A Brief History of Spiritualism

Introduction

This is a short sketch of the ideas, events and individuals important within the spiritualism movement of the 19th and early part of the 20th century.

Rudolf Steiner’s life (born 1861, died 1925) is coincident with those times that the popularity of spiritualism was at or near its zenith. Clairvoyance is ascribed to Steiner by biographers and Steiner states in his autobiography that from childhood onwards he perceived a spiritual realm. It is to one of the variants of spiritualism (Theosophy) that the mature Steiner attached himself and from which Anthroposophy – Steiner’s invention – directly emerged as a break-away group from Theosophy.[1] Spiritualism is, then, important in understanding both Steiner the man and in understanding Anthroposophy.

The timeline of this brief history ends at around the turn of the 19th century with the scientific debunking of the phenomena associated with spiritualism. An article elsewhere on the CHASE website looks at the claims to scientific legitimacy Steiner’s ‘spiritual science’ made and which his latter day followers in Anthroposophy advocate and act upon.

Overview

Here in the UK, spiritualism – the belief that the dead or spirits can meaningfully communicate with the living via mediums – was an attractive one to many during Victorian and Edwardian times. In the UK it gave rise to dozens of newspapers and journals, groups and societies at local, regional and wider level all dedicated to spiritualism of one form or another during a period when adherents to spiritualism worldwide could be numbered in millions.

Originating in America, the spiritualism movement was initially drawn together by a shared interest in things that at first were novelties and events of the sensational kind – clairvoyance as mediumship and the spiritualistic phenomena associated with mediumship (tappings, rappings, ectoplasm, disembodied voices, floating musical instruments and the like) and, most sensational of all, purported communications with the dead.

The movement very quickly developed or drew on pre-existing understandings of the things that interested it – understanding took precedence over novelty and sensationalism. One basic understanding was that mediumship and spiritualistic phenomena were real but beyond the reach of the science of the day (i.e. empirical science) to investigate. Another was that they were real but could be understood by scientific approach and explanation. Still another was that they were simply natural rather than spiritual and so perfectly amenable to scientific investigation and rational explanation via the scientific process. Those three basic understandings can be characterised as being either ‘spiritualistic’, ‘psychical’ and in the case of the latter understanding as ’empirical’.[2]

Spiritualism really was a broad church movement because for a very brief while those different understandings of it would find fair representation within the earliest membership of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), a society founded in the UK in 1882 for the purpose of investigating “that large body of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and ‘spiritualistic’…”. Branches of the SPR were established in France and America shortly afterwards. [3] However, because spiritualistic phenomena could not be replicated under scientific conditions and because mediums and their purported communications were routinely exposed as frauds or their purported spirit communications routinely shown to be simple tricks, the movement lost credibility, support and followers. [4] The fragile alliance between the different understandings of spiritualism as represented by the SPR soon dissolved.

The SPR membership became much more empirically science based and grounded. Quite early on the SPR was responsible for undermining the mediumistic credentials of the leader of the Theosophical Society [5], a society Rudolf Steiner was prominent within before breaking from it to form Anthroposophy. Insofar as spiritualistic understandings go, Anthroposophy can be seen as one of the most developed of the understandings of spiritualistic phenomena that the spiritualism movement was to produce. It, along with Theosophy, the SPR and many other groupings originating within or as offshoots of the spiritualism movement still exist today.

Also surviving, here in the UK, is the Swedenborg Society, a society dedicated to the man generally credited with being the progenitor of the central ideas and beliefs of spiritualism. Swedenborg’s influence can be traced directly to events in America where the spiritualism movement began and it would be American mediums that first brought spiritualism to the UK where it quickly took root and flourished just as it did in America.

Emanuel Swedenborg

It was in the year 1787, fifteen years after his death in London, that the first Swedenborg church was founded here in the UK by his followers.[6] Two hundred years later on the Swedenborg Society, in London, offers talks on topics such as ‘Swedenborg and Spiritualism’, and ‘Swedenborg and Reincarnation’. As this article was being written a collaborative conference between followers of Swedenborg and Steiner was to be held in Rudolf Steiner House, again in London, on the topic ‘Esoteric Perspectives on Death and the Survival of Consciousness” [7]

Collaborations between Anthroposophists and Swedenborgians are suggestive of at least some common ground between the two in terms of what their beliefs are. There exist, anyway, commonalities between the founders of each system of belief. Both Swedenborg and Steiner were, for example, clairvoyants and both men started as scientists but abandoned science, albeit perhaps for different reasons, to dedicate their lives to a clairvoyant calling.

