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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: Theosophy


Theosophy: A mystical public society founded in New York in 1875 by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott, and William Quan Judge. It’s headquarters eventually moved to India. It originally focused on mystical Hindu and Buddhist concepts combined with Neoplatonism, and had as its motto, “There is no religion higher than Truth.”

The original moving force of the society was Blavatsky, and her books, Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine became important texts of the society. She felt that The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a challenge to Theosophy, so she founded a more practical or magical group within the Society known as the Esoteric Section, or ES. There were many members of the Golden Dawn within Theosophy.

Upon Blavatsky’s death in 1891 there were schisms in the Society and several branches developed. Woman’s rights activist Annie Besant ruled the branch in India. Mrs. Katherine Tingley founded a group in Point Loma, California, and Rudolph Steiner began a branch in Germany. Other groups formed in England and Los Angeles, and splinter group or societies based on parts of Theosophy developed and continue to evolve.

Many concepts of the New Age are derived from Theosophical teachings.


The History of the Golden Dawn
The story of the Golden Dawn, like that of any human organization, is replete with high points and low points—with human achievements and human failings. There is no need for us to try to whitewash or sugarcoat the faults of some of the individuals ...
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New Age
A phrase adapted by certain occult writers to describe: A belief in a new level of consciousness coincident with the Aquarian Age. A social movement of diverse spiritual and political elements directed toward the transformation of individuals ...
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Enochian Magick specifies thirty special zones called the Aethyrs, or Aires. These range from TEX, the lowest, which interfaces our Earth, to the highest, LIL, which interfaces the world of divinity. The Enochian magician learns to leave his or her ...
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"Qabalah" is a Hebrew word which means "tradition." It is derived from the root word "Qibel," meaning, "to receive." This refers to the ancient custom of handing down the esoteric knowledge by oral transmission. What the word Qabalah encompasses is ...
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Rebirth in the Celtic Tradition
In Old Celtic (Gaulish-Brittonic and Goidelic), the word for rebirth was ategenos (Old Irish aithghen). In this doctrine of limited reincarnation the spirit of an ancestor was reborn among his or her own kin. This means that certain inherited ...
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The Astral World
The word "astral" comes from the Greek word meaning "related to a star" and it originally described the heavens of the Greeks and the abode of their gods. The concept of the astral world expanded in time to refer to what the ancients called ...
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Review of The Enochian Tarot
Summary: Not a beginners deck, the energy and passion in the art, combined with a unique focus on the Enochian system that only loosely—very loosely—follows standard Tarot protocols, make this deck a powerful addition to any magickian’s toolkit, ...
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While most people are probably familiar with legendary creatures such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Chupacabra, and Jersey Devil, there is a myriad of weird beasts that are less known, but equally as elusive. What is surprising is that there are accounts of modern encounters with these enigmatic monsters on record, indicating that there... read this article
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