Helena Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine

(1888)

About the Author

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was a colorful character who flouted traditional gender norms in an era when most women stayed home. She was known for being charismatic and magnetic; her contemporaries described her as a powerful force, able to communicate with spirits. Born in Russia in 1831, Blavatsky was of royal blood. Her grandmother had been a princess, and both she and Blavatsky’s mother were noted authors in their own right. As a child, Helena was imaginative but tempestuous. At age sixteen, she married a man in his forties but ran away shortly after and, by age twenty, was in London, where she later claimed to have first met an invisible Master. For the next two decades or so, Blavatsky disappeared: These “lost years” are the source of much debate. Theosophists (and Blavatsky herself) claim that she wandered the earth, learning from Masters in places like Tibet. Such stories are unsubstantiated historically, although in 1871 and 1872, she certainly was in...

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Alchemical transmutation overseen by Hermes (Library of Congress)

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