e Crand M:!lIJs~~r of $I cJ!)rDJceaJedi CathoUc intellectual e]i,te, heir to the secrets oif the Rosic:rlUdans and the Holy Vehm." The complaintof S~f Merodack was, :that bu]l-[i~ht~ng had ju~i[ been introduced to Parts: he denounced the Plaza de Toros of the RIJ!€! Pergolese as'·a. place (!Ir eorruptlon where women go ~n 51eGIi.~Qh of orgasm and where they obtaJn. orgasm," He _had been asked to escort Jadles to. such exhibitions of brutaJ.Hty, and peremptortly requested His Emtnence ~o stop . the female besth.l.~ity of. this resort of " theei.ghth sort of luxuriousness." 'fb~e Sar concluded bts most Catholica.ddrescs by lufm.ming the Cardinal t~a t aocording, to ~llile esoteric

"'A sinister O-e~.m<m s<ec[~t SOclety which. !had dispensed i~s own iustlee.

hierarchy, he remained his most respectful. suffragan, His tMrd decree W~: a personal aesthetic condlemnaHon of a woman. memher of t:he Bothsehild f.amily, who had bought the 'ch:!it!ea.'u. ,of BeaujIOI1L, and was PIO:poiS~~ng to knOCK dJm:vn the c-hapel.'·a curious example of the transition hom the style Oif Louis XVI to that of the Empfre." T~lisoondemned the hapless cbatelalne in t~e name of~U the religiens, aU, fhe arts, and! the Ros~-Orotx. Ad Cruoecm per R05am, ad

Rosam per Crucem. . . . Sil . _

Cri:s'~s ,amoil1g the Hosicruciansl Respectable eccultlsts and liU~:rat,etlns; t~ey weretarred wuh ~~he same brushss t~at wuh wll~dl half of Paris tarred-and-feathered the rabid Sar, First brctherly remenstratlens, but these were met by a marD!Uesto i~Peladan':3 best MeraUc sty]!e-rem~nd.iI1l.g t~e H.m,e .. Oroix fbat of ~hem. all he had been the first to ineorpomte oeeulttheory in hts critical and li~emry works, ,dis~ daining various dOlctril!JJ€'swM©h obtained. amongst the B08e - Cr,O'tx; utter] y re] ectl ll:g S p ~.:riru aUs.tconcepts. BuddM:sm~and Freemasonry: and reverttng to his. Ellgl] Catholic pose wH~ the slgnatof>€ "Sax MemdackPIe:ladan, Roman Catholic Legate." P'e,]adarl Hillen announced the fo'rmarion of a. new Order, tile iO$e~CroicX Cat.holique}~whlch wasto bave a short b!!;rut considerable inf]~ence Ion the world oftlrue: visual arts,

Before·oonsider]ug the f~rth:er activities or P,e~,9rdan and Ms colleagues -of the aesthetic oecuk, the sigllmCaJrtOO o~ de Cua.itamust be assessed, The two men. resp(!I[!Ided tothe pressures of the time both as occultistsand men of letters, If the Sar ascended! to theempyeean of aestaeticism the Marquis performed the endless descent into. ~he abyss of the p(]e~e ma;udU. The eompanson with Baudelaire was made by ,contemporaries., De. G~aHa h~ms,elf spoke ofh~'wl.of the , .• Sa~:anist" poet. ~ De Guaita~ _ wrete J rules Bois, W ho be~iev€d in the Marquls' familiar sp[rH~md his meglcal murders" lived alone in a gr-ound-Hoo:r natt.~ draped ellUrle~y in red, would greet one .alta,yed ,~n a Cardtn a,]':s sout~ne.~" De Guaita, retumed Ms secretary Osw,arud Wirth, cl1o<sered to 8ymbo~i7!e his Ho~e-Cro:i1:;~nd tbe prelate's garb was

The Occult Unckrgraund

simply a red dressing gown." The Marquis, alleged Bois, indulged in astra] trave~ing:.·g Tihe Marquis, answered Wirth, never indulged in amy practteal .magic at all, Ue remained stdd~y a phtlosopher. On one poilltWirth was conspicuously silent, and thecriticism {)·:f de Guailta pronounced; and it is here that the resemblancebetween Baudelaire and de Gtu:dta becomes: most marked .. this point is the 'Use of drugs,

De Cualra's friend! Victor-Emile Mi!chelet, disapproved 0'£ drug-taking whil poetically admHUng the existence of the "black charm" o.f the p'o,ete mandit.. Baudelaire, he wrote; took opium and hashish: de G u alta, the .,. ph llosopher of the Fire," suited his more metaphysical temperament with morphine and cocelne." Hashish was by 110 means unknown to him~ how'ev€r~ and in an alphabetical Ibt of ." The Sorcerer' s Armoury," the dims is given a lengthy entry.

The smoking of kif, andabove 3iU the ahsorptlon of Hashlsh (taken pure. , . or mIxed with date jam} produces a unique and. supermundane Inrn:dcaUon. which by certain temperaments, that are mys.tic and sensual at the same time, is taken as a foretaste {l·f the heavenly bUss 'Of the Eleet."

He recommends the .... eading of Baud,e~alr·e' s Pa1:adwart'ificlels. Through hashish, ha elalms, "the U [lCO[]S.c.lOIJS reveals itself to the spell-boend Consclousn ess, and t·.h€! SQ1U!I.~ beholding itself in its own mlrror, displays Us positive existence to itself,' , The drug restores for the taker the power of objective thought which man possessed before the Fall, but a warning is issued o:f the dangers of takinga dose in the wrong frame or mind. «Then the temptation of suicide is common; one [S incited [0 take refuge Irom the :f·ear ·(If dyifllg tn death wtse'lf," Thus fat ithe Marquis remains withlna speofflcally Ut'emry tradltlon, The occultist is constrained toadd a ~~der: i.j HaI:S hish alwa ys encn urages~ UTIld

.. Astra~ travellng is tbe process by which some occultistsclahn to '''get out of their physk3il bodies" and t.rn.'Ve~ around in their "astral bocHes:'~~


sometimes provokes spontaneously, .the p1'Oj.ectt.on of .the .astT:al body .. ' ;59

Jules Bois thought that Paul Adam, Laurent Tailhade, and Edouard Dubus were de Cuaita's colleagues in his experiments In pr.a:dical magj~c.,. Tailhede and Dubusare cited with Michelet by OswaJd W.irth as de Cuaita's earliest friends in. the Quartier Latin. MI Micheletwas a. poet in the Symbolist mold,. and an occultist in a Theosophical baditlon .. Paul Ada.D1,. a member of the Council or the RoseCroix, also had one foot in the Symbolist camp and another in t:hatof the occultists, He is said to have had prophetie visions of tile Great War, and was a great discoverer of the "hidden hand" in history.lil Tailhade we have already met as a pugnacious. duellist: violence and he were no strangers, and in. 1894 he was to lose an eye in ,Q bomb exploston to. .~. cafe. Several years later he narrowly escaped irnmolatlon, when the house he was staying in was set on fire by an enraged band of Breton peasants whom Tallhade' s polineal views had di spleased, B1!