Swedenborg’s influence can be traced directly to events in America where the spiritualism movement began and it was American mediums that first brought spiritualism to the UK where it took root and flourished just as it did in America.

The following account of Swedenborg is based on information obtained from several online resources. [8]

Emanuel Swedenborg, born in Stockholm 1688, died 1772 in England, was initially a scientist. His upbringing was Lutheran and his scientific endeavours were steered by a belief that science as an activity and process would confirm and further illuminate religious belief. He attempted to show for example how the soul and the body were connected and to explain the soul from an anatomical perspective; tried to reconcile matter with a notional but, for him, real spirit. Rationality was the means of arriving at spiritual truths.

He largely abandoned his scientific work after what appears to be a mid-life crisis or breakdown. Freudians will find much to ponder in his dream journal and diaries, full of conflicting pulls of demons and angels and of graphic sexual narrative. A while after this he began having revelatory visions when awake in which biblical characters and historical figures (e.g. Plato) spoke to him. He confided to a friend that God said to him “I am God the Lord, the Creator and Redeemer of the world. I have chosen thee to unfold the spiritual sense of the Holy Scripture. I will Myself dictate to thee what thou shalt write.”

Dictated by God or not, the cosmology/cosmogony Swedenborg reported was a systemic sequential one in which man completes a purposeful Creation and love is the (redeeming) channel between the Creator and man. He reframed his Lutheran belief and rewrote the scriptures in line with what his clairvoyant contacts dictated. His teachings attracted a charge of heresy, such was his radical departure from orthodoxy.

It is his unorthodox version of Christianity and attendant beliefs that helped inspire the modern spiritualism movement. Swedenborg’s beliefs, for example, include the following:

– All religions lead to God, though all are not equally enlightened

– the material world is viewed as symbolic or emblematic of a more “real” spiritual world; so e.g. the human body ‘mirrors’ the soul

– human life is but a preparation for everlasting life in either heaven or hell

– a place in heaven or hell is determined by our own life on earth, on how well a person conducts themselves

– the soul continues in the afterlife much as the physical body did whilst alive; relationships continue in the afterlife, e.g. marriage is possible in the afterlife

– on premature death, infants go straight to heaven and are nurtured by angels

– the Trinity (Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost) are three different aspects of the one God.

There is far more to Swedenborg’s beliefs than this of course, the above outline of them being intended only to show resonances between Swedenborgian beliefs and those of the spiritualism movement. Swedenborg’s legacy is still with us today in the form of churches running according to his beliefs and societies dedicated to furthering his name and work. His ideas and beliefs have been amended and incorporated by individuals and factions within spiritualism from Davis’ time onwards up to and including Steiner and Anthroposophy. The beliefs of Swedenborg listed above can be seen to coincide with the seven principles that the Spiritualists’ National Union (SNU) ascribes to. Founded in the 19th century, the SNU is the national body for spiritualism in the UK and is still active today. [9]

Swedenborg’s Influence, Swedenborg’s Successors

The spiritualism that we are perhaps most familiar with – that of parlour séances and table tapping – owes its beginnings to the American mediums who brought it here in the 1850’s.[10] Swedenborg’s influence had itself permeated America earlier than 1850 in that there appears to have been an early Swedenborgian church structure established there by the early 1800’s. Certainly at this time there were Swedenborgian missionaries active in America – the legendary ‘Johnny Appleseed’ (real name John Chapman) was one such missionary. Chapman contacted early pioneer settlements and, famously, sowed seeds in most of the places he travelled to. He is less well remembered for the distribution of Swedenborg texts that accompanied his travels. [11]

Other Swedenborgian missionaries were active in the locale of American clairvoyant, Andrew Jackson Davis, aka ‘The Poughkeepsie Seer’ and it is contact with them that best explains Davis’ plagiarism of Swedenborg’s ideas, style and texts. [12]

Davis authored an American best selling book titled ‘The Divine Principles of Nature’ which held that the dead were in touch with the living even if we, the living, might not be aware of it. Davis famously prophesised “this truth will ere long present itself in the form of a living demonstration. And the world will hail with delight the ushering in of that era when the interiors of men will be opened, and the spiritual communion will be established.” [13] In other words, spirits were about to start communicating with us. Since it was a best seller, Davis’ book suggests that America was ready, then, for spiritual communications. The book was first published in 1847.

