Charles Webster Leadbeater (16 February 1854 - 1 March 1934) was an influential member of the Theosophical Society, author on occult subjects and co-initiator with J. I. Wedgwood of the Liberal Catholic Church. Originally a priest of the Church of England, his interest in spiritualism caused him to end his affiliation with Anglicanism in favour of the Theosophical Society, where he became an associate of Annie Besant. He became a high-ranking officer of the society, but resigned in 1906 after accusations that he had engaged in sex (mutual masturbation) with teenage boys in his care. With Besant's assistance he was readmitted a few years later. Similar rumours occurred throughout his career, but Leadbeater's talents as a prolific author on occultism kept him an important presence in Theosophy until his death in 1934.
The Astral Plane: Its Scenery, Inhabitants and Phenomenaby C. W. Leadbeater
The first point which it is necessary to make clear in describing this astral plane is its absolute reality. Of course in using that word I am not speaking from that metaphysical standpoint from which all but the One Unmanifested is unreal because impermanent; I am using the word in its plain, every-day sense, and I mean by it that the objects and inhabitants of the astral plane are real in exactly the same way as our own bodies, our furniture, our houses or monuments are real-as real as Charing Cross, to quote an expressive remark from one of the earliest Theosophical works. They will no more endure for ever than will objects on the physical plane, but they are nevertheless realities from our point of view while they last-realities which we cannot afford to ignore merely because the majority of mankind is as yet unconscious, or but vaguely conscious, of their existence.
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