Theosophical Society

A spiritual movement blending Eastern and Western philosophies to explore the Ageless Wisdom and human transformation.

The Theosophical Society is an international organization that promotes spiritual and philosophical exploration. Founded in 1875 in New York City, it is associated with Theosophy, an esoteric belief system that integrates mystical and occultist philosophies.

Origins and Founders

The Society was co-founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian mystic, and Henry Steel Olcott, an American military officer and lawyer. The Society’s creation was influenced by various philosophies and religions, including Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.

Helena Blavatsky, the first Russian woman to be naturalized as an American citizen, traveled extensively to gather wisdom about life and human existence. Her writings, particularly “Isis Unveiled” and “The Secret Doctrine,” laid the foundation for modern Theosophy. Henry S. Olcott, the Society’s first president, contributed to spreading Theosophy’s teachings and establishing the Society as an international organization.

Theosophical Beliefs

Theosophy is not considered a religion by its founders, but rather a system encapsulating the essential truths underlying various religions, philosophies, and sciences. Theosophists believe in direct contact with a deeper spiritual reality through intuition, meditation, and revelation. Theosophical teachings emphasize monism, the idea that reality is constituted of one principle or substance, such as mind or spirit.

The Society’s belief system centers on the Ageless Wisdom tradition, which posits that the universe and everything within it are interconnected and interdependent. Theosophy holds that every being, from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy, is part of a universal, life-creating reality. Theosophists practice reverence for life, compassion for all beings, and respect for individual quests for truth.

Global Influence and Legacy

The Theosophical Society’s headquarters were moved to Adyar, a suburb of Madras (now Chennai), India, in 1882, where it remains to this day. The Society has had a significant impact on the development of modern spiritual and philosophical movements, influencing figures like Rudolf Steiner and organizations such as the Rosicrucian Fellowship and the I AM Movement.

The Theosophical Society in America, legally renamed in 1934, has its administrative center in Wheaton, Illinois. The Society organizes lectures, workshops, and provides online resources on spirituality. It also publishes a quarterly magazine, “Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America.”

Contemporary Activities

The Theosophical Society continues to encourage open-minded inquiry into world religions, philosophy, science, and the arts. It aims to understand the wisdom of the ages, respect the unity of all life, and explore spiritual self-transformation. The Society maintains local groups across various countries, where members meet to discuss and practice Theosophical teachings.