In 1848 two young girls, the Fox sisters, played a harmless prank on their superstitious mother by faking ghostly knocks and footsteps in their home. Their invented ghost fooled mother, neighbours and people further afield. The girls even gave the ghost a history, a reason for it being there. An interested attorney visited and then wrote a pamphlet describing the mysterious happenings, news of which reached New York.

The Fox sisters moved to New York where their elder sister, a resident there, coerced them into continuing their tricks. Their ‘mediumship’ was seen by many as the living demonstration Andrew Jackson Davis had prophesised. The Fox sisters caused a sensation which set in motion the modern spiritualism movement from which Theosophy and Anthroposophy later emerge. At its height millions of people were attracted to or active within the spiritualism movement. [14]

Movements have factions and splits and the spiritualism movement is no exception. When Davis – claiming clairvoyant conversation with Swedenborg – started publishing his own revelations, Swedenborgians pointed out basic differences in doctrine between themselves and the purportedly Swedenborgian ‘channeled’ theology that Davis was passing on. [15] Before the Swedenborgian church itself splintered and declined it gained a sizeable following and some influence in America from Davis’ time on. By 1893, for example, a Swedenborgian follower organised in Chicago the first Congress of World Religions,[16]an event Theosophists were highly visible at.

Theosophy & Anthroposophy

Theosophy

The first leader of the Theosophical Society, Madame Blavatsky, had written an article in defence of spiritualism in the year preceding the Society’s formation. Referring to America as “the cradle of modern spiritualism” the article itself reads like a rallying cry in the face of criticism of the spiritualism movement. [17] How instrumental Blavatsky was in forming the Society is unclear but around a quarter or so of the founders of the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875 were definitely active within the spiritualism movement beforehand. [18] One of the founders was English barrister C.C. Massey who went on to become first president of the British Theosophical Society three years later. Scores of these British members would later take an interest in Steiner, forming within the Society their own study group, the Rosicrucian Group, to study Steiner further. Many such Theosophists were to become founders of the first Anthroposophical groups in Britain. [19]

Another English founding member of the American Theosophical Society was Emma Hardinge Britten. A medium and spiritualist she left Theosophy shortly after its inception, disagreeing with Theosophical doctrine of reincarnation. Back in England she was instrumental in the formation of the national body for spiritualists (the Spiritualists’ National Union) and established spiritualism’s ‘Seven Principles’. As is mentioned above, the principles coincide with Swedenborg’s beliefs.

Theosophy, Steiner and Anthroposophy

We know from his autobiography that Steiner mixed with Theosophists in the Vienna of the late 1880’s and was certainly aware of their beliefs then. He later lectured to Theosophists, joined them and married one, becoming leader of the German Theosophists in 1902. He broke with Theosophy and took with him most of the German Theosophists to form his own version of it, Anthroposophy, a decade later. He visited Britain 10 times promoting his views. His beliefs as an Anthroposophist, claimed by him to be independently arrived at and verifiable by the application of his ‘spiritual science’ are hard to distinguish from those of Theosophy. Both belief systems attract criticism for their doctrine of a spiritual evolution of racial ‘root-stocks’ which culminates in the white Aryan race.

What distinguished Theosophy from the broad spiritualism movement as a whole is its inclusion and promulgation of oriental beliefs such as karma and reincarnation. Theosophy also laid emphasis on an occult knowledge attained via adepts, initiates and preserved by spiritual Masters, this knowledge passed on to a few select people in each generation. Blavatsky, the Society’s first leader and a co-founder, herself claimed to be one of the select few chosen to receive instruction from Masters in the spiritual domain and it was Blavatsky’s published works that shaped and formed the beliefs of the Theosophical Society. [20] Akin to Swedenborg’s belief that all religions lead to God is Theosophy’s belief that all religions have some form of deep spiritual truth in them. As with Swedenborg also, Theosophists believe in the unity of matter and spirit, everything is composed of both matter and spirit. For Theosophists, empirical science might observe and describe the material world but psychics apprehend and can similarly observe the spiritual. Thus Blavatsky and other spiritualists came to advocate ‘occult science’ – a form of psychical research implicitly accepting of both the spiritual domain as real and mediumship as a valid scientific means of investigating it. [21]