Of this gmup of Bohemians the most committed to de Gnaltas form of occultism was Edouard Dub us, whose short career-he llved only from 1864 to 1895~ might provide a[D; epitome for t~.3Jt of the poe·te maud~t:. WWl early ~:UefafY celebnry he coupled tbat fascination with the Abyss which was eo prove the undoing of so many of his fellow'Artists. He was one of the founders of the MerC,U,f.e de France; his poetry and hssconv rsation Wei"€: admired by Verlalne. His erratic political allegiances drove him from writing for Jerome Bonaparte's Aigles im.pmales to the columns ,0':£ H'ile en au Feuple. kt: first he worked as .a lawyer, At the tlme O'f Ms death he occupied a post found for him by Huys:mSJ1S run the Miwistry.of the Interior, But the Hfe 'he led was the free life of Boh~m:ia.-a. friend recalls how he and. Dubus once p~ayed the prelude to Parsilal set. for two hands on a. ca.:f~·taMe,G~. The early Symbolist poetry of Dubus is contained. in one slim volume, IQuanti les oiolon« sont parUs (Hil912)~ fun of bal1s,roses, and agonies, in his posthumous poems Dubus can be seen moving ever nearer the Abyss of


Baudelair,e and de Gualta, In direct homage toBaudel~ire; one poem is caned Cavalier Splleen;'~~ aneth f. entitled 1\1 idUa'Uon. is dedicated to de Cuaita himself. Us subject is the isolat~ed! sage attempting the conquest of h~$ soul, SUIrr01!].mJ,ed by "primal A~yss." Because, he Slays) the sagle has not been a,ble '~O, give his S~ bllme Win the wi ngs which it needs to soar abov,€ ,the' AbYS:!l", the sneering void has reclaimed him. One day he will become a person whom everyone scorns, who might wen ,cli,€: before having properly existed, borne do!wn as be ~$by his odious bumanity.· It is time, Dubus e~hods his soul. to grow wings. ~ This exhortation seems to have come too late, Dub-us became ensnared by dJe Cuaita, !O~ whom he had. called one day to ask fo~ inftju'mationfllbout the magician Apollontus of. Tyana, His companion of the table-top duet calls de Guaita. "a Ianatlcal mQriPhino~a.niac,," and accuses the Marquis of itrylng to make of his friends _ converts to hIs drug-ta,k~ng. Several times the hapless Dubas went mto hespital, only to resume his. m(lrphinea.cl~dfcU~n as soon as he emerged. EventuaUy he dropped dead in this street-e-one version. says in S! urb:li;lJ,~" 'W~lHe trying to give himse~f a fix. Hisw~fe; actress Suzanne Cay, whose Ufe, mus'~ have healTh miserabje enough as a result of her husband s homosexaality, was dragged a~ong in the same hellish descent Ithrougb occultism and morphine to de,ath,G!}

The man responsible for tbese mehu~ho.ly 'ends seems to have tempered his own ~nd!uJg,e:nces wHha stronger win, True, de Gua]ta himself died young, sighd,ess> broken ~n body and ~il1!d,~; H~ led externally a sinister Iife, sIeeph1.g by day and s~udying by night.on~y emergmg from the redhung, apartment wu'ih its drugs and excellent cellar to hunt Ior books on the occult sciences, ~~ He retained a certain respect for the Chds:tian re~igion> and reminded hls readers that "there is no middle way: one on~ywlthdraws f[~om humanity to' live with God-or Satan ..... "M The warnings which he gives: demonstrate ~hat he was, wen aware (If the dangers of the path he trod. Look down, he cries, from the precipice where we stand tegether=-do you see those


fl ., ,""I. "JI I: th Ab 'L bes - .

. owers g:tt'OIwn:ng on tne Slues: o~ t : e '. _ ~yss. W~~,Qse _ eauty ~s'

so deadly and whose scent so dlsturbing? Beware ... .'i(I It seems doubtfu~ wbetber de GuaUaarvoided the corruptions which he hoped to clreumvent.

A,t 'the other end of the spectrum stood ihe aesthetic Sar, De Guaihl was once told by the Symbolist poet Jean Morea:s::

"You :El~e a. Mag,us~ but 1 am a sorcerer. whleh is mtJ;ch more decoraUve1"1~ Mere decorative :stiU was Peladan, whose mysticism ledhim not tiu·-c,ugh ~;he Sa.tan~c· path of suffering and physleal sensation, but in pursuit of the Beautiful itself. It has been. the Iashlon to give qualifledpraise to de GuaRa as a scholarly metaphysician, and It,o den~f.a,t,e f!e'i!adan as a poseur." A d.ioser study of the Sar shows not on~y that he introd:uced de C uaitalto the occult, but that his own brand of mysticism was much more original than that of the M:~r~ quis. Both made their [·ebeIDlion against rationalism and naturalism. But while de GuaUa joined the more out-andout rebels, ,PtU,adan laid hws mystletsm a~ the service of the Catholic reacdoa, This he did in his own inimitable fashion, H!~ was not the :first to have attempted a syntbesis of Catboliclsm and. the occult. But. the fad tha,t he attempted to et(l~ericiZe ooeult symbQlis.m~i"e., make it ,a,ppJi.c.ahle to everyday lif,e-has led ~o complete mlsund!~m-standing, of his Intentiens.

In Le oice s,upr~mepelad.an had represented M.emda.ck as a superman overcoming his, humanity. One dJe'f'ect oE that M.:agus had been his ever-literary cast of mInd,'" Books spoilt his life Em· him; tbea~chai.c form .of his preoeeupatlons shut him of'f from the: modem worM:';/} This could well llav,€: been s.ajd of de Guai~a" as, of many oe'cu~tists, The Sar abandoned the jumble of' beliefs which eomposed t~'e faith of the majo[~ty of his fellowRosIcrucians. SOGn after be announced 'his break with de GuaUa he began 'to issue a series of works 1aying down the: law in the simplest terms f.Or weald-be Magi.

