×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality
     

Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality

5.0 1
by Gary Lachman
 

See All Formats & Editions

A thoughtful biography of one of the most polarizing pioneers of alternative spirituality, the occult-mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

Pioneer. Visionary. Provocateur. Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky—mystic, occult writer, child of Russian aristocrats, spiritual seeker who traveled five continents, and founder (with Henry Steel Olcott) of the

Overview

A thoughtful biography of one of the most polarizing pioneers of alternative spirituality, the occult-mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

Pioneer. Visionary. Provocateur. Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky—mystic, occult writer, child of Russian aristocrats, spiritual seeker who traveled five continents, and founder (with Henry Steel Olcott) of the Theosophical Society—is still being hailed as an icon and scorned as a fraud more than 120 years after her death. But despite perennial interest in her life, writings, and philosophy, no single biography has examined the controversy and legacy of this influential thinker who helped define modern alternative spirituality—until now.

Gary Lachman, the acclaimed spiritual biographer behind volumes such as Rudolf Steiner and Jung the Mystic, brings us an in-depth look at Blavatsky, objectively exploring her unique and singular contributions toward introducing Eastern and esoteric spiritual ideas to the West during the nineteenth century, as well as the controversies that continue to color the discussions of her life and work.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Because of Blavatsky’s involvement with the Spiritualist movement in America in the latter half of the 19th Century, Lachman’s account of her life also adds clarity to the murky waters which mixed and matched spiritualism and occultism during that time. His history of the spiritualist movement and secret societies during the time that Blavatsky was involved with them is a valuable contribution, in and of itself, to esoteric history. This is a must read for any one with a serious interest in Western esoteric spirituality."
Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight

"Dense and exhaustive, a valiant attempt to capture the essence of a life that defies simple retelling."
—Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A glimpse into the foggy biography of the mother of modern spiritualism. Former Blondie member and prolific writer Lachman (The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus, 2011, etc.) attempts to pin down the nearly impenetrable life story of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (often referred to as HPB), a 19th-century Russian best known as the founder of a mystical practice she called Theosophy. In the author's view, "anyone who meditates, or considers himself a Buddhist, or is interested in reincarnation, or has thought about karma" owes a debt to HPB. After a childhood filled with creaky manors and imaginary friends, Blavatsky was propelled by her interest in the occult into a life of travel that led her throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. Upon her arrival in New York in 1873, she befriended journalist and Civil War veteran Henry Olcott; the pair founded the Theosophical Society, an organization committed to furthering their studies in religion and the occult. Despite Lachman's extensive research on HPB's life and accomplishments, he struggles to make sense of this "profoundly contradictory character." Confirmable biographical information is scant, and readers are left with more speculations than conclusions. Occasionally, Lachman apologizes for the convoluted narrative ("if the reader feels a bit dizzy after all this, I can't blame him"), yet the book's complexities are more the result of HPB's own mythmaking than any major authorial shortcomings. Near the conclusion, the author alludes to his frustration with HPB's highly interpretive accounts of her history and provides what closure he can. "Although practically nothing about her life is certain," he writes, "one thing is for sure: the world is a far less interesting place without her." Dense and exhaustive, a valiant attempt to capture the essence of a life that defies simple retelling.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585428632
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/25/2012
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
678,926
Product dimensions:
5.62(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.93(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Because of Blavatsky’s involvement with the Spiritualist movement in America in the latter half of the 19th Century, Lachman’s account of her life also adds clarity to the murky waters which mixed and matched spiritualism and occultism during that time. His history of the spiritualist movement and secret societies during the time that Blavatsky was involved with them is a valuable contribution, in and of itself, to esoteric history. This is a must read for any one with a serious interest in Western esoteric spirituality."
Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight

"Dense and exhaustive, a valiant attempt to capture the essence of a life that defies simple retelling."
—Kirkus Reviews

Meet the Author

GARY LACHMAN is one of today's most widely read and respected writers on esoteric and occult themes. He has written for several national journals on philosophy, esotericism, and modern culture, and his books—including Swedenborg, Jung the Mystic, Rudolf Steiner, Politics and the Occult, Turn Off Your Mind, and A Secret History of Consciousness—have been published to acclaim in both America and Europe. In his musical career, Lachman has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of the pioneering rock band Blondie. Born in New Jersey, Lachman currently lives in London.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
WindOwl More than 1 year ago
Very well written, well researched book on a subject that is illusive, at best. Some things seem a little confusion but, again, the subject itself is not very straight forward. The author does his best to be even handed and offer all the information possible so that the reader can come to their own conclusions. Lots of references for following up. Very interesting read!