A Blavatsky article of 1879 says “The founders of our Society were mainly veteran Spiritualists, who had outgrown their first amazement at the strange phenomena, and felt the necessity to investigate the laws of mediumship to the very bottom…In this wondrous outburst of phenomena that the Western world has been seeing since 1848, is presented such an opportunity to investigate the hidden mysteries of being as the world has scarcely known before.” [22]

The article thus references indirectly the Fox sisters’ antics of 1848 and that founders of the Society were veteran spiritualists. It also mentions elsewhere that Andrew Jackson Davis’ texts must be (not simply should be) considered alongside “the Yoga Philosophy; and the aphorisms of Patanjali” if the phenomena surrounding mediumship were to be understood. As mentioned earlier, Davis himself claimed to be clairvoyantly instructed by Swedenborg and so the quote from Blavatsky herself nicely illustrates a weave connecting Swedenborg, the Fox sisters, Andrew Jackson Davis and the spiritualism movement and Theosophy. Also, given Steiner’s prominence within Theosophy and his virtual rebranding of it as Anthroposophy then both Steiner and Anthroposophy can be seen to have played their own part within the spiritualism movement.

Blavatsky was in her own time and is still to this day surrounded by controversy about plagiarism, fraud, and cynical manipulation of her followers. The Society itself was beset with personality clashes and sectarian rivalries, something even Steiner comments on in his autobiography. This is ironic given that one of its primary objectives was the realisation of a universal brotherhood. It is also ironic that the intention of the above cited Blavatsky article was to urge a scientific study of the phenomena associated with spiritualism – when the SPR investigated the phenomena associated with Blavatsky herself a committee introducing a report into Blavatsky said: “For our own part, we regard her [H. P. Blavatsky] neither as the mouthpiece of hidden seers, nor as a mere vulgar adventuress; we think that she has achieved a title to permanent remembrance as one of the most accomplished, ingenious, and interesting impostors in history.”[23]

This latter report led Massey, first president of the Theosophical Society in the UK, and others to resign from the Society. The Society continued under Blavatsky’s leadership until her death in London, 1891. Before he sought to distance himself from Theosophy, as leader of the German Section of the Theosophical Society, Steiner downplayed the importance of any misconduct by Blavatsky and even absolved her of misconduct. For example Blavatsky claimed access to and published supposedly previously ‘secret’ ancient wisdom and manuscripts, much of which was presented as ‘esoteric Buddhism’. A critique of her work by one eminent scholar of the day claimed that within them

“we find no mysteries, nothing very new, nothing very old, but simply a medley of well-known though generally misunderstood Brahmanic or Buddhistic doctrines. There is nothing that cannot be traced back to generally accessible Brahmanic or Buddhistic sources, only everything is muddled or misunderstood. If I were asked what Madame Blavatsky’s Esoteric Buddhism really is, I should say it was Buddhism misunderstood, distorted, caricatured. There is nothing in it beyond what was known already, chiefly from books that are now antiquated. The most ordinary terms are misspelt and misinterpreted.”

Referring to such criticisms, Steiner proposed that were Blavatsky, within her published work, shown to have deliberately passed on concocted texts as if genuine

“One may argue about genuinesness, but to argue about truth is preposterous”

Steiner here meaning that even if the wisdom presented by Blavatsky is her own concoction it doesn’t detract from the veracity of the wisdom itself. He even goes on to suggest that as a spiritual leader delivering spiritual truths Blavatsky had to tailor her message to suit the level of understanding of the audience of the day.[24]

How acceptance of literary and scholarly sleight of hand sits with the Theosophical Society’s motto of ‘No religion higher than Truth’ is a conundrum best left to Theosophists to explain but presumably Steiner’s proposition re arguing about truth would at least answer the burden of evidence amassed showing spiritualistic claims to be baseless.

Commentators on Steiner’s split from Theosophy generally point to different understandings of Jesus and Christianity as being the reason. A simplification of the difference between Steiner and Theosophy on that point is that for Theosophists Jesus was one of many spiritual messengers to have imparted spiritual truths, for Steiner the spiritual evolution of humanity couldn’t have occurred without him. The actual differences between Theosophy and Anthroposophy are far less than the commonalities between them. Karma, reincarnation, the nature of the soul, a spiritual evolution of humanity (on Atlantis) through root races and a belief that the spiritual domain can be scientifically explored and researched by psychical means are central beliefs to both Theosophy and Anthroposophy.

