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Online Reference For Body, Mind & Spirit

Term: Theosophy

DEFINITION:
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.
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