LA'V, Magllc is, the art of making ~se ®J,t short IlOtiC6 of norma'[ hum:a.ngreed,; and! the Magus discovers that he possesses in-


asmueh as he no longer desires; in the sense that a desire is real]y dead only when it is .absolu~ely d'e,stro)'ed, H

LAW. Magicco:nsisb En seeing and wiUing 'beyond the next h.odZO[l1,?~

In these terms. ,,'ladaill sought to extract the essence from his particular occult traditions, and to make a morally applicable to hls 'Own day, For the woman, there were diFferent rules than for the Magus. Her fulfllment was through her sensiblllty, whereas man's was through cerebration." The Sar's dogmatlsm may appear absurd, but bearing in mind the extraordinary weight of h1teUectual baggag'8 which we carry around todayIrom the time and place of. ~:isflomr]:shing. i~ is worth netlng pe~adan.'s social and polirlcal stance. He arraigned the powers that were before his Magian trihunal, and attacked them in series. First:

L Examine-rs, considering that:

. " . Th€ University, based as it ]S 'on a slngle faculty, the memory, presents iby far the gredesl: diffkulUes to. the most remarkable end iodividualisUc ca:ndid.a,'h~'s~ Moreover, state Instruetkm, w:l:th no p'hilQ:5ophk~l 'basis, ought to perish~'iflnd. may every one ass]st tbe process,

2, The whole iHmy, considerlng that:

... As cosroopoUtanism ~s the only true Form 'of civilization, it is for the individual the oondltion of co]]ectliv€ security; the idea of the Nation and the idel.l.Q;f passive obedience must be rliiscred:ite,d as two barbaric s.ur.vivals.';

It must be admitted that tn,€: Ssr immediately began to f![IJlmi[lIldea,ga~nst equality before the law. But if in thts lat~er point his w:nnate Roma:ntic],sm and high Catholic prlndples declare him "reactionary," pelada.n ~s otherwise "progressjve' enough to have been thoroughly at horne in, s.a.y.the Paris of 19168. Over all this .. applied maglc" was laid a gloss of Ca.thol~ci,sm. AHeT every dictum for the aspiring Magus or F'ay, the S,ar added a "Catholic Concordance'; ,; and be prefaeed each work with an QUeI' to retract at once any statement offensive b) the Holy See, This at-


i tltude Pelladan reta,- ed conslstently. In 1895,. for example, he refused to wrlf a preface for a book which he had promised to introd1ce, on the grounds that Itwas heresy. He would, he said, .ther write a preface for Renan' s Life oj Jesus. "'m, ,have pro. I ised you an introduction, but not an a.~ostasy, "1il He wa la strange amalgam 'Of the Catholic and ~he occultist,. the A list and the down. And it would be' giv~ng a false value to 1 is theories to pretend that he ever completely ,hook off t ' more eocentric ideas with which he had been brought ' '. He: insisted on explaining Rabelais by Freemasonry, and as always Iull of posturing statement [ike; "'The woman' bo lets herself be magnetized is:-----wf she is a v~rgin=,as. if sh h~s been deflowered, if she is married. she has committed .ult,ery,"·'11 But hIs e,Hort's to attain consistency were hFor example. in 1898 he visited tn,€, lands sacred to QO~' ~t tradhlon=-Egypt, J?'9!~€sUne. Creece, ~uldl. (for him) Chal ea. In Palesnn he discovered the real tomb of Jesus in tl c' mosque of Omar;" and as if to make amends for this 1 pse~ on his return wrote L'Oceuue catholique to dem traba once and forall that the occult

and th~ ?at helle ." I :r:e reconeilable. '., .

The mlh,ll'enc€: of '~ladan was most marked wn the HeM of

the vlsual arts, A.ft-' the Wa.r of the Two Boses, the Sar e's~ tablished his triple 1 rder of [he Rose-,C~'Oix C(uholi4Jl~e~ the' Temple, and the G il. His chief eolleagues in this. venture were Albert [ounet Elemlr Beurges, Count Antoine de [a Boehefoucauld, an. Count Leonce de Larmandis. [ounet had odginally been 'member of die Guaita's order; he was a Cabalist and a. syml Jist poet the nature of whose workcan !be ad,equate]y ga.t: ered from a. single title like Les l:!l8 noires". rl I Fm:m wrIUg books on 'the Zohar he became mor and more Catholic; ounded [the Fra.t:ern1:M de l"ttoile. a ],a.y mystical order, an gradually drew away fr·om p,eladl.an.;H,~; His friend, Er<!mir Boarges, had undergone a phase of lavish dandyism H1 that of the Sat, faVOring crimson waistcoats with hundre of tiny buttons, bu,t he had taken refuge from ~his 00 strenuousxistenoe In a blacl\ pesshnism and a cln lr in the BibUotheque Nationale where


he "read everything."?" De Larmandie (wrot€ M~dle]!e[) leoked Hle a Newfound~and dog in search of a master, ~;I A br]lH,~mt d~;ssical scholar. he had made a critical reputation wEta _8:. book of. verse p~blilshed in 1877,. all~ .foUowed p,e~,a.dan in prodiuchlg 9! nove~_ seqlJe:n~p:ubhshed b,Y Chamce], whQ wasalao responslble fo·r issuing the Count's series of prose poems, these in "a trilogy or trilogies,' > s'ym~ boliztng _~he sours flj~ht from the .H£e .,of, .mU5:~Qil and .•. i~S passage threugh the Abyss to Heav'€n,Jl~ During the 18~Os he had been adiv,€ in poHtics; in 189'.s~9 ~ad taken a leading part ~n tle campaign to secure the~evision of the Dreylus trial The FiJst World W.ar was to send de Larmandie to the mad-house with the shock 0'£ losing his three daughters: during lns incameraUoD he underwent a s:chizoid ex,., perleaee which M~ch€:let oompares to that of the Nel'vaL~~ In ~896 he marrled h~s wldowed niece to ~isaestbeUc and occult superior; although precisely what was. the order of precedence between a Count and a Sar remaius obseure, At the famous Salons de laRose·Cl'QtXj• Paris was surprised to see the Count de Larmandie seemhl~~dy dressed. as a com-

mlsslonalre, taking ~he tickets. ."