Validating Steiner

In advocating Anthroposophy, Steiner’s followers lay great emphasis on Steiner philosophy as justifying the validity of his psychical research or ‘spiritual science’ as he termed it. Steiner did not pursue a scientific career and this is perhaps why he didn’t contribute anything to science in the way of scientific discovery or achievement. His science was of the spiritualistic kind promoted by the spiritualism movement within which he played a prominent role. As described in an article elsewhere on the CHASE website, Steiner’s spiritual science is a meditative technique and program that presumes introspection to be a valid tool for scientific observation of the spiritual domain, a domain which is assumed a priori to exist. Whereas spiritualists prior to Steiner had relied to a large extent on mediumistic effect (floating musical instruments, spirit voices, ectoplasm and so on) as a means of providing supportive evidence for their spiritualistic claims, Steiner relies instead on the reports of introspection.

Steiner’s reliability insofar as how valid his ‘scientific’ observations of a hypothetical spiritual domain might be are bolstered by the Theosophical beliefs described earlier – occult knowledge attained by select individuals and handed down through time and by spiritual Masters. This reliance on occult knowledge and Steiner’s self-professed clairvoyance, his heavy involvement with Theosophy and his own version of Theosophy as Anthroposophy all combine to demonstrate that Steiner can be readily seen to have been one of many spiritualists achieving prominence and authority within the course of the spiritualism movement of his times. Anthroposophy can be considered one of the most developed of the many understandings of spiritualism provided by the spiritualism movement in that Steiner and his followers claim that Steiner’s ‘spiritual science’ corrected, advanced upon and added to an existing body of occult knowledge.

Today, understandings derived from or related to those of the 19th/20th century spiritualism movement have enjoyed a resurgence. Most of the faiths today described as New Age Religions have their roots in the spiritualism movement or draw their inspiration and ideas from it, paranormal science might be considered a modern counterpart of the earlier psychical research and their exists in the modern age a flourishing ‘alternative’ culture offering services based on spiritual belief rather than empirically derived knowledge. These understandings and beliefs and their practical application are increasingly attractive to many people and Anthroposophy, once a largely forgotten and quiet survivor of the spiritualism movement, is similarly enjoying a modern revival. It is hoped that this article will have provided an approach to understanding Anthroposophy by positioning Rudolf Steiner and his ideas within the broader context of the spiritualism movement.

Footnotes

[1] Steiner’s autobiography is available online at http://wn.rsarchive.org/Books/GA028/TSoML/GA028_index.html?rfr=elib (last accessed 01/08/2007)

[2] Spiritualistic understandings of spiritualism might also be said to be accepting a priori of a spiritual domain and rejecting of scientific study of spiritualism as being inappropriate and inadequate to the task. Psychical understandings of spiritualism might also be said to be accepting of a spiritual domain but accepting of it as being a subject appropriate to scientific study. They might also be said to understand the human mind as able to act on and influence the material world (e.g. levitate objects) or serve as an intermediary between the natural and spiritual worlds. Empirical understandings of both mediumship and spiritualistic phenomena would tend to take an interest in approaching the phenomena as events taking place in the natural world and hence amenable to scientific study and explanation.

[3] For a history of the SPR see http://www.spr.ac.uk/expcms/index.php?section=29#mod_184 last accessed 01/08/2007

[4] For a representative investigative report see http://www.gutenberg.org/files/11950/11950.txt last accessed 01/08/2007

[5] This came about as a result of the investigation of Blavatsky (first leader of the Theosophical Society) by Richard Hodgson for the Society for Psychical Research published in several volumes as “Report on the Committee Appointed to Investigate Phenomena Connected with the Theosophical Society,” Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, London: 1885. Hodgson’s investigation has been contested in recent times but in its day the Report seriously undermined the credibility of Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society.

[6] See http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/borg.html last accessed 01/08/2007

[7] Since this article was written the events mentioned in the text are no longer listed on the Society’s schedule at http://www.swedenborg.org.uk/events/archiveevents.htm (last accessed 01/08/2007) but the archived list of previous lectures given by the Society can be seen to refer directly to Swedenborg and reincarnation, spiritualism and so on.

