In this episode we sketch the life and impact of a woman who has been called the mother of modern spirituality and who was also one of the greatest explorers of the 1900s, though she’s rarely credited for it. She spoke Russian, Georgian, English, French, Italian, Arabic, and Sanskrit, and was a much maligned and pretty problematic philosopher, activist, founder of a world religion that she never wanted to be a religion, just a means of investigating the wisdom of the gods – theosophy. She was one of the first Westerners to convert to Buddhism, the first Russian to gain American citizenship, and the first Western woman to make it into the sacred fortified Himalayan nation of Tibet where she lived and studied for years. Probably.
She was certainly fiercely independent, a chain smoking, not quite vegetarian, possibly transgender queer, celibate philosopher medium, spectacular synthesizer of eastern and western philosophy, yes I’m talking about the deeply divisive and intentionally elusive Helena P Blavatsky, HPB to her friends.
Madame Blavatsky, The Mother of Modern Spirituality. A Biography by Gary Lachman. Penguin, 2012.
Isis Unveiled, HP Blavatsky.
The Secret Doctrine, HP Blavatsky.