'fhe5:€ Salons represent Pe1a.dan's. ol"\OwDingri!i:chi8'Vement. and owed! th.eIr existence [<\lito the efforts of Antoirte de la Rochefouca.u.M. whom P dan had "ensnared one dJay in the Librairie du M'€!FVemeux.'·8:l De la Bochefoueauld withdrew his finand!~l support during the COUf&e o[ the first of ~hege manifestations in 1892. But his: prestige asan artlst attracted a group of ejm~nen[ exhfbiifi1on; which dre:~ aUen~ lion to the Ros~eruci~:!1, t'heories olart, De ~2i. Roche'fou:cau[d broke wHh PeladisLID over a diHere:no€ ~n aes.thet~cs, favmiug more •. progfessive" sty]es, It.]5 now beHeved . that _ he '~~)QssiMy di·cl, not die untU. the 1960s-, having spent the latter years of his me In a. rel1g~.ou5' oongtegaUon.811 During hIs brIefass()ciuUon wi~h the Order. de la Roehefoucauld .~,e~d the pod of Ard1lJon te efthe F"rune Arts, "but theaesthetic of the ·R.ooe-Groix ma.llif€;sta~rnOlls~whldi embodied musleal and d ramatic performanoes. as we~ l as the exM.b~Uon$of wor~s. .of .a!rt~,wa;s entirely that o~f P'elad"9t~.The object of


the' Aesdle't]c ..Rose~.or-oix was, a W'aS 9i.rmounced."to restore t~e cult of the: IDEAL" through the depiction O'r Beauty and. on ~~he basis of 1'radmon._ Cat~o]~.c subjects were proef,e:rred befor,e all others, I n default of such works of art, •. allegories, Oriental r-el~g,[o!lJS, _ .all.ytMllg which ico'uJd be described as" spiritual" would iber:lloC:epted. As for architee» ture~ [~lis art had been killed in 1189~ and. therefore on~y design,s for restoratien or" pro'ject'sfo]" fairy. tale palaces '. would be considered." A!!lyth~ng _ remotely experimental, modernist, or materialist was anathema; as were everydrilJy natural i:s~ S~ bj,elct~la,~dscap:es, seascapes, historical and palrLotic paintings, Siull·Ufes-~lOrwev,er wen executed, Peladan was in pursuit or an underlying «artistic spirit" w'Mch must inform the work 0'£ the true - artist.

His early art crltieism had deelared ~.hat all great art was religious. "Theartist shoold bea knight in armor,e.~ger~y engaged in the symbolic quest for the H.o~y Gmi~; a crusader wa,g,~ng, perpetual war on the Bourgeoisie]"?" Now he came into the open, glod.fy~ng rhe sacred FUllCUO]], of the Art1st:

Arl'ist, you are a priest Ad Is the great Mystery. , , Artist,. YOui are king: Art Is the trrue empire ., ..

A rtist, YOUi an~ Ma,g1JJs; A:r~ ]s th€ gre,liilt mlracle . . , ~~ _ ,

TIH'J; reason for this is qu~te simple, Through Beauty (J,oe comes to God. "There is no Iieali~y other than God., There is no Truth other. than God. There is no _ Beauty other t~arJ Go~. »92 It was _cher.efoll€ logical tiilat Peladan should prefer works of art stH] infermed by the Chrlstian spirit: otherwise the Artist could fttUiU h ls fl!lncUon through other forms of "spiritnal" representation. At tffiThe Salons, w~ic~ r~.n for fivs yea:rs~ the p:res,idin.g g'e:nii~who In the later stages cjo~ld, scarcely be persuaded to exhlhlt-e-were Gustave Moreau,. Puvis de Chavarmes,. and F~ncien Bops (who had. designed a. gruesome ftonHspieoe £'0·1' PeIadan.' s Le vice $-u!pr~'me). Fernand KfThQPU and Georges Rouaulralsoexlubited al the Salons, U the organization -O'f all aesthetic movement under ~he banner (If an ()oC"uH'soclety s€€ms biz:an~jand perhaps

even a ru~U~,e "French," it is as wen to call to mind the origins of d~ie Pre-Baphaellte Brotherhood, very slmllar to the Bostoruelans in inspiration and in its quasi-religious appreach to art The young men who in 1848 had formed themselves into a Brotherhood had even tllken an oath not to dJvu~g€ the meaning 'Of the mysterious letters PRB~'~:a juvenile obsession with secret societies perhaps" but exactly in tone with the practice of such societies, where t~e Colden Dawn magical groupis referred t09:S, the CD, and even the

'Thecsoplucal Society as the TS. __

Noteontent with exhibiting .. true art" to Pads in visual terms) Peladan instituted performances of works by .. the superhuman" Wagner. his own mystical plays, and Rosicrucian fan fates by the composer Erik Satie. Sane was at this period the pianist first at the Chat Noi·' and UlenS!t other Montmartre cabarets. For over ;EI, year he was also the semi'Official composer to the Roslorueians, contributing music to Pe~,8idan' s drametic works and to. the ceremonies of the Order, After 1892 Satle broke alway from the Sar and began to pontillcate in his own r~gllt He formed tile Metropolitan 'Church of Art of Jes~s 'the CondlJ.ldoF; of whleh he was choir-master and Abbot. He fulminated against hismusical and Uter,ary dislikes of his Cmturch newspaper, and eVlen~ua~]y joined forces with. Jules Bois and hIs patron" the schismatic de In RochefoucalJM~ in a group which published an esoterle-arftstie review caned Le Coeur. To a p]ay of Bois, Satie c,ontr:ibuted music as he had to. those o:f Pel adan, 94, In this. m usician religious Jtnsp'ira.tIona!l'ldl~· fl. tas te for pseudo-rellglous mockery were easily combined. The Sax, on the other hand, banished all humorous subjects

. from his Salons.

From these artistic activities of Peladan, the Ros:e-Crvix of de Gua-ita. dlssociated themselvescompletely, declaring the Sar a schismatic and all apostate. 8~ Pelad:an continued to soldier on" battl mg with de Larrnandie ag:eJ lnst the "scatological and coprophagous generation' which oon~ fronted them. In an age whleh saw" an philosophic-al and social fnrmnla give materia] assistance to the external

