We are continuing our series on overshadowed geniuses who made incredible discoveries that moved civilization forward. Today, our spotlight falls upon Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a multifaceted figure who played a pivotal role in co-founding modern Theosophy. This movement seamlessly wove together mystical and magical beliefs, entwined with elements drawn from Eastern philosophies rooted in Hindu and Buddhist teachings.
Born in Russia in 1831, Madame Blavatsky led an extraordinary life that defied societal norms. She spun captivating tales of global adventures, claiming to have fought alongside Italian revolutionaries, learned from Indigenous peoples in Quebec, and studied under Tibetan mystics—an extraordinary feat given the 19th-century restrictions on Europeans accessing Tibet.
Blavatsky's narratives reached their peak when she asserted that she had spent extensive periods with ancient masters, transcending our world to connect with other realms. She portrayed herself as both a seeker and a seer, linked through time and space to ancient sages.
During the late 19th century, the occult held a powerful allure, drawing Americans and Europeans to mediums and spiritualists in their quest to communicate with departed loved ones. In 1870, Blavatsky seized the opportunity and became immersed in the world of seances. Just five years later, she co-founded the Theosophical Society in New York, describing it as an organization that sought truth, promoted brotherhood, and served humanity.
Blavatsky's journey led her to India in 1880, where she established the international headquarters of the Theosophical Society. However, her reputation faced a severe challenge in 1885 when the Society for Psychical Research in Cambridge investigated her, branding her a fraud due to sensational stories of her seances.
Despite this tarnished reputation, Madame Blavatsky's enduring influence on the New Age movement remains undeniable. Her profound ideas left an indelible mark, influencing artists like Gustav Mahler, Wassily Kandinsky, and Lawren Harris.
The enigma of Madame Blavatsky persists—a testament to her complex and controversial legacy that challenged established norms and stretched the boundaries of human understanding.
Join us as we continue our series on overlooked geniuses who have propelled civilization forward. To revisit the first post in our series, click here: bit.ly/3Wph3vX