[8] Chief amongst the online resources used were the following (all last accessed 01/08/2007):

A Wikipedia entry on Swedenborg at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedenborg

Swedenborg texts can be found at http://swedenborgproject.org/

A biography of Swedenborg is online at http://www.glencairnmuseum.org/jkwh.html

[9] The seven principles can be found on the SNU website http://www.snu.org.uk/Spiritualism/principles%202.htm (last accessed 01/08/2007) and on the websites of other spiritualist churches. The principles were obtained by mediumship as described here http://www.spiritualistchurchkeighley.co.uk/ (last accessed 01/08/2007)

[10] Most commentators simply refer to un-named ‘American mediums’ as bringing spiritualism to the UK. It should be remembered that news of spiritualism would have reached the UK in advance of mediums arriving here. According to the Spiritualist’s National Union at least one of these early mediums had English origins – the first spiritualist church in the UK was opened in 1853 in Keighley in Yorkshire by “David Richmond who had returned home from America bringing with him a knowledge about Spirit communication and a mediumistic ability.” See http://www.snu.org.uk/Spiritualism/history.htm (last accessed 01/08/2007) for the SNU’s overview of spiritualism within the UK

[11] An official account of Swedenborgian church history which includes some information about ‘Johnny Appleseed’ can be found at http://www.swedenborg.org/history.cfm (last accessed 01/08/2007

[12] Davis’ plagiarism is mentioned within many accounts of his life – see for example http://www.spiritwritings.com/andrewjacksondavis.html which recycles an entry on Davis from an encyclopaedia.

[13] According to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his ‘History of Spiritualism’ the actual quote in full would end “and the spiritual communion will be established such as is now being enjoyed by the inhabitants of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.” A version of Conan Doyle’s history is available online at http://classic-literature.co.uk/scottish-authors/arthur-conan-doyle/the-history-of-spiritualism-vol-i/ebook-page-20.asp (last accessed 01/08/2007)

[14] A detailed account of the part played by the Fox sisters in the spiritualism movement can at http://historynet.com/ah/blfoxsisters/ (last accessed 01/08/03)

[15] See http://www.baysidechurch.org/studia/studia.cfm?ArticleID=172&VolumeID=42&AuthorID=56&detail=1 (last accessed 01/08/2007)

[16] See http://www.baysidechurch.org/studia/print.cfm?ArticleID=52&detail=1

[17] An abridged version of the article can be found at http://www.blavatsky.net/blavatsky/arts/LackOfUnityAmongSpiritualists.htm (last accessed 01/08/2007)

[18] Background information about the early membership can be found in chapter 8 of a thesis available online at http://etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-08242004-151122/unrestricted/ (last accessed 01/08/2007). The thesis offers analysis about Blavtasky and the Theosophical Society.

[19] This information was gathered from an archive resource detailing the archive material held by the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain. See http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/search2?coll_id=7215&inst_id=92 (last accessed 01/08/2007)

[20] The University of Virginia provides a useful online resource giving detailed profiles of more than 200 religious movements. See http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/theosophy.html (last accessed 01/08/2007)

[21] See for example either of these two Blavatsky articles available online http://www.blavatsky.net/blavatsky/arts/OccultOrExactScience.htm

http://www.blavatsky.net/blavatsky/arts/OccultismVersusTheOccultArts.htm (last accessed 01/08/2007). Blavatsky uses the term comparative psychology or psychology in referring to what most commentators would now understand to mean psychical research.

[22] The article is available online at http://www.blavatsky.net/blavatsky/arts/DriftOfWesternSpiritualism.htm (last accessed 01/08/2007)

[23] “Report of the Committee Appointed to Investigate Phenomena Connected with The Theosophical Society,” Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, ix (1885): 207.

[24] Steiner’s support of Blavatsky was given in a lengthy address conveyed by telegram to a gathering of Thesophists on ‘White Lotus Day’ (the annual day of remembrance for Blavatsky’s followers) in 1905. In it Steiner quite clearly absolves Blavatsky of any misconduct. The address is given in full in Villeneuve, C, Rudolf Steiner in Britain: A Documentation of his Ten Visits, Temple Lodge, 2005, pp. 101-103

The critique quoted within the main text was given in a paper by Oxford specialist Professor Max Müller:

F. Max Müller, “Esoteric Buddhism,” Nineteenth Century 33 (May 1893):767-88.

There is an online version of the paper available at http://www.purifymind.com/EsotericBuddhism.htm (last accessed 01/08/2007)

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