triumph of Prussia, and to the wn~lernaI v~ctory of exeremental opportunism,,"'SiIi their crusade was not :50- lonely as they believed. The Rosicrucian espisode is an Integral part of that flight from reason which c~,aract,eri2 s the 19th oentury, Like ,the other rebellions of Bohemia, the rebellinn of Peladan was against bourgeois soctery, not merely because of what ~t. had made of the world in material terms, but because it had ]gnored what seemed to be the fundamental questions of human existence. Neglect of this sort excluded established society fll'om any serious corlsidierati.on. The poets of the Abyss followed de Cuaita as much as Baedelalre, the example of PeID.adan. the "Magus of AestheUc'lsm;'9; was that of Oscar wnde. Oeeultlsm was sometimes cause, sometlenes e'ff'€'ct, of a state of mind. and it is not always possible to Ideh:mn~ne whteh, But i~ cain be said at least that the respons,€, W~l!,S the same fo~' Artist as for ~~cultist The quest foOr Beauty and the passage through the Flre became the two mads for the Artist to tread, These were: ess{!)nHallY8u1u~rnahu'al journeys. It is: scarcely S,UI"prising if such total reiecnon of the world and its values expressed itself in ~emi"reHg]ous terms, _ And althougb Con,~~em'pmt1:ry occulnsm might not provide a direct Influence 0'.0 t~le men o,f the 18,90:;, the Tradl tions of occultism were a COmmon source 'Of inspiration for poet and oeeultist aBle, it is this common source which provides the explanation for ~he simHarwty ,of their response to the general 'crisis. On the one hand. those who were prlmarlly Artists expressed their occ'~ltism in their ~artj while, those w~o were primarily 00-, cultists became known as eeeentnes and magicians, Baudelaire, Gerard de Nerva]"M,a.Uarm~. Rimbaud-.aU derived elements of their ph~Io.s.op'hjes of Iife and art from occult sources. Huysmans' fascination remained thar ,of an outsider. The occult elements in the: work of Alfred J any betrayed! his, sUSiC'€pubi]]ty to theories in the Parts air, ~iI

The story of' .ReU6 and his printer recalls that of another printer and publisher at whose bookshop men of lejters met oecnhists .. 'More ~i'ke]y than Chamuel to 'have been "Arcturus" was Edmond Bailly, who set up h~s business a~ dlJ€


Flu Oocult Underground

sign of L' Art Independent aboutthe same time as Cham~el opened his Librairie du Merveilleux, Here came artists (Fehcien Hops, Toulouse-Lautrec, Odilon Bedon), musicians [Satie, of course, with his greet friend Debussy, who would arrive ab~]jost every day to play the piano ln the shop and himself absorbed cccult doctrines while studying Indian music with the sun Inayat Khan), men. of letters (Mana:rme". vnUers de l'Isle Adam~ ,and Huysmans), and the occultlsts, who predominated. (Miche~el, the astrologer 'Ely Slat, Lou~s Menard who translated the Hermetic wrIUng.s and whose sole disciple had jumped out of thew]n~Qi\¥}. Together with his oce~ltboG~s~ Bla:in~ issued Symbolist poet-ry; and Victor-Emtle Miehelet recalls one nightoom,jng wrut~ Ely Star Duto the bookshop to find VilUe,D's de I Isle Adam ho,Ming cour~ amongst a etrcle of p(?e~s and adepts." Occuk ideas were not merely in the ~dli'~ floating h.~gb in a rarified atmosphere, or 'confined W some underground sewer .. They permeated the very substancewhlch ~ohemj~a breathed .. The Artlsts of Bohemia absorbed such ideas with the rest of their rebellious position: it would be' remarkable H they had not P'eIadtln's Order did not survive the death of its £ound,e:r in 1918; while de Guaila's was continued by . Papus ttll his own death a yeae before the _Sa.r's .. I~~ B,ut t'ne concepts which they had drawn rrom occult sources. had a longer Ufe in the prod\i~ction of poetsand .art]s[s;, most im-

portantly hI the Idea of the Arti.f>~ hi~seH. _

Was it possible thai! a fundamentally religious approach to art should not enid with Art itself becoming a religion? " Art for Ares sake' d.Id not mean the rejection. of all values outside those (]if the work-in-progress. Precisely because o:f the sp~.rH in which tha~ work of art wasapproached, •. A~t for Art's sake" embodied a. noble .idie~l, Of course, the implicitly o. sp'kiltua~" interpretation of art became debased" and the doctrine misunderstood. But In Us mception it was, yet ~nother mstanee or the search f,o); a secure fooUmg where sll

were slippblg and sliding, .

The position 'of the Artist, as llJierophant of these new mysteries, consequently underwent soma revaluation.



There ,oou:md not be a religion of art without Us priesthood, It was in the occult thatthe A rtlst found a defin~Uon of his: own position, Burt it is useless to' taI~ (If the A rtist' s use of alchemical symbolism or Gnostic doctrine without some ldea of what all this means=-snyway, whatt was this ancient Bosicrueian society which the QcculHsts da~med to have revived? Why this obsesslon with Chaldea and the East? What do the constant murmurlngs about a "Secret Tradition" signify?; Even the redoutable Madame Blavatsky could pontijicate about some Secret Doctrine; some Ancient '\"isdom. Was there a Secret Tradition? Or were its upholdees, as H..p.n. would have, said, mere •. nap" doodles"?

The answer is; that dlElfie was" That the ParIs occultists 'Were not the ,only ones to draw upon its reaources. That not I only theidea 0.£ the ArUst~~riest~ but the real nature of eer- .._, taln puzzling po~'itiical developments carl-Dot be understood 'I witbout some knowledge ofa factor basic in European

) h.istory and as yet largely ignQred~wh;~t.l h1stori.caUy and .'

pbIlosop,~bi,caHy,. 'the ,< occul t' is.

1. Jannny Br.k:aud, J. K:. HUl/>BmanS itt le 's'a;tani.sme (Pari:s~

1913},p'p. 17~2~l, _

2. Ri,eha:rd Gliffi~hs, TheH,el.ilct~omJ.1C!J RevoluUoo, p. U.n, 3.. A h.eav]])' veiled .. SU!:111ITUli]'Y" of the eontents of this doeumenb=now in the Vatican Ub:rt:lrY-ls given 'by Bruno de Jes;us~MaJ:r]e In Satan (introduced by Meeller), pp .. 263~4. This ineludes •• a judg:mellt efetemal perdition" agabl-s.t,anyQrn@ who might presume to take aetlon against Boullan 'or Adele, Chevalier becaus,€) of "the event of the 8th o,f December, • n is falr1y safe to assume that this was t'bern.Ul.rd.€r referred to by Grlmths:,and that Boullanremaleed unrepentant, as he may wen h.av€ been aMe to jusUfy his ",ciUons in terms of his private tbeo]ogy,

4\. GrHfUhs; RUact1!olln1,ry RevQ.l:U".i.o;n~ pp. 1-31-,2.

5. Gr~ffiths. Rcac,t1()llary R(n"Qluti.o1i~ pp. 132~8,.

6. Brical.1u.o. Huysmil:ns" 'PP;, 2,6~8.

7. Bdca.u.o; Huysmam. pp, 28~,9.

8" Oswald! WIrth" Stan·tdtU de Gt:uliUt, (fads" 1935,), pp., 101~ 2. BouUa:n was condemned f,o! mrnSI,llS!i8 of Cab6ilbUc rites .. This is



signifieant in vie", of the revival of Cabalistic studies at this time, S@@ Chapters '0' and 1lbe[ow.

9. Griffiths, Reactiooo,j1i Revol:ut'iD1t" p, 134 ..

10. Brieaud .. HuysnUllls. p .. 40.

11. BlflC:8Jud.. Huys1'JI'U:ms. pp. 35·'6.

1:2, See Gtifnths; Re,(lCUoMry' Re'VoiuHon. pp. ] 35-6; for lette'[' d'escrihing a rite directed against Pehu:hm..-:'\,·ho had in fact by this time bt"Oken wtth de Ouaira (see be'[ow),

V3. Brlcaud, Huysmans, pp. 37..i9'; Griffnhs. ReaCUQ:ilMij Revol"u.tion, p, 1:86.

14" Victor~E'mll.e Mh:helet. Les OOfllipiag:nons de ,la hi- 6~''Ophanie (Paris, n, d,,), pp ... 24~5 .. M lehelet' 5: account is lava [ua ble as a SO'UT,ce for the Occult revival ~n 19th-cenl:ury France; a. short arudysls wrinea ~]1 his old, age by one ,of the roost clear-heeded parttelpants in the movement. Aitho:ugh ,oceas]on,aJIy fQ"~geHuJ in posnls of detail, Mjche]et performs a great service by placing the movement in its proper S'etttng.

15. $nlfl's lBois., LA;!' $atanisme et to m~gie (Paris, l8~5), pp.

24] fE; A resume is given of the conjuratlons o!f Napoleon Ut 16. Br:icatud, Hvysma:m, pp .. 48~50.

] 7. M:i.chelet" Les compagno)!ls, p. 27.,

18, Mi.chelet, Los oom,pagnons~p.p" 29-30, for Ta.ilhade see below, also hts Qu.elq'ue Jan,tb"mes de j'lUifS (Paris, ],920), and entry in the ffict:lonaire des' Cantempoer(li<ns, vel. Vl~ pp .. 257-8,

]'9. See sworn deposition 'Of Bols'<seeend, th$ !liove]id and journahst Paul Foueher-c-nephew of Vlctor Hug,o~]n [ules Bois. ,Le mondeinvwible (P~uis, 1902). pp .. 409-10..,

20. Phllllppe Eneausse, p,apt~S~ sa, me. son oeutJre (Pads, 1932), pp, 17-Ut For this duel" writes hts son, Papus' mather bought -him a shirt tbi,ck e:nough 'to be called armor,

2L Ado],ph.e Rette, ,L~ ,.symboEisme (Parts, 190G)~ p.p. 24~ 7 .. 22. Gustav'e Kahn, Syrn.boifst,es d dec-adent.s' (Pans, 1902.), p .. 5,7 ..

23. Bo,is •. Le sawnilime,. pp" 315-17"

24.. Bois, Les petitu relig~ons de PaT:ls (Paris, ~S94» pp. 10- 18.

:25. [canny Bdcaud, Huy,sman:s'; occulUste et 'IN(I,gician

(Paris. HHS), PlP. 8-9.

,26. Encausse, Pap«8 ~ p. 53.

27, V ,~E, M lehelet, Fi(Jiit'es .d>,evoaa:~eur8 (Paris, un $.), pp, 26-7.


28. For a discussi,on o:f the aesthencs of Evll, see Mal'()e~ A, Ru.H, L' (]SfJ'tii ,iu mal etJ'esthetique hau.:d.elair:ten'ju (Paltis, 1955) .. 291, Camte de LaUJtream'O:nh. Ma.td'Qr-or" tr, byGlilY W'ertham of Le6 ChaJus de Maldon1f (New Yo'rk, 1965). p" 15.

30. Kahn. Symbolfstes. PP', 37-8.

31. Mic'he]et" Les compa'gnat'i:s. pp. 17-18. Gf. Oswaldl Wirth. Stanislas de Guait,a. p. 23. where he says that de Guait9J. had ibeen directed to the writings ·0'£ E[jph.as Levi by Catulle Mende.s ~n ]882-3.: there is, however, 'liHla doubt that P,~h~.dan W3i.S the: crucial influence in turning de G1,.I.aJtatro oceultism,

32. Mh::helet. L,e3 CQm.;pa.gn01~S~ pp, 2m-32.

33. Kahn. S:ymbolw:te08. !f!. 4ij"

34. Henri Ma.zel, Au beau tem7Js, du symbo.lisme (Parts), pp, 186-7.

31i Ren,e-Geo:rges A:ubru:n, Plladm~, (Paris. 1904), pp. 7-8.

NotJtieUe Retml? du M'idi (Nimes) for December, HlI24\; special number, "Josephin pelad~:n,'·pp. 214-5.

36, Mazel, Au bea.ufemps. PP" 187-8.

87. Nouvelle Revue du, Mldi, "'re:llaclJai1," pp, 227~-30.

38. Aubrun, PlJladan. pp, 8~9.

39. Jos~phin PeJadal1, L'art ochlo-racro~1qt~e, salon;s de 1882 et 1883 (Pans, 1888). p, H5. This '~]t1.e has been translated "mod art. "

4(i1, peJ,ada:n~ L'art ochlGr'6cratique. p, 2,]3. 4,1. P,~ada:n, Le vice supr,irn~, p, l2lli.

,4:2, P,~~ad3.n" Le v~ic.e sup~&n1e. p, 1.,25. CE.th.e doctl·.ines of 'Thomas Lake Harris and Laurence Oliphant, see in pad[c!!;Ilar o ][pb:iil:nt'.s Sumpneu,1tI6ia,.

43.. Flfl.adan. Le mee 8upre-me, p, 24B,.

44. Nm,weUe Revue au.. Midi "'Pebmdan/' pp. 2.24~6. For the "onglnal" Boslerueian Brctherhood and '~he develepment of occult Masonry, see Chapter 5 below, Adrien f'eiadan bad !been ini.tiat,ed by one SiJflon8rugul in Toulouse in 1858.

45. Stanl:d.u de Gu,ai'ta. E-$3ai,s de 8ciqnces mttudit8', vol, I, Au setd·l d'1;i my6'~ere (Paris. 1890}, pp, 158· 6.].

410. MI'cileJ,et, LeB' ,compagnmu,. p. 24. The other CO!Jn.cU members wer,€ A. Ga: bli.ioTh and H, 1'horia1l"l.. .one 'of the mlgh:u\] Council was eventu any replaced by a. woman. For S:8ii nt - YVles d' Alveydre, se below, Chapter T.

47. Oswald Whth, Stanisia.s de Guaita, p, 111.

48. V~rl.Gl'in€' wrote:


Richep:in. pe.ladan et CMul'le M,endes

Me pamtsS'en~potl'( le cheueu n?commandes. ,419, Whth" St.al~i8I{a~ de Gua.,ttn, pp. 186-7.

51), Jules Bois, Lc fflo-nde :trmmblte" p, 19.

5t The ~e.xt ,of these A,eta Syn,t;;el'li prin~edJ by Wi.dh, Stanis,l(i~ de Gua'it~ pp, 247·5JfJ..

52. Text printed by Wirth. St(misim de Gucdta" pp. 114·.l8~

d. Michelet, Le» ooID'pagnons'. pp, 51~2.

5,$.. M~.chele-t; Flguf6'S d"evocatou,fs. p, 63; see also Bois, Le

mOll(le i1t,~S'tble. pp .. 23·,4.

54. Bois Le monde intr.l~ible. p, 23.

55. 'Whth, S:tnnisias de Guatto, p., 150,

56" On the astral plane, wrote de Guaita; ., La soreellene d@:p]lo~e tons les dlflh'-es de Sal. :fur~bonde ivresse, tout le hu.e de son inff!l1mj,earrogaJ'nb~:. toutes ~e$ pomp€:s: de 50]1 erlmlnel neant." (.ESsa13 de 8Ci:e:nce ml.md:its. vol, n. I.e serpl$nt d'e' La Gen;t8e. premiere septalne, Le' templ'e ,de,S,a:fan-faris;. ]891, p" 2.34.) For the supposed mec:hanism of "astral p'J'oj,ecHot'i," seethe worksof OJiYer Fox and Roberit Crookall. F(lf the ways; in which eeeultists of a type not dissimilar to the Paris groups have used the idea of astral tr,av,eJ1ing, see Dion Forlune, P$~ch.ic Self-Defence {LQodon, 198:0); and the chapter iI!J. Francis King's Ritual Mag~c in Engla-nd ,(;!!ntiIJ@d "Dr, Felkin's Astrai Funkies."

,5,'1, Mi.c'he~et, Fig1lfes: d",lffvoca;t',e~.rs, PIl' .. 152,·3,.

58-, Stanlslas de Gu.aila, Le tempk' ile Satan. p, 361.

6,91" De Guanta; Le t'ern.pie de SaJafi. PI'" 861-2.a.nd note, p, 362.

eo., B,o>is" Le ftlmide 'l~'lv:ts1b-le. p. .261; Wirth" Stanitla$ de

Guaita.,p. 22 ..

61 'Mich,e~et> Lea Compagno'I'W, pp, 43-8 ..

6:2. See note 24 above: further, Fernand Kolney, ,Lau,l'ent Tailhade, son ocuvnt (!Paris, 1'922),

63. Adolphe Retttf .. Le 8~.bolisme, pp .. See7.

64. Ed,QlUarod Dubus, Q:~a;n,d W$ mQlons sont ·p,a,1'U;s-, e,~ tM!tS po\S~·hu..me$ (Paris, lS95").. p. US,

Le Ca.'Daiier Splee-n a POll'r moo~u.re' Une Orne a plauir, it lal torhtre, , ,

65" Dubus, Qutma ,les mQtoos , ... , pp .. 84·5. .

66. R€U€", Le 8ymbollsm~, p. 58;, Bois; Le mo-ndeinvitJiblu, p, 26,. (Tbe urinal story is. of course, that of Bois) Gf. GriUiths, .ReacUOllnry Reoo,l'uHon, p. 137.

'67. Bo:l!i:..Le mand,e f,n,V't81bJe> p, 23.


rllB. Mi,cheh?;~" Lee compa.gnom, p, 24.

6'9. De Guaita, Le $,erp€nt de 'a - Gool1'se" seecnde sept,aine.

La Clef de lo, magie tlOfritl~ pt, moo. cr. Le tem.pte de SMan~ p. 28. 700. De' Gua-ita, L« temple' de' Satoo~. Pi" 501,

"l m. De Gliaita, Le t(nnplede' Satan, p, 50;2.; n,(Jt'e, 2.

72. Gdffit~}5, Reoo'~iOfial'U RBtlIoiuUon, p, m'7 ,cans tbe S ar "unlntelligent and odd." Odd. he eertainly was, but the method in his madness was more than that of many of his contemporartes. 73.. Pleiad8in,. Le 1)1(;6 .mpl'i'me, p, 121.

74,. P,tSladan, Comment,o-n .devien,f mag,e (Paris, 18,9.2). p. 91. 7.5. P:eladan, Comm;G:nl on dev:ient m,a.ge, p. 9.2.

76. P~lada~t Cemmen;!: ,on dev£en:t /'6~ (Par[$:, lS9S. ),iP, 1,8L

77. pe.ladan~ Comme:rti on ,dev~ent J?,e~ p. 2-58.

78" Itay Nyst" Un 'p1'ophetG';' T6tor.rlr;m ,t'fmlblil)ire au Sar

.iQ'&ep,h, feltid'an (faJd!l" [,8915), ~'" 4,

79,,, Pe~adall, Comment on detrie-n,t: JIle,!p'" .283.

SO. Auhn.m, Peladan. p, 27. -

81. Miehelet, Le8 oO<r1lpagru)ns. pp, 88.:9; cl. Whth. Statdslas de GuaUa" p ... 27, On. page' 90, M.iche~et quotes a specimen of

[ounet' s ~ugu.brious verse; _

.Profan(}s lyS' tiffl;ebre1A'r~ VOU$ ~tes Ie 3ymbole De lal kabbaJe ,6'a.in.~;,e e:t de mon. irf:ste coeur . . . 82, Bois. t» mon.de ,t1lvisib,te; pp. 20~.21.

a8" M.i6heJet, Les com~r;ag1ilQnS~ pp.. 5,2-3" 84. Miehelet, Les com,agnom, p.. 541.

85,. Flrst hi1Qgy-La. chet:\ooch6e de. fa ch.fmere Second trilogy-La courte a f ab€me,

Th.ird trUogy-La montee du GieL

,810'.. Micbe[et', Les ,oompagno:ns. PiP'" 53-4.

87. Michelet L,es comp.agnons, pp, 55-6.

88. Entry in Robed P~incu:s- WhUt.en. Las Sa,lon.s de Ie Rose~ Oro1x, 1892'· 7, catalogue of exhlbitlon ,at the PiccacliUy GaUer}' {London, 1968),

. B9', PiUClI.Si- Wffilitten, h.7.1,l1J.s~a:t'iC).n of R lI.des '~lf the Salon de la :Ro:se-Cr{),ix, fr<C.'Im ,f~lad,a:n's S~lon de la RO$e-Oro~l't' (P<'Ii:(rus, 1891), of which I have not been able to obtain a copy.

'9(l N;~ad.~ul; L'an ochlar-oC1'iat'que. p, 213 ..

'91L Ple~ad.a!n, L'art t(UaJiste et myst:iquEl. doctrine de l'ordre ,et ,d'U Salo» des Rose,·Cr-oix (2Ild edition, P~ri$, 189<4), PiP" 17·18. 9.2. P,e]adan, L' art ideaJi8te. p. 33,

93. WilHam Gaunt. The Pre~Raph()lelite T1''(lgedy (London, paperback ~dHIon, l'9:65}., ~. 24;


94. Rog.,ell' Shattuck, The Banquet Year.s {London. pa.perba.c:k eclit~on., 1969}. pp. 111-.24;. f.-D. Templler, .f.rik Seme (tr. E., L.. and D. S. French, Cambridge, Mass., and London, U~(9), pp .. IS·

20. .

95. See declaration printed In Wlrrh, Stani.s'la:3' de GuaU(l" pp. 121-2.

916.. Oe Larmandie, E01'aka, notes: sur .f tbote1'isme (Paris, 1891)., p, $,

{1j7 A • 0 ] ~ "p ... , d . '1 b I" ."

" . "l,ll tome ..•. r ieac, ,e~:a, an et ie sym ousm e e:sotenque

in Lee cahiers d' Hifr.m~'s" d. A Bolland die Reneville (Paris, l'94J 7), ]')'0. t. p. 225.

98. See ~~so John Senior, The Way Doum and Out" the oecui~' in. Symb()li$~ li't'cntttire (Ne'~1 Y,ork,1959); !iI:nd A. R()n~lnd de

T:i' . 'I~" ,''c' _1'". t.\_~ d'''''' ct.,

neneVl ie, eciences mauoites e posees lID:EI'I.l us " m ·.a·rl,~e1'8'

d' Herme,s. no. i,

99. Mlchelet, LeB compag-no'lt:s, pp. 65-78.

100. Fr. Witteman13. A New and Authe'ntic Hi8tOl'Y of the fi08icruC:ians (London. and Chicago, 1939,), pp, 14:9-500. Ah,ell' de Cuait,a's dea.dl, first "Barlet" succeeded him, then Pap us.

IChlapter 16 Secret Tradinons

THE occult ~s reiected knowledge. It may be lnowl,edge which is actively rejected hy an Eseablishmeneeulrure, (IC knowledg:e which voluntarHy ,edies: :itself from 'the courts .of favor because of its recognlsed incompatibllity with the prevalllng wisdom,

T'll ld <I' It" "h 'd .111 ""]1' t-h" . j] ] .•

~leWor, . oeeu, I means ' lu.en,. ana U]j'~S w.ea wes

the key to-the occulr' s forbidding appearance, Somet~]jMg may he hklden because of its immense value, or reverently concealed from the- prying eyes of 'tile profane, But this


hidden ~.' -- ing may also, have achieved its sequestered position becabse the Powers That Be have found if wanting.

E·· h . - I tL j. d - L l!.. ,. _.1 • 1 I

It. €:r It's a . ,1~[1ei'L an .-. must ne nunea, Qr :s.lmpy use ess ..

and so Io rgoHen. Thus" if a neweomer to the vast quantity of occult IUe'm~u!ie begins bmwsing at random, puzzlement and irnpa !ienoe win soon he his not; for he win find jumbled together the droppings G,:r all cultures, and occasional fragment·" of philosophy perhaps profound hut almost certaillly :SM versive to right living in the society In which he [. d-: ~': "'''':1£

un s ~ 1.1 ' ;j"'; ."

The Q: cult is rejeded knowledge': that is, an Underground .,' hose basic uni~y is th~,t ()if Opposition to an Establish '. ent o.f Powers That Are. It is the extraordinary quality 00 . European history to h a life produced an Establish. ment po tion that has held consistent over .8.. long period, and yet s UOlioved the constant replenlshlng of the jorees o~ subversk .. 1 From the end of [he 4th century A.O,the ChrEsuant religion became the of:ficia~ religion of both Esstern dnd W,es.tern Empires, and its ra.pid. conquest of Europe i i posedan order of SOC~J~ty and an ordered way of thought: . 'Mch were lnseparaMe:, It is on]y In the past £O'Ui: centuries that this Establishment has gradually been ",'om away-,n l,n must hastRy be admitted, by the opposition of the 0 uh, which remains largely rejected;' but by the triumph of forces orignnatIng within that EstahHshment Hse~:f" In-ppositiootQl:his Establishment, it would be: unnatura] .O[ to find some similarity among occult theories. But thetf' is often a ~itde more to explain the common ,~rouJ1d o.~ o~c_u~tists th~~_" the ~u~ity '~f oppos.a~:(m. T. his _5. t~m. IS from the r adherence to' a world-view which has, thmu.gh

historica: accident, remained rejected throughout the known ,istory of West em Europe, H is this. worldview-diwerse in its manifestations. yet united in some 'few bask as rmptions-c-that ~5 known as ~he Tradition, the Secret Detrine, th Ancient Wisdom, and by a dozen other names. ,0 two interpretatlens ()if th~s, Secret Traditionare ever the same. because of the number of theorleswhich


" ... .a fraudul~nt nu~dfum tmd sem.OlUy I'!(lpdcfQtl,s ..• "


, .. , .. ,¥ th?,~ ,r)(i'fJld 't;I'O,~ :moo@ ~hd1r k'R,el'11o·tnts. ~he vhenome'lllu eeosed, ., .

ANDREl¥ lACKSON DAVIS " . , , his b",d, tTlp' res'td~eclfr(m~ tJ\,g fear of /telJ-jil1e ' , , ••

DANIEL [)UNGLAS HOME " • " .w.18 oh8<erf.l'ea ~Q flQa~' OW of a: i:Mrd-jl.r:x)'t· tQindow